"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giovanni Gonzalez and the Kindle All-Stars

Giovanni Gonzalez, age 5
On August 15, 2011 I saw a tweet from Bernard Schaffer inviting anyone and everyone to submit a short story to his Kindle All-Stars Project. I sent him an email within an hour asking for more information. The next day, I emailed a short story submission to him. I figured, why not? Anyhow, you know the rest. I've told this story before. Today, I want to tell you the part you don't know: the reason I'm working so hard to make the Kindle All-Stars Project a success.

Late in the evening of August 16, I already knew that Bernard wanted my story in the book. He returned it with suggestions for edits and told me to get to work. The following day, he sent out a group email to all parties involved in the project so far. Bernard had decided that putting out an anthology for .99 and trying to divide whatever proceeds between a group of authors would be a logistical nightmare, so he thought the best thing would be to donate the profits to charity. The charity he chose was the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. How could I say no? First of all, none of us was going to make any real money from the project anyway, but my own personal feelings about this particular charity would not have let me object.

Virtually everyone has heard of Caylee Anthony and JonBenet Ramsey. Many of us grew up watching John Walsh on America's Most Wanted and know the story of his son Adam. But the child abduction case that haunts me is a local one. An excellent article regarding this case can be found here, so I'll just give you a quick rundown.

Giovanni Gonzalez as he might look today
Daisy Colon dropped off her son, Giovanni Gonzalez at his father's house in Lynn, MA at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 15, 2008 for a weekend visit. When she returned to pick up her son on Sunday evening, Giovanni's father, Ernesto, claimed she had never dropped him off. To this day, the only person who knows for certain where Giovanni is, or even whether he's still alive, is his father. And he's not talking.

So why was this case not on the national news? Because that adorable little toddler, Caylee Anthony disappeared two months prior and the country was too wrapped up in trying to locate her to bother looking for a five year old from a poor neighborhood in a Boston suburb.

It wasn't until I began pulling together information for this post that I realized the exact date. Giovanni Gonzalez was last seen by his mother exactly three years before I saw that tweet that got me involved in this project. Everything happens for a reason, right?

So here I am, nearly two months after seeing that tweet, fully entrenched in a project that has grown bigger than its creator initially intended, hoping for two things:

1.  that eventually Giovanni Gonzalez will be found alive and returned safely to his mother.
2.  that the Kindle All-Stars Project develops into the amazing force for good that I know it can be.

For more information on the Kindle All-Stars Project, its first book, Kindle All-Stars Presents: Resistance Front, and each of the authors involved, visit our website:  www.KindleAllStars.com. While you're there, please consider making a donation to defray the cost of publication.

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