Nanowrimo Update Day 25: 41.5K words and Chapter 8 online now

Last night while making a turkey for my belated Thanksgiving dinner, I worked on Maybe Baby. After we finished eating and then watching an episode of Big Bang Theory, I continued working on my NaNoNovel. And now, I have crossed into the home stretch: I have written 41,500 of the 50,000 words necessary to complete Nanowrimo. If I can stay on track, I will finish on 28 November. That is my goal this year–to finish slightly ahead of schedule.

I am pleased that I’ve managed to be so disciplined. I am usually a lazy writer in that I write in fits and spurts. I force myself to get up at 6 AM every weekday morning and sometimes I manage to write, other mornings I edit or try to revise. There are those mornings when I am just too tired and I end up reading celebrity gossip on or I stare at the screen as I try to read Huffington Post through sandy eyes. I don’t get much done. Some mornings only 200 words emerge. On a good morning I will have written close to 1000 words before it’s time to take a shower and head to work. But then it’s time for Nanowrimo and I always get at least 500 words written before it’s time to go to work. And then I come home after work and write (and don’t stop writing) until I reach my daily goal of 1600+ words.

And…before I forget…Chapter Eight is now online! Go to my Nanowrimo 2012 page and you can continue following Laney’s story.

A Few More Gifts for Book Lovers — Part Four

As promised, here’s the final installment of my series on gift ideas for your favorite book lovers. Since people say we book lovers are notoriously difficult to shop for, I thought I’d bring you a few more ideas for gifts to make your Christmas shopping a little easier.

This time, our list is short and sweet. Just three items that could really help you with those final items on your Christmas shopping list… and let’s face it, we book lovers are kind of hard to shop for–we don’t like other people picking out books for us but we’d rather you didn’t simply hand us a card with some money in it. 🙂

Something Practical…

For the book lover who is always on to move, Moleskine journals are the perfect gift. They are stylish, durable and come in lots of versions to satisfy even the pickiest book lover. I am a Moleskine junkie–I have tons of them and I jot down everything from “to do” lists to ideas for future short stories and novels. I always have one with me when I am traveling and now Moleskine has come out with the Moleskine Travel Gift Box Set, the Gourmet Gift Box Set, the Writing Gift Box Set, the Drawing Gift Box Set and the Gardening Gift Box Set. The Travel Gift Box Set includes a Moleskine Passions 240-page lined journal with 5 themed sections and two luggage tags. It all comes in a very nice gift box so your friend can always keep track of their journal and tags by popping it back in the box and placing the box in their bookcase. The recommended retail price for the Travel Gift Box Set is $49.95 but you may be able to find it at a much lower price online or in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore. You can either order the gift set directly from Moleskine or check with your favorite local bookseller.

A Flight of Fancy…

Jane Austen Charm Bracelet from the Jane Austen Gift Shop

A few days ago I found the Jane Austen Centre Gift Shop online and it’s the perfect place to buy a nice present for your Jane Austen-loving friends. One of my favorite items there was the Jane Austen charm bracelet. The bracelet and its charms are made of 925 silver, and each charm is a miniature of a Jane Austen novel. Open the charm and it features a line from one of her novels. Such a charming gift! It’s a tad bit expensive at £200 ($322 USD) but this is one of those flights of fancy presents… And just think how thrilled your Jane Austen-loving friend will be when she opens the box. 🙂

If You’re Still Stumped…

Then you can always do the obvious: give your book-loving friend a gift certificate to a bookstore. But if you do, please support an independent bookstore in your friend’s neighborhood. Supporting a local bookstore means supporting local communities and job-creation. To find an indie bookstore near you (or your book-loving friend), go to IndieBound. You can also browse the independent booksellers’ bestsellers list and get ideas for books for kids, among other things. So go local, go to your local bookseller.

That’s it for this year! Hope you’re nearly done now with your Christmas shopping! Coming soon we’ll have some more book reviews, my list of 2011’s favorite Christmas reads and what I’ll be reading in 2012.


More books to give as Christmas presents…

So you’re still searching, still trying to figure out a few more presents? How about these…?

