The Playfriends -- along with the rest of the world -- are sending our thoughts and prayers down under as Australia deals with the bushfires that have taken such a horrific toll on people, animals, and property.
Whenever tragedy strikes, we need stories of hope and survival to counteract the loss.
For many, the story was the koala named Sam:
But you know where else you can find stories of hope and survival?
Yep. In books. Me, I'm partial to romance to help escape bad news and find a little rest for my brain when it's about to overload. But any book will do.
So I'm very happy to announce that the *other* RWA -- Romance Writers of Australia -- is organizing a book drive to serve the communities destroyed by fire.
Now, granted, books aren't the first and foremost need right this very second. If you want to help feed and shelter people who have lost their homes, the Australian Red Cross will take your donation online and put your money to work. The Australian RSPCA will also take online donations to help care for the animals who were injured and displaced by the fires.
But we're all readers here, and we know there are plenty of people who could use an escape from the reality of the situation by losing themselves in a book. Plenty of people who want to curl up with their children and just read to them. But with libraries destroyed and purchasing books low on anyone's list of priorities, there's only one good way to get books back into the hands of the people.
And that's a book drive.
So hurrah to the RWA for stepping in. They're collecting new and like-new books -- romance (of course), children's, all genre fiction ... anything, basically. RWA will collect, sort and box up the books, and see that they're delivered to community/neighborhood centers and libraries where they're needed. (Feel free to include a note, or, if you wrote the book, sign it!)
Mail your books to:
RWA Bushfire Book Appeal
c/-89 Rennie St.
Thornbury, VIC 3071
And here's a Valentine treat for everyone: Harlequin is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, and they're giving away ebooks to celebrate -- 16 ebooks! Just visit www.harlequincelebrates.com and click on the titles you want. They'll download immediately.