41 writers. One cause. We've rallied a platoon of crime, western, thriller, fantasy, noir, horror and transgressive authors to support PROTECT's important work: lobbying for legislation that protects children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Powerful stories from George Pelecanos, Andrew Vachss, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Ken Bruen, Chet Williamson, James Reasoner, Charlie Stella, Michael A. Black, Wayne Dundee, Roxane Gay, Ray Banks, Tony Black, Les Edgerton and 16 more, with 100% of proceeds going to PROTECT.

Monday, October 31, 2011

a little about... Michael Webb

Michael wrote "Perfect Blue Buildings" for the challenge:

What inspired your story?

I'm not sure, honestly. I was listening to the song "Perfect Blue Buildings" by the Counting Crows, and musing about the prompt, and I had a mental picture of the John Hancock Tower in Boston, how it looks blue from the right distance and at the right angle. Then the whole story just occurred to me, a small kid left in front of the TV, told by the adult watching him that he'll be "right back" and never returning.

What makes this cause important to you?

That's hard to answer. What doesn't make this cause important? Anyone who's raised a child, or even been around one, knows how vulnerable they are. I don't think any feeling human can fail to hurt for a child who has been left behind.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

Probably like most contributors, I've been writing for almost as long as I could write. I blog at innocentsaccidentshints.blogspot.com, which has become a repository for my short fiction.

a little about ... Roberto C. Garcia

Roberto wrote his story "One Night" for the challenge, and hails from Fictionaut:

What inspired your story?

My story was inspired by other stories, both mine and borrowed.

What makes this cause important to you?

I had a disjointed childhood but I was luckier than most of the kids in my part of town. Those experiences taught me how vulnerable children are and it angers me when they are mistreated, neglected or abused by adults. If by contributing fiction, I can help children get out of bad situations, then sign me up.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I'm working on an MFA in Poetry and Poetry Translation at Drew University in New Jersey. My poems and fiction have appeared in the Istanbul Literary Review, Poets & Artists Magazine, The New Gnus Literary Journal and Metazen. My work appears regularly for feedback and constructive criticism at Fictionaut, an online writers community.

My oft neglected blogs are www.themoodofthepeopl.blogspot.com and

I can be followed on Twitter at @thespokenmind

The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology now available

Available for $2.99 in e-book form, for:
iPad in the Apple iBookstore
Amazon Kindle (read it on your computer with Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader, or on your phone with the Amazon Kindle App)
Nook at Barnes & Noble
Kobo, Sony e-reader and download as PDF, epub, mobi or Viewable Online at Smashwords

$9.99 for trade paperback at Amazon and Createspace.

30 powerful stories from around the world to benefit two children's charities: PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children (www.protect.org) and Children 1st Scotland (www.children1st.org.uk). 

Stories by David Ackley, Kevin Aldrich, David Barber, Lynn Beighley, Seamus Bellamy, Paul D. Brazill, Sif Dal, James Lloyd Davis, Roberto C. Garcia, Susan Gibb, Nancy A. Hansen, K.V. Hardy, Gill Hoffs, Fiona "McDroll" Johnson, J.F. Juzwik, MaryAnne Kolton, Benoit Lelievre, Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, Vinod Narayan, Paula Pahnke, Ron Earl Phillips, Thomas Pluck, Sam Rasnake, JP Reese, Chad Rohrbacher, Susan Tepper, Luca Veste, Michael Webb, Nicolette Wong and Erin Zulkoski.

It began as a flash fiction challenge when Fiona Johnson and Thomas Pluck donated $5 to PROTECT and £5 to Children 1st for every story at Ron Earl Phillips' Flash Fiction Friday and Fictionaut. Now we have collected the 30 best stories to benefit these two charities.
Join us and make a difference while you read 30 great stories genres by writers from the U.S.A., Poland, Hong Kong, Portugal, India, Scotland, England, Canada, and one told by a Lost Boy of the Sudan to his teacher.

If you don't have an e-reader: you can download the Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac app, the Nook for PC App, Nook for Mac App or view it online at Smashwords, or download it as an Adobe PDF file. You can also read epubs on the Adobe Digital Editions reader for PC and Mac.

a little about... Ron Earl Phillips

Ron Earl Phillips runs Flash Fiction Friday, is an editor for Shotgun Honey, and may or may not be an undercover investigator. I met him and I was not quite sure. What I was sure of was that he is a fine human being and writes a good tale. His story "The Dog Catcher" was written for the challenge.

What inspired the story? 

My mother worked 33 years as a case worker for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, and 10 of those 33 years she worked specifically with Child Protective Services. While she tried not to bring her home work with her, I would overhear stories growing up. Stories of abuse, both sexual and physical, and stories of abandonment and homeless. And unfortunately stories of unwanted children locked away like animals, cast off to live in their own filth. While I can only fathom the thought process of those Lost Children -- how they manage and adapt, move on with life -- I found myself wondering how it would affect those who found such horror. That moment of discovery was what I was attempting with "The Dog Catcher," to put the reader in that moment of revelation. 

What makes the cause important to you? 

Whatever definition you give to Lost Children, every child in the world today, no matter how sheltered, has the potential to become lost. If the horror found in my words can help prevent the reality, then what I've written is important. 

A bit about myself. 

Nestled in the foothills of West Virginia, Ron Earl Phillips lives with his wife, teen-aged daughter, and their three cats. When not attempting to keep a roof over their heads through the mundane and legal job as a web developer, Ron reads and writes crime fiction. He also acts as co-editor on the online flash fiction magazine, Shotgun Honey, and for the upcoming e-book charity anthology, The Lost Children. Ron also maintains the weekly writing prompt site, Flash Fiction Friday.

You can find out more about Ron Earl Phillips at his website, RonEarl.com.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

a little about... Susan Tepper

Susan Tepper has four novels in print and wrote the powerful story "kid" for the challenge:

What inspired your story?

The challenge photo is one of the most devastating I've ever seen of a child. That tortured face is a map of every hideous deed done to ruin a child's life. It brought to mind a young girl I once saw in a soup kitchen line outside a church. She was early teens, very blonde, slender, and frightened looking. She stood out like a beacon on that NYC street amongst the more hardened, adult homeless in that food line. I was rushing to the subway, to get to work, but stopped there. I thought of approaching her, trying to help somehow. I didn't. This act of omission has haunted me some 20 years now.

What makes this cause important to you?

