Tuesday, December 25, 2012


All donations have been tabulated, the names are all in Santa's list, and the compilation has been placed into his hands for delivery!

Our final total was $1083 raised for the USMC Toys4Tots program. Thanks to contributions from writers, banner makers, betas, and the many people who donated to the charity, there will be many more smiles on Christmas morning. I can never thank everyone enough for all of their time, talent and support. Special thanks to Mavvy for helping build the compilation, Jill for keeping the banners and summaries in order, and the many people who tweeted, re-tweeted, and shared the links on Facebook - I don't dare name names, at risk of forgetting someone. All of my cajoling and wordy blog posts would have been for nothing without all of you.

We'll be back again next year, and every year after as long as there are writers willing to write and readers willing to donate to read them. You are all fabulous and I truly love each and every one of you.

So until next year, as Santa prepares to leave on his rounds-  

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Monday, December 24, 2012

Less Than 24 Hours Left!

 According to my comp-builder extrordinaire, the finished comp will be over 400 pages worth of fun!

So, I promised another story as to why Toys for Tots is so important to me.

Many many years ago, I worked for Toys-R-Us as the Front of Store Manager. I answered only to the store director and handled everything directly involving customers. The beginning of November 2004, I received a phone call from the local liaison for the Marine CorpToys4Tots program, wanting to know if we could help them fulfill their needs for that season. They would need 2-3 sales associates to help them fill the carts, and we had almost $50,000 to work with. I'm not going to lie - that was more money than I made in a year! It was a tad bit overwhelming to know that I was going to help someone spend it all in one day.

We set a date for the middle of the week near the beginning of December, hoping to avoid the weekend shopping press. When the Marines arrived, I had three young men to work with - none of them with children of their own, but who had volunteered to work with the charity. They were also all men, and had a list that was almost 70% little girls.

I proceeded to spend almost my entire nine hour shift shopping. As fast as we filled carts, they were whisked away to the front of the store. A POD storage unit was delivered for us to load the presents in to as they were rang up. It took almost 20 transactions to get everything accounted for, and by the time we finished, entire sections of the store had been decimated. I can't recall ever having had so much fun in my life at work.

With each item I pulled from the shelves, I wasn't thinking about how positively our sales figures would be impacted for the day. Instead, I kept picturing the faces of nameless boys and girls around our region and the smiles the things we picked out would bring to their faces. It was a feeling I carried with me the rest of the Christmas season, even when I was working twelve hour shifts Christmas week. Its a feeling I've carried with me ever since, and the same one I hope everyone who is involved with this compilation - organizers, donors, writers, banner makers, betas - also feels when they hold it in their hand.

I am so thrilled with everything we've accomplished this year. I would have loved to have made our goal, but we did exceed last year and there is still plenty of time left for a few more last minute donations.We will accept donation receipts right up until the stroke of midnight. Please consider giving one last gift - one that gives back to you in the best of ways, by filling your heart.

I'll be back later with another update.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone, and thank you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Less Than Four Days To Go!

So I was busy cleaning out the inbox this morning, after taking a mental health day from real life and running away with my mom yesterday, and had compiled the totals, sent out thank-yous, and updated the tracker.

I had just opened the text box to start this blog post, when my FB alerted me to a private message, telling me to check the compilation email. And there it was - a $100 donation that pushed us over last year's total. this is the note that was attached to it:

No way in hell are you going to be so close to matching last year and not make it, here's hoping this pushes towards this year's goal.
While we've not had to use the benefit of this amazing program, the year my middle son was born (1997) my husband was an E2 in the Air Force, we had a 20 month old toddler and I was not working. The amazing men and women that my husband had the pleasure of working with, not only surprised us that Thanksgiving with bags upon bags of groceries to put together a Thanksgiving meal, they showed up again about a week before Christmas with more groceries and more presents than we knew what to do with. Our bare tree went to overflowing and my babies had gifts because of military camaraderie. Here's to paying it forward.

I'm simply overwhelmed. Once again, this fandom's heart has risen to the surface. There are less than four days left to make a donation. Can you pass up that extra latte, opt for the dollar menu instead of the Big Mac extra value meal, and make a donation to Toys4Tots to ensure a child won't wake to an empty tree Christmas morning? 

