Thursday, August 27, 2015

Joe R. Lansdale event in September!

Just a quick note to say that we're cooking up a treat for all you horror/Joe R. Lansdale fans out there!!! On September 18th, we're bringing the man himself to Portland, Maine for a signing/horror film event at Geno's Rock Club! Stay tuned... :D

Those of you who have talked horror (and just plain good storytelling) with me in the shop know how highly I hold the man in my esteem. For heavens sake, if I could get everyone to read The Bottoms, I would!

Please spread the word to friends, and let's give this Texan an enthusiastic welcome to Maine. I'll have copies of his recent book The Thicket, as well as The Bottoms, his Hap & Leonard books, and more on hand for you to get him to sign for your collection.

Thanks to Coast City Comics for helming this event, and to Damian Maffei for getting the ball rolling in the first place. :D See you all there!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A video focusing on our SF/Fantasy section!

Here's a wee video that focuses on our science fiction and fantasy sections. If you haven't come in to see them in person, and that is your favorite niche of genre fiction, well -- you should give us a try!

I found that after Nancy Grayson retired and closed Cunningham Books, no one else in the area was really developing their SF collections (especially their paperback sections!), and felt it was high time that Portlanders had a good local place to go to get their SF fix!

Thanks again to Barry Dodd at Doddcom Productions for the excellent video services!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In case you haven't visited us yet...

I find myself pondering sometimes while working in my shop, and one of the things I ponder is this: How many people haven't been in the shop because they have no idea how much delicious bookishness is going on in here? Would they come if they knew???

So, with that in mind, my friend Barry over at DoddCom Productions has been helping me raise a little hell in the video world, with this as the result. If you haven't visited us yet, or if you have friends that you've been trying to tempt through the gate of this good bookshop, please take a look at this video and perhaps, just perhaps, another bookloving foot will step over the threshold into the Green Hand Bookshop. We need more of you!
Come see us sometime! :D

Saturday, April 4, 2015

An important note... Odyssey Writing Workshops

Jeff Pert & his pup, Woody.
One year ago today, on April 4, 2014, I and a good number of my friends suffered a personal loss when Jeff Pert -- friend, writer, and cartoonist -- died unexpectedly. In the year since, his family has pulled together an excellent memorial to him and to his dreams.

Jeff attended the Odyssey Writing Workshops back in 2006, and for him it was a life-changing experience. Long a fan of horror and dark speculative fiction, Jeff used the opportunity to hone his already considerable writing skills (built over the years with a local writing group), and to begin a body of work that he hoped someday to publish. When Jeff died, it struck us that one of the things we could do in his memory was to start a memorial fund via Odyssey. With this fund, they could add to the workshop, ensuring that other aspiring writers could experience for themselves this once-in-a-lifetime chance.

In late 2014, the Jeff Pert Memorial Fund was established by family and friends. Because Jeff valued his experience at Odyssey so highly, the goal of the fund is to finance the appearance of a guest lecturer at each summer's workshop. This opportunity brings an added mentor to the workshop, giving additional resources to Odyssey students that they can use to improve their craft in Jeff's memory. One of the major elements that Odyssey offers its students is the opportunity for one-on-one and group experiences with a range of authors to increase the writer's understanding of various aspects and potentials of their own developing craft.

The fund was kicked off with the successful auction of two of Jeff's most prized possessions: Stephen King's Dead Zone and Danse Macabre in hardcover, both signed to Jeff. You can see them to the left in this shelfie. It shows a portion of one shelf in the glassfront bookcase where he kept the plums of his collection -- not all worth big money, you understand, simply books that were worth a lot to him.

Since its inception in 1996, the Odyssey Writing Workshop has become one of the most highly respected programs for writers of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Held for six weeks each summer at Saint Anselm College, the workshop combines an intensive, advanced curriculum with in-depth feedback on students' manuscripts. Fifty-nine percent of graduates have gone on to be professionally published. Top authors, editors and agents serve as guest lecturers, including such luminaries as George R. R. Martin, Terry Brooks, Ben Bova, Nancy Kress, and Dan Simmons.

If you would like to make a gift to the workshop in Jeff's memory, or simply to help add to the experience of tomorrow's writers, please consider doing so in one of the following ways. It would mean a great deal to all of us, and to the small batches of determined authors who find their way into the Odyssey program.

Supporters can make a donation to support the fund at or mail them to:
P.O. Box 75
Mont Vernon, NH 03057

Please specify that you would like your donation to go to the Jeff Pert Memorial Fund.

For more information, contact Odyssey Director Jeanne Cavelos at or phone (603)673-6234.

Jeff's family would deeply appreciate friends and fans helping to build the fund so it can create a lasting legacy in Jeff's name.

Below: Jeff and I had the great pleasure of meeting one of our favorite writers, Peter Straub, at Readercon in 2012. It was a very happy day. Jeff would want me to point out to you how the photos he took of me are completely blurry.
And in closing, my favorite Jeff Pert cartoon:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Good reading weather?

I don't do this very often, but I would like to announce that the shop is CLOSED TODAY due to ye olde blizzard! It is an excellent day for you all to curl up at home with a good book.  We'll be open as usual tomorrow (Wednesday).  See you then!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Read John Dunning and change your life!!!

The other week I re-read Booked to Die, the first book in John Dunning's Cliff Janeway series. It's the first time I've read it in many years. I wasn't sure if it would hold up to my memory of it. It turns out it does hold up -- and how!

It turns out that Booked to Die is to blame for me becoming a bricks-and-mortar bookseller. I'm serious! John Dunning, if you're reading this -- it's all your fault. Before I read Booked to Die, I didn't know about things like edition points. I just knew I loved books. I knew they held an allure for me, but I didn't realize that I could do something with that, with my instinct for picking interesting books out of thrift store bins and yard sale piles. I didn't know that some books held an even more manic attraction for collectors. Not to that extent, anyhow.

Before I get distracted by that, let me tell you about this book, in case you haven't read it. As soon as I finished re-reading it, I handed a copy to Deb Murray, who is helping me run my shop now. I said, "Here's your homework." But why do you want to read it too? You're not a bookseller -- or are you?

Booked to Die is a great book to read to tip yourself head-first into the crazy world of book collecting, or more properly, bibliomania. Not only that, but also it's a great mystery, raw and human as the best noir fiction is. Cliff Janeway, the police detective turned bookstore owner, is a challenging character, and a pretty funny guy in his moments of wit. The book is dangerous. I was surprised in re-reading it -- I had forgotten major events in it, maybe even blocked them out. The rawness is not dwelt on. It's there, it happened. This is life -- Cliff Janeway's life, and now you're in it too.

As Janeway unravels the case he's working, which he continues after he walks away from the police force, you The Reader learn. You learn about the famous editions. You learn about the funny humans who get sucked into the bookselling world, never to emerge. Probably nowadays a vast majority of these guys are never seen by their bookbuying public, as the customers have gravitated towards the world of online buying, but back when this book was published in 1992, eBay didn't even exist. You knew your bookseller, one way or another.

In Booked to Die you also learn about the different kinds of book collectors and how the books they want get into their hands, often via a circuitous route, sometimes dishonorably. You learn how sometimes even when you're poor in money, you can be rich in other ways. You learn that sometimes even when you're rich and king of your own Wall Street castle, you can be more wretched and wanting than the damnedest alley bum. There are all sorts of qualities of life. Most of us get by on a mix of them. Some of us can't manage to find happiness even when mainlining it in its purest version.

But we all make our own choices.

The process of my own choices took a while. First I worked locally as a bookscout, spending a good part of the mid-1990s hauling loot to Nancy Grayson at Cunningham Books and Pat Murphy at Yes Books. Each delivery to them was hand-picked to suit their shop as I learned their preferences and quirks. Eventually I found items that I thought I could sell better on my own, as the world of eBay opened up a global market. I made a successful dent in my college bills by dint of my knack for describing books as only a bibliophile can do, and by building a reputation for thorough assessment of a book's condition and for careful packing when I sent them on their way.

Then I walked away. I didn't want to become a bookhoarder, and one of the sad elements of being an eBay seller is that your living space gets taken over by your merchandise, especially the odd pieces that never sell. I went into denial about my bookloving self, but that was probably for the best. I was busy, I had other things going on, like art school (Maine College of Art, where I learned to make books myself), working for wages, and life in general. And somewhere deep inside, I needed to be sure.

