Spotlight: Catherine Zebrowski

01202017-zebrowski-space

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on Catherine Zebrowski, who will be the featured reader of Worcester Storytellers this month on Friday, January 27. The open mic-featured reader event starts at 7:00 PM.

Catherine Zebrowski grew up in Central Massachusetts and, after graduating from Worcester State, lived in Dublin Ireland for a year studying literature and drama.  She has had two chapbooks of poetry published through lulu and her poems have appeared in several journals. Her first novel, Sleepwalking Backwards, is coming out in 2017 through Touchpoint Press.

Thank you very much for joining us Catherine! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing?

Characters, characters everywhere, even in the poetry!  I have written many poems, a few plays and two novels over the last several decades. Many of these characters are from my Celtic Heritage.  My mother grew up on the west coast of Ireland and my paternal grandmother’s family came over from Brittainy.  Lots of oral tradition was passed down and I often weave stories together in my narrative poems like the ghost story I recently read at Fiddler’s Green Pub in Worcester.

 My latest novel, Sleepwalking Backwards, fits into a number of genres including mother –daughter, mystery, ghost story, and fantasy. I like weaving together genres but the story always remains character-driven.

 

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

My latest novel, Sleepwalking Backwards, which I will be reading from in January at the Worcester Storyteller’s at Annie’s, is a mother-daughter novel with a ghostly core.  True to my love of soliloquy, one of the main characters in the 70s part of the story is mute for psychological reasons—so what the reader experiences is a soliloquy from the point of view of a woman who, because of trauma, cannot communicate verbally for several weeks.  This is very hard because she has a one-year-old daughter who is learning to talk and needs to hear her mother’s voice.  The other main character, the young woman all grown up two decades later, has some peculiar and unique ways of coping with her own feelings of somehow being “different,” which she grapples with through the imagination of a scientist and her  obsession with astronomy.  The book will be coming out in 2017 through TouchPoint Press.  Here’s a hint of what the story is about:

Sometimes it takes a ghost to bridge the gap between a mother and a daughter.  It is heading toward the millennium, and 23 year old Amanda, a gifted mathematician and amateur astronomer, cannot seem to move forward with her life.  Her obsession with astronomy and the power of imagination break through boundaries to reveal a family secret her parents, unable to deal with, have never discussed…

  11112016-zebrowski-author-pic-3

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 had to do a lot of research on the astronomers of the 1600s and had lots of interesting reading finding out how eccentric they actually were and the extent to which those odd behaviors went in order to satisfy their curious minds.  In the book, I do include Newton’s faux pas of almost blinding himself by looking straight at the sun when he was trying to figure out the nature of light, but he actually experimented further by sticking a needle into his eye socket between the eyeball and the bone and noticed when he pressed it down he saw several light, dark and colored circles. When he held the eye and needle still the circles would fade.  Rather than being alarmed that this might damage his eyesight, he pondered whether light was a manifestation of pressure.

 In my reading about Kepler, I learned that he almost wrote the first science fiction novel before Mary Shelly came along with the beloved Frankenstein. Kepler’s story was just a fragment, more of a short story or what was called a dream vision at the time, that he made up to try to explain the surface of the moon and what would happen to “deamons” as  they traveled through space.  He had two characters on earth watching it all and giving descriptions.   It’s called the somnium, and my main character is fascinated by it. Interestingly, enough his description of this voyage  meshes quite well  with the description of the “spaghetti effect” described in the book The Physics of Star Trek written in 1995 about 300 years later–just,  WOW!!!

 

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

Believe it or not, I wrote the first draft in 1999 because I wanted to write a book about the year 2000 before it occurred. One of the biggest influences was a book called The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler, which is about the early astronomers in the 17th Century like Newton and especially Kepler and how eccentric they were in their genius minds.  Koestler felt they often did not realize what they had actually discovered or the significance of their work, and he showed how their imagination and intellect worked together as they “stumbled around guided by uncanny instinct” thus the title The Sleepwalkers. He presented a lot of scientific information in a very entertaining way.

 My first draft had only one main character, the young women Amanda. As I continued to revise, I felt compelled to write the earlier story about Amanda’s mother in the ’70s and how a family trauma can impact the next generation. Even though Amanda was a baby at that time of her mother’s trauma, her pre-verbal surroundings and later lack of information about what happened confused her sense of identity as she came into her own.  At one point, the Gloria story was going to be a prequel to the Amanda story, but as I began to revise, I decided to merge the stories together so the mother’s and daughter’s stories are told in alternating chapters.

