Thursday, April 27, 2017

Party at a Bookstore Near You

Independent Bookstore Day is this Saturday, April 29th. Please remember to visit the local bookstore nearest you and buy some books! Better yet, buy a book from an indie author!

Many bookstores will have refreshments and be giving away swag, too. So it's a good time to hang out with other readers and browse and, well, buy a book.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Talk Story with a Little Fish

Photo source: Talk Story website.
So, my wife Ruth and I recently had the privilege to visit Talk Story, the western-most bookstore in the United States. It was a privilege for a number of reasons. The first being that very distinction, the second being that it is on the island of Kaua'i, Hawai'i (nice). But there are other reasons as well.

It was also a sincere pleasure to meet co-owner Cynthia Justus, and speak with her about books, bookstores and the book business. She was knowledgable and friendly and so willing to share, transparently, her passionate feelings about business, bookselling, indie publishing, and customer service. She can be frank, even bawdy at times, but you know she's shooting straight from the hip.

Photo source: Talk Story website.
When we told her that we were interested in opening a bookstore ourselves (coming to Harbor House this fall)  she was so forthright and helpful, it was like getting a college course in "how to run a bookstore" in thirty minutes. Justus not only shared with us then and there, but said she is happy to help with advice in the future.

The successful (eleven years running) multiple award-winning bookstore, tucked into charming Old Town Hanapepe, Kaua'i isn't very pretty on the outside (the building is more than70 years old), but inside it is a sparkling treasure trove of new, used and rare books, plus much more. The selection of more than 100,000 books was great and the store was well organized. They move about 3,000 books a month!

And Celeste, the cat, was friendly, too. (I do wish I'd have met Cynthia's husband Ed, from this video he seems like he's got a great sense of humor.) Video source: YouTube.

Photo source: Talk Story website.
Justus was quite candid (blunt even) about indie authors (even though she knew I was one of them). She said that most of the indie titles that local authors bring into the store don't sell. "I can't give them away," she said, "they are so bad." She showed us the stack; they screamed amature indie all over. The covers were awful, the writing generally dull and poorly edited, sometimes the formatting inside was off as well. She said no one ever asks a bookstore owner how to put a cover together that will sell. She wasn't being mean, she wanted to sell indie books and willingly carries them.

One piece of advice she offered was don't sell coffee and books in the same shop (and gave several practical reasons why it wasn't good business). Well, I love coffee and books so...

Little Fish Coffee, Hanapepe, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
photo by Gregory E. Zschomler
It should be noted that just down the street is Little Fish Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in the U.S. (and you know I've visited quite a few from the Big Apple to the Big Easy and all along the western coffee coast, so I'm really saying something here).

The quaint and quirky shop serves 100% Hawaiian-grown coffee and it's delish. [Note: We also got to visit Kaua'i Coffee Co.'s plantation and visitor's center, but that's another fascinating story.] Little Fish also serves a nice selection of food items including bagels with NYC-style schmears (flavored cream cheese spreads)--which is something you can't get just anywhere.

Cynthia and Ed Justus, photo source:
Anyway, it's a great place to savor a cup while enjoying the book you just bought from Talk Story. These two wonderful businesses (not to mention the warm weather, delightful beaches and breathtaking vistas) are just a few of the great reasons to visit the Garden Isle of Kaua'i.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"BEYOND INSANITY" Release Update

3D depiction of the cover

It is my pleasure to report the upcoming release of my new anthology BEYOND INSANITY: From the Launch Pad to New Dimensions, the follow-up to ROCKETMAN: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond.

I finished writing the collection of poems, pictures and personal essays back in November. Since that time the book has gone through the editing and prepress (layout and design) processes and is now ready for print and publication.

I'm looking for a new place to do the official LAUNCH PARTY as HeART in the Square was canceled.  Hopefully Sat. Feb. 11 somewhere on Grays Harbor. Stay tuned. 

 I'd love to meet you; come out and see me!And I'll have volume one in this series, ROCKETMAN: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond, along with my other books available, too.

About the Book:

ROCKETMAN: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond took you to the outer limits of family humor. Now you can travel beyond funny, because there’s more where that came from in this all NEW collection of short stories, poems and pictures from the life and times of a kid at heart. Read and relate as you enjoy a wild ride through BEYOND INSANITY.

Like Patrick McManus, Bill Cosby, Dave Barry and Bill Bryson, the author takes you on familiar journeys that not only tug at your heart, but have you laughing in no time at all.

Included are such stories as: 

Youthful Mischief; Feelin’ Squirrelly; Amtrak Attack; You’ve Got a Friend?; STOO-PID; My First Car; Camping with the Comrades; Be Prepared to do a Good Turn Daily; Things that Bother Me; The Heart of a Man; Best Friend; High Waters, Musicals and Hoops; Mother and Me; Don’t Cry Over Filched Milk Money; Change; Quicksand; The Confidential Kid; On Writing (What Little I Know); Old Coots at Mickey D’s; Low Rider; It Happened on Halloween; Christmas Cheer; and the snot rippin’ The Day Renny Sk√§raosten Saved the North Coast.

Plus several poems, photographs and more!

If you can't wait until the official launch party, the book will be available on Amazon by February 1 to order in print or download for Kindle.