Events Buzz: Summer Begins!

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This Wednesday’s event brings Donna Minkowitz, journalist and author of GROWING UP GOLEM.

 

 

We hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Father’s Day yesterday, full of fun and safe travel!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the events this weekend at our little “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street!  On Thursday, we had fun at our Doctor Who Discussion Night. On Friday, we had a fantastic turn out to our first Love is Love panel with queer romance authors Sam Wayland and Karen Stivali. And on Saturday, Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts met to discuss Chameleon Moon by RoAna Sylver.

From events to specials, there’s a lot of reasons to keep stopping by our store!

Have you checked out our special LGBTQIA display on the way to the children’s rooms?  What about our School Summer Reading display in our larger children’s room? We also have our sidewalk sale carts out there—regularly changing—for you to find something new. Don’t forget, also, we can special order any books you need.

You’ve also only got until the end of the month for our Report Card Rewards Program! From June 1 to June 30, bring your final 2017 report card into our 65 James Street store and receive free books!

If your highest grade is an “A”, you’ll receive two free used books.

If your highest grade is a “B”, you’ll receive one free used book.

If you have a straight “A” report card (including A+ and A-), you will receive a $10 gift certificate to Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester.

If you have a straight “B” report card (including B+ and B-), you will receive a $5 gift certificate to Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester.

One prize per report card.

If that’s not enough to get you out to our 65 James Street store, look what we’ve got going on THIS WEEK!

THIS WEDNESDAY, June 21, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, join us for Donna Minkovicz talks about Memoirs and Journalism in the Queer Community.

Donna Minkowitz is a writer (New York Times Book Review, Salon, The Nation) and the restaurant critic for Gay City News. She is the author of the memoir Growing Up Golem, a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award. Minkowitz’s first memoir, Ferocious Romance, was about what she had in common with the Christian right, despite being a leftist lesbian. Ferocious Romance won a Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Visions Award “for the most promising or distinctive work by a new author .” A former Village Voice columnist, she has also written for The Nation, The Collagist, New York magazine and Newsday. She teaches at the New York Writers Workshop and is also available for manuscript editing and consulting for works of memoir and creative nonfiction.

And then THIS FRIDAY, June 23, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM, we’re happ to host Worcester Storytellers featuring Cameron Garriepy.

Join us for our monthly open mic and featured reader.  In the eighth grade, Cameron Garriepy wrote her first romance novel on an antique typewriter, using a stack of pink paper. Detours between that draft and publishing her first novel included a BA in Music from Middlebury College, a professional culinary education, and twelve years in the child-wrangling industry. She has parlayed those experiences and her own entrepreneurial spirit into a career in romance writing and small-press publishing.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Saturday, June 24, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Love is Love Part 2, LGBTQIA Romance Authors share their stories.

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester and Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts welcome a panel of authors from Bold Strokes Books to talk about writing LGBTQIA romance. The authors will be talking about their books, writing life, and the importance of all love—as well as reading and signing.

Holly Stratimore, author of Arrested Hearts, has played guitar and composed songs since the age of ten, performed open mikes and benefit shows, and volunteers as musician every summer at a day camp for special needs students. She discovered a joy for writing fiction during high school, and in 2007, Holly began devoting her creative energies to writing lesbian romance.

Life-long Massachusetts resident CF Frizzell (“Friz”) endures the telecom industry for a living but dreams of retirement spent writing at the seashore or in an Adirondack cabin. She grew up in community newspapers and established an award-winning twenty-two-year career that culminated in the role of founder/publisher.Friz credits powerhouse authors Lee Lynch, Radclyffe, and the generous family that is Bold Strokes Books for inspiration.

Fiona Riley was born and raised in New England where she is a medical professional and part-time professor when she isn’t bonding with her laptop over words. Fiona’s love for writing blossomed after she was published in a poetry competition at the ripe old age of twelve. A series of bizarre events afforded her with some unexpected time and she found herself reaching for her favorite blue notebook to write, never looking back.

Renee Roman grew up with three older brothers in Albany, New York, and spent hours reading or making up stories. Raised with a book in one hand and a dictionary in the other, she credits her mother for nurturing her craving for the written word. Her home is filled with the books she and her wife, Sue, try to find space for. Her second passion is cooking, and she enjoys entertaining friends and family as often as time allows

And next week, on Wednesday, June 28, from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM we are offering Drop in Craft & Storytime: Maurice Sendak Day.

And if you’re planning for July, here’s a sneak peek!

Saturday, July 8, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Novel Superheroes. Come and meet some superheroes—and their authors—who live within written words instead of comic pages.

Sunday, July 9, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Massachusetts Calling Local Author Panel. Join best-selling author Lisa Shea and the Sutton Writers as they share their local anthology.

Wednesday, July 12, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Doctor Seuss Story and Craft Day.

Sunday, July 20, 12:00 – 4:00 PM – Magical Boy Basil Team. Stop by between 12-2 for informal signing and chatting with the people behind this popular webcomic; stay through 2-4 for a more formal discussion and Q&A!

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday 7:00 PM (except for when the Free People’s Artists Workshop meets the fourth Monday of the month). Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

Worcester Storytellers, the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Join the Worcester Storytellers for their open mic and featured reader every month. June is Cameron Garriepy! Next meeting is THIS FRIDAY, June 23.

The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the fourth Monday of each month from 7:00-9:00 PM. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association. Next meeting is June 26.

Doctor Who Discussion Nights, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. Next meeting is, SPECIAL DATE due to travel, July 27.

The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that will meet once a month, usually on the third Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Next meeting July 15..

As always, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

If you had a great time shopping or at any event at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at our 65 James Street location, you can leave us a review on TripAdvisor or leave us a review on Yelp.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Events Buzz: Hot Weather, Hot Topics

We are almost halfway through June and Pride Month, but we still have a lot of specials and events for our friends who come out to shop or attend our events!

Thank you to everyone who came out to see Leah DeCesare debut her novel Forks, Knives, and Spoons on Saturday, as well as those who came out on Sunday for Michael Takeda and Dante Saunders for their anthology, Brave Boy World.

We also still have our sidewalk sale carts out and our LGBTQIA display up. We add new items regularly to the carts and our display. And with our literature cart sale selection, you could get some really sweet deals on summer reading or next year’s literature requirements for school!

Speaking of summer reading, we’ve also created a display of summer reading books based on the lists we’ve received from schools and prior years’ picks. It’s a mix of new and used books so we can cover as many titles as possible, but if you don’t find what you need there, don’t worry—we can order titles for you too or add them to our “want list” and see if we can find them used.

And if you’re looking for some fun things to do this weekend—we’ve got even more events at our 65 James Street location!

THIS THURSDAY, June 15, from 7:00 – 8:00 PM, join us for Doctor Who Discussion Night. We’ll be talking about the Doctor Who books and novels! ABSW has a big selection of those to choose from. How do they fit with the television series? What different types of adventures and stories can the books offer compared to the television episodes?

THIS FRIDAY, June 16, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, ABSW hosts Love is Love Part 1, LGBTQIA Romance Authors share their stories. Authors Samantha Wayland and Karen Stivali will be discussing writing queer romance and signing their books.

THIS SATURDAY, June 17, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, the Rainbow Reader’s Book Club discusses Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver.

The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire.

The entire population inside has been quarantined, cut off from the rest of the world, and left to die – directly over the open flame. Eye in the Sky, a deadly and merciless police force ensures no one escapes. Ever. All that’s keeping Parole alive is faith in the midst of horrors and death, trust in the face of desperation… and their fantastic, terrifying, and beautiful superhuman abilities.

A group of unlikely “heroes” is pulled together by their dire situations. Separately they’d never survive, much less uncover the secret of Parole’s eternally-burning fire. Together, they have a chance.

Parole’s a rough place to live. But they’re not dead yet. If they can survive the imminent cataclysmic disaster, they might just stay that way…

And June’s fun continues…

Thursday, June 15, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Friday, June 16, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Love is Love Part 1, LGBTQIA Romance Authors share their stories.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Saturday, June 17, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Reader’s Book Club discusses Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Wednesday, June 21, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Donna Minkovicz talks about Memoirs and Journalism in the Queer Community.

Friday, June 23, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers featuring Cameron Gariepy.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Saturday, June 24, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Love is Love Part 2, LGBTQIA Romance Authors share their stories.

NEW EVENT: Wednesday, June 28, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Drop in Craft & Storytime: Maurice Sendak Day.

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday 7:00 PM (except for when the Free People’s Artists Workshop meets the fourth Monday of the month). Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

Worcester Storytellers, the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Join the Worcester Storytellers for their open mic and featured reader every month.April. Next meeting is June 23.

The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the fourth Monday of each month from 7:00-9:00 PM. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association. Next meeting is June 26.

Doctor Who Discussion Nights, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. Next meeting is, THIS THURSDAY, June 15.

The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that will meet once a month, usually on the third Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Next meeting, THIS SATURDAY, is June 17..

As always, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

If you had a great time shopping or at any event at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at our 65 James Street location, you can leave us a review on TripAdvisor or leave us a review on Yelp.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

 

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Ready For Summer?

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It’s that time of year!

We have begun our annual process of bringing in discounted books for your school summer reading needs.  This week alone we’ve started stocking our shelves and spinners with a warehouse haul of several hundred titles, with multiples of as many of the important reads as we could find.  With all the titles we’ve seen crossing our path this week, there are about a thousand more books on our shelves this week to take care of the books on your reading lists.

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Of course, we haven’t forgotten to get some new copies of both some old “standards” as well as some of the best of the new releases.

And, for many of you in the local schools, remember report card time is coming fast upon us.  We’ve arranged with many to offer you a special bonus with a good end-of-year report card.  As the pictures show, we’ve already brought in more great summer reads than we can even fit on our shelves, to try to make sure there’s always something to find here to read.

Thank you for your patronage, and we look forward to seeing you here at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester!

 

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Artist Spotlight: Dante Saunders

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on artist Dante Saunders!  Dante will be at our store THIS SUNDAY from 2:00 – 4:00 PM with Michael Takeda as part of our Pride Month events to talk about Brave Boy World: A Transman Anthology.

Thank you so much for joining us, Dante! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your art? How would you like us to introduce you?

 My name is Dante (yes, like the inferno). I’m a 23 year old professional nerdy artist currently residing in the New England area. I specialize mainly in graphic novels/webcomics, however I remain entirely open to trying new styles and expanding my art experience. I have a strong and unwavering passion for creating characters, stories and environments that are original and inclusive to the many diverse people and animals we share our planet with… Especially dinosaurs.

 

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your art style? What can you tell us about Brave Boy World?

 Overall, I try not to limit my style to any set standard. If the feeling of a piece or project leans more realistic than cartoony (or the other way around), I’m going to take that instinct and run with it. Sometimes it’s beneficial to try something entirely new than generate more of the same for the sake of being consistent.

My most recent project was working on the cover/wraparound for Brave Boy World and creating that sort of “lost but found” feeling to the imagery. Seeing as it was a science fiction transman anthology, I had a lot of fun going over ideas and concepts with the editor on a personal level. The anthology is great and houses a lot of interesting and different stories. I’m really honored and proud to have been a part of it.

  

What was your inspiration for the cover of Brave Boy World? How did you work the themes and feel into the final piece?

Inspirations for the cover ranged from basic color palettes (the oranges and greys) to the pose being just right while also incorporating a storyline. Working them in collectively was tricky, but in the final piece, I think, every transman can sort of relate to… that noble and stoic beast standing bravely against the waste and explosion of conflict. Overcoming it and remaining unchanged.
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How do you use your art to represent and start discussion over transgender issues?

Inclusion is key, in my opinion. In my various art projects, providing a realistic and common approach to the everyday lives of transgender individuals is important to me. Even in fantasy or science fiction, seeing transgender people simply existing as they do is extremely helpful in giving examples on exactly how alike we all are as fellow humans.
Has any of your experiences transitioning worked into your art? What can you share about those stories? (And the art, if you’re willing!)

My experiences have definitely worked into my art. Or, perhaps I should say, my art helped me work it out within myself. Finding that place of belonging in my own characters and stories helped me understand exactly what my soul was pulled toward while learning about myself and who I truly am. Providing something similar to other people has been a goal of mine for years!

 

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Arena – Marketplace

What’s your favorite medium as an artist? Do you vary between projects or pieces? How do you choose the best medium?

Digital devices of any kind! They open so many doors to allow creativity to flow freely! The ability to edit and design using digital mediums is ground breaking and my overall recommendation.

Variation used to be something I fell victim to, believing it “made me a better artist.” Now I have found a method that works for me and I let the creative energies flow!

