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‘Twas The Day Before Christmas Eve…

23 Dec

… and all through the house were the Ideal Homes-level decorations this blogger painstaking planned, selected, purchased, hung, arranged, made, tweaked, stared at for a while and then tweaked some more. And in the kitchen were the gingerbread and red velvet cupcakes this blogger baked and put into boxes decorated with the personalized Erin Condren gift labels she ordered in September.

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And in the corner of the living room were the presents she’d bought for family and friends, all wrapped in co-ordinated paper and ribbon and all placed just so under the tree.

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And on the couch was this blogger, exhausted and wondering when Christmas had begun her full-time job. Seriously: I love it, but this is the first time I’ve had my own place to decorate (as in, a place that was mine but also ONLY mine, and so no ‘discussions’ about tinsel or multi-coloured lights, for example) and as I was out of the country for a few weeks and arrived back December 1st, things have been a little bit hectic.

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Now normally I do a gift guide (because it means I can browse online stores for hours, guilt-free) but there just isn’t time for that this year. I also can’t tell you about some of the ah-MAZE-ing presents I found this year, because the people destined to receive them from me may or may not see this post. So instead let me direct you to last year’s gift guides:

(There’s still time to buy gift cards or, in case of emergency, print out a picture of the item, place it in a frame, wrap it up like you would any present and explain that it’ll be a January joy…)

… and show you some of my Christmas decoration pics, if you need something to procrastinate with today. I mean, no one’s actually doing any work, are they? It’s practically Christmas, after all…

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Marks and Spencer’s were selling a miniature Christmas tree in a mason jar with a bit of ribbon around it for €20. I bought this gorgeous jar in Seville, Spain for €5, spent €1.50 on fake snow and used a miniature tree that came with a set of six (it’s actually a placeholder, the placecard slots down into the middle of the star) and wrapping I’d already bought.

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Also discovered in Seville: a miniature ceramic Starbucks mug in the form of a hanging Christmas decoration! It can’t go on my tree as there’s no red allowed on there, but it does sit nicely on my kitchen window sill with my coffee machine decoration.

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Nothing goes undecorated, and that includes my cafetiere…

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Andrea (of Mousetrapped fame) brought me some US Christmas magazines, and Family Circle had a picture of framed prints wrapped in Christmas paper and hung on the wall like presents. I thought an even better idea would be to wrap some of my existing frames…

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I just had to have those sparkly gold mugs above when I saw them in Next (they’re sparkly! They’re gold! Think of how much coffee they hold!) and when I saw the matching cake-stand, it was game over. Of course, I’m not putting cakes on it. (I blame Pinterest for this level of craftiness. Christmas was so much easier before Pinterest…)

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A  big thank you to everyone who has read this blog this year and stayed tuned for news of an exciting 2014 project. In the meantime, have a VERY Merry Christmas!

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Catherine x

P.S. I’ll leave you with what has to be my new favourite Christmas song. How Christmassy is THIS?

The 100 Best Movies Challenge

1 Feb

It’s Friday! So let’s set aside the self-publishing stuff for a second and do something fun.

On Wednesday Nathan Bransford posted his personal list of 100 Favorite Movies and challenged others to do the same. Now as you all know I never met a procrastination activity I didn’t like, and I love movies as much as I love books (well, almost…), so today I’m posting my list.

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One hundred movies sounds like a lot, and will seem like a lot when you first start trying to think of all your favorite films. You’ll enlist the help of friends and family, look up Best Picture nominees on Wikipedia and frantically browse your DVD collection. But soon you’ll be saying, “Oh! How could I forget that?” and “But what about—?’ and “I feel like there was something else amazing he was in too…” and then suddenly you’re up to 149, you need to start whittling them down and you’ve Argo in twice because you’ve Ben Affleck on the brain.

Now I’ve cheated ever so slightly with mine because I’ve counted series like Toy Story and the first two Home Alones as one entry, but so what? It’s my list! I’ve also picked my favorite movies, many of which would never have had a shot at Best Picture, so don’t hate me for loving Spacecamp. Or Dirty Dancing. Or 17 Again.

I also know I’ve left some out and will think of them as soon as I click the Publish button on this post…

(Yeah. There’s a chance I’m over-thinking this.)

