Author Spotlight Friday – Jake Burnett

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Children’s Author Jake Burnett.  Jake grew up on four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America if you’re counting—seven countries in all) and now lives in North Carolina with his wife, a one-eyed cat, and a very wiggly dog. He’s written a lot of things, but The Chaos Court is his first published novel. 

A Very Special Note:  During this time of uncertainty with the COVID-19 virus, school closures threaten school lunch programs and the students who depend on those lunches. So Burnett decided to act. He and South Window Press released The Chaos Court early, so they could donate 100% of the novel’s proceeds through April 30th to the Food Bank of Eastern & Central North Carolina (https://foodbankcenc.org/).

When we asked Jake where people can find his work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!) this was his response:

Well, obviously people should go to Annie’s Book Stop. But if Worcester is a bit too far of a hike, they can find my work at their local indie bookstore. My publisher keeps a constantly updating list on their website (https://southwindowpress.com/where-to-get-our-books/). And there are all the usual options as well.

Next Question: How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

For announcements and whatnot, I have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jakeburnettwrites

During the quarantine, I’m doing daily readings from The Chaos Court on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDehEIAmQSyWoAh_VMo6jSQ

On my personal website, you’ll find more art than writing, but there are a few stories here and there, now and then: http://jakeburnett.com

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from The Chaos Court?

I write brand-new books that feel like they’ve always been around. You know that feeling when you find a dusty old used book from an author you’ve never heard of, all mysterious and curious? You take it home and read it. You start to notice pieces of that story, everywhere around you. You realize the book has been there, hiding in plain sight this whole time. And you know your world will never be the same…

That’s what I hope you’ll find in The Chaos Court. Something brand-new that’s somehow magically always been waiting just for you.

What was the inspiration for The Chaos Court?  What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

There have been too many inspirations to count. One book I’d like to give a shout-out to is Abbey Lubbers, Banshees, & Boggarts by Katharine Mary Briggs. It’s this great illustrated encyclopedia of fairies that I read when I was 8. It stuck with me, and I hope all the odd little creatures I invented for The Chaos Court could just as easily find a home in Briggs’ wonderful book.

The Chaos Court

Cover design by Rocío Martín Osuna, from a concept sketch by Elissa Phillips.

 

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out  The Chaos Court?   How did you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge in putting The Chaos Court out was that the publisher released it much earlier than planned! I’ve never seen that happen, but we both really wanted to donate the first month’s proceeds to meet the urgent school lunch need created by the COVID-19 crisis. Waiting for the original release date wasn’t an option.

The challenge for me was learning all the things about releasing a book that I’d PLANNED on learning over six months in about six days. So far, it’s going great! The writing and bookselling community is truly a wonderful place to have your trial-by-fire. If you have to have one, that’s where I’d recommend doing it.

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

Love the most? Patience Fell. No question. She’s tough and brave and takes no nonsense. She has her flaws sure, but in the end, she’s who I wish I could be.

I don’t hate any of them—not even the villains. Somebody once said ‘every villain thinks they’re the hero of their own story’ and I really took that to heart.

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

So much! There’s the sequel to The Chaos Court and a novel that’s The Wizard of Oz meets Ocean’s Eleven and another one about the last living boy in Manhattan who was raised by robots and… that should cover the next year or two.

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

I love painting. It’s a completely different kind of thinking and it feels wonderful on my brain. And running. And cleaning the house. I need lots of non-writing things to do while the tireless gnomes in my unconscious toil away on the writing. That way, when I sit back down at the keyboard, I’m refreshed and ready to work.

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

The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has been a warm and supportive community. I look forward to the Carolinas Chapter events every year—such an encouraging and generous group of writers!

Thank you so much for answering our questions and for what you are doing to help your fellow hometown residents, Jake!

 

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Kids and Teens Wednesday: Looking Forward!

