Anthology / Books/Anthologies / Represention

Nothing Without Us own-voice anthology is on Kickstarter!

ID: Grey table against grey backdrop. A tablet, phone, and book show the Nothing Without Us front cover. The cover is a graffiti wall with Nothing Without Us spray-painted in black. Banner text reads: Nothing Without Us, an own-voices, multi-genre fiction anthology with heroes who are disabled, neurodiverse, Deaf, and/or who manage mental illness and/or chronic conditions. (Renaissance logo of phoenix with their slogan, Diverse Canadian Vocies.)

For the entire month of April 2019, the Nothing Without Us anthology is live on Kickstarter. At the time of this post, we raised 32% towards our goal, but we have a stretch goal of $6500 that we’d love to reach. This would result in a print book with illustrations, an eBook, and an audio book. Please consider helping us lift up the work of our authors!

What’s so special about this project?

All the stories star protagonists who identify as disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or they manage mental illness. We not only have diversity within the disability/Deaf family, but also of culture, race, gender, age, religious/spiritual beliefs, and age. We’re so excited to bring this project to fruition!

Who are involved in this project?

The co-editors are myself (Cait Gordon) and Talia C. Johnson. (Listen to our radio interview on Live from Studio 5!) Our wonderful publisher is Renaissance, whose mandate is to promote diverse voices. And the incredibly talented authors are listed below, along with a blurb of their stories:

The Bellwoods Golem, by Aus Bahadur—Something woke up Hadas in the middle of the night: a golem cradling their cell phone. This alone would be most unexpected, but the creature instinctively knowing what breakfast to prepare gives Hadas further pause to ponder over their new acquaintance.

Knit One, Purl Two, by Carolyn Charron—Maggie has a problem. There’s a vampire in her basement. The coffin in the living room should have been a giveaway, but sometimes tenants can be eccentric.

Names, by Jennifer Lee Rossman—When a coyote crosses Beck’s path, it’s jolting. Mostly because the animal has ‘people’ eyes. And Beck might be the only one in the town who knows why.

Mafia Butterfly, by Raymond Luczak—Entering into any social dynamic can often feel awkward at first, but a young woman soon discovers her local Deaf community events are dominated by a gatekeeping ‘mafia boss.’

Dress Rehearsal, by Nicole Zelniker—Lizzie hates hospitals. She promised her sister she’d visit their dying mother, even though Lizzie and her mom have something in common: they share the same genetic disease.

The Descent, by Jamieson Wolf—A wizard, seeks a mystical Oracle to find out how he can be cured of his debilitating condition, known only to him as the pesky Max Shadow. He must descend a seemingly never-ending staircase unassisted, with Max as his constant companion.

Bug Hunt, by Joanna Marsh—Mina and four other women are given a mission to destroy the best pilot in the Empire, Anna Hyde. Hyde’s leading-edge mech is known as the Godkiller. The five soldiers’ mech fighters are subpar. They’re probably screwed.

Oliver Gutierrez and the Walking Stick of Destiny, by Elliott Dunstan—Oliver must make a decision about xyr cane, which is set against the corner, stalking xem. But before xe can figure it out, two familiar voices pipe in with their opinion on the subject.

Crutch. Cage, Sword, Kerfuffle, by Dorothy Ellen Palmer—A story in three acts, featuring Nellie, a pregnant, disabled activist and improv theatre performer. On Friday, she spots a sword in the Roman Britain wing of the museum—and it’s not just any sword. It’s the sword, which might be the perfect weapon to carry out her plan for the weekend.

Iron Bone, by J. Ivanel Johnson—Fiona manages to have a rod up her backside while being spineless at the same time, especially when it comes to encounters with the Royal family. Still, this equestrian presses on, even if she might be the cause of tragic global events.

Sometimes You…, by Tonya Liburd—Robin is homeless and grappling with mental illness but finds surprising ways to meet the challenges around them. Sometimes it’s not as easy as you think…

Search and Seizure, by Shannon Barnsley—Cassie wants answers to why she’s having seizures, only to be met with the response, “It’s all in your head.” Things take a turn for the paranormal as Cassie finds herself back in the hospital once again, but this time, no one can tell she’s really there.

Backbone, by Madona Skaff—Ian is covered in blood that’s not his own. His best friend says he won’t get away with it. What will Ian do now that the cops have found him on the floor… beside the body?

The Case of the Silenco Scientist, by Maverick Smith—A client’s spouse and child are missing, presumed abducted. It’s now up to two Silenco investigators to get to the bottom of this case, and there’s no time to lose.

Flight, by George Zancola—It’s summertime in Toronto, during a heatwave in ’76. Tom and his sidekick Cathy have just escaped detention, hoping to begin a new way of life as they march through the city’s sweltering heat.

Panic in Paradise, by Diane Koerner—A woman coping with multiple chemical sensitivities finds some relief in her home on the Big Island…until the Volcano Goddess Pele makes known her displeasure at what humankind has constructed around this paradise.

The Blessing Cookies, by Laurie Stewart—It’s the Harvest Festival and time for the Blessing ritual. The family matriarch has been the Voice of Lethe for decades. The cookies must be doled out, and the crystal will decide. This will be a miserable day.

Jungle Demon, by Tom Johnson—In an African wood of dense trees and vines resides a monster who could even be part of the jungle itself. N’Domo Demon is the game given to this creature, once a man, who now observes human life from the fringes.

The Living Among the Dead, by Tasha Fierce—What’s it like to feel like you have to ‘pass as alive’ among the living? When nobody wants to believe you’re dead, even though you’ve tried to explain it to them, you’ve no choice but to keep it a secret.

Alone, by Nathan Fréchette—Grief can be life-changing. Having a support system is crucial, especially when you don’t want to go through it alone.

No Room at the Inn, by Emily Gillespie—You find yourself in the hospital and cry out for water. You’re not convinced anyone can see you until a doctor asks you a direct question. You know you should spend the night—they even have your pill—but they’re not listening to what you’re asking for.

Charity™, by Derek Newman-Stille—It’s fundraiser time, when all the disabled folks are on display, hoping to entice the ever-so curious able-bodied donors to cough up some cash. After all, money from the Normies is all they have to live on, now that there are no other financial assistance programs. The better the inspiration, the higher the donation. Except…not every Crip wants to play the game

Why support us?

Too often in fiction people with disabilities are perceived as weak, tragic, or even worse—inspirational. And by the latter we mean that we’re written only to boost up abled folks. We’re also often side characters, if we’re thought of at all. This is most probably because we are written by people who don’t get us. In Nothing Without Us, we have stories that have been crafted by authors with lived experience. We are the heroes, the love interest, the ghost who changes destinies, the wizard, the space pilot. Most of all, we are the protagonists. People in our community often don’t get our stories published. This anthology project will pay its authors.

Your support is so greatly appreciated. Thanks to all who share about Nothing Without Us and who have and will fund our Kickstarter.

You can find/follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, blog, and in the Renaissance catalogue!

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