Events Buzz Monday: It’s March!

Joanne Lockyer’s DIY romance novel cover shoot for LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS documentary.

Joanne Lockyer’s DIY romance novel cover shoot for LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS documentary.

Happy March!

We kicked off the month with a very nice turnout for our “Happy Birthday Theodore ‘Seuss’ Geisel” event this Sunday. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and took part in our many whimsical, Seussical activities! We still have plenty of Dr. Seuss books for those looking, and we still have some coloring and activity sheets available for parents, teachers, and kids to take.

Also, Happy Women’s History Month!

We have a lovely display of Women’s Studies Books in the front of the store for you to check out.

Of course, if you’re interested in these topics, we also have an excellent event coming up THIS FRIDAY, March 6, from 7:00-9:00 PM with producer and director Laurie Kahn as she talks about her most recent documentary, Love Between the Covers, where she follows the lives of five women romance authors and investigates one of the most profitable and popular fiction genres. Find out more on the Facebook event page!

Also, this weekend, don’t forget it’s Daylight Savings as of 2AM on Sunday, March 8th – hooray for more light every night!

When you do plan to come to our “bigger on the inside bookstore” at 65 James Street, definitely still check our Facebook page for any news regarding early closings or late openings due to weather. We do still live in New England.

And if you can’t make it out to our store, we do offer mail order and specialty order services—so you can get your books delivered right to your door. It’s wicked easy. Find out more on our website.

Take a look at what else we have planned for March!

THIS Friday, March 6

Besides our Love Between the Covers with Laurie Kahn from 7-9PM…

REGISTRATION DEADLINE for Diane Lewis’s mediumship event, “Together, A Message.” Diane Lewis is a renowned psychic and medium and many people have been touched by the messages they receive from loved ones who have passed on. It’s $29 for registration, and seating is limited. Please reserve through Diane’s website here.

NEXT WEEK: Saturday, March 14, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

B is for Berkshires…and a Book & Bowling Extravaganza at AMF Auburn Lanes. ABSW will be selling books at the bowling alley with author Joannie Duris. There will be readings, prizes, and a time to bowl! Here are the details on Facebook.

NEXT WEEK: Saturday, March 14, 5:00 – 7:00 PM Re-imagine Urban Fantasy Magic with Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz.

Saturday, March 21, 4:00-7:00 PM Diane Lewis presents “Together, A Message” Mediumship event & signing for A Little Inspiration.

Sunday, March 22, 1:00-3:00 PM Insanity Tales authors Q&A, readings panel.

UPDATED Saturday, March 28, 2:00-4:00 PM Kristina England reads and signs Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services and Other Mysteries.

And don’t forget our regular events.

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, 7PM every Monday

Literary Genre Trivia Night and Literary Genre Trivia Reprise will be taking a break until the spring of 2015, but stay tuned to our blog and website for its triumphant return.

Worcester Storytellers happens the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. The featured guests March are Linda McCarthy and Susan Matusen. For the complete updates and schedules, follow Worcester Storytellers on Facebook!

Keep an eye on the ABSW calendar and our Facebook Page for more details and updates.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight: Joan Duris and B IS FOR BERKSHIRES

02272015 - BisforBerk-high resAnnie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to welcome Joannie Duris, author of B is for Berkshires and host for the Book and Bowling Bonanza on March 14th at Auburn AMF Lanes, on our author spotlight blog this week!

Welcome, Joannie! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?

I have such diverse interests that I’m sort of part time everything: part time writer, part time psychiatric nurse, part time ski patroller, and part time everything else in my life. A friend very politely described me as a Renaissance Woman, which sounds pretty cool. I’ve very much stayed in touch with my inner child, which is why I love writing for kids. I’ve had stories and articles published in several children’s magazines, and although not yet published in the genre, I especially enjoy writing early chapter books with a touch of fantasy and quirky or unlikely heroes. So how did my first children’s book end up being nonfiction? I’ll answer that question later.

To avoid confusion, I decided to use my legal name, Joan Duris, on the cover of my book. Life would have been easier if I spelled my nickname a normal way, such as Joanie, Joni, or even Joany. Back when I was a teenager I decided to spell it the way it sounded to me—with a double ‘n’. Folks who don’t know me think it’s Joanne or Joanne-ie (which drives me nuts), but friends knows me as Joannie.

What was the inspiration for B is for Berkshires?

