Author Spotlight – Leigh Perry

Leigh Perry Pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on mystery/horror author Leigh Perry. Leigh will be at Annie’s on Small Business Saturday, Saturday, November 30th at 3:00 PM to read from and sign her latest Family Skeleton book (which happens to be a Christmas story).

I asked her to please tell us briefly a little about herself and her writing.

I’m actually two authors in one: Leigh Perry and Toni L.P. Kelner. (Toni is my real name, but I answer to either.) As Leigh, I write the Family Skeleton mysteries. As Toni, I wrote eleven mystery novels and a bunch of short stories, and co-edited anthologies with Charlaine Harris.

Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Books Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)

My earlier books are available as used books in venues like Annie’s, and online as eBooks. The Family Skeleton books are available in the usual online and brick-and-mortar places, though of course the copies at Tower Books are the best.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

My gosh, you can’t get away from me. I’ve got two web sites: LeighPerryAuthor.com and ToniLPKelner.com. I’m on Facebook, with author pages for Leigh Perry and Toni L.P. Kelner. I’m on Instagram as Leigh Perry Author and on Twitter as @Family_Skeleton.

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking?

The Family Skeleton mysteries are about Georgia Thackery, an adjunct English professor and single mother who moves back home and has to confront the Family Skeleton, who is a Skeleton named Sid. Sid walks, he talks, and he tells bad bone jokes. Together, Georgia and Sid solve murders.

In the mystery world, these are referred to as woo-woo cozies, meaning cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. (In this case, the twist is Sid.)

Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking

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’ve found out that a person’s bones weigh about 20 pounds, and that experts can tell if a skeleton is real or a good cast by licking it. (Bone is porous, and the tongue adheres to it just a touch.) I confess that while I would be willing to confirm the weight, I have not licked a bone to test that out. I did try to use a chicken bone on a phone touch screen to see if Sid could use one. (The answer is “no.”)

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?

Absolutely nothing beats the twin joys of (1) seeing a book in print with a cover and my name, and holding it in my hand and seeing it on a bookstore shelf and (2) meeting a person who loves reading my stuff.

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

I’ve mostly taken advantage of the huge number of colleges in New England. Georgia is an adjunct, which means she moves from college to college, wherever she can get a semester’s work. So far she’s taught at a liberal arts college, an art school, a business school, and a college that specializes in preparing people for academic careers. The weather plays a part, too, especially in The Skeleton Paints a Picture, which was inspired by a very snowy winter we had a few years back.

Skeleton paints

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

I have so many skeleton items now: jewelry, toys, clothing, pocketbooks… I try to resist buying more, but I’m not overly successful.

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

Silence, but I’m not wedded to it. Music distracts me, but I don’t mind people around if they’re not overly loud. Also, I’m hard of hearing, so if the world gets noisy, I just turn down my hearing aids.

Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work.  Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?

I have custody of a guinea pig named Clara. She’s technically my daughter’s guinea pig, but while the daughter is in college, I’m on deck for piggie care. Piggies don’t do much—they scurry, they poop, they eat. But when I hold Clara and she purrs, it’s very soothing indeed.

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

That I know absolutely nothing about this business. I thought I did, but it all changes so quickly. So I think I’ve finally settled on this: be flexible and open-minded when it comes to opportunities.

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

Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime both have programs for new writers, though I think SinC has the edge for people looking to get published because their dues are cheaper and they have a sub group called the Guppies (for the Great Unpublished) that is an amazing support group. Both groups have New England chapters, and many other US chapters as well.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Leigh. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Annie’s on November 30th!

 

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Events Buzz Monday: A Moment of Silence Amid Our Weekend Roundup

The owners and staff of Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester wish to express our condolences to the family and friends of local firefighter Jason Menard, who died in the line of duty last week and was laid to rest today.

candlevigil

Thanks to everyone who joined us on Saturday for our booksigning with S.M. Stevens and for the monthly Rainbow Readers discussion group, as well as those who joined us on Sunday for our NanoWriMo “Come Write In” meetup.

Our extended hours for the holidays have begun and will run through Monday, December 23rd.

MONDAYS THROUGH SATURDAYS 9AM TO 9PM

SUNDAYS 9AM TO 7PM

Here’s our schedule for upcoming events… As a reminder, the majority of our events here at ABSW are free and open to the public. Check out our page on SocialWeb.net


RECURRING EVENT: TONIGHT! Monday, November 18 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROW! Tuesday, November 19 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Thursday, November 21, 2PM-8PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  Stop into Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester to work on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 23 ALL DAY – Doctor Who Anniversary Celebration – 56 Years Strong!. Join us for our annual extravaganza marking more than five-and-a-half decades of the world’s longest-running science fiction serial, DOCTOR WHO.  There will be door prizes, trivia contests, fan videos, special guests, and more!

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, November 24 at 1PM – I Caught Santa – Reading and Sing-Along! Author J. Anthony Garreffi returns for a musical storytelling circle, centered around the second book in the I CAUGHT SANTA picture book series. Book 2 is called “Respect Your Toys” and deals with the theme of recycling, an important message all year ’round, not just at the holidays.

Please bring a BROKEN TOY to the event for proper recycling (one per child). You’ll be helping Santa & the Elves AND win a prize!

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, November 24 at 2PM – Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Story – Reading and Signing! Join us for holiday cheer and a wonderful true life tale with Auburn author J. William Zoldak as he reads from and signs copies of GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS TREE STORY.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, November 25 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, November 26 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

IMPORTANT! WE WILL BE CLOSED ALL DAY ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH FOR THANKSGIVING DAY. WE REOPEN ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH AT 9AM.

RECURRING EVENT: Friday, November 29, 12NOON-8PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  One last burst of creative energy!  Instead of Black Friday sales madness at the big box stores, join us here to put the finishing touches on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 30 – ALL DAY  – Small Business Saturday!  Shop small, shop local, meet local authors! Special discounts and special books and sidelines for your gift-giving needs at the start of the holiday shopping season! Our guests include suspense and mystery authors James C. MacIntosh, Rory O’Brien, and Leigh Perry . Signing schedule to date [subject to change]:

  • 2PM – James C. MacIntosh signs THE SILENT ONES, as well as his backlist titles.
  • 3PM – Leigh Perry signs THE SKELETON STUFFS A STOCKING, as well as her backlist titles.
  • 4PM – Rory O’Brien signs THE AFFLICTED GIRL, as well as his backlist titles.

And a sneak peek at our December calendar…

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, December 15 – Jane Austen Birthday Celebration!  Our literary time machine awaits you! Join us for a day in Regency England. Period costumes are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded! At 1:00 PM, Deidre Lynch, Harvard Professor of English Literature, will give a presentation on ”Regency Social Media: Jane Austen’s Letter-Writing”. Then join us for an afternoon of card games that might have been played in the parlor of a Regency home.

Exciting things are happening at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… more opportunities to serve the Worcester community… more book talks, more author signings, and more workshops.  Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for more details.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight – J. William Zoldak

J. William author pic

Tower Books is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Children’s Book Author  J. William Zoldak. J. William Zoldak was born in the Highlands along the Hudson River in 1943. He spent his formative years roaming through the mountains, fields, and forests surrounding the town of Cornwall, NY. After college he entered the field of Education, first as science teacher and then as a guidance counselor. After he retired he turned a hobby of building stone walls into an enjoyable business. Never losing the passion for the outdoors, which he enjoyed as a child he started writing letters to his grandchildren so that they might appreciate rural and small town life in the 1950’s.

 He will be signing his new book, Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Story at Tower Books on Sunday, November 24, at 2:00 PM. Thanks for being here with us, Bill. Our first question for you is, Where can people find your work? (Besides Tower Books;)–though they should totally check here first!)

My book “Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Story” is available on line at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Locally it can be purchased at Annie’s Book Stop and Root and Press in Worcester as well as at the Farmers Daughter in Auburn.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

I have  an author’s page on Facebook called  “Stonehedges” where those interested can follow my work.

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from [newest release/spotlighted release]?

These stories are all true happenings in my life that took place during my childhood. They are written in the form of letters to my grandchildren.

Grandpa's cover

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

Most of the stories were written over the past 10 to 12 years. There will be many more to come depending upon the length of time it takes to have them illustrated.

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

These books, while written for children, are also appealing to older people because of their setting in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.

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

The stories take place along the Hudson River valley, but they could have happened in any small town in America.

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing?

Because I was an educator and I love to talk, I enjoy telling stories verbally as well as in written form.

J. William pic

Bill, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing you here on November 24th!

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Events Buzz Monday: Holidays and Hoopla!

Today is Veterans’ Day here in the United States.  We honor those who have served our country today and every day.

Veterans-Day

It’s hard to believe that November is already one-third over!  We are busy stocking up on wonderful books, gifts, and notions here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.

2019_coffee

Join us indoors where it’s snug, have a complementary cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa with us, and find some great reads that you won’t see elsewhere!

Our publisher special selection for November is THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern.  You will recall that THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Morgenstern was written as part of National Novel Writing Month.  Our purchase pre-tax price of $16.79 reflects a 42% discount… a better deal than you will get at a chain outlet or big box store.

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Our mission has always been and continues to be the value proposition for central New England and beyond.

  • Our New Arrivals shelf is overflowing with used book trade-ins, and we continue to add to our publisher displays of new books for children, teens, and adults, as well as our  vintage titles from the 1890s to the 1970s.
  • Our new books are ALWAYS 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.  We also offer an educator discount for teachers, certified homeschoolers, and licensed daycare centers.
  • Our selection changes daily, with customer trade-ins of used titles as well as shipments from publishers and wholesalers.  You are bound to find something for any interest, and we take special orders and do book searches as well.
  • Don’t forget! We also offer “from our door to your door” mail order fulfillment, just one of the many ways in which we serve you, our customers, as Worcester’s full-service bookstore.
  • And, very important as we continue to book events into 2020… if you cannot make it to one of our author signings but want an autographed copy held for you, please let us know!  We are happy to have prepaid books personalized and / or autographed for you at the event, and to hold them for pickup at your convenience, or to be mailed to you.

Our thanks to everyone who came out to our “Come Write In” Sessions for NaNoWriMo this past Thursday and this past Sunday.  November marks the thirty-day writing challenge known as National Novel Writing Month, affectionately abbreviated to “NaNoWriMo” by its participants.  The aim is to write every day for thirty days, with a goal of achieving fifty thousand words in that time.  We wish everyone who’s taking part the best of luck and success.  NOTE: Due to popular demand, we have changed the times for the Thursday Write-Ins and have added an additional Sunday Write-In.  See the updated schedule below, and feel free to check in with the Worcester NaNoWriMo Facebook group.

NaNoWriMo

Here’s our schedule for upcoming events… As a reminder, the majority of our events here at ABSW are free and open to the public. Check out our page on SocialWeb.net!  


RECURRING EVENT: TONIGHT! Monday, November 11 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROW! Tuesday, November 12 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Thursday, November 14, 2PM-8PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  You’re halfway there in your word count! Stop into Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester to work on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 16 at 1PM – Book Signing with S.M. Stevens!  Join us in welcoming S.M. Stevens, author of HORSESHOES AND HAND GRENADES.

Horsehoes cover

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 16 at 6PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses A DUKE IN DISGUISE by Cat Sebastian. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

DUKEINDISGUISE

RECURRING EVENT: Sunday, November 17, 12PM-5PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  Stop into Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester to work on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, November 18 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, November 19 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Thursday, November 21, 2PM-8PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  Stop into Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester to work on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

dw-wallpaper

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 23 ALL DAY – Doctor Who Anniversary Celebration – 56 Years Strong!. Join us for our annual extravaganza marking more than five-and-a-half decades of the world’s longest-running science fiction serial, DOCTOR WHO.  There will be door prizes, trivia contests, fan videos, special guests, and more!

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, November 24 at 1PM – I Caught Santa – Reading and Sing-Along! Author J. Anthony Garreffi returns for a musical storytelling circle, centered around the second book in the I CAUGHT SANTA picture book series. Book 2 is called “Respect Your Toys” and deals with the theme of recycling, an important message all year ’round, not just at the holidays.

