On September 18th, representatives of Google, Facebook and Twitter met with members of Congress to discuss ways to curb extremist behavior on social media. They referred to the Christchurch, New Zealand Mosque attacks this past March. Remember? That was another mass shooting. That time the terrorist was a white supremacist; the victims Muslim worshipers.
What Happened in Christchurch?
Haven Book Cover: photo Courtesy of Claire Plaisted, Plaisted Publishing House.
Any slaughter is horrific, but attacks on schools and worship services always seem to hit me the hardest. Freedom to believe and worship as you see fit is the cornerstone of the American experiment in democracy. An attack against any faith is an attack against religious freedom in general. In reality, it’s an attack against our right to think for ourselves.
You can’t have it both ways. If we don’t allow one set of beliefs, then someone else is limiting our ability to make our own decisions about what we do or do not believe. That isn’t religious freedom; it’s mind control. What we do limit are actions that harm others and their property. And that applies to actions based on religious or nonreligious beliefs.
During Friday prayer services on March 15, 2019,the gunman videoed the first of two attacks on Facebook Live, and played military and anti-Muslim music while carrying out the massacre. In all, 51 people were killed, and dozens injured.
When I heard about the attacks, I was horrified and saddened, like most of us are whenever these mass shootings occur. My heart went out to the people of New Zealand. I felt so helpless, I wished I could do something. I wasn’t in the best place to be of help; I was trying to get back in the saddle after three years of medical issues and the loss of my fourth guide dog, Hunter.
The Haven Project
I had just started working with Patty Fletcher of Tell-it-to-the-World Marketing. We were trying to jump-start my novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill. A couple of months later, Patty suggested that I submit something to an exciting and unique project, which I did. I soon learned that I am one of ten traditional and independent authors from around the world selected to contribute to the Haven project, sponsored by Plaisted Publishing House, Ltd. New Zealand.
Butterfly on Milkweed Flowers in Various Stages of Bloom: photo by Rich Hill.
Proceeds from the sales of Haven, A Special Edition Anthology of Short Stories, memoir and poetry, go to charities supporting the Muslim community in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks. “Butterflies & Me,” my breast cancer survival story, was chosen for inclusion in the book.
“Haven,” says Claire Plaisted, of Plaisted Publishing House, ”is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Christchurch Terror Attacks and their Surviving Families, as well as the Public Heroes, Police, Ambulance Personnel, hospital staff and all who assisted during this crisis.”
Meredith Lee Burton, another Tell-it-to-the-World Marketing author is also a contributor. In fact, she has two pieces in Haven: “Journey to Freedom” and “The Physician’s Magic Medicine.” Meredith’s ability to create modern versions of fairy tales that elevate the human experience in new directions is pure genius. She has several books out including Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption and her latest Rebecca’s Refuge.
Getting the Word Out
For most of my life, I’ve been writing press releases for one thing or another. Initially, when we lived in the Philadelphia area, they were about my music. The local newspapers, radio and TV stations covered everything from my work as a street performer, awards for special songs, my three albums and my performances everywhere from local schools and churches to events concerning disability rights sponsored by the federal government.
Then, when computers came along, things got a lot easier and cheaper. No more sending things snail mail, and I could write, edit and send without help. I donated my services to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Pennsylvania, the NFB’s Performing Arts Division, and the NFB’s Writer’s Division. I had great luck getting things posted around the nation. I always feel a secret pleasure when a newspaper just publishes my press release.
So, I went to work, writing press releases for our local area here in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, my old stomping ground in the Philadelphia area and my hometown of Easton, Pennsylvania. The first person I heard from was Julia Owens from Lehigh Valley Live, an online news source encompassing Easton, where I grew up. Here is the article she wrote after interviewing me. https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/2019/08/this-easton-native-was-one-of-ten-authors-chosen-for-an-international-writing-project.html
A couple of our local papers, including the Wyoming County Examiner, gave me a taste of that secret pleasure of having my press releases printed virtually verbatim, and with the two photos I included . Someone in our dentist’s office cut out the article, glued it to a postcard and mailed it to us. We got a fresh copy from the Examiner’s Tunkhannock office. It’s not online, so we scanned it.
This article from the 7/28/19 edition of the Wyoming County Examiner (Tunkhannock,PA) contains Donna’s press release and two pictures she sent to the paper.
Haven is available through Lulu.com
Watch the Haven Book Trailer
Links to Authors & Publishers
Claire Plaisted, Plaisted Publishing House Ltd., New Zealand
Tell-it-to-the-World Marketing: Patty Fletcher
Meredith Lee Burton
The Heart of Applebutter Hill by Donna W. Hill
Donna Takes a Break to Play with Mo, her Yellow Lab Guide Dog & His Red Jolly Ball: Photo by Rich Hill.
Donna’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/donnawhill
Facebook Fan Page for The Heart of Applebutter Hill: https://m.facebook.com/TheHeartOfApplebutterHill/