Connie Undone is Now Available for Pre-ordering!

Hello, all! I hope you are well. I’ve been rather busy the last several months, but I would like to announce that my first novel, Connie Undone, is available for pre-ordering starting today! Officially, the paperback comes out on March 1st, but in the meantime, you can snag a copy on Amazon for $18.99.

If you’d still like to pre-order Connie Undone, but would rather buy a copy from me directly, let me know! I am selling signed copies to U.S. residents for $12, via Paypal or Venmo (@KristineBrown1918). If you live outside the United States, let me know, and we can negotiate on price. And, if you buy one of the first 250 copies, I’ll write you a poem on a subject of your choice! I can either email or mail you the poem, depending on your preference. Those who pre-order in the next few weeks should receive their copies of Connie Undone sometime in late February. 

And for those who like to exclusively purchase books via Amazon, just send me a screenshot showing that you’ve made a purchase, and I’ll still write you a poem!

Here’s a brief teaser for Connie Undone:

“Where do you find these people?”

This question was all too common concerning the events of Connie’s summer right out of college. Some people asked this sympathetically, while others shook their heads in pointed disapproval. For Connie, things weren’t going as planned. But in several months, she would learn to accept that detours, in all their uncertainty, laid a necessary foundation for a budding plan unseen.

For more than a decade, Connie often felt that she lived in a dull city, but was scared to venture out. We could attribute her self-sheltering to social anxiety and several years of codependency. Connie Undone seeks to dwell not on the negatives of what happened after a first serious breakup, but rather, documents the beginning of life after college, and one’s path towards self-reliance and acceptance.

***

Thank you for your kind readership. Writing is always wonderful.

– Kristine

Starlit Speculation – This is Charlie Zero

Introduced to Björk and Tori Amos at the age of eleven, and remembering echoes of of a swarming crowd as Shirley Manson stated, “I’m only happy when it rains,” I’m difficult to unnerve through words, medical terminology, and images I hope will prompt more than just some kind of lucid, false, epileptic seizure.

Perhaps the challenge in impressing me lies in my affinity for the experimental, cracked into three large shards. Charlie Zero’s This Robot Dreams Inside a Plastic Soul stirred my intrigue as the sun prods an amusement park worker to wriggle in his four-legged, alpaca wool suit. I snuggled into the blankets covering my macintosh red futon, took a minute or so between pieces, and thought, “Damn, Charlie. I’d imagine LSD does come to a halt, but I’m not quite ready.” For the record, I’ve never tried LSD.

Charlie’s writing reminds me of wind chimes that clang out of nowhere in the summer heat, doorbell melodies that warn me I’m entering the home of a prolifically artful eccentric. I don’t know what to expect, conversing with a local historian about “tarot-cards & playgirl magazines” I’ve never taken more than a glimpse at, or a “virtual console” commanding fine-tuning by those long departed. The allusions run unbridled, as read in “Witchcraft Acidhead 23.” Grammatical devices, the marriage of the supernatural Ouija with universal Apple products, and an image of Edgar Allen Poe stuffing the macabre into his DDT heart, It seems anything and anyone stands around to grab the microphone, announcing standard grievances, pointing out that CNN should be taken with a grain of salt, that institutionalization confines more than young girls admitted out of parents’ concerns that they may be too hormonal. Charlie Zero assembles dismantlement to encourage us to question what’s heard and said, while navigating local alleys, gathering others interested in communal innovation while acknowledging the stagnancy that sets our minds on fire.

Charlie toys with form and language like people I see on the Travel Channel acquainting themselves with flower arrangements. Nothing’s quite symmetrical, yet the juxtaposing hues encapsulate readers in a curious glow. “I didn’t know this was a medical term! What could it possibly mean? Would I hear it at my next doctor’s appointment?” These are questions I asked myself as I breathed in the smoke trailed by thirty-five poems.

Now, back to the three large shards. This Robot Dreams Inside a Plastic Soul invites you to do your own research, opening dictionaries, finding encyclopedias at your nearest discount bookstore which directly pertain to Twentieth Century pop culture, and beyond. The collection offers more than trance, illustrates complexities more intricate than tangled arms and legs in an urban club scene. In Charlie’s synthesis of the bright, historical, and contemporary, we read what it means to be eclectic. Lines such as “Arachnid gods/ registered virtuoso/ T-minus 1” sends us jolting, neck hairs raising as if our fingers almost pricked the shine of an open lamp socket. Again, I emphasize eccentricity, but not as a term describing a human. The poetry collection, though fierce in its delivery, does not settle itself centrally. See Charlie’s work as an ever spinning globe, continental tenants shouting insults they’ll one day take back, digging their fingers into the clay on which they stand, giving Pangaea one more chance.

This Robot Dreams Inside A Plastic Soul ignites fury, anxiety, and hope in the midst of a changing society that in retrospect, may not have changed so drastically should we consider human faltering. Nonetheless, it is a thoughtful read, pushing us to wonder what we truly think about the world and people who cross our path as we walk, confined by our Ziplock exteriors.

Charlie Zero’s collection of poems remains available in paperback, through Paypal. Do follow his adventures in writing at his blog, filled with starlit speculation.

such is her finesse

she told me I was a lovely girl
and that her son was lonely.

I was twenty-two,
listening to an almost-widow
apologize for my empty apron.

they told me not to expect anything,
so I didn’t, and told her I’d be fine.

she told me her husband was happy
and that he couldn’t read letters.

So, he couldn’t read “tip,”
but again, it’s not such a faux pas
when we recall the doctor easing cotton out the ear.

recently, I’ve been collected
though I never learned to organize.

truthfully, I’ve never chosen to
as I grab my backpack before the day.

After five, I searched for news
while staring at a love letter rolled up straight
and taut, written in ballpoint ink without any sound of my name.

eyes on the collar, I pawed at my keys,
gaze reciprocated when I pulled out a maxi pad two weeks early.

DIY: Another Paper Crane Bookmark Tutorial

It’s pretty clear here that I have a fixation. Refer to my other DIY on crane crafts for a video on how to make paper cranes, if you don’t know how. Also, I continue to put old magazine paper to use with magnetic bookmarks.

Today, I touch upon what to do with old coasters, rather than remaking them while keeping the same purpose. I’m unashamedly loyal to paper books. Send me a PDF of a work you want reviewed, and I’ll most likely print it out and keep it in a 3-ring binder for future reference. I like to flip through what I read, and yes, I don’t feel guilty with highlighters and pens. However, I’ve recently learned that it’s probably better to write your notes on Post-It notes instead of the page itself.

For your paper crane bookmark, you will need:

Ribbons

An Exacto knife

A cork coaster

Acrylic paint

Origami paper

Pen

Mod Podge

So I returned from a friend’s wedding with a bag of paper cranes. I usually don’t say no to not re-purposing paper. Here’s what I did:

1. I got a cork coaster I wasn’t using anymore. It was an ordinary brown one with a picture of an anchor stamped in the center. It was already stained and losing its appeal.

2. I laid out newspapers on my floor and painted the cork coaster with acrylic paint. Any color works. That day, I was feeling pink.

3. I got out a crane, already folded, and flattened it out. I made sure it was void of extra dimension by wedging in between the pages of a dictionary. I proceeded to pile several heavy books on top of the dictionary, for a good 4 hours.

4. I Mod Podged the flattened crane onto the painted coaster. I made sure to cover the entire crane and coaster surface with 4 layers of Mod Podge. You can do this with either a sponge or paintbrush.

5. Let it dry! An hour and a half prevents disappointing mess-ups with a sealer that may still be sticky.

6. I got out the Exacto knife, outlined a circle to cut out at the coaster’s edge, and made the slot for my ribbon (the page marker, more or less). Be careful. Do not cut the circle to where there is very little space between the coaster’s actual edge and the edge of the ribbon slot. You’ll end up having a really flimsy end and the coaster, if made of cork, will break apart. Be careful, and take your time.

7. Take some ribbon. I chose to use blue and red, of equal length, slip them through the slot, and tie a neat knot. You may choose to make a bow and add beads to your page marker. It’s entirely up to you.

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8. I then took a pen to outline the flattened, pasted crane. I should mention that I painted the flattened crane after Mod Podging it as I wanted the bird to match the colors of the ribbon. Of course, this is also optional.

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*For added fortification, you may consider spraying acrylic sealer over the piece before slipping ribbon into the slot.

(Let me know of what you’ve done with household items, paper cranes, and bookmarks! Happy reading and crafting, friends.)