Speculative Fiction Tuesday: Werewolves And Slitheen And SURVIVORS, Oh My!

It’s been an excellent week for releases and restocks of science fiction, fantasy, horror and thriller titles here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.

First off, we’ve gotten in several titles from Small Beer Press, run by Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link:

  • AIR LOGIC by Laurie J. Marks
  • SOONER OR LATER EVERYTHING FALLS INTO THE SEA by Sarah Pinkser
  • THE PEOPLE IN THE CASTLE by Joan Aiken
  • A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL by Jeffrey Ford

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Next, these fearsome beauties have just crossed our desk:

  • THEME MUSIC by T. Marie Vandelly
  • BURY YOUR DEAD by Louise Penny
  • IF SHE WAKES by Michael Koryta

And finally… The newest audio releases from Big Finish:

  • TERRY NATION’S SURVIVORS – SERIES NINE, featuring Carolyn Seymour, Lucy Fleming, Helen Goldwyb, George Watkins, and Joel James Davison
  • DOCTOR WHO MAIN SERIES #252 – AN ALIEN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, featuring Sylvester McCoy as The Seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace, and Jessica Martin as Mags
  • TORCHWOOD #27 – SYNC, featuring Indira Varma as Suzie Costello and Annette Badland as Margaret Blaine

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Events Buzz Monday: Subdued, But Persevering.

“Thank you for being here today when I needed you.”

We heard quite a few variations on the above statement yesterday, delivered in person, on the telephone, and via online communications, after the news of multiple mass shootings across the country filtered through our social media.

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Our response is to listen, to care, and to thank YOU, our customers and friends, for allowing us to be there for you when you needed us.

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In that capacity, we will continue to serve the reading community, both in Worcester County and beyond, with the best selection of books at discounted prices, as well as a great variety of events and gatherings.

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, August 5, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, August 10, 6PM–8PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses FORGET THE SLEEPLESS SHORES by Sonja Taaffe. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, August 12, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

SPECIAL EVENT: Monday, August 12 through Friday August 16, ALL DAY – Educator Appreciation Week!. Just in time for back-to-school…. our annual end-of-summer sale for teachers, daycare providers and homeschoolers of students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. From Monday, August 12th through Friday, August 16th, we’re running a special 70% off sale on all educator resource materials and on selected backstock of picture books, middle reader books, and teen titles. In addition, with a valid teacher ID, educator paystub, or state-provided daycare center or homeschooler certificate, you’ll receive additional discounts on other items in stock. Educators who purchase any of our special titles will be eligible to enter our raffle to win a $75.00 gift certificate. The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 18th at noon.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, August 17 & Sunday August 18, ALL DAY – Sales Tax Holiday 2019!. Support your local businesses by coming out to shop at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th, when all purchases will be tax-free! A portion of our profits from the weekend’s sales will be donated to the Worcester Youth Center.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, August 17 at 1PM – Marie LeClaire Reads And Signs! Marie LeClaire writes in the genre of magical realism, drawing upon her extensive background in the Air Force to create characters that leap off the page. She’ll be reading from and signing her linked titles THE LAST YARD SALE and A SOLDIER’S LAST MISSION.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, August 19, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, August 26, 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.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, September 7 at 3PM – Book Signing with Hank Phillippi Ryan! Investigative journalist and NYT bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan joins us for an afternoon of suspense and intrigue as she signs her latest novel THE MURDER LIST.

Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for added events and more details.

 

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Graphic Novels Saturday: Usher In Autumn With OVER THE GARDEN WALL

[Welcome to a new weekly feature on our blog… Graphic Novel Saturdays!  Here’s where we’ll spotlight new titles and old friends in the sequential art world.]

The calendar may say that there’s still nearly eight more full weeks of summer, and the mercury in the outdoor thermometer might seem ridiculously high. But the days are growing shorter, the nights longer and cooler, and there is a scent of changing seasons in the air.

Which brings us to the series of trade paperback collections and original graphic novels from KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM Studios, featuring all new tales set in the world of OVER THE GARDEN WALL.  The television minseries debuted on Cartoon Network in 2014 and has an animation style very reminiscent of early 20th century cartoons.

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There are seven volumes of ongoing OTGW adventures currently available here at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, and they are very consistent with the show’s dreamlike visuals and narrative. Unfortunately, the first volume, “Tome Of The Unknown”, an adaptation of the pilot and the miniseries itself, is out of print.  A new title, called “Circus Friends”, is due for release in October 2019.

Give yourself some autumn feels with the OVER THE GARDEN WALL graphic novels… you’ll find an equal measure of chills and heartwarming moments in their pages.  Suitable for middle grade and teen readers.

 

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New Arrivals Thursday On A Friday!

So many beautiful new books have arrived here this week that we needed to postpone our Thursday entry until today!

We have restocked on bestsellers like EDUCATED by Tara Westover and WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens.

