Second Advent – Snowy Stockholm and Rune

Brunnsviken in winter. Photo: Tord Malmgren

Brunnsviken in winter. Photo: Tord Malmgren

As I write today’s post, the view outside my window is one of pale gray sky and snowy sidewalks. On Friday we had our first proper snowfall of the winter. We Stockholmers were beginning to wonder if there would be any snow before Christmas–and it was getting a bit depressing, the dullness of the winter darkness, the heavy sleep feeling that settles upon you and makes you feel perpetually tired. You need snow to break it up and remind you that Christmas is just around the corner.

Today it’s around -7C (that’s 19.4F) and it looks like we’re going to get more snow soon. It makes me think about Rune, the homeless man I often see on my way to work. Sometimes I am late in the morning because I want to make sure he has had something warm to drink or I check on him and see if he has enough warm winter clothing. Last year, I gave him some winter gloves, a hat, an old fleece jacket of Tord’s that was still in good condition but that he no longer wanted. Rune was so happy. He said he had looked for similar items at the shelter where he stays when it’s too cold to be outside but they didn’t have any that would fit him. A few days later, he looked devastated. Someone had stolen the winter gear I’d given him. “It’s what happens at the shelters,” he said. “Someone sees you have more than them, and they take it because they are angry and desperate.” I was surprised he didn’t begrudge the people who stole from him. He said he’d been homeless long enough to understand why they do it.

So how do I know Rune? Well,  I see him when I am on my way to work. He is often standing outside Åhléns City, selling Situation Stockholm, a magazine features articles about Stockholm, the situation of those in need, etc. Many homeless people in Stockholm sell it and I always buy an issue from Rune. Sometimes I buy several issues. I do it because I want to help him in his struggle to find a place to live. Rune is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He is always more concerned about others. He is always polite, even to the people who walk past him and make rude remarks. On the day my father died, Rune saw how unhappy I was and his kind words and his compassion lifted my spirits.

You’ll know Rune if you see him. He looks exactly like Santa Claus. Or, at least, *I* think he looks like Santa Claus. You’ll recognise him as soon as you see him. So if you’re in Stockholm and you happen to see a man selling Situation Stockholm and he reminds you of all your childhood dreams of Santa, then that’s Rune–buy a Situation Stockholm from him and, if it’s cold, ask him if he’d like a hot chocolate. But don’t just buy the magazine from Rune. There are hundreds of other Situation Stockholm salespeople out there who want to find homes, who want to get off the streets and restart their lives. So buy your copies from them as well.

My goals for 2014 are: once my new novel is ready, buy advertising space in Situation Stockholm to help support this cause and donate money to Stockholms Stadsmission. I also want to be more active in helping, so I am going to figure out something I can do to make more of a difference.

I hope Rune has a warm place to sleep tonight. I worry about him when the temperatures begin to dip. Tomorrow, I will keep an eye out for him. I always do.

 

So how did it go with the December Drive to raise money for Stockholms Stadsmission?

Thank-You-Merci-GraciasSadly, my December Drive didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Only 15 people bought copies of Linger: a short story and The Melanie Chronicles. I don’t know who all of the buyers were since not everyone sent messages after they’d completed their purchases, but I thank all of you who tried to help. I will still make a donation to Stockholms Stadsmission at the end of this month. So thank you to the 15 of you who helped. 🙂

But for the 15 people who helped: if you’re reading this message and you weren’t one of the 3 people who emailed me after you purchased, please do mail me . Your names will appear on the acknowledgements page of my next ebook/POD version and you will receive a copy of that book as a gift from me. I haven’t decided yet which book comes out next but it will be a full-length novel. It could be A Little Night Music, The Time Is Now or Snowbound. Maybe Baby is still too rough for publication. I need to revise, revise, revise.

And now…I’m off to write.

