Kate-Book, the website for Kates, by Kates, and about Kates http://kate-book.com The only website for Kates, by Kates, and about Kates Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Adventures in Greening: Link Love + Happy Anniversaryhttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-link-love-happy-anniversary/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-link-love-happy-anniversary/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:00:01 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9084 happy-anniversary-si3577d

By Catherine Moran

It’s been a busy few weeks, per usual for this greenie. I got stuck in some train traffic on the way home this weekend, and was thinking – I’ve been writing Adventures in Greening for almost two years now! As we approach my two-year greenieversary, I thought I’d re-share some of my favorite posts from days gone by. It’s been fun for me to write these posts, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them! Without further adieu, a jaunt down memory lane:

My very first post! (April 2012)

Jason Mraz is a greenie, and I admire him to pieces (September 2012)

How much do I love buying in bulk? Let me count the ways (October 2012)

All about Buy Nothing Day (November 2012)

All about my love of composting (July 2013)

My friend’s green wedding in Seattle (August 2013)

As always, thanks for reading, and be well, greenies!

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Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Kathleen’s Kitchen: Spring has sprung!http://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-spring-has-sprung/ http://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-spring-has-sprung/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 14:30:47 +0000 Kathleen Neafsey http://kate-book.com/?p=9068 By:  Kathleen Neafsey

Spring has sprung…..well barely, weather-wise, but there is a bevy of fresh vegetables just waiting to be brought to the table!  Recently, I was looking to make something that would allow me to combine a load of vegetables and, I wanted to do it using as few pots and pans as necessary.  A trip to the market, a basket of goodies, a little of this, and a little of that, sprinkled with a dash of “hey, let me try this”; and this is what happened:

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Roasted chicken on a bed of vegetables in a white wine sauce!

The first time I made this I didn’t use wine, but chicken broth instead.  It was delicious, but the next time I figured I could tweak it just a bit more.  Very tasty, and it’s just one roasting pan to wash!!  Yay!!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Chicken breasts, thighs, and/or legs – on the bone, skin on.

One bunch of asparagus (about one pound)

Two medium zucchini

Two yellow squash

One large white or red onion

Four or five red potatoes

Carrots

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup chicken broth or stock

1/4 cup white cooking wine

salt and pepper to taste

One teaspoon sage

One teaspoon poultry seasoning

One teaspoon fresh or dried parsley

First:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse all the vegetables and the chicken.

Next:  Mix all the spices in a small bowl, and set aside.

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Then:  Combine the wine and chicken broth in a measuring cup, and add half of the combined spices.  Set aside the rest of the spices to be sprinkled on the chicken.

Start by trimming the asparagus, and cutting it into bite size pieces; do the same with the carrots.  Cut the zucchini, squash, and onion into slices about one inch thick. Cut the potatoes into quarters (or smaller, depending on the size of the potatoes).

Place all the vegetables in the bottom of a 9×13 inch roasting pan.  Pour the wine/broth/seasoning mixture over the vegetables.

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Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the seasonings set aside in the bowl.

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Cover the pan with foil, and place in the oven on the middle rack.

Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, turn the heat up to 425 degrees, and continue to bake for another 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, and serve while hot.  This dish is so flavorful, and the chicken is ridiculously moist.  This is now a new favorite in my house, and we’ll be taking full advantage of all the fresh vegetables that Spring and Summer have to offer!

Kathleen’s Kitchen is a column running on Kate-book.com once a month. It is written by the amazing Kathleen Neafsey, who loves trying new recipes. Follow her on Twitter @dbmomkat. And make sure to look out for her amazingly fun column, Fabri-Kate.

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in Greening: Green from your couchhttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-2/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-2/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:00:02 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9047 1333898778546_129592

By Catherine Moran

Almost everyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not a big movie buff. I’m lacking a lot of “classic” films from my movie repertoire, much to the astonishment and shame of my film-loving family members and friends.  However, while I go to see films on the big screen very rarely, I’m a bit of a tv addict. Long-form stories give the viewer more time to make a connection with the characters, as well as plots that can unfurl at a less-compressed pace. And, in this day and age, it’s very easy to sit down and marathon seasons of television shows; all it takes is one day of beginning a marathon (curse you, headcolds), and suddenly you’re spending all of your free time catching up to current episodes. I’m not alone here…right?

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How does my love of television relate to being green? Well, it’s the perfect time for me to do some green activities. Sometimes, life gets hectic. And if you’re a (wo)man on the go, you try to consolidate activities. A lot of green activities require time, an element of one’s day that can sometimes feel like a luxury. So, I try to make use of my time in front of the screen. Here are a few suggested green activities that you can multitask while watching television:

• Making your own laundry soap. Grating up a bar of soap by hand can take awhile, let me tell you. I would never do this task without something else to occupy my mind, unless I was using it as a meditative exercise, but I definitely prefer to take my mind off how long the process is (my grater is fairly small; I’m on the hunt for a larger one to possibly help me speed up the process). I feel pretty accomplished when this task is done, and I try to do more than one bar in one sitting, so I don’t have to worry about grating a new bar for awhile when I run out of the first batch. Plus, it works my arm strength, what an added benefit! Good preparation for becoming a green superhero.

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• Ripping the windows off of any envelopes that come your way, mostly from junk mail, or mail that includes a windowed envelope for you to return a payment or other information. In NYC, you can’t recycle envelopes with clear plastic address windows because they don’t dissolve in water (there’s an interesting Reddit thread on this subject and other recycling queries, for interested parties). This is a fun one, because you get the satisfying sound of paper ripping to go along with the task. (Again…just me?)

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• Making Stuff. Get to work on illustrating those homemade birthday cards or knitting beanies for the holidays. Even if it’s summertime, it doesn’t hurt to be forward-thinking; you’ll save time later.

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Of course, this list will only be useful if you’re watching a show that doesn’t require constant vigilance, or includes commercial breaks, or doing a task that doesn’t require strict attention. You would have found me very hard-pressed to draw my eyes away from the first season of True Detective. No multitasking during that hour, no way. Even blinking felt costly.

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There are plenty of other ways to make use of your television-watching time if you so choose, but those are just some of the things I do to save myself some time during the week. It’s all about getting things done sooner rather than later, so they’re not on my mind, and I can free up time for other things later, television-related or otherwise. And watching a show as a purely downtime activity when all else is down is pretty darn enjoyable, too.

cheers

 

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Adventures in Greening: Change and Challengehttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-change-and-challenge/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-change-and-challenge/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 16:00:22 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9028 apple-ipod-classic

By Catherine Moran

I’ve been thinking recently about challenges. It’s no surprise that life is full of unexpected (and expected) uphill battles. They can occur in our relationships, our careers, our physical bodies; you name the staging ground, there’s most likely a challenge that could play there. Living a greener lifestyle is definitely filled with challenges, as is any lifestyle change. Change is the operative word here: it’s a scary thing to contemplate.

I was trying to think about what the first change was that made my lifestyle a bit greener, and other than an L.L. Bean backpack that I had throughout grade school (no need to buy a new one every year!), I think the first item that began my transition to less stuff was my iPod. Now, I’m not singing the praises of Apple here, because their use of planned obsolescence maddens me to no end. But mp3 players, in general, are a step forward.

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For the purpose of these ruminations, I am not discussing all of the resources used to construct a music-playing device, or how ethically or environmentally-sourced these materials are (topics for another time, methinks). So, back to the iPod. I’ve talked about my first iPod before, but not how it changed my life.

I’m a big music fan. Okay, huge music fan. I’m lucky enough to work in an office that allows me to have headphones in all day (you’ll be hard-pressed to find me listening to anything but Spotify, music junkie that I am), and teaching yoga on weekends allows me to share music with students. I’d always loved music, but when Napster became the Big Thing, I really went to town on a search for new, unheard-of artists.

