Let me start with a mea culpa (see how sophisticated I sound when I speak in Latin?) for the dearth of podcasting activity of late. It is my plan and hope to develop some quality content and get back to a regular release schedule soon. Those of you who are sticking with me, I appreciate you deeply. As some of you may know, Purgatory went live on Podiobooks.com in mid-December. I’m thrilled with the response so far — as I write this, episode 1 has been downloaded 1,166 times and the final episode has been downloaded 539 times since its release two weeks ago. When I started writing my little book about the afterlife, I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in it. That over 500 people who are not my mom have liked it enough to stick around to the end is enough to make me walk on clouds.
And Purgatory is actually part of the reason for this blog post. Those of you who listen to a lot of podiobooks and are involved with the podcasting community are well familiar with the story I’m going to relay in the next couple of paragraphs, so feel free to skip ahead. However, some of you know this site only because you know me or because a friend gave you a CD of either Acts of Desperation or Purgatory, so this is fresh news to you.
Most of us in the podcast fiction community owe a debt in one way or another to Tee Morris, the guy who first podcasted a novel he had previously published. Tee has written two novels in the Morevi series — Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana and Legacy of Morevi. As Dragon Moon Press was readying Legacy of Morevi for publication, Tee discovered podcasting and decided to give away a free, serialized podcast of the first book as a way to promote the second (to paraphrase Tee, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”) He recorded an abridged version of the 534 page book and blazed a trail for me and dozens of other aspiring authors. Soon, Scott Sigler and Mark Jeffrey jumped in with podcasts of their unpublished novels, and the podiobook was born.
Tee subsequently co-founded Podiobooks.com, launched an immensely helpful podcast for writers called The Survival Guide To Writing Fantasy, produced a Parsec Award winning unabridged podcast of his print novel Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword with a full cast of actors performing the voices, re-recorded Morevi (this time unabridged and with a full voice cast), guest starred in more podcast novels than I have time to count, and generally helped out virtually everyone who asked him. He also co-authored Podcasting for Dummies, Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and wrote All a Twitter, Sam’s Teach Yourself Twitter in 10 Minutes, and The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant: A Billibub Baddings Mystery (a sequel to The Case of the Singing Sword.) During all this, he grappled with a prolonged search for permanent employment while still very generously giving his time to other podcast authors. When I first released Acts of Desperation as a podcast and was fretting about the low audience numbers I was getting, Tee chatted with me on Skype and talked me off the window ledge. I had the pleasure of spending time with him at Balticon last year and on one of my business trips to Washington.
On January 5 of this year, Tee’s wife Natalie died very suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving him as the single father of a five year-old girl who’d just lost her mom. The response of the podcasting community, led by the amazing Pip Ballantine, has made me proud to call myself a part of it. Pip organized a very successful Chipin fundraiser to help Tee cover the funeral costs, but she didn’t stop there. She dreamed of an internet-based auction where people could bid on all sorts of treasures donated by anyone with an interest, and raise money to start a trust fund for Tee’s daughter, who goes by the code name “Sonic Boom” (to protect her privacy, he avoids using her real name on the ‘Net.)
The result of Pip’s efforts will occur on Saturday, February 27 starting at 10 AM Eastern Standard Time, when The Boom Effect goes live. As of right now, the auction includes 76 lots, though more could come in before starting time. One of them is a rare (that is to say, the only) print copy of Purgatory. It will be autographed by me and by J.R. Blackwell, who took the cover photograph and who has so much talent in so many areas that it’s kind of unfair to us mere mortals. I arranged for Lulu.com to publish the book, and I must say they did an amazing job. If my writing career ever moves beyond the self-publishing stage, I hope the end product looks as good as the one I got from Lulu.
If you enjoyed Purgatory and would like to own the only print copy, please consider bidding on it during The Boom Effect on February 27. Every nickle of your purchase price will go to Sonic Boom’s trust fund; I’m picking up the printing and shipping costs (for shipping within the continental U.S.). And please, take a look at the other auction lots. There is an awful lot of good stuff going up for sale that day; my contribution is one very small part of it.
No amount of money can replace SB’s mom or fill the emotional void left by a wife and mother. It can, however, ease the financial worries that accompany such a traumatic event. To the extent you are able and inclined to buy something next Saturday, I heartily urge you to do so. I know that 2010 has started poorly and that all our concerns have rightly focused on the devastation experienced by some of God’s most vulnerable people in Haiti. None of us involved in The Boom Effect want to take away from anyone’s efforts to help the people there. But if you have the cash to spare and you see something you like for sale in the auction, you would be helping make a little girl’s future a little bit brighter.