The best part of FandomFest was meeting amazing people. From readers who were kind enough to pick up my book to the booksellers at Joseph-Beth who were kind enough to sell it to other authors who gave amazing panels to, yes, shaking the hand of Norman Reedus in a hotel bar, I was overwhelmed with awesomeness.
And since being home, I've been caught in a whirlwind of social media, connecting with those new friends in more permanent ways. I'm adding Tweeps, following people on Facebook and telling them how fantastic they are, and hunting out blogs that I'm glad to add to my radar. But something stood out today in the best possible way, and I have to share it.
I'll admit that I wasn't familiar with the work of author Jim C. Hines until FandomFest. I mostly read YA and paranormal romance, but whenever I meet someone warm and friendly and funny, I'm soon asking them which book of theirs I can't live without and then shoving it into their hands at the most awkward moment possible. And, for the record, I can't wait to read Jim's Princess Series, which finally answers my question regarding why princesses can't spend less time mooning about the forest and more time kicking ass.
But what really got to me was a tab across the top of his website.
I would never have expected to see that word prominently displayed on an author's website, and I had to click it. As it turns out, when teenage Jim learned that one of his friends had been raped, he dedicated years of training and education to helping other rape victims. And his website has a detailed list of resources for people dealing with rape, including the victims themselves and people, like Jim, who wish to make a difference.
I've mentioned it before on this blog, but I was raped when I was 17. My rapist was an A student, a community leader, and the son of two high school teachers. And when I told friends what he did, many of them didn't believe me, and it was heartbreaking, and for that reason I told no one else. The fact that when faced with the same confession, Jim went to such trouble to help his friend and others like her has me in tears over my breakfast.
That's not only an amazing friend, but an amazing person.
In getting into the YA genre, as mentioned before, I'm hoping for more chances to speak to teens about issues like rape, depression, and suicide, things that played a major part in my life at that age. I hope that one day, I can make a difference, too, just like Jim.
So I want to encourage anyone needing help with rape issues to go here, on Jim's page. And if you're a reader who enjoys fantasy and likes to put their money where their heart is, check out his books.
When I met Jim, I shook his hand. Next time I see him, I'll probably tear up and hugattack him. Even 17 years later, just knowing that someone cares means the world.
You never know when you're making a difference to someone.