Everything Books
Writing and reading and books, books, books (and anything that might relate)

September 4, 2012

Literary Snacking

For me, reading, writing and snacking just simply go hand in hand. Here are this weeks sweet and savory snacks to help keep you focused and energised for your next sit down session.

Parmesan Popped Popcorn

½ cup popped popcorn kernels (popped using favorite method)

¼ cup melted butter

2 tbs parmesan cheese

1tbs garlic powder

⅛ tsp black pepper

1. Toss popcorn with melted butter. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until all mixed through.


Brain Booster Smoothie

1 cup apple juice

1 banana

1 ½ cups frozen blueberries

½ cup frozen raspberries (these berries can be substituted for alternate berries)

¼ cup raw walnuts

1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

June 4, 2012

Velva Jean Goes Online

Velva Jean Hart, heroine of my novels Velva Jean Learns to Drive, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, and the upcoming Becoming Clementine (due out September 25), has taught herself to drive and fly, she’s flown as a member of the WASP in World War II, spied for the OSS, and fought with the French Resistance. Now comes her latest adventure: tackling the world of social media.

You can read and follow her style diary, “Lipsticks, Looks & Lifestyles,” on tumblr.

Follow her on twitter for pictures, thoughts, info, videos, book updates, etc.

And like her facebook fan page, where she’s posting everything from family photos to family recipes, songs and maps, as well as info on the women who spy, fly, and drive, WASP and spy-related events, and 1940s beauty tips.

January 2, 2012

Behind the Book — Becoming Your Own Best Publicist

Filed under: writing — Tags: , , , , , , — jennifer @ 12:45 pm

It seems like only yesterday my mother was teaching me to read. And now, many, many years later, I’m teaching her the ins and outs of social media.

While she was visiting from North Carolina for Christmas, we set aside one day for a Social Media Crash Course (aka Teaching Mom to Tweet). My mother (Penelope Niven) is also an author and her latest book, Thornton Wilder: A Life, will be released by HarperCollins in October. The book is twelve years in the making, and is the first comprehensive Wilder biography. Mom has worked her way through mountains of papers and research materials and interviews. She has organized volume upon volume of resources and, from those resources, she has written a beautiful, brilliant, masterful book, which manages to be at once scholarly and spellbinding.

Like all publishers these days, HarperCollins expects Mom to be not only a prolific and professional writer but a social media master. My mother barely uses a cell phone. She doesn’t text or tweet, and the very mention of Facebook is enough to send her into a tizzy (and she is not the tizzying type).

Publishing has changed in the twelve years I’ve been writing professionally. When my first and second books came out, it didn’t occur to me to blog or post, and Facebook and Twitter weren’t even invented. Back then you wrote the book, you edited the book, and you did what your publicist told you to do. Nowadays, authors almost have to maintain a social media presence to be successful.

Because I’ve been learning the social media ropes myself, I offered to help my mother. The day before she left to go home, I set her up with author pages on amazon.com and Good Reads, as well as pages on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s a sample of our tutorial session:

Mom: So how do I twit?
Me: You don’t twit, you tweet.
Mom: So how do I do that?
Me: Well you just write something you’re doing or something you want to share or something you’re interested in or something timely and topical.
Mom: How many words can I twit?
Me: Tweet. They don’t do it by word. They do it by character. You get 140 of them.
Mom: 140 characters? That’s all?
Me: You just wrote a 900 page book. I think you can handle 140 characters.
Mom: That’s precisely it. I just wrote a 900 page book. Now I have to blog and post and twit as well? How do you write a book and write all these other things too?
Me: Tweet. And it’s almost impossible.
Mom: I don’t think Hemingway would have liked Tweeter.
Me: It’s Twitter.
Mom: Can you imagine him twitting?
Me: Tweeting.
Mom: I can just hear what he would say.

(This was followed by a hilarious and lengthy discussion of how our literary favorites– Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, the Brontes, Shakespeare– would have reacted to social media.)

(We both agreed Truman Capote would have been a terrific tweeter by the way.)

In the end, we managed to get Mom set up and at least reasonably comfortable maneuvering the various sites. There is more to do, more to learn, more to teach, but I didn’t want to completely overwhelm her. So far, she hasn’t posted since our class day, but she promises she will. (To be fair, she did have to travel home, and then there was New Year’s Eve, etc.)

So far, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter and look her up on amazon.com and Good Reads too. I know I, for one, can’t wait to see what she does.