The new Young Wizards Hallowe'en novelette: read it for UNICEF!

by Diane Duane

ETA, November 1 — Contributors: You beat our goal of USD $1000 (by pushing the contribution total up to more than $1100)! THANK YOU so much for your help — you’ve made a huge difference!

“Not On My Patch” is now available at the Ebooks Direct store in all the major formats. All proceeds from the story will continue to go to UNICEF.

I love Hallowe’en. (Or Halloween. I prefer it with the apostrophe.)

I was always an enthusiastic Trick-or-Treater when I was little. It would have been, I think, the golden age of that cultural phenomenon in the US —  a time before anyone had ever thought of anything like razor blades  in apples (or the rumors of them), a time when no one was yet so terrified that you’d be snatched by some stranger that most kids were allowed free run during their play time, and therefore no one was unduly disturbed by the idea that you might be walking around in the dark in ones or twos at age seven or eight or nine;  a time when mostly parents hadn’t yet learned the art of depriving you of the night’s loot, but were content to leave it with you, and let you discover the dubious delight (rarely repeated) of making yourself sick by overindulgence; a time when very few people seeing you wearing a witch costume thought that you were seriously advocating devil worship.

Particularly I remember doing the “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” thing. We were shown how to take the little waxed paper milk containers of the time — my yearsmates will probably remember them, the ones with the little stapled-on pop tops — and wrap these in the orange and black paper labels that the UNICEF people sent our school. We would go around collecting pennies and nickels and dimes for UNICEF while we were trick-or-treating, and hand the cash over to our teachers, on November 1st, to be sent back to UNICEF to help children in other countries have things we took for granted in the New York suburbs in the late ’50s and early ’60’s — like clean water, and vaccination against polio and measles.

So it was a little weird, the other day, to discover that UNICEF’s “Trick or Treat for Halloween” campaign is just a year older than I am. When I realized that, I thought, “I ought to do something special for these guys.”

And so I offer you “Not On My Patch.” At a shade more than 14,000 words, it is the longest Young Wizards-universe  short work to date (both “Uptown Local” and “Theobroma” are way shorter). (Continuity geeks: “Not On My Patch” takes place after the events of The Big Meow and A Wizard of Mars.) I’m inviting you, between now and the end of Hallowe’en in the USA, to make a contribution of more than USD $5.00 to UNICEF for the right to be one of the first to read this story. Here’s the formal pitch:

“Not On My Patch” is the first of a series of planned YW short stories scheduled to be published together in late 2012 in a one-story-per-month anthology entitled The Wizards’ Year.

We’re offering “Not On My Patch” to advance readers this year as part of an effort to help UNICEF celebrate the 60th anniversary of its annual Halloween “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” campaign.

“Not On My Patch” is now available for reading on the Young Wizards website! If you want to read it, here’s what you need to do:

Go to DD’s donations page at the UNICEF USA website and make a donation of USD $5.00 or more directly to Trick or Treat for UNICEF. (Donors from outside the USA: please note that the “State” dropdown has a “none” option at the very bottom of the state list. Choose that so that the form will allow you to fill in other info and complete the donation. Don’t forget to change the country dropdown, too.)

Once you’ve donated: the UNICEF USA website will send you an email confirming your donation. When you receive it, just forward a copy of it to this email address:

We’ll immediately send you back a link to a web page where you can read the story or download an e-reader-friendly file (.ePub / Sony Reader & Nook, .mobi / Kindle, and .lit / Microsoft Reader formats). The email will also contain a password that will enable you to open the page.  (E-reader users: we had upload difficulties due to local network congestion [i.e., all of Ireland is out celebrating Hallowe’en and YouTubing it to each other], but links to the files are now available on the story page.)

False virus alert warning: Some folks have noted that their virus scanners have been taking exception to the anti-cut-and-paste encryption that’s been applied to the story’s text, or to the simple fact that the story appears in a frame. If you run into this problem, please email Lee the Web Lady and we will arrange to have a PDF sent to you.

Until Halloween 2011 is over in the USA (at 00:01 Hawaiian Standard Time on November 1st), only direct donors to UNICEF at DD’s UNICEF USA page were able to read the story. But as of November 1st, “Not On My Patch” is available at DD’s online Ebooks Direct store, where all proceeds from the story will continue to be donated to UNICEF. The story will continue to be available until November 30th, at which time it will be withdrawn and will not be available again until it appears as the October story in the anthology The Wizards’ Year in late 2012.

Thanks for investigating our plan to help make a difference in the 60th birthday of the “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” campaign!

...So there we go. Friends, please help! …And thank you.  🙂

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