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What’s New This Year:

1 Jan

Well for starters:

#1: Social Vibe: I’m raising money for education but not in the way you’d think. Here’s how it works. Click on the social vibe widget (further down my sidebar) and it’ll open to a set of Company based ads. You watch the ad and the company donates money to the cause. It cost them money and each of us 5 minutes of our time. A really easy/great way to give back.

#2: The 2011 Debut Authors Challenge – hosted by The Story Siren. This is exciting to me. Because as a writer it’s easy to sometimes write/critique and forget to read. (Or get too busy to read). I’m hoping this challenge will help me step back even more to simply enjoy a book and of course support Debut Authors. Just found this out as well, each month/for every review done on a debut book participants names are put into a drawing for a prize pack. Below is a photo of January’s pack. Let me just say, WOW!

https://rachelmariepratt.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/dacjan.jpg?w=300

#3: The contest area in my sidebar. (Which I may move lower, because it distracts me for some reason.)

#4: Totally 4 YA: It’s a fantastic NEW authors group geared completely at teens, their lives, their world, YA reading, YA writing… the list goes on and on.

#5: A *hush-hush* sisters site getting ready to launch.

As you can see it’s starting off to be an exciting year already! Oh and before you go, don’t forget to tell me, what’s new with you?

Mad State

16 Jul

I’m compelled to write this post because of all the nuts from Michigan making the headlines lately. The state I love seems to be teeming with extortionists, murderers, authors who shoot their fathers… the list goes on and on. Okay, so teeming may be a bit over kill, but my home state hasn’t exactly been making national headlines for the ‘good stuff’ it’s got going for it.

Contrary to what some may believe there are normal, average, sane (emphasis on sane) people who live here. And hopefully soon we’ll see someone in Michigan making the news for something better than extorting money from a celebrity. Maybe a writer getting a book published and donating to local charities. 😉

Hope to see things turn around. Soon.

What’s your state doing in the news lately?

YAFF Muse:She Rains

30 Jun

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.

Without further delay, this weeks YAFF Muse pic was provided by YAFF Member: Cambria. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies stories, I’ve linked their sites at the end the post. Enjoy!

Around the Streetmarket by: Plamen Stoev

She Rains

By: R.M. Gilbert

“We’re here to help build a larger medical facility,” the youth pastor explains. “But we’re also here to administer to the people. You’ll be split into two groups and alternate between visits to the current medical station and here.” Pastor Carl gestures to the construction site. “Jason, Marcus, and Sara, will help build today, and Leesa and Kent will go with our translator, Seshawn Rea, to the med center.”

“You ready for this, Leesa?” Kent asks.

“Sure.” I nod.

We follow our translator to a path that leads into a mass of trees. My stomach tightens when a mosquito the size of my fist swarms past my head. Breath, you’ve had your shots, I remind myself. I had too, in order to get the passport to come to this remote community in the middle of the jungle. Heaven, what was I thinking.

“This way, this way,” Seshawn says, waving us forward.

The path narrows and winds. Massive trees, nothing like the ones back home, tower overhead. They grow so tall and so close together it’s like looking at one gigantic green wall. And mud clings to everything. Thankfully, we’ve come at the end of their rainy season.

When we reach the medical facility its little more than large pieces of canvas sewn together, held up by logs. We’re ushered in and instructed to “sit and visit” with the children waiting for treatment. I settle next to a little boy, about seven. He grins, a toothless grin, but then struggles to take a breath.

“What happened to him?” I ask the translator. He rattles on in the native tongue.

The boys face grows serious and he reaches into his tattered pants and pulls out an old, torn piece of newspaper. Instead of showing me an article, he opens his tiny hands as if offering me a gift. There in his palm is a photo. He thrusts his hands toward me.

I smile and take the photograph, examining it—it’s beautiful—a girl running in the pouring rain. It’s dark and mysterious, intriguing and playful all at the same time. “Will you tell him I think it’s very pretty?”

Seshawn nods and speaks to the boy, whose brows crease more than any child’s should. Tears fill his innocent eyes. His head shakes and he mutters.

“What did he say?”

“He says, not pretty. He says, he thinks rain is fun, but she is his death.”

I say a silent prayer for the child and before I’m led away I glance back at this small defeated person. “Do you know what happened to him?”

The translator’s gaze sweeps the room. “Not just him. Them.”

Them? There’s better than a hundred children under the cover of the tent-like room. “How?”

“The acid rain falls on plants and animals. They eat and get sick, here.” He pokes at his kidneys then covers his chest. “And here.”

A week later our mission trip has come to an end.  Our youth group boards a plane home.

I glance out the window of the small commuter jet, catching a glimpse of a girl on the runway alongside of us. Black hair, contrasting white, ashy skin, it’s her, the girl from the boy’s picture.

The plane engine roars and we speed forward. I look to see if anyone else notices the girl, but they’re busy talking among themselves.

Twisting back to the window, we’re in the sky. The higher we go, she follows, stalking us. I watch as she evaporates into the air, streams through our jet engine then reappears in a distant cloud. “Wait,” I cry out and turn to our pastor.

“What is it?” he asks, coming to my side.

My finger traces the edge of the window. “Rain,” I say.

“Hmm. You don’t worry about that Leesa, we should be out of the area before it hits.”

©2010, June 28, rmg.

I really loved this picture, a hundred thoughts on what to write came to mind over the course of several days. The idea for ‘She Rains’ came to me at about 5:30 in the morning during a ride with my husband to pick up our car from his bosses house. I liked the idea of writing a short story with a message.

Acid Rain is a reality. It affects our food and water sources and often the consequences go unnoticed. Despite its name, acid rain looks the same as any rain shower, but the harmful pollutants are there. Like those caused by burning fossil fuels. For more faqs on acid rain, please visit: Outside air pollution-faqs.org

What cause(s) do you think deserve more attention and why?

After commenting, be sure to stop by other YAFFER sites to see how the picture inspired them:

Cambria Dillon

Mindy Buchanan

Penny Randall

R.L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

World responsibility…just imagine.

21 Jan

Our World

Many of my posts are based on my simple opinion, but this is one opinion I hope others will join in and share with me: It’s good to give.

The scope of disaster in Haiti reaches farther than anyone can truly imagine. So many are left in ruin. Whole generations, entire families are gone. Imagine with me for a minute, that your family was here one day and gone the next. Imagine if you were the sole survivor. Imagine having  no home to return to. Imagine being sick, hurt, or even near death and having to wait on a ten day backlog to see a doctor.

Now imagine you can help.

We all can. My daughters school is throwing a bake sale. Our church is taking up a donation. We’re donating food to the cause as well. Trust me, it’s not much. But each of us giving a little, can add up. We aren’t celebrities with $250k to hand over. We’re average, ordinary, everyday people…but ordinary can lead to extraordinary.

I ask that each of us be extraordinary and give something to someone in need. Even if you can’t find a way to give donations to relief in Haiti. There are other opportunities. Local food banks, shelters, woman/youth centers. I think we all know someone who is hurting. And if all you have to give is your love, that will be enough.

I ask in the comments section for offered prayers and thoughts for those who struggle. Or if you are struggling please know my thoughts are with you.

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