Hot Off the Presses & Ready to Go

By Erin Bassler

She plays at deadly intrigue on the stage, then fate hands her the real thing!

Where does an up-and-coming writer go when they’ve got a new book hot off the presses and an entire world of potential readers, but no way to get their attention?

Well, the Internet, of course; this isn’t the early 1980’s. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a little help from your local bookstore — specifically Annie’s Book Stop at 65 James Street, right here in Worcester.

 —the first of a trilogy featuring the cunning and courageous Jessica Minton.

sharonyanganniesPublished by Touchpoint Press, Bait and Switch takes us back to the smoky streets of 1940’s New York City – there’s a war on, eyes are peering around every corner, and a lone actress has wandered off the stage into the biggest mystery of her life. There’s clever intrigue, unexpected love affairs, a classic funny bone, and a curious package that just may have ended up in the wrong hands – or the right ones.

“I’m an old movie buff,” Dr. Yang explained, when asked about her inspiration. “When I look at all the old pictures, my brain makes up a story to go along with them.”

With the easy plot flow of classic films combined with a dedicated researcher’s attention to detail, Dr. Yang seems to have found just the right mix of passion and productivity. Five pages in and you already feel like you’re standing on a city street corner — the rain bouncing off your trench coat and wide-rimmed hat, a cigarette crushed beneath your heel, your mouth tightlipped around a secret that’ll be the difference between getting home tonight or winding up face down in the East River.

After the first draft was written and the second was typed, Dr. Yang had the good fortune to be surrounded by many willing and experienced friends when it came time to edit. When all the work was done and the book was out, she got to experience the joys of being a published writer, especially during events like book signings.

“If Cathy Griffin is a D-level celebrity, I’m a Y-level,” she joked.

Fair enough, but the event did attract a decent size crowd of fans both young and old, all on the edge of their seats as Dr. Yang read aloud two tantalizing teasers from the first chapters, ready to shower the author with their questions. Luckily, Dr. Yang was more than happy to answer them, taking real delight in discussing her inspirations, her work, and her writing methods.

“I love talking to people about the story, the characters. I get to share and they respond,” she said.

Meanwhile, the employees at Annie’s Book Store are thrilled to have her. Suggested to her by one of her students, Dr. Yang quickly investigated the local business as a possible venue and advertising opportunity for her book and was warmly received.

“She’s helped to promote her own work and the store,” Annie’s owner Patty Cryan says.

Annie’s Book Stop has a long history of supporting local writers. An entire shelf in the front room of the shop is dedicated solely to Worcester writers that Annie’s has hosted for monthly book signings—displaying their work for customers to admire and purchase.


The store is also a perfect place for college students who love a good read, but are too pressed for time and cash to go to Barnes & Noble. They have a wide selection of used and rare books, comics, and magazines, along with a good chunk of new releases that are 20% off their original cover price.

“There’s a special 10% deal for students and faculty if they show ID.”

Sales, sales, and more sales! Not to mention that Annie’s Book Stop is a regular destination on the city bus route. A place that’s easy to get to, has great deals on merchandise, and was maybe the first stop for the next best-selling author? I’m sold.

Visit to get your own copy of Sharon Healy-Yang’s Bait and Switch and to learn a little more about the lady behind the pages.

Also, check out for more information on Annie’s Book Store and their next signing event with Liz Mugavero, author of the Positively Organic Mysteries on Feb. 27.

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