Giving the Best on International Day of Giving – Giving Tuesday 2016

You may not know that today is the International Day of Giving, Giving Tuesday.   You may ask What does that mean to me?

This is the Black Friday for the non-profits out there making a difference in the everyday. While I give to organizations throughout the year, this is the time and money I set aside to donate to places that mean a great deal to me.  I support trees, people, information/education, the arts, and animals.  I give in other people’s names or in remembrance of a lost loved one. This money I give on this day, is my gift to the world.

There are a variety of ways to give to a cause that is near and dear to your heart.

  • You can donate directly to the organization via their website
  • If you have no idea where to start, these websites have many worthy causes: Giving (people in need) and for classrooms in need.
  • You can buy a book that donates profits to a worth organization, a few of them are:
    •  It was Always You, and anthology written by several great authors with all proceeds from this anthology will be donated to the LGBTQ youth organization ONE.N.TEN:!
    • For the victims and families of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, two anthologies by Dreamspinner Press authors: Once Pulse and Love Wins
    • My friend and colleague, Kim Fielding, has several books she’s published which all proceeds to Doctor’s without Borders–here’s the link to her blog with all the the wonderful books:
  • You can volunteer to your organization. Volunteers are the heart and the muscle of an organization.

So there  are many ways you can donate.  Which ones specifically am I donating to today? Here are my choices:

The Morton Arboretum  – The Champion of Trees. The Morton Arboretum, a 1,700-acre living museum, champions trees throughout the world via scientific study, conservation, and advocacy.

The Morton Arboretum is also the center for tree science.  I have been a member of  the Morton Arboretum for over 25 years.

The Garden Works ProjectMission: The GardenWorks Project empowers, educates, and promotes organic suburban agriculture to improve the wellbeing of our community, the environment, and families facing food insecurity. We support all gardeners in their efforts to grow and prepare food for themselves and their neighbors in need.

I volunteer to build gardens for people.

Wellness House – Free support for all those who have been touched by cancer.

This place was a haven and a godsend for me, my mother, and my husband while we struggled with cancer.

Humane Haven Animal Shelter – As a state licensed humane society, it has dedicated itself to the preservation and protection of the pets of our communities.  HHAS serves as the voice for these animals and fosters the placement of homeless pets in compatible, loving homes while also providing the community with pet care awareness and education.

I volunteer, donate, and have adopted six feline companions from this shelter since 2002.

Howard Brown HealthHoward Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness.

I have personally witnessed the compassion and care HBH provides for the LGBTQ community, without regard to age, sex, race, or creed.

WBEZ Chicago region’s premier public media service (NPR-member station), serving the public interest by creating and delivering diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires, enriches and entertains. Through a broad range of media platforms, including on-air broadcasts, its website and podcasts, WBEZ connects diverse audiences in its areas and beyond to one another, helping them to make a difference in their communities, their region and the world.

I like to keep informed.  WBEZ has been a constant companion to me for many years, giving me a range of viewpoints and opinions on matters in the Chicagoland area and the world.

Gus Li’s Top Surgery  If you didn’t know, a wonderfully talented story teller, wordsmith, and artist is pursing the body he should have been born into.   I am proud to be a member of Gus’s Dreamspinner Family to help support him in this effort.

I have hyperlinked all of the causes, buy, donate links. Just click on them to get there or to learn more about the organizations.

What are your places that you donate your time, money, or voice to?  Let me know!

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Manga, Dōjinshi, Anime, and Bento, Oh My!!

In our (Kim Fielding and Venona Keys) upcoming book, Running Blind, there is mention of a few things that most may or may not be familiar to the reader. Consider this a crash course in all of the above and more.


Manga what most people think of as Japanese graphic novels or comic books. It’s a style of art, done in black and white, that tells a story that generally has a hero that wins, wins at a great cost, or dies. It also includes people at work or people at school as a backdrop that life goes on, and hard work is appreciated. Manga is BIG business in Japan. The top thirty mangas sold comprise over $120,000,000 a year, and the manga industry is actually a multi-billion dollar a year international enterprise. Generally, manga is published in monthly or weekly magazines. The magazines have an average of twenty-five mangas per issue. If a manga is popular, after so many issues of publication, the installments are bound together and published in paperback volumes. Manga is not just for kids; people of all ages in Japan read manga. Manga is split into several basic categories:

Kodomomuke which is for very young children which are core value based lessons. Hello Kitty is an example of Kodomomuke.

Shonen is targeted for teenaged boys, and they are action hero based, or follow comedic themes. Bleach, Naurto, Attack on Titan fall into Shonen.

Seinen target demographic is young men and young adults from age fifteen to twenty-four and is more can be more violent and darker than Shonen. It also has its share of comedies too. Hellsing and Ghost in the Shell are Seinen.

Shojo is the female counterpart of Shonen, though it’s target audience is girls from the ages of ten to eighteen. The storylines can run from friendship, romance, to action, adventure, to comedy, all which have a female protagonist. Some homosexual relationships fall into this category, though they are split off into their own category. Sailor Moon, Ouran High School Host Club, and Revolutionary Girl Utea are Shojo.