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

The New England setting is important in my poetry with some poems actually taking place on the streets of Worcester.   I always loved Worcester, except as a teenager, and for years wanted to write something like a social history of the area. However, as much as I like to present things as they really are, I always feel compelled to fictionalize them.  Sleepwalking Backwards takes place in New England.  The main characters live in Worcester and an unnamed place in Vermont.  I even have some scenes in the old Tatnuck Bookseller and the restaurant that used to be called the Struck of Loke, then became just the Struck and now is a catering service with that name.  I also have part of a scene at the Blue Plate in Holden, where my friends and I headed every weekend in the early ’70s to dance to the music of Zonakaraz.

01202017-zebrowski-covers

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

I think since writing is such a solitary endeavor it is very helpful to seek out workshops and readings for the fellowship and insight that others can offer.  In the past, I have   gone to several workshops including the Chenango Valley Writers Conference and the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.  More recently, I’ve attend many readings in Worcester County, and every year I go to the Monadnock Pastoral Poetry Retreat in Southern New Hampshire the first weekend in May.  I also attend the Worcester Storytellers that meet at Annie’s Book Stop on the fourth Friday of every month.

 

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

My poetry books are available through lulu.com, and I still have some available that you can purchase by getting in touch with me through my website catherinezebrowski.wordpress.com.  My first novel, Sleepwalking Backwards, is coming out in 2017 and will be available through touchpointpress.com, Amazon.com, and I will also have some author copies.

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

You can get in touch with me on facebook, or my website catherinezebrowski.wordpress.com. I often read my poetry at open mics that are mostly for musicians–there is definitely much about music in my poetry, which is why the musicians let me get away with it. On Wednesdays nights, I sometimes read at the Fitzwilliam Inn in Fitzwilliam N. H.,  and once a month or so, I’m at the Irish Music Sessions at the Fiddler’s Green Pub in Worcester.  They are held every other Sunday from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.

Thank you very much for the interview, Catherine!  We look forward to hearing you as the featured reader at Worcester Storytellers on Friday, January 27th at our 65 James Street book store!

 

Posted in author spotlight, events, Friday, interviews, Local Authors, Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Events Buzz: Happy Dr. MLK Jr. Day

01162017-cohen-display-blog

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

We have quite a bit happening this week for you, with three events!

Speaking of events, if you’ve come to one of our great events and had a good time, we are on TripAdvisor. Consider leaving us a review!

THIS THURSDAY, January 19, from 7:00 – 8:00, we are hosting our Doctor Who Discussion Night. This month’s topic is First Stories. How did your favorite Doctor get introduced? How did the Doctor first meet your favorite companion? When did your favorite monster show up in the series? Join us for a fun discussion of our favorite SF icon!

And then THIS SATURDAY, January 21, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM, we have a sepecial Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts Presents Author LJ Cohen. LJ Cohen is a social activist and a Boston-area novelist, poet, blogger, ceramics artist, and relentless optimist. Her diverse novel casts include several LGBTQIA characters, and her most recent book, Dreadnought and Shuttle, (book 3 of the SF/Space Opera series Halcyone Space) represents her sixth published novel. Derelict, the first novel in the series, was chosen as a Library Journal Self-e Select title and book of the year in 2016. She blogs about publishing, general geekery, and other ephemera at http://www.ljcbluemuse.blogspot.com. Contact LJ at lisa@ljcohen.net and http://www.ljcohen.net.

Following L.J. Cohen, THIS SATURDAY, Saturday, January 21, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, the Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts meet to discuss Power Play by Avon Gale. Copies of the book are still available for sale at the store, and you don’t have to have finished the book to enjoy the discussion.

And later this month…

NEW LISTING: Friday, January 27, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers Open Mic, featuring Catherine Zebrowski

UPDATED LINK: Sunday, January 29, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Let Your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm: A Panel of Romance Authors

To help you plan ahead, here’s a sneak peek at some of our February events!

Sunday, February 5, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Superhero Crafts on Superbowl Sunday.

Sunday, February 12, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Michael Hartigan shares his thriller Stone Angels.

