Books & Boos is a really cool independent bookstore

indie bookstore, books and boos, colchester, ct

Books and Boos in winter.

If you live in New London County in Connecticut, you might be aware of a really cool little bookstore in your backyard. Or, you might not, in which case, you should definitely look into Books & Boos, a store in Colchester owned by two of the founding members of the New England Horror Association.

The shop is a treasure trove of used books, local crafts and books from local authors.

I love used book stores. I can spend hours in them. But I really love this bookstore, because even though it’s far from Bridgeport and I can’t browse there regularly, the owners have been kind to me. They’ve agreed to carry both my books. They had me at the shop for a reading one weekend, and despite the fact that I didn’t bring in hordes of fans, alá Stephen King, they’ve agreed to have me back on Sept. 8 anyhow.

 I’d like to return that favor by flooding the store with people on Sunday, Sept. 8. I want people to see what the store is like and get to know the owners. I want people to see the crochet Cthulus (yes, these exist) and the Edgar Allen Poe paintings and the handcrafted bookmarks and the piles and piles of books.

If you’re in New London County or Middletown and haven’t yet been to Books & Boos, come down at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8 and get to know the store and the owners. Used bookstores are becoming rare. Awesome used bookstores are even more so.

LAST MINUTE UPDATE: Books & Boos is looking for help! They want to move to a better location in downtown Colchester – and they’ve started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise the money they’ll need for that move. (Click on the link to get a tour of the store.)

It’s hard to rock a trench in a heatwave, but I’m doing it for fiction!

photo credit: i k o via photopin cc

photo credit: i k o via photopin cc

First, an apology to anyone who follows me on Twitter. I’m sorry for clogging your feed with #trenchcoatparty hashtags. I’m just irrationally excited for tonight’s event at Made in Bridgeport. Thanks to Robin Gilmore, owner of MIB, it’s the first book event I’ve ever had that wasn’t more or less just a reading and a signing.

It’s a 1940s noir-themed costume party, first and foremost (I know my book isn’t set in the ’40s, but hey, it’s noir.) I’m a sucker for costume parties. I’ve been torn between wearing a ’40s dress and hat and my trenchcoat/pseudo-fedora tonight. I still haven’t decided. It’s going to be tough to rock a trench on the hottest day of a heatwave, but I never was blessed with an abundance of good sense. And also, that’s why the good lord made air conditioning.

Anyhow, there’s also a mystery that needs solving (I have no idea what it is, but you have to look for clues in the MIB store window) and a game to be played, which involves different stereotypes from noir films (you know, like the dirty cop and the stool pigeon) and a cocktail party (I’ve got the wine downstairs, ready to go.)

This is at a store in the Bridgeport Arcade Mall, which is gorgeous, although finding it for the first time is like solving a mystery in itself. From the front you see a continuation of city block, but go through the right set of doors and you end up in this Victorian confection of a two story building with a beautiful glass dome on the top.

While we’re doing that, a concert’s going to be happening down the block at McLevy Green, part of Bridgeport’s Downtown Thursdays program. Tonight a band called Amy Lynn & The Gun Show is playing, which makes me sort of want to sneak out for a few minutes to see what they’re all about.

Here are the details if you want to come: 5-8 p.m. at Made in Bridgeport in the Arcade Mall. Wear a 1940s noir costume or a trenchcoat, and there will probably have to be a reading, but I will make it short. Promise. We’ve got mysteries to solve.

Not wind, nor rain, nor very loud music can stop vendors at street festivals.

bridgeport arts festDespite a downpour and gusts of wind that nearly lifted our tent off the street, The Bridgeport Arts Fest was a lot of fun. I worked at Made in Bridgeport’s table, saw some friends, met some new people, and handed out a lot of fliers for this Thursday’s Trench Coat party (5-8 p.m. on Thursday, July 18 at Made in Bridgeport).

For more (and better pictures) check out my Facebook author page. Some are mine, some were taken by me on my phone, and most were contributed by people who are better photographers than I am.

I could get used to radio.

WNPR, Colin McEnroe

Just after we got off the air.

Wow. That was fun. I’m just back from Hartford, and wanted to update the blog quickly and let you know how the show went.

First of all, the Colin McEnroe Show was a lot of fun. Colin, Lucy, Brian and Chandra had a lot to say about the state of the novel. The hour went by more quickly than I thought it would.

I really enjoyed the discussion. We heard “crap” used as an adverb in a clip, someone called in from Rwanda to talk about why e-books are such a gift to her, Lucy told us that the novel is called a novel, because it was a new art form and novel means “new” (which I guess I knew but never thought much about) and Game of Thrones was discussed. Repeatedly.

If you missed it, you can hear it online and see photos: click here for the show’s web page.

Oh, and I didn’t use my index cards at all. I had them out and I shuffled them on the desk in front of me, but I didn’t use them.

But then, I knew I wouldn’t.

 

So excited: I will be on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show Monday.

Guys. GUYS. I’m going to be on WNPR on Monday. On the Colin McEnroe show On the radio.

I will be on the air with three other CT authors: Chandra Prasad, Brian Slattery and Lucy Ferriss.

We will be talking about the future of the novel with McEnroe, who is himself an author, at 1 p.m. on Monday, and folks, it’s a call-in show. This is the number: (860) 275-7266.  Call in. Ask lots of questions. The show airs on WPNR-FM 90.5 in Connecticut, but if you don’t live here, that’s okay, you can listen live (or listen to the file later) by going here.