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New releases in mass market paperback and in hardcover include THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein, THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt, NOTTINGHAM by Nathan Makaryk, and MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE by Heather Webber.

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As far as children’s books, we’ve received some titles that are sure to be firm favourites, among them OH DEAR! by Rod Campbell, a lift-the-flap board book, and THE PIGEON HAS GOT TO GO TO SCHOOL by Mo Willems.

But the highlight of our summer is the arrival of WITCHY KINGDOM by D. J. Butler, the finale to his flintlock fantasy trilogy.

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We interviewed Dave back in May 2017 and are very excited to read his latest, as well as looking forward to his autumn release THE CUNNING MAN, set during the Great Depression.

Visit us in person at 65 James Street in Worcester, or contact us for our mail order service.

Our thanks to all friends of our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.

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Events Buzz Monday: Hotter Days, Longer Nights!

August is peeking around the corner at us, with its “dog days” and its hints of harvest moons. We have one more event in the month of July on Wednesday, July 31st…. the birthday celebration of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.  It has been twenty-one years since HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE was first published in the UK, and two years since the hardcover release of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.

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This year, our part will run from 12noon until 8pm.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: 

* Sorting Hat & House Placement * Hogwarts House Bookmark Craft *Costume Contest Entrants * Bertie Botts Bean Count Challenge

TIMED EVENTS REQUIRE A TICKET… Ages 8 and up!

Tickets for the timed events are $3.00 per person and can be purchased at the bookstore or at Eventbrite. See our Facebook page for more information

Tickets will admit you to ALL activities listed below.

  • 2:00 PM Potions Class With Professor Moon
  • 3:00 PM Harry Potter Trivia, Round 1 – Easy
  • 4:00 PM Wizard Word Mayhem
  • 5:00 PM Pass The Pensieve
  • 6:00 PM Harry Potter Trivia, Round 2 – Difficult
  • 7:00 PM Contest Winners Announced

And then we have our full calendar of recurring events in August to look forward to.  Keep an eye out for further updates regarding Tax Free Weekend and our Educator Appreciation Sale!

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: Monday, August 5, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, August 10, 6PM–8PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses FORGET THE SLEEPLESS SHORES by Sonja Taaffe. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, August 12, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, August 19, 7PM-9PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, August 26, 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.

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 – Donna Andrews

Donna Andrews Pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on humorous mystery writer Donna Andrews.  I asked Donna to tell me a little about herself and her writing, and her answer is below:

I write humorous traditional mysteries. (At least I hope people find them funny!) Toward the cozier end of the genre, but I don’t think they fit neatly into the current definition of cozy. My heroine, Meg Langslow, is an ornamental blacksmith, and occasionally you’ll find a brief passage during which she finds time to put hammer to anvil, but usually she gets sidetracked into sleuthing when some friend or relative is in jeopardy.  Murder, autopsies, and other unfunny things happen—but off-stage. Most of the books take place in my fictional Virginia town of Caerphilly, which is loosely inspired by Yorktown, where I grew up, and Charlottesville, where I went to school.

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

They should absolutely check at Annie’s Book Stop!  I like to say my books are available at fine bookstores everywhere, and if anyone asks for my definition of a fine bookstore  . . . one that carries my books, of course, or is at least willing to order them. If readers want to try before they buy, most libraries carry them, and all the Meg books are available as ebooks from the major ebook retailers—including Kobo for those who want to support independent bookstores through their ebook buying–as audiobooks, and as large print editions.   The Turing books are out of print, but findable through used book stores and sites—though I hope to change that soon.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

I try to keep my website not TOO out of date—donnaandrews.com, and here’s hoping I get the latest covers up by the time you’re reading this. And I blog a few times a month at the Femmes Fatales: https://femmesfatales.typepad.com/  You can also find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donna.andrews.752 — on Twitter: @DonnaAndrews13 – and on Instagram:  donnaandrews13.  (Fair warning: at least half of my Instagram posts are pictures of my brother’s family’s insanely cute dogs, so if you’re looking for serious literary Instagramming, sorry!)

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

I hope they’ll find a mix of humor and heart.  In Terns of Endearment (August 2019), Meg’s grandfather, a world-famous naturalist and environmentalist, is lecturing the passengers on an education-oriented cruise to Bermuda, and thanks to the cruise line carelessly not putting a limit on the number of friends, family, and staff he can bring along at a discount, they’re a party of sixteen.  But well before they get to their destination, the ship breaks down, stranding them in the Bermuda Triangle, and a passenger who is not well liked commits suicide by jumping overboard—or was it murder?

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?

