Spotlight: Leah DeCesare, FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight this week on Leah DeCesare, who will be at our 65 James Street store, speaking and signing on Saturday, June 10, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM.

Leah DeCesare is the author of Forks, Knives, And Spoons and the nonfiction parenting series Naked Parenting, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. Leah’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula and The Key, among others. In 2008, Leah co-founded the nonprofit Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. In a past life, Leah worked in public relations and event planning. She now writes, teaches and volunteers in Rhode Island where she lives with her family and their talking cockatiel.

Thank you so much for joining us, Leah! Can you please tell us briefly a little more about yourself and your writing?

I’m a mom of three teens, 18, 16 and 13, and have been married for almost 23 years. I’ve always loved writing but strayed from creative writing after college and when I had small children. I got back to writing more regularly when I started a blog in 2010 which eventually led me to write the Naked Parenting books, but writing a novel is where my heart has always been.

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

I didn’t expect to need to do a lot of research for this book, but in fact I did quite a bit. I lived through the period in which the book is set – 1988-1994 – so I had the feel for it, but it’s amazing how much I had to look up. How much did the early CD players cost? What year did that song/movie/Sega game come out? I used some old yearbooks and photo albums to help initially with general hairstyles and fashions but often had to search and dig deeper. Even having lived before cell phone and the internet, it’s really hard now to envision life without that instantaneous connection and having any answer at your fingertips.

 

What was the inspiration for Forks, Knives, and Spoons? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

That idea of labeling guys as forks, knives, and spoons is the real life nugget from which I spun the rest of the story. The August before I left for Syracuse, while out to dinner with my parents, my dad spontaneously gave me this last ditch talk about guys. At school, my girlfriends and I elaborated and invented and really used this system, it sort of went viral before viral was a thing. So through the years, the basic concept stayed with me but there was no story around it. When I finally sat to write this book, I had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth.

 

 

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

I am drawn to books about human nature and relationships – real, three-dimensional characters with flaws and heart. I love reading a story that is well-written, one in which I feel secure in the confidence of the writer and one that shares some wisdom and opportunity to reflect on my own life and life in general. In short, the sort of book that is conducive to discussion, a bookclub read.

In Forks, Knives, and Spoons, I wanted to share this story of friendship and believing in oneself while being entertaining, fun, and thought-provoking. It’s been rewarding to hear from readers in different stages of life. I had a woman in her 40s tell me that it made her see her own relationship in a new way, a woman in her 60s tear up and say she wished she’d had this viewpoint when she was younger, and a mother sending her oldest off to college got seven books for her daughter’s friends as graduation gifts because she wants them to hear the lesson in the book. To me, that’s part of the job of fiction: helping us to make sense of the world around us, helping us see things from another point of view.

 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process?  What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

Since the time I was very young, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I would write poems and stories and even sent off the first five chapters of a novel to a Big Five New York City publishing house when I was ten years old. (My first badge as a writer – a rejection letter in fifth grade!) I’ve wanted to write a novel as long as I can recall so my favorite part is that I’ve actually done it!

 

I don’t entirely agree with the Dorothy Parker quote “I hate writing, I love having written,” but I do understand it. The day I finished my first draft was monumental – I had written a novel! Of course, all first drafts are crap and the book is dramatically different from those pages, but it was such a victory, such an accomplishment.

The lessons that have come from this have been tremendous – the saying, “You write your first novel to learn how to write a novel” has been true for me. I learned so much through trial and error, by hiring a developmental editor, taking crafting courses, reading books/blogs and by just writing. I’m approaching how I write my second novel in a very different way and it’s already proving better for me. I’m told by the pros who’ve written stacks of books that it doesn’t really get easier (sigh) and I can understand that yet at least I’m more confident in how I’m tackling the project this time.

 

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

I grew up in Newtown, Connecticut and returned to another town in Fairfield County with my husband when we were first married. When people ask me “Where are you from?” my initial response is always, “Connecticut” even though I haven’t lived there since 2001. That is where I’m from, that is home. We’ve now lived in Rhode Island for eleven years, so including Connecticut and Rhode Island in this story makes sense to me. I always say that the characters need to be from somewhere, I may as well make them be from somewhere that I know and love.

My work-in-progress is set in the Mystic and Stonington area of Connecticut, a place dear to my heart where my parents reside and where I’ve spent summers for my whole life. I imagine the New England states will always play some part in the settings of my books, though at some point it would be fun to explore other locals in my writing as well. I love to travel so it could be a good excuse for a few trips. Maybe I need to hang out in Provence or Tuscany for a a bit to do some setting research!

 

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

Absolutely, Annie’s Book Shop first! Forks, Knives, and Spoons is available on all the online outlets: IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc. and at other bookstores across North America. Ask your local bookstore or library to carry it if you don’t find it there.

They’re also on the bottom of my home page: leahdecesare.com

 

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

Thank you, I love this question because I love being able to connect directly with readers and bookclubs. People can sign up for my monthly newsletter (I pair a book I recommend with a wine each month) at http://www.leahdecesare.com/subscribe and I’m in all the typical social media spots!

            Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/leahdecesareauthor/

            Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/leahdecesare

Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/Leah-DeCesare/e/B00LNLVK2C/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1475107485&sr=1-1

            Pinterest – (I have a Forks, Knives, and Spoons board) https://www.pinterest.com/leahdecesare/

            Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/leah.decesare/

            BookBubs – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/leah-decesare

            Twitter – https://twitter.com/LeahDeCesare

Thank you, again, Leah, for being on our Spotlight blog!

Enjoyed learning more about Leah? Come meet her in person on Saturday, June 10, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, 65 James Street!

 

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Events Buzz: Pre-Memorial Day

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As we approach Memorial Day, Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester gives thanks to all of our soldiers and military who gave their lives defending our country and our rights. We couldn’t be a place of free thinking and free speech without them.

For those who also celebrate Memorial Day as the kickoff to summer, we wish all of you safe travels and wonderful time spent with your families and/or friends.

Thank you to everyonne who came out to all our great events this weekend! We talked about families amongst our Doctor Who Discussion Night family. We discussed the importance of queer characters and writing authentic queer characters with Jeremy Flagg, and we continued LGBTQIA discussions with our Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts Book Club. Finally, we rounded out our weekend with some Myth and Magic Storytime and Crafts. It was a lot of fun, and we were so glad to spend time with our guests and patrons!

Don’t forget, too, our 65 James Street shop will be open for our Regular Hours on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.

In case you forgot, our Regular Hours are:

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

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

Sunday                        –           10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

ABSW has started getting in the required titles for our local schools’ Summer Reading Lists, but feel free to keep bringing them into us and making your requests. Summer Reading books fly off the shelves here, so take advantage of the perennial favorites on our sale cart and let us know what you need as early as possible.

With June just on the horizon, get ready for  Report Card Rewards! From June 1 to June 30, bring your final 2017 report card into our 65 James Street store and receive free books!

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

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

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

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

One prize per report card.

THIS WEEK we are happy to host Worcester Storytellers Open Mic and Featured Reader Karen Sharpe on Friday, May 26, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM. Come and share your writing—poetry, prose, nonfiction, fiction, anything in between—and then sit back and enjoy the work of Karen Sharpe.

Karen Elizabeth Sharpe was selected by Marge Piercy for the sixth annual Marge Piercy Juried Poetry Intensive in June 2015, and the inaugural Marge Piercy Returning Poets group in October 2016.

Karen’s work is forthcoming or has appeared in the Art with Poetry Exhibition 2017,  Worcester, MA, Verse Virtual, Columbia Journal of Arts & Literature: Catch & Release, Canary: The Journal of the Environmental Crisis, Silkworm, The Worcester Review, the Sprinkler Factory, Triple Moon Arts, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Poetpourri, The Comstock Review, the Ledge, Yankee Magazine, and in her collection, This Late Afternoon. She is a past first place winner of the Worcester Review’s annual poetry contest, the Frank O’Hara Prize (judged by Hugh Ogden) and the Prentiss Cheney Hoyt contest at Clark University.  She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Karen is a regular workshop leader for the Mass Poetry’s annual Student Day of Poetry and has recently joined the editorial board of the Worcester Review as a poetry reader, and is a member of the PoemWorks workshop group in Newton, MA.

