Book Sale Ends in Two Days

By Jason Harris

 

Books & Boos Press, a small press located in Connecticut, has a sale on some of their titles including Secret Things by Stacey Longo and Echoes of Darkness by Rob Smales. This sale ends this Friday, Dec. 2. You can find out what titles here.

You can check out the presses sale video on YouTube here.

Pictures from Day 2 and 3 of ConnectiCon Part 2

By Jason Harris

Jack Skellington and Sally.


Deadpool.


Stormtrooper Samurai.




Harley Quinn and Pikachu.



John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark) talking to a young fan.


Thor.








Harley Quinn and the Joker.


Authors Jamie K. Schmidt, Casey Wyatt, and Corrina Lawson.

This is the last ConnectiCon picture post. Thank you for taking the time to look at them.

Pictures from Day 2 and 3 of ConnectiCon Part 1

By Jason Harris

Gizmoduck.

Toy soldiers.

 

Dr. Frank N. Furter.

Leeloo.

Author Kevin J. Anderson.


Cruella De Vil.

Rey and BB-8.

Major Kira.

Harley Quinn.

Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation).



Queen Amidala.


Artist Steve Geiger showing how to draw Spider-man.

Modern Horror with the Connecticut Em-Dashes

The Em-Dashes, a Connecticut writer’s group, will be reading original stories at the Whiton Memorial Library in Manchester, Connecticut from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The members of the Em-Dashes are Stacey Longo, John Valeri, Dan Foley and Ryanne Strong (Terry George). With Halloween this weekend, it’s the perfect time to listen to four Connecticut authors read four scary stories that are perfect for this time of year.

Check out the event’s Facebook page here.

The Wilton Memorial Library is located at 100 N Main St. in Manchester, Connecticut.

Discover Books and Boos Press

By Jason Harris

 

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Books & Boos Press first came on the publishing scene in 2013 with the publication of Secret Things: Twelve Tales to Terrify by Stacey Longo. This collection of wickedly entertaining stories will compel you to lock the doors, keep the lights on, and ponder what it might be like to embrace the darker side of human nature. Everybody has secrets. Sometimes they can kill you. These twelve stories will have you wanting more from this author. In 2014, two of Longo’s stories were included in the anthology, Insanity Tales. This anthology also includes works by Dale T. Philips, Vlad V., and Ursula Wong.

In 2015, this Connecticut based press published My Mom has MS by Longo in February and Where Spiders Fear to Spin by Peter N. Dudar in May. Dudar is a  Bram Stoker Award® Finalist. Acclaimed artist Morbideus Wolfgang Goodell illustrated the book.

These books will be available at the Books & Boos table at Connecticut Horrorfest this Saturday in Danbury, CT. Longo will also be on-hand to sign her books.

Books & Boos Press announced in June that they will be publishing works by Dan Foley and Rob Smales. This is a press to keep your eye on in the future.

Author Marcia Clark Talks about ‘The Competition’

By Stacey Longo

John Valeri and author Marcia Clark on Skype.

John Valeri and author Marcia Clark on Skype. Photo by Stacey Longo.

Former L.A. District Attorney Marcia Clark made an appearance via Skype at the Bentley Memorial Library in Bolton on January 8 to discuss The Competition, the fourth book in Clark’s Rachel Knight crime fiction series.

The event was moderated by John Valeri, who pens the Hartford Books Examiner column. Valeri kept the mood light as technical and other difficulties kicked off the event—first, Clark was caught in L.A. traffic, and then the Skype connection wasn’t working. Clark and Valeri started the discussion on speakerphone until the Skype issue was resolved.

Sixteen enthusiastic readers braved the cold weather to ask Clark about her book. The Competition revolves around Rachel Knight investigating a school shooting reminiscent of Columbine. Clark explained how she researched Columbine prior to starting to write the novel, learning more about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s psyches and situations. The Newtown school shootings in Connecticut happened right as Clark turned in her draft of The Competition to her publisher. She and her publisher decided to move ahead with the book’s publishing schedule, as the theme seemed even more relevant and important after the events in Newtown.

The audience agreed that The Competition was at times difficult to read due to the subject matter, but well written and suspenseful. Clark shared some insight into her life these days—besides maintaining a hectic publishing schedule, she also writes appeals briefs and occasionally appears on television. While the audience was respectful of Clark’s request that her most famous trial not be brought up, Clark herself did refer to it when asked why she worked as a prosecutor and not a defense lawyer for much of her career.

