At the beginning of the year, I was asked by a fellow author and friend of mine, Terra James, to be a part of an anthology. I’ve been a published author for almost six years. I know other authors who have collaborated on anthologies, but this was something new for me, and when Terra told me it was to raise funds for Autism Speaks, it was a no-brainer. Of course, I was in.
I personally have no experience with autism. This didn’t matter to me. Terra and I have been friends for a few years now. During one of our many conversations, we realized that both of us homeschooled our kids. As we talked more, I learned some of her background and found out that she has two autistic children. Over the course of our friendship, she has shared some of her experiences with me. I have gotten to know her children through Terra, and I’ve learned how important Autism Speaks has been for her family.
When she approached me with this idea, she told me she didn’t necessarily need a story about autism. What she was looking for was something that was uplifting. She wanted the reader to finish each of the stories feeling happy, feeling positive. What she got when the project was finished was eighteen authors with eighteen different stories―some of them about autism, others about different things―that made up Perfectly Unique: The Missing Pieces Anthology.
Each individual story has its own cover. Before each story, a short biography of the author and the synopsis of each book is featured. Each one of us had a part in the making of this very special book. We not only wrote stories for it, but a few of us acted as editors and cover designers. Formatting was done, and two videos were put together and put on YouTube. (Please see a full list of contributors at the end of this post.) This was truly a group effort, and the finished product is nothing short of amazing.
I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit about The Key, which is the name of the story that I submitted for Perfectly Unique.
When Annalee James was five years old, her parents were killed in a car accident during a terrible blizzard. Helena and Desi, her aunt and uncle, became her guardians and moved their newly made family to the small coastal town in Connecticut for a fresh start. Her aunt and uncle provided a loving, happy home, and her life was a good one. After graduation, Annalee moved back to Chicago to study at Northwestern University. There she met Cade Mitchell, a handsome if not sullen and surly upper classman who was in charge of freshman orientation. The two of them didn’t hit it off, but as the weeks passed, Annalee began to see some of the gold glimmering beneath Cade’s tough boy façade.
While out running holiday errands during Christmas Break, she is surprised by the onset of a winter storm reminiscent of the one that took her parents. Helena loans her a dark, wool coat. The cologne that lingers in the thick collar brings back memories of a father she hasn’t seen in thirteen years.
Buried in a deep pocket, Annalee finds a key that opens a safety deposit box at the local bank. One with both of her parents’ names on it. Annalee begins to suspect that things in life are not coincidental. Perhaps the universe is more powerful than she once believed, and things eventually unfold as they are meant to. Helena and Desi always taught her to trust in herself.
Can she do that now?
Can she trust in those she loves?
Can she turn what she’s learned about her past into something that will give her a bright and happy future?
Each one of the stories that comprise this collection is different, and each one of our voices is a piece that completes the overall puzzle of Perfectly Unique. It will be sold exclusively through Amazon for $2.99, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Autism Speaks. The pre-order link is up right now. The official release date is April 1, which kicks off National Autism Awareness Month.
Working on this project has been incredibly rewarding for me. I got to work with some talented authors to create a very special book that will help a very important cause.
An autism anthology with 18 contributing stories that will uplift you, teach you acceptance and awareness, and love.
Finding Vincent - Randy Brown
Jack’s Boots - Roux Cantrell
Dewdrops - Tracy H. Gilmore
Chrysalis - AB Glenn
Charlie’s Angel - C.G. Higgins
The Perfect Piece - Terra James
The Ordinary Girl Gets the Guy - Sharon Johnson
Awkward Annie - J. Grandison
Something in the Way - A.K. Lawrence
Cowboy Pajamas - P. Mattern
If Wishes Were Babies - Teesa Mee
Sam - Brian Miller
A Unique Chance - Savannah Morgan
The Creepy House on Willow Street - Leah Negron
Call My Name - Robin Rance
The Boy Who Never Was - Jennifer Sivec
In My Own Thoughts - Lea Winkleman
The Key - J.C. Wing
Formatting: Terrie Meerschaert, Indie Editing Services
Editing: Terra James, Savannah Morgan, J.C. Wing (Wing Family Editing)
Cover Art: Terra James, Jamie Grandison, Savannah Morgan, J.C. Wing