Karen is the Assistant Vice President for Advancement at Worcester State University.

And THIS SUNDAY,  May 28, 12:00 – 3:00 PM, join us for Colorful Robots, a drop-in craft and activity day! We’ll be offering robot-themed crafts and coloring pages for children of all ages and parents. Children MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times.

And to finish up the month with some Music and Magic

Wednesday, May 31, 6:00 – 3:00 PM – D.J. Butler Witchy Eye Signing, Speaking, and Music

D.J. Butler is the author of the multiple science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, superhero, alternate history, and horror novels. On Wednesday, May 31, from 6:00-8:00 PM, he celebrates the release of his latest book, Witchy Eye, at 65 James Street, with music, historical research, and a little Appalachian magic.

And June is right around the corner…

June is National Pride Month, and Rainbow Readers with Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester have a busy month filled with LGBTQIA events.  Here’s a peek!

UPDATED LINK / PRIDE SPECIFIC: Saturday, June 3, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – A History of Queer Culture with Sarah Prager.

UPDATED LINK! Saturday, June 10, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Leah DeCesare presents Forks, Knives, and Spoons.

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Sunday, June 11, 2:00 – 4:00 PM – Brave Boy World, an anthology of transman stories with editor Michael Takeda and artist Dante Saunders.

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 23, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers

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

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

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

Worcester Storytellers, the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Join the Worcester Storytellers for their open mic and featured reader every month.April. Next meeting is May 26.

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 May 22.

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

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

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

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

 

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Spotlight: Bob Green and TROPEFEST!

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to welcome Bob Green, author of TROPEFEST!: Attack of the Killer Cliches to our Friday Spotlight Blog. Bob is a friend of the store and a fellow genre fan—particularly in horror.  His book, based on his blog and his critiques of horror films and film tropes, has just arrived to our shelves! We’re happy to introduce you.

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

My name is Bob Green. It is literally the most boring, milquetoast name in the world.  I’ve come to grips with that.  I write short essay style critiques of horror films and film tropes and I am the author of TROPEFEST!: Attack of the Killer Cliches.  I don’t write fiction because the plot bunnies run from me every damn time.  I guess I have a face that scares bunnies.  Who knew?

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

Well, like I said above, I don’t write fiction.  Every time I try to write fiction, I mop myself into a corner because I can’t write a plot to save my life.  In every scenario I imagine in which I HAVE to write an actual story to save my live, I die horribly.  It’s not pretty.  Blood and bits everywhere.  Stains on the carpet that will never come out.  It does horrible things to my sleep cycle.  I like naps, so I don’t write fiction. 

I DO, on the other hand, keep things light and quick… and snarky… and foul-mouthed… and way too opinionated for my own damn good… by writing short essays about things that I know and love.  Primarily, lately, that’s been horror movies and fiction but it could change.  So, while you’re not getting a “story” with my work, it’s more like I’m the guy at the bar that doesn’t drink and has to find some way to keep himself entertained besides laughing at drunk people and dodging darts and vomit so he regales you with silly trivia to make his life seem meaningful except he was raised by bikers and longshoremen so children and the elderly should not be within a 3 mile radius of this person talking.  It’s more like written stand-up comedy.  Sit-down comedy? Whatevs.

 

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?

