Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Books!

I never do this. I like to buy my books used on for a penny.  So how did I end up paying full price for TWO new novels?

I tagged along with my parents for a week in the mountains and I wanted something to read. I specifically wanted Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize winning A Visit From The Goon Squad - partially because of the critical acclaim, but mostly because my publisher handles her British publication.

In seconds, I could have downloaded the book to my computer. But, call me old fashioned, if I'm spending ten bucks on a book, I want to be able to put it on my bookshelf. If it's available in print, I want it in print.

So I went to Bookworms in Edwards, CO. I had a lovely lunch of cauliflower cheddar soup and the Eat, Pray, Love salad with pears. And then I found the book along with another I've been wanting for awhile - Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty.

I held the books and read the opening page of each. This didn't help: they're both good...

So I splurged. I'm starting with Egan's novel. I hope to have a review up soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nanowrimo: Stuck

You may have noticed my lack of nanowrimo posts lately. That's because there hasn't been much to say. I realized that it was coming out very autobiographical. Although I always blend my fact with fiction, I like to lean heavier on the latter. 11,000 words in, I realized there wasn't enough fiction for me to hide behind.

So, I've decided to put this story in a drawer and think about starting a new one. As a nanorebel, I'd have no problem adding my word count from a new project, but there's hardly enough time left in the month to bother.

I'm happy with my first attempt at nanowrimo and I'm officially calling it quits.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Shopping: First Purchase

I ended up participating in Black Friday after all - sort of. I made my first purchase online last night at, a site that came recommended by a blog reader! (Thanks, Isasmama!)

This website is so cool. It is a network of artisans, most in the US, making unique gifts that can't be found in stores. You can search for products by type, price and location.

I ended up buying some adorable handmade children's clothes at Noah and Lilah. (Remember that handmade gifts will require some advanced notice . Rush orders may be possible at an extra cost. Each artist's policy is different.) I emailed the artist to request the receipt be withheld from the shipped package - and I've already gotten a response. I spent less than $30, including shipping, and it's a product that was made in America! Success!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Shopping

I do not celebrate Black Friday. In fact, I try really hard not to set foot in a mall during the entire time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For a few years now, my family has decided to donate to charity in lieu of gifts to each other. We have given to Unicef, Heifer, CharityWater, to name a few. Helping someone on the other side of the world to become self-reliant feels better to me than receiving a bunch of things I really don't need. (And it saves on standing in the exchange line on December 26th.) It's much more consistent with the Christmas spirit.

My theory on gift-giving is that it's reserved for children, preferably those who still believe in Santa. I remember a sharp decline in my level of gratitude once that particular bubble was burst. (If Santa took the time to bring me socks, I was impressed; Mom and Dad should know better.)

So my shopping list is pretty short. And I'm going to try to buy American. I don't advocate a boycott of foreign products, but I believe that if we all paid a bit more attention to where our money went, we could do a lot to fix the unemployment problem without waiting for politicians to do it for us.

It's harder to find American products than you'd think. I'm starting with this website: and I'll keep you posted on what I find.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Best Book I've Read This Year

I do not have a Kindle. I spend a lot of time reading works in progress by aspiring writers on my laptop. I have read enough of these to realize that there is quality work out there that just doesn't find a publisher. Still, I have always been wary of self-published novels.

Then I found Tom's Daughters, which is available as a Kindle ebook. You can download Kindle for PC for free. I read enough of this on Authonomy to be confident that I wasn't wasting my money. There are a handful of typos, but that's not so different from a book by a standard publisher, and it wasn't enough to be distracting.

The plot here is juicy: the death of an estranged father triggers a journey into the past, revealing all kinds of family secrets. This is literary fiction with some mystery mixed in and the twists and turns will keep you guessing. But the real gem here is the characters. They're relatable and interesting, the kind of people you miss when you've finished reading.

I'm looking forward to the day this book gets picked up by a big publisher and I can buy print copies as gifts. Until then, I fully recommend the ebook.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family Dinner

Last night, I had dinner with my favorite people in the state of Colorado: the ones I'm related to! We had a private room at Papadoux for all my aunts, uncles and cousins. It was like Thanksgiving without the turkey. Cajun-style.

My aunt asked me what my book is about and I stumbled, as always. It reminded me that even after having worked out a query letter and synopsis, I still don't have a proper "elevator pitch" - a three-sentence soundbite that explains what the book is about.

I can describe the plot: Boy meets girl. Boy turns out to be a twit. Girl leaves boy.

But that's not really what it's about.

Monsoon Season is a coming-of-age, family saga. It's about learning how to be independent without being alone. Monsoon Season explores how well we know the people we claim to love and how much every person we choose to let into our lives shapes who we become.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Halfway Point

In fifteen days, I have written exactly 10,000 words. Exactly. The stats say that at this rate, I'll finish by January 14th. As a NanoRebel, participating for the first time, I'm totally content with my progress.

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Goofing Off

So this was the first day of the month that I haven't done any writing: not one paragraph, not one line, not one word.

And I don't feel guilty.

Instead, I had lunch with my aunts and we celebrated the publishing of my books. I'm about to start working with my editor to get the first one ready. I'm super excited.

I'll get back to work tomorrow!

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Week One

One week down, and I have over 6,000 words. The NaNo stats tell me that at this rate I should finish at the end of December. Technically, this means I'm falling behind. But the truth is, if I have 50,000 words by Christmas, I'll be ecstatic.

Since I am in transit right now (staying with my parents for a few weeks), some of my writing notes are actually in storage. Once I get settled, I'll have access to all my computer files and not just my laptop. That'll help.

So far, so good.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day Three

Okay. So I'm back in writing mode, having decided to write it all in first person. I'm at 2312 words. I'm a bit behind the daily word count target, but I'm happy with it.

And I'm going to try to shut up my inner editor. From now on. Really.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day Two

At 1,186 words, I've hit my first major snag. I've written some sections in first-person and some in third-person. I know part of the NaNoWriMo challenge is to silence your inner editor, but I really need to figure out how I want to tell this story before I write 50,000 words I can't use - it isn't as easy as just swapping out pronouns.

So, I'm officially a "NaNoRebel". If you're considering becoming one, check out the site forums:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day One

Half-way through the day and I have 822 words, which is about half what they recommend. If I could maintain this pace for the whole month, I might actually have a shot of "winning."

I'm actually surprised.

If you're looking for buddies on the site, I'm registered as Katie78.

Alright, no more procrastinating. The blog doesn't count toward my word count!