There isn't much to do in this world if it doesn't involve making things somewhat better for someone else. If someone feels better, there's a good chance they will spread it. It's the last saving grace for our planet.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I'm a fiction writer, poet, essayist and interviewer. Have been at this for 17 years. Have 3 books published and a 4th about to come out. Prior to the writing, I was an actor who worked at a series of jobs to pay my rent and buy my food. I didn't have a cushy life. I'm glad of that. It makes you appreciate what you do get and helps keeps your ego in line.

a little about... David Barber

David is the editor of The Flash Fiction Offensive, The Laughter Shack, and an accomplished writer in his own right. He wrote "Forgotten" for the challenge:

What inspired the story?

I asked myself what could be the worse thing that could happen to me as a father and I think the thought of one of my kids going missing would be the worst.  I then took it a bit further and put Elizabeth in the position of having a feeling that her daughter was still alive and somewhere else.  I didn't really want to go down the abuse/pedophile road.  That sickens me.

What makes the cause important to you?

If I can doing anything to help kids have a better life then I'm in.  Kids are the future and they need love and a good start in life.  The fear in the eyes of the young girl on the book cover says it all.  How anyone could look into those eyes and totally ignore that is beyond me.  If I had my way there'd be a death penalty in every country in the world for child abusers.

A bit about myself.

I'm a father of two beautiful girls.  I'm a self employed tiler by day and a writer at night.  I'm editor of The Flash Fiction Offensive and I blog at David Barber's Fiction World.

a little about... JP Reese

JP Reese wrote "The Lost Boy" for the anthology, sharing the tale of a Sudanese boy who survived the genocide there.

What inspired your story?

My story is a bit different in that the main character isn't a "character" at all. He was a student in my summer American Literature class who became one of my heroes after he told the story of his childhood in Sudan to me and to the rest of my class. I am a slow creative writer and knew I'd never have anything fictional or poetic in time to help, but after I heard of the generous offer Fiona and Tom were making in regard to the stories we produced, I knew I had to participate in some small way. David's true story of loss and redemption is my offering.

What makes this cause important to you?

There are so many problems in the world, almost to the point where one is overwhelmed when trying to decide how or where to help or even finding a way to do so. Clearly, any charity that affects the lives of children not only has an immediate impact on particular children, but also has a long term positive impact on society. Tom and Fiona are the heroes of this book. They pointed us in the right direction, and we simply followed.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I have been writing in some capacity for most of my life, but only began to write seriously again, after a six year hiatus, within the last two years. I have had poetry, fiction, flash, and creative nonfiction published both in print and online. I have an MFA in poetry and teach English at a small college in Texas. I am an associate poetry editor for Connotation Press: An Online Artifact www.connotationpress.com and THIS Literary Magazine www.thiszine.org. My work is compiled at Entropy: A Measure of Uncertainty jpreese.tumblr.com.

a little about... Fiona "McDroll" Johnson

Fiona issued the Lost Children flash fiction challenge for Flash Fiction Friday and donated £220  ($350 US) personally to Children 1st Scotland, £5 for each story submitted. Her story "Residual Flashbacks" appears in the collection.

What inspired your story?

Having set up the challenge for everyone else, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d need to tackle it myself.
Like everyone else, I love Danielle Tunstall’s photo and I dare anyone to look into the eyes of the child and not feel pain. It always worries me as a teacher that the children who sit in our classes everyday, year after year, will be experiencing some kind of abuse but while in school, where they feel safe, their suffering doesn’t show.

Only many years later do people realize that how they were treated was wrong. Often they have never shared their abuse with anyone but kept it locked away in a secure place in their mind. It’s one of those children that my story is about.

What makes this cause important to you?

There are so many children in society needing help. Abuse is not going away and Children 1st do such valuable work in Scotland but like other charities, they have to work so hard constantly trying to find funds for their projects. I hope through the LOST CHILDREN ANTHOLOGY, we can all help them just a little bit.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I live in Argyll, Scotland, which is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. I have two children of my own who love everything musical so I spend a lot of my time taking them from activity to activity throughout the week.

I’ve been teaching 3 – 11 year olds for the past 28 years but in the little spare time that I have I try my best to write crime / noir short stories. I’ve been fortunate enough to have stories published in Shotgun Honey and The Flash Fiction Offensive. Recently Trestle Press has published my first anthology of short stories, KICK IT. I’ve also got stories in two more wonderful anthologies that are coming out soon, OFF THE RECORD and BRIT GRIT TOO.

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped with THE LOST CHILDREN, now let’s make it a success by spreading the word.

Thank you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

a little about... Nicolette Wong

Nicolette Wong contributed "Scream" to the challenge, through Fictionaut. 

What inspired your story?

It's a true story in parts about my aunt who came from China. She acted aggressive toward my family and her own child, which screamed suffering in her heart - she had never dreamed that married life in Hong Kong would mean slaving away in a manual job and raising a child who had learning disorder. My uncle is also a little slow - a fact my aunt didn't seem to fully grasp until they lived together in HK. Out of wounded pride, she pushed everyone away and beat her daughter at any imaginary hint of disloyalty. The episodes about my aunt and my cousin were true events. The children next door were made up.

I was in high school when my cousin was born. The night my aunt went to the hospital, I was staying at their place because of some unfortunate circumstances in my own home. Something to do with debts and threats, and not knowing if I would have money for school after summer holiday. As I watched the couple leave the flat, I thought, "Why bring a tragedy into this world?" because everyone knew their daughter wasn't going to turn out right, her life was going to be hard. And I knew I would never love my cousin.

What makes this cause important to you?

It was an instinctive reaction - I saw the call for submissions and decided to contribute because it's a great cause.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

Writer from Hong Kong. Editor of A-Minor Magazine. Often awake through the night. Aspiring magician at dawn. Like to swim laps, tend to plants and think by the sea. I blog at Meditations in an Emergency.

a little about... Thomas Pluck

I am one of the editors of this project, along with Fiona Johnson and Ron Earl Phillips. I worked on the e-book design and the writer-wrangling work of getting permissions and contracts taken care of. My story "Little Sister" was written for the challenge, and appears in the anthology. 

What inspired you to write this story?

I read an article about Living Water for Girls, an Atlanta charity which rescues young women trapped in sex trafficking and exploitation. The stories were heartbreaking, and so many the same: a girl is kicked out of her home during the arguments of early adolescence, left to fend for herself on the street; a young man tells her she's beautiful, she can stay with him, and she thinks his bed is better than the cold street, and she wakes up in a nightmare. Beaten and trapped, raped, and emotionally abused until she thinks all she is good for is turning tricks for her pimp. It enraged me, and the stories of women who clawed their way out of it gave me hope that someday we'd never use the words "child prostitute," but instead realize this is the face of modern slavery.