I can’t take credit for the inspiration. Melissa Kim, the Senior Children’s Book Editor at Islandport Press, actually contacted me last spring about the project. She liked my writing style in previous submissions and thought it was a good match for me. I was familiar with the Berkshires, and knew I’d be able to find unique angles for several topics that would fascinate both kids and adults. I had a moment of panic, but said yes—my first book contract!

What was the biggest challenge in writing B is for Berkshires? How did you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge—and what caused that moment of panic—was a tight production schedule. But when I learned that tight schedule meant about four months, and not four weeks, it seemed doable. We spent a month bouncing around ideas for an A-Z list on a shared Google Doc, with Gillian also posting photo options, and Melissa making the final topic decisions for about 2/3 of the alphabet. Some topics required more discussion and thought over the summer—the letter A wasn’t approved until about two weeks before my final copy deadline.

I set a goal of completing three letters (in random order) every two weeks, which gave me a little wiggle room to research, write, and revise everything. My nursing schedule was flexible, and I was able to take a vacation day from the hospital every couple of weeks to devote more time to the book. I also meet with my SCBWI critique group twice a month, so I was able to bounce all the letters off my group for final revisions before sending them, letter by letter, to my editor. With the tight schedule, I wanted material as polished as possible to make her life easier. I logged between 500 and 600 hours working on the book, and even surprised myself when I totaled up the number of A-Z drafts saved on my computer: 127 versions! That doesn’t even count the number of scribbles that never made it beyond paper.

What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story?

Photo by Anthony DiChello

Photo by Anthony DiChello

What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

I started my initial research online, and looked through Audubon and Trustees of Reservations guidebooks I have at home. Then I added a collection of books about waterfalls and hiking trails in the Berkshires, and picked up a map and a Berkshires guidebook that listed websites for everything. I also made day trips to the area about once a month to talk with people and collect tourist brochures. Primary sources were key to finding fun bits of information for the book. Besides in-person interviews, I had numerous fascinating email and phone conversations.

I was especially fascinated by bald eagles and how they were reintroduced to the state, and after my book was already at the printers, I went to a presentation at Northfield Mountain by the DFW State Ornithologist, Dr. Andrew Vitz. He had been my primary source for an accurate spring nest count, so I was thrilled to meet him in person, and to get more details on the manmade nests at Quabbin.

I had a maximum of 150 words per letter. That included a poem for younger kids, and the “___ is also for ___” sentence, so I only had about 120 words left for the main text for older readers. This multi-layered text makes it an ideal book for kids from 3 to 10, and of course, curious-minded adults. Focusing down dozens of pages of research means I have lots more material than would fit in the book. I have a ‘Berkshire Extras’ page on my website where I’ll be sharing fun bits of A to Z information that weren’t in the book. After B is for Berkshires is released, I’ll start with A, and work my way to Z, probably posting a new letter each week.

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

Definitely the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Join or start your own critique group of fellow writers. I value input from members in my group, and we inspire each other as we celebrate successes. Attend and volunteer to help at local conferences to hone your craft and network with other authors, editors, and agents. Networking and staying connected is what led to me learning about Islandport Press, meeting Melissa Kim in person, submitting to her, and being offered my first contract. It’s pretty cool to have an editor ask me to write a book after decades of submitting to editors throughout the country. It’s all about meeting the right person at the right time with the right manuscript.

Your release event is a Books and Bowling Bonanza. What made you want to have your release at a bowling alley? Is there a tie to bowling in the book or the story of how the book came to be?

The Bonanza combines two things I love: books and bowling. Reading books has always been a big part of my life, and I’ve been bowling in leagues pretty much since I was ten years old. I had been thinking outside the box for promotional ideas, and know that giving away copies of your book can be a good way to get the word out. So I figured, why not have a “Bowl for a Book” door prize drawing at Auburn Lanes for a free autographed copy? From there it progressed to organizing a book launch event. The ‘F is for Fall Foliage’ page has a loose connection to bowling, since I mention pumpkin bowling at a fall festival—so that’s why it’s my sneak peek page.

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

B is for Berkshires will no doubt make it into just about every gift shop and bookstore in the area. Photos in the book are by Gillian Jones, a photojournalist for the Berkshire Eagle. Her stunning, full-page photos and the brilliant design give it a visual appeal as the perfect coffee table book. But mostly I wrote this book for kids. It encourages the reader to explore, imagine possibilities, and discover the hidden corners of the Berkshires. Librarians, teachers, and homeschoolers will find my book has an interesting blend of science, history, and culture…mixed with bits of humor.

