Supernatural Saturday – Reading & Discussion

What’s happening?
A reading and discussion with authors Dea Schofield and H.L. Brooks.

Where!?
At Scarborough Fair Bed and Breakfast in Baltimore!

WHAT TIME?
4pm-5:30pm

Please come by and pick up a copy of our new books. Or just listen to us and ask questions. Though buying our books means we can keep writing more!

If you’re a book blogger, vlogger, or bookstagrammer, send us a note that you’re going to come by so we can have a swag bag for you!

Supernatural Summer Reading 2017

Hello mortals! If you’re in Maryland and like vampire and werewolf stories, you will definitely want to come to Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast on July 22nd to enjoy short readings and follow-up discussions with authors H.L. Brooks (that’s me!) and Dea Schofield. We will be reading some short excerpts from our latest books. There will also be some light refreshments and a door prize for one lucky winner. If you are a book blogger, vlogger, or bookstagrammer, send me a note if you can come by and we will hook you up with a swag bag.

TIME:
Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
4pm-5:30pm

PLACE:
Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast in Baltimore, MD
http://www.scarboroughfairbandb.com

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Sexy Shape Shifters?

Last month Red August was featured in the February Ever After Box fairy tale and romance book subscription service. Red August was my debut novel, and the first in the Red August series about a girl who is becoming a woman, and discovers a world she is a part of, but never knew existed. It also happens to be a modernized Red Riding Hood retelling. For March the theme is Sexy Shifters! Since werewolves fit that theme, they have accepted the second book in the Red August series, Red Archer, for their March box. The exciting part is, apart from people who come to my launch party on March 18th at the New Deal Cafe, Ever After box subscribers will be the first to read Red Archer because they will get a free ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) download of Red Archer in the March box!

Visit the Ever After Box website to sign up for their subscription boxes, for the fairy tale romance lover in your life.

You can visit the Facebook invitation for the book launch here: https://www.facebook.com/events/255044768254137/  (PLEASE RSVP if you plan on coming – it helps us to make sure there is enough nibbles and drinks)

 

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Following a season of late weddings and new romance, August Archer is ready to embrace the next part of her life—ready to reclaim her lost heritage, and to join herself with the man she loves.

But her sojourn with Faolan to their Scottish homeland turns out to be a very different trip than either of them could have imagined. August feels the bonds of love twisting into knots when the past comes back to haunt them both, even as the bonds of family grow stronger when she finds the hunter clans—her ancient kin—preparing to fight for what they hold dear.

Before this journey ends, August will face her bitterest enemy, confront a shocking betrayal in the Archer family, and become transformed by a spirit world she never dreamed existed. And she will encounter a ghost from the past that threatens to unravel her entire future, in this reimagined saga of the Red Riding Hood story—the sequel to Red August.

Baltimore Book Festival Confessions 2016 – Part 2

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Last weekend I was a vendor at the Baltimore Book Festival in Maryland. I’m a Maryland resident and not too far from Baltimore, so I thought it would be a good book event to try out.

My most difficult task has not been the hours upon hours of making graphics, layout and design of the book cover, coming up with marketing, keeping up with social media, even writing the books, going to events and so forth. The most difficult part of this has been finding my audience. My book comes off as a YA at first glance. The female protagonist in Red August is sixteen at the beginning of the story. She’s fairly confident, but has her body issues. This isn’t a trope to me. This is a reflection of myself at about 13 years old, so I know there have to be others who can relate to that. The character is extremely hormonal and sexually interested. This is where I think I lose some of the more YA-oriented folks. They are looking for Twilight and I have given them Twilight, but with more adults, strong female characters of varying ages, and erotic scenes. Detailed erotic scenes. There is also the distracted thinking and judgment that comes with the hormones of adolescence as I recall them. Let’s not forget, this is a Paranormal Romance Adventure book, so besides adolescence in general for her hormones, there are other reasons. Reasons. Anyway, my hope was to come across some readers who I could maybe chat with, answers questions, and find the audience who wants my work. The book festival delivered in that way. Had I been in a section that was more dedicated to my genre, I think it would have been an even more successful endeavor. We were a jumble of genres and even had a beauty pageant table in our tent, for some reason.