What makes this cause important to you?
The gorilla in the room that we choose to ignore is that our prisons are full of abused children who've grown to learn that their own pain is the only pain that matters. 25% of women are sexually abused. And those are the ones who admit it. The abuse of power is the common thread throughout human history, and nothing defines evil more than an adult abusing a child, physically, sexually or emotionally. We've become a society where bullying is said to build character. Would you spit on a newborn child to get him ready for the trials of life? The strong will always have an advantage over the weak. Civilization is meant to impose fairer laws over the brutality of nature. If we look away and ignore it, we cannot call ourselves civilized.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where we can find more of your writing.
I write what I call "unflinching fiction with heart." Sometimes that's crime fiction, sometimes it's noir, other times it's just character-driven stories where we see what fuels someone's intensity. On occasion I write humor. I'm a computer administrator by day, and I practice mixed martial arts and strongman weightlifting in my spare time. I've endured punches to the crotch to assist in teaching women self-defense. When I support something, I go all the way.

My writing can be found at www.pluckyoutoo.com and has been published in Pulp Modern, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Beat to a Pulp, The Utne Reader, Crimespree Magazine, Shotgun Honey, and The Flash Fiction Offensive, among others. I have work upcoming in Plots With Guns, Needle Magazine, Crimefactory, and two anthologies, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled and Luca Veste's Off the Record.

I also like the odd cheeseburger and the craftiest beer I can find.

a little about... Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

Veronica penned her tale "Lost But Not Forgotten," about human trafficking, for our challenge:

What inspired your story?

When I first saw the picture Fiona had posted for the Flash Fiction Friday prompt, it took me back several years to time I spent in a shelter after I had escaped, and the faces of the young girls there. It still haunts me that I could not help them more; I was so trapped in my own pain and suffering, seeing myself only as a victim too. To this day, I still see those faces.

Why the cause is important to you?

A bad start for a child doesn’t necessarily mean that they will turn out bad when they grow into adulthood, but it does ‘stack the deck’ against them. Humans are an imitative species; we learn by what we experience, how we are treated. A child who is abused, taken advantage of, and neglected, is denied a fair chance at life. No matter how much they overcome, they are still haunted by their past… their future is forever tinged by the mistreatment they suffered as children. This I know all too well.

Children are our future. The adults they become will be shaped in large part by their childhood. Their capacity to love and trust; to honor and respect, not only themselves but others as well; and to realize their full potential hinges so much on the life they have as a child.

Tell us a little bit about you and where to find your writing.

I am a former daycare/preschool worker, now working part time and attending classes. The Pacific Northwest is my home. I was born in Lisboa, Portugal and grew up in the Midwest, the only child of Russian and Portuguese parents. I recently celebrated my 26th birthday and the fifth anniversary of what we laughingly refer to as my ‘bondage’ to Christina Anne Shaw, my partner and my‘forever’. We will celebrate our one year wedding anniversary on the 25th of October.

Writing was never really my strong suit in school, and had it not been for the fact that I would have had to endure my mother’s disappointment, I would have gladly paid others to do my writing assignments. I first began writing seriously a few years ago… as part of therapy. My writing at that time was of a personal nature, focusing on my ordeal and my relationship with my now-wife, Christina. Under the ‘tutelage’ of my therapist / tormenter, who had a major in English, I developed beyond the rudimentary skills that got me through my formal education. Growing weary of talking about myself, I turned my thoughts to writing fiction; having long been a fan of noir. I am a regular contributor to Flash Fiction Friday - A Community Writing Project, and Lily Child’s Feardom – Friday Prediction Flash Challenge. I have been published in PULP METAL MAGAZINE and am sharpening my pencils for this year’s NaNoWriMo competition.

You can find my writing at http://veronicathepajamathief.blogspot.com/ andhttp://veronicathepajamathief.wordpress.com/.

a little about... Sam Rasnake

Sam Rasnake wrote "Dialogue of Self and Little Boy/Little Girl, or Not" for the challenge at Fictionaut:

What inspired your story?

The Fictionaut challenge for the project was the catalyst. My normal routine for writing involves pen and journal, but this piece was written entirely at the keyboard. That is a rarity for me. Just moments before I read the challenge, I’d been at the Poetry Foundation website and noticed a link to William Butler Yeats. I don’t remember the poem that was listed – just Yeats’ name. I made the connection between the project challenge and the title of a poem by Yeats: “A Dialogue of Self and Soul”. I made the easy segue to my own title of “Dialogue of Self and Little Boy/Little Girl, or Not”. The words in my title – and not Yeats' poem – triggered the form for my own flash. The story just fell into place.

Why the cause is important to you?

Far too many children have become casualties, statistics, blurbs in newspapers. World-wide, thousands die daily from poverty alone. According to ABC, nearly 2,000 children in the U.S. die each year as a result of abuse or neglect. One article I read stated that 1 in every 58 children in the U.S. is a victim of child abuse and neglect. And we’re a world leader? If we consider the numbers globally, the impact becomes even more staggering. A tragedy.

Tell us a little bit about you and where to find your writing.

Sam Rasnake’s works, receiving five nominations for the Pushcart Prize, have appeared in journals such asOCHO, Big Muddy, MiPOesias, > kill author, BLIP: The New Mississippi Review, Literal Latté, Wigleaf, Poets / Artists, Portland Review, Connotation Press, Poem, BluePrint Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Poetry Midwest, and Emprise Review. His work has been included in the Best of the Web 2009 anthology (Dzanc Books), BOXCAR Poetry Review Anthology 2, andDogzplot Flash Fiction 2011. He edits Blue Fifth Review, an online journal of poetry, flash, and art, is chapbook editor for Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and serves as a judge for the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, University of California, Berkeley. Rasnake is the author of one collection: Necessary Motions(Sow’s Ear Press), and three chapbooks: Religions of the Blood (Pudding House Press), Lessons in Morphology (GOSS183), and Inside a Broken Clock (Finishing Line Press).

