Over in the AV Studio, I have a 1:10 clip of me on The Gayle King Show talking about two key lessons from Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels. Have a look! (I am wearing an astonishing amount of makeup, but it looks pretty good! YAY!)
Last week I was chatting on Twitter (which is pretty much what I do every day) and heard from a few people I follow how many personal items like toiletries and underwear were needed in Alabama following the tornadoes at the end of April. There were opportunities to give money all over the place, but more than money, people in Alabama needed stuff. Tampons, shampoo, detergent, underwear, socks, new clothes — when your house is entirely gone, as one radio DJ said to me, so is everything in it.
I believe that people genuinely want to help, but not always monetarily. If I could generate a list of specific items that were needed, and locations to which to mail those items, I thought that folks who read my site would feel the same way I did: motivated by the need to do something specific and immediate to help, even from far far away. As one author said to me (and I don’t know if I can quote her so I’m leaving her name out): Money can’t make these organizations mobilize faster.
So I prepared a list of items and coordinated volunteers to accept mail drops of packages that they could then deliver to local relief distribution centers in urban and rural Alabama. I had three maildrop volunteers and over 100 email messages asking for an address. People bought stuff on Amazon and Prime shipped it down to Alabama. Others cleaned out their closets of gently used clothing, and a few folks went shopping at the CVS and then walked over to the post office to mail it all down. Duct tape, bug spray, bras and underwear – from places like Maine and Minnesota, packages arrived. Have a look at one day’s delivery at one of the maildrops.
Seriously, I am so proud and pleased and happy we could do something concrete and immediate to help out. I know the media moved on covering other stories while Alabama was still hurting, but I know I felt horrible about how much they were struggling. Glamour.com picked up the story, as did others on Twitter, and now the UPS delivery team in Alabama is bringing our donations where they are needed. That is so awesome. Thank you.
I was quoted in an article on the Today Show website at MSNBC that focused on the updated romance novel cover designs – which are getting better every year. Romance Novel Covers Get Butt-Kicking Babes featured me, as well as Harlequin books, Carina Press, Pam Regis (the Original Scholar of Romance), and a few other fine folks explaining how romance covers feature strong women – which coincidentally are often found inside the books as well:
“The era of Fabio is long, long, past,” said Sarah Wendell, a romance novel fan who runs the extensive blog Smart Bitches Trashy Books….
“It’s more of the guy next door look, rather than the Fabio beefcake look,” said Green.
Many publishers feature a headless man or couple, showcasing just their lusty bodies. “Readers don’t want to be told what the hero or heroine looks like,” said Wendell. “They want to control that with their imaginations.”
It’s true- the covers have moved away from beefcake to images of women of unquestionable strength. Next up: I hope we can move away from the clinch cover featuring hair styling via absolutely bizarre wind patterns.