On the Town: A novel day for La Crescenta Woman's Club

A three-hour program plus lunch goes really fast when La Crescenta Woman's Club members are involved. On Monday (Nov. 12) these go-getters organized their annual Authors Luncheon at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club. A silent auction, door prizes, opportunity prize drawings and authors' book signings welcomed 100 members and guests when they arrived at 10 a.m.

But this literary bunch came to hear from the authors. First up was Hannah Dennison, who was pushing her latest book, “Thieves.” Dennison summarized the book as a British mystery with “murders here and there.” It features her ongoing character, Vicky Hill, from several earlier novels. Dennison said she writes “cozy mysteries.” That means “No sex. No violence. No bad language.”

Dennison's first job in the 1970s was writing obituaries for a small paper in Devon, England. Switching genres, she came to Los Angeles 20 years ago to become a screenwriter. With jobs few and far between, Dennison honed her writing chops in long-form narrative by taking a UCLA extension course from its writers program.

Next up was Jesse Kellerman, the son of famed husband-and-wife writing team, Faye and Jonathan Kellerman. Jesse described dictating stories when he was 2 years old. Jonathan wrote them down and stapled them into small books, and Jesse did the illustrations. Years later, Jesse moved from Los Angeles and now lives in San Diego.

Commenting on the “majestic hills” outside the country club, Jesse declared, “What a perfect place to hide a body.” Bodies aside, he believes that 90% of fiction readers are women. Jesse took full advantage to promote his current novel, “Potboiler,” to his all-women audience. “Potboiler” parodies the thriller format.

Jesse has had five novels published including his current book. He said he's good at creating “the dark, weird creepy guy.” Jesse announced that he and his father will be writing a book together next year. Asked what his parents thought of his novels, Jesse said, “They think everything I do is brilliant.”

The final author on the program was Ashley Ream and her first book, “Losing Clementine.” The novel explores how a character prepares for her suicide. Lest you think the book is a real downer, a lot of black humor is part of the mix. Ream said, “If planning suicide, you eat whatever you want.” She wrote the novel in a cafe, downing plenty of tea as she went along.

Ream's second book is making the rounds of potential publishers. She's currently writing her third novel.

After the authors' presentations and before lunch, audience members bought the books of their choice. The authors generously signed all of them.

The brains behind the program included Carol Stein who brought the authors to the club and co-chaired the event with club President Carol Huntwork and Dea McCrory. (McCrory brought as her guest Glendale resident Shirley Larrayoz.) Carol Benedetti was in charge of the program. Club Past President and Glendale resident Rita Even was also a busy helper.

Kudos goes to Arline Elizagaray, a new member of the La Crescenta Woman's Club. She hand-knitted a bright-red, 45-by-60-inch afghan that went for $70 in the silent auction. The afghan took her four months to create and is one of several Elizagaray has donated to the club in recent years.

Pasadena bookstore Vroman's provided the authors' books.

The club's informal cook, Sally Benson, allowed the country club chef to make lunch. Benson sat this one out.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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