If you’ve been following Dark & Fevered Dreams, you’ll know that I started a giving program with the first book. The concept was simple. For every new volume released, a charity benefiting children or young adults would receive a donation based on sales. You probably also noticed that the recipient for Volume 2: Sleepless is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is definitely not a children’s organization.
There was a compelling reason to break with my intentions on the second book and that was the loss of my seventeen-year-old cat Justice. When I still worked in the animal welfare field, I adopted Justice from a litter of abandoned kittens fostered by my good friend, Dawn O’Leary. He and his siblings had been raised in a rambunctious household, surrounded by other animals and children of varying ages. Although this had given Justice some unfortunate habits — including jumping into your dinner plate or diving into open toilets — it also made him personable, affectionate and persistently curious. He liked people of all ages and other animals
Justice pre-dated all my sons and was with me through some of the hardest times in my life. He was a consistent friend during those times when we all feel very alone. He was also a very ill cat. He’d been diagnosed early on with kidney disease, and in his later years he developed high blood pressure, heart ailments and pancreatitis. Amazingly, he was non-symptomatic of all this diseases and medically stable right up until the last few months of his life. In short, he survived years longer than any of his vets expected and I’m very grateful for that extra time.
I knew things had really changed when this cat, who so loved life and would purr so loudly that the doctors had a hard time hearing his heartbeat, stopped purring altogether. Justice died on March 26.
Studies have shown that people grieve just as hard for their pets as they do their other family members, and this was certainly true for me and my son Myles. But out of that grief came a need to celebrate our friend’s life and maybe help some other animals in need at the same time.
I choose the HSUS because of my long history of working with them on multiple projects in my previous career. I like that the HSUS deals with both domesticated and wild species and is often on the forefront of animal welfare issues. (You can learn more about the HSUS by clicking here.) So, if you buy a copy of Volume 2: Sleepless from this website between now and December 15, 2017, I will donate 20% of the cover price to the HSUS. This offer does not apply to any purchases made in book stores or online sellers such as amazon.com.
If you decide to participate, I thank you for both your consideration and support of Dark & Fevered Dreams.
When I first conceived on Dark & Fevered Dreams in the Fall of 2015, I wanted it to break new ground. Yes, it would be a serialized story, which would by definition allow me to make some of the subject matter more timely than if it was a novel I was grinding away at for years. And yes, its heavy use of illustrations would help tell the story. But beyond all that, I also wanted the endeavor to actually help people — in particular those teens and young adults who were reflected in the pages of the DAFD novelettes.
Thus, the DAFD Giving Program. You can read more about how this works by clicking here, but for this blog I wanted to write a little about the first recipient of the program, Arizona’s Children Association (AZCA).
Back in 2000, I was working in the animal welfare field and happened to be meeting with one of the vice presidents of AZCA about helping children recover from trauma through the use of therapy animals. When the meeting was over, I mentioned my recurring interest in becoming a foster parent. By the time I walked in my front door that afternoon, a voicemail from an AZCA licensing specialist was waiting for me. Several months later, I was officially licensed and my first child — later my adopted son, Cooper — was moving in.
Over the decade that followed, I fostered four boys, one transsexual girl, and adopted my second son, Myles. I resigned my Arizona foster care license shortly before moving to Oregon over six years ago, but child welfare is still a cause that’s near and dear to me. And so is AZCA. After all, if it weren’t for this organization my life would not have been enriched by my two sons… and a couple of other boys who, though never adopted, I still think of as mine.
On December 15, 2016, the giving program for AZCA comes to a close. As of this writing, it’s raised approximately $300 for the organization, based on 20% of the total sales made through this website or my author’s site, marshmyers.com. (Donations are not collected from other online sellers, such as amazon.com.) Whether you’re inclined to buy a DAFD novelette or not, I would like to encourage you to consider AZCA with your donation dollars this year. Their website can tell you more.
Volume 2 of DAFD is scheduled to be out in Spring 2017 and there will be a new recipient for the Giving Program announced then. Please check back to see who it is, or if you represent a non-profit agency that helps youth in some what, feel free to send an email and let us know you’d like to be considered.
For all the good work the people at AZCA do, thank you.
Marsh Myers, Author of Dark & Fevered Dreams
Welcome to Dark and Fevered Dreams. As my first blog for this site, I wanted to tell you a little about why I created this project and what it will offer in the months and years ahead.
Several years ago, I wrote a blog on my author’s website entitled The Timelessness of Serial Storytelling which celebrated this ancient form of communication. Although many people today equate “serials” to something either from another age or something of inferior quality, the point of my blog is that they don’t have to be either. In fact, if you look around, you’ll probably find serialized stories everywhere. Comic books are probably one of the best and most pervasive examples of serialized storytelling in American culture, but you can easily add in weekly television shows, book series, movie franchises, etc. Even blogging is, in a sense, a serialized form of communication where they writer uses his or her platform to add new information to an existing body of work.
The beauty of serialized storytelling is that it allows a depth, complexity and adaptability to providing information that other, more static forms of communication do not. Which fiction is concerned, this means characters can change, environments can become deeply immersive and storylines can branch and weave in amazing, often unexpected ways.
Over the years, I’ve participated in several large-scale serial storytelling projects. The most recent venture, called Outcast Earth, went on for a full decade and detailed the adventures of a group of fictional paranormal investigators as they traveled the world seeking out the strange and unexplained. Every bit of Outcast Earth was fake, although many of the topics the site addressed were not (Bigfoot, missing persons, haunted places etc.). Still, the site had a sense of authenticity about it through the use of photos and videos which featured friends and family members “playing” the various roles, enhanced by some deceptive Photoshopping and special effects to add in the more supernatural elements. At its height, Outcast Earth was being visited by over a million users every year.
When Outcast Earth ended in 2012, I found that I missed working on a serialized project. I subsequently published my first two young adult novels, His Life Abiding (2013) and The Men in the Trees (2014) — neither of which were serialized. Despite this, I was intrigued by the reactions of some readers. There was a recurring interest in the “stories behind the stories.” Readers wanted to know the history behind the locations I represented. They extrapolated new adventures for my characters or enhanced their back stories. They wanted information that continued to flesh out the book they had enjoyed, if only to keep the experience going after the last sentence had been read. In a sense, they were asking for a serialized experience.
Thus, Dark and Fevered Dreams was born as a truly serialized project. Several times a year, a new novelette (of about 15,000-20,000 words) will be released to expand on the story. The novelettes will be supplemented by this website, which will provide the background material, side stories, world-building and character development to make this a much richer experience. (See ABOUT for additional details on how all this works.)
This site will also act as a reader forum, so I welcome you to ask questions, share ideas or propose theories as to where the story’s headed.
You can also connect with Dark and Fevered Dreams on Facebook and Twitter; or sign up for free email newsletters by clicking the SIGN UP black triangle in the upper right corner for your screen.
Thank you for visiting Dark and Fevered Dreams. I hope you’ll return… over and over again.
Marsh Myers, Author of Dark & Fevered Dreams