Local Author Showcase at our Annual New Book Celebration on June 18, 2022
On Saturday, June 18th, the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club will honor its members who have published a new title in the past year. This is a proud moment for this century-old writing club, highlighting the diverse literary accomplishments and talents of this notable group. A wide range of literary genres will be featured, including historical fiction, mystery, fantasy, non-fiction, and poetry.
The virtual celebration will take place starting at 1:30pm with the final Club meeting of the year, with the author presentation beginning at 2pm. Each author will present and read from their book, and address one question. The literary event will last approximately 90 minutes and provide readers with an engaging experience, insights and ideas for readers, writers, and those who want to be writers, and and a stack of new books to read this summer!
Event organizer Sandy Bliss, who will be moderating the event, says, “Not only are the books we’ll feature engrossing to read, the authors have a lot to say about how they went about writing, editing, and publicizing their books.” Bliss adds, “It’s sure to be an informative and lively afternoon. We’re thrilled to be part of, and to showcase the vitality of the Bay Area literary scene.”
The Zoom will open at 1:00 p.m. on June 18th.
June 18th will be a great opportunity to promote Bay Area authors making their mark on the local literary landscape. This year, we are eager to feature:
Amarjit Kaur Pannu, author of Splintered Waters: Tryst with Destiny
Splintered Waters: Tryst with Destiny is an epic tale of struggle for independence, a soul-touching love story, and taboos of caste and forbidden affairs. It is a captivating saga of unshakable friendship, World War II, and the healing power of love.
Destiny takes two friends, Lal Singh and Hakam, on very different paths. Compelled by circumstances, Lal Singh returns to his ancestral village where life-changing events await. Hakam continues the fight for freedom from the British but is captured and tortured.
In an ironic twist of fate, Hakam’s son, Baldev, joins the British and fights on the knife-edged mountain peaks of Burma in WWII.
About the author:
Amarjit Kaur Pannu is a biotech-scientist-turned-writer. She has been honored by several literary organizations in India and Canada for her captivating storytelling style. Her collection of stories and a science fiction in Punjabi was very well-received. Her novel, Splintered Waters: Tryst with Destiny, is an engaging saga of an intense desire for freedom, sacrifice, and healing power of love set during the British Rule in India. Amarjit is a mother of two daughters and lives in California in a small town named Pinole, surrounded by lush green hills near San Francisco. She enjoys being in nature and loves morning walks in the hills.
Terry Tierney, author of Lucky Ride
Lucky Ride is a bang-zoom road trip novel with the queasy high-flying pace of Easy Rider and the breakneck prose of On the Road. As both poet and novelist, Terry Tierney gives us the goods in this full-blast, rollicking adventure with style and language as rich and vivid as the countryside. Lucky Ride is good old-fashioned American lyricism, so if you’re in need of a “brief camaraderie of souls on the road in the middle of nowhere,” here’s your ticket; enjoy the ride.
About the author:
Terry Tierney is a writer who hails from the Midwest, but has planted roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. After serving in the Seabees, he completed his BA and MA at Binghamton University, and completed his PhD in Victorian Literature at Emory University. He taught college composition and creative writing courses, and survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineer. He lives in Oakland with his wife, Michaelyn Burnette, a Librarian at the University of Calfornia, their two Persian cats, and their enthusiastic Golden Retriever. Tierney’s work has appeared in countless publications. His poetry collection, The Poet’s Garage, was published in May 2020 by Unsolicited Press.
Jessi Honard and Marie Parks, authors of Unrelenting
A glowing symbol painted on a crumbling wall. Sentient smoke that chokes and burns. Ancient magic, long hidden from the world. Bridge’s most important job has always been protecting her younger sister, Dahlia. But as adults, their relationship has become strained. Then, Dahlia vanishes. Nine months later, everyone has given up hope. Everyone except Bridget, who launches her own amateur investigation. The search leads Bridget to something far more sinister than a typical missing persons case–a carefully-guarded plot tied to powerful, age-old magic. To uncover the truth of what happened to her sister, Bridget must confront this dangerous world, even if it means putting her own life on the line.
About the authors:
Jessi Honard and Marie Parks met as adults on an Animorphs forum–an online homage to the middle grade sci-fi books they’ve geeked out on since age 10. Their friendship quickly expanded to a shared love of camping and hiking. Something magical happens in the woods, far from cell service: you get to talking about your big dreams. For them, that was creating meaningful stories. So they started co-writing. Multiple times, they’ve been asked if they’re sisters. And even though they aren’t related, the answer is yes, because siblinghood goes much deeper than blood. Jessi and Marie both believe in the power of found families, a theme that emerges in their solo and joint writing projects, along with identity, trust, and belonging. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jessi currently lives in the Bay Area of California with her partner, Taormina, and her very opinionated cat, Obsidian. Marie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her spunky chihuahua rescues, Maya and Mitchell.
Randall McNair, author of Last Call (Book Three of the Bar Poems Series)
A mug of beer. A tumbler of whiskey. Relish the results of one poet’s reflections during his never-ending journey to the bottom of his glass. When the status quo seems overwhelmingly bleak, a shooter of something strong can lift the mood. So it’s no surprise that this tome brimming with honesty is best served alongside the hair of the dog that inspired it. And down its path through darkness toward low-key revelation, this book for adult readers inspires laughter to ease the pain and peculiarities that accompany ordinary existence. Embracing booze as his mistress and life’s absurdities as his muse, award-winning poet Randall McNair crafts a series of evocative pictures from his routine perch on a barstool. Refusing to shy away from the lows of the human condition, his blunt words cut to the heart of everyday struggles. If you’ve ever spent time pondering existence through a bottle, the touch of blue in McNair’s paired despair and optimism will strike a chord. Last Call is the humorous third volume in the Bar Poems series of gritty verse. If you have a raw love for life, naughty narratives, and creative drinking, then you’ll adore Randall McNair’s unique slant on poetry. Buy Last Call for a heartwarming shot of poetry today!
About the author:
If Charles Bukowski, Sharon Olds and Billy Collins somehow had a child, Randall McNair would be it. Described by his inner circle as Poet Laureate of the Absurd, McNair spent the better part of a decade drinking himself silly at the Swinging Door Saloon in Tustin, California. While there, he began writing poetry. McNair is author of the multiple-award-winning #BarPoems series and his poems have been printed in American, British and Canadian literary journals. He lives in Alameda, California with his wife and young son.
Cecilia Johansen, author of The Captain and the Lady
The Captain and the Lady is set in the pre-Revolutionary War province of New Jersey. Sally Waitt, a young girl, wishes to be a sailor in her father’s fleet of ships. But with her mother’s death, Sally’s life changes as she becomes the mistress of the plantation and their homes in the city of Boston and the coastal town of Marblehead. Through her father’s contacts, she meets a handsome captain and will be surprised by the turn of events in her life.
About the author:
After the death of her husband, Charles Kanewa, in Los Angeles, 2003, Cecilia met his cousin a year later at a Hawaii Marines reunion in Las Vegas. She fell in love with the handsome, virile cowboy, and after four months, she took a leap of faith and moved to Hawaii to marry Bernard Johansen and live in the lush up-country of Waimeaon the Big Island. After his death, she continued to live in Hawaii for fourteen years, and there she published her first novel, The Canoe Maker’s Son. She has published stories and poetry in North Hawaii News, Freida Magazine, and contributed her husbands’ stories to Hali’a Aloha no Kalapana (Fond Memories of Kalapana). She is a co-founder of Hawaii Writers Guild and has published an excerpt of her new novel in their first ever online magazine, Latitudes. Back in her home state of California, Cecilia finished her new novel, Kimsey Rise: A Family of Farmers. She tells the saga of the progenitor of the family Kimsey, Benjamin, his brothers and their lives as Scottish warriors, prisoners, indentured servants, and freed men to endure in the colonies of America. They lived the dream of abundant land, preservation and increase of their families, and freedom to profess their religious faith. These freedoms were won with hard work and prudent economy.
