If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that Giftmas is when we raise funds for the Edmonton Food Bank. (No, I don’t live in Edmonton. No, I don’t even live in Canada. But look, Canada would help me out, too.) Giftmas is organized each year by Rhonda Parrish, my editor of many anthologies, and each year it’s a fun way to tour some writers’ sites, do good by putting food on the table, and win cool stuff.
There are three parts to this post: What’s in it for charity, what’s in it for you, and a tease for a Christmas gift from me.
Let’s talk about the doing good part first.
Because food banks can leverage their buying in bulk and can take advantage of non-profit rates, every dollar donated can actually deliver up to three meals. That’s amazing! But hold on, because we’re talking Canadian dollars — which means your US dollar actually donates even more.
So even small donations can add up quickly to big effects. The money donated goes directly through Canada Helps, not through any author or blogger, so yes it’s going exactly where you think it’s going.
Food is one of those things which is critical for life — but it’s also critical for social life and connection. Think about how many of our cultural milestones are celebrated with traditional food. Think how much of our social networking and reinforcement takes place over food (drinks with friends, snacks during a game, having someone over for dinner, pizza and sports, etc). Giving and receiving food not only keeps someone in need healthy, it reinforces their place in society and reminds all involved that we’re all in this together.
So that’s doing good for others. What’s in it for you?
Well, first of all, there are some spiffy snowman “I donated!” badges you can get. And I mean, if digital stickers can’t motivate you, where are we, really?
And then there’s a giveaway full of marvelous goodies!a Rafflecopter giveaway
And finally, there’s a snowman drawing contest, and you need a break from your busy life so draw a snowman, because book prizes.
O Christmas Tease
I’m working hard on a story in the Shard of Elan world which /fingers and toes crossed/ will be deliverable for Christmas. It will be able to be read by itself, but if you’re not caught up, the first book here here, cough cough.
So here’s the tease:
Ariana huddled between berry bushes in the dark, prickled and poked and thoroughly irritated. In all the time she had practiced her magic and studied Ryuven biology and tactics, she dreamed of joining the Great Circle to conduct her own magical research, advance arcane knowledge, and fight in glorious magical battles against their generations-long foe. Never had she imagined hiding beneath unripe berries by night, spying on a shed full of wheat.
Across the yard two soldiers hid, invisible to Ariana in the dark, but she sometimes imagined she could hear them whispering. She imagined they whispered about her, the novice grey mage assigned to their guard, an asset or a liability yet to be determined.
Ariana would pass her entrance test for the Circle on her second try. She would.
There had been no pattern to the raids. It was too much to hope their first watch would be productive; for all her dreams, Ariana had heard enough stories to know most military duty was drudgery in watching and marching. If only she could settle among the branches and watch more comfortably…
Something moved in the yard.
Ariana’s eyes strained in the dark. Had the soldiers noticed? Could she alert them? Was it one of the soldiers themselves? Should she light the yard with magic, or wait?
If it was a Ryuven, why wasn’t he flying, using magic to light his way?
“Shut up!” hissed someone in the dark, the admonition a worse violation than the whisper it was meant to hush.
Surely that wasn’t Commander Becknam’s disciplined soldiers. And though they had come to guard against Ryuven… She had never fought Ryuven, but her entire life had been built on fear of them, and she couldn’t imagine them whispering imprecations in the dark.
She prepared to illuminate the yard with a blaze of magical light.
“Stand there!” It was a soldier’s voice, loud across the yard. “Stop in the name of the king!”
He wouldn’t invoke the king’s authority against creatures from another world, nor would he order them to stand for arrest instead of attacking them. He too believed these were human raiders.
Ariana rocked onto her half-numbed feet and started to rise.
Something hummed above her, somewhere between the buzz of a bee and the string of a lute badly plucked, and Ariana looked up. There was so little moon, yet she had the impression of something in the air—
Something swept over her, so close that it ruffled her hair. She flattened to the ground without thinking, instinctively ducking but too late. The creature whooshed over her, and she had an impression of great wings in the dark.
A thud and a gasp, and then the second soldier gave a cry of alarm. Answering cries came from all sides.
Ariana blinked, caught her breath, realized she should have acted. She crawled forward and pushed her hand before her, cupping magic into a ball of incandescent energy to light the yard.
In the cone of light, the yard was empty but for one soldier kneeling over the bleeding form of the other.
Okay, it’s not all just blood and fighting, there really is a gifting theme too. Look for that in a newsletter soon.
So I hope you’ll join us for #Giftmas2019 (official hashtag!), and thank you and good luck!
The final numbers are in: Together we raised $1,380 and provided over 4,000 meals to needy families in Edmonton. That’s fantastic.