Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Thanks List

I'm thankful that they had a can of cherries at the country store yesterday, to complete my apple-cherry pie, even if it did have Splenda in it.
Thankful for my Vietnamese potbellied pig, Thistle.
Thankful it's not snowing up here yet.
Thankful for a break from NYC, and to be away from the crush of the Macy's Parade.
Thankful for my family, and that one son is half-finished the college app process, while the other one likes to talk politics.
Thankful for my writing group.
Thankful for eccentric friends who live in houses with names like the "Museum of Unnatural History." And I'm also thankful for my not-so-eccentric friends, who own cars and houses and make their credit card payments every month.
Thankful for new ideas, new plots, new characters percolating in my head.
Thankful that Thanksgiving is over.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parsnips, eBooks, and the Upside of feared apps

It’s fall, and I spent last Saturday getting all the last gems out of the weekend garden in the Catskills. I’m an earth sign, so I love the vegetables that grow in the soil best: carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips and my absolute favorite: parsnips.

They’re hard to get out of the ground. They’re warm and protected down there, and it takes a pitchfork or a trowel to unearth them, as well as strong arm and hand muscles. Parsnips are long and spindly, and even after the soil is loosened you have to twist them and yank them up. It’s always exciting to see that rosy potato or fat carrot first peek out.

And then there are apples on the trees to be picked before the frost. They’re spotty and rough on the outside, but are much spicier and fresher than store-bought on the inside, and can last a whole winter in the fridge. Tonight, I’ll make chutney, with apples, cinnamon and raisins. Goes well with ham or anything, really.

Why write about food when I could write about books? Well, why not? I very recently opened this Idea City link on blogspot when I decided update my website, and then felt frozen about what to post first. Too many possibilities!

Now that I’m warmed up, I can talk about writing too. I was pleased to see my YA historical fiction, Refugees, selling on so many eBook formats. And it’s back in stock on Amazon. When I wrote it, a few people said, “It’s too early to write about what happened in Afghanistan.” Well, it wasn’t, and isn’t. Unfortunately, war is still raging in 2009, and will be in 2010. Besides, Refugees is more about the history over there, and the culture, and about trying to find some common ground with the west. Still apropos to global concerns today. And as much as authors and booksellers are rightly worried about the effects of eBooks on the market, I clearly see the benefits of the eBook with this, because anyone anywhere—in Egypt, in Iran, in Turkey, in freaking Timbuktu can download it, no matter that the foreign paper rights weren’t sold in those countries. It was always my hope, and my intention for the eastern parts of the world to have access to the story.

While I'm on the subject of the upside of most feared apps, I encourage you to read this New York Times Op Ed entitled “A Library to Last Forever” by Sergey Brin, published October 8th, 2009:

Happy treasure hunting, parsnip-picking and, of course, writing.