The 4th Annual Rhode Island Author Expo

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4th Annual Rhode Island Author Expo is almost here!

Interested in meeting 125 local authors like Ann Hood, Sean Fay Wolfe, Jon Land and more?

Then you’re in luck!

The Association of Rhode Island Authors is holding their 4th Annual Rhode Island Author Expo on December 3rd from 11am – 5pm at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston, Rhode Island.

There will be: Free parking! Free Admission! Raffle drawings and even Santa!

Every genre will be there from non-fiction to science fiction to horror to fantasy to children books to thrillers and more!

There will be panels going on all day along with Ann Hood signing of her new book!

Books make great stocking stuffers so avoid the lines at the mall and c’mon down and support local authors!

RSVP

Remember to RSVP on our Facebook Event Page!

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Still not convinced?

Then here are all the authors who will be there:

Gail Alofsin, Regina Andrews, Julien Ayotte, Wayne Barber, Annette Blair, Mary Jane Bohlen, Judith Boss, Leigh Brown, Kristen Calenda, Heather Caranci, Paul Caranci, Linda Carvelli, David Christner, Al Colella, Roland Comtois, Jayne Conway, Victoria Corliss, L L Craft, Don D’Ammassa, Deb Das, Anna Dauphinee, Elda Dawber, Christine DePetrillo, Norman Desmarsais, Jim Dyer, Wendy Fachon, Rich Feitelberg, Dennis Fortier, Leo C. Frisk, Jr., Terry Gaspard, Jessica Gervais, Judith Glynn, Richard Guilbault, Karen Gustafson, Lynn Haberek, Donald N. Hagist, Nora Hall, Michael Hartigan,  Janet Hartman, Ann Hood, Lisa Jacob, Burt Jagolinzer, Christine Jenkins, Tabitha Jorgensen, Sam Kafrissen, Lisamarie Karis, Lauren E. Kelley, Laura Kennedy, Sheryl Kimball, Alex Kimmell, Kelly Kittel, BJ Knapp, Steven Krasner, Gina Colvario Krupka, Jon Land, Peter Larrivee, Portia Little, Donna Mac, Elyse Major, Dave Mann, Rick Marchetti, Joseph Mazzenga, Christine Mazurk, Jane McCarthy, Rachael McIntosh, Don Metivier, Patricia Mitchell, Roberta Mudge Humble, Kevin Mulhearn, Yvette Nachmias-Baeu, Errick Nunnally, Frnaces O’Donnell, Christopher Paniccia, Marty Pena, Mark Perry, Dr. Karen Petit, Joanne Phillips, Dawn M. Porter, Steven R. Porter, Brian Power, Mary Lee Prescott-Griffin,  Martha Reynolds, Heather Rigney, Thom Ring, Rick Roberts, Nancy Roy, Diana Ruggiero, Theresa Schimmel, Joanne Sheridan, Susan Soares, Jenaine Spikes, Mike Squatrito, Jr., Eric Sturtevant, Deb Tillinghast, Tom Trabulsie, Mary Catherine Volk,  Loren Walker, George Warren, Tim Warren, Terry Wildemann, Tara Williams, Buffi Wixted, Sean Fay Wolfe

Association of RI Authors and Rhode Island Comic Con

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Association of Rhode Island Authors go to Comic Con!

The Association of Rhode Island Authors will have several tables at the Rhode Island Comic Con on November 11-13, 2016 at the Providence Convention Center.

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We will be at the following tables: 931, 933, 935, 937, 939, Artist Alley Table 731 as well as 12G and 15G.

The following authors will be selling their books during the convention:

Christopher Paniccia  – Table 12G

Lisa Jacob – Table 15G

Tim Jones – Artis Alley Table 731

Scott Williams Simmons – Artist Alley Table 433

Authors at tables 931, 933, 935, 937, 939

Sean Fay Wolf

Mike Squatrito

Joseph Mazzenga

Heather Rigney

Joshua Blum

Errick Nunnally

D. R. Perry

L. L. Craft

Tabitha Lord

Peter Larrivee and more!