Okay, so here we go. 1-10 are my all-time favorite movies, but 11-100 are in no particular order.

(Yep. Definitely over-thinking this.)

My 100 favorite movies of all time are (I think!):

  1. Jurassic Park
  2. Contact
  3. Apollo 13
  4. American Beauty
  5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  6. Adaptation
  7. The Truman Show
  8. Stranger Than Fiction
  9. The Departed
  10. The Usual Suspects
  11. Primal Fear
  12. Spacecamp
  13. The Silence of the Lambs
  14. Wall-E
  15. The Lives of Others
  16. The Secret in Their Eyes
  17. The Shawshank Redemption
  18. 17 Again
  19. The Terminal
  20. The Mist
  21. Catch Me If You Can
  22. Any Given Sunday
  23. Contagion
  24. Elf
  25. Dirty Dancing
  26. The Town
  27. Return to Oz
  28. Office Space
  29. The Cable Guy
  30. Midnight in Paris
  31. Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  32. Best in Show
  33. The Devil’s Advocate
  34. Thank You For Smoking
  35. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy
  36. Seven
  37. Jaws
  38. Forrest Gump
  39. Cast Away
  40. Schindler’s List
  41. The Toy Stories
  42. Independence Day
  43. Armageddon
  44. The Sixth Sense
  45. Fight Club
  46. Gladiator
  47. The Insider
  48. Training Day
  49. Amelie
  50. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  51. Titantic
  52. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  53. Bicentennial Man
  54. Mission Impossible
  55. Tropic Thunder
  56. Misery
  57. 1408
  58. Inside Man
  59. The Game
  60. A Perfect Murder
  61. Jagged Edge
  62. The Life of David Gale
  63. Cinema Paradiso
  64. Minority Report
  65. The River Wild
  66. Twister
  67. The Informant!
  68. Zoolander
  69. The Other Guys
  70. All The President’s Men
  71. The Others
  72. Bridesmaids
  73. Arlington Road
  74. The Vanishing
  75. Pretty Woman
  76. Argo
  77. The Reader
  78. The Remains of the Day
  79. Quiz Show
  80. Jerry Maguire
  81. Good Will Hunting
  82. Speed
  83. Closer
  84. Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil
  85. Clueless
  86. The Wedding Singer
  87. The Holiday
  88. The TV Set
  89. For Your Consideration
  90. Senna
  91. In The Shadow of the Moon
  92. The Hangover
  93. Bad Santa
  94. Supersize Me
  95. The Hoax
  96. Grizzly Man
  97. Recount
  98. Stepbrothers
  99. Kiss The Girls
  100. I Love You, Philip Morris.

Agree? Disagree? Never going to trust me again because I love Return to Oz? (Guess what? I DON’T CARE. It’s amazing.) Or have you spotted a glaring omission? And don’t say The Godfather II, because even though it’s like the greatest movie ever made, it’s not a favorite of mine, really. Ditto for 2001. And Apocalypse Now? I’d rather Tropic Thunder any day. And I know many people have a scary obsession with The Princess Bride—I like it, yes, but it’s not one of my favorites. Also not a fan of anything Star Warred, Star Trekked or Lord of The Ringed.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or read Nathan’s list here.

Have a good weekend!

UPDATE: It’s happened: I remembered others! Here are a few that I didn’t think of when I was compiling the list: A Few Good Men, The September Issue, Easy A, The Cutting Edge, Enchanted, Top Gun (hello? HOW could I’ve forgotten that? I love that movie…), The Social Network and Superbad. Not sure if they’d have squeezed their way into my Top 100 but alas, we’ll never know (because I’m not starting this again!).

Catherine’s Christmas Gift Guide 2012: Favorite Things

17 Dec

It’s my favorite time of the year, when I happily start to fill my schedule with all sorts of present-hunting, gift-wrapping and cupcake-baking goodness and run a military-style operation to decorate the tree (ensuring there’s equal numbers of each color bauble, that they’re all evenly distributed across the tree and that there isn’t a trace of tinsel within a thirty-foot radius of our house). Which also means that it’s time for my Christmas Gifts I Discovered While Procrastinating Online Guide! 

I’ve already shared my top picks for writers, caffeine fiendsjet-setters and readers—catch up below if you missed it—but today, in the final installment, it’s Things I Like That Don’t Fit Into Any Previous Category, AKA My Favorite Things.

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(Click for larger.)

  1. I’ve always loved The Cambridge Satchel Company, but I love them even more since I found out the story behind the company. A visit to their newly opened Covent Garden store is definitely on my To Do list for my next trip to London.
  2. Anyone who’s read Sophie Kinsella’s “Shopaholic” books will have heard of Kate’s Paperie: an Aladdin’s cave of paper, notebooks, pens, cards, gift wrap and other stationery gems that could start anyone on the path to a stationery festish—and five minutes in one of their stores in New York will take you all the way there. One of my 2013 intentions (I’ve given up on the word goals; intentions feels so much doable) is to write more letters to my faraway best friend, so I’ll definitely be treating myself to some of their exquisite stationery sets.
  3. Christmastime is the season for ploughing through TV DVD box sets. Since 24 ended my brother and I have missed our annual watch-an-entire-season-of-24-in-five-days Christmastime tradition, but there’s so much fantastic television around these days that it’s easy to find a replacement. This year we’ll be catching up with The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad.
  4. I can tell you exactly when and where I discovered my favorite scent in the world: December 2007 in a room at the W Hotel Times Square. W Hotels put Bliss Lemon and Sage sink sets in their guest bathrooms, and the scent is just divine. It really embodies all that’s fresh and clean and invigorating. It doesn’t hurt that the products are amazing too; my faves are the body butter and the conditioner. Find the gift set pictured on the UK Bliss website.
  5. I love Ladurée Macarons. They’re pretty, they’re French and they come in gorgeous little green boxes that make fab paperclip holders for your desk. Ladurée also happen to have the cutest website ever. If you can’t get your hands on a box of the macarons, there’s a gorgeous hardcover recipe book to be had instead.
  6. One of the world’s great injustices is that Oreo Cakesters are not for sale here in Ireland. (Why not Kraft Foods? WHY THE HELL NOT?!) They might actually be my favorite food—and they’re sooooo tasty that it might actually be a good thing they’re not for sale here. But if I ever have a Cakester emergency, you can buy them on Amazon.com and have them shipped internationally, although the shipping will cost you more than the Cakesters…

So to recap:

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Click here for all my Christmas 2012 Gift Guides.

My 2012 in Books

14 Dec

For the last twelve months, I have been tracking and rating every book I read through the Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Starting out I set my goal to 100 books (ha, ha, HA!) but quickly changed it to a more manageable 52 books, or one book a week for the year. Which sounds perfectly doable, right? Especially if you tend to read books quickly, usually in no more than two sittings.

But it isn’t really, because as quickly as you read books, you don’t always have the time to read them at all. So I’ll just about make my 52 books, more from reading binges than constant or regular reading and only if I finish all five of the books I’m currently in the middle of. However tracking my books means that when it comes to deciding which ones I liked best, it’s easy to decide (and remember the ones I read in the first place!)…

(NB: These are my favorite books that I read in 2012. Although most of them were published this year too, not all were.)

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The nominees for the Novel That Depressed Me The Most Because I Know I’ll Never Write Like That (i.e. “Best Novel”) Award are…
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • The Dinner by Herman Koch
  • Ascent by Jed Mercurio
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

And the winner is…

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter! 

Just a fabulous book that, as another review of this title put it, reminds you why you love to love books. I would never desecrate a book by writing on it but if I did such things to, say, highlight my favorite phrases, descriptions that struck me or just sentences I wanted to remember, my entire copy of Beautiful Ruins would’ve been destroyed. Funny, touching and a page-turner to boot.

It also wins the prize for my favorite book cover of the year (the one pictured above, which is the US hardback that I ordered especially so as to avoid having to look at the horrendous cover of the UK paperback version. Yuck!).

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The nominees for the Crime Novel I Loved The Most/I Read So Much Of It, It Needs Its Own Category On Here Award are…
  • Criminal by Karin Slaughter
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
  • The Black Box by Michael Connelly
  • The Treatment by Mo Hayder.

And the winner is…

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes!