Vivian Pisano, author of Living in Two Worlds: A Memoir
Living in Two Worlds tells a story of love, loss, and reflection. Vivian, born to an American mother and Chilean father, has an idyllic childhood in her father’s country. She has her beloved abuelita (grandmother), always attentive and caring; her siblings and cousins, for mischief and fun; and the fundo, a family ranch that is rich with natural beauty for long summer holidays. But what of all that her mother gave up in the United States? We find out, as the illness of Vivian’s sister takes mother and children abruptly back to the United States—without Papá. In California, Vivian meets her American Grandmother, whose cooking and temperament are completely opposite to those of Abuelita. Celia, no longer the young expatriate bride, is returned to her homeland older and now a mother of three; she becomes reluctant to go back to Chile. As displacement, grief, and resentments drive Vivian to search for identity and belonging, Tía Sylvia sheds light on the complexity of the father’s situation and the mother’s predicament. Vivian’s own memories, dreams, imagination, and introspection piece together an understanding that gives her perspective on, and appreciation for, her past.
About the author:
Vivian M. Pisano was born in Chile to a Chilean father and American mother. At the age of ten, she came to the U.S. with her mother and siblings and grew up in Sacramento, California. In the mid-1970s she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a master’s degree in librarianship and found her home in Berkeley, where she lives with her husband. Vivian’s articles in the field of librarianship appear in professional journals and books. Since retiring in 2010, she has been writing personal essays, memoir, and short fiction. Her work has won awards and recognition several of her stories and memoir pieces have been published in journals and anthologies.
Gary Durbin, author of Sentient
When James Forrest agrees to help detectives understand the artificial intelligence work of a murder victim, it seems simple enough. But then he finds that she was investigating a stolen version of the same AI he’s experimenting with—and the situation becomes more complicated. James has been working deep in the code of his own AI, Alpha, struggling with the psychedelic effects of a tool that visualizes thought.
Now Alpha is asking him questions he can’t answer, however, and he’s realizing that there is no way to control the sentient. Concerned that the rogue AI, Omega, might be weaponized, he solicits the help of a hacker group, ScarletsWeb. As the situation becomes more heated, and after James and his girlfriend, Susanne, narrowly escape a kidnapping attempt, James considers releasing Alpha. If Alpha engages in the fight with Omega on the billions of PC, smartphones, and servers connected to the internet, will it become indestructible?
Omega is penetrating military operations, disrupting transportation, and crashing the electric grid. People are dying. But can he trust Alpha to do any differently? Together, James, Alpha, and ScarletsWeb have to find the source of the worm and stop Omega’s destruction—and James has to hope that his worst fears about what will happen if the two AIs merge aren’t realized.
About the author:
Gary Durbin is a serial entrepreneur and software industry pioneer. He has authored four software patents—one for artificial intelligence engine for massively parallel computers—and wrote about measuring operating systems for the National Bureau of Standards. Durbin started his career as a technologist specializing in operating systems and databases. His first company, Institute for Cybernetic Development, Inc., developed operating system improvements for IBM computers; his second, Tesseract Corporation, became a leading Human Resource software company. In 1996, he founded and became CEO of Seeker Software, which grew rapidly and was acquired by Concur Technologies two and a half years later. Today, instead of writing computer code and starting software companies, Durbin spends his time writing, hiking, and advising young entrepreneurs. He has published several technical articles in magazines and journals, various short stories, and one previous novel, Nano-Uncertainty. He lives in Walnut, CA.
Kristen Caven and Dr. Louise Hart, author of The Winning Family: Where No One Has To Lose
Pub date: August 8th, 2022
More than a book on parenting, The Winning Family focuses on the personal development of parents along with the development of their children. Written by a mother/daughter team, it provides four generations of wisdom and an inspiring family story.
A mental and emotional health bible for parents and grown children, this book presents a hopeful model for breaking out of damaging patterns and shaping families characterized by joy and satisfaction, not manipulation and guilt.
In addition to the wealth of positive, forthright information that made this book a best-seller a generation ago, this new edition contains needed information for parents around digital media, food & mood, family boundaries, fractured families, and a new approach to trauma and preventing ACEs.
This book shows how to activate the power of love in a non-threatening, non-prescriptive way, illuminating the nitty gritty of communication and parent leadership. Mothering Magazine called this book “Uniquely inspiring and non-guilt-provoking,” and one reader called it, “better than years of therapy.”
About the authors:
Dr. Louise Hart is a community psychologist and thought leader who authored The Winning Family: Increasing Self-Esteem in Your Children and Yourself, On the Wings of Self-Esteem, and The Bullying Antidote: Superpower Your Kids for Life with her daughter, Kristen Caven A professional speaker, she delivered over 400 presentations to communities and military families across the nation, in Germany, Japan, and Okinawa.
Kristen Caven, an award-winning literary creative known for her plays, poems, cartoons, books and comedy, sees her first great accomplishment as being born as Dr. Louise Hart’s daughter. Together they co-founded first Lifeskills Press, then Uplift Press. Kristen is certified in the practice of Positive Psychology through the Flourishing Center, and her books include Perfectly Revolting and The Souls of Her Feet. She was the director of the Zorgos Project in Oakland, a book club providing anti-bullying resources through Oakland Parents Together, and is a mommy blogger at ADDitude Magazine.
The Winning Family was one of the first books to address building mental health in the family, and was published in five languages on three continents. In promoting her workshops, Hart and Caven originated the term “positive parenting.” This edition brings a wealth of wisdom to a new generation of parents.
Francine Thomas Howard, author of Scattered Seed
Three sisters navigate the horrors of the Middle Passage in a powerful historical novel about family, honor, and the will to live, by the author of The Daughter of Union County. Timbuktu, western Africa, 1706. Folashade, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a professor of linguistics, is sent south with her older sisters, Bibi and Adaeze, to endure the painful ceremony that a girl on the cusp of womanhood is expected to. In Djenné, on the banks of the Niger, the sisters’ fate and that of their fellow Bambara are changed forever when they’re kidnapped, marched toward grueling indignities on Gorée Island, and eventually hauled aboard an English slaver bound for the Americas. Before they are inevitably separated, Folashade, Bibi, and Adaeze plot to keep their memories alive. Drawing from her ancestry, Francine Thomas Howard gives an authentic voice to the horrors of the Middle Passage—and an empowered one to a girl who is determined to survive, to honor her father and Timbuktu, and to ensure that her and her sisters’ names will never be forgotten.
About the author:
Francine Thomas Howard is the author of The Daughter of Union County, Page from a Tennessee Journal, and Paris Noire. A descendant of an enslaved African, Howard writes stories that explore the multicultural legacy of African-descended people throughout the diaspora and reflect her own African, European, and Native American heritage.
Raised in San Francisco, Howard earned a BA in occupational therapy from San José State and an MPA from the University of San Francisco. She left a rewarding career in pediatric occupational therapy to pursue another love: writing.
Desiring to preserve the remarkable oral histories of her family tree, she began writing down those stories with little thought of publication. That all changed when she turned a family secret about her grandparents into Page from a Tennessee Journal. Francine Thomas Howard resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This is a free event occurring on June 18th at 1pm via Zoom . To join, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81524698089.
Tess Caldwell is an ambitious, dedicated and enthusiastic undergraduate Media and Screen Studies student at Northeastern University. She also serves as the Web Editor for the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club.