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

My new website, www.joanduris.com, is a work-in-progress, but you can learn more about my awesomeness, including how I spent part of my childhood in Japan (complete with photos). And my ‘Critter Corner’ has proof that I’ve been known to chase bears away from my birdfeeders. Feel free to stalk me at the New England SCBWI Conference in Springfield, MA, this April. Well, maybe not stalk me, but come say hello at the registration and door prize tables.

You can find a sneak peek of the ‘F is for Fall Foliage’ page on my website. Islandport Press also celebrated our lovely winter weather last week by posting a sneak peek of the ‘I is for Ice’ page from my book: http://islandportpress.typepad.com/

Thank you so much for joining us, Joannie! We look forward to seeing you at the Auburn AMF Lanes for the Book & Bowling Bonanza with B is for Berkshires!

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SPECULATIVE FICTION TUESDAY, February 24, 2015.

This seemingly-endless winter has borne fruit in the continuing expansion of our website, all the better to serve you.

B7_EY_CD3

Just in time for Speculative Fiction Tuesday, we have added the New Spoken Word Audio page among the Items For Sale via our web site. We’ve started our offerings on this page featuring titles from B7 Media. BLAKE’S 7: THE AUDIO ADVENTURES and BLAKE’S 7: THE EARLY YEARS have an impressive range of voice talents… some from the classic television series, such as Michael Keating and Jan Chappell, others from more recent television and theatre work, such as Derek Riddell, Colin Salmon, Frances Barber, Keeley Hawes and Benedict Cumberbatch.

These titles are available in-store and via mail order, and are some of the best-produced, best-scripted, and best-performed audios we have ever heard in any genre. The original BLAKE’S 7 television series was a groundbreaker, with its cast of escaped prisoners and its portrayal of a dystopian future, that set the tone for many more recent series like BABYLON 5, FIREFLY and FARSCAPE.

Take a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

And we’ll have more to offer here as the seasons progress!

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Events Buzz Monday: March is around the Corner!

We’re in the last week of February, and March is right around the corner—and March has a lot of things to celebrate!

March is Women’s History Month, and we have just received a bunch of titles in feminist studies, filmmaking, and feminist film making. They’re being seeded onto our shelves over the next few days.

Of course, if you’re interested in these topics, we also have an excellent event coming up on Friday, March 6, from 7:00-9:00 PM with producer and director Laurie Kahn as she talks about her most recent documentary, Love Between the Covers, where she follows the lives of five romance authors and investigates one of the most profitable and popular fiction genres. Find out more on the Facebook event page!

March also holds Saint Patrick’s Day, and we know we have a lot of Irish friends and patrons. We also recently received a lot of titles in fiction and non-fiction for those who love the Irish culture. Patty will be putting together a display, but keep an eye out for these little pots of gold that are all over the store.

When you do plan to come to our “bigger on the inside bookstore” at 65 James Street, definitely still check our Facebook page for any news regarding early closings or late openings due to weather. We do still live in New England.

Take a look at what else we have planned for March!

THIS FRIDAY, February 27, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM, join Worcester Storytellers for their regular Open Mic with Featured Reader. This month, come and listen to Alan Gordon.

Alan Ira Gordon is a Worcester native and has been writing short stories and poetry for many years, with most of his writing in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. His fiction is collected in the anthology Journey Into Dandelion Wine Country. Gordon’s poetry has frequently been featured in Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA). He’s a member of the SFPA and his genre poetry has been included in Beyond Centauri, FrostFireWorlds, Halloween Haiku II, The Martian Wave and most recently the January/February 2015 issue of The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Earlier this past year, he was the guest columnist for the Horror Writers Of America’s monthly Dark Poets poetry column on their webpage.

Find out more from the event listing here.

THIS SUNDAY, March 1, from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, join us as we wish a Happy 111th Birthday to Theodore “Seuss” Geisel. Bring the whole family to join us for crafts, activities, and more, put together by Read Across America and brought to you by your favorite bookstores and libraries across the country! Details on our Facebook page.

UPDATE – Kristina England’s signing and reading of Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services and Other Mysteries has been changed again to Saturday, March 28 from 2:00-4:00 PM. Here are the details on Facebook!