Thursday, February 16, 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Doctor Who Discussion Night.

Saturday, February18, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers Presents The Girl Next Door by Amy Jo Cousins.

February Vacation Fun:

Monday, February 20, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Monster Crafts.

Tuesday, February 21, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Train Crafts

Wednesday, February 22, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Wildlife Crafts

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. Next meeting is January 27 and features Catherine Zebrowski.

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 January 23.

Doctor Who Talks, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. January’s topic will be First Stories. Next meeting is January 19.

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. January’s book is Power Play by Avon Gale. Next meeting is January 21.

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

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

Posted in events, Local Authors, Monday, Speculative Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Author Spotlight: Peggy Jaeger

01132017-cover_cooking-with-kandy

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine their Author Spotlight on contemporary romance author Peggy Jaeger! Peggy will be here at our 65 James Street “bigger on the inside” book store as part of our “Let your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm” panel of romance authors on Sunday, January 29, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM.

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Peggy, a registered Nurse, holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and the current Secretary of her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Thank you for joining us for an interview, Peggy! What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?

I’ve always been a sap for the happily ever after kind of story, so romance is the perfect genre for me to read and write. My childhood wasn’t exactly the happy Brady Bunch or Father Knows Best kind of upbringing. And because of it, I found myself lost in books as a way of coping and escape more often than not. As I got older (read: impressionable teen years!), I gravitated toward books with love as the main theme, AKA romance. I adore the Regency period – all those gowns and double entendre conversations – and I simply love contemporary romances.  I don’t have the patience to learn how to write Regency the correct way – too many rules! But contemporary is the here and now, and basically, life as I know it.

I think Romance readers are always drawn to the thought that anyone – including themselves – can star in and have their own happily ever after. Love is a universal emotion. We all want it, crave it, and need it to survive. I believe that with all my heart and soul. Readers want to suffer through the conflicts and problems and turmoils of the heroine and hero. Maybe they see similar facets of their own relationships in the story. Maybe they see the glimmer of hope the writer weaves into the plot that despite everything, all will be well in the end. First, you have to be dragged over and under the coals, and all may look black and lost, but the ultimate ending will be satisfying and our love interests will survive…together.  Who wouldn’t want to read about ultimate happiness and  everlasting love conquering all, with the state the world is in today?

01132017-jaeger-author-pic

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

My first 4 books all took place in New England – Connecticut and New Hampshire, primarily. My newest series takes place, mostly, in New York City. I’m starting another series about a fictional town in New Hampshire in the new year (2017), so I would have to say the New England setting is very important to my writing!

I love New Hampshire in the spring and fall. Between the changing colors of autumn, and the beauty of blooming spring, New England is, simply, beautiful. Our own cottage industry – leaf peeping season – proves other people who don’t live around here believe that as well and want to share in seeing all our environmental natural loveliness.

Small towns are important to me. Their values, family centered morality, and sense of neighbor-liness are rampant in my writing, and New England sets the stage perfectly.

 

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

I was an overnight success. It just took 55 years to realize it! I guess the most important piece of advice I would give anyone who is passionate about something – be it writing or anything else – is to do it for yourself first. Don’t think about your audience when you write. Write the story of your heart. The one you haven’t seen published anywhere else. Be true to yourself and that ideal. I would have been just fine if I’d never found a publisher willing to take me on.  I would still have kept writing my stories because I wanted to. My characters wanted to be born on the page and I wasn’t going to stop them. Self publishing was never a thought in my mind and still isn’t. I don’t have the absolute discipline it needs to be a successful Indie author. You have to be everything – editor, cover designer, marketer, financial officer, and 50 other things that are beyond me. I just want to write and leave all those things to the people who know how to do them well, because I do not! I have many friends who self publish, and they are marvels! I don’t have the self-regulation to do it.

So, be true to yourself and your writing first and foremost. Don’t write for the market, because the market changes hourly. Don’t write for a specific genre of romance because it is viewed as the new hot commodity, the next flavor of the month. In a heartbeat, it will change again.

Write what you want, in the way you want. Be true to you.

 

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

I have a new series of romances coming out from Kensington/Lyrical in 2017/18, centering around a family of women who cook. The series is called WILL COOK FOR LOVE and the first book, COOKING WITH KANDY releases on April 4, 2017. I love writing about women and men who cook. To me, food is love. In all the new books there will be recipes that I have worked, re-worked, and re-imagined for years that I’m sharing with the reader.

