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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | BOOKS | WORDS & IMAGES

Panelists Won't Keep Mystery Fans Guessing

Local authors will share ideas with Hollywood agents, film and TV screenwriters at the all-day conference for writers of detective stories.

November 07, 1996|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"There certainly does seem a possibility the detective story will come to an end, simply because the public will have learned all the tricks," wrote Dorothy Sayers, creator of that charming sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey.

But no one could have anticipated the fascination we have with the mystery genre. Novels peopled by male and female crime solvers who run the gamut from police professionals to clerics continue to attract a large and loyal audience.

And so, the Mystery Writers of America conference, which will focus on what it takes to get that novel published or script produced, has attracted a stellar cast of panelists, including award-winning local authors Sharan Newman, Paul Bishop, Richard Barre and Gayle Lynds.

In addition, Hollywood agents, film and TV executives and screenwriters will share their expertise. Scott Frank, who wrote the screenplay for Elmore Leonard's "Get Shorty" will be a featured guest.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Sportsmen's Lodge, 12833 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. The $75 fee includes continental breakfast and lunch. Call Kathleen Beaver at (310) 392-1438.

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Authors, with pens poised for autographing, will be visiting Mysteries to Die For, 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Barbara Burnett Smith ("Celebration in Purple Sage"), Carol Caverly ("Frogskin and Muttonfat") and Leslie O'Kane ("Just the Fax, Ma'am") will sign at 11 a.m. Saturday. Les Roberts will sign his latest, "Collision Bend," at 11 a.m. Sunday. Jeanne M. Dams will discuss her "Trouble in the Town Hall" at noon Wednesday.

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Adventures for Kids, 3457 Telegraph Road, Ventura, will host illustrator David Diaz and author Eve Bunting from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. They will sign "Smoky Night," winner of the 1995 Caldecott Medal, and their new book, "Going Home," a tale (for ages 4 to 8) of a family's Christmas holiday visit to their former home in Mexico.

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The distinguished poet-playwright-actor Jack Grapes, publisher of the literary magazine Onthebus and author of "Breaking Down the Surface of the World," will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday at Simi Valley Library, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road. The event is sponsored by the Simi Valley branch of American Pen Women. A $5 donation is requested. Call 522-7575.

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Jim Woodard, the master storyteller who spins yarns for children and adults over the radio and in locations all over the county, including at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, will speak on "Key Elements in Communicating a Story" at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Ventura County Writers' Club, Orchid Professional Building, 816 Camarillo Springs Road, Camarillo. Call 482-5648.

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Dan Korem, investigative journalist and documentary producer, will discuss his book, "Suburban Gangs, the Affluent Rebels," at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Borders Books, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.

Santa Barbara

Here's a tale of two authors who appeared in Santa Barbara last week. One was local author Sue Grafton, the admired creator of the alphabet mysteries. She signed close to 700 copies of her novel "M is for Malice" in a five-hour period at Earthling Bookshop.

The other was President Bill Clinton, author of "Between Hope and History." His publisher missed an opportunity to sell out the print run at a campaign rally that attracted many thousands to the Santa Barbara City College campus.

Signings at the Earthling, 1137 State St.: Local entrepreneur Jack Nadel will discuss his new book, "There's No Business Like Your Business," at 7 p.m. Friday. Joan Wester Anderson signs her "Where Wonders Prevail" at 3 p.m. Sunday. Poet Reuben Halpern (no relation as far as I can determine) will read "Way Back Now" at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Local physician and author Robert C. Dunham will discuss "Spy Sub," the book based on his real-life nuclear submarine adventures. The gathering will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Brandeis University Women's Committee gathering in the Ridley-Tree Center, 1600 Santa Barbara St. Call 964-2665 or 683-2314.

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.

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