I need to go wash the tear stains off my face, but I'll have another update tomorrow, as well as the story of the year I spent Christmas as the T4T store liaison when I worked for ToysRUs. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hold Your Angels Close

With less than a week to go, Mav and I are busily sorting out stories and building the compilation. What a great selection of stories we have again this year, from a variety of fandoms and genres! All of the authors who have so generously donated their time and talents can never repaid, and I'm still tickled pink that I was able to bring them together for such a worthwhile cause.

Donations are STILL open, and we are still $250 shy of what we raised last year. I received a message with a donation over the weekend that had me in tears.The donor asked to remain anonymous, but agreed to let me share the message and the reason why they donated.

I felt so helpless after the things I have seen this past week. No memorial funds had been established, and turning on my porch light seemed like such a trivial thing. I don't have much to give, but in memory of each of the twenty angels who won't celebrate Christmas, I wanted to make a donation for those who still can. If you have children, I hope you've held them tight and remind them daily how much you love them. 

Thank you still seems inadequate, but its all I have. 



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Submissions Due Soon!

 Authors, don't forget submissions are due on December 15th at 11:59pm. I'm thrilled to report we already have a HUGE chunk of the submissions in! Donations have been slow, but they are still rolling in, and I have every confidence that we can at least beat last year's donations.

Then, out of the blue, I got a very special offer from two of my favorite people, with a bit of added incentive to donate.

TrueEnglishRose and texasbella aka TexasRoseFanfiction have pulled out Toysper and dusted them boys off for a very special futuretake of Boys & Their Toys which will only be found in the 2012 Christmas Wishes Compilation. Yes, you read that correctly - they WILL NOT be posting this to their TWCS account after the posting ban is lifted.

When deciding what would be the best futuretake to write, they went back through all the outtake requests that came in, and decided to combine a couple of the most asked for: The threesome with Bella and a taste of the boys’ future once they settle down.

Toysper Discovers Playskool
by TexasRose Fanfiction

 Summary: When a birthday surprise for Jasper turns into the ultimate surprise for Edward, Jasper and Bella will they be willing to expand their toy knowledge to include nipples and nappies? Written for the 2012 Christmas Wishes Compilation in support of Toys for Tots.

Here’s a teaser:

I could act like a bitch on the outside, but opening that door and seeing those two hot-as-fuck specimens shoving their tongues down each other’s throats was too much. My fantasy of doing them both had started taking shape the first time Jasper had come in and eventually confessed that Edward was his lover. The fantasy had only became clearer when they’d come into the shop together to do Jasper’s piercing and I got to see firsthand what the boy was packing.
It was no wonder Edward had fallen in love.
So when Edward called me up a few weeks ago and asked if I’d been serious about sharing the kitty with them, I couldn’t say no.
Edward dragged a gaping Jasper behind him after I called them in. As soon as they passed me, I hip-checked Jasper and told him to close his mouth unless he planned on putting something in it.
It had taken us all of about five minutes to get through the preliminaries of getting everyone out of their clothes, and for me to glance at the piercing: on my knees just before I took him into my mouth.
Jasper cried out in shock. “Bella! What . . .”
“Jasper, have you not noticed that all three of us are very naked in my shop? Do you think we’re here to compare ink and steel?”
“No, but —”
“Edward, shut him up so I can work here,” I snapped, and promptly took Jasper’s dick back into my mouth.
His protests vanished as Edward closed his mouth over Jasper’s and I sucked for all I was worth.

DAYUM!  Boys and their Toys is one of my fav stories, and if you have not read it, make sure you check it out on their TWCS profile , along with its sequel. The characters are amazing and its a fun read!
Donations can be made right up until the stroke of midnight, Christmas Eve. Make yours soon, and give a gift that gives back - not just in receiving the submission, but in the warm heart feelings of helping a child experience the wonder of Christmas and a gift under the tree, and the knowledge that you have demonstrated the true Spirit of Christmas to others - for giving is always better than receiving.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Layaway Angels

I can remember, many many many years ago, being so grateful for the concept of layaway, especially at Christmastime. I could go shopping early in the season to ensure I found the gifts my daughter wanted most, and then being able to make weekly payments to make sure they were under the tree Christmas morning. It was particularly helpful the year she wanted a Little Tikes Kitchen and matching table and chairs - not only because the set was so expensive, but also from a storage perspective!

