Welcome to Grim Oak Shield

by Shawn Speakman January 01, 2018 0 Comments

Welcome to Grim Oak Shield

Welcome to Grim Oak Shield!

The best place to start is describing the purpose of Grim Oak Shield.

We are a non-profit organization devoted to raising and granting money to authors and artists who have debilitating medical debt.

There is a need for this. I know because I was once an author in need. In 2011, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I didn’t have health insurance due to a preexisting condition and I fell into dire medical debt from two surgeries and the following cancer treatment.

Rather than declare medical bankruptcy—to become another sad statistic and a burden on my fellow tax payers—I decided to take matters into my own hands. I asked friend and bestselling Shannara author Terry Brooks to donate me a short story, one I could sell online. He took it a step further. He advised I ask other authors for the same. Writers came to my aid and the idea for the SF&F short story anthology Unfettered came into being.

A book takes time to go through production though. I needed a stop gap if I was to receive the best care. Stephen King’s Haven Foundation was there during that time. His charity organization granted me $25,000, enough to keep the bill collectors at bay. Unfettered would eventually publish in 2013 and its book sales alleviated the rest of the $210,000 I owed.

I was free of medical debt. But I had a choice to make. Do I go about my life, dissolving Unfettered. Or do I take the platform the anthology gave me and use it to pay it all forward, to improve the world, to protect my fellow authors and artists just like Stephen King did. I decided the latter. Grim Oak Shield is the result.

Starting today and in the coming months, Grim Oak Shield will raise money for authors and artists in the exact situation I was once in. We will do this with sales from Unfettered, Unfettered II, and the forthcoming Unfettered III. We will do this with rare auction items. With select book signings by some of the best SF&F writers. And in partnership with other like-minded organizations who have a vested interest in the health and professional viability of our best creative minds.

I hope you will join the fight. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Join our Newsletter below. Together, we can change a part of the world for the better.

Best New Year’s Wishes,

Shawn Speakman

President & Editorial Director

Shawn Speakman
Shawn Speakman


Shawn Speakman is the author of The Dark Thorn and editor of the Unfettered anthology series. When he isn't lying for a living, he maintains the web presences for Terry Brooks and Naomi Novik, runs The Signed Page and Grim Oak Press, and writes for Unbound Worlds. Follow him on Facebook and @shawnspeakman.


Support your favorite writers by buying the Unfettered anthologies and keeping them safe from medical debt!