New York City

It’s been a whirlwind adventure for sure.

I attended a PRSSA Leadership Rally in Phoenix the weekend before my internship. Before about two weeks ago, I had never been on a plane, train, public bus or taxi.

The Rally was incredibly insightful. I met plenty of awesome people and learned so much about PRSSA, PRSA and what it means to be in Public Relations.

After surviving the desert and getting two days to recover from jet lag across three time zones in four days, I was greeted by Porter Novelli (the agency I’m interning for this summer) really well. Many of them knew about my book which was weird and surreal. I mean, c’mon, people in New York know about my book.

That said, being an author doesn’t change my everyday life. At least not so far. I’m not sure how well it’s selling. I’ll find out soon though. I know God placed it in the hands of a publisher for a reason. I trust that it will be placed in the hands of the right readers when the time comes.

I’m hoping to connect with some indie bookstores and maybe even a library here to pitch my book to get on their shelves. I’ll have to do some research though.

Any who, enjoy some of photos of Phoenix and New York!

 

 

Release Day!

It’s official. I’m a published author.

The last six months have been a roller coaster. I’ve made a new dedication to truly, honestly, committing myself to a blog. I know I said that last fall, but I didn’t expect to be given a publishing contract in the middle of midterms thus sending me into weeks of late night editing.

Now that life has reached a whole new level of interesting, I’m going to write a lot more.

Without further ado, my book:

 

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Here’s the blurb:
In an underground city devoid of adults, fifteen-year-old Raquelle Granger holds the position of Council Member, and thousands of lives within City Ten rest in her hands. Unfortunately, she only has two years left until she’s supposed to join the adults on the frontlines in a war that never seems to end.
But when the enemy army rolls into the area with drills, intent on destroying the city and taking no prisoners, Raquelle, together with her little brother and childhood best friend, must make a choice—Fight, or die a martyr among the Christian youth.
It’s available now as an ebook and paperback on Amazon as well as an ebook on Barnes and Noble. Hardcovers will be available in a few months.
If you want to connect with me check out my website and social media!
Website: rochelerosa.com
Twitter: @rosa_rochele
Instagram: @rosa_darling95
LinkedIn: @rochele-rosa

 

Writing Contest Series Part 2

Hello Bookworms and Authors-to-Be!

Our next writing contest highlight is very interesting because it’s unconventional. It’s very technologically savvy for using social media as a way to connect writers to industry professionals.

What could this contest be?

 

#PitMad

#PitMad is a Twitter pitch party! Remember Pitch Wars? Yeah, this competition is organized by the same woman! Isn’t that awesome?

On designated days of the year, writers from everywhere on Earth are encouraged to boil down their novels to just 140 characters as a tease for industry professionals who are looking for new talent.

When you pitch your novel, include hashtags that identify the genre, such as #SF is Science Fiction and #CF is children’ fiction, etc etc. The whole list of possible hashtags to include are here. Of course, don’t forget to include the most important #PitMad with your tweet!

So, when an industry professional, such as a publishing house editor or a literary agent, ‘hearts’ your tweet, you are encouraged to submit a cover letter to them as per their guidelines. When you do, make sure that the subject line contains ‘#PitMad Request-Title of Your Work’.

If you’re interested in this competition, the next #PitMad pitch party will be December 1, 2016. So, polish up your manuscript and get working on your pitches! All the rules can be found on the website.

Have you ever entered into #PitMad or something similar? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Writing Contests Series Part 1

Hello Bookworms!

Sorry for the radio silence this summer. I’ve been kicking around some ideas for blog posts and…well, not actually writing any.

But today is a new day!

I have whipped up a brand new blog series that will make any aspiring author drool. This series will be five blog posts long. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first competition.

This writing contest is an annual event with over 200 success stories since its founding in 2012. It’s created a Twitter-ific community of aspiring and published authors alike alongside industry professionals.

Drum roll please…. (Brought to you by giphy.com)

American Idol excited applause clapping audience

 

Pitch Wars!

Pitch Wars was created by Brenda Drake, author of the TOUCHING FATE and THIEF OF LIES. Here’s how the contest works:

  1. Published authors and publishing industry professionals volunteer to be mentors.
  2. The mentors guest post on Ms. Drake’s blog all summer, providing insight into what genres they are interested in and what their mentoring styles are like.
  3. Aspiring authors gather intel on four mentors to whom they will submit a pitch (known as a query letter) for one of their completed manuscripts.
  4. The submission form goes live and the Pitch Wars begins!
  5. Mentors choose one mentee from the slush pile of pitches submitted to them.
  6. Mentees are announced and the mentors have two months to help their aspiring authors revise their manuscripts and pitches for the Agent Showcase.
  7. The Agent Showcase begins wherein literary agents and more publishing professionals will read through the mentee pitches with the potential for those aspiring authors to become published authors.

The submission form just went live yesterday and will be open until Saturday night! There are over 100 mentors this year looking for Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult and Adult genre categories.

I submitted a manuscript into the contest and will eagerly distract myself from the impatience of  waiting to find out whether or not I’m a mentee.

You can find all the details at Brenda Drake’s blog. Remember this is an annual contest so don’t worry if your manuscript isn’t ready. Feel free to check out the #PitchWars Twitter feed to see the writing community for yourself! Maybe you’ll spot a new book to read or an editor to submit to while you’re at it.

Have you entered or heard of Pitch Wars before? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Literacy Advocacy Part 5

Hello Bookworms!

 

This is the fifth and final post of our Literacy Advocacy series. For that reason, I decided that our last Literacy Advocate should be a big one. This week’s Literacy Advocate is based in London and, in a way, is much like last week’s post, where they facilitate many programs.In 2015 alone, their programs benefited more than 24 million people!

 

Their partners include publishing houses such as Pearson Education and Penguin Random House. Also, they are the sponsors of World Book Day, which I didn’t know existed until I began researching this Literacy Advocate.

 

 

Who is our fantastic, global bookworm inspirer?

 

 

 

 

Book Aid International began in 1952, when Countess Ranfurly moved to the Bahamas for her husband’s appointed position of Governor General. Lady Ranfurly was shocked at the lack of books and educational materials for the people there. So, she began collecting books for schools and libraries throughout the Bahamas.

 
She continued her work even after returning to the UK and created The Ranfurly Library Service which was then changed to Book Aid International in 1994. The organization specializes in promoting literacy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
They have programs that support libraries, primary and secondary schools, as well as universities. Prison book clubs, refugee camp literacy programs and book mobiles are also tools through which they empower those who otherwise would not be able to build a better life for themselves.

 
They have a great media page where they document the inspiring stories of people who are supported and follow their dreams through their programs. Samuel’s story is just the beginning of these heart-warming testimonies.

 
The books they send overseas have a six step process:
1) The programs within the organization give a list of what kinds of books they need.
2) Book Aid International staff in London work with the publishing partners to secure those books, which are from a wide range of categories.
3) Librarians sort through the donated books to match each individual program’s needs.
4) All of the books are packed and shipped from the warehouse
5) The distributors in each country stamp the books and send them to the programs
6) The books are then enjoyed by millions of inspired bookworms!

 
Although Book Aid International does not accept donated books from individuals, the organization operates 100 percent on individual monetary donations. Donate here then like them on Facebook, subscribe to their Youtube channel, or check out their blog!

 

Have you ever heard of Book Aid International? Have you ever participated in World Book Day’s fundraising initiative? If so, let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Literacy Advocacy Part 4

 

Hello Bookworms!
Today’s Literacy Advocate is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and has the support of companies such as Toyota and Dollar General. Plus, they are partners of multiple nonprofit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Better World Books. Literacy Advocate No. 4 is a facilitator for multiple programs across the nation that have reached over 1 million people since its founding in 1989.

Who could it be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NCFL

 

The National Center for Families Learning focuses on two-generation practices that enhance not only the child’s literacy, but the parents’ as well. Their programs’ involvement span across multiple platforms; families, educators, schools, libraries, and even other community-based nonprofit organizations.

I could spend an entire mini-series on just the programs NCFL facilitates. For now, I’ll explain some of the biggest programs and resources they offer.

  • Toyota Family Learning is an initiative that promotes low-income and minority families to read and learn together. English language learning is utilized within the Toyota Family Learning communities. The program encourages learning outside of a classroom with other families and applying that knowledge by coming together to solve community issues through service projects.
  • With the help of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the NCFL created an app called Renegade Buggies wherein both the child and parent learn basic financial literacy skills regarding budgets. Last year, the app received the Instructional Game of the Year award by the Institute for Financial Literacy.
  • The NCFL not only works to improve literacy, but also to increase the number of literacy advocates through professional development. Through services such as career counseling and advocate training, NCFL has empowered more than 150,000 people with the skills for TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), Title One teachers and administrators, and family literacy instructors.
  • Last but certainly not least, NCFL has created a National Literacy Directory that connects families and adults with literacy programs near them. This way, if you want to improve your family’s literacy, but do not know where to find a support program, you can find one here. Also, if it is a little overwhelming, there is a toll free number you can call to receive a personalized program referral.

