New Year, New Roles as Citizens

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Carwil Bjork-James

For those of you who make New Year’s resolutions, here’s one to consider (albeit a few weeks late): resolve to become a part of the solution this year. It might be easier than you think, thanks to Colorado state senator Morgan Carroll. A major advocate for citizen involvement, Morgan, with her new book out this month, Take Back Your Government: A Citizen’s Guide to Grassroots Change, shows how any ordinary citizen can make and change law and policy in their state, through practical tips, checklists, and sample documents. Morgan aims to give readers an inside look at how state legislatures really work through this accessible how-to manual.

Morgan conducts hundreds of town hall meetings and community seminars, teaching ordinary citizens how to influence the legislative process, and it was her own civic activism that launched her ultimate decision to run for office. In Take Back Your Government, she shares practical information and easy-to-follow steps for beginner advocates, including:

  • How to find out who your elected officials are
  • How to make contact– sample letters, e-mails, and telephone scripts are all included
  • How to write petitions and fact sheets
  • How to  testify at a legislative hearing
  • How to be an advocate in ten minutes or less
  • And more!
Morgan (above) will be at the Tattered Cover Colfax on Friday, February 10, at 7:30 pm, and at other venues around Denver this spring and summer. For her upcoming schedule, please check here. For more tips, follow Morgan on Twitter: @TakeBackYrGovt, on Facebook:, and on her blog:
(Top photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Carwil Bjork-James)

Local Events in September: Beer, Strudel, BOOKS, and More Beer…

September is here and I am so excited. I’ve trotted out my first fall hat, my first cup of cider, and had my first rapid-fire sneezing attack from autumn leaves. There are some great fall events coming up in the Denver area, including my favorite year-round activity: beer tastings.

Watercourse Foods will be featuring an IPA tasting paired with some delicious hors d’oeuvres tomorrow, September 14, from 4–7 p.m. on their patio. All of the featured beers will be from local brewers, including Renegade, Asher, Great Divide, Ska, and Avery Brewing. The price for a heavenly evening of alfresco India pale ale and fine vegetarian foodstuffs is a mere $20 per person for unlimited beer and food.

No tickets or reservations required.


Denver Public Library‘s Fresh City Life series is offering a giveaway of a Breakfast at Tiffany’s DVD and dinner for two from Whole Foods Market this Saturday, September 17, from 1:30–3 p.m. After a viewing of scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Chef Shellie Kark will demonstrate techniques for creating the perfect pastry. Samples of apple strudel will be available to taste. All that’s missing is an evening dress and an elegant cigarette holder.

Also, registration is now open for the Denver bookbinding tour and building your own book workshop. I have coveted this workshop since I discovered the Fresh City Life series, petting the registration page on my laptop screen and muttering “my preciousssss” late into the night, but as they are held in the middle of the day, I haven’t been able to attend. If any of our crafty blog readers attend, please submit a comment, review of the workshop, or a picture of their book, and we’ll give you a nice shout-out in the blog and the twitterverse.

For our author readers who are hoping to get published (and who have already read our post on “How to Be an Author Publishers Want to Work With,”) on Saturday, September 17, at 2 p.m., Boulder Book Store is offering a writing workshop on “Writing a Winning Book Proposal,” taught by founder and executive director of The Boulder Writers’ Workshop, Lori DeBoer. This workshop is for nonfiction writers, including memoirists and authors of how-to books. Attendees will explore the elements of a book proposal, including the hook, cover letter, and synopsis. Attendees will leave with lots of handouts. Tickets are $30 and space is limited.

And on September 28 at 7:30 p.m., Boulder Book Store is hosting a speaking, signing, and beer tasting for Garrett Oliver’s The Oxford Companion to Beer. Attendees must buy a voucher to attend. Vouchers are $5 and get you $5 off the author’s featured book or $5 off a purchase on the day of the event. Plus there’s all that free beer.

