In the wake of the October mass shooting in Lewiston, 11 Maine writers joined together to create a collection of stories to raise money for the nonprofit, gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.

“Maine Character Energy: A Charity Anthology,” released this week, is the brainchild of editor Sarah Parke, who came up with the idea after reading a New York Times column by Stephen King bemoaning America’s love of guns.

Proceeds from a new anthology of Maine stories will benefit the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety. Contributed photo

“King’s essay was a call to action for me, and this charity anthology, dedicated to the victims, survivors, and families of the Lewiston, Maine, massacre, is the result,” Parke wrote in the book’s introduction.

Parke said, “Here was this prolific author — the King of Horror — at a loss for words in the wake of yet another mass shooting, this one in his former Maine community. That really resonated with me as a writer.”

She said the goal of the anthology “is to raise awareness while serving as a stark reminder that if such a tragedy can occur in idyllic Lewiston, it can occur anywhere, and too often does.”

Proceeds from the sale of the Rogue Owl Press volume will go to Everytown for Gun Safety, a charity formed a decade ago when Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America joined forces.


Lewiston joined the long roll of communities slammed by an Oct. 25 mass shooting when a gunman killed 18 people at two entertainment venues in the city and wounded at least 13 others. It is the 10th worst mass shooting in American history.

King wrote in the aftermath that “every mass shooting is a gut punch” and pointed out that “such things can and will happen anywhere and everywhere in this locked-and-loaded country. The guns are available, and the targets are soft.”

“When rapid-fire guns are difficult to get, things improve, but I see no such improvement in the future,” King concluded. “Americans love guns and appear willing to pay the price in blood.”

Parke said that despite King’s words, she noted that “taking the time to put your frustrations into words and sharing those words with an audience, I think, speaks to some degree of hope that perhaps people can be persuaded to take action, to do better.”

For the anthology, Parke said, she wanted “to create a story collection that would celebrate the resilient spirit of Mainers.”

Relying on Maine authors and other writers who know the state, she rounded up stories set in Maine, “from its rocky beaches to its pine-scented lakes, to the granite-covered mountaintops.”

“Maine also serves as a kind of character, summoning the fog to thwart fishermen and brandishing the Northern Lights to dazzle hikers,” Parke said. “You might recognize some familiar Maine archetypes — the widow, the lobsterman, the youth who longs to be anywhere else — but their stories will surprise and captivate you.”

The book is available in paperback for $12.99 from online booksellers. Barnes and Noble has an eBook version for $4.99 and Amazon has a Kindle version for the same price.

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