Josei is the adult female counterpart to Seinen. Josei, like seinen, runs the gamut on the story lines, action/adventure/comedy, and has a more realistic take on romance, rather than that of Shojo, which is idealized romance.

Shōnen-ai, BL or Boy Love is a category of MM romantic relationships aimed at women. Yaoi is a more explicit form of boy love, mainly showing the act of sex, and has darker themes than shonen-ai.

Bara is ML or Man Love, is written by gay or bisexual men for gay men. The story lines can have a great deal of erotica, aimed again, at the gay male population.

The artists that draw manga are known as mangaka, which is both singular and plural.


Heard of Fan fiction? Dōjinshi is just that—drawn storylines based on an established characters created by another artist–with a different direction, slant, or pairings (ships). This is done on an individual basis or by small presses, published and sold. In Japan, this is allowed by the big publishing houses, as they believe it increases the sales of the original manga.


Anime is animation, or cartoons, for some. The types of anime generally follow the same types of manga. Anime generally the animation of manga or a written story. Examples of anime from manga are Bleach, Attack on Titan, Hello Kitty, and Naruto. Anime from books and stories are: Ponyo, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Princess Mononoke to name a few and by the famous Hayao Miyazaki.


Bento is what we would call a lunchbox in the U.S. In Japan, they can be made simply or elaborately at home, or purchased at convenience stores. At it’s simplest, a bento contains rice, a protein (fish or meat), vegetables, and a pickle of some sort. If you read manga or watch anime where the characters prepare or eat a bento, some items are elaborately shaped, rice can resemble an animals or shaped into a ball and filled (onigiri), veggies carved to look like flowers or animals, and mini hot dogs carved to look like little octopi. Ordering a bento box in a restaurant, there are many small portions in that box.

Traditionally in Japan, the bento box is wrapped in a cloth, furoshiki,which can serve as a tablecloth/placemat when eating.

So, why all this info? We are doing a give away in honor of our release of Running Blind. You can make a comment on my blog, Kim Fielding’s blog, or any of the blog sites on our tour listed below. There are three giveaways which will be drawn by Rafflecopter on November 14.



Kyle Green is on top of the world. He and Matt have been together for ten years, and—as the voice of Ecos, the wildly popular anime character—Kyle is treated like a rock star in anime circles. But in an instant, a stroke leaves him blind. When photographer Matt gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Kyle reexamines their relationship, discovers it has been a safety net rather than a true romance, and sets Matt free to pursue his dream. Kyle’s life and career as he knew them are gone, and he must now find the courage and creativity to draft a new plan.

After being away for fifteen years, Seth Caplan comes home to Chicago to care for his mother and to partner with a small start-up tech company. He and Kyle meet after Kyle’s collision with a child’s sidewalk toy, and they hit it off. Kyle wants to get back into running, and Seth becomes his guide. As they get to know each other, they start seeing each other beyond their three-times-a-week runs. But Seth’s revelation of the dark reason why he left his career in California sends the relationship into a tailspin and leaves both men running blind.

Dreamspinner Press:



Kim Fielding is very pleased every “me someone calls her eclectic. Her books have won Rainbow Awards and span a variety of genres. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full “me. She also dreams of having two perfectly behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others

You can reach Kim at:




Venona Keyes is a modern woman who believes in doing it all; if doing it all is only in her head. She amazes people that she can be wholly unorganized yet pack a perfect carry on suitcase for a ten day trip to Paris. Ms. Keyes is a believer in the just in time theory, and can be seen sprinting in airports to the gate before the plane door closes.

Venona has experienced love and loss at the deepest level, and is thankful for writing and daydreaming, for it kept, and still keeps her sane. Writing also introduced her to some of the most supportive and wonderful people, to which she will always be grateful.

Venona is a voracious reader, loves her feline boys, volunteers at an animal shelter, attempts to cook everything in her CSA boxes, is an accomplished speaker, is a seasoned triathlete, and enjoys swimming, biking, hiking, skipping, dancing, and her beloved overgrown garden.

You can reach Venona at:




Rafflecopter Giveaways!

Make a comment and be entered into win a giveaway!

Giveaway #1 – All (US & International)

Audio Books, E-Book, and DSP Gift Certificate

  • 3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)
  • E-book Coming of Age
  • $20 DSP Gift Certificate

Giveaway #1: Worldwide
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2 – US Only

Manga (Graphic Novels), Audio, and E-Books


  • Traditional Japanese Manga (translated into English): Borders Manga Volumes 1-5 by Kazuma Kodaka
  • American Manga: Longitudes and Latitudes, Volumes 1 – 3 by True Teargem & Tprinces
  • American Doshinji: Kindly Assistance (A Sherlock Holmes & John Watson Romance) by Halloween Panda

Audio Books & E-books

  • 3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)
  • E-book Coming of Age

Giveaway #2: USA only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #3 – US Only

Bento Ensemble, Audio, and E-Books

Bento Ensemble

  • Bento Box
  • Lacquered wooden chopsticks
  • Handmade drawstring cloth bag with decorative stitching

Audio Books & E-books

  • 3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)
  • E-book Coming of Age

Giveaway #3: USA only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

See all the tour stops — Excerpts, Short Stories, and other Miscellany:


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