Please bring a BROKEN TOY to the event for proper recycling (one per child). You’ll be helping Santa & the Elves AND win a prize!

snowflakes

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, November 24 at 2PM – Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Story – Reading and Signing! Join us for holiday cheer and a wonderful true life tale with Auburn author J. William Zoldak as he reads from and signs copies of GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS TREE STORY.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, November 25 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, November 26 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

IMPORTANT! WE WILL BE CLOSED ALL DAY ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH FOR THANKSGIVING DAY. WE REOPEN ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH AT 9AM.

cornucopia-trans-color

RECURRING EVENT: Friday, November 29, 12NOON-8PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  One last burst of creative energy!  Instead of Black Friday sales madness at the big box stores, join us here to put the finishing touches on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 30 – ALL DAY  – Small Business Saturday!  Shop small, shop local, meet local authors! Special discounts and special books and sidelines for your gift-giving needs at the start of the holiday shopping season! Our guests include suspense and mystery authors James C. MacIntosh, Rory O’Brien of Salem, and Leigh Perry . Signing schedule to date [subject to change]:

  • 2PM – James C. MacIntosh signs THE SILENT ONES, as well as his backlist titles.
  • 3PM – Leigh Perry signs THE SKELETON STUFFS A STOCKING, as well as her backlist titles.
  • 4PM – Rory O’Brien signs THE AFFLICTED GIRL, as well as his backlist titles.

And a sneak peek at our December calendar…

minuet

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, December 15 – Jane Austen Birthday Celebration!  Our literary time machine awaits you! Join us for a day in Regency England. Period costumes are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded! At 1:00 PM, Deidre Lynch, Harvard Professor of English Literature, will give a presentation on ”Regency Social Media: Jane Austen’s Letter-Writing”. Then join us for an afternoon of card games that might have been played in the parlor of a Regency home.

Exciting things are happening at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… more opportunities to serve the Worcester community… more book talks, more author signings, and more workshops.  Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for more details.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

Posted in Announcements, events, gifts, Hello from Annie's, Monday, seasonal, weekend roundup | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Author Spotlight – J. Anthony Garreffi

J. Anthony_Author photo

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on J. Anthony Garreffi,  a local author who will be signing his books at Tower Books on Sunday, November 24th,  at 1:00 PM. Anthony  has written several cause focused children’s books about Santa Claus, with two purposes in mind; to raise awareness concerning troubling societal challenges, and to provide much needed financial support to worthy charitable organizations who are working each day to address those challenges.

I asked Anthony to tell me a little about himself and his writing, and this was his response:

I was born and raised in Clinton, MA. To say I was a “wild child” growing up would be an understatement. I was fortunate though to have good people in my life who helped me channel my youthful energy into sports and other healthy and creative pursuits. Whether in pen & ink, color marker, writing lyrics & music, performing in a “power folk” band or building educational interactive multimedia; telling a good story with an educational message is what motivates me to write and create.

I’ve earned degrees in Business Management, and Computer Technology in Education and have been the owner of several creative businesses, a “corporate warrior” for fortune 500 companies, and a learning tech entrepreneur. But my two most life changing and rewarding roles have been husband of 31 years and father to my teenage son.

I Caught Santa – A ‘ChristMax’ Carol, the first book in the series, was written 26 years ago. But as often happens in life, circumstances required me to set the project aside before completion.  Fast forward to 2019, in a few weeks, I’ll be releasing Book 2: Respect Your Toys. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, when I think about how, like many of the characters I write about I’m also getting a second chance to finish what I started. By bringing my stories to life, I can share them with those who are meant to enjoy them. I couldn’t be more grateful.

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

The books are in several other locations but none more special than Tower Books 🙂

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

Currently we are focused on reaching and keeping a wonderful Facebook following at https://www.facebook.com/EverLearnMedia

 For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from I Caught Santa – Book 2?

A little background:

 I Caught Santa – Book 1: A ‘ChristMax’ Carol presented the issue of homelessness through the eyes of a young child who meets his beloved Christmas symbol, Santa in the guise of a homeless man, Max.

The Charitable Component:

After I completed work on the book and was planning my local book tour, I immediately reached out to my 2018 (and 2019) charitable partner WHEAT Community Connections. WHEAT located in Clinton, MA, provides services to the home “less” and those at risk. I presented the book/story to Jodi Breidel director of WHEAT and asked if she’d be interested in partnering with me on the release of the book. I’d donate all proceeds from 100 books, which came out to $500.00, if they’d help me sell those books locally. She was thrilled to have a fresh new product to share with her local supporters. We came up with a simple and fun marketing campaign, and rolled it out during the book tour. The partnership was a great success, so much so that we ended up raising $700.00! The experience is proof that consumers are not just looking for well-made products, they also like to choose products and companies that are giving back and helping to make a difference, in their communities.

