Archive for October, 2012


Hurricane Sandy has come and gone,
But its scars and memories still linger on.

We survived the storm with only a short power loss on Monday and internet and cable on Tuesday.
The winds howled and we had quite a bit of rain, but our community fared well with only some minor flooding and loss of power.
What I found interesting was our animals’ reaction to this historic event. We have two cats and a lab mix, Millie. As the storm intensified one of our cats, Sammy, who is slightly insane, climbed onto my lap and watched the trees sway with the wind. I could see fear in her eyes. Millie also watched the storm from her favorite chair and her eyes showed concern. My wife thinks I read too much in the animals’ behavior, but I’m a stay at home writer and spend a great deal of time with them. Perhaps I imagine more than is real, but that’s my job.
Our property is surrounded by mature trees, and I realize now that as long as they don’t fall on the house, they protect us from the wind.
What I have a hard time imagining is the destruction caused by this storm. So many coastal communities devastated. As I watch the coverage of the aftermath, I wonder how and where you begin to recover.
My heart goes out to the small seaside community of Union Beach, west of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. My sister, Judy, and her husband had a small house there. It is a blue-collar community. This isn’t a resort community of summer homes but a town where people settled to raise their families or spend their retirement years. My sister died three weeks ago at the age of 62. Yesterday I found out that their house was destroyed. How much sorrow can people endure? Take that sorrow and multiply if by thousands, tens of thousands. I cannot wrap my mind around the extent of the loss experienced by the coastal communities that have suffered through this storm. Even might New York City bowed to the storm’s might and its flood and fires.
I was raised in Newark and spent vacations ‘down the shore’. I remember the anticipation of leaving the confines of the city and going to Seaside Heights for a week or a few days, the thrill of the first taste of salt air. I would stare at the vastness of the ocean and its limitless freedom. Seaside Heights was all but destroyed. The boardwalk and piers with their amusements, gone. I have my memories but it may be generations until such memories can again be made.

October 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm 2 comments



I want to report that last Friday, October 26, I was one of a host of authors who gathered in support of the Chester County Book & Music Company.
It was inspiring to meet and talk to such a talented group of people and helped renew my passion for writing. I enjoyed is so much that I intend to attend the next event on November 23. I hope some of you who live in the area can attend.

But for now, what occupies my mind the most is the weather. We live about 40 miles west of Philadelphia so we are anticipating a rough night.
I’ll report how we fared, power permitting.

October 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm Leave a comment



This is to remind my readers that I, and a host of other local authors, will be at my favorite bookstore, Chester County Book and Music Company, this Friday night, October 26.

This event is to support the store which will either go out of business or move. We hope it plans a move for it is an important part of our community.

Here is a flyer with more details:


OCTOBER 26, 2012 6 to 9 PM
EVENT #1 of 2: Come celebrate, support, and say THANKS to this over 30-years old local independent bookstore that may be closing. Shop and socialize with area authors including Cordelia France Biddle, Jen Bryant, Nero Blanc, Jim Breslin, Jessica Dimuzio, Merry Jones, Susan Beth Lehman, Lisa Loeb, Bruce Mowday, Kathye Fetsko Petrie, Jan Mulligan, Marc Schuster, Kelly Simmons, Gloria Slater, Chris Shaughness, Jerry Spinelli, Eileen Spinelli, Joelle Sterling, Laura Tamakosh, Walt Trizna and Steve Zettler
975 Paoli Pike, West Goshen Center, West Chester, PA 19380 Tel. 610.696.1661

November 23, 2012 6 to 9 PM
EVENT #2 of 2: Come celebrate, support, and say THANKS to this over 30-years old local independent bookstore that may be closing. Shop and socialize with area authors including Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban, Stephen Fried, Beth Kephart, Elizabeth Letts, Jonathan McGoran, Karen E. Quinones Miller, Jan Mulligan, Kathye Fetsko Petrie, Chris Shaughness, Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella, Kelly Simmons and K.M. Walton
975 Paoli Pike, West Goshen Center, West Chester, PA 19380 Tel. 610.696.1661

More information at

I hope as many of you that can come to celebrate this fantastic bookstore and help keep it alive.

October 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm 8 comments


The only independent bookstore in our area, Chester County Book and Music Company, will soon close. I found this news to be extremely upsetting for I have shopped there now for more than twenty years. Last year they were also kind enough to let me have a book signing at the store.

A local author, Kathye Fetsko Petrie, has organized fellow local authors to attend two nights, October 26 and November 23, to show their support for the bookstore. I will be there on the October date. I would appreciate any of my readers that live in the area also to attend.

I have included the well-done piece by Petrie describing the situation for the bookstore and lists of authors that will be in attendance. You may be surprised at the local talent in the area, especially if you are familiar with children and mystery writers.

Included is a link to Petrie’s piece so that you may check out the authors’ blogs or websites.


Soon after it was announced that Chester County Book and Music Company (CCBMC) was on a month-to-month lease and planning to close 60 days after the landlord signed a new tenant, I went to see if anything might be done to keep the store open. I was not alone. Distressed customers have been pouring in to the large independent in West Chester, PA, since the news broke late summer, expressing regrets and offering ideas. As a result Kathy Simoneaux, CCBMC’s owner since 1982 (then with her late husband Bob, who died in 2010), is now considering the possibility of relocating from the store’s present 28,000 square foot selling space—“too big for the current bookselling environment” she told Shelf Awareness—to a smaller space. Customers can fill out a questionnairein person or online at to help Simoneaux figure out what that hypothetical bookshop might look like.

Across the country, people are brainstorming ways brick-and-mortar bookstores can survive in the digital future, and readers are lamenting what will be lost if they don’t. The words coziness, community, handselling, occur often. All true. But these are generic words. As I wandered CCBMC during several recent visits, I was reminded of what I love most about it, and reminded of what specifically will be lost if and when we lose this specificbookstore:

ALL THESE MAGAZINES: An entire disappearing wall of them–a glorious selection of titles not often carried elsewhere locally.

TRUE SUPPORT OF LOCAL AUTHORS, whether it be via the always-full “Local Talent” bookcase; or by the individual displays highlighting works by local authors; or by being an always willing and enthusiastic host for launch parties and signings by local authors. CCBMC has also always been able to attract and be A VENUE FOR HIGH-PROFILE AUTHORS who otherwise rarely visit the ‘burbs, but rather confine their appearances to cities.

CCBMC is also…

A PLACE FOR SURPRISES: When was the last time you came around a corner of bookstore and saw a full display of books from small publishers such as these brightly colored “Art of the Novella” titles by Melville House—or any display novellas in a bookstore, for that matter? Translated books, books from academic presses, books grouped by category such as “Great Books, Bad Movies,” and other intriguing displays. can be found throughout the store.

In addition you will find…

BOOKISH GIFTS THAT ARE JUST RIGHT, such as the “Sweet How You Are Still Reading Books” magnetic bookmark and the IN MY BOOK® greeting cards that turn into bookmarks and carry sentiments such as In My Book…You’re Novel.

Additionally, CCBMC has…

EMPLOYEES WHO KNOW YOU LOVE TO “EAT SLEEP READ”because they do also. This truth is in evidence everywhere, particularly via a multitude of handpicked STAFF PICKS. Yes, I know you have seen staff picks in other stores before, but probably never so many—and never so many worth your while.

What I always enjoyed at CCBMC for years and what I am especially touched to see every time I go to CCBMC now is something no other store has, namely…

JOE PICKS. These are the selections of the late Joe Drabyak, bookseller-extraordinaire at CCBMC for many years until his death two years ago this past August 27. Drabyak was so brilliant and beloved that his words and selections still live among the shelves, interspersed among the other staff selections.

So what can be done to save CCBM? Possibly nothing, though we all hope something. A show of ongoing interest via people continuing to shop is certainly an excellent action, though no guarantee. Ultimately, the fate of CCBMC will be the hard decision of owner Kathy Simoneaux, who has difficult economic and no doubt personal factors to consider.

In the meantime, I’m thinking a show of gratitude would be just the thing. Those who love the store can go there now, buy books, fill out the questionnaire, perhaps leaving a note saying how much the store has meant to your life—not to sway the outcome, which is out of your hands, but to merely say “thanks you for being here for me all these years,” and “I love you.” Much as you would say to those you love today and every day, while they are alive and healthy and still here.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Plans are underway for two special“AUTHORS SAY THANK YOU TO CCBMC” nights at Chester County Book & Music Company this fall onOctober 26 andNovember 23, from6 to 9 PM. On these dates, area authors will gather to shop, talk, eat at the Magnolia Cafe and mingle with each other and customers to celebrate, say thank you and support this wonderful independent bookstore that has supported local authors and readers for over 30 years. Won’t you join us?

Authors are confirming daily so please check back.

Cordelia France Biddle

Jen Bryant

Nero Blanc
Jim Breslin

Jessica Dimuzio

Merry Jones
Susan Beth Lehman
Lisa Loeb
Susan Marie Kelley

Bruce Mowday
Kathye Fetsko Petrie

Jan Mulligan
Marc Schuster
Kelly Simmons

Gloria Slater
Chris Shaughness

Jerry Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli
Joelle Sterling
Laura Tamakosh
Walt Trizna
Steve Zettler

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Beth Kephart

Stephen Fried
Jonathan McGoran
Karen E. Quinones Miller

Jan Mulligan
Kathye Fetsko Petrie

Chris Shaughness

Lisa Scottoline

Francesca Serritella
Kelly Simmons

K.M. Walton


Here is the link so you can appreciate the full article and checkout the authors.

October 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm 3 comments


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