Years passed. Then in 2007 I went to the World Fantasy Convention to meet with fellow members of the online All Hallows community, book-lovers all. Three days later I realized I was spending more time in the Dealers' Room than in panel discussions. I met Jean Gonzalez, selling under the name of Somewhere In Time Books and Bob Eldridge, of Eldritch Books, both of whom I now count as friends. I talked to a lot of booksellers. I looked at books. A lot of books. I unerringly (and annoyingly) picked out books that were ungodly rare and hard to find, books I couldn't imagine being able to afford buying when I peeked at their prices, finally.

The wall had crumbled. I had to admit I knew books, I loved books, and I had a natural talent and inclination for the field.

By the end of that year I landed a job at the local library, where I had been working as a substitute and shelver for a couple of years already. Two years later, after drastically shifting gears a couple of times because of economic concerns, I wound up laid off from the local University staff (the fate of most new hires in this day and age) and facing the prospect of no stability whatsoever. My husband helped remind me that I was at a stopping point, and that if I really wanted to find out if I could run my own bookshop, now was the time. I had nothing to lose. I missed the library, but had always wondered what I could do if I was allowed to craft my own bookspace.

In November of 2009, the Green Hand Bookshop opened, built from scratch. It's hard to believe it was the shop's 5-year anniversary last weekend.

And it's all John Dunning's fault.

Thanks for that, Mr. Dunning. I hope my happy customers will all join me in raising a toast to you for what you helped me to do!

Now -- go read one of his books, you guys!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

EVENT: Vampires of New England! MONDAY!

Vampires of New England and Stoker on Stoker

Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress Street, Portland, ME
Monday, October 20 @ 8:00pm
$12.00 general admission

So here we are at Halloweentime again, that most magical time of year for those in love with spooky things! You don't have to wait 'til Halloween night to get things going -- au contraire! The Green Hand Bookshop is pleased to announce that in less than a week, on Monday, October 20th, Port City Music Hall is hosting a Draculicious event which should appeal to those of you who are fans of Dracula and those of you who (like me) are very intrigued by the eerie history of New England. TWO FOR ONE!!!

First, you get a rare chance to experience Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Dracula’s author, Bram Stoker. He will be giving a presentation entitled “STOKER ON STOKER.” During the course of the evening, he will share his family’s perspective on the mysteries behind the writing of DRACULA. With him he brings seldom-seen historic images from his own collection. Dacre is also the co-author of Dracula the Un-Dead, a sequel to his great-granduncle's gothic masterpiece. I can attest that the book is a fast-paced, dramatic revisitation of the story, taking place as college-aged Quincey Harker begins to get the idea (perhaps a little too late) that his parents haven't been telling him everything about their past. If you'd like to get a copy of Dacre's book for yourself, I do have it here at the shop available for purchase.

Next on the menu is the latest production of Historical Haunts. Their award-winning documentary, Vampires of New England, directed by Alec Asten, explores the strange truths of New England’s undead. Those of you who have read my Strange Maine blog over the years know that Maine is among the New England states that had a strange outlook on vampirism in the 1800's, most notably in Penobscot County*. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Maine was chosen as the setting for the Dark Shadows dramatic franchise, and Stephen King's evil epic Salem's Lot...?

The film includes interview clips with many experts, including Michael Bell, author of the excellent Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires. Filmed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, the documentary examines the folkloric roots of vampires in New England, and the responses of New England's early citizens to the idea (and reality?) of vampires residing alongside them in their newly settled land.

View the trailer here:

This is the second film by Historical Haunts, continuing their mission to produce films based on real characters and places from American folklore. Interwoven with supernatural or macabre elements, their engaging tales are anchored in history, and inspire and entertain family audiences. If you can't make this showing in Portland, Maine, there are a few others on their calendar of events!

Port City recommends that you bring garlic or vampire-repellant of your choice for this fun-filled event. Halloween attire welcome!

*: To read Christopher Dunham's Strange Maine post on medical cannibalism in Penobscot County, click here: