Reading and talk at Haagse Hout Library, Saturday June 24th, 2017

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Now that my book launch is over, I’m back to being an author behind the computer screen, escaping into fictional worlds I create, or those of others (I’m one of those authors that LOVES TO READ other authors as well).

But I will come out from behind the screen once again on Saturday, June 24th, 2017 as part of the Parels in Bezuidenhout celebration.


The Parelroute features 47 “pearls” or venues where you can see everything from art and music, participate in workshops and meet authors.

I will be giving a presentation at the Haagse Hout Library (Theresiastraat 195, The Hague) at 1:00pm and 3:00pm. I will discuss how living in The Hague influenced the narrative of my latest novel The Things We Said in Venice, do a reading and there is a chance to purchase a copy of one or both of my titles on this day as well. Not able to make it that day? My book is also available at The American Book Center, The Hague (Lange Poten 23) and via Amazon in your respective countries (best shipping rates to The Netherlands is via Amazon.de).


Here’s the map of the event. As you can see, there’s no shortage of participants! You can see the full schedule on this website and plan your own route for the Parel Dag.

An Author Without Readers is Like a . . .

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An author without readers is like a Thanksgiving dinner without anyone to join in the feast. If you have prepared such an extravagant meal, you know all that goes into it. You get out all those cherished recipes and introduce new ones, develop the menu, do the shopping, invite the guests–all that before you even start cooking. I haven’t even mentioned cleaning the house or decorating the table.

Imagine a book as a meal that was two years in the making. Some of the dishes–cranberry sauce, turkey or ham (or vegan option), stuffing, pecan pie–remain the same. In my genre of contemporary romance the core ingredients translate to two people who we hope will fall in love, obstacles and suspense along the way and eventually a happily ever after or some version thereof. But all of the dishes are reinvented each time.

I created a world for my two main characters as well as a host of sub characters and took them on a journey throughout Europe. A core group of readers experienced the story and provided feedback. I re-wrote and revised. Finally, the story was complete and I invited guests to the table.

And you showed up! Not only did you show up, but just like a Thanksgiving dinner, you devoured my years of hard work in a matter of days. Some of you took the time to write reviews of your experience, with the hope of encouraging others to read my novel. And I can’t thank you enough!

Just like a restaurant needs new customers to stay open, an author not only needs their core readers, but also needs to reach new readers outside of their circle. This can help them establish enough of a readership for them to step more fully into the role of author. In other words: Enjoy a book? Don’t forget to tell your friends.

On that note, I have selected two customer reviews of The Things We Said in Venice listed on Amazon.com to share with you. One from author Francis Guenette and one from a male reader. You can see all of the current reviews by clicking on this link.

HERE ARE TWO CUSTOMER REVIEWS

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Real people involved in real life struggles against the backdrop of some wonderful tourist locales – The Things We Said in Venice – is not your typical bodice-ripping romance, though there are some steamy spots to keep things interesting! Not to mention language mishaps that will have most readers in stitches.

Sarah – betrayed in a marriage that wasn’t all that great to begin with; Fokke – similarly betrayed but also denied his dream of fatherhood – the author manages to make these two characters refreshingly unique while at the same time, making them real people that many readers will relate to. Sarah’s penchant for fuzzy pink clothing and Fokke’s chair collection, quirky traits but ultimately endearing and memorable.

Things to love about this book: enough suspense to keep the reader going, authentic relationships and issues, travel adventures, an exploration of an unlikely pair of people meeting in a serendipitous way and maybe having a shot at being more than a traveller’s fling. You’ll have to read Kristen Anderson’s book to find out!

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Yes, I admit it. I am a man and I read romance novels. Sometimes of the trashy variety and sometimes more sub genre specific, but I loved “Green” by Kristin Anderson, so I couldn’t wait to read “The Things We Said in Venice”.

The story is captivating and full of great tidbits for those of us who enjoy traveling the world, but my favorite things about the book are the depth of the characters and how the subtle message of social responsibility with respect to living in harmony with our planet is woven into the narrative.

Most of all, I think that the author really “gets” men. So often in romance stories men are portrayed as emotionally unreadable billionaire types or controlling jerks who want to dominate their women. The male lead character, Fokke, is none of these things, but a real man that the gender can identify with. Our heroine, Sarah, has been through so much yet she is strong, determined, independent and burns with inner beauty. This is what real men are drawn to.

And so, Kristin Anderson has done it again: Drawn me into a world of characters that I came to love and care about in the span of two days; all while subliminally weaving ideas into my mind that small changes in my lifestyle with respect to my effect on the planet can make a tangible difference in how we all live well in this world.

I can’t wait for the next story…


17311457_10154268386862213_983549551_oU.S. readers can order a copy of the The Things We Said in Venice here. If you live in the UK, click here to order. Anywhere else in Europe, it makes the most sense to order the print copy from Amazon Germany. Kindle version is available in all Amazon stores.

Book release is Saturday, May 20th, 2017
American Book Center in The Hague
Lange Poten 23
from 15.00-17.00

Quoting You

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The Things We Said in Venice has been out in the world for exactly thirty days and the customer reviews are slowly but surely coming in. An author blog is so often filled with observations of the author. Now it’s time to focus on your words.

I send my thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to order my novel, read it and write a review! It’s not just about giving me a big head, it’s also about helping others consider whether or not to take the plunge and find out just what things were said in Venice.

Here are two of the eleven reader reviews. See them all by clicking on this link and scrolling down to the reader reviews on Amazon.com:

5 star review by Empty Mirror:
This is a captivating story that is richly detailed, brimming with wit, full of heart, and has plenty of unexpected twists that wouldn’t let me put it down.

When I pick up a novel, I crave a sense of authenticity and I want to be transported. This book delivers.

Knowing that this novel would include a romance, it was no surprise that the principal characters Sarah and Fokke were deftly drawn with subtle idiosyncrasies, strengths, and fears. But the terrific cast of well-formed, interesting, fun, and distinctive supporting characters woven throughout was unexpected and a real pleasure.

While the romantic evolution propels one forward, this book was so wonderfully infused with attention to all the senses that I sometimes slowed to luxuriate in the moment; the joy of warm fires while it snows outside, walking with sun on shoulders, the gift of cooking and tasting thoughtfully prepared simple meals, the surprise memories and unexpected reaction caused by a “glimpsed” scent, the sound of glass bending under pressure . . . and much more. Sumptuous writing much appreciated.

There was also a heartwarming sense of place in this book. I love Venice, so I’m sometimes disappointed by unartful portrayals of it. But this author knows her stuff. Her details of architecture and people in the streets and canals captured the soul of the city I know. She rewarded me with not only a longing to revisit my beloved Venice, but also to once more explore The Hague and to arrange for first trips to Cortina and Buenos Aires.

I loved this book!

5 star review by Travel Paso:
It’s hard to call this a simple romance novel. Not many writers can combine travel, history, humor, pathos and subtle environmentalism (with a steamy love story) this successfully. I loved the characters, plot and varied settings. I loved Kristin’s first book and this one did not disappoint. Great read! I can’t wait to see where she takes us next.

You are welcome to come to my book signing on Saturday, May 20th from 15.00-17.00 in The Hague. See your invitation below. For some of you, that might be a bit far. But your online copy is just one click away.

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Pssst! It’s Ready for You!

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A funny thing happened on the way to publishing. I realized one itsy bitsy mistake when I pre-ordered print copies for my upcoming book signing in The Netherlands: by finalizing my book, I also established the release date and made my book  available for sale.

Wow. Cat’s out of the bag. Or, book’s out of the bag in this case.

 

Let me say that a little louder:

The Things We Said in Venice is now available!

Buy The Things We Said in Venice here.

Kindle version will be available within 
a few days.

 

Fifty Shades of Venice

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A part of me tries to avoid mass cultural activities out of some inner desire to preserve my integrity.  Call it a left over residue of literary elitism from my days as an English Major, or a fear that by participating in the norms, I will lose touch with the ability to be ‘unique’ or to form my own thoughts–a fear of cultural brainwashing, shall we say.

On the other hand, just because something is wildly popular is not reason enough to write it off. Think Adele, Harry Potter, The Beatles, Facebook, Twitter, Martin Luther King or Obama, for that matter. We can be engaged and inspired by mass cultural figures, pastimes and entertainment while keeping our discerning minds intact.

Perhaps this view explains my recent caving expedition. Not spelunking or potholing but caving, as in giving in to things.

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For example, the other night I met up with a friend to see Fifty Shades Darker. It’s not the type of film in which to invite your child or the minister of your church, but it works just fine as a sexy film to see with your girlfriends. (In fact, there were only women in the theater!)

After the film, I had an interesting discussion with my friend. Why is this genre so popular? Although The Fifty Shades stories have been called mommy porn and this latest film received a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, that doesn’t take away the facts; the novels are wildly popular the world over. In fact, 100 million copies of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy were sold worldwide through 2014 (The Gaurdian, 2014). That number has certainly only grown in the last three years.

I believe this series is popular for several reasons. 1) It pushes the norms of the romance genre (tell us it’s forbidden and we want it more), 2) it features an innocent heroine and a rich bad boy (two popular elements in the romance genre) and 3) it provides a narrative that goes beyond the sex and physical attraction to offer up what we all want in our lives: Love.

Although S&M plays a role in the film, and Grey’s stalker mentality would make any woman squirm (and not in a good way), the lead characters care so deeply for one another that they inspire positive change in each other’s lives. He’s willing to give up his dark habits for a chance at love. And who wouldn’t want a sexy, successful multi-millionaire to consider you ‘the one’ who could make his life complete? (Given that you feel the same way, that is. Otherwise that could be highly problematic.)

The heroine of the story is also strong. She is able to say no to power freak Christian Grey while every other woman in his past only knew how to say yes. Her innocence and integrity are her weapons in turning a bad boy good, without taking the sexy out of him.

As we left the movie, my friend gave me the ticket stub, suggesting that I could use the ticket as a tax write off or memento, since I’m an author of romance.

As I prepare for the launch of my second book,  I revisit why, with my interest in literature, I continue to write romance. It’s quite simple, actually. I believe that everyone deserves love in their lives and I am most attracted to works of fiction that bring messages of hope, connection and joy into the world, while honoring the social narrative in which they are written. Romance is a genre that gives space for all of these qualities.

It is thus with pride that I share with you the cover of my upcoming novel The Things We Said in Venice!

A gondola, Venice, Italy

It’s no Fifty Shades of Venice, but it does take you on a romantic journey through Italy, Argentina and The Netherlands with characters that make you laugh, cry, contemplate and open your heart to the chance of love.

With a launch date planned in May 2017, you will undoubtedly be hearing more from me in the coming weeks about this novel. But for now, a picture is worth a thousand words.

I would love to hear what you think of this cover design!

Understanding the other

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December is a busy month for most. Although I’ve been working on the second draft of my latest novel, my creative energy has been transferred to working on local projects in The Hague, The Netherlands to bring a bit of tranquility and celebration to the lives of the Syrian and Eritrean refugees temporarily housed in our neighborhood.

This post on my other blog shares one such event.

https://kristininholland.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/breaking-bread-with-refugees/

The Power of Seeing Famous Authors Speak

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Tonight I did something splendid. Instead of staying home and writing, I went out and attended a talk by a famous author. Since this all went down in The Hague, I posted it on my Kristin in Holland site. However, considering it has everything to do with the writing of fiction and the amazing contemporary author TC Boyle, I thought I’d also share the link here.

https://kristininholland.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/tc-boyle-and-the-shadow-of-fame/

Jurassic Sexism World

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When the poster for Jurassic World went up at our neighborhood tram stop, I didn’t ignore it, like I do so many other advertisements for films, but pondered it with a mix of nostalgia and curiosity. I have fond scared-out-of-my-wits memories of the first Jurassic Park in 1993 (I scare easily). The first Jurassic Park was so much better on the big screen, surrounded by others screaming along with me as dinosaurs came after humans.

Still on the fence about seeing Jurassic World in the theater, I watched the trailer, which promised not only special effects and scream-inducing scenes with scary dinosaurs, but the added bonus of eye-candy for mom in the form of Owen (Chris Pratt) and, I would soon discover, Omar Sy (already forgot his character name).

My son was eager to see it too and invited a friend to come along. My husband joined us reluctantly, turning it into a family affair.

The pace of the movie was familiar as a trusted recipe: a) a slow beginning to introduce the main characters and give the jurassic world Owenviewers a chance to develop a degree of emotional attachment; b) romantic tension in the form of super-alpha, overtly masculine Owen, (Chris Pratt) and super-controlled, icy-yet-beautiful Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard); c) dinosaur-related problem paired with the plot-building conflict of opinions on how to resolve the problem, followed by; d) GMO dinosaurs who have escaped their cages with an insatiable appetite for hunting and killing everything that comes in their path, including, of course, humans.

Jurassic World did not let me down when it came to the scare factor and breathtaking special effects. But after the movie, I had an experience akin to waking up with a strong case of garlic breath– a distinctly bad taste in my mouth that you are fully aware comes from the amount of garlic you willingly consumed the day before. In this case, the garlic was that of cliches, sexism and stereotyping that was so overt in its placement that you can not help but be pissed off that you took it in, and willingly washed it down with a super-sized slug of special effects.

For example, Claire, our female lead, is portrayed as a woman who is emotionally repressed and not in touch with human jworld.claireinstincts.  This is stereotyped in her lack of feeling or interest in her nephews who come to stay with her (no maternal instincts) as well as her insensitivity for the dinosaurs as living, breathing creatures (lack of empathy).  She is also portrayed as “manly” in her conduct, but only in a way that female professionals are portrayed as manly: she puts work first above all else, she is sexually frigid, translated by her icy and judgmental reactions to super sexy Owen, as well as her prim and boring clothing, her straight cropped hair and high heels.

What is Hollywood’s message to viewers of this entertainment film? In order for a woman to succeed in a man’s world, she has to cut herself off from her femininity (read as emotions, maternal instincts and sexuality). But then it gets worse.

Claire is teased by Owen, the epitome-of-masculinity, about her lack of emotion, her clothes and her high heels, and is told to “wait here” on many occasions. She is treated, in all respects, as a child. However, she rebels against his dominance. How? By unbuttoning her crisp white workshirt and tying it in a knot, revealing her tank top and cleavage underneath. Go Claire! And moreover, she can run through lush green fields in her high heels just as fast as Owen in his suitable shoes. She can jump onto metal platforms and keep up with the rest, all while maintaining her balance on those three-to four inch heels. Is this the Hollywood superwoman? On top of that, her authority within the park is being questioned as well as undermined by, no other than testosterone-overdosed men.

jurassic-world-bryce-dallas-howardIt is only through spending time with Owen, a real man who’s really in charge, that her femininity returns. This comes in the form of her image becoming sexier as the film progresses, her physical pull to Owen increasing, and a confusing mix of helplessness (save me Owen) and smarts: She’s the one who uses the gun to save Owen from a winged dinosaur; she’s the one who bravely brings another behemoth dinosaur into the fight.

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Compare 2015 Claire to the smart and confident, properly-shoed Ellie Sattler character played by Laura Dern in the 1993 Jurassic Park.

When a man suggests he go in her place out to hunt dinosaurs, Ellie scoffs, saying she’ll talk to him about his sexism when she comes back. In other words, she’ll put that sexist man in his place after she kicks some dinosaur ass. Ellie is compassionate toward animals, not afraid to get into shit, and is smart, sexy and knows how to wear proper footwear.Jurassic+Park+Ellie+Sattler+Dinosaur+Poo

What has happened in the last 22 years to our image of women in the Jurassic context? Are we, in an era of so many civil rights breakthroughs–embracing same sex marriage, cheering on our famous transgenders–tipping the scales backward when it comes to gender equality for women?

I realize, that I too am displaying sexist tendencies toward men. Even though the Owen character was annoyingly sexist, I also found him hot and forgave him his teasing of Claire for his bad-assness and pleasing biceps. He could, after all, train raptors, and, unlike other bad-ass, hot male Hollywood characters, he had a sensitive side he wasn’t afraid to share.

And what was with–spoiler, so stop now if you don’t want to know this detail–Claire lying on the ground in a helpless, sexy pose, as three dinosaurs have a full-on battle right in front of her? Were the screenwriters asking for audience participation to the tune of yelling “get out of there, you stupid b!*ch?” Even my son, in slightly more polite language was saying “What is she doing? Why doesn’t she get out of the way? Is she stupid?”Bryce-dallas-howard-jurassic-world_sexy

What do you have against strong women, Hollywood? Why are you using this family-entertainment summer film as a platform for sexism?

Do you think special effects and somewhat “ha-ha” dialogue is enough to justify this overt sexism? Or is this some sort of playfulness that is allowed in ridiculous genres, and therefore acceptable?

Have you seen Jurassic World? What are your thoughts?

Thank you all!

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Just posted this on my expat blog, but thought it also deserved to be on my author website.

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I would like to send my thanks into the world to all of the environmental groups that participated in Earth Day The Hague last night (see the list below), to the people who chose to spend their Tuesday evening with us learning about the history of Earth Day and the many eco-activities in The Hague. And special thanks to Tom and Agnes at the American Book Center who supported this event by ordering environmental books to celebrate and advocate for the environment, providing their support and aiding in publicity.

If you live in The Hague, please consider purchasing your next read at the ABC Bookstore. Or in Earth Day terms, help keep the bookstore species alive by supporting them with your purchasing power. 

If you missed this event, and wanted to go, please take a moment to check out the websites of the organisations who participated below. Pictures hopefully to follow!

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