3/23/2020 Order: Updates & Editorial Comments

Due to the COVID-19 order from the Governor’s Office on Monday the 23rd, our storefront will be closed for on-site business for now.  In line with the Governor’s communication, we are planning on reopening our doors at noon on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, and resuming normal hours from there.  If the advice or orders from government are changed, we will update our plans and blog here accordingly.  The government’s latest, as of now, is at:

https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-23-2020-essential-services-and-revised-gatherings-order

Please pardon if, for a while, we lead with this, as it’s typically the most vital information for our customers here at the moment…looking to see what we’re doing.

Having covered those vital particulars, including making the information a little more exact, let’s cover some more things.

First, we need you.  That’s not just saying ABSW needs you, but the book trade needs you.  Real bookstores need you.  When we are allowed again to resume as much as possible a normal standard of operation, if customers aren’t there, business ceases.  As you are looking after your families during this incredible situation, look also after their futures.  Smaller businesses are much harder hit and much more vulnerable in difficult situations, though their direct impact is usually more vital for people and families.  In fact, some larger businesses will profit greatly, especially those who compete with storefronts, even more those whose teams secure government money for them that we probably will never see.  But, the assumption they can offer options we can’t is often just wrong, though it’s easy to make, as they continue to have the money to advertise on line and convince you not to wait, to buy there.  You don’t have to wait to buy here, but we just don’t have the money to tell everyone in all the same ways as they might.  The competition we provide, the knowledge we bring, has less chance in this situation where the moneyed get their voices heard.  When you think about resuming a normal life as soon as possible, support your local stores and your local bookstores, especially.  We are certain our customers are a smart breed, and all we ask is to do something you’re already good at doing: stop a moment and think.  What can we do for you now?  What can we do for you after this emergency is over?  Will you be there when we re-open, trying to be there again for you?  It matters.

Second, all of us are trying our best to figure out what is “best” in this situation.  There are certainly many experts out there offering opinions.  COVID-19 is certainly real.  Those it has reached are describing a very nasty disease.  Even after a point where we are allowed to return to selling books at our storefront, if you feel concerned about venturing out, we respect your concerns and we will do something we have done in this business for about a decade, and have done in our other venture now for more than 43 years.  We will do mail order for you.  Call or e-mail and let us help you get you what you want, sent to you.  Talk to humans, unlike some bigger stores that actually make that difficult or impossible.  Get personal attention.  We’ve always been here to help in this way.  It’s already part of what we do.

Third, let us thank you, too.  For being with us as owners of this bookstore for about 10 years, for getting us this far, for those who discovered us recently or are about to do so, for sharing your interests, your concerns, your ideas, while also giving us your custom, thank you.  We hope to still be here for a very long time to come.  But, as we look around and we all know today what we see is not strictly normal, nor anything approaching it, and as we all discuss how we all will try to get our normal lives back, bring this topic into your discussions, please.  Again, not just for this bookstore, or your local one if you live far away, but local businesses.  As grateful as we are, and should be, we still need you in the future if we are to continue, to return to normal, to be part of a community we are dedicated to support as we already have.

In support of the community, we have already donated on the order of 1000 books, perhaps a little more, to charities in 2020.  We have donated books during every year of our operation, and while we really don’t try to keep a count, we think it’s easily 5000 or more books a year, every year.  We pledge to continue this as long as we operate.  We’ve had a unique privilege in running a bookstore in the center of New England.  We try to be a community resource, and even if turning the wheels and running the operation takes a lot of hours every week, we hope we’re also doing our part.

In the meantime, as we’ve tried to say before and should repeat again, we can still sell to you now.  We just can’t do it at the store.  Call and e-mail.  Let a real person get back to you, or talk to you directly if we’re able to handle your call as it comes in.  There’s even another advantage…you can do that 24 hours a day!  You can continue to support us as a local business even through this situation.  We just can’t do the transaction across the counter for now, can’t have you browsing the store.  We all have to let things pass.  That’s actually the law.

Finally, in understanding something larger about the community, and how difficult this sudden transition from good times to bad ones is, we already know we have to prepare for it to take time to approach normalcy again.  In our community, some have lost their jobs, and it’s not an easy time to get a new job and get back on your feet.  In doing our part, we try always to be affordable, to do something special.  We also understand how neighbors may feel shut out by the situation.  We know how this impacts families.  At the very least, we’re going to try to hold events again when the situation permits.  Almost all of our store events are free.  Some are for kids, and allow families to do something together without breaking the bank, or even touching it.  Some are with favorite authors, interesting ones, new ones, established ones, ones you can get to meet and talk to directly, because it’s what we do.  There are reading groups, fan groups, game groups, knitting groups, art groups, and all sorts of things we try to do as a community resource.  Almost all of it is free, and open to the public.  We’re trying to be a part of the community, not curators of a museum.  A good bookstore knows books are more alive than that, so it’s only the exceptional cases where there’s a higher price tag, and only because we sometimes must pay a higher price ourselves to bring in some special items.  We’re trying as a business to bring good value and selection, but we’re also trying to bring a little bit of the public square into our store so we can all share it.  If times are good, join us and share.  If times are suddenly difficult for you, we’ll do what we can so the dollar signs don’t make a tough time even worse.  Come to an event or two, and we’ll see what events the future will hold.  And, if you’re an author and want to come to our store, or if you have an idea to run an event, talk to us, please!

In posting information here, on a business blog site, we know on some level this is advertising, and often gets to be about costs…how much we charge for what we do, and how we’ll do it.  But, in trying to be a community resource, what’s always more important is remembering that community.  As things recover…and they will recover…please remember us and all the local businesses that are part of this community.  Time passes, and the only certainty is change.  But, some things are best not to change.  In working with the Worcester community, we hope to stay for a long time yet to come, and look forward to seeing you there with us, soon.

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MA Shelter-In-Place Order 3/23/2020: What It Means For Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester

Due to the COVID-19 order from the Governor’s Office this morning, Monday the 23rd, we will be closing to the public tonight at 8pm, and planning on reopening our doors on Tuesday, April 7th.

https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-23-2020-essential-services-and-revised-gatherings-order

However, we expect to be able to serve you in this time period [and beyond!].

  1. We strongly encourage customers to take advantage of our mail order fulfillment service, for in-stock items as well as special orders. This is a savings of aggravation as well as time and cost by just contacting us and seeing what we can do for you.

  2. If a book is not currently on-hand, we can acquire titles from a network of publishers, wholesalers, and other independent booksellers, usually with a 24-hour to 72-hour turnaround. We can ship books to you via USPS Media Mail anywhere in the US, whether right here in Central Massachusetts or out on the West Coast. Our flat rate is $4.50, whether for one book or a hundred books; we take prepayment via check or credit card.  Please e-mail us at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com.

  3. All events previously scheduled for the last few weeks of March and into April have been postponed until a later date.

handsaroundtheworld

We hope ALL our customers will stay safe and healthy during this difficult time, and we wish you all the best.

—The staff of ABSW

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Author Spotlight – Anna Staniszewski

Anna Stanisewski pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on our children’s book author guest,  Anna Staniszewski . Anna will be at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester along with two additional middle grade authors, MarcyKate Connolly and Rajani LaRocca on Sunday, March 22nd at 2:00 PM.  They will all be here to talk about magic in books, sign their books, and answer any questions you may have.

Anna Staniszewski is the author of over a dozen books for young readers, including the novels The Dirt Diary and Secondhand Wishes, as well as the picture books Dogosaurus Rex and Power Down, Little Robot, and the Once Upon a Fairy Tale early chapter book series. Her newest novel, The Wonder of Wildflowers, is loosely based on her experiences as a young Polish immigrant. Anna was a Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the PEN New England Discovery award, and she currently teaches in the MFA Writing for Children Program at Simmons University.

Here’s my first question, Anna:  Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)

My books are available in most libraries and bookstores, as well as through online retailers.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

You can visit my website at www.annastan.com or follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/annastanisz), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AnnaStaniszewskiAuthor/), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/anna.staniszewski/).

What was the inspiration for The Wonder of Wildflowers? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

My newest book, The Wonder of Wildlfowers, is by far the most personal project I’ve worked on. It’s about a young girl who is an immigrant in a country that’s closed itself off from the rest of the world in order to protect its most valuable resource, a magical liquid called Amber. The idea was inspired by my own experiences as a Polish immigrant, acclimating to life in what felt like a magical new land.

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out The Wonder of Wildflowers?  How did you overcome that challenge?

When I first had the idea of writing a story inspired by my own experiences, I started off by trying to write it as realistic fiction, peppered with a bit of humor. But the genre and voice just weren’t working. Then it occurred to me that perhaps this land didn’t just feel magical to my protagonist—perhaps it really was magical. Once I knew that about the setting, the voice and plot fell into place pretty quickly.

The wonder of wildflowers

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

I would call the story magical realism or light fantasy, since it’s a world that feels very much like our own but with a little bit of magic sprinkled in. I’m always intrigued by stories that mix reality and fantasy, so that the magical elements feel as though they could really happen. That blend of the real and the fantastical always gets my imagination going!

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

I’m constantly amazed by the connections I’ve been able to make through my work—meeting readers during school visits and book events, and making lasting friendships with other writers. I’ve had readers write to tell me how much they relate to the characters in my books. One girl even told me that my book inspired her to make up with a friend she’d argued with. If that’s not a kind of magic, I don’t know what is!

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

The biggest thing I’ve had to overcome in my writing process is perfectionism. When I was starting out, I’d spend months perfecting the first few chapters of a project and never actually finish it! I finally had to let go of trying to make my early drafts perfect (since there is no such thing!) and allow myself to write poorly in order to get the story down on paper—then work on improving it later. I’ve since learned to love revising, since it allows me to use my perfectionist tendencies to figure out the best way to put the pieces of the story together.

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

Community is so important when you’re writer, at any stage of the process. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a great resource, both online and in person, and it was particularly useful to me when I was starting out. I’ve also learned a tremendous amount—and made some great connections—through The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, Mass and the MFA Writing for Children program at Simmons University (where I currently teach). Writing can be a lonely endeavor, so it’s essential to have writing friends and critique partners who can support you along the way.

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

 

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Updates Monday: Here To Serve You!

Today is Monday, March 16, 2020 and this is a very different blog than we expected to be writing even a few weeks ago.

[Photo credit Rod Lee.]

Interview2011

With the ongoing increase in cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the USA, and with a state of emergency being declared in Massachusetts, we at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester are making selected changes to our schedules and operations.

Guidelines for businesses were updated on Sunday, March 15th, and can be found at https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-assemblage-guidance.

In line with these guidelines, we are announcing the following information.

  1. We *WILL* remain open for our normal business hours… Mondays through Thursdays 10AM-8PM, Fridays and Saturdays 10AM-9PM, Sundays 10AM-6PM.

  2. We strongly encourage customers to take advantage of our mail order fulfillment service, for in-stock items as well as special orders. This is a savings of aggravation as well as time and cost by just contacting us and seeing what we can do for you.

  3. If a book is not currently on-hand, we can acquire titles from a network of publishers, wholesalers, and other independent booksellers, usually with a 24-hour to 72-hour turnaround. We can ship books to you via USPS Media Mail anywhere in the US, whether right here in Central Massachusetts or out on the West Coast. Our flat rate is $4.50, whether for one book or a hundred books; we take prepayment via check or credit card.  Please call us at 508-796-5613.

  4. All events previously scheduled for the last few weeks of March and into April have been postponed until a later date.

This includes:

  • Spinning Yarns on Monday 3/16, Monday 3/30, Monday 4/6, and Monday 4/13;

  • The Rainbow Readers LGBTQIA monthly book discussion group on Saturday, 3/21

  • The “Telling Magical Stories” panel and signing on Sunday, 3/22

  • The Free Peoples Artists Workshop critique group on Monday, 3/23;

  • The Doctor Who Monthly Meetup on Monday, 3/29;

  • The Dark Carnival horror reading and signing event on Saturday, 4/4;

  • Our April School Vacation Week events from Saturday 4/18 through Sunday 4/26.

We wish all our friends and customers the safest and swiftest passage through this trying time, and we thank you very much for your patronage.

—-Patty Cryan and the staff of Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester

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Author Spotlight Friday – MarcyKate Connolly

MarcyKate Connelly pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on children’s book author MarcyKate Connolly.  MarcyKate will be at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester along with two additional middle grade authors, Anna Staniszewski and Rajani LaRocca on Sunday, March 22nd at 2:00 PM.  They will all be here to talk about magic in books, sign their books, and answer any questions you may have.

MarcyKate Connolly is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author who lives in New England with her family and a grumble of pugs. She graduated from Hampshire College (a magical place where they don’t give you grades) where she wrote an opera sequel to Hamlet as the equivalent of senior thesis. It was also there that she first fell in love with plotting and has been dreaming up new ways to make life difficult for her characters ever since. You can visit her online at http://www.marcykate.com.

Her response to my usual question – Where can people find your work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!) was this:

Anywhere books are sold, but I definitely suggest going to a local indie bookstore whenever possible!

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

      • Website: http://www.marcykate.com
      • Twitter: @marcykate
      • Facebook: facebook.com/marcykateconnolly
      • Instagram: instagram.com/marcykateconnolly/

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

I like to say that I write books about weird little girls (or in the case of The Star Shepherd, weird little boys). My fantasy novels trend toward the creepy rather than the scary, and that holds true for my most recent novel, Hollow Dolls. The main character is a mind reader who was once the pawn of an evil villainess. Now that she’s free, she’s on a mission to find the home she was stolen from, but someone with the power to control others like puppets is on the loose, making her journey much more dangerous than she expected.

Hollow Dolls pic

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

Lots of books! In August, my first young adult novel, Twin Daggers (a fantasy twist on Romeo + Juliet, if Juliet and her twin were magic wielding spies), will come out. Then in January 2021 Lost Island (the sequel to Hollow Dolls) publishes, and later that summer/fall the sequel to Twin Daggers will be out too. After that, is anyone’s guess!

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 do! I have 2 pugs currently (we used to have 3). They’re my couch buddies and occasional footwarmers. And if I’m tired and have to stay up late to finish a draft and meet a deadline, they keep me awake with their very loud snoring!

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

For me, it’s drafting. Often, getting words on the page feels like pulling taffy from my brain. But it must be done because you cannot revise a blank page! Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy parts of the first draft – I definitely do! – but that this is the part that takes the longest, when what I really want to do is make the rough draft shine in revisions (which is my favorite part of the process, tied with plotting).

I have not yet found a surefire way to overcome the drafting slog, but I do have a few tricks that help:

      1. I rarely write chapters in order. I’m a plotter, so I know what will happen in my story from beginning to end before I start drafting. If a scene is giving me trouble, I skip to one that I find more interesting. This keeps my momentum going even if means writing out of order (Scrivener writing software helps with that though!).
      2. Rewards! Treats (usually frozen Cadbury crème eggs) are a great motivator to reach my word count goals when I’m having difficulty getting words on the page.
      3. NaNoWriMo. This is the only time I find I can consistently fast draft. I’m not sure why, but something about the fact that thousands of other writers are doing the challenge along with me combined with the competitive factor spur me on to draft very quickly.

star Shepard pic

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

EVERYTHING is subjective when it comes to publishing! You have to learn how to let go of your book. When it’s published, it no longer belongs solely to the author—it belongs to readers too, and they will view your work through their own lenses and interpret it in ways you might never have intended or imagined. Usually this is wonderful! (But sometimes, it’s not…). You have so little control over how your book will perform or be received that you have to figure out how to let go of it and focus on the one thing you have full control over: writing the very best book you can.

MarcyKate, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to answer our questions!

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Events Buzz Monday: Spring Is In Sight!

The time change from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time, coupled with warmer temperatures, has definitely brightened our spirits here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.

daylightsavingstime

Please keep an eye on our website for when we start having extended spring hours.  In the meantime, our sidewalk sales carts have returned to their proper place… outside, on the sidewalk!  On the sidewalk sales carts, we are currently spotlighting markdowns on vintage paperbacks and hardcovers, cookbooks and do-it-yourself books, and older monthly-release romance and romantic suspense titles, with more genres to be added as the season progresses.

shamrocks

We had a blast at both of our events this past weekend. Jim Rousmaniere gave a great nature talk and signed copies of his title WATER CONNECTIONS, and Sharon Legasey entertained a happy crowd with her Saint Patrick’s Day picture book focusing on Lucky the dog and The Creative Pet Festival. Both titles are in stock and available for purchase.

