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June 26, 2005 - Doughnuts and links bond the Southern California literary scene...

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Book Wrangler

June 27, 2005

By Bob Patterson


On Monday, June 20, 2005, the Independent Writers Of Southern California held an unusual program meeting at the Writers' Store.  For the meeting, they invited as many different Southern California writing groups as they could to come and mix with the IWOSC members and each other.


Among those who attended were the Publishers Association of Los Angeles, the Alliance for LA playwrights, the Toastmasters 4 Writers Club, the Scriptwriters Network, the National Writers Union, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Creative Writers, the Alameda Writers Group (their slogan is: Write, Sell, Repeat), a group based (and with a page) at the Coronet Theater, a group that wants to write musical plays, the Poet and Writers organization, the Southern California Writers Association of Fountain Valley (They have writing contests that have a meal in a restaurant as the first place prize.  They use the name "Will Write for Food" as the title) - and Jack Grapes who formed the LA poets and writers collective, the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime (which accepts men as members) is one of that group's largest collectives - and one teacher who stresses "Life Stories", the Los Angeles Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, the Lifetime Achievement Foundation and a fellow who has an extensive collection of links for Southern California writers.


The writers with handicaps group hasn't completed work on their web page yet, so no URL was available.


After all the groups introduced themselves, the discussion turned to methods for consolidating their aims and objectives and they came up with the idea of forming a counsel of groups and will pursue that goal.


[Do they need more suggestions?  Since most of the groups have a web site, why don't they discuss forming a web ring for writers groups in SoCal?  What about some kind of agreement for reciprocal "interline courtesy" so that a membership in one organization might permit a person to attend one or two of another groups events at the "member" rate?]


After the meeting, we checked the extensive number of links for writers and writers groups at LA Observed and wondered if the site for all writers in California would be relevant or not.


We were glad that to be able to cover the IWOSC event, because for the last several columns we had been leaning toward items specifically about the mystery genre and wanted to widen the scope of our weekly inspection of the Southern California literacy scene.


Just when we thought we'd specifically managed to stay away from items regarding the mystery genre, we happened to wander past the Mystery Book Store in the Westwood Section of LA.  It was just like the Flip Wilson comedy routine "The Devil Made Me Do It" because we figured there'd be no harm in going in just for a quick look to see what's new.


Linda, the knowledgeable clerk who was on duty, wanted to know what we'd be writing about in the next column.  She has a few suggestions and comments.


Kill Whitey by Ken Harvill ($24.95 Ugly Town) she described as "acid noir" and stressed the "talent radar" aspect of that particular publisher.


Still River by Harry Hunsicker ($23.95 St. Martin's Minotaur) 

The interesting name of the fictional detective, Lee Henry Oswald, who works in Dallas, Texas, might be reason enough to buy this book.  Linda described it as "high body count but a lot of fun."


Suicide Squeeze by Victor Gischler ($23 Delacorte Press) 

This book brings to mind the old baseball philosophy "drop back ten and bunt."  The "McGuffin" in this book is a 1954 baseball card signed by both Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. 


One Dangerous Lady by Jane Stanton Hitchcock ($23.95 Miramax Books) was a "lighter" mystery and Linda didn't know if the author was or was not related to a famous movie director.


Highway 61 Resurfaced by Bill Fitzhugh ($23.95 William Murrow) makes you think that the target audience will be fans of one particular singer from the Sixties.


The Living Room of the Dead by Eric Stone ($22.95 Forge Books) which Linda described it as "very noir."


Wrong Side of the Wall: The Life of Blackie Schwamb, the Greatest Prison Baseball Player of All Time, by Eric Stone ($21.95 They Lyons Press) 

The title seems to say it all.


The weekend that this column was due on the desk of the Just Above Sunset editor, the Horror Writers of America were due to hand out their Bram Stoker awards in Burbank.  If all goes according to plan, we should have a column about that for next week's installment.


"I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member." – Groucho Marx


The disk jockey grew a tad restless during all the parliamentary procedures, so he seems ready to express his hostility by playing the song about socking it to "The Harper Valley PTA."  We'll use our hall pass to slip out of here.  Will we get coverage of the Bram Stoker awards, which will be handed out in Burbank the weekend this issue of Just Above Sunset is published?  Tune in next week to find out.  Have a garlic free week.




Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
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