Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 14: Creating Something Good, Part 3


If you haven’t already, you’ll want to read the first two parts of this series.

Creating Something Good, Part 1

Creating Something Good, Part 2

Before I go any further with my story, I’d like to give a shout-out to those who helped create Something Good:

Less Than Three Press: Megan Derr, Samantha Derr, and Sasha Miller donated money for Kindles, sponsored my travel to Atlanta, and donated their entire catalog (minus erotic books). Less Than Three has been part of Something Good from the beginning, and they have been huge supporters.

Harmony Ink (Dreamspinner Press): Unbeknownst to me, Elizabeth North had already sent six Kindles filled with books to the residents at LNF last year. Because of that, she jumped at the chance to support a second year’s incarnation. Nessa Warin, the head of Harmony Ink, donated their entire catalog of YA LGBT stories. Plus, Elizabeth sent an additional financial contribution to buy more Kindles.

Ylva Publishing: Ylva was the only lesbian publisher to respond to Something Good’s invitation to participate. Astrid Ohletz and Nikki Busch donated eight of their lesbian books to the project and expressed excitement to support LGBT homeless youth.

We can always use more lesfic! If you are an author of lesbian fiction, please contact Something Good and/or your publisher to make inquiries.

Decadent Bono: The mainstream/YA imprint of Decadent Publishing donated eight of their books toward the project.

Witty Bard Press: Anna Victoria Jones donated all of her anthologies.

Dark Hollows Press: Michelle Williams provided financial support to buy Kindles and accessories.

Damnation Press: Kim Richards provided financial support to buy Kindles and accessories.

Vagabondia Creations: Jay Odon provided eighteen sets of earphones for the first shipment of Kindles.

Carina Press donated copies of Cathy Pegau’s book.

Countless authors donated copies of their books from small and independent publishers. I was particularly excited to receive the When Women Were Warriors trilogy from Catherine M. Wilson.

We also had donations from individuals and other groups:

  • Sarah Bennett
  • In honor of Lambda Legal (donor wishes to remain anonymous)
  • Joanna Jasmin Darrell
  • Jeff Adams (JMS Books)
  • Renee Meyer
  • Patricia Denke
  • Maggie Worth
  • Kelly Adams
  • Ruth Shulman
  • Pao
  • Kelly Jensen
  • Laurel Lasky
  • Sheri Spell
  • S.J. Maylee
  • Kate Richards
  • Prism Book Alliance
  • Tina Clark Simas
  • V.s. Morgan
  • Anonymous, not specified

In addition, I received administration help from Myra Swintz, Sarah Bennett, Cat Hopkins, and Anne Ferrer Odom. I also received countless hours of support from Amazon as well as our sales representative. When a person buys 26 Kindles, she receives outstanding customer service. 🙂 Thank you to Ashley of Best Buy who matched Amazon’s charitable discount pricing and the countless other people who cheered, supported, and gave much-needed advice. Thank you to Renee M. for her suggestions on forming a non-profit organization (our hope is to do so next summer, assuming that the project is still sustainable). We are in need of legal advice/expertise in doing so. If you either have the expertise or know someone who does, please get in touch with me.

If you have contributed to Something Good, please find me on Facebook. You will be added to the business group so you can receive all of the updates in real time. I do ask that you keep the updates, especially financial information, confidential.


Do you remember my original goals for this project? I hoped to raise $69 to buy one basic Kindle and have each author donate a book or two. Instead, I went to LNF equipped with 18 Kindles, 18 screen protectors, 18 cases, 18 sets of earphones, and approximately 7560 books. (Not to mention the mountain of baked goods and the sackful of gifts for Heidi, the girl in rehab.) All told, the donations added up nearly $40,000.

One idea.

Six weeks.

30-45 supporters.

$4,000 in cash.

$40,000 total donation to LNF.

Did I mention that this took six weeks? As I checked and re-checked every detail of the Kindles (I had the supreme pleasure of installing software updates. Eighteen times.) and prepared for the staff training, shock reverberated through my sleep-deprived body. We’d done it. After six weeks of worry, preparation, organization, and mind-numbing tedious work, the Kindles were ready.


At the Friday evening holiday party, I met “Sister Glitter and Be Gay,” a novice in the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It is an organization founded in California that has worked for HIV and AIDS awareness and activism. When a runaway teenage boy found refuge with the sisters only for his homophobic parents to legally compel his return, he committed suicide. The sisters sainted him as Saint Lost and Found, and LNF carries his name.


The sisters continue supporting LGBT homeless youth. (“They are our future,” said one gentleman.) I also met Mark, a guard who is part of the organization but serves as backup. He provides physical protection (“We attract attention,” said Sister Glitter and Be Gay. “We attract all kinds of attention.”), assists with photos, and helps with crowd control.


