From the Writing Desk: December

Your Monthly Writing Prompt

December: Showdown

You and your friends/kids are out in the yard building snow sculptures. It’s all fun and games until the neighbor declares a snow sculpture war! The loser has to mow the other ones law al season next summer. What do you build? Who are the judges? Who wins?!


300 words minimum, 500 words max. Title your work and submit it to


Staff Poll: Dinner with an author

If you could have dinner with one author, dead or living, who would you pick and why?


“Tough choice! I can narrow it down to Philip K. Dick and Oscar Wilde. PKD because I would love to see how his mind communicated his world view (as paranoid as it was). I’ve been reading the Exegesis of PKD off and on for a couple years. Super heavy, wacky stuff, but fascinating and riveting at the same time. Oscar on the other hand, (and yes I did kiss his tomb stone when we went to Paris!) would be suck a delight with his old world charm and wit. The Importance of Being Ernest is the second funniest piece I’ve ever read. (Good Omens by Gaiman/Pratchett is first). I have no doubt it would be an enchanted evening!”


“Well, if dinner were tonight I would say Annie Proulx… I just finished her fat tome Barkskins and, despite its 700+ pages, I’ve more questions. The research she undertook for this latest novel fascinates me.”



“Neil Gaiman. In my mind, no other author comes close to his story writing brilliance (besides perhaps David Mitchell), and he also seems like a geniunely nice human, so I think it would be a pleasant dinner with good conversation about some pretty cool stories.”

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“This is really hard for me. Do I pick Stephen King (whose house my husband took me to the other day!! SO COOL!); John Connolly, whose lilting irish accent I could listen to all day; or R.L. Stine, whose Goosebumps series got me really serious about reading as a kid? While I love them all, I think for this particular instance I would choose Alvin Schwartz. His Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books(illustrated by Stephen Gammell, please & thanks) have entertained me for years – first as a child, and still now as an adult. I pull my copies out every year during October and it always brings me back. The Viper is still my favorite from book 1.”

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Staff Poll: Independent Bookstores

What are some of your favorite bookstores? (Besides Jabberwocky, of course!)


“I got to visit the Annapolis Bookstore in Annapolis, MD when we went there for a wedding last summer. It is an adorable, cozy indie, with a spiral staircase, a cupboard under the stairs, and very friendly staff! Another indie I loved was the Northshire Bookstore in VT… such a huge selection!”



“Just went to Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, CO. Funky space, great layout, and super friendly knowledable staff. I also still love the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge. It was one of my 2 destinations the very first time I ever came to New England in 1993(?) – the other was the MFA. I mad it to both that trip, and they both still give me a big dose of happy 23 years later. The last one is Snowbound books in Marquette, Mihigan. Again, super friendly and amazing zeitgeist!



“I just visited the Strand in New York and WOW! Their claim to fame is 18 miles of bookshelves, which I was skeptical of when I first heard, but it really is true. They have stacks covering tables, three stories filled with books, and the top floor is dedicated to rare books and first editions. Truly a angerous place for a bookaholic. Elliot Bay books in Seattle is also pretty amazing, and well worth a visit.”



“This past fall I visited PA and stopped in an old barn that had been renovated into a beautiful bookstore, which mostly had old first editions and rare finds. I could have spent hours in there!”


From the Writing Desk: July

Your writing prompt for the month of July is here!

July: Headlights

You’re at work just like any normal day, and happen to look out the window as you head to the break room for some more coffee. What you see on your way makes you stop in your tracks. What is it?


300 words min, 500 words max. Title your work and sumbit it to

We like to share your stories! Let us know if we have permission to do so!


Here’s one we received from June’s prompt, Fan Fiction:

‘BS’ by Elizabeth Kilcoyne

Sitting on the beach in June, 1995, surrounded by children and parents, all I could think about was the evening show. It was the annual Crane Beach Picnic for the Ipswich schools. Friends had already left for the drive to New York City, but I had promised. How would I get through the next four hours of dinner menu sharing and children screaming with glee? I finally caught a bus home and made my flight to JFK. 

