Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Litquake Palo Alto 2013 - A Great Event!

This past Sunday, I attended the 2nd annual Litquake at the JCC, Palo Alto.  I was there last year, but it was much more extensive this time.  The basic format was a variety of panel discussions from 3:00-4:00, 4:15-5:15, and 5:30-6:30, followed by a meet and greet on the 4th floor roof of one of their buildings on campus.  You had a choice of 4 seminars to choose from for each hour.  Here's what I attended:

3:00-4:00 - Thrilling Tales with Jewish Characters.  This was the most fun for me because I know 3 of the 4 authors that were part of the panel discussion - Sheldon Siegel, Michael Lavigne, and Keith Raffel (in fact, Michael's Not Me is in my Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader, Volume III).  In case anybody is keeping score, among those 3, I have read all 14 of their books.

4:15-5:15 - Emerging Authors, Presented by the Peninsula Parlour.  Tracy Guzeman was the only one of the 4 authors from this group that I had previously met, and that was 7 or 8 months ago.  She had told me then that her 1st book was coming out in August of 2013. And she was right.  Later in the event, I had a chance to meet and talk to both Tracy and Amy Franklin-Willis.  I bought their books, had them signed, and will put them in an exalted position in my TBR (to be read) pile.

5:30-6:30 - In Conversation with Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, and Andrew Sean Greer.  I enjoyed it, although it wasn't what I expected.  Since they're friends, it was more casual than I thought it would be.  They both have a good sense of humor, so it was entertaining.  Just not as substantive as I wanted it to be (since when did I turn into someone who wants substance, you ask?).

Then we went upstairs for the social hour (and a half).  That was way fun.  I had a chance to talk to Sheldon (and his lovely wife, Linda) and Keith.  That was also where I got to meet Amy, see Tracy again, and talk at length to both of them.  I also said hello to Ellen Sussman, who's got 2 (of 4) books that I've read.  The only disappointment is that I missed Helene Wecker, who wrote The Golem and the Jinni.  I got to meet her at a book signing a couple of months ago at Rakestraw in Danville, but I would have liked to say hello to her.

Just one little anecdote from the "after party."  A woman came up to me and said that Sheldon sent her over.  Her name is Ellen Kirschman.  She is a retired 30-year police and public safety psychologist who has written 3 non-fiction books about her work.  Well, she just published her 1st novel, and Sheldon told her, correctly(!) that I love to support local authors.  So, she gave me her card, and I told her I would buy her book (which I just did) and let her know when I have read it and blogged about it.  An author coming up to me! Are you serious?!

That's it.  A great event that I definitely will get to every year.  Below, I've got a few pictures (like you couldn't see that for yourself).

Amy Franklin-Willis and Tracy Guzeman, in the middle

Sheldon Siegel and Ellen Kirschman

Ellen Sussman

Tracy Guzeman

Coming Attractions:  Litquake San Francisco 2013 is taking place from October 11-19. It's been going on, in some form, since 1999.  I haven't been there yet but plan on going this year.

P.S.  Met Waite Clayton, the NY Times Bestselling Author, said that she couldn't make Litquake Palo Alto this year but will definitely be there next year.  She will definitely enhance the event. 


  1. What a fun event!

  2. We enjoyed the heck out of it. It was worth it just to meet Tracy Guzeman. Her The Gravity of Birds, which I just finished (review tomorrow), was terrific.