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.

Got Books?

How many books do you have on your night table? On your bookshelf? Chances are pretty good that the total is more than 20.  Did you know that in the middle ages people used to travel for days to a library with a major holding of 20 books?

It’s crazy to think of that, but back when the monks did the “publishing” it took one monk 20 years to create one Bible.  If you think about each book taking that long, well, you can understand how exciting 20 different books in one location could be.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting yet another one of my girl scout  “So What’s the Story?” workshops to a group of teens.  This time our group met in Hellertown, PA and had 79 participants. I shared the history of the book, my massive pile of rejection letters, and read from my novel WHAT I MEANT… And at the end of it all I signed copies of my novel for each girl that was there.  But, most importantly, each girl there also donated books from their own collections and together we designed inspirational bookmarks that would go in those volumes.

And the really great thing about all this is that now I get to give those books to my local shelters!  Through these workshops over the past 2 years, the teens I’ve met with and I have probably put more than 2,000 books in the hands of children who are homeless.  The gratitude I’ve gotten from the shelters is phenomenal, and I’ve been told that for many of these kids, these books have been the only ones they have ever owned.

I can’t think of a more simple way to help someone, and I’m so touched that our book drives have continued to make such a difference to children and teens throughout our area.  So I’m putting out this challenge to everyone in cyberspace.  Got books, whether for adults or kids?  Ones you’ve outgrown or that you don’t plan on rereading?  Then why not donate them to your own local shelters?  Google the shelters in your area and find out what their hours are for donations, and then you too can pass on the knowledge and joy and hope that every book can represent.

Next week I’m looking forward to visiting Frankford High School in Philadelphia with fellow authors Jonathan Maberry, Solomon Jones, Don Lafferty and Keith Strunk.  We’ll be chatting with students and also bringing the school district a tremendous stash of donated books from ourselves and from our fellow authors in The Liars Club. It’s a part of the school district’s Read for your Life literacy drive, and it creates yet another opportunity for you…if you live in the Philadelphia area, you too can donate books to these needy classrooms.  Check out this link for what they’re looking for and where to send your books.

Right now I’m looking at boxes and boxes of donated books filling my family room. Picture books and early readers and novels and non-fiction. Beautiful titles. And I know that by the end of this week, scores of kids who really need them will have these books in their own hands to treasure.

I can’t imagine having a library with only 20 books.  And I certainly never want to think of what it’d be like to never own a book of my own.  So spread the joy, folks, donate your books, and because of YOU  many other people will be proud book owners too.

Workshop: Become Your Own Book Publicist

Learn Low-Cost and No Cost Techniques that’ll get you Noticed
A Liars Club Class

Registration now open!

Whether you are working on a manuscript, are self-publishing, or have a book deal with a major publisher, these days you are expected to know how to promote yourself and your book. Are you ready? Author/actor Keith Strunk and I are offering a 3-session class to help you get the skills you need.  We’re both members of The Liars Club, a group of authors who basically lie for a living and who work together to promote literacy and our love for literature.  This’ll be a great workshop…no lie!

Instructors: Marie Lamba and Keith Strunk (bios below)
Date:
3 Classes, Mondays, November 1, 8 and 15
Time:
7-9 p.m.
Location:
Lower conference room at Saxby’s Coffee, 22 N. Main St, Doylestown, PA
Cost:
$95, payable at start of first class by cash, or by check made out to The Liars Club. *Do not mail payment.
Pre-registration required:
Class size limited to first 20 registrants. To register, send an email to marielamba@hotmail.com with “Publicity Workshop” in subject line.  Please include your name, address and phone/cell in your email. We will email you your enrollment confirmation.

Class Details:

This 3-session workshop will show you how to become your own best publicist.  We’ll explore the skills you need to present yourself professionally and effectively to publishers, the media and your readers.  We’ll also share public relations and publicity techniques, combined with out of the box ideas that can have you connecting with local, national and even international audiences…all without breaking the bank.

This interactive program will address the unique needs of workshop participants and how they can best publicize themselves and their works. Class size limited.

Subjects to be Covered:

Creating a compelling author image based on who you really are:
Identifying and reaching your true market
Building your online identity
Blog and website content essentials
Sales techniques you need to know
Unusual/effective marketing through public relations, publicity, Internet/social media
Getting free press online, in newspapers and in magazines
Approaching booksellers, setting up your own book tour, and growing relationships
Face to face interactions with readers
Public reading skills
Interviewing skills/media coaching for print, radio and TV

Your Instructors:

Marie Lamba: Marie is author of What I Meant…(Random House), and has an essay in the anthology Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishers). A full-time freelancer, her work has been published in over 100 magazines including the national publications of Garden Design, Writer’s Digest, Gardens & Landscapes and Sports International. Marie has also worked in publishing as an editor and as a promotions manager, and is an award winning public relations writer.  She has used her P.R. and marketing skills to garner attention for her novel, snagging coverage online, in newspapers, and in magazines. Some of her most effective out of the box marketing ideas include extensive reading workshops for more than 1000 teen scouts, and the Truth Tour parties her group the Liars Club has thrown for independent bookstores (featured in indiebound.com, in Shelfawareness, and on the American Booksellers Association’s online site). Her article “Priceless Promotion” appeared in the August issue of Romance Writer’s of America’s national magazine RWR, and her piece “Beyond the Bookmarks: Marketing Partnerships that’ll get you Noticed” is scheduled for the January 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest. Marie has also done book promotion coaching for a number of authors, including Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), C.G. Bauer (Scars on the Face of God, Drollerie Press), and Jeanne Denault (Sucking Up Yellow Jackets, O Books).

Keith Strunk: Keith is an actor, teacher, and author.  He is a partner in Interlude Group LLC, specializing in interpersonal communication training and development.  With a business perspective developed through a career that spans the corporate, non-profit, and academic sectors, his work experience includes teaching at Rutgers University and Ursinus College, film and video production in NY and regional markets, freelance writing, and corporate training and development.  He is co-founder and Managing Director of River Union Stage, a professional Equity Theater based in Frenchtown, NJ in its ninth year of operation (www.riverunionstage.org).  He attended Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts Professional Training Program in Acting where he earned his MFA. An award winning scriptwriter, Keith has written scripts for both corporate and artistic venues, including a stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol that has been seen on various stages in New Jersey.  He is the author of Prallsville Mills and Stockton from Arcadia Publishing and has written brochures, workbooks, scripts, marketing materials, and multi-media for corporate clients including Chase Automotive Finance, King Pharmaceuticals, Medco Health Solutions, PNC Global Investment Servicing, Princeton University, and Sika Corporation.  Keith has led workshops and presented at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education National Conference, the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Garden State Council, SHRM Central NJ Chapter, and the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) Conference.  He’s scheduled to lead a workshop at 2011 The Write Stuff Conference for the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.

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.

Harleysville Books Bash – 18 Authors and Some Wine

Harleysville Books in Harleysville, PA is one of those special independent bookstores that are so dear to my heart.  A treasure of a shop filled with carefully selected titles, and that features a continuing series of great events. At the heart of it all is owner Shelly Plumb, a person who loves books and who also loves to support local authors!  To show her support, each year Shelly has been throwing an author reception, highlighting writers from the region.  Exceptionally cool.

This year you can mingle with 18 published authors at the Third Annual Author Reception, being held on Thursday, March 11th from 6-8 p.m. at Harleysville Books. The store is located at 674 Main Street, Salford Square in Harleysville.  The reception, which is free and open to the public, features something for everyone with food, fun and authors of titles ranging from picture books, to young adult novels, to adult fiction and nonfiction.  And yes, for those who are of age, there will be wine provided by Country Creek Winery.

The informal gathering is full of opportunities for visitors to mingle and chat with all of the authors present. Among the featured authors are a number of members from the Philly Liars Club,  a group of critically acclaimed professional writers who provide events to support libraries, bookstores, literacy, and a love of books. I’m VERY proud to be a member.

Liars Club authors at the Harleysville Books event include New York Times bestseller Sara Shepard (The Pretty Little Liars series, HarperTeen, and The Visibles, Free Press), young adult author Marie Lamba…that’s me…(What I Meant…, Random House), New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, The Dragon Factory, St. Martin’s Griffin, and The Wolfman, Tor), best selling mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books), lauded contemporary novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press), debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), and historian, actor and storyteller Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing).

Visitors to the reception can also meet picture book authors and illustrators including Lindsay Barrett George (Alfred Digs, Greenwillow), Rob and Lisa Papp (P is for Princess, Sleeping Bear Press), and Mara Rockliff (Busiest Street in Town, Knopf). Children’s fiction authors will include:  2010 Scott O’Dell prizewinner Matt Phelan (Storm in the Barn, Candlewick), and Michael Townsend (Kit Feeny Graphic Novel Series, Knopf). Young adult authors include debut novelists Cyn Balog (Fairy Tale, Delacorte), Josh Berk (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, Knopf) and Jennifer Hubbard (The Secret Year, Viking). Wonderful debut horror novelist C.G. Bauer (Scars on the Face of God) has just been added to this event, and also on hand will be author MJ Ticcino (Valley Forge).  I’m happy to say that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting most of these authors before, and they are all really nice.  Interested in asking them about writing? About the author’s life? About their books? They’ll all be happy to talk.

For more information about the Third Annual Author Reception, or to reserve a copy of any of the featured author’s books in advance, contact Harleysville Books at 215-256-9311.

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.

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!

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…

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!