Charity donation? No thanks…

darkmindsThe Dark Minds charity anthology I mentioned a few days ago has run into a spot of bother.  Not through the contributing authors or the editor, I hasten to add.  Stories are still pouring in and Betsy Reavley is working incredibly hard to make a success of the project.  The problem is finding a charity to accept the proceeds.

This sounds really odd.  Charities work by accepting donations from the public.  To find any charity refusing to take donations seems to go against all logic.  Yet this isn’t the first time it’s happened and the phenomenon seems to be spreading.

Recently, the Crime & Publishment anthology ‘Happily Never After’ ran into similar problems.  In the case of Dark Minds, two charities have already turned it down.  UNICEF wanted a minimum donation of £100,000, which with the best will in the world, no book publisher could ever commit to.  And now Great Ormond Street Hospital have pulled out, citing the content of the anthology.  Content that they were apparently told at the outset involved crime and horror stories.

It all seems very strange.  I understand that charities have an image to keep up, but this is fiction, written and donated, for free, by authors, for nothing other than people’s entertainment.  It’s not as though we’re going out bashing old ladies over the head and then donating the contents of their purses.

So why are charities seemingly so twitchy about what they’re associated with these days?  Are they afraid of litigation?  Or of winding up on the wrong side of an increasingly unforgiving press?  I’m not sure, but if anyone has any ideas please pass them on, because the people at Dark Minds are starting to tear their hair out.

Dogs visible and invisible

5138DIydzwLSaturday saw me in sunny Scotland (and yes, it really was sunny for once, and quite hot!) for the Happily Never After event.  I’m not quite sure if it was a book signing, a book launch, or a little of both, but it really doesn’t matter what I call it since it was a thoroughly enjoyable event.

The venue, the Buccleuch Arms in Moffat, was friendly, welcoming, and by chance just the right size for the number of people who turned up.  This included many of the authors involved with the anthology, including LP Mennock, May Rinaldi, Christine Huntley, Les Morris, Mike Craven, John S Langley, Gillean Arjat, Angela King, Jackie Baldwin and myself, plus guests, hangers-on and other interested parties, and crime author Michael J Malone who popped in and took lots of photographs.

Most of the authors read from their work – either an excerpt from their story in the anthology, or from one of their other books or stories.  In my own case it was a short extract from ‘Raise the Blade’, my psychological noir novella which is due out in less than two weeks now.  Brian, his cigarette lighter and his invisible dog seemed to go down well with the audience.

Less invisible was Bea (Bee?) – a genuine Hearing Dogs charity dog, who was there with her owner Chas, who gave a moving and insightful talk into the benefits of Hearing Dogs generally and the impact Bea had made on his life.  Bea herself enjoyed proceedings from her vantage point flat out on the floor, and stole all of our hearts in the process!

If you’d like to buy the book (all profit goes to Hearing Dogs) then pop over to Amazon now.  It’s available as either Kindle or paperback, with over twenty great stories from 18 different authors – great value for the money.


Book signing Moffat

happily_signingCalling all fans of Crime & Publishment, and our brand new anthology Happily Never After.  Author LP Mennock has organised a book signing for the anthology at the Buccleuch Arms hotel in Moffat on Saturday 13 August at 2pm.

Come along to meet a selection of the authors involved including LP herself, Les Morris, May Rinaldi, and yours truly.  You’ll be able to buy copies of the book, get them signed by your favourite author (or even by all of us!) and hear readings from both the stories in the anthology and from other work.

The full address for the event is: Buccleuch Arms Hotel, High Street, Moffat, DG10 9ET.  We hope to see as many of you as possible there.