If local writer and editor Betsy Ellor had to identify one bright spot during the pandemic’s many months of isolation, she might just say it was the realization of the book “Heroic Care: 35 Writers & Artists Show What It Means to Care.”
Ellor edited the multi-genre anthology, which is a compilation of written stories, poetry, art and even comics submitted by writers and artists from around the world. Each of the 43 submissions centers around the theme of caring, taking readers through inspirational stories involving everything from joy and laughter to sorrow and survival.
Ellor, a senior editor for the website Words Unbound, has been in the “word business” for quite some time. Through her professional connections, she has a group of writers and other artists at hand and decided to reach out to them in the midst of the pandemic.
“For me, it was about bringing voices together during the isolation,” she said. “So, I pulled my community of writers together so we could have a social project we could all work on together.”
The Hopkinton resident explained she put the call out for submissions in a very open way, ultimately receiving more than she expected.
“I said send me any genre, in any format and any size,” she recalled.
Ellor received all types of submissions, including comics, poetry and artwork, as well as short stories and micro-fiction encompassing romance, science fiction, fantasy, contemporary realism and more. All were connected to the principal theme of caring.
“It takes bravery to care about something,” she said. “People were opening up in different ways about their family, their kids, animals.”
In total, 75 submissions were received and that’s when Ellor began putting her professional editing skills to work.
“There were some I knew right away that would be in the book,” she noted. “But there is always a percentage, a big percentage, that needs some editorial work, such as changing a paragraph around or rethinking something.”
Because the collection also includes artwork, the project wasn’t a traditional editing job for Ellor. “It was a bit more labor intensive,” she said.
Some of the stories that made the final cut include an account of a refugee mother sacrificing to provide for her children, romance in New York’s winter snow, and a dog walker secretly running a much darker enterprise for the good of her charges.
The book was released in late April and has been getting its fair share of positive reviews.
“I enjoyed this mix of short fiction, poetry, and art centered around the theme of caring. I reread some of the stories again, I liked them so much, and wanted to read more work by several of the authors. This compilation has something for everyone, from funny lighthearted romance to devilish intrigue,” wrote one reviewer on Amazon.
“Heroic Care: 35 Writers & Artists Show What It Means to Care” is available online at WordsUnboundStudio.com and at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough.