Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Gift of Love and Gia Dawn

Sponsored by Donna MacMeans

Every year for the past three years, New York Times bestselling author, Lori Foster, has taken the lead to compile an anthology of stories with a central theme. The author proceeds from the sales of the anthology benefit a charity. This year's book benefits a charity close to my heart, the Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati They work to educate and empower those individuals with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other motor challenges. It's special to me as my youngest sister attended the learning center. I can remember neighbors coming to our house to take shifts to "pattern" Mary's muscles to teach her to crawl. Mary, born with cerebral palsy, is in her 40s now. That's her at the bottom of the blog.

So let me say Thank you to Lori and all the contributing authors to this year's GIFT OF LOVE. Don't forget, if you click on the book cover, it'll take you straight to Amazon to purchase. I've loaded the covers of previous charity anthologies down the blog as well in case some have slipped your attention.

My good friend, Gia Dawn, one of the contributing authors is with us today. Please welcome Gia into the lair.
We're talking The Gift of Love Anthology featuring: (Front row): Lori Foster • Paige Cuccaro • Gia Dawn (middle) • Jules Bennett (back row)• Helen Kay Dimon • Ann Christopher • Lisa Cooke • Heidi Betts (not in photo)

Here's a description of their stories in their own words:

Lori Foster
FOR THE LOVE OF WENDY - I'm a big believer that everyone should be looking out for children, their own and others. It's a responsibility that we share, and that often plays into my stories. Since the proceeds from this book are going to special needs children, I was inspired to write it into the story. At first, my hero, widower Jack, only wants a mommy for his special needs daughter. But he soon realizes only one woman will do – because he’s loved her all along.

Jules Bennett
Being part of this anthology was an amazing experience because I was able to bring to life a story that has been in my heart for a couple of years. Added to that, we're able to hopefully touch the lives of children we will never know by donating all proceeds to the Conductive Learning Center, a special school for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. I'm honored to be in the company of such amazing authors doing selfless acts all for the sake of love.

Heidi Betts
SKIN DEEP -Being part of this anthology gave me the chance to write a story I don't think I ever would have considered otherwise. SKIN DEEP deals with physical injury and addiction, & I suspect that fans of America's Next Top Model will recognize where part of my inspiration came from. ;-) I hope you enjoy! And remember what Helen Keller said: "I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do" so do a good deed whenever and wherever you can!

Ann Christopher
ATTICUS GETS A MOMMY - As a mother, I understand the value of a program that provides early intervention so children can have the tools they need to succeed in school.

Lisa Cooke
THE REDEMPTION OF BRODIE GRANT is a story about a woman who falls in love with a man despite the fact he’d destroyed her family’s livelihood years before. Passion, absolution, and redemption drive the story and drive our heroine into the arms of Brodie Grant. This charity holds a special meaning for me. I lost my eldest sister due to complications from Cerebral Palsy and being able to contribute in this way to a school for children with
CP and spina bifida is a blessing.

Paige Cuccaro
THE WOLF WATCHERS DIET is about Ella Blackwood, a young school teacher who’s always struggled with her weight. Those struggles have had an unseen affect on her body. But when she’s bitten by a werewolf and changes into one, the new wolf in her won’t let her return to human form until she’s perfectly healthy. Lucky for Ella her new pack mate happens to be fellow hunky teacher Luke Danhurst who’s wanted her as his life-mate for years. With his help Ella learns how to live happy and healthy, and to love herself in any form. I love the charity Lori chose to benefit from this anthology. Having a cousin with special needs, I know the importance of schools like The Conductive Learning Center, and I’m thrilled that I can help in their mission in some small way.

Gia Dawn
A FAIRY PRECIOUS LOVE - When Summer lost her wings to blight, she was forced to live life on the ground and to give up the love of her life, the Fairy King Wolf Moss. Now blight has touched the royal household and Summer is called in to help. Is she fated to have her heart break again, or will she be able to claim at last her Fairy Precious Love?
I think we are all looking for ways to find a deeper meaning in our lives and career, and give back as a way of offering gratitude for our own blessings. This anthology provided a way for me to do all of work with Lori Foster, which was amazing in and of itself.

