If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our June author interviews: Fish Out of Water Authors--6/7, Susan Van Kirk--6/14, Renee Patrick--6/21, and Joanne Guidoccio--6/28.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in June: 6/3--Geoffrey Mehl, 6/10--Joan Leotta. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 6/17--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 6/24--Kait Carson.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Love Bookstores

Every one who has visited Portland, Oregon knows Powell's.
I’m not much of a shopper. Of course, I have to go to the grocery store. Also, to the dollar stores to get various things I can’t find in the grocery store. And in the spring when a young man’s fancy turns to love, my fancy turns to gardening so I look forward to visiting garden centers and
nurseries. Rarely do I shop for clothes or much of anything else. When my youngest daughter and I go a town somewhere near where we’re staying on vacation, I cringe when she says she wants to go into a clothing store and look around. Almost never are there any chairs or benches where I can sit and wait on her. Of course, she always says she’ll just be a minute, but her minute is much longer than anyone else’s minute. Surely, there are women with husbands or boyfriends who would appreciate some place to sit while waiting for their significant other to browse through racks and racks of clothes. And it’s not only my daughter. When I’m traveling with my sisters, often we browse through shops with antiques or other items of interest. I move through them fast and only rarely buy something. One of my sisters does the same thing, but the other one wants to check each and every item in the store.
Many indie bookstores have cats. This one was in Mendocino, CA. 
The only places beside garden centers where I love shopping are in bookstores, especially independent bookstores. In the town near where I live, we had an independent bookstore called The Book Nook in a plaza. Oh, how I loved shopping there. It wasn’t very large, but it was a wonderful store. The owners and their cat were so helpful and friendly. Some evenings they had musicians come in to entertain. If they didn’t have a book you wanted, they’d order it for you. This was in the days before Amazon. I grieved when they went out of business. After that the closest store was Borders about 15 miles away. It was larger with more books and a little café, and it sold CD’s. It was nice, but not quite as friendly and cozy as The Book Nook. And then you know what eventually happened. They went out of business. About thirty miles or more away from where I live there’s a Barnes & Noble, but I hate driving so far for a book.
This bookstore is in San Francisco.

The demise of bookstores was predicted with the advent of e-readers and Amazon. However in TIME July 11-18 this month, Lev Grossman wrote an interesting article entitled The death of the bookstore was greatly exaggerated. It was a wonderful article stating that independent bookstores are actually very healthy. He states that in May the American Booksellers Association informed a grieving public that last year the number of its member stores actually increased from 1,712 to 1,775. Counting some stores with multiple locations, the total climbed to 2,311. Even better is that this is the seventh straight year it’s happening. He writes the numbers are growing because business is growing. Independent-bookstore sales were up around 5% in the first four months of this year. Indies accounted for about 10% of all books sold last year, which is up from 7% in 2014. However, in the broader book business, the number of Barnes & Noble stores has shrunk from 726 in 2009 to 640, and sales at the chain have slipped every year since 2012. Apparently Americans like independent bookstores and they like buying things there.

Other news is that last year, the share of e-books (at least the non-self-published kind) actually receded to 24%. The books market appears to have rebalanced itself into a complex mix of paper and digital, with neither format completely dominating, and there’s still plenty of room for brick-and-mortar retailers.
My sisters & I visited this bookstore when camping near Warren, PA

Book-industry analysts talk a lot about “discovery,” by which they mean the ways people find and purchase new books. It turns out, according to consumer research by Nielsen, that the best method for book discovery is still standing in a roomful of books and browsing – ahead even of click-tracking, data-mining if-you-liked-this-you’ll-like-that algorithms.

Indie bookstores still face challenges. Theirs is not a huge growth business. No one’s getting rich. “The most surprising thing is how many times people just say thank you,” said Brian Lampkin, the owner of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, N.C.
My little red car in front of The Village Bookstore.

And then in 2005, a small independent bookstore opened in the small town of Garrettsville about ten miles from where I live. Ellen Eckhouse owns and runs The Village Bookstore.. She’s the mother of two of my former students, and I consider her a friend of mine. Most of her books are used books, and often I donate some to her. Occasionally she gets new ones, and since I started publishing my books, she sells mine for me, too. When my book clubs choose a book, I call her first to see if she has it, and often she does. I always stay a while to visit with her and catch up on what’s going on or discuss books with her.

In Hancock, Pa. I got an early CK Chesterton Father Brown book.

When I’m traveling on vacations with my sisters or my youngest daughter, one of the things I look for are the independent book stores. Sometimes they are near where we are staying, or in a small town where we stop for lunch. I may not come home with souvenirs other than maybe a coffee mug, but I almost always come home with new
or used books.





The Learned Owl in Hudson, Ohio not too far from me.  
Lev Grossman also wrote “For years bookstores have been the repository of, along with books, a lot of highly romantic feelings. They crop up in fictional settings rather more often than their retail peers; the list of examples is long and charming.” He lists some and then goes on to say, “Part of that appeal lies in the sense that bookstores, especially independent ones, belong to a bygone era – there’s a delicious moribund melancholy about them. Last chance to see.” Well apparently from his article, they will continue on. As for bookstores in books, in my series there’s an indie bookstore, The Carriage House Books.

This bookstore is in Benicia, CA, where my daughter lives. 
Do you enjoy visiting independent bookstores?

What books can you think of that have indie bookstores in them?

9 comments:

Margaret Turkevich said...

I remember the Learned Owl in Hudson, especially their buy 3 get one free sale in July. Every year we acquired enough reading material for a round trip to Cape Cod.

And while we were in Houston over Christmas, we visited Murder by the Book, my new favorite bookstore, the shelves tagged with short book reviews, the sales associates friendly and knowledgeable.

We visit Washington DC once a year and manage to drop by Politics and Prose.

Gloria Alden said...


Margaret, I don't go to the Learned Owl very often, but I've met the new owner because she's sold my books at several events my SinC chapter has put on. The book store in Houston sounds really good having short book reviews. When I go to Malice, I've always wanted to spend more time in the D.C. but it never works out. The times I went it was with my family the first time - parents, siblings and my own kids and another time with my Girl Scout troop. I want to tour it kid free. :-)

Warren Bull said...

Powell's Books is an iconic independent book store. I haven't checked out the smaller independent stores in Portland yet.

KM Rockwood said...

I put visiting book stores in the same category as visiting museums and historic sites, rather than shopping.

In my area, there is the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop in (not surprisingly) Mechanicsburg, PA, just south of Harrisburg. They put on an annual small conference each year.

KB Inglee said...

We have a couple of independent book stores in Northern Delaware. My favorite, Between Books, lost its lease, but they didn't really go out of business. Greg ordered books for us, sold stock out of his "car trunk", and continued to be involved in the community. A year or so ago he took a lease on a tiny store and reopened. He has supported my critique group since it started and welcomed us back as soon as he had space to do it. Now he has doubled the space and seems to be doing well. Three cheers for independent book stores!

Marian Stanley said...

Oh, independent bookstores are a precious. So important to support them. "See it here. Buy it here. Keep us here." as our local Concord, MA. Bookshop's sign says. Just so special with informed staff, book club picks, staff recommendations and support of author readings. I also like Jabberwocky in Newburyport, MA, Toad Hall in Rockport MA, Gloucester Bookstore in Gloucester, MA and the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge.

Kait said...

I am green with envy. We have no independent bookstores in this neck of the swamp. Or if we do, I have not yet found them. Indy bookstores are like precious gems, and need to be nurtured and cherished!

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I first discovered Powell's years ago when my sister moved to Washington State, and took me down to Portland. I could spend days and days in there.

KM, that sounds like a wonderful bookstore and not to far from your home.

Marian, I love Concord and other towns in MA. I probably visited the Concord one because I've been through there at least three or four times, but it hasn't been for some years now, so I'm not sure. As for Cambridge, my thoughts go to the Car Talk Guys. I love their program even though it's now all reruns since Tom died.

I agree with you Kait. Have you ever thought of starting one yourself? :-) I've often thought of that, but only if I won a lottery - which I'd have to buy tickets to do - so I
could start one, but hire others to run it for me after I got it set up.

Gloria Alden said...

KB, I missed your comment- too much like KM? How wonderful the owner after he lost his lease still continued to cater to those who missed him. I'm glad he is back in business and doing well now. Yes, three or more cheers for the independent bookstores.