For writing, food, and general expat adventure times.

Things I am Thinking About Today

(image from adventure-Journal.com)

(image from adventure-Journal.com)

Right now I am thinking of sitting behind you in the car on a frosty night the cooler digging into my side my face cooling on the window glass my puffy coat makes swishing noises in the quiet car that blot out Harvest’s harmonica and the saw-mill snores of dad in the front seat and the soft little snuffles my brother makes beside me curled up against his own particular pillow his breath too frosting on the glass we are climbing the air thinning and the trees creaking silent in the wind it is so cold you can see every star between the peaks of the baby Catskills around us and the valleys of trees that drop sharply to our left on the other side of the thin barrier that guards our tiny switchback roads.

“Look,” you say and the car slows slightly “on the right. Is the waterfall frozen?”

I look the road is bending sharply and in its crease there is a small rocky crevice over which ice flow has frozen in white and moon-blue that gleam against the dark still night and the black pine trees around us.

“Yes.” I lean over Daniel to better see the icicles fat as tree branches and the flow of water in motion trapped in the cold night it is beautiful it glows like a cave filled with quartz we once visited with the dog tucked into the front of your jacket and only her tiny white head peeking out.

“Wow,” I add and it’s not enough but that’s all I’ve got you nod and get back to watching the sharp turns of the road and slowly we ascend beyond the waterfall to a cliff where the world falls away and winter is king I fidget and tuck my feet in tighter and reach for the bag of doritos we only ever eat in car trips they make a crunching sound and drop orange crumbs on the seat around me as you switch from Harvest to Rumours and the mountains grow larger and fill with quiet myths and the silent music of the stars.

Huxley vs. Orwell: The Webcomic

Originally posted on Biblioklept:

Stuart McMillen’s webcomic adapts (and updates) Postman’s famous book-length essay, Amusing Ourselves to Death, which argues that Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future in Brave New World was ultimately more accurate than the one proposed by George Orwell in 1984. (Via).

View original

Paths Series Reviews & Features!

Path of Needles was featured on Free eBooks Daily! 


…which led to me downloading an obscene number of new ebooks. They have a 99 cents section as well, it’s a little dangerous.

A review of Path of Pins was also posted to one of my favorite blogs, Thrill Reads and Reviews! If you remember, they reviewed Path of Needles as well. Heck yeah.

Finally, and I forgot to post this last year, but Path of Needles was also listed on True Colorz Reading List. True Colorz lists books with LGBTQ characters–it’s a pretty cool site! Have a look if you’re interested in LGBTQ story-lines.

PS: Path of Needles, Juniper, and To Wake the Shadows are all still free this weekend!

PPS: And Path of Pins is only 2.99! 

Path of Pins


Today is the day! FINAL-path-of-pins-coverBOOK LAUNCH!

Go to Amazon.com to download my new novel, Path of Pins! And if you haven’t yet read the first in the series, Path of Needles, you can download that as well–for free!

There’s more information and music, extra short stories and art, at my website, HannahKollef.com.

Here’s a summary of the novel:

“Everything we thought—everything they told us, every secret our supposed guardians shared—was a lie. They told me to find the Rose Queen, that stopping her would halt the catastrophe. They told me that she was trying to kill us all. They were wrong. They lied. And the truth?

The Fey are still dead. My father is still missing. And no one can be trusted.

Now it’s up to me & my best friend Jim to save the world, find my dad, and discover what happened to Roger. First, we have to run from those trying to control us. And then?

There’s only one thing left for me to do:

Kill the demon Koschei.

Make it hurt.

My name is Kat Finnegan, and this is the part where everything burns.”


Free Downloads!


As you may or may not know, Path of Pins is coming out tomorrow.

*blows noise makers, sets off streamers, atmosphere is generally festive*

In celebration of the launch, all of my novels on Amazon.com are free to download from today until Sunday. Yes, that includes Path of Needles, so if you want to read it before reading Path of Pins you can do so for free! 

I’m getting very excited for this launch. :D :D



Right now, Path of Needles is #13 in free Teen & Young Adult Fairy Tales & Folklore for kindle! Image


Quick Question From a Starving Author!

Hey guys,

I have  a quick favor to ask you. I’m self-published on Amazon.com and I’m looking to expand the platforms my book is available on. Anyone out there use Smashwords to download ebooks? Or is there another platform you prefer?

Answer in the comments, and I will respond with an appropriate picture of Nicolas Cage.

ANAKA NicPlato

Free Downloads Start Tomorrow! Also, PATH OF PINS HITS IN 2 DAYS AND I AM SUPER EXCITED. AHHH.

