Authors highlighted at Guild luncheon

Photos by Erna TAYLOR-STA Luncheon organizers included (from left) Jean Cleven, Wendy Nicholl and Danette Erickson.


On a wet Tuesday morning, with the sun trying valiantly to peep through, a group of dedicated women, friends and guests gathered for the annual 2010 Book & Author Luncheon to benefit The Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital.

The La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild has been in operation for over 53 years offering their time and money for this worthy cause and much needed service. No child who needs help is turned away for financial reasons and the Outpatient Medical Center in downtown L.A. has the capacity to see more children with orthopaedic conditions than any other single medical facility in the nation. The setting for the Oct. 19 fundraiser was the recently opened and spectacular Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland, which has a backdrop of the mountains of the Angeles National Forest.

The event, chaired by Joan Cleven, began at 10:00 a.m. with the first of three authors chosen by program chair Wendy Nicholl. Each year the event and program are the same – only the authors change. This year’s featured authors were Cherie Mercer Twohy, author of “The I love Trader Joe’s Cookbook”;  children’s author Erica Silverman; and mystery writer Hannah Dennison.

Twohy owns Chez Cherie Cooking School in La Cañada Flintridge and explained why she chose to write about Trader Joe’s.

“Actually, I shop there all the time and I had developed recipes and began doing cooking classes based on Trader Joe’s, which became quite popular,” she said. “I thought about writing a general cookbook, but then I was approached by a publishing company who asked me if I would be interested in writing about Trader Joe’s. It was actually quite easy, since I already had the data base of recipes!”

Taking only about six months to write her book, Twohy decided to forge ahead and wrote a second called, “I love Trader Joe’s Party Book,” which will be on sale beginning Nov.10. Keeping it in the family, her son took all the photos that are in both books and Twohy emphasized that all the food photos are of real food. “My philosophy is: Make, Shoot, Eat. I made it, presented it, then my son did the photos and the eating. It worked great!”

The author also said she would be having a “trial separation” from Trader Joe’s and is looking toward perhaps writing a book or memory vignette of school.

Silverman is a longtime author of children’s books and a librarian who had her first book published in 1989.

“The book was ‘Warm In Winter,’ out of print now, and I spent many years in ‘apprenticeship’ before that, getting my feet wet, writing, writing, writing,” said Silverman. A New York native, she has lived in Los Angeles long enough to consider herself an Angelino.

At the luncheon, Silverman spoke of her trials and errors as a new writer. She presented two books: “The Big Pumpkin” and “Cowgirl Kate and Coca.”

“I like doing events like this, because of course, I get exposure, but  it is for such  an incredible reason – contributing to Children’s Orthopaedic care,” said Silverman.  An accomplished author, she was honored with the California Young Reader Medal for her book, “Don’t Fidget a Feather.” Her next release will be out on Feb. 11, 2011 and is titled, “Liberty’s Voice: The Story of Emma Lazarus.”

Hannah Dennison is the author of the Vicky Hill Mysteries. “I have been writing since 1993, but like most mystery writers, I have a full time job too!” said Dennison. “My writing doesn’t support me financially, but it is my passion.

“It usually takes about 15 years from start to finish to get your first book published and mine came out almost 15 years to the day to the day that I actually began focusing on being a professional writer.”

Dennison did her “due diligence” by screenwriting for several studios including New Line Cinemas, Warner Bros. and Sony. She enrolled in the UCLA Writing Program to learn about writing. Her fourth book will be out in June of 2011. The subject of Dennison’s books – Vicky Hill – is an obituary writer who also helps solve murders.

The luncheon featured a presentation by each of the invited authors, a silent auction, raffle and lunch. Marylou Morrison is the president of the Guild and with her committee she was assisted by Dannette Erickson, press chair, and Nicholl.  Even the husbands of Guild members are pulled into this event acting as cashiers for books sales and the auction.

To learn more about the hospital, the guild and how to help, visit or call (213) 742-1500.