Web page: http://samofthetenthousandthings.wordpress.com/

3 days until release

Fiona "McDroll" and I issued a challenge at Ron Earl Phillips' Flash Fiction Friday and Fictionaut; we would donate $5 and 5 pounds to charity for each story about lost or neglected children. We raised over $600. We've now collected the top 30 stories from the challenge in an e-book anthology and all proceeds will go to PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children (www.protect.org) and Children 1st Scotland (www.children1st.uk.org)

We have stories from around the world: America, Scotland, England, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Portugal, India, Poland and the Sudan.

All 30 Contributors:
David Ackley, Kevin Aldrich, David Barber, Lynn Beighley, Seamus Bellamy, Paul D. Brazill, Sif Dal, James Lloyd Davis, Roberto C. Garcia, Susan Gibb, Nancy A. Hansen, K.V. Hardy, Gill Hoffs, Fiona "McDroll" Johnson, J.F. Juzwik, MaryAnne Kolton, Benoit Lelievre, Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, Vinod Narayan, Paula Pahnke, Ron Earl Phillips, Thomas Pluck, Sam Rasnake, JP Reese, Chad Rohrbacher, Susan Tepper, Luca Veste, Michael Webb, Nicolette Wong and Erin Zulkoski.

The e-book anthology is available in the following formats:
$2.99 for Kindle, Kindle Cloud Reader and Kindle for Phone and Desktop at Amazon.com
$2.99 for Adobe PDF, epub format, mobi format, Kobo, Sony e-reader and readable online at Smashwords
$2.99 for Nook in the Barnes & Noble store (also available via Smashwords, if you use Calibre e-book manager)
$2.99 at the Apple iBookstore (pending approval)

For 10 cents a story, that lets your donation mean $1 to both PROTECT and Children 1st after retailers take their fees.

Join us and make a difference while you read 30 great examples of flash fiction in many genres by writers from around the world. If you don't have an e-reader, you can download the Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac app, the Nook for PC or Nook for Mac app (if you don't like Amazon) or view it online at Smashwords, or download it as an Adobe PDF file. You can also read epubs on the Adobe Digital Editions reader for PC and Mac.

a little about... Vinod Narayan

Vinod wrote the story "World Beyond Words" for the challenge.

What inspired your story?

Inside every image there are hidden thousands of stories, one for every eye that falls on it. This is probably one such story. As writers we sometimes try searching for hope within images of despair, and this is one such attempt. Some pictures are so powerful that you just want to tell something to the world, I think Danielle’s picture was what started it all.

What makes this cause important to you?

As adults we hold a moral responsibility to not be lost in the busy lanes of our own adulthood. Children do not force themselves into this world, we bring them and so protecting them and giving them a childhood to cherish and remember is something we all should be accountable for. I can’t explain how important this selection has been for me. As a writer being part of this anthology gives my words a life and meaning that it probably never had when I first wrote them.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

The true identity of any writer is hidden within his writings, I am nothing and no one till my readers uncover me. Read me and know me at www.vinodnarayan.com and keep connected.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

a little about... Kevin Aldrich

Kevin Aldrich joins us with his story, "Everything in its Place" for the anthology...

What inspired your story?
The image, of course, is what arrested and inspired me. The cause is what motivated me to write. I'm inspired by people who are able to overcome the conditions (internal and/or external) in which they find themselves. The strength of the girl in the story astounded me, so I wanted to write about her.

What makes this cause important to you?
I am a father of two: a ten-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy. To think of them being abused makes me want to learn how to shoot a gun. Also, I experienced abuse as a child (not parental, not recurring, and fairly mild, but abuse, nonetheless), and I know many people who have also experienced abuse as children, in some cases in gut-wrenching fashion. To hear their stories infuriates me, makes me sick, makes me lose hope, and also, when seeing them now, inspires me and restores my faith in the human spirit. All of this makes this cause very important to me.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
I live in Reno, NV with my wife and two kids (and two cats and a dog). I've been writing fiction for several decades, off and on, but am just starting to publish new work in eBook format. You can find my blog, which contains flash fiction stories and other writings, at http://www.kevinrobertaldrich.com. You can find my eBook (soon to be plural) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBookstore, and anywhere else that fine eBooks are sold.

a little about... Chad Rohrbacher

Chad Rohrbacher, crime fiction word slinger, joined in with his story "Outside the Dream"

What inspired your story?

When I was young, there was a kid named Eric who lived across the street. He was always in trouble. Generally the trouble was drug related, and even if he wasn’t high, trouble found him. We were both in 6th grade and now that I have kids, it seems so young to be doing some of the things he was doing. For this story, I didn’t just want to write about him, the hopelessness, the desperation, and the bad luck. There is enough of that. In my story, Eric is saved. I think we all need that. Redemption. Hope.

What makes this cause important to you?
I have three daughters. I can’t imagine some of the things these kids go through. I don’t want to. Shoot, I tear up during father daughter commercials. When I hear real stories of what some of these kids have had to deal with instead of just being kids….
It’s such a small thing, to write a story, but hopefully it can help – even if just a little.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
I’m originally from Toledo, Ohio, though I spent time in Louisiana and South Carolina. Currently I live in NC with my family, dog, cats, fish, hamster, and birds. I teach at NCA&T and enjoy it quite a bit. I have some stories up at Beat to a Pulp, Crime Factory, Silver Blade, Needle Magazine, Twist of Noir, and others. Snubnose Press is publishing my novel, Karma Backlash, next year. You should check out their other titles; I’m in great company.

You can contact me via: www.chadrohrbacher.com or on Twitter as @chadrohrbacher

a little bit about... James Lloyd Davis

James Lloyd Davis gave us a powerful tale from the Vietnam War, that could be any war, entitled "Butterfly Fingers."

What inspired your story?

Butterfly Fingers is a story about orphans in a war zone, about the soldiers who are probably the cause of their condition, but who become, as "occupiers," a source for both sustenance and survival as well as one of the few witnesses to their existence, their plight. Any veteran will recognize the concept of the 'fingers' ... both greedy and needy, the taps on your arms, the reaching, the touching, the pinching even, the gestures ... all of them are a cry for help even when offered in jest, with laughter ... laughter being a human emotional response to desperation. The reaching? It's a response to hunger. It's even a cry for love in a loveless place. Little fingers. Graceful, delicate fingers.

