Snuggly Marne

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester welcomes one of our own, T.J. Wooldridge, for an Author Spotlight blog celebrating the release of her second children’s novel, Silent Starsong. Besides helping out ABSW as an events coordinator, “Trish” is an author, an editor, and current president of Broad Universe, an organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and celebrating women who write science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Silent Starsong?

Whether it’s for adults or children, I tend to write dark. I like to say T.J. Wooldridge is my child-friendly persona, but even my children’s books are dark. My first novel, The Kelpie, featured a child-eating faery horse. Silent Starsong deals with the abuse of people with disabilities and who are “different” from cultural norms—as well as including intergalactic terrorists and some of the things we wish children didn’t have to deal with.

But children do deal with some heavy things. Fiction gives us a tool to mental deal with painful and difficult things in real life while we’re still safely in only living in the pages. All of my favorite-of-all-time books did that for me when I was in grammar, middle, and junior high school.

Hopefully the characters I created to travel through their difficult times are as good friends to my readers a Susan, Lucy, Meg, and so many others were to me.

 

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

My favorite character is actually the character most people also love the most: Marne. Marne is a small, smart-mouthed, pink alien who ends up becoming Kyra’s best friend.

His short back-story is that his pink color identified him as weak in his telepathic and telekinetic abilities, so he was sold into slavery. Kyra’s father bought him as a tutor for Kyra to help her communicate better since there is a severe lack of (read as NONE WHATSOEVER) support for the deaf in Kyra’s culture. In each other, they recognized the pain of being rejected, and their friendship grew from that.

Marne’s most native language is sarcasm; it’s a defense mechanism for not letting his spirit be utterly broken by the awful circumstances he’s had to endure. I had a lot of fun in the scenes I wrote in his point of view. Also, in the scenes where Kyra, without aural cues and with a genuinely trusting nature, doesn’t get his sarcasm. One of my favorite exchanges between them is when Kyra is bringing him food and got in trouble for feeding him “too much” when the family money was tight.

                ~So you made [your mother] angry beause you care whether I starve or not. What else?~

                [Kyra] grimaced and changed to mindspeak. ~You know I hate that thing you do that isn’t a lie or truth but something else that doesn’t make sense!!

                ~Sarcasm? Cyicism? General mistrust of anyone except you…and maybe Alyce?~

                ~I don’t know those first two words, but probably that. You need to stop being that all the time!~

                ~I’ll work on it…~

Also, the fact he’s cute, little, and pink helps. My awesome editor, Jenn Carson, made a stuffie version of him that I got to hug for a whole two minutes before returning him to a prize basket my publisher had at Book Expo America.

 

What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?

One of my real-life superpowers is to make everything writing related. I love my horse and trail riding; my other children’s book series includes lots of equestrian stuff and horses. I like to draw and design; I made an illustrated chapbook. I like making jewelry; guess what sorts of promo I have?

I also love cooking and eating and drinking. Before I sold any fiction, I was writing for food magazines and all that research gets rolled into fiction, too.

Hiking is a lot of fun. So are the images and memories for making any outdoor scenes real.

I read Tarot cards, and have done so for almost 15 years. You know what’s also great tool for when you’re stuck on a plot point or something? Pull a Tarot card!

I love going to Goth clubs and following particular bands. At Wiscon this year, I pulled the topic “Goth Club at the Crossroads” for a writing assignment. (Okay, I already had fiction that fit that, too…)

Some of my other crafts are less applicable to writing: flower arranging, wood burning, etc. But you just wait… at some point they will surface in something writing-related!silentstarsongfrontcover

While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!

MUSIC!! And I’m still “old school” (snerk!) with CDs. Currently in the player are the soundtrack to Disney’s Brave, The Crüxshadows’ The Dark Against my Halo, La Oreja De Van Gogh’s Díle el Sol, The Kongos’ Lunatic, and 5 Finger Death Punch’s Wrong side of Heaven, Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1. While I was writing and editing Silent Starsong, I also had in the soundtracks to Firefly and Serenity.

If I’m not home, I can usually work in coffeeshops and busy cafes because they often have background music or, at the very least, the buzz of people around me.

I am not a fan of working in silence. My mind wanders too much and I feel unfocused.

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

My second novel in the MacArthur Family Chronicles series, the one that started with The Kelpie, is set to come out in December. And my sequel to Silent Starsong is being read by my editor now. *fingers crossed*

 

Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?

Well, I’m president of Broad Universe because I truly believe in that organization. The vast majority of all my publishing credits would NEVER have happened had I not met people through this amazing group. Definitely go check it out!

Besides Broad Universe, I’m also a long-time member of the New England Horror Writers, who have helped through all sorts of networking and support and become people I consider good friends over the years.

I’m also a member of Worcester Writers Collaborative, another wonderfully supportive networking group for people in and around Worcester—no matter what you write, no matter how you publish.

I’m currently a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, both of which have excellent resources and publications for their members.

How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?

My website: www.anovelfriend.com

My Facebook: www.facebook.com/NovelFriend

My (rarely used) Twitter: @NovelFriend

Or find me at a convention or conference. :)

Thank you , Trish, for being a guest on the Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester Author Spotlight!