Oh, wow.  My stuff is ALL research.  Because, up until now, anyway, my writing is all about horror fiction and film and the tropes and cliches that drive them into your eyeholes; I want to know what’s up behind them.  Why they’re used.  Why they scare us.  How they add tension.  Why they’re fucking stupid.  Why screenwriters should be slapped with an oar for using some of them (Leprechaun 4: In Space, man… just… no).  In all of it, though, I have to say that my favorite bit of research, so far, has to be about spiders for TROPEFEST 2: Return of the Killer Cliches (coming soon… I hope… still writing).  It’s, thus far, the most personally attacked I’ve ever felt by my own writing because it’s one of my own deep-seated fears.  

As for stuff I couldn’t include, WHOO, boy.  SO much.  So much.  The book isn’t about spiders.  A CHAPTER in the book is about spiders.  I left out things like some jumping spider species seeing into visual spectrums that we can’t (like the Mantis Shrimp) and Red Widow (Latrodectus bishopi) males literally repeatedly placing themselves into a female’s mandibles during mating until she eats him.  That, right there, is a dude in need of some abuse counseling.  I find so many things to include in each essay that it’s often hard to even narrow down examples of the tropes in film.  Do you KNOW how many killer spider movies, books, and characters there are?  I have a harder time avoiding them in film and fiction than I do in a campsite restroom.  (Which is also why I never camp.)

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What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out TROPEFEST! ?  How did you overcome that challenge?

Really?  My biggest challenge to writing anything is my own brain.  Bipolar disorder is a bitch and it can derail you.  It did, a number of times, while I was getting this book together and out there.  It helped that the book started out as blog posts but when you promise your readers an article a week and can’t deliver, it stings. 

 

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

See, now, this is a trick question because I am FULLY aware that my one available book is incredibly niche.  It’s non-fiction.  It’s about horror movies.  It’s decidedly NOT academic in nature.  It’s a handful of factual essays, compiled from blog posts, written by an openly gay horror movie fan and that presence is keenly felt throughout the book.  It informs my opinions on some level.  It may turn people off.  On the other hand, who doesn’t like to laugh?  Why should factual analysis of anything read like a textbook?  Why can’t textbooks be funny?  I know I’d probably have learned French better if the textbook read like a Robin Williams concert.  As of right now, I could probably be able to ask for a glass of water in Paris and they’d bring me my glass of water with a side order of withering stare and abject disdain for not attempting to speak their beautiful language.  They may attempt to beat me to death with a baguette.  I would be ashamed. 

 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process?  What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

I just love to write!  I love getting ideas out of my head.  I love sharing things that I know and love with people and I like to think of myself as a natural-born educator (without the will, drive, or money to get an actual degree).  The publishing process, though, is an odd duck because I self-published through Amazon.  No one came and asked me to submit a manuscript; I grabbed the reins and made it happen myself.  Perhaps this makes me less aware of the trials other writers go through, and I feel guilty about that sometimes.  Then again, It was only after TROPEFEST had been out for a few weeks that I had noticed glaring errors, formatting issues, references to other blog posts, pictures that didn’t exist and all of that other crap that made me realize that I should probably not edit my own work.

 

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

HP Lovecraft and Stephen King.  ‘Nuff said.

 

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

A couple of things:  First, READ!  Consume the books.  All of the books (there are exceptions that I will tell you about in an intimate setting surrounded by very thick soundproofing *ahemivankatrumpahem*).  You can’t know what you like to write about if you don’t know what you like to read.  Plus, it’s SUPER good for your brain and an educated and literate populace is how we grow as a society.  Second, just write.  Keep writing.  If you get blocked on one story, start another.  Write a poem.  Write a paragraph.  Write a word.  Trickle, stream or river, it doesn’t matter as long as they keep flowing.

 

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

TROPEFEST 2: Return of the Killer Cliches is coming.  Hide the wife and kids.  Other than that, I don’t know.  I’m hoping to drum up some Convention and other public appearances but I don’t have a publicist so it’s weird being all “Hey, I’m this guy that wrote a book you’ve never heard of.  Let me run a panel or three on horror movies.”  I’m also considering writing a collection wherein I retell the Greek myths in my usual sassy style.  That’s gonna be FUN!

 

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

Well, the cool thing about the way I write is that I can pick it up and put it down easily.  I don’t have a LOT of free time, but I do have enough to indulge myself in other activities.

 

What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?

Does sex count?

But, no, seriously, I enjoy costuming, performing, SO much reading and watching horrible movies.  I’m a video gamer.  I love comics.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not GOOD at any of these things (except the reading and the watching… ‘cause, y’know…  we wouldn’t be having this conversation, otherwise) but I enjoy them. 

I love to travel, but Uncle Bob ain’t got that kinda scratch so it doesn’t happen a lot.  Travel is the primary reason I published TROPEFEST to begin with, because I was looking for a fun and creative way to finance a birthday trip for my husband, Scott.  I absolutely LOVE  fandom conventions.  I used to go to Dragon*Con every year.  I miss it.  I should go back. 

I have my cats who are, oddly, needy and refuse to fall into feline stereotypes so I like palling around with them.  My husband sometimes makes me leave the house, too, to do other things.  I mean, I guess he likes things, too, but since he won’t let me have a monkey, I can’t seem to bring myself to care that much. 

 

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

I’m not a 24/7 stoner?  I guess I have this look of “That dude’s always high” because people tend to assume I’m stoned at any given time.  I’m only a casual partaker, thank you very much.  I’m just easily amused and the giggles are a cruel mistress.

 

What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?

It has nothing to do with my writing but I got to spend some time in Manila and Tokyo on a work project. (Yeah, I still have a daywalker job.)  It was literally the trip of a lifetime.  Someday, children, when Uncle Bob has a day and a half to tell you the story of the 64 hours of overtime travel pay, he’ll fill you in on how it felt to be stranded in Japan for 24 hours and why Japanese Denny’s restaurants will not serve you a Grand Slam.

 

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

I ADORE music but, for real, I cannot have anything but silence as I write.  I need to only hear the sound of my fingers on the keys to make me feel like I’m actually accomplishing anything.  If music is playing, I’m singing along.  There may be dancing.  Nobody wants to see my white ass booty-pop.  I write in silence as penance for my lack of twerking skills.

 

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?

ALL OF THE DIET COKE!  I needs it or I will explode.

 

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

Get.  A.  Goddamn.  Editor.

 

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

Currently, the only place to find TROPEFEST! other than ABSW is on Amazon.com and their various international sites.  I mean, unless someone isn’t telling me something.  Or if you’re talking about my blog which is at http://candycoatedrazor.com

 

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

Well, there’s the aforementioned blog and its presence on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/CandyCoatedRazorBlades/) and Twitter (@CandyRazorBob).  I also use it to update my author’s page on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Bob-Green/e/B06Y3MB2M9/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0) and on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16619506.Bob_Green).  Because I’m SUPER-lazy.

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Events Buzz: Mid-May Muchness

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We hope all of our moms had a wonderful Mother’s Day this past weekend!

And thank you to everyone who came out for our Crafty Doctor Seuss event this past Sunday. We had a lovely time with all of you!

We also want to remind people our 65 James Street shop will be open for our Regular Hours on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.

In case you forgot, our Regular Hours are:

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

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

Sunday                        –           10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

While you’re here, check out the Seasonal Sales Carts we have outside for your perusal. There is always new items being added at special discounts, so look through and find what treasures and deals were meant for you!

ABSW is also making our annual purchases to ensure we can help our friends for their summer reading lists. If anyone has Summer Reading lists from schools, please bring them to the store so we can build our stock accordingly. Summer Reading books fly off the shelves here, so take advantage of the perennial favorites on our sale cart and let us know what you need as early as possible.

With the school year ending, ABSW is also bringing back Report Card Rewards! From June 1 to June 30, bring your final 2017 report card into our 65 James Street store and receive free books!

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

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

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

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

One prize per report card.

THIS WEEK we have some great events for you!  Four different ones!

On Thursday, May 18, from 7:00 – 8:00 PM, join us for Doctor Who Discussion Night: Families. We’ll be talking about the different definitions of “family” that get explored in the series. Who is family? What does it mean to be family? While this new season is also addressing that, remember—be careful of spoilers!

And then, on Saturday, May 20, we have TWO great events for you.

From 3:30-5:30 PM, we’re hosting Rainbow Reader Presents: Jeremy Flagg, A Spectrum of Superheroes and Suburban High Students. . Remy will be reading and talking from his newest release, Morning Sun, the prequel to his Children of Nostradamus series, and discussing his upcoming re-release—and final installment!—of his Suburban Zombie High series.

Jeremy Flagg is the author of the Children of Nostradamus dystopian science fiction, “superhero” series and Suburban Zombie High young adult humor/horror series. Taking his love of pop culture and comic books, he focuses on fast paced, action-packed novels with complex characters and contemporary themes. In his day job, Jeremy Flagg teaches high school and has helped put together the Gay-Straight Alliances at two different schools. Both of his series include characters across the LGBTQIA spectrum.

Also on Saturday, May 20, following Jeremy Flagg, from 4:00 – 6:00 PM is our regular Rainbow Reader Book Club. This month, we are discussing Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox.

“While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though—he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.

Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.

Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely”

And then, on Sunday, May 21, from 12:00 – 3:00 PM, join us for Drop-In Crafts and Storytime: Myth and Magic. Listen to fantastical stories, make magic wands, and create dragon masks! Children must be accompanied by adults.

We’re excited about what’s happening for the rest of the month, too!

Friday, May 26, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers Open Mic and Featured Reader Karen Sharpe.

Sunday, May 28, 12:00 – 3:00 PM – Colorful Robots

Wednesday, May 31, 6:00 – 3:00 PM – D.J. Butler Witchy Eye Signing, Speaking, and Music

But WAIT! There’s MORE!

June is National Pride Month, and Rainbow Readers with Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester have a busy month filled with LGBTQIA events.  Here’s a peek!

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Saturday, June 3, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – A History of Queer Culture with Sarah Prager and Julie Tarney

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

PRIDE SPECIFIC: Sunday, June 11, 2:00 – 4:00 PM – Brave Boy World, an anthology of Transman stories with editor Michael Takeda and artist Dante Saunders.

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 23, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers

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

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

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

Worcester Storytellers, the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Join the Worcester Storytellers for their open mic and featured reader every month.April. Next meeting is May 26.

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 May 22.

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 May 18, with a topic of “Families.”

The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that will meet once a month, usually on the third Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Next meeting is May 20.

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!

05202017 - Suburban Zombie High

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Fool Me Once, Please!

fool-moore

One of the nice things about running a bookstore not wedded or welded only to the flavor-of-the-month new releases is being able to recommend authors and titles you might not hear about elsewhere.  Sure, we have our smattering of those new releases. And we also carry standards in different genres like Debbie Macomber, Stephen King, Tom Clancy and Agatha Christie. But, sometimes, we go out to get things we expect some of you will want to read, even when you don’t know it yet.

Let us introduce you to Christopher Moore, by way of his book, titled Fool.

Fool is an off-beat take on Shakespeare.  No, don’t let that deter you.  It’s not going to bore you with Olde English that needs to be translated.  It’s modern.  It’s also quite bawdy at times.

“I shagged a ghost,” said Drool…”There’s always a bloody ghost,” said the laundress.

Well, there is a certain amount of intimacy.  But, this is Christopher Moore.  It’s not going to read like a romance novel.  Seriously.  OK, not very seriously.  Actually, so well-conceived and off-beat as to be laugh-out-loud Funny.  Sometimes more like an accident where you can’t look away, but when you find yourself smiling or laughing or nodding your head, you’ll know you’re enjoying what you’re reading.

