Spotlight Friday: A Moment Of Silence For Batton Lash, Creator of SUPERNATURAL LAW

We at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside were saddened to hear of the recent death of comics writer and illustrator Batton Lash, whose tales of Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, have entertained us for many years, and whose graphic novel compilations have always had a place of their own on our shelves.

supernaturallaw_talesofsupernaturallawsupernaturallaw_soddessysupernaturallaw_sonavawitch

supernaturallaw_vampirebratsupernaturallaw_misternegativitysupernaturallaw_zombiewife

supernaturallaw_monstersmeetoncourtstreetsupernaturallaw_werewolfofnewyork

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Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife Jackie Estrada, and to their family and friends.

—Patty Cryan and the staff at ABSW

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Kids and Teens Wednesday: So Many Books, Old and New!

Here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, we always get some fabulous trade-ins and donations of gently used children’s books, which we then pass on to our customers at low prices.  However. these last few weeks we’ve been unpacking shipments and changing up displays to make even more room for new books from publishers and wholesalers.  You’ll find a wonderful selection of board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, titles for middle readers, and young adult novels.

In stock and on our racks:

1] Board books and plush dolls

plush_veryhungrycaterpillarplush_snowydayboardbook_babydanceboardbook_goodnightmoon

1] Books written and / or illustrated by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury

theresgoingtobeababymrgumpysoutinggoingonabearhuntborkagoose

2] Picture books written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

regardstothemaninthemoonoverinthemeadow_keatsjohnhenryletterfotamy

3] Early reader titles from THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN

magicschoolbusridesagain_rockvsweathermagicschoolbusridesagain_hideandseekmagicschoolbusridesagain_glacieradventuremagicschoolbusridesagain_deepseadive

4] An enchanting new elementary chapter book series called PURRMAIDS by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

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5] The newest DOG MAN title by Dav Pilkey, as well as MAX AND THE MIDKNIGHTS, a middle grade chapter book by Lincoln Peirce, known for the BIG NATE series

dogman6maxmidknights

 

6] A hardcover reissue of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG: THE MAGICAL CAR by Ian Fleming, with the original illustrations by John Burningham

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6] Science fiction, fantasy, mystery and horror young adult titles from Paul Magrs, Jonathan Maberry, Catherynne Valente, Katherine Arden, Holly Black, and Jonathan Auxier.

smallspacessweepwickedkingbrokenlandsheartofmarsgirlwhoracedfairyland

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

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Events Buzz Monday: Let’s Talk About The Weather!

There’s been no significant snow on the ground yet this winter, but boy oh boy has it been COLD!  Even our spiders are finding the weather a bit brutal.

spiderfrost

The season to stock up on books to cozy up with, to make you think, to inspire you to new recipes – that season is NOW! Here at ABSW,  our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, you’ll always find something to warm you up, whether through a complementary cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, or the latest title hot off the presses, or our comfortable old favourite rereads.  That’s how we work hard to make our shelves your destination in our role as Worcester’s full-service bookstore.

  • Our regular winter hours: MONDAY AND TUESDAYS – 10AM-9PM * WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS – 10AM-8PM * FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS – 10AM-9PM * SUNDAYS – 10AM-5PM
  • Inventory has been completed, between new arrivals and current markdowns.  Our new books are discounted at either 20%, 25%, 30%, 40% and 50% off list prices for your shopping needs.  As always, our used books range from 50% to 90% off of cover price, and there are additional savings for our newsletter subscribers.
  • Among our newest arrivals are various nominee titles for the annual Cybils, Costa, Newbury, and Caldecott Awards.  Keep an eye on our Wednesday and Thursday blogs this week for more details.
  • Do you NOT want to brave the wind chill and the snow and ice?  Don’t forget that we offer mail order services, from our door to your door, for both local and out-of town purchases.  Contact us at 508-796-5613 or via e-mail for more information.

Events for the rest of January…

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 14, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, January 15, 7PM-9PM – Game Night! Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

SPECIAL EVENT: Friday, January 18, 4PM–6PM – Book Signing with James L. Cambias!. Hugo-nominated science fiction author James L. Cambias joins us for the launch of his newest novel ARKADY’S WORLD. Please contact us to reserve your copy today.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 21, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, January 22, 7PM 9PM – Game Night! Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

RECURRING EVENT – NEW DAY AND TIME: Sunday, January 27, 2PM-3PM – Doctor Who Discussion Group! Join us for a monthly meeting of fans as we talk about the world’s longest-running science fiction series and its classic and modern incarnations – television, novels, audios, comics, and more. This is a kid-friendly and adult-friendly gathering; all are welcome.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 28, 7PM-9PM – The Free People’s Artists Workshop! This critique group meets on the fourth Monday of each month. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association.

