By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Several local authors and their works were featured at a fundraiser on Saturday evening. “A Literary Evening” was held at the La Crescenta Woman’s Club where proceeds benefitted the Friends of the La Crescenta Library and the CV Town Council.
Nine authors had a chance to introduce their works, which varied from local history to suspenseful fiction to children’s fancy.
Tina Kugler read from her book, “In Mary’s Garden,” a beautifully illustrated piece that took the audience to a real Midwestern garden that contains a bounty of objets ’d art made from surprising materials.
The nightclub scene of the 1940s was unlike that of any other time and La Crescenta author Andra Clarke gave the audience a peek into that era in “Ciro’s: Nightclub of the Stars.” The photo-heavy book chronicles the time her mother Regina Denton-Drew spent at the famed night spot working as a cigarette girl and photographer.
Local historian and CV Weekly columnist Mike Lawler with co-author and former CV High School history teacher Gary Keyes shared some of the seedier parts of local history from their books, “Wicked Crescenta Valley” and “Madness and Mayhem in the Crescenta Valley.” Lawler also shared that it was Keyes, who was his history teacher in high school, who inspired his love of history.
A prolific writer, Dr. Gay Kinman has nine award nominations for her writing. At Saturday’s function, she told the audience that much of her work centers around nearby Huntington Library, though inspiration can strike her just about anywhere. She didn’t focus on any single work but gave an overview of several of her books.
The rich history of local winemaking is the topic of Stuart Byles book, “Los Angeles Wine: A History from the Mission Era to the Present.” Byles, a founding member of the Stone Barn Vineyard Conservancy, told Saturday’s audience of the early days of wine production in California that had its roots not in Napa but in Los Angeles.
Former private detective Gayle Bartos-Pool (G.B. Pool) transported listeners to a cabin where private investigator Gin Caulfield is being held against her will in her recently released novel, “Damning Evidence,” the third in the Gin Caulfield series. But the “over-50 gal who still packs heat” knows how to handle herself and the bad guys had better watch out.
La Crescenta resident Tracy Holczer released her first novel, “The Secret Hum of a Daisy” to critical success, earning the distinguished title of Scholastic Reading Club tear jerker of the month. The story follows the life of 12-year-old Grace and the turmoil of finding a forever home with her mother. Unexpected circumstances leave Grace even more uncertain of her future, but perhaps otherworldly influences can show her the way to her true home.
Vicki Ableson is an accomplished comedian, promoter and producer. But on Saturday she was a master storyteller, transporting the audience to a place where one life was ending as loved ones (and ones not so much loved) coped with trying to understand. This was just one road in a 20-year journey in Abelson’s “Don’t Jump,” a book that one reviewer said after reading, “I will never be the same.”
Librarian Marta Wiggins introduced each author on Saturday, giving a brief overview of their work. After presentations, the writers were available to talk to Evening guests about their work and purchase copies.
In addition, the event featured a raffle that included an original piece by La Crescenta artist Will Woeger, whose works have been displayed at Penelope’s Café in La Cañada.
The Evening was the first of its kind for the two organizing groups.
“This was our first joint fundraiser,” said Wiggins. “It’s a nice entry into the community fundraising world.” She added that proceeds earmarked for the library will support the summer reading program.
The Crescenta Valley Town Council scholarship program will benefit from the Evening event as well.