FINDING PEACE: The 1987 killing of his...

FINDING PEACE: The 1987 killing of his wife during a home robbery shattered the lives of Fullerton psychologist Richard Gayton and his three children. But Gayton is using that nightmare to help heal other victims of violence. His new book, "The Forgiving Place: Choosing Peace After Violent Trauma," shows how to work through the pain to find healing. . . . Says Gayton: "I hope that they will learn to forgive and accept themselves for the rage, grief and fear that they have to go through."

PLAY BALL: Baseball fans feeling low about the strike will get a lift from Brea author Mike Blake's new book. "Baseball's Bad Hops and Lucky Bounces" is a potpourri of "quirky quips, silly superstitions, knuckleball nicknames and preposterous plays." One chapter offers some of the great tantrums in baseball history, "bleeped out for younger audiences." Says Blake, author of three previous books on America's favorite pastime: "Baseball's one of the funniest parts of life, the strike notwithstanding."

YOU-DUN-IT: Everyone is writing a mystery these days. Or so it seems. Garden Grove mystery writer Patricia McFall is even teaching a class called "Writing Your First Mystery or Suspense Novel." Her one-day workshops have attracted retired judges, educators and homemakers. "Mystery readers are smart, so you get smart, capable people who are interested in them," says McFall. "I think mysteries--more than any other form of fiction--appeal to the intellect because they involve solving a complex puzzle."

ANOTHER SLICE: Fullerton-based Lightning Publications is sponsoring its second annual short story contest for unpublished Orange County writers. The winning entries, which must have an O.C. setting, will be included in an anthology, "Slices of Orange: The Second," due in the fall. . . . In publishing the anthologies, editor Nancy Brooks Rayl says: "We kind of belie that myth about Orange County, the idea that we are some kind of cultural desert down here and that everything happens only up in West L.A. It just isn't true."

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