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My CDs went with me everywhere. Choosing just five to fit in the Snapple carrying case I’d won in a giveaway was an agonizing process. When I went to college, I left with a larger carrying case, one that fit up to 500 CDs (without cases). I would tote this case between college and home for every visit (did I mention it was nearly full?)

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I had no problem carrying around hundreds of CDs. My family, on the other hand….well, let’s just say they were wiser than I. I accepted the iPod with reluctance (I know this might sound mildly spoiled of me, but I liked the way I was doing things; it took me ages to come around to Spotify, which is my preferred service for music listening these days, though my iPod is still much beloved). It took some time, but I eventually fell for my iPod, and it traveled (and still travels) with me everywhere. I have so much music at my fingertips that it is thrilling, and I refuse to travel further than a subway ride without music. I’m able to carry more than 500 CD’s worth of music at one time, and it weighs so very little.

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Change is hard for many of us, even if the change we are making is a change for the better (add a few letters to the word change, you’ll get challenge). Even after making a conscious effort to go greener, I find myself stumbling. I can’t avoid all plastic packaging, especially when all I want for dinner are some Buffalo Chik’n pieces, or when I forget my travel mug at the coffee shop (this post from Beth Terry is great on Guilt and the Green Lifestyle). And, sometimes, there are changes that I could make, but either run out of time (i.e. making my own almond milk, which just requires advanced planning, which I don’t always make time for), or am just not inclined to try (like forgoing shampoo and its friend, plastic packaging – yes, it’s a movement).

The best we can do is take it one step at a time, and do what we can. And who knows how something we do today will affect us in future? If I hadn’t received that iPod, it’s not hard for me to imagine myself still rockin’ the CD player and lugging around a lot of CDs, instead of using digital downloads, and wanting only digital downloads for my music and movie/television purchases nowadays. We don’t have to do everything all at once, and we don’t have to do “everything,” either. Small changes may not change the world at large, but they’ll change the world around us, and if that translates to something larger, great, but making a change that betters ourselves and the planet, even a bit, means we’re doing well.

 

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Kathleen’s kitchen – monkeying around in the kitchenhttp://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-monkeying-around-in-the-kitchen/ http://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-monkeying-around-in-the-kitchen/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:45:28 +0000 Kathleen Neafsey http://kate-book.com/?p=9005 By:  Kathleen Neafsey

 

I enjoy reading, mostly mysteries, but pretty much just reading in general.  Some of my favorite books are ones that involve bakers, cooks, and caterers that include recipes in their stories.  I have been reading Diane Mott Davidson’s books with her Goldy Schultz, town caterer character for years.  This week I stumbled across Joanne Fluke and her character Hannah Swensen, owner of the town coffee shop and bakery, The Cookie Jar.
Both authors provide fun, quick reads with interesting characters and some great recipes.  In Ms. Fluke’s Red Velvet Cupcake Murder she included a recipe for Monkey Bread.
Monkey Bread has long been a family favorite since my mom started making it back in the 70’s.  Neither my mother nor I have made it in ages, so seeing this recipe in the book made me think that this was the perfect time to try a new recipe and share it with you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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* 1+1/4 cups of granulated sugar
* 1+1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
* Four  (7.5 ounce) cans unbaked refrigerated biscuits (like Pillsbury)
* 1 cup chopped nuts ( I used pecans) – OPTIONAL
* One (6 ounce) bag chocolate chips – OPTIONAL
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Let’s get down to business…..monkey business

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* Spray the inside of a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Set the pan on a cookie
sheet.
* In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
* Open one can of biscuits at a time, and cut each biscuit into quarters.

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* Roll each piece in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, and place them in the bottom of the bundt pan.

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* If you’re using the nuts and/or chocolate chips, sprinkle 1/3 of each on top of the first biscuit layer.
* Open the second can of biscuits and repeat the steps of quartering them and rolling them in sugar.  Place them in the pan, and top with the nuts and chocolate chips.