Remember to RSVP for the event on Facebook!local author event

[Happy Halloween Ladies] All Hallow’s Eve

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A list of Halloween Movies that you should find enjoyable and I probably missed a lot:

Alien / Aliens
John Carpenter’s Halloween
John Carpenter’s The Fog
John Carpenter’s The Thing
Poltergeist
Jeepers Creepers
Session 9
The Frighteners
The Conjuring
Devil’s Backbone
The Name of the Rose
Insidious
Shaun of the Dead
The Exorcist
Cabin in the Woods
Ghostbusters
Evil Dead 1+2
The Others
Friday The 13th
Dead Alive
The Shining
Phantoms

And lastly, like I do every Halloween, the Vincent Price’s voice over from Thriller:

“Darkness falls across the land

The midnite hour is close at hand

Creatures crawl in search of blood

To terrorize yawls neighbourhood

And whosoever shall be found

Without the soul for getting down

Must stand and face the hounds of hell

And rot inside a corpses shell

The foulest stench is in the air

The funk of forty thousand years

And grizzy ghouls from every tomb

Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive

Your body starts to shiver

For no mere mortal can resist

The evil of the thriller. . .”

Vincent Price – Michael Jackson’s Thriller, 1984. Dir. John Landis

Association of RI Authors Radio Interview Schedule

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Today, ARIA starts their Author Radio Interviews on WEMF Boston Citywide Blackout Internet Radio Show and 1540 AM WADK Newport, RI.

If you have time, give them a listen and hear about their books, current project, and news about the RI Authors Expo

Here’s the lineup:

WEMF Schedule:

October 27, 9:00 PM: Loren Walker
November 3, 9:00 PM: Sam Kafrissen
November 10, 9:00 PM: B.J. Knapp
November 17, 9:00 PM: Mike Squatrito
December 1, 9:00 PM: Mark Perry 

WADK Schedule:

November 1, 10:30 AM: Mary Volk
November 4, 10:30 AM: Elda Dawber
November 8, 10:30 AM: Joe Mazzenga
November 11, 10:30 AM: Rick Marchetti
November 15, 10:30 AM: Linda Carvelli
November 18, 10:30 AM: Nora Hall
November 22, 10:30 AM: Wendy Fachon
November 25, 10:30 AM: Sylvia Weber
November 29, 10:30 AM: Deb Tillinghast
December 2, 10:30 AM: Steve Porter

[Movie Review] X-Men: Apocalypse

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“Sweet Dreams are made of this.”

X-Men Apocalypse reviews dropped a month ago when Captain America: Civil War was the darling on Rotten Tomatoes and everyone made it out to be a garbage fire.

I have no idea what movie they actually saw.

My X-Men First Class review is here and my X-Men Days of Future Past review is here.

Continue reading [Movie Review] X-Men: Apocalypse

[Movie Review] Captain America: Civil War

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Welcome to Marvel Phase Three.

Another Free Comic Book Day, another Marvel Movie.

I have to ask: Just what the whiskey tango foxtrot happened to Age of Ultron while Civil War is amaze balls.

Don’t get me wrong, Age of Ultron had it’s moments, like the farmhouse which I personally loved because sometimes you need the heroes to rally and lick their wounds. Less, cave of exposition and more farmhouse.

Continue reading [Movie Review] Captain America: Civil War

[Movie Review] Batman VS. Superman

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Batman VS. Superman (2016)

It’s that time of year folks, the comic book movies have arrived with Batman VS. Superman. A movie some people will tell you had been mentioned in I am Legend back in 2007.

Bennett North and myself went to go see it. Her review can be found here.

Either love’em or hate’em you’ll probably be watching two actors in their underwear beating the crap out of each other or a CGI enemy with a bombastic soundtrack in a darkened theater and wonder: Why is this happening, again?

Continue reading [Movie Review] Batman VS. Superman

Rhody Writing Group’s Fifth Anniversary

2010 NaNoWrimo TGIO Party happy to be done with the writing!

Rhody Writing Group’s Fifth Anniversary

Writing in a vacuum can be very boring. For most you either need to sit at a desk or library or if you’re like me you have a 3 days worth of movie soundtracks to listen to get you into the mood. The downside to writing in a vacuum is no feedback or moral support feels like you’re building a sand castle at the beach and no one is there to admire it.

I started writing by adapting the Transformers pilot episode onto my dad’s TSR-80 laptop and continued through Junior High and High School writing at the time what was fan fiction Robotech novels.

During college, I met up with Paul Chabot and in a year or two we’re semi-yearly self publishing a black and white comic book called Totems.

In 2004, I found NaNoWrimo and got back into the universe I create in College and updated it so the Robotech trappings were gone.