To celebrate Friday’s launch of Path of Pins (2 DAYS), starting tomorrow it’s once again FREE DOWNLOAD TIME over on Amazon.com!


I mean, not for everything. Just for my stuff.

Sorry if that was misleading.




Letters from Ukraine

Originally posted on Poetry International's Weblog:

Letters from Ukraine

This week, Russian troops invaded Crimea. Putin claims this invasion is an effort to protect the Russian-language population of the peninsula from Ukrainian nationalists.

I was born in the former USSR, and my home town, Odessa, is now a part of Ukraine. I came to the USA when I was sixteen, but kept in touch with family and friends in the region. However, rather than using this space for personal reflection, I want to include some communications I have had with Ukrainians, and particularly poets, in the region, to give voice to those whose world is in turmoil, and to give English speakers a better sense of current events.

– Ilya Kaminsky

First, an email from my cousin Piotr in Odessa:

“Our souls are worried, and we are frightened, but the city is safe. Once in a while some idiots rise up and announce that they are…

View original 2,404 more words

What’s That? Only 10 Days Till Path of Pins?!? …Also updates on yesterday’s propaganda

Path of Pins launches in 10 days!


I already have one review on Goodreads–four stars! So that is also adding to my probably-too-much excitement.

If you’d like something to do while you literally pine for my book, check out some of the extras on my website–starting with the music, including an original song by the talented Julie Slonecki!


In other news, I showed one of my students the strange book I found and it turns out she can read Russian!

Apparently the book was published “for students, professors of language, and philologists.” It was also published in Moscow, in 1972.

Hello USSR!

How cool is that? My student was baffled by the book. She said it was very strange, not only because it had ended up in the Czech Republic but because the Soviets had allowed it to be published at all. The editor of the book was a Russian woman.

I also did a little research on O. Henry, and found an article on JSTOR which claims that O.Henry was one of the most popular authors in the Soviet Union, and his work is in fact a “minor classic” in Russia.


So, learn something new everyday, folks. I guess that’s today’s message.

Anyways, go look at my website. It’s really pretty, I promise.

Like, so pretty.


Hello HQ readers! Additionally, I may have accidentally purchased Communist propaganda.

Welcome to my site! I was really excited to be featured on this month’s HQ Quarterly, a fine publication back in my home state of New Jersey.


Isn’t it nice?

 As you can see, I’m gearing up for the release of the newest book in my Paths series, Path of Pins.  The story takes place in Manhattan and Prague, and follows Kat Finnegan as she discovers that there’s more to the world–and her family–than she’d ever thought possible.  

Path of Pins launches on March 14th, but you can learn more about the series by clicking on the Paths tag below. If you’re here for more poetry (in which case I’m flattered!) try the poetry tag. 

Which brings me (kind of not really but hey, non-sequitors are fun) to the second part of today’s post: Communism. 

For those not in the know, I’m currently living & teaching English in Prague, in the Czech Republic. On my way to work this morning I ran across a used bookstore with 5 kc books for sale. Combing through, I found a couple of ancient books in English, one of which was a thin volume of O. Henry stories. I bought them both, not really looking at them too hard. I may or may not have been late for work. 



Imagine my surprise when I take out my O. Henry book on the metro, and find this on the back:


Yup–that’s Cyrillic script, and by my deductions, Russian. You can see that its also from 1972, when Czechoslovakia was in the throws of USSR rule. And then there’s these quotes from the preface:

“This book comprises 15 stories…which are…unknown to the broad English reading circles in the USSR.”

Ok, USSR? Check. And the audience is clearly English speakers (probably non-native) from the USSR, which would have included Czechoslovakia at the time. 

“…these stories show the grim realities of the American mode of life where the dollar rules supreme.”

Anti-capitalist, and targeting America specifically? Double check. 

“…but they all [characters] in their own way reveal the essence of bourgeouis society & the laws that govern it.”

Oooh, bringin’ out the ‘b’ word. Classy, text. Very socialist-republic of you. 

Finally, to hammer home the message:

“…if this book has awakened a new interest in the reader for [O.Henry]…hitherto known just as a brilliant humorist but not as a relentless exposer of capitalist America, the work has not been done in vain.”


So, yeah. Best find ever? Best find ever. My guess is that this was circulated amongst language students as an example of a native text that was also palatable to the anti-capitalist crowd. Here’s my question now: was O.Henry a socialist? Or are his works being appropriated here? 

I don’t know but this was definitely the best thing I’ve bought in this country. Perhaps ever. It’s real history, man! 

If only the publication information wasn’t in Russian, I might be able to find out more. On the front cover it does say “Home-Reading Library.” A clue? Perhaps. 



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