This Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM is the 3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo presented by the Association of Rhode Island Authors. This local author event will be located inside Lincoln Mall (go in the double doors between Marshalls and 5 Below). The Expo Committee consisting of Steve and Dawn Porter, Adam Wassman, Vikki Corliss, Leigh Brown, Nora Hall, Pat Mitchel, Julien Ayotte, myself and J. Michael Squatrito Jr who I shameless “borrowed” this list from have been planning this grand event since mid-spring and I have to say we’ve done a great job. For those who haven’t been following along with with my reposts from Martha Reynolds’ blog posts for the last month on Twitter/FB/er, well, everywhere (ignoring my website’s recent bandwidth issues, obviously), the Association of Rhode Island Authors who I’m proud to be a member of has been working hard to get local authors at events like the Scituate Art Festival for nearly four years and this Author Expo promises to be our biggest event yet! Just a take a look at the authors over on the Expo page, we have authors from all walks of genre from non-fiction, fiction, autobiography, children, memoirs and more all under one roof with free parking and admission! There will be raffles and even hourly panels on different writing subjects! And just in time for holidays, these books would make great stocking stuffers! Check out the Expo’s Facebook Event page to RSVP! This type of event only comes once a year! But fear not if you can’t make it! We’ll be keeping all of the author photos up on the Expo site and those photos link back to their websites. Remember to support your local authors this holiday season!
Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Joshua Blum #riauthors
When I was twelve, I wanted nothing more than a Swiss Army knife. My father had one, and I used to marvel at all the tools that fit in the compact package. Years later, I still marvel at its attempt to “do it all.” But sometimes, a stand-alone knife or can opener just does the job better. So when I told colleagues that, over the next year, I wouldn’t be working much, instead devoting the majority of my time to caring for our newborn daughter, deep down, I wondered if I’d end “Swiss Army knifing” it. People had mostly supportive words. Of course, there were some puzzled looks and occasional sarcastic or condescending comments, but what I didn’t expect were the rare, wistful silences (generally left by men), followed by, “I wish I’d taken more time to do that.” Time, that ephemeral commodity. Before the baby came along, I joked with my wife about what I’d do if I were a stay-at-home husband. I’d water the plants. I’d do aerobics in front of the TV like it were 1982. And I’d finally have time to write. It wasn’t all jest. Even after the baby came and all evidence suggested otherwise, I still maintained the delusion that when the baby slept, I’d really, truly have time to write. And so it was – except those stretches of quiet lasted a total of forty to sixty minutes a day if I were lucky. Amid all the baby and home related tasks, writing was the last on the list. On the days I worked, I’d go in after my wife and I had done the baby handoff and finish in the wee hours of the morning, so zero writing got done those days. And when the baby woke up in the middle of the night, or at least by at five or six the next morning, I was reminded why my mother was always tired. Single parents have now assumed epic status in my mind. I’m lucky that my wife takes over in the evening. But despite everything, I look forward to each new day. Seeing my daughter’s smile, her waddling, ataxic steps, and the first gleams of mischief in her eyes make up for the times poo plopped out of the diaper and landed on the floor instead of in the toilet. I understand why those men said they wished they could’ve had more time to watch their children grow. Because I wish for the same. No time is ever enough. Those naps did eventually add up over a year. I coalesced some of these thoughts into a poem and reworked pictures from one of my novels to create a little book for my daughter, which I’ll give to her this Christmas. I’m sure one of the first things she’ll do is take a bite out of the pages. And I’d like nothing more than to be right there to see her do it. Joshua Blum is the author of The Thirteenth Hour, a fairy tale/fantasy novel. The book referenced above, Your Star Will Glow Forever, is a picture book about stars, hope, and the love parents have for their children. It will be officially available in the spring of 2016, though it will likely make a debut at the RI Expo this December. More information can be found here.
Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Heather Rigney
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made. Thanks for inviting me, Martha! It’s delightful to be on your blog during Black Friday! Hopefully, your readers are enjoying their turkey hangovers while shopping online in their warm jammies. Welcome, readers! Give Target a break and spend some time with me for a moment. If you were just out shopping for someone special, perhaps an individual who enjoys a good book, let me introduce myself and present my work. Maybe, together, we can help one another other, and make someone’s holiday extra special! My name is Heather Rigney and I am native Rhode Islander, former graphic designer, former public school teacher, and a mother to one amazing child. Over the last few years, I have written two books in my series, THE MERROW TRILOGY. These books are based in Pawtuxet Village, Narragansett Bay, Ireland, Cape Cod, as well as continental Europe. Labeled as a dark historical fantasy novels, both Book 1: Waking the Merrow and Book 2: Hunting the Merrow take my readers on a journey through pre-Revolutionary War Rhode Island, then jump to present day, where my narrator, Evie McFagan, the local, drunk funeral director, has just encountered a centuries-old mermaid posing as a playground mom. In Book 1, I explore mermaid-ish beings found in Irish folklore, known as merrow, a Gaelic term. One of these creatures, Nomia, is not pleasant at all, and has made it her mission to turn Evie’s life upside down. As Evie struggles to keep her family safe from Nomia, Evie learns that her husband’s Irish roots might have some aquatic history of their own. The second novel, HuntingtheMerrow, will be available December 1, 2015. Picking up where Book 1 ends, Hunting further explores the strange history of both Evie, the unlikely hero, and Nomia, the evil mermaid who might have a good reason for being so nasty. Hunting explores a variety of mermaid legends found in historic folklore throughout Europe, as both Evie and Nomia race to find their missing siblings. Sounds interesting? Don’t just take my word for it. Waking theMerrow was featured as Rhode Island’s Motif Magazine’s 2015 Summer Reading Guide to Classics and Local Soon-To-Be-Classics. To quote the article: Rigney’s WakingtheMerrow … was the best book that I read last year. It’s a fantastic tale of anti-hero Evie McFagan who learns that there is a somewhat dark family history that she married into, all while being chased and harassed by mermaids. This work is funny and terrifying, with picturesque descriptions of Pawtuxet Village. I’m eagerly awaiting the next two books in the trilogy. Or, perhaps this Barnes & Noble blog article will help: “You know what’s great about Rigney’s horror-ific (that’s horror-filled and terrific), hysterical debut novel? Besides the bloodthirsty merfolk, our antihero protagonist is an overweight, drunk, sub-par mother who also happens to be a funeral director. I can’t even describe the premise of this book without getting giddy, because how many times does a plot involve both vicious mermaids and Rhode Island colonists?” —Nicole Hill Heather Rigney’s books can be found online and at the following local bookstores: Twice Told Tales, Symposium Books, Wakefield Books, and Curiosities & Mischief.
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made. Becoming A Writer Write what you know. Don’t write what you know. Write about things that scare you. Don’t write about anything that you don’t fully understand, do lots of research. Don’t do research, be inventive, be creative. Writing’s not that hard. Anybody can do it. That’s not a real profession. I’ve heard all of these various opinions and pieces of advice over my 30+ years on the planet. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons I kept my dream to be a writer silent for so long. The idea of hearing one more person tell me that “writing isn’t hard” made me want to scream and I’m a nice person, I don’t want to scream in someone’s face but I will if provoked. I’ll turn 37 this year and for the past year I have finally allowed myself to call myself a writer. It took me years to realize that yep, I love writing. I love it so much that sometimes I get lost in my head thinking about what I want to write about next. That is how I am now. How I used to be a little over a year ago was much different. What changed? I lost my lousy office job. I was upset and scared and then my boyfriend, a freelance artist and illustrator for over 20 years, looked at me and said, “Now’s your time to finally do what you love, you need to take this chance. Everything else will fall into place.” He was right. I finished the book I had started seven years earlier and researched options for self-publishing. I created a website for myself. I began to do all the things I needed to do to create the business that was going to be me. It was everything you imagine it would be. It was terrifying. It was also the best thing I’d ever done for myself. All those years of doubting my ability, my talent, all those years of tamping down my creativity because I was told it would never make any money, it all began to disappear from my mind. I began to see that yes, I can write, yes I can make money from it and most importantly, it is the most fun I’ve ever had working. A year later and I am happy and doing what I love every single day. Are there scary days where I’m afraid the rent won’t be paid? Sure. Of course there are. I’m not making Stephen King kind of money, but it all works out in the end. I have support from my family, my friends and most of all my partner. Together we do the work we were meant to do. I have now self-published three books, TheLastDaughterofLilith, ComingUndone:MusingsonLife,Love&Hobbits, and Menagerieof the Weird. All are available on Amazon and all are my precious babies. I hope to publish at least two more books in 2016 and you know what the future holds? For me, it holds a lot of writing and a lot happiness. Find out everything you want to know about author JL Metcalf at her website email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Sean Fay Wolfe
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.
I originally self-published the first book of the ElementiaChronicles,QuestforJustice on the first day of 2014. As a junior in high school with no experience in the publishing industry, I wasn’t really sure what to do first. My parents had suggested a marketing blitz through social media, but I still knew there was more that I could be doing. How could I spread the word about my action-adventure series set in Minecraft? I pondered this question until one day, a month or so after publication, I received a letter from a child in a local Cub Scout Pack. That’s right… not an email or a text, a handwritten letter, and from an elementary schooler. In the letter, the student explained that he loved QuestforJustice, and that his school was going to be having a Reading Week in April that he would love for me to come and speak at it.
