Tag Archives: Island Books

Enter to win at local book store(s)

Recently, I stumbled across the book The World in 1800, which drove home to me again how, by 1800, the world had changed radically — from local and regional, to global and international. Two centuries later, we’re reaping the benefits of international communication and trade worldwide like never before, but are also feeling the loss in our own backyards. Loss like of local economies and farms. Loss like the reality that I visit with friends all over the world via email more often than I visit my dear neighbor Chuck next door.

One center of community in our lives — the local bookstore — has often lost ground in this click-and-ship-on-demand era of shopping. My bookstore, Island Books, brings the local area together in so many ways, supporting book clubs and schools and readings, offering personal service and a world of excellent books to choose from.

So when James invited me to participate in Island Book’s Local Author Festival this weekend, Sunday, 2/26, 2:00-4:00 p.m., of course I said yes. It’s gonna be fun! Added bonus: All comers have the chance to enter to win a $50 gift certificate good on your next visit to the store. I look forward to meeting many book-loving customers, and … drum roll … to meeting these amazing local authors who’ll be there with me at the festival.

Marianne Lile, author of Stepmother: A Memoir
Jody Gentian Bower, author of Jane Eyre’s Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine’s Story
Rebecca Novelli, historical novelist, The Train to Orvieto
Ron Donovan, leadership expert and author of Wisdom of Doing Things Wrong
Rebecca Clio Gould, psychology and health author, The Multi-Orgasmic Diet
Martha Crites, mystery writer, Grave Disturbance
Phillip Rauls, music artist and photographer, The Rock Trenches
Leonide Martin, historical novelist, series “Mists of Palenque” about great Mayan Queens
Stephen Murphy, author of On the Edge: An Odyssey, a memoir
and moi, Claire Gebben, historical novelist, The Last of the Blacksmiths.

So come on down this Sunday to Island Books, it’ll do us all a world of good.


What a party!

This gallery contains 28 photos.

Now that I realize how fun a book launch party can be, I’ll be writing an entire shelf of novels. Thanks to all of my dear family, friends, colleagues, supporters, volunteers, and readers who turned out for this wonderful celebration.

Love those local bookstores

I’ve been a customer of Island Books for decades. I can walk in the door, say something inane like “I’m looking for a book called Botany of … something-I-can’t-remember“? and Marni at the front desk will march over to the shelf, pull out Pollan’s Botany of Desire and plunk it on the counter in front of me. It’s uncanny, and it’s wonderful.

The other day I ventured to ask the owner, Roger Page, for his advice about whether or not my book would sell. He looked at me with a kind gaze.

“Have you finished writing it?” he asked.


“Well, congratulations. Most people don’t get that far. Now for the bad news. You’re only a third of the way. Step two is finding a publisher, and step three is selling it.”

I nodded mutely. I knew that, but hearing it come from Roger, I knew it all over again.

“The most important thing for you to do now,” he went on, “is to get your pitch figured out. Memorize it, so it will trip off your tongue wherever you are.”

Thanks, Roger. Here, for all the world to see, I’m making a first attempt at a “book jacket spiel.” What do you think?

Harm’s Way: A Blacksmith’s Journey

Harm’s Way is a novel of historical fiction that tells the compelling story of MICHAEL HARM, an immigrant blacksmith who travels in the year 1857 from a rural village in the German Rhineland to Antebellum Cleveland, seeking frontier wilderness, liberty, and a better life, wholly unprepared for what he finds—rioting in New York, prohibitionist and anti-immigrant sentiment in Cleveland, and an Ohio wilderness fast being overrun by industrial enterprise. Apprenticing as a blacksmith under his uncle, a brutal taskmaster, Michael survives inspired by rags-to-riches accounts such as that of Abraham Lincoln, then-candidate for president. As the Civil War heats up, Michael and other wagon-makers crank out wagons for the Union Army. He wins the heart of American born Elizabeth Crolly and bets his future on a small, family-run carriage works. During Cleveland’s Gilded Age, against stiff competition from large carriage factories, he dedicates every moment to keeping his business, and the artisan craft of wagon-making, alive as a legacy for his children. Near the end of his life, as the horseless carriage threatens to close his shop for good, and his adult children are turning their backs on their German heritage, Michael must face whether he has succeeded in his quest, or devoted his entire life to a failed ideal.