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* Repeat these steps with the third can of biscuits.
* The fourth can of biscuits should be quartered and rolled in the cinnamon and sugar, and placed on top of the nuts and chocolate chips.  This is the top layer, do not use any more nuts or chips.
* Melt the butter, and add any remaining sugar and cinnamon.  Stir to mix well, and pour over the top of the biscuits in the bundt pan.

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* Bake, on the cookie sheet to avoid any spills, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

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* Remove from oven and cool IN THE PAN on a wire rack for ten minutes.
* Find a plate large enough to fit over the top of the bundt pan.  Using potholders, place the plate over the top and turn the pan upside down to unmold the monkey bread.

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* Cut into slices, or pull the bread apart.  This is best served warm.

My family recipe traditionally doesn’t call for the nuts or chocolate chips, but I wanted to try them and see how it would turn out – While it was absolutely delicious, I probably wouldn’t use the chocolate again because, in my opinion, it put the sweetness factor just over the top. I prefer it as more of a “coffee cake” than a really sweet cake / bread.  Again, that’s just my opinion.

I guess I should also mention that no monkeys were harmed in the baking of this bread…..and where this yummy treat got its’ name is anybody’s guess – I did find this link online that shares a few different theories as to how the name was derived.

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Kate’s Book Club: Q&A with genre-bending author Kate Racculiahttp://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-qa-with-genre-bending-author-kate-racculia/ http://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-qa-with-genre-bending-author-kate-racculia/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 15:30:41 +0000 Kate E. Stephenson http://kate-book.com/?p=8663 Kate Racculia, This Must Be the PlaceBy Kate E. Stephenson

In this first week of March 2014, I hereby call to order the 32 meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate. If you missed our last meeting, feel free to get caught up.

Club members, this week meet Kate Racculia.

Kate Racculia grew up in Syracuse, New York, and attended college at the University of Buffalo, where she studied illustration, design, Jane Austen, and Canada. She has her MFA from Emerson College and now calls Boston home.  She teaches workshops in novel and genre writing at GrubStreet, Boston’s non-profit creative writing center, and has been a bassoonist, a planetarium operator, a coffee jerk, a designer, a children’s bookseller, a proposal writer, a prospect researcher, and a karaoke god.

She posts many pictures of her cat on the Internet and is a total sucker for a saxophone solo.

Her first novel, This Must Be the Place, was published by Henry Holt & Company in 2010. Her second, Bellweather Rhapsody, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in spring 2014.

Find more Kate on her website, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook!

Without further ado, Kate answers all your questions:

Who named you Kate and why?

I was supposed to be a Sarah or a David, but legend has it that my father’s father began calling me ‘Kathleen’ in the womb.  So I’m a Kathleen who goes by Kate (and went by Katie when I was little).  I made the Katie-to-Kate transition toward the end of high school, as my friends started calling me ‘Kate’ as a nickname; and now, of course, my college friends who first knew me as Kate occasionally call me Katie.  It’s the circle of Kate life.

How did you become an author?

The members of my extended family are all dramatic storytellers and voracious readers, Scrabblers and crossword freaks; it was probably inevitable that the combination of nature and nurture I was born into would produce a novelist.  But I think ‘the how’ of becoming an author, for me, has everything to do with how much I love to read.  There’s a great quote from Eudora Welty: “For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.”  I read all the time growing up.  All the time.  The first stories I wrote were essentially love letters to the books I knew and loved—and who am I kidding, the books I write now are too.  You read enough—and you love enough—books, and you itch to write them yourself; and by reading them closely, thoughtfully, they teach you how to do just that.

What was the muse for your first completed/published book?

My first book, This Must Be the Place, is a coming-of-age mystery, set in a fictional small town in upstate New York, where I’m from.  It’s the story of four individuals, two teenagers and two relatively young adults, all trying to figure out who they are in the world and where they want to go, and how their lives intersect one October.  There are scads of personal and artistic influences packed into the novel—my love of pop culture and music (from the Beatles to the Pixies to Foreigner), my love of movies and the stop-action monsters of Ray Harryhausen, and my love of art, specifically the strange, magical shadow boxes of Joseph Cornell—but if I had to pick one muse above the rest, I would have to say upstate New York: full of old secrets and odd characters, and the belief that autumn isn’t an end but a beginning.  It’s the place I came from, and the place I take with me.

What are you currently working on?

I just finished my second novel, Bellweather Rhapsody, which will be published in spring 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (wahoo!).  Bellweather is another mystery, but it’s also a ghost story, a love story and sort of a…musical?  In book form?  I like to mess with genre.  It’s set in 1997, in a dilapidated hotel in the Catskills during a conference for teenage musicians; a young music prodigy disappears on the first night of the conference under bizarre circumstances…and that’s just the beginning of the adventure for a large ensemble cast of drama queens, bassoonists, conductors, caretakers, failures and phenoms.  I said before that I’m still writing love letters to the books that are close to my heart, and Bellweather is exactly that: a tribute to Ellen Raskin’s young adult mystery The Westing Game, my very favorite book as a kid.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

Whoah, big question!  And my big answer is that I’m a happy person with a good, full life, and I get to do work that I love.  But in terms of recent accomplishments, this winter I taught my first-ever fiction workshop at GrubStreet, an amazing community of creative writers in downtown Boston.  It was a class about world-building in fantastic genre fiction, and my students took it upon themselves to continue meeting as a writing group after class ended.  That made my heart grow three sizes.

What’s your favorite word?

Spleen

What’s your least favorite word?

Moisten

Who’s your favorite literary character?

Tie: Turtle Wexler and T.S. Garp

What’s your favorite quote?

“Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.” – Kurt Vonnegut

If you weren’t an author, what profession would you like to try?

I should have been a librarian.

If you could do one thing in your life over, what would it be? 

Tried out for a musical in high school.  I did nearly everything else you could possibly do in drama club—worked on sets, painted signs, designed t-shirts, played in the pit orchestra—but I never acted on stage.

And now a little reading…

From Kate Racculia’s This Must Be the Place:

Amy considered the postcard: a boardwalk scene. Throngs of people wandering in the sun. Sparkling blue ocean to the right, cheery awnings on the shops. She sniff ed. The man beside her on the bus stank of tuna fish and cigarette smoke.

This must be what it feels like to die, she thought.

She was sore all over, sore and too tired to be scared. She suspected this was what it would feel like to die: to give up everything that came before, to just— cut it off . Tear it out. She wasn’t religious. Her parents died before they had a chance to impart much wisdom on the nature of immortal souls, and her grandfather, when she first went to live with him, told her he was allergic to church. But she suspected there was something beyond what she knew. Beyond what she could touch and smell. She suspected there was a sort of transition period, where you had a chance to say good- bye to your old self and your old life, and this was hers, on this Greyhound, her sandaled feet propped on her backpack, with nothing but a postcard on which to mark her passing.

Not that she ever intended to mail it.

She’d never intended to, not even when she bought it. She’d been waiting for Mona to finish her shift at the pizza place— and by finish her shift Amy meant break the suction with her boyfriend’s face— and was killing time in one of those boardwalk junk shops. The boardwalk was full of junk; there was shit everywhere. Key chains and T-shirts and snow globes (how lame was that, snow globes at the beach?), and stupid little sculptures built out of shells; Amy, of all people, could appreciate tiny objects, but there was just so much. It made her think of how many people there really are in the world, and whenever she thought about that, she felt suffocated and insanely lonely, which was classic irony when you thought about it: that realizing she was one of a million billion or whatever made Amy Henderson feel like she would never be anything but alone.

She bought the postcard because the guy behind the counter was giving her weird looks and she wanted to prove to him that she wasn’t loitering, even though she was: she was a fucking grown- up. She had money.