When you enter the Tablers Tent you sign in and select your table. It’s a long bowling-alley style series of tents with tables along each side. I mention ways I felt this wasn’t the best set-up and could be improved in the other post. Just a little helpful feedback, not trying to be whiny about it. Anyway, we selected a table about middle of the alley. We were lucky enough to be right at a vent so we could enter and exit behind our table and weren’t literally walled in, being forced to use the exits at either end of the alley. Here you can see Will eating a quick lunch outside of our vent and in front of the Visitor’s Center.

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I want to just say that I really LOVED being so close to the Visitor’s Center, so I hope that it’s in the same spot next year.

Nearing the end of the day I really needed to get up and stretch, so I went for a quick walk to check out the event. It was quite a large event with booths surrounding the harbor. I also took a swing by the Maryland Romance Writers tent to listen to some of the panel talk about writing Romances. At the moment I was there the discussion was about researching history, how difficult it is to make sure you get everything correct with non-fictional characters, and what terrible things a writer’s browser might give up if ever forensically investigated by the FBI. All true things. I could relate to these ladies for sure. It would have been nice if their tent was closer to ours, but I was pretty excited to see the Red Emma’s tent right outside of ours. I would have liked to have spent part of the day in there!

The event was heavily attended, a real plus. It was nice weather, also a big plus. There were plenty of food and book vendors. Plenty of portable toilets. And the Tablers Tent looked looked as though all of the vendor tables were full. There were volunteers that were polite, helpful, and checked on us regularly and brought us water. They could relieve us at our table for a short while if need be. A long list of events and activities were posted throughout the event in the form of large signs. A nice big glossy map to give to attendees. A pretty good event rating overall in my opinion. I hope next year they try to attract book bloggers/vloggers and reviewers.

During the event we were seated next to Rosa Pryor-Trusty and her husband Shorty – who were just wonderful to talk to. It was nice to have some really funny, smart companions to chat with during the slower moments.

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This is a photo of Rosa and me after a long day. We still look like we could take on the world, don’t we? LOOK OUT WORLD!

I met a couple of other authors at the event as well, though I wish I’d had time to meet all of the other writers that were in my genre. Natasha Lane came down and stopped by my table and we talked shop – though I didn’t realize she was a fellow writer at the beginning of the conversation. I’m hoping that if I collect enough cards of nearby women authors we can have the occasional salon. One thing that has struck me about the other women authors I’ve met, is how important the writing is to them. How it’s something they have to do, like any art you are driven to make. There is also an edge of enthusiasm, that despite the odds being against us being able to make a living this way, that is inspiring.  Women supporting women achieving their dreams. We are stronger together.

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It was a long day, and I am grateful to have had Will’s help. I couldn’t do this stuff without him.

Baltimore Book Festival Confessions 2016 – Part 1

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This is a shot from one end of the Tablers Tent – it was quite long with approximately 45 tablers.

I was a vendor in the Tablers Tent at the Baltimore Book Festival this past Saturday. I hope to do it again next year, since my second book will be out. There are some small things that bothered me, because nothing is perfect, but overall it was a very good event.

I’m a Maryland resident and not too far from Baltimore, so I thought it would be a good book event to try out. The table price is high compared to other events that have author tables. Books are a business like any other business. Being an independent author is especially hard since you have to create the product, do all of the business side of things, and also fork over the money for any events, promotional materials, product inventory–well, you get the idea. A table at the event was $200 and all-day parking was $26. With just those two expenses I would have had to sell about 45 books to break even. It would have been a miracle if I had sold 45 books at this one event in just one day, so let’s just say I walked in knowing I probably wouldn’t break even. What I did hope to do was start a snowball. What I did hope was that my money spent would be an investment in earning a few new readers who really love my genre and my writing.

