Agent Monday: Phew!

Happy Agent Monday, everyone!  Phew, this here agent has been BUSY in every which way over the past week. It’s included traveling and going to conferences and meeting clients and taking pitches and traveling some more, and pitching books and coming back each time to more and more and MORE stuff in my inbox. So, while I now hunker down and catch up here, I thought I’d just post some pix today of the action.

Here goes:

At the Willamette Writer’s Conference in Portland, OR (thanks, Willamette folks for a great conference!)… Hanging out with our fabulous film agent Kim Guidone, and the hilarious Rich Johnson, editor at Inklit, Penguin…

photo_3(2)While in Portland, I got to meet with my client, author Jon Price, for the very first time! That was a blast. Jon is the author of the very witty middle grade novel CREEP VIEW

photo_2(1)Back East, I grabbed a coffee with my great client Erin Teagan, and we chatted about her clever middle grade novel STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES, and about some future ideas she’s got brewing…

photo_1(2)Then off to a book launch for the thriller DEAD OUT, written by my very good buddy Jon McGoran! Jon’s book just got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. So excited to read it!…

photo_4(2)THEN it was off to New York for a gorgeous day and an informal picnic in Central Park with my fellow agents from The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. These are seriously not only the most talented and smartest people you’d ever want to meet, but the nicest too!…

left to right: Roseanne Wells, Marie Lamba, Jennifer De Chiara, Stephen Fraser and Linda Epstein

left to right: Roseanne Wells, Marie Lamba, Jennifer De Chiara, Stephen Fraser and Linda Epstein

And now? Soaking my feet, catching up on everything, and staring at my empty refrigerator. Time to catch up and rest up and forge ahead yet again.

Happy August, everyone!

*Marie is an Associate Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. To keep up with all her posts, subscribe to her site by clicking on the Follow link located on her page on the upper left margin.

 

 

Liar Liar Audiobook…and an embarassing trailer to go with!

“They’re real, and they’re spectacular,” lies author Kelly Simmons.  Click on the video link below and you’ll see members of the Liars Club, including myself, tell a range of shocking whoppers.  And you’ll find out why I won the award for “best facial expressions.” Yikes!

The video is our bizarre version of a book trailer for our new audio version of our short story anthology LIAR LIAR (Blackstone Audio), which has just been released TODAY. Yeah, fitting to have a LIAR LIAR book release on April Fool’s Day, no?

In the anthology is my story “What I Did…,” along with stories by Simmons, Merry Jones, Jon McGoran, Jonathan Maberry, Don Lafferty, Gregory Frost, Keith Strunk, Solomon Jones, Keith DeCandido, Dennis Tafoya, Stephen Susco, Chuck Wendig, Ed Pettit and William Lashner. If you love audio and you lie, then you need this…honest!

Check out more details about the audio book by clicking here. So happy to say that a portion of all proceeds from sales of LIAR LIAR are donated by my group the Liars Club to literacy causes.

Hope you enjoy the trailer below…

LIAR LIAR Book Launch

(Cross-posted at the Liars Club Philly site.)

It’s the truth. The Liars Club is launching their new short story anthology Liar Liar at Between Books, 2703 Philadelphia Pike in Claymont, DE, on Saturday, October 29th from 2-4 p.m. Visitors to the launch, which is free and open to the public, will be able to grab one of the first copies of Liar Liar and have it signed by the many authors featured in this book. Best of all, part of all proceeds from this book go directly toward causes advancing literacy. No lie.

Liar Liar features a bold collection of stories, each centered on a lie. Included in the collection is my own short story “What I Did…”  With an introduction by blockbuster novelist Sandra Brown, and stories that range in tone from the hilarious to the bizarre and even the frightening, Liar Liar is the perfect book to entertain you during those long fall and winter evenings.