Also happening in March…

Friday, March 6

Besides our Love Between the Covers with Laurie Kahn from 7-9PM, this is also the registration deadline for Diane Lewis’s mediumship event, “Together, A Message.” Diane Lewis is a renowned psychic and medium and many people have been touched by the messages they receive from loved ones who have passed on. It’s $29 for registration, and seating is limited.

Saturday, March 14, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

B is for Berkshires…and a Book & Bowling Extravaganza at AMF Auburn Lanes. ABSW will be selling books at the bowling alley with author Joannie Duris. Here are the details on Facebook.

Saturday, March 14, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Re-imagine Urban Fantasy Magic with Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz. Check out the details here.

Saturday, March 21, 4:00-7:00 PM

Diane Lewis presents “Together, A Message” Mediumship event & signing for A Little Inspiration. Find out more on the Facebook event.

UPDATED Sunday, March 22, 1:00-3:00 PM

Insanity Tales authors Q&A, readings panel. More details here.

UPDATED Saturday, March 28, 2:00-4:00 PM

Kristina England reads and signs Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services and Other Mysteries. Details here.

And don’t forget our regular events.

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, 7PM every Monday

Literary Genre Trivia Night and Literary Genre Trivia Reprise will be taking a break until the spring of 2015, but stay tuned to our blog and website for its triumphant return.

Worcester Storytellers happens the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. The featured guest for February’s Open Mic will be Alan Gordon, and March will feature Linda McCarthy and Susan Matusen. For the complete updates and schedules, follow Worcester Storytellers on Facebook!

Keep an eye on the ABSW calendar and our Facebook Page for more details and updates.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight: Psychic / Medium Diane Lewis

01122015 - Little Inspiration Book CoverAnnie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to host Diane Lewis, psychic, medium, and spiritual healer, on our Author Spotlight Blog this week! Diane visited ABSW back in January with her book A Little Inspiration, and now she’s returning on March 21 for a full Mediumship event, “Together, A Message.” After the event, she will be available to sign her books, as well.

Cost for the event is $29, and you can register directly with Diane on her website here. We’ll set up in a private room across the street from the bookstore, so we do need to have a final registration count by March 6th. Seating is limited to 25 people, so make sure you sign up soon!

Not sure what to expect? Diane was happy to share some information with us in her interview!

Thank you for being on our Author Spotlight Blog, Diane! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself, your work, and your writing?

I am a psychic, spiritual healer and medium. My work involves helping people—connecting them with the spiritual realm. I use my gifts in private intuitive readings, medium readings, public presentations, and workshops. I have written spiritual articles, and A Little Inspiration was created to help individuals uncover their own inner greatness through channeled messages.

What is the best way for people to find you and follow your work?

Through my website: www.dianelewis.us.com or on social media. Facebook, Google & Twitter.

What was YOUR inspiration for your book A Little Inspiration?

I had been sending out a weekly email with an inspirational message. I loved doing them because of the wonderful acknowledgments I would get either through email or in person. With time constraints, I had to stop but was guided by spirit to produce A Little Inspiration.

Has there ever been a time in your life where you just needed a little boost of inspiration, yourself?

I don’t have a defining moment that comes to mind. Rather, I see inspiration as ongoing. To be inspired in a hundred small and different ways every day, that’s where I get my boost of inspiration.

What inspired you to become a medium?

My talent has always been there, but it was when I fully understood those who were trying to communicate and didn’t have an outlet that made me realize that I could be their voice and in that process be helpful to both sides.02202015 - Diane picture

What can people expect from “Together, A Message”? What’s it like to attend a mediumship event like this?

They can expect to have a unique experience because I will be connecting with loved ones and persons who have crossed over who are connected in some way to the individuals attending the event. Everyone present will also share in each and every communication and message that comes through whether it’s for them or not.

What’s one of your favorite stories / connections that you can share from one of your events?

One that comes to mind involves my own Dad who has passed. I was conducting a presentation when my Dad shows up! I told him I was working and I couldn’t talk to him right now and without a ruffle he informed me he’s just helping. How I asked? He turned around and next thing I know he was bring forward an audience members grandfather.

He has also show up at a few other times to help me out.

What has been a challenge you’ve had to overcome, either as a psychic/medium or as a writer that you could share? How did you overcome that challenge?

Perception. How people perceive psychics and mediums. I like to educate people so they understand what it is we really are about.

With all the work you do, I’m sure you get a lot of interviews. Is there a question you wish people would ask you in an interview? If so, what is it…and what is the answer?

