The Least of Us

“I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

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It’s that time of year, when the holidays are staring us in the face, along with the bombardment of Christmas commercials and displays in the stores.

I do love the holidays, but not that part. I love the music (which I was listening to in July). I love seeing the lights on the houses as we walk the dogs in the dark now (and yes, some houses in our neighborhood already have their trees in their windows).

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that since I founded Corgyn Publishing, I’ve been doing twice a year fundraisers for two charities: the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Pets of the Homeless.

So many people support food banks at the holidays that I have chosen to dedicate my winter fundraiser to Pets of the Homeless. They have collection centers at pet stores and vet offices all around the country. They help the homeless with food and veterinary care for their furry (mostly) family. These people have so little, that it’s especially devastating to them when something happens to what may well be the only family, the only source of mutual comfort they have.

I’ll be donating 100% of all of my November and December royalties to Pets of the Homeless. Please, if you’ve thought about buying any of my books (Amazon), this is a great time to do so. (This blog also has links to Ylva Publishing and Bella where most of my books can be found) If you’ve already read my books, thank you! (Books make great gifts, just sayin’)

I hope you and your family are safe and warm and fed this holiday season. But there are some people who aren’t any of those things. Please think about helping out. A direct donation to Pets of the Homeless or your local food bank would be a fantastic way to celebrate this season’s true meaning.

Pax,

Caren

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Hunger Games?

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If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’ve done spring and fall fundraisers for a couple of charities: The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Pets of the Homeless.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t help but know that our political world here in the US has been turned upside down since November. Part of the upheaval is the appointment of Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education – a woman who has zero, absolutely zero idea of the role public schools play in the lives of ordinary people. Not only do public schools serve one of our founders’ primary goals in having a literate, educated electorate but, for a long time, they’ve provided free breakfasts and lunches to kids of low income families. She’s playing games with the lives of millions of kids, especially poor kids.

We’ve long had a large portion of our population that is “food insecure” – the term used when families don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The problem has been worse since the 2008 recession. You can learn more about that and what you can to do help HERE. And you can go HERE to learn more about hunger world-wide.

When I was a kid, summers were wondrous times of reading all day or disappearing into the woods near our house to play all day. I always had food for snacks and lunches. I’ve never known a day with real hunger. That isn’t true for lots of people.

Summers are an overwhelming time for many food banks and soup kitchens, when families have to try and figure out how to make up for those breakfasts and lunches not being served by schools during those months.

In an effort to make a difference locally, I’m pledging 100% of my May royalties to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Any books you purchase – from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, Bella, or Ylva – they’ll all go toward the check I’ll write.

So, if you’ve been thinking about buying any of my books you might not have read, this is a great time to do so! If you’ve already bought all of my books, THANK YOU! If you’re in a position to do something in your community, I’m sure your local food bank could use any amount you can afford to give.

Thank you for your help with this project.

H in sun

(Hermione is always hungry, but that’s just because she’s a corgi…)

Peace and full bellies to all,

Caren

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.

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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.

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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.

halo-effect

(Source: people2people.com.au)

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.

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(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.

Ripples…

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.

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(Source:  quotesgram.com)

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.

Pax

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!

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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

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(photo courtesy of wisegeek.org)

“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!

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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.

Pax,

Caren

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,

Caren

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photo courtesy of wisegeek.org