Author Spotlight: Jenny Allen

09302017 - Everybody Please Stop Photo Banner

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on writer and performer Jenny Allen!  Jenny will be at our 65 James Street address with her humorous collection, Would Everybody Please Stop?  on Saturday, September 30, from 1:00-3:00 PM.

Jenny Allen’s humor pieces have appeared in the New Yorker, MORE magazine, and several anthologies. She’s written for LIFE, Esquire, the New York Times, New York magazine, and others.  Her solo show, “I Got Sick Then I Got Better”, directed by the great James Lapine, got a rave review from Ben Brantley in the Times when debuted as New York Theatre Workshop, and has since been performed at theaters and cancer groups around the country. She’s been told stories and hosted for the MOTH, and acted in productions in New York, including “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” by Nora and Delia Ephron, and appear in Brooke and Lynne Adams’ Webseries, All Downhill from Here.

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from Would Everybody Please Stop?

My book is a collection of humor pieces and short personal essays.  The essays deal with the potholes of life, from the perspective of someone in mid-life who’s trying to hold things together after cancer, divorce, and life’s various losses and indignities. The humor pieces are sillier, and are a way for me to write about things that annoy or bewilder me—words and phrases that drive me crazy, like “meme” and “It is what it is”; people who borrow things and never return them; Fashion Week; fat-free half and half; ponytails on older men; the sudden ubiquitousness of Craisins; the popularity of Hota Kotb and Kathy Griffin; the horrible road signage in New Jersey.  

What was the inspiration for Would Everybody Please Stop? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

I started writing humor pieces after thirty years of writing “straight” feature pieces.  It took me that long to screw up my courage to do it.  Getting sick with cancer (now, mercifully, in remission) gave me a kind of permission—I had nothing to lose by trying.

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

Life is so hard! It’s difficult, humiliating, confusing, often sad, even tragic, and generally problematic. I think people are eager to laugh, to see the humor in things. It helps hugely in maintaining some perspective.  Without humor, we’re sunk.

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

Try to write every day, even if it’s just a sentence.

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

I’m working on a short comic novel.

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

I like to bake—cakes and cobblers, mostly—and find that baking is an excellent way to procrastinate. 

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

Silence. I can’t listen to music or the news on the radio—I have a hard enough time concentrating in silence.

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 love having a fresh cup of coffee nearby.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?

In terms of humor writing, don’t reign yourself in or edit yourself while you’re writing.  That’s for rewriting.  Don’t fear sounding eccentric or loopy—people will like that most about your writing.

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

I hope the book is in other bookstores!  It’s meant to be!

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

I have a website, jennyallenwrites.com, and I’m on Facebook. The MOTH Website has videos of my stories.

Thank you for the great interview, Jenny!  We’re looking forward to having you at the store on Saturday, September 30, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM for an Afternoon of Humor!

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Events Buzz: Fall Equinox Week

09182017 - Sleepwalking Backwards blog pic

Happy Official Autumn this week! It’s the season for curling up with tea, coffee, apple cider, or your favorite pumpkin spice beverage—and your favorite book. It’s also the season for last minute “oh crap, I need that literature book for school,” and we can help with that, too. Stop in or take advantage of our mail order service!

We had a lovely weekend full of Rainbow Readers events! Thank you to everyone who came out. It started out on Friday, with queer romance author Karen Stivali. Then lesbian fiction author, Jean Copeland, was at the store on Saturday, before our regularly scheduled Rainbow Readers Book Club. Keep an eye on our calendar for more LGBTQIA events, and if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at our LGBTQIA section of fiction and non-fiction books!

We have a few more events this month that we’re really excited about!

THIS THURSDAY, September 21, from 7:00 – 8:00 PM, join us for our Doctor Who Discussion Night: Old School / New School.

Since school is back in session, our topic is “Old School / New School” in regards to Coal Hill School, a school that keeps popping up from old Doctor Who seasons until now. What’s the draw of this school? What do you remember about it? What does it mean to the Doctor and for the Doctor?

And THIS FRIDAY, Septenber 22, from 7:00 – 8:30, we’re celebrating Worcester Storytellers Birthday Open Mic and Double Feature: Catherine Zebrowski and surprise guest.