UPDATE: If you miss the 1 p.m. show, a rerun will air at 8 p.m. Thanks to Betsy from WNPR for letting me know.

I’m going to be honest; I’m a little nervous to be on a panel with these authors. They’re all extremely accomplished. But I’m also excited; I can’t wait to talk with them about writing in general and the novel in particular.

For those of you who are not from Connecticut, Colin McEnroe is kind of a big deal. He was on AM radio when I was growing up and he must have been on at a time when I was home from in school, because his was one of the voices I heard daily.

I could go on and on, but I will make a long story short: in 2009, McEnroe moved to WNPR, which is one of CT’s NPR affiliates. He’s got a show that runs from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays, and that’s the one I will be on Monday. He’s great to listen to; he’s a wit and he’s smart as hell and opinionated as a radio host ought to be. I once read a piece that described him as “The Hunter Thompson of Connecticut Journalism.” I don’t know if that’s really the case, but I aim to find out.

So guys, listen, call in. Tweet about it. It’s going to be fantastic.

Flood.

There is a kind of poetry in living without power. All the blankets in the house on one bed. Invigorating cold showers. A fire crackling in the grate all day. Tea lights  in mason jars stationed all over the house. No Internet. No television. The company of good friends who play some cut-throat games of UNO and extend hospitality to those who need shelter. Communal meals. Guitars instead of radio.

There is no poetry whatsoever in being in a neighborhood that’s been flooded by seawater. The streets in my neighborhood are littered with debris. The stuff from the ocean is slimy but not so bad. The garbage from the trash cans that weren’t tied down and taped shut is pretty gross. The National Guard is standing sentinel at all the entrances to our neighborhood. Residents wander around, looking a little lost, cadging cigarettes and stepping over piles of detritus.

I suppose there was a wild beauty to the storm itself. One neighbor, describing the high tide that she watched swirl into her basement, told us that the water “was so happy.” She said that the water came in so fast that cars were moved. I don’t have any photos for you this year. We evacuated to the home of some generous friends and stayed there for days.

This is the second time in as many years that we’ve been flooded by a storm surge that coincided with a full moon. We were lucky – the flood stayed in the basement.

I’ve seen some people online criticize us and the people who live in our neighborhood for living near the shore. But the house we’re in is the home we’ve inherited. Until last year, it never flooded. This is the second 30-year storm in two years, who knows what will happen next year. So maybe we will move.  Or maybe we will move the boiler and the fuse box up to the first floor and prepare to weather the climate change for as long as we can.

Announcement time: Stamford appearance and reading in Mystic.

It’s on the Internets, so I feel like it’s probably time to announce this here:

  • I will be the featured reader at the Stamford Town Center’s Barnes & Noble Poetry Night on Monday, August 13. The event starts at 8 p.m. There will be other readers before me and after me, but I will be reading and I will have books with me. Need more info? Here’s the announcement.

It feels weird to be announcing an appearance in Stamford, when I live so close, because I make “appearances” in Stamford fairly often. Some of my recent “appearances” include a) picking up a new battery at the Apple Store b) that time when I sleepily and mistakenly got off the train from NYC at the wrong stop and c) once when we met some cousins for dinner.

But it’s also really cool to be appearing in Stamford because that’s my old coverage area. (For the uninitiated, “coverage area” is  reporter-speak for “the town in which I used to cover board of education committee meetings.”) I used to spend a lot of time in Stamford. I even covered the work of local authors there, so it’s pretty cool to be headed there for a reading myself.

I totally have to thank my MFA colleague Nick Miele for setting this up for me. He’s a poet and he will also be reading.

  • Speaking of the MFA…. I will be reading on Thursday, July 19 in Mystic, at my MFA program’s  Alumni Day. I will post something separate about this, but the readings will run from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Chapel at Enders. I will be reading with David Fitzpatrick, Deb Henry and Annabelle Moseley. It’s auspicious company, to say the absolute least. I will blog more about this later in the week, because oh my god. All three of these colleagues have reached insane career heights in the last year and you need to know more about them.

Lastly, you all have three days to get name suggestions for my main character to me. Then the voting begins.

I’m reading at the Watertown Library! (And not silent reading like when I used to do my homework there.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that I will be doing my very first reading in just a little less than two weeks at the Watertown Library in Watertown, Connecticut.

This reading, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday March 28, will be very special because Watertown is kind of my hometown.* Also special? My mother worked for the library when I was growing up. She worked at the Oakville branch of the library and did all the story hours there for years. So I spent most of my time there during grade school and middle school. I shelved books and did my homework and occasionally had to be told off for being too rowdy.

And that may be what happens again, because I’m hoping to draw a big crowd to the Watertown Library’s main branch on the evening of March 28.

Here’s the deal: Watertown Library included e-books in their collection on the first of March. Because my book is an e-book, I’m going to give a talk about my experience publishing an e-book and then do some reading. And then? We party. Responsibly, and in a literary fashion, of course. I have no idea where people go to party on a Wednesday night in Watertown these days. If I’m honest, I didn’t even know where to party in Watertown when I was living there. But no worries, we’ll figure something out.

Warning: Parents of young children, my book has language in it. Not language, but language. Also, it has situations in it, which cannot be bleeped out the way language can. I will do my best to read responsibly, but my book contains adult material and I don’t recommend bringing the kids to hear me read.

Hope to see you all there!

*Actually I’m from Oakville, which is a big neighborhood/”census-designated place” in Watertown, but to people who aren’t from there, it’s basically the same thing as being from Watertown.