“Keep in mind that what you saw in the Simpson trial was not the norm,” Clark said, though she did admit that there is a lot more freedom when working as a defense lawyer. “You only have to convince one person [of reasonable doubt], not twelve [of guilt].” Clark started her career as a defense attorney, but “I wanted to represent the victims,” she explained regarding her move to the prosecutor’s table.

Clark was articulate and endearing as she answered questions. She and Valeri played off of each other well, and attendees praised the event. As one person in the audience posted on Facebook later in the evening: “Great time tonight listening to John Valeri interview the brilliant Ms. Marcia Clark!”

Author Talks about Writing and ‘Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut’

By Jason Harris

 

Author Mark Allen Baker talks about his book during his visit to the Colchester bookstore, Books & Boos.

Author Mark Allen Baker talks about his book during his visit to the Colchester bookstore, Books & Boos. Photo courtesy of Books & Boos.

Author Mark Allen Baker, who lives in Connecticut and has written 17 books, spoke to Jason Harris Promotions about a number of topics including writing and his current book, Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale.

JH: Mark you have written 17 books, when did you start writing and when was your first book published?

MAB: As a corporate executive for the General Electric Company, I began writing articles on graphics software and hardware; our division was involved with numerous early developments in graphics, most of which people are familiar with today as Microsoft PowerPoint. As an avocation, I have always been interested in baseball. After writing and publishing a number of articles on the 1980s boom in baseball collectibles, I was approached by a publisher to write a book. I accepted and wrote the Baseball Autograph Handbook for Krause Publications in 1990. While the word autograph is in the title, much of the information was historical.

JH: What was the impetus behind your latest book, Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale?

MAB: Having visited numerous historical sites here in Connecticut, such as the Nathan Hale Homestead (Coventry, CT) and the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum (Wethersfield, CT), the word spy kept creeping into my conversations with historians and volunteers. It intrigued me so much, that I instigated a bit of my own primary research and found that there was much more to many of the stories. Like my previous work for The History Press, the material filled a genuine need: a single resource that would answer a majority of questions any concerned individual might have. In this case, it was visitors to a historical site.

JH: When you were at Books & Boos in March, you mentioned that some of the spies you have written about are in the video game Assassins Creed. Can you elaborate more on this?

MAB: As most know, Assassin’s Creed III is a 2012 video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal for a variety of systems. The fictional plot is set in the 18th century, before, during and after the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold, who is featured in Spies of Revolutionary Connecticutis also included as part of the exclusive missions, available on PlayStation 3. Other individuals included: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Adams, General Israel Putnam and Benjamin Church.

JH: How long did it take you to write Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut?

MAB: This work took me about nine months.

JH: How much research did you do for the book?

MAB: Since my interest in the topic goes well beyond the scope of the book, I conducted more primary research than usual; I easily could have written a dozen volumes on the topic. As far as locations, I visited numerous libraries, historical societies and landmarks. I was even in the attic at the Nathan Hale Homestead and inside the War Room at Versailles, France. Always believing that a writer must get as close to the subject as possible, I tried to visit where my subjects worked and lived, and even where they were buried.

JH: What draws you to writing about history?

MAB: The people are what draws me to history. They are more than two dates on a tombstone, far more. It’s my job, or so I believe, to bring them back to life and acknowledge, at least in most cases, their achievements. While most know the names of Ethan Allen or Nathan Hale, few are unaware of heroes like Daniel Bissell and Noah Phelps.

JH: What does your writing process look like?

MAB: The process depends upon the work. For Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale, I began with a full investigation of the topic. This ranges from books and manuscripts, to scarce articles and even pension testimony.  Since I stay in the period that I am writing about, my ‘downtime’ includes only related items, period books, videotapes on the subject, university lectures and even music. Only when I feel I am ready, often months into the contracting, do I finally draft, revise and edit.

JH: What is your least favorite part of the publishing/ writing process?

MAB: Editing. Having to extract so many individuals from this work-Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale-was difficult. For example, I had no other choice but to edit out some (minor characters) individuals from the chapter on The Culper Ring. Choosing 35,000 words to express any topic is a challenge.

JH: You started a sport’s bar. Where was this, how did it come about, is it still there and what was the name of it?

MAB: Upstate New York, Liverpool, to be exact. It was called “Bleachers.” It came through my participation in another business. We, the four of us, believed the timing was proper to undertake an investigation or market analysis. As a former Market Research guru for a Fortune 500 company that became my task. It took me about six months to complete my research. It confirmed our feelings, guided us to a site and composed our business. I sold my shares three years into the business. I believe it lasted about four years longer before shutting its doors.

