It Used to Be a Library

AmyBeth Inverness is a local speculative fiction and romance author who has a new collection of short fiction coming out soon. We’re handing over the reins to her to chat about some of her influences.

When my parents moved to Vermont in 1990, they bought a large old house that, although it had its issues and idiosyncrasies, had plenty of space for the grandchildren they would eventually have as well as my father’s model trains and my mother’s doll collection.

And the books. Many, many books.

I grew up swimming in books. Every trip to the used bookstore with my father was a free-for-all. Although I did not grow up in Vermont, my parents’ house was my home base while I was a nanny in Connecticut, and again later after I got married and went back to school.

One large bedroom was referred to as ‘The Library.’ Two full walls were lined from floor to ceiling with built-in-place shelves. It also had a guest bed, a side table, and several free-standing shelves, all covered with books. They weren’t even the only books in the house, as atlases were in the downstairs hall, encyclopedias in the upstairs hall, and my mother’s romance novels were in the living room.

I was spoiled rotten in that I could walk into that room at any time, peruse the titles, and choose something to read. If I recalled some book with a blue cover that I’d read once and wanted to read again, it wasn’t too hard to find. They were fairly well organized, and if I wanted a specific author, I knew where to look.

My parents retired to North Carolina in 2008. Since they weren’t able to sell their house, my husband and I moved into their house with our two kids.

The books are long gone. I have a box that I salvaged of books that I really wanted to keep, and the rest found good homes. The room that used to be a library is now our bedroom. Although we have plenty of books (my youngest used to treat my romance novels like building blocks) it’s nothing compared to my parents’ floor-to-ceiling collection.

I’m now a writer, both of romance and science fiction. Frequently, I remember ‘that novel with the blue cover’ and I can picture exactly where it is on the shelf. While writing, I often want to refer to one of the old classics by Asimov or Heinlein, and I know exactly where all those books used to be. When discussing science fiction on social media, I will either recall some novel I read as a teenager but don’t remember either the author or title, or my friends will suggest some novel that I’m sure is in my father’s collection. But now, when I walk into that room, I don’t find the books I want. I find my bed, an ever-growing to-be-read pile, and the books I’ve read since we moved in. Because we’re doing some fix-up work on the house, most of my book collection is packed very safe and water-resistant in boxes in the basement. The ugly green 1970’s wallpaper that used to be in the library is gone, but only one wall is repainted. The rest are waiting for some electrical work before we repair the walls and finish painting.

I miss the books. But I’ve moved so many times in my life, I’ve come to know paperbacks and hard covers as both a blessing and a curse. Although I lust after printed books, I buy more books in e-format these days. I know that this house is not a permanent home for us, and I shudder to think about either moving or losing my books when we move.

Someday, we will have a house that we will make our own. I will fill it with books. So many books that my future grandchildren will treat them like building blocks before they can read. I will have a library, and when someone asks “Do you remember that book? The one with the blue cover?” I’ll know exactly where to look.

My short story series The Cities of Luna explores what life will be like when humanity establishes permanent residence on the Moon. Cities of Luna: Collection One includes twelve short stories that are at once familiar and futuristic. It can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

In the first single-release story, Moon Dragons, Uncle Dave has always told his nieces and nephews about the dragons that share the caves in which their underground city, Arrakeen, is built. Then one day he begins to wonder if the fairy-tales have a grain of truth after all. Moon Dragons can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

The latest short story, One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor, tells of the challenges two young siblings face when they find themselves outside their home city of Mordor, with no idea how to get back in. One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor, is available at Amazon.

A new story comes out with every full moon. Look for them wherever you buy e-books!

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity, AmyBeth Inverness is a creator of Speculative Fiction and Romance.   She can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook and Google Plus. When she’s not writing, she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home.


New ALIBI JONES Podcast Novel From Mike Luoma

Vermont Science Fiction Writer and Podcaster Mike Luoma has a brand-new science fiction novel launching this week on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Alibi Jones and the Hornet’s Nest begins:

Alibi Jones and the Hornet’s Nest – Free science fiction audio adventure in a classic vein, exclusively on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Alibi Jones rescued friends from the planet Kismet, accidentally blowing up and destroying the place in the process. Fought a Time War against the Devrizium everyone strangely forgets. Now he’s been sidelined, and the inactivity has him bored. Never good. What’s next for Alibi Jones? Meanwhile, out beyond the border of the Solar Alliance an ancient, giant, derelict ship has materialized. What is it doing in human space? Listen and find out as we begin the adventure!

Pat Esden announces 3 Book Deal


Pat Esden, one of our readers for the Vermont SF Writer’s Series, announced today that she’s signed for a three book deal with Kensington books.

Here’s the announcement from Publisher’s Weekly:

Patricia Esden, who has published a number of short stories and novelettes, sold her full-length debut, Moonhill, to Selena James at Kensington. James took world rights, in a three-book deal, from Pooja Menon at Kimberley Cameron & Associates. The new adult paranormal work follows a 20-year-old antiques dealer who, Menon explained, has a run-in with the “dangerously handsome” groundskeeper of her family’s estate after returning to the place with her father, hoping to save him from what appears to be dementia. Esden has been published in such SF and fantasy magazines/zines as Challenging Destiny and Orson Scott Card’s Traveling Medicine Show. Moonhill is set for spring 2016.

Esden follows up on her blog:

 The YA thriller I read from at retreat wasn’t the first manuscript I had go on submission. My first manuscript went out a little over a year ago and failed to sell. Well, to be more correct, my agent and I quickly decided to stop pitching the manuscript because it was YA gothic with paranormal elements and the market for paranormal had waned. We figure it was better to tuck that manuscript away and bring it back out when editors started looking for paranormal again.

I’m guessing you know where this is headed, so I’ll cut to the important part. Turns out an editor that we hadn’t heard back from loved the first manuscript and was willing to buck trends for it—with a slight change. My young adult gothic manuscript is transforming into a new adult paranormal.

Congratulations to Pat!

Release Day: Chasing the Milky Way

Chasing the Milky Way

Today, Erin E. Moulton releases her latest book, Chasing the Milky Way!

Here’s the blurb:

Lucy Peevy has a dream—to get out of the trailer park she lives in and become a famous scientist. And she’s already figured out how to do that: Build a robot that will win a cash prize at the BotBlock competition and save it for college. But when you’ve got a mama who doesn’t always take her meds, it’s not easy to achieve those goals. Especially when Lucy’s mama takes her, her baby sister Izzy, and their neighbor Cam away in her convertible, bound for parts unknown. But Lucy, Izzy and Cam are good at sticking together, and even better at solving problems. But not all problems have the best solutions, and Lucy and Izzy must face the one thing they’re scared of even more than Mama’s moods: living without her at all.


Order it from your local friendly bookstore!


Vermont Edition: Summer Book Show

VPR’s Vermont Edition will be hosting their annual book show later today, and with it, my plea to readers to call / write in to let them know that Science Fiction / Fantasy do have a place in literary canon / listener’s bookshelves.

For some people, summer is full of hectic, busy days spent running from one event to the next. Others like to enjoy summer at half speed: on a picnic blanket with a glass of lemonade and a good book. If summer for you is synonymous with ‘summer reading,’ then you’ll want to listen to our summer book show.

We’ll talk to Josie Leavitt, co-owner of Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, and Stan Hynds, book buyer for Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, about what makes a good summer read. And we’ll get some of their suggestions for what books we should throw in our picnic baskets.

Drop them a line here and listen in at noon / 7pm!

An Afternoon with Senator Elizabeth Warren

This isn’t necessarily ‘Geek’ related, but it’s interesting. The Phoenix Bookstore will be hosting Senator Elizabeth Warren on June 20th at 3:30pm in Burlington. The senator will speak about her book and answer questions, although there isn’t going to be a signing. This is a ticketed event. $35 will get you a book and a ticket.

Phoenix Books welcomes Massachusetts Senator ELIZABETH WARREN for a discussion of her bestselling memoir A Fighting Chance.
An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works—and really doesn’t.
In A Fighting Chance, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class—and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America’s government can and must do better for working families.

Here’s the details:

  • DATE & TIME: Friday, June 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM. Doors open at 2:30 PM. Seating is first come, first served. Ticket required.
  • LOCATION: First Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting House, 152 Pearl Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401
  • EVENT FORMAT: Elizabeth Warren will discuss her book and answer audience questions. Due to the Senator’s schedule, this program does not include a book signing. All books will be pre-signed by Senator Warren with a limited number available for purchase at the event.

Full details.

Aimee Picchi: ​As Amazon fights Hachette, Walmart seeks to profit

Over on CBS Moneywatch, Aimee Picchi covers the Hachette / Amazon fight again, this time noting that another major company has entered the equation:

In the battle between Amazon and book publisher Hachette, another retailing giant is finding a way to profit.

Walmart (WMT) says its book sales have jumped 70 percent since the dispute erupted between (AMZN) and Hachette over contract terms. With the standoff, Amazon has pulled pre-order buttons for soon-to-be-released books by best-selling authors such as J.K. Rowling and Michael Connelly.

Read the rest of the article here.

Aimee Picchi: ​Amazon says Hachette dispute won’t end quickly

Aimee Picchi is a writer for CBS Moneywatch, and yesterday, she covered the ongoing problems:

The publishing world has been in an uproar over a dispute between (AMZN) and publisher Hachette, with writers and readers caught in the middle. The standoff escalated last week, with Amazon pulling pre-order buttons from well-known writers such as J.K. Rowling and Michael Connelly.

As rumblings about the dispute circulated through the publishing world, alarming writers and their readers, Amazon remained largely silent. On Tuesday, however, the retailer said in a statement that it is “not optimistic this will be resolved soon,” and added that the company was negotiating “on behalf of customers.” In the meantime, authors whose books are published by Hachette are caught in the middle, and some readers are urging a boycott of Amazon.

Read the entire article here.

This impacts a number of science fiction authors, such as Will McIntosh (who’s book Defenders you should go run out and buy) and James S.A. Corey (who’s book Leviathan Wakes we’re reading next week!) through Orbit Books, an imprint of Hachette . It’s really too bad to see authors getting caught in the middle of these negotiations, because they really have nothing to do with it.

Something I’m a little annoyed to not see here is our local bookstore community standing up and really shouting from the rooftops that they’re really a better alternative to Amazon. Phoenix Books in Burlington and Essex made a major splash with the opening of their Burlington branch with their anti-Amazon stance, and I know that bookstores such as Bear Pond Books and others have issues with a retailer that makes their lives harder. What we’d like to see from them (as an industry) is a big push to get the word out that they often have these books on their shelves, and that they can often order the books for you quickly, without shipping costs. We buy a lot of books from local stores, and from here on out, we’ll be making it a priority to get more books through them.

Author Appearance: Moira Young

Barnes and Noble is hosting UK author Moira Young in an event tomorrow to support the release of her latest YA novel, Raging Star, the third book in her Dust Land series, which was released earlier this week. She will be in the store tomorrow (May 16th) at 7:00pm for a discussion and signing.

Here’s what the book is about:

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton…until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.

Looks intriguing!


Book Drive for Hardwick Head Start & Early Head Start

The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick is running a Book Drive for Hardwick Head Start! They’ll be collecting books for children to encourage kids in the area to read. 26 kids will benefit from this:

During the month of May, in celebration of Children’s Book Week and the importance of books in children’s lives, we will be hosting a Book Drive for the Hardwick Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Our goal for the month is to have one book to give each of the 26 children currently enrolled in the Head Start or Early Head Start programs. Those books will be sent home to add to the children’s personal libraries.

In addition, we hope to collect books to donate to the Head Start classroom library, to be read and enjoyed with students for years to come.

So, if you’re in the area, consider donating a book before the end of May.