With the earthquake and following tremors that ravaged Haiti we often wonder how we can help. What is it about our particular unique skills that give us a unique way to lend aid and assistance to those in distress? For many of us it is simply that we can use our skills in order to help build a monetary donation because our skill sets are not directly applicable to the situation. I am one such person. Luckily for me there I am a member of a masonic lodge and we as a group have set up a benefit dinner to collect money to donate to the relief of people of Haiti. One of the lodges under the domain of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut is primarily Haitian members, colloquially referred to as the "Haitian Lodge." To my understanding the money collected by many of the masonic bodies in Connecticut will be pooled and provided to the Haitian Lodge so that they might directly donate the sum of the collected funds. From the accounts I've received every masonic brother in that lodge has been directly affected and as such it only seems appropriate that we could help people and brothers directly affected by this tragedy to provide as much aid as possible to their friends and kin.
With the dinner planned I have to figure out how my particular skills could aid in the fund raising process. I will be donating a signed copy of pre-release pre-edit hard cover copy of my combined trilogy of books as an item for a raffle. Normally this type of raffle would be a 50/50 with half the proceeds going directly to the lodge, but in the case of an event like this the items are donated gifts and 100% of the money raised for the raffle goes to the donation funds. While I normally strive to limit release until I am satisfied with the work the need to help drive funds for such a worthy cause supersedes my personal dilemma and minimizes it. If someone would be willing to buy a raffle ticket in the hopes of getting a copy of my book, and the proceeds are going to help people in need... let's just say it has a way of diminishing any potential typo embarrassment.
In other news my next book is nearly halfway completed. I'm hoping to release it by the end of this year. It will be a short story collection that takes place spread throughout the time between books 1 and 2, and then I'll be directly to work on a second short story collection book that bridges the gap between books 2 and 3.
The joy of working with short stories, compared to a standard novel, is that I can focus on secondary or tertiary characters that I wanted to delve into a little more without slowing down the pace of the main books by derailing the tale with plot lines that don't forward the story. It also gives me the freedom to explore some parts of the world a little more thoroughly than the books allow for. The two books work almost like DVD extras, providing more depth for people who want to partake, but for people who do not the three primary books provide a story complete and whole without what are essentially the literary version of side quests.