She smoothed the card over the top of her leg: ocean city misses you! said bright red letters across the sky. Hardly. She chewed her pen and turned the card over to the blank side and wrote, Mona, I’m sorry.

She didn’t know what else to say, so she filled out the address. She still wasn’t going to send it, but it felt good to state the facts: Desdemona Jones, Darby-Jones House, Ruby Falls, New York.

Maybe she should apologize a little more. I should have told you, she wrote.

What was the one thing she wanted to tell Mona? What could you put on a postcard— knowing that some nosy postal worker would probably read it, and you barely had enough room to say anything important anyway?

You knew me better than anyone—I think you knew me better than me.

That would make Mona happy. Mona wanted to be someone’s best friend more than anything in the world. It was a little pathetic; but then sometimes it made Amy a lot happier than she wanted to admit.

Mona would worry, so next she wrote: Don’t worry. I swear I’m happier dead, which was a little mean, because it would make Mona wonder whether Amy had flung herself off a cliff or across some train tracks or taken a whole bunch of pills and gone to sleep. But Mona should know better. If Amy hadn’t done any of those things while they were still stuck in Ruby Falls, she sure as hell wasn’t going to do it once she finally escaped.

It was getting late, and Amy wasn’t so tired that she didn’t know how hungry she was. She’d bought a few bags of pretzels at the last bus station, and now she crunched into them happily, her lips shriveling from the salt. She started to remember where she was going, and that of course made her remember where she’d just come from, and she thought of Mona, who would have been so scared when she found her just—gone.

Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com every other Wednesday at 10:30am, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.

Other great Kate reads:

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Adventures in Greening: This is Just to Sayhttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-this-is-just-to-say/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-this-is-just-to-say/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 17:00:40 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=8994 image (2)

By Catherine Moran

that plastic bag
floating
in the tree
still present
closely
gripping the branches
still ugly
in tatters
once again
please leave this lone tree
you still
spoil the view

Inspired by the plastic bag outside my window, first addressed in April 2013, and by the William Carlos Williams poem, “This is Just To Say.”

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Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Fabri-Kate: give ‘em the brush offhttp://kate-book.com/fabri-kate-give-em-the-brush-off/ http://kate-book.com/fabri-kate-give-em-the-brush-off/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:30:10 +0000 Kathleen Neafsey http://kate-book.com/?p=8978 By:  Kathleen Neafsey

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pointless to keep my makeup brushes in my makeup case.  They get squished, and the bristles get bent.  I don’t own many, but my daughter, Bridget……..well, that’s another story.  This was actually Bridget’s idea to begin with – I just kind of ran with it.  So fasten your seat belts because this is going to be the quickest, easiest Fabri-Kate craft to date; and it only requires two supplies!!  That’s right, only two – unless you count the brushes – in which case, you’re on your own.

Let’s start with our supplies:

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One large, decorative glass bowl – can be found in the craft store or the dollar store.

Decorative accent stones in the color(s) of your choice – they, too, can be found in the craft or dollar store.

Step One: 

Wash and dry bowl to remove any dust or fingerprints.

Step Two:

Open bags of stones and pour into clean, dry bowl. Stand your brushes in the bowl, and you’re done!

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This makes it so much easier than dumping out a makeup case to find the brush you need.  Now they’re all there at your fingertips.

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Fabri-Kate is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Tuesday. It is written by the crafty Kathleen Neafsey, who wields a mean pair of scissors. Follow her on Twitter @dbmomkat and look for a brand new craft next time.

 

 

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Kate’s Book Club: Q&A with Bree MacGowan Mystery maven Kate Georgehttp://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-qa-with-bree-macgowan-mystery-maven-kate-george/ http://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-qa-with-bree-macgowan-mystery-maven-kate-george/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2014 15:30:37 +0000 Kate E. Stephenson http://kate-book.com/?p=8723 Kate George, Crazy Little Thing Called DeadBy Kate E. Stephenson

In this fourth week of January 2014, I hereby call to order the 29th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate. If you missed our last meeting, feel free to get caught up.

