Monday, July 11, 2011

Some Good News, Some Okay News, and More Good News

I got in touch with Ethiopia Reads about my plan to give them 10% of my book sales, and was met with kindly approval.

I’d quote directly from the email they sent me, but that’s generally considered a little uncouth. Suffice to say, they’ve worked with other folks who’ve done similar things. I’m pretty stoked to know that they’re stoked.

As for the okay news, I got another review of “Mercy:”

For the majority of this book I had no idea how Georgina’s daughter Mercy plays into the all of this except for Georgina writing about her adopted daughter and giving examples of what she had to do to integrate her daughter into society and how one of the survivors, Tracy, reminds her of Mercy. In the end it does make sense and shows a mother’s undying love for her child who she doesn't know is dead or alive. That love is what keeps Georgina going.

Three stars. You know, you can’t win ‘em all, and I’m deeply grateful for every review I get. So, you know… still a win!

Finally, a long-awaited review finally goes live – this time for “Baby Teeth: A Blood Calling Novelette:”

This is the third work of his that I’ve read, and I’m absolutely in love with his writing style and imaginative storylines.

And speaking of “Blood Calling,” the book that shares a character with “Baby Teeth,” the book is written. It needs editing, and some copyediting, but the book is now 90-95% of what it’s going to be. And it really will be coming out in August.

Also, after talking to friends and a couple fans, I’ve decided to release my very first novella, “Pedestrian Wolves” (which may or may not have a new title when I’m done editing it).

So, yeah. Things are good.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why I’m Giving 10% of My Book Sales to Ethiopia Reads

Like many people, I grew up as a reader in a house with limited funds. Luckily for me, I lived in Oshkosh, WI – a city that had (and still has) a great library. I could go there at any time, and walk out with a stack of books I wanted to read, at no cost to me.

On July 28th, 2007, my wife and I arrived in Ethiopia and met our little girl. She was six months old, 12 pounds, and the most beautiful baby we had ever seen. I wept the moment I met her. (There’s video.)

Through our adoption journey, I learned about both the good and the bad of Ethiopia. The amazing food, the incredible culture, how the very history of mankind is tied to the country where my child was born.

And I learned about the abject poverty: The average person in Ethiopia lives on 125 dollars a year.

Then I became aware of a man named Yohannes Gebregeorgis.

You can look him up if you want to know more, but the thumbnail sketch of Gebregeorgis is that he was born in Ethiopia, and then immigrated to the United States in 1982. He got his masters degree in library science, and took a job at the San Francisco public library as the children’s librarian.

When he was unable to locate any children’s books that had been published in Amharic, the primary language of Ethiopia, he took it upon himself to write and publish one.

In 1998, he founded Ethiopia Reads. Its mission? “To create a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books.” In 2002, he moved back to Ethiopia, and has since established 10 libraries, including mobile library carts that are hauled to rural areas by a donkey.

In an ideal world, an organization like Ethiopia Reads would never want for donations, and would spend week after week opening new libraries and sending out new donkey carts stuffed with books for children.

In an ideal world, I’d have so much money to spend that I could fund this kind of important work myself.

But that’s not how things are.

I can’t do it alone. I need help. Your help.

Why? Because starting July 1st, 2011, 10% of profits from my book sales will go to Ethiopia Reads.

What does that mean?

It means if I make $20 that month selling my books, Ethiopia Reads will get two dollars from me. According to the program’s site, that’s enough to buy a book for one child. (The program also gives books to children to keep. For some it may be their first and only book.)

If I make 1,000,000 dollars, I’ll send Ethiopia Reads 100,000 dollars – enough to create ten donkey carts.

But as the saying goes: Wait! There’s more!

If any one of my books (I have three as I type this, with more to come) makes it into the top 100 of the Kindle sales listing, I’ll give 20% of my profits for that month to Ethiopia Reads.

The only way I can make this happen is with your help. Here’s how:

Put a link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog. The more people know what I’m doing, the more money I’ll (hopefully) raise for Ethiopia Reads.

Buy one of my books on the Kindle or nook.

Or, if you’re not interested in the genre of stories I write (supernatural/urban fantasy tales, some funny, some scary, all of them heartfelt), consider donating to Ethiopia Reads directly.

And that’s it.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for getting the word out!