 

 

My December Drive: Raising money to donate to Stockholms Stadsmission

ImageNearly everyday when I am on my way to work, I end up chatting with a homeless man named Rune. Rune is an older man who has been homeless for a while. He’s also one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. During the winter, when he’s standing outside Åhléns City selling Situation Stockholm, I make sure he has hot chocolate. If we have extra pairs of gloves at home, I give them to him but he says they keep being stolen by others who are worse of than him. Sometimes he’s not there and then I ask the ladies at Kahl’s Kaffe if they’ve seen him. They also look out for Rune, whose arthritis sometimes prevents him from going out in the elements and selling Situation Stockholm to pay for a shelter.

Meeting Rune everyday also gave me the idea for my December drive. I try to help him as much as I can. I also want to be able to help others. One of the best ways to do this is to support a local organization that helps the homeless and others who are at risk.

So what is my December Drive? All of the profits from December sales of Linger: a short story (a Kindle-only short story) and The Melanie Chronicles (ebook and print version) will be donated to Stockholms Stadsmission at the end of the month. I hope to raise at least 1000 Swedish kronor. To do that, I will need your help.

So please help me reach my goal by purchasing a copy of Linger and The Melanie Chronicles. Clicking on the cover images in my sidebar will take you to where you purchase them. Once you’ve purchased either book, please send me an email. Everyone who helps will be thanked in a special post in January and will receive a free copy of my next publication.

Thanks for your help and thanks so much for reading my blog. 🙂

Stockholmers, buy a Christmas tree and support Stockholms Stadsmission

mission treeI already told you about my mission for the month of December–to donate all the profits from December sales of Linger: a short story and The Melanie Chronicles to Stockholms Stadsmission. Now I’ve found out that those of us in the Stockholm area can buy Christmas trees in Kungsträdgården and help support the mission at the same time. I think this is a great way to support Stockholms Stadsmisison‘s endeavors in helping the homeless, substance abusers, and at-risk women and children.

If you purchase a “typical” Swedish tree, 135 kronor will be donated to Stockholms Stadsmission. If you splurge and get the King Spruce, 185 kronor will go to the mission. Stockholmers can even order their tree online from hemgran.se and have the tree delivered to their door. But then the amount that goes to the mission is 50 or 95 kronor, depending on which type of tree you order.

For more information, click here. Note: this information is in Swedish only but you can use the translate plug-in on the website to see the info in English.

For those of you who don’t live in Sweden, I hope you’ll do something to support your local charities this holiday season. Donate old clothing that’s still in good condition to the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter. Help out at a soup kitchen or food bank. Volunteer at a senior citizen center. Volunteer at your local library and start a story hour for kids or offer to be a homework helper.

Remember the message of this season: It’s better to give than to receive. And giving doesn’t have to cost a dime.

By the way: I’m near done reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer, so later I’ll be posting a review of it and Santa Maybe by Scarlett Bailey, whom I interviewed for the blog last Christmas.

Might be time to check in with Scarlett again and see what she’s got planned for Christmas.

Happy First Advent!

Post-Nanowrimo Update: Last three chapters online

That's me! :)

That’s me! 🙂

Now that Nanowrimo is over, I can do useless things like watch TV and do laundry (actually, I managed to do both of these things while I was doing my Nanowriting). It also means I can start my Christmas Movie Bonanza–the annual event when Tord and I overload on our favorite Christmas movies like Elf, the Holiday, Surviving Christmas, the Preacher’s Wife and Love, Actually. And we drink glögg (Swedish for mulled wine).

Now, for those of you who’ve been following Laney, Mads & Niklas’s story, you can now read the last three chapters of Maybe Baby. Please remember it’s still really, really rough. And there are still plot holes–already thinking of ways to correct them. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story. It’ll  be online until the end of the month. After that, I’ll start a new page to keep you updated on the revision status of Maybe Baby and when I hope to make it available.

Also, this month, I’m trying to raise money to donate to Stockholms Stadsmision, an organization here in Stockholm that helps women and children in need, the homeless, and substance abusers who are trying to recover. If you buy a copy of  The Melanie Chronicles (ebook or print version) or Linger: a short story (Kindle-only), all the profits for the month of December will be donated to the mission.

Happy First Advent! 🙂