Choosing whatever feels the most comfortable to you is the only way to make that choice. Forget what anyone says about needing to “remain traditional” or “keep up with the digital times.” Create for yourself and your way, that will make your art quality a hundred times better than if you forced using a method you don’t enjoy!

 

 

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Starboy

 

 

If you illustrate and write, what comes first to you: the pictures or the words? How do the two influence each other?

It depends on the project itself. Sometimes the words cannot come without that visual… But in the case of long-winded projects, writing down scripts or words to better understand a set up or bigger picture is extremely useful.

 

What is your favorite part of being an artist / illustrator? Of the whole creative process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

My favorite part of being an artist is the ability to express my thoughts and ideas visually for others to understand and enjoy. The prospect of those thoughts helping someone else through their situation or inspiring them is part of what fuels me to continue!

Greatest lesson is that no matter how it feels in the moment, we all improve and expand on our own time. Give yourself a break and a chance to grow and be reasonable in your expectations of yourself and your talent.

 

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TV Man – In the Park 2

 

What question do you wish interviewers would ask you, and what would the answer be?

What’s your favorite dinosaur? And my answer would be every single one of them… But mostly Tyrannosaurus Rex.

 

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

Cool webcomics about dinosaurs.

 

What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?

I have extreme social anxiety. When most people meet me they tag me with the “social butterfly” label but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I care very much for people, but that doesn’t stop the anxieties from challenging me.

 

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Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

 

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

Music, music, music! Doesn’t always matter what kind but something that helps capture the mood and move you through that moment in time and space… That’s something I require while working.

 

Writers and artists very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?

I have a fur-child dog named McCoy. He’s a Boston Terrier and has been the source of a lot of inspiration for me, especially with my latest project Legends of Avalon: Adamantine. When he’s not reminding me to take a break from my work and get outside for a walk, he’s inspiring stories and character’s personality traits with his very outgoing self.

 

What do you consider the most challenging part of the artistic process? And how do you overcome that?

Being too hard on myself. While I have made my art a profession, that doesn’t mean it has to be my 24/7. Just like we leave a job we really love (or don’t)  for the day and go home, we have to remember that taking time away, or spending that time doing something else, is SO important and completely necessary. No one can run on 100% all the time.

Overcoming that urge is still an everyday challenge, but once I took my first real successful vacation/hiatus from my art I realized, “hey, I made it!” That helped encourage my next ventures in the future and made me work harder when I returned.

 

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

My work can be located on numerous websites including : Tumblr, deviantART, and my redbubble store! I’ve also created promotional art for the show: NBC Hannibal, as well as covers for various novels such as, The Kelpie (by T. J. Wooldridge) and Ben Fox: Zombie Squirrel Specialist at Your Service (by Daisy Whitney), and of course, Brave Boy World (edited by Michael Takeda)

 

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

The absolute best places are through my

tumblr blog – the-artist-dantesaunders.tumblr.com

where I respond to messages or asks within (at least) 24 hours or sooner!

My twitter – @slakesama

or Facebook – Dante Saunders

Thank you again for joining us, Dante!!  We look forward to seeing you and Michael THIS SUNDAY from 2:00 – 4:00 PM for a discussion about transgender issues and Brave Boy World: A Transman Anthology.

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Brother

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Events Buzz: Happy June

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Happy June!! Despite the sporadic weather of last week, we had an especially awesome set of gatherings for our events.

We sold out of our ordered stock for D.J. Butler’s Witchy Eye, but more came in and he kindly signed us book plates. The event, itself, was a lot of fun, with music and discussion of fantasy and American history.

And we had an excellent turn-out for our special Pride Month event with Sarah Prager and her book, Queer, There, and Everywhere. We sold out of her books, as well, but have more on order—along with signed book plates. And, if you want a chance to see here here again, she will be returning! Mark your calendars for Sunday, September, 10, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM, the day after Worcester Pride celebrations.

If you are happily celebrating Pride Month, also come check out our special LGBTQIA display on the way to the children’s rooms.  The top shelf shelves highlight local LGBTQIA-identifying authors, the middle shelf highlights a variety of newer and vintage non-fiction, and the bottom shelf highlights classic and vintage LGBTQIA fiction.  Check it out!

We also still have our sidewalk sale carts out—in defiance of Mother Nature’s mood swings. We add new items to them regularly—and with our literature sale selection, you could get some really sweet deals on summer reading or next year’s literature requirements for school!