Book 1

I Caught Santa-Book 2: Respect Your Toys!

What’s next? We, are so very excited for the release (fall of 2019) of Book 2: Respect Your Toys! This story which picks up where the first story leaves off, transports the reader/listener to Santa’s magical workshop at the North Pole. An unnatural calamity has befallen Santa and the Elves. So many broken toys are returning for recycling, and they just can’t keep up.  In order to save his magical workshop and the North Pole itself, Santa’s going to need all the help he can get from his new hero friends… spoiler all my stories have a happy ending 🙂

Another Charity Partner

Obviously, recycling/waste management is the cause and theme of the story, and in an effort to replicating the success of our WHEAT partnership, we’ve enlisted a new 2019 charitable partner, Terracycle, a provider of zero waste recycling services. In conjunction with the roll out of our “Lightning Strikes Twice” book tour, we will be running a local BROKEN toy collection drive. Every broken toy we properly recycle takes added pressure off Santa and the Elves! For, 2019, it’s 2 books… 2 missions… and twice the opportunity to make a positive and constructive difference in the community!

Book 2 Cover_Front

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out [newest release/spotlighted release]?  How did you overcome that challenge?

My current book series is written for a young audience. The writing didn’t present a huge challenge but the fact that it’s a picture book did. The biggest challenge I’ve found, when creating a picture book, especially if you won’t be doing the illustrations yourself, is finding an illustrator that meets a high standard for talent, product quality, professionalism, and affordability. The good news is there are many web platforms available today that make the search for an illustrator much easier e.g. Guru.com, Freelancer.com and my new favorite Fiverr.com. Artists from all over the world will bid on your project and the platform does the hard work of keeping the buyer and seller honest in the transaction once a deal is struck.

Not all artists operate at the same level of professionalism so it’s important to not only review their portfolios but to REALLY read through the history of their reviews. If you’re still not convinced, ask for references and call them! My first experience using this process connected me with a competent illustrator with an original style but the person was difficult to work with and ultimately delivered a low-quality finished product. I was forced to work countless hours to improve on what was delivered before I could go to print. I have a strong design and graphics/media skill set, so I was able to salvage the work. If you don’t, then it’s even more important that you find the right individual. Let me tell you as an independent author, publisher, operating on a shoestring budget, I did not enjoy eating the cost of re-illustrating Book 1. The good news… my current illustrator has all the qualities I respect…the “moral”, do more planning and searching upfront and you’ll avoid the kind of mishap I experienced.

Book 2 Cover_Front-Back

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

I believe everyone has at least one good story to tell. However, don’t confuse good story “telling” with good story writing. The latter is much harder than the former. That’s why we appreciate good literature. This is even more important if you’re writing a picture book. The story that you write may “read” well, however, the real challenge comes when you begin building the book. I’ve found that translating the action and emotion of the characters from the written word is the most difficult part. If this step is not done well, you risk ruining a good story. A badly conceived illustration/picture is NOT “worth a thousand words” 🙂

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

Well, in the near…near future, I will be kicking off our 2019 “Lightning Strikes Twice” local book tour! We’ve booked 22 events across multiple towns and Worcester. That’s going to keep me busy from Oct 26th to Dec. 21st! After the tour winds down, I’ll be taking some family time during the holidays however, I’ve got an aggressive production schedule set for the development of the third and final book (I think 🙂 in the I Caught Santa series. I’m calling Book 3: My Own Sweet Home. Like book 1 and 2 there will be a companion song. So, in my “spare time”, I’ll also be writing lyrics and music and going into the studio to record. The theme of Book 3 is adoption, a subject very close to my heart and I can’t wait to get started!

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

I love spending time with my wife of 31 years and my teenage son and our extended family. They are a deep source of inspiration to me. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing however, every two years or so we take a multi-state road trip by car and bond as a family enjoying the beauty of our country. I cherish that time.

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

I’m really an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. I truly love my quiet time creating and contemplating. That said, running an indie publishing company and authoring content for the public, forces me to operate outside of my comfort zone more often than I like. It’s not that I don’t enjoy meeting people, performing my stories and songs, and doing promotion, I do, I just need more alone time afterwards to “recharge” than an actual extrovert probably would.

