Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

The little bookstore that's bigger on the inside


Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on contemporary fiction author Ren Rosso. When asked to tell us a bit about herself, this was her lovely answer:



I’ve been creative since I was little but it was primarily through a natural talent for drawing. Actually, I don’t like the word “talent” as much as “gift”, although that talent for drawing is a gift. As long as the gratitude is there I suppose “talent” is allowable! The writing is relatively new for me; for a long time I compartmentalized my creativity in fine arts, among them painting and throwing pots. There are some similarities in the process with writing and other arts. As an example, there is a reason we sometimes say a story is “woven”.



Ren, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)



I self-published this story through Ingram, so if you go to your local independent bookstore website and type in What Gives You Away you’ll find it very easily or you may purchase it at the bookstore. I have personally never purchased an e-book so I can’t speak to that. I’m so old-school!



How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?



I can be reached at or through LinkedIn and I’m happy to connect with anyone.



For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from What Gives You Away?



 It’s contemporary womens’ fiction. The main two characters have the same values as people who prefer to support independent bookstores, actually. Or at least they think they do. It hums along down a straight road until it takes some sharp turns unexpectedly.



What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out What Gives You Away? How did you overcome it?



 Certainly, the entire learning curve was a challenge. The writing required input from editors and friends to improve it. Then there’s the many steps involved in creating the actual book once the story has been finished. Lastly were the time and financial investments. There were obligations and people I felt at times I was neglecting. It’s a privilege to be in a situation where this opportunity is even possible, and I appreciate that. I had to cultivate faith in myself to overcome the impulse to stop at each hurdle.





What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?



 I’m not yet convinced that I am a writer, but making the fictional story was wonderfully fun! Just running with your imagination. However, the characters really do get involved with the process. As they develop there’s things they would or wouldn’t do or say. If the writer doesn’t respect that, the story will not be believable; it won’t work. The greatest lesson was the value of an editor. Their insight is so helpful.



What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?



There are some mean characters and two horrible characters, but my least favorite to write was Gordon, the husband. There were scenes I didn’t want to include him in; I wanted to just omit him while I focused on others, but I couldn’t do that because the reader would be wondering why he isn’t getting involved and what his reaction is to what’s going on in his home. My favorites were Carla and Edie, two fabulous women who give so much of themselves.



What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?



 Do it because you have to in order to be complete, because it’s part of who you are. An expectation of monetary success may not be realistic. I owed it to the story to push it to publication.



Thanks very much for taking the time to answer our questions, Ren!


July has just flown by.  We’ve seen lots of old friends returning to shop with us and have met many new customers who’ve just discovered our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.  The heavy rains of the first part of the month have given way to warm and dry weather, and we’re here, rain or shine, to serve your summer needs. dandelions-in-a-field

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated persons. We are leaving it up to our customers’ comfort level whether they wear masks when shopping.  If you have not yet been vaccinated or cannot maintain social distancing within the aisles of the store, we do suggest continuing to be masked; we’ve found it also assists with filtering out pollen and allergens!

As we enter August, and thus the last full month of summer, our hours of operation are:




We will have an adjustment to our hours after Labor Day, which falls on Monday, September 6th.


As a matter of discussion regarding safety and capacity, we expect to slowly bring back some of our regular in-store events like Spinning Yarns and the Rainbow Readers book discussion group. Group meetings, craft sessions, and in-person author signings had been suspended since March of 2020. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page and our website for updates concerning events.

Our July publisher specials continue to fly out the door, including ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS by Rainbow Rowell [young adult fantasy], THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Hendrix [adult horror], and LISTEN by Gabi Snyder [picture book].



Our August publisher specials have started to roll in, as well. So far we have: DON’T ASK ME WHERE I’M FROM by Jennifer de Leon, a young adult realistic fiction novel addressing diversity; VAMPENGUIN, a sweet picture book about fitting in by Lucy Ruth Cummins; and the eagerly awaited middle grade debut THE HALLOWEEN MOON by Joseph Fink, the co-creator of the award-winning podcast WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE.

All of our publisher specials are discounted 42% off of cover price, and a few have bonuses, such as signed bookplates.

Have you checked out our YouTube channel?  Are you a subscriber?  You won’t want to miss our fresh content!


We recently interviewed urban fantasy author Jennifer Estep, and horror writer and historian Grady Hendrix, as well as high fantasy author Jenna Glass, and self-help writer Judson Brewer.

In addition, we recently interviewed DJ Butler, Mike Kupari, and Matt Bell. Upcoming interviews include picture book author David Ezra Stein, self-help writer Adora Winquist, and middle grade author Dan Gutman!

Keep an eye out later this week for our special newsletter spotlighting books and matters of interest to parents, caretakers, and educators of children and teens!

Thank you, as always, for making our shelves your destination.

—Patty and the staff of Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester


Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on children’s book author Matt De La Pena.  When asked what he writes, this was Matt’s answer:



I write books for young people. My goal is to share moments of grace and dignity that take place on the “wrong side of the tracks.”



Matt, where can people find your work? 



In bookstores and libraries around the country.



How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?



Instagram and Twitter: @mattdelapena



For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you do?  What can readers expect from you next (Latest cover, book, comic, movie, etc?) or what is the last thing you worked on?



I write books for kids of all ages. And while I don’t go into any of my books with a message, I do go in with a point of view. It’s the way that I see the world. I see sadness. I see grace. I see the dignity of working class people. I listen for the music of everyday speech. I see the poetry in kids who aren’t ordinarily associated with poetry. These are the ingredients in the stories I try to put into the world. It’s what I tried to do with my latest picture book, Milo Imagines the World. Most importantly, I understand that at their very best, books are vehicles for conversation. 




 What draws you to the particular genre or style that you create? What do you think draws customers to these works?




I write realistic fiction. There are some great storytellers out there who write about bears. Or unicorns. Or vampires. There are some amazing writers who include magic in their stories. Or superpowers. Or princesses. I read these stories to my kids. But I’m inspired by real people. And real life. My goal is to try and share moments of grace and dignity that exist in working class communities like the one I grew up in.



What piece of advice would you want to share with other artists/authors?



There’s a line taped to the wall above my computer that reads: Do not write what you see. Write what will be seen. In other words, as writers we don’t have to simply perpetuate the status quo. We can try to put alternative narratives into the world. 



What else can we expect from you in the near future?




I’m incredibly excited about my next picture book, PATCHWORK, illustrated by Corinna Luyken. It doesn’t come out until 2022, but I’m just getting to see the art and it is beautiful. I can’t wait to share this story with all the young readers out there who put so much pressure on themselves to be great all the time. 



What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your career as an artist/author?



It’s not about me. It’s about the characters and the story. It’s about leaving space for the reader. Sometimes the reader is smarter than the writer. I love it when I visit with a community and a young reader tells me what they think my book is about. I can’t tell you how many times their theories have actually taught me how to understand what I’ve written. When you leave space for the reader, you are leaving space for that kind of magic.



Thank you so much, Matt, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions!




There are many new books on our shelves this week! For the adult book readers we have cool science fiction and fantasy books including BOOK OF ACCIDENTS by Chuck Wendig, and THE CITY WE BECAME by N.K. Jemisin; Thriller and Mystery books like FALSE WITNESS by Karin Slaughter and NOT A HAPPY FAMILY by Shari Lapena; and fictional Asian short stories by Anthony Veasna So, called AFTERPARTIES: STORIES. For Young adults there is a new book, SMALL FAVORS by Erin A. Craig, and for the even younger set, we have a new holiday middle grade novel, HALLOWEEEN MOON by Joseph Fink and KALAMATA’S KITCHEN, a picture book by Sarah Thomas.  




As always, thank you for making our shelves your destination.




Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Canadian Illustrator and Animator Derek Desierto. I have it on great authority (Derek) that he is a Vancouver-based illustrator, designer, and overall nice guy from a nice family. His animation work has been recognized by the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the National Cartoonist Society, and 9 Story Media Group. Currently, he is living the dream as a freelance artist for animated TV shows, magazines and picture books. His ultimate goal in life is to meet Oprah and become one of her Favorite Things. 