What makes this cause important to you?
War creates widows and orphans. It creates veterans and cripples and head cases. We don't often hear about the orphans, though, and my story attempts to give you a reminder about the fact that they are children. Little things. Innocent. Christ, they're everywhere, die by the trainload daily, from starvation, disease, neglect, and it feels like nobody really gives a damn! Sorry, it makes me angry as well as sad.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
I'm just getting back to writing after a life-long detour where I was doing an awful lot of other things. You can read about me, my history, even read some of my work at the following web sites:
http://jameslloyddavis.com/ and http://www.fictionaut.com/users/james-lloyd-davis

a little about... Lynn Beighley

Lynn Beighley wrote the short story "Probably, Right?" that indicts our inaction in the face of crushing poverty.

What inspired your story?

I was, for a very short time, a teacher in a very poor school district. Kids would come in unfed, unwashed, and ignored. There wasn't much we could do beyond giving them a few meals, and a calm and safe environment for a few hours a day. Imagining one of them on the street corner was not a big leap of the imagination for me.

What makes this cause important to you?
Every child deserves basic human needs: food, clothing, safety. And love. It's awful enough that we don't offer such things to adults, but even more horrendous that even one child can be forgotten. I hope that this small contribution I've made can help in some way.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I'm a fiction writer stuck in a technical book writer’s body. My stories often involve deeply flawed characters and the unsatisfying meshing of the virtual and actual world. You can find more of my work at http://www.fictionaut.com/users/lynn-beighley and on Twitter as @lynnbeighley. And, of course, I'm working on a novel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a little about... Paula Pahnke

Paula contributed her story "Mommy is Still Sleeping" to the challenge, and begins writing for Cineawesome next month. If she told you to jump off the Brooklyn bridge, you would.

What inspired your story?

The parameters of the project, alone, were enough to inspire. I think this subject could (and did) bring together a kaleidoscopic group of people who’d all come to the same compassionate consensus, but I was struck, largely, by Fiona Johnson’s plea for "clever stories that don’t rely on tales of abuse or overt violence...” I connected so much with the understanding that not all abuse makes headlines and not all wounds leave physical scars. The story is loosely based on the reminiscence of a friend which had initially begun as banter about the annoyance of older siblings and slowly became the solemn tale of solitude from the point of view of the middle child in a single parent home.

What makes this cause important to you?

I live with my best friend and her 10-year-old daughter and though I don’t have any children of my own, that little spitfire of a girl is a treasure beyond proper description. I see how she approaches the world with such fearlessness and excitement, how she embraces people with such warmth and acceptance and the passion she exudes in everything she does. My biggest fear for her is that in an instant she could be robbed of that. There is nothing more heartbreaking than the moment you see a child lose their innocence before their time. There are so many devastating challenges a child may have to face, whether it’s personal illness, neglect, physical abuse or beyond. I think every young person, from baby to adolescent, deserves the chance to see the world as a wonder for as long as they possibly can.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I remember writing Sweet Valley Girl-style fiction when I was in the fifth grade and having my Father act as editor. I'd always considered myself a writer until it was instilled in me that writing was a hobby; So I thought I'd be a filmmaker instead, and spent most of my college years not actually going to class but exploring the inner workings of film and television sets and traveling everywhere I had a friendly couch to crash on. One day I decided it was time to grow up, finish school and get a real job. It wasn't until I realized that being a grown-up and a creative dreamer weren't mutually exclusive, that I began my creative recovery and I've been writing ever since.

a little about... K.V. Hardy

K.V. Hardy wrote the story "The Fall of Buffalo Bill" which appears in the anthology, due to be released on November 1st:

What inspired your story?
My story was based on the memory I have from my primary school years, mostly on the playground. There was a young boy, in grade 5 or 6, who would wander around the playground by himself. Always, always by himself, and always looking down at the ground and looking so sad. I don't ever remember seeing him smile, and he was always dirty. In class, he never spoke, at least not that I ever remember. Many years later he turned up in a local newspaper scandal having been arrested for child molestation. It really made me think.

What makes this cause important to you?
Children are essentially defenseless, and are easy prey. Not to say they should be removed at the whim of authority (that is a crime in itself), but perhaps more questions should be asked. Having two kids of my own, It makes the subject very important to me.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
I am an illustrator by day, and I try to spin tales in my free time. I finished a novella in July of 2011 and have put it away for awhile before editing it. I have a short story collection that I'm putting together called Pieces of Them, and another novel I'm plotting out now. I'm a proud member of Friday Flash Fiction, though I don't always have the chance to contribute these days. A few of my flash fiction pieces can be read at: www.rabidfiction.com, which will be integrated into my permanent website at www.rabidhorse.com by the end of 2011.

a little about... Sif Dal

Sif Anna Dal contributed her story "Pretty Little Girl" to the challenge:

What inspired your story?

My story was inspired by the many children I see at our local shopping centre with their parents. The parents are often young, and lead tough lives, and their children are the baggage they must carry along with them.
For these children this is the only life they know and they find joys and comforts in their life, seemingly unaware of the pitying glances of bypasses.

What Makes this cause important to you?

I have long been an advocate of children. I have studied child development and helped to run parenting forums and groups based on attachment theory. I see that there is a dualism in how children are perceived throughout
much of society; as both precious and to be protected, but also less sentient because of their inability to communicate their complex needs and emotions. I am keen for the voices of children to be heard.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I am a mother of four boys and a compulsive writer. I have degrees in Communications, Education and Creative Writing and am currently preparing to undertake a Doctorate (doing research in the field of folklore). I post several times a week on my blog "At the Bottom of the Garden" (http://www.wherethefairieslive.com) about life as a writer and mother of  four who also lives with low vision and ADHD - my blog is rather eclectic
but I post bits of writing most weeks.

A little about PROTECT

50% of the proceeds of the sales of this e-book will be donated to PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children. The funds are taxable because PROTECT lobbies Congress to strengthen laws that protect children from predators. One of the founders is author and lawyer Andrew Vachss.

The National Association to Protect Children is a national, pro-child, anti-crime membership association. We are founded on the belief that our first and most sacred obligation as parents, citizens, and members of the human species is the protection of children from harm.

PROTECT is a bipartisan pro-child, anti-crime lobby whose sole focus is making the protection of children a top political and policy priority at the national, state and local level.

Find them at:

a little about... Children 1st!

50% of the proceeds will benefit Children 1st, a charity in Scotland that helps children and vulnerable families.
In their own words:

The proceeds of this e-book will help CHILDREN 1st build a brighter future for Scotland’s vulnerable children and families.

At CHILDREN 1ST we listen, we support and we take action by delivering services in homes and communities across Scotland. We work to safeguard children and young people, to support them within their families and to help them to recover from abuse, neglect and violence. We speak out for children’s rights and we campaign to change attitudes.

a little about... Paul D. Brazill

Paul D. Brazill generously joined in with his tale "The Return of the Grievous Angel" and as the photo suggests, he is the definition of noir in a proper dictionary.

