You guys know the Neon Trees song, “Everybody Talks”? The chorus begins with the words”It started with a whisper” and that line pretty much sums up something that happened to me last year. Right after SEAL Team 6 became (more) famous, I saw a photo of a real SEAL taken in 2007 that accompanied a Time magazine article. I shared a link to the photo on Twitter, and oh my, the re-tweets! All agreed the image was. well, darn sexy.
Perhaps a bit excited by the, uh, popularity of the image (not that I was inspired by all those inches of naked, muscled back, no, not me) I cavalierly tweeted something about wouldn’t it be cool to write some romance stories starring SEAL heroes and donate the proceeds to charity. I was knee-deep in deadlines at the time, so imagine my response when romance author Alison Kent sent me a private message that said “What can I do to help make this happen?”
What could I do but step up? We quickly put together a roster of authors. We asked friends who recommended other friends and in about four days we had all the writers we needed (including Mt. Oly Goddess Barbara Samuel/O’Neal). Alison tracked down the image from Getty Images, and we bought the photo at a discounted rate because we were putting together a not-for-profit project. Our intention had been to self-publish, so we also contacted editors and a cover artist (Frauke Spanuth of Croco Design made the beautiful cover) who agreed to help us for free. I came up with the title, SEAL of My Dreams, which pretty much says we had Fortune smiling on us, because I am not known for my excellent title ideas and I frankly think it’s perfect.
Then our luck really started rolling in. We hoped to get it out for Veterans Day and we were going forward with crossed fingers when one of the anthology’s authors, Cindy Gerard, approached Debra Dixon of Belle Bridge Books and they enthusiastically got on board (now we could have print and digital editions, get in brick-and-mortar stores, and benefit from their merchandising expertise). I have a good friend who does pro bono PR work for Veterans Research Corporation, a non-profit foundation that supports veterans medical research (PTSD and TBI, for example) so we found a worthy charity for the proceeds of our project.
Another Veterans Day has passed since the anthology first came out. 100 percent of the proceeds go to veterans medical research and it nearly bursts my buttons to tell you that in the year that’s passed we have gifted well over $100,000. If you’d like to support our great cause, please do! It’s available to purchase at your favorite e-tailer and if your local brick-and-mortar doesn’t stock it, they will order it for you. (It’s pretty fun to have a paper version because then you can look at our SEAL all day long!) You can learn more about our SEAL, the charity, and the anthology here: http://sealofmydreams.com/wordpress/
Have you ever thrown out a few words that grew into something much bigger than you ever anticipated? Share with us! Or tell us about a veteran in your family (my dad and father-in-law are both vets) or amongst your friends and acquaintances. One lucky commenter will win a print version of SEAL of My Dreams. Yes! He can be on your bookshelf!