Derek, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!) 



How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness? 


@derekdesierto (Instagram) 



What was the inspiration for Oddbird, your newest release? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book? 


Visually, I took a lot of inspiration from Matisse. I love his cut out work for its graphic quality. As for the story, Oddbird was inspired a lot by my own life. Growing up, I was always very different. You don’t meet a lot of five year old boys who love Sound of Music! 


What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out [newest release/spotlighted release]?  How did you overcome that challenge? 


It was my first time to write a book so that was a challenge in itself. Having a great editor helps a lot to refine your ideas and edit your work. For children’s books, each word is so important so I really focused in choosing the perfect ones.  

What do you consider the most challenging part of the book process? And how do you overcome that? 

Honestly, I love the whole thing! Of course, there are “challenging” things about it but there are challenges that I welcome! It’s like a puzzle that my brain really loves to solve.  


What piece of advice would you want to share with other creatives? 


Don’t wait until you’re “ready”. You’re ready now. Often times as creatives, we are perfectionists and are very protective with our work. Our work is meant to be seen and shared! You will figure it out along the way and the more work you do, the better you will get.  

Derek, thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Good luck with your first book, Oddbirds.



This week’s new arrivals just waiting to adorn your book shelves come in several different genres. There are two mysteries/thrillers, THE CELLIST by Daniel Silva, and SUCH A QUIET PLACE by Megan Miranda. Putting murder aside for romance, you will find IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER by Tessa Bailey. Fiction books include COUNT THE WAYS by Joyce Maynard, and APPLESEED by Matt Bell. Last but not least, there is also a graphic novel, BUBBLE by Jordan Morris.





As always, thank you for making our shelves your destination.




Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on science fiction author David Mack. David, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?



I’m a New York Times bestselling author of three dozen novels of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure. I’ve penned many novels based on various versions of Star Trek—including a couple of literary-original series I helped create—and I’ve written books based on such series as 24, The 4400, and Wolverine. My most recent publication was The Shadow Commission, the third and final volume of my original Dark Arts trilogy, a secret-history series involving Renaissance-era black magic used for war and espionage during the middle decades of the twentieth century.



Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester—though they should totally check here first!)



Most of my titles that are still in print are available on the major retail sites, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, and/or the Apple and Google eBook stores.



How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?



The best ways to keep up with news about my current and upcoming projects is to follow me on Twitter at @DavidAlanMack, or to like my official author page on Facebook, at Folks can also visit my official website,



What kind of research went into writing The Shadow Commission?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?



As is typical for works of alternate and secret history, The Shadow Commission involved a staggering amount of research, much more than ever made it into the pages of the novel, but all of which was necessary for grounding my imagination in the time period of November 1963.



For instance, I had always thought that I understood the basic details of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was only after I had my scene involving the shooting of JFK vetted by a true JFK history buff that I realized how much I had missed. My expert, who is also a good friend of mine, compared the events in my scene against the famous Zapruder film, going frame by frame, breaking down the action in increments of 1/18th of a second, and noting where my scene varied from recorded history.



Other details with which I needed to familiarize myself were the clothing and hair styles of 1963, the music of the period, major world historical events of 1963–1964, which weapons and military equipment had (or had not) been invented at that time, and even such minutia as the depth of the Rhône at a specific bridge intersection in central Geneva.



For one of the early drafts of The Shadow Commission, I conducted extensive research into the history of the construction of the Cheyenne Mountain Complex (now the home of NORAD). I had acquired maps of the interior layout of the complex and schematics of its internal structures’ safety measures against earthquakes and nuclear attack. It was fascinating stuff, and my first draft’s ending sequence took place inside the partially excavated Cheyenne Mountain. However, every last bit of that information was excised during my second draft because I had realized my original ending didn’t work. An occupational hazard of being a fiction writer, I’m told.






What are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?



For pure recreation, I love to watch movies, or kick back and listen to various kinds of music. I dig everything from classic rock to movie soundtracks to jazz, blues, and even lounge music.



