Events Buzz: Important News on Hours and Events

book pileThis week will be a difficult one for ABSW as we’ve had a death in the family. As we work through this time, handling wake and funeral arrangements, the store may have abbreviated hours this week, opening late or closing early. We apologize for the inconvenience and we thank you for your understanding.

We are still open today, Monday, August 24, for our full day until 8:00 PM and we still welcome our friends for Spinning Yarns starting at 7:00. We also still expect to be open and hosting Worcester Storytellers from 7:00-8:30 on Friday, August 28, which will be featuring Ruth Bolton.

We are also looking forward to hosting The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the last Monday of August (August 31) 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.

This past Saturday had a good show for our Ray Bradbury Day, featuring our talk with Alan Ira Gordon, author of Journey into Dandelion Wine Country, among many other things. Thank you to everyone who came out this past weekend!

Coming in September:

ABSW will be running the Book Nook at Pet Rock Fest on Sunday, September 13 at Becker Colleges. Besides selling books, we’ll be bringing our friend Liz Mugavero, author of the Pawsitively Organic cozy pet mystery series.

September 17 also will bring you a NEW regular event: Doctor Who Talks! Starting at 7:00 PM on the third Thursday of each month, Patty will start hosting talks about the bookstore’s favorite science fiction serial! Stay tuned to find out more.

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

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight: Alan Ira Gordon

08212015 - Dandelions of Mars CoverAnnie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine a spotlight on native Worcester writer Alan Ira Gordon, who we are excited to have join us for our Ray Bradbury Day. Alan will be giving a talk based on his Bradbury research and appreciation.

Thank you for joining us, Alan! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?

I’m a full-time practicing government urban planner as well as a part-time planning professor at Worcester State University. I’ve been writing genre and mainstream fiction and poetry for many years, mostly science fiction but also fantasy, horror, slipstream and mainstream. I’ve been in a wide variety of publications including wider/larger markets such as The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Analog, as well as many middle and smaller magazines and anthologies. I’ve also been an associate anthology editor for Whortleberry Press, won the Worcester Magazine annual short story competition and received an Honorable Mention for science fiction story of the year in the eighth annual Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology from St. Martin’s Press.

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

I’m drawn to the speculative aspect of genre fiction, the plotting and situation of real world situations that develop an otherworldy element that affects the seemingly real-world realism of the plot.  Ed Ferman, the renowned editor of The Magazine Of Fantasy and Science Fiction, was brilliant at finding and publishing such tales, the reading of which hooked me on the genre in those days, and renowned genre editor Gardner Dozois has continued presenting that wonderful style of speculative literature into today’s publishing market. Those are the type of stories that grab me and inspire me to write my own stories and poems.

     As a history buff and trained/educated urban historian, I’m also addicted to reading and writing alternate reality tales; I just love the interesting nuances and fresh versions of history that the alternate history genre offers-up!

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?

[This question] is very central to my writing! My current husky, Lucky, and my former husky, Beau, have been and are very central to helping me write.  It’s the lifestyle of regularly-scheduled long walks and hikes that open my mind and get the creative thoughts both flowing and sorted-out. Part of my writing occurs in my head as Lucky and I walk; I’ve written story lines and poem stanzas in my head while walking, evolved story structure and developed characterization, along with solving plot dilemmas. I honestly don’t think I could write without my dog in my life!

    I know a well-known accomplished writer of children’s short stories who actually retired from a stellar writing career when her last dog passed away and she felt she was at a later stage of life no longer able to care for a pet. I can understand how she felt the deep connection between the pet companion lifestyle and the life force/process of writing!

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?08212015 - AlanGordon

The greatest lesson I’ve learned thus far in my writing career is both patience and openness in the writing process. Patience in taking time to think and plot a work of writing, not rushing it to a conclusion. Openness to rewriting, adapting and changing, changing, ever-changing to allow a plot or poem to properly develop to its rightful final version/conclusion. I’ve met too many well-intentioned and talented writers who are afraid to redraft, rewrite, break an idea back down and approach it in a better manner and as such ultimately fail to create a good and publishable final product. Your story or poem in its initial draft or idea is not a holy relic or set in concrete, it’s malleable and changeable, and it should be seen as a living and changing element. I’ve learned that from many successful writers and that lesson has served me well in both creating stories and poems that I’m satisfied with and many that have seen the light of publication.