At the Between Books event, I’ll be there along with many other Liars including award-winning fantasy author Gregory Frost (Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet )thriller novelist Jon McGoran (aka D.H. Dublin, Freezer Burn, Body Trace), urban novelist Solomon Jones (The Gravedigger’s Ball, The Last Confession), fantasy/scifi and media tie-in author Keith DeCandido (his many titles include Dragon Precinct and Unicorn Precinct), crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope ThiefWolves of Fairmount Park), historical author Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton), novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, The Bird House), mystery author Merry Jones (Summer Session, The Borrowed and Blue Murders) and short story author and social media marketing expert Don Lafferty.

“We’re thrilled to be holding our launch at Between Books,” says author Gregory Frost. “This is a premiere bookstore that not only offers general books, but also specializes in sci fi, fantasy and horror. Plus the store holds incredible events. It’s a book-lover’s paradise.”

For more information, or to reserve a copy of Liar Liar before the event, call Between Books at 302-798-3378.

Come Party at Fab Indie Trappe Book Center

Independent bookstores are taking a huge hit around the country, many of them closing down because they have been forsaken by patrons in favor of online retailers or chain bookstores.  But if you love books, you have to love independent bookstores. That means you have to support them so you’ll always have that cool store where you can hang out and browse titles you won’t find on chain store shelves.   So you’ll always have a place where the seller knows EVERYTHING about books, and can steer you in the right direction when you are looking for a certain type of read.

That’s why me and my buds at the Philly Liars Club have been on our “Truth Tour” throwing a series of parties to celebrate our fav indie bookstores.  Next is our “Liars Tell the Truth about the Trappe Book Center” bash, which will be held at the store, located on 130 W. Main Street in Collegeville, PA on Saturday, April 17th from 1-3 p.m. This event, which is free and open to the public, features free goodies, eight authors, and chances to win prizes that include book bags and signed books. There will even be a story time for kids, featuring an original picture book manuscript read by author Keith Strunk.

The Philly Liar’s Club is a group of professional writers who basically lie for a living. Visitors to the April 17th celebration will get to play Truth or Lie games for prizes, and will enjoy hanging out with the following Liars: Stoker and Nebula nominated fantasy author Gregory Frost (titles include Shadowbridge, and Lord Tophet, Del Rey/Random House); author of dynamic forensics thrillers Jon McGoran, who writes as D.H. Dublin (titles include Freezer Burn, Berkley); women’s contemporary fiction author Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press/Simon and Schuster); celebrated crime writer Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s); social media guru and magazine feature writer Don Lafferty; popular author of young adult novels Marie Lamba (What I Meant…, Random House); best selling mystery novelist Merry Jones (titles include The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books); and actor, playwright and historian Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series).

“We’ll be there partying to highlight all that is wonderful about Trappe Book Center,” says author Merry Jones.  “Independent bookstores are special places, each with their own personality. We want everyone to think of the indies first when it comes to purchasing a book. They offer everything the competition does, and then some.”

At Trappe Book Center, for example, visitors can browse through the store’s extensive stock, which highlights a unique collection of books that you won’t find at any megastore.  “We have excellent customer service, and really know our titles,” says Kit Little, Trappe’s marketing manager. “But if you don’t see what you want here, we have access to over four million titles – virtually any book in print.  Just let us know, and we’ll get that book to you usually within two days.” Orders can be placed in person, over the phone, or by visiting www.trappebookcenter.com.

“The best part is that when you buy from an indie like Trappe Book Center, you are keeping your dollars local, and benefiting your own community,” says author Jon McGoran.

Locally owned and operated, Trappe Book Center serves as a hub of cultural activity for the area.  They offer book clubs for adults and kids, free literary events, and they often work with organizations to help them fundraise for important local causes.  The store has conducted a Battle of the Books to celebrate literacy, and has run an Angel Tree over the holidays to provide books for local children in need.  “We are always seeking new ways to be involved in our community,” says Little, who points out that the store also works with over 200 local schools to help with events, fundraising and special programs.

“I can’t imagine what life would be like without wonderful independent bookstores like this,” says author Kelly Simmons.  “Come out to this party, and show this store you value indies everywhere.  It’s going to be a blast.  Hey, would I lie?”

