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.
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: