Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Don't Drive Like My Brother

Ok, in defense of both of my brothers, they probably drive just fine. I know one is a back seat driver, so I prefer to let him drive so he doesn't criticize me, but that's besides the point. This isn't about my literal brother but my figurative ones. Sisters too.

I live in New York. Even though I'm upstate, we're sort of known for our aggression and the speed with which we do things. I lived for a time in Massachusetts, and it's even worse there. It's fine with me. I'm a Northeastern girl. I like to go-go-go.

When I moved to Ohio, I was immediately and intensely frustrated by the slowness with which mid-Westerners move. They are never in a hurry for anything. Drove me crazy. Of course, I married a mid-Westerner. I don't know what I thought would happen. After 14 years together, he's still as slow and I'm still chomping at the bit. But for all the slowness in Ohio, I noticed something that we in NY tend to lack--friendliness. The first time I was in Kroger in Cincinnati and someone started talking to me, I had a death grip on my purse, sure someone was going to steal my wallet. Turns out, people are just warm and friendly. Moving more slowly through life allows that opportunity.

Same thing with driving. In Ohio, if you're trying to merge, people let you right in. In NY, cutting people off is an art form. But with the holiday season approaching, you just know traffic is going to be bad. It's the day before Thanksgiving and we're getting snow. I have to go out in a little while, and I am hoping that, at least in the spirit of the season, people take it slow. They let that car merge in front of them (guess what? Doing that actually helps the flow of traffic). They don't race for that parking spot, cutting people off the the process. They let that harried mom with the three kids in tow cross the street in front of them.

Unless you're travelling a long distance, speeding up doesn't actually save you any appreciable time. Slow it down and let someone turn in front of you. You'd be surprised at how good it can make you feel.

Happy Bird-day to those in the US!

*************

This post is dedicated to Tom Magiolzzi, who passed away recently. I listened to Car Talk on NPR more Saturdays (and Mondays when they played the re-runs) than I  can even count. The Tappet brothers were great for car advice, puzzlers, and many laughs. And they closed every show with the line, "Don't drive like my brother!"

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Holiday Promo!!!!!

I had a brilliant idea. Or a really stupid one. Only time will tell.



It's November all ready. Whether we like it or not, the holiday season is descending rapidly. I like to keep Christmas out of my house until the turkey's been consumed, but that doesn't mean one can't start planning.


Okay, so here's the deal (and I'm sorry but this is restricted to continental US only. I will send to APO/FPO addresses 'cause those ladies deserve this).

Give your wife, mother, sister, bestie, kid's teacher or even YOURSELF a customized gift this holiday season. A personalized, autographed set of paperback books. My books, of course. Three paperback books, signed and shipped to you. Or directly to the recipient (but sorry, I don't wrap).

One low price: $35.

That's three paperback books (retail price $12.99 each), signed and shipped to you. One low price.

What are the books and what are people saying?

Good Intentions: Plain and ordinary Maggie Miller has had more than her fair share of bad men, bad luck, a tragic past, and would really like to buckle down start her new life in Boston as a pediatric physical therapist. But Ryan Milan, also starting his new life in Boston, is in the way of the low-key life that she has planned for herself.
Ryan shows Maggie that, despite her misgivings, he loves her for her. Ryan and Maggie could have the perfect relationship—could—but tragedy pulls them apart after a fateful night, and a long-term separation leaves them at a cross-roads.
When Ryan finds Maggie seven years later, he is shocked to find the life she is living. Now that Ryan's back, will her life take her in a direction she’s not willing to go? Can Maggie stay true to herself while finding true love?
What readers are saying:  "If you are looking for an intelligent, well written family story, I can recommend this book."
"This is a story that grabbed me from the very beginning. I actually read it in one day, not being able to put it down."

Hold Her DownElizabeth Zurlo is lost. She's a wife, a mother, a teacher, a PTA volunteer—but somewhere along the way, she's lost herself. Depression and despair can lead to desperate measures and when she is pulled back from the brink of suicide, Elizabeth slowly tries to rebuild her marriage and reclaim her life. Just as she has finally started to put herself back together, a scandalous novel rocks her small town ... and costs Elizabeth her social standing, friendships and ultimately, her marriage. However, the man who seemingly destroyed Elizabeth's life, helps her realize who she is and what she needs to do to become the woman she's not only capable of being, but the woman she used to be. 
What readers are saying: "I hope that women read this and love it as much as I have. I will happily recommend." -Charlotte Lynn, A Novel Review

"Hold Her Down is filled with curve balls and the ending left a smile on my face." -My Book Inspired Ramblings 
"I couldn't put the book down once I got into it and thought about Elizabeth for days after. The plot is outstanding, the characterization perfect. " -Authors to Watch 
"Hold Her Down is a refreshing story of one woman's journey of self-discovery that every woman should read. It is a realistic story that any woman can relate to and sympathize with, ponder, find inspiration, and celebrate their true inner-selves and the women that they can be." -Jersey Girl Book Reviews

I'm Still Here:  It started out as an ordinary day for Esther Comely-Cox, if you consider simultaneously totaling your car, smashing a Ho Ho in your face and meeting a handsome doctor ordinary. Estranged from her family over her sister's mental illness and death, Esther can't help but feel alone. And when Esther hears the voice of her twin sister who committed suicide seven years ago, she begins to question her own sanity, leading her to wonder if anything is what it seems. Searching for answers, Esther must confront her past while looking towards a new future—one in which she is finally accepted. Through humor and heartbreak, Esther learns that blood does not mean family, that absence does not make the heart grow fonder and that silence can speak volumes.
What readers are saying: "Let me start with a warning: Author Kathryn Biel pushes you into the abyss of mental illness and gives you Ho-Hos and Fritos to break your fall. It’s dark. It’s disturbing. It’s depressing. But it’s also hysterical and uproariously funny. If that doesn't mess with your mind, I don’t know what will." 
"The mystery of this book, and indeed of Esther's life, unfurls through Biel's insightful, witty, and often hilarious prose. This book is a TOTAL HOME RUN."

So, here's how:

E-mail me at: kathrynbiel@outlook.com to place your order. Payment instructions will be provided after e-mail has been received and processed. Shipment will not occur until payment is received. If you live near me and want to arrange a pick-up, we can do that too.

Orders MUST BE received by 12/11/2014. Sorry, no exceptions. I will personalize, sign and ship your books to whatever address you have requested. CONTINENTAL US ONLY!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pin It to Win It

For a very long time, I avoided Pinterest. Oh, sure, I was invited and even opened an account. But I never went on the site. The reason is two-fold: self-esteem and time management.

The self-esteem thing is this: all these people posting pictures of the wonderful things they've made. The beautiful cakes, the intricately decorated cake pops, the pumpkins made out of old books. All that stuff looks great. Except my stuff comes out looking more like something from a Pinterest Fail page than anything Pinterest-worthy.

Finally, I realized this:


So, then I avoided Pinterest because of time management issues. Namely, once I type in www.Pinterest.com, suddenly four hours have elapsed and I have nothing to show for it. I don't have that kind of time to waste. I need to keep up on Candy Crush.

So, for me, Pinterest was not a productive thing. But then, my good friend, the super talented Jayne Denker, sent me her super secret Pinterest board. I was beta reading for her novel, Picture This, and she had a Pinterest board all set up for the characters and setting and everything. It was the best idea ever.

When I write, I would find myself cruising the internet for ideas of settings, clothing and hairstyles. I would bookmark all these websites and refer back to them over and over. OMG, that's what Pinterest can do. I made Pinterest productive. I would put all my bookmarked sites there. I could cruise around and find what my characters looked like. So I did that when I was working on I'm Still Here. Back then, the working title was Incommunicado, but that got changed as soon as the novel was finished (and people were like, what does that mean?).

Two months have gone by since I'm Still Here was released, so now I think it's time to share that Pinterest board with you all. Do you want to know how I picture Esther or O.K.? Find them on the board. Is that how you saw them? Let me know what you think.

Here's the link to Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tats1824/im-still-here/

I promise, this board won't make you feel badly about your ability to re-create the perfect arts and craft project.