Phoenix Books Rutland To Open September 28th

Join Phoenix Books in Rutland on September 28th for their grand opening at Center Street. It’s fantastic to see the store grow and expand into a new location. Here’s their full press release:

Phoenix Books Rutland, borne through a community-supported pre-buy program and local investment, will celebrate its grand opening Sept. 28, followed two days later by an event with arguably Vermont’s most successful author, Chris Bohjalian.

“We’ve been blessed with incredible community support, so we wanted to do something big to mark the opening,” co-owner Michael DeSanto said.  “Few Vermont authors are more successful than Chris. His appearance is kind of a ‘thank you’ to the community for the amazing reception we’ve received.”

Rutland resident Tricia Huebner, who will manage the store, and with her husband, Tom, is a co-owner, said her excitement has been building for weeks as space was renovated and inventory began to arrive.

“We’ve created a spectacular space that will be welcoming and warm, and will fill a need not just for books, but for discussion and debate and connecting with one another,” Huebner said.  “This is a dream fulfilled for me personally, and for a lot of people in Rutland County.”

Phoenix Books plans a reception for pre-buyers and other key supporters on Sept. 27, with the official grand opening set for 10 a.m. Sept. 28 – though the owners hinted that the store might open a little sooner.  “We are considering a soft opening, like restaurants often hold, to whet the appetite,” DeSanto said.

Because Bohjalian is expected to draw a big crowd, the reading and signing event will be held at the Green Mountain Power Energy Innovation Center – where the idea of Phoenix Books Rutland began last November.  GMP, with support from the Downtown Rutland Partnership, Mayor Chris Louras, and a variety of local residents, organizations and businesses, recruited DeSanto to Rutland.  GMP Vice President Steve Costello enlisted more than 50 people and businesses to pre-buy $1,000 worth of books each last fall to support the store.

“I thought he was kidding when we met for the first time and he said he already had $30,000 committed,” DeSanto said.   “I’ve never seen a community rally like Rutland has rallied around us.  It is humbling.”

Mayor Chris Louras said the Phoenix opening was symbolic of larger efforts to revitalize downtown, and address broader issues in the region.  “Every success we have had has come through collaboration,” Louras said. “Collaboration is bringing Phoenix to life, rejuvenating the downtown, and improving quality of life in Rutland.”

The Sept. 30 Bohjalian event will begin at 7 p.m. at the EIC, at 68-70 Merchants Row.  Bohjalian will read from and answer questions about his new book, “Close your Eyes, Hold Hands,” a New York Times Best Seller.   “‘Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands,’ Chris Bohjalian’s terrific new novel, could serve as a master class on how to write the thinking reader’s bestseller,” according to a Washington Post review.

We can’t wait to check it out.


Lines of Departure Nominated for a Hugo Award

Lines of Departure (Marko Kloos)

Local-ish author Marko Kloos was recently nominated for one of Science Fiction’s top honors for a novel published last year: the Hugo Award. His novel, Lines of Departure was one of five novels selected for the honor by popular vote. Other nominees for the category include Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, The Dark Between Stars by Kevin J. Anderson and Skin Game by Jim Butcher.

Here’s what the book is about:

Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the Solar System…

Humanity is on the ropes, and after years of fighting a two-front war with losing odds, so is North American Defense Corps officer Andrew Grayson. He dreams of dropping out of the service one day, alongside his pilot girlfriend, but as warfare consumes entire planets and conditions on Earth deteriorate, he wonders if there will be anywhere left for them to go.

After surviving a disastrous space-borne assault, Grayson is reassigned to a ship bound for a distant colony—and packed with malcontents and troublemakers. His most dangerous battle has just begun.

In this sequel to the bestselling Terms of Enlistment, a weary soldier must fight to prevent the downfall of his species…or bear witness to humanity’s last, fleeting breaths.

This year’s slate of awards has been marred by controversy over voting blocs, as a conservative element had pushed for a specific slate of nominees. More can be read about that here and here. Despite that, we’re happy to see Kloos included on the ballot: Lines of Departure was a fun novel, and we’re very excited to see his next one, Angles of Attack later this month.

Eco-Fiction Interviews Don Bredes


Eco-Fiction interviews Vermont author Don Bredes, author of Polly and the One and Only World:

Meet author Don Bredes, whose debut novel Hard Feelings was named Best Book of the Year for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Bredes is back with another YA novel, Polly and the One and Only World, a fantasy apocalyptic novel ushering in a vision of a future world that is not so impossible to believe. In the book, a young heroine named Polly Lightfoot tries to survive results of climate change: rising seas, coastal floods, drought, and social upheaval.

Mary: Hi Don, thanks for the interview! You have written a fantastic book with lovable 15-year-old Polly, who, along with her friend and raven, must figure out how to escape a fundamentalist dominion and reunite with her family; this is an epic journey up the eastern seaboard of the United States. Though fiction, this journey opens our eyes to a potential future if we’re not careful with our treatment of the environment. What motivated you to tackle this subject?

Don: Thanks very much, Mary, for your interest in the novel.

One strong motivation has been my reverence for the natural environment that nurtures and sustains us. Each one of our social systems–government, education, health care, commerce, trade, global relations–indeed, everything that characterizes modern civilization–relies on the continuing health of our ecosystems. In recent years, more and more of us have come to realize how the human “conquest” and plundering of nature have disrupted the balance that the world’s climate has enjoyed for thousands of years.

We understand now that increasingly severe disruption–which seems inevitable–will result in ever more intense storms, permanent drought, coastal flooding, the probable end of large-scale industry and agriculture, and, perhaps, the collapse of the Gulf Stream conveyor. Very likely, such convulsive changes will lead to widening inequality and social upheaval, wars over shrinking resources, and the potential for terrorist violence a thousand times more devastating than 9/11.

Somehow, and soon, the nations of the world will have to resolve to ameliorate the devastating consequences of a rapidly changing climate. In the years ahead, the decisions we make in response to the climate crisis will shape the course of civilization for centuries to come. Polly and the One and Only World presents a cautionary fantasy that will inspire young readers to understand the imperative need to make most effective choices.

Read the entire interview here.

Providence of Fire Wine Pairing Event


Last year, Brian Staveley and Windham Wines in Brattleboro joined forces to do a wine pairing event based on the characters from his first novel, The Emperor’s Blades. Now, they’ll be back together with a sequel event!

On April 11th at 5:30pm, join Brian and Windham Wines with an event that pairs up wines and The Providence of Fire:

That’s right — one my favorite events from last year is BACK. On April 11 at 5:30, at Windham Wines here in Brattleboro VT, we’ll be pairing characters from the novel with a variety of great wines. Weird, right? It’s awesome. Last year, for instance, we decided Gwenna was a rustic Chianti — rough around the edges, earthy, rustic, but powerful. I read a little passage involving Gwenna, we drank Chianti, then on to the next one…

It’s $25 dollars for the evening (plus tip for the server). Last year it lasted a couple of hours and we tasted eight or nine wines. Spots are limited, so if you’re interested, get on it quick by calling Windham Wines at 802.246.6400.

Genre-defying works drive Easthampton’s Small Beer Press

Some popular titles at Small Beer Press in Easthampton office.

The Boston Globe has a fantastic look at a great small press, Small Beer Press, of Easthampton, MA:

But then, the couple behind Small Beer are fans themselves. In the 1990s, while working together at the used and rare bookseller Avenue Victor Hugo in its erstwhile location on Newbury Street, they endeavored to discover new speculative, fantasy, and slipstream fiction (which contains elements of both) by starting Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, a zine they publish to this day. “The zine isn’t particularly serious business,” Link said. “But if we weren’t doing it, we wouldn’t get to see short stories by new writers.”

They started Small Beer Press in 2000. It was a heady time for genre-defying literature, with authors like Michael Chabon, Aimee Bender, Jonathan Lethem, and George Saunders who were busy wresting literary fiction from the tyranny of realism. Small Beer fit right in. The press published two titles in its first year of business. One was a chapbook from a writer named Dora Knez who had appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. The other was Link’s 2001 debut, “Stranger Things Happen.”

Small Beer Press has published some outstanding novels and collections: one of my favorites is Nathan Ballingrud’s collection, North American Lake Monsters (which I highly recommend!). Give the entire article a read here.

Brian Staveley to Donate to Reading is Fundamental.


Brian Staveley is donating proceeds from his book sales for the coming week to Reading is Fundamental, a reading charity for children. Here’s his blog post:

Starting today (2/13) and running for one week (until 2/20), I’ll be giving away my share of all book sales ($2 for each copy of THE EMPEROR’S BLADES, $3 per copy of THE PROVIDENCE OF FIRE) to the charity Reading is Fundamental. The mission of this group is to put books into the hands of children who would otherwise have limited access. Check out their website here.

Clearly, the books I write aren’t kids’ fare, but I’m excited to put some of my income from the Unhewn Throne series toward this wonderful, important organization. If you’ve been holding off on your purchase, or you need a book to buy for a friend, this is your chance — you’ll know that some of the money is going to a very good cause.

Please share this message widely. Tell your friends, buy early birthday gifts, buy late birthday gifts, take out full-page ads in the Times. Perhaps most importantly, spread the message on facebook, twitter, instagram, and other social media. I’d be thrilled to be able to write a big check to Reading is Fundamental in a couple of weeks.


Tomorrow: Harry Potter Book Night Celebration!

Tomorrow, the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center will be holding a Harry Potter celebration. The festivities (which their Saratoga store will also take part), begin at 5:00 pm, and run through 7:00pm.

We’ll be holding a costume contest with a $50 Northshire Gift Card going to the winner, and we’ll raffle door prizes to those who complete our trivia challenge. You’ll be able to make your own wand, and there will be magical surprises, for wizards and muggles alike.

This is part of an international book event to celebrate the works of J.K. Rowling and her fantastic world.

Dearest (The Woodcutter Sisters) Release Day

Vermont born author Alethea Kontis has a new book out today: Dearest, the latest in her Woodcutter Sisters series.

Here’s what it’s about:

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

Giveaway – The Flower Eater


M. Larose is giving away 10 copies of her fantasy novel, The Flower Eater. Here’s what it’s about:

Village maiden Trilla has been accepted into training by the illustrious Sisterhood of Zerr. She is well on her way to becoming a priestess when a chance encounter with a handsome blacksmith tempts her to break her vows. Soon she is stealing away for clandestine meetings under the moonlight. But she is besieged by guilt and refuses the blacksmith’s marriage proposal, choosing ambition over love. When she is sent to a distant village for her first placement in the Order, she adjusts to life in a new House only to find herself disenchanted and filled with regret. Determined to reclaim the blacksmith s love, Trilla breaks her vows again and begs him to run away and make a new life with her, in secret.

But the blacksmith is now in love with another and rejects Trilla. Maddened by jealousy, she plots to destroy her rival. Instead, in a fit of despair, she tries to kill herself. But, rather than dying, she is transformed. Her mind begins to wander in a mysterious dimension of astral energy, where she can see what others can not. As her psychic skill blossoms, the Sisterhood she rejected seeks her help to battle an evil prince in a land poised between violence and peace.

You can enter to win the books over on Goodreads.