As an author of -- what I like to call -- Inspirational Thrillers, I like to try and find the silver lining of any given situation. The hope rather than the sorrow. The sweet rather than the bitter. However, in order to understand the solutions that are needed, one must first understand the problems. And one such problem in the United States today, regardless of how great of a nation we might appear to be in the eyes of the world, is illiteracy. According to a study in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the United States are unable to read. That’s 14 percent of the population. Twenty-one percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read. To me, these do not sound like numbers of a nation living up to its potential.
So the question that was framed in my ever-working mind was: "How can we try and build the excitement of reading back into a world where Social Media and Television rule the roost?" And that is why I have decided to create the "Reading. What a Novel Idea!" Campaign. The goal of this program is very simple. Let's bring the joy back to reading. Let's help people find enjoyment in allowing books to help stretch our imaginations again. Why do we spend so much time on social media looking at what someone, who we don't really know, ate for lunch? Why do we waste our days sitting in front of the television like mindless zombies while consuming every last episode available on Netflix? Don't get me wrong. I enjoy movies...I make them, so I should understand their intrinsic value of entertainment. But let's be honest....how many of the movies or shows that we bombard ourselves with are actually created from books? Many of them! So why can't we also see the value, as well as the benefits, of reading as well as enjoying those other forms of entertainment? Why not grab one of the classics or a modern dystopian YA novel and allow our minds to be challenged while going on a fast-paced thrill ride? And for us parents: If our children don't see the enjoyment of reading in us, will they ever see the need to want to read?
As I said: The program is very simple. In an attempt to rekindle the joys of reading, every time one of my books is purchased through my website using coupon code JOY2READ, not only will you receive a 10% discount, but 20% of the net profits will be donated to an organization that is very near and dear to my heart....K9s For Warriors. Now you might be asking yourself, "Why would he donate to such a place while trying to help the cause of illiteracy?" The answer is two fold. First, K9s For Warriors is an organization that rescues dogs, and then uses those dogs in the rehabilitation process for our War Veterans when they return home from service. And it is the sacrifices made by those truly heroic service men and woman that give me the freedom, as an author, to write and publish the kinds of books that I do. It is the same freedom that allows you to pick up any of those books and read. Therefore, we should not take that freedom lightly. We are not living in a time or place where books are being burned and removed from our availability, so why not utilize such freedom while giving back to those who have given their all at the same time? Second, I love dogs. I am a huge dog person. I currently have 3 dogs as family members with a fourth that will remain in my heart forever and always. My love for these most selfless animals is even prevalent in my writings. My novel, Beyond The Gate for example has a dog who is pretty much a main character, as will future books to come. I'm a dog lover through and through. What more can I say?
So let's work together in this fashion. Let's spread the joy of a good book. Let's ignite the creativity within us all and enjoy our freedom to read while giving back to those who have given us that freedom.....
....one book at a time.