Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An Old Flame Rekindled - #amwriting

I reconnected with one of my oldest and dearest friends in the writing community yesterday. Cali MacKay. She's a NYT and USA Today best selling author now, but when we met we were both hanging out on writer's forums honing our craft, critiquing each others work, and dreaming of publishing our first novel. Cali introduced me to Steam Punk and taught me how to write like a girl (important skill for a guy trying to write romance). I helped push her toward the indie community when I started Underground Press Publishing and self-published my first book.

We've kept in touch over the years even as pen names changed (I wrote for awhile under a female pseudonym trying to get published by the big romance houses). As many of you know I haven't written a word since my son was diagnosed with leukemia. My time has been pretty filled up with that. And I've only recently returned to social media. Well Cali found me and reached out.

“Hey, you! How ya doing? What are you working on?”

Same old Cali. Always interested in what others are working on and ready to lend a hand or a pair of eyes. We chatted on facebook for about five minutes and she had me fired up to go write something and publish it! I haven't really thought about writing again. I've said I want to get back into writing “at some point” but I've been busy getting the non-profit started, yada, yada, yada...

“You need to get back to writing. Now!” she told me. And she's right, as usual.

So Maxwell Cynn is back at the keyboard. I have an old manuscript that was almost ready to publish when Joshua fell ill. I'm going through it now and sending it to an editor for final review. Then I'll start some new projects and complete some old projects. As I've said before, I'll also be reading some books and writing some reviews here on the blog. It is time. Thanks, Cali, for firing me up again.

We also have Big News breaking over on the Underground Press Blog. Click over there and check it out!

#amwriting

xoxox

Max

Monday, October 20, 2014

Howl of the mechanical hound - Fahrenheit 451

 That's what my cough sounds like...

This past week has been difficult; at times frustrating, at others heartwarming. My return to social media was met with an outpouring I did not expect - with friends reconnecting on my new Facebook page, liking the new Underground Press page, and reengaging on other social outlets across the net. That has been awesome! It's good to be back and even better to be back in touch with old friends.

A couple of years ago my online friends, and the indie writer community in general, came together to support my son when he was diagnosed with leukemia. I am eternally grateful for that support. Many continue to this day; offering moral support to me and prayers and thoughts for my family. You guys are amazing! On my return everyone was asking how we are, and how Joshua is doing.

Joshua returned to school and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Philosophy. He still has about nine months of chemo left, he's had some medical issues and scared the hell out of us more than once, but all-in-all he is doing magnificently compared to those first few months of treatment. We're still taking it one day at a time, but we are starting to think about a future again – an actual time “after chemo.”

Last week I announced that The Underground Press would go non-profit to promote literacy, mainly by offering free books to cancer patients, but also through a variety of other literacy programs. I also announced a fundraiser to cover the cost of establishing The Underground Press as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which is quite high. My friends online rallied – shares, tweets, retweets, and posts spread the word around the interwebs.

You people rock! I didn't expect any of my dear friends who supported Joshua when he was first diagnosed, and made it possible for us to pay some of his medical bills and keep him in college, to donate to this fundraiser. You have already done more than enough for me and my family, but you folks jumped in even though I've been mostly AFK all week. I am so grateful to those of you who found time to repost, like, retweet, and promote The Underground Press as much as you have.

As I said at the beginning of this post, this has been a rough week. I announced the fundraiser Monday, Joshua's temperature went up Monday night while he and a few friends were at the coast. They had to cut the trip short and return home in the middle of the night. We rescheduled a meeting we had with the local children's hospital Tuesday to take Joshua to the doctor and drive his friends back to Greensboro. Wednesday, at the rescheduled meeting, we were told that bringing books to the kids and reading to them was probably not a great idea – we should “do a movie night and bring food or candy”! Thursday the flu hit me and I spent the end of the week in bed. I'm still hacking and coughing this morning, but I'll survive.

Apparently there isn't as much support for literacy as I had imagined, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging doctors to talk to parents about reading to their kids. I've seen a lot of talk in the media about a “crisis of literacy” and that kids are spending too much time on electronic devices and not enough on reading, but the government cut funding to RIF programs back in 2011 and continues to slash funding for education. We are told kids don't want books, they want movies, games, toys, and candy! Has anyone out there actually read Fahrenheit 451? Has Facebook become the modern equivalent of Ray Bradbury's “family”? Is that howling I hear in the distance?

As for me, I will keep chipping away at modern society's abandonment of literacy - one reader at a time if necessary. To my awesomely literary friends I say – Keep writing great books, there are a few of us still reading! I plan to get back to posting book reviews and publishing tips on my blog soon, so if you have a book coming out let me know. And there should be an announcement soon on The Underground Press page about upcoming literacy events in November. Stay tuned! We're going to get people reading again!

xoxox
max

#UPLiteracy #Reader4Life

Monday, October 13, 2014

News Release ~ Underground Press Reader for Life

The Underground Press is proud to announce the formation of a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization for the promotion of literacy! Our initial project – Reader for Life – will provide books and emotional support to children and adults fighting cancer and other serious illness in local hospitals and clinics. In the future we plan to expand our scope to basic literacy, improving reading comprehension, and creative writing activities.

We need your help.

The Underground Press is currently running a fundraiser on CrowdRise.com – raising needed capital to cover the legal and administrative costs associated with filing necessary forms and paying fees to the State and IRS for certification of our tax exempt status. Chartering a nonprofit is an arduous and expensive endeavor. The funds raised will also be used to continue the Reader for Life program.

There are many ways you can help:

  1. Flood your social networks with links to the fundraiser page
  2. Tell your friends and family about The Underground Press
  3. Join us on CrowdRise.com and stir some buzz there
  4. Follow @UPRFL on twitter and RT our tweets
  5. Like us on Facebook and share with your friends
  6. Re-post this appeal on your blog or your FB notes
  7. Get the CrowdRise widget and post it on your blog
  8. Donate directly through one of our PayPal buttons
  9. Donate at CrowdRise through WePay
  10. Contact us to learn how you can donate books

My wife and I spent many hours in the hospital with our son while he was going through chemotherapy. A good book can be an anchor and a distraction to someone facing a life threatening disease. A journal can allow them to express things that are too hard to say. The sound of another human voice reading can be a comfort when they don't want to talk, but they don't want to be alone.

Please help us help others.