Since the book features a cruise to Bermuda, I did quite a bit of research about Bermuda—even taking a cruise there myself. And in particular, I was researching the flora and fauna, so Meg’s grandfather the naturalist could become righteously indignant about the species that were being driven into extinction. But . . . most of the endangered species in and around Bermuda are marine invertebrates, which means they rank pretty low on any sane person’s cuteness scale . . .and then I realized that I was going to maroon the boat before they even got to Bermuda.  So not much Bermuda lore made it into the book. Except for the Bermuda skink.  They’re not all that high on the cuteness scale themselves, but I discovered one fascinating fact: they’re endangered for a variety of reasons, including both loss of habitat from development and being eaten by introduced species like cats and rats. But they’re also endangered due to litter. Unlike other skinks, they don’t have little suction cups on their feet—they have tiny claws instead.  Which is fine when they’re climbing trees or scuttling around the beach, but then an enticing smell can lure them into a beer bottle or a soda can and they can’t get out. So if I’m ever in Bermuda again, I plan to pick up as many discarded cans and bottles as I can and shake out any skinks before recycling.

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

The biggest challenge to writing Terns of Endearment was that I’d never taken a cruise before.  And I was so busy finishing up the previous book (Lark! The Herald Angels Sing, which came out in time for the 2018 Christmas season) that I suddenly realized that I had to find a cruise, quick. So I contacted a friend who has taken quite a few cruises and asked her for some advice. She ended up doing all the travel research and coming along with me.  If I’d planned better, we could have taken a small educational cruise of the kind that happens in the book, but unfortunately all we could find was a cruise on one of the major cruise lines, an enormous floating city. But we still had fun, and I got enough research done to write my book.

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

People are always asking if after so many books (28 published, with two more in the pipeline) it gets easier.  Well, yes and no.  It gets easier because I know I can do it. I can finish a draft and polish it into a publishable final version. But still, every time, at some point between 50% and 75% of the way through the draft, doubt creeps in. It’s garbage, all of it, every word I write. And not only is it garbage, but there’s not enough of it—I’m going to run out of plot way short of the minimum possible length for a novel. The suspects aren’t suspicious enough. The killer is too obvious. The humorous sections aren’t.  The one thing that keeps me going is the fact that I go through the same miserable phase with every previous book, including ones that have won awards, hit bestseller lists, or received highly positive reviews.  Apparently this phase of acute self-doubt is a normal stage of my creative process—and of many other writers’ creative process, as I learned from  Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path (by Lynn Lott and Nancy Pickard). So I keep going, and eventually I come out the other end of the doubt with a good manuscript.

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

I’m most comfortable writing in my office, at my desktop computer. I need peace and quiet—no mood music for me. And a beverage—Diet Coke or iced tea.  Optimally I should have internet access, so I can look up useful facts as I go along, and I’m always happier when I have a long, uninterrupted space of time to write in. But I can write on my laptop in a noisy place if I have to; something about a looming deadline makes it doable.

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’m probably a disappointment, because I don’t have any pets. Although I grew up in a household that almost always had cats—as many as a dozen in those unenlightened days before we figured out the whole spaying and neutering thing—I discovered as an adult that I’m allergic to cats. I do have what I refer to as “loaner dogs”—dogs belonging to friends whom I visit frequently, and who sometimes stay with me when their families are traveling.  My brother’s family’s dogs—Ginger, the ladylike middle-aged Shi-Tzu, and Maple, the two-year-old Pomeranian/Bichon terror—are the most frequent visitors.  They’d be good writing companions if they didn’t want to be in my lap. I once wrote most of an entire chapter with my thumbs, on my phone, because the dogs were visiting and I couldn’t keep them happy with sitting in a chair by my desk chair.

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

I recommend joining both Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America—especially if you’re close enough to take advantage of their meetings, although both organizations are trying to find ways to help writers who aren’t lucky enough to be near the meetings. And it’s worth looking until you find a good writers’ group.  There’s nothing like hanging out with other writers to make you come home fired up to tackle your writing project with new energy.

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

If later this year counts as near future, Owl Be Home for Christmas will be out in late October.  In it, Meg’s grandfather is holding an ornithological conference that focuses on owls, and has disregarded Meg’s advice not to hold it on the weekend before Christmas. So now he and around 200 owl experts are snowbound in the Caerphilly Inn, wondering if the record-setting snow storm paralyzing the entire East Coast will end in time for them to get home for Christmas. Meg and many of her family members are helping out with the conference, so they’re snowbound as well, and everyone has quite enough to worry about even before one of the attending ornithologist keels over, an apparent poisoning victim.

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Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us, Donna!

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New Arrivals Thursday: Thrillers For The Beach And For The Brain!

Here’s the latest fiction and non-fiction to cross our desk here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside. Visit us in person at 65 James Street in Worcester, or contact us for our mail order service.

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  • THE INN by James Patterson
  • A STRANGER ON THE BEACH by Michelle Campbell
  • CRISIS IN THE RED ZONE by Richard Preston
  • THE NOCTURNAL BRAIN by Guy Leschziner
  • ONE GOOD DEED by David Baldacci

Thank you, as always, for your patronage and support.

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