T is for Third Place (Books)

There’s a very cool bookstore in Seattle called Third Place Books. They’re a general interest bookstore with over 200,000 new, used, and bargain books. Third Place Books has a commons area with several restaurants and live music Friday & Saturday nights. Plus, they hold tons of awesome author events (last summer I attended a signing with, among others, Lisa Schroeder, Mandy Hubbard, and Kimberly Derting, and this January I saw John and Hank Green’s Nerdfighters show there!). All in all, Third Place Books is fantastic, but that’s precisely why the store’s name used to perplex me. Why would any bookstore — any company — want to be third place?

I did a little research…

From Third Place Books’ website:

Sociologist Ray Oldenberg suggests that each of us needs three places: first is the home; second is the workplace or school; and beyond lies the place where people from all walks of life interact, experiencing and celebrating their commonality as well as their diversity. It is a third place. In his celebrated book, The Great Good Place, Oldenberg discusses how the cafes, pubs, town squares and other gathering places make a community stronger and bring people together. Third Place Books has something for everyone.  Whether you need to study, host a community meeting, or get out of the house for the evening, we hope you will make this your third place.

Awesome, right?

So, tell me: What’s your THIRD PLACE?

S is for Sparkling Almond, Solitude, and Super-Sized

Remember how my family and I are moving out of state in a few weeks? Well, tonight my husband and I are having one last hurrah with our fantastic neighbors. It’s a bittersweet event, for sure. Dinner and dancing and drinks will be a blast (thank you so, SO much, Theresa, for organizing! ♥), but I’m so sad to be moving away from these awesome people who’ve been all kinds of supportive and kind and fun. They’ll be sorely missed.

Fortunately, we’ve got lots of Sparkling Almond to ease the pain.

Switching gears completely: I’m an introvert at heart. I value quiet time, and in most cases, I’d rather be at home watching movies with my husband and daughter than out on the town. That’s not to say I don’t go out. I do, occasionally (see above!). And once I’m out, I throw down with the best of them, but still… I like my yoga pants. A lot. I like my books. I like my laptop and my DVR and my comfy couch. I like to make my own rules and spend time in own head, where it’s peaceful and quiet and serene.

And I think that’s just fine.

.

In other news, last weekend my husband, daughter, and I tried out a new restaurant, The Buttered Biscuit, which prides itself on “authentic gramma food.” (Hungry yet?) We didn’t think twice about our girlie ordering a cinnamon roll with a side of bacon because we were halfway through a twenty-five mile bike ride and were ready to treat ourselves. Imagine our shock when the waitress presented our four-year-old with a cinnamon roll the size of (quite literally) a dinner plate:

She did a number on it, I have to say. But in the end (after inhaling my veggie omelette with ravenous enthusiasm), I was forced to help my girlie put a dent in her breakfast confection. Let me tell you: It was AMAZING.

Two questions: Are you an introvert or an extrovert? And, what’s your favorite breakfast food?

R is for Rock the Drop

Last week I Rocked the Drop!

I’ve wanted to participate in Rock the Drop since I read a few of my blogging friends’ wrap-ups last year. Here’s the low down, in case you haven’t heard: Readergirlz and Figment united to ROCK THE DROP in honor of Support Teen Lit Day, which was Thursday, April 12th. All participants had to do was print a copy of the bookplate (seen in my sidebar) and insert it into a book (or 10!), then drop said book(s) in public places (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter, etc…) in communities everywhere. Lucky teens who happened upon the dropped books saw that their finds were part of ROCK THE DROP and scored new reading material. Such a cool idea, right?!

Here are the books I dropped, labeled and ready to go:

Of course I had to tag them:

I left one book at our local bakery:

Two at our local coffee shop:

And finally, I dropped one at the McDonald’s across the street from our town’s high school:

Though my husband said I looked guilty, like I’d just dropped off explosives as I left each location, Rock the Drop was a success on my end, and lots of fun! I sincerely hope that the books I dropped found happy homes with teens who enjoy reading them as I did.

Did you Rock the Drop?

Q is for Quiet

You might remember when, a few weeks ago, I blogged about my addiction to all things social media. Well, since then I’ve done something sort of revolutionary.

Something sort of… crazy.

Are you sure you’re ready for this?

Well…

I’ve SILENCED MY CELL PHONE.

No, really!

Shhh...

Not long ago, when I was working to complete a pretty intense revision, I turned my phone to vibrate. All of the pings and chirps and rings were a major distraction and, quite frankly, they were driving me nuts. Predictably, I was able get a hell of a lot more revising done — a hell of a lot quicker — without having to stop and fiddle with calls and emails and texts. Imagine that!