How do you like being a psychic medium? I totally love it!

Thank you very much for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday, March 21, from 4:00-7:00PM for “Together, A Message” and a signing of A Little Inspiration.

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A Very Late… Monday Events Buzz

eggcartondragon(Sorry for the lateness, all. Massachusetts winter, frozen pipes, evil snow, related issues… Most of you understand, I hope. Anyway…)

Happy February Vacation!

And hopefully a warm and cozy one for as many as possible.

For those of you suffering from cabin fever and looking for something crafty and fun to do with your children (that doesn’t require you vacuuming glitter for the next six months), stop on by to Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at 65 James Street this week.

This Monday we made dragons.

On Tuesday, February 17 from 11AM-3PM we’ll have Hafta Craft Winter Mice.

And on Wednesday, February 18 from 11AM-3PM we’ll have Hafta Craft Astronomy.

Bring yourself and your imagination—we’ll provide the rest.

Don’t forget we also do offer mail order services! Check out the details on our website. You can call or email us about what you need, and we will send it out to you with $3.50 shipping… or FREE shipping for orders over $75.00! Stay warm and comfy and still get your favorite books, comics, toys, gifts, and more!

And if you are planning to come out, we always love to see you at 65 James Street, but we also worry about the safety of our staff–so watch our Facebook page for any news regarding early closings or late openings due to weather.

Despite the storms, we are still having events! Here is the latest in updates—as well as a sneak peek at March!

UPDATE – Kristina England’s signing and reading of Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services and Other Mysteries has been postponed to Saturday, March 21. Times to be announced soon.

Sunday, March 1, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss – crafts and activities.

Friday, March 6, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Love Between the Covers

Registration Deadline for Diane Lewis’s “Together, A Message.”

Saturday, March 14, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

B is for Berkshires…and a Book & Bowling Extravaganza at AMF Auburn Lanes.

Saturday, March 14, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Re-imagine Urban Fantasy Magic with Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz

Saturday, March 21, Time TBA

Kristina England reads and signs Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services and Other Mysteries

Saturday, March 21, 4:00-7:00 PM

Diane Lewis presents “Together, A Message” Mediumship event & signing for A Little Inspiration

And don’t forget our regular events.

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, 7PM every Monday

Literary Genre Trivia Night and Literary Genre Trivia Reprise will be taking a break until the spring of 2015, but stay tuned to our blog and website for its triumphant return.

Worcester Storytellers happens the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. The featured guest for February’s Open Mic will be Alan Gordon, and March will feature Linda McCarthy and Susan Matusen.

Keep an eye on the ABSW calendar and our Facebook Page for more details and updates. May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight: Ferrett Steinmetz and FLEX

02132015 - Flex CoverAnnie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine a spotlight on Ferrett Steinmetz, author of Flex today! Ferrett will be visiting our “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street on Saturday, March 14, from 5:00-7:00 PM.

Welcome to our blog, Ferrett! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?

I’m Ferrett Steinmetz, and I write fairly weird tales. I was a pretty terrible fiction writer for years until I took the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in 2008 – a six-week writers’ intensive on science-fiction storytelling where such heady teachers as Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link showed me just how much work I had left to do. Since then, I’ve published over thirty short stories and been nominated for the Nebula Award in 2012. I’m also a voluminous blogger who talks a lot about polyamory and other alt-sex practices, and am probably best known for my essay “Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex,” which went viral in 2014 and had over a million people read it. I also make a lot of bad jokes.

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

Flex involves a lot of really psychotic magic – literally psychotic, because the central concept of Flex is that if you love something obsessively enough, you can start wearing holes in the laws of physics. So all the magic in Flex is ridiculously personal, and unique – there are bureaucromancers who ride the power of paperwork, and videogamemancers who whip out Portal guns, and Crazy Cat Ladies who’ve ascended to felimancers, and illustromancers who make Titian’s paintings come to life for them, and… …there’s magical drugs. Lots and lots of magical drugmaking. So the obvious touchstone here is Breaking Bad, which I get lots of comparisons to.   Depending on who you talk to, this is either “Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files meets Breaking Bad,” or “Breaking Bad by way of Scott Pilgrim.” I’m okay with either. But one of the hallmarks of my short story work is that I take a weird concept and treat it absolutely seriously. The world is bizarre. But Paul, the lead character? He’s got a six-year-old daughter who’s going to have her life ruined unless he can find a way to control his magic. And that’s not a joke to him. This magic can be weird, but it’s deadly, and unless he can save his kid none of this matters. Let’s hope the kid doesn’t get hurt.