Did you know we have a dedicated monthly newsletter for children’s books and family events?  Please feel free to sign up at the reception desk here at the store.

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, March 9 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, March 10 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!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, March 14 at 2PM – Poetry Reading With Christopher Reilley!  Join us for an afternoon of poetry with WCPA member Christopher Reilley, whose collection ONE NIGHT STANZAS has garnered incredible reviews.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, March 16 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, March 17 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!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, March 21 at 6PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses QUEEN OF IEFLARIA by Effie CalvinThe Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, March 22 at 2PM – Telling Magical Stories: Middle Grade Authors Panel Talk!  We are pleased to welcome MarcyKate Connolly, Rajani LaRocca, and Anna Staniszewski for an enthralling afternoon of whimsical and mystical tales. These three middle grade novelists will host a panel discussion on titles that deal in the magic that lies just out of sight, sometimes even in our own backyards.

Light refreshments will be available. Pre-registration is suggested. Copies of each author’s books will be available for purchase. Call (508)796-5613.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, March 23, 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, March 24 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: Sunday, March 29 at 2PM – Doctor Who Monthly Meetup! 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, March 30 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, March 31 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!

For ANY of our author signings.. if you cannot attend in person, we are happy to reserve a pre-paid copy or copies of their titles to be autographed for in-store pick-up or mail order fulfillment.  Please call us at 508-796-5613 for more information.

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 Friday – Christopher Reilley

Christopher Reilley pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Author/Poet Christopher Reilley. Christopher is a two-time Pushcart nominee, founder of the Dedham Poet Society and the Leicester Writers Guild. His work has been featured in numerous collections, anthologies and journals worldwide. He will be at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester on Saturday, March 14th at 2:00 pm, reading from his third collection, “One Night Stanzas,” published by Big Table Publishing, who also published his previous collection, “Breathing for Clouds.”

Asked  where people can find your work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!), his response was:

www.bigtablepublishing.com, and of course, Amazon.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

Come visit me at http://chrisreilleypoems.blogspot.com

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

I’m a pretty eclectic guy, I tend to try everything at least once. I got into poetry as a puzzle guy, fascinated by poetic forms, trying everything from limericks to ghazals, fitting just the right word in just the right place, keeping meter, and scansion, and storyline in mind. Although rhyme is not as popular as it used to be, I still write it, but I write free verse as well. I tend to try something every time I sit down to write.

What was the inspiration for One Night Stanzas? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

My publisher told me that I had carte blanche to collect anything I felt compelled to share for my third collection. In sorting through the hundreds of pieces I have, I noticed that a LOT of them had to do with love, in one form or another, so I decided to collect love poems. I separated them into poems of looking, loving, and loss. The rest was fairly easy.

One Night Stanzas cover

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?

Knowing that my words have touched someone, somewhere, that I will never meet. That was entirely the point of my second collection and the title poem, Breathing for Clouds. Several months after its release, I got an email from a school girl in Brisbane, Australia, who told me that my poem, The Last Tree, made her cry, and asked permission to share it with her class during an environmental cycle in her school. That touched me deeply, and I hope that to be true of all of my poems.

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

I’ve always followed Hemingway’s advice – write drunk, edit sober. By that I mean just get it out onto the page, you can then polish it until it gleams. I’d rather have a finished manuscript or story that is utter crap, than a half finished brilliant one.

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

I am currently working on a chap book called “Under the Gray Rainbow,” a collection of poems that look at the dark psychology of the characters created by L. Frank Baum for his many Oz books.

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

I also enjoy cooking, creating stained glass, making wine, and of course, doing puzzles of all kinds.

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

    1. Having a creative writing degree does not make you creative. There are many poets who have an impressive litany of educational acronyms that are as boring as waiting at the DMV.
    2. Most poets do not really know how to give a dynamic and entertaining reading, they never look up, they mumble, they read in a monotone, etc. Brilliance at writing does not always equal brilliance in performing.
    3. The only critic you need to please lives in your own head, and you can learn to shut that jerk up as well.

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

Two books I would recommend: Stephen King’s “On Writing,” because it solidly promotes the work ethic required to be a writer, and Mary Oliver’s “A Poetry Handbook.” This slim volume is worth more than a dozen expensive poetry workshops.

 

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