After supper across the street at Roy Rogers, we entered Madison Square Garden, showed our tickets, found our seats, and awaited the beginning of one of the few live concerts performed by Barbra Streisand. I had binoculars, so as not to miss a movement. Her first song was Memory. I was in heaven. Being a perfectionist, she was mortified when one of the musicians was playing in the wrong key, and stopped the concert to have a chat with him. She actually told us to, “Talk amongst yourselves while I attend to this.”

After the amazing concert, I tol my friends I was going to meet up with Barbra in her dressing room. They said, “Ya, sure”, and left. When I made m way back stage, Barbra said, “You must be Polly, would you like something to drink?” I said, “Yes”, and the evening began. 

We talked about growing up in NYC, how she began singing publicly, and about her shyness on stage. I told barbra that I have been singing for years, mostly church songs and that I was currently taking lessons. 

When we arrived at her suite, the party was in full gear. Barbra made her way around the room, inroducing me to celebrities and friends An hour later, she pulled me outside and we went to a karaoke club. We ate and sang and made new friends and sang some more. When we sang Second Hand Rose, skating across the stage seemed natural. Her parting song was Bye Bye Birdie! Mine was Don’t Rain on my Parade!

Her limo dropped me at JFK for my return trip to Boston. I arrived at work at 8:30am with a forever memory. 

Staff Poll: Your ideal afternoon of reading.

Describe to me your ideal afternoon of reading. Where would you be? What’s the weather like? Snacks? Tea? Does it depend on what you’re reading?


“For this year it’s on my deck, partly cloudy, not too windy, approximately 70-75 degrees with a pot of tea. A great alternative is at the beach with my low chair and coconut water. Almost any weather except rain and greenhead season will do!”



“Anywhere! I can read anywhere! If only I knew someone was preparing a meal for sustenance, that would be perfect. So, porch, hammock, couch, floor, what have you. with the scent of dinner prep waiting.”



“I mostly read horror/mystery, and my favorite season is the fall… I really think the two go together quite well. Ideal reading conditions for me would involve a cool, crisp, fall afternoon, maybe out in my yard with a  sweater, apple cider, and my dog. That said, certain books just call for thunderstorms or snow storms!”



“I love reading outside! I always carry a bok with me and will read anywhere. Waiting for an appointment, enjoying coffee on the boardwalk, sitting on the beach, a porch – really anywhere. I’m happiest when I have a good book with me.”

Staff Poll: Book covers!

Any books that you think have exceptionally beautiful or intriguing covers? Maybe even something you have no interest in reading?

Amanda: I have always loved the cover of Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann. It’s retro and classic without being kitchy. And no, I’ve never read it. I also think the Penguin Classics non dust jacket had covers are brilliant. And again, most of those I’ve never read. Finally, the sweet dork factor of Major Pettigrews Last Stand by Helen Simonson always makes me smile. Read it? NOPE!

Chantel: Glow by Ned Beauman. The cover is simplistic, gorgeous, and inriguing… but I have no desire to read it. Another book that always catches my eye on the shelf but that I will likely never read is The Buried Giant. I guess I’m too much of a genre snob!

Eileen: Charles Bukowski on Cats – Great graphic, color, it’s arresting. I am very unlikely to read it as, though I adore cats, I want to send Bukowski to his room until he learns how to behave. Also, all or most of the Everyman’s Pocket Classics. What satisfying little poem-fuls of bindery. Witches of America by Alex Mar – subtle, mysterious, alluring cover. Is it a witch is it a crow? Reynard the Fox; translated by James Simpson. Handsome folksy colors. Lead me to a porch on a free day and leave me alone with this treat. Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katharine S. White – a house with great designers. Lastly (not really, I could go on forever re book designs I approve of), Hunting with Eagles – because there is nothing, and nobody, seriously, cooler than those amazing and nearly mythic folks. Breathtaking.