For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the event, call the Trappe Book Center at 610-454-0640.

Wellington Square Bookshop: a touch of class, a dash of whimsy

Philly Liars Club authors!

Once again, the Philly Liars Club is throwing a Truth Tour party to raise awareness of independent bookstores, and this one is just in time for the holidays!  This bash, “Liars Tell the Truth about Wellington Square Bookshop,” is at the bookstore, located in the Eagleville development at 543 Wellington Square, in Exton on Saturday, December 5th from noon-2 p.m. The festivities are free and open to the public, and include goodies, our famed Truth or Lie trivia game, and prizes including autographed book bags and signed books.  Plus candy canes…

Here are the Liars who will be there: 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), mystery author Jon McGoran who writes as D.H. Dublin (Freezer Burn, Berkley Books), and social media marketing consultant, writer and lecturer Don Lafferty.

And, once again, our mission is clear: Support indendent bookstores!  We hate seeing online retailers and big chain bookstores squeeze out indies all over the country.  Can you imagine your town without any bookstore at all? Well, it’s happening everywhere.  So this holiday season, we are asking everyone to do gift shopping at your wonderful local indie!   They are special and unique.

Cozy seating at Wellington Square Bookshop

As soon as you step into Wellington Square Bookshop, you know it’s unique.  Maybe it’s the fountain, or the tin ceilings, or the pillars that look like they’ve been taken from an ancient Indian palace. The store, which was originally located a few doors down in an 800 sq ft space, just relocated to its current location this past August. It now occupies a 3700 sq ft space, and includes an elegant gourmet coffee shop with goodies from Delightful Desserts of West Chester.

And of course there are the books: new titles, used titles, first editions and rare books. “We are definitely NOT a Barnes and Noble,” says Jolie Miao, who works at the store. The shop refuses to carry Oprah’s book club picks or Twilight, but here you will find many a treasured titled you won’t easily find elsewhere. They also offer free book appraisal services to anyone who asks. In addition, the store carries gift items including candles, book lights, notebooks and packaged coffees. And for the undecided holiday shopper, there are gift cards.

Great coffees and snacks...I taste-tested 'em to be sure

The differences from the chain bookstores run deeper than the store’s beautiful architecture and eclectic selection of books. “We are chill people and we like to have fun,” says Miao.  “We all read voraciously in our free time, and love to discuss books over a cup of coffee with a customer! As an independent bookstore, we really can get to know our customers.” This all translates into great service. They can personally recommend books to people, and have been known to call customers when that new book from a favorite author finally arrives or gets announced in a press release. “We love to meet bookies who share our passion,” Miao says.  “We’re truly in it for the books first.”

The community is starting to notice, and is taking part in events at the store including author signings, a weekly story time, and two book clubs.  The bookstore also welcomes outside book clubs to hold their meetings in the shop. And to sweeten the deal, Wellington Square Bookshop will even give these clubs free coffee and pastries, along with 20% off their club’s book purchases.

“This store is a gem,” says author Dennis Tafoya, 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 Wellington Square Bookshop will be here for us for years to come.”

Remember, we all can make a huge difference here.  Browse at all of those little shops.  Visit their online sites and order that way.  Buy indie bookstore gift cards.  Make a difference!

Womrath’s: Celebrating 60 years of Indie Bookselling

***You are invited to come celebrate with us on Saturday, November 7th, noon-3 p.m., when we throw a huge 60th Anniversary Bash for Womrath’s Bookstore in Tenafly, NJ.  A portion of the proceeds will go to the Sgt. Harry Fund, helping disabled veterans achieve a better life…So you can start your holiday shopping, support a great indie bookstore, and help wounded vets! ***

On the final day of World War II, Sgt. Harry Kutik was shot 13 times and left on the battlefield.  But this wasn’t the end of his life, it was the beginning of new challenges, and of his remarkable independent bookstore: Womrath’s.  Sixty years later, Kutik’s family has a proud legacy of quality bookselling and service, all because one courageous man never let anything hold him back. And now, everyone is invited to celebrate when The Philly Liars Club throws its special 60th Anniversary Bash for Womrath’s Bookstore on Saturday, November 7th from noon-3 p.m. at the store located at 12 Washington Street in Tenafly.  The free party includes munchies, trivia games, a host of authors, and prizes and giveaways including signed books and book bags.

Sgt. Harry Kutik, 1942

Sgt. Harry Kutik, 1942

As some of you may already know, the Philly Liars Club, of which I’m a member, is a group of professional writers who basically lie for a living. The Womrath’s bash is part of our “Truth Tour,” a series of parties celebrating independent bookstores. At the Womrath’s party, you can hang out with 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 novelist Marie Lamba…that’s me… (What I Meant…, Random House), crime author Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), mystery writer Jon McGoran who writes as D.H. Dublin (Freezer Burn, Berkley), historical author Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series), novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press/Simon and Schuster), mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books), renowned Poe scholar Ed Pettit, and social media marketing consultant, writer and lecturer Don Lafferty.

“There’s an alarming trend of independent bookstores being squeezed out by chains and online retailers,” says author Merry Jones.  “This is something we can reverse. If we love an indie, we have to show our support by going to them first when we want a gift card, or a holiday present, or visiting their online site when we want to order books that way.”

I completely agree. In a world that is increasingly generic, where chain bookstores are the same everywhere, and where nobody knows your name, independent bookstores are a haven for any book lover. They are filled with handpicked books, with a staff that knows their titles, and, above all, with personality. This is especially true at Womrath’s Bookstore, where the indomitable spirit of Sgt. Harry Kutik lives on.

Sgt. Harry Kutik, 1948

Sgt. Harry Kutik, 1948

Even though Sgt. Kutik’s war wounds kept him in the hospital for years, and his injuries left him a paraplegic, his will was strong, and his will to help even stronger. “My father was outgoing and optimistic,” says Bob Kutik, who, along with his wife Sheila, now owns the store. “He wouldn’t let anything stop him, and there wasn’t a mean bone in his body. Plus he would never say no to someone in need. He was quite an inspiration.”

Shortly after the war, Sgt. Kutik’s cheerful and independent spirit caught the attention of a disabled veterans group called the 52 Week Club. They selected him for a pilot program aimed at finding businesses that disabled vets could run themselves, a fairly revolutionary idea in the 1940’s.  The group approached Womrath’s, which at the time was a franchise with more than 37 branches. The company agreed to open a branch with Kutik at the helm. The store was designed with aisles wide enough for Harry’s wheelchair, and shelves low enough for him to reach.

For many years, Sgt. Kutik operated successfully, guided by his philosophy of exceeding a customer’s expectations. Twelve years ago, Sgt. Kutik passed away. The business, originally in Hackensack, relocated to Tenafly in 2001, but Sgt. Kutik’s legacy lives on, and to this day, Womrath’s continuously strives to exceed a customer’s expectations.

“Womrath’s Bookstore offers everything the competition does, plus more,” says author Gregory Frost.  He points out that by stopping in, calling the store or visiting http://www.womraths.com, you can order any title quickly, whether the store stocks it or not. They even will ship orders. For unsure gift-givers, the store sells gift certificates. And repeat customers can enjoy a preferred readers club, earning points toward a $10 coupon. “Best of all, by ordering through Womrath’s you are benefiting a local business. One that offers a unique shopping experience, and that showcases titles you won’t find in any of those megastores.”

“I went into the business because, like my father, I wanted to help people the best way I knew how,” says Kutik.  “The right book can change a life, and I can put that book in someone’s hand.”  Every title on their shelves is hand-selected by the staff, based on the tastes of its customers. In addition to general titles, the store has also carries plenty of local interest books, and greeting cards depicting local scenes by area artists and photographers. And for shoppers who aren’t sure which book to buy next, the knowledgeable staff has over 50 years of bookselling experience, plus they read over 300 books a year, meaning that they can personally recommend a vast array of books to their customers.

Womraths Bookstore in Tenafly...an amazing indie!

Womrath's Bookstore in Tenafly...an amazing indie!

After years of high quality service, this bookstore truly has a lot to celebrate. Imagining what Sgt. Kutik would think of Womrath’s 60th anniversary celebration, Bob Kutik says, “I think that my father would have a big smile on his face. He’d be so proud that the work he started has lived on, and that we tried to continue it his way, serving the community in a friendly and helpful manner. For me, that’s what it’s all about.”

“You can see that independent bookstores are so much more than shops,” says author Jon McGoran.  “They are the heart and soul of a community.  We members of the Philly Liars Club hope everyone feels the same and joins us at this bash to show how strongly we all support this local gem. It’s going to be a great party – no lie.”

For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the event, call Womrath’s Bookstore at 201-568-8857.

Between Books in Claymont, DE: Another Unique Indie

As the Philly Liar’s Club (of which I’m a member) has been continuing it’s “Truth Tour,” throwing parties for independent bookstores throughout the region, I’m really learning a lot. Especially since I’m the one who contacts each owner to interview them about what makes their store special. I then write a feature story based on this info and send it out to the world.  What I keep noticing over and over again is just how unique each Indy store truly is.

Okay, we know what to expect when we walk into any Borders or Barnes & Noble, right? We know where each section is, what sort of books and magazines we’ll see. And where that cafe is.  But walk into an independent bookstore, and you are always experiencing something fresh and new.  Books you’ve never seen before.  Staff who have picked out every single title for that particular store. And there’s more…the store has it’s own quirky personality.

Between Books in Claymont, DE is the next stop on the Liar’s Truth Tour.  Between Books isn’t just a bookstore. Oh no. This store specializes in sci fi, fantasy and horror, making it a Mecca for genre fans throughout the area.  The shop also carries new comics, board games, role playing games and card games.  It holds incredible events for fans…like the time that Beef Cake and Techno Destructo from GWAR played the GWAR miniatures game there in full costume!  Plus Between Books offer 10% discounts on just about everything. They definitely deserve this Liar’s Club party and our support, don’t you think?

Shopping at a locally owned business like Between Books benefits the entire community. “We buy most of our supplies and services from local businesses,” says Greg Schauer, who co-owns the store with Richard Schauer. “And we help to promote local authors, artists and game designers.”  As part of this, Between Books offers advertising space for community activities, and helps promote events at Arden Guild Hall with posters and ticket sales. The bookstore also runs plenty of author events, bringing writers and the community together.  And, in at least one instance, the store brought two very important writers together as well. “Author Joseph Gangemi met the writer John Passarella at our store,” Schauer says. “They then collaborated on the novel Wither, which went on to win the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel.”

Great service, unique selections, and exciting events have sustained this independent bookstore for many years. In fact, Between Books will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in November. And the store will be bringing writers together yet again, this time in the form of an anthology they are publishing. “We will be releasing The Stories in Between,” says Schauer. “It’s an anthology honoring a few of the artists and writers that have appeared at our store over the last 30 years, and we’ll be celebrating its release on November 14th.”  The anthology will include work from Philly Liar’s Club members Jonathan Maberry, Jon McGoran

Independent Bookstores for Independent Minds

Independent Bookstores for Independent Minds

and Gregory Frost.

“It’s an honor to be included in their anthology,” says McGoran.  “And we Liars are all especially honored to be throwing our party for Between Books.  Independent bookstores are so much more than shops. They are the heart and soul of a community.”

The Liar’s Club will be at Between Books throwing a wild and crazy party July 25th from 3-5 p.m….free, fun, zany and lots of giveways, too…everyone is welcome! Visitors to the celebration will get to play Truth or Lie games for prizes, and can smooze with the following Liars: 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 (What I Meant…, Random House), debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), historical author Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series), novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press), mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books) and social media guru Donald Lafferty. For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the event, call Between Books at 302-798-3378.

