Local Small Business Support: A Community Letter from A Novel Idea on Passyunk

Press Release

Dear Community,

We will remain closed until it is safe and legal for us to reopen. In the meantime, we miss you and hope you’re hanging in there! Ways to support us while we’re closed:

You can order from our Current Inventory. To browse this list, go to anovelideaphilly.com/order. Then click on Current Inventory and email us with the titles you’re looking for. We’ll send you a PayPal invoice and will ship the books within a few days.

You can buy Gift Cards. To do this, go to anovelideaphilly.com/merch

You will receive a digital gift card soon.

You can donate to our GoFundMe. Here is the link: gf.me/u/xsujku. (You can also search Help A Novel Idea and it should come up).

You can order via Bookshop. This website is stocked and shipped by a third party. A Novel Idea gets a smaller percentage than the above orders, but a portion of each sale goes to ALL independent bookstores and we believe it’s important to support not only ourselves but others in the community. The link to shop our Bookshop page is: bookshop.org/shop/anovelideaphilly.

You can pre-order Christina’s book SHE IS A BEAST at anovelideaphilly.com/order. Books will be available May 2nd. If the store is still closed, we will mail them or do local delivery to get them to you.

Thank you so much for your support!

We wouldn’t be here without you.
-Alex & Christina

Guest Post: “The Literary Post” by Ernest Sandefer

Guest Post, Writing

Meet Ernest Sandefer.

Hard for me to categorize my writing so I’d sat I’m an advice giver with an imagination. I hope to inspire change and evoke emotion with my writing. I’m 27 years old, live in Boston MA and constantly creating. If not writing in my journal I’m working on drafts or opinion pieces. Feel free to reach out!

The Guest Post.

500 literal words on literary, where do I start? Well my love for writing started in the 5th grade. The assignment was for us to create our own short stories that would be read by the other students. Me being the shy little kid with a lot of self-doubt I already made up in my mind that none of my classmates were going to choose my book simply because I wasn’t the most popular kid in the classroom, in the 5th grade or in the entire school for that matter. What surprises me about it was I didn’t care about  what I thought was the truth at the time. I enjoyed writing that short story. I enjoyed tapping into my imagination for once in school and not being thought of as weird for doing so. I felt free and that was a feeling I felt for the first time in my life and I knew I wanted to experience that feeling again, I just didn’t realize at the time expressing myself and creativity through writing was the catalyst.
Anyways, I’m reading other people’s short stories I hear giggles and cackles from classmates. I thought nothing of it other than “someone must’ve written a funny book” and continued snacking on my “Smart Brand” white cheddar popcorn. Our reading was timed. Don’t remember how long the time was but it apparently wasn’t long enough for people to finish my book. I didn’t get to finish the books that I was reading as well so I understood the slight frustration a few of my classmates had with the amount of time we were given to read each other’s stories. That “slight frustration” with students began to grown the more students started to read my book “The Nose Knows” a story about a group of eccentric friends who stumbled across an abandoned haunted mansion they decided to film their first music video in.
I don’t want to say this book was made out of thin air, but it certainly wasn’t something that took me months to come up with. I can tell you based off of memory, the characters in the book much like the characters created in other books of mine are characters based on people I’ve crossed paths with, but with different names, looks and pretty much everything else, but a similar character trait. Usually something so small about the person I don’t think they notice about themselves, but it is blown up to be the center of attention when it comes to that character since you can’t really see who they are. “The Nose Knows” also incorporated diversity and humor because even as a pre-teen I understood the importance of diversity. Humor was thrown in there simply because comedy are my favorite genre of movies and shows.
Haven’t read too many books that I found to be funny, but to whomever is reading this feel free to recommend me something with humor in it. How I found out the book the class “laughed at” was mine was when one of the students, Errol told our teacher, Mr. Kid that my book was “classic.” That was the first time I’ve ever gotten a “critically acclaimed”  classic rating from an audience and I loved it, but as stated before the joy of creating something and being able to express myself was the cream filling. The fact that my book made people laugh was the icing on the cake.
So I leave here with my final words to you  being always create from the heart and be unapologetically authentic.

