Where would you hold your debut U.S. Book Signing?

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I’m an American who has long harbored the idea of writing a novel. I know, not a very novel idea! And like thousands (millions?) of other Americans, I didn’t get around to that novel for decades due to a jagged mountain of excuses: timing not right; too busy with my career; too busy with my family; who wants to sit behind a computer screen when you can be living life in the here and now; there’s a world cup game on soon; you get the idea.

What did it take for me to go from wanna be novelist to an actual published novelist? It took moving half way across the world to The Netherlands for me to finally write my debut novel GREEN. And it has taken me another nine months to plan a return trip to my homeland and schedule my U.S. book signing!

Where, though, to hold your debut book signing? For me it was simple; in my home town of Solvang, California. This small town is also in the middle of the Santa Ynez Valley where my novel ends.

I would be DELIGHTED if my State side friends and acquaintances who live within reasonable driving, walking or cycling distance of Solvang would choose to spend the below mentioned afternoon exploring Solvang, including a visit to The Book Loft for my book signing:

WHERE: The Book Loft, 1680 Mission Drive. Solvang, California
WHEN: Saturday, July 26, 2014
TIME: 4pm-6pm
WHY: Because it’s cool to support local bookstores and Indy Authors, and my book is pretty darned great, so readers say.

Is GREEN a Great American Novel?
I’ve been quoted in the paper saying the following:
“Well, it’s not the Great American Novel, but . . . .”
Yet what I didn’t realize is that there is a somewhat official definition of the Great American Novel, which if interpreted in a broad sense, just may apply to my novel. First, the definition (thanks Wikipedia).

The “Great American Novel” is the concept of a novel that is distinguished in both craft and theme as being the most accurate representation of the spirit of the age in the United States at the time of its writing or in the time it is set. It is presumed to be written by an American author who is knowledgeable about the state, culture, and perspective of the common American citizen. The author uses the literary work to identify and exhibit the language used by the American people of the time and to capture the unique American experience, especially as it is perceived for the time. In historical terms, it is sometimes equated as being the American response to the national epic.

Okay. Well. Here’s the thing about GREEN. It is written by an American, peppered with American slang and attitudes and addresses contemporary topics (environment, urban living, love and clashing moral values) relevant to Americans at this time. So by loose definition, this is definitely an American Novel. Whether or not you want to throw GREAT in front of it, is up to you.

No, I’m not comparing myself to Mark Twain or other literary heroes whose works have been deemed great American novels. But I do believe GREEN is representative of a segment of the U.S. urban population who is uncomfortable when confronted with the impact our contemporary lifestyles have on the environment, and the counter segment who is abundantly concerned about the environment and the conflicts and gray areas between these two groups.

If this has you at all curious, please come by my book signing in Solvang, California. If you live in Europe, you can get my book through Amazon.co.uk or de, as listed on the right hand side of this blog, or even pop by The ABC Bookstore in The Hague or Amsterdam to get a copy.

Thanks for reading this ENTIRE BLOG post. (Photo Credit: Steffi Thomas.)Please share!

Happy Easter everyone and Project Bloeiende Boomspiegel

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LOGO PBB Earth Day version 2Happy Easter everyone! Today was filled with shared meals, family and friends, a sense of peace, prayer, hours in the park playing and flowers gracing table tops and forest paths. And speaking of flowers, my thoughts drift naturally to  Project Bloeiende Boomspiegel.  One of the featured eco-friendly organizations that will be at The Hague Earth Day event this coming Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at the American Book Center (Lange Poten 23) from 17:00-20:00.

I spoke with Antoon Moonen, the founder of this wonderful organization, and asked him for a summary of his project.

Project Bloeiende Boomspiegel is a  Hague-based organisation that 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.

If you are American, you may be wondering why Mr. Moonen misspelled colourful and organisation. That’s because he heralds from New Zealand, where they learn the Queen’s English (that British Queen).

I am lucky enough to live in the neighborhood where Mr. Moonen launched this brilliant project, which means the trees gracing our neighborhood sidewalks are surrounded by leafy plants that will shoot forth long stocks laden with beautiful flowers over the next few months. These flowers aren’t meant to be clipped for that vase on the center of your table, but to stay around the bases of the trees to decorate our neighborhoods.

What I love about this grass roots project is that it brings neighbors together at specific times each season, whether it is preparing the ground and sowing the seeds in the Spring, tying the long flower stocks back in the Summer, or harvesting seeds in the Fall.

In addition to all of that comradery is the richness of nature brought right into our city streets. And I must say, beautiful, blooming flowers are a vast improvement to dirty patches of earth. You would think a flower is just a flower, but they seem to make a big difference in our lives when they are grouped together and in such great contrast to cement, brick and buildings. The large city trees rise like beacons to the city dwellers, and the “bloeiende boomspiegels” at their bases ask us to take pause, smile and enjoy their beauty.spring 4

Meet members of the Project Bloeiende Boomspiegel at Earth Day at ABC Bookstore between 17:00-20:00 on Tuesday April 22nd, contact them on their website http://www.stokrozen.nl or consider attending their project information evening just after the Earth Day event:

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
19:45-21:30
Wijkcentrum Bezuidenhout
Johannes Camphuijsstraat 25
2593 CH

For more information on Earth Day The Hague 2014, see my April 10th post here on Author Kristin Anderson.

Green coming to The ABC Bookstore in The Hague, The Netherlands

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Good news! This week the ABC Bookstore in The Hague agreed to carry my debut novel GREEN! Up until this point, my book has only been available for purchase as a kindle or paperback online and in paperback form in four bookstores in the United States. This is the first placement in The Netherlands and thus holds special significance to this American author living in The Hague; people can buy it locally!

Will it seem awkward and geeky when I head into the bookstore next week with my camera to document its placement among other published titles on the shelf? Or is this LLA* phenomenon one that bookstores have become all too familiar with? (*Lurking Local Author).

One benefit of a local presence is that local book clubs can invite the author to their gatherings to participate in the discussion of the book. Book clubs don’t usually go for romance books, but for one reason or another, GREEN is slowly gaining traction as a Book Club pick.

Thus far  GREEN is on the reading list for two book clubs in California and has been recommended by readers to book clubs in Connecticut and Indiana.  I will be skyping  in to a book club meeting this coming Monday for my first book club discussion on this title!  I hope to gain some insight into why GREEN is considered worthy of Book Club discussion.

If you have already read GREEN, would you recommend it to a book club or group? If so, why? I would love to hear your reasoning in the comments section below.

Thank you everyone for your support!

Author Kristin Anderson

The glories of e-book reading

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I sold some expensive jewelry from an ex  and purchased an iPad earlier this year. That one purchase transformed the way I consume fiction. Let’s just say that some people compulsively shop when lured in by tantalizing window displays and an appropriately placed sales sign and others are lured into the amazon.com kindle store, where books can be automatically downloaded. I fall into the latter category.

The biggest problem I’m facing? “Buy now with One-click.” Oh, that little yellow button. What is a girl-who-loves-to-read to do but click, click?

Here are some of the books I’ve purchased this year and enjoyed:

Black and Abroad by Carolyn Vines (autobiography with a good dose of humor and real life insight into being black in America and abroad).

Delusions for Breakfast by Kate Johnston (hilarious, subtle, deliciously written book about food and life).

Just This Once by Rosalind James (Burning hot romance set in New Zealand, this author keeps you flipping the pages and buying sequels, and yes, I’m admitting this in public!)

Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan (Hilarious, well written romance sprinkled throughout with wit, passion and laugh-out-loud moments of absurdity).

Open City by Teju Cole ( a rambling, beautifully written anti-story–lacks cohesiveness–about a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency in New York who takes nightly walks through the city. Still not my favorite book, but the story and characters linger–which mean it redeems itself in some way. And to give it creds, the critics love it.)

Fifty Shades of Gray Kale by Drew Ramsey, M.D. (A wit-filled recipe book extolling the extreme goodness of leafy greens by a doctor who capitalizes on a copycat title to boost his ratings.)

This is just a sampling of the 26 books I’ve purchased this year and read outside my book club choices (only one overlaps).  At least I’m not talking about 26 pairs of shoes, or 26 cashmere sweaters. But what I like about reading e-books, is that you can highlight passages you like, look words up instantly online and make the reading experience interactive. And if I read it a second time, I can delete previously highlighted sections; something I can’t really do in my hardback and paperback copies. Since I have a screen with light, I can read in bed after I’ve wrestled the iPad away from my son (I swear he transforms into an Angry Bird whenever I ask for my iPad back) and I can continue reading after my husband has fallen asleep without disturbing him.

As an author, I am glad that my book GREEN is available in both Kindle and print format. Seeing as the print version has to be printed, it is of course, less environmentally friendly. On the other hand, it is a print-on-demand title, which means it is only printed if ordered–thus no wasteful stacks of unsold books waiting around for a reader.

I’ve priced the Kindle version at 60% less than the print version. Why? Because I actually want people to READ the book, and by offering a low kindle price, I can hopefully eliminate one barrier. My print version is priced as low as possible to cover printing costs and enable me to earn a small royalty.  Once again, my pricing decisions were based on the following premise: books are meant to be read and enjoyed and accessible to all.

Despite my new found love of e-books, print will continue to be my favorite. I especially enjoy my reminiscent strolls by the bookcase where I can touch upon a book like a long-lost friend, remembering the experience I had within its pages. Seeing all of those spines lined up on the shelf, uncategorized and jumbled together, I see a flash of my  interests presented in a spectrum of colors and shapes. An eBook just can’t replicate that experience.

Five Days

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It is the sort of cold and dreary weather that is meant for authors and readers alike; tea-drinking, curl up and read or write sort of weather–indulge in the adventures within the book or within your mind.

Five days ago, I had a day, that if I write it up, will seem exaggerated in it’s perfection. It was a day where everything clicked. I had an interview scheduled with Lily-Anne Stroobach from Dutch Buzz about my debut novel GREEN. I was working in the church and had about twenty small, detailed tasks I wanted to finish before heading to the interview. I was able to accomplish almost all of them. As I finished my last email, my husband came over and reminded me I should head out now if I wanted to be on time. I asked him if he could make me a sandwich for the road, since I had to travel across The Hague and hadn’t predicted a growling stomach. Instead of rolling his eyes, he actually made me the sandwich, and even transferred my latte into a to go cup.

My tram pass was where it should be, my keys didn’t play hide and seek with me, my cell phone was actually charged and easy to find. As I slipped on my coat and headed toward the door, my husband handed me my sandwich and latte like a sexy personal assistant, and rather than looking emasculated by the experience, he was all confidence and full of encouragement.

I walked to the tram stop and within one minute, the tram arrived. Pulling in to Den Haag Centraal, my connecting tram also arrived within seconds. I stepped from one tram and walked to the platform, as if the world were aligning for me. The tram headed into an area of The Hague I had never encountered, and as I looked out on small shops and squares, I felt the excitement of one on a journey in a new city: senses alert, in the moment, drinking in the new impressions with the same thankfulness and pleasure as as one gulping water after a hard workout to rejuvenate the body. I wasn’t sure how many more stops, so I called Lily-Anne, who answered quickly, and told me it was the very next stop.

The interview went smoothly and Lily-Anne proved to be a fascinating South African Dutch woman, whose open personality and frankness clicked with mine. The ride home was another flawless journey, with trams lining up with such precision, it seemed they were ordered just for me.

When I went to pick up my son at school, I thought of a mom I needed to talk to. Just then, a little red car pulled up, parked, and out stepped said mom, directly in my path.

I headed back into the church to finish up a bit of work, and one of the church members who works in finance happened to come by. He told me that they would be paying me the balance of my bonus for the year at the end of the month. I won’t bore you, but the entire day continued in this manner–sales of my book popping up on the online reports, my son happy, time with my husband in the evening.

I realized this was a miracle of sorts, this day. And like a gambler who finally hit the jack pot, I wanted more days like this, and said something to that effect on Facebook. But my friend Kirsten Klitgaard pointed out in response: “Don’t get greedy, Kristin. I’m still waiting for ONE!” True. Point well taken. I truly enjoyed this day and the thought occurred to me, why today? Why me? Are there people who run around life with many days like this? Is this the Power of Positive Thinking? The Law of Attraction? A little teasing by the Universe? God moving just the tip of her pinky in my direction? But I don’t recall doing any particular meditations, or especially trying to be in the moment–it just simply was.

Five days from now, Saturday, November 16th, is my Official Book Launch party. I have always dreamed of writing a book. I have started over a dozen, but only ever finished one. So this book launch is a great moment in life, however it plays itself out.

It still feels far away. My life is just continuing along with all the sundry lists and responsibilities of daily life. But I know that this coming Saturday, there will be this event. It will happen in one form or another, and then life will move forward; this too shall pass.

As an author, I am thankful for all of you who have delved into my novel, getting to know the characters within, living with them in your mind and following them along on their journeys. I am thankful to those of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts on my book, have shared it with friends, who are taking the time to write reviews on Amazon. And I’m so excited to see what Saturday will bring! Who will purchase my book this day, who will log on to google+ and find Author Kristin Anderson and join a hangout with me.

If you are interested in hearing the interview on Dutchbuzz.nl, you can tune into the hour long program tonight (Tuesday, November 12th, 2013) at 22:00 (DUTCH TIME) on Den Haag FM 92.0. Or the broadcast will be available tomorrow on http://www.dutchbuzz.nl after 12:00.

See you in five days?

First Reviews In!

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As a newly-minted author, I would have nibbled my fingernails off by now waiting for the first reader reviews to come in. Luckily, I was never a nail nibbler; luckier still, my first three reader-reviews have been quite flattering! My book launch is a tantalizing thirteen days away, but these are reviews from purchasers who couldn’t wait that long. There are only first reviews once, and only a debut novel once, thus here’s to this new experience; thank’s for sharing it with me.

Amazon reader reviews of Green, by Kristin Anderson

5 of 5 STARS
It’s Green-tastic!

By Fara Jones on October 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I’m not one for romances,(I read about one per decade) but this was such a joy to read. Every time I picked the book back up and I always fell right back into the evolving romance between city girl Ellie and eco-focused Jake Tillerman. It’s a solid novel. The structure is solid, great crackling dialogue and steamy emotions fly between these two opposites who continually attract each other despite their differences, and the plot keeps developing with surprises that I didn’t see coming. I never really visited a green-centric character before (except in college…), and the conflicts and the sparks that fly are eye-opening and fascinating. The Green movement is suddenly alluring to me and this book has an original voice.

5 of 5 STARS
Couldn’t put it down!!

By Peter J. Dibonaventura on November 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was surprised by how much I loved this book!
I didn’t read the back cover and all I knew was the title “green”. I love a good romance and this one had some real struggles and a happy ending.

5 of 5 STARS
Great book!

By Bailey Quarters on October 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I am a big fan of romance novels, although I readily admit, it is difficult to find well written ones. This book breaks that mold. It is well thought out, and artfully written. I couldn’t put it down. It also tastefully makes you think about how you can make a difference for the planet. You don’t have to be a romance novel fan to enjoy this book, it should have broad appeal. However, if you are a romance fan, you are in for an extra special treat because this book sets the bar at a higher level.

Green by Kristin Anderson is available through the following links:
https://www.createspace.com/4462273
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492854352
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1492854352
http://www.amazon.de/dp/1492854352

Choosing Cover art for my Debut Novel Green

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Have you ever seen an image that stirs you within? Reminds you of childhood, of longing, of romance, of hope, of nature, anticipation? I had such an experience when I encountered Catrin Welz-Stein’s digital artwork online, especially her painting The View. I looked at that painting and decided I had to order a poster.

Then, as I was working on the final draft of my debut novel, I imagined her beautiful image on the cover of my book. But it wasn’t quite right for my book. I needed a more contemporary version of this same piece. I needed to lift the melancholy out of the clouds and add anticipation and hope. 

But that was a dream, after all. I couldn’t just contact a Swiss artist in Kuala Lumpur out of the blue and ask her if I could not only use her artwork for the cover of my book, but alter it. Could I? Well, if there’s one thing I learned from Doctor Seuss, it’s that you don’t know until you try and it never hurts to ask.

So I contacted her. 

After working with her over the internet for a number of months–me sending mock-up drafts, and she providing her thoughts on composition, color, balance, we developed an idea that suited both of our needs. I called upon my husband’s graphic design skills, and got the final version approved!

Green by Kristin Anderson

Green by Kristin Anderson

I am so excited about my book launch coming up on Saturday, November 16th, 2013, when I will officially release this book into the world. Like more info? Check out my Facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/authorkristinanderson

 

(This post was also shared on my expat writing blog earlier this afternoon. For those who follow both, I apologize for the overlap, but this post really belongs on my author blog! 🙂