So join the fun, and support this local gem.  Have a special independent bookstore near you that you’d like to brag about?  Let me know. I’d love to hear what makes your Indy unique…

New Book Fest at Chestnut Hill!

Chestnut Hill, PA is on the outskirts of Philly…close enough to have an urban feel, with hip shops, restaurants, and a vibe of culture…far enough that it has massive leafy trees and truly incredible homes.  Seriously, they are stone castles.  The people of Chestnut Hill are also urban hip.  So when this town decides to throw its first book fair, you know it’s going to smoke!

The first ever Chestnut Hill Book Fair will kick off on Friday, July 10, and continue through Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12.  There will be panel discussions, activities, readings and book signings.  For the kiddies there are plenty of picture book authors doing their stuff, along with performances, and a green eggs and ham brunch!  I’m so proud to be a part of it. I’ll be there on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, July 11, from 2-4 p.m., visitors can catch me at the lovely Robertson’s Flowers, 8501 Germantown Ave in Chestnut Hill.  I’ll be hanging out, doing a reading,  and happy to chat about writing, my novel, life in general.  And I’ll be signing copies of my young adult novel What I Meant… Since part of my novel takes place in Philly, and in Doylestown, a suburb not too far away, I’m sure I’ll feel right at home. P.S.: It’s free!

On Sunday the 12th, from 2:30-4 p.m., I’ll be in the Bombay Room at the Chestnut Hill Hotel (8229 Germantown Ave, Chestnut Hill) on a panel talking about “Tips for Marketing Your Book.”  Among the other panelists who will be there is fellow Philly Liar’s Club author Kelly Simmons (who wrote the wonderful novel  StandingStill).  We’ll share how you can get your book noticed, revealing some unorthodox but completely doable ideas of our own. The panel is one of several aspiring writer workshops being sponsored throughout the weekend by Philadelphia Stories, a magazine that publishes great fiction, poetry and art from folks in the region. Each workshop costs $10.

A bit more about the Philly Liar’s Club: we are 13 professional writers who basically lie for a living. This is one talented as well as warm bunch of authors, and I am so proud to be their newest member.  Speaking of Liars, you can also catch some of my other Liar buds throughout the festival.  On Friday evening from 8:30-10 p.m. (Magarity Ford Site, 8200 Germantown Ave), there is a 100% Liars mystery panel featuring Ed Pettit (renowned Poe scholar), Jon McGoran (aka D.H. Dublin, Freezer Burn), Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief), Kelly Simmons (Standing Still), and Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders).  I wish I’d written a mystery so I could sit in on that one.  Kelly Simmons will also be signing at the Borders, 8705 Germantown Ave at noon.  And another warm and wonderful Liar, paranormal novelist L.A. Banks (author of the 12 book series on Minion: A Vampire Huntress Legend) will be signing on Saturday, 11:30 a.m., at the Magarity Showroom, 8200 Germantown.

Liars aside, there are also SO many wonderful authors coming. Authors that I adore as both writers and as friends.  Here’s a sampling: Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars), Nancy Viau (Samantha Hansen has Rocks in her Head), Linda Wisniewski (Off Kilter), and Elizabeth Mosier (My Life as a Girl).  There is so much going on, you’ll just have to check out the book fair’s site to get it all in.

Truly, this is going to be one rocking event.

Clinton Book Shop is one Cool Independent

We lie for a living...

We lie for a living...

I’m lucky enough to be a member of  the Philly Liar’s Club, a group of 13 professional writers who basically lie for a living. And together we are on a “Truth Tour,” which means we throw parties for independent bookstores, spreading the word about what makes each store so important to our communities.