Rhode Island is small state so traveling to write ins and finding coffee houses that can hold a burgeoning amount of people who’re just going to sit there and tap away on their laptops sounds easier than it should be but it’s not when your favorite place on Fox Point up and closes and you now have to seek another watering hole.

In December of 2010, sitting at the TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) party for NaNoWrimo over at Brewed Awakenings in Johnston,  there were great deal of people sitting around and I asked them if I started a writing group would they be interested in joining and they said yes.

Thankfully, Warwick Public Library had rooms available to reserve and in February (after a mis-step in January with snow in the forecast that never appeared) our motley group got together and reviewed several pieces including the first chapter of Weaver which has since been filed under: Nothing happens in fifteen pages it’s being revised.

It has been a fun five years. I’ve attempted to switch gears from hobby writing to writing professionally and even finished the first draft of Weaver to find I put too much into it.

It’s been a delight to see  other authors hone their craft until they have a voice and knowing when you read their piece it’s going to be interesting.

If you’re writing and haven’t found a writing group I suggest checking Meetup. You’d be surprised to see how many writing groups there are.

A writing group is great resource to have because:

  1. No one at the table is a blood relation to you.
  2. You’ll get free feedback on your work from people who may not even be writing in your genre.

We’ve had people come and go, the core group had clicked and even started meeting once a month to write in Newport.

We’ve even had a few people self publish a book or two, like Matt Keefer, Janet Parkinson and more.

So, when Bennett North sold her first short story to Fantasy and Science Fiction it was happy day since she had submitted to the group.

It was even a more happier day when it appeared in the January/February 2016 Edition of the magazine.

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And here are some of those reviews from Tangent and SFRevu of the issue.

[Plotting About] Closing out 2015 with writing goals for 2016

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Looking back on the end of 2013 and 2014 I’m in a better place than last year even if I’m still writing Weaver.

The list I made last year was:

1. Finish Weaver Book #1. Query Agents. Work on Book #2. – I’ll get to this in a second.
2. Find a graphic design job – No such luck but I did get a job at Displays2Go.
3. Continue to write – Yep.
4. Read more – I have been.
5. Take more pictures and post’em – Need more time in the day.
6. More gaming with Team Formation – Still need more time in the day altho Rainbow 6 Siege coming out is a welcome breath of fresh air.
7. Hope for a good season of Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi – There’s a blog post about the utter shit writing that was this season. If they cancel it next season it’ll go out on a low note from the writing standpoint. More on this later…

Where Weavers Daire Update

The Where Weavers Daire K BAR count:

I may’ve lost 10k from October but the plot is a lot better than what it had been.

The writing and re-writing continues. I’ve also found an easier way to jot things down besides my moleskin: Google Docs. Generally I use M$ Word to write and compile in Scrivener but I’ve been using Google Docs to write down and plan out plot points.

This is a good thing since most of it is still in my head and I’m making a concerted effort to plot instead of discovery or pants my way through.

I mentioned how the first draft of Weaver had an enormous amount of  content that should’ve been in other book and that’s what I’ve been doing when not watching Jessica Jones, The Expanse, working (!) or playing Fallout 4 / Destiny / Rainbow Six Siege.

I’ve been pushing plot threads that were in the first draft to the next book and it’s been helping a lot.

Writing Goals for 2016

  1. Plot out the rest of book 1.
  2. Finish writing Weaver.
  3. Work on Weaver graphic novel / web comic / Patreon.
  4. Get Weaver professionally edited.
  5. Self publish Weaver
  6. Plot out book 2 and 3.
  7. Attend several of the local events like the 4th Annual ARIA Author Expo and RICC and sell it!
  8. Make loads of money minus stealing the underwear.

Yep, short writing goals.

Misc Updates

Saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, going to see it again then there will be a review post. My first thoughts: Great looking and well acted unlike the prequels. The new characters and the actors portraying them infused new blood into universe even if the plot hit all the notes from the original trilogy and it’ll be interesting to see how many deleted scenes show up on the DVD. I need to read the novelization as well since it was based on a previous screenplay draft.

The Art Book is worth getting but nowhere as detailed as the Making of Trilogy books.

On another note, Legos and Star Wars. It’s an expensive hobby.

The 3rd Annual Association of Rhode Island Author Expo went off without a hitch. I’m going to ignore the power failure at Lincoln Mall for 30-40mins.

Writing Excuses Cruise 2016 – I’m looking into doing this like Bennett North did this year.

Con Season 2016 consists of Emerald City, Necon and RICC. 3/4 of those I don’t need a hotel or airline tickets for. I’m half tempted on going to Boston Comic Con this year just as a fan to see how it is.

On the job front, I got a job at Displays2Go. I highly recommend their products and they’re local to Rhode Island!

That’s it for now, here’s hoping 2016 is better than 2015.

A great thing to do in R.I. this Saturday is The 3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo!

Flyer for the 3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo

3rd Annual Rhode Island Author Expo

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 – Mark Perry #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Mark Perry

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

Last week, an eight-year-old girl from San Diego put a spell on herself in the shower, to turn herself into a mermaid.  Why hasn’t it worked yet, and how much longer will it take, she asks?  Where does such a child turn when they are contemplating their life’s most compelling questions?  Well, that would be good old St. Nick, or course, because the allure of Santa Claus to a child makes them think and feel that he is all-knowing.

When I became ‘Post’ Mark, the North Pole Postman, the elf who works in Santa’s mail room, I guess I hadn’t thought I’d be confronted with such far-fetched questions.  I more or less expected kids to share some interesting stories, because we all know kids say the funniest things.

For example, Oliver from Australia has a dog named Shelby who he believes is friends with Santa’s reindeer because she doesn’t bark at them.  Timmy, in the state of Washington, isn’t sure if Santa will come to his house this year because he tripped and fell down.  When he fell, he knocked over the Christmas tree, and broke a few of the ornaments, and thinks Santa is mad at him now.

Working for a boss who is a metaphor means I am the one who has to address these issues all while keeping a straight face when a child or parent visits me at one of my live book-signing events, or logs on to my website to share them.

A message in Santa’s inbox the other day is from a nine-year-old girl in the U.K. who has a crush on a boy, and wants Santa to let the boy know, so he will notice her, but if he can’t do that, she understands.  She would just be fine with an iPad underneath the Christmas tree, instead.

While I truly enjoy having the world come to my door with these messages, and feel they are a gift to me, you can imagine this is challenging at times since a child doesn’t know or understand that I might be going into the fourteenth hour of my work day, and there were dozens, if not hundreds of kids that came before them.

Working for Santa is a very rewarding experience, but as kids are taught, and one might expect with being an elf, it requires long hours.  I often ask myself, “How much longer can I go on doing this job,” and then, Santa receives a message from Angela in Virginia stating that she will be leaving cookies for him when he comes to her house on Christmas eve, along with carrots for the reindeer, and something for ‘Post’ Mark too because she loved reading his book.  Wow!  What an honor.  I wonder what she’s going to leave me!

It’s almost December! Visit Post Mark and find out how to send a letter to Santa!

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Claremary Sweeney #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Claremary Sweeny

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

I’m a late bloomer. Very late! At age 65, I wrote a story featuring a tabby kitten named ZuZu, born in a barn at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I liked it so much I wrote more stories set in the Berkshires and added in lots of farm animals and an extended family. ZuZu’s further adventures bring readers to many interesting and historic places. The Hancock Shaker Village, the Red Lion Inn, Chesterwood, the Berkshire Botanical Garden are some of those places that my husband Charley and I have visited many times and I wanted to share them with others.

A Berkshire Tale is comprised of ten tales following ZuZu and her friend Nick through the seasons of a year. It’s appropriate for children of all ages, even adult children like me. I wrote it so that adults could share the stories with a child. This motivated me to create a blog, Around ZuZu’s Barn, about the book and about  the importance of reading, storytelling and imagination in the life of a child. The blog evolved into a conversation with kindred spirits on many topics, with some of my photography interspersed. (I used my photographs to illustrate A Berkshire Tale.) 

IMG_7698I had been a teacher and administrator for over thirty years. I’m now retired, living with my husband Charley and our two cats, Roxie and ZuZu, in the woods of South County. People who read this invariably ask, “You have two cats? Well, what about the other cat? Why doesn’t she have a book about her?”  To appease my blog followers, I began to write posts of life seen through the eyes of Roxie, “The Other Cat.” People really love these vignettes and it appears there may actually be another book within these posts.

Another question I’m asked is, “Do you have a book set in RI?” I now can answer that I have one in the process of being published. It’s a small book in rhymed verse set in the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park. The main character is a baby pitcher plant, Adonis,  who one morning decides to stop eating meat. This causes much consternation for his mother, Dee, her friends, and the other plants and creatures living around the carnivorous plant section of the gardens. And I’m currently working on a mystery set in South Kingstown, complete with black and white photos of settings in the book.

Although I’m a late bloomer, I am trying to catch up, so that by the time I’m 67, I’ll have more books under my belt. Please visit my blog and check out the photos and “The Other Cat” stories. You’ll also get to know a bit more about me and Charley and the ZuZu stories which I’m continuing in the future.

Claremary Sweeney is also on Facebook.

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Joshua Blum #riauthors

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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 #riauthors

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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, Hunting the Merrow, 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 the Merrow 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 Waking the Merrow … 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 BooksWakefield Books, and Curiosities & Mischief.

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – JL Metcalf #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – JL Metcalf

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, The Last Daughter of LilithComing Undone: Musings on Life,Love & Hobbits, and Menagerie of 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: jessicaleemet@gmail.com

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Laura Crisafulli Kennedy #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Laura Crisafulli Kennedy

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write a children’s book. As a child, among many other things, I was an avid reader. My choices of books were and still are varied, covering many genres and writing styles. I love the mystery, the adventure, the joy of flipping to the next page. I admired those who could take seemingly random words and string them together to elicit such feeling and response. I still do.

When I arrived at the University of Vermont, I found a card from my parents tucked away in a suitcase. “I can’t wait to read your children’s book” were words that inspired and encouraged me forward, reminding me often of my very important dream. A few years later, I took a course at New York University on children’s literature and how to write and publish children’s books. After that course, the task seemed daunting and overwhelming. But, all things in due time.

Moving forward a few (well, more than a few) years to motherhood and another dream achieved. What better time to write for children?! Crazed by the thought of what to write about and how, and possibly even my timing, I asked myself, “What is it I want to teach my children so they can best face challenges and difficulties and believe in themselves?” It is amazing how an idea grows, develops, and takes a journey, so far different from how it started. What a fascinating challenge to envision and write a sentence that says exactly what you want it to say, expressing the sentiment you feel, while touching the hearts and imagination of others.

Moving forward yet again, ten-plus years, when the timing and a series of circumstances were just right for achieving a dream. What a wave of excitement, sense of accomplishment, and a sigh of relief when I held that proof in my hands the very first time!

I strongly believe in the power of “positivity.” I believe positive words can spark positive thoughts, helping create a positive attitude and positive actions, and the circle perpetuates. I strive for this cycle and for balance. To help inspire and empower another individual is an awesome and gratifying feeling. Equally gratifying is the feeling of being inspired and empowered. To teach a child to be strong and brave, confident and independent, is well worth the challenge, hard work, and effort. My children constantly amaze and inspire me, reminding me of what is important and good.

As I get older, the importance of finding and maintaining a sense of humor as life’s challenges and adventures occur has not escaped me. My book is a reminder for me to embrace the important moments, knowing that this amazing journey is evolving and continuing…

Laura Crisafulli Kennedy is the author of Lolly’s Picnic and is currently working on two other children’s books. For more information, please visit Laura’s website or contact Laura at info@LauraKennedy.info

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Sean Fay Wolfe #riauthors

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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 Elementia Chronicles, Quest for Justice 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 Quest for Justice, 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 websitelike 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 #riauthors

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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 The FirmThe Client, or the Theodore Boone 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 University here.

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Buffi Wixted #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Buffi Wixted

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

Does the thought of having to answer your child’s questions about Santa make you realize how fast they are growing up?

A few years ago my son Dixon caught my husband off guard during a walk in the park with the statement, “ Dad, Santa can’t deliver all those presents by himself. It’s just not possible.” My husband told him Santa has lots of helpers and quickly changed the subject to basketball. I think having to answer your child’s questions about Santa causes fear and anxiety for most parents. After hearing about the trip to the park, I decided to write Dixon a letter putting my explanation of Santa’s magic on paper because I feared disappointing him and I didn’t want to stumble over the importance of what I wanted to tell to him. Yes, it had been wonderful experiencing Santa’s magic by receiving all those gifts over the years, but Santa’s magic is much more than mysterious presents that appear under the tree. Santa’s magic is really about celebrating the kindness and generosity of the human spirit. Telling Dixon the truth about Santa was more than revealing a secret; it was a big step moving him away from the innocence of childhood and closer to adolescence.

While writing my letter, it occurred to me that learning the truth about Santa should not be a disappointment, rather it’s an honor for a child to learn the history Santa and why we work so hard to keep his magic alive for each new generation to enjoy. When a child is ready to understand and appreciate the joy of giving, allowing them to participate in the process of keeping Santa’s magic alive, it signifies that he or she is maturing into a kind, generous, and loving individual. At this point my letter changed from explaining the end of one of the most beloved childhood mysteries to becoming a well-deserved invitation for Dixon to become one of Santa’s real elves and join us as members of the secret society who keeps Santa’s magic alive.

After putting up our Christmas tree, my husband and gave Dixon the letter I had written. It explained a little of Santa’s history and gently revealed that we had been the elves sharing Santa’s magic with him in honor of the generosity St. Nicholas had shown centuries ago. To mark this milestone we presented Dixon with a special elf ornament engraved with his name and the date. As he added his new elf ornament to the other milestone ornaments on the family Christmas tree, he became Santa’s newest elf and now shared the important responsibility of keeping Santa’s magic alive for future generations to enjoy. A few tears were shed, but the importance of helping keep the centuries old tradition of anonymous gift giving alive soon outweighed the tears and became a new challenge.

Over the next few years, as the letter was shared with family and friends, it slowly evolved into Elf Pledge Book and became part of the “The Fellowship of Elves Membership Kit” under the pen name Edwin Lionel Flynn (E.L.F.). The educational and interactive membership kit now contains all the items necessary to share the secret of Santa’s magic and make your child an official Elf Fellow – one of Santa’s real helpers.

To learn more about the Fellowship of Elves, please visit our website, our Twitter page, and our Facebook page

Buffi Wixted is a wife, parent, and teacher with 22+ years of classroom experience. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education.

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Ashley Richer #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Ashley Richer

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

Many ask me the question, “what made you want to write a book?”

Well, like most artistic professions, writing was, and always will be, a natural gift that I am blessed to have. The writing part came easy…it was taking the leap into publishing that needed a push.

I decided to pursue publishing after battling a rare medical condition. At 24 years old I survived a dissection of my carotid artery and multiple TIA strokes. This life changing experience will forever hold a bittersweet spot in my heart. The bitter…I battled a tough and long recovery, took a permanent medical leave from my job, and had to give up hobbies that I enjoyed my entire life.

However, after four years I found the sweet… I teamed with award-winning local illustrator Ryan Maguire to create the first book in the series. We fell in love, published our first book, and just welcomed our first child into the world in August. I hope to inspire everyone to believe that there is no obstacle too large to overcome, and sometimes the toughest obstacles lead to the biggest miracles!

Ryan and I are now preparing to launch the second book in the series. The first book in the series, titled Tyler’s TALL Tales: Chasing the moon, has a Rhode Island setting and focuses on teaching children about local Narragansett landmarks. The second book, Tyler’s TALL Tales: Journey around the world, will take readers on a global adventure and focuses on raising awareness of animals found all over the world. We hope to continue to educate children in schools and the community through literacy and illustration.

Ryan and I have a crowdfunding website to help offset costs for local schools and community establishments that wish to have us visit for one of our custom workshops. Together we have combined our teaching experiences to develop innovative workshops, which enforce creative thinking, artistic discovery, and movement. To learn more, or donate to our cause, please visit our  GoFundMe page.

You can contact Ashley via email (tylerstalltales@gmail.com), visit her on Facebook, and catch up with Tyler’s Tall Tales on her blog.

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Rachael L. McIntosh #riauthors

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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 Security through Absurdity 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 – Elda Dawber #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Elda Dawber

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

Got secrets? Of course you do! Like it or not, our lives are rich with personal, professional, and family tales that could keep readers awake deep into the night. But do we dare risk the telling? If there is a story that needs to be told, then perhaps the time has come to listen and give it voice.

In writing my novel Wait Until Im Dead!, I placed my main character in the center of this dilemma. A successful romance writer, Donna Jean Brava, has written an autobiography which provides the backstory of how she dealt with her own childhood abuse by her father and uncles while suffering the cold indifference of her mother. Her recovery shows how love and friendship bring about her healing even though evil acts still lurk behind the door. As her family reads the manuscript and begins to unravel buried family secrets, the title of the novel becomes painfully appropriate. Hate and love vie for the upper hand as victims and perpetrators fear the same fate: What if people findout?

The book is also filled with humor—which works as comic relief in the classically tragic sense—mystery, unexpected plot twists, revealed secrets and intrigue. Presented as a memoir within a novel, readers move through the main character’s history. But it is her actions in the present that propel the story through a series of compelling revelations affecting numerous characters in unforeseen ways.
Secrets often beget more secrets. So, why go there at all, one might ask? Well, like everyone else, I’ve had secrets, told secrets, kept secrets, and even spilled a few. But nothing on this earth prepared me for the damage and long term suffering visited upon children when secrets about abuse prevail.

I am, by profession, a clinical social worker who has been working with children and their families affected by childhood trauma. When I retired—or, semi-retired as it turned out—I felt compelled to do something to honor the courage of the youngsters I had worked with who had faced overwhelming situations and yet had prevailed. And so grew the concept of a novel that could both educate as well as entertain. I wanted a book that professionals would value, but that the average reader could respond to as a page-turner full of compassion and hope.

I have finally come to understand what people meant when they said, “Write what you know.” What I know—from years of working with children in trauma—is hard stuff. Getting it onto paper took time (almost six years), and it also took a good deal of emotional energy. I once had a Creative Writing professor in college who told me I had to choose between social work and writing because social work would take over my life and render me unable to commit the time and focus needed to become a “real” writer. Social work did, in fact, consume me for decades, but eventually it also gave me this story of secrets from all the children whose voices I am trying to honor. And another gift as well: the much deeper understanding that secrets revealed can also heal.

Elda lives in Rhode Island, surrounded by an amazingly loving and diverse family, covets a good mystery, gardens in milk crates on her back deck, loves to travel, still trains her fellow social service professionals, and – truthfully – hates secrets that keep children unsafe. Her novel  Wait Until I’m Dead! recently won the Independent Publishers of New England 2015 award for literary fiction. She is currently hard at work on the sequel. Find her on FacebookLinkedIn, and here.

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Debbie Tillinghast #riauthors

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Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Debbie Tillinghast

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.

Changing Seasons

The wind has shifted overnight, hurling itself across the bay from the Northwest. Gone are the gentle summer breezes, replaced by winds with winter’s bite lurking on the edges. The temperature hovers near forty and the air is crisp and invigorating as I begin my morning walk. The tide is high and waves are breaking over the rocks; one small dinghy rolls on the swells as they dash towards the shore. The waves are the only sound I hear this morning, and if birds are singing, they are drowned out by the relentless pounding of the surf. A seagull perches on a rock that is peeking from the water, and he shrieks his morning thoughts. I wonder if he is sad to see the summer end, taking the visitors who might leave behind an occasional stray quahog, or happy to have solitude return and the bay to himself. Again I listen for the morning calls of resident song birds, but all I hear is the wind and one solitary crow.

My life began on this small island in Narragansett Bay, called Prudence, where daily existence was guided by the changing seasons and the tides. Summer meant the opening of my dad’s general store which kept both my parents busy, as Prudence was predominantly a summer colony. My family lived here year round, but the winter population dwindled to about fifty, and the rhythm of life changed after Labor Day. The ferry now runs daily, and the schedule makes year round commuting a possibility, so the island seems less remote even in the winter.

I’m here on Prudence to help my friend Judy close her summer house for the season. We are always reluctant to say goodbye to the carefree island summer days, and sometimes the warm October sun tempts us to linger for one last swim and postpone this task a little longer. The wisdom of the decision to close is reinforced, when the frosty night reminds us that winter will soon embrace this little island and, without heat or insulation, the disaster of frozen pipes will be real if the winterizing is not complete.

When Judy and I board the ferry in the late afternoon, her house is all tucked in for the winter. I know it will be waiting when balmy spring days entice us to return to Prudence Island, and the bay beckons us for our first chilly swim of the year. Perhaps because of my island childhood, my senses are tuned to the change in seasons and as each begins, it becomes my favorite. Though I will delight in snowy winter days, I will anticipate the time when the song birds serenade my morning walks once more.

Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast is the author of The Ferry Home, a memoir about her childhood on Prudence Island, Rhode Island. Her book is available in local gift shops and bookstores and online at Indigo River Publishing and  Amazon. Visit her on Facebook.

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