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

I think it’s great to get involved in both local and non-local networking. Locally in Worcester, the poetry scene is amazing and I particularly enjoy and love the poetry group events at Annie’s! Nationally, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s of America (SFWA), Horror Writer’s Association and Science Fiction Poetry Association are wonderful groups that welcome folks of all writing levels and interests. And we’re very fortunate here in Massachusetts to annually host the national ReaderCon, attracting hundreds of fans and writers to partake in genre panels and workshops. ReaderCon is in Burlington these days, but I cherish my experiences of attending the many annual ReaderCons held here in Worcester back in the 90’s. I learned so much chatting at those Worcester-based ReaderCons with the likes of science fiction pros including Jack Dann, Algis Budrys (that great writer actually was married to a Worcester woman and annually visited here for years!), Glen Cook, Rebecca Ore, Jonathan Lethem and Terri Bisson, as well as connecting with fantastic editors such as Gordon van Gelder and Sheila Williams. So ReaderCon is by all means a major recommendation for writers and readers to immerse themselves in, as far as I’m concerned!

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

You can find my work in a wide variety of places, including a comprehensive listing and links on my webpage at http://www.alaniragordon.com, in several Whortleberry Press anthologies and I’m a regular contributor to Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Just this week, my latest science fiction poem was published in the October issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact. I have a poem in the recently released annual 2015 version of the popular science fiction anthology The Martian Wave from Nomadic Delirium Press.

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

Folks can follow my work and generally stalk me via my webpage at www.alaniragordon.com!

Thank you very much for joining us, Alan, and we look forward to seeing you for Ray Bradbury Day!

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Events Buzz: Happenings THIS WEEK and onward!

08102015 - What Pet Should I Get picThe temperatures may be in the 90s, but Fall is just around the corner!

Have you finished your summer reading? Have you gotten the books you need for back-to-school? We are here to help—and can even send books via mail to you!

Besides being thrilled to have copies of Dr. Seuss’s What Pet Should I Get? – we still have a few beautiful, signed Ruth Sanderson books available from when she visited last week! For slightly older audiences—and our beloved geeky friends—we also have the new Felicia Day memoir in stock, too: You’re Never Weird on the Internet. Come and get these pieces of awesome while you can.

And we’ve got TWO things happening THIS WEEK that you might find fun!

THIS Wednesday, August 19 is Dr. Seuss day! In addition to having copies of What Pet Should I Get?, we will be having some special sales all day, along with a few other Seussical surprises.

And then…

THIS Saturday, August 22, ALL DAY: Ray Bradbury Day. Celebrate the master author with a day full of special sales, readings, and a 12:30 talk with Alan Ira Gordon, Bradbury expert and author of JOURNEY INTO DANDELION WINE COUNTRY.

Also in August, join us for The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the last Monday of August (August 31) 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.

And if you’re already planning for some of the wonderful September festivals in the Worcester area, ABSW will be running the Book Nook at Pet Rock Fest on Sunday, September 13 at Becker Colleges. Besides selling books, we’ll be bringing our friend Liz Mugavero, author of the Pawsitively Organic cozy pet mystery series.

September 17 also will bring you a NEW regular event: Doctor Who Talks! Starting at 7:00 PM on the third Thursday of each month, Patty will start hosting talks about the bookstore’s favorite science fiction serial! Stay tuned to find out more.

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

Of course, as a reminder, our regular events are…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday at 7:00PM (sharing space last Monday of the month with The Free People’s Artists Workshop). 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. For the complete updates and schedules, follow Worcester Storytellers on Facebook!

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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RANDOM CHANCE SATURDAY, August 15, 2015.

[“Random Chance Saturday” is a regular blog feature written by staffer Selina Lovett.]

FRONTDESKReading. Books. What a novel idea. Literally, in some cases.

In this day and age of streaming media, hundreds of cable and satellite channels and many other audio visual offerings, why read?

Some people read because they want to visualize things for themselves, rather than have someone else show them how things should look. Some people read because their particular types of stories are not usually made into movies or TV series. Many people read nonfiction books to help themselves learn new things, to enrich themselves.  It takes longer to read a book than it does to watch a video, so some people would rather be entertained for a longer time. Some people read because their parents or teachers demand it from them. And other people read just for the fun of it.

Yes, fun. Reading is fun. There is a tremendous variety out there of what you can read, and you get to choose the titles and authors. For the person who thinks about the future, there is science fiction. For people who enjoy being scared out of their wits, horror seems to be the genre of choice. Fantasy appeals to those who enjoy reading about mythical creatures. Mysteries are for those people who enjoy trying to figure out whodunit from clues. Romances are – you guessed it – for people who love love. But there are many different types of romances… there are historical romances, which put people in the past, paranormal romances, if you like vampires, ghosts, etc. I think you get the picture.  There are many choices.