Helenkay Dimon
SECOND TIME AROUND - The one word I use to define how I feel about my life is grateful. This is true both on a personal and professional level. My life isn't perfect or stress-free, but I am truly blessed compared to the difficulties some other people face every day. My professional good fortune started a few years ago. Lori Foster ran a writing contest on her website. She provided this amazing opportunity for unpublished writers to get their work in front of an editor. I benefited from Lori's generosity. Over the years I watched her put together anthologies
to benefit different charities and thought those books were the perfect way for those of us who have been blessed to give something back. When Lori asked me to participate this year, I didn't hesitate. Knowing the proceeds would go to special needs kids only made the anthology more special. I love this story and the celebration of family. I hope you do, too!

Gia says:
"I appreciated participating in the anthology because it allowed me to give back to the community, but I'm always looking for new ideas. Tell me some ways you give back, or how you're received from the efforts of others"

One person leaving a comment will recieve a copy of the GIFT OF LOVE.


limecello said...

Hi Gia! :)

limecello said...

Hmmm... I really enjoy the Gifts of Love anthologies - I have the other two, but missed out this year, and ironically actually got to attend the Reader/Author Get Together for the first time.
For charities... the Haven of Rest is a local one I really like - it's kind of a soup kitchen, but they also are selective in a sense, in that they help the individuals that show up - train them, help them find jobs, and so on. (It's a faith based ministry.) I've volunteered there and donated... and otherwise I'm looking to do pro bono bankruptcy cases with the local bar association. (Am waiting to hear on that.)
As for being helped... well I was lucky and got some scholarships from the bar association foundation while in law school. Anyway, there are always fantastic human interest stories out there - they can just be a little harder to find.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lime, congrats!

Hi Gia!

Donna and Gia, I love anthologies. It's a great way to discover new authors! And pick up on some extras from authors I already love. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Gift of Love!

flchen1 said...

Hi, Gia! I loved this anthology, and your story in it! Is it connected to any of your other work?

I also love the other benefit anthologies and am thrilled that you authors find such wonderful ways to give back!

Congrats on the GR, Lime!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Lime - Congrats on the Golden Rooster! That's right, you were at the get-together. How did you miss it? (grin).

The Haven of Rest sounds like a well needed charity these days. Sad to say, I imagine there would be quite a demand for pro bono bankruptcy cases. Hope you get the go-ahead soon.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Fichen -

Lori's anthologies are a great way to give back. It's so neat to think that our words can do so much good for worthy agencies that need the support

One thing I particularly enjoyed about participating in the anthology was meeting the other authors that participated. That meant a lot to mean. Glad you've enjoyed them.

Helen said...

Well done lime he has had a few Tim Tams so aain he may be hyped up.

Hi Ladies
Well done on these anthologys I have one of them and great reads and what a fantastic idea to give to groups that help other people. I help where I can often donating food at Christmas time so as hampers can be made up for people who cannot afford to have a nice Christmas.

Have Fun

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Lime. Congratulations on the help with law school. I am always amazed with how many human interest stories are out there, most of the time we don't hear the good news.


Anonymous said...

Anna, thanks so much for taking the time to post. Hope you enjoy the stories.


Anonymous said...

flchen1-all my stories have fairies in them. Not something I consciously chose, but just seems to have worked out that way. :)

Anonymous said...

Helen, Christmas is such a good time of year to help out. Brings out the true meaning of the holidays for everyone!

Anonymous said...

Donna!! I am yer number one fan--;) LOLOL, htanks so much for having me here today, its great to hang out with you.

Can't wait to read this new story in the works.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, so I missed out on the great Golden Rooster sighting. How early does one have to get up to spot the mythical bird?

Caren Crane said...

Hi, Gia! It's great to see you here in the Lair. Lime, you know the GR's habits, so I'm sure he'll be sleeping late this morning and waking to a brunch-in-bed? *g*

Gia, I adore anthologies. When I first heard about these collections from Donna, I thought it was a great and noble idea. What a treat to find that all the stories are so fabulous, too. Good for us and good for the cause!

I help with lots of different charities, mostly through church, work and Girl Scouts. I particularly like the Society of St. Andrews. This is a gleaning mission, where local farmers leave some produce in their fields when harvesting, then volunteers glean the fields and take the harvest to those in need. Sometimes it's the food bank or rescue mission. Sometimes, it's downtown handing out produce to the homeless. Just depends on the season and the needs.

I think this one speaks to me because my family was very, very broke after my parents divorced. My mother got five kids and two mortgages in the settlement and my father never paid the child support he was supposed to. We had family in the country and my grandfather would come on the weekend bearing paper bags of whatever was in season: squash, tomatoes, corn and lots and lots of beans of all types. We never went hungry because we had a deep freeze full of vegetables and day-old bread from the thrift store.