And while layaways are convenient, they don't always account for life getting in the way of our plans. You know about life, right? Life is that unexpected car repair, that bout with the flu that forced you home sick for a week, or the sudden doctor's bill that accompanied it. I can remember doing a lot of "creative financing" in order to juggle money around in the months of November and December in order to retrieve those elusive gifts from the back rooms of K-Mart and Wal-Mart.

Then a few years ago, K-Mart scaled layaways back to only during the holidays and Wal-Mart did away with them completely, pointing to the amount of giftcards that people were buying instead of actual gifts. Of course, like every pendulum swing, it has to swing back, and - when the economy took a major hit - layaways are now back at not only the two aforementioned stores, but even stores like Target, Kohl's, and Toys-r-Us have joined the trend.

Unfortunately, in this economy, that still doesn't always guarantee that a parent is going to be able to pay off that precious stash of gifts - not when unemployment is still so high.

Enter the Layaway Angels.

In a trend that started last Christmas and is cropping up again this year,  random strangers have been walking in to their local stores and paying off  layaways, - asking specifically that they be ones that contained lots of toys. One K-Mart in Arizona had a gentleman pay off 20 layaways, totaling more than $1600! Even the company themselves has gotten in on the trend, paying off one layaway per store per week through out the holiday season.

But- my favorite one is this - Toys-r-Us has committed to making a $200 donation to Toys4Tots EVERY TIME a layaway angel visits one of their stores to pay off a stranger's account.  Their rationale for that dollar amount? It's the average layaway in their stores.

For more about Layaway Angels - check out this article on HLN. 

But each of you can be holiday angels, too - right from the comfort of your own home. Just a $5 donation to Toys4Tots can make such a difference in the eyes of a child. And, along with the warm, fuzzy, "heart too large" feeling, we're even going to send you a gift of stories written by over 40 authors who also want to help out in the way that they can. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Admin Fail, Reminders, and Shameless Pleas

So, this is me, publicly admitting to admin fail!

Let me take care of business, first -

I have been so busy with real life stuff that I COMPLETELY missed the deadline for banner/summary submissions. So, while I go throw myself on my sword for my failure to send out reminders, I'm going to extend the banner submission deadline to Sunday, December 10th, 2012 at 11:59 EST.

ALL AUTHORS: if you want your summary and banner on the blog, find your favorite banner maker and beg them for their help! Banners for Causes has affiliated with us again this year, so check out their link on the information page. Also, those who are on Facebook - there is an Adoptable Banners group where there are not only a wealth of pre-made banners available for adoption, there are also many banner makers willing to help you bring your story to life. Just tossing a couple options out there for you all.

Now - on to the fun stuff!

Do you know we have over 40 authors who have signed on for this year's compilation? I am even STILL, as recently as early this morning, getting sign-up information! You guys are all awesome - so incredibly wonderful - to donate your time and talent to this worthy cause.

So, on to the rest - this is my shameless plea for donations. We have a long way to go to a rather modest goal of $1500. The only reward all these authors receive for their time in writing these submissions is the satisfaction of knowing that they have, in some small way, helped children in need. Lets not make their efforts in vain! A $5 donation - one cup of Starbucks (and a small one at that!) is all it takes to receive the compilation and make a difference in a child's life.  Make yours today!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thank You!

Much love and thanks to the many people who emailed with offers to help out on the blog. Jill, (twimom817), will be handling updating the blog with banners and summaries. Just as she did last year, Mavvy (MaverickWrit) is helping me build the compilation. However, all the offers were appreciated, and if we have a need in the future, don't be surprised if I call on some of you.

Until then, please continue to spread the word about Christmas Wishes and Toys4Tots. In a time when even the schools are being forced to remove references to the holiday season - and particularly Christmas, it is more important than ever to demonstrate the Spirit of Christmas to those who so desperately need a small beacon of hope.

Thank you, again, everyone for all your support!