As a little aside, I had a Valentine’s release in 2016 titled 3 WISHES, a Candy Hearts Romance. That book centered on a chocolatier, Chloe San Valentino. In almost every single review of the book, the review stated they were hungry after reading it because of all the delicious candy confections Chloe made – and I described. I’m hoping the WILL COOK FOR LOVE series does the same thing to the reader – makes them hungry for food and romance! And my books!

 

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

Going with that theme of cooking, I love to cook. I currently have over 100 cookbooks in my house that are dog-eared and well-worn-loved.  My mother was a working mom and didn’t get home most nights until well after the dinner hour was over, so I had learn to cook for myself or eat sandwiches every night.  And when she did cook something, it was usually a pre-made meal. Nothing was ever from scratch. I’m not judging her – please understand that. She was just too tired and too busy to worry about the food she gave us. When my daughter was growing up and still lived at home, I cooked all the time. Baked, too.  I still cook a full meal 6 nights a week for my husband and myself. Most weekends we eat out once, but there have been months that we haven’t darkened a restaurant door!

The funny thing about my love of cooking is that I have a never ending list of food sensitivities. That doesn’t stop me, though, from trying new recipes and new flavor profiles, because I also love to have company (friends) come over to the house on the weekends and cook for them. To me, cooking for someone shows how much you care about them. Anyone can pick up take out, or pop in a microwave dinner. But to make something from scratch, using fresh ingredients, spices, and flavors, is a real way to show how much you care.

 

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

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

 

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

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mmj122687/

 

Thank you again for letting us interview you, Peggy!  We look forward to having you at the store on Sunday, January 29, from 3:00-5:00 with our “Let Your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm” panel of romance authors!

11062016-firstimpressions_w9816_2_85-copy

Posted in author spotlight, events, Friday, interviews, Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Events Buzz: Weathering Winter

01092017-kolchak-pic

Ah, winter in New England… Let’s just leave it at that.

Of course, if you don’t want to go out in winter weather, you can always utilize the mail order service at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester. Give us a call at 508-796-5613 or check our website for more information!

ABSW is also on TripAdvisor. Have you had a good experience at our “bigger on the inside” book store? Consider leaving us a review!

In our news for 2017, we are reworking our consignment program. There will be a new page on the website soon, but if you are an author looking to consign their books with us, make an appointment with Trisha Wooldridge via email at consignments@anniesbooksworcester.com

A very special thank you to everyone who braved the snowstorm to spend an afternoon with author James Chambers for his release of the graphic novel Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe – and much thanks to Jim for coming out in the storm! We do still have some signed copies of the graphic novel and a limited supply of bonus comics for anyone who purchases a copy! So, Kolchak fans, if you were snowed in, you still have a chance to get your hands on these new Kolchak adventures!

But wait…there are MORE January events!

Thursday, January 19, 7:00 – 8:00 – Doctor Who Discussion Night: First Stories

Saturday, January 21, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts Presents Author LJ Cohen

Saturday, January 21, 6:00 – 8:00 PM –Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts discusses Power Play by Avon Gale.

NEW LISTING: Friday, January 27, 7:00 – 8:30 PM – Worcester Storytellers Open Mic, featuring Catherine Zebrowski

UPDATED LINK: Sunday, January 29, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Let Your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm: A Panel of Romance Authors

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. Next meeting is January 27 and features Catherine Zebrowski.

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 January 23.

Doctor Who Talks, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. January’s topic will be First Stories. Next meeting is January 19.

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. January’s book is Power Play by Avon Gale. Next meeting is January 21.

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

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

Posted in events, Local Authors, Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bundle up!

patterson

The frigid weather is a great excuse to hunker down with binge-reading.  The “Women’s Murder Club” and “Alex Cross” series by James Patterson are only two of the many series where we are deeply stocked…. perfect for a long winter.   Come on in to ABSW at 65 James Street in Worcester and pick some out, or contact us at 508-796-5613 for mail order arrangements!