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, January 29, 7PM-9PM – Game Night! Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

We will be adding more events to our calendar in the coming weeks, but here’s a sneak peek…

SPECIAL EVENT/OFFSITE: Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17 – BOSKONE 56! Come visit us at our booth at New England’s premier speculative fiction convention, sponsored by NESFA, at the Westin Waterfront in Boston. We’ll have new and used books, magazines, greeting cards, gift ideas, and more! [The bookstore will be open during its regular hours as well.]

SPECIAL EVENT/IN-STORE: Monday, February 18, 11AM-2PM and Tuesday, February 19, 11AM-2PM – School Vacation Week Drop-In Stories and Crafts!  Keep an eye on our Facebook page and our website’s event’s page for more details to be announced.

Have you enjoyed our events or the time you’ve spent in our little store? Consider leaving us a review on TripAdvisor or leaving us a review on Yelp. You can also review us on Facebook!

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight Friday: Martin L. Shoemaker

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on Science Fiction author, Martin L. Shoemaker. Martin is a programmer who writes on the side… or maybe it’s the other way around. Programming pays the bills, but a second place story in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest earned him lunch with Buzz Aldrin. Programming never did that! His work has appeared in Analog several times, as well as in Galaxy’s Edge, Digital Science Fiction, Forever Magazine, and Writers of the Future. His Clarkesworld story “Today I Am Paul” appeared in four different year’s best anthologies and eight international editions. His follow-on novel, Today I Am Carey, will appear from Baen Books in 2019.

Thanks so much for joining us, Martin! Can you tell us where people can find your work?(Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)

It should be available in many bookstores. My work often appears in Analog Science Fiction & Fact.

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

Look for Martin L. Shoemaker on Facebook, or my website: http://Shoemaker.Space.

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

I write a wide variety of science fiction, or occasionally fantasy, often with elements of mystery and romance. I strive to create an immersive, consistent, but different world and then explore the lives of the people who live there.

Today I Am Carey is unusual for me in that the world is ours, just advanced a few years technologically. In a world where medical androids assist in the care of the elderly, one android, Carey, has awakened. It is more than a machine, and it learns how to be part of a family and find its place in the world. The novel follows Carey from its origin caring for Mildred Owens, an Alzheimer’s patient, through generations of the Owens family.

today i am carey cover

What was the inspiration for Today I Am Carey? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

The novel is a follow-on to my award-winning story “Today I Am Paul” (which forms the first few chapters); and the inspiration for that, unfortunately, was the last year of my mother-in-law’s life. But I honestly didn’t realize that at the time. I started with a simple premise of an android and a patient, and I just started dictating. Fifty minutes later I had my story. After reader feedback, I tightened the last couple of paragraphs, and I sent it out. Clarkesworld Magazine bought it and published it, and it took on a life of its own: four year’s best collections, eight international translations, a Nebula nomination, and the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award.

So when I was ready to tackle a novel, it made sense to start from my best-known work. But I didn’t want to simply add content to the existing story, stretching it out and perhaps ending up with a bloated mess. Instead I decided to use the android as the viewpoint character in a multigenerational family saga. I wasn’t sure how to proceed; but my friend DawnRay Ammon asked for a story for a Christmas charity anthology, so I wrote the next chapter. In there, we got to know Mildred’s precocious granddaughter Millie and her obsession with frogs; and the Millie-Carey dynamic became the core and the shape of the book.

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

I absolutely loved Millie, and I hope the reader will as well. She’s smart, stubborn, determined, occasionally overwhelmed, independent, and caring. She’s her own character, but she has elements of many of the women in my life.

I didn’t hate any of my characters. I seldom write villains, just characters who have conflicting perspectives and goals. Even Colonel Rejón of the Belize Defence Force, who wants Carey destroyed, has his reasons.

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

This is a difficult question for me. It requires significant introspection because I’ve loved science fiction all my life. Asking the question is like asking why I like ice cream. Because it’s ice cream!