Cover of "Decoded"

For your brother who loves hip hop…

Decoded by Jay-Z should be high on his wish list. It’s a memoir in parts while a book of rhymes, a journal, you name it. I’ve only skimmed it but I think this is definitely something that a bona fide  Jay-Z fan should have on his or her wishlist. I know at least one person who will be finding this under the tree on Christmas Day. 🙂





Cover of Bright Young Things

For your teenage cousin who’s tired of Gossip Girl

I remember when the Gossip Girl books first popped up and caused a stir. I read a few of them to see what all the hubbub was about. They were okay, not my fave, but I could see why so many young women were going crazy over them. Still, I remember thinking I wasn’t overly impressed with the books. That said, I was glad that YA fiction had graduated from the Sweet Valley drivel that had populated bookshelves when I was a teen.

Then I was in the US and heard about the Luxe novels by Anna Godbersen. I bought the entire series and loved the mix of bitchiness and history. Sure, the characters could be exceedingly annoying at time but the books were pageturners. Now Anna Godbersen has a new series set during the Jazz Age called Bright Young Things. I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet but it’s got me interested. Could be something I send to my Gossip Girl-loving niece…

Cover of Linger

Cover of Linger

Cover of Shiver

And for your younger sister who needs to find something to fill the hole left behind byTwilight

Now that same niece is a diehard Twilight fan as well. She lvoed the books and the movies and she seems to be firmly in the Team Edward camp. I can’t say I was a big fan of the books but I can get why she and millions of other teen girls fell for Twilight. It’s a love story, it deals with the angst in a way that is accessible. It’s got the whole star-crossed lovers thing going on. Yeah, okay, it’s a drag that he glitters in sunlight and lusts for her blood but hey he’s dreamy. Or at least, that’s how I once heard some girls describe the scenario. But now I think it’s time to introduce my niece to the  Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. I read Shiver and Linger and they are magical. Forever, the final book in the series, is slated for release in July 2011.

Cover of His Insignificant Other

And for all the ladies you know who need a dose of chick lit with a twist…

Well, I already told you once before to read Ernessa Carter’s 32 Candles, so I’ll tell you again. Buy it! You should also discover Karen Siplin and ner novels, Such a Girl, Whisky Road and His Insignificant Other.

Just a few days until Christmas…

Jazz Age inspired jacket of "The Great Gatsby"…and I have already finished my Christmas shopping. This year I purchased every present online to avoid the awful stress that is downtown Stockholm while Christmas shopping. The last few years Swedes seem to have lost their minds when they are out buying presents. It’s so awful that I would rather be at home in my pyjamas, ordering presents while I sip coffee in front of my computer. And I am someone who loves Christmas shopping and everything Christmas. Well, this year, I did my shopping in my favorite pair of pyjamas with my Nanowrimo coffee mug in my left hand and my Dell mouse in my right hand. In the background, Diana Krall sang about merry little Christmases and outside it was snowing. Lovely!

I even bagged a few presents for myself, which is always important. One present to myself is from Penguin. They’ve re-released hardbound editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels and short story collections with gorgeous Jazz Age inspired jackets. I had to have them. I ordered them a week ago and can’t wait until they arrive…:) I wanted the full set but one book–The Beautiful and the Damned–was out of stock.


The Image of the Black in Western Art Volume III cover

The Image of the Black in Western Art


For your arty friend…

Another present to myself is a series of books on art that I only just discovered. The Image of the Black in Western Art is a survey of the portrayal of blacks in art from the age of antiquity to the present. It’s published by Harvard University Press and it’s stunning. I’ve ordered the volumes II and III as my Christmas present to myself–there are 10 volumes in total if anyone wants to treat me to something nice. I will probably treat myself to volume I as my birthday present to myself–and what do you know? I don’t have to wait very long since my birthday is 3 January. 🙂


America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook


For your friend who loves comfort food…

I love cookbooks. I have too many of them. Sometimes I just like dreaming with them. Sometimes I actually try the recipes. At the moment, Tord is having the time of his life with the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I ordered it two years ago and have tried a few recipes from it. Everything so far has been delicious. Now Tord has discovered how great it is. But if you have someone on your list who likes to cook or is interested in learning how to cook and needs a little guidance, then this is the perfect gift for them.



Cover of "Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights"


For your Nigella Lawson fan who’d like a change…

Now me…well, I have been watching and enjoying Sophie Dahl’s new food program, Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights. And the cookbook looks to be just as good so I will have to treat myself to that…maybe as an after-Christmas present.

She’s got a recipe for chocolate-cherry pots that sounds so yummy….I must try it. You know, these cooking shows are dangerous. Just watching them adds inches to your hips but they do make life seem so much nicer…:)


I’ll post a few more last-minute gift ideas later today. I need coffee. And I need it…NOW. 🙂