PSA: Houston and Harvey

To all the folks in Houston, my heart goes out to you. This includes my brother and his family, and my niece and her family. They are safe for the moment, but… Please, I ask you to keep them, and all the people of that area, in your thoughts.

So why didn’t they leave, you ask? The areas where they live are considered “safe”. Other people were actually being evacuated to their areas. But who ever heard of getting over four feet of rain in just a couple of days? Yes, they are dry for the moment, but the water keeps rising and now… there’s no way out. All the roads are flooded. So they sit. And wait. Knowing there is nothing they can do to stop it.

For the rest of us, we sit and watch. But there is something we can do. We can donate to those organizations who will help these people. They will provide food, shelter, comfort, and, eventually, help rebuild. I urge everyone to donate what they can to these organizations. BUT BEFORE YOU DO… make sure it is a legitimate organization. Do your homework. There are leeches out there who prey on the woes of others. They will take your money and do nothing. Below are just a few places where you can donate and it will do some good:

The Mennonite Disaster Service:

National Organizations

The American Red Cross is accepting donations on its website. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.

AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors.

Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.

Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or texting STORM to 51555.

Local Organizations

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.

Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in north, central and east Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.

To help animals suffering from the disaster, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society.

The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.

Check out this article by the New York Times:

And this one by Business Insider:

Thank you.

Guest Promo: Charity Parkerson

When the cover model who’s every man’s fantasy…

By most people standards, Ryker is considered odd. As the only child of a notorious conman, he understandably has a few trust issues. Most men are willing to overlook his parentage and strange personality since these days he’s better known as one of the hottest cover models around. Ryker knows his appearance pays the bills, but it’s also brought grief, stalkers, and one gorgeous cop into his life. There’s one tiny problem with his new-found obsession, Grady—other than being a part of organized law enforcement—he also happens to be straight.

Meets a cop who’s unlike any other man…

Grady knows exactly what he wants in life. He has the career he’s always dreamed of, and plays the field, catching every woman he sets his sights on. That is until he meets Ryker. Something about the more-damaged-than-not cover model brings out Grady’s protective side. Ryker also does something else to Grady. He makes him burn. The last thing Grady expected was to fall for another man, but no one makes him feel the way Ryker does. He can’t get enough. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one.

Their passion will blow everyone away.

When Ryker’s ex threatens their newfound love, Grady will stop at nothing to hang onto the man he never knew he wanted, and the bond he’d die to keep.


The Ups and Downs of Writing

Last week I decided my files needed some organization. In actuality, as any good writer knows, I was avoiding working on a difficult passage in my current work in progress. So, I opened my file cabinet and, in the process, gave myself a good case of depression.

One of the thickest files in the drawer contained rejections. The earliest one I kept goes back to 1984. Yes, you read that right. I’ve been collecting rejections for over thirty years. I looked at that date and the thick pile and started feeling really sorry for myself and asking the cosmos why I continue to do this if I’m never going to get anywhere with it. I slammed the drawer shut and wallowed in self-pity for most of the day.

Later in the day, knowing the mess that the drawer contained and being – according to my family – obsessively organized, I re-opened the drawer. And it’s a good thing I did. For within the dark confines of that evil drawer, was a Pandora’s box that contained a kernel of hope.

I found a file containing the reviews I’d published in a well-read magazine. There were almost a hundred of them from the decade I’d spent with that publication. Those reviews led to the articles I did for my local newspaper and the ones I do now for various newsletters and magazines.

In addition, there were notes on the hundreds of novels and the college textbooks I’ve edited or copy-edited over the years – some of which went on to win awards of various types. And that doesn’t include the more than 200 documents I’ve worked on as a technical writer nor my own novels, two of which have won awards. Then there was my local RWA newsletter, for which I was the editor and that I slaved over each month as I attempted to present a valuable resource for the group-and that also won awards on the national level.

I looked at my past writing and realized how far I have come since those first weak attempts. I’ve grown and learned and applied those skills to my work and it shows. I can hold my head up and know that my writing has improved immensely over what it once was.

I looked at that pile of accomplishments and compared it to my much smaller heap of rejections and came to a realization: Yes, I’m sad that my novels haven’t been picked up by a major publisher, but I’ve been published – many times. And I know that someday all my work will pay off. But if it doesn’t, I still have something to be proud of. I’ve accomplished an awful lot and most of it while working full or part-time and raising a large family.

So go away, depressing thoughts. I’ve writing to do.