And that leads me to my fallback answer. Ray Bradbury was once asked why he wrote science fiction; and his answer was, “What else is there?” If it’s good enough for Bradbury, it’s good enough for me.

As for what draws readers – what has drawn me for five decades – I think

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

Don’t be like me. Don’t give up.

I submitted my first story when I was 14. I got a personal rejection. I didn’t understand how significant that is, so I gave up. I kept submitting and giving up off and on for decades.

In 2010, I got a thicker skin. When I got a rejection, I just kept submitting. And in 2011, I made my first sale.

Don’t give up.

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

I’m a software developer, and that’s certainly a passion. Fortunately my day job satisfies that need quite well.

I’m also a fencer. Not good, but enthusiastic.

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

It’s a 2008 Jeep Liberty. I dictate almost all of my stories these days. I have an hour commute to work each way, so dictation lets me turn two wasted hours into 3,000-10,000 words of prose. “Today I Am Paul” was dictated in one straight session one morning. Today I Am Carey was dictated in six weeks in early 2017.

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

The friends and mentors I have met through Writers of the Future have been crucial to my success. They kept me going when I needed encouragement, and we shared many tips. The late Jerry Pournelle was a Writers of the Future judge, and he loved the first story that I submitted there. I had given up writing (again!); but when one of my favorite authors praised my work, I decided to keep trying just a little bit longer. This book wouldn’t exist if not for that.

The friends and mentors I have met through Superstars Writing Seminars have been just as supportive – and there’s a lot of overlap between the two groups.

Thank you again, Martin, for being on our blog!

 

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Speculative Fiction Tuesday: Back To School In Time And Space!

Our local schools and colleges are back in session for the winter, and we have many nifty DW items in stock to brighten your classrooms and dorms in the new year… book lights.. pens… mugs… journals… postcards… and more.

bigmugstardisangel

And don’t forget the new day and time for our DOCTOR WHO discussion group!  Starting on Sunday, January 27th, we’ll be meeting monthly at 2pm to chat about our love for the world’s long-running science fiction serial.

doctorwhodiscussion

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Events Buzz Monday: Chilly Temps Outside, Warm Markdowns Inside!

 

wildreindeer2

The holiday season may be over, and winter seems to be catching up with us in the lowered mercury in our thermometers.  But we are keeping warm and jolly at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… always ready to be your choice for Worcester’s full-service bookstore.

  • As a reminder, we have resumed our regular winter hours: MONDAY AND TUESDAYS – 10AM-9PM * WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS – 10AM-8PM * FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS – 10AM-9PM * SUNDAYS – 10AM-5PM
  • January is inventory month here at ABSW, and we’ve marked down quite a few more of our new books to 25%, 30%, 40% and 50% discounts off list prices for your shopping needs.  As always, our used books range from 50% to 90% off of cover price, and there are additional savings for our newsletter subscribers.
  • Do you NOT want to brave the wind chill and the snow and ice?  Don’t forget that we offer mail order services, from our door to your door, for both local and out-of town purchases.  Contact us at 508-796-5613 or via e-mail for more information.

Events during the month of January…

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 7, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, January 8, 7PM 9PM – Game Night! Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, January 12, 6:00 – 8:00 – Rainbow Readers Discusses No Man Of Woman Born By Ana Mardoll. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month, usually on the third Saturday. All are welcome!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 14, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, January 15, 7PM 9PM – Game Night! Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

SPECIAL EVENT: Friday, January 18, 4:00 – 6:00 – Book Signing with James L. Cambias!. Hugo-nominated science fiction author James L. Cambias joins us for the launch of his newest novel ARKADY’S WORLD. Please contact us to reserve your copy today.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 21, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, January 22, 7PM 9PM – Game Night! Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

RECURRING EVENT – NEW DAY AND TIME: Sunday, January 27, 2PM-3PM – Doctor Who Discussion Group! Join us for a monthly meeting of fans as we talk about the world’s longest-running science fiction series and its classic and modern incarnations – television, novels, audios, comics, and more. This is a kid-friendly and adult-friendly gathering; all are welcome.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, January 28, 7PM-9PM – The Free People’s Artists Workshop! This critique group meets on the fourth Monday of each month. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association.

