The One Where You Help An Author

My book is coming out this year. That is still a little surreal to say, but I’m excited.

That’s not really what this post is about, though. No, this post is about America’s greatest past time.

Reading.

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The world has changed. Bookstores are disappearing and, now more than ever, people are turning to the Internet to figure out what to read next. Why did you pick up that book you’re reading now? Did Amazon recommend it to you? Was it next to another book at the library? Was it on a cardboard standee at Barnes & Noble?

We all have authors we like who don’t get the love we think they deserve. Here are some ways to help out authors in the Age of the Algorithm. I’ll try to go in order of ease.

  1. Read the book

You don’t even have to buy it. Get it at the library. Borrow it from a friend. Find some way to read it.

2.  Leave a review

The most important places to leave a review are Goodreads and Amazon. Goodreads is a great resource. If you aren’t on it already, you should be. The best feature is that it allows you to keep track of all the books you’ve read and want to read. It can also be used to find series, follow authors, and find your next read through user-curated lists. Now, even though Amazon owns Goodreads, the review systems are not linked. Leaving a review on Goodreads does not automatically port over to Amazon.

The important thing about leaving a review on Amazon is that Amazon has a magic number of reviews required to change it’s recommendation algorithms. It’s understood to be 50 at this point. Fifty reviews qualifies you for BookBub deals.

3. Buy the book

You don’t have to buy a book to read it, but it’s always helpful. Timing matters, too. If your favorite author has a book coming out, sign up for preorders or make sure that you buy the book the first week it comes out. Those numbers make a difference.

4. Follow them on platforms

Did you know you can get updates from Amazon about your favorite author? You can get updates on deals, newsletters, and more involving their books.

Also, follow authors on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs…etc.

Sometimes, we give stuff away for free. Other times, we do previews of upcoming books. It’s pretty great.

5. Feature them on your platforms

That stereotype about authors being a bunch of of anti-social cave dwellers is…not entirely inaccurate. But, that’s okay. Most authors have contact forms or email addresses that readers can use to reach out. Even if they’re troglodytes, most authors are excited to talk about their work. You can usually set up a phone or email interview to put up on your blog.

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I’m Instagram friendly!

If there’s a book you really love, take a picture and throw it up on your Instagram. If you tag the author, they might respond.


If you like a book or an author, there’s lots go things you can do to help get their book out there. Ultimately, isn’t that what we want? To be able to talk to everyone about your favorite book?

Disclaimer: authors are people, too. You are not entitled to their time. But, if you are respectful and discerning, you might be able to have access to insight into your favorite books and creators.

The One Where We All Get A Little Older

A tweet recently popped up on my Twitter feed that Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time” came out 20 years ago.

Well, it’s actually 20 years and about a month and a half, so you missed the true anniversary.

But, still, I get it. The point attempting to be made here was: “FEEL OLD YET?!”

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*Pregnant pause* baby, one more time

And, no. I don’t. Telling me that “…Baby One More Time” is almost old enough to legally drink alcohol does not make me feel any older than I am. I remember it with fondness. In 20 years, when someone laser etches “Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” came out 20 years ago” into my frontal lobe, I might start to think I’m getting old.

This phenomenon isn’t rare. It seems every content website needs a filler piece, so they mine Google for images of products from the 90s. The picture are low definition, sometimes a picture of a television commercial.

Did I just leave this blog post for fifteen minutes to play an emulator of Number Munchers? You bet.

These lists don’t make me feel old. Usually, they make me wonder what we were thinking or why some things went away.

Why did Gushers survive, but Dunkaroo’s failed? What was the Mr. Sketch scented black marker supposed to smell like vs. what it actually did smell like? Are all the Tamagotchis dead? Is Tamagotchis the plural of Tamagotchi? Should it be Tamagotchae?

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Tracking your data before Facebook?

Like the flavor of Fruit Stripe gum, some things are only meant to exist for a fleeting moment.

When “…Baby One More Time” came out, I was a child. I have not been a child for a long time. I don’t eat garbage anymore. If given the chance to have a Surge soda, I would decline. If given the choice between real food and a Lunchable, I would take the real food. Those other things don’t interest me anymore. I don’t hav I have moved on with my life; I have moved on to more mature things.

Maybe this is a secret negative review of nostalgia culture. Every new Star Wars movie seems to inspire a wave of hatred, not because it is bad (sure, @ me, but you’re wrong), but because it is not the thing they grew up with. Just because you had a fondness for something or you are a member of a particular fandom doesn’t mean you own it or have any say in the matter.

Nostalgia culture is the non-drug equivalent of chasing the dragon. It will never be as good as you remember, not because it isn’t good, nor because it never was. YOU are the thing that has changed and that’s a good thing.

You never get anywhere by standing still.

The One Where Kate gets a Book Deal

A short post…

If you follow me on social media, you will already know this, but here’s an update.

I have a book deal with Entangled Publishing.

My book will be out on digital in April 2020. Stay tuned here for updates i.e. covers, info, appearances, sage advice.

