Happy Holidays from Gina & Janice!

Being historical novelists has made us keenly appreciate living in a 21st-century developed country. However, we’re also acutely aware that so many people in the world today don’t have the advantages we do.

Thus, in the spirit of Nicholas D. Kristof at the New York Times and the new #GivingTuesday movement, we bring you a list of our favourite charities, organizations we like to give to or to donate in another’s name because of their connection to our writing.

Plan Canada Gifts of Hope - Janice grew up on a farm and is our resident chicken expert. Hence, in tribute to her childhood, all our stories contain chickens. Sometimes it can be as simple as having hens pecking on a rural road in The Sidewalk Artist, while in The Wolves of St. Peter’s an unusual chicken becomes a central character. We once gave our agent some baby chicks as a Christmas gift - he professed to being delighted by the sentiment.

Worldwide Fistula Fund - Due to both Ciao Bella and The Wolves of St. Peter’s, we have become very interested in the importance of women’s health, and thus we find the work the Worldwide Fistula Fund does to be vital. It helps women in sub-Saharan Africa who develop fistulas due to giving birth at a young age. Without treatment, they’re ostracized and their lives are destroyed.

Wikipedia - It’s constantly updated, and though just one of the many tools we use to conduct our research, we couldn’t live without it. It’s free and supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.

Kiva - Kiva provides microloans to people worldwide looking to lift themselves out of poverty. A few years ago as a Christmas present to each other, we jointly gave a loan and since then have loaned more. In homage to our female characters, we tend to invest in women pursuing artistic professions with children to support.

Doctors without Borders - Medical professionals associated with Doctors without Borders practice medicine in some of the most violent and war-torn places on the planet. When writing Ciao Bella, we learned about the lack of doctors in rural Northern Italy during World War II and made our heroine Graziella a de facto midwife and nurse. Many of the characters in The Wolves of St. Peter’s would have greatly benefited from medical assistance, since surely most people in Renaissance Italy were living in a constant state of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For those interested in an in-depth portrayal of what exactly Doctors without Borders do, we can’t recommend highly enough James Orbinski’s memoir, An Imperfect Offering.

Many worthy groups are out there, deserving of our time and money, and we only provide the above as suggestions and food for thought. However you choose to give this holiday season, we wish you much joy.


For those of you looking for a short satisfying story for the busy holiday season, you may be interested to know about our pen name Meadow Taylor's latest short story, Christmas in Bruges, inspired by both the serene beauty of this Belgian city and this New Yorker article on PTSD. It's available as an ebook worldwide on Kindle or Kindle app, including Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, and around the globe on the various Amazon sites.

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