VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND : Local Self-Help Authors Offer How-To Lessons : Area writers discuss topics ranging from hypnosis to how to strengthen a marriage.


In a brilliant Calvin and Hobbes panel by Bill Watterson, who has retired the strip, Calvin tells his tiger pal, Hobbes, that he is "Going to get rich by writing a self-help book." The problem he plans to address in his "Shut up and Stop Whining" tome is our addiction to self-help books.

Well, until Calvin creates that book to cure the addiction, take note of the following how-to titles produced by local authors.

"Dragon-Slaying for Couples" by Ventura psychologist Tom Prinz focuses on how to strengthen marriage by dealing with hidden issues. Prinz, whose "Dragon-Slaying for Parents" was published in 1992, will conduct a Marriage Enrichment Seminar in February. Call 482-3116 for details.

Ojai author Patricia Fry describes her experiences with hypnosis, past-life regression and self-healing in "Quest for Truth: A Journey of the Soul," just published by Matilija Press of Ojai.

The quest for new taste adventures can be found in the illustrated cookbook "The Mainland Luau: How to Capture the Flavor of Hawaii in Your Own Backyard," a new release from Matilija Press.


Reta Taylor will read at 8 tonight at the poetry series in Cafe Voltaire, 34 N. Palm St., Ventura. Poets may sign in at 7:30 p.m. for open-mike readings.


The Arcade Poetry Project will present T. L. Cabrera at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Performance Studio, 34 N. Palm St., Ventura. Open readings will follow. Call 641-1743 for details.


Author Michael Connelly will sign his latest mystery, "The Poet," featuring a crime-solving newspaper reporter, at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mysteries to Die For, 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.


The fiction reading group that meets monthly at Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., Ventura, will discuss "None to Accompany Me" by Nadine Gordimer at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.


Is computer research technology an overwhelming challenge? Help might be available at the Conejo Valley Genealogical Society's two-day seminar beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Panelists will share information about modems, bulletin board systems and using the Internet for genealogy research. The event takes place at the Conejo Valley Education Center, 1025 Old Farm Road, Thousand Oaks. Call 495-9659 to register.


Storytelling for adults is a growth industry, according to Publishers Weekly, and approximately 400 professional storytellers are wandering the country plying their trade. At the Earthling Bookshop, 1137 State St., a mini-convention of storytellers is scheduled at 7 p.m. tonight.


The buzz at Metro Comics in Santa Barbara is that Bill Morrison, story editor of "The Simpsons" comic books, will make an appearance along with other artists and writers from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. The first 100 people who sign up in advance for a place in line will receive a free Simpsons comic book. Metro Comics, 15 W. Anapamu. Call 963-2168.

Information on literary events should be sent to Frances Halpern at least two weeks in advance. Write to her at 93 S. Chestnut St., Ventura 93001, or send faxes to 653-7576.

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