The really great part about this is that I get to interview bookstore staff and hear all this cool stuff about the shops and what they’re doing. For example, our next stop is at Clinton Book Shop in Clinton, NJ, June 20th from 1-3 p.m.  The store is located at 33 Main Street in Clinton, NJ, and it is way cool. For starters, it is the only dog-friendly bookstore in the state! So anyone can bring in their pooch and browse. They even have dog treats at the counter. My evil poodle would love that. Too bad she gets car sick…

At our free event, “Liars Tell the Truth about Clinton Book Shop,” anyone (including dogs) can come in, nibble on free goodies (there will be stuff for humans, I promise), hang out with the authors, and play Truth or Lie trivia games for tons of prizes including book bags and signed books. There will even be a story time for kids, featuring an original picture book manuscript read by author Keith Strunk.

So who will you get to meet? There’s me, (signing my young adult novel What I Meant…, Random House), Bram Stoker award-winner Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, St. Martin’s),  debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), mystery author Jon McGoran who writes as D.H. Dublin (Freezer Burn, Berkley), historical authorKeith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series),  and social media guru Donald Lafferty.

One thing I learned about Clinton Book Shop is that even though it is small and cozy, purchases there aren’t limited to its excellent collection on its shelves. You can get any book from them by stopping in, calling the store or going to www.clintonbookshop.com.  Special orders usually arrive within two days. Best of all, by ordering through them you are benefiting a local business, one that offers a unique shopping experience, and that showcases titles you won’t find in any of those megastores.

Clinton Book Shop manager Rob Dougherty agrees. “We understand that we’re a part of a small town and community. We understand the people that come here and we work hard to meet their needs.” That translates into carrying titles of special interest to patrons. Also, the staff prides itself on knowing its stock inside and out, and that’s why they are especially skilled at recommending books to customers looking for their next read. “I’ve never seen a single customer come back to complain that they didn’t enjoy a book that our staff had hand sold them,” Dougherty says. “That is saying something.” 

Other ways the staff caters to its customers includes a loyalty shopper’s discount card, hosting book clubs including “The Politically Incorrect Book Club,” and an array of exciting literary events, including the upcoming nationwide book launch of author Maryann McFadden’s newest novel So Happy Together (Hyperion) on July 7th.

The bookstore is so connected to the community because for owner Harvey Finkel, Clinton is home.  Finkel, a long-time area resident, has served as a board member of Habitat for Humanity, and, through the store, he has supported local and private schools and contributed to regional non-profits. He is also a founding member of “Hunterdon First,” a newly formed non-profit supporting independently owned and operated businesses throughout the county.  His own store’s entire philosophy is focused on benefiting his community. “That’s why it is so important to buy books from a local independent bookstore,” says Donald Lafferty, a social media guru who specializes in networking. “It’s like one big network. You spend your dollars at the Clinton Book Shop, and your money stays in this community. It’s all connected, and it truly makes a difference right where you live.”

Clinton Book Shop customers are understandably loyal – something that Dougherty especially appreciates. “It’s so cool when customers know what kind of coffee you drink and they bring it for you. And support from our customers during these tough economic times has been great. It means a lot.”

“This town’s unique architecture and independently owned stores are what give Clinton its authentic small-town charm,” says historic author Keith Strunk. “I can’t imagine a place like this filled with chain stores. We hope everyone feels the same and comes to our Liar’s Club party to show the Clinton Book Shop how strongly they support this local gem. It’s going to be a really fun celebration – honest!”

For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the June 20th event, call the Clinton Book Shop at 908-735-8811.  I hope to see you there.  And if you don’t live in the area, you can still show your support by buying your next book from your local independent bookstore. Go ahead. Do it now!

Where I’m Gonna Be When: Author Appearance Schedule

Hey gang,

Well, since I’m STILL having some website issues, and haven’t been able to update my site for like 2 months (!), I thought I could at least post my appearance schedule here. If you are nearby one of these events, come and say hey!


Marie Lamba’s Upcoming Appearances:

May 9th,
morning appearance and signing with Girl Scouts in Lansdale, PA. Yeah teen scouts!

May 16th, 2-4 p.m. booksigning at The University of Pennsylvania Bookstore (Barnes and Noble), 3601 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Coincides with alumni day…and Marie’s 25th Penn reunion.  For more info call 215-898-7595.

June 4th, 3:30-5:30 p.m., booksigning at The Summer Library Fest, held at Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, 1001 Powell St., Norristown, PA.

June 14th, 1-5 p.m. Booksigning and chatting with 70 authors at Books in New Jersey literary festival, held at Paramus Public Library, E116 Century Road, Paramus, NJ. Sponsored by Bergen County Cooperative Library System and Paramus Public Library.

June 20th, 1-3 p.m. The fabulous Philly Liar’s Club will be throwing its second “Truth Tour” event, and you are invited. “Liars Tell the Truth about Clinton Books” is a party at Clinton Books, 33 Main St., Clinton, NJ, featuring fab giveaways, Truth or Lie games, and these Liars Club authors: Marie Lamba, Jonathan Maberry, Keith Strunk, Gregory Frost, Jon McGoran (who writes as D.H. Dublin), Dennis Tafoya and Don Lafferty. There will be laughs, mayhem, booksignings, and this party is free! You can call the bookstore at 908-735-8811 for more info or to reserve a copy of an author’s book.

July  10th-12th, time TBA, Marie will be appearing at the Chestnut Hill Book Fest, in Chestnut Hill, PA, with a bunch of her wacky Philly Liars Club author buds. There’ll be yakking and booksignings. Stay tuned for details.

July 25th, 3-5 p.m., “Liars Tell the Truth about Between Books,” the Philly Liars Club throws another wild and wooly party for independent bookstores. This time we’ll be at Between Books, 2703 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE. This free party will have great giveaways, Truth or Lie games, and these wacky writers: Marie Lamba, Jonathan Maberry, Keith Strunk, Kelly Simmons, Merry Jones, Gregory Frost, Dennis Tafoya, Don Lafferty.

July 30th, 7-8 p.m., South Brunswick Public Library, 110 Kingston Lane, Monmouth Junction, NJ. Marie will be giving a special talk, sharing how she makes her books come to life, and answering questions from you. This will be followed by a book sale and signing. The event is free and open to the public. For more info call the library at 732-329-4000.

August 14th, 6-8 p.m., “Liars Tell the Truth about Aaron’s Books.”  The Philly Liars Club “Truth Tour” continues!  This time we are throwing a party for wonderful indie bookstore Aaron’s Books43 S. Broad St., Lititz, PA. This exciting event, which is free and open to all, will have fab giveaways, “Truth or Lie” games and mayhem/booksignings with a host of Liars Club writers: Marie Lamba, Jon McGoran (aka D.H. Dublin), Keith Strunk, Don Lafferty, Jonathan Maberry, Merry Jones, Gregory Frost, and Dennis Tafoya. The par-tay occurs during the town’s Second Friday Celebration. Contact the store for details at 717-627-1990. Don’t miss the action…

October 9th, 7:30 p.m., “Meet the Authors,” night at Indian Valley Public Library, PA. Co-hosted by the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce and wonderful indie bookstore Harleysville Books. This free evening will include author talks and booksignings. Details, including other featured authors, coming soon.

October 18th, 1-3 p.m., Senior Scout Workshop and Booksigning, Cherry Hill, NJ.

November 7th, noon-3 p.m., The Philly Liars Club will be throwing a very special “Liars Tell the Truth about Womrath’s Bookstore” held at Womrath’s Bookstore, 12 Washington Street, Tenafly, NJ.  It’s in celebration of this store’s 60th anniversary. The festivities are free and everyone is welcome to come enjoy our “Truth or Lie” games, great giveaways, and chillin with the writers, who will be signing their books: Marie Lamba, Dennis Tafoya, Jon McGoran (aka D.H. Dublin), Ed Pettit, Keith Strunk, Gregory Frost, Jonathan Maberry, Merry Jones, Kelly Simmons, William Lashner, and Don Lafferty.