I learned some things about myself. About what I want to do as a writer, and how I want to present myself. I also learned some things about what I don’t want to be, and how I don’t want to present myself. There are also so points I plan on making to the book festival organizers in hopes they make a few tweaks of improvement next year.

Let’s get the things I didn’t care for out of the way first, so we can end on a positive note. The Tablers Tent is a mash-up of self-published authors, non-profit organizations, and regional books. Essentially indie types and folks selling some non-book stuff (apparently). This had the odd effect of having a children’s’ book writer next to a booth of tween beauty pageant folks with a “Oh The Places You’ll Go” banner using Dr. Seuss graphics, which I found highly inappropriate at a literary event, considering they only seemed to be selling their pageant, and possibly tees and other merchandise. They had a spinning wheel, for what I couldn’t tell. They set it up in the middle of the aisle and pushed their table back and stood in front of it. They had tween and teen girls teetering on platform stilettos and wearing crowns giving out some waves and pamphlets throughout the day.

There was also an aggressive author across and down a little from us. They put a huge sign in the middle of the alleyway, which really shouldn’t be ok. First of all, it caused a bit of a log-jam and made it harder for wheelchairs to get through (of which I saw five). The sign was sort of a way to funnel people to their table. The author was there and had an assistant. They stopped anybody they could and gave them a bookmark and a spiel about the book and convinced them over to the table, even from across the alleyway. They called out and got in front of people, therefore many people missed the next couple of tables (mine included) because by the time they took a couple of steps and turned around they were already past my table, and their neighbor’s as well. I was in awe, more than anything. The author stayed in front of the table at all times. Most of the rest of us were behind our tables – except the beauty pageant people. I didn’t care too much about it as a concept, in a larger space, but it did make traffic flow more congested in that one spot, which seemed to almost be the goal. The author had a spinning wheel (oddly, there were THREE spinning wheels within a few tables of us!) where you could spin and win candy, or 50% off of the author’s book. It was historical fiction and the cover of the book was an absolute rip-off of a best-selling book, right down to the coloring, composition, similar font, and even the title was the same with one extra word tacked on to the end. You cannot deny the success of these two people–they sold all of the books they came with, I’m guessing about fifty or so books. They did this before it was even time to pack up, so they packed up an hour early. I think they outsold everybody in the tent, and it was a big tent. But as I watched them I realized that I don’t want to hard-sell my book. I want people to come to it because they like the genre. Or they like my other work, art, blogging–whatever. It did have the effect of making me feel like maybe I’m not doing enough to sell my work, because I would have had to sell 40 books just to pay for my table fee. But if I hard sold my book to somebody and they didn’t like it, I would feel bad about that. I have that luxury though, for now. Maybe I’m not hungry enough? I don’t know. Anyway, I did learn that I don’t want to sell my book that way, even if I was kind of jealous of their sales numbers. Maybe I can’t sell the book that way myself, to festival goers. Maybe I need a crack sales team. Maybe it’s more of a hard-sell attitude I need for bookstores and booksellers. I like an enthusiastic approach to things, but this was too much for me.

The tent was long and didn’t have any breaks in it. This created a bit of claustrophobia for some people, I think. We had a flap behind us, so I could get out via the split, but I saw a number of attendees walk in at one end and take five or six steps and turn around and leave. If at all possible I have two tent suggestions that would have made the experience an improvement:  a break in the tents that allowed the alley to vent people out, but more importantly, allow more people IN through this small alley break. I would also suggest grouping people a bit more by genre. My sexy book was next to and across from children and baby books. The woman on the other side of me is an accomplished author and writer of non-fiction on the lives and history of black people in Maryland and Baltimore. I am very happy to have had a seat next to her and her husband because they are totally cool people and were fun to talk to, but they probably should have been able to be with non-fiction and history, rather than between an artist selling journals and notecards, and a paranormal romance writer (me).

