Author Guest Post: J.R. Blackwell

Posted February 15, 2013 by Jen in Author Guest Post, Guest Post Tags: , , ,

Hello Readers! Today I bring you author J.R. Blackwell. J.R. is the Creative Director at Galileo Games. She has edited the anthologies Gimme Shelter, Have Blaster, Will Travel and The Blood Red Sands anthology. She has been published in Escape Pod, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a range of short fiction magazines in print and on the web. Her first book, Shelter in Place, won the Judges Choice ENnie award in 2012.
Today J.R. is here to talk about an important charity project to benefit City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women, and children. Several talented authors have gotten together to create a special anthology with all proceeds going directly to City Harvest. Please help me welcome J.R. to That’s What I’m Talking About
The Lost…
The Lost anthology is a set of stories about hope, tragedy, and the people from which the world turns away. From a young woman struggling with addiction to a streetwise Santa looking out for his friends, these stories range from literary to magical realism. The Lost is an anthology of stories that confront issues of homelessness and the people our society ignores. The Lost features a great group of writers who have created daring,
elegant stories of loss, redemption, and love.
The Lost  features stories from:
Kathryn Watterson
C.J. Malarsky
Sarah Newton
K. H. Vaughan
Megan Engelhardt
Stephen D. Rogers
Meg Jayanth
Peter Woodworth
Shoshana Kessock
Jeff Himmelman is the artist for the cover, and the writer of Kingdom of Nothing, the game which inspired The Lost.
The Campaign to benefit City Harvest is currently underway and will be ending on March 15, 2013.
We have a variety of rewards for people who donate, from a $5 reward which gets you a single story from The Lost, to a “Fiction Bundle” for $40 that gets you all of our current anthologies.
Click HERE to read more and donate to this impotrant cause.
About the Charity:
City Harvest ( is the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women, and children. This year, City Harvest will collect more than 42 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to some 600 community food programs throughout New York City by a fleet of trucks and bikes. City Harvest helps feed the more than one million New Yorkers that face hunger each year.
Here is an excerpt from one of the stories in The Lost. 
I opened my eyes. The first thing I noticed was that the sun was gone. The second thing I noticed was that I wasn’t alone. A man stood over me with a camera. He stared down through his giant, expensive camera, and clicked away. He must have taken my astonished picture a dozen times. I squirmed. I wanted to climb over the bench, to find the nearest entrance into the sewer tunnels, to hide. Still, I held perfectly still and stared up at the man before me. In the fallen dark, I couldn’t see him well behind the camera. I thought of the frogs and how they had warned me in my dreams and I became angry.
“Hey!” I said. The word hung in the air. What could I say? It had been so long since I’d spoken to anyone who wasn’t lost like me. I flailed inside before I came up with, “Can’t you do that quieter? I was trying to sleep!”
The man dropped his camera in surprise. It swung loose on his strap as he stared at me. I would have told him it was rude to stare, but I had other things on my mind. Namely, I was distracted by the fact that he had the kindest face I had ever seen. I stared up at my wannabe photographer and took in curly brown hair, a strong jaw, a straight nose, and beautiful blue-grey eyes. Lots of people are handsome, or at least okay to look at, but that wasn’t what had me caught. It was the surprise on his face and the genuine concern that flashed instantly onto his face. Without knowing me, caught off guard, his first instinct was concern for a girl he did not know.
“I’m sorry!” he stammered. His eyes met mine. “I didn’t mean-“
His voice trailed off and a curious, concerned look crossed his face, a jarred look that might have matched mine. He saw me clearly for the first time then, and I knew the moment he thought I was pretty.
He saw me. Me, not just a body in the street, not just someone in rags that needed a bath. He saw me.
I knew it wouldn’t last. But in that instant, I forgot again. In that instant, I was just trapped.
A hesitant, sheepish smile came up on my face. “It’s okay,” I ventured. My voice was odd with misuse, all wrong lilts and raised at the wrong times. Still, I shrugged with my best nonchalance and tossed my hair. The railer man had cut off great hanks of my hair when he cut the bag off my head, so the auburn curls grew back all off-kilter and skewed. They had just grown past my ears again so I tugged on them and resettled my knit cap on my head. I knew he was taking me in and some old instinct taught me what to do again. I didn’t remember how to be flirty so much as followed an old-time feeling, the kind that might come pre-programmed into all human beings. I gave him my best smile and asked, “Were you taking my picture?”
This time it was his turn to look sheepish. “Yeah, I did. I’m a photographer. Well, a student really. I’m sorry if that’s not okay.” He rubbed the back of my neck. “I didn’t want to be disrespectful. You just looked so peaceful.”
Peaceful? I didn’t think I was ever peaceful these days. “Why would it be disrespectful?”
My photographer looked over his shoulder around at the park, staring off into the gloom of the evening. “Sometimes,” he admitted, “I take pictures of the folk who sleep in the parks, or in the subways. I think they have the most expressive faces, and their lives are-“
He stopped, eyes widening and then looked down. I understood; he knew he was about to say something so silly, talking about people in the underground like they were some kind of wildlife to take pictures of, like a part of the fauna of the big city. I was one of them. He expected me to be angry. I was just too delighted to have someone to talk to, someone with eyes like his. At least, I reasoned, he had the grace to feel ashamed of himself.
I couldn’t help myself. A startled laugh escaped me and I covered my mouth.
It didn’t make my photographer feel any better. He turned red to the tips of his ears. “You probably think I’m an ass,” he continued. He took a step back, nearly out of the circle of lamplight above us.
Panic welled up in me; I reached out one hand. “Wait, no!” I surprised myself at how loud I was. I pulled my hand back and smiled. “Did I at least look okay? I’m not horrible looking?” My photographer hesitated again. Then that smile of pure kindness came back and I was lost all over again.
“You couldn’t be horrible looking,” he replied.
All words went away. In that moment, I could have promised him every photo he wanted.
Thank you, J.R. for stopping by and sharing about The Lost and City Harvest with my readers. For more information please go to:


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