I have always felt this way. There are moments in every life that define the future. For instance, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I was forced to start a publishing press and essentially self-publish The Dark Thorn. I had thought about it for years but up until that diagnosis, The Dark Thorn was making the rounds at publishers in NYC like the industry said it should. My, how life changes. The Dark Thorn is published by my own hand, and both sales and reviews have been unbelievably strong.
Unfettered would not exist without that nudge cancer made as well. When I think about that, it makes me sad. Now that the anthology is basically finished and publishing late next month, I find it inconceivable it might never have existed. I think it’s that worthy to be on your bookshelves forever.
So, in a way, it’s a good thing I got cancer.
Life pushed me in another way recently. I had no plans to produce an Advanced Reader Copy of Unfettered. ARCs are trade paperbacks largely used for review purposes to grow excitement before publication. They also cost money to produce and publishers don’t take money for them. They are given freely. But Grim Oak Press doesn’t have an operating budget for ARCs like major NYC publishers do. Producing and giving them for free would, in a way, only deepen my debt.
Then two things happened, one a long-running conversation and the other a sad moment for another writer:
- I have received hundreds and hundreds of emails from fantasy fans upset they missed out on the Signed & Numbered edition of Unfettered. Most if not all feel cheated because they didn’t know the book existed. And since the book sold out basically overnight, they missed out completely.
- Author David Wolverton’s son Ben fell into a long coma after a horrible longboarding accident. Like myself, Dave and his family do not have health insurance, the bane of freelance writers. The Wolverton family has already accrued a debt quadrupling my own with more on the way.
The first point doesn’t bother me too much, to be honest. I know. I’m a bastard. I feel badly for those readers who missed out but it’s difficult making everyone happy all the time.
Then Ben Wolverton had his accident. You can learn more about it HERE. Sorrow entered my heart for Dave—someone I’ve known for years—and then anger took sorrow’s place. It is the righteous anger that comes with trying to set right a wrong I feel strongly about. I realized I could do something special with an ARC. I could wipe out my own debt with these last few sales. I could aid Dave and his family in some way. And I could create something special for those people who didn’t get a chance at the Signed & Numbered edition of Unfettered.
The ARC of Unfettered is $100. Yes, expensive, but also rare at 250 copies produced and released early. The book will only be signed by the four of us that live in Seattle: Terry Brooks, Peter Orullian, Todd Lockwood, and myself. It will be a hardcover and technically an uncorrected edition since the final editorial pass has not happened yet. All twenty-three stories are present and they are edited. The ARC will not have the Todd Lockwood interior artwork. It also will lack the gilt pages, the ribbon, and the leather that makes the Signed & Numbered edition of Unfettered truly special.
But it’s the best I can do, given the circumstances. And I’m already at work trying to figure out a much larger project that I can use to help Dave further. More on that when I know something.
Proceeds from the first 50 copies sold go to Dave Wolverton’s family. It’s a tiny dent in their debt but maybe they will be able to use the money for travel expenses to and from the hospital where Ben is recovering. Or maybe they can put it toward that debt. It’s entirely up to Dave.
To order, click HERE.
As I’ve said before, the generosity that you all harness and display is overwhelming. It’s a spirit that drives me and it will long into the future. If I can help others as I’ve been helped, I will live a long and happy life.
I hope you feel the same.