Speaking of summer reading, we’ve also created a display of summer reading books based on the lists we’ve received from schools and prior years’ picks. It’s a mix of new and used books so we can cover as many titles as possible, but if you don’t find what you need there, don’t worry—we can order titles for you too or add them to our “want list” and see if we can find them used.

And if you’re looking for some fun things to do this weekend—we’ve got even more events!

THIS SATURDAY,  June 10, from  3:00 – 5:00 PM, Leah DeCesare presents Forks, Knives, and Spoons.

Leah DeCesare is the author of Forks, Knives, And Spoons (2017, SparkPress) and the nonfiction parenting series Naked Parenting, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. Leah’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula and The Key, among others.

There are three kinds of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That is the final lesson that Amy York’s father sends her off to college with, never suspecting just how far his daughter will take it. Clinging to the Utensil Classification System as her guide, Amy tries to convince her skeptical roommate, Veronica Warren, of its usefulness as they navigate the heartbreaks and soul mates of college and beyond. On the quest to find their perfect steak knives, they learn to believe in themselves―and not to settle in love or life.

THIS SUNDAY, June 11, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM, in celebration of Pride Month and co-sponsored by the Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts, ABSW brings you Brave Boy World, An Anthology of Transman Stories with editor Michael Takeda and artist Dante Saunders.

Michael Takeda and Dante Saunders, editor and artist of Brave Boy World, An Anthology of Transman Stories, are advocates of transgender rights. Both men will share their stories, their creative processes, and their work in the anthology—and be available to sign copies of the anthology.

Michael Takeda is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Pink Narcissus Press. He has worked as a translator and teacher of English and Italian, had a brief stint as a music reviewer for local newspaper PDXS, completed two degrees in Italian literature, and is a published author of various fictions. He currently lives in Worcester, MA.

Dante Saunders has created official promotional artwork for NBC’s Hannibal, multiple book covers, and was the artist half of the webcomic, The Vampire Aurelio.. Dante has a strong interest in promoting art and characters featuring marginalized topics, especially transgender, as he relates to them on a personal level being a transman himself.

And June’s fun continues…

Thursday, June 15, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Friday, June 16, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Love is Love Part 1, LGBTQIA Romance Authors share their stories.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Saturday, June 17, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Reader’s Book Club discusses Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Wednesday, June 21, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Donna Minkovicz talks about Memoirs and Journalism in the Queer Community.

Friday, June 23, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers featuring Cameron Gariepy.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Saturday, June 24, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Love is Love Part 2, LGBTQIA Romance Authors share their stories.

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday 7:00 PM (except for when the Free People’s Artists Workshop meets the fourth Monday of the month). Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

Worcester Storytellers, the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Join the Worcester Storytellers for their open mic and featured reader every month.April. Next meeting is June 23.

The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the fourth Monday of each month from 7:00-9:00 PM. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association. Next meeting is June 26.

Doctor Who Discussion Nights, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. Next meeting is June 15.

The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that will meet once a month, usually on the third Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Next meeting is June 17..

As always, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

If you had a great time shopping or at any event at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at our 65 James Street location, you can leave us a review on TripAdvisor or leave us a review on Yelp.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight: Michael Takeda and BRAVE BOY WORLD

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on Michael Takeda this Friday! Michael has been our friend for many years through the New England Horror Writers and Pink Narcissus Press.  He’ll be joining us on Sunday, June 11, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM for our Pride Month Celebration, sponsored by Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts, to talk about Brave Boy World: A Transman Anthology, which he just released this February.

Michael Takeda is a writer of speculative fiction that has been called “dark” by Publishers Weekly and whose gender-bending themes Analog has compared to those of Theodore Sturgeon. He has also worked as a translator and teacher of English and Italian language and cinema, had a brief stint as a music reviewer for local newspaper “PDXS”, completed two degrees in Italian literature, and has published various novels and other fictions. He currently lives in Worcester, Massachusetts where he attends nursing school and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Pink Narcissus Press.
Thank you so much for joining us, Michael! When you first conceived of Brave Boy World, were there any stories you were especially hoping to receive? Were there any parts of the transgender / transman experience you were especially excited seeing through a science fiction story?

I’d been toying with the idea of doing a trans-themed anthology for a while. After some initial research, I found that there were a small number of fiction anthologies that either focused on transwomen, or a few that included all members under the trans umbrella (Brit Mandelo’s Beyond Binary from Lethe Press would be one excellent example of the latter). But I noted that there were no collections that specifically represented transgender men.

Given the possibilities, science fiction seemed like the best choice thematically. As Kim Stanley Robinson said, “Science fiction represents how people in the present feel about the future.” Given our current political climate, I expected to receive a lot of dystopian stories that reflect the more negative aspects of the trans experience. But I also expected the opposite – utopian futures where trans people are accepted and treated like everyone else. Surprisingly, the stories I received, though dealing with common trans issues of today, were overwhelmingly optimistic. This, I believe, is a good thing.

As all trans experience is valid, one of my goals in choosing which stories to include was to incorporate a variety of transmasculine experiences, both good and bad. With Brave Boy World, I feel like I’ve achieved that. But most stories do have a happy – or at least, not unhappy – ending.

 

What was the biggest surprise from the collection? What story or stories had you not been expecting to receive but were so glad to have read?

I imagine that some readers might expect a collection of stories about transmen to focus strictly on the protagonist’s gender issues and/or transition. However, in a few of the stories, such as Dave Riser’s “Coyote Dog Bitten” or Deven Balsam’s “Sindali”, little emphasis is given to the main character’s being trans. So that might surprise some readers. But when someone is transgender, that’s just one small part of who they are as a person. It doesn’t define them.

Obviously, I’m glad to have read all the stories I received, even some of the ones that I unfortunately couldn’t include. I am glad that I ended up with a variety of fun characters, including a trans rock band, a trans robot, an intergalactic trans superhero, and more!

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If we had the science fiction ability to transport ten, twenty-five, and /or fifty years in the future, what stories might we see from the transgender / transman experiences? What stories might be the same, and how might some be different–for better, we hope… or for worse?

In Jaap Boekestein’s “The Three Ways of the Sword Man”, a woman (read: transman) walks into a room, and, via technology, walks out shortly after as a fully-transitioned man. I expect (hope!) that in the future, advances in medicine will make transitioning quicker, easier, and less painful. For the rest of Boekestein’s story, the protagonist then must discover for himself how to fit into society as a man. I think that once we’ve worked out how to transition physically with ease, stories about transmen’s experiences will focus more on social transitioning. Also, although I admire people who dare to break the binary, and those who attempt to redefine our ideas of masculinity and femininity, I don’t see gender roles disappearing in the near future, so writers will most likely continue to explore what it means in this society to be a man.
What advice could you share with transgender writers? Or cis writers wanting to be respectful / inclusive in their writing?

For Brave Boy World, I allowed everyone to submit, regardless of sex or gender identity. So there are a small number of stories by authors who identify as cis [cisgendered, or identifying with the sex they were assigned at birth]. What they have in common is that they clearly understood something about the trans existence – either because they’ve done their research carefully, or they have trans family members or friends. Really, the best way to understand the trans experience is to talk to trans people!

For transgender writers, my advice is this: You already know that you’re brave. You already know how to be authentically you. So just keep doing that.

 

 

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

Our books are available through online booksellers such as Amazon, as well as through our website at http://www.pinknarc.com/

 

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

We’re not social media mavens, but of course we do have an online presence. The best place for updates is our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pinknarc/

We also Tumblr http://pinknarc.tumblr.com/ and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pinknarc/

Anyone interested in checking out my writing can do so at http://elvesfromiceland.weebly.com/

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Speculative Fiction Tuesday: More Pulp Titles, Plus New DOCTOR WHO Audios!

The newest audio CD releases from Big Finish Productions have arrived here at Annie’s here at 65 James Street in Worcester…. titles in the TORCHWOOD and DOCTOR WHO: THE LOST STORIES ranges as well as the newest main series title ALIEN HEART/DALEK SOUL, a Fifth Doctor and Nyssa adventure [#224].

As the old commercial goes, “But wait!  There’s more!”

We’re having a ton of fun on this cloudy Tuesday processing an intake of several hundred vintage pulp titles in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, gothics, and mystery… all of which make us very happy as booksellers, and which will hopefully delight you as readers.

Come on in and relive the golden and silver ages of imaginative storytelling. pulp

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