It’s April, and we’re not fooling! Even if you can’t stroll our aisles at the little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside for a few more weeks, that’s no reason to give up on reading and other fun activities.  Brace yourself for an extra-long Kids and Teens blog entry, everyone.

So many wonderful books for young children, for middle readers, and for teens have arrived or are on their way to us, just waiting for you to purchase via mail order. You can reach us by telephone at 508-796-5613 or e-mail at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com.

1] Back in February, Patty and Selina attended Boskone 57, where we got to sit in on not one, but two splendid panels about middle grade fiction. At one of these, we met Diego Gonzalez, the co-host of The Half-Blood Report, a podcast which devotes itself to all things Rick Riordan.  We’ve just received the newest release in the Aru Shah series by Roshani Chokshi, as well as its earlier titles, and a restock on the MAGNUS CHASE Asgard trilogy by Riordan.

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2] For National Poetry Month, we’ve gotten in some lovely picture books!

  • FOLLOW THE RECIPE! POEMS ABOUT IMAGINATION, CELEBRATION, AND CAKE by Marilyn Singer
  • A PORTRAIT IN POEMS: GERTRUDE STEIN AND ALICE B. TOKLAS by Evie Robillard
  • AFTER DARK: POEMS ABOUT NOCTURNAL ANIMALS by David L. Harrison    picturebookpoetry

3] Before we were ordered to close to the public, we had scheduled a truly fabulous event in March with three very talented middle grade authors. MarcyKate Connolly, Rajani LaRocca and Anna Staniszewski have graciously provided autographed bookplates for their titles HOLLOW DOLLS, MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM, and THE WONDER OF WILDFLOWERS, which we will happily send along to you with a purchase of one of their books!

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4] Some upcoming books for teens…

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  • DON’T CALL THE WOLF by Aleksandra Ross
  • HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY by Ali Standish

5] …and last but not least, activity books and kits for a variety of different ages, for indoor AND outdoor fun.

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Thank you, parents, caretakers, educators, and readers, for letting us fill your world with wonderful words.

 

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Update: Closed To The Public Through May 4th, Still Here To Serve!

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As of this afternoon, March 31st, in order to remain compliant with the newest order from the Governor’s Office regarding COVID-19, we will be closed TO THE PUBLIC between now and Monday, May 4th. We expect to reopen our doors no later than noon on Tuesday, May 5th.

We are still available by telephone at 508-796-5613 and via e-mail at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com for mail order shipments of in-stock and special order items.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and thank you for your support.

 

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Speculative Fiction Tuesday: Big Finish March & April Audio Releases

This week is a great one for listening to new and classic British science fiction and horror audio dramas.  Here are the current releases from a variety of title ranges.

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  • The Diary of River Song Series 7
  • DW Main 261: Psychic Circus
  • DW Main 262: Subterfuge
  • The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles

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  • Dracula’s Guests CD
  • Blake’s 7 Classic Adventures 5.3: Restoration

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  • The Fourth Doctor Adventures Series 9B
  • Gallifrey: Time War Series 3

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  • Torchwood 34: Expectant
  • Torchwood The Sins of Captain John
  • Torchwood 36: Dissected

Please contact us at orders [at] anniesbooksworcester [dot] com for backlist and upcoming titles in these series.  You can also check the Mike’s Comics website for a full catalogue of DOCTOR WHO and related products.

Thank you, as always for making our shelves your destination!

 

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Shelter-In-Place Monday, Week 2: Supporting Each Other!

The first thing we at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester want to say to our customers and friends is THANK YOU.

Thank you for the phone calls and e-mails of support to us and to our employees. Thank you for taking care of yourselves and your loved ones by observing the #StayHomeStaySafe guidelines set out by the Governor’s Office.

We remain closed to the public for this week; unless we hear a state-mandated update otherwise, we plan to reopen our doors to the public at noon on Tuesday, April 7th. All events previously scheduled into April have been postponed until a later date.