Worcester Storytellers turns five years old! Worcester Storytellers is the only open mic and featured reader event for prose and non-fiction as well as poetry. Every birthday event also has a double feature! This year the spotlight readers are Catherine Zebrowski and a surprise guest TBA!

Then, NEXT SATURDAY, September 30, from 1:00 – 3:00 stop by for Jenny Allen, Afternoon of Laughter.

Jenny Allen is a writer and performer. Her essays and articles have appeared for years in many magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York, Vogue, Esquire, More, The Huffington Post, and Good Housekeeping. Recent essays appear in Andy Borowitz’s anthology The Fifty Funniest American Writers and in In the Fullness of Time: 32 Women on Life After 50. Her award-winning solo show I Got Sick Then I Got Better has been seen in venues across the country and in Canada. She lives on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Pre-registration or pre-purchasing books is strongly recommended as we expect this event to fill quickly.

We’re working on the calendar for the rest of the year, too, so here is a sneak peek at some of October’s events!

Saturday, October 14, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses Far From Home by Lorelei Brown.

Tuesday, October 17, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Music and Magic with D.J. Butler, author and performer.

Thursday, October 19, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night: Haunted Places.

Friday, October 20, 7:00 – 9:00 PM – An Evening of Astronomy with Jim Zebrowski.

Sunday, October 22, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Author Morgan Sylvia’s Abode, reading, speaking, signing.

Saturday, October 28, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM – Spoooooky Storytime!

Wednesday, October 31, ALL DAY – Trick-or-Treat: Treats for Costumes!

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. September is birthday month with double feature Catherine Zebrowski and a new surprise guest! Next meeting is September 22.

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 September 25.

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 September 21.

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 September 16.

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: Almost Autumn

09112017 - Towels Pic

We’re happy to have a fresh supply of local artist Katie Gireaux’s hand-crocheted kitchen towels in stock! There’s a selection of autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving art and designs on these beautiful double sided kitchen towels. Come and see our display!

We also had a most wonderful weekend! Thank you to everyone who came out for Craig Shaw Gardner and Sarah Prager, and thank you to all the folks who visited our table at Worcester Pride on Worcester Common this past Saturday. We had a great time meeting so many new faces in our community, and we hope to see you in our store looking at our diverse selection of titles or attending one of our events.

In fact, we’ve got some events for you this week!

THIS FRIDAY, September 15, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Karen Stivali, queer romance author, reads, speaks, and signs.

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. She writes contemporary  straight (m/f) and LGBTQ (m/m) romance. Her m/m new adult series, Moments in Time is put out by Dreamspinner Press. She’s sharing from her latest, rounding out the series, Moment of Fate.

THIS SATURDAY, September 16, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM, Award-winning Lesbian Fiction author Jean Copeland speaks and signs.

Jean Copeland is an author and English/language arts teacher at an alternative high school in Connecticut. For her first novel, The Revelation of Beatrice Darby, she won the Alice B. Readers Lavender Certificate and the 2016 GCLS Goldie Award for debut author, and was a Goldie finalist in the historical fiction category. In addition to her novels, Jean has published numerous works of short fiction and essays online and in print anthologies. When not exploring the world of lesbian fiction, she enjoys watching her students discover their talents in creative writing and poetry, traveling, relaxing by the shore, and good wine and conversation with friends.

Also THIS SATURDAY, September 16, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers discusses Sunset Park by Santino Hassell.

Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but  their friendship is solid. Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart.

And look what’s coming for the rest of this month!

Thursday, September 21, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night: Old School / New School.

Friday, September 22, 7:00 – 8:30 – Worcester Storytellers Birthday Open Mic and Double Feature: Catherine Zebrowski and surprise guest.

Saturday, September 30, 1:00 – 3:00 – Jenny Allen, Afternoon of Laughter.

We’re working on the calendar for the rest of the year, too, so here is a sneak peek at some of October’s events!

Saturday, October 14, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses Far From Home by Lorelei Brown.

Tuesday, October 17, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Music and Magic with D.J. Butler, author and performer.

Thursday, October 19, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night: Haunted Places.