Posted in store sections, Sunday, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Author Spotlight: James Chambers

01072017-kolchak-cover

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our light James Chambers this Friday. He’ll be at our 65 James Street location on Saturday, January 7, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM to talk about his latest work, his research and writing adventures, and sign books. Besides being a friend of the book store through the horror community, James also happens to have written for the newest Kolchak: The Night Stalker graphic novel from Moonstone books—and even better, it’s a Poe themed work!

Kolchak The Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe is the latest release for James Chambers, who writes stories in many genres. He has published short fiction in many horror anthologies and magazines, such as Chiral Mad 2, Dark Hallows: Tales from the Witching Hour, Shadows Over Main Street and Allen K’s Inhuman, as well as tales of crime, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, and even pulp fiction. He has written stories for The Avenger, The Green Hornet, and The Spider as well as for the award-winning anthology series Bad-Ass Faeries and Defending the Future. Dark Regions Press published his short fiction collection, Resurrection House, as well as his collection of four Lovecraftian novellas, The Engines of Sacrifice, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Working in comics, he edited Gene Roddenberry’s Lost Universe, Isaac Asmov’s I*BOTS, the From Dusk Till Dawn graphic novel adaptation, and Leonard Nimoy’s Primortals, of which he also wrote several issues including two in collaboration with Mr. Nimoy.

Thank you very much for the interview, James! 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?

Research for Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe included three main research areas. The first, Carl Kolchak, required a thorough re-watching of The Night Stalker television movies and series and reading the original novels by Jeff Rice, the character’s creator. I needed to dive deep into the character’s voice, created by Darren McGavin, because Kolchak’s narration is an essential part of his stories. The second avenue covered Edgar Allan Poe. I spent hours re-reading Poe and reading some stories and poems for the first time. I also refreshed my knowledge about Poe’s life and death so I could echo certain themes in the story. Lastly, the most challenging part of my research regarded the setting: Baltimore. I’ve been to the city many times, which helped, but I relied heavily on Google Earth and image searches to get the geography right and to provide photo reference for my artists. I sent each artists a reference image folder that included pictures of locations and landmarks in Baltimore as well as artifacts and items for the stories, such as the lantern featured in chapter one. There are also a couple of visual references to classic Poe horror movies for sharp-eyed readers—and of course Baltimore’s favorite supernatural legend, Black Aggie!

During my Poe research, I became fascinated with the various theories surrounding his death. It’s commonly thought Poe died of alcoholism, but there is compelling evidence that other factors might have been the cause. Poe’s behavior and symptoms in his last days suggest he might have suffered from rabies. The mystery of the days he went missing also point to the possibility that he was being rolled for votes, a process by which political thugs kept people severely drunk and took them around to vote in different districts. I’d have liked to get into some of that in the graphic novel, but it didn’t fit the story.

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe?  How did you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenges for The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe were getting Kolchak’s voice right as well as the story structure of a “Kolchak story,” being faithful to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and presenting accurate details about Baltimore. The last was the easiest since I’ve visited the city many times and relied heavily on online research and images. But I really had no idea how to tackle the first two until I started writing and discovered something wonderful: Kolchak’s voice and Poe’s voice have a lot in common. Both come from a place that is dark, cynical, morbid, and troubled but they share an essential humanism that preserves hope as well as a dry, gallows humor. Both Kolchak and Poe see things in the world no one else sees. For Kolchak, it’s supernatural menaces. For Poe, it was the horrific side of existence. And both sought to express and escape it through writing. And both were newspapermen as well. Once I saw Kolchak as operating in the tradition of Poe, everything came together nicely.

01062017-chambers_dc_author-photo

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

I’ve spent a lot of time beta-reading and mentoring new writers, and each writer is unique. Each writer must find his or her own voice and make their own journey as a writer. So there are really only three bits of advice I like to share with other writers in general.

The first is read. Read, read, read. Read anything and everything, fiction and non-fiction, books and magazines, poetry, essays, and comic books. Just read to expand your awareness of writing styles and formats and also your store of general knowledge. Read to understand what has come before. Read to understand your genre or to understand how others tell stories. Read outside your favorite genres and read writers from around the world. Writers don’t have to know everything, of course, but they do have to know how to research everything.

The second is write on a schedule. Write everyday if that works for you. Or write every weekend if that’s better. Or write every day until you finish a project. But make and stick to a schedule. When you do this, your brain tunes into it. In between writing sessions, your subconscious is working, creating, solving problems, and when you follow a schedule long enough, you may find you’ve trained yourself to be more and more productive each time you sit down at the keyboard.