Guest Post: “Why I Write Middle Grade” with Author Tara Gilboy

Guest Post

TARA GILBOY HEADSHOT.jpegMeet Tara Gilboy.

Tara Gilboy’s debut novel, Unwritten, releases on October 16. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and teaches for San Diego Community College District. She lives in Southern California with her husband, daughter, and dog, Biscuit.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @taramgilboy https://twitter.com/taramgilboy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36431261-unwritten
Facebook: Tara Gilboy https://www.facebook.com/taragilboy.Unwritten/


The Guest Post.

Why I Write Middle Grade


The first novel I ever wrote was a middle grade novel.


I don’t know that you could actually call it a “novel,” since it was probably no more than fifty pages. But it had chapters, and a beginning, middle, and end. I was eight years old, and I wrote it in a blank hardcover journal that had a picture on the cover of a girl in a pioneer dress feeding chickens. So I started the story with my main character, ten-year-old Martha, feeding chickens. Then she went west in a covered wagon, and nearly everyone died. Only Martha, and her sister, Nan, made it to Oregon.


Only recently, I stumbled across a copy of the book Seven Alone, one I’d read as a child, and realized I’d stolen nearly the entire plot of my novel from it. But that’s beside the point. The reason I mention my pioneer novel is because it was the first novel I ever completed, and it was a middle grade story. Middle grade is where I started out writing, mostly because I loved reading middle grade books. I was writing the kinds of books I liked to read.


Around this same time, my parents went on vacation to Florida and left my brothers and me in the care of our grandmother.


I was very excited about this because it meant finally I was going to have the opportunity to get away with something my mom had forbidden. For the most part, my mom indulged my bookish dreaminess, but she drew the line when I wanted to go to school dressed as my favorite book characters. My friend, Jenny, also a bookworm, and I had been planning this for a while, but my mom, probably worried I’d be teased, said ‘no.’ My grandma, on the other hand, who usually gave me my way, didn’t mind at all.


For my character costume, I dressed as Samantha Parkington from the American Girl books. I wore a Victorian dress, but lacking the high-button shoes I needed, I wore tights and snow boots. I paired this with a shawl my mom had worn to her high-school prom. Jenny would be Kirsten Larson, also from the American Girl series. Jenny wore a pioneer dress and styled her hair into looped braids like Kirsten’s.


That day, while we were at school, dressed as our characters, Jenny’s house burned down. Though no one was hurt, it was still a terrible loss for her family, but what spooked Jenny and me most was that the same thing had happened to Kirsten in her book. Kirsten’s house, too, had burned down. We were convinced something in the story had come to life and set fire to Jenny’s house.


Twenty-five years later, I would write a novel about stories that came to life, though this is not where I got the idea for my novel. But I think mine and Jenny’s belief that the story had come alive is probably not a unique one. Middle grade readers accept wonder in the world and in their stories in a way that adults may not. I don’t mean that they are naïve or unsophisticated. I just mean that they are able to suspend disbelief and allow themselves to be fully immersed in, as Mark Twain would say, “a good story, well told.” As Lisa Cron reminds us in her brilliant book Story Genius, we are hardwired to immerse ourselves in stories. The same parts of our brain light up when we are reading about a character experiencing something as would light up were we actually experiencing it ourselves. Doesn’t this mean stories are real on some level? But we lose this ability to suspend disbelief a bit as we get older.


As I grew older, writing kind of slid to the backburner. When I was ready to seriously pursue writing again, in college, I turned to adult fiction, which after all was literary and serious and “important.” I decided I would write the great American novel. I penned lots of stories about serious subjects like marriage and relationships and feminism and social class, the kinds of stories I read in my literature classes. Some of them I even published. But I wasn’t having fun.