However, we are still able to serve you in this time period [and beyond!].  We cannot do in-person sales within the store’s brick-and-mortar confines until the state mandate lifts, nor can we take dropoffs of books for donation or store credit until at least mid-April. We CAN still get books to you, just as handily as a certain global monopoly company named after a river, with the added benefit that the money spent with us stays in your community.

One of our book fulfillment partners is Bookazine in New Jersey, the oldest and largest independent book wholesaler in the country. Through them, we stock many of our newest books for our children’s and teens areas, our New York Times Best Sellers List displays, and our Indie Picks.

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Many of our customers this week have taken advantage of our mail order fulfillment service, for in-stock items as well as for special orders, and we hope you will continue to do so.  This is a savings of aggravation, as well as a savings of time and cost, just by contacting us and seeing what we can do for you.

If a book is not currently on-hand, we can acquire titles from wholesalers such as Bookazine, as well as a network of publishers and independent booksellers, usually with a 24-hour to 72-hour turnaround.  We can ship books to you via USPS Media Mail anywhere in the US, whether right here in Central Massachusetts or out on the West Coast.  Our flat rate fee for shipping and handling is $4.50, whether for one book or one hundred books; we take prepayment via credit card or check.

Please leave a phone message at 508-796-5613, or e-mail us at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com.

Keep an eye on our website, our Facebook page, and our Instagram account for highlighted products.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and thank you for your patronage.

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Bookstore Mapping Sunday: Hardcover Alley!

Here at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, we have good reason to refer to ourselves as “the little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside”, and not just because of our love of DOCTOR WHO.

All the way at the back of our shop is a very special section we call Hardcover Alley.  While we do have new and used hardcovers shelved d in every other genre section in the store. the ones in Hardcover Alley are different; they are priced at $2.99!

The selection in Hardcover Alley is turned over monthly, depending on intake at the front desk [which will resume when we are permitted to reopen to the public], “aging out” of hardcover releases when the same title is issued in either trade paperback or mass market, and a variety of other factors. It’s a mix of genres; you will find Lisa Scottoline’s legal thrillers cheek-by-jowl with Martin Gilbert’s history tome THE FIRST WORLD WAR, John D. MacDonald’s mystery BARRIER ISLAND sharing shelf space with Fern Michaels’ contemporary fiction Sisterhood books, and so on. 

Like every other item in the store, Hardcover Alley titles are available to ship directly to you via our mail order fulfillment service. Shipping and handling is currently a flat $4.00 for USPS Media Mail, whether for one hardcover book or a dozen or more books.  Please drop us an e-mail at orders [at] anniesbooksworcester [dot] com.

Thank you, as always, for making our shelves your destination.

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[photo credit Selina Lovett, November 7, 2015]

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Author Spotlight Friday: Adam Rubin

 

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Picture Book  Author Adam Rubin.  Most of his books are about eating snacks. 

The first question I asked was,  where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)

You can probably find one of my books at your local bookstore. Dragons Love Tacos is the most popular one. They even made little dolls.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

You can follow me on Twitter if you like (@rubingo) but I am currently on a social media hiatus.

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?

I like writing picture books because the object of the book is very important. I like the tactile nature of the artifact and the inherent drama/surprise of the page turn revealing new information. I like writing with that kinesthetic experience in mind. It’s also a good creative challenge to come up with ideas that are amusing to young readers, parents, teachers and toddlers.

Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?

I never write without a cup of coffee and a glass of water within arm’s reach.

What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?

My writing desk is pretty bare. I need to avoid distractions. I could procrastinate for two hours with a paperclip. That said, the book shelf behind me is full of fascinating knickknacks and doodads but it’s out of view while I’m facing the computer.

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

My best piece of advice is to write something you like. Tell a story that feels funny or exciting or important to you. Don’t worry too much what someone else might like. If you write something to please someone else and you miss the mark, you’ll be left with a story that no one is happy with. But if you make something that you LOVE, even if no one else likes it, you’ll have created something that makes you feel happy and proud.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions, Adam!

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