Grab Your Halo

I don’t mean the cute little oranges.

Today, I had a BookBub promo start for She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things.


I love a lot of things about this story, and I hope new readers will love it, too! But I don’t just want them to love this story.

I’ve blogged before about the seeming weirdness of paying to give your book away for free to folks who’ve never heard of you. But that’s the point. Because they’ve never heard of me, maybe they’ll take a chance on a free book, discover they like it, and then buy my other books. Francis Guenette called it “the halo effect”, and it’s real. Book sales do blossom under its effect.

But there’s another reason to buy my other books – the ones that aren’t free. It’s time for my fall/winter fundraiser. For several years, I’ve donated all or part of my royalties spring and fall to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, with some matching donations from friends. To date, I’ve donated over $1500 to them.


Last year, I discovered another charity, Pets of the Homeless. I researched this because one of my novels, Cast Me Gently, released October 2015, featured a homeless man with a dog. Last year, thanks to a matching donation from a friend, we were able to send a check for $700 to Pets of the Homeless.

Around the holidays, a lot of people remember food banks and food pantries. Churches host Thanksgiving dinners and make up food baskets for needy families. I know there’s never enough to go around, but they get way more help now than they do in the spring when schools are letting out for the summer.

So, I’m going to make Pets of the Homeless my fall/winter recipient again. I will donate all of my royalties from now until the end of December to Pets of the Homeless.



So now, grab your halo! Do something great for a terrific organization. Buy any of my books, give them as gifts (did you know you can gift e-books with just an e-mail address?), build up your To Be Read pile a bit more, and help me help homeless folks who aren’t just taking care of themselves, but a four-legged companion as well.


(Source: Pets of the Homeless)

Pets of the Homeless helps with food donations, emergency veterinarian care and surgeries. Some of the stories are heartbreaking.

Your support is really very much appreciated.

Peace and full bellies to all.

UPDATE: For those of you who have already purchased all of my books (thank you so much!) but still want to help, you can donate directly to Pets of the Homeless HERE. They also have a list of donation sites around the country where you can drop off pet food, leashes, beds, etc.


Well, June is gone, and that means my fundraiser for my food bank is now over. Time to tally up the donation.

But before I do that, I wanted to update you on some other things that have happened over the past few months. When I try to think about the more recent ones, I realize that they actually began with things that happened before.

Ripples. One thing intersecting with another. Life is amazing sometimes.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 7.51.13 AM


So I have to back up a bit. Months ago, when I was searching for review sites for books, I came across a wonderful team of reviewers at Rosie Amber’s site. I normally reach out to reviewers for my newest releases, but earlier this year, I was friended on Facebook by a woman whose twenty-year-old gay son had committed suicide a few months earlier. It’s so tragic that young LGBT people still feel so desperate that suicide feels like their only option. I decided to see if anyone on Rosie’s team was interested in reviewing Turning for Home. I think this particular story is an important one for a few reasons: it depicts the difficulties of growing up gay in a small town (then and now), but it also shows how the things we think we understood as teenagers can continue to haunt us as adults until we see those events through the lens of time.

A couple of reviewers accepted, including Francis Guenette. In addition to her wonderful review (HERE), Francis has a fantastic blog. She is an author whose books have been added to my TBR list; she posts gorgeous photos of her garden, but she also blogged about her experience with BookBub.

For those of you who don’t know, BookBub is a subscription service where readers can sign up to receive e-mails listing free or discounted books in their preferred genre(s). Authors or publishers can submit books to be offered on BookBub. At first glance, it makes no sense to pay to list your book for free or a discounted price, and it’s very competitive to get a book listed, but it works.

I was able to get Neither Present Time listed for a BookBub deal on 15 June. Over 10,000 people downloaded it for free. So how did this contribute to my fundraiser?

Well, Francis described it accurately as the “halo effect”. Not only has Neither Present Time received about twenty additional reviews between Amazon and Goodreads from new readers, but those same people have discovered my other books, generating more reviews for those books, and on and on.

Another unexpected benefit of all of this is meeting new people, including a new on-line friend who wrote me yesterday to let me know that she was just accepted to the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Writing Academy. The GCLS conference starts in two days, where I’ll be moderating a panel and doing a presentation on publishing.

So all of these ripples have led to my writing a check for $400 to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Thank you to everyone  who bought books these past two months. Your support is so very much appreciated.

Happy 4th of July to everyone here in the U.S. and, to everyone else around the world, have a wonderful Monday.


My Deal With the Devil

The fantastic folks over at Women & Words hosted me for a guest blog today. Check it out and see how you can win a copy of The Beast That Never Was!


Like a lot of writers, I spent years penning my first novel, hiding it away, too embarrassed to admit to anyone I was actually writing a book. I wrote it privately, dreaming of someday being published, but not really daring to think it could happen.

After I finally finished it and let a few people read it, I took the plunge of trying to submit to publishers. Back then, that meant querying agents to get an acquiring editor interested enough to request the manuscript. Nada. Somewhere, I still have all of those rejection letters, and the manuscript slunk back into the darkness to languish for a long time.

Read more of this post HERE



Hungry All the Years


(photo courtesy of

“I had been hungry all the years;

my noon had come to dine;

I, trembling, drew the table near,

and touched the curious wine.”

-emily dickinson

That poem by Emily Dickinson is chock full of beautiful, poignant imagery of not belonging, of being an outsider. Obviously, I am not the only one to take a book’s title from this poem.

For the purpose of this blog, I am taking a more literal interpretation of her words.

Over the next month, the school year will be ending here in the US, and more than just academics will end. So, too, will the free breakfasts and lunches our public schools provide for children of low-income families.

It’s a sad irony that summer, a time of plenty, is actually a time of greater need for families already struggling to pay bills and put food on the table.

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I’ve been doing a spring and fall fundraiser for my local food bank, The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. To date, I have been able to donate over $1000 to them, thanks to your support!

I have a new book coming out June 1, The Beast That Never Was. So this is a great time to combine the fundraiser with a giveaway!


Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll donate 50% of my May & June royalties. That’s been my standard spring donation.

Here’s what you do: Buy Books! Add a comment to this blog or e-mail me at the address at the end of this blog and tell me which book(s) you bought during the months of May and June.

For those why buy books in May, I’ll enter you in a giveaway for five (5) e-books of The Beast That Never Was. You’ll be among the first to read this new novel.

For those who continue to buy through June, I’ll offer three signed paperbacks of The Beast, open to anyone anywhere in the world.

This is a great opportunity for you to get some great reads and help a fantastic cause. If you already have all of my books and are in the position to do so, consider donating to your local food bank. I’m sure they could use your support.

My e-mail: cjwerlingerbooks AT yahoo DOT com

As always, thank you for reading and for supporting this fundraiser.



Buy Books! Feed Kids!

For those of you who have followed my blog, you know it’s time for my annual summer fundraiser for my local food bank.

We’re slowly crawling out of this recession, but there are still so many families that are struggling. HERE are some of the latest statistics on Hunger and Poverty in the U.S. There has been a lot of news coverage in recent months about the struggle for families to make a living wage if they only earn minimum wage.

Summers are an especially tough time as public schools are no longer in session, providing free breakfasts and lunches to kids from low-income families. They turn to food banks for extra help. And it’s not just families with kids. So many of our older folks are getting by, or trying to, on only Social Security, which doesn’t always stretch far enough to cover rent/mortgage, utilities, gas and food.

Since I started Corgyn Publishing, I’ve done these fundraisers twice a year. To date, we’ve raised $750 for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

So here’s the deal: I will donate 50% of my royalties for all book sales from May and June to the food bank!

Your role: buy books! I promise you, they’re actually good stories, with characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading. You might need to invest in an extra box or two of tissues for some of them, but it’s worth it. Books make great gifts, too. You can gift an e-book as easily as a paperback now with just an e-mail address. Share the love with your friends!

As a thank-you, if you e-mail me at cjwerlingerbooksATyahooDOTcom, tell me which title you bought and from which vendor, I’ll be happy to send you a personalized bookmark or postcard ( but you may have to take potluck on which you get).

If you’ve read all of my books, thank you – from the top of my stomach (which is near the bottom of my heart), because I’ve been blessed enough to never truly know hunger.

Peace and full bellies to all,



photo courtesy of


The Cost of Being Poor

It’s no secret that there are a lot of poor and hungry people, here in the U.S. and around the world. The impact of the recession and the political climate in the U.S. have made day to day existence tough for a lot of people. Even with the jobs market improving and the economy slowly recovering from the collapse left as Bush 43’s greatest legacy, it can be hard for someone, or a family, to pull themselves up out of poverty. Part of the reason is that it literally costs more to be poor.

I live in a smallish town that does have a bus system so that those without cars have a way to get around, and they spend a lot of time waiting for the buses. But at least here, they can get to a Walmart without too much trouble. In urban low-income neighborhoods, folks either travel quite a distance – an hour or more via multiple buses/trains – to get to discount stores or, more likely, they buy from the corner market which charges a lot more for everything from a loaf of bread to a gallon of milk.

The poor pay higher interest rates for loans. They pay larger deposits for utilities and security deposits on apartments. There is some justification for that. If you are a lender or a landlord, dealing with a client or tenant base with a high rate of default and nonpayment, you have to protect yourself from lost revenues. That’s understandable.

But, from the standpoint of someone faced with a choice of making a car payment on a car that is eating up gas and insurance money, or paying rent or buying food or paying for heat, which would you choose to let go? When there’s not enough money for all of those things, hard choices have to be made.

I hear the argument that there’s no good reason for poor people to be stinky and fat. It doesn’t cost much, people say, to buy a bar of soap and they shouldn’t be eating junk food all the time. But you know what? It does cost a lot of money for a water deposit in many cities, and the electricity to heat the water, and if you can’t afford a washer and dryer, that means trips to the laundromat, which gobbles up quarters by the sleeve. As for food, the junk is way less expensive than the healthy stuff.

Don’t even get me started on the paycheck-loan and car title-loan places. Those lenders are predatory and should be shut down, in my opinion. Years ago, one of my employees got caught in paycheck-loan cycle he couldn’t get himself out of – that’s how those places work. Every time you borrow and pre-pay the interest, your next paycheck is smaller and then you have to borrow again to get by until the next payday. I paid off his loan. It wasn’t a gift. He paid me back, $10 or $15 a paycheck, interest-free, until we were square. But a lot of folks caught in that cycle don’t have anyone to help them out.

All of these issues contribute to increased health risks, particularly for children and seniors. The medical costs of just one hospitalization can cripple a family.

The growing problem of poverty and hunger feels absolutely overwhelming when you start looking at it. Trying to fix it feels impossible. But we can make dents.

I am pledging 50% of all of my book royalties for the month of November to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, my local food bank. If you are in a position to donate or volunteer at your local food bank or Meals on Wheels or soup kitchen, please do so.

If you’d like to read more about these issues, the Washington Post did an excellent story on the High Cost of Poverty HERE.

HERE are some statistics on hunger among our seniors, along with some ways you can help.

And HERE is an interesting article on hunger in America.

Thank you for reading.

Turning, Turning

“When true simplicity is gained, To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed, To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.” Joseph Brackett

I love the lyrics of that old Shaker song. It reminds me there are bigger things than my petty worries and my projects and, well… me. It reminds me that, even in the midst of all the busy-ness of my life, I need to be mindful and aware.

On that note (literally, I now have that song in my head), I have several updates to share with you. First, in case you didn’t see the announcement, my next novel, Turning for Home, will be published by Ylva Publishing in May 2015! You can check out the original announcement HERE, and read the blurb. I am very excited about this project. We’re already in the midst of the second round of edits and the experience has been fantastic! I’ll keep you apprised as we get a cover and a release date.

Fresh on the heels of that announcement, I have just published a Christmas short story titled Twist of the Magi. Here’s the blurb:

Christmas is not looking very merry for Penny Havers – she won’t be seeing her family for the holidays; she hasn’t had a girlfriend in forever; she can’t get her stories published. When two young women are hired at the shop where she works, Penny begins to think her luck may have changed. Penny is about to learn that, when Christmas works its magic, what you hope for isn’t always what you get.

Twist of the Magi is available from Amazon and Smashwords for only .99!

Most importantly, even though it is only early November, it is time to begin thinking about my next fundraiser for my local food bank. I will donate 50% of my royalties for the remainder of this month to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. All paperback and e-book sales will figure into that donation. If you haven’t bought any of my titles, this is a great time to do so. Remember, books make great gifts. Even e-books can be gifted now. All you need is the e-mail address of the recipient! Couldn’t be any easier.

If you can, please consider volunteering or donating to your local food bank. They all need extra help this time of year.

Peace and full bellies to all.