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Anthology Contest Seeks Short Stories Set in O.C.


Novelists have tapped Orange County as a setting for scores of books over the past decade, everything from mysteries to thrillers to romance novels.

Now it's the short story writers' turn to strut their stuff.

Lightning Publications--the small Fullerton publishing house that showcases work by Orange County poets--is sponsoring an Orange County Short Story Contest.

Writers must live in the county, and each story must use Orange County as a setting. An as-yet-undecided number of winning stories will be included in an anthology to be published by Lightning Publications this fall.

"It's a chance for unpublished writers to have a showcase," says Nancy Brooks Rayl, an English instructor at Cypress College, who will edit the anthology and help judge the entries. "We're very excited about it."

Rayl says she came up with the idea for the short story contest/anthology, which she believes will be the first collection of short stories set in Orange County.

Because she and her fellow judges--Anaheim poet John Harrell and Cypress College English instructor William Clarke--know so many writers in the county, Rayle said all entries will be read "blind": The names will be removed and the entries numbered.

"As a teacher," Rayl says of the contest, "I'll do anything to get people more academically involved in the literary field, and we think it's going to be a lot of fun for people to read (stories) using Orange County as a setting."

Each entry must be no longer than 10 double-spaced, typed pages and must be accompanied by proof of residence and a $10 reading/entry fee payable to Lightning Publications. The deadline for submissions is June 1.

For more complete entry details, call Rayl at (714) 879-8300.

The short-story anthology will be a departure for Lightning Publications' previous books published over the past two years: "Twenty Years," a collection of war poems by Harrell, and "Five Orange County Poets," a mix of poetry by local poets.

Also scheduled for publication this year are "Kuang Ping Poems," a collection of poems about T'ai Chi by Harrell; "Full Moon, Empty Hands," a collection of poetry by Lee Mallory of Newport Beach, and "California Equinox," a poetry collection by Catherine Spear of Fullerton.


Book Signings. Michael Polak ("Bottles: Identification and Price Guide") will sign from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Brentano's in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, and from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Waldenbooks in MainPlace/Santa Ana. . . . Richard Abanes and Kenneth Samples ("Prophets of the Apocalypse") will sign from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Waldenbooks in the Buena Park Mall. . . . Tavis Smiley ("Just a Thought") will sign from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Waldenbooks in MainPlace/Santa Ana. . . .Fredrick Elias ("I Can, I Will") will sign from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Bookstar, 975 E. Birch St., Brea. . . . William Vollmann ("Rifles") will sign from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Book Time, 456 S. Main St., Orange. . . . Graciela Limon ("In Search of Bernabe") and Margarita Engle ("Singing to Cuba") will read and sign from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Real Bookstore, 17350 E. 17th St., Tustin. . . . Suzanne Forster ("Shameless") will sign from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Fahrenheit 451 Books, 540 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. . . . Jan Burke ("Sweet Dreams, Irene") will sign from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Mystery Ink, 332 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. . . . Jeffrey Deaver ("Praying for Sleep") will sign at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Book Carnival, 348 St. Tustin Ave., Orange.


Writing Workshop. "Writing Your First Mystery or Suspense Novel," a one-day workshop conducted by Orange County mystery writer Patricia McFall, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Cost: $75. For location and information, call (714) 897-9907.


Domestic Violence. Ann Jones ("Next Time She'll Be Dead: Battering and How to Stop It") and Mildred Pagelow ("Family Violence") will speak and sign at a fund-raiser for Laura's House, a shelter for battered women and children, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Crystal Cove Auditorium in the Student Center at UC Irvine. General admission: $15; students, $5. For information, call (714) 364-6636.


Author Talk. Thomas Moore ("Care of the Soul") will speak and sign at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Inside Edge breakfast meeting in Scott's Restaurant, 3300 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. Cost: $25. Reservations: (714) 730-5050.

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