What inspired your story?
I think the tables being turned is very satisfying in fiction because it rarely happens in real life. I wanted to have payback in the story!

What makes this cause important to you?
Freedom of choice. It's what life's all about.

A little bit about myself:
You find out more about me at You Would Say That, Wouldn't You?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

a little about... MaryAnne Kolton

MaryAnne Kolton's story "We Sustain" goes to the heart of human need and compassion, and she has promoted and supported this effort tirelessly on Fictionaut and elsewhere.

What inspired your story?

First off, I was hugely inspired by the kindness and generosity of the project itself. Tom and Fiona are very special people. As to the story, I remembered reading an article about Salma Hayek touring Sierra Leone. Most celebs jet off to an impoverished country with their retinues, swan around a bit, pose for some photographs and head home. Not Salma Hayek. She involved herself in an extremely personal and loving way.

What makes this cause important to you?
Anything to do with children, the elderly, animals, anyone, anything helpless and in need touches my heart instantly. The thought of children without food, shelter and love - the basics most of us take for granted - makes me angry and determined.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
I wrote and submitted for a short time in the late eighties and early nineties. Life and all its complications caused me to to put my work aside. I've been married to the writer, James Lloyd Davis for the past six years and he kept prodding me to write again. Now I'm writing full time and wondering how I lived without an outlet for all that creative energy for so many years. Best of all, most of my work is getting published. Stories or poems have been published or are about to be in the Fall and Winter editions of The Toucan Magazine and in the Winter editions of Wilderness House Literary Review, Anatomy, Lost In Thought, Larks Fiction Magazine and Connotations among others. The one I'm most proud of is, of course, my contribution to the Lost Children Charity Anthology.

You can find me at my blog, Echos & Visions at http://maryannekolton.blogspot.com/ , Fictionaut at http://www.fictionaut.com/ and on Facebook.

a little about... J.F. Juzwik

Joyce F. Juzwik contributed her hard-hitting story "On and On..." to the challenge and it appears in the anthology to be released on Nov. 1st 2011:

What inspired your story?

I grew up around some kids who basically had to raise themselves and sometimes they ended up okay. More often than not however, they ended up in jail, on drugs, or dead. Way back when, no one talked about a lot of things. What went on behind closed doors had to stay there. That way of thinking was then, and still is, so very wrong. We need to be open and bring to light the wrongs being done to our children.

What makes this cause important to you?

Children should never be abandoned, never feel fear, never go hungry, never be abused; yet, this happens every day. Organizations like these help to make the laws stronger to protect our children, they work with families and caregivers, and help those children who have experienced life's horrors.

A little bit about me:

I am a proud mother and grandmother. I am a retired Clinical Research Associate and write full-time. I have had a crime fiction novel (King's Bishop Takes King's Rook's Pawn) and a six-part children's fantasy series (Choices) published by DiskUsPublishing (http://diskuspublishing.com/jfjuzwik.html). My crime fiction/noir stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir, Powder Burn Flash, Pulp Metal Magazine, Pure Slush, and Shotgun Honey. My current project is the first novel in a planned PI series. I participate as often as I can in the flash challenges at Flash Fiction Friday, and I blog about writing crime fiction and horror at jfjuzwik.blogspot.com.

a little about... Gill Hoffs

Gill Hoffs contributed her story "The Premature Ending of Annie MacLeod" to the challenge:

What inspired your story?

I grew up in a small fishing village on the Scottish coast, with tales of lost travellers, witchcraft and shipwrecks. It's hard not to be inspired by a place as rugged and beautiful as that. Exploring further north where there are whole villages of ruins from the Clearances and blackened cooking pots hidden beneath the bracken, I thought about the children lost throughout history, the many names and anonymous babies detailed on surviving gravestones, and the importance of education especially to those in geographically and/or culturally isolated places. The challenge brought all of this fizzing to a head. 'Annie' and 'MacLeod' are names from my husband's side of the family, and when the story 'clicked', I could see her in my mind's eye, and the piece wrote itself from there.

What makes this cause important to you?

Before I had my son, I spent my working life with children who had a diverse range of needs, including ADHD, ASD, and emotional/behavioural problems. Despite their issues, they could be joyous and funny - and I have enormous respect for them. So many children, throughout the world, slip through the systems and struggle with themselves and society. Childhood is confusing enough with a loving, supportive family and good health. It's important to do what you can to help every child find their way through the mixed messages and rules to a happy, healthy adulthood. Charities such as the ones supported by this challenge do just that.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

All I want to do is write. I've won three competitions and been placed in two others, have work included in six anthologies [including this one], online, and in several magazines and journals. For links, please visit my site http://gillhoffs.wordpress.com/ . I'm 32, I live in the North of England, and when I was about 15 I tried to make candles out of plastic explosive - I thought it was a lump of candle wax. Thank goodness we had a soldier over for tea!

tumble for her.

Danielle Tunstall shared the link to her Tumblr blog, which includes a moving version of the image used on the cover page. Check it out, it's quite powerful.
Her photography can be found on her website, www.danielletunstall.com

a little about... David Ackley

David contributed the story "In the Woods," which previously appeared in LitSnack.

What inspired your story?
Thanks for the opportunity to write further about the story's genesis:

"In the Woods," is taken from an actual incident, much as described in the story. Nothing really happened as nothing actually happens in the story, which is entirely founded on observation, and assumption with no way of knowing whether what is assumed--that is that a child is about to be assaulted--is true or not. Yet both characters feel that it is so, and can not--or fail to--act on the assumption. The story means to ask questions which lead to difficult places, both for the characters, and, I hope, for the reader, having to do with the nature of evil, how it manifests itself, and what we are supposed to do about it.

