Monday, January 14, 2008

Gifts for Writers

If you have a friend or a love that is a writer, you can earn many kudo points by giving them writing-related gifts for Valentine's Day.

Unfortunately, if you're not a writer yourself, knowing what a writer will or will not like is tricky, and chances are you know what it feels like to get the gift wrong.

Here is a list of gifts for writers... what TO give and what NOT to give.

(Keeping in mind that [blah blah blah] everyone is different, results my vary, etc.)


1. A box of paper. The link shows computer paper. It's especially nice for someone who does a lot of printing at home.

2. Pens. It's fabulous fun to write with a pen with your name or favorite quote on it. But remember... one pen is not enough! If you give only one special pen, the writer in question will probably not use it, preferring to 'save' it, because it is so nice and special. Help them out by giving them at least ten! Then they can enjoy your gift guilt-free!

3. Weird things. Be careful with this one. Many writers like the odd and unusual. While the pickled body of a two-headed calf fetus from France might appeal to one writer, it may shock and disgust another, even if that same writer recently expressed interest in a collection of mummified human hands (true story) (I'm kidding).

4. Seasonal items.

Everyone loves to decorate for the holidays, but few are willing to spend the money to buy the equipment. Christmas stuff is on major discount right now, so buy cutsy Christmas gifts for next year!

Also: Customized Candy Hearts

Get hearts with their name on it, or any other fun or funky phrase that will be special to them.

5. Movies. Everyone loves movies. Stick with the classics or the indie films, and try to make them special editions, with lots of interviews in the special features. Or boxed sets.


1. Clothing. Unless you know the person's exact size (For God's sake -do not get it wrong! Too big or two small... both send the wrong message!) and colors, don't even go there. Instead, get a gift card, and if you have seen something you think they would like, include a note describing the piece and where they can get it. You could even put an array of sizes on hold for them.

2. Household items. Sure, this vintage tumbler may seem hip and lovely, but there's no accounting for personal taste or decorating. Refer again to the gift cards.

3. Journals and diaries. It follows the same lines as the pens mentioned above. Some are just too beautiful to write in! See gift card.

4. Books. This one might come as a surprise. But unless it's a rare or signed copy of an already beloved book, or something the two of you have discussed, or a fascinating encyclopedia on an interest that, again, you two have discussed, please please please go with the gift cards! You might think a novel is perfectly wonderful, only to find out the giftee hates that author. Please see entries concerning Christopher Paolini.

5. Pets. Yes, kittens and puppies are charming, but allergies, living agreements, and financial concerns make this a guaranteed disaster! Especially if the giftee has recently lost a pet. Trust me, if they want another one, they will take the initiative to replace Fluffy or Spike. You showing up with Fluffy2 is not going to make them happy.


Writers are fascinated by the unique, the rare, and the one-of-a-kind. Shopping for a writer friend out of state? Get them something from a fun mom-and-pop store that they can't get where they live.

If all else fails, make a scrapbook of good times together. Some of my best gifts to friends have been binder-notebooks filled with funny quotes, shared anecdotes, and crazy photographs of us together.

Get creative by reading the following blogs:
Keri Smith
Little Birds
Scrapbooking Site

or try Indie Gifts

Friday, January 04, 2008

Paolini Deigns to Announce when his Next Book Will Come Out (And Thinks People Will Actually Care)

A huge part of my job (which I love), is to, obviously, help people find books. I'm expected to be knowledgeable about mainstream series and release dates.

And so... in the interest of being a good employee, I stupidly visited Christopher Paolini's web site last night... because I'm clearly a masochist... and found out that he's decided to grace us all with the announcement of the third book's release date:

September 23rd.

He had to pick one of my favorite months and one of my favorite numbers, didn't he? He just HAD to go there. September 23rd, May 23rd, and April 17th are my three most favorite days in the year.

That's not even the worst part. Oh no. The worst part is that he has 'BREAKING NEWS' about the trilogy, which he has chosen to share with us in the form of....

...A Video Announcement.

(Which, if you're really, truly a masochist, you can see here.

It says, and I quote: Kvetha Fricaya. Greetings Friends.

I cannot bring myself to watch it. I just can't.

But tell me how it is. And fear, my friends. Fear the coming September 23rd, which I shall now call Black Tuesday.


............fear it...

2007, a Summary

Holidays were hell. My coworkers warned me in the beginning that by the time the season was over I would no longer love Christmas music. I was happy to prove them wrong, but if I hear the particular version of any Christmas song that was played INCESSANTLY during a two-month period, I shall scream.

Remember people, it's not songs that annoy... it's versions...

Anyway, the Big Day has come and gone, along with New Years. I'll be sharing stories, but for now here's a small personal summary, shamelessly stolen (with encouragement) from Super Hero Journals.

1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2007?
(What did you create? What challenges did you face with courage and strength? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?)

In 2007 I finished a book, started and finished another (my best work so far), and wrote 63 poems I would be proud to call my own. I am proud of myself for taking chances. This year I moved from Illinois to Alabama, and it involved a lot of courage and independence, adjusting to and learning a new area. This year I got two jobs, a bank account, a credit card, and I pay for my own gas (Okay, I'm still dependent on my parents, but at least I'm not pinching pennies in a barren apartment somewhere; when my book deal comes through I'll move into a mansion a la Stephen King).

Stephen King's mansion, y'all.

2. What is there to grieve about 2007?
(What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?)

This year I lost three boys, and one very important friendship (I got it back though). I was severely betrayed and I grieve for my inability to trust people. I grieve for my lost childhood, for the state and home I left behind, for the friends that moved on without me.

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?

2007 was the most intense year I've ever had. I loved it and respect it, and I am sad it is gone. I consider it the last Good Year I'll have in a long time. Being a believer in the end of the world come 2012, there's not a lot of time left. May all years be as exciting, interesting, and varied as 2007.

2007, we loved thee well.

*bow out*