There are so many needs in the world, it's overwhelming. I try to do what I can where I can and thank God that I'm not the one in You never know what tomorrow will bring!

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren -

I like the Society of St. Andrews! It's like brownies that come and clean up the fields. (I always wanted to have those brownies come in to clean up the house!)

Donna MacMeans said...

Helen - That's wonderful what you do at Christmas. The holiday wouldn't be the same without a good meal. I know the receipients appreciate your generousity.

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren - I didn't know that about your family. What a tribute to your mom that you managed a college education after those difficult beginnings.

Gillian Layne said...

What a wonderful act of kindness. As a speech-language pathologist I work with these kiddos on a regular basis, and let me tell you, with the cut backs in federal funding right now, every cent is vital.

I love anthologies! Life is often so busy--it's great fun to be able to start and finish a satisfying story in one setting.

Christie Kelley said...

What a wonderful anthology for such a great cause. My mother gave birth to her second child and he had severe spina bifida. He only lasted a day (they didn't do much for them back then). What's fascinating is my husband has always had back problems. He found out only a few years ago that he had undiagnosed spina bifida. Not a bad case but just enough to cause him some issues.

Thanks to all the authors for contributing their time and effort for this book.

Lori Foster aka L. L. Foster said...

Good morning all! I'm heading out to a much-needed hair appt, so I might not be able to stop back. (Yes, it takes ALL day to make my hair socially acceptable. LOL) But I wanted to drop in and thank Gia for not only taking part in the antho, but for blogging, too. You rule, Gia!

There are so many causes near and dear to my heart, but kids and animals are always at the top.

As to being helped... when my mother passed away with cancer, I don't know what I would have done without Hospice. They were so incredible, so amazing, so humane and caring and THERE. My husband and kids were there with me 100%, but more so than other family members, Hospice helped me to figure out things and to cope.
One of these days I want to do something for them, and something for St. Judes.
In the meantime, all of you (every reader everywhere) makes it possible for me to do the special anthologies to help where we can, and everyone who ever attends the Get Together contributes to worthy causes just by being there and having fun and buying those raffle tickets!
Hope you all have a fan-tabu-lous day!


Lisa Cooke said...

Hi Donna and Gia! I loved getting a chance to write for this anthology. Lori's charities are always deserving and the money made from these books makes a big difference in the lives of many people.
Big thanks to everyone who buys this book! How often do you get a chance to read for charity, eh?

Virginia C said...

Hi, Gia! You are in great company! I love Lori's anthologies! All of my immediate family is gone, but I have wonderful friends and my beautiful cat-children. Whenever possible, I try to give to others, whether human or animal, because I have been lucky to be on the receiving end on more than one occasion. My life has changed quite a bit in the last few years, and not for the better. As life gets harder, "friends" come and go, and tough life lessons are learned. Now that I am in a position where I need help, some people whom I have helped along the way have fallen off my horizon. On the other hand, other people have stepped forward with the heart of a cheerful giver, and they have brightened and enriched my life beyond measure.

My grandfather was a wonderful man who always told me: "If you have more than you need, then you have too much." Even if you can't donate money, you can donate goods that you no longer need or use, and you can donate your time by volunteering. If you love reading and books, think about promoting literacy in your own community. There are many Americans who are still illiterate or only semi-literate, and that is just not acceptable! Being literate is empowering, and it enables informed decision making. It is never too late for anyone to learn and improve their life situation.

Deb said...

Hi, Gia. I like anthologies, too. Sometimes I'm in a mood to just read a short(er) story. Your anthology sounds wonderful.

Giving back to the community doesn't have to be grand; little ways count, but may not get the great accolades of bigger projects. I help out in my little town because I really enjoy living here and like the people. I was on a committee 3 years ago to establish a new park next to our library and the community did a wonderful job of coming together with monetary donations and the labor of putting the playground equipment together.

I try to help by co-leading Girl Scouts, teaching Sunday School, donating to the local food pantry, and helping friends when they need to have someone watch their kids---and they help me out in the same way.

Virginia said...

Hi Gia!

I love a good anthology! It gives you a chance to try different authors work! I think this is a wonderful thing you ladies do!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Donna! Hi Gia! Welcome to the Lair!

Donna and Gia, I love these anthologies. I've not gotten this newest one, but but I do have the Tales of Love.

I'm just popping in for a minute, but wanted to wave hello!