(I know, I didn’t choose Gone Girl, even though I’m a huge Gillian Flynn fan and have been reading her since long before the rest of the world discovered her this year. That’s not to say that Gone Girl isn’t brilliant. It is. But this is even better…)

There’s something about this book that just curls every last nerve ending you have into a fist of tension while you read it. It is easily the most tense and suspenseful book I’ve ever read. All the more impressive because it’s a relatively simplistic plot. “Psychological thriller” is applied to so many books, but this one actually delivers that. So, SO good.

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The nominees for the Non-Fiction Book That Made Me Turn To The Nearest Person And Bore Them With New Stuff I’d Learned About The World (i.e. “Most Interesting”) Award are:
  • The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of Tour de France: Doping, Cover-Ups and Winning at All Costs by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
  • How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
  • Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez
  • People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished From the Streets of Tokyo and the Darkness That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry
  • Wild: From Lost To Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  • Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
  • Totally Wired: On the Trail of the Great Dotcom Swindle by Andrew Smith
  • Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal by Mike Woodford

And the winner is:

A four-way tie: The Secret Race, How I Killed Pluto, People Who Eat Darkness and Wild!

Sorry, but I just can’t pick. Although if we spilt them into categories (Best Sports, Best Science, Best True Crime, Best Memoir), they can all be winners. Hooray!

If I had to pick just one novel and one non-fiction book to recommend to you, I think it’d probably be Beautiful Ruins and The Secret Race. You cannot go wrong with those two.

So what’s the one novel or non-fiction book you’ve read this year that you’d recommend everyone reads? 

Replay 2012 | Why, For Me, Print Will Never Be Extinct

13 Dec

It’s that time of year again, and I’m not only dragging out the Stuff I Found While Procrastinating Online Gift Guides, but also replaying some of my most popular “self-printing” posts from the last twelve months for those who might have missed them first time around. Today’s replay probably MY favourite post on Catherine, Caffeinated, this year, because not only is about my favorite book, like, ever, but it also got Freshly Pressed, bring hordes of new Jurassic Park lovers to my little blog! It was originally published back in July, just after my L.A. adventures. I’m off to countdown to JP 3-D in April…

Regular readers of this blog and those who’ve kindly subjected themselves to my books will know that I’m a huge Jurassic Park fan. I love the book, I love the movie and even though I’m a total coward who wouldn’t get on a rollercoaster if I was told there’d be a million dollars waiting for me at the other end of it, I braved Universal Studios Jurassic Park River Ride just to see the JP view from the lazy boat ride bit that came before the 80 foot drop.

The first edition jacket design of Jurassic Park.

I love Jurassic Park because it’s one of the first adult books I ever read and I can clearly remember reading it—or trying to; it was 1993 and I was only 11 —in the little caravan my parents used to have installed by the sea. It’s not Pulitzer Prize-winning literature or anything, but it’s a truly great read and reading it was the first time a book really took me away. I re-read it at least once a year, and still have my totally tattered, dog-eared and barely-held-together-by-Sellotape movie tie-in paperback. And if you are thinking What is she on about? Isn’t that book just about dinosaurs?, then I’m afraid we can’t be friends.

And you’re missing out. Big time.

But anyway, my point is I love Jurassic Park. And because I love Jurassic Park, I got a bit teary-eyed watching this TED video in which designer Chip Kidd talks about working on book jackets for Alfred A. Knopf.

I was watching it because I’d heard it was funny and interesting and it was about book cover designs. But a few minutes in, I suddenly realized who I was watching. This was Chip Kidd! The Chip Kidd who designed one of the most iconic book covers in recent memory—the T-Rex silouhette on the cover of the first edition of Jurassic Park! I was transfixed as he described how he bought a book from the gift shop at the Natural History Museum in New York, found an interesting-looking T-Rex skeleton, put a sheet of tracing paper over it and filled the spaces in with pen. Then he added typography to give the cover an overall look of “public park signage”—which, as soon as you hear this, you instantly see and understand. It could be a “Warning: Dinosaurs Crossing” sign, which is of course the kind of thing you’d find in a park of dinosaur attractions.

(Albeit one where the fences had failed.)

A couple weeks back in L.A., I was floating through Barnes and Noble at The Grove on a fluffy cloud of contented delirium when I gasped at the sight of a special edition of Jurassic Park on a table a foot away (and then quickly looked around to make sure no one had heard me gasp).