What makes this cause important to you?
The cause is important because abuse of children is truly evil. And ubiquitous. Nearly every one I know suffered some kind of molestation or abuse as a child. I'd like to try to contribute to the protection of children from this pandemic in hopes of at least easing the threat against those who come after us.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
I've been fortunate to be able to live the better part of my adult life with my family( my wife, Ann, and our daughter, Reid, and son, Dake) in our home in a beautiful little mountain town in northern New Hampshire. I came here orginally to teach Writing and Literature in an alternative college which folded after eight years. I had an MFA in fiction from UNC-G and though it sounds odd to say so, that and my writing background has served me pretty well through various subsequent jobs/careers in the social services and education, including starting and growing an offcampus center for the University Of Maine System in western Maine, which I ran for 17 years. Now I write fiction and poetry and teach creative writing part-time for a local community college. Recent work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle,THIS, A-Minor and Litsnack. And, because I'm fairly lazy about sending pieces out, many things I've written lounge about at Fictionaut.com One piece was nominated for the Story South Million Writers Awards and another has been recently nominated for The Best of The Net. Given that earning a living has taken up a lot of my time heretofore, having the time to write is all I care about, and as Ray Carver said, "the rest is gravy, sheer gravy."

Monday, October 24, 2011

lest ye be judged...

The covers, designed by Sarah Bennett Pluck using a photograph by Danielle Tunstall.

a little about... Susan Gibb

Susan Gibb wrote the powerful story "Keisha" for the Lost Children challenge:

What inspired your story?
As with most of us, I think we looked into the eyes of this child and merely wrote down what was drawn out of us. No one can look into those eyes and not feel the depths of humanity. For me, lucky to have been born into a loving middle-class family, I try to understand the lives of others who haven't had the luxury of a stable home.

What makes this cause important to you?
Because it's been an opportunity offered to writers to be able to do something more than just write about the trauma and pure poverty that so many children suffer in this world. It's easy enough to write a story but when it's back by your generous efforts to dedicate funding to charity, it's just all the more important. It offers help. It's both personal and focused and so much more than caring without action.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
I've always written poems and stories and knew that someday I'd make it a more serious effort than just self-satisfaction or a means to communicate. There's a writer and poet in all of us. It just takes some time to give yourself the permission to put the effort and feeling into it and let it out into the world.

a little about... Nancy A. Hansen

Welcome Nancy A. Hansen, who wrote the story "It's All About Mindset," for the collection:

Q: What inspired your story?

A: There are a lot of reasons children are lost to us. Physical abuse. Poverty. Neglect. Lack of medical care, proper nutrition, or education. Mental illness and /or emotional trauma. Substance abuse. I think we could all come up with a list, and oftentimes there is more than one factor involved. Children are vulnerable, because they are physically smaller and dependent on others.
Sometimes those with the power over another life don’t wield it well and wisely, or for the right reasons; and children bear the brunt of the consequences. Often, a youngster will fight back against that, even in a passive aggressive manner by simply tuning out. Looking for a way to escape my everyday life is how and why I got into reading, which eventually lead me to writing.
Looking at the picture prompt, I was thinking of all that stuff, and wanted to write something quick, concise, and hard-hitting, because in 700 words, you don’t have time to beat around the bush. First person seemed to work best for the mental detachment state of the child and allows the reader to sort of vicariously experience the situation. I kept it vague, so that even after the fact, you’re really not quite sure what happened. Often, that’s how it is when the mind cannot accept the reality of what we refer to as the ‘civilized world’, which isn’t supposed to be a savage and unforgiving place, but many times is simply just another jungle.
I wrote that piece by dredging up a lot of memories of anger, confusion, and heaps of heartache. But for a better set of circumstances, any of us could have turned out like the unnamed boy in my story.

Q: What makes this cause important to you?

A: Growing up, I was a constant victim of bullying by my peers, as well as the bearing the brunt of some rather severe corporal punishment by frustrated adults around me who were struggling with financial matters and other longstanding issues and took that out on me. It affected me to the point where even as a straight A student who had a passion to learn, I became uninspired and began to skip school and dropped out several times. If not for my deep love of books and literature—my favorite escape route from the things I could not change—who knows where I would have wound up? Eventually it all worked itself out; I finished high school, got a job, got married, settled down, had kids, yada yada…
 And then it all came crashing back. My oldest son has a neurological disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome that makes it very hard for him to understand those non-verbal cues and social mores we all depend on to interact with one another in the everyday world. School was always a trial for him, and what he was going through brought back a lot of ugly memories. He has experienced much of the same sort of taunting and harassment that I did—not only by peers, but also adults who should have known better. I saw many other kids like us out there too, who had no champion to speak out for them. So I learned to talk and write about the bullying, not only on my son’s behalf but for those who had no voice, knowing full well someday, it might make a huge difference in one small life. And I never sugarcoated anything, because life doesn’t do that for the kid that feels she or he has nowhere to turn. This was years before the horror in Columbine Colorado, and some of the other hazing and bullying tragedies we’ve heard about in the media. Back then I felt like a little voice crying in the wilderness.
So while neither my son nor I turned out violent, I remembered how there are days when you felt you would do just about anything to make that hurting stop. There are times when you know you are a fraction of a second from snapping and doing something outrageously wrong, and yet it seems as if the world could care less if you lived or died. We all react to that sort of habitual stress in different ways. They are often not positive or socially acceptable reactions, and the outcome can be grievous for more than just the victim.
In case you’re wondering what my personal stigma was; well, I have always been obese. That is something a certain number of people seem to believe it is perfectly acceptable to ridicule and torment someone about. All possible puns aside, being fat is something with a biological root that quickly becomes very noticeable. A large person’s awkwardness and tough time fitting in, along with the reactions of others, can blossom into a overblown emotional issue. Years of negative comments and daily torment literally shaped my life, to the point where I still can’t eat in public without thinking about my weight and the reactions of others around me. So if I was destined to be something other than a writer; perhaps the singer I always longed to be, a researcher who finds a cure for AIDS or cancer, or a diplomat working for world peace, those opportunities got left by the wayside. I was too scared to be seen and ridiculed once more. How many other kids, I wonder, won’t get to realize their full potential because they never had a fighting chance to concentrate on what positive things they could be doing with their lives? How many will we lose because we don’t see the quiet desperation in a pair of eyes that have known too much pain and suffering and a mouth that cannot speak the truth?
That’s why I wrote the piece, and why the cause is so dear to me. Words matter; they can move you to aspire to greater things, or steamroll down your hopes and dreams.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.
Well having spent the last 29 years of my life primarily as a wife and mother (AKA homemaker), I now devote the majority of my time to writing, when I’m not reading, hunting through thrift shops and flea markets for bargains, or working in the garden. I have a lot of varied interests in arts and crafts as well as music, I love creative crochet, and I am sort of an amateur naturalist. I have a huge fascination with religion, mythology, the occult, and early man up into the medieval era and a bit beyond, which I suppose has a lot to do with the epic/heroic tales I enjoy reading and writing. I’m now a published author working with a small New Pulp fiction company called Pro Se Press out of Batesville Arkansas http://www.prosepulp.com/ whose motto has always been “putting the monthly back into pulp”. These good folks have run several of my short stories in magazines available on the company site above. You will find most of my work in our Fantasy & Fear issues, though I also edited two issues of Peculiar Adventures. Pro Se also published my first book, FORTUNE’S PAWN in August of 2011, which you can find on CreateSpace https://www.createspace.com/3674176, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble online, as well as a few other spots like Alibris, allbookstores.com, and Bol.It. My most recent story is in Pro Se Presents #2, the debut of my Silver Pentacle series, ‘To Kindle A Fire’ which is a mash up of fantasy, horror, superheroes, wars between deities, little bits of steampunk and walk-ons by historical characters reborn, and whatever else strikes my fancy in a post-apocalyptic setting. I have a lot more stories and books coming out down the road, many I can’t divulge right now, but keep an eye on the Pro Se site above or our company blog: http://www.pulpmachine.blogspot.com/. You can always friend me on Facebook or on Google+ and see what I am up to now. Since I write under my own name, and wear a silly hand-crocheted hat in every picture, you’ll know who I am right off. ;)

