To be quite honest, giving back wasn't what I had in mind the very first time I worked with Coming Together.
The first time I ever even heard of Coming Together, my favorite smut writer, (now) friend, and all around awesome human being, Sommer Marsden was running an open call for submissions for Hungry For Love, a zombie anthology that benefited American Diabetes Association.
I really admire Sommer -- I have since I didn't know who she was or much of anything about her, except that her work was awesome and made me laugh -- and that hasn't changed since getting to know her and seeing glimpses of her personal life. She's had a rough time -- her husband died from cancer not long ago -- and we've talked a lot on line. Exchanged a couple of Christmas cards and postcards. It's a casual acquaintanceship, but it means a lot to me.
We've had a few chats about how weird and uncomfortable it is when someone praises you -- you've done so much, I don't know how you do it, oh, you're so strong -- and outside you're nodding with that slightly apologetic look on your face like you're sorry you're making the other person feel weak because you're barely managing to hold on to your life with both hands and inside you're screaming "What the fuck ELSE do you think I'm going to do? I manage my life because WHAT THE FUCK?? Really?"
Anyway... got off track a bit there. The point is, I wasn't really thinking about charity so much as I was thinking "I want this woman to notice my work."
So, that was the first time. This was back in the day when I still threw up regularly after hitting the send button on a submission. (Thank FSM that doesn't happen anymore. In fact, most of the time, I'm pretty chill about it. I feel comfortable with my work, most of the time.)
By the way, Dead in the Water, the story that I submitted for Hungry for Love, is available as an audio reading from Rose Caraway, who is also awesome...
After some time -- and because another friend of mine was going through a rough time and her illness is one of those weird, rare things that most people never heard about, and I desperately wanted to do something for her -- I thought I'd try my own hand at doing an anthology.
Talk about leaping before I looked! I had no fucking clue what I was doing, and I hope it doesn't show too much. I got a lot of advice from other CT editors (including the brilliant and amazing Nobilis Reed) and editors of other collections.
I put together a proposal for Coming Together: Among the Stars, to benefit International Still's Disease Foundation and to my surprise and pleasure, Alessia was onboard with me right away. We put together the call and I collected well over 60 stories...
Editing an anthology was a whole different kettle of fish -- but it was a learning experience, I got to meet a whole ton of really talented writers, and I enjoyed it so much that I ended up doing a second one this year.
(I've also had my share of weird problems as being an editor -- attempted plagiarism, people who really cannot read the submission guidelines, a whole lot of authors who turn in stories without their contact information -- seriously, people, don't do that! -- authors who are hard to work with, weird hostility, and male writers who seem to think that, as a female editor, I am obligated to look at pictures of their dicks as well as their stories. No, dudes. Just no.)
But Among the Stars was a good enough experience that this year, I did it again, and just recently, Strange Shifters made its way into the world...
Proceeds for Strange Shifters goes to Bat World Sanctuary, one of my own personal favorite charities. I love bats and the people at Bat World do a lot of cool stuff to preserve these little flying foxes. You should check them out, their facebook page is pretty awesome.
I'm working on ideas for an anthology next year... I have a million pet causes and I want to do a little something for all of them...
Comment on this blog for the little prize... there will be a bigger prize from Coming Together [insert that when available] and there are lots of other Coming Together authors and editors who are on the Hop... so stop by and see them [also, link]