Then I started my MFA, which seemed the logical next step in my writing journey. I think I was worried if I didn’t complete an MFA, I might not have the discipline to keep writing. Perhaps this should have been my first warning sign – after all, if I loved writing as much as I said I did, I shouldn’t have needed to take classes to force myself to keep writing regularly. My first year of the MFA, I started working on a very serious historical novel that required lots of research. Every sentence was like pulling teeth. I couldn’t care about my characters, their financial problems, their marriage troubles, infidelity and in-laws and the struggles of raising children. Even though the teacher was fabulous, I couldn’t wait for the class to be over so I didn’t have to work on this book anymore. Writing was becoming a chore.


At the same time, I was taking a different class on children’s books and rereading all my old favorites and lots of new ones as well: Holes and Ella Enchanted and The Tale of Despereaux and Tuck Everlasting and RL Stine. They were filled with adventure and magic and excitement. These were the kinds of books that made me fall in love with reading (and writing) in the first place. They were filled with story, pure and simple. As I read them, I couldn’t stop thinking of story ideas. I wrote stories about witches who threatened to chop off heads. I wrote stories about dolls who came to life. I wrote stories about ghosts, a haunted antique shop, an orphan in Victorian London, pirates, mermaids, fairies, and yes, even pioneers. I could write in any genre I wanted – there weren’t any “rules” other than telling a story that would resonate with child readers. I realized I did my best work when I was having fun. Once I returned to writing middle grade, the stories that had first made me a reader and then a writer, I never looked back.


Middle grade readers care about the “ emotional truth” in stories. There is more truth in Charlotte’s Web, with all its talking animals, about friendship and love and sacrifice than in many thousand-page, extensively researched and no doubt, poetically written epic tomes about, say, war. Adults read and admire these long, literary adult novels about what are no doubt important issues, but we’re not going to stay up until one in the morning, reading under the covers with a flashlight. We’re not going to dress up like characters in these stories or think about what would happen if they came to life. We’re not going to fall in love with these stories, befriend them, make them real in our minds, the way we do as children. We do this with middle grade novels.


I write middle grade because they are the stories that made me a reader. They are the stories that first stirred me to write. And they are the stories that inspire me to love writing anew every single day.


Tara Gilboy’s debut, UNWRITTEN, is available for purchase!

Visit her site for more details!

Interview With Author Mischa Thrace

Author Interview

Meet Mischa Thrace.

Author Pic.jpg


Hi Mischa! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Mischa Thrace has worked as an English teacher, a horse trainer, a baker, and a librarian and has amassed enough random skills to survive most apocalypses. (Except a spider plague – there’s no surviving that.) She lives in Middle-of-Nowhere, Massachusetts with her husband, a one-eyed dog, and a cranky cat who rarely leaves the basement. She loves tea, all things geek, and not getting ax-murdered on long walks in the woods.

Social Media Links:


The Interview.

In terms of surviving an apocalypse, besides a spider apocalypse that you mentioned in your bio, what would be the one thing you’d need with you even if it would drag you down?

My dog, no hesitation. I’d like to say she’d be an asset, but she’s 30 pounds of one-eyed-rescue-floof that hates strangers and would absolutely bark at the zombies we’d be trying to hide from. And if that didn’t get us killed, I’d starve from giving her my share of the food.

As a writer, how often do you find yourself people watching and plotting new books?

Always! The problem is when I do it out loud and when it’s for something murdery, which is more often that it probably should be!

Let loose your inner fangirl! Since you mentioned you love all things geek – what is your favorite fandom or longest fandom you have been apart of? Next share a little origin story for that.

Picking a single favorite fandom is like asking a reader to pick a single favorite book! Inconceivable! But to go with longest-running, it’s definitely Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I started watching when it premiered in 1997. I’ve lost count lost count of how many times I’ve rewatched it, and can recite a disturbing amount of the dialogue, and have given it has the most real estate in my fandom-themed tattoo. I would even go so far as to crediting it with teaching me how to write. In high school I wrote novels’ worth of fanfic and the repeated viewings of the series have definitely helped me internalize the principles of story and character arcs, along with Whedon’s dictum to “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”

Self-defense and characters that are wholly human. What was the hardest scene or character to come to terms with in My Whole Truth?

