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33 Authors. 1 Cause. Breast Cancer Research

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Shades of Pink Charity Anthology

As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For this occasion, 33 authors have allied for 1 cause:  fundraising for research. Their gift to everyone who makes a donation? A romance anthology (ebook) titled Shades of Pink, totaling over 200.000 words / about 500 pages as a PDF.

The suggested donation is $5. Funds are raised via Stayclassy.org and all proceeds go directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Readers can also donate to the charity organization of their choice (with a focus on breast cancer) and email their receipt to receive their copy of the anthology in either PDF, ePub or mobi (kindle).

Who: Kate Baum, Brei Betzold, Jean Booth, Catherine Bowman, Perci T. Brooks, Rose Caraway, Bethan Cooper, Sarah Daltry, Vivien Dean, JJ Ellis, Rachel Firasek, Sabrina Garie, Amber Green, T. Hammond, Lisa M. Harley, Susan Harris, K. R. Haynes, Ellie Heller, Laura Hunsaker, Jennifer James, Torie James, Kallysten, K.A. Linde, C. Deanne Rowe, DJ Shaw, Madeline Sheehan, Eden Summers, Gill Taber, J Annas Walker, Matthew Welch, Kristin L. Wilson, Zoe York, Angela Yseult

When: October 1 through November 15th.

What: 33 short stories, including…

  • 30 M/F, 1.5 M/M, 1.5 M/F/M
  • 4 paranormal, 2 sci-fi, 19 contemporary, 3 historical, 1 BDSM, 9 fantasy, 3 YA (some stories have more than one genre)
  • 4 spicy (ménage or kink), 15 sexy (explicit sex scenes), 14 sweet (no sex)
  • A handful of vampires, about four dozen humans including fighters, cursed humans, reincarnated souls, footballers, time travelers, bosses, secretaries, writers, rock stars, teens, witches, soldiers, wives, husbands and fiancés, 1 succubus, 1 genie, 1 extra-terrestrial princess, a few gods and goddesses, a pack of werewolves.
  • Pink, pink and more pink, including cherry blossoms, jewelry,  flamingoes, silk, a leather collar, assorted flowers, hair, a car, lip gloss, champagne, a hair ribbon, a hippo, various clothing items, lemonade and a toy.

Where: Kallysten’s blog

Here you’ll find teasers for all the stories, interviews of the authors posted during all of October, and of course the link where you can donate and help this worthy cause.

The first romance novel I ever bought

Asking me to pick a favorite romance novel is like asking me to pick which of my dogs I love the most. Im-fricking-possible. So here’s the story of the first romance novel I ever bought.

When I was about eleven years old, it was an odd thing for me to have money. I’m not sure where I’d come up with the few dollars that I was going to use to buy my mother’s birthday present, but I was excited about it.

I went into the tiny bookstore in our tiny mall. B. Dalton Booksellers. I was a little embarrassed when I walked into the Romance novel section. After all, I was eleven. I blushed when I saw people kissing. But I’d read several of my mother’s collection of them, and I knew that she’d love whatever book I could find for her. And also, that eventually, I might be able to read it too. (She kept the spicy ones on a bookshelf that my big sister and I weren’t supposed to read.)

There were several thicker books that I wouldn’t have money for. I looked for her favorite authors, but they all had the thick books. I’d only have enough for one of the skinnier ones.

I picked up a slim volume with a purple spine. The cover, edged in the same purple, had a swarthy, tanned, shirtless man standing behind a pale blonde woman with short curls. She was dressed only in a white towel. A massive ship stood behind them both.

SCARLET BUTTERFLY by Sandra Chastain.

With burning cheeks and a sweaty palm gripping my wad of dollars, I went up to the counter. I put the book face-down, and looked at my feet while the woman rang it up. She drew me out in conversation, and when she found out it was my mother’s birthday, she let me select from a pile of free books too. I got my mother two books with my few meager dollars. I was over the moon.

Me and my first romance purchase.

Mom was delighted with the gift, both the free book and SCARLET BUTTERFLY. As time went on, and I plowed through my mother’s entire collection of Romance novels, I finally read that very first Romance I’d purchased. It became one of my favorites, and I re-read it several times. When I moved out of the house, and my sisters, mother’s, and my reading collections had become muddled and mixed, SCARLET BUTTERFLY came with me.

In October of 2011 I had the pleasure of attending my first writer’s conference. I met several very interesting women, made some life-long friends, and learned so much. One of the coolest people I spoke to just in passing, was a white-haired, elderly lady with a walker. She wasn’t physically strong, but she was sharp and clever. I laughed with her a couple of times over the weekend. I don’t think she wore a nametag, so I didn’t catch who she was.

At the Maggie Ceremony, the GRW chapter presented their awards. They gave several to their chapter members. I clapped, smiled, and tweeted the winners. But then they got to the Nancy Knight Mentorship award. They described the winner’s willingness to help other writers, how sweet, caring, and wonderful this person was, and then they announced her name.

I looked up as my heart skipped a beat. Across the giant white screen at the front of the room was printed the name:

SANDRA CHASTAIN

It took a long time for her to reach the stage. After all, a lady with a walker can only move so quickly. But it was her. The person who’d written the very first romance that I’d ever bought.

I wanted so badly another chance to speak with her. To tell her how much I’d enjoyed SCARLET BUTTERFLY. To get her autograph, to tell her how inspiring it was to me to meet her. But I didn’t see her again after that. We had to leave the awards ceremony before it was over, and she wasn’t at the workshop on the following morning.

I may never get to meet her, but I saw her. I put a face to the name on the cover of my dog-eared, read-to-shreds copy of SCARLET BUTTERFLY.

The world may be small, but sometimes it’s freaking incredible.

If on a winter’s night, a traveler passes through a wrinkle in time to where the wild things are, can she ever leave?

Today’s topic is favorite literary classics. I can’t pick just one so I opted for books that I return to again and again because they continue to speak to the parts of me that need to listen and be heard. Like me, the choices are eclectic.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Meg Murray, the heroine, made alienation cool. An outsider in her family and at school,  she was my geek heroine before the word geek hit mainstream.  Not only did the story itself peak my interest, but for the first time, I felt that I was not alone.  I may follow my own drummer, but I needed to know that there was a whole band out there I might be able to join at some point.  I still read it when I feel the need to hear that other band playing.  I bought my daughter a copy when she was born.  I hope it gives her the same sense of belonging if and when she needs it.

If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

When a writer like Calvino, who ripped convention into shreds and pushed the boundaries of creativity, penned a homage to readers, it is a tale like no other.  In a feast of changing styles and narrative forms,  Calvino memorialized the relationship between writer and reader in a book that had me turning pages, giggling and thinking non-stop. It is the  book I have gifted the most to others over the course of my life.

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

The play that brought us the line “hell is other people.”  I come back to it again and again as a reminder that our own choices and our willingness to change ultimately determines the degree of happiness we allow in our lives. Heavy? Yes, very but life can be.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

So not to end this on a down note, my last selection is a children’s book, that I adore to this day. In few words and elegant drawings, Sendak shined a star on rebellion as a font of creativity, unconditional love as our source of strength and the need of the explorer to have a home to return to.  Not to mention the importance of having fun.

What’s a classic to you–a book that makes you cry, smile, scream? Why do certain books deserve immortality while others collect dust in the basement or on the cloud? I love to hear from you.

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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