Unpredictably, the self-imposed break from social media (and the demands of constant communication in general) turned out to be something of a relief.

I never could have guessed how freeing it would be to check my email and Twitter and Google Reader when I felt like it, NOT every time my phone summoned me. Instead of answering calls and getting tied with a chat, I listened to voicemails and returned calls when I had time to give friends and family my full attention. I replied to texts and emails when I had a few spare moments, rather than dropping everything (or pausing in my revising) to key out immediate responses.  I let myself surf Pinterest and Facebook during lunchtime (and only after my daughter finished eating and left the table). It was… really nice, and even though my revision is since complete, my phone is still set to vibrate.

And you know what? I think it’ll stay that way for awhile.

Have you ever hushed YOUR phone?

P is for #PhotoADayApril

I am head over heels in love with Instagram, a photography app that lets iPhone and Android users edit photos with all kinds of cool filters, then share them with friends and followers on a feed. This month, in addition to the A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’m participating in one of Instagram’s many photo challenges: #PhotoADayApril. Basically, it’s a fun way to stretch my creativity, and it’s super inspiring to see how other people interpret the prompts. Here they are:

And here are a few of the photographs I’ve posted:

Day 4: #SomeoneWhoMakesYouHappy... Two someones for me!

Day 6: #Lunch (Hummus should *totally* be its own food group!)

Day 10: #Cold... Iced tea after a long bike ride.

Day 13: #SomethingYouFound... Daisy, wandering the mean streets of Tennessee eight years ago. (She's yawning, not snarling. :))

Day 16: #Flower

Do you use Instagram? How (other than writing) do you exercise your creativity?

O is for Oh. Em. Gee!

My favorite book (or movie) moment has got to be the Oh. Em. Gee!

I like to be surprised. No, scratch that… I like to be shocked. I love a plot twist that makes me rethink everything I thought I knew. I love how, as I’m reading one of those Holy shit, that just happened! scenes, my heart begins to race and my skin breaks out in shivers. I love when the absolutely unexpected  reaches out and slaps me across the face. I love being awed by the way dozens of once-hidden clues suddenly become SO OBVIOUS. And I love nothing more than when an author ties numerous seemingly loose threads into a neat and tidy bow.

I love to have my mind blown.

A few books that totally rock the elusive Oh. Em. Gee! moment (there’s a reason these are on my FAVORITES list):

   

   

   

   

Do you have any Oh. Em. Gee! book recs for me?

N is for Noteworthy

First, an important bit of business: The announcement of the TWO winners from my Lucky Me, Lucky You book giveaway, chosen randomly. Congratulations…

Jaime Morrow and Sophia Richardson

The first winner to email me at katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com will have her choice of either a signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars or a free book of choice from The Book Depository, up to $20. The second winner to email will receive the remaining prize. (Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email so I can get your book to you!)

Congrats again, Jaime and Sophia, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about Lucky Me, Lucky You!

🙂

And… Here’s a super fun idea you might be interested in participating in, especially if you’re looking to rejuvenate your blog, or get into (or back into) the habit of blogging regularly:

Gorgeous banner created by crazy-talented Tracey Neithercott! 

The brainchild of writer/blogger/all-around-awesome-person Sara McClung, Blog Me MAYbe is a weekly blog format for the month of May, an easy schedule to follow with topics built right in. Of course, if posting every day sounds like too much, or if you miss a few days, or only do a couple posts a week, no biggie. Blog Me MAYbe is all about ease and fun! You don’t have to worry about following every blogger who participates or commenting on everyone’s daily posts (though if you want to do that, feel free!). The intent of Blog Me MAYbe isn’t to gain followers — although that could very well happen — but to branch out, make a few new friends, share information, and get into the head space where ideas for blog posts flow freely.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Mondays: May I tell you something about writing?
    • This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all!
  • Tuesdays: May I tell you something about myself?
    • Pretty self-explanatory… Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or, maybe they do. It doesn’t matter–this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better. 
  • Wednesdays: May I ask something about you?
    • Ask your followers something about themselves.
  • Thursdays: May I tell you something about someone else?
    • Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who’s fascinating. A character from a book. Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative, but let the spotlight shine on someone else!
  • Fridays: May I share something funny?
    • Fridays = The start of the weekend… BOOYA! A reason to celebrate and laugh on its own — plus, who doesn’t want to see something amusing after a long week?

Fun, right?! I’m already committed to participating, as are Sara, Cambria, Tracey, Jessica, Lola, Alexandra, and AlisonBlog Me MAYbe begins on the first of May, so head over to Sara’s blog if you’re interested in signing up, and feel free to grab our banner or the button in my sidebar to use on your own blog.

Tell me: Will you participate in Blog Me MAYbe?