Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Authors ready and willing to Skype, visit book clubs

New England reading fans travel to bookstores, cafes and auditoriums (Jodi Picoult pretty much filled the Worcester Hanover Theater when she spoke there) to absorb words of wisdom from visiting writers.
The region is rife with them.
Steve Almond lives in Arlington; David McCullough has a home on Cape Cod; Anita Shreve, raised in Dedham, lives in western Massachusetts. Gregory Maguire is in Concord and R.A. Salvatore lives in Leominster. Kate Flora lives in Maine and in Concord (she cofounded New England Crime Bake, whose mystery writers appear at libraries throughout the region); Julia Glass lives in Marblehead; Brunonia Barry is based in Salem; Picoult lives in New Hampshire. Anne Leary lives in Connecticut, Matthew Quick in Holden. Andre Dubus III teaches in Lowell, near where he grew up.
Dozens of dedicated, published writers would like to meet with your group. Check their web pages (and publishers' websites) for information. Many have Facebook pages as well. They're willing to visit or use Skype to visit via computer. Most of them are Grub Street writers center members.
Here's the list:

Michelle Hoover ( ) published her first novel, "The Quickening," in 2010; her second is slated for 2016.
Henriette Lazaridis Power ( wrote "The Clover House," a novel about Greek-American heritage and a World War II tragedy published in 2013, a Boston Globe best-seller. A literature instructor at Harvard for 10 years, she is a prolific writer. She is interested in visits or Skype talks.
Angeli Mitter Duva ( has released a debut novel, "Faint Praise of Rain," with She Writes Press. She's glad to Skype or visit clubs near her Arlington home.
Lisa Borders' second novel, "The Fifty-First State," was published in 2013 to positive reviews. Her first, "Cloud Cuckoo Land," was a Massachusetts Book Awards honoree. She enjoys in-person, Facetime or Skype visits. Contact is
Laura Van den berg (, author of two well-received and awarded collections of short stories, has a novel, "Find Me," coming out in February.
Random House children's author Jan Kohuth of Holliston ( is affiliated with Skype and Penguin Classroom. Check her website. A 15 to 20 minute program for children is also available by Skype.
Áine Greaney ( lives north of Boston and in Ireland. A Pushcart honoree, she wrote "The Big House," "Dance Lessons" and "Snow." She does lots of in-person and Skype visits.
Simon & Schuster published Grub Street instructor Rita Zoey Chin's memoir, "Let the Tornado Come." Discussion questions are on the publisher's website. To Skype, see
Edgar-nominated author of 14 books, Kate Flora ( has two books being published this fall. She makes frequent bookstore and library appearances, often with fellow mystery writers. She hasn't used Skype, but says she'll try it. A popular mystery and police procedural writer, she recently wrote "Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice," and a fourth Joe Burgess mystery, "And Grant You Peace."
Manchester, N.H., teacher and short story writer Tim Horvath ( has won kudos on NPR and Salon, and won a New Hampshire Literary Award, for his imaginative collection, "Understories." He offers to Skype.
Award-winning author Tara L. Masih ("The Chalk Circle") will visit via Skype or conference call. Her nonfiction anthology assembles voices from disparate cultures and times in a groundbreaking collection. Learn more at
Ursula DeYoung of Cambridge ( wrote "Shorecliff," a novel published by Little, Brown about a large Maine family during the summer of 1928. She is interested in Skype or in-person visits.
Lynne Griffin (, author of "Sea Escape" and "Life Without Summer," lives in Boston but grew up in Worcester (her father was director of advertising for the Telegram & Gazette) and in Holden. Find her on Facebook or at
Author James Scott ( does phone and Skype interviews related to his novel, "The Kept," a dark, moody narrative of revenge set in upstate New York.
There are others, but this is a good start. Many are accomplished, excellent speakers who will make your book club session a good one. If your group does an author meeting, let me know.
Hear writers at Open Mic
Tatnuck Bookseller, 18 Lyman St. (Westbourgh Shopping Center), sponsors a Literary Arts Open Mic every second and fourth Thursday, monthly, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Author Jan Krause Greene ("I Call Myself Earthgirl") will now host the session; Greene is a former English teacher and newspaper columnist. For info on participation, contact Zorina Frey, owner of IWA Publishing Services, at
Author notes:
Channel 7 investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan will sign her new Jane Ryland mystery, "Truth Be Told," at Booklovers' Gourmet, 55 E. Main St., Webster on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 1-3 p.m. Call (508) 949-6932 for information. Ryan followed up the award-winning "The Wrong Girl" with her newest mystery. It's fast-moving, brimming with characters and peppered with the funny asides and insider knowledge of a veteran journalist. The book was released this month—surrounding fraudulent mortgage activities and evictions, a self-confessed killer, and the interplay between Ryland and her boyfriend, Detective Jake Brogan. See my blog for a review.
Michael F. Bisceglia, Jr., who grew up in Worcester, has written and published a novel about life in an Irish-Italian family, "Gaelic and Garlic." The book, set in mid-20th century Worcester, is the fictional memoir of a young man's early years among first-generational Italian and Irish clans of Worcester. The story comes from the persona of a youngster who grew up on Worcester streets, delivered the Gazette faithfully, and navigated Italian and Irish family rules daily, acquiring some bruises in the process. The book is full of entertaining bits—it's clever, though a bit overfull of tiresome witticisms and stereotyped ethnic descriptions. Still, it has laughs and some local connections readers may enjoy. I've reviewed it at The book is available through Amazon.
Book groups:
Haston Library's book group, meeting at North Brookfield Library, will discuss Kenneth Winters' "The Lost Crown of Colonnade" at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Leominster's Reading, Sharing and Laughing book group meets at 7 p.m., Thursday at Chaibo in Fitchburg to discuss something a bit macabre for Halloween: "Rebecca" by Daphne DuMaurier.
The Northborough Free Library hosts Friday Morning Book Club on Nov. 14 at 10 a.m., to discuss "Ex Libris," by Anne Fadiman.
Heywood Library Reading group meets Nov. 19 to discuss "Anthill" by Edward G. Wilson.
Worcester Public Library's book club will meet at 6 p.m., Nov. 18 to discuss "And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini. There will be no December meeting.
Brookfield Public Library hosts the Nov. 25, 7 p.m. meeting in the main room. Topic is "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline.
The Douglas Library Book Group will focus on Patry Francis’s Cape Cod murder-mystery, "The Orphans of Race Point," at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18. Call to reserve a copy of the book. New members welcome. Homemade refreshments, inspired by the title, will be served—in which case I advise that you eat cautiously.
Speaking Volume's audio book group will discuss "For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind" by Rosemary Mahoney at 8 p.m. Nov. 4. The Dec. 2 selection is Geraldine Brooks' "Caleb's Crossing." To participate, call 508-752-0557.
Books, Brews & Banter meets at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 19 in O'Connor's Restaurant, Worcester, to discuss Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants."
A Book Between Friends, Sturbridge, has slated "White Oleander" for its 10 a.m., Nov. 15 meeting.
New Earth Book Club's Nov. 30 topic is "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs and Sugar," by David Perlmutter.
Ann Connery Frantz, freelance writer/editor and cofounder of Lancaster's Seven Bridge Writers Collaborative, blogs at (two e’s is correct). Send news of upcoming meetings to by mid-month.