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.

63 comments:

  1. Thanks, Joe. Such a great cause. I love L.A. Banks' work. I just finished reading Surrender the Dark. We need to support eachother when we can. I've donated via PayPal.

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  2. Hi, Joe. For some reason, I'm not able to send you an e-mail through your blog.

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  3. I canceled my Paypal account a while back. Is there an address where we can send a check?

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  4. Medical bills can be insane. To face them alone in this economy must be a nightmare. Thanks for letting us know about this, Joe.

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  5. Thanks for posting this, Joe. I met Leslie at that same conference. What a terrific woman.

    I'm donating again.

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  6. Anonymous11:27 AM

    I wish I could be there in person for the fundraiser. I donated. Thanks Joe!

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  7. Done! I'll forward the receipt when I get back to my computer. The event sounds like a slam dunk for everyone involved. I wish I could be there.

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  8. Donated-- I sent you a copy of the recipt, Joe.

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  9. Joe,
    It's great that you are doing this. I just donated as well and will send my receipt. It's a shame that even when you have insurance, it's still not enough. Our system needs a major overhaul.

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  10. Donated. I wish it could be more. My thoughts and prayers go out to Leslie and her family.

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  11. Glad to see the community offering support again. I love her books.

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  12. Donated and tweeted. Good on ya, Joe.

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  13. donated, will fwd receipt - and if you have a contact person i'll donate a 12 year old MacCallan to the auction (for medicinal purposes POST agent review)

    even though we had VA benefits, we still had $1.3mm in bills for my botched spine surgeries and multiple Mayo Clinic trips

    I so know where she is

    Jake

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  15. I am so sorry to hear about LA's medical condition. As someone who has to deal with a chronic illness, I know the costs of medical expenses and medications. All my good wishes.

    Cyn

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  16. Dear Leslie: I understand the challenges to health, boy do I, dear Leslie. Bit-- gov't VA plan here and ptly disabled vet hubby. Dont get me started. (I read you loud and clear Jake. Same. Same. Still a struggle. But hang in there, you too.)

    AND Leslie... You can do this and do it on open road and blue sky ... as YOU wish. I send the Linebacker angels in for you. Keep writing. That's a powerful medicine of its own. And, you are in my prayers. Not a platitude. Today, reading Joe's call, I've forwarded your name to our Sisters of Charity out of Leavenworth, and our Guadalupa├▒os in Tejas: we pray together daily. You have us now, "the madwomen in black," praying industrial strength prayers for you.

    We dont always know how long the road is back to health: we just know it is far easier with the equivalent of Chaucer's band of merry bums, hags and saints walking along beside you. Well, 'walking' is a misnomer, I meant: leaping, drinking, joking, falling down, dancing, hung over, poetry-making, and most of all, loving you. You got it!

    Hang in there Leslie, and lean on our prayers and all the good thoughts of so many others. You will prevail in many many ways.

    With love, dr. clarissa pinkola est├ęs: author, women who run with the wolves

    thanks joe for being town crier. I have yr bk already, so pls would you give autographed copy of yr bk to a needful young person in your and my name? I'll be happy then. Tx.

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  17. Merry Jones5:16 PM

    Joe--Leslie said you were a great help to her and a wonderful friend. You've certainly shown that today. Thanks for all you're doing. Merry, an adorer of Leslie and fellow Liar.

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  18. Across here in the UK we often howl at the ineptitude of our National Health Service (paid for out of our general taxes), but it is hearing stories like this, and of other commenters, that makes me thankful I live here.

    Thanks for the Paypal option.

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  19. Jude, you don't need an account to donate through paypal, and all major credit cards will be accepted.

    Joe, you are a gem and a wonderful friend for being so supportive. On behalf of Leslie's Liars Club, I thank you with a full heart!

    And to everyone who is commenting and donating, much appreciation. You are an amazing group!

    Marie

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  20. Joe, thanks so much for helping The Liars Club get the word out!

    And Jude, if you contact Keith Strunk, the Liars Club treasurer at:

    keith@riverunionstage.org

    he will give you our physical address to send a check.

    Thanks everyone!

    Kelly Simmons
    Liars Club

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  21. Anonymous7:12 PM

    Done.

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  22. I saw the Paypal button there at the end of your post, and it just clicked. I just received my Smashwords payment today, which goes to my Paypal account. It's not a large amount, but I just donated most of it. It was like it was meant to be.

    Sending thoughts and prayers to Ms. Banks and her family.

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  23. Glad to see this post. Leslie is a fantastic author and an even greater person. I had the pleasure of participating in an author panel with her in Miami a few years ago, and it was great fun. All of the participants went out to dinner before the event and we had a great evening of laughs and stories. Anyone who has seen Leslie's smile realize the life and love in this special woman.

