Sunday, March 6, 2016

Readers Helping Authors: Unfettered Auction to benefit Grim Oak Shield

As some of you may know, Shawn Speakman recently dug himself out of a huge (more than $200,000) medical debt that he amassed during his second fight with cancer.  It was due to an incredible anthology called Unfettered that a bunch of authors (including yours truly) donated stories to.

Well, Shawn Speakman is paying it forward by starting Grim Oak Shield, a non-profit foundation similar to Stephen King's Haven Foundation. It works a safety net for authors who find themselves in dire straights due to high medical bills.

500 copies of a truly special edition were created and signed by all the contributing authors. They holdout almost immediately, but Shawn kept a few back so he could auction them off from time to time to benefit Grim Oak Shield.  The first action is running now. And if you want to get your hands on one of these amazing books, you can bid on it here. But you better hurry - there are only 5 days left! Can't afford to beat the bid price?  No problem, consider buying an ebook copy of Unfettered. It's only $7.99 and all proceeds from it go to Grim Oak Shield as well, so you'll be helping authors with medical debt even if you can't get your hands on the special limited edition copy.

As for the book itself, let me tell you a bit about it. There are twenty-three tales in this incredible collection (and a few bonus stories in the limited edition copy). Ss the title suggests, the writers were free to contribute whatever they wished. Here is the table of contents:
  • Foreword by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Introduction: On Becoming Unfettered
  • Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks
  • How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
  • Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
  • The Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey
  • Mudboy by Peter V. Brett
  • The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian
  • The Coach with Big Teeth by R.A. Salvatore
  • Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood
  • Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton
  • Dogs by Daniel Abraham
  • The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne
  • Select Mode by Mark Lawrence
  • All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
  • Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth
  • Nocturne by Robert V.S. Redick
  • Unbowed by Eldon Thompson
  • In Favour with Their Stars by Naomi Novik
  • River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
  • The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Duel by Lev Grossman
  • Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks
  • The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman

As for the piece I contributed, it is indeed a Royce and Hadrian short story and I'm very proud of  how it came out. Here is the introduction to it:
The characters of Royce and Hadrian came to me during my self-imposed ten-year hiatus from writing. After crafting twelve novels and spending a decade getting nowhere, I had determined that publication was hopeless, and I had vowed never to write creatively again. But they kept invading my mind, and as hard as I tried to silence them, I finally gave in, on one condition: that I would write a book that I wanted to read and forgo any thoughts of publication. What a fun time I had bringing these two rogues to life. My wife decided to circumvent my plans and got the books published, and hence Riyria was born.

The six books of The Riyria Revelations were released by Orbit in three two-book omnibus volumes, and while I thought that would be the end of Royce and Hadrian, readers clamored for more. Because I didn’t want to “tack on” to a carefully choreographed ending, The Riyria Chronicles were born to explore adventures that occurred during the twelve years the pair were together before Revelations began.
The short story I’ve provided is a Chronicles tale. It takes place after the events of The Rose and the Thorn and before those of Theft of Swords. Even so, it’s a stand-alone story and no prior experience with any of my books is required to enjoy it to its fullest.

Crafting a work for Unfettered was quite a daunting experience. I wanted to help Shawn and his cause, but how could I not be intimidated by the esteem of the authors I’d be sharing the pages with? Like Riyria, I hope that I rose to the challenge, and that you’ll be entertained by “The Jester,” a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find.

If you're a fan of Riyria, or any of the amazing authors I encourage you to go get an ebook copy. If you have some money in your pocket and want to get a truly special book, then by all means place a bid.  You'll get a great read and Shawn's charity will get some additional cash to do good works with. Seems like a win-win for all involved!

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