Club members, this week meet Kate George.

Kate George is the author of the popular Bree MacGowan mystery series. She was born in Sacramento, California, and has been, in no particular order, a paste-up tech, a motorcycle safety instructor, an actor, and the assistant to the dean of a medical school, all of which provide fodder for her stories. Currently, she lives in an old farmhouse in the backwoods of Vermont with her husband, four kids, and three rescue dogs. Feel free to visit Kate’s website and email her.

And the answers are…

Who named you Kate and why?

My mom named me Katherine. I’m not sure why as both my brothers would have been Sarah if they’d been girls. I was never, ever called Katherine except when I was in trouble. I was always Katie to my mother and Kate to my family as I got older.

How did you become an author?

I was discussing Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series with two of my friends and boasted that I could write a similar book. (Forgive me Janet!) My friends said “oh yeah?” and I said “yeah!” So then they made me do it. That book was Moonlighting in Vermont the first of the Bree MacGowan Series.

What was the muse for your first completed/published book?

I worked at a very secluded, very posh four star hotel. It was full of secret passages and hidden rooms and my imagination just went wild. It seemed the perfect place to set a murder – so I did!

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the fourth of the Bree MacGowan Series, New York Kind of Dead is the working title. It’s the second time I’ve used this as a working title and I’ve learned not to definitively state a title before the book comes out!

I’m also working on a paranormal romance called Glimmer Girls. It’s about a half mermaid, half human coming of age in a human world. And having to choose what your life will be.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

Laying flooring in our old farmhouse. None of the floors are level! It took a lot of creative figuring.

What’s your favorite word?

Fabulous!

What’s your least favorite word?

Whatever.

Who is your favorite literary character?

Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.

What’s your favorite quote?

Life rewards action

Or

Don’t postpone joy.

(It depends on the day.)

If you weren’t an author, what profession would you like to try?

Actress. architect, fiber artist. Costume designer.

If you could do one thing in your life over, what would it be?

I would have finished college the first time around instead of the third time around.

Now to read!

From Kate George’s Crazy Little Thing Called Dead:

I haven’t had a lot of experience with diapers, but I do know that you don’t usually find them taped to dead men’s chests. I’m Bella Bree MacGowan, and while I’m happy to report strange happenings like this in the Royalton Star Weekly, I would have passed on the early morning haircut if I knew I was going to be present at the discovery of the diapered dead dude. But there he was on the floor of my favorite hair salon, Planet Hair.

“What in the world?” Claire, Planet Hair’s owner and stylist extraordinaire, froze midstride in the doorway. I gently pushed past her and realized I should have stayed outside. A middle-aged man in a mismatched suit was face up on the floor. I don’t suppose there are many places dead men look at home, but surrounded by marigold walls and purple trim, it was like finding a corpse on a merry-go-round.

I knelt down and put my fingers to his neck, searching for a pulse. I’d felt skin like this before, cold and kind of… well, dead… and this guy’s heart hadn’t been pumping for a while. His dress shirt wasn’t buttoned all the way up and as much as I didn’t want to look at this guy I couldn’t help but see there was something unusual on his chest. There was a line of grey silver duct tape and under that, a row of line-art duckies. I’d seen ducks like that before—on my cousin’s infant. It was a diaper. I got an instant case of the creeps running up my spine.

I looked up at Claire and shook my head.

“There’s a dead guy in my salon? Shit.” Claire is a tough chick, but finding a body can shake a person up.

“We need to get out of here.” I shooed her out the door and dragged my cell phone from my pocket.

I didn’t dial 911. My best friend’s husband, Tom Maverick, was the Commander of the Vermont State Police Barracks in Bethel, Vermont. I called him directly and let him sort it out. After Tom I called Randy, the photographer we used for the Royalton Star.

“Dead body at Planet Hair. Get over here now.”

