Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Upcoming events in Northern California

The Murderer's Maid doesn't officially go on sale until Oct. 30, but you can get a beautiful hardcover at one of my events (rush ordered by Yellow Pear Press, so none shall go without!) The book is so beautiful: end papers with the Borden house floorplan, with a ghosting of Lizzie's face underneath (startling!), and in the endmatter there are multiple images from newspapers of the day. Remember, photography was not quite point-and-shoot in 1893, so the courtroom news was composed of drawings. We also have Lizzie's handwritten arrest warrant for you to pore over in the last pages.

I've done several events already, like Peg Alford Purcell's lovely reading series Why There Are Words. Peg and her husband rallied to produce the event, held monthly at an art gallery in Sausalito, despite the raging wildfires and the fact that....that night, they didn't know if their house was still standing. They had evacuated. I can only imagine what fortitude of spirit it took to go forward with the reading. (A friend of mine who attended was also an evacuee, who said she craved "something normal." When I first saw her at a restaurant beforehand, she nearly burst into tears because the "normal" was so very, very distant at that point. Hugs forever, friend!).

It was an amazing evening. Many times at readings with multiple authors, I enjoy some but not all of the offerings. That night, I loved everybody's piece. Either Peg's an amazing curator, the wine was very effective, or I was the B Team. It was a gem of a night.

And I can add the exulting postscript that the Purcells' home is fine, and my friend's home is too!

With Peg

That morning, I came down to breakfast to find that my husband and children had apparently had a great time at the hardware store. (I have to admit, the sight gave me a jump scare). So of course, I brought the hatchet to the event and we enjoyed hamming it up during intermission.

Bridget, me, Linda

I also participated in Litquake's amazing literary pubcrawl, aptly named Litcrawl. Another night with a roster of great readers, and then I got to indulge in a super burrito from my favorite taqueria in the world, Pancho Villa at 16th and Mission. San Francisco's still a great city, and I appreciated seeing so many people in the streets moving between the events when the air quality was so terrible from the fires.

With Lisa McGuinness of Yellow Pear Press and her husband Matt

Author Sarah Kuhn (who gave a great reading!), me, literary patroness Kat

With author Margie Yee Webb

So, now there are a few more events in October before I retire the hatchet. ;)

1. EBUG Local Authors Night, 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 23 at 5701 Thornhill Dr. in Oakland's Montclair district. Put together by A Great Good Place for Books owner Kathleen Caldwell along with the famous Purple Lady Dale Marie Golden and Kim Merkin, the event features five readers, including the fabulous Cara Black.

2. Oh boy, this one. We're doing a book event in the haunted (did you catch that? haunted! Your chance to truly experience a Halloweenish moment) Pardee Home Museum in downtown Oakland. I'll do a slideshow both about the Pardee Home and the Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River, Massachusetts, whilst you sip wine and partake of refreshments, then we'll leave the (also haunted) coach house to venture into the main house. There's been documented paranormal activity in this house, and it appears in a lot of California ghost hunting guides. Laurel Book Store will be selling books at the event. 6-9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27; advance tickets required at:

3. I'm excited to return to Book Passage at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, 2 p.m. on Oct. 28. Come see me read, then take the ferry somewhere, or jump on BART or the cable car for that matter! I may have to walk along the Embarcadero to see my favorite yelping sea lions at Pier 39 afterward. Free event.

4. Diesel Books in Oakland is now the East Bay Booksellers, and I'm thrilled to be launching the book here. This is the cupcake event!

I staged this at the cupcake boutique, enduring quizzical looks. I brought the (edible) hatchet
and the squeeze tube of red gel frosting. Delish!

You too can have a macabre dessert, possibly in bad taste (but should taste good! pun intended but possibly unsuccessful?) I didn't actually know the hatchet was edible until my child, er, started eating it. I was all, "Spit it out!" but she knew better. This event includes wine, other nibbles, camaraderie, and a reading and signing. 3 p.m., Oct. 28, Diesel Books, Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, 5433 College Ave. Free.

5. That same night, I'll be part of SF in SF (Science Fiction in San Francisco) with Dana Fredsti and Loren Rhoads, moderated by Terry Bisson. I think this is the event I'll feel most comfortable reading the goriest scene (Bridget witnessing Mr. Borden's corpse in the very earliest moments after his death). A great way to end October (oh yeah, Halloween, too; I shan't forget. I've been pressed into duty fabricating a Dementor costume. I've watched a lot of Project Runway and there's a working sewing machine somewhere in my garage, so I feel completely competent to complete this task. I might even win immunity). This is another event that involves wine and the fun kind of networking and milling around that happens when they announce "doors open at 6 and the event starts at 6:30." This takes place at the American Bookbinders Museum (cannot wait to see that), 355 Clementina St. in San Francisco, Oct. 29. Borderlands bookstore will be selling copies of all the readers' books.

I hope to see you at one of these events. If you're a little further east, I'll be at Avid Reader in Sacramento on Nov. 18 at 3 p.m.

With all these bloody cupcakes and corpse talk, I want to let you know that an upcoming blog post will address how my novel is "bloodthirsty with a social conscience." There are redeeming features. There really are. It's not just a big hatchetfest (although there is that element, too...I just feel guilty about it). Stay tuned...and don't change pillowcases or take a nap when your daughter or stepdaughter isn't cordial with you.

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