Ooh, this is a bit hard to answer without getting spoiler-y, but Seelie’s mom was probably the hardest character to write because she’s the person who we’d like to assume would be most in Seelie’s corner and she’s just… not – and anyone who has worked with kids and teens knows that this kind of poor parenting is far more common than it should be. There already a few books with similar themes to My Whole Truth that feature strong and supportive parents in the face of trauma, so I wanted to remind people that not everyone is lucky enough to have that. Tragedy can strike anyone, not just those with ideal support systems.

Did your perception of the importance of sharing the uglier sides of life in YA change throughout writing and editing My Whole Truth?

No, I’ve always been a firm believer in the importance of having books that represent the whole of the human experience, not just the Disney versions, and the harder books are often the most important.  Readers of all ages deserve to see themselves reflected in the pages of their favorite novels, but it’s equally important to read about characters who are vastly different from you. The character that one person is able to completely relate to may be another reader’s first glimpse into a world they know nothing about. Books let people experience their wildest dreams, but also their worst fears, and I will never stop believing in the need for stories that span the entire spectrum.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Remember that there is no one “right way” to be a victim. Responses to trauma are as varied as the people who experience it, and what’s ‘normal’ for one person may seem inconceivable to the next. Everyone has secrets and stories they don’t share with the world and you can never know what war someone is fighting while they serve you coffee, sit in your class, or bag your groceries. Be cognizant of that and wary of placing value on only certain types of responses or certain types of victims. The world can be a scary place, but a bit of compassion can go a long way to making it better.


Bonus Fun

Mischa Thrace shares 10 fun facts!

The Weird, Not-Third-Person, Stuff

1. I can sculpt cool things out of chocolate. A useless but tasty talent!

2. I’m a big fan of recreational violence – I studied mixed martial arts and would love to try roller derby.

3. I can quote disturbing amounts of Joss Whedon’s oeuvre.

4. I have a plethora of extra internal organs.

5. My favorite random fact is that the center of our galaxy tastes like raspberries and smells like rum.

6. I have specific mugs dedicated to certain drinks during certain activities. It’s a problem.

7. I love bats and opossums

8. I could happily live on carbs and cheese.

9. I hate having my picture taken more than anything in the world.

10. Despite being cameraphobic, I would love to ‘play’ a corpse on crime show.


Thank you Mischa!


Thrace’s book, My Whole Truth, comes out October 2, 2018!

Are you ready?


my whole truth cover.jpg

Interview With Candace Robinson

Author Interview, Misc.

vZycYyXb_400x400.jpgMeet Candace Robinson.

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words. When she’s not writing, she’s reading books and traveling to those places where she wants more than anything to truly go. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.

Social media links
Website: http://authorcandacerobinson.wordpress.com
Blog: http://literarydust.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/literarydust
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/literarydust/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/literarydust


The Interview

Hello from a fellow book reviewer and blogger! How did you get involved in the bookish community?
I actually hadn’t read much since back in school. I remember seeing the second Hunger Games movie and how it ended on a cliffhanger. I was like, nooooo! I had to know what happened, so I picked up the book series back in 2014. After reading it, I need more, so I started constantly picking up books to read.
Tell us the creation story of your blog, Literary Dust.
I developed a love of reading, and I wanted others to be able to see what I’ve read and what I thought. But just because I like or don’t like something doesn’t mean someone should have to read it or decide not to pick it up. I think if a book has a bad review, don’t let it push you away from trying it out for yourself.
What has your writing experience been so far – from the good, the bad, the ugly, and the success?
Writing has been quite the journey. I never knew how long it exactly it takes to create a book, but it’s a lot. Really, everyone deserves a five just for all they have to do. The worse part is reviews—I don’t read them. If it’s bad, I will go and hide into my shell for days. So I can’t do that to myself lol.
Tell us about your average (or maybe not so average) day of writing, reviewing, and general plotting to take over a favorite book world.
During the summer, it is pretty non-existent because my daughter is home from school. But during the school year, I basically read a little, then I’ll try and write a minimum of 2,000 words, and then read or write reviews.
How has your writing process changed from your first novel till your current series in progress?
I still don’t technically do an outline. I write the important stuff down and just get to writing. If I tried to do an outline, I’d never write the story. I’d have writer’s block!
I see you have multiple works in progress, how do you juggle it all and keep the stories separate?
That part is actually easy for me. Once, I start reading my character, I can hop right back into their minds! That may change in the future, though!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Reading is an escape for all of us, just try and enjoy the ride when you read other people’s stories. And if it’s not for you? Then it’s not for you.

Interview With Author Valerie Roeseler

Author Interview

Meet Valerie Roeseler.

Author Valerie Roeseler.jpg

Valerie Roeseler is a #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of The Helio Trilogy. Her debut novel, Midnight Divine, is the first book in the trilogy. It was released in April of 2016 and was praised by Insite Magazine for its intense action and complex love triangle. Many others have compared the trilogy to the movies Constantine and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider rolled into one universe.

Valerie has the determination of a queen bee. When left to her own devices, she tends to forget that sleep is a necessity. She began writing as a child, creating fantastical stories with villainous animals on her toy typewriter. In her teenage years, her poetry writing was kept a secret before she wrote music, transforming them into lyrics. Her early inspirations came from her obsession with Greek and Egyptian mythology, as well as British literature from the Neoclassical period. Born in Austin, she is a native of the great state of Texas, raised in the outskirts of Houston. She is an enthusiast of art, music, tattoos, coffee, and wine. When not writing, she is an Executive Creative Art Director/CEO of Eden Elements Publishing. She has over two decades of playing guitar, which led to writing music for personal pleasure. She has five tattoos, each with their own significant stories behind them. Being a mother of two, if coffee had not been invented, the world would stop spinning. After a long day of chasing deadlines and toddlers, a nice glass of fine wine helps relax her creative mind.

Author Links:
Website:  www.valerieroeseler.com
Newsletter:  www.valerieroeseler.com/newsletter-sign-up
Amazon:  www.amazon.com/Valerie-Roeseler/e/B01B2E9PU8
Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/14916874.Valerie_Roeseler
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorvalerieroeseler
Facebook Group Team Roeseler:  www.facebook.com/groups/1586602924996284
Instagram:  www.instagram.com/teamroeseler
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/teamroeseler
Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/teamroeseler

The Interview.

How did you first get attached to writing paranormal stories?

a) Even as a child, the supernatural world fascinated me. I have always loved the idea there could be more in the world we don’t perceive, hidden behind a veil of secrecy. Do I believe in the paranormal and things I write about? To an extent, yes. I believe anything is possible.

What do you struggle with as a writer to overcome based on current societal biases when it comes to books and book content?

a) The Helio Trilogy is based on Christian beliefs of a Heaven, Hell, Fallen Angels, the Apocalypse, and the constant war between good and evil. Though these concepts were expounded fanatically in The Helio Trilogy, I wanted to remain respectful of other cultures and beliefs, just as I do in my personal life. Not once are the words ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’ used. Instead, they are referred to as Paradise (a common idea of what Heaven should be) and Sheol (the word used in the Hebrew bible that represents Hell). I didn’t want the focus to be on religion. The Helio Trilogy is not about religion in any way, shape or form. It’s about the personal struggle to be the perfect being society expects you to be and accepting the fact everyone is fallible. It’s about embracing your mistakes and flaws and being proud of who you are, because that’s what makes each of us the amazing beings we are. That’s why the tagline for the third book in the trilogy, Vermilion Horizon, is, “True Beauty and Strength Come from Scars of Darkness.” It is not until a being can embrace their imperfections and downfalls will they be able to conquer their journey.

How do you spin the trope of light vs dark in your stories?

a) This is one of the reasons I wrote The Helio Trilogy! I read a lot of Young and New Adult Urban Fantasies. While I loved many of them, I felt I hadn’t found the one book I was looking for that would connect with my soul. When I began writing the first book in the trilogy, Midnight Divine, it truly clicked in my mind what had been missing. I made it my mission to settle my soul with The Helio Trilogy. The key to the story was to write characters that not only were lovable, but relatable. Too many stories these days clearly define whether their characters are good or evil. Most of the time, the main character, who is always the hero/heroine of the story is too good. We love them…but they’re not relatable. They are not realistic.

The main character of The Helio Trilogy, Ivy Harris, is not your typical heroine. She is not sweet or righteous or so perfect it makes you want to puke. That is what people love about her. She curses, drinks, struggles with right and wrong, and has a temper to be reckoned with. On the other hand, she is compassionate, loving, loyal, protective, and genuinely sympathetic. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not always tough. She has fears, heartache, self-doubt, and overwhelming indecision. But Ivy Harris is the perfect balance of flawless imperfection. She struggles with darkness. She struggles with light. The best thing about her is she learns to balance both and creates a cohesive relationship with others who struggle with one or the other.

The point is, darkness and light are not two completely ends of a spectrum. There is a gray area. It is where we accept the darkness and the light within us and utilize it to become something greater than what is expected of us.

What was your favorite part about writing The Helio Trilogy and later companion short stories that come out this year?

a) The research that went into creating The Helio World was quite the feat. I took past and present myths and gave them their own spin that connected so well, it is logically believable. I also did a lot of research for the action scenes. My husband thought I was insane the first time I asked him if I could try a hand-to-hand combat move on him to see if it was being conveyed understandably in my writing. With the companion short stories, I loved being able to give my readers the backstories of the main characters while also providing a sequel that gives the sense of completion. It was bittersweet to write the last words of Ashes of Paradise, yet it left me able to breathe, knowing The Helio World is at peace, resting for the next adventure.

I have to ask… are there any villainous animal characters in your current trilogy that reflect on your stories you wrote as a child?

a) It is so funny you ask that! Nobody has thought to ask me this before. Yes, there is a villainous animal character in The Helio Trilogy that reflects on stories I wrote as a child. When I was a child, I was obsessed with The Neverending Story. Gmork is the evil, black dog in that movie. I feared that dog more than ‘The Nothing’ when I was a kid. I wrote about overpowering him when I was a kid. In The Helio Trilogy, there is a hellhound named Sasha. She is based on Gmork.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers today?

a) The Helio Trilogy is an epic story with many characters who have a past connection of how they ended up together. The companion novel, Ashes of Paradise: A Novel in Stories (The Helio Chronicles), gives the backstories of those characters while also answering a mysterious event from the end of the trilogy. It should not be read before the trilogy as it would ruin so many things for the reader. The thing I love the most about Ashes of Paradise is the way it connects with The Helio Trilogy in a full circle.
I do not plan on continuing stories based in The Helio World. Though, it is not an impossibility. I purposefully gave Ashes of Paradise the series titleThe Helio Chronicles for two reasons. One, being it is a chronicle of events from many of the characters lives. And two, because it leaves it open for me to write more of The Helio World if the time ever arises. For now, I am focusing on the release of Ashes of Paradise. I am also in the planning stages of a new series. If you want to stay up to date, you can join the Facebook group “Team Roeseler”. Team Roeseler members are my VIPs. Before anyone else, they know about events and giveaways, see teasers and excerpts, and have the opportunity to beta read material. They hear news and updates first.

The Helio Trilogy (Volumes 1-3) are available in a single eBook on Amazon Kindle and is free if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership.

Ashes of Paradise: A Novel in Stories (The Helio Chronicles) releases on July 6, 2018.