A Tale of Two Bookstores: Farley’s and Canterbury Tales Forever

Farley’s Bookshop in New Hope, PA, and Canterbury Tales Forever in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA are two cozy and amazing indie bookstores worth all of our attention and support.

For the past 7 months, my buds and I at the Philly Liars Club have been on our “Truth Tour,” throwing parties for independent bookstores, and spreading the word about why it’s important to shop at indie stores first. Our Truth Tour parties have been fun and festive, featuring most of our 13 Liars Club authors.  But what about cozy bookstores who can’t fit all of us at once? This calls for a Two-Timing Liars party, of course!

So, on Saturday, December 12th, a bunch of two-timing liars takes over Farley’s Bookshop and Canterbury Tales Forever. We’ll be simultaneously throwing a festive book signing party at the two bookstores in one day.  From 11 a.m. straight through to 7 p.m. on that day, visitors will find two of these low-down liars at both indies signing their novels, giving away holiday goodies, and spreading excitement about shopping in our local independent bookstores.

Liars shuttling between the two stores that day include: New York Times bestseller L.A. Banks (Thirteenth, St. Martin’s), Bram Stoker award winner Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, St. Martin’s), fantasy author Gregory Frost (Shadowbridge, and Lord Tophet, Del Rey/Random House), young adult author Marie Lamba…me…(What I Meant…, Random House), contemporary novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press/Simon and Schuster), debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), historical author Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series), mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books), and social media marketing consultant, writer and lecturer Don Lafferty.

Books by all of the authors will be on sale at both locations throughout the day, and for every three Philly Liars Club books purchased, customers will get a free Philly Liars Club book bag.

The Philly Liars Club authors have deep ties to the local area.  Besides living nearby, many of their books also take place in the vicinity.  My novel, What I Meant… takes place in Doylestown, as does Tafoya’s amazing debut Dope Thief. Strunk’s Prallsville Mills and Stockton taps into the history of the river town, and Jones’ The Borrowed and Blue Murders, as well as the other mysteries in her series, all take place in Philadelphia.

With so many authors shuttling between the two bookstores, breathlessly spreading holiday cheer and passing out goodies, the Two-Timing Liar’s event will definitely be zany and fun. But there is also a serious side to this event. “As authors with local connections, we want to make sure that people in the area connect with their local independent booksellers,” says author Keith Strunk. “The big chain bookstores and online retailers have been squeezing out all the wonderful indie bookstores across the country, forcing many out of business completely.  This year, we want to remind everyone to come to your indie first when you do your holiday shopping. You’ll be amazed at what you find there.”

“Booklovers take note,” says author Dennis Tafoya. “Folks who haven’t been to Canterbury Tales Forever in a while will be stunned by what they find.” The store, under new management since last February, now stocks three times as many books as they had before. “The shelves are loaded with local history, local ghost stories, and local travel books, along with a huge selection of great fiction and non-fiction in all categories,” Tafoya says. “Plus there are tons of new releases, many at discounts ranging from 20-40%. Truly this has become an amazing place for browsing and shopping.”

Canterbury Tales Forever is a big supporter of local authors. They are open to any author coming and doing a signing here, no matter who publishes them. Just try to get that sort of support at your big chain bookstore! This is truly the kind of bookstore that we all want to thrive.

Farley’s Bookshop in New Hope has been an important part of the surrounding community since it opened in the 1960s. The store is owned by book-lovers James and Nancy Farley, and folks who helped the store start up include Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers of PBS fame) and James Michener.  Today, Farley’s exudes the feel of an old-time bookshop.  “This store has everything,” says author Kelly Simmons. She points out that Farley’s has the title selections that those big box stores do, and that their children’s section is unrivaled.  “But Farley’s also has a charm that those big stores definitely do not.  Plus its staff is so approachable and knowledgeable about books. And then there’s the store cat, Butter. You have to love a bookstore with its own cat.”

Farley’s services also rival those found in those big chains.  Folks can order any book, including those that are out-of-print or from a small press, by phone or on-line, and these orders can be shipped, or picked up in the store. The bookshop provides gift certificates for undecided holiday shoppers, and there is even a frequent buyer club, rewarding participants with a $30 coupon for every $300 spent.

“This store is a gem,” says author Jonathan Maberry, who urges people to think of independent bookstores first before going to that online retailer or chain store. “By shopping at independents for your holiday purchases, you’ll help ensure that unique stores like Farley’s Bookshop and Canterbury Tales Forever will be here for us for years to come. We need them. We hope everyone feels the same and joins us at our Two-Timing Liars celebration. It’s going to be a great time – honest!”

For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the event, call Farley’s at 215-862-2452, or Canterbury Tales Forever at 215-794-8719.

Doylestown is Real!

Folks hanging out near Coffee & Cream in Doylestown

Every once in a while someone emails me wondering if there really is a place like Doylestown.  See, Doylestown is the setting of my young adult novel WHAT I MEANT… And when you read about this town, you realize how unusual it is outside of a city to have a cute village-like place filled with cool shops and restaurants and museums, oh, and two castles!

But, I assure you, Doylestown is all that.  So, since I have a few book signings coming up around town in the next few weeks, I thought that this would be an ideal time to post some images to go with some scenes from my novel.

