Sunday, July 31, 2011

Benefit to Help Author L.A. Banks

Every once and a while this blog has the opportunity to help someone above and beyond the normal ebook rah-rah-rah.

I met Leslie Banks at a conference in New Orleans, and she quickly became a friend. She was interested in self-publishing, and I got her in touch with my people (Rob Siders, Carl Graves. Cheryl Perez--all in the sidebar) who helped her self-publish her novel Shadow Walker.

Leslie was recently diagnosed with late stage adrenal cancer, and she's getting hammered by medical bills. This is from the Liar's Club website:

Come network, rub elbows with authors and editors, and, above all, have a night of fun for a good cause. It’s all part of a special Writers’ Bash on Saturday, August 6th, beginning at 7 p.m. and going on till closing at Smokey Joe’s bar located at 208 S. 40th Street in University City on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Nab your ticket and reserve your spot now by clicking here.

At the bash, enjoy music and munchies, discounted drinks, and chances to bid on amazing silent auction items including full manuscript critiques by top New York literary agents and editors! (*Just added items to auction list: scholarship to the Backspace Conference in NY, and a chance to name a character in the upcoming thriller STIRRED by Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch!) Admission to the event, which is sponsored by the Liars Club, is $20, $10 for college students with I.D. All proceeds go toward the expenses of ill author, Liars Club member and wonderful friend Leslie Esdaile Banks (who writes under the name L.A. Banks). Leslie is battling a rare cancer.

At the Writers’ Bash on August 6th, in addition to $2 beers and $3 wines, there will be a special drink for the adventurous called “The Vamp,” dedicated to Leslie and her popular Vampire Huntress novels. And throughout the night, try your luck in a 50/50, and with inexpensive basket raffles. And don’t forget that impressive silent auction.

“The silent auction is going to be really exciting,” predicts Random House author and Liar Marie Lamba. Items include tickets and a backstage tour for Jersey Boys on Broadway; full scholarships to writer’s conferences such as Backspace; signed books by New York Times bestselling authors such as Charlaine Harris, Heather Graham and Sherrilyn Kenyon; and the coveted manuscript critiques offered by a number of New York editors and literary agents. Lamba says, “How much would you pay to have your full manuscript read by a top literary agent? And then have that agent give you a full critique over the phone? For us writers, that’s simply priceless.”

So far, we’ve got crits offered by editors from Pocket Books, St. Martins, and Ace/ROC. Literary agent crits hail from McIntosh & Otis, Harvey Klinger, Jennifer DeChiara Agency, the Bent Agency, and Folio. More great stuff keeps being added. To see the most up-to-date details of this event and the latest items added to the auction, click on the Writers’ Bash Details tab above, or click here.

“Personally, I’m really looking forward to the Bash, and getting to know even more writers and editors from our area,” says New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry. Maberry, who is a founding member of the Liars Club, went to Conwell Middle School with Leslie in Philly. “Leslie is an exceptional treasure. A warm and talented woman.”

L.A. Banks (right) with Merry Jones at one of our many high-spirited Liars Club talks

Leslie (L.A. Banks), a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, has written over 40 novels and 21 novellas. She was honored by the University of Pennsylvania Black Alumni Society as “A Living Legend,” and Mayor Nutter appointed her to the Philadelphia Free Library Board as a commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy. In 2010, as a single mom and freelancer faced with a massive increase in her insurance bills, she fired off an eloquent email to the White House. President Barack Obama took notice, and Leslie had the distinct honor of introducing the President when he came to Philadelphia to talk about health care reform.

Ironically, just a few months ago Leslie learned she had late stage adrenal cancer, and that her insurance is inadequate, leaving her family facing massive expenses.

Leslie is a University City resident, and a Penn and Temple graduate. “She’s truly one of our own,” Maberry says, “and we hope everyone will come out in full force to Smokey Joes on the Penn campus to honor this amazing woman and help her family at this difficult time.”

“This will definitely be a red-hot meetup,” says Lamba. “A chance to network with the creative community, and do some good, too. So join the Liars Club and come hoist a cold one for Leslie. It’ll be a blast. Honest!”

Joe sez: If you can't attend, you can still help. They've set up Paypal donations for Leslie.

*Can’t make it to the bash, but want to help out? Then donate toward Leslie’s medical costs by clicking here: (Note, donations are not tax deductible.)

I donated $2000.00. But any amount is helpful.

I'll send a signed hardcover of Bloody Mary to anyone who donates $30 or more. Just forward your Paypal email receipt to me.