Friday, June 27, 2008

A Bookstore Toast: Quail Ridge Books & Music

It's time for another Bookstore Toast here on Writermorphosis.

And the Bookstore we're celebrating today is a very writer-friendly, lively place that some of you may already know and love. It's Quail Ridge Books and Music right here in Raleigh.

Quail Ridge is a very community oriented shop where many Raleighites find great books and more besides...

Here are some of the reasons why Quail Ridge has earned this toast:

They're friendly. Yesterday I walked into the store and I was greeted with a pleasant “hello” by not one, but rather FOUR friendly and knowledgeable staff members who were busily working at various spots throughout the store. A few moments later I received a smile and a “you look familiar” from Carol in the children’s section (something that rarely happens at Barnes and Nobles, alas). And not long after that I watched a staff member stop her work at the cash register to go find a band-aid for a screaming preschooler who’d sustained a “book related injury” (A.K.A knee scuff) in his mad dash to get to the children’s section ahead of his elementary aged big-sis. Suffice to say that the staff at Quail Ridge are knowledgeable, caring, and friendly.

The teen section of the store is also great, with some quite recently published selections. And it’s not unusual to stop by the children’s section and find tables listing “such and such book” as a Newbery or Horn Book award winner, or to find novels and picture books hand picked as “recommended” by the staff.

Of course, I must admit that my favorite room at Quail Ridge is not the children’s section, the travel section, the music section, or the southern writers’ section (all excellent spots). But no, it’s the bathroom. This writerly little room is decorated wall to wall with autographed, note-bearing photos from the many, many authors who have visited Quail Ridge to speak, share their wisdom with other writers and readers, and sign their books over the years. It’s a testament to my favorite thing about this bookstore. Quail Ridge supports authors, writer’s groups, book clubs, and other literary folks in a way that few other book stores do.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting various “big” names in the writing field at Quail Ridge - Margaret Maron, Jeffrey Deaver, and various other writers who have come to share their wisdom with us newer folks in the field. We've then hopped across the parking lot to Tripps restaurant, to eat together and chat.
Quail Ridge also welcomes SCBWI events (we've had a scmooze there each Spring for at least the past 3 years). And they encourage new writers by allowing the Raleigh Write to Publish group (an adult writing group) to bring in regular speakers (like Maron and Deaver) on the writing craft, so that they can teach and encourage the rest of us.
You’d be impressed to see the way that the staff at Quail Ridge enthusiastically arrange sound and video equipment, book signing tables, and circles of chairs for one group at 3pm, then break it all down and set it up completely differently for another group at 7 the same night.

Then there are the many, many authors -- some local, many internationally known, who Quail Ridge schedules to come read and sign their books for the readers. I'm personally looking forward to shaking Adam Rex's hand in November, getting his signature on my copy of his great book "The True Meaning of Smekday," (one of his many books), and thanking him for stopping by writermorphosis in the recent past.

Check out the Quail Ridge Website for upcoming author events, and opportunities to improve your own writing and book selling skills!

The reading, writing, and Raleigh communities all come together at Quail Ridge Books and Music. And thus we are celebrating Quail Ridge Books today as a bookstore that respects writers and receives our respect in return. Here's a TOAST to Quail Ridge Books and Music!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Writermorphosis Turns "One"

I just realized that it's been a year since I first set up this blog.

Being a techno-illiterate I had no clue what I was doing! And I was afraid that after the first 3 or 4 posts I'd have run out of things to say about the writing life. But now I realize that this was an irrational fear.
The more I hang out with all of you -- (my literary friends) at conferences, crit groups, and writerly events -- the more I learn from each of you, and the more experiences I've had. I've enjoyed getting to know some new folks through this blog and reading the comments of old friends.

I have been honored to have a number of writers who I've known only through their books stop by the blog - great writers like Kathleen Duey, Rick Yancey, Adam Rex, Jeffrey Deaver...

I've been delighted by my fellow writers who've shared their own work and thoughts here on the blog -- especially those brave souls who shared your page 123's a few weeks back.

And we've celebrated special events here - like the SCBWI conferences and schmoozes, the winning of awards, and the publication of books by various of my writing friends. We've had a contest - (The Harry Potter Dunk 21 Challenge). We've also highlighted special places like Powell's Books at the Portland airport, and discussed great YA/MG books - like the 2007 Cybils winners, and the "writermorphosis books of the month."

I also submitted my first novel to an agent over a year ago - celebrated that on this blog too. Alas, now I must celebrate that I got a form letter rejection from her 2 days ago -- just when I thought she'd forgotten all about me (and probably she had)! Ah well - one novel rejection down -- onward and upward. It's time to resubmit.

So thanks to all of you who continue to stop by from time to time to read this blog. It's been a fun ride, and I've been thrilled to have you all along on the journey with me.

Here's a toast to the upcoming year -- year number two on writermorphosis.