Attention all fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery – you’re in for a treat! This week’s Spotlight on Bookstores is submitted by Pamela K. Kinney, an author of published horror, science fiction, fantasy, horror, poetry, and so far, two nonfiction books, Haunted Richmond, Virginia and Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales, both published by Schiffer Publishing. Using the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, she has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance, also poetry and a couple of erotic horror stories, including the current ones, erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch by Phaze Books and erotic Lovecraftian horror novella, Unwitting Sacrifice, by Under the Moon. She also has done acting on stage and in films. Find out more about her at her website or at either the MySpace pages for Pamela Kinney or Sapphire Phelan.
She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house and husband sometimes suffers for it! (photo below is of the author at the Hanover Book Festival)
There’s something about an independent bookstore, especially one that deals with the genres you not only write, but read as well. Instead of a bunch of workers like in a big chain, you have the owner, plus maybe one of two workers. Knowledgeable about the books in the bookstore, can even suggest some titles when you aren’t sure of what to get. And not only do you find the current books that just got released in this smaller bookstore, but you find the older ones by the authors too. You can talk for hours with the owner or the workers about everything under the sun about not only the books, but about the genre TV shows and movies you have seen.
Such a bookstore is Creatures ‘n Crooks Bookshoppe in Carytown in Richmond, Virginia. Such an owner is Lelia Taylor. When I first spied this place in its first location in the Steinmart shopping Center on Midlothian Turnpike, I was excited. A bookstore that deals mainly in science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery—how cool is that?
Even greater, it was getting to know Lelia. She was easy to talk to and very helpful in suggesting any titles. She even started some reading groups, one for the mystery buffs, the other for the scifi, fantasy and horror fans. I joined the second group and found other Richmonders who loved to read these genres–making some great friends. The bookstore became a home away from home.
Then Lelia and Creatures ‘n Crooks moved to its current spot in Carytown a few years ago. Nestled snug between a place that sells smoothies and Subway, this was done in hope for more foot traffic. Something that was impossible in its old spot. In Carytown, people living nearby took walks in evenings and on weekends, even during the daytime during the week, visiting all the unique shops.
I had to drive farther to get my books and for my reader’s group, but I did so. I even joined the writer’s group that met there one Thursday a month. Nothing could be better than this.
Then I began to get published. Short stories and poetry at first, but then my first book all by myself, a nonfiction ghost book, Haunted Richmond, Virginia, published by Schiffer Publishing. When it was released June 15, 2007, the first bookstore to have it for sale before all others was Creatures ‘n Crooks Bookshoppe. They had the couple of copies by the cash registers. It was so cool. I snapped a picture and posted it on my blog. Eventually, weeks later, Barnes and Noble and others in town got it, but this indie bookstore beat them all. That following October, I had a book signing there.
This bookstore will always have a place in my heart. I can’t get out there as I used to these days, with rising gas prices and all. But I always try to get out there to buy books and chat with Lelia. I recommend her to anyone who wants not only my books, but any other they’re looking for.
So if you’re in Carytown and come to the Cary Court Park & Shop shopping center, check out the candy store, the French restaurant and other shops in it, but most of all, do stop inside the cool interior of Creatures ‘n Crooks Bookshoppe. I guarantee you’ll feel you came home.
Find Creatures ‘n Crooks Bookshoppe at 3156 West Cary Street Cary Court Park & Shop Richmond, VA 23221. The phone number is 804-340-0277 or toll-free (888) 533-5303. Their website is cncbooks.com.