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

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Friday, January 31, 2014

What Makes Independent Bookstores Magical?

The photo is by Superbmust.  

When I step inside an independent bookstore, like Upstart Crow in San Diego, the Tattered Cover in 

Denver or Mysteryscape in Overland Park, Kansas, I experience a feeling unlike what I feel when I 

enter a chain store with a few rows of books.

What makes me feel those few aisles could just as easily be filled with auto parts, men’s clothing, CDs 

or, for that matter, chains? Is it the glaring lighting?  The cookie cutter regimented architecture?  The 

half-gallon jug of mustard?

Maybe it’s the fact that in such chain stores I know significantly more about the “product” than the 

clerks.  I once advised a reader seeking a book for her teenage granddaughter who saw the world in 

theatrically tragic terms. I suggested Maisie Dobbs as a book that would leave her happily sobbing. 

Maybe it’s because the staff of independent bookstores actually read books, make recommendations, 

and interpret requests.  I know a bookstore salesperson whose customer was looking for “the word 

book Roger Saw Us.” She correctly steered the customer toward Roget’s Thesaurus.  Maybe it’s the 

excitement of finding a new work by a favorite author or the anticipation of finding an unknown writer. 

Maybe it’s because writers sign books. write and exchange critiques in independent bookstores. I have 

attended a few critique groups in mega product stores but they just never feel quite as homey as in an 


Only one standard issue multi-product store ever agreed for me to do a signing there.  On the other 

hand, independent bookstore staff “hand sell” my books. They do it one book at a time.  (Why don’t 

customers buy a dozen at a time?) 

What is your favorite bookstore?  What makes it your favorite?


E. B. Davis said...

All my favorite bookstores have closed. My area was never home to an independent bookstore, so when Borders and Barnes & Noble closed nearby, all physical bookstores closed. The only books for sale around here are on the grocery shelves or Walmart/Target. Most of those books aren't my pleasure. My favorite cookbook was found in the last year of the Barnes & Noble store. Cookbooks I especially like to look at before buying since the pictures are worth the cost of the book. I review recipes before buying so I have an idea of the type cooking the author prefers, which may or may not coincide with my needs.

There is one independent bookstore about 40 minutes away. The Chesapeake Chapter of SinC holds its book launches there. Unfortunately, the store is tiny.

My favorite independent bookstore is Buxton Village Books in Buxton, N.C. on Hatteras Island. If you look on my WWK page, I have a link and a picture to it. It's bigger inside than the picture of the cute little white frame building looks.

Shari Randall said...

My SINC chapter meets at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA. Shopping there is like going into the home of the most interesting hostess in the world - they have great books, great wine, and great chocolates. Mostly it's the staff that makes is such a pleasure. They really are book people, so you know a recommendation from them is worth taking.

Warren Bull said...

EB, I've read that independent bookstores are making a comeback. There is always hope. In Kansas City one store closed but a new one opened.

Warren Bull said...


Thanks for the recommendation.

Anonymous said...

My memory of independent book stores was of getting kicked out when I was a near-penniless kid who browsed too much. I liked to get books for presents for my grandmother and aunts, but they had to be the right books, and I didn't have much money. I loved the feel of the books and probably did spend an inordinate amount of time browsing. I didn't have much to spend, and I might well have been very scruffy looking.

I actually like the impersonal setting of Barnes and Noble.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Here in Kansas City, as you know, Warren, we are so fortunate. We have three great independent bookstores--Mysteryscape, Rainy Day Books, and The Reading Reptile (nationally lauded chidren's bookstore)--a multitude of B&Ns plus BooksAMillion, and The Raven, a lovely indie in Lawrence just a 45-minute drive away. Plus a multitude of used bookstores that include the Prospero's chain, which is very active in the community and holds constant literary readings. Really a surfeit of book riches when I hear about locales like EB's.

Kara Cerise said...

I agree with Shari that One More Page Books is a terrific bookstore. I believe President Obama and his daughters made a surprise visit there a few years ago to promote independent bookstores and buy some books.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I so agree with you. There aren't too many left so locally I have to settle for a used book store close. Ellen Echhouse's The Village Bookstore looks like the one in your picture. :-) If I want a book, she has them all on her computer, and if she has it she can immediately find it. She's also well read and can recommend books I might like.

I was very sad when the one and only independent book store closed in our area quite some years ago now, but at least we had Borders but no more. There is a Barnes and Noble about 40 or more miles away.

Whenever, I'm on vacation whether with my daughter or siblings, we always look for independent book stores wherever we travel.

jennymilch said...

I adore a good bookstore, and you have named three of mine. I love the ones in some of the comments, too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

Annette said...

I love Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont PA (near Pittsburgh). It's a 90 mile round trip for me, on one of the areas most despised highways, but the traffic and construction tie-ups are oh-so worth it.

Anonymous said...

Underground Books in Sacramento is a great place for signings large and small. Our local SIC--Capitol Crimes' had a signing there as well as single authors. The store is arranged mcu like a rich aunt's library with compy chairs and gentle lighting. Sacramento luck to have three fantastic independent bookstores, Avid Reader and Time Tested in addition to Underground.

Anonymous said...

Warren, I know exactly what you mean. I consider it a gift to come across a small locally owned bookstore anywhere I go. Small, fun and sometimes quirky, browsing these small stores make me happy and I can sometimes find hidden treasure!