JH: Have you been involved in any other businesses?

MAB: Having worked for a large corporation for the bulk of my professional life, I began exploring other options when I was still in my thirties. A mail-order business, along with a sporting goods store, prepared me for the sports bar. That being said, having had managed three fast-food restaurants, before I started my own, certainly helped.

JH: How did your involvement come about in the New York music scene? Can you describe some of your experiences?

MAB: From 1975 until 1979, I supervised the shows at the university I was attending. During that period I promoted, or assisted, over fifty regional shows including: Aerosmith, Boston, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Billy Joel, KISS, John Mayall, Queen, Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen. My experiences could fill a book, and eventually will.

JH: Besides writing, history, and music, do you have any other interests?

MAB: Gardening. Organic fruits and vegetables are a favorite of mine.

JH: Are you working on any current projects?

MAB: Yes, I am currently working on a follow-up to Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale, that will be available in the fall of 2014.

JH: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

MAB: Ernest Hemingway, David Halberstam, David McCullough, John Updike, Joseph J. Ellis, Ron Chernow … there are so many.

JH: What book do you wish you could have written? And why?

MAB: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Because it’s perfect.

JH: Are you there any upcoming promotional events you are doing for your current book?

MAB: Yes, I will be at Nathan Hale’s New London Schoolhouse on Saturday, August 16.

Connecticut Author to Discuss Writing and Publishing at Local Library

Author Stacey Longo will be at the Douglas Library this coming Wednesday, Dec. 11, to discuss finding the path to becoming a published writer. Some of the topics she will be covering include writing habits, editing, successful query letters, the importance of editing, and recognizing unscrupulous publishers.

Longo is a former humor columnist for the Block Island Times and the author of Secret Things: Twelve Tales to Terrify and Pookie and the Lost & Found Friend. Her stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies and publications including Shroud magazine, Shock Totem, and the Litchfield Literary Review. She has also edited a number of books including the anthology Wicked Seasons: The Journal of New England Horror Writers, Volume II.

Longo’s presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. The library is located at 22 Main Street in Hebron, CT.  Any questions, call the library at (860) 228-9312.

For more information on Longo, check out her website here.

The Hartford Flick Fest Opens Tonight

The Hartford Flick Fest will be hosted by the brand new Spotlight Theatres at 39 Front Street in downtown Hartford this week from Thursday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 9.

Now in its fourth year, the international film festival will host movie screenings, parties and panel discussions. The festival will open on Thursday, Dec. 6, with a 7:30 p.m. screening of the short film Quiet de Luxe and a non-competition screening of the Connecticut feature-length film Rising Star, directed by Marty Lang. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the cast and crew, and the Opening Night Gala at the Front Street Bistro, located in Spotlight Theatres.

Formerly known as the Silk City Flick Fest, the Hartford Flick Fest’s new name honors the city that has embraced it over the past few years. One-third of the 28 films presented at the festival are from Connecticut. The other domestic films this year come from across the U.S. – from New York to California – and international entries hail from Ireland, the U.K., and the Czech Republic. Awards will be presented Sunday in many categories.

Tickets will be available at the theater. Prices are $7 for feature films, $5 for a block of short films, and $3 for a block of student films. We will be screening 27 independent films from all over the country – and a handful of international entries – in the categories of Feature, Short, Student and Documentary.

The full schedule is now posted on the festival’s website here: http://hartfordflickfest.com/schedule.cfm
Descriptions of each movie are available here: http://hartfordflickfest.com/movies.cfm

The subjects and styles vary widely, so you know best what kind of film you are looking for. None of the films at the festival have been rated by the MPAA, so you probably would not want to bring small children to most of them!

The story in today’s “Hartford Courant” (CAL section) mentions some movies with great Connecticut connections:
http://www.courant.com/entertainment/movies/hc-hartford-flick-fest-1206-20121204,0,5417465.story

The story about the festival in this week’s “Hartford Advocate” includes an interview with somebody you might recognize:
http://www.ct.com/entertainment/movies/nm-ht50flimfest-20121206,0,3209093.story

Spotlight Theatres is located at 39 Front St. in Hartford. The new Front Street Bistro is a great bar and restaurant inside the theatre. Park on the street or in the new garage, attached to the theater. Garage parking is $2 with ticket stub.