There are choices for the children, too. There are picture books, workbooks, first reader books, chapter books, elementary books, middle reader books and teen /young adult books. For adults there are novels, short stories, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, even blogs and ebooks! Yes, you can even be a member of today’s electronic society and still have fun reading!

troughtonTo have a LOT of fun when reading a piece of fiction, sometimes people  put themselves into the story, wanting to warn the hero or heroine of impending danger. They feel as though they are right there. Sometimes, they make up their own characters in someone else’s universe, possibly along with the characters from the book, and write  their own adventures.  And then… something great happens.  They create their own universes!

Many people who love to read then become writers. They use the knowledge they have gained from years of reading to give a new generation some wonderful stories to read to their children, and to read themselves. It takes a lot of imagination to write stories. It also takes imagination to read them.

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Artist Spotlight: Nicole Tadgell

Layout 1Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to host Artist-Illustrator Nicole Tadgell on our Friday Spotlight blog! Nicole was here with our Worcester Needs Diverse Books panel on July 25. She is the award-winning illustrator of more than twenty picture books, including First Peas to the Table: How Thomas Jefferson Inspired a School Garden, In the Garden with Dr. Carver, Lucky Beans, Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Fredrick Douglass, and With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School.

Welcome to our blog, Nicole! For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your art style?

Luminous watercolor, tender families, and a wide range of expressive faces characterize [my illustrations].

What kind of research went into your designs? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts did you learn that may not be obvious in what you created?

For Friends for Freedom, I visited historic sites, did research at the library as well as online, and consulted with a historical costume designer all to help bring the book to life. I learned that Susan B. Anthony was raised Quaker, which meant she only wore very plain clothing. As she matured and became an independent adult, she wore clothing that would have been considered very radical.

When you’re working with an author for a book, how does the relationship develop? How does it vary between projects? What’s your preferred relationship with an author on a project?

There is typically no contact between the author and illustrator during the creative process. Publishers prefer to work with the artist and the publishing staff, editor and art director. The author is shown everything and is consulted, but usually there is no contact until after the book is done.

What was the biggest challenge in creating Friends for Freedom?

The biggest challenge for me was drawing Susan B. Anthony. Frederick Douglass was very easy. Handsome, distinctive hair and facial features. Miss Anthony appears quite stern in most of the photos I found. Her features severe and sharp, and she’s never smiling. So it was hard for me to capture her personality.

What scene or part of a scene in a picture did you love or hate working on the most? And 08142015 - NTadgell_picwhy?

I loved the anger page in Friends for Freedom. It was really fun to draw. When I read the scene in the manuscript I could picture these two friends defending each other – both physically and intellectually.

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

Watercolor is my favorite right now. It is fluid, changes with the weather, is always interesting and unpredictable. Although I enjoy painting with oils, my studio is not set up for it.

Technology has affected art and art in books rapidly in the past ten years or so. How has the change in technology demands affected how you create art?

I have been asked to submit finals digitally more often. Recently, I have been asked to create and submit artwork in layers so the publisher can animate the story.

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

I dont do both yethopefully someday.

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 is always the beginning of a project. Endless possibilities. Excitement of new beginnings. Greatest lesson keeps changing, and for me is always parallel to personal growth.

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

Dont give up! Keep practicing.

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

Awesome artwork! More projects that feature diversity and sci-fi/fantasy.

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

I love Tai Chi! I also work in my garden (frantically trying to keep up with the weeds) and I enjoy baking. Some hobbies Ive had to put aside – such as sewing and quilting. Other hobbies I do less often – like birdwatching and hiking – to make time for Tai Chi.

08142015 - tadgell books and bricksWhat does your artist space look like? What do you need to have around you while creating?

Cluttered, but I know where everything is. Basic drafting table I keep flat, with hard boards I prop up for drawing and painting. Taboret, tools, etc. in easy reach.

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

Depends on the project and where Im at. Sometimes I like silence, sometimes radio (NPR is fun) sometimes TV, sometimes music. My musical tastes range from classical, pop, new age. Although my favorite is Prince, I dont listen to him while Im 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 used to have two wonderful little border terriers, they have since passed on.

Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re working?

Water nearby. I dont like to eat near my work for two reasons: fear of getting it on the work, and some of the pigments are toxic and I dont want to ingest them.

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

Staying consistent in the project can be challenging, especially if the client requests a style that I feel Ive moved beyond. My work is very emotive, so how I am feeling at the time has a direct impact on my work.

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

Trust myself.

