Cambrian: Opinion

Chickens, zombies, murder ... and books — at Cambria authors fair

Last year’s Celebration of Cambria Authors drew some 30 authors and 150-plus visitors to the Cambria Veterans Memorial Building. Organizers are hoping for an even bigger turnout this year.
Last year’s Celebration of Cambria Authors drew some 30 authors and 150-plus visitors to the Cambria Veterans Memorial Building. Organizers are hoping for an even bigger turnout this year.

Diversity is one of those buzzwords that may have worn out its welcome for a lot of folks, but the concept behind the word never gets old. And one thing authors are is diverse.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m an author as well as an editor; my third book with Linden Publishing, a history of U.S. Highway 99 in California, is coming out in August. Since journalists write about all sorts of topics, I suppose it’s no surprise that my work as an author has led in all sorts of directions: I’ve written a novel about a woman who can bring people back from the dead, a history of my hometown, a book of original fables and parables, even a children’s story. (My wife, Samaire, will be selling her zombie apocalypse trilogy.)

But that’s just a small sampling of the diversity that will be on display at the second annual Celebration of Cambria Authors on Saturday, July 1.

“The authors who have opted to participate this year are as diverse as they were last year,” said organizer Penny Church, “and their books represent a full range of genres from historical fiction and nonfiction to science fiction, children’s literature, religion, cooking, mysteries, travels, architecture, and how-to topics. We will also have our own internationally known Catherine Ryan Hyde back with us again.”

Ryan Hyde, who just released her 32nd book, “Allie & Bea,” is one of 33 authors or author teams who’ve signed up to participate in this year’s event. Sue McGinty of Los Osos, whose murder mysteries are set along the Central Coast, is also among the featured authors.

Overall, the authors themselves are as diverse as the topics they’ve written about, and they don’t always write about what you’d expect.

For instance, you may be surprised to learn that elephant seal docent Christine Heinrichs has made an impact writing books not about marine mammals, but chickens.

Then there’s Pewter Plough Playhouse owner Rebecca Buckley, whose “Midnight” series deals with romance, not the theater.

Most of the authors live in Cambria or nearby, including Wayne Attoe and Debbie Soto, who have written books about the area, and members past and present of the town’s two writing groups, Rough Writers and Cambria Writers’ Workshop. Others on hand include current and former Cambrian columnists and contributors, such as Heinrichs, Ted Siegler and Bill Seavey.

A few from outside the area have written about it, such as Linda Seed, whose contemporary romance series is set here. The Fresno-based author-illustrator team of Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter, meanwhile, have created a trilogy of books on Highway 1.

Friends of the Cambria Library and the Historical Museum will also have books for sale.

There’s a $5 entry fee for adults at the event, set for 1 to 5 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St., and it will once again benefit the Cambria Historical Society.

Not many changes are planned from last year, although there won’t be music this time around because, as Church pointed out, “it was too distracting with all the conversations going on in the hall.” There won’t be food, either, but there will be water and wine.

Once again, a keynote speaker this will address the gathering at 2 p.m. I’ll be doing the honors this year, following in the footsteps of Sharon Lovejoy, who delivered a fun and inspirational speech in 2016.

“Having a keynote speaker is really important because it helps everyone in the room, authors and the public, understand that there are many avenues to becoming an author,” Church said. “The process of writing is so different for each author and budding author, so the personal experiences that are shared by the speaker are super helpful and interesting.”

Some 300 books were sold at last year’s event, for a total of more than $5,000. The Historical Society uses the proceeds it earns for community projects such as creating a research center in the blue Maggetti House next door to the museum and funding the impending move of the Santa Rosa Schoolhouse to the East Village.

“The main goals of the event are to highlight local authors big and small, create an atmosphere of collegiality among authors, and to welcome the public to a fun and informative event that celebrates the talent that surrounds us,” Church said.

For information about the event, go to or call 805-927-1442.

Participating authors

Wayne Attoe, Brant Baker, Rebecca Buckley, Lucia Capacchione, Evelyn Dabritz, Sheri Eiselen, Dennis Frahmann, Arthur Gusner, Patricia Heineman, Christine Heinrichs, Sheri Humphreys, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Donna Kean, Craig Loud, Sue McGinty, Merle and Shirley Price, Samaire Provost, Stephen H. Provost, Carolyn Pye, Cindy Rankin, Linda Reed, Ken Renshaw, Judy Salamacha, William Seavey, Linda Seed, Ted Siegler, Bob Soto, Debbie Soto, Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter, Diane Tappey, Patti Taylor and Suzette Lees, Bertha Tyler, Betty Winter.