“Anyone in the world can participate in this worthy project. And it’s absolutely free. ... There are no strings. You give blood. I give you a ‘Blood’ book. It’s that simple,” author Michael Lister said.
By TONY SIMMONS
News Herald Writer
PANAMA CITY — For local mystery author Michael Lister, giving back to the community and storytelling are two things that run in his blood.
Lister recently launched the “Blood for Blood Club,” an outreach project that donates one of his mysteries in the John Jordan “Blood” series of books to anyone anywhere in the world willing to donate blood. The program debuts Thursday, when Lister will host a blood drive and book signing at the Bay County Public Library.
“The worldwide need for blood is tremendous,” Lister said. “Every single second of every day, people around the world need blood transfusions to survive. And that need is growing by the second.”
His Blood for Blood Club encourages readers to donate blood by giving books to those who give of themselves. Anyone who donates blood can register on the website, BloodforBlood.Club, and Lister will send them one of the books in his acclaimed John Jordan Mystery series.
“I absolutely love the scope of this,” Lister said in a news release about the program. “Anyone in the world can participate in this worthy project. And it’s absolutely free. ... There are no strings. You give blood. I give you a ‘Blood’ book. It’s that simple.”
Lister, who grew up in Wewahitchka, holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology with an emphasis on myth and narrative. In the early 1990s, he became the youngest chaplain within the Florida Department of Corrections. For nearly a decade, he served as a contract, staff, then senior chaplain at three different facilities in the Panhandle. That unique experience led to his first novel, 1997′s “Power in the Blood,” the first in the series of popular novels featuring ex-cop turned prison chaplain John Jordan.
The Blood for Blood Club will have its official kickoff at a book signing/blood drive at the Bay County Library, 898 W. 11th St. in Panama City, from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday. For this first event, Lister is partnering with OneBlood, a Florida based not-for-profit blood bank. The event will be streamed live on Lister’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/MichaelListerBooks).
After donors give blood, they can go to BloodforBlood.Club and claim their free book. In addition to the free book, donors also will be entered into a monthly drawing for a free Blood for Blood T-shirt and a signed hardcover of a Lister book.
In addition, the website has a world map made of white dots. Every time someone gives blood and receives a “Blood” book, the white dot from their part of the world will be turned red — beginning with the Thursday book signing/blood drive in Panama City.
“Giving blood is literally giving life,” Lister said. “We can make a real, tangible difference in the world right now with this program, and that’s something that absolutely thrills me. ... There’s such a huge need, and this feels like the perfect intersection between my novels and my desire to give back in some small way in an attempt to make the world a slightly better place.”