Inexplicably, in a community that boasts hundreds of published authors and thousands of striving writers, book signings (except on rare occasions) generally do not attract large audiences. There are exceptions. Anne Rice signed 600 copies of her latest vampire book one evening. Over 1,500 fans waited in line to meet Deepak Chopra recently.
At least 200 people attended New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley's signing. But most authors are lucky if the turnout is 12 to 20 people. Some great writers are coming to Ventura and Santa Barbara this week. Let's up the ante and give them a warm welcome.
Mark Victor Hansen, who with Jack Canfield wrote the publishing phenomenon "Chicken Soup for the Soul," will read from his new book "Out of the Blue: Delight Comes Into Our Lives" at 7 tonight at Ventura Bookstore, 522 E. Main St.
Olivia Goldsmith, author of "The First Wives Club," has published a new novel, "The Bestseller," and it has the publishing industry buzzing. She will be at the bookstore at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Authors of books on recovery and relationships will sign at Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., Ventura this week. Bill McPhie, author of "A Friend of Bill's," which details his struggle with alcoholism, will share his experiences at 7 tonight. Eugenie Wheeler, local columnist and co-author of "Sexual Challenges: Navigating Your Course Through Troubled Waters to Loving Relationships," will discuss the topic at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Happenings at Mysteries to Die For, 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks: T. Jefferson Parker will present his new novel, "Trigger Man's Dance," at noon Sunday, and everyone is invited to meet James Lee Burke, author of "Cadillac Jukebox," at a breakfast reception at 10 a.m. Monday.
Bear Heart Williams, a shaman of the Muskogee Indian tribe, will read from his book, "The Wind is My Mother," at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Borders Books, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.
Verve, the internationally distributed journal of poetry and short fiction, will celebrate publication of its spring edition at 8 p.m. Friday in the new Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. The fee is $3. Call 581-2714.
Barbara Black, who teaches autobiography classes for Ventura adult education, will describe "How and Why to Preserve the Past" at 2 p.m. Saturday at a Friends of the Library meeting in the Oxnard Library, 251 South A St.
New writing workshops at Learning Tree University's Thousand Oaks campus begin Aug. 3 and include: "How to Be a Hollywood Story Analyst"; "Master Workshop in Screenwriting"; "Successful Nonfiction Book Proposals: Marketing and Promoting Your Own Book." Call 497-2292 for details.
In Santa Barbara
* Susan Isaacs' hilarious debut novel, "Compromising Positions," was published in 1978 and was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon and the late Raul Julia in 1985. Since then, Isaacs has written two screenplays and six novels including her latest, "Lily White," which she will sign at 2 p.m. Saturday at Chaucer's Books, 3321 State St., Loreto Plaza.
* The Santa Barbara Museum of Art gift and book store is having its annual summer clearance sale Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the State Street Terrace. Sale items include rare art books, Sotheby auction catalog and Los Angeles County Museum of Art catalogs.
Frances Halpern is co-host with Jon O'Brien of "Beyond Words" at 10 a.m. Sundays on KCLU 88.3 FM, Ventura County's National Public Radio station.