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  24. OK, Joe. I just donated.

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  25. Anonymous11:44 PM

    I'm not leaving my name for a reason, but I am a fellow writer. I don't want this thread deflected from the help Ms. Banks needs. My husband has been battling this disease for two years. By the time they found the cancer in 2009, he was already at stage IV.

    I would donate if I could, but I can't. Let me tell you that I'm sure that any help you give her will be appreciated.

    There are only three chemo drugs out there for this type of cancer and the least expensive is still about $6,000 a month. Even the best insurance will only pay 20% of that. You do the math.

    Please help her. I know the pain this disease brings.

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  26. I don't know L.A. Banks but whenever I hear her name it is spoken with respect. I am sorry to hear of her health problems. To be ill is bad enough, but to have the bills pile up beside your sick bed only adds to the pain and worry.

    Best Wishes, Ms Banks.

    Donation made.

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  27. I clicked the UPenn Black Alumni link and watched the video of Ms. Banks’ speech re health insurance reform [she introduced the President when he spoke in Pennsylvania.] It got to me. A lot. So I looked up my Amazon sales report; my first eBook has been out one month and although the amount I’ve made in royalties so far is hardly enough to fill two small grocery bags (if you buy cheap), it seemed fitting that Ms. Banks should have it. I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend my first writing earnings.

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  28. I've read L.A. Banks books since I was about 15 years old (I'm 25 now). She has been such an inspiration to me and my writing. Even when I reread her work I still learn something new. She is constantly teaching me. Donating is the least I can do for this amazing brilliant woman. I will continue to donate as I'm able to.

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  30. @anonymous:
    "Please help her. I know the pain this disease brings."

    We will fold you in prayer also. If you want to write to us to give first names only, I will pass them onto our nuns/ Guadelupanos for prayer by name. projectscreener@aol.com But I will pass your dear hubby's name and your name on in spirit to this 'praying brigage,' regardless. Hang in there. I understand. Truly, many of us do.

    dr.cpe

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  31. Done.
    You're a good man JK.

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  32. I know exactly where she's coming from. I suffered a brain aneurysm back in 2008 and the medical insurance I had at the time only paid about 80% (talk about a humongous bill! But at least I'm around to gripe about it, lol).

    Still haven't completely paid that off, since I was laid off in 2009 and still don't have a permanent job.

    And thanks for listing that Donate button. Although I wasn't able to contribute much, I wanted to do something to help (like buy one of her books), but I'm not really into YA.

    Hope all good things are headed her way. :-)

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  33. BTW, is there a way where we can put the Donate button on our blogs or websites?

    It'd be wonderful to spread this around. :-)

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  34. Just made a donation, Joe. Thank you!

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  35. I've had the pleasure of knowing Leslie through conferences, being on panels together, and at publisher dinners.

    Leslie is one of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She's kind, helpful, encouraging, caring. When I faced some tough decisions she was so generous as to spend time talking with me about it.

    Please do take the time to press that PayPal button and contribute any amount whether it's $5 or $500 or more. Every bit helps.

    The auction for the critiques has a lot of amazingly talented authors lined up to critique your entry. Keep us busy with those entries.

    Thank you, Joe. And thank you to everyone who can contribute and to those who can't, thank you for your positive thoughts.

    Chey

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  36. "And thanks for listing that Donate button. Although I wasn't able to contribute much, I wanted to do something to help (like buy one of her books), but I'm not really into YA."

    Nancy, you'll be glad to know that Leslie also writes adult novels as L.A. Banks and writes paranormal books, including urban fantasy.

    Check out her booklist: http://www.leslieesdailebanks.com/labanks.php

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  37. @Cheyenne,

    Thanx for setting me straight and for the link! :-)

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  38. Ugh. Don't get me started on the state of health care in this country. Or any country for that matter. My husband got flesh-eating bacteria from an abscessed tooth three days before insurance kicked in (he had to be on the job 90 days before we were eligible). In those three days, we incurred over $60K in bills. Hello medical bankruptcy. :x

    I'm so sorry for Leslie and her family - and you, too, anon. Illness itself is devastating - do we really need to add the stress of worrying about how we're going to pay for it!?

    It's heinous.

    Sending lots of love and healing vibes (and a donation, of course :)

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  39. I know two people that have recently been diagnosed with cancer. It's generous that you're doing this. Having to go through it is bad enough without having to worry about how you're going to pay for it.

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  40. I offer to donate my time and expertise.

    The first writer to email me with the subject line 'Benefit to Help Author L.A. Banks' will receive a discount of 40% on my normal ebook cover design fee. Instead of paying me the fee is to be donated to the cause.

    There are a few rules.
    1. Cover design jobs already booked are excluded.
    2. The cover design process will commence after Bouchercon 2011.

    As soon as I receive the first email and the deal is struck I will leave a message here.

    I wish L.A. Banks and her family all the best. And thank you Joe for posting about this.

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  41. Anonymous8:45 PM

    Bless your heart, Joe. But give me a moment to laugh in my sleeve at the prospect of you cheerleading for agents. The "Backspace" web page confirmed my worst suspicions about the group. In what other profession does one pay to have a suggestion floated into thin air?
    Only for you, guy. And I wish Leslie the best. I am so sorry she is being forced to deal with this.
    And for all the help you've given me via the site, big guy, I will once again traffic with agents. What the heck. My prayers for your friend.

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  42. Thanks, Kelly. I got the address from Keith, and I will send a donation by the end of the week.

    I think it's great when the writing community pulls together like this. Thanks for alerting us, Joe.

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  43. i can't attend and am not in a position to donate cash just now. i could donate copies of the ebooks Dirty Old Town, Beat On The Brat, Speedloader and Pulp Ink (not yet available). You could put them in some kind of raffle and get some other ebooks donated and set up a separate strand of fundraising.
    Let me know what you think. Contact me via my blog http://nigelpbird.blogspot.com if you can't directly through this message.
    Good luck in the fundraising, but more importantly, good luck to Leslie.
    Best,
    nigel

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  44. This was just posted on Twitter this morning. So sad.
    Oh no - so sorry to hear this. RT @JonathanMaberry Leslie Esdaile Banks -LA Banks to her legions of readers-- passed away this morning.

    Jamie Lee Scott
    www.jamieleescott.com

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  45. I just received a e-mail from PennWriters that, although Leslie passed away this morning, the fundraiser will go forward on Saturday, in memory of Leslie Banks. The funds raised will go to help her daughter.

    How terribly sad.

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  46. I'm so sorry for her family. At least the donations from the benefit can go to help them in their grief. :(

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  47. Sent in my small donation. I wish it could have been more.

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  48. I just received a e-mail from PennWriters that, although Leslie passed away this morning, the fundraiser will go forward on Saturday, in memory of Leslie Banks. The funds raised will go to help her daughter.

    Sad, sad news.

    I'm glad to hear funds will go to help her daughter.

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  49. Joe, I just donated $50.00 through PayPay. I hope this can help the family somehow.

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  50. Ah, hell.

    I'll miss you, Leslie.

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  51. Oh my, I am so so sorry to hear of Leslie's passing. I just hope Creator will understand some us, our string of cusswords as our only prayer at the moment.

    And also, May Leslie's daughter and family and friends be comforted, may she shine like the bright light she is, in every way now, and forever. Resquiat In Pacem, dear Leslie. The battle was fit. You distinguished yourself so deeply. The example you set, lasts.

    I hope donations continue: I know there will be need these last many weeks of medical. Unfortunately debt is not forgiven whether we live or die. I know the family will much appreciate every bit of help.

    dr.cpe (sighing sighing)

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  52. I'm sorry to hear of her passing.

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  53. RIP LA Banks, she died yesterday, glad she followed her dreams!

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  54. God bless her.

    I heard today that L.A Banks has passed away.

    I send my heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and fans. She will live on through her work.

    I'm sending you a hug, Joe. It's a sad day.

    Christine

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  55. It's great to see this. Good job, Joe.

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  56. Leslie was a great woman. I was fortunate to call her a friend as well.

    She will missed.

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  57. So sad. I didn't know her and only heard of her through this blog, but my condolences to her family and friends.

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  58. I would really like your post ,it would really explain each and every point clearly well thanks for sharing.

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  59. I want everyone here to know how important your thoughts about Leslie and your donations have been to her family (where the funds will go) and to her friends at The Liars Club.

    We held our fundraising event last Saturday, and it was a wonderful tribute to Leslie. Her daughter and family attended, Mayor Michael Nutter spoke, and the evening was filled with writers and joy. Just Leslie's sort of thing. If you'd like to see the write up and pics, you can go here: http://liarsclubphilly.com/?p=2108

    And just this morning, Liar Merry Jones posted a beyond-beautiful account of her last visit with Leslie, which you can see here: http://liarsclubphilly.com/?p=2079

    As Leslie would say, "BIG HUG" to you all.

    Marie

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  60. Donated, Facebooked, Tweeted. Thanks Joe.

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  61. Anonymous1:08 PM

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8706797/E-books-threaten-livelihoods-of-aspiring-writers.html

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