Ellwyn’s Blog

Interview With Neighborhood Books Owner

Founded in 2013, Neighborhood Books is an independently owned secondhand bookstore at 1906 South Street, Philadelphia, PA.

The owner, Curtis Kise, a witty and well-read bibliophile, has spent 25 years in the used book trade. He began his career in the early 2000s when he opened Book Traders in Portland, Maine.

At heart, Kise is fond of traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores and believes they still have value for the community. However, if pressed, he’ll ruefully admit that in 15 years or so, people may refer to a bookshop as an antique store.

Neighborhood Books is open seven days a week from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Curtis, let’s get to know more about him and Neighborhood Books.

Hello, Curtis, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What motivated you to open an Independent Book Store?

I’ve been in the used book business since 1988, starting at the Book Trader when it was at 5th and South Streets, with 7 years off for good behavior, optioning a screenplay in 1995.

Neighborhood Books is the second used bookshop that I’ve owned, my first being Booktraders in Portland, Maine, which opened in 2002.

Then back to the Book Trader, and stints with the Friends of the Free Library and Ukazoo Books, before opening Neighborhood Books in 2013.

Photo courtesy of: Neighborhood Books via Facebook

Can you tell us a little about Neighborhood Books?

Neighborhood Books is primarily a used bookstore focusing on the humanities, with a large selection of literature/fiction, philosophy and history, among other subject matters.

We do sell select brand new books, a cross section of current bestsellers and classic titles like 1984, One Hundred Years of Solitude, the Handmaid’s Tale to name a few.

We also sell our author and title inspired t-shirts along with some ephemera at authorshirts.com

Photo courtesy of: Neighborhood Books

What’s involved with running an independent bookstore?

Dedication, knowledge and experience.

Is competition with online retailers difficult?

Yes and no. We do sell some books online, subjects that we don’t sell in store.

How do small book stores compete with Amazon and Barnes & Noble?

The online platform that we use is Amazon. A used bookstore like ours has to have new bookstores like Barnes and Noble to replenish the herd, as it were, they don’t scare us.

What makes your store unique?

The personality of the owner and the store’s clientele.

What are your biggest sellers?

Literature/fiction – all genres except romance.

Do you have promotions throughout the year?

Right now we have a store-wide buy 3 books and get a 4th free which may become a permanent thing.

Do you have author book signings?


What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Write every day.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you and your store?

We are open 359 days a year, closed major holidays.

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was one of the best reading experiences of my life. I really like Richard Russo and Joan Didion. 

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

We are on Facebook as Neighborhood Books, and Instagram as @NeighborhoodBooks and our above mentioned website authorshirts.com.

Thank you, Curtis, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you and Neighborhood Books continued success and lots of luck!

Interview With A Novel Idea Book Store Owners

Established in 2018, A Novel Idea, is a community-minded bookstore and event space in the Passyunk section of Philadelphia, PA. Everything from paperbacks to board games to candles can be found on the floors of this eclectic book haven.

The owners, Alexander Schneider and Christina Rosso-Schneider, are friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help you find your way through their labyrinth of books and other specialty merchandise.

As they seek to represent their community, the couple welcomes suggestions from everyone who visits the store. They want their shelves to reflect the interests of all their patrons.

An author in her own right, Christina, also wants the bookstore to be a hub where local authors, artisans and readers can connect. Each month, the shop offers a calendar of diverse and innovative events that is sure to please a variety of interests.

The store is open from 11am to 7pm Wednesday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm on Sundays and 3pm to 7pm Tuesdays.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Alex and Christina, let’s get to know a little more about them and A Novel Idea.

Hello, Alex and Christina, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having us.

What motivated you to open an Independent Book Store?

The idea for the bookstore grew out of frustration of where we both were with our jobs.

Christina was an adjunct writing professor at three universities in the Greater Philadelphia area, and Alex was working as a freelance graphic designer and Twitch affiliate.

We felt underappreciated, underpaid, and exhausted. We also were fighting to get time together!

One night Alexander suggested we open a bookstore in jest, and the more we thought about it, the more we realized it could be a great opportunity to do something together and give our neighborhood a type of retail it’s been missing.

Christina always dreamed of owning and working in a bookstore, and we thought it was the perfect way to blend our passions and talents.

Photo courtesy of: Alex and Christina Schneider

Can you tell us a little about A Novel Idea?

A Novel Idea is a community-minded bookstore and event space with a focus on local authors and artisans. We host several events weekly, from open mics to author readings to book clubs and story times. We even have workshops.

Our focus is local, so we have a large section featuring books published in Philadelphia or written by Philadelphia-based writers. We have artwork on the walls by local artists and carry handmade goods by local artists. (Author request form.)

What’s involved with running an independent book store?

Long hours and a ton of reading! Right now, the two of us are the only employees at A Novel Idea. We’re open six days a week, with events sometimes as often as every night!

So we both put it over 40 hours a week physically at the shop, greeting customers, stocking the shelves, ordering inventory, social media, booking, managing, and running events, etc.

Alex also does all of our branding for the store, so often when he’s not at the shop, he’s working on a graphic for an upcoming event or workshop.

We also have to keep up to date with soon to be released titles or upcoming adaptations of books. Together we read about a dozen books a month so we are as up to date as possible.

Photo courtesy of: A Novel Idea

Is competition with online retailers difficult?

We don’t consider it to be a competition because we know we can never compete with online retailers. We are offering a different experience, one of one-on-one attention and book suggestions.

We take dozens of special orders each week, which luckily we’re able to fulfill pretty quickly (anywhere from a few days to a week usually). We have many customers who say, “I want to support a local business,” and are okay with waiting a few days to get the title they’re looking for.

How do small book stores compete with Amazon and Barnes & Noble?

People are getting nostalgic for spaces where you can actually talk to people and physically touch books. Because, sure you could do that at Barnes and Noble and there’s nothing wrong with Barnes and Noble, but that’s not a personal feel.

And then there’s Amazon, of course. We think people are starting to say, “I’m tired of always being on my phone and always having a screen in front of me and not actually interacting with people.”

And since it’s literally just the two of us working the store people will get to know us and what our backgrounds are and what our interests are. Then, we hope, through that, we’ll learn about their backgrounds and their interests, too.

What makes your store unique?

Our focus on local definitely makes us stand out. There aren’t a lot of bookstores that carry small press or local authors, especially with a large section dedicated specifically to them.

Our events also make us unique. In the first year, we will have hosted over 200 events.

We primarily host author events, but we also have two monthly book clubs, a monthly open mic, witchcraft workshops, writing workshops, a monthly tarot salon, toddler story time, live music events, and even theatre performances.

We are constantly trying to think of new events to host at the space to continue to support and connect with the community.

What are your biggest sellers?

Our best-selling novel is The Vampire Gideon’s Suicide Hotline and Halfway House for Orphaned Girls by Andrew Katz (published by local press Lanternfish).

Our second most popular book is The Power by Naomi Alderman.

Do you have promotions throughout the year?

Yes, we periodically have various promotions, usually tied to a holiday or festival in the area.

Do you have author book signings?

We do! As mentioned above, we have author events pretty much every week. We primarily feature local authors.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

To get to know your local independent bookstores and literary community. It’s the best way to make connections and to get your work out there.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you and your store?

More than anything, our goal is to cultivate community. This means we want to meet you! We want to get to know who your favorite authors are and what kind of events you want to see at A Novel Idea.

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

Christina’s favorite book is The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

Alex’s favorite book is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes! Our website is: https://anovelideaphilly.com/. Our Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/anovelideaphilly/. Our Instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/anovelideaphilly/. Our Twitter is: https://twitter.com/anovelideaphl.

Thank you, Alex and Christina, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you and A Novel Idea continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: A Novel Idea

Interview With Book Store Owner Joseph Russakoff

In the technological age when large retailers encourage buying brand new products, usable items are readily abandoned and lost to us.

From cars to phones to diet trends, the shelf life of merchandise gets shorter each year due to upgrades and other attention seeking advertisements. Books are no exception; millions of new books replace short-lived titles each year.

It’s reassuring that some people recognize the value of information and insight  wrapped up in the covers of used books. How can we understand where we are if we don’t consider what our predecessors wisely wrote for prosperity?

It’s important to look to the future but we mustn’t overlook the cumulative lessons of those who came before us.

Mostly Books, owned and operated by Joseph Russakoff, is an independent bookstore in Philadelphia, PA that respects the treasure trove of old stories and non-fiction books many people still circle back to.

Located in a series of 19th century workshops, they sell 50,000+ used books, dvds, cds, lps. They also swap books!

Now that I’ve told a little about Mostly Books, let’s get to know the owner a little better.

Hello, Joseph, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What prompted you to open an Independent Book Store?

Social anxiety about working in an office setting, also political considerations. I was expecting by this time we would all be living in communes making solar collectors to barter for tofu.

Things didn’t turn out that way. The next best thing was to open a used bookstore.

Can you tell us a little about Mostly Books?

It has a lot of books; a mixture of thousands of people’s treasured books that they don’t have room for anymore. People often comment that they can feel the spirits of the former owners.

What’s involved with running an independent book store?

The main thing is being able to tell the difference between boring books and interesting books. I realized early on it’s a talent that most people don’t have. The other thing is learning to endure sometimes long periods of deep poverty.

Is competition with online retailers difficult?

They have their lane and I have mine. 

What makes your store unique?

It is pretty much the way everything was, not just bookstores, before the age of the internet. You go through and look for yourself.

More people than you find the helpful hints from Amazon and Facebook intrusive. We won’t make any suggestions unless you ask. And even then we probably won’t.

What are your biggest sellers?

Spooky stuff. Ethnic stuff. Pop culture. 

Do you have promotions throughout the year?

No. We’re a bookstore, not a social club.

Do you have author book signings?

Not in years.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Don’t be corny.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you and your store?

You have to like browsing through books to understand the store. You will be confused if you come with a list of ISBN numbers and expect for me to look them up on a computer.

That’s another thing, our inventory isn’t computerized. You come and look, and find a lot of stuff if you have a curious mind.

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

At this point in my life I am too scatterbrained to focus on one author, although I do like history.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?


Thank you, Joseph, for taking the time to share your story with us. We wish you and Mostly Books continued success and lots of luck!

Interview With Author/Teacher Anthony Manna

Anthony Manna is a retired professor of literacy development- reading, writing, drama and other language arts. He is also an author of picture books and a collection of folk tales and fairy tales.

He loves books of all kinds, whether paper and electronic. He can’t get enough. He also loves writing and helping other writers.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Anthony, let’s get to know him a little better.

Hello, Anthony, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

Why did you become a teacher?

I was drawn to teaching as a profession because of instructors I had the pleasure of working with when I was in a Catholic seminary.

From them I learned just how valuable a teacher can be in helping young people grow mentally and spiritually while learning how to make sense of human experience—mine and others.

In the seminary and later in a monastery, I gained my first awareness of the value of embracing human diversity, civil rights, and social justice.

What grade did you teach?

Teaching hooked me when I was an aide in a Head Start classroom many years ago.

Following my seminary experience, I became an English literature major, then onto a master’s degree in English Education a.k.a. the language arts. After a three-year teaching gig in Istanbul, Turkey, I worked on a Ph.D., again with a focus on English language arts teaching and learning and drama as a learning medium. 

Along the way, I taught language arts in a preschool, middle school, and high school. And I loved the interactions, the connections with students, and all the learning I was doing about reaching our to students to motivate them to become confident, skilled readers and writers.

When I moved into the university, in addition to teaching children’s, tween, and teen literature, and courses in writing—always with future and veteran teachers and their students as my primary audiences—I developed research projects that brought me into classrooms where I collaborated with teachers to explore activities that encouraged kids and teens to love reading and writing as they gained their proficiency.

Eventually, I totally lucked out and was invited to teach teachers in Greece and Albania. Those were life-changing experiences that awakened me to cultural experiences outside my comfort zone.

How has your teaching experience influenced your writing?

As a writer, I draw on many life experiences. As I continued teaching and researching at the university, I got deeper and deeper into the styles and manners of many literary texts, particularly texts that explored cultural diversity. Literature of many genres consumed me.

