Tuesday, January 21, 2014

FIGHT CARD, CHARITY, AND COMMUNITY

FIGHT CARD, CHARITY, AND COMMUNITY

What is community?  Is it simply a geographic area where people group together while leading separate lives?  Is it a social network composed of friends who like or comment while committing nothing of themselves beyond a mouse click?  Or is true community something stronger, something deeper, something going beyond the individual into compassion and caring for others in thought, effort, sacrifice, and service?

When Mel Odom and I created the Fight Card mandate in 2010 (a series of monthly 25,000 word boxing novelettes ... short, sharp, hard-punching stories inspired by the fight pulps of the '30s and '40s), we had no idea we were creating a community.  However, Fight Card quickly took on a life of its own.

“Build it and they will come,” was the call to action in the iconic baseball novel Field Of Dreams by W.P. Kinsella, but the same creative magic took over Fight Card ... We built a virtual boxing ring to which fighters, writers, and readers have come.

As of this writing, the Fight Card series has extended to thirty titles, with more in the battered and scarred editorial dressing room waiting for their chance to duke it out in publication.  The Fight Card brand has extended to include Fight Card MMA, Fight Card Now, Fight Card Luchadores, Fight Card Sherlock Holmes, and even Fight Card Romance.  

Experienced authors and critically acclaimed newcomers have stepped into the Fight Card ring, going the distance again and again – each delivering a unique, fresh take on the familiar boxing tale of struggle and redemption.  In the process, all of those involved – writers, editors, publicists, readers, cover artists, etc. – have become a community, a caring community.

Fight Card transformed from a publishing brand into a living, breathing,  author cooperative with each writer working off of his own Amazon platform for his/her own Fight Card entry, while being supported by the cooperative – covers, editorial, formatting, publicity, podcasts, etc. – but also supporting the cooperative by furnishing back their own talents in those and other areas.  

For me, Fight Card has become a true joy.  Every day, I get to interact with writers, illustrators, and pulp aficionados from literally around the world. Figuring out the time change for Skyping between California and Australia, Spain, or Ireland regularly makes my head hurt. 

Plus, I’m having a blast bringing these great stories to fruition by taking advantage of the ever-evolving e-book technology to reach an audience in a manner not possible through traditional legacy publishing.  Still, while Fight Card has been on the cutting edge of both the New Pulp and the publishing revolution, I felt we could do more.  Be more.

Which brings us to this anthology.  Part of a true community is giving back to others.  Six months ago, Jeremy L.C. Jones asked me if I’d be interested in helping out an author-in-need by letting him do a quick turnaround writing a Fight Card book.  I’d already been toying with the idea of doing a Fight Card anthology to benefit a literacy charity, but here Jeremy was opening a different sort of door.

Author-in-need might sound redundant.  Aren’t all authors in need – in need of new readers, more book sales, and a solid plot for their next book?  But, this was different. This was need based on health problems, family financial problems – needs that would crush the creativity out of anyone, let alone an experience, revered, writer who, like so many of the rest of us, works the typewriter trapeze without a safety net.

Jeremy and I put out feelers to our Fight Card community and the response was instantaneous.  Without hesitation, a large number of writers – some already part of the Fight Card team, others independent fighters happy to come into the Fight Card fold – willingly offered to write fight stories for not only our initial author-in-need charity effort, but enough to fill a schedule for three other charity anthologies now scheduled for upcoming publication.

Amazing.  

Words on paper are the life blood of a writer.  Hemingway said, There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” These writers were willing to bleed in order to give a transfusion to one of their own – and then continue to bleed to give a transfusion to literacy charities in support of that most precious of commodities ... readers.

In Fight Card Presents: Ironhead And Other Stories, ten writers (Jory Sherman, Ryan McFadden, Mark Finn, Troy D. Smith, Ed Greenwood,  Jack Badelaire, James Scott Bell, James Hopwood, Bowie V. Ibarra, and Matthew Pizzolato, along with cover artist Carl Yonder) take us into the squared circle against a plethora of dangerous, hard-hitting, and deadly opponents – all in the name of community.

100% of the proceeds from these Fight Card anthologies go directly to the designated author-in-need or chosen literacy charity.  There are no monies taken for administrative costs or any other incidentals.

This is what community is all about.  I am humbled to be a part of it and honored to work with not just the writers and artists represented in this volume, but also in the others to come.

In buying this anthology, you too are part of our community, part of something larger ... part of going the distance ... of not leaving those in need behind ...

Keep punching!

Paul Bishop
Los Angeles, January, 2014



 

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