Fool is a stand-alone read.  It may help if you know your Shakespeare, but, really, it’s just a great, fun read.  Mr. Moore has also written quite a number of other books…all of which we have trouble keeping supplied, because he’s one of those authors people are reading, even if he seems to be a well-kept secret.  And, that’s why we’re blogging here about him and about this book.  Just getting in a small supply of Moore’s books again, we want to make a proper introduction to those of you who don’t know him yet.  Most typically, you’ll find his books in our Literature section, whether the book covers Shakespearean drama, vampiric romances, the Life of Christ (as told by Biff), or Sequined Love Nuns.  It’s literature.  He just has a funny way of telling stories, and we think you might like what you find.

 

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Author Spotlight: D.J. Butler and WITCHY EYE

05122017 - Witchy Eye for web

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on author David John (D.J.) Butler, who is celebrating the release of Witchy Eye. Butler will be at the store on Wednesday, May 31 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, singing, reading, and talking about his writing.

Thank you so much for being on our blog, Dave! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?

Hi! I decided I wanted to be an epic fantasy writer when I was eight years old and I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time. Life’s funny, though, and you take detours; my detours included law school and thirteen years of practicing law in London, New York, and Idaho, and then corporate consulting and training.

In 2010 I started writing novels seriously. I’ve published steampunk (City of the Saints), urban fantasy (Rock Band Fights Evil), dystopian science fiction (Crecheling), and fantasy for young readers (The Kidnap Plot). This year, Baen helped me realize my lifelong ambition by publishing Witchy Eye, my epic fantasy debut. Witchy Eye is the story of Sarah, a clever, brave, loyal, xenophobic, and somewhat mean Appalachee witch who learns she is the secret daughter of the dead empress Mad Hannah Penn, and that the living emperor, Thomas Penn, has learned of her existence and wants her dead. It’s epic fantasy…set in an alternate 1815 America!

I live in Utah (trivia: my house is Stephen R. Covey’s first home, and my office is where he did his work on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) with my wife Emily, whose literary debut, Freya and Zoos, should come from Crown Books for Young Readers in 2018. We have three delightful children, who are readers, writers, musicians, speakers of foreign tongues, and players of games.

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

I write fantasy adventure stories that are deeply intertwined with the cultures, languages, and history of the real world. Witchy Eye is an excellent example of this: it’s a classic epic fantasy novel, but set in an 1815 America. The America of Witchy Eye, though, is not a young republic, but an empire, with an elective emperor, a race of semi-human elves (the Firstborn, thought to be children of Adam but not of Eve) inhabiting seven moundbuilder kingdoms in the Ohio Valley), a secret society established by Bishop Benjamin Franklin operating behind the scenes, and an ancient god at the center of the continent who has just transformed from his civilizing peaceful manifestation, Peter Plowshare, into his vengeful and violent self, Simon Sword.

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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?

I read lots of non-fiction. Crazy lots. Some of the books I’ve read that have fed into the stew that is Witchy Eye include David Hackett Fisher’s Albion’s Seed, Henri Frankfort’s Kingship and the Gods, Robert Graves’s The White Goddess, Frances Barrett’s The Magus, and Grimm’s fairy tales…for a start.

I love the serendipities that come in research, and that can be worked into the book (and sequels); for instance, in Ojibwe, the word for a dollar is waabik, which means iron. Since in the books, the Ojibwe (who live in the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada) border and know the Firstborn, who are allergic to silver and use iron coins, I was able to create a false, fantasy-world etymology for the real-world Ojibwe word: the Ojibwe call money “waabik” because their initial encounter with coinage comes from the Ohio Valley Firstborn, who use iron. Another example of something I love about America and that makes it into the sequel (but not into book one) is the widespread and common story of the discovery of the mummies of red-haired giants, all over America. In the Witchy Eye setting, these giants still live reclusively at the edges of the Empire; they make a small appearance in the sequel, Witchy Winter, and I suspect we’ll see more of them in future books.

What was the inspiration for Witchy Eye? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

Although lots of history and big ideas went into Witchy Eye, one of the very first pieces of inspiration was my daughter Camille, who is now 12. Her eyes dilate at different rates (a fact which turns out to be harmless, but which was terrifying when we first noticed it), and as a younger child I called her my Witchy Eye. And Witchy Eye is in many ways about a young girl discovering the legacy – heroism, beliefs, trials, and failures – of her father.