The third and the one I’ve recently come to believe is the most important is have confidence in your creativity. Don’t be afraid of wild ideas. Don’t try fit your stories into someone else’s mold. Don’t chase commercial trends. If you weren’t creative you probably never would’ve started writing to begin with so keep that inspiration lit and follow wherever it leads. If your story leads you to a place you’ve seen before, pause and ask yourself where would you go with it that no one else has? Then go there no matter how crazy it seems. Not every chance you take will work, but the ones that do can help define you.

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

I have short stories accepted for publication in anthologies in 2017, including Shadows Over Main Street 2 and a few that haven’t yet been announced. Nothing else I can talk about in specifics yet, but I’m hoping to have some more comics-related news before too long.

 

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

I write in multiple genres. I go to horror conventions and find people who know my stories from various horror anthologies or my books with Dark Regions Press. I go to science-fiction and fantasy conventions and find they know my stories from the Defending the Future anthologies or the steampunk anthologies for which I’ve written. Then there are comic books, which I’ve been writing in some form or another for more than twenty years. So my readers tend to know a small portion of my work and have a vague impression about the larger body of it. It’d be cool if more people realized my work spans many different fields.

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

Stick to your guns. Don’t give up on your writing or your goals. Everyone’s journey is different. Some writers find success fast. Others labor years to become an overnight success. Others write and publish steadily, building a body of work. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Chart your own course and be persistent.

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

I’ve gotten the most support and encouragement from two groups.

One is my beta-reading group, and I recommend writers find a small, trusted group of fellow writers with whom you can share your work, give and receive constructive criticism, brainstorm, and talk shop.

The other is the Horror Writers Association. Although the group is best known for administering the Bram Stoker Awards®, I’ve found its support for local horror-writing communities to be tremendously helpful. The HWA provides logistical and financial support for local chapters, enabling them to attend local conventions and literary events, to run readings, and other activities. In New York, we’ve built a very active chapter of local writers that does all these things and also hosts a critique group. We’ve grown into a tight-knit group that meets regularly to talk shop, help each other out, and share market news and info. Similar chapters exist in other states and cities as well as in the U.K. and Italy, and it’s fantastic to be tied into other writers around the world like that.

 

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

My books are generally available through most bookstores and online retailers as well as directly from the publishers. They can often be found on sale at conventions. Comic shops are the best place to look for my comic book and graphic novel work—or eBay for those elusive back issues.

 

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

My website is www.jameschambersonline.com. I post news, updates, covers, links, and lots of previews and excerpts from past and upcoming works. It also includes a full catalog of my published short and long fiction and comics. I’m easy to find on Facebook, and I’m on Twitter and Instagram as @mothman1313 and mothman1313.

Thank you, once again, for the great interview! We look forward to having you at the store this Saturday, January 7, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM!

Posted in events, Friday, interviews, Local Authors, Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Events Buzz: Happy New Year!

12282015-better-new-year

Happy New Year! We hope all of you had a safe and wonderful time celebrating the change of the year, and we look forward to sharing 2017 with you all.

We are back to our regular hours, now. Here they are:

Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

ABSW is also on TripAdvisor. Have you had a good experience at our “bigger on the inside” book store? Consider leaving us a review!

We’re also back to a more regular schedule of hosting events all month long, and we’re kicking off the year THIS WEEKEND with an afternoon with author James Chambers as he brings us new adventures from the iconic Kolchak: The Night Stalker. THIS SATURDAY, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM, James will be talking about the cult series and how it continues on through

And here is a sneak peek at what’s going on in January!

UPDATED LINK: Thursday, January 19, 7:00 – 8:00 – Doctor Who Discussion Night

UPDATED LINK: Saturday, January 21, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts Presents Author LJ Cohen

Saturday, January 21, 6:00 – 8:00 PM –Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts discusses Power Play by Avon Gale.

Sunday, January 29, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Let Your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm: A Panel of Romance Authors

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. Next meeting is January 27 and features Catherine Zebrowski.

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 January 23.

Doctor Who Talks, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. January’s topic will be First Stories. Next meeting is January 19.

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. January’s book is Power Play by Avon Gale. Next meeting is January 21.

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

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

Posted in events, Local Authors, Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment