Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Clockmaker's Son is Now Available on Amazon

Just published and released by Inklings, a division of Dark Ink Press. The Clockmaker's Son, a cross genre horror/romance novel (a Beauty & the Beast take on werewolves/lycanthropes), is available on Amazon beginning today! This is the novel inspired a year ago by Westfield, MA's controversial, but still awesome since what other local city or town has one even remotely similar?, mechanical clock tower. I started several different versions of the book over the summer and into the fall, but scrapped them and started fresh on November first during NaNoWriMo in 2017. The manuscript then sat idle on the dining room table until early March 2018 when I finally decided to proofread it. I hadn't read the novel from beginning to end up to that point and was surprised that it was nearly ready to publish. With Kelly's invaluable help edits and revisions, and the usual cleanup of grammar and punctuation, began and moved along quickly. A meeting with Kate Anderson and Melissa Volker set the wheels in motion to have it published under Dark Ink Press' new imprint, Inklings. It was available in a limited, self-published supply during Articulture2018 as an ARC...and now it's been published and is available to the public!! Advance readers are telling me that they began reading the book and could not stop reading until they were finished. One reader (from a local button club I belong to) devoured the book in one three-hour read-a-thon! Her comment- "Whew! I feel like I just got off a rollercoaster! What a ride! When's your next book coming out?" That's what  makes my heart happy!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

One Yer Anniversary Party & June Meeting Announcement

The WhipCity Wordsmiths authors/writers group will celebrate the first anniversary of its founding on Saturday, June 16th at 3PM at Blue Umbrella Books with a cake and soft drinks and a meeting before we break for July and August to enjoy the summer. Meetings will resume in September 2018. Join us if able!

May 12th Meeting Notes

I apologize for the delay in posting the notes from the May meeting. Life is crazy busy still!

The Wordsmiths, nine of us, gathered at Blue Umbrella Books on the 12th of May for a meeting. It was good to see those in attendance again.

Glen was in attendance and signed copies of his new book Dearest David for Susan and Lynnmarie. The book is historical romance, a new genre for Glen. Both readers had enjoyed the story.

Susan began the meeting by recapping the April Articulture event at which 9 Wordsmiths showed their stuff in the author's room. Only Sandy Sessler was unable to join us due to an emergency. She was missed, but those who did make it had fun meeting and greeting the public and chatting among ourselves. Melissa Volker's son, Lex, was an added attraction in the room as he attended in his Kylo Ren costume (he has an amazing Mom who not only writes but sews and makes authentic-looking costume pieces including helmets!) The kids LOVED Lex as Kylo. There were plenty of photo ops and Lex did some mock light saber fights with them for additional photo ops. The authors received swag bags put together by Susan and crammed full of stuff authors like, like pens, highlighters, pocket notebooks, Post-it tabs to use as page markers during readings and silly things like fidget toys, Tangles, and goodies like mints and Kisses. Each author received a lanyard to help identify them with their Wordsmith pin attached. Oh, and the authors received WhipCity Wordsmith mugs identifying them as members. Melissa, Lindsay and Judith F-G provided feedback that Susan will pass on to Artworks of Westfield, the sponsor of the event.

Susan read a piece she had written when Kelly was in middle school called Legacy- about what mothers pass down to their daughters in honor of the 13th being Mother's Day.

Susan had given Sue F. a challenge to write something for the next meeting, and Sue came through in aces, writing about living in a multi-generational home and family birthdays. Her family is from Enfield, MA, one of the five towns with forced evacuation when the area was flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. It was a nice family piece, well thought out and written. She did an excellent job rising to the challenge!

Melissa spoke about how she has been helping Kate Anderson revise Kate's Dark Ink Press logo, helping establish a new imprint of Dark Ink Press called Inklings for which Melissa is managing editor, and Susan is also an editor (paranormal/supernatural/fantasy/magical realism) The website is getting a facelift as well and there's a facebook page and a newsletter in the works. Ten she talked about her new experience as an editor, sifting through recent submissions, and how difficult it is to have to reject submissions, after having been on the receiving end of rejection letters herself.

Rhonda had her Wolfgang story with her that she read to us for our critiques and comments. Kelly is currently helping her with the illustrations so she can publish it herself. It's a cute story about Wolfgang's friends helping him get his whistle back in time for Christmas. (Wolfgang is a frog that had been on the extinct list in Haiti, but is now making a comeback.) She wrote the book for the children of Haiti.

Susan brought a tray of brownies and bottled water for snacks that were enjoyed by those who indulged.

In June the WhipCity Wordsmiths will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of its founding by Susan and Kelly. Meetings began in September, but there were newsletters and the blog was up and running in June of 2017 and membership grew steadily. It has leveled out at around 30 members with about half of that number actively participating in meetings as able, and one participating long distance.

Everyone brought something to the table at this meeting and discussions were lively.

See you in June for the 1-year celebration!  (There will be no formal meetings in July & August as we enjoy vacations and time with family and summer activities. Meetings will resume in September.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Hint of Autumn in the Air

The word on the street in Westfield is that there will be another Pumpkinfest event this October. This event was huge and amazingly well attended last fall and provided artists and authors an opportunity to meet and greet the public.

Through Artworks of Westfield, artists and authors coat-tailed onto the event and it looks as if we'll be able to do this again. Therefore, authors, I will be info gathering at the board meeting tomorrow evening and will keep you posted over the next few months of developments in the plans for this event. If any Wordsmiths are interested in selling their books at this event kindly let me know. Space was limited to one room in the old town hall last year. I don't know where we'd be this year, but it's never too soon to start thinking about exposure- if you're a self-published author that is vital!

I'll post updates about this upcoming event as details are hashed out, settled and finalized.

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Summary of Articulture2018

This past Saturday (April21st) was the third Articulture event in as many years. Of the 10 WhipCity Wordsmith authors who had signed up to attend9 of us made it to the event. Authors began arriving just past 9AM. Our tenth Wordsmith had an emergency and was unable to attend (but she'll still get her swag bag next time I see her!)

The room rapidly became a beehive of activity as authors began whipping out colorful table covers and setting up their spaces with books being offered for sale and associated props to draw the eye of patrons passing through the room. At Ayden's Rogalski's table he had a vintage lantern, some patriotic wreaths, an antique inkwell, quill pen and pieces of parchment he was writing on. (I was the recipient of a sweet thank you note from our 9-year old youngest author during the course of the day, and several awesome hugs!)

Prior to the 10AM opening, author swag bags were distributed to the authors who had books to offer. I also had fun assembling an additional goodie bag for Ayden, and one for Lex. Debbie (Carol's daughter) and Tanya also got goodie bags. Melissa's mom, Elaine Frankonis couldn't make it to read poetry, but Melissa brought home a swag bag for her because she, too, is a Wordsmith.

Kelly had a LED ghost light to draw attention to her book Parapsychology which was one of the bestsellers at the show. I had wands (Black King Takes White Queen), black wolves (Out), and werewolves/wolves (The Clockmaker's Son). I also had some plush cats to represent Ivy's tiger cat familiar, Bex, who is killed by a demon in Black King Takes White Queen (her black warlock husband, Romney, who has no use for familiars takes her to adopt a new cat she names Jem), and Irina's tuxedo cat, Sebo (her vampire lover moves all her belongings to his castle, including her beloved cat, even though he prefers his black wolves). Most of my props found new homes at the end of the day- Bex went to Melissa who changed his name to Oliver (Ollie) after the Otherwords mascot, Sebo went to Kate Anderson, a fellow cat lover. Atka (I had two of these awesome small plush wolves) went to Lex Volker (Kylo-Ren) and Ayden. Ayden also got the small plastic werewolf figurine, and the wolf pocketwatch he had admired several times during the course of the day.  Together, Kelly and I sold 21 books during the day which was a pleasant surprise! I was asked when the third in the Ivy & Romney series would be coming out- it's partially written, so maybe later this year Bishop Amid the Pawns will find its way into print. The second book in the series is Black Knight, White Rook and is currently available on Amazon and for Kindle. Overall- The Hanging Man and Other Stories, the limited edition preview of the soon to be published The Clockmaker's Son were best sellers for me as was Disturbing, the jointly written ghost story anthology Kelly and I put together. She even sold a copy of Teleport!

Melissa Volker had a book deal going on at her table- for a few hours it was buy two books get a free surprise book. During the afternoon if became buy one book and get a surprise book for free. Her new book Apocalypse Alice, just published under the Inklings imprint of Dark Ink Press was her best seller. At her table with her was her son Lex Volker who was in the awesome Kylo-Ren costume she made for him for various events and photo-ops, kids party appearances, etc. He was a huge draw for the kids and young people who crossed light sabers with him and posed for pictures. It was fun to watch Ayden in his tricorn hat, shirt, vest, and slacks mock light saber fight with the very tall Kylo-Ren in his futuristic attire.

At the far end of the room ensconced in throne-like armchairs were first time author Lindsay Stenico (and her mom, Barbara) with her novel The Assignment, just published by Dark Ink Press. Lindsay is a freshman at WSU here in Westfield, and also the event and media publicist for Blue Umbrella Books here in town.

Beside Lindsay was Dark Ink Press owner and author Kate Anderson with her two novels Hospital Hill and Shadows in the Ward, and her new non-fiction book, Danvers State Hospital. Kate has a lot of irons in the fire- so we're always happy to see her at an event!

VC (Carol) Russell showcased her lovely poetry in her book Life's Garden. She had some framed poems and displayed the letter she got from President George Bush who praised her for her poem about the war in Kuwait and our boys fighting there.

Beside Carol was Judith Foard-Giucastro with her novel Senior Year, and her recently deceased husband (who was also a Wordsmith) Giuseppe Giucastro's book Joseph The Dreamer- Another Face of God. Judith was working on a joint project with Giuseppe and hopes to see it through to completion.

Rhonda Boulette came down from the hilltowns with her Flitten Kitten Fairytales. Her table was a riot of colors and plush animals and things to look at and touch. She had a big bear in a rocking chair, but was unable to read as planned due to increasing loss of voice during the course of the day. She has some new books in the works. It was fun seeing a plush Wolfgang frog! I passed her a tuxedo kitten who longs to become a flitten...he'll have multicolored wings!

On the other side of the main entrance from the reception hall was Ayden Rogalski with his mother, Tanya, showcasing his FOUR books! He had a number of copies of his new book Ayden's Home- The History of Westfield (which was a sellout!), and his first three books, Ayden's Washington, Ayden's Abraham, and Ayden's Titanic. During the course of the day Ayden was gifted with a hand-crafted tricorn hat which he wore for the rest of the day. He had a ceramic inkwell, a qhite quill pen, and a stack of rectangular pieces of parchment paper that he wrote on throughout the day. I loved the lantern on his table, and the decorative, primitive patriotic wreaths that were at the front f his table. His mom owns Country View Primitives on Franklin Street here in Westfield. It's a nice shop crammed full of antique, vintage and custom crafted primitives. Ayden has his own section- Ayden's Pickin's. He likes bottles- so has that in common with my daughter!

Board members of Artworks brought around bottled water and supplied us with cookies during the day. Most of us sampled Moe's donuts and coffee and food selections from the food truck out front.

During the course of the day we met wonderful people, the artists came up when they had a chance to look at the book offerings and a few books went home with them, Kelly ran down and bought four pieces of art during the afternoon. WSKB Radio talk show host Bob Plasse breezed through near the end of the event making contact with each author and laying down preliminary plans for radio appearances on future shows. Authors made connections with one another, which is one of the purposes of the WhipCity Wordsmiths, connecting authors, discovering resources and those willing to offer help and advice with projects.

WhipCity Wordsmith Geri Johnson stopped by and visited with each author. I gave her her Wordsmith pin which she promptly attached to her new black cap.

Photographers from the Westfield News came through (he totally missed Melissa, but got a good shot of Lex). Those photos appeared in the Westfield News on Monday, April 23rd. The Republican also had a photographer present, but I haven't seen any pictures yet.

At 6PM nine tired authors packed up and headed home for dinner and to put their feet up! The room was left spotless with just tables and a couple of chairs to remove at the end of the day.

At each annual event we learn something new that will make the following year even better. Now that Articulture2018 is over...the Board of Directors will be looking toward 2019 and how to make the event fresh and exciting!

Thank you to all the awesome WhipCity Wordsmiths (Kelly Buffum, Melissa Volker, Lindsay Stenico, Katherine Anderson, VC Russell, Judith Foard-Giucastro, Rhonda Boulette, Ayden Rogalski,) who gathered together to make this event a memorable occasion!

Sandy Sessler- we missed you! Next year, for sure!

Monday, April 16, 2018


One of Westfield's best Literary Arts promotional events is rapidly approaching this Saturday, April 21st. Ten WhipCity Wordsmith authors will be showcasing some of their books at this event from 10AM to 6PM.

Susan Buffum- her recently shortlisted for the Paranrmal Book Award vampire/romance/social commentary cross genre novel Out, ghost stories The Hanging Man and Other Stories, cross genre horror/romance The Clockmaker's Son, and several copies of last year's OZMA Award shortlisted magical realism/romance Black King Takes White Queen
Kelly Buffum- her novels Parapsychology and Teleport
Kate Anderson- her new non-fiction book Danvers State Hospital, and fiction novels Hospital Hill and Shadows in the Ward.
Melissa Volker- her new novel Apocalypse Alice, and her book of stories and prose on writing Where We Go,  and ?
Judith 'Sandy' Sessler- her novel The Legacy of Aidan McManus, short story collection Three Sisters Table for Four, Travel Kids books and ?
Lindsay Stenico- her newly published first novel, The Assignment
Judith Foard-Giucastro- her novel, Senior Year, her late husband and WhipCty Wordsmith author Giuseppe Giucastro's book Joseph the Dreamer, Another Face of God
Rhonda Boulette- her T Bear's Adventures books and a new book?
VC Russell- her book of poetry Life's Garden
Ayden Rogalski- our youngest author with his books Ayden's Washington, Ayden's Abraham, Ayden's Titanic, and his newly published book Ayden's Home- The History of Westfield

I am looking forward to spending the day with these wonderful, talented authors. I had fun assembling swag bags for all our authors t help make their day special and memorable.

If possible, stop in and visit with us during the day/afternoon. We'd love to see you!

Otherwise- hope to see you at the next Wordsmiths meeting on May 12th!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Next Meeting in May Set

The next meeting of the WhipCity Wordsmiths will be May 12, 2018 at 3PM at Blue Umbrella Books, 2 Main Street, Westfield, MA. Hope to see as many of you as can make it there!