Katie Pierson

Book promotion / Other people's books / The sexy daily life of a writer

Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday sales promotion!

From today through January 1, you can order signed copies of ’89 Walls through my website for only $10 (a 28% discount)!

In case you haven’t read it yet, it’s a boy-girl love story set in 1989 against the backdrop of a major cultural shift and tumultuous changes in both political parties. Sound familiar? Just sayin’.

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In addition to watching all 10 episodes of Netflix’s “The Crown” in three sittings, I’ve read several books in the last two weeks. I highly recommend The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk, although, having also just finished his Winds of War and War and Remembrance this fall (both 1,000 pages), I’d say the former should have gotten the Pulitzer.

In The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin, four English women of different classes rent a castle in Italy and form unlikely friendships. I liked it but admit that I prefer the movie version of Lady Caroline Dester’s storyline.

Now I’m reading Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. The depressing premise—that a 69-year-old woman disappears in a subway station—gives way to beautiful insights from the points of view of different family members. Their individual perspectives form a collective portrait of a mother they gradually realize they barely knew. Wonderful.

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My two most recent book club appearances straddled the election. My friend, Laura’s, group met at her house in Des Moines on November 6. After a chili and cornbread dinner, we discussed the fine line between autobiography and fiction and our excitement about the likelihood that we were about to elect our first woman President. At my friend Jane’s place in Edina on November 10, ’89 Walls proved to be a good jumping-off point for a passionate debriefing of our most recent political sea change. As always, I welcomed the chance to meet smart, cool, interesting people.img_3053

I walked by my middle schooler’s social studies teacher’s classroom and saw this. It made my day.

Consulting

Know any high school seniors in need of coaching/editing services as they write their college essays? I can help.

I’m editing for St. Stephen’s Human Services and Aurora Consulting; and writing for the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, St. Paul Public Schools’ school-based clinics, NorthPoint Health and Wellness, Hennepin County’s teen pregnancy prevention initiative, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers’ anti-sex trafficking coalition. I love the learning that comes with each new client and project.

I’ve also started a tiny side business helping people organize and downsize their homes. Let me know if you have a closet to tackle, an elderly parent to move, or a heap of photos that need some TLC in the New Year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Book promotion / Marketing / Other people's books

Summer Reading sales promotion!

School’s out! From today through June 13, you can order signed copies of ’89 Walls through my website for only $10 (a 28% discount)! This is your chance to stock up on graduation gifts, beach reading, and non-electronic entertainment for your favorite teens and children of the 80s.

Book reviewssubversive

Ishmael Beah’s The Radiance of Tomorrow (author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier) is a thorough—if necessarily depressing—fictionalized account of a Sierra Leone villahedgehogge’s attempts to rebuild community and infrastructure after its brutal civil wars. Beah channels his country’s oral storytelling tradition through use of extended metaphors and colorful idioms. It’s lovely, but is definitely not a beach read and not for the faint of heart.

Like The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford’s The Songs of Willow Frost just didn’t do it for me. The premise wore thin by page 50; I walked away.

The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) by Carol Fisher Saller, witty author of the Q & A at Chicago MaIMG_2371nual of Style, online edition, offers tips on everything from Microsoft Word macros to how to make a subjective judgment call. I highly recommend this book to fellow word nerds.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (and brilliantly translated from the French by Alison Anderson) is one of those books in which almost nothing happens: it’s all understated humor and commentary on art, literature, beauty, philosophy, cats, and class prejudice from the point-of-view of an autodidact Parisian concierge. A pleasure.indexindex

Book clubs

I took notes at the private book clubs I attended in May: (clockwise) The No-Guilt Book Club in St. Paul picks two books per month. You read only the one (or none) that interests you and get to eat homemade rhubarb crisp. The Junior Varsity Book Club in Eden Prairie is a large, fun group that makes each gathering into a potluck meal. My mom’s book club in Golden Valley has actual by-laws and expects members to read each book. Wine and dessert (natch) are common threads among the 20+ book clubs I’ve attended so far.

Honors

The National Indie Excellence Awards named ’89 Walls as a finalist for young adult fiction. Woo hoo!

I’ve also been asked to join the downtown Minneapolis Barnes & Noble as a guest author during next weekend’s “B-Fest,” a three-day event celebrating the best books for teens. Deets to follow. In the meantime, click here to learn more.

Consulting

I continue to network with the people I want to be when I grow up. (Speaking of, I also went to my 25th college reunion at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with four of my former roommates.) 9I’m also billing actual hours. I’m developing online content for the International Academy of Trial Lawyers’ anti-human trafficking initiative, the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative, and Terra Soma consulting; editing a middle grade manuscript for Trio Bookworks; and coaching the St. Paul Public Schools’ school-based teen clinics on their communications strategy. And, just as these great projects landed in my lap, my kids’ school year ended. Wish me luck.

Book promotion / Indie publishing / Marketing / Other people's books / The sexy daily life of a writer

Nebraska 150

Book reviews

I just finished The Translator by Leila Aboulela. I enjoyed the spare writing but never rooted for the imagesprotagonist. And the ending felt falsely tidy.

Like the first book in the trilogy (Some Luck), Jane Smiley’s Early Warning doesn’t pull you forward with rising stakes or a narrative arc, but it did make politics and culture from 1959 through the early eighties come alive.

The 20-Minute Networking Meeting by Marcia Ballinger is a fast, worthwhile read.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra knocked my socks off. I paced myself to enjoy the elegant writing and because I didn’t want it to end. It’s a solid education on the wars in Chechnya, and a wonderful tale of love, loss, and loyalty.

Honored

The Nebraska 150 Book Selection Committee chose 150 notable Nebraska books to highlight for the Nebraska 150 Celebration. These books represent the best literature produced from Nebraska during the past 150 years. And ’89 Walls is on it! No big deal: I’m just rubbing elbows with Willa Cather and Rainbow Rowell.

Book clubs

IMG_2104Thanks, St. Cloud Library and youth librarian, Amanda MacGregor, for the opportunity to exchange ideas with a thoughtful, smart, and cool group of teens at their monthly Teen Book Club.

I also loved going to my friends’ wine-I-mean-book-club in Eden Prairie. It ended up being the perfect day to talk about the 80s. ‪#‎restinprince

Be sure to invite me to your book club if you live in a cabin on a lake. I spent last weekend with the Couples Book Club near Hackensack. They take seriously their food and cocktails. I appreciate this.

IMG_2230I’m looking forward to the three book club appearances I have lined up for May! Don’t forget that book clubs get a 30% discount on ’89 Walls. Email me at katiepierson58@gmail.com to buy direct.

Consulting

Meanwhile, in day job land, I’ve been selected as a Communications Coach for the Twin Cities Media Alliance, an incubator for small non-profits seeking to up their communications game. I’m also editing for Trio Bookworks, writing for the International Academy of Trial Lawyers’ human trafficking initiative, editing for Aurora Consulting, and helping a leader in the sustainable food movement position her Terra Soma brand.

Do you know of a good cause in need of a good writer? Here are my deets:

As a word nerd with a social justice background in fundraising and public affairs, I help Twin Cities non-profits tell their stories in vivid, research-based, accessible prose. I leverage changes in public opinion by developing and editing issue-literate content for websites, newsletters, brochures, grant proposals, communications and marketing plans, fundraising letters, political action alerts, social media, opinion pieces, stakeholder profiles, speeches, blog entries, annual reports, and policy reports. I also offer re-writing services (as in, “Please fix this hot mess of a document by tomorrow”). I have a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in American History from the University of Minnesota, and fifteen years of freelancing experience. Please see my website for client testimonials.

Book promotion / Marketing / Other people's books / Very constructive political commentary

Book clubs, book reviews, and book bloggers

Book reviews

Much aemperorsome lucks I love the idea of a vigilante feminist terrorist group exacting revenge on pornographers, wife beaters, and misogynist advertisers, only 20 pages of Dietland by Sarai Walker lived up to the hype. The main character bored me to death, and the plot’s execution was a muddle.

Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine is a short, quiet, powerful novel that made me better appreciate the shame and disruption of Japanese-American internment by showing it from the perspective of an utterly relatable American family.

Jane Smiley’s Some Luck has no appreciable narrative arc, but she lets the reader experience 1928-58 through the eyes of an Iowa farm family. I understand the Dust Bowl, McCarthyism, and women’s daily lives better as a result. And I just reserved the sequel from the library.

I loved Jewelweed by David Rhodes and tried to put it down frequently so that I could savor it. I keep thinking about this lovable cast of characters in rural Wisconsin. I only wish that the ending wasn’t so tidy/sappy—it felt like an imposition on my willingly-suspended belief.

MediaWise Ink on KFAI

It was SO fun chatting about purpose-driven writing and creativity with my Wise Ink peeps Roseanne Etcheber Cheng, Dara Beevas, and Amy Quale on KFAI – 90.3 FM Minneapolis – 106.7 FM St. Paul. You can listen to the full transcript.

I did a guest post for the Book Snob literary blog. Click here to read the interview and to enter to win a free book!

2016-3 Marshall book club

Thank you, new friends in Marshall, MN, for inviting me to your book club for an evening of wine, discussion of books and politics, and great Italian food!

I’m excited to join the teen book club at the St. Cloud Public Library on Saturday, April 9 at 1:00 for some gritty conversation about what adults think teens should (and shouldn’t) read. This event is open to the public. 2016-4 book at library

 

I’m still not over the thrill of seeing my book displayed at my neighborhood library (last week at Ridgedale) and in bookstores (today at Valley Booksellers in Stillwater).

indexConsulting

My consulting (day job) plate is now full. On deck this month:

Editing a full manuscript for a publisher

Updating web content for a non-profit working to end human trafficking

Editing for a fellow consultant

And continuing to network with the Twin Cities’ amazing non-profit community.

Conversations with authors / Indie publishing / Marketing / Other people's books / Reader feedback / Sexuality in young adult fiction / Uncategorized / Very constructive political commentary

Women’s Health Champion Award

Can anyone recommend a good book? I’ve just finished The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein (interesting but uneven), Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (meh), and The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler (important but depressing). I need a hit of great fiction. Please advise.

Events
I’m proud and flattered to be the recent recipient of Planned Parenthood MN/ND/SD’s Women’s Health Champion Award (for my efforts to de-stigmatize abortion in young adult literature). My cross-stitched plaque features a heart-shaped uterus and reads: “Overthrowing the patriarchy one introverted step at a time.”

Here are my remarks from the event at the Uptown clinic on Monday night:www.plannedparenthood.org

“I have such fond and indelible memories of this place. I worked here in the Public Affairs department from 1997-2003 with Connie Perpich, Sue Johnson, and Amy Brugh. This was when this building also housed the Education Department, Communications, the Resource Center, the Nurse Practitioner program, the clinic, the board room and the Action Fund phone bank which I ran for a time with the help of 200+ volunteers.

I have a few memories to share:

  • The inside joke among MN legislators was: “What’s the difference between Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life and a terrorist organization?” The answer: “You can negotiate with terrorists.”
  • I remember that in 1998, insurance companies—which refused to cover birth control—tripped over themselves to pay for the new wonder drug, Viagra.7e7ea5e729130a64395372b51efde44e
  • In 1999, Sue and I were two of the 500 victims of an anti-choice mass food poisoning at the PPFA conference in Phoenix.
  • I remember realizing as a twenty-something lobbyist that any schmo with an ego can get elected. Exhibit A: When George W. Bush took office in 2002 he immediately cut $34 million in UN Family Planning funding.
  • Connie shamelessly paraded Sue and me around the Capitol with our huge, pregnant bellies during key votes.
  • I remember talking to Action Fund staffers who were volunteering in their retirement in honor of mothers and sisters who had died of botched abortions before Roe v. Wade.
  • A guy named Tim Stanley, Executive Director of MN NARAL, and I lobbied together to pass legislation to require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. I do a happy dance now every time I see Plan B displayed over-the-counter at Walgreens.
  • I remember crying terrified tears one day at my desk during the post-9/11 anthrax threats. Then CEO Tom Webber stormed the halls shouting, ‘Those effing cowards can kiss my ass!’

So, about the book:

89WALLS cover’89 Walls tells the story of first love, family loyalties, sex-positive sex, and politics to a generation that doesn’t remember the Cold War, getting by on twelve cable channels, or a day when being pro-choice fit in with mainstream Republicans’ values.

Given that 2/3 of high school seniors report being sexually active, and that over a third of all women have at least one abortion, the lack of YA literature on the subject seemed odd to me in a creepy, censored sort of way. And when abortion is depicted in YA, it’s almost always a trauma, a painful, heart-wrenching decision.

I wanted to help normalize abortion as a reasonable choice. My character gets an abortion at the Omaha Planned Parenthood, and emerges from the experience stronger and happier. It’s an important plot point but is not the crisis of the book.

Some readers criticize ’89 Walls because the protagonist acts instead of agonizing. But I believe that much of what readers imagine the typical abortion experience to be is the intended result of the anti-choice movement’s marginalization of abortion.

By the way, how great is it to see the latest attacks on Planned Parenthood backfiring in the form of “Shout your Abortion” and “1 in 3” social media campaigns? I’m proud to be part of the grassroots movement to de-stigmatize abortion.

The book has plenty of critics but also seems to have found an appreciative audience: ’89 Walls continues to get airtime on national and local media. My favorite shout out was on Salon.com (“3 surprisingly sane books on abortion when absolutely no women’s lives are ruined by one procedure: Recent attacks on Planned Parenthood make these books more relevant than ever”). ’89 Walls also won a Moonbeam Award for Young Adult Literature with Mature Content.

When I’m not writing fiction, I continue to do public affairs consulting for social justice oriented non-profits. I call it “overthrowing the patriarchy one introverted step at a time.” I always welcome new business. PPMSD award

I want to thank Sarah Stoesz, Tim Stanley, Allie Carlson-Stehlin, Kristen Wubbels, and the rest of you for honoring me with this Women’s Health Champion Award, and for including me in this celebration of this beautiful new space. I’m proud to be part of this 100-year old movement and of this big family.”

Price promotions
I run a discount on the e-book version of ’89 Walls every couple of months. Tomorrow through Monday the 29th, you can download the Kindle version for $2.99, and the digital version for all other platforms for $.99. Tell your friends!

I also offer a discount to book clubs: buy directly from me and get print copies (normally $13.95) for $10.00 each.

Consulting
In the meantime, I love my day job (overthrowing the patriarchy one introverted step at a time). Give me a shout if your favorite non-profit needs a freelancer:

As a word nerd with a background in fundraising and public affairs, I help Twin Cities non-profits tell their stories in vivid, research-based, accessible prose. I leverage changes in public opinion by developing and editing issue-literate content for websites, newsletters, brochures, grant proposals, communications and marketing plans, fundraising letters, political action alerts, social media, opinion pieces, handbooks, interviews, news articles and features, speeches, blog entries, annual reports, and policy reports. I also offer re-writing services (as in, “Please fix this hot mess of a document by tomorrow”).

I have a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in American History from the University of Minnesota, and fifteen years of freelancing experience.

My clients’ work inspires mine. Recent gigs include:

• Better Together Hennepin (BTH), Minneapolis, MN–Hennepin County’s teen pregnancy prevention initiative.
• Accelerating Graduation by Reducing Achievement Disparities (A-GRAD), Minneapolis, MN–Hennepin County’s educational equity watch-dog.
• Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN–a national leader and statewide investor in gender equality.
• Baby’s Space Child Development Center, Minneapolis, MN–a model of early childhood best practices serving Native American families living in poverty.
• Midwest Health Center for Women, Minneapolis, MN–an abortion provider.
• African Development Center, Minneapolis, MN–the nation’s first business development organization for African immigrants.
• Hopkins Early Childhood Family Education program, Hopkins, MN–an age 0-5 program for all Minnesota families offered through public school districts.

I’m at ease with writing/editing online, and with Facebook and Twitter. I published Better Together Hennepin’s publications via Constant Contact. I’ve maintained my author website and blog on WordPress for seven years, and edit for Twin Cities Geek using the same platform.

My resume is on LinkedIn. Please see my website for client testimonials. Thank you!