Wow, that’s a lot of information! There is still so much that this organization has to offer. If want to know more, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, or sign up to receive one of their many newsletters.

Do you have an NCFL program in your area? How has your experience with it been? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Literacy Advocacy Series Part 3

Hello all!
This week’s literacy advocate is a heart warmer. Just yesterday the organization was given the Community Service Hero Award by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The organization is also a Promotion Partner for The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The organization works alongside plenty of other great charities that can be found on this page.

So, what is the title of this week’s literacy advocate? Drum roll please…

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Through Reading

UTR

United Through Reading was founded in 1989 by the wife of a Naval flight surgeon. The husband had to leave his wife and infant daughter for deployment and when he returned his daughter didn’t know him. The wife, having a master’s in education, decided to do something to help military families stay connected.

Here’s how UTR helps:
1) Deployed service members are recorded reading a book to their children. That video and book are sent home.
2) The child watches the video and follows along with the book.
3) The parent at home records their child’s reaction to the reading and sends that video to the deployed service member.
4) The deployed service member’s morale is boosted and the child is encouraged to read.

There are over 200 UTR recording studios worldwide. In 2015 alone, these studios helped almost 100,000 deployed service members make an emotional connection with their children while also encouraging their children to read.

This program boasts both educational and health benefits. 78% of parents observed an increased interest for reading in their child. 81% of those surveyed says that their child’s anxiety about the deployment decreased and 90% of service members say the program reduced stress during deployment.

If you would like to get involved with the organization, there are several opportunities. You can donate or you can volunteer. Some volunteer positions include:
1) Becoming a Program Advocate Scout wherein you can help scout /set up UTR studios in military communities
2) They also need creative writers for blog content

3) Critics help them select which children’s books to offer the service members
4) Production crew helps film the service members who are deployed but this category also refers to administrative assistance
5) And many more! They have even more ways to volunteer and if this is something that interests you, I encourage you to check out the online volunteer application.
Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter!

Have you heard of UTR or anything similar to it? Let me know in the comments below!

Literacy Advocacy Series Part 2

Hello Bookworms!

I hope you enjoyed my post on Compassion in my last post. Today, we will focus on a charity that promotes literacy here in the U.S. Let’s take a sneak peak at this charity’s accomplishments.
1. This charity is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
2. In 2013, the charity was awarded the David M. Rubenstein Prize by the Library of Congress, which is a multi-million dollar fund donated by the namesake to promote literacy.
3. Their literacy partner is the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Interesting factoids, aren’t they? So, without further ado, this week’s Literacy Advocate is…

 

 

 

 

 

Reach Out & Read

REachOut&Read

Photo from the Reach Out & Read Website

 

Reach Out & Read partners with doctors’ offices across the country with a three part model.
• In the waiting room, the doctors’ offices have a volunteer who reads out loud to the children, making reading and story time fun, which in turn creates a good example for the families.
• The doctors in the program then teach low-income families about the importance of reading to their children and how it correlates to educational benefits.
• Finally, at each check-up, the doctor provides an age-appropriate book to the child.

Here’s a breakdown of the stats. Reach Out & Read currently has a team of 20,000 doctors and nurses who receive no pay for their work in the program. The literacy interventions are targeted for families with children aged 6 months to 5 years, because these are the years that are the most crucial to creating a foundation for language learning and on average a child from a low-income family will have heard 30 million less words by the age of three than their more affluent peers which directly correlates to a child’s educational development.

To date, the charity currently provides healthcare and literacy advocacy to 4.5 million families across every state in the U.S. That’s 900 families for every 1 doctors’ office in the program. The books they donate to the families can come in as many as 14 languages for those who are immigrants and for early language learning benefits.

So, you might be wondering:

Is there a Reach Out & Read facility near me? You can find that out here!

How can I volunteer? You can donate books or you can become a waiting room reader.

For those of you who would like to know more about the organization, they have a blog! They also have a Facebook page. And a Twitter account. They even have an Instagram! I encourage you to check them out.

Do you have a literacy program like Reach Out & Read in your area? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Blessed Not Stressed Bookworm: Literacy Advocacy Series Part 1

Blessed Not Stressed Bookworm

Welcome everyone to my very first blog post! I am incredibly excited to start this new endeavor. Let me start off my explaining the story behind the title of the blog. What better way to do it than with a bullet list?

