Happy EARTH DAY 2014!

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What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day today? I am planning to celebrate with friends, environmentalists and all who happen along The Hague Earth Day event this evening (hopefully you included!), from 17:00-20:00 at the ABC Bookstore (Lange Poten 23).

Jelena RatkovicI am happy to announce that Jelena Ratkovic, a student at the Koninklijk Conservatorium, will be playing classical guitar this evening at the event, with pieces from composers  J.S. Bach, G. Regondi, F. Tarrega, A. Barrios, and M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco. You may be thinking you’d like to come, but right after work, you will be hungry, seeing as 17:00-20:00 falls right within dinner hours. Fear not! Fine Fresh Foods, a locally owned, organic restaurant will have “forgotten vegetable sandwiches for sale as well as freshly squeezed organic juices, cookies and bars.  Here is a list of participants:

AVN (Algemene Vereniging voor Natuurbescherming)

AVN is an 88 year old lobby organization for green interests in The Hague and environs. We inform the public and the municipal and provincial governments and politicians on the values of nature and the environment.  www.avn.nl

Author Kristin Anderson

Co-organiser of Earth Day The Hague along with the American Book Center, Anderson will be signing her debut novel Green. This opposites-attract love story between an environmental activist and an upwardly mobile career woman explores the challenges of living green in an urban society.  www.authorkristinanderson.com

DHiT (Den Haag in Transitie / The Hague in Transition)

DHiT facilitates the coming together of the local community in The Hague to take steps towards a vision of a green, creative and self-sustaining city. In order to achieve this we challenge and transform the current societal paradigms of how we live and work together. www.denhaagintransitie.org

Fine Fresh Food

Locally owned, organic restaurant located at Korte Houtstraat 14C, 2511 CD Den Haag, offers organic faire, fresh squeezed juices, Fair Trade coffee and tea. www.finefreshfood.nl

Haags Milieucentrum / The Hague Environmental Center

For 22 years, the Haags Milieucentrum has been supporting local organisations dealing with nature and the environment. We provide information about sustainability to citizens, companies and the municipality, and try to make it easier for citizens to lead their lives in a sustainable manner. www.haagsmilieucentrum.nl

Jelena Ratkovic, Classical Guitar

Jelena Ratkovic, a student at the Koninklijk Conservatorium will play pieces by J.S. Bach, G. Regondi, F. Tarrega, A. Barrios, and M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Project Bloeiende Boomspiegel

This Hague-based organisation transforms empty dirt patches beneath city trees into blooming colourful oasis’ for bees, butterflies and insects, bringing pockets of nature into the city that can be appreciated by all. www.stokrozen.nl

Seafirst Foundation

The Sea First Foundation does just that – puts the sea first. We raise awareness about the wonders of marine life, the environmental services that the ocean provides us and the multiple threats that it faces. We give lessons at schools and talks at various venues.  We also do beach cleans and celebrate World Ocean Day on June 8th every year. www.seafirstfoundation.nl


Hope to see you there!




Earth Day in The Hague, April 22nd 2014 17:00-20:00


Every April 22nd, over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day, according to earthday.org. The Hague will also house a special Earth Day celebration this Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, from 17:00-20:00 in a Treehut–in this case, The American Book Store’s ABC Treehut, located at Lange Poten 23 just off Het Plein.

Everyone is welcome!

Everyone is welcome!


The Hague Earth Day Celebration is a fun, interactive event where you can find out about green initiatives and projects in The Hague, be exposed to a plethora of books on the environment, attend a book signing, eat fresh, organic food and meet eco-minded people.

In attendance will be representatives from the Algemene Vereniging voor Natuurbescherming (AVN), The Seafirst Foundation, Den Haag in Transitie, Project Bloeiende Boomspiegel, Haags Milieucentrum, among other local environmental groups and authors. I know there were a lot of Dutch words in that last sentence, but the event will be bilingual, thus you can count on plenty of  English conversations as well.

Earth Day is a call to action, gathering people together to embrace a sustainable way of life. In The Hague, that call to action can be planting a seed in the soil with The Hague’s own Project Bloeiende Boomspiegel, or a seed in your mind by reading a book with an environmental focus; volunteering for a local beach clean up with the Seafirst Foundation, brainstorming with local politicians and community leaders, or committing to a Seven Change Challenge that will be presented at the event.

Politicians and government representatives will be invited in the spirit of an eco-minded dialogue with community leaders.

Organic food and drink will be for sale by local restaurant Fine Fresh Food, and a number of books that focus on the environment will be showcased by the American Bookstore this day, ranging from non-fiction titles like The Big Thirst, by Charles Fishman, Good Green Guides The Hague, by Harold Verhagen and eco-romance novel Green by Hague-based author Kristin Anderson, who will be signing her novel at the event.

Rather than doing a traditional reading from her book Green, author Kristin Anderson, who co-organized the event with the American Book Center, has taken a rather creative, Tom Sawyeresque approach.

Remember that fence that Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer needed to paint white? Why paint the fence yourself? Better to creatively get all of your friends to do it for you! And this time, the fence is GREEN. In other words, each environmental organization in attendance has been asked to read a small passage from Anderson’s eco-novel Green that relates to their organization before launching into their own five-minute presentation on what their organization does in our community.

If you would like to celebrate Earth Day with other earth-loving people, please join in! If you represent an environmental organization in The Hague, please stop by and meet and greet! For more information, and event updates please contact author Kristin Anderson on Facebook.

If you are new to the concept of Earth Day, this summary on National Geographic explains how it came into existence 44 years ago and why it is so important.

Hope to see you there!


Haags Milieucentrum

The Seven Change Challenge


Releasing a book into the world in the days of online customer reviews and blogs is akin to walking out of the house naked; you are suddenly exposed to the elements in a deeply personal way and no matter how thick your skin, it offers little protection from harsh weather or a cold-hearted review. Take Anne Rice, for example, and her famous retaliation against a negative review of her book Pandora. Despite resounding success (she has sold over 100 million copies of her books) she was so upset by this ruthless review that she gave this reviewer a virtual skinning alive in the public arena. (Get a fuller account of this story on the blog themarysue.com.)

By and large, however, the live skinning is usually a one-way street; by the mere act of reading a book, readers are given the authority to share their opinion on every aspect of a book–no further experience needed. Customer reviews are extremely important and shouldn’t be written carelessly, as other readers often rely on these straight forward reviews written by peer readers to guide them in purchasing decisions.

I am in the dawn of my novel-writing, and as the author of only one self-published title, I have thus far only been subjected to favorable reviews. I know my time will come for that other type of review, and I hope I will heed the overwhelming advice of the collective wisdom and hold my tongue when it happens. But where I can’t hold my tongue is when people write wonderful reviews. Call me an optimist, but positive energy begets positive energy and quite often sparks ideas.

In my debut novel Green, Jake Tillerman, the hot, yet sometimes overbearing environmentalist, introduces  The Seven Change Challenge, an online campaign against The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, encourages people to make seven changes in their daily lives to limit their impact on the environment: buy local, organic produce, seven-minute showers or less . . .(What are the rest of the seven changes? You can discover them in my book GREEN, available on Amazon. Just click on the pretty picture to the right of this blog post to go to the page where you can look inside, read other customer reviews and purchase an e-book or paperback).

A handful of readers have written me to ask if the Seven Change Challenge exists online. Although there are many programs online about analyzing your carbon footprint, and numerous guidelines elucidating methods to reduce your impact on the environment, I have yet to find a challenge presented in this manner. Although the seven changes are real and can make a real difference, the concept of a virtual challenge was an act of fiction. But perhaps it’s time to bring it into reality! And speaking of inspirational, the following is my latest reader review on Amazon.

I am not prone to reading romance nor have I ever been accused of having a social conscience, but at the behest of a friend I downloaded and read Green. So many times we are reminded of how opposites attract. I fervently believe that our significant others make us more of a complete and balanced character and as time goes on our extremes are tempered.

I found both the plot and the relationship that unfolds between the characters very enjoyable. I found myself not only rooting for the success of the budding romance but for the resounding success of the Seven Change Challenge!

The story contemplates the Green adjective on so many levels and indeed makes one question their personal responsibility and impact in this world. I would welcome a “real” Seven Change Challenge web experience and encourage the author as well as the publishers to pursue such a tie-in.
~Customer review by Tom De Mercurio, Sacramento, California

The following review has inspired me to find a way to make the Seven Change Challenge a real deal. It might take some time, considering all of the back of house database management that would need to be developed to make it possible, but the seed has been planted by a reader! Thank you Tom de Mercurio!

How many of you, as readers, would be interested in taking the Seven Change Challenge; to be able to log in your  accomplishments and see how your daily actions cumulatively make a difference? Please let me know in the comments section. If I receive 50 unique comments, I will randomly select one responder to receive a free kindle version of Green.

What exactly is “Eco-romance?”

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I have categorized my debut novel Green as eco-romance and some people scratch their heads at this description. I’d like to say I coined this genre, because no one else thus far has described their romance in this manner. But I cannot claim to be the first to write eco-romance.

I’d say the first couple to have an eco-romance had to be Adam and Eve. Picture it; Adam and Eve have just discovered each other; they run around naked in a beautiful pesticide-free garden; organic fruit and vegetables an arm’s length away, ripe for the taking. They are friends with all the animals–until that trickster snake came along. If the author(s) of the bible had been romantic in nature, we would have gotten a little more breathtaking, evocative detail about this first eco-romance story. I’m sure there are other traditions with love stories set in a nature.

One of my favorite authors in life thus far is Barbara Kingsolver. Her novel Prodigal Summer could easily be categorized as eco-romance, but due to her amazing writing style and in-depth research and character development, it most definitely falls into the category of literature.

And Green by Kristin Anderson? Why is it eco-romance and not just romance? The difference is simple; the environment is the golden thread that weaves the story together.

It is set in Los Angeles during the 2010 Deep Water Horizon Gulf Oil spill, and this catastrophic disaster looms in the background of an opposites-attract love story. Picture yourself as Ellie Ashburn, a proper young woman who has worked her way up the career ladder and is on the verge of a major promotion. Although successful in her career, she can not find a suitable man. And then there’s  Jake Tillerman, a do-gooder environmentalist with a free roaming lifestyle and contemporary views about relationships and our individual accountability for our impact on the environment.

As their worlds collide, love, or lust, is in the air. But for all their attraction and rapport, their lifestyles are a comedic clashing of realities and viewpoints. And unless you live in a very rural area in a hallowed out tree and only eat nuts, berries and honey–there’s a good chance your daily actions have an impact on the environment as well. Green is an eco-romance, as it explores real life issues of the heart, of the environment and of modern day love.

Do you know of any other eco-romances? I’d love to hear about them.