Rick Westbrook, the director of LNF, also is a sister. We had a few minutes to chat, in which he emphasized the need for people to care about the kids.


I also met Angelica D’Paige, one of the nicest employees I’ve ever met. I bought a few items at the LNF thrift shop, and she showed me the hilarious sides of the sign. “One is for regular,” she said. “The other is for when the drama queens come in.”


“Tell us about your books,” said people throughout the day.

“Well, my newest book, Taliasman, is about a queen,” I began.

“Do you mean a drag queen or a real queen?” came the answer.


“Just to give you a heads up,” Sue told me the next day as we prepared to enter the rehab center. “This is where people in poverty go. It’s a sad place.”

“Do you think she would like some soda?” I asked. “Kleenex, apples, vegetables..?”

“I think she’d love it,” Sue said. She’d already packed a few treats that I’d brought to the center the day before.

As we walked in and met Heidi, Sue expressed surprise at seeing her in a wheelchair. “You made it!” she exclaimed.

“I’m going to get out of this,” Heidi promised. “I’m working hard in physical therapy.”

Sue bent down and rested a hand on Heidi’s shoulder. “Do you know why we’re here?”

“To give me a Kindle.”

Sue’s shoulders lowered ever so slightly. “How did you know that?”

“Kim snitched,” Heidi admitted. “She blew the secret.”

“I thought it would be nice to be a surprise,” Sue said, disappointed. “This is Ana. She’s an author, and…”

“There are as many lesbian books as I could get,” I said, holding out the purple tote bag.

“Purple!” exclaimed Heidi. “My favorite color. People keep giving me pink, and I don’t like pink…”

Sue and I exchanged rueful glances. So much for the pink Kindle, pen, scarf, earphones, and other gifts.

“Er. Everything’s pink,” I said.

“No, no, what I meant is that everyone keeps giving me pink, so it grows on me.” Heidi grinned, taking out her gifts. “Smarties. My favorite candy!” She popped one into her mouth.

“I didn’t know that,” Sue said.

“A scarf!”

“Ana made it,” Sue explained, drawing up a chair for me and sitting on Heidi’s bed.

“Here’s the Kindle,” I said, too excited to wait. “If some jerk tries to steal your Kindle again, we can deactivate it.”

Sue, Heidi, and I visited for over three hours. Afterward, Sue and I chatted for an hour in the parking lot. “Do you see why everyone loves her?” she asked.

“Yes,” I answered. To have been through so much and to remain so positive…it’s a lesson we should all learn.

“Sue has told me so much about you,” I’d told Heidi. “She speaks of you as if you were her own daughter.”

I’d glanced at Sue. Her eyes brimmed with tears, and she couldn’t say a word.


As I prepared for my trip to Atlanta, something unexpected happened.

Amazon dropped the price of Kindles by 20% for Black Friday. In a mad scramble, I contacted all of the donors who had wanted to contribute after we reached the goal of 18 Kindles plus accessories. I had told everyone to wait, but the price reduction changed everything.

Overnight, I received enough money to buy 8 more Kindles. Plus the promise of additional funds at a later point.

I contacted a few other LGBT homeless shelters/youth centers to see if they were interested. Here are the preliminary results:

Lucie’s Place in Arkansas offers counseling and help, and they are raising money to build a residential shelter in the next year or two. While they couldn’t use a Kindle now, they were interested in one for the future.

Trinity Place Shelter in New York City offers shelter and support for LGBT youth who are predominantly ethnic minorities. They will receive two Kindles (for now) and will also appear on Governing Ana next year for an interview. To make Trinity even more special, I was able to meet a former member of their board who has now relocated to Atlanta.

Ali Forney Center in New York City is the oldest and most well-known organization that supports LGBT homeless. They will receive at least two Kindles within the next few weeks, possibly more. They will use the Kindles in their career and educational program which includes instruction in reading and reading comprehension. Also, they will make the Kindles available for pleasure reading during drop-in hours.

Outside In in Portland, Oregon serves all homeless youth but has a special Queerzone for LGBT youth. They have a number of different programs and are debating where best to make use of donated Kindles.

The San Diego LGBT Community Center provides help for all LGBT. We are in conversation whether the Kindles would be an appropriate fit for their programs.

If you would like to nominate your local/favorite LGBT homeless youth organization, please let me know! At the moment (due to Amazon restrictions), we need to stay within the US. We would like to include international sites, but country-specific technical support along with exorbitant shipping costs are a steep impediment for now.


Jared, whom you met in Part 2, touched me so much that I spoke with the staff afterward. “I’d like him to have a Kindle, if you don’t think it will cause problems for others in the center,” I said. “Use it as positive reinforcement for achieving a goal he sets for himself, so it feels like an earned reward rather than charity.”

