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Local Authors Bring Campaigning Home : Country singer Patsy Cline and disappearing frogs are topics of interest in book appearances and interviews.

August 18, 1994|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Local authors Margaret Jones, biographer of country singer Patsy Cline, and Kathryn Phillips, author of "Tracking the Vanishing Frogs," have been on the campaign trail sharing the contents of their important works at bookstores and via radio interviews. Jones just returned to her Ojai home after a five-city tour, which took her to New York, Kentucky and Tennessee in behalf of "Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline" published by HarperCollins. Cline, who died in an airplane crash in 1963 at the age of 30, was a singer and performer with so much talent and charisma that 31 years later, her records continue to sell in the millions. Jones, a free-lance journalist and regular contributor to Publishers Weekly, spent almost four years researching and writing the biography. "Patsy was an icon, almost a mythological figure, and her spirit was near me as I wrote her incredible story," says Jones.

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In 1972 Ray Milland played an evil character in a horror movie called "Frogs." After consuming some good guys, the hordes of marauding frogs finally kill Milland. The reality is that frogs and other amphibians seem to be vanishing almost overnight all over the world. Ventura writer Kathryn Phillips, who worked for three years on her ecological mystery, "Tracking the Vanishing Frogs," spent months in marshes and bogs and with tough, single-minded scientists. Like Rachel Carson's classic "Silent Spring," Phillips' book sounds an alarm that the vanishing frogs may be a warning that ozone depletion and destruction of forests have reached dangerous levels. Published by St. Martin's Press, the book includes photographs and descriptions of the habits and appearance of these wondrous and bizarre creatures. Phillips will be interviewed between 12:15 and 2 p.m. Saturday on KTMS 1250 AM and will present a slide show at 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Earthling in Santa Barbara.

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There was a time (not long ago) when mystery / detective fiction was looked upon by book critics as a primitive branch of literature. But now the genre flourishes, its practitioners are taken seriously, and people are reading so much of this fiction that specialty bookstores can sustain themselves by focusing on the genre.

Mysteries to Die For opened its doors at 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 18 months ago. Owner Audrey Moore is hosting a party to celebrate the occasion and to thank her patrons and autographing authors who have been so supportive. The festivities will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday with Wendy Hornsby ("Bad Intent") and Ken Kuhlken ("The Angel Gang") signing their new books. Other mystery writers who plan to attend are Paul Bishop, Jan Burke, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Gar Haywood, Bruce Jones, Marsha Landreth, Sharan Newman and Dianne Pugh.

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