Or

Follow me on my social sites, where I am much more regular in my posting.

Hauntings of Disney Past

I had a conversation with my cat the other day. It went something like this.

“Me-rroorow.”

“WHAAT? After all you’ve put me through, you expect me to help you just like that? JUST LIKE THAT?”

“Meow.”

“Fine.”

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For those of you paying attention, yes. I do have a conversational cat. If you ever get a cat, I hope it does the same because it allows to reenact scenes from Lilo & Stitch. But, my sudden urge to reenact a scene from this movie got me thinking.

There is a lot of rhetoric that surrounds Disney movies from my childhood. There’s this idea that the Disney princess movies were bad for people, portraying scenes of Stockholm syndrome, women thinking they can change a man, the only goal is a man…yada yada had TL:DR (which stands for Too Long: Didn’t Read, by the by).

What still strikes me is that I don’t find those movies to be the ones that followed me into adulthood.

I was probably a weird kid.

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My parents, reflecting on my childhood weirdness

To this day, my favorite animated Disney movie was The Sword in the Stone. I wanted to have a talking owl that spoke almost exclusively in back-sass. I loved the music. Another Disney movie that stands out is Bedknobs and Broomsticks. There may have been some attachment to it out of novelty, because we didn’t actually own that one. We had to check it out from the library.

When I reached adulthood, the soccer match and Portobello Road weren’t as interesting as the fact that she’s FIGHTING OFF A NAZI INVASION. Remember that, kids? That’s right. Mrs. Potts is a witch who saved England from Nazis and would have gotten burned at the stake for it.

Another favorite was The Great Mouse Detective. I have found myself quoting things only to question where it was from to discover when I stubbed my toe and started saying, “My foot, my foot, my only foot!” I was quoting the evil bat from that movie.

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Lilo & Stitch, The Rescuers, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Rocketeer. The closest I had to a favorite Disney princess movie was Robin Hood. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the princess movies. They just weren’t the running down the VHS player.

I guess my question is: where have all the side movies gone?

Do you guys remember Blank Check? Why aren’t there anymore Blank Checks? Or Tall Tales? Or Mighty Ducks?

Everyone remembers Cool Runnings, but what’s the Cool Runnings of the 00’s? Where’s the Homeward Bound of 2010? (Don’t tell me it’s the “Dog’s Purpose” movies unless there’s a talking cat named Sassy) Where’s my Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?

Please, please, please do not read this as me wanting a reboot of these things. I don’t want them to come back. I want them to stay safe where they live in my memory. Sure, there’s a place for a live action Dora the Explorer movie, but I feel like there’s a bigger piece of our culture missing here.

The movies I loved may not have been the most popular movies Disney was making, but they were still making them for people like me. The money they made on the princess movies were enough to fund the weird, quirky, emotionally devastating and still-interesting side projects. And, I DO think most people have stronger memories about Lilo & Stitch than they do some of the other Disney products of the time.

Here’s the thing, Disney:

Star Wars and Marvel have basically given you a blank check (brought it back). Maybe start taking some risks on these kinds of projects again. You never know who’s watching. I hope this is an idea that will be carried out on Disney+.

And, while we’re waiting for a new batch of off-color Disney movies, I encourage you to go back and find some of those gems you may have missed. They’re worth a watch.

What’s happening on dating apps and why don’t I understand it

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook knows I make a lot of jokes about dating apps and the things I encounter there. I am single. Were I to get into a relationship that ended with me deactivating my dating app subscriptions, I would have significantly less comedic material for social media.

That being said, here are some trends on dating apps that I would like someone to explain to me. I have added my own explanations from deep within my own mind, but feel free to comment with your own interpretation.

1. The tiger picture

Guys like to take picture with tigers. They probably think it makes them look dangerous.

My assumption: you are at some zoo event where they let you have a close encounter.

Better option: Take a picture of yourself holding a Starbucks cup without the sleeve. Caution: contents may be hot? I don’t care. I like to live on the edge.3a5

2. The mirror shot

These poor souls don’t have any friends who can hold their cameras for them to take a picture. But, there are so many mirror shots on dating apps, I’m starting to think it’s something else entirely.

My assumption: Mirror seeks like-minded individual to reflect with. Why are so many mirrors lonely? What do they see in themselves?

Better option: Clean your mirror and bathroom before you take a picture of it. Just saying…

3. All your pictures are of you outdoors

My assumption:  I assume you’re homeless.

Better option: Take a few pictures inside. Pretend you have a couch that you sit on every once in awhile. I’m an indoor cat. We’re not going to have a good time if all you want to do is hike. Prove your human and have a roof over your head.

4. Same shirt

My assumption: you only have one shirt

Better option: have more than one shirt

5. Same hat

My assumption: you only have one hat or you are bald

Better option: prove you have more than one hat or hair

6. Headless torso looking for love

There’s this tendency (and usually it’s a mirror picture) to hold the phone in front of your face while you take a picture in the mirror, thus making the face invisible.

