Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Country

I've been posting chapters of my new book, Finding Charlie, over at Penguin's Book Country site. It is currently top ranked and on the front page of the site.

I don't really know what it means, but the Book County twitter account is tweeting about my book:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stop supporting sweat shops

My most recent blog post about this got the least amount of traffic. I think it's a subject that makes people uncomfortable. They don't want to think about it.

So let's talk about it again.

The reason sweat shops exist is that corporations are greedy and the reason they get away with it is that consumers are greedy.

We're also isolated and aren't forced to think about where our cheap stuff comes from. If it all came with a warning label with a picture of the exploitation it supported, we might not buy it.

I'm not interested in making people feel hopelessly guilty. Let's share some solutions. Buying sweatshop free means paying the real cost of things. In my last blog, I explained how to search for US made products on Amazon and wait for them to go on sale.

Here's another: I just spent $50 on boring underwear at American Apparel because their products are made in America, sweat shop free.

I've also found is helpful, especially with gift buying. Their site will allow you to search for American artisans in your state.

If anyone has other tips to share, I'm always on the lookout.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Club Contest Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest to win copies of my book for their book club. Here's the winner, Hillary Briffa, on why she loves her book club:
"I'm part of a 'transatlantic' book club of four sassy ladies who studied at University together (all girls who did War Studies oddly enough!) then had to go our separate ways (UK, USA & Japan!). We convene through the ever-so-handy internet and our love of books supersedes distance and time zones, helps keep us in contact and lets us explore and grow together with the characters we read about. My book club shows me that frustrations, tears, laughter and joy can be universally shared and for that I'm blessed and grateful."
I'm so excited for Hillary and her sassy friends to read and discuss my book. If you're bummed you didn't win this contest, better luck next time!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Be the Change

I've found it's gotten really hard to buy clothing manufactured in this country. We don't really make anything here anymore. See, there are laws that keep companies from exploiting American workers so those corporations get around it by firing American workers and exploiting workers in foreign countries instead.

And for some reason, we're still allowed to buy those products. We try not to think about it when we see a $2 shirt. What a bargain! We don't consider the human cost. It's a really cute shirt.

Last week, John Oliver tackled this issue in a way only he can. I hope you'll watch the video because he explains it so much better than me. This problem didn't go away. We just got tired of thinking about it.

The truth is that American-made clothing often costs more. That extra money you're paying is the real cost of getting that thing without mistreating other human beings. It's the price of being a good person.

It's hard, I know. My New Year's resolution was to buy only American made clothing. So far I've purchased five items, including a pair of True Religion Jeans on Amazon for $60. (They're usually $200, but I waited for them to go on sale. You can put US made items on your wish list and wait for the price to go down.) Amazon lets you search for things with "US Made" as the criteria.

Mostly, buying American clothing on a budget means purchasing things less often. When I see that adorable $2 shirt, I know I can't have it. My wardrobe is smaller, I do laundry more often. I wear things until they actually get holes in them. 

And today, I designed this American made t-shirt, because tackling the bigger problem is going to take bigger solutions: