Feeding America | An Author’s Pledge to Give Back


2020 was a sobering year, and 2021 isn’t exactly taking a sharp turn in a positive direction quite yet. January broke the record for the most COVID-related deaths in a single month, and CNN reported that nearly 4 million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer. Seeing video footage of thousands of vehicles lining up at food banks before dawn and stretching for miles down the highway has been heartbreaking. One in seven Americans don’t have enough food to eat, according to the White House Press Secretary. People are hurting.

Cars lined up for miles waiting for access to a Dallas food bank. Credit: CNN

It’s a stark and depressing snapshot of America. I count my blessings with the ever-present knowledge in the back of my mind that if this pandemic had struck just a couple of years earlier, I would have been facing the crisis as a restaurant server instead of my current position as an ecommerce specialist able to work from home. I would have been forced to choose between my health and the health of my loved ones, or my job earning a measly $2.13 an hour plus tips in an industry hit particularly hard… if I had been able to keep my job at all. Instead of publishing my second fantasy novel in July 2020, I very likely would have found myself waiting in line for a food bank and stressing about my next meal.

Two years. That thought resonates with me often. Fate spared me by a mere two years, and I am grateful every day. I would like to pay my good fortune forward to those who are suffering during the pandemic and subsequently affected economy, and so I’m pledging to donate all of my February royalties from my book and merchandise sales to Feeding America and match the total amount at a minimum with a personal contribution. For every dollar donated, at least ten meals are provided to families in need. If you aren’t already familiar with my award-winning series, learn more below:

Books: The YA supernatural fantasy series is centered around the story of Cato, a former hero with ghostly supernatural abilities who has fallen from grace and been an unwilling test subject in a government facility for two long years. The other young prisoners in Project Alpha have become his surrogate “lab-family,” and when an accident gives them all the opportunity to escape, they find themselves hunted by both the government agents of the Human Realm and the Shadow Guards of the Ghost Realm as the two worlds teeter on the brink of war. Imagine The Darkest Minds crossed with X-Men and Danny Phantom. Both novels received the Literary Titan Gold Book Award in 2020. As an independent author fighting to break into the market, every book that makes it out into the world is a small victory. I will be including royalties from all formats, including hardcover, paperback, and ebook, into the pool going to the charitable cause.

Candle: In 2020, I had the pleasure of collaborating with Old Soul Artisan, a small USA-based company from New Jersey that makes hand-crafted candles inspired by literature, folklore, and the dark psyche. We partnered to create the Avilésor: Mystical Forest fragrance based on the book series (I might be biased, but it smells pretty amazing! Like stepping right into the ancient forests of Avilésor, Narnia, or Lothlórien). The proceeds from these sales benefit not only a small business and indie author, but also wolf conservation efforts in the United States, as one dollar from every online sale is donated to this cause. And for February, my share of these proceeds will go to food banks. If you’re interested, you can learn more about the collaboration in this earlier blog post.

Apparel & Merchandise: Last year, I launched two merchandise collections with Teespring, including hoodies, T-shirts, tank tops, phone cases, face masks, blankets, pillows, totes, and stickers featuring the Project Alpha Collection and the Kit Collection from the books. Every single item earned from my Teespring store qualifies for the February royalty donation.

Here are some of the ways you can support me as an independent author and contribute to Feed America throughout the entire month of February:

• Shop local by ordering Book I: A Fallen Hero and/or Book II: Phantom’s Mask through your preferred bookstore if it isn’t already available on the shelf (this way your local bookstore gets to keep some of the proceeds as well)

• Online purchase of hardcover, paperback, or ebook available on all major shopping platforms, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Walmart, etc. (Links are available on my SHOP page)

• Online purchase of the Avilésor candle from Old Soul Artisan, which not only supports me as well as Feed America, but also wolf conservation and a small USA business… so many good causes all wrapped up in one purchase!

• Online purchase of any apparel or merchandise from my Teespring store

COVID-19 has brought many of us together in different ways, even as we social distance and stay at least six feet apart. I send a heartfelt thank-you to everyone supporting charities and one another. If you would also like to make a direct donation to Feed America, you can do so by clicking on the button below:

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I'm an award-winning fantasy author, artist, and photographer from La Porte, Indiana. My poetry, short fiction, and memoir works have been featured in various anthologies and journals since 2005, and several of my poems are available in the Indiana Poetry Archives. The first three novels in my Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms series have received awards from Literary Titan.

After some time working as a freelance writer, I was shocked by how many website articles are actually written by paid "ghost writers" but published under the byline of a different author. It was a jolt seeing my articles presented as if they were written by a high-profile CEO or an industry expert with decades of experience. I'll be honest; it felt slimy and dishonest. I had none of the credentials readers assumed the author of the article actually had. Ghost writing is a perfectly legal, astonishingly common practice, and now, AI has entered the playing field to further muddy the waters. It's hard to trust who (or what) actually wrote the content you'll read online these days.

That's not the case here at On The Cobblestone Road. I do not and never will pay a ghost writer, then slap my name on their work as if I'd written it. This website is 100% authentic. No outsourcing. No ghost writing. No AI-generated content. It's just me... as it should be.

If you would like to support my work, check out the Support The Creator page for more information. Thank you for finding my website! 🖤