Deb said...

P.S. I think that those who truly help in a community don't want praise. They help because they want to do so. My response sounded like I was looking for a pat on the shoulder. :/

jo robertson said...

What a wonderful, inspiring post, Donna! All the stories in the anthology sound awesome.

Welcome to the Lair, Gia. I love the idea that each story contributes its own particular story of disability and triumph.

How did you women come together to write the anthology?

Donna MacMeans said...

Gilliian - You reminded me that a short story doesn't demand a lot of time. I've an autographed copy of Gift of Love that I was saving until after I finish the WIP - but I snuck out and read Gia's story. You're right - those funding cutbacks take a bite from those who really need it. Glad that this anthology will help one worthy cause.

Gia - you must be part fairy! Wonderful story. Loved the use of spider webs and thistle down. Made me want to drink some of Alice's portion to be small (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Christie - How sad for your mother to lose your brother as a baby. She must be a woman of great strength.

I'm hearing more and more of cases of spina bifida. I'm not sure if I'm just becoming more aware or if there's better diagnostic tools or if there's a genuine increase in this disease. Hugs to you and your family.

Donna MacMeans said...

Lori -

Thanks for stopping by and thanks again for enabling so many talented authors to make a difference.

Hospice and St. Jude's Hospitals are two very worthy causes. Hospice helped a great deal when my father-in-law had terminal cancer. They perform an invaluable service. And St. Jude's - they're lifesavers.

I hope you'll continue with these awesome anthologies.

Donna MacMeans said...

VIrginia C. - love the kitty at the keyboard!

Your grandfather was a wise man. Giving to help someone else pays back abundantly in non-monetary ways.

Literacy is a great cause. RWA coordinates contributions from publishers via the huge literacy booksigning that they do every year. Plus those raffle baskets - yum!

Donna MacMeans said...

Deb - I can see you like to work with and for kids. Good for you! Your contributions will lead to a better tomorrow. Thank you.

carolfiore54 said...

I haven't read Gift of Love, but I want to for the prceeds go to worthy causes. I help at the homeless shelter by serving meals. Also, I help tutor children who need help in reading. I have my own home-daycare but I still have time to tutor,and I love it. Since I'm only working part-time,I have gone to my local library to put books on the shelves, its only 1-2days a week but I love it. it gets me out and meet people.

Anonymous said...

Caren, I have never heard of the Society of St. Andrews, but what a totally cool idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Christie, so sorry to hear of your family's loss, always terrible. I have been told there are cases of spina bifida like your husband's where the bone doesn't fully close, but the nerves aren't exposed. Best of luck to you both!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Lori and Lisa for stopping by. Lori is so proud of these anthologies, and she sh ould be. She does amazing work to give back to her community.

And Lisa is just lovely...especially when she's in her Elvira costume ;)

Anonymous said...

Virginia C, life gives us tough times. I have had several losses in my own family these past couple of years--including my beloved cat and dog children-- and it is hard.
But there are always more to love...sigh, and it is possible to fill your heart again.

Anonymous said...

Deb, its okay to toot your own horn every now and again, especially for a good cause.

Anonymous said...

Jeanne, loved Tails of Love Anthology. Animals hold a special place in my heart.

Anonymous said...

Jo, Lori asks different authors to contribute eash year, and I was thrilled to be included in this one. It was lovely to hand out with the other authors in the anthology and bond.

Anonymous said...

Carolfiore54--you go girl, you rock with your contributions!!

Anonymous said...

Donna says I need an avatar, she's probably right. I am a bit negligent about these things. Thank you Mistress MacMeans

runner10 said...

Love books that benefit a good cause.
I love St Jude's and American Cancer Society.
I run in several charity races. I enjoy running and can help some good organizations at the same time.

Donna MacMeans said...

Mistress MacMeans - LOL I like that! I'll have to borrow AC's crop - Hey - I already have the corset! Not leather, though.

Anonymous said...

Am I here yet, thanks to Mistress MacMeans? This is gonna stick, you know, and I'm liable to pull an Animal House every time I see you. "Thank you, mistress, may I have another?"

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Donna and Gia! You, Lori Foster, and the other contributing authors are an inspiration to participate in these anthologies for charities! Thank you for caring about your community!

Donna MacMeans said...

And a lovely photo it is, Gia - though I think you should find a picture of a fairy. I believe you must have been one in a former life.

Donna MacMeans said...