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

SCBWI (Society for Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators) is incredibly helpful. Artists will find information, education & support there.

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

Local independent booksellers, online retailers.

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

My website/blog is at www.nicoletadgell.blogspot.com. Feel free to email me at nickietart@yahoo.com, or find me on Facebook. Several of my books have their own pages! I do have a Twitter account but I dont use it.

Thank you again for being part of our Worcester Needs Diverse Books event, Nicole, and for being part of our Spotlight blog! We look forward to even more beautiful projects from you.

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Events Buzz Monday: Back to School Planning

08102015 - Miss Bindergarten picWe’re getting into back-to-school season here at 65 James Street. If you haven’t gotten your summer reading done yet, stop in and see if we can help! Or, if you’re getting ready for school, whether for early grades like Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten or later grades, we might be able to help with that, too.

Also, just in time for school and Dr. Seuss Day on Wednesday, August 19, we’ve got copies of What Pet Should I Get?—the recently-found manuscript and sketches (down to notes on coloring) of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, found by his wife and secretary.

Now, onto what to expect for August events! As always, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

 Wednesday, August 19, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM: Cat in the Hat Day. Join us for some special sales of Cat in the Hat and other Seuss books—and perhaps a few other Seussical surprises!

Saturday, August 22, ALL DAY: Ray Bradbury Day. Celebrate the master author with a day full of special sales, readings, and a 12:30 talk with Alan Ira Gordon, Bradbury expert and author of JOURNEY INTO DANDELION WINE COUNTRY. More speakers TBA

And if you’re already planning for some of the wonderful September festivals in the Worcester area, ABSW will be running the Book Nook at Pet Rock Fest on Sunday, September 13 at Becker Colleges. Besides selling books, we’ll be bringing our friend Liz Mugavero, author of the Pawsitively Organic cozy pet mystery series.

Of course, as a reminder, our regular events are…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday at 7:00PM (sharing space last Monday of the month with The Free People’s Artists Workshop). 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. For the complete updates and schedules, follow Worcester Storytellers on Facebook!

The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the last Monday of August 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. Future meetings TBA.

As always, watch ABSW calendar and our Facebook Page for more details and updates.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Events Buzz: Monday on Wednesday :)

08092015 - Snow PrincessCOVERWelcome to the first week of August from Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the little “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street!

These are the last few weeks of summer. Have you gotten everything you need on your summer reading lists? Do you have any last-minute needs? Stop in and see if we can help you—we can do special order and delivery!

We apologize for the delay in blog, but we’ve had a pretty busy convention schedule. Don’t worry, though—there’s still plenty happening you should know about.

Especially this week!

We are extra-excited to be hosting artist and author Ruth Sanderson at our store THIS SUNDAY, August 9, from 2PM-4PM. Ruth Sanderson has been a professional illustrator since 1975 and has published over 80 children’s books. She’s also created numerous book covers, fantasy art, collector’s plates, animation concept art, and product design. Some of her best known, recent titles are The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Mother Goose and Friends, Rose Red & Snow White, and A Castle Full of Cats. Ruth will share her work, give an art demo, and field questions. Costumes welcomed, and there will be prizes for the best-looking princesses! There will also be princess grab-bags and treats.

Now, onto what to expect for August events! As always, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

Because it deserves repeating…

Sunday, August 8, from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM: The Princesses of Ruth Sanderson. Ruth Sanderson is an award-winning illustrator of hundreds of children’s books, particularly fairy tales and princess stories. Join us for a princess celebration! Costume contest, art demo, princess treats, and more!

CANCELLED AND ON HIATUS: Hafta Craft & Storytime Family Drop-in, Astronomy.

 Wednesday, August 19, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM: Cat in the Hat Day. Join us for some special sales of Cat in the Hat and Seuss books!

Saturday, August 22, ALL DAY: Ray Bradbury Day. Celebrate the master author with a day full of special sales, readings, and a 12:30 talk with Alan Ira Gordon, Bradbury expert and author of JOURNEY INTO DANDELION WINE COUNTRY. More speakers TBA

Of course, as a reminder, our regular events are…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday at 7:00PM (sharing space last Monday of the month with The Free People’s Artists Workshop). Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

Hafta Craft & Storytime Family Drop-in IS GOING ON HIATUS UNTIL OCTOBER. Stay tuned for its return!

Worcester Storytellers, the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. For the complete updates and schedules, follow Worcester Storytellers on Facebook!

The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the last Monday of August 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. Future meetings TBA.

As always, watch ABSW calendar and our Facebook Page for more details and updates.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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