Witchy Eye was an easy book to write, because in some ways it’s the song of my heart. Getting it published was very challenging. My first agent, after telling me he thought the book had legs, dumped me because he said he didn’t have the time to work on Witchy Eye. Another agent withdrew her offer of representation when I showed her the manuscript. Finally I took to making friends with editors at literary conferences myself and connecting them with my agent. Five years after I’d written the book, Baen made me very excited by offering to publish it.

 

What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?

I play guitar and write songs. Most of my books, and Witchy Eye is certainly one of them, are full of my own song lyrics. These are not just doggerel poems – off the printed page, they actually have melody and chord structures. In fact, I am in the process of recording Witchy Eye: The Album right now, for release later this year, in my home studio.

I also study languages. I took a count recently, and in my office (the old Covey office) I found learning materials (grammars, dictionaries, textbooks, etc.) for thirty-one languages, from Akkadian to Welsh. This shows in my writing – I love hiding little gems and jokes in

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

You can find a list of what I’ve written on my site, davidjohnbutler.com, along with Amazon links to all the books.

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

I’m pretty active on social media. I tweet at @davidjohnbutler and my Facebook account (there are lots of Dave Butlers) is facebook.com/dave.butler.16. I also travel a lot, to teach, to sign at bokstores, and to speak and sell at literary conventions or at comic con-style pop culture events (as I write this, I’m on my way to Planet Comicon in Kansas City), so come connect with me online, and then you’ll know when I’m coming to your town so we can meet in person!

 

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Events Buzz: Perfect Books for…

Happy upcoming Mother’s Day to all of our friends and patrons who celebrate it! And continued good luck and positive thoughts to all our testing and graduating students.

The weather may be a little crazy this week, but a good book is still a good book whether you’re sitting in the sun or curled up at home during a storm—so stop by our 65 James Street location and find yourself some good books to “weather” your week with.

And so long as the weather is good, we do have our Seasonal Sales Carts outside for your perusal—and one of them is specifically full of literature and classics. So, if you’re brushing up on classic literature for yourself or you need titles for summer reading or classes, check out our carts and see what deals you can find.

ABSW is also making our annual purchases to ensure we can help our friends for their summer reading lists. If anyone has Summer Reading lists from schools, please bring them to the store so we can build our stock accordingly. Summer Reading books fly off the shelves here, so take advantage of the perennial favorites on our sale cart and let us know what you need as early as possible.

We had a lovely Drop-In Craft this Sunday, as we were Making Oz Colorful. If you’re looking for something this coming Sunday between or around Mother’s Day Festivities, we’re having another!

THIS SUNDAY, May 14, from 12:00 to 3:00 PM, join us for Crafty Dr. Seuss. We’ll have crafts and coloring pages, we’ll be reading stories, and more. Remember, all children must be accompanied by an adult.

And for the rest of the month…

Thursday, May 18, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night: Families

Saturday, May 20, 3:30-5:30 PM – Rainbow Reader Presents: Jeremy Flagg, A Spectrum of Superheroes and Suburban High Students

Saturday, May 20, 4:00 – 6:00 PM – Rainbow Reader Book Club discusses Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox.

UPDATED TIME: Sunday, May 21, 12:00 – 3:00 PM –Drop-In Crafts and Storytime: Myth and Magic.

Friday, May 26, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers Open Mic and Featured Reader.

Sunday, May 28, 12:00 – 3:00 PM – Colorful Robots

Wednesday, May 31, 6:00 – 3:00 PM – D.J. Butler Witchy Eye Signing, Speaking, and Music

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

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

Worcester Storytellers, the fourth Friday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Join the Worcester Storytellers for their open mic and featured reader every month.April. Next meeting is May 26.

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 May 22.

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 May 18, with a topic of “Families.”

The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that will meet once a month, usually on the third Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Next meeting is May 20.

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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