  1. I recognize that I have been blessed with an education and a support system (thank you family, encouraging childhood teachers, and first world country) that countless other people in the world have never had the opportunity to experience.
  2. Although life can seem incredibly stressful at times (18 credit hours this semester? Bring it.), I know that my troubles pale in comparison to the struggles of others. Therefore, in the grand scheme of things, I am not that stressed.
  3. Among many other interests, reading is my favorite. Reading is the pillar of an education and literacy is something that is needed to obtain an education. So, as a self proclaimed bookworm, I believe that an education should be promoted and encouraged.

There we go. With that taken care of, let’s proceed to our next order of business.

Literacy Advocacy Series Part 1

I will begin this blog, in true Blessed Not Stressed Bookworm spirit, with a series of five amazing organizations that provide literacy and general aid to underprivileged children both right here in the US of A and abroad.

Now, I say literacy and general aid, because often at-risk children (meaning they deal with food insecurity as well as health and safety concerns on the daily) can’t focus on schoolwork until their hunger and health needs are met. So some of these organizations will as it’s put, kill two birds with one stone.

So, what will the first organization be? Drum Roll Please….

 

 

 

top-10-charity-compassion-international

Compassion International was ranked #8 by Change The World, a CNBC affiliate. Photo from here

 

Compassion International began in 1952 with a man named Reverend Everett Swanson who ministered to American troops during the Korean War. While in Korea, he witnessed orphaned children literally freezing to death in the streets. So, he started an orphanage and began an organization where the Western world can sponsor to clothe, house, feed and educate orphans and at-risk children in Korea.

Fast forward to 2016 and they have created a network of sponsors that aid children across Asia, Africa, The Caribbean, and South America. So, you might be asking: What exactly do they do? Well, I’ll tell you.

  1. They emphasize child development from the mother’s prenatal care to the child’s college graduation. This means that they provide an education and career training to these children.
  2. They provide health care to the children and families. From simple yearly check ups to basic hygiene classes and even more critical procedures, a sponsorship or one-time donation will take care of these.
  3. They rescue children at risk of abuse and exploitation. A donation will match them with foster families, trauma care, and legal counseling.
  4. They provide malaria prevention and treatment. They provide malaria awareness classes, mosquito nets, and medicine to combat those who have fallen ill.
  5. They provide income generation tools, such as farm animals for the families. Goats and chickens allow families to sell the milk, meat and eggs for a profit to lift them out of extreme poverty.
  6. They partner with local churches to obtain the goal of strengthening their communities. This is how the children receive their care and education. All of the above programs are operated out of local communities through the funds given to them by international sponsors.
  7. Yes, this is a Christian organization so they preach the Gospel. If that upsets you, well then take a look at #6, #3 , and #2 on that Top 10 Charities Changing The World list.

 

Now, that’s a lot of amazing work! But there are still a few question you might be asking. And I’ll answer as well as I can.

First of all, how can someone become a sponsor? Well, you first find a child. They have a database of all the children who are currently in the Compassion International program, but are waiting for a sponsor. In the database, you can see a picture of the child, learn where they are from and the quality of life they currently live. Looking through the data base, one can’t help but feel as though a weight has been put on their shoulders. Each child’s lives can be drastically changed  with a small donation each month.

 How much money does a sponsor give each month? The recommended amount is $38 a month of which 80% will go to the child’s services and 20% to administration and fundraising efforts.

Where does the money go? Compassion International is very open about their financial records, publishing it on their website every year.

Is a sponsorship/donation to Compassion it tax deductible? Yes! Their not-for-profit model does qualify as a tax deductions.

Can a sponsor send a gift to their sponsored child? Yes and no. A sponsor may send extra money to their child, which the local Compassion correspondents will utilize to provide anything extra that the child and their family may need. A sponsor may also send as many letters as they would like to their child.

Can they visit their sponsored child? Yes they can! Compassion International will arrange a day to visit the child and their family. When on the visit you may bring gifts for the child/family. The sponsor will be accountable for all traveling costs incurred.

If you have any other questions, here is the FAQ page and here is the Compassion Blog. I do not work for Compassion International. However, it is an organization I am very familiar with. The work that they do is expansive, but above all it’s about breaking that cycle of poverty through cooperative efforts that provide a safe environment for underprivileged children to receive an education. When it comes down to it, C.S. Lewis said it best,  “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

Have you donated to Compassion International or any similar organizations? Leave a comment and let me know!