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, January 29, 7PM 9PM – Game Night! Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

We will be adding more events to our calendar in the coming weeks, but here’s a sneak peek…

SPECIAL EVENT/OFFSITE: Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17 – BOSKONE 56! Come visit us at our booth at New England’s premier speculative fiction convention, sponsored by NESFA, at the Westin Waterfront in Boston. We’ll have new and used books, magazines, greeting cards, gift ideas, and more! [The bookstore will be open during its regular hours as well.]

Have you enjoyed our events or the time you’ve spent in our little store? Consider leaving us a review on TripAdvisor or leaving us a review on Yelp. You can also review us on Facebook!

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight: James Cambias

01042019 - Arkads World

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on James Cambias this week! James will be visiting our store to celebrate the release of his latest novel Arkad’s World on Friday, January 18, at 4:00 PM!

Thank you very much for joining us on our interview blog! For those unfamiliar with you, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?

I’m James Cambias. I write science fiction and fantasy, and I design tabletop roleplaying games. I grew up in New Orleans, got a degree in the History of Science at the University of Chicago, and I’ve been a full-time writer since 1992. At first, I concentrated on game design, with forays into journalism. For the game geeks in the audience, I’ve written for GURPS, the HERO system, Space 1889, the original Star Wars roleplaying game, the second Star Trek game, In Nomine, Castle Falkenstein, and Savage Worlds. In 2000 I broke into fiction, selling short stories to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and various original anthologies. My first novel, A Darkling Sea, came out from Tor Books in 2014, followed by Corsair in 2015. My newest book is Arkad’s World from Baen Books.

How would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from Arkad’s World?

I’m all over the map. My first novel (A Darkling Sea) was a hard-SF novel of alien contact on a different world. My second (Corsair) was a near-future technothriller about realistic space piracy. Arkad’s World is an adventure story about a boy growing up on an alien world. My elevator pitch is “Kim plus Jungle Book on an alien planet.”

What was the inspiration for Arkad’s World? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

I wrote Arkad’s World because I beleive that science fiction is neglecting what used to be its core audience: boys and young men. So I decided to write an updated version of a classic “planetary romance” with a young man having adventures in an exotic setting.

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Arkad’s World?  How did you overcome that challenge?

I had a couple of problems, one self-inflicted, one external. My self-inflicted problem was that in my original draft I had a really clever idea which turned out to be extremely stupid. Originally I paired my young hero Arkad with a deceptive villain who was opposed to the other human characters. Sort of a “Long John Silver” character. The trouble was, that villain naturally would want to avoid contact with the others, which kind of derailed most of the plot elements I wanted to use. Finally I dropped him down the well and started over, after a couple of months of wasted work.

Sadly, that couple of months meant that I didn’t hand in the manuscript to David Hartwell, who was my editor at Tor. He died unexpectedly just a couple of weeks before I finished, and in the chaos following that, the book wound up without a publisher for more than a year. So instead of coming out from Tor in 2017, it’s a Baen book in 2019.

01042019 - James L. Cambias

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

Following my pattern of not following any pattern, my next book is a modern-day fantasy, a gritty story of revenge and a secret society of wizards. “If Harry Potter was John Wick” is my one-sentence summary.

After that, however, I’m probably going to do a follow-up to one of my science fiction novels (Darkling Sea, Corsair, or Arkad). I’m working with my publisher and agent to decide which one.

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

I play roleplaying games, and for most of my adult life, my hobby and my work have been conjoined twins — things I create for my campaign often wind up in published material. I ran an open table Pathfinder game at my local game store for a couple of years, and I’m turning that into a self-published e-book under the Open Gaming License.

My other hobbies are cooking, which I have cleverly combined with feeding myself and my family; and travel, which often winds up being to cities hosting science fiction or game conventions.

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

I actually do most of my writing outside my house. At home I wind up being distracted by domestic tasks and/or goofing off. So I spend a few hours every day at one of the many local coffeeshops and bookstores in my part of western Massachusetts. I guess you could say I write best when surrounded by hipsters. When I do work at home, I often sit out on my screened porch, surrounded by trees and birds.

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

I’ve republished some of my short fiction as e-books on Amazon, and my novels are in print, but otherwise used book and game stores are where to look.

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

My blog is a great place to keep tabs on me: http://www.jamescambias.com. I’m also on Facebook.

Thank you so much for the great interview, James! We’re looking forward to hosting you on Friday, January 18, at 4:00 PM to share Arkad’s World with our friends and patrons!

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