Saturday, June 11, 2011

When Words Can Change the World!

I'm so proud to be a part of this marvelous project. Because words can change the world!

The Gods of Nature
by Tim Hallinan

The most ancient Japanese religion is Shinto.
The name is taken from two Chinese words, shin, meaning "spirit," and to, which is a derivative of tao (as in Taoism), a path or a course of study. So I suppose you could say it's a spiritual path of study. It's sometimes translated as "the way of the gods."

Shinto holds that the natural world is the home of kami, or spirits.

Many of them are spirits of place: stones, trees, hills, bodies of water.
The Japanese reverence for nature has its roots in Shinto.

This is a torii, a gate for the kami to pass through. They stand outside virtually every Shinto Shrine and also provide passageways for spirits of place in spots where their influence is strongest. Many of them stand in bodies of water.

On March 11 of this year, something unprecedented in modern memory rose up out of nature and struck Japan.

Following a massive earthquake, the waves invaded an enormous area in the northeast of Japan. In a matter of moments, both the natural and the man-made landscapes were altered, perhaps forever.

Watching the devastation, all I could think was that writers should be able to pool their talents to raise money as musicians and actors do. And it occurred to me immediately that we can. With the immediacy of e-books, writers can join together to try to bring some small solace in the face of tragedy. People who have lost children, parents, loved ones, friends, communities, livelihoods -- they deserve our best efforts, however humble.

Less than three months after the disaster, nineteen wonderful writers have donated their talent to make this possible.

This is a collection of original Japan-themed short stories, almost all written since March 11, inspired by the desire to help.

The writers who responded with such wonderful stories are:

Brett Battles
Cara Black
Vicki Doudera

Dianne Emley
Dale Furutani
Stefan Hammond

Rosemary Harris
Naomi Hirahara
Wendy Hornsby

Ken Kuhlken
Debbi Mack
Adrian McKinty

I.J. Parker
Gary Phillips
Hank Phillippi Ryan

Jeffrey Siger
Kelli Stanley
C.J. West and
Jeri Westerson.

Another fine writer, Gar Anthony Haywood, designed the cover.

Taken as a whole, these people have won every major mystery prize and sold hundreds of thousands of books.

Two remarkable translators of haiku, Jane Reichhold, whose 2008 volume translating all the haiku of the 17th-century master Basho has been hailed as a new standard, and David Lanoue, who has done beautiful translations of Issa, allowed us to use their renderings without charge.

Kimberly Hitchens and her first-class crew turned the manuscript into a beautiful a-book.

One hundred percent of the writers' royalties from the purchase go directly to the 2011 Japan Relief Fund administrated by Japan America Society of Southern California, which has already sent $750,000 to organizations working on the scene.

You can buy SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN as a Kindle e-book on Amazon right here

for only $3.99.

If you don't have a Kindle, you can download Kindle for PC here


It was all Tim's idea. And each of us is honored to be part of it.