BTW, you can catch me at the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, PA on Sunday, Dec. 6 from noon-3 p.m….at Canterbury Tales Forever in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m….and at Farley’s in New Hope, PA also on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 3-5 p.m.  So if you are looking for a signed book for a holiday gift, and if you have a reader who would love to read a novel set in a town they know, well… I’m just saying!

Anyways, here are some images from town, along with some quotes from WHAT I MEANT… (text copyright 2007 Marie Lamba)

Enjoy!

Sang Jumnal, the 15-year old heroine of the novel, kind of has a thing for Orlando Bloom:

Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, PA

I zoom past Fonthill.  That’s a castle built in Doylestown in 1912 by this rich guy, Henry Mercer. It’s a museum now, but seeing it all set back on its massive lawn, with morning dew sparkling in the grass and a bit of fog lingering in the hollows beside it, I can imagine someone still lives there. And not some rich crusty geezer either. I can imagine Orlando inside, throwing open the top windows and gazing across the grass and seeing, well, me.

In this scene, Sang and her best friend Gina do their weekly walk/ride at the Doylestown Cemetery, only at this point in the story, they aren’t too friendly anymore:

Doylestown Cemetery

“I bike up to the Elmer mausoleum. No sign of Gina. I rub my icy hands together and wait. The wind shakes the branches of the old maples around the graveyard. Brown brittle leaves scuttle around the grass till they are pressed against the tombstones. A golden banner spelling out MOTHER, loosened from its memorial wreath, tumbles past me.  I’m about to give up on this entire bike/run thing when over the hill I catch sight of a pink hat bouncing along.
I try not to smile and it’s a good thing, because she marches right past me.  She tucks a strand of her sandy-blond hair back into her hat and starts her stretch beside the mausoleum. So I’m a ghost after all.

Planet Smoothie in Doylestown

Sang also has a thing for a guy in her school – Jason.  Things quickly get complicated, especially since she’s not technically allowed to date. Plus, Sang recently saw Jason hanging out with “seedy Sarah.” In the following scenes, a simple walk home from school becomes anything but:

By the time we reach Planet Smoothie, it’s jammed with students. Megan, holding a giant smoothie in her hand, spots us through the window and waves for us to come in. Frankly, I’m tempted.

Sang then remembers that she has a dreaded doctor’s appointment for something she doesn’t even have…and starts rushing home:

Nat's Pizza, Doylestown

I’m by Nat’s Pizzeria just as the door bursts open and out leaps none other than Jason, a slice in his hand. He races down the street, and I half expect a cop to be chasing him.
Great. I have to hurry home in the same direction. He’ll probably think I’m following him. He probably saw me by Nat’s and thought, Gah! It’s that crazy stalker chick, just like in
Swimfan.

Jason disappears, and Sang figures the coast is clear and she can get home without running into him for real, but…:

County Theater, Doylestown

“Can I interest you in a matinee?”
I pause. The metallic voice came from the County Theater. I turn, and there’s Jason inside the tiny glass ticket booth, wiping pizza sauce from his chin with a paper napkin.
I’m totally caught by surprise, and it takes a moment for me to respond. “No thanks,” I finally say. I turn away, ready to move on.
“There’s a great art film opening. Very funny, very different.”
His metallic voice coming through the tiny speaker, the way he’s stuffed in the little glass booth like an arcade gypsy…I imagine depositing a quarter, and his mechanical mouth telling me my fortune. I step closer. “I didn’t know you worked here.”

As you can imagine, nothing goes very smoothly for Sang, and she encounters lots of trials and tribulations throughout the novel. Hey, she’s got an evil aunt living with her, who is stealing food and money, and setting up poor Sang to take the blame! She and Jason have their share of problems, too. Yeah, like I said, things aren’t too easy for her.  But every once in a while, something does go right. Like in this scene on what we townies call the “D” bench:

There he is on the cement bench at the corner, sipping his coffee.
I stop, then I hurry to the bench before I have a chance to think or plan or anything. I sit beside him and he looks at me, all confused. I set down my bag by my feet. We look at each other and both take a sip of our drinks. My throat feels scorched. It takes me a moment to talk, but when I do, all I can think to say is
, “It’s cold out. You should have stayed in the shop.”
“Didn’t think you’d want to be seen with me.” He tightens his mouth and stares at a passing car.
We both take another sip.
I sigh. “Don’t you wish sometimes you could start all over? Take everything back?”
This brings a half smile to his face that makes my heart flutter. It’s just like in those romance paperbacks Mrs. Baldarasi is always reading.
I don’t know what comes over me. I don’t know why I do what I do next, or what I expect to happen ten minutes or even ten seconds from now.  All I know is that I set down my cappuccino, lean toward Jason, and kiss him. My first real kiss ever. It’s long and lingering, and all warm and steamy and coffee-flavored.

So, Doylestown is real. As real as a first kiss… Come tour Fonthill, take in a movie at the vintage County Theater, grab some excellent hot-wings at Nat’s and a smoothie at Planet Smoothie.  Also, check out the other great places in WHAT I MEANT… including the Doylestown Bookshop, Coffee & Cream and Poor Richards. And you’ll fall in love with this town!