God help me, a little shiver of excitement ran through me. If I had anything to do with it, the paper would come out tomorrow morning with a shot of the dead guy on the front page. A scoop for the paper would be excellent. On the other hand, my stomach was starting to clench. Dead bodies had a way of wrecking my life.

Claire and I waited out on the covered sidewalk in the humidity. My leg was jiggling with nervous energy as I willed Randy to get here before the police. I was sweating even though it was only eight-thirty and we were standing in the shade. Claire looked at her watch, glanced back into the salon and then gazed at me with her eyebrows raised.

“You’d better call your clients, this is going to take all day,” I said.

“My appointment book is in there with the dead guy.” Claire frowned.

“Sorry.”

It was fifteen minutes before two state police cruisers pulled up alongside the building. There were no lights or sirens. This was what I liked about Tom; he kept the fanfare at a minimum. Tom tended to be a low-key kind of guy, for a cop. He extracted himself from the first car and came over to me, while Officer Steve Leftsky and his partner hopped up onto the boardwalk and disappeared into the salon. Tom sat on the top step next to me.

“I should have known you’d be here. We’ve had two bodies in the past five years and you’ve found both of them.”

“Three. You forgot Lily Wallace in California.” Not that I wanted to remember the blood mingling with her hair in the river, but seeing a body fall from one of the tallest bridges in the United States isn’t something you forget in a hurry.

“That’s right. Body number three. You holding together?”

“I’m fine. At least there wasn’t any blood this time. Could have been a natural death for all I know.”

“Yeah. Not likely.”

Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com every other Wednesday at 10:30am, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.

Other great Kate reads:

 

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Adventures in Greening: What Do I Do With My DVDs?http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-what-do-i-do-with-my-dvds/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-what-do-i-do-with-my-dvds/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 17:00:23 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=8962 dvds_1

By Catherine Moran

I don’t know what to do with my old DVDs. Well, I guess they’re not old, but they’re underloved and underappreciated. In this new regime of Digital Technology, I would very much like to be able to trade in my physical DVDs for digital copies of the same film, but that does not seem to be an option anywhere that I can find. It’s not as if I have very many DVDs; on the contrary, I don’t have very many, but I have a lot of boxed tv series, and those babies take up space. I’ve been slowly distributing my DVD collection over the past year, but there are some shows and films that I want to hang on to.

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The closest service for turning physical DVDs into digital copies that I have found in my searches is VUDU, which was only available at Walmart when it was launched in 2012. However, the downside of VUDU, for me, is that it is a program. That, and the fact that you have to pay for the service of converting the films. I want to have my purchased movies and television shows available on storage devices, and not accessible only through a program–and you must have VUDU on any device you wish to watch your films on. That sounds like it’s restricting access to something I already own, so I’m not ready to go this route just yet.

Amazon has a trade-in option, but it’s only for certain titles, and they give you a pittance for the product, an amount that does not equal the cost of purchasing a digital copy of your film. You can’t give me $2 for my Harry Potter films when the digital copy is $10! I won’t be magicking my copies into digital any time soon, thank you very much.

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Another sell-back site I found is Zumu, but if I thought the rates at Amazon were abysmal, Zumu is even worse. I am not selling back my DVDs to make money, but I would like to be able to afford to re-buy the DVD that I am selling (I own it for a reason!) Zumu is interesting, in that: “Here at Zumu we don’t just recycle your pre-loved DVDs, CDs and Games by finding a new home for them, we also turn what can’t be re-homed into baby bottles and other useful stuff! “ So, if I do find a way to get digital copies of movies I already own as physical copies, Zumu might be the best place to go to make sure my DVDs are properly recycled.

The search will continue. I am trying to de-clutter my life of Stuff, which I believe is in line with green living: these DVDs could be recycled, or given new life with new owners. If you have any suggestions for legal ways of making my DVDs into digital copies, I’d appreciate it. I have a feeling this is something other greenies would want to do (especially if they live in New York apartments!) Thank you in advance for any help!

Stay well, greenies.

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Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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