Eight years ago, about this time, I was a sophomore in high school trying to make a rather huge decision–the choice between continuing at my small town public school, taking classes I wasn’t thrilled at, and staring down two more years of bullying with no friends to stand beside me, or transferring to a tech school with the few friends I had and studying art. At the time, my day revolved around my art classes, where I spent hours drawing comics and comic inspired art. I wrote my math notes as comic strips, and fanart of my favorite anime characters popped up on almost all of my homework. Depressed, stuck, and feeling hopeless about my future, I made the decision to make the study of art my primary focus, and that focus turned my life around. I’ve made so many friends through the world of anime and manga fans. Cosplay helped inspire my love of textiles and fiber art, and I learned so much from the readers of fanfiction which has influenced the novels I’m currently writing.

It could be argued, in a way, that manga saved me. Today Japan, the birthplace of my favorite artform, is in trouble, with hundreds of thousands dead, missing, injured, or displaced after this weeks earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear emergencies.

I’ll be honest. I’m broke right now. But I still sent $25 to Doctors Without Borders to help with the relief effort. I want to send more, but I can’t, so I want to encourage others to send what they can, so from now until April 1st, if you donate your time/money/food/blood/etc to the relief organization of your choice and leave a comment telling me about it, you’ll be entered to win one of the prize packs I’ve put together below. I’ll be posting the names of the winners the first week of April (date is TBA), so make sure you check back to see who they are (please, please, please make sure that you have your name in the post somewhere, and/or a way I can contact you, otherwise I’ll have to draw someone else’s name if you don’t respond).

The grand prize winner will receive the following:

One issue each of Vogue Knitting, Spin off, and Otaku USA; Knitting for Good, by Betsy Greer; How to Draw Anime and Game Characters Vol. 1; the OST for Noir; a selection of anime sampler discs; two skeins of my own Jack the Ripper handspun (100% superwash merino, hand dyed and blended); and a crochet/knit dishcloth and handtowel set, plus a smattering of chocolate and any other cute little Japanese trinkets I can pull together when I head up to New Japan this week.

The runner up will receive:

Two issues of Vogue Knitting; one issue of Otaku USA; one issue of Shojo Beat; TM Revolution’s Seventh Heaven CD; 2 balls of my hand spun Ectoplasm yarn (100% bamboo); a crocheted dishcloth and handtowel set; a selection of anime sampler discs, plus a smattering of chocolate and some other trinkets from New Japan.

In addition, 25% of all sales from my Etsy Shop will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, and 100% of all sales of my ebooks (those are also available in the shop).

Arigato gozaimasu.