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Exclusive Cover Reveal: ‘DISSENT: A Charity Romance Anthology Benefiting Reproductive Rights’

Dissent temporary cover for the romance anthology. Image: Brighton Walsh, Nicole French, and Brooke Cumberland.

After the overturning of reproductive healthcare protections with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, authors Brighton Walsh, Nicole French, and Brooke Cumberland came together and began organizing a romance anthology to donate to those in need and most affected by this seismic shift in power. Now, with over 150+ authors signed up and less than two months away from its release (paperback and ebook), we’re excited to share an exclusive first look at the cover for the massive book.

Text reads "Dissent" with a bunch of purple butterflies on the cover of the book. Image: Opulent Swag and Design.
(Opulent Swag and Design)

Walsh, French, and Cumberland chose purple due to its historical ties to gender equality and its representation of visionary thinking, wisdom, and spirituality. Various women’s rights groups since the early 1900s have used this color, including today’s International Women’s Day organization. In the distant past, purple was used to denote a higher social class, but it has also morphed to represent the in-betweenness, unity/neutrality, and middle ground.

For example, “purple states” are ones neither red nor blue, and a lighter purple is utilized by some queer imagery as existing between pink and blue. While abortion has been a culture war flashpoint since the rise of the religious right, reproductive healthcare (with exceptions relating to racism, xenophobia, and ableism) has largely been a neutral topic that people could agree on for the most part as a private choice.

Walsh noted that the butterflies have represented hope, change, and a transformation. Those involved are all very pleased with the way this cover came together (which was also a donation) to represent everything they’re striving for in this fundraising effort.

Goal of Dissent

The trio are working together with three organizations to make sure they can maximize impact and help those in need. This romance anthology is not being endorsed by, nor is it officially affiliated with, the charities receiving the donations, but it’s a collaborative effort between fellow authors and a community looking to protect bodily autonomy. In an online and email interview about the anthology, Cumberland told me,

I’ve been in anthologies with both Brighton and Nicole in the past, and I know the three of us share similar values and views, so when they were quick to team up together, I jumped in to offer my help since I have experience hosting anthologies. I really had no idea that it’d turn into what it is becoming, and I’m actually really enjoying my time working with them.

In addition to the anthology, Walsh, French, and Cumberland and their small army of volunteers plan on extending these efforts into a charity auction, too. Walsh noted,

Time and again, the romance community has come together to fight for the very thing we write about—people getting their happily ever afters in however that looks for them, and having bodily autonomy is the most basic of human rights and the foundation for every single person’s HEA. I’m so grateful that our efforts with this anthology are going to make a tangible difference in the lives of those who need support the most.

You can pre-order this book on Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play, and AmazonDISSENT comes out September 6, 2022, on National Read a Book Day.

(via Twitter, featured image: Brighton Walsh, Nicole French, and Brooke Cumberland)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)