One of my all-time favorite authors is visiting Tattered Cover this month. On September 30 at 7:30 p.m., Neal Stephenson will be signing copies of his new book, Reamde, at the historic LoDo Tattered Cover. Free numbered tickets for a place in the signing line will be handed out beginning at 6:30 p.m. on September 30. Seating for the presentation prior to the booksigning is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only.

Stephenson holds a special place in the jumble of gears and glitter that I have instead of a human heart. I read his book Snow Crash as an adolescent, and it quickly infiltrated and informed my malleable teenage identity and world view. I read it over and over the summer I was 14, so that when I entered high school, only 10 percent of my brain was original thought. The other 90 percent was all lines from Snow Crash and Fugazi lyrics.

Mile High Summer

If you’re like me and aren’t taking a vacation this summer, there’s plenty of fun to be had right here in Denver.

This weekend, I had a blast meeting George R. R. Martin at the Tattered Cover, along with 600 other fans. In his remarks before the signing, he admitted that Tyrion was his favorite character and that Bran was the hardest to write because of the difficulty of writing from the point of view of a young child. No word on whether he’s heard my secret prayers to kill off Sansa Stark. The good people at Tattered Cover were great at keeping the lines moving while smiling and chatting with fans. There are some more great events planned this month at Tattered Cover, so be sure to check them out.

Photo by sjogrens via Flickr.

I also hung out at the Denver Zoo for their “Colorado Proud” Date Night event. I dined on local foodstuffs, including wine pairings by Monkey Theorum wines. I was also accosted by one of the zoo’s wandering peacocks, who walked around our table several times before settling down to the side of my chair to watch me eat. Perhaps he thought my purple hair was a sign that we are distantly related. I highly recommend the zoo’s date night series. The food is delicious, and hitting the zoo during the evening is a great way to beat the heat and the crowds.

This week, I’m planning on attending the “Mucho Mojo” event put on by the Denver Public Library’s Fresh City Life. If you’ve ever wanted to create your own mojo bag to ward off creatures of the night, then you should stop by the event on Thursday.

Friday Link Love

It’s a beautiful sunny Friday here in Colorado. Today’s link roundup includes a delicious recipe from a modern homesteader and some food for thought as well.

Have you checked out the Tattered Cover’s events lineup this month? I’m already geeking out over George R. R. Martin coming to town, and I still have three weeks to go.

When I lived in Boston, I loved Porter Square Books. They have a great post about supporting your local indie. Despite the fact that I work in publishing, it took the closing of one of my all-time favorite bookstores, The Curious George Bookstore in Harvard Square, for me to wake up to the plight of bookstores. A little more than two months ago, I resolved to never again buy books from Amazon. There was a little sticker shock at first as I adjusted to buying graphic novels at list price, but it was the right choice for me—to spend a little more money to invest in my community and in the future of books.

Do you follow Modern Homestead author Renee Wilkinson’s blog, Hip Chick Digs? This week, she posted this recipe for strawberry lemon marmalade, and I can’t wait to try it out this weekend. Yum.

Native Appropriations was on Al Jazeera! They even aired the “Don’t Tread on My Culture” video made in response to Operation code name Geronimo. Check out the video for a great dialogue on postcolonial appropriation of Native and indigenous culture:

Speaking of opening dialogues on race and the history of white supremacy in the US, Indian Voices author Alison Owing’s post on three of Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence set the Twitterverse a-tweeting over the holiday weekend. It’s worth a look.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Happy reading!

Smaldone Event at the Tattered Cover, also ‘Mobbed’

718-0Last night at the Tattered Cover LODO the room was half full at 6:30, a full hour before the Smaldone event was scheduled to start! Gaetano’s Restaurant (formerly owned by the Smaldones) was on hand to provide meatballs to the hungry early arrivals. Author Dick Kreck arrived early to start signing books before the talk, and was soon joined by Gene Smaldone, who’s interviews with his father, Clyde were essential to Kreck’s complete portrait of  the notorious North Denver crime family.

Gene and Dick signing books before the talk:14957222

The event space at the Tattered Cover LODO, already mostly full at 7pm: 2009-06-30_19.04.18