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?02132015 - Ferrett author photo

The sad truth of my life is that my actual life has more quotable one-liners than my fiction does. That’s because I’m a snarky jerk who’ll say anything if it’s funny, but the characters I write usually aren’t. So I make people laugh, but my stories – though enjoyable! – tend to be low on the flashy dialogue. Then I discovered Valentine. See, the lead of my book, Paul, is a straight-laced bureaucromancer. He’s a decent man who makes magic because he believes deeply in perfect filing, neat stacks of paperwork, getting every form filled out correctly. And I needed someone who was Paul’s polar opposite to force him to defend his positions. So I went, “Okay, the opposite of meticulous duty would be… videogames. Oh, I play lots of videogames. And Paul is fastidious, I need someone sloppy. He’s sincere, I need snarky. And I want a woman to be the lead – someone who’s unafraid of showing who she is.” And Valentine just exploded off the page. She’s pudgy, but she dresses like the hottest goth girl at the club because she thinks she’s beautiful. She loves her magic, channeling the power of videogames to go all Grand Theft Auto on people. She loves sex, refusing to be ashamed of her kinky habits. Yet for all of that, the thing she shares with Paul – what bonds them – is that she cares. And cares deeply. But unlike Paul, she masks it behind a façade of awful one-liners. But I get to write her one-liners. And that’s why I love her.

What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

My lead character Paul is an amputee – he had his right ankle crushed in a magical battle with an Illustromancer. I took a lot of Paul’s pride from my Uncle Tommy, my best friend as a kid, who was a hemophiliac with crippling arthritis but never wanted anyone to just see him for his disease. Yet while I knew what kind of attitude Paul would have, I didn’t know the mechanics of recovering from an amputation. So I did about three days’ worth of solid research, seeing how people learned to walk again, looking up endless catalogues for what kind of prosthesis he has. It didn’t come up that much – this is an action book, and like my Uncle Tommy, it would be a disservice to define Paul by his handicap. But it was fascinating, seeing just how much technology has been poured into amputated limbs (an unexpected side effect of the protracted Iraq war), and how much work you have to put into something that’s almost as good as a leg, and how big a gap that “almost as good” still is. I still have the prosthetic that Paul uses bookmarked. Because that stuff is just compelling to look at.

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

At one point I was asked to do a blog post on “Five books that share a theme with Flex.” And that was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write, because I wrote things I hadn’t seen in books a lot! Which isn’t to say I’ve written something completely unique – if you’re a writer, you find out just how tragically underread you are, so I know there are books that deal with these themes – but I love stories with platonic friends. I love adventure stories with strong father-daughter elements. I love stories with overweight women who are still strong, flawed characters. I love stories that have their roles subtly gender-flipped. And if I’d read more of those stories, I probably never would have written Flex! Technically Flex is Urban Fantasy, and I think it fits okay in there. But I tend to be write all the things I haven’t seen. And I tend to be drawn to books that give me stuff I haven’t seen before, sometimes repurposed – China Mieville’s utterly compelling landscapes, the staid weirdness of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the Greek philosophy-experiment of Jo Walton’s The Just City, the alien biology of Peter Watts’ Blindsight. Basically, if it’s utterly new to me as a concept, I’m gonna love it. And I think there will always be people drawn to newness. There’s nothing wrong with the folks who read mass-market fiction – my Mom will read endless serial killers in James Patterson books, and they make her happy. But me? I need that rush of “Oh, crap, I have zero idea of what’s coming next.” And I hope that Flex fits into that category.

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

I blog and Tweet a lot. Like, a lot. Like, if you open up your browser and navigate to my sites, you will get a high-pressure hose of words opened up upon you, and broomsticks will begin marching Fantasia-style through your door. That said, I blog at www.theferrett.com, and can be found Tweetering at @ferretthimself.

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

I have been enstalkenated for years, so I’ve got a pretty high tolerance for creepiness. I like people. They’re interesting. But if you wanna follow me, again, I blog a lot – so check the blog – and if you wanna share my awesomeness, leave a review of my work at Goodreads, or maybe on your blog or Facebook. Reviews help authors! Please do so even if you didn’t care for the book. I believe in the power of honest reviews. What I write won’t be for everyone, so saying what didn’t work for you is every bit as powerful as what did work.

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