I heard later that Jared liked the blue Kindles, and he and the staff will work out the details on their own. I also went home to find 57 books that contained plays and essays by and about Shakespeare, as well as Sophocles and a few other classics. I’m not sure if I’ll see Jared or hear from him again, but he will always hold a special place in my heart.

Not everything about my trip went as planned. There were unexpected hiccups along the way, and communication did not always flow as it should have. However, as we move forward, I will remember Jared.

Supporting an individual organization is nice, but human beings don’t support businesses (even if the Supreme Court has decreed their personhood). We support individual people, and for me it will be Jared. All of the rest is noise; getting to meet Jared made everything worthwhile.

For you, Jared. May your life be a string of better tomorrows. Dream your dreams. We’re dreaming them right with you.

And for us, may we continue to create Something Good.



For more information, visit the following:

Something Good blog

Something Good Facebook page

For donations of books, cash, or in-kind support, please read the FAQ before emailing Ana at Subject line “Something Good” plus your specific donation (books, money, etc.).


Rainbow Con recap

F/F kink fiction does have a place at author conferences. *picks my jaw off the floor* Yes. This past weekend at Rainbow Con (shout out to S.L and Roger Armstrong, K. Piet, and all the wonderful folks at Storm Moon Press) was filled with camaraderie, conversation, cookies, and kink.

Prize winners!

Chocolate roses: Sarah Hart, Kathleen Tudor, Ann Anderson, and (one more name I can’t remember at the moment)

“I’m a sexy girl” sign: London Calling

“Don’t lean” sign: H.L. Holston

Happy fun gift bags: Dean Prech and Becky Condit

Kinky fun gift bag: Jamie Fessenden

5-book F/F gift basket from Blushing Books (donated by the same): Sue Brown

$50 gift certificate to Blushing Books (donated by the same): Angel Martinez



Some of my favorite Rainbow Con moments include:

  • Alex Carreras stopping by my table Friday morning to ask, “Am I the only one who hasn’t tasted your cookies yet?” He paused, realized what he’d said, and added, “That wasn’t a euphemism, by the way.” It became a running joke to ask whether people had tasted my cookies and to assure them that it wasn’t a euphemism. In order to fully appreciate this moment, you should know that Alex has a dapper, gentlemanly demeanor. He wouldn’t look out of place at an art show or the ballet, and his demeanor made his joke even funnier.
  • Adrian Smith saying it had been amusing to watch the play-by-play of the Great Cookie Baking the day before the con. So great to meet you in person, Adrian! Thanks for giving me the nudge to go to my first author con.
  • Allison Cassatta (sitting at the table next to me in the Author Alley) jumping up to embrace Rick as she squealed, “You got MIRA! My kindred spirit!” after taking my quiz. Allison, you were the best Author Alley “roomie” ever.
  • Kathleen Tudor shouting “I love spanking Anastasia!” to get my attention, before realizing what she’d said. “There was supposed to be a comma before your name,” she added. Too late. 🙂 The weekend was FULL of Kathleen quotes, but I don’t want to embarrass her.
  • Getting to see some F/F spanking action! No, it didn’t involve me (except as a spectator).
  • Being dubbed the “Spanking Queen” and called upon to deliver a birthday spanking to Becky Condit. (No, I didn’t do it.)
  • Chatting with S.L., Roger, Kris, and Kathleen (as well as many others) in the con suite. What an amazing gift! They’d put together an enormous (and fantastic) buffet of snacks to keep busy congoers fed while running from one panel to another. All offered free of charge as a labor of love. Bless you.
  • Speaking of Becky Condit, how fun to celebrate her birthday! What a wonderful review site she has, Mrs Condit and Friends.
  • Watching David Berger try to get his jello shot out of the plastic cup. Saundra Armstrong had put a lot of vodka into the shots, so everyone’s reaction was hilarious. David said, “I just licked it, and my tongue went numb!” Of course, I put the quote (out of context) on my Facebook and Twitter. Becky Condit asked, “What’s he doing with the spicy lube?”
  • The hilariously inappropriately titled F/F fiction panel, and watching others (especially Kathleen) try to get me to say the title. In all seriousness, the discussion was wonderful and a highlight of the weekend.
  • Putting up quotes of the day on my Facebook and Twitter and enjoying the laughter and conversations that followed.
  • Meeting the neat folks from Less Than Three, Dreamspinner, Storm Moon, JMS Books, and Rooster and Pig publishers. You were all wonderful!
  • Getting London Calling’s Twitter ID confused and laughing about it together. Her Superman costume! Also, her gracious help moving all of my bags (hundreds of cookies, pieces of candy, and all of my promotional materials). I’d nearly broken my back lugging bag after bag of supplies, and then Little Miss Chipper came along to save the day. Mwah, London! May all of your rocks never be kryptonite.
  • Accidentally tagging the wrong Susan Lee when I gave a shout out to Boys in our Books, a fabulous review site. Susan, Lisa A, Scott Burkett, (apologies because I am not sure of the last name) gave wonderful information about blog tours.
  • Shae Connor’s hilariously inappropriate comments that she tried to blame on the jello shots.
  • Watching Amanda Ching’s reaction to the vodka-laced blue jello as it seared her mouth.
  • Hearing and seeing people burst into laughter as they took my “Who is your inner spankee?” quiz. Unexpected side effect: Administering the quiz gave me a shortcut to getting to know people. When I’d say, “You’re Leila!” or “You’re Kat!” and read the character description, more often than not people would respond by saying, “That sounds like me!” One person said this was the most accurate personality quiz she’d ever taken. Most popular answer: Freiya of Freiya’s Stand. Least popular answer: Clissa of Becoming Clissine
  • People asking, “What’s the deal with the wooden spoon?” Oh, how I LOVED answering that! 😀
  • The F/F fiction panel was the highlight of the con. Not just the discussion itself (which was terrific), but that Saundra and Roger prioritized the panel–to the point that Roger chose that session (out of his extremely busy schedule running the con) to attend. The audience was wonderful, the panelists (Kathleen Tudor, Adrian Smith, Allison Cassatta, and yours truly) fit together well. I give Saundra and Roger huge props for creating a much-needed space for readers and authors of F/F fiction.
  • Terrific topics for the panels, ranging from religion in genre fiction to the “Man Panel” (male perspective regarding M/M fiction). Author etiquette, marketing, self-publishing, contracts, YA, paranormal…you name it, Rainbow Con had it. Really well-thought-out array of topics. *grateful applause*
  • The amazing generosity and kindness of the guest of honor, Geoffrey Knight, and each of the guest authors. Geoff sat at my author table, took my quiz, and talked to me about my books. My hat off to you, Geoff.
  • Sue Brown’s discussion on the “Misogyny in Fiction” panel. It would have been easy to dismiss my point (that fiction needs strong female characters not dependent on men) as irrelevant to her M/M writing, but instead she talked about her main characters’ love and respect for the women in their lives. Then Sue said that meeting *me* was a highlight of her weekend. Likewise, Sue. I was honored to meet you.
  • Getting to meet Jeff Adams (of JMS Books) in person and thank him for supporting Love Spanks. We’ll get to have his support for Sci Spanks in June, too! Hurrah!
  • Participating in the “Rape: Not a laughing matter” panel under the capable hosting of Angel Martinez.
  • Meeting Vicktor Alexander and hearing his thoughts on writing, reading, and publishing.
  • A wonderful post-con dinner with David Berger, Cari Z (finally got to meet Caitlin Ricci’s writing partner and the woman behind the green tea F/F spanking story!), and Cari’s husband.
  • Meeting Carole Cummings and her daughter. You two were a delight to have at my table, and I wish you both the very best.
  • Meeting Caethes Faron. What a sweet woman!
  • Teasing Carolyn Gray about my wooden spoons and watching her blush! I was mean to tease you, Carolyn, but you were too cute. I couldn’t help myself.
  • Feeling comfortable as Anastasia Vitsky, author of F/F spanking fiction. Not having to apologize for who I am, soothe offended egos of those who find F/F spanking fiction offensive, or cater to a crowd that tolerates F/F while wishing for M/F. I love every single one of my readers, and I love my M/F readers just as much as anyone else. You are cherished, I promise. But, still, there is something special about hearing, “You write F/F? Wow! It’s so hard to find F/F! I have to tell my sister/daughter/niece/neighbor/cousin!”

I know I am forgetting names. I’ve tried to put down as many as I can without turning this into a list (boring!). Megan Derr, Sarah Hart, Ashlyn Daube, Rory Ni Coileain, Kade Boehme, Isabella Carter, Jackson Cordd, Sklyar Cates, Jamie Fessenden, Rhys Ford, Anel Viz, Kassa, Lexi Ander, Stephen del Mar, and so many others…if you stopped by my table this past weekend, I’m sending you an enormous virtual treat (peppermint brownie, peanut butter oatmeal bar, gingersnap, peanut butter cookie, or oatmeal butterscotch chocolate chip cookie). Thank you for sitting down, taking my quiz, chatting with me, and letting me get to know you. My life is enriched from the experience, and I will never forget you.

Thank you, organizers of Rainbow Con, for giving me (and many others) a weekend of acceptance, fellowship, and support. It means more than you can ever know.

See you all at Rainbow Con 2015.