I also enjoy cooking at home with my wife, Kara. In my late teens and early twenties, I worked my way through high school and college with various restaurant jobs, mostly in the back-of-house positions: dishwasher and cook. Over the course of several years I worked as a short-order grill man, an ice-cream-sundae maker and a Ben & Jerry’s scoop dude, a pizza chef (both classic and deep-dish styles), a bartender, and a steakhouse line cook.



For my last restaurant job, when I was 21 years old, I spent a summer working as the senior assistant chef at a chic restaurant in Northampton, Mass. It was the kind of place that made its own mayonnaise from scratch, baked its own bread on-premises, made its own aïoli, etc. I ran the kitchen during the daytime, Monday through Friday, and had my nights and weekends free. It was the best summer job and the best foodservice job I’ve ever had.



A related interest that I enjoy with Kara and some of our friends is both drinking and making wine. I learned a bit about wine when I was working as a cook, but I learned more during a five-year stint as a journalist and editor for a foodservice business newspaper. When some of my friends took a deeper interest in wine, I followed suit.



I’m hardly an expert—a few of my friends are far more knowledgable on the subject than I’ll ever be—but I know enough to usually make a good recommendation of what wine to pair with what foods. And we’ve had some success making our own wines over the last decade or so. My role in the wine-making group is that I design the custom labels for our wines, which tend to have such whimsical names as “The Twilight Rhône,” “Invader Zin,” “Born to Rhône,” and “Que Sera Syrah.”




What else can we expect from you in the near future?



Last year, on the same day that Tor Books published The Shadow Commission, my friends at Simon & Schuster’s imprint Gallery Books published my latest Star Trek novel, More Beautiful Than Death, a fast-paced adventure based on the versions of the characters and universe seen in the J. J. Abrams / Bad Robot feature films. Folks who enjoyed that incarnation of Star Trek should consider picking up More Beautiful Than Death, because I did my best to capture the films’ new voices and tone, and to craft a story that honors The Original Series while also being a story that could happen only in the films’ new version of Star Trek.



Coming this fall from Gallery Books will be Star Trek: Coda, a new epic trilogy that I developed in collaboration with my friends and fellow New York Times bestselling authors Dayton Ward and James Swallow. For the past twenty years or so, the Star Trek novels have been carving out their own niche in that universe, telling stories that change the status quo of the shared setting and altering the characters’ lives in the time periods after the ends of their respective series.



The recent debut of Star Trek: Picard, however, established new canon details that rendered the past twenty years of interconnected novels, novellas, and short stories inconsistent with canon. That left the Star Trek publishing team with two choices: abandon our two decades of work without further effort, leaving many stories forever unfinished; or, craft an epic conclusion that brings our twenty-year journey to a dramatically and emotionally satisfying conclusion.



Naturally, James, Dayton, and I chose the latter option, and we crafted a story that persuaded our editors, publisher, and licensor to let us do so.



Star Trek: Coda, Book I: Moments Asunder, by Dayton Ward, comes out September 28, 2021. Book II, The Ashes of Tomorrow, by James Swallow, debuts October 12, 2021. And my big finish, Book III: Oblivion’s Gate, will be published on November 30, 2021. All are now available for pre-order.



I also have a new writing gig in the works, something unlike anything I’ve done before, but it’s a bit too early for me to say anything about it in public. In addition to that, I have been tinkering for quite some time with the story plan for a new original science-fiction novel, and I hope to start work on that manuscript sometime very soon.



To find out more about my writing methods, and hear my unvarnished advice for new writers, be sure to watch my upcoming video Q&A with Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, coming to a YouTube channel near you soon! — David Mack



David, thanks for taking the time to answer the questions for this Author Spotlight, and for doing the interview with us for our YouTube channel!




There are some great fiction books arriving this week. Several of the new books arriving on our shelves contain strong female main characters in somewhat perilous situations, including THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS by Kristin Harmel, ISLAND QUEEN by Vanessa Riley and THE EXILES by Christina Baker Kline. Other books include WINTER COUNTS by David Heska Wanbli Weiden, ANXIOUS PEOPLE by Fredrik Backman, and a young adult novel, ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS by Rainbow Rowell.





As always, thanks for making our shelves your destination.



Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Cozy Mystery authors .J.C. Eaton. I say authors because, as you will see in their answers to our questions below, J.C. Eaton is actually a couple.


Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you? 



We are a husband and wife writing team – Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp, writing as J.C. Eaton. Ann is a retired teacher and former school principal while Jim is a retired carpenter and tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery. And while it seems unlikely that we’d be writing, Ann spent a decade writing for trade magazines and also authored a number of YA time travel mysteries while Jim did informational brochures for the wine industry. When we left New York State to move to Arizona where snow was optional, we found ourselves immersed in the quirky world of retirees. One of our friends suggested we put our writing talents to use and write a mystery about our local dog park. Needless to say, we did! That’s how the Sophie Kimball Mysteries got started.



Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)



Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ, Mostly Books in Tucson, AZ, and your favorite bookseller as well as Kobo, iTunes, Target, and Walmart. We are available in paperback and ebooks.



How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?



 Here are our links:, Https://, Https://



For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from Railroaded 4 Murder?



We write humorous cozy mysteries with a plethora of quirky characters meant to keep readers laughing and guessing whodunit. We love twists, turns, and total roundabouts! With three series going on (The Sophie Kimball Mysteries, The Wine Trail Mysteries, and The Marcie Rayner Mysteries), we have three unique sleuths who approach solving crimes differently. Our next release, Railroaded 4 Murder, in the Sophie Kimball Mysteries, is set in the retirement community of Sun City West, Arizona, and has the local book club ladies joining forces with reluctant amateur sleuth Sophie (Phee) to catch the real killer of the Sun City West’s model railroad club before his wife is railroaded for the murder.





What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?



We absolutely love writing humorous cozies! Life is so difficult these days that people need to sit back and enjoy a good laugh-out-loud book. Since we write the dialogues together, we practice on each other and wind up laughing as well. Escapism has always been popular with readers and cozies offer all of that, plus the adventure and intrigue.




What else can we expect from you in the near future?



We’ll continue our current series but we are working on a paranormal humorous cozy with culinary overtones. We don’t want to give it away but both of us are completely enamored with the new characters we’ve created and the unique plot line to get it started.



While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!  



Interestingly, we are complete opposites when it comes to writing. Ann must have absolute silence and work from our spare bedroom where our desktop computer is located. Jim, however, can have a complete marching band in front of him and it wouldn’t matter. He can write from a laptop or paper tablet anywhere in the house. (Usually the kitchen or living room). We work separately and then meet to put things together. Here’s when the negotiations come in! Jim’s the plot person who’s responsible for moving the books along while Ann does the descriptions and character development. Both of us construct the dialogues together.



Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work.  Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?



We wouldn’t exactly call it help. We have four cats and a Chiweenie dog. The cats have been permanently banned from the computer room for the following infractions: chewing on the wires that connect the computer to the modem, disconnecting the wires, sitting on the keyboard and refusing to leave, and…worse of all – pooping on the Strunk and White Elements of Style that Ann uses along with The Chicago Manual of Style. The dog, Streetboy, is allowed in the room but he passes gas, making it quite unbearable at times. FYI – He’s the inspiration for Streetman, the Chiweenie, in the Sophie Kimball Mysteries.



Look for our interview with Ann (One half of J.C. Eaton) on our YouTube Channel!  Thanks so much, Ann and Jim, for taking the time to answer all of our questions.




The heat wave is supposed to be over for now, although July promises to be a hot month as well. Might I suggest you grab one of our newest books, find a nice air conditioned room with a comfortable chair, sofa or recliner, and curl up with it for the rest of the week?  You might find one of the fiction books, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD by Quentin Tarantino, THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN by Marie Benedict, SOMETHING WILD: A NOVEL by Hanna Halperin or WHEN STARS COLLIDE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips to your liking. There is also THE BETRAYED by Kiera Cass for the Young Adults who might be in your home, and TURTLE IN PARADISE by Jennifer Holm for the children.  



As always, thank you for making our shelves your destination.


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