Carolfiore54 - Good on you for your volunteerism. I know the library appreciates your efforts - as do all the patrons (grins). Tutoring is truly an act of love - and patience. The world needs more like you.

Donna MacMeans said...

Aloha Kim - Guess what! I just had a new grandnephew (is that what you call it when a nephew has a child?) born on your fair isle this past weekend.
How cool is that?

Thank you as well for all you do for the military families. Your efforts are always well appreciated.

Donna MacMeans said...

runner10 - I envy your ability to actually run in those races. I'd be more of a walker myself. Congratulations on using your body for the good of others...not sure if that sounds right - but you know what I mean.

(Blame Gia - her Mistress MacMeans has turned my thoughts in a decidedly wicked fashion. She has that effect on people (grin).

Anonymous said...

runner10--my hat off to you for your physical accomplishments, although you might like Donna's fabulous feathered finery much better!

Anonymous said...

Aloha, lovely Kim! So nice to see you here today. Someday I would love to make it out to your side of the world.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Virginia - didn't mean to overlook you! Glad that you love the anthologies. What always amazes me is the wide variance in the stories. You can get paranormal, contemporary, and historical all in the same book! Love the diversity.

HelenKay said...

It was such an honor to be included in this anthology. I just started reading the other stories and they are terrific. I hope everyone picks up a copy!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi HelenKay!

We didn't get a chance to talk at Lori's get-together (why is that?) but thank you for participating in this worthy project. Can't wait to read your story!

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Gia! Thanks so much to you and Donna for the great post. I love anthologies for all the reasons already mentioned and I think it's so fabulous that these anthologies benefit charities.

I'm looking forward to reading Gift Of Love :-)

catslady said...

The anthologies sound wonderful and what a marvelous thing to do. When my children were young I was a girl scout leader, homeroom mom and an officer of a local women's club that did a lot of charity work. My latest helping cause is our American Legion. I really love the idea of pay it forward.

Becke Davis said...

Yaaaaaaaay Gia!

And yay for Lori's event, too. Lori, Dianne Castell and B&N's Linda Keller put an amazing amount of work into it, as do all the fabulous volunteers.

The anthologies are always a special treat -- the stories are always great, and it's fun when I actually know the authors!

The fact that the proceeds go to a different charity every year is icing on an already amazing cake.

Anonymous said...

Beth, thanks for saying hello. It is an honor to be here today.

Nancy said...

Limecello, congrats on the rooster.

Donna and Gia, all these stories sound fabulous. The cause also does. As so many state and local governments face budget shortfalls, the services they cut often hit some of our most vulnerable people.

Anonymous said...

Catslady--hope you enjoy the anthology. Thank you for the support.

Anonymous said...

Hello, beautiful Becke Davis! Thanks for stopping by.

elainec said...

The cover is adorable! I haven't read it yet.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Becke!!!

Good to see you drop by! It is fun when you know the authors - or when you go to Lori's get-together and all the authors are there. I think I ran around and collected everyone's autograph except Helenkay (How did I miss her?) and Heidi Betts who didn't attend.

Anonymous said...

elainec--it is a gorgeous cover. I had a t-shirt made for hubby with the cover on the back. I make him do promo, earn his keep.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Gia -

Didn't you put some sort of saying on that shirt? Can't remember - but your dh looked great in it!

jules said...

Hey, Gia! I'm late, but I've been working since 8 this morning.

I am so thrilled all of the wonderful feedback we've gotten from this book. It really warms my heart to know this school will benefit as will readers when they read such amazing stories.

Being part of this was such an awesome experience. I'm certainly in good company with all you lovely ladies;)

Jules Bennett

Anonymous said...

Donna, the shirt said, "Read a good book, do a good deed, all author proceeds go to charity." And the Conductive Learning website addy

Also a big shout out to Jules and HelenKay for popping over today!


Anonymous said...

Thank you all for coming out today! According to my big dice, Kim in Hawaii is the winner! Hmmmm, she lives in paradise and won the book, too. But fair is fair. Kim, if you will send me a snail mail address I will get the book in the mail.

Thank you all again, and special thanks to Mistress Donna MacMeans for helping spread the word about the Gift of Love Anthology.

limecello said...

Donna - X: I missed breakfast and just... O_o I don't know! Shhh :P

Helen - next time send some Tim Tams with the GR so I can have some too, please!

Carin - I wish! Heh the GR would only get that if I got that. As I'm probably the only one who would/could make brunch - it would defeat the purpose :P