Friday, October 20, 7:00 – 9:00 PM – An Evening of Astronomy with Jim Zebrowski.

Sunday, October 22, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Author Morgan Sylvia’s Abode, reading, speaking, signing.

Saturday, October 28, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM – Spoooooky Storytime!

Wednesday, October 31, ALL DAY – Trick-or-Treat: Treats for Costumes!

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. September is birthday month with double feature Catherine Zebrowski and a new surprise guest! Next meeting is September 22.

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 September 25.

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 September 21.

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 September 16.

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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Author Spotlight: Karen Stivali

09082017 - MomentofFateFS

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on queer romance author Karen Stivali this week!  Karen was here in June for Pride Month, and has returned for Worcester Pride month as part of our Rainbow Readers Presents series. She’ll be speaking and signing on Friday, September 15 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM.

Karen Stivali is the multi award winning author of straight and LGBTQ+ adult and new adult romance novels. She writes sexy, character driven contemporary romance set in both New England and NYC. Her novels are about love…like real life, only hotter.

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

I write sexy, realistic contemporary romance. No billionaires, no shifters, just everyday people finding their path in life and finding love along the way. And having lots of hot sex. You can always expect a mix of witty banter, sarcasm, angst, strong friendships, sexual tension, and steamy sex scenes in my books. And food. Lots of descriptions of food.

 

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Moment of Fate?  How did you overcome that challenge?

Moment Of Fate took me about three times longer to write than any other book I’ve written and it was because I over related to the main character. On the surface, I’m nothing like Bryan Dane—he’s a sexy up-and-coming rocker with a passion for photography, he loves being on stage, and he’s got a serious history of one night stands. But what no one knows about him is that he suffers from chronic Lyme disease and, as a part of that, has developed panic and anxiety attacks along with a host of food allergies. He’s stubborn and refuses to be defined by this illness or its limitations, so he does his best to deal with it and not let anyone know about it. As someone who also suffers from chronic Lyme (and the accompanying panic and anxiety attacks), I found that as I wrote I had to relearn all the lessons he was learning, about how to function with a chronic illness without letting it own you. I also had to deal with the realization that every time I wrote him having an anxiety attack (or reread the scene), I’d have an anxiety attack. Without the help of writer friends encouraging me along the way, I likely would never have finished this book and I’m so grateful they were there to pull me through it, because this book needed to be written. Bryan deserved his happily ever after.

09082017 - author photo Karen Stivali

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

I write sexy contemporary romance because I love putting my characters in very real life situations, with very relatable struggles, and having them overcome their issues and find their happily ever after. I think readers are drawn to my work because my characters are relatable. I’m often told that people wish they could be friends with (or date) my characters in real life and that’s one of my very favorite compliments to receive.

 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?

Hands down my favorite part is hearing from a reader who really connected with a character or story I wrote. Those letters mean the world to me because they remind me that what I’m doing is reaching people in a real and personal way and making a difference for them.

 

How important has the New England setting been to your writing?

I’m a transplanted New Yorker who’s lived in New Hampshire for the past fifteen years. My stories tend to take place in either New England, NYC or a combination of the two. I like the differences between small town and big city and like to mix and match the settings or have characters who grew up in one and currently adapting to the other. In Moment Of Fate, Oliver was raised in small town NH but moves to NYC to take an intensive summer writing workshop. Being newly out and new to NYC are both huge parts of his character arc and emotional development in the story.

 

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

Never give up. If you truly want to write, don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Keep trying, learning, polishing and creating. Make it happen.

 

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

I’m finishing up the next book in the Moments series and will probably be writing one more after that. I’m also on submission via my agent with two other series I’m very excited about, as well as working on a secret multi-authored project that will combine a variety of pairings all in one series.

 

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

My favorite hobby is cooking and baking. I love food and enjoy all sorts of cooking. Baking is a sanity saver for me. Something about it really calms me down and helps me de-stress. Plus it makes the house smell great and, as a bonus, there are yummy treats to eat when I’m done. If I’m really stressed I’ll bake so much I have to ship some to friends. They never seem to mind.