My assumption: you have no face. You’re just a headless torso looking for love. And, unless you’re trying to make a matching in Sleepy Hollow, it’s a little weird.

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Let’s goooo for coffeeeeee…but only pumpkin spice.

Better option: have some pictures with your face in them

And, last, but not least:

7. The Entrepreneur

Most dating apps want you to list your job. Sometimes, especially in Hollywood, you can’t say what you do because you signed a non-disclosure or your an agent who will only get unsolicited material if you tell people that on any kind of social platform.

Then, there’s the guy that puts entrepreneur.

My assumption: You are unemployed.

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Better option: Look. For five years, I worked for a COMPANY that helped entrepreneurs and small businesses. After 5 years, I realized that, while entrepreneur might be a state of mind, it’s not a job. If you are a founder of a company, that’s a job. If you’re a CEO, CFO, COO of a company you helped create, that’s a job. Entrepreneur…you aren’t allowed to get away with that. So, dig deep in your brain and come up with something that is an actual occupation or just leave that part blank.

Life is hard. Dating is difficult. We are all just groping in the void trying to make some kind of connection in a world that cares nothing for our happiness.

Don’t make it harder on yourself.

But, I guess if being a headless torso looking for love works for you, don’t fix what ain’t broke.

The Dig

Whenever I clean out my refrigerator, it’s a combination archaeological and anthropological endeavor. It’s not just a deep dig into grocery products past, but a dive into a bygone era, when decisions were made with unremembered logic.

1. Research and evidence must be collected and presented to the Board of the Superego to fund the refrigerator project.

I don’t like cleaning out my fridge.

I don’t like cleaning. I don’t like spraying and wiping down. I don’t like vacuuming. I do like walking around in my bare feet. Those last two things don’t play well together.

Anyway, on this particular occasion, the Board was presented with a gift that needed to be seated within the refrigerator. The only problem was, the item in question (see image) was too tall to live within the confines of the current shelf setup of the refrigerator.

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The Board considered and came to the unanimous conclusion that one shelf shall be removed and I would have to make due with two shelves instead of one rather than actually take the time to clean out the fridge.

After wrestling the shelf out, life continued as normal. Which brings us to the second step of the project.

2. The Board realizes its error

Even if you are only one person, you cannot live with just two shelves in the refrigerator. The time has come. The Board is unanimous. The shelf must be reinstalled at a higher level if we are to operate normally within the universe of the apartment.

They funded an exploratory committee.

Adjusting refrigerator shelves is a delicate and complicated process. One must consider what they intend to place on the shelves before placing them three inches apart. Does the egg carton fit on that narrow space? Yes. Can the string cheese be tetrised in? Yes.

Operation Wire Shelf is a go.

3. The exploratory committee explores

The space that the refrigerator lives in is not large enough to open the door completely. This is normally not a problem, as you don’t really need to open the door the entire way to grab the things you need. But, you do need to open the door the entire way to install shelves.

Through a complicated bit of wrestling, we now have a refrigerator that will open wide enough to allow for the shelf to be replaced. 451

As long as there is no shelf above it.

4. You do what you should have done a long time ago.

You empty the fridge.

The first big find of the excavation was an unopened jar of Welch’s grape jam. The popping metal lid has yet to be unpopped.

I have no idea when I bought this. I also don’t know how long jam lasts, opened or otherwise. And, as I sit here typing this, I’m not even sure Welch’s sells jam in these kinds of containers anymore. How long has this been here?

The second find was a half-empty (half-full?) bottle of Kung Pao sauce. Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, it doesn’t really matter, as it expired two years ago. Yes, I had Kung Pao sauce that expired in 2016. I’ve had that longer than one of my cats.

Why did I need Kung Pao sauce? I can’t remember ever using it, even though it is half-empfullty. But, at the time, I must have been very excited for whatever Kung Pao concoction I was making.

Don’t worry. There are cool things, too. Like that bottle of water I got from the Iron Man 3 set.

Last, I found a large jar of ground Kroger brand medium roast coffee.

Ah, I know when I must have bought this. It was a simpler time, when I was unemployed and buying in bulk. It was before I became an adult and bought a grown-up coffee grinder. Poor Kroger brand. You didn’t even bother to give your coffee a fancy name, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Caffeine or Don’t Worry, It Still Brews Up In Tears.

5. Carefully dispose of the evidence.

6. Enjoy your new shelf.

My new shelf does not have very wide clearance, so I have chosen to call it the “Cheese Shelf.” It is where the cheese sits. And, it was worth the effort.

As I sit here, drinking a cup of steaming Kroger Medium, I wonder what my refrigerator would say if it could talk. Maybe something like,

“This Kung Pao sauce has a funk to it that needs to be addressed.”

Or:

“This glass pitcher is completely empty. I refuse to chill it unless it is filled with something.”

And, I’m thankful for my talking refrigerator. Because at least it’s not a SubZero. Those are just so frosty and judgmental.