I, Thankful


speakman-unfetteredBeware: A sappy post lies ahead.

Today is a day in the United States where Americans give thanks. The holiday is one of my favorites, a time to reflect on all the things I have to be thankful.

This year, I am thankful for a great deal. My debut novel The Dark Thorn published and people seem to like it. Unfettered also published, an anthology I edited with the purpose of relieving medical debt I accrued from treating cancer in 2011. That debt is now gone—the ultimate thanks to all who supported me during my time of need. I have friends. I have family. They support me in ways I cannot begin to explain. I have a roof over my head. Food in my belly. Clothes on my back. And a future that lies open before me when two years ago I didn’t know if that future would exist in any form.

It is easy to fall prey to life’s vicissitudes though. The cynicism that is so prevalent in our world can wither the heart. It is easy to fall prey to it. We wage wars on social media about politics. We find fault in our fellow humans before we even think about finding their goodness. We let “first world problems” outweigh death, disease, poverty, and cultural genocide. We humans have much to learn, as any science fiction novel will usually tell you.

Thanksgiving is a holiday where we should refocus ourselves and rediscover those things that are truly important.

I am using this year’s I, Thankful post to highlight the contributors to Unfettered.

The writers who came to my aid are not only my anthology contributors. They gave short stories—effectively donated their time and imaginations—to save me. I cannot share in words how much these people mean to me. It damn near brings tears to my eyes.

Therefore, I am using my Unbound Worlds bully pulpit here to highlight them! To support these awesome writers and give back that generosity, think about buying one of their books and giving it as a gift—either to a friend, family member, or a gift to yourself!

Here are some gift choices where you cannot go wrong:

  • The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
  • After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
  • Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
  • The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham
  • The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
  • The Unremembered by Peter Orullian
  • The Demon Awakens by R.A. Salvatore
  • Spellbound by Blake Charlton
  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne
  • Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
  • Acacia by David Anthony Durham
  • Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
  • The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick
  • The Crimson Sword by Eldon Thompson
  • His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
  • Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman

You will see two names absent from that list. I am not included. Yes, you can buy The Dark Thorn or Unfettered at www.grimoakpress.com but I’d prefer Unbound Worlds readers support those writers who supported me.

Todd Lockwood is also not listed. He is currently writing his debut novel, one thick with dragons, so there is no book to buy. To support him, I encourage you to visit his website at www.toddlockwood.com and buy some of his art! He is responsible for some of the best art in fantasy and it makes for a great gift.

I will also say thank you elsewhere: Kristin Fritz, my boss here at Unbound Worlds, works her proverbial ass off. She’s great and runs a tight ship. The folks at Del Rey Books/Spectra work just as hard, their love of fantasy in every book they publish. And then there is the incomparable Matt Staggs, my Unbound Worlds co-writer in arms, who finds more badass content than even I can shake a staff at.

I hope you are able to spend your time today with friends and family. Maybe with a great book. And when you go shopping over these next few days, consider buying a book from the list above. They are not only great books by great writers—they are also written by better human beings.

Happy Thanksgiving!