Monday, August 18, 2014

Litquake 2014 - Lots of Fun

Yesterday was Litquake 2014 at the JCC Palo Alto.  Joni, Rich, Leslie, and I got there at 2 and left at 6.  Here are the workshops and salons (what exactly is a salon without hair or nails?) that we attended:

2:00-2:45 - Oral Histories:  How and Why to Do Them.  Angela Zusman explained to us how important oral histories are and how her organization, along with many others, are making themselves available, around the world, to keep oral histories alive.  I strongly felt what she was talking about because all of my family members that could keep our history alive have passed away.  There's nobody left to ask questions.  It was a very interesting 45 minutes.

3:00-4:00 - Breakthrough Novelists.  I always enjoy this one because I want to know who's got their 1st novel and, therefore, might be a new author for me.  Remember last year I met Tracy Guzeman, Amy Franklin-Willis (both of whom were VHOB Book Club authors this year), and Ellen Kirschman (who had an author event at VHOB).  Last year was a very fertile year for the bookstore and me just from Litquake 2013.  This year, there were 4 featured authors - Edan Lepucki, Ann Gelder, Christina Nichol, and Stuart Rojstaczer.  Edan had an interesting story to tell about how she got on The Colbert Report.  And Ann, of course, is another VHOB Alumnus.  In fact, we had a launch party for Ann a couple of months ago.  I also made contact with Christina and Stuart later in the day, with the possibility that both of them might make appearances at VHOB.  Once again, I'm glad that I picked this "salon."  (I'm sorry.  I can't write "salon" with a straight face.)

Edan, Ann, Christina, Stuart

4:15-5:15 - Shrinks with Ink:  Psychotherapist Authors.  This is exactly what it sounds like. Greg Bellow (son of Saul), Jan Harwood (who, along with her Singing Grannies, read and performed at VHOB), and Kate Levinson all spoke about how their psychotherapy practices tied in to their books.  It was also interesting that one wrote mysteries (Jan), one wrote a memoir (Greg), and one wrote a self-help (Kate).  The moderator, who did an excellent job, was our own Ellen Kirschman, herself a police psychologist for 30 years and a VHOB author.  

Jan, Greg, Kate

5:30-6:00 - Blues, Booze & Schmooze.  We stayed for about 45 minutes to meet and greet the authors. We got a chance to spend quite a bit of time talking to Ellen Sussman, who is coming to VHOB this Wednesday night for our VHOB Book Club meeting, and to Keith Raffel, who was our July VHOB Book Club author, and who is one of my personal favorites.  This is also the time where I had the chance to meet Christina and Stuart.  I always enjoy this part of the event.  It's fun to talk to the authors in a relaxed setting.

The headliner for the event was Marcia Clark - yes, that Marcia Clark.  She is promoting her new Rachel Knight novel and was being interviewed by another author, Michelle Gagnon, from 7:00-8:00.  We didn't stay for that one.  

Other than the Marcia Clark hour, the rest of the day is free.  It's a great event and, and I will do everything I can each year to be there.

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