The last criticism I have is that there didn’t seem to be any attempt to provide outreach to book bloggers and vloggers. I would have been very happy for bookstagrammers, bloggers, and vloggers to come by my table so I could provide them with a review copy. This would be very helpful to authors, and to the reviewers as well.

Celebrating Women

I will be a vendor at the Celebrating Women event in Prince George’s County at Marietta House Museum. I will have my novel and coloring book available.

Red August copies are $14.95, the coloring book is $8.99 – descriptions and photos at the end of this post.

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I’m lucky enough to know two other fantastic area women artists who will also be vending at the event, Bridget of BDevlinDesigns, and Mary of Scribbles In Stitches.

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The event is meant to showcase the talents of women artists and entrepreneurs.

From the website event page:

September 17th – 11am-6pm

Celebrate women of many talents – artists, and entrepreneurs.  Shop female owned food, wine and craft vendors.  View artists’ demonstrations and enjoy readings, plays, music and more. $5 per person entry – children 5 and under are free.

Please come by and support area artists and businesses!

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Red August Description.

What if you found out that you were descended from a long line of clandestine fighters, and that your family was still at war? Or that the love of your life was something other than human? August Archer thinks she’s a normal teenage girl—even though she has been having disturbing and erotic dreams about wolves lately. Still grieving over the loss of her bookish, charming father, and wondering over his final gift of a red hooded cloak, August is uprooted from her New York City apartment to a tiny town in Maryland, and the rambling Victorian house where he grew up. There she meets a wise woman with a gift for herbal medicine, the gentle old man who keeps the house in repair and the grounds thriving, and her new neighbor: an enigmatic, irresistibly fascinating man who refuses to talk to her, yet who seems to know her better than she knows herself, and fuels her most intense romantic fantasies. But it’s when August begins to coax her feisty Scottish grandmother out of her self-imposed catatonia that a strange tale of werewolves and hunters emerges—one in which the man of her dreams may be her family’s oldest enemy—in this modern-day telling of the Red Riding Hood story.

 

Fenwick Street Books Signing

Leonardtown, Maryland is a cute little main street sort of a historic town. They’ve got a great little cafe called the BTB Coffee Bar & Speakeasy as well as a chocolate shop, among other things. They also have a cute, crammed-to-the-rafters bookstore called Fenwick Street Books. I had a signing there this past Friday.

The first Friday of each month Leonardtown has a little event. The shops stay open later and there is music and other things happening. This past Friday however, it was grey and chilly and damp, so turnout was kind of low. However, some people did come by the bookstore and pick up a signed copy of Red August. Any time somebody takes time out of their day to say hello to me and to spend their hard-earned money on my book, I am truly grateful.

This theme of this particular First Friday was Emergency Responders – so there was an author sitting next to me selling and signing his children’s books. It was nice to have good company while we waited for customers.

I believe Fenwick will be carrying my books. I will keep you posted on that once I get confirmation. So, if you’re in Southern Maryland and want to support a local business and a Maryland author, you can just go buy my book there!

Thanks for all of the support!

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James Burd Brewster and H.L. Brooks at Fenwick Street Books, Leonardtown, Maryland

The Hound and the Hedgehog: A Radio Play

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This is the handmade cover for the original “The Hound and the Hedgehog” which was made out of a Harry Potter book that fell apart.  I later acquired a stuffed hedgehog and gave him the features of our lovable and fearless Pokey.

Weatherhill and Raven Heights Radio Presents

The Hound and the Hedgehog
Written by William Hardy
Script Adaptation by Heather Brooks & William Hardy
Directed by Heather Brooks

Private eye Don Keyhote knew he was in for it the minute he laid eyes on the gorgeous dame in the red dress who walked into his office that gray December day. But what starts out as a lost pet case turns into a whole kennel full of trouble for the doubtful gumshoe as he encounters a shifty bird, a hulking gorilla, and a slippery weasel—not to mention a hedgehog who’s handy with a cocktail sword—in this semi-hardboiled shaggy dog story.

The Players
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William Hardy as P.I. Don Keyhote & Pokey

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Erica Smith as Heather Fields (the Woman in Red) & Myra

Robin Elaine, Erica Winter & Heather Brooks as Ferret, Monk, Detective Brannigan and sound effects.

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Coming for the holidays is a fun little radio play that has been adapted from an adorable book written by William Hardy.

“The Hound and the Hedgehog” was a short story written for me as a gift one fine winter holiday season several years ago.  It contains lots of little inside jokes, like many of the animals mentioned happen to look a bit like our family pets.  Not to mention (though it seems I am mentioning it) the damsel in distress is named Heather and she bears a striking resemblance to another Heather you might have heard of (me) before I let my hair go white and pink and cut it all off.

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This is Hera.  She used to live with me when I had a house and a yard and my family was still all together.  She now lives with Robin in the most doggiest of happy dog havens.  Hera is part hound and therefore sort of a mascot for “The Hound and the Hedgehog,” even if the hound in the story is the gumshoe.

I think about this little story every holiday and Will reads it to our family (at my pressing) from time to time because it’s just short enough to do that.  My love of radio plays, which started with Seeing Ear Theatre’s production of Snow Glass Apples written by Neil Gaiman, had me thinking maybe I’d like to be involved with a radio play some day.  Then, after a couple of podcasts with Raven Heights Radio I read some of “The Hound and the Hedgehog” to Raven Heights mastermind and podcast goddess Erica Winter and asked her if she thought she’d be interested in it as a voice play.  She loved the story and the idea, and so we thought it would make a good bit of story-time around the holidays.  Partly because some of it takes place around the holidays and partly because it’s family friendly and fun.

We’re set to have a rehearsal in a couple of weeks, then we will record in early December.  Erica tells me she will be putting it on the Raven Heights website right before the holidays.

Below are some of the other animals that make cameos in the story.

 

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Copyright 2015 Weatherhill

Reading in Baltimore

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Please hop over to the Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast website and look at this place.  It’s the cutest and has the best theme ever:  literary.  They are a highly rated B&B that is in a wonderful section of Baltimore within walking distance of great shopping, food and one of my favorite museums The American Visionary Arts Museum.

Don’t forget to check out their packages page – one of them includes some theatre and dinner and flowers.

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Scarborough has graciously offered to host a reading of Red August just in time for the holidays.  Also, did you know that you could get a room discount of 30% until March!?  Trust me, I don’t even live that far from Baltimore, but I got the Grimm room (I mean, seriously – how could I NOT stay in the Grimm room?) for Will’s birthday a couple of years ago and we loved it.  We kicked around town all day and then rather than driving back, we lounged around in our room, being sweet to each other and eating Dangerously Delicious blueberry birthday pie.   Then to top off the amazing decadence of it all, we got to eat the wonderful breakfasts that Barry makes.  Everything was fresh and homemade.

They also have a sampling of locally made items near the entrance – including locally roasted coffee and scarfs and stuff.

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Erica Smith & William Hardy

The reading in Baltimore will be an expansion of our last reading at The New Deal Cafe.  Actors Erica Smith and William Hardy will be reading passages for about an hour. The theatre in one of the packages mentioned above?  That theatre is Spotlighters, which William Hardy (who also happens to be an amazing writer, and my lovah) used to perform pretty regularly at years ago.  Baltimore is full of great stuff.

There will be some hot cider and traditional Scottish black bun (a Hogmanay tradition) as well as other refreshments.  Stop by for the reading, check out the B&B and then go shopping.

There is a Facebook Events Page for this event.

December 5th  from 1-3pm
at Scarborough Fair Bed and Breakfast801 South Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230