Bookstore signHave you always had bookstores nearby? Were they important to you before you started to write?

In the small Wisconsin town where I grew up, we had no bookstore and the time was before Amazon. I lived with my grandparents until I was ten so I had to wait for my mom or my aunt to visit. I’d beg them to take me to a larger nearby town so I could buy some books. Since their visits were once every month or two, I ended up re-reading the books several times. My cousins brought over the comic books they didn’t want anymore, but comic books didn’t interest me like books did.

My mom remarried and she had me move with them to Milwaukee about an hour and a half away from my grandparents. What I liked the best was that I could walk to a bookstore. I spent every summer lugging books home to read. In sixth grade, I started writing short stories. My teacher took one of them home to read because I was writing during his lecture. It was on my desk the next morning with not a written or a verbal word about it. I guessed that he didn’t like it or maybe he didn’t bother to read it. I decided he took the story to discipline me so I’d stop writing and pay attention to him.

I continued to write at home, after graduation, after I got married, and after I got pregnant. By that time, I had a large box, about the size for a big TV, filled with stories. I stored it in a walk-in attic we had at our Oakland, California flat. When we moved to Concord, I didn’t realize I had forgotten my box of writings. I went back to get it but the new renters had thrown it out.

With a young son to raise and going to college to be a teacher, my writing had to be put on hold. I had been teaching for over 15 years when President George W. Bush pushed for “No child left behind.” Teachers’ transcripts were scrutinized and although I had a BA with a major in English and an MA in Education, I had to go back to college for more English units. What a surprise, but, of course, I chose writing classes and produced poems and short stories that I’ve revised and submitted to several sites. I teach creative writing classes now and one of them meets at a local bookstore. I’ve met authors I admire when they have had readings there.

My new stories have been published in various short story collections such as Harlequin’s annual Christmas anthologies,  Las Positas College’s, etc. I have published an anthology with short stories and poems by my writer friends. Members of my class and I have read at signings. At the rate bookstores are closing, I hope the independents can remain open and continue to offer not only books, but the events we’ve enjoyed.

What is your experience with bookstores?

Author Stacey Gustafson Book Signing

Towne center bookstore

Magical Holiday Evening Author Book Signing Towne Center Books with Stacey Gustafson

Let’s help support our local favorite indie bookstore. Meet Stacey Gustafson at Towne Center Books in downtown Pleasanton on November 22 from 5-7 pm during the Magical Holiday Evening, the annual open house including a visit from Santa. The streets will come alive with the sights and sounds of the holidays.

This event coincides with the second annual Holiday Spirit Stroll. Twenty-one downtown merchants will be paired with local breweries, wineries and bars for a festive night sampling beer, wine and cocktails. Support your local stores today by shopping at locally owned businesses.

Win Two Tickets to Tommy T’s Comedy Club

Local author Stacey Gustafson released her debut novel, Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives, a compilation of hilarious, surprising, and relatable stories. The book reached #4 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for its category during its debut week.Gustafson_Front_LO 092614
Meet the author at Towne Center Books in downtown Pleasanton during the second annual Holiday Spirit Stroll on November 22 from 5-7 p.m. This fun event coincides with the Magical Holiday Evening, a popular annual shopping event. Signed copies will be for sale. Buy a book and enter to win two free tickets to Tommy T’s Comedy Club. Gift wrapping will be available.
Featuring 63 tell-all tales from the trenches of motherhood, the anthology is a brash, voyeuristic peek inside the topsy-turvy world of suburban motherhood, midlife madness, and all points in between. If you’ve ever called SWAT on a neighbor, faked a heart attack in church, or pulled your hair out while questioning the sanity of your family, her tongue-in-cheek brand of humor will resonate.

Stacey's head shot
Gustafson has been a Pleasanton resident for over 10 years along with her husband, two kids, and beloved dog. An author, humor columnist, and blogger, her short stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Not Your Mother’s Books. Her work also appears in print and online at Midlife Boulevard, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Generation Fabulous, ZestNow, More Magazine, Pleasanton Patch, Lost in Suburbia, Better After 50, and on her daughter’s bulletin board. She was recently honored as Erma Bombeck’s Humor Writer of the Month.
Signed copies of Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives will be for sale. Buy a book and enter to win two tickets to Tommy T’s Comedy Club. Gift wrapping will be available too.
For more information, click on the link,

Mystery Authors Night at Towne Center Books

Penny WarnerMystery Authors Night at Town Center Books this evening featured Penny Warner, Sophie Littlefield, and Carole Price.

Penny Warner, known for her Party Planning Mysteries,The Official Nancy Drew Handbook, and the Code Busters Club series, has a new book out called Death of a Crabby Cook. She writes under a pen name, Penny Pike for this series of food truck mysteries.Death of a Crabby Cook I look forward to Penny’s humor at these readings and  her presentations  for The San Francisco Writers Conference. Sophie Littlefield

The Missing Place

Sophie Littlefield, author of Aftertime and House of Glass, spoke about her new novel, The Missing Place. The setting is the North Dakota oil fields where two mothers team up to find their missing sons. Sophie’s first novel, A Bad Day for Sorry has been nominated for the Edgar Macavity award.

Carole PriceSour Grapes Carole Price is the author of the Shakespeare in the Vineyard mysteries. She discussed her new book, Sour Grapes. It’s a fast-paced novel of suspense with a romance between the protagonist and a Navy Seal.

Written Across the Genres Book Reading Event

First book reading event for Written Across the Genres will be at Towne Center Books the end of February. I have four people signed up to read so far.  I hope to schedule more readings at local bookstores  the end of March.

Book Launch with Home Improvement Stories

Going to a book launch tonight. Julie Rice, author of PILZ, Camille Thompson, and Stacey Gustafson have stories in NOT YOUR MOTHER’S BOOK with the subtitle of Home Improvement. They will be reading from the book and I’m sure it will be fun. All three have a sense of humor that is reflected in their stories.

Celebration after Las Positas College Book Launch

Celebration after Las Positas College Book Launch

Paula Chinick, present president of California Writers Club, Tri-Valley Branch, and Vi Moore, past president, celebrated with us at Paula’s house after the Las Positas College book launch on May 11th.