In the back of my mind I wondered if I would ever try my hand—and mind—at crafting a story. You see, as a university educator I was obliged to either publish or perish, so I kept my job and did a lot of academic publishing.

But writing stories or poems or plays? That seemed the kind of writing reserved for folks with special talent and skills. Ones, I imagined, I didn’t possess.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I ventured into writing stories because of my experience in a kindergarten in Greece. I had gone to Greece on a grant from my university. The grant directed me to teach and conduct research in the education department at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.

What better way to learn about Greek culture than in a school. Into a kindergarten I went to collaborate with two very fine Greek teachers whose English language skills allowed them to help me navigate life in their classroom.

When story time rolled around each day, these kids stepped into the worlds of myths I was very familiar with. Worlds inhabited by Zeus, Demester, Atlas, Helios, Athena, Artemis, Icarus and other personages in that population of intriguing characters.

But then I found myself in a fascinating story world filled with giants, rival step-parents, charming princes and princesses, struggling brothers, nasty goblins, mysterious asking spirits, and the like. These stories were Greek folk and fairy tales.

With a Greek colleague, I researched these stories, translated them into English, and reimagined them for English speakers. That launched the Greek Folklore Project and my debut as a story writer.

Which genres do you write?

So far, my books are reimagined folk and fairy tales. Notice, please, how I avoid the more common term when it comes to working with these tales, the word, “retelling.”

I soon learned that the process of writing involved so much more than a mere “retelling.” It involves shaping a narrative just the way any story writer does it.

The labor of developing authentic characters in space and time conflicting, struggling, losing, winning—whatever characters do to live a life and survive—or not.

With my most recent book, Loukas and the Game of Chance, I reimagined a Greek tale of loss, struggle, and the search for redemption into a middle grade/middle school fantasy, which draws on some characteristics of the source tale, but moves into story territory far beyond the source’s economic narrative.

I invented characters and situations that turn the tale into a full-bodied fantasy driven by suspense.

What do you find most challenging writing for your genre?

This is a question kids like to ask when I visit them in their schools. I tell them my challenge is to sustain trust in myself as a writer once I’m engaged.

I struggle to step away from those pesky inner voices which tell me the writing is bad or too simple or utterly uninteresting. Whenever these voices talk to me, I tell them, “Don’t disturb me. You’re not my business anymore. Leave me alone.”

Then I move on, staying with the process and always reminding myself that writing is rewriting, that drafts are rough, and that if I keep working at it, something satisfying may emerge. Writing is a discipline. I need to discipline myself to keep writing. And it can be a labor of love.

What are you working on now?

These days, I’m working with a book marketer as I move toward the release of Loukas and the Game of Chance on October 1, 2019.

Folks—kids included—are surprised when they hear about the social media outreach authors must engage in these days if they want to make their books and themselves known.

With a book marketer, I’m learning to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and other social media platforms. I’m learning about the best content I can come up with to draw attention to myself and my new book.

You’ll hear a lot of writers—myself included—complain about the time social media activity takes, and that means the writing must be set aside temporarily. Complain and then accept outreach as a reality of a writer’s life these days.

In the little time that remains to write, I am working on two stories. Anthousa Xanthousa Chrisomalousa (a young female character’s name) is a variation of Rapunzel.

The Imposter is a tale of deception, intrigue, and the struggle the main character engages in as he tries to salvage his true identity from his enemy who stole it.

How many books have you written?

As an academic writer, I published several books—and many articles— about multicultural literature, teaching strategies, educational drama, and approaches to teaching writing.

As a story writer, I have co-authored Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale (Anne Schwartz/Atheneum), The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece (Schwarts & Wade/Random House), and Folktales from Greece: A Treasury of Delights (CLIO/Libraries Unlimited).

My solo book is Loukas and the Game of Chance which will be released October 1, 2019.

Have you won any awards?

My book awards:

Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale (Anne Schwartz/Atheneum, 1997), co-authored with Soula Mitakidou, illustrated by Giselle Potter~

American Library Association Notable Children’s Book

Selected among one hundred best books of the year by the New York Public Library

Recipient of the 1997 Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for first-time authors and illustrators. 