Thank you for having me!

07212014 - twelfthdoctorIs July really more than half over? There still is time to visit us for your summer reading needs—or just escape the heat in our lovely air-conditioned store that’s “bigger on the inside”!

Speaking of “bigger on the inside”—it’s just over a month until the premiere of Peter Capaldi as The Twelfth Doctor on DOCTOR WHO!! Hooray!!

As our loyal patrons and friends might guess, we here at ABSW are somewhat excited.

DOCTOR WHO!! Peter Capaldi!! August 23!! DOCTOR WHO!! Peter Capaldi!!

August 23!! Woooo-Whoooooooo!!!

To celebrate, we’re inviting all our fellow fans to be part of our blog by sending us reviews of the new Doctor and new season. We’ll post a selection of those reviews for our Sci-Fi Tuesday blogs for everyone to see.

In addition, here’s an abbreviated reminder list of some of the other cool things happening at 65 James Street:

Check out our New Releases Spinner Rack.

Nifty new finds arriving constantly—like Diana Gabaldon’s newest title in the Outlander series: Written In My Own Blood.

Every Wednesday, Spinning Yarns starts at 7:00 PM:

Bring a craft, hear awesome literature or drama.

This Friday, July 25 from 7:00-8:30 PM, Worcester Storytellers:

Join the open mic featuring Brian McKeown, author of Hannah’s Left Hook.

Friday, August 8, 7:00-9:00 PM, Tom Lukas and his Spycar:

Meet the author and his nifty wheels based on his debut novel Special Operations.

Also in August, something special for our teachers and educators—stay tuned to find out!

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

Wednesday nights starting at 7knitting-catpm.

Bring your textile craft, your drawing pad, your journal, or your laptop to this weekly social event where we listen to audiobooks, audio dramas, and radio plays while devoting time to our various works in progress.  Everyone is welcome!

This week, we have left our audio open to your choice! Let us know what you want to hear for Spinning Yarns!

07142014 - Towel picSummer is in full swing, and so is summer reading!

We continue to add to our collection of books needed and requested for summer reading, whether they’re required or just for fun. If it’s not in the store, your book can also be ordered—and delivered if you’ve got a student traveling or at camp! Come in and see what we’ve got, or what we can get for you.

We’ve also got a lovely collection of decorated and double-sided kitchen towels from local artisan Kate Giroux. They’re $4 each and available in an array of summer and autumn designs!

Also, some of the highly-anticipated releases for summer and fall are sneaking onto our New Release rack, including Diana Gabaldon’s newest title Written In My Own Blood—with re-releases to celebrate the new Starz premiere of Outlander. We’re also expecting new books in contemporary and historical romance, intrigue, suspense, and thrillers. So, keep an eye on our New Release spinner rack and front display shelves.

We had an outstanding weekend with our Trio of Dark Cities Authors: Bracken MacLeod, Errick Nunnally, and Jennifer Allis Provost, as well as our Pre-Release Time Dilation party with T.J. Wooldridge. The store was bustling and full, with readings, discussions, and meet-and-greets. If you didn’t get to stop by for the events, there are still a few signed books available from each of the authors.

Spinning Yarns continues every Wednesday, starting at 7:00 PM. Bring your favorite craft and listen to an audio book or audio drama while you create! We’ll be scheduling more specific books and dramas soon, so also feel free to send us your requests of what you want to hear at this event!

This weekend, from Thursday through Sunday, Patty will be heading out to Rhode Island to vend and support her author friends at NeCon. It’s a four day writers conference with a strong flavor of horror and guests coming from all over the U.S. to attend or speak. The bookstore will still be open its regular hours, so come in and say “hello!” to some of our new staff.

Coming up next, on Friday, July 25 from 7:00 – 8:30 PM, Worcester Storytellers returns with their regular open mic and featured author series. This July, they are showcasing Brian McKeown, author of Hannah’s Left Hook.

ABSW is also in the middle of planning for August.

We are excited about a visit from Tom Lukas and his Spycar, arriving on Friday, August 8, from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Special Operations is Lukas’s first novel, and SEETHROUGH, the spy program he created in the novel, inspired him to create and design his own Spycar, which he drives throughout the U.S. to publicize his work.

We have more events in the works for late August, as well as September and October – stay tuned.

Enjoy these beautiful days as they last—or just come into our AC to escape the heat. We look forward to seeing you at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at 65 James Street.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

knitting-catWednesday nights starting at 7pm.

Bring your textile craft, your drawing pad, your journal, or your laptop to this weekly social event where we listen to audiobooks, audio dramas, and radio plays while devoting time to our various works in progress.  Everyone is welcome!

This week, we have left our audio open to your choice! Let us know what you want to hear for Spinning Yarns!

front cover NIDAnnie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to give our Friday Spotlight to Rose Mambert! Rose is the author of two novels: The Muses (Damnation Books), which is a rock ‘n’ roll vampire novel, and more recently, Narcissus is Dreaming (Pink Narcissus Press), which has been described as a bizarre tale of existential science fiction. She also adds, “However, I have accidentally acquired a small fan base for my short stories about gay elves. “

Thank you for joining us, Rose! Besides your two novels, what else can you tell us about yourself?

Because writing doesn’t pay the bills, I also work the night shift at a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, which, if you’ve watched enough horror movies or ever played Silent Hill, can be very creepy. My less creepy job is as Editor in Chief of Pink Narcissus Press, a small publishing company that focuses on speculative fiction with an emphasis on queer and feminist content.

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Narcissus is Dreaming?

At the center [of Narcissus is Dreaming] is Dragon Cello, a shape-shifting alien living clandestinely on Earth, whose desire for revenge leads to its eventual capture by a secret service agency. Allen Steele called it a sci-fi thriller, so readers will find plenty of action and guns, though framed by a love story that goes terribly wrong. Throw in another alien, an androgynous angelic being who is being pursued by the agency, and you have the basic recipe for Narcissus is Dreaming.  

What was the inspiration for Narcissus is Dreaming? What were the steps you took to bring it Mambertfrom initial inspiration to the finished book?

The idea for the novel actually came from a dream I had. This particular dream was very cinematic, possessing its own narrative. When I woke up, I wrote down what I could remember. Later I returned to it, and fleshed out what would become the complete first section of the book. The dream ended with the protagonist being captured by a mysterious man with a gun, so I had to figure out what happened next.

Completing Narcissus was an interesting endeavor. I was studying in Italy at the time, and it was Christmas break, and everyone had gone home for the holidays except for me and one of my roommates, Larissa (to whom I dedicated the book). We were so bored that I started writing this story, which I read out loud to her scene by scene. She was an author’s dream: a completely captive audience. But her feedback helped shaped the story and kept me excited about writing.

At about 160 pages, Narcissus is a quick read. Stylistically, inspiration was taken from the novels of Alfred Bester, who wrote wonderful, pulpy science fiction, and James Morrow’s brilliant City of Truth.

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

The character I loved the most was the antagonist, Mr. Rush. It was fun writing a guy who was such a relentless jerk. Also, he’s one of the more complex characters in the book, and I made an effort to develop Rush’s character to avoid the pitfall of a two-dimensional villain. Some folks have even said that they almost felt sorry for Rush, so apparently I was successful.

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

Keep writing and don’t give up. In my writing career, I’ve received all sorts of feedback, both ego-boostingly good and soul-crushingly bad. The trick is to ignore the bad criticism and remember the good. You can’t please everyone, so you might as well write to please yourself.

Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)

Since we’re living in world of convenient one-click shopping, I’ll say Amazon. Or another online retailer of your choice.

How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?

All the savvy stalkers already know that I post all my events and appearances on my author website, which is rosemambert.com. And if I see you hiding behind that potted palm, I’ll pretend I didn’t.

Thank you, again, for joining us, Rose!

 

12272013 - Nunnally-BloodForTheSun-200x276Apologies for being so quiet of late. It’s been a very busy summer for us with our summer reading program and planning events!

 

So, here’s a quick reminder for two of our events happening THIS WEEKEND!

 

On Saturday, July 12 from 3:00 PM till 6:00 PM, we have a Trio of Dark Cities Authors. Three friends of the bookstore and authors talented in creating hauntingly dark urban settings—some real, some more fantastical—will be coming to celebrate the releases of their newest books.

 01242013 - coppergirlcover

Errick Nunnally’s urban fantasy Blood for the Sun lives more on the horror side of town, featuring a werewolf with Alzheimer’s helping out the Boston PD with a potential vampire threat.

 

Jennifer Allis Provost’s future city in Copper Ravens, a sequel to last year’s Copper Girl, is a dystopic one but still within the realm of fantastical, with a gateway to the Otherworld, including elves and underground elemental magic.

 

04112014 - WHITE KNIGHTBracken MacLeod’s prosecutor in White Knight may not have magic or the supernatural on his side, but he has his own dragon to escape, damsel to rescue, and lost child to find.

 

And then on Sunday, July 13 from 2:00 PM till 5:00 PM, author T.J. Wooldridge will be having a Pre-Release Time Dilation Release Party for her newest children’s book, Silent Starsong at the store! Silent Starsong is the story of an eleven-year-old girl and her alien friend, both rejected by their cultures for “not being good enough,” looking for their own way to find their future from the songs of the stars.

 

T.J. Wooldridge is the child-friendly persona of Trisha J. Wooldridge, who reviews dining silentstarsongfrontcoverestablishments in Faerie for her local Worcester-area paper (much to all the natives’ confusion) and writes grown-up horror short stories that occasionally win awards (EPIC 2008, 2009 for anthologies Bad-Ass Faeries 2 and Bad-Ass Faeries 3). Her novels include The Kelpie (December 2013) and The Earl’s Childe (December 2014)in The MacArthur Family Chronicles, and Silent Starsong (July 2014) in the Adventures of Kyra Starbard series.

 

Enjoy these beautiful days, and we look forward to seeing you at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at 65 James Street.

 

May your world be filled with wonderful words!