Monday, November 17, 2014

Chamber of Music: literature for charity

Some of my friends have put together their second annual short story anthology, with the proceeds once again going to charity.

Chamber of Music is a collection of thirteen short stories that focus on the theme of music in one way or another. Music in all its forms is such a fundamental facet of humanity, everyone can relate to it. You don't play an instrument, you say? Well, I bet you hum or whistle or even drum on your desk. Music is in our blood, our bones. It's part of what makes us human.

All the proceeds from the sales of this book go to Musicians without Borders, an amazing nonprofit organization that uses music to bring people together in strife-ridden regions of the world. What better way to remind people that we're all 'us' instead of 'us vs. them' than music?

The fun thing about this particular anthology is the wide variety of genres and 'flavors' the stories represent. The authors hail from seven different countries and have unique perspectives on life.  I spoke with three of the contributors to find out a little more about what inspired their stories.

J.B. Roger clued me in to the inspiration for her story, Song to the Moon: "Mine is inspired by my own singing and performing experiences. I am a musician and teacher for many years. I have played with orchestras, also conducted and sang with a choir and had classical singing lessons from the choir director. I was asked to do solos for a concert and then performed solo regularly in concerts as both Alto and Soprano. The relationships in the story are entirely fictional, I hasten to add here!!! Rusalka's aria is one of several I learnt but never had the chance to perform in concert as the choir disbanded. I am now singing again after a break of several years so you never know!"

C.M. Rosens talked to me about her tale, The Snake Charmer's Pipe : "I was inspired by a secondary character (Emine Kelebek) who appears in the second novel of my dark fantasy series. She's one of the children who get abducted by a Faerie Queen but manages to escape - as I was only following the story of one of the children I left the endings of the other escapees open. It was a chance for me to pay homage to my Turkish roots with the setting and flavour of the story, and explore one of those untold tales." You can find more of her writing on her blog and on Facebook here and here. Sample her writing on Wattpad, where she is CelticRose and CelticMedusa, and follow her on Twitter @CMRosens.

Natasha Rowlin gave me some insights into her anthology contribution, The Cello Room: "Writing The Cello Room enabled me to integrate two important parts of my life - music and movement. My inspiration for Amelia stemmed from my experiences working in physical rehabilitation, and seeing how a seemingly trivial skill to one person could be utterly essential and life-altering to another. I grew up with music, loved it with a passion in my youth and then gradually let it slide with the assumption I could easily pick up where I left off one day if I so wished. But through my work, I came to wonder what it would be like if that choice was taken away? Thus Amelia's story came into being. She is not scarred, disfigured, disabled or even emotionally traumatised. She has lost one small ability, her musical gift, which nonetheless has changed her life." You can find out more about Natasha on her website and follow her on Twitter @womaninsydney. You can sample more of her writings on Wattpad, where she is known as WomanInSydney.

For more information about Chamber of Music and to purchase your own copy, have a look here. The anthology is available worldwide in e-book and paper formats. You can also keep up with PSG Publishing on Facebook and Goodreads so you'll have advance notice of each year's charity anthology, along with giveaways and other fun stuff. And if you happened to miss last year's anthology, you can find out about Library of Dreams as well - it's still available worldwide in all your favorite formats.

The winter holidays are coming up and I bet you have friends and family members who love to read. What better way to give them a present and make a gift to the world as well - remember, all proceeds go to Musicians without Borders. You can also donate directly to the charity through their website. Happy reading!