The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece (Schwartz & Wade/Random House, 2011)co-authored with Soula Mitakidou, illustrated by Giselle Potter~ is a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of 2012.

Loukas and the Game of Chance, illustrated by Donald Babisch—2019 Book Excellence Award Finalist.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

School visits are exciting and rewarding. I enjoy introducing kids and teens to my drafts while I’m in the process of composing, revising, and revising again. I do this with PowerPoint slides.

During these presentations, I like to dramatize my characters, using the voices I hear them speaking as I write.

Each presentation ends with a writing activity that I often assign to the groups I work with, giving them a few days to complete the assignment with their teacher’s assistance, of course.

When I return to the school, it’s time for the students to share their writing in small groups and also as solo presentations.

One successful writing prompt I’ve been using lately asks them to write a story based on this idea: …And they lived happily ever after…or did they?…What might happen when “happily ever after” turns into “…and they lived happily ever after until… …something really bad or strange happened?”

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Read, read, read books in the types of literature you like—mystery, suspense, realism, poetry, short stories, humorous stories, plays, fantasy, science fiction—whatever interests you.

Then, reach out and read beyond your comfort zone. Talk to teachers, parents, librarians and friends and ask them for recommendations.

Learn the craft of writing from good teachers, workshop presenters in local libraries, and in summer writing camps.

There are also many good books that help writers to develop their craft. Books like Leap Write In: Adventures in Creative Writing (Roost Books, 2013) and Rip the Page: Adventures in Creative Writing (Roost 2010)—both wonderfully interactive guides by Karen Benke.

What message are you sharing in your books?

Sooner or later, we all make mistakes, fail, and experience tough times, but we all can find the courage to face our struggles, persevere, survive, and turn our life around. 

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

In the summer, in my garden. I also spend a lot of time at the local gym in spinning, pilates, aerobic classes.

And I love all kinds of theatrical presentations—local and in New York, one of favorite cities. Theater is about life. Theater teaches me a lot about how to live and also how not to live.

I’m glad that I once pursued a career in acting—it was like living in stories that I presented to audiences with other characters in the stories.

What are your favorite books?

Oh, my favorites could fill a notebook or two.

Right now my favorites are Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson, Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners by Naomi Shihab Nye, Crossover by Kwame Alexander, The Day the Universe Exploded My Head: Poems to Take You into Space and Back Again by Allan Wolf, and Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Classics I love to read and reread are the Harry Potter books, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine Engle, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, Holes by Louis Sachar, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and all the tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.

On your website you have educational materials for teachers. Can you tell us a little about them?

My website @ www.anthonymannabooks.com is filled with supportive resources for parents, teachers, kids, tweens, and teens.

They’ll find word games and activities that encourage active participation in reading and writing.

They’ll also find videos; lists of recommended books, including award-winning graphic novels for kids, tweens, and teen; links to websites for readers and writers; lots of printable and downloadable teaching and learning aids; and kids’ written responses to my school visits.

I also like to recommend Reading With Your Kids (www.readingwithyourskids.com). It’s a lively interactive website that features award-winning podcast interviews with authors and illustrators—mine will be available mid-September—book-buying programs, truly interesting blogs about reading and reading with kids, and fun activities.

What social media platforms do you frequent?

I am active on the following platforms:


Where can we find your books?

While Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale (Anne Schwartz/Atheneum) and The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece (Schwarts & Wade/Random House) are out of print, copies are available on amazon.com and in libraries.

Folktales from Greece: A Treasury of Delights (CLIO/Libraries Unlimited)—a collection of twenty stories and information about Greece’s history, storytelling, and foolklore— is available wherever books are sold and from the publisher at www.abc-clio.com.

Thank you, Anthony, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck.

Loukas and the Game of Chance by Anthony L. Manna, Illustrated by Donald Babisch (Mascot Books, 2019). Synopsis:

A reimagined Greek folktale, Loukas and the Game of Chance is the story of  a flute-playing boy who befriends a magical talking, dancing snake. The snake bestows fortune and favor upon Loukas, but some years later, tempted by greed and pride, Loukas loses all his riches and even his family. He now must embark on a treacherous journey filled with suspense and intrigue to find Destiny, the Sun, and the Moon. They’ll surely allow him to reverse his misfortune, restore his honor, and win back all that he loves and treasures, won’t they?

The story is illuminated by ten pen and ink drawings. 

Magic Beans Book Store Owner Leat Regwan

Leat Regwan is a passionate giver. As a mother she understands how important reading to young children is. She believes this so strongly she uses her platform MagicBeans Bookstore to help underprivileged kids get their own books.

Leat’s online bookstore reviews and promotes self-published children’s books. She believes Indepenent Authors’ books have value and deserve as much recognition as those published by the traditional publishing houses.

Thanks, Leat!

Now that I’ve introduced you to Leat, let’s get to know her a littler better.

Hello, Leat, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What motivated you to open an Independent Book Store?

My husband is an optometrist by day and children’s author any other time,  and when he self-published his first two books I saw that it was another full-time job just to market and promote the books he worked so hard to publish. 

I knew he wasn’t the only one going through this so I wanted to help Indie authors and have a place where self-published books had a home and were supported and promoted, that’s where my motivation started from.  

Can you tell us a little about the MagicBeans Store?

Sure. MagicBeans spelled one word is an online children’s bookstore that supports the Indie author and Illustrator. We showcase self-published books only and most importantly we have a huge mission to promote literacy in under-served communities.

We do this by providing new books (most signed by the author asan extra perk) to children who don’t have any books at home, for some these books are the very first ones they have ever owned.

What’s involved with running an independent book store?

There’s lots involved especially when mostly everything falls on me. We are constantly looking for good books to put on our bookstore, always finding new ways to promote our site to increase traffic/visitors.

Since we are an online store, there is much maintenance with database work such as uploading books and reviewing books, we run contests every month and do lots of promotional events like our recent Mom’s Choice Award webinar, podcasts, etc.

Is competition with online retailers difficult?

I believe we are the only online Indie Children’s bookstore, especially one with a mission. Most of our books are linked to Amazon so we are not in direct competition with Amazon or Barnes & Noble, we are simply another platform for the reader to search for books, especially when they are looking for diverse unique books that are not your typical cookie cutter “traditionally publishedbooks.

MagicBeans is a place where you can be sure to find a unique and diverse book. You will support Indie authors and artists while taking part in a great cause. The reader can also buy a book and have it shipped to our address to be donated. People love to buy something if they know it is also making a difference.

What makes your store unique?

I believe we are unique because we focus on Independence and self-published books as well as providing authors another platform to market their books. In addition, we are also making a difference in under-served children, even if it is one book at a time.

What are your biggest sellers?

I believe the best sellers are those books that talk about tough issues and also books that have a positive message.

Do you have promotions throughout the year?

Yes, we do have promotions for our authors during different times of the year like 50% off membership rates.  

Do you have author book events?

We do a “Book of the Month” contest every month for our members, the winner gets lots of perks such as a newsletter emailed to lots of readers featuring their book, a home page spread on our bookstore, a YouTube interview, stickers and lots of cool things to promote their book.

We will do more on-site book events in the future for sure.

What advice would you give to independent authors just starting out?

I would tell them that if they are passionate about writing and about children, then to keep going and never give up. I would also tell them not to just do it for money or to say that they have a “published book” out in the world. You really have to do this because you love it.

And one more thing if you are going to self publish abook then really invest in a good illustrator because people and children are visual and if the illustrations are not great, then chances are your book won’t sell the way you want it to.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you and your store?

Yes, I want to let all readers, parents, teachers and educators to know that they can go to MagicBeans Bookstore and find books about bullying, self esteem, diversity, anxiety, death and so many important topics that children are dealing with in today’s world.  

When they buy a book through our website instead of going directly to Amazon, they are supporting Independence and they are also helping us to promote literacy in underprivileged communities. 

The more authors we have on our bookstore and the more readers that support their books, the more books we can donate to children. It all goes hand in hand.   

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

One of my all time favorite children’s books is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein and my husband’s first children’s book called “The Adventures of Pugley Bear, Home Sweet Home” by Sol Regwan… Okay fine I am a bit biased. Lol. 

I also just finished “Girl Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis and really enjoyed it! I am also a huge Dr. Seuss fan and love all things Dr. Seuss, and lastly I love all the authors and books that are in our bookstore, I just adore them!

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes, our website is www.magicbeansbookstore.com and you can currently find us on Facebook, Instagram and newly to Pinterest. We also have a YouTube channel called “Solster Nation” https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCClrUw-dQfKoCkAUaZPhp7Q where our books are reviewed in a fun and entertaining way for children.

Thank you, Leat, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you and MagicBeans Bookstore continued success and lots of luck!

Interview With Author Scott Pixello

The man, the myth, the mystery, Scott Pixello is an enigma. Despite writing more than 15 books, there are no pictures of him anywhere on social media.

A writer by night, no one knows where he spends his days; probably in a coffee shop sipping on a cup of joe (black, no cream or sugar, of course) and people watching for character traits he can use in his books.

He claims to have a job somewhere, but does he really?

Scott’s dry wit and unflinching sarcasm, are droll and thought-provoking. His facebook page introduction states he’s a Brit, so I’m guessing he lives somewhere in the UK.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Scott, let’s get to know him a little better, or at least try to.

Hello, Scott, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

Too many experiences to pinpoint one. The advent of self-publishing meant that you could publish more than one book a year (the traditional model) and have great control over the process. It’s cheaper than therapy.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Ha, ha. Oh, you’ re serious. Er, no. I have a day-job that sucks energy and my will to live and I write at night. It’s not a healthy way to live. I may very well die soon from sleep deprivation.

How long have you been writing?

This interview? Only about 10 minutes. It seems longer.

Have you won any awards?

Cycling Proficiency and 50m backstroke (but I cheated & touched the bottom- not of the pool, of this girl I fancied).

How many books have you written?

22 + a box-set, as Scott Pixello. As the Real Me, seven other non-fiction titles (serious stuff that’s on uni reading lists).

Which genres do you write? 

All of them. Except zombie-western-romance-thriller. At least, not yet.

There’s something for everyone in the Pixelloverse. Those needing help with studies (Shakespeare: A Boy’s Tale), anyone expecting or dealing with children (The A-Z of Kids), fans of romance (What Love Can Do), sci-fi (Losers in Space), detective fiction (Shirley Burly),

historical fiction (Jesus: The Wilderness Years or any of the Keith Ramsbottom series, now in six parts), anyone needing a lift (Gothic Girl or Luke, I am Your Father), lovers of animals (Rainbow), fans of short-form humour (Random I, II & III) or anyone who’s too clever for their own good (Smart School), need look no further.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

Putting the right words in the right order. And making my craptop work.

What are you working on now?

Tippety top secret. World exclusive- it is set in mainland Europe & features a spot of time-travel, which I haven’t done before.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

alcohol, chocolate & cakes. Or as I call it, breakfast.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

I had one of my non-fic books translated into Chinese, which was quite cool but I just enjoy getting feedback from readers who are often surprised that my books make them think and laugh.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Do this because you enjoy it, not to find fame & fortune, as statistically, that’s very unlikely.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I can do a passable moonwalk.

What message are you sharing in your books?

Buy. My. Other. Books.

What are your favorite books/authors?

This is all set out in mind-numbing, I mean mind-blowing detail in Random I-III.  Right now, I’m revisiting E.M. Forster, Thomas Harris and Matt Haig for reasons that may become apparent later in the year.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

You can’t find me when I am writing, so you’ve no chance of finding me when I’m not. I’m on a witless protection programme.  There are no images of me anywhere on the Net. I am an International Man of Mystery.

A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?

Depends which book but I’d probably be big chief script honcho. Either that or I’d do all the stunt double work for the sex scenes.

An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?

I would say, ‘Hi dad.’

Where can we find your books?

With 22 books, plus a box-set, there could be a link mountain here. Best to look at the website or just look me up on Google or Amazon.


I’m not sure that there’s such a thing as a typical Pixello book, except there’s probably a certain comedic sensibility, British English spelling and always a character who hates Chris de Burgh. I think that’s the least you should offer your readers.

Thank you, Scott, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!