 

Writers 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 one very bizarre cat. I refer to him on Twitter as “BadKitteh” to protect his real identity. He’s not “bad” as in mean, he’s just constantly in trouble. He will drink out of any water glass left unattended for more than 3 seconds, then knock that glass over. He has coughed up a hairball into my tote bag while I sat two feet away. He loves to paw at my laptop and will frequently hit the PrntScr button, so I find all of these bizarre screen caps in Dropbox that I didn’t save. He’s even sent a few chat messages with random characters typed, causing friends to wonder if I was in some sort of distress and trying to send a secret call for help. He’s a handful, but he’s also cute and keeps me amused.

 

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

My books are available in ebook and paperback at all major booksellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, I-books, GooglePlay and from my publisher’s websites.

 

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

I’m on Twitter (@karenstivali)

Facebook (/karenstivali and /karenstivaliauthor)

Pinterest  and Goodreads

And my blog Karenstivali.com

 

Thank you so much for joining us on our Spotlight Blog, Karen! We look forward to having you at our store as part of our Rainbow Readers Presents series on Friday, September 15, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM!

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Events Buzz: Happy Labor Day!

09042017 - Labor Day clip art

Happy Labor Day! We hope all our friends are having an excellent holiday weekend and staying safe. Do you know what we are celebrating today?

According to the Department of Labor: Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Find out more about Labor Day and its history on the Department of Labor website.

We ARE open TODAY, Labor Day, for our regular fall hours, so feel free to stop in. We always have our hours listed on our website, but here they are for your quick reference:

Sunday:                       10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Monday:                      10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Tuesday-Thursday:     10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday-Saturday          10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

This week, we have a lot going on!  Here’s a look!

Saturday, September 9, 12:00 – 5:00 PM – ABSW and Rainbow Readers host a table at Worcester Pride.

From 12:00 – 5:00 PM, Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester joins Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts to celebrate Worcester Pride at the Pride Festival on the Common. With entertainment, food trucks, local artists, children’s events, and more, the Pride Festival, which follows the Worcester Pride Parade, is a celebration of the rainbow of Worcester.  ABSW will have a selection of our LGBTQIA books, Rainbow Readers will be selling gift items to raise funds for the ongoing book club meetings, and local artisan Suzanne Lahna of Patched & Smacked will be selling their empowering jewelry—all under one tent!

Saturday, September 9, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Best-selling author Craig Shaw Gardner reads and signs.

Craig Shaw Gardner sold his first short story in 1977, and began writing full time in 1987. While most of his early novels are humorous fantasy, the majority of his short stories have been sold to original horror anthologies such as SHADOWS, MIDNIGHT, DOOM CITY and other cheerful names. His novelization of Batman spent something like 13 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, changing his name on book covers to “New York Times Best-selling Author Craig Shaw Gardner” forevermore.

Temporary Monsters (Book 1 in the Temporary Magic series) introduces Lenny Hodge, a young man with certain abilities—special talents that even he doesn’t understand. It is only when he joins Terrifitemps (the temporary employment agency that secretly controls the world) and meets his new team—a psychic, a vampire, a ghost hunter, and a werevole (yes, a werevole)—that Lenny realizes how much his special talent will put him in jeopardy.But it’s worth it, right? Hasn’t Lenny always wanted to save the world?

Sunday, September 10, 2:00 – 4:00 PM – Sarah Prager with Queer, There, and Everywhere returns!

Sarah Prager is an advocate for queer history education particularly for youth. Her first book, Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World was released by HarperCollins this May. In 2013, Sarah created Quist, a free app for iOS, Android, and Windows that brings LGBTQ and HIV history to life with a following of over 35,000 from over 100 countries. Sarah’s writing has been published in The Advocate, Huffington Post, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, It Gets Better Project’s blog, and various other newspapers, magazines, and blogs. She has been a guest on HuffPost Live, the Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM Progress Radio, and The List on ABC2.

Here’s a look at the rest ofSeptember…

Saturday, September 9, 12:00 – 5:00 PM –

Friday, September 15, 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Karen Stivali, queer romance author, reads, speaks, and signs.

Saturday, September 16, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Award-winning Lesbian Fiction author Jean Copeland speaks and signs.

Saturday, September 16, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers discusses Sunset Park by Santino Hassell.

Thursday, September 21, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night: Old School / New School.

Friday, Septenber 22, 7:00 – 8:30 – Worcester Storytellers Birthday Open Mic and Double Feature: Catherine Zebrowski and Joey Gould.

Saturday, September 30, 1:00 – 3:00 – Jenny Allen, Afternoon of Laughter.

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. September is birthday month with double feature Catherine Zebrowski and Joey Gould! Next meeting is September 22.

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 September 25.

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 September 21.

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 September 16.

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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Author Spotlight: Jean Copeland

09162017 - Copeland Summer fling front cover

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on author Jean Copeland, a lesfic novelist, high school English teacher, and part-time political activist. In addition to her newest release, Summer Fling, her other novels are The Second Wave and the award-winning The Revelation of Beatrice Darby.  Born and raised in Connecticut, she lives with her rescue cat, Charlotte, and spends her free time supporting local Connecticut businesses like breweries and wineries.

Jean will be at our 65 James Street store as a Rainbow Readers Presents guest, on Saturday, September 16, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM, just before our Rainbow Readers Book Club meeting.

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

My body of work at this point is still evolving. My first novel is a coming of age, coming out historical romance fiction while my second one is a blend of contemporary and historical romance. My newest release, Summer Fling, is a full-on modern romance that’s fun and funny, and offers a poignant glimpse into the pitfalls and celebrations of love and friendship in the lives of lesbian women over forty. My WIP that I just began this summer is contemporary romance/suspense, but I know I’ll also get back to my first love, historic fiction in the future. But certainly a common thread among all my novels is an appreciation for what is wonderful, tragic and funny about love.

09162017 - Jean copeland pic

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

The obvious answer is that I’m a lesbian and a hopeful romantic. But the deeper reason I connect with this genre probably has to do with the years I’d spent in the closet hiding who I was in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s while dreaming of having a normal, authentic relationship with a woman. The LGBT rights movement was still sort of “grass-roots” in its power, and social/political acceptance of LGBT people was in its infancy. It took me a long time to learn to accept and assert my right to exist and be acknowledged as a lesbian American worthy of the same respect and equal rights as heterosexuals. I’d lived too long in the shadows of secrecy, both personally and within previous relationships. Writing lesbian romance fiction for me is therapeutic in a simple yet profound way. It’s a way to comfort that scared inner lesbian child who dreamed of love but was afraid of the consequences of pursuing it. It’s also a way for me to reach a wider audience of people, both gay and straight, to emphasize how important it is to be open, honest and confident in who you are and who you love.

How important has the New England setting been to your writing?

Very important! I was born, raised and live in Connecticut, and I absolutely love it… from the diversity in the seasons, to its richness in early US history, its progressive social/political beliefs, its stand on quality education and opportunities for all… I could go on and on, but I could never put into words the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of an autumn or summer in New England. Not only does it make the writing process less complicated to use a familiar setting, it also helps me translate the wonderful qualities of my home state to enhance the stories I enjoy telling.   

 

What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?

This is a difficult question! I have had so many memorable adventures, starting with signing my first writing contract with Bold Strokes Books for The Revelation of Beatrice Darby. I don’t have children, but I can only imagine that holding my first published novel in my hands was a feeling similar to holding a first child in terms of sheer excitement. But if we’re talking true “adventure,” I’d have to say my trip to Washington DC for the annual Golden Crown Literary Society’s conference that culminates in the “Goldie” awards ceremony. My debut novel was a finalist in two categories: Debut Author and Historical Fiction. I hate to sound trite, but just learning that I was a finalist truly was an honor I’d never anticipated. Every author secretly dreams of receiving accolades and shiny objects of acclaim for their work but to believe it will happen is a different matter. Just dressing up and taking my girlfriend with me to the awards ceremony was surreal in that I felt like I was peering into a hole in the fence at the Academy Awards and getting a tiny glimpse into what it must feel like for nominated actors. When the book title and my name were called for the Debut Author award, the adventure of walking to the podium and giving an acceptance speech I hadn’t written down was one that I will never forget.

09162017 - Jean Copeland cover

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

SELF-DOUBT. For me, this is a demon that even the most prolific writing resume won’t exorcise. I think with any creative process, in the early stages, much of it must be done alone without reassurance from others. When I’m working on a novel manuscript, I’ll experience writer’s block, mental fatigue, or doubt that what I’m writing will be interesting enough. To overcome these challenges, I’ll remind myself that if I wasn’t meant to write the ideas wouldn’t keep coming. Often times, just getting up and walking away from the piece for a few days is the most effective solution. Looking at something with a fresh set of eyes has always been helpful to me in any situation. I share Sylvia Plath’s quote “The worse enemy to creativity is self-doubt” with my creative writing students so they’ll know it’s a normal part of the process, and they won’t get too discouraged.

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

Boldstrokesbooks.com; amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, just about any online book seller

 

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

Facebook – Jean Copeland

                Instagram and Twitter – @jeaniecopes

                http://www.jeancopeland.wordpress.com

Thank you so much for the interview, Jean! We look forward to having you at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at 65 James Street on Saturday, September 16, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM.

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Events Buzz: Back to School

08282017 - Sunflowers

Happy first day of school in Worcester this week! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester wishes all our returning students good luck as they embark on another year of learning. If you need books for your classes and book reports, we’re here for you. We can even do special orders.

We enjoyed meeting the class of 2021 this past week at our tables at WPI and Becker campuses. If you saw us there, stop by and redeem your coupons!

With the school year back in session, we are switching back to our fall hours. You can find them on our website, but here they are for your quick reference:

Sunday:                       10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Monday:                      10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Tuesday-Thursday:     10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday-Saturday          10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

We had an especially wonderful time this weekend with the Worcester Storytellers Open Mic and featured reader Trisha J. Wooldridge, as well as a fantastic signing, reading, and Q&A afternoon with Tui Southerland, author of the best-selling Wings of Fire series. While we did sell out of books 9 and 10, we have more on order, along with signed bookplates. However, if you’re just starting or curious about this popular series, we have books 1-8 signed and in stock!

While we’re having an easy Labor Day weekend with events, our 65 James Street store is open if you want to escape into some books this weekend.

As September starts, though, we have several fantastic events you should put on your calendars:

Saturday, September 9, 12:00 – 5:00 PM – ABSW and Rainbow Readers host a table at Worcester Pride. Find some new favorite books and support queer reading!

Saturday, September 9, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Best-selling author Craig Shaw Gardner reads and signs. A temp agency for monsters? A little humor with your fantasy and horror? Sound like your kind of books? Us too!

Sunday, September 10, 2:00 – 4:00 PM – Sarah Prager with Queer, There, and Everywhere returns! Find out the LGBTQIA history you probably never got in class. When Sarah joined us for Pride Month, we sold out, so don’t miss this time! (Or enjoy a second helping!)

Friday, September 15, 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Karen Stivali, queer romance author, reads, speaks, and signs. Karen sold out of stock last visit, too, so come get your hands on some steaming m/m romance while you can!

Saturday, September 16, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Award-winning Lesbian Fiction author Jean Copeland speaks and signs. Beautiful stories of women fighting for freedom in love and life. There’s a reason Jean’s won awards for her moving tales. Find out for yourself!

Saturday, September 16, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers discusses Sunset Park by Santino Hassell. Join us for our regular LGBTQIA book club. Copies available to read now!

Thursday, September 21, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night: Old School / New School. What do you know about Coal Hill School?

Friday, Septenber 22, 7:00 – 8:30 – Worcester Storytellers Birthday Open Mic and Double Feature: Catherine Zebrowski and Joey Gould. Celebrate five years since the rebirth of Worcester’s only open mic / reading feature that covers fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose.

Saturday, September 30, 1:00 – 3:00 – Jenny Allen, Afternoon of Laughter. Need more laughs when life gets dark? Jenny can help as she speaks, signs, and answers questions from her book Would Everybody Please Stop?

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. September is birthday month with double feature Catherine Zebrowski and Joey Gould! Next meeting is September 22.

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 TODAY, August 28.

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 September 21.

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 September 16.

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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