Katie M. John, author and head of Little Bird Publishing House, sponsor of the #UTOPiA2016 Revolution Anthology, asked me to write a foreword for the book that includes eight fictional short stories that, at their cores, center around change, sacrifice, rebellion, and hope, in the many different forms those virtues can come in.
How does one write a foreword to a revolution? You don’t, at least not a traditional one. When faced with revolutionary ideas, dreams, or even a li’l anthology project, it’s good to make a break from tradition. You let the stories and heroes speak for themselves, stand for what they believe in…on their own.
What I can do, though, is talk about how very proud I am to be a part of an anthology and a community that, at every turn, whether it’s on social media, or through everyday business pursuits and interactions, shows me the kind of person I want to be. A community that shows me not only what is possible, but what is actually taking place all around us — in the writing caves, at the cons, and over the airwaves — true collaboration in the spirit of adventure and betterment for all.
The three main tenets of UTOPiAcon are education, inspiration, and collaboration. These three words are mantras I repeat daily to keep me on track, to make sure I am doing and giving my best for and to this community. From the concept of the anthology, to the partnership between Little Bird and UTOPiAcon, to the cover design contest, to the contribution to Help Build A Library in South Africa, to introducing readers to new authors, to marketing with bloggers, to the stories themselves, this project has represented the heart of those three tenets, beating out a rhythm of a tribe dedicated to leading dreams to success.
One of the most exciting things about this anthology is how global in nature it is. UTOPiA is based in Nashville, TN. Little Bird Publishing House has its home in London. And Help Build a Library in South Africa is located in Johannesburg. In addition, the authors all reside in different states. This project has shown me the positive and far-reaching influence that UTOPiA has had on the global writing and reading community, as well as how many of us think and dream and live and thrive beyond borders, highlighting our similarities — our struggles and desires.
It’s inspiring to see how we are drawn together like magnets to our destinies. How like minds and like hearts can outshine negativity and fear. How together we are stronger than when we stand alone. But it is because we sometimes must be brave enough to go it alone, despite those who doubt us, that those first steps in the dark on a rocky path, become blazing trails for others to follow, and for each of us to find our way to each other, so that we may gather at the bonfire of our dreams. There we will stand on the ruins of our pasts, and roast marshmallows over the dancing flames, celebrating each battle, each scar, and each victory.
As you read the short stories housed within the pages of the anthology, or any story you read really, I hope you’ll remember that behind each is a journey of vulnerability and courage… the author’s, the mother’s, the daughter’s, the sister’s. Perhaps the story or the story maker will inspire and motivate you to pursue your own truth, whatever that may be for you.
The official digital and paperback release date is Wednesday, June 29th, but if you are attending UTOPiAcon, you can pre-order an exclusive paperback edition NOW. Pick it up and get it signed at #UTOPiA2016 by many of the anthology contributing authors!