Naturally, I immediately contacted the librarian of the school, who agreed that a presentation about a Minecraft book would really get the kids excited about reading. I was ecstatic, I finally had the opportunity I was looking for to spread the word about my book. But what was I going to say in this half-hour presentation? The first thought that came to mind was to just wing it. After all, I knew the story of how I had published the book, and what the book itself was about, so how hard could it be? Luckily, I had landed another presentation in another school before the big Reading Week presentation, so I decided to try out my idea. A few days later, in my first-ever school presentation, I stepped out in front of dozens of kids to tell the story of how I turned my Minecraft fan-fiction into a published book. What followed was an extremely uncomfortable half hour of an unfocused and unprofessional talk which told the students almost nothing about me or my book. Everybody walked away feeling disappointed. It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my entire life.
Realizing that going off the cuff was something I could not do, I set to work preparing for my next presentation. A week later, when I gave the Reading Week presentation, I didn’t just step out with an ill-formed presentation. Instead, I had a written speech in my hand which I had practiced over and over beforehand. I talked not just about me and my book, but also about the writing processes that I used and advice on how the students could write a story. The kids were hooked from start to finish, and the teachers told me it was a great presentation. Since then, I have given countless other presentations using that speech as my template, always working to improve upon each presentation. Most importantly, I returned to the first school to atone for my mistake. Now I know how important it is to prepare.
Sean Fay Wolfe is the bestselling author of The Elementia Chronicles, an unofficial Minecraft fan-adventure series. Visit his website, like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter, and find his books on Amazon or through your local bookstore.
Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – John W. Grisham
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made. “We are only young once. That is all society can stand.” –Bob Bowen Full disclosure: I am not the author of TheFirm, TheClient, or the TheodoreBoone series, though like my literary namesake I am an attorney by profession, having practiced locally for many years. (While the rewards can be quite satisfying, the encounters with armed thugs and hair-breadth escapes from death are fortunately less common in real life.) Few experiences are as humbling as sitting down to write a first novel. Like other aspiring authors, I’d heard the old saying that you write a million words of dreck before starting to turn out publishable material. By my estimate, I’ve paid my dues twice over just trying to get the story right. Along the way, I often identified with James Joyce’s famous lament that, “I got seven words today…but I don’t know what order they go in!” In University, I take the reader on a four-year jaunt through a fictional New England institution of higher learning. The novel is set in the 1980’s—everyone’s favorite pop-culture decade, with background details ranging from the ubiquitous (Pac-Man) to the obscure (remember Pepsi Free?). Inspired by my own undergraduate days at BU*, it is the story of that brief, mostly bygone period in everyone’s life when breaking the rules and questioning authority were the norm, with liability concerns of secondary importance. You will relive the experience of pulling all-nighters (sometimes studying, more often not), and waking up 12 minutes before your first freshman exam. Together, we will cheer on a video game-playing dormmate’s attempt at a world record, and watch with a mix of sympathy and Schadenfreude the clumsy, on-and-off-again efforts of an earlier generation’s Leonard Hofstadter to win the girl of his dreams. While behind the scenes, the school’s ambitious president consolidates his power on campus, achieving absolute control of his domain before a desperate craving for higher office leads him to become separated from reality. In the end, it’s the characters that carry a novel, and here I had no shortage of inspiration. A shout-out to the boys of Towers 6 West and the girls of 7, who made this a labor of love, and a story I hope you will find entertaining. *Boston University, not Baylor. With apologies to our friends from Texas. John William Grisham is a practicing attorney in Providence, and a member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors. A 35-year resident of Middletown, he is a former Secretary and past Chair of the local Library Board, and has previously served on the Town Charter Review Commission. Find his book Universityhere.
Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Rachael L. McIntosh
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made. I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a B.A. in painting in the mid 1990’s. I lived in a non-live-in painting studio in Boston’s North End when mafia were still huddled at the coffee shops and before the place was gentrified. That’s when I started Entropy Press to make my artists books and zines seem more legit. Entropy Press grew. My artist’s books appear in the collections of MIT professor Noam Chomsky, jazz musician John Scofield, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Library. The online version of the zine was getting more hits than the satire site The Onion at that time. Soon a real bricks and mortar gallery, with a digital recording studio, and a black box theater cropped up under the EP brand. In 1995, my father was in a plane crash and although the Coast Guard searched for days, they never found him. The only thing to confirm his death was a running shoe and his business ledger checkbook. Those things were found floating in the water and collected by a lawyer on his yacht on his way to the Bahamas. It was around this time that I was suddenly afflicted with a mysterious malaise which turned out to be Multiple Sclerosis. I left Boston and my loft and sought out a “normal” life in Connecticut. I ended up working as a marketing director in Hartford, Connecticut. I also worked part time as the Urban Artist Initiative Coordinator for Norwich and New London. Ultimately, I secured a full time job, via a temp agency, at a defense contractor agency because I knew how to use email. (I kid you not.) Then things got sticky. 9/11 happened. My job at the defense contractor became more defense-y. Generals and mercenaries were floating through. I was the youngest person there. My world became almost schizophrenic. Between not feeling my feet and legs and not knowing how to defend my day job to my artist friends, my marriage was falling apart. Long story short: I was unexpectedly pregnant and became hugely concerned about the future. Maybe it was to avoid thinking about my miserable state of affairs, but I threw myself with all my creative and intellectual might into the Ron Paul campaign. I wanted to end the war and fix all the stuff I had seen at the defense contractor’s. I was elected to be an alternate delegate for the state of Rhode Island and attended the Republican National Convention. My experiences at the RNC prompted me to write the SecuritythroughAbsurdity series. I wrote every night for almost two years to produce the equivalent of 4.8 novels. I submitted it to a publisher who told me that they were going to break it down into a trilogy. They also told me to get life insurance. The books, although closer to Contemporary New Journalism, are funny in parts and are listed as fiction so that I don’t get thrown in jail. The Security Through Absurdity series is #1 on Goodreads Best New Series. The books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks, as well as in libraries and high schools in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Visit Rachael’s website, her Facebook author page, and follow her on Twitter.
Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Kimberly Kowal Arcand
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made. At seven years old, I proudly announced to my parents that I was going to be an astronaut when I grew up. Even though they could not drag me on an amusement park ride more adventurous than a bumper car, my parents apparently thought it best not to discourage me. I had one of those little white plastic Space Shuttle models with a working cargo bay, and I would fly it around my room and make up pretend missions with pink and blue Care Bears serving as the crew. Alas, it was not the career for me. Neither was being a doctor, which came later (I realized I didn’t like needles), nor a veterinarian (this was quickly squashed by a stint volunteering in an animal hospital). I knew that I wanted to do something in science — I just wasn’t sure what form it would take. Fast forward a few decades and you find me happily working for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, a mission that studies the high-energy phenomena of the Universe such as exploding stars, black holes, and colliding galaxies. My feet are planted firmly on the ground, but as Visualization Lead for Chandra, I get to use data to tell exciting stories about objects that are far, far away. These stories can be in the form of a tweet about distant colliding galaxies to a 3D-printed model of an exploded star in our Milky Way (http://3d.si.edu/explorer?modelid=45) and lots of things in between. Beyond my day job using data to tell stories of the high-energy Universe, I found a path to telling stories in writing science books. I have always enjoyed reading and writing, since I was young enough to understand the words. I fondly recall a mythology-writing exercise in my 6th grade English class, where I used leftover silver brocade wallpaper to cover the cardboard binding of my original story — complete with painstakingly hand-colored illustrations — about where rain came from. Today, I am happy that the binding techniques of my current books are a bit more sophisticated, and the visuals I curate come from artists, photographers and scientists around the world. In essence, the storytelling truly matters. Science can be complex, so how the story is told is incredibly important. For me, coming up with the best visuals, metaphors, tone of the book is a key part to making scientific topics accessible. I love the process of figuring out all the details to create a book that can be entertaining as well as informative. Kimberly Kowal Arcand is the co-author of three popular science books including the new release “Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond” with Megan Watzke, published by Black Dog & Leventhal/Hachette Book Group. Find the book on Amazon or visit her website here.
Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Connie Ross Ciampanelli
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made. Journey to 10K: Adventures of an Older Novice Runner In 2012, I celebrated my 60th birthday by running a 5K for the first time in my life. Never an athlete, I followed the Josh Clark Couch to 5K® designed especially for beginners. Journeyto 10K:AdventuresofanOlderNoviceRunner, my first book, is the story of how I achieved my dream. Written as I went along, it illustrates the successes and failures, good and bad runs, and discouragement and elation that I experienced. I wrote this book to encourage others who embark on similar journeys. With desire and determination, anyone in good health can succeed in achieving their running goals. Now approaching 63, I’m currently halfway through training for a half marathon. Connie lives in North Providence, Rhode Island. Married to Tony for thirty-nine years and the mother of two grown sons, she works in the Guidance Office of La Salle Academy in Providence. In addition to writing, she loves counted cross-stitching, specializing in sampler reproduction. She is also passionate about animals, at this time the human mother of Mercedes the cat. Mercedes and all of the Ciampanellis’ felines past and present have been rescues. Connie is working on the true story of a feral cat that has resided in her neighborhood for several years. Unofficially adopted by Connie and Tony, they have named him Bartholomew Thomas Katt: Bart the Mysterious.