a little about... Benoit Lelievre

Ben contributed his story "Under the Gaze of Saturn" which appears in the anthology coming on 11/1:

What inspired your story?

I spent a good deal of my childhood being scared of everything. Whenever I ran in trouble and went to an adult in charge for help, things often got worse. Everybody had an opinion on the situation, but nobody ever wanted to act because this was kids stuff, it wasn't judged serious. I wanted to translate that on a story. A beautiful yet empty speach and its horrible consequences in a child's mind.

What makes this cause important to you?

Everybody deserve a fair chance at life. A chance to be happy, to love, to trust, to have a balanced life. When you take advantage of a child, you deny that person a fair start. Most likely, you will destroy a person's potential and haunt the rest of his life. It's unforgivable. I'm happy to to make this small contribution.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I have been writing seriously for about eighteen months now. I have only one story out in Shotgun Honey, but I have many coming up before the end of the year. Aside from The Lost Children, I will publish in Beat To A Pulp: Hardboiled and in Luca Veste's Off The Record and I have learned not long ago that my first Lowell Sweeney story has been picked up by a magazine. Hopefully it will be published before the end of 2011 too. If you liked my story and my style, you can follow my pop culture tribulations on a daily basis on my web site Dead End Follies

badge code

If you'd like to put a badge on your blog or website linking to this blog, here is the code to enter. In blogger, make a HTML/Javascript widget in the Layout section by clicking "add a gadget" and then copy and paste the code below. Then Save, and Save Arrangement.
<div style="width:125 px; font-size:80%; text-align:center; style="padding-bottom:0.5em;"><a href="http://the-lost-children.blogspot.com/"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Ud9qxfToLN4/Tpw-oPqqAmI/AAAAAAAAMaE/h97RplOWIrc/s300/D%2BTunstall.jpg" height=150 width=125 /><p></p>The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology</a></div>

The updated badge with links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords is here:

<div style="width:125 px; text-align:center; style="><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0061HAG6Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=plyoto-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B0061HAG6Y"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-aBDc_2qWgtQ/Tqw3qRIMylI/AAAAAAAAMe8/bJdYp2zQM0U/s1600/LostFrontCover%2B%25281%2529.jpg" height="150" width="100" /><p></p>The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology (Kindle)</a><p></p>(<a href="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lost-children-thomas-pluck/1035849704?ean=2940013228047">Barnes & Noble</a>)
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I will update this post with a new badge once the e-book is up at Barnes & Noble and with luck, the Apple iBookstore.

a little about... Seamus Bellamy

Seamus wrote the excellent crime tale Larry for the anthology and has one of the coolest Twitter avatars in existence.

What inspired your story?
I don't remember much of my own childhood, so getting into the headspace to write a tale told through the eyes of a child has always proved difficult for me. That said, I've known a lot of individuals on both sides of the law that came from broken homes, abusive parents and worse. That, I can write about.

What makes this cause important to you?
For our society to become something we can be proud of, it falls on each one of us to do what we can to protect our fellows. Who could be more worthy of protection than a child? The very least I can do to this end is turn my pen towards making some cash to help keep kids safe.

A little bit about myself
After attending university, I spent over a decade working in private industrial security and intelligence. Close to two years ago, I packed it in, to peruse my passion: writing. These days you can find my work in the pages of Maximum PC, PC Gamer, Mac|Life and TabTimes (launching this fall). I've also penned two books: Joomla for Dummies (second edition), as well as the second edition of Drupal for Dummies, which was co-written with Lynn Beighley. When my tech writing schedule allows for it, I plunk away at my first novel. I reckon it'll be ready when it's ready. You can catch up to me through my website www.seamusbellamy.com

Sunday, October 23, 2011

a little about... Erin Zulkoski

Erin Zulkoski wrote the story "Bloomingdale" which closes the collection.

What inspired your story?

The inspiration for Bloomingdale came from observing my neighbor's youngest son playing in his sand box. The rest came in a somewhat embarrassing way--I was watching the old Val Kilmer movie "Top Secret," during the part when his character is telling about the time he got lost in a department store. I just combined the two and out came Bloomingdale.

What makes this cause important to you?
The Lost Children cause is important because children are so vulnerable and trusting and often tragically the victims of terrible crimes. I don't have children of my own, but my heart breaks for the parents of children who are abducted. No parent should have to deal with that kind of situation, so once I heard that for each story written a donation would be made to two charities devoted to protecting kids, it was a no-brainer for me to write a piece. Anything I can do to help with such a noble cause is worth it.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where to find more of your writing.

I live in Lincoln, Nebraska: home of the Cornhuskers and am probably the only person in the state who isn't a raging fanatic about them. My day job has me working in Electrophysiology, a specialized practice of cardiology, and my night job, I write. Ive always loved writing and until the past year, just sort of tinkered around on my personal blog, http://polishsnausage.wordpress.com. A good friend of mine encouraged me to write more and invited me to join Fictionaut, and so glad he did. Since then, I've taken my casual hobby up a notch and have been featured in Pure Slush, Negative Suck and The Flash Fiction Offensive. I also started an all female blog with six other women and we can be found at http://HeartOnSleeve.wordpress.com. That's about it. Oh, I also have a weird obsession with Batman.