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

The value of assembling what I call a “Mastermind Alliance” or “Council Of Creativity”. This is a group of 6-7 friends, family, professionals e.g. librarians, book store owners (Thank you Patti 🙂 School teachers, etc. that are open minded, detail oriented, and love a good story. These are the folks that you share your initial work with to test the construction of the story the “likeability” of the characters, authenticity of the scenes, etc. I’ve found this early advice though challenging to hear at times has helped me become a better writer and produced a better end product. If it can be avoided don’t write in a vacuum!

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

Uugh!… The endless editing! There may be a writer out there who can sit down to his/her word processor or yellow lined note pad and write the perfect manuscript with no errors but for the rest of us mortal writers, we have to write, rewrite…write rewrite until just the precise combination of prose and grammar align to communicate in a clear, original and imaginative way. My greatest fear is ordering a big stack of finished books only to find out I’ve misspelled “the” someplace…no really 🙂  I overcome this fear by relying on my “Council Of Creativity” many who have strong grammar and punctuation “personalities” (again, thank you Patti and Michael 🙂 It always amazes me that even after several rounds of editing, one of them will pick up the “strays” that were missed Definitely don’t go it alone, get fresh eyes on the text and/or early illustrations as often as possible.

Anthony, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing you here on November 24th!

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Events Buzz Monday: Changing The Clocks And Bracing For… Snow?

Here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, it’s a new month, bringing new challenges, new opportunities, new ventures, and of course, new books and products!  Every day brings in new-to-us pre-read titles from our customer trade-ins, as well as hot-off-the-press releases from publishers large and small.

November marks the thirty-day writing challenge known as National Novel Writing Month, affectionately abbreviated to “NaNoWriMo” by its participants.  The aim is to write every day for thirty days, with a goal of achieving fifty thousand words in that time.  We wish everyone who’s taking part the best of luck and success.

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In the meantime, we are booking more events for the remainder of 2019 and rearranging our displays and signage to reflect the upcoming winter holiday season.  Come on in and take the chill off with a complementary cup of coffee, tea or coca, and see what we’re stocking on our shelves.

Here’s our schedule for upcoming events… As a reminder, the majority of our events here at ABSW are free and open to the public. Check out our page on SocialWeb.net!  


RECURRING EVENT: TONIGHT! Monday, November 4 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROW! Tuesday, November 5 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Thursday, November 7, 12NOON-6PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  Stop into Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester to work on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, November 11 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, November 12 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Thursday, November 14, 12NOON-6PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  You’re halfway there in your word count! Stop into Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester to work on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 16 at 1PM – Book Signing with S.M. Stevens!  Join us in welcoming S.M. Stevens, author of HORSESHOES AND HAND GRENADES.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 16 at 6PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses A DUKE IN DISGUISE by Cat Sebastian. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, November 18 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, November 19 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

RECURRING EVENT: Thursday, November 21, 12NOON-6PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  Stop into Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester to work on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 23 ALL DAY – Doctor Who Anniversary Celebration – 56 Years Strong!. Join us for our annual extravaganza marking more than five-and-a-half decades of the world’s longest-running science fiction serial, DOCTOR WHO.  There will be door prizes, trivia contests, fan videos, special guests, and more!

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, November 24 at 1PM – I Caught Santa – Reading and Sing-Along! Author J. Anthony Garreffi returns for a musical storytelling circle, centered around the second book in the I CAUGHT SANTA picture book series. Book 2 is called “Respect Your Toys” and deals with the theme of recycling, an important message all year ’round, not just at the holidays.

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, November 24 at 2PM – Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Story – Reading and Signing! Join us for holiday cheer and a wonderful true life tale with Auburn author J. William Zoldak as he reads from and signs copies of GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS TREE STORY.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, November 25 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, November 26 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

IMPORTANT! WE WILL BE CLOSED ALL DAY ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH FOR THANKSGIVING DAY. WE REOPEN ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH AT 9AM.

RECURRING EVENT: Friday, November 29, 12NOON-6PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  One last burst of creative energy!  Instead of Black Friday sales madness at the big box stores, join us here to put the finishing touches on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 30 – ALL DAY  – Small Business Saturday!  Shop small, shop local, meet local authors! Special discounts and special books and sidelines for your gift-giving needs at the start of the holiday shopping season! Our guests include suspense and mystery authors James C. MacIntosh, Rory O’Brien of Salem, and Leigh Perry .

Exciting things are happening at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… more opportunities to serve the Worcester community… more book talks, more author signings, and more workshops.  Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for more details.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight – John Buja

John Buja pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on John Buja, a retired Technical Writer (20 years) and Bookstore Manager (13 years), who has been writing on and off since he was about seven. As John Buja, he had two children’s books published a long time ago. For the adult things, he’s  J. Edwin Buja.  His newest book as J. Edwin Buja is King of the WoodThe Wood  Book One.  John lives in a small town near Ottawa, Canada.

We asked him where people can find his work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)

I have short stories in Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and Wicked Weird. Stuff is available from Amazon, Haverhill House Publishers, and my basement.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

I’m on Facebook.

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

My short stories are pure horror. The King of the Wood novel was supposed to be horror but turned into magic realism/urban fantasy/horror/whatever you want and is funny in places. I was recently compared to Charles L. Grant (one of my idols) and Charles DeLint (his twisted brother).

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 as much as I could bear about trees, flowers, and European nature mythology. There’s no particular story about research that’s my favourite. The research itself is the best thing about writing. I was a history major at university.

What was the inspiration for King of the Wood?  What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

The initial inspiration for King of the Wood was an image in the opening credits of the new Outer Limits (roots growing from a house, I think). Also Cate Blanchett. It started as a story about a baseball game at Necon, then I realized it was a romance and that got the ball rolling. It took sixteen years to finish.

King of the Wood

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out King of the Wood?  How did you overcome that challenge?

I wrote most of the book while I was laid off from various high tech jobs. The hardest part was writing after work when all my creative juices had been squeezed out of me at work. I retired. Also, I work well with deadlines.

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

There’s a character who only appears in passing in this book but has a larger role in the second book. She’s a Glaswegian university professor who swears like a sailor and looks like a certain actress I like. Steve O’Leary was fun to write because he’s so insane about being clean (like me).

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 loved horror and science fiction. I saw the first three series of Doctor Who when it came out. Stephen King and William Goldman are inspirations. I don’t take anything seriously.

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?

My favourite part is the writing and watching how the stuff flows out of my head onto the screen. A lot of times, the story doesn’t go where I thought it would. The worst part is getting used to the idea that someone might want to read my stuff and that’s it’s good enough to show an editor. The biggest lesson is sit my ass down and write (Thanks Jim Moore).

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

Don’t listen to my advice because I didn’t and it took me sixteen years to finish the book.

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

We’ve (my wife Dianne and I) have been going to Necon since 1986. Since then, we’ve vacationed in New England at least twice a year. With the mountains, it’s so easy to have a town hidden away where no one will find it.

What question do you wish interviewers would ask you, and what would the answer be?

Would you like a million dollars. Yes.

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

Part Two of the book is almost finished and should be out next year. There are several novels in the works but they have to be finished which is something I’m not really good at doing.

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

Reading, history, model kits, bad movies, British TV, eating.

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

See the previous question. I do a lot of reading about World Wars One and Two.

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

It’s a corner in the basement surrounded by reference books. No one can see me when I’m sitting there. I need a dictionary, an atlas, and chocolate.

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

There’s a reason nobody knows about it.

What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?

Meeting other writers and talking about the craft.

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

I need silence. When I listen to music (heavy rock like Deep Purple), I tend to type along with the beat which makes a lot of noise and hurts the keyboard. When I do listen to music, it’s with the headphones on and nothing else to distract me.

Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work.  Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?

No pets. Dianne wants a dog. I’m not a fan of dogs.

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?

Chocolate, tea, jujubes, and hard cider.

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

Finishing what I start. I have to outline the characters, geography, and any technical stuff before I’m comfortable. Then the story can just do what it wants.

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

Don’t quit your day job. (I didn’t.)

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

New England Horror Writers because most of my writing friends are from New England and that’s where I feel the most comfortable. I only joined the HWA a few months ago so I can’t talk about that. Go to Necon in July.

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer ALL of our questions, John!

 

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