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June 06, 2011

Art for Heart's Sake




By June, the official count of dead and missing remained above 24,000.

 Tens of thousands of people remained housed in temporary shelters or evacuated their homes due to the nuclear crisis.                                               

                                                 **The New York Times


HANK:  Today, we offer you stories. Today, we offer you prizes. And in return, you can help 
change the world.

Lipstick Chronicles is honored to present, for the very first time, the announcement of the completion of a remarkable project--SHAKEN, a book of short stories to benefit the people of Japan.

TIM HALLINAN: Add together twenty mystery writers with plenty of talent and lots of goodwill, plus e-book technology. Sprinkle it with the haiku of Basho, in the best modern English translation, donated by the translator, and a cover designed—surprise—by a first-rate mystery author. The result is (I think) the first e-book ever created as a charity fund-raiser—SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN, coming out in the next ten days or so on Amazon.

 One hundred percent of the authors' royalties from the book will go to the 2011 Japan Relief Fund administered by the Japan America Society of Southern California.

HANK: It was all Edgar-nominee Tim's idea. He thought of it, he rounded up the authors, he wrangled us and encouraged us and organized the fund-raising element and  negotiated with Amazon and met with non-profits and worked non-stop-diligently to make it happen.

TIM: Watching coverage of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, I found myself wishing that writers, like actors and rock stars, could pool their craft to raise money when there's an aching need.

HANK: We can't sing, I can't at least, and we 're not movie stars, but we can do what we can do. We write, we read, we love books and stories.

TIM: And I instantly realized that we could do something, and quickly, because of the immediacy of e-books. I e-mailed about 30 writers, including Hank, to ask whether they'd be willing to contribute a story. The response was overwhelming.

HANK: What a heart-breakingly life-changingly wonderful idea. Editor-Boss Tim told us the stories could be whatever we wanted, but must have some connection--in any way we could imagine--with Japan.

TIM: In the end, we wound up with an amazing selection of writers: Hank, Brett Battles, Cara Black, Robert Gregory Brown, Vicki Doudera, Dianne Emley, Dal Furutani, Stefan Hammond, Rosemary Harris, Gar Anthony Haywood, Naomi Hirahara, Wendy Hornsby, Ken Kuhlken, Debbi Mack, Adrian McKinty, I.J. Parker, Gary Phillips, Jeffrey Siger, Kelli Stanley, C.J. West, Jeri Westerson, and me.

HANK: The stories are are incredibly different from each other. Gary Phillips' tough dark macho detective story, Tim's matching of Hollywood with 1940's history, Naomi Hirahara's haunting story of deception and desire.   And it's more than just the stories--there's also a jewel of a haiku between each one.

TIM: Yes, it was Adrian McKinty's opening elegiac piece about the time he spent in Sendai, following in the footsteps of the 17th century poet Basho, that planted the idea of alternating haiku with the stories. The Internet being what it is, within three days of approaching online haiku communities asking about good, available translations, I got an e-mail from Jane Riechhold, whose 2008 Kodansha translation of all Bacho's Haiku is the current gold standard. She gave us permission to use as many as we needed.

 HANK: You heard what Tim said. One hundred per cent of the authors' royalties will go to the Japan Relief fund. And we're already thinking about future projects--"Because Words Can Change the World."

                        TIM: In the Introduction to the book, I said this was art for heart's sake. I feel as though I've spent the past few weeks midstream in a river of generosity. It's been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

 HANK:( And even though there was a clamor for it, editor Tim wouldn't let his name go on the cover.)  Now, don't go clicking away to Amazon just yet. It'll be a week or so before you can buy this collection. But we can't wait to give you a taste of the amazing selection of stories. So what better way than a contest?

 TIM: See whether you can match the excerpts below with one of the listed stories. Five people who get them all right will win signed first editions from Hank and me.

HANK: And then, watch this space--and many others, by way of the other authors involved--to see how you can help. Now presenting, for the very first time--just a few of the stories of SHAKEN.


 1. One thing Eunice had learned very well during her internment was how to bargain. When you wanted something that was scarce – which was just about everything – you needed to come up with something useful to trade with, a compelling argument, and a quick finish. Too many deals got lost when people had time to think them over. So, here she stood, toe to toe with Mr. Antonelli, ready to bargain. She intended to get Papa’s truck back – his truck, not just a truck. 


 2. Someone killed the big arc light, and beyond it, Kiyoshi saw his friend Kenji, waiting. Kenji looked like his ears were ringing, like someone had hit him in the face with a tree. Kiyoshi waited while a wardrobe woman unbuttoned his robe from behind and slipped it off his shoulders, and then, with the arc light still a dark flare at the corner of his vision, he found his way to the edge of the platform and down the steps.

 “You're not working today?” Kiyoshi asked in Japanese.

“Sit down, Kiyoshi-san,” Kenji said. “It will be best if you sit down.”


3. All of a sudden the shrill drilling of the telephone came between them. Her business-like voice answered.

Moshi mosh, hello.”

Her tone changed immediately. “Anata,” she breathed.

 He could never get over how that Japanese pronoun anata, which meant ‘you,’ could mean so much. A simple pronoun. But the way a woman said it spoke volumes.


4. I risked an email to Teri: “We’re problem-solvers. We should do something. But I can’t think of anything that’ll hurt her more than it’ll hurt us.”

 Teri’s response popped up. “Anzuru yori umu ga yasushi.”

I turned to her, assuming it was one of her dad’s sayings, but not being able to read Japanese or whatever, that didn’t help. Of course I couldn’t say anything out loud, so I turned to her and made a face like, Huh?

She hit send. “It means: Fear is greater than the danger. An attempt is sometimes easier than expected.”

 Did she think we should try something to, um, exterminate the Queen Bee? Like what?


5. Strangers came and went for days. Gloria rested her elbows on her countertop, the one Ed had always said was too expensive, and watched, muttering to herself about how she'd have to get the windows washed again with all the dust and garden debris the workers were kicking up leaving a fine film on everything—her windows, her rhododendrons, which Kimiko had helped her choose at the nursery, even her eyeglasses. She envisioned late night hot-tub parties, scantily clad women traipsing around the area visible from her kitchen window! She would put her foot down. And the newcomer would probably make changes. Why did he buy the Tanakas' home if he was going to make changes?


6, The man still held her wrist. She recognized him. He was a rough-speaking, lowland man, with a kimono that was repaired with haphazard sewing. He had been accused of killing a man but no one could ever prove it and anyway Masaru-sama had paid off the judges. So it was said.

 She wanted to pull her hand away. His touch was clammy and disquieting, as was his leer, but she dared not shake him loose. Why was Masaru-sama allowing it?


7. A year or so before my birth, a stout Frenchwoman named Charlotte Pease was peeling potatoes at her kitchen sink at her farmhouse on the west cove of Hurricane Harbor. She glanced up and out the window as was her habit and saw a small boat with a slight, black-haired occupant.

The woman in the boat was crying.


 8. The streets teemed with refugees, one and all fleeing to the Park, except for those who stared in awe at the smoke enveloping the heart of San Francisco, watching building after building fall to Funston’s dynamite crew.  A few of the city’s elite opened still-standing mansions to the wrecked and wretched, Henry Crocker serving water from an unchipped china cup.


 9. There was an odd little moment just after the two had stepped outside the terminal. The woman let the bodyguard get ahead of her a few paces, then glanced back at the door as another woman, this one tall and blonde and Caucasian, came out of the building. It appeared to Orlando that they shared a look, but they were too far away to know for sure. A second later the blonde passed them and walked off to the right.


HANK and TIM: So who wrote those? Match them with these authors and  titles!

a. GIFT OF THE SEA  by Vicki Doudera

 b. THE ASSIGNMENT  by Brett Battles

 c. COOLIE  by Kelli Stanley

d. THE SILKEN CLAW by Tim Hallinan

e. BORROWED SCENERY by Rosemary Harris

f. FATHER KNOWS BEST  by Hank Phillippi Ryan

g.  NOODLE GIRL  by Jeri Westerson

h.  MOSQUITO INCENSE  by Cara Black

i.  THE EMPEROR'S TRUCK  by Wendy Hornsby


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This is so beautiful. I will tell my daughter-in-law Kyoko and her family in Japan about SHAKEN right now.

Here are my guesses, though if some freak of luck finally breaks in my favor please keep the prize. I'm looking forward to supporting your efforts. What a GREAT idea!


Sorry this part was cut:

. . . about the writers who are doing this beautiful thing.

What an amazing idea. I cannot wait to purchase this!

Very cool! What a great way to help your fellow man. Kudos to all involved.

Brilliant idea, brilliant execution. Best wishes for a great, great success with it!

OH, thanks everyone. Come back from time to time today, because some of the contributors will be visiting to tell a bit about their stories or their experiences...

You can also help by telling a pal to come read today's blog!

Because words can change the world.


Please keep us posted when this is available!

I'm not going to try to guess, but I am going to say that I think what y'all have done is miraculous and inspiring. Thanks to each and every one! Can't wait to buy it.

What an amazing idea. Thanks so much to Tim for getting it all together, and for all the authors who contributed.

Please let us know the minute it's available to purchase.

I will definitely spread the word.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

Brilliant idea, and the story teases all look delicious. Can't wait to read it, and will post a link on my Facebook page this morning.

Best of luck.

Thank you so much, Karen in Ohio! And you give me an idea: anyone who posts a Facebook or Twitter link--let us know! And you're entered in the drawing for the book!

Ha - I just finished putting the link on my Facebook page, and that was before I saw this! Great minds...

Wonderful! Thanks, Laura!

Great idea...will it be available at BN.COM as well? Nook readers would love the idea and I could certainly mention it to them at the store at every given opportunity (as well as get one for me!)
Maybe writers (or some writers) can't sing, but you guys have the biggest hearts of anyone I know...and you don't toot your own horns about it when you do something nice. Bravo!

Great post Hank and Tim. It's been an honor to participate in this amazing project.

Maryann, since Amazon and Barnes & Noble are competitors, their products don't mix, but I'm wondering this, along the same lines: Does anyone know of a utility that can take a Kindle doc and turn it into an ePub doc, or vice versa? That would be tres useful.

Thanks for putting me in the drawing, Hank!

Just want to say what an honor it has been for me to be included in this anthology. When Tim called me and told me his idea, I was blown away. And when he said I could basically write whatever I wanted as long as there was some kind of Japan connection, I decided this was a great time to give one of the supporting characters from my series her own story. I hope this becomes the all time best seller on Amazon! And with your help, it will! THANKS, TIM!!!

I would be proud to participate and purchase this anthology.
What a wonderful and heartfelt project. Thank you.

I also put a link on my FB page before I even got to reading the comments on this post. Wonderful idea, the embodiment of win-win (or win-win-win -- the Japanese people win, the readers win by discovering new authors, and the authors win).

And as to a utility that can do e-reader file conversion, one exists -- Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/), but unless one is willing to go looking for special instructions to strip out *illegally* the DRM thingie that prevents transfer of most current books from one device to another), Kindle books still won't "play nice" with other devices without using a Kindle app. Calibre is still worth getting, though, because it can convert and organize free books such as one can download from Project Gutenberg.

What a wonderful and generous project!!! A storytelling friend talked of a similar project, but I can't find that info at this moment . . .

Perhaps next we can have tornado relief stories??

I was also honored and happy that Tim included me. I've long admired his books, and I happen to set my novels in Japan. The disaster was very upsetting to me, and Tim's invitation was such a welcome thing. My story (like my series) is historicl, a historical mystery, set in eleventh century Japan, the time of GENJI and of Sei Shonagon's PILLOWBOOK. I hope people will enjoy it, and that the whole collection will do very well indeed.

And anyone who has a story in the book and wants to tell us more about it..please do!

Well, okay... Here's something about my story for SHAKEN. It's called "Faith's Secret" and is set in the 1970s and today. It's about two childhood best friends, Faith who is Japanese-American, and the narrator who is Anglo, growing up in a downtrodden, multi-cultural corner of L.A. In high school, Faith shares a devastating secret with her friend that has toxic ripples for decades.

I also found it liberating when Tim said to write "anything" as long as it's linked somehow to Japan. "Faith's Secret" is not a mystery and it's also told in first person, which were both departures for me. I can't wait to read everyone else's stories in this amazing collection!

When Tim asked me I couldn't say no. First, because I've lived in southern California all my life and know that earthquakes are the sword of Damacles for us all--it's never a question of "if" but "when" the next truly damaging earthquake will strike. So there is great empathy for our neighbors in Japan. And second, this was to be my first inclusion in an anthology and what a debut! With so many talented mystery authors any reader will find something there to tantalize while doing a good thing. It's such a win win. I can't wait to read the other stories!

What a response. I want to say that this has been one of the most heartening experiences of my life. Working with these amazing writers shored up my faith in a lot of things, which was becoming sort of threadbare.

FYI, we're on Amazon PRIMARILY because they pay at the end of each and every month, instead of dicking around with quarters and fiscal years as, for example, B&N does. The advantage of Amazon is that money will flow MONTHLY, with no effort on the Fund's part, into their coffers.

Please, if you're going to do something on Facebook or Twitter or other public forums, wait until the book is out -- maybe 6-7 days. if you've already done something, please make a note to go back and do something else when people can actually buy the book with a single click.

Once again, amazing writers, and I can say with complete honesty, amazing book.

Oh -- just want to say that there is NO DRM on this book, so people with Calibre or the other conversion programs can create an epub for reading on a Nook.

At some point, though, we might take the project to Barnes&Noble.

And we've talked about doing TWISTED, a response to the tornadoes, but I can't possibly be the editor. I have a very, very, very late book. (Got an idea for a story, though.)

Wow! What a great idea! I feel honored and lucky to be included in this anthology. Thanks, Tim, for coming up with the idea and organizing this effort.

My own story "Cherry Blossoms," is about a half Japanese, half Jewish American woman who returns to her home town (Washington, DC) to deal with some issues involving her father.

That's all I'm going to say. :)

Except that I can't wait to read all the stories in this book on my own Kindle. :-)

I was honored to be included. I'm a huge fan of Tim's prose and with his huge heart he is a fantastic role model. I hope someday he does become a rock star, if only in the literary world.

Tim's story about 1940's Hollywood is worth the price of the book.

I'm so looking forward to reading these stories. I'm so excited. But wait - no Nook version?? I guess I'm okay with Amazon offering the book a for few days before Nook, like an exclusive head-start on sales. I know the stores are competitors, but SHAKEN will come to Nook, too, eventually, right?? Please???? :)

My guesses

a. GIFT OF THE SEA by Vicki Doudera 7

b. THE ASSIGNMENT by Brett Battles 9

c. COOLIE by Kelli Stanley 6

d. THE SILKEN CLAW by Tim Hallinan 8

e. BORROWED SCENERY by Rosemary Harris 5

f. FATHER KNOWS BEST by Hank Phillippi Ryan 2

g. NOODLE GIRL by Jeri Westerson 3

h. MOSQUITO INCENSE by Cara Black 4

i. THE EMPEROR'S TRUCK by Wendy Hornsby 1

Tomorrow I start on a logo for Reading can change the world.

The oddities of life mean that Princess One has two pre-school classmates from Japan. One lives south of Tokyo and well inland and everything was fine. The other is currently living in London. The world is a very small place.

What a lovely idea! The excerpts all sound intriguing. My guess is: 1.i, 2.e, 3.b, 4. f, 5.h, 6.g, 7.a, 8 c, 9.d. I hope that the book raises a lot for the relief fund.

So proud to be included in this project. Tim has worked tirelessly on Shaken and I hope that people will cut and paste Hank's post and send to as many friends (and local media..?)as possible so that his generosity and hard work will be rewarded.

SO what do you think, gang? Help us pick a slogan:

Because Reading Can Change the World

Because Words Can Change the World

Our Words Can Change the World

Because Stories Can Change the World

Just a note about why we're only on Amazon (at this point)-- only Amazon pays monthly, every month, right on the nose, without making the charity wait around for the close of a quarter or some fiscal year nonsense. The way this works, on the 30th of every month, Amazon just does a transfer of all the money for that month into the Relief Fund's bank account.

(There's a 60-day lag, but once that's passed, the deposits are monthly.)

And there is NO DRM on SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN, so the mobi (Kindle) files can be converted into epub for the Nook.

No one has the matches correct! Yet. Susan Cory--you're close!

Here's a hint: My story, Father Knows Best, is number 4.
Tim's The Silken Claw is #2.

Here is my slogan contribution:

Readers for Humanity!

This is such an an amazing project. I'm looking forward to each and every story - my Kindle is ready and waiting.

Before ereaders, either 1) a traditional publisher would have taken a year putting it together, or 2) you could have Xeroxed and stapled it yourself and sold your friends something looking like a class handout. Hail the brave digital world of books.

This is a truly wonderful idea. Guess I'll have to borrow my wife's Kindle.

Good to know about the DRM-free file. Thanks for that info!

My cousin's Japanese daugter-in-law lost 36 family members in the tsunami.

YOu're so right, Skippper!

More slogan possibilities:
Read A Story, Change A Life.
Put Our Words to Work.
Put Words to Work.
Put Your Words to Work.
When Words Can Make A Difference.
Because Words Can Make A Difference.
Because Words Can Change the World.

What think?

And of course we'll tell you when you can buy the book! Very soon now..

And when he said I could basically write whatever I wanted as long as there was some kind of Japan connection, I decided this was a great time to give one of the supporting characters from my series her own story. I hope this becomes the all time best seller on Amazon! And with your help, it will! THANKS, TIM!!!

I received Tim's invitation to participate in this incredible, ground-breaking project literally days after I had experienced a home burglary. Focusing on the almost unimaginable losses Japan and its people are dealing with helped me get through my own emotional stress ... and as a San Francisco resident, the fear of similar catastrophe is one we deal with every day.

I'm enormously honored to have contributed, and can't wait to read everyone's stories -- and most of all, raise a lot of money!! Thank you, Tim, for your leadership, vision and inspiration!!

Posted to Facebook, with appreciation for the opportunity to share with others a way to DO something!

Because Words Do make a Difference-I posted the link to Facebook and I can't wait to see this. My favorite writers in what is a great good deed.

This is terrific. I'm a fan of Tim Hallinan & imagine I will find some new favorite authors through Shaken. So touched by your generosity and creativity. Can't wait to read the stories. Just posted on Twitter and Facebook. Bravo!

This is terrific. I'm a fan of Tim Hallinan and imagine I will find more favorite authors in Shaken. So touched by your generosity and creativity. Just posted on Twitter and Facebook. Bravo!

So interesting it is, I like it !

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