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The Bids Are Real, the Prizes Fictional


Would you like to see your name in print? Better yet, have your name used for a character in a best-selling author's new novel?

Cal State Fullerton once again will offer that opportunity with its "A Bid of Excitement" Game Show Edition auction at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Titan Student Union on campus, 800 N. State College Blvd.

The auction, which is now held in the spring and fall, has raised more than $1.9 million in scholarships for Cal State Fullerton students over the last seven years.

Comedian Martin Mull will host the event, in which audience members will be able to buy live-auction items and make donations to compete in game show formats, for major prizes.

Among the choices: air fare and a three-night trip for two to New York City to see the Broadway production of "Les Miserables" (includes VIP house seats, a backstage visit at intermission and meeting the cast after the show); a private tour of Ben & Jerry's ice cream plant in Waterbury, Vt. (includes air fare for two and three nights' lodging); and walk-on roles in TV's "Chicago Hope" and Jim Carrey's upcoming movie, "Man on the Moon."

Larry Zucker, associate vice president of university marketing and major events, came up with the idea of auctioning off a chance to have your name--or another name of your choice--used as a character in a novel last year while having lunch with best-selling British mystery writer Elizabeth George of Huntington Beach.

George, a Cal State Fullerton alumna, agreed to participate. So did best-selling authors Clive Cussler and Michael Palmer, both of whom once lived in Orange County.

The winning bids to name a character in a novel averaged $500 last year, Zucker said.

Peggy Hammer of Fullerton and Jan Hextell of Cerritos both won opportunities to be literary extras in George's forthcoming novel. Michael Bushey of Huntington Beach will appear in Cussler's next book, and Palmer's upcoming novel will include the name of a friend of the winner, who preferred to remain anonymous.

This year, Zucker said, the university mailed requests to 50 authors. Nineteen agreed to participate.

Other authors who will allow winning bidders to name a mutually agreeable character in a future novel: Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer, Richard North Patterson, Tess Gerritsen, Ridley Pearson, Robert Tanenbaum, Stephen Frey, Lucian Truscott, Philip Shelby, William Bernhardt, F. Paul Wilson, Joseph Finder, Stuart Woods, Robert B. Parker, Doris Mortman and John Lescroart.

In addition, four of the authors have agreed to meet and have dinner with the winners: Palmer (dinner at the top of the John Hancock Building in Boston); Pearson (lunch in Sun Valley, Idaho), Frey (dinner in New York) and Truscott (sushi in Los Angeles).

Zucker said the package includes air fare and first-class hotel accommodations. Those dining with Truscott locally, however, will have to provide their own transportation.

Bidders needn't attend the event to participate. They can call (714) 278-3480 or e-mail bids to

Also This Week

* Haitian-born novelist Edwidge Danticat, author of "Farming of Bones," will discuss her new book at 7 p.m. Monday at the Manuscripts fall lecture series at the Newport Beach Central Library, 1000 Avocado Ave. General admission: $8. For reservations, call (949) 717-3890.

* Orange County novelist Jo-Ann Mapson ("Loving Chloe") will join novelist Wilton Barnhardt in a discussion of Barnhardt's new novel, "Show World," at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes & Noble in Metro Pointe, 901 S. Coast Drive, Costa Mesa.

* Keith Snyder, author of "Coffin's Got the Dead Guy on the Inside," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Coffee, Tea & Mystery, 13232 Springdale St., Westminster.

* Marlene Holloway, author of "The Wedding Workbook," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Barnes & Noble in Metro Pointe, 901 S. Coast Drive, Costa Mesa.

* Carroll Lachnit, author of "Akin to Death," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Barnes & Noble in the Huntington Beach Mall, 7777 Edinger Ave.

* An open poetry reading will be held at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Ugly Mug Cafe, 261 N. Glassell St., Orange.

* Brad Johnson, author of "The Bird That Flies the Highest," will sign at 7 p.m. Thursday at Borders Books and Music, 25222 El Paseo, Mission Viejo.

* Lawrence Block, author of "Everybody Dies," will sign at 6 p.m. Thursday at Book Carnival, 348 S. Tustin Ave., Orange.

* Paul Pease, author of "Building a Small Blue Chip Business," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble in Fashion Island, 953 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach.

* Cornel West, a professor of religion and Afro-American studies at Harvard and author of "Race Matters" and "Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin," will discuss "Citizenship in a Multicultural Society" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at in the Student Union at Cal State Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd. Free. A signing will follow his talk.

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