It was a thing of beauty. Hardback. That thing where the cover is a soft leather and the imagery is embossed into the surface that I don’t know the technical name for. The original T-Rex. Two books in one, Jurassic Park and its inferior but still really good sequel, The Lost World. Silver-edged pages, and on them the original type that I know so well. A map of Isla Sorna (the island from The Lost World) inside, and a red ribbon to mark my place.

I was in love, and I could bring home that love for only $20. Despite my self-imposed rule of no book buying due to no space in my suitcase, I practically ran to the register to pay for it.

On another trip to that same Barnes and Noble, I came across the edition of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth that was made famous by Oprah’s Book Club.

My edition of Pillars of the Earth, AKA The Fugly One.

It really is a stunning-looking book. My edition of The Pillars of Earth is an offensive eyesore that I can only hope was “designed” (ahem) and printed before Oprah picked it and the eyes of the world turned in its direction, because it really is a horrible, horrible looking book.

The pretty US/Oprah edition, soon to be winging its way to me from Amazon.com. You can’t really appreciate this in 2-D; the physical book is all shiny and embossed and stuff.

The gold/cream edition hadn’t been in Irish bookstores and so now, naturally, I wanted to buy the pretty one, replace the ugly one with it on my shelf (or in the boxes I have in storage as I am currently bookshelves-less) and donate the ugly one to a charity shop or something.

Hearing this, my companion said, “But it doesn’t matter what they look like.”

I swear to the Book Gods, life left my body for a second. My heart felt it like stopped.

It doesn’t matter what they look like?

It doesn’t matter what they look like?!!

Are you ON CRACK?!

But then I realized something: this is why some people can love their Kindles without pining for printed books. Because they don’t love the books themselves, like I do. They’re just after the words. For me, the words are the most important bit, yes, but they’re not the only important bit. For others, the format is irrelevant. We’re two entirely different kinds of readers. And that’s fine. That’s great even, for them, because I’d bet they haven’t cleared out their bank accounts buying multiple editions of the same book because the newer one was prettier.

But don’t tell me that a world without physical books will be a better world. Don’t tell me that I’ll “get used” to e-books. Don’t tell me that literature is going the way of music, because I don’t know about you but I never lovingly stroked a CD case (except for maybe a John Mayer’s Battle Studies but that was for, ahem, different reasons…) or held it in my hands, gazing at it adoringly, while I listened.

You only think that people will one day ditch print books completely because you are not a person who loves printed books. You love reading books, which is a different thing. It’s just one component of what I love. And what I love can never be replaced with some HTML and some plastic.

There are readers, and there are readers who also love books. I think there’s enough of the latter to ensure that while we all might profess love for our Kindles, the printed book is here to stay.

Now kindly all go and read Jurassic Park.

[UPDATE 16.07.12: Woo-hoo—Freshly Pressed! WordPress obviously love JP too. Obviously. I think we should start a book club...]

Catherine’s Christmas Gift Guide 2012: Readers

10 Dec

It’s my favorite time of the year, when I happily start to fill my schedule with all sorts of present-hunting, gift-wrapping and cupcake-baking goodness and run a military-style operation to decorate the tree (ensuring there’s equal numbers of each color bauble, that they’re all evenly distributed across the tree and that there isn’t a trace of tinsel within a thirty-foot radius of our house). Which also means that it’s time for my Christmas Gifts I Discovered While Procrastinating Online Guide! 

I’ve already shared my top picks for writers, caffeine fiends and jet-setters, and still to come we have, um, great gifts for me, as in a collection of my favorite things that don’t really fit in any one category. But today it’s my favorite set of picks, the one that could go on forever if I let it, Gifts for Readers!

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  1. For those of us who are still reading actual books with covers and pages and spines and things, this Folding Corners Over is Over bookmark from Waldo Pancake is the perfect stocking filler.
  2. This Bill Amberg Penguin Logo iPad Cover is pricey (£150!) but so classy. The perfect accessory for the iPad that’s also an e-reader.
  3. Rugged Readers are a fantastic new product: reading glasses whose frames fold onto the lenses so no case is required. Their sturdy construction means that they’re perfect for every reader-glasses wearer, from the backpacker hiking in the mountains with a beat-up copy of Shantaram, to the klutz who is forever sitting on them, dropping them and generally abusing them while leafing through the morning papers. Plus they have a handy clip for attaching to pages, book covers or necklines, and come in a variety of colors and magnifications.
  4. There are no end of hot beverage holders for the constant reader (which is a good thing because what goes better with reading than a cup of hot tea? Nothing, I tell you. NOTHING!). I love this this cheeky I’d Rather Have Mr. Grey Than Earl Grey Mug from Not On The High Street, and…
  5. this The Common Reader Penguin Mug and…
  6. this Libraries: Where Shhh Happens Mugavailable from the Literary Gift Company. But…
  7. My favorite writing-related hot beverage has to be this Scrabble Espresso Cup and Saucer Set, available on Amazon.co.uk.
  8. If you do have a Kindle, disguise its plastic horror with one of these beautiful Classic Book Covers for Kindle from KleverCase.
  9. And finally, if your library or favorite reading spot has a bare wall, you need A Book On One Page Print. I just need them to do Jurassic Park with the T-Rex silhouette…

Click here for all my Christmas 2012 Gift Guides.

Travels in 2012 and TRAVELLED in 2013

7 Dec

Some of you may have noticed that the third travel memoir I planned to release around now, Travelled: 10 Tales About Not Staying at Home, never materialized, and all of you may not be at all surprised about this because missing my own deadlines is kinda my thing. I’m, like, professional status; they don’t let me compete in the Missing Deadlines Olympics anymore. But that’s okay, because I’ve had an idea.

Adventures in Rome

Scenes from my Rome adventures (click for larger)

The reason Travelled isn’t out—or written—yet is a combination of two things. The first one is that I just didn’t have the time I thought I would in the latter half of this year, because something came up: work. I’ve been doing some freelance social media stuff and although I really enjoy it, it does take up a significant amount of time. Also, I’m trying to finish a novel I’ve been working on, and September to December is the worse time of the year to try watching less television, because it’s all amazing. (Girls! Homeland! American Horror Story! True Blood! Masterchef!) So time was in a short supply. The second one is that on a bit of a whim, I’ve planned a momentous 2013 vacation that, really, I’d love to include in Travelled. So I asked myself, how long would I have to wait to release the book, and still get that story in? And what if something else, further away, came up in the meantime? Would I push the date again so I could include that? Or would I just release it, and update the edition later? Or would I—

Then I had an idea.

An idea that would solve all these problems, and then some.

Scenes from my Marrakech adventures (click for larger)

Scenes from my Marrakech adventures (click for larger)

Instead of releasing Travelled as a full, finished book as soon as possible, I’m going to release it in four parts in 2013. Book 1 will be out in April, Book 2 in July and Book 3 in October. Each one will contain 3 completely new travel adventures of 4,00-6,000 words each. Then, just in time for next Christmas, the complete book will be released with all stories included plus a new one, making up the “10” in the original title. (The tenth story will also be available on here, so as to prevent the need to buy the full book just for that when you’ve already forked out cash for the three installments.) The installments will be priced at 99c, and the full book $2.99.

Doing it this way means:

  • the task is more manageable for me, time-wise
  • I can include stories from 2013, i.e. stories that have yet to happen
  • 2012’s publishing buzzword alert: more titles on Amazon improves my discoverability factor
  • more times also means more promotional opportunities
  • it’s more fun for me, because this is an experiment in something new. Hooray!
Scenes from my Las Vegas/LA adventures (click for larger)

Scenes from my Las Vegas/LA adventures (click for larger)

(Mousetrapped will also be out three years—THREE BLOODY YEARS!—on March 29th as well, so I’m thinking about what I can do to mark that occasion. Maybe a new afterword or something? We’ll see. I’ll do something, anyway.)

So that’s Travelled. As for travels, 2012 has been a stand-out year. Living with your parental units and having a best friend with a hotel discount does have its advantages: this year I managed to visit Marrakech, Rome, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and a slew of beach towns on the Southern California coast for the first time, and got to go back to London, Nice, Madrid and Valencia. I also got to stay in Monaco for a night—fancy cocktails o’clock!—and after seeing a Space Shuttle launch in 2007, achieved my other lifelong, travel-related dream: I visited the Grand Canyon (and, bonus round, the stunning Hoover Dam!).

I hope 2013 is as fun.

If only to make Travelled more interesting…

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