When I was eight years old, I read a modern translation of Le Morte d’Arthur and it profoundly influenced my life. I was drawn in by the egalitarian concept of the Round Table, where everyone seated had equal status. Even more enlightening was the concept of a warrior ethos:
- Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
- Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
- Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
- Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
- Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
Honor was achieved by living up to these ideals and losing one’s honor was the worst thing that could happen to a knight.
I see glimpses of these ideals every now and again in the modern world, but I see much more of the polar opposite behavior. Too frequently, when someone has managed to do something that briefly achieves a single aspect of this ethos, they ruin the effect by bragging about it on Twitter. Most likely, these ideals were never achieved in the ancient world either, but someone decided it would be a good idea to market the concept through the bardic tradition in the hopes that it would catch on. Nice try, but no dice.
So, do we need to wait for a hero to make the world a better place? The Arthurian Legends hold that Arthur and Merlin did not die, they merely sleep, awaiting a time of great peril for the realm. Once awakened, they will do what heroes do to save the day. The tapping sound you hear is my foot as I glance at my watch and mumble, “Any time now, guys.”
As with most things, I have no patience for waiting. Patience is a virtue that I’m probably meant to learn and exercise in this life, but it appears to be incompatible with my basic nature. If I see something that ought to be done and I am capable of doing it, I will do it my damn self. If a hero wants to show up at some point and shore up my efforts, I am more than happy to share the burden.
In this spirit of finding a self-reliant way to improve the world we live in, I have decided to donate half of my author’s earnings for Soul Search to charity. I was delighted to discover that author friends I made through Twitter were also donating proceeds from their books to support charities. And they never bragged about it on Twitter. I discovered their generosity while exploring the websites for Kim English and Simon Williams and immediately sent them congratulatory messages. I was deeply impressed by these folks.
So, let me tell you a little about these authors and their charities. If you are moved to donate, clicking on a charity’s icon or hyperlink in the text will bring you to their website where you will be provided with instructions on how to give. If you are looking for a good read, links to the authors’ books are also provided below.
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Simon Williams is the author of the Aona dark fantasy series, which is garnering attention for its fusion of different genres and atmospheric, character-driven narrative. A recent interview with the author can be found on Michael Baker’s Thousandscarsblog.
Simon has also written Summer’s Dark Waters, a sci-fi / fantasy /supernatural novel for all ages 10+ and aimed more at the younger market. A sequel is already underway.
All the royalties from Summer’s Dark Waters (both paperback and electronic) are being donated to TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust), the UK’s largest fostering and adoption charity and voluntary agency. Established for 24 years, TACT currently has over 500 foster carers providing loving homes for over 600 children and young people. In addition to working for the benefit of children in care and on the fringes of care, TACT also regularly campaigns on behalf of vulnerable children, seeking to influence public policy and argue for positive changes.
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Kim English writes children’s and Young Adult books and is the author of the Coriander Jones series. In collaboration with illustrator Yis Vang, Kim has also written A Home for Kayla, a picture book about a little brown dog with no name and no pedigree who navigates life at the pound as she waits for a forever home. The book is based on her real-life rescue dog and is a 2016 Indie Book Awards Winner, a Mom’s Choice Gold Award Recipient and a finalist in 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition. Author’s proceeds from this book will go to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services and the Cat Depot.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services runs an adoption program that strives to place stray and unwanted pets into forever homes. While housed in the shelter, each dog or cat is given an overall health exam by an Animal Care Technicians and is neutered or spayed, provided with a rabies vaccination and a county license for the first year, and dogs are AVID micro chipped for identification. Animal Services has no maximum holding period for an adoptable animal.
Cat Depot is a nonprofit, no-kill, free-roaming center that has been recognized for its progressive design and commitment to helping homeless, abandoned, and injured cats and kittens. Their mission is to save lives, find loving homes, and provide the resources and education to improve the destiny of homeless cats. This organization works daily to rescue abandoned, abused, injured, relinquished, and free roaming community/feral cats and kittens. In 2015, Cat Depot rescued 1,430 felines and assisted with local and national rescues.
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Search and Rescue Teams of Warren County (SARTWC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to aiding those who are lost or missing. SARTWC assists other departments such as police, fire, and EMS in a search and provides mutual aid assistance to other Search and Rescue agencies upon request. Members of this organization are professionally trained volunteers commited to responding to search emergencies. SARTWC does not bill for its services.
Wayward Plotts is an advocacy and rescue effort for displaced Plott hounds in Southern Appalachia. Their goal is to pull and appropriately place Plotts in homes where they will be valued, whether as hunters or house hounds. Additionally, Wayward Plotts seeks to educate the public about the Plott hound, its history and heritage, and the many benefits of owning and hunting with this truly exceptional breed. This organization is always looking for fosters, fundraisers, and anyone else who would like to volunteer services, knowledge, or time.
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