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Only $3 with 100% of profits to benefit Japan earthquake relief. Click image for more information.

I’m still pretty new to this authoring gig so it’s not often I’ve been able to say this:  IT’S RELEASE DAY!  My novella HAWTHORNE hits the virtual shelves today, and cohort Elaina Lee and I are kicking off FOUR WEEKS of prizes and giveaways to promote awareness for our titles.  You see, HAWTHORNE and Elaina’s TO URN HER LOVE aren’t typical releases … they’re for a good cause.

Together with Astraea Press, Elaina and I are pleased to announce 100% of profits from our books will go directly to disaster relief charities.

To help raise awareness, every comment on our individual blogs or guest blog posts (including this one!) from July 12 through August 8 will double as an entry into a weekly drawing for a $10 gift e-certificate or a free e-book.  Winners will be announced on our blogs and contacted via e-mail.  As an additional token of appreciation for your support, if you have purchased either of these titles you are invited to contact either of us via e-mail for a free gift (while supplies last, see below).

As for why we’re doing this … let me share this with you.

100% of proceeds from this title will benefit Alabama tornado victims. Click image for more information.

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES, there’s a moment when we forget all boundaries.  Geographic, political, and socioeconomic divisions fall, and there, for some of the most painful, beautiful moments in time, we are one.

Then—hour by hour, day by day, week by week—the vast majority of us lucky enough to do so will move on.  As the headlines change our focus moves elsewhere, and save for the occasional media update, many of us don’t look back.

Some, however, struggle to look ahead.  Here’s a glimpse at the staggering numbers and the broken realities affected residents of Alabama and Japan must face every day.

ALABAMA TORNADOES – April 27, 2011

The mile-wide F5 tornado that literally sliced the state of Alabama in half stayed on the ground for an astonishing 300 miles—a record-breaking distance, according to National Geographic.  It also left a path of utter devastation in its wake, and recovery  hasn’t been easy, as evidenced by these facts reported by blog.al.com.

  • 25,081 families were denied FEMA insurance, including many whose homes had been wiped completely off their foundations.  FEMA’s reason?  Insufficient damage.
  • Following the April tornadoes, FEMA deployed 523 inspectors to the region.  Together, they’ve inspected over 5,000 properties a day.  That’s a lot of destruction, folks.
  • Of the $4 million in initial FEMA aid for Alabama, $3.1 million went for temporary housing alone.
JAPAN EARTHQUAKE – March 11, 2011

A June 29 update from Red Cross Japan reveals the following sober statistics:

  • 75,215 people from the three most affected prefectures are still living in shelters or other temporary housing.  7,427 are still missing, their loved ones fearing the worst.
  • 119,776 claims for unemployment were filed between March 11 and June 8 in the three most affected prefectures.
  • 97,183 people have been evacuated from the area surrounding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.  35,514 have left the Fukushima prefecture, forced to start over with nothing.
These titles are only $3 each.  Please consider making a contribution through your purchase today!

TO URN HER LOVE | HAWTHORNE

Tuscaloosa, AL on July 9, 2011 ... more than two months after the tornado, little has changed. Photo by Elaina Lee.

TO URN HER LOVE | Elaina Lee | romance | BUY LINK | BLOG

Caylie Abrahms bad day gets worse when the teen brother she’s responsible for proudly hands her a gift.  Just wanting to show how much he appreciates all his sister does for him, Kyle steals what he believes is an ornate glass vase.  The gift is anything but however, and now Caylie has to find the owner of an urn.  Worst yet, she has to explain her dear brother stole someones loved one.

Against all odds she learns the urn belongs to Rick Marshall, her best friend from college, the man she’d poured her heart out to and been rejected by.  She never thought she’d see him again, let alone have to hand him back his father in glass.  Will her resolve remain strong in his presence, or will she suffer another broken heart?

HAWTHORNE | Sarah Ballance | mystery, romance | BUY LINK | BLOG

After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home.   She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.

Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace.  In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything.  What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?

July 9, 2011 by Elaina Lee

If you’d like to receive free promotional materials, please contact Elaina @ forthemusedesigns at gmail dot com or Sarah @ sarah at sarahballance dot com.  Available while supplies last.

SOURCES:  NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/110428-tuscaloosa-birmingham-alabama-news-tornadoes-science-nation/ | AL.BLOG.COM http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/06/alabama_tornado_recovery_fema.html |RED CROSS JAPAN http://www.jrc.or.jp/vcms_lf/kokusai_290611.pdf  | Photos by Elaina Lee (July 9, 2011)