On the Town: La Crescenta Woman’s Club celebrates authors at luncheon


Three local authors brought down the (club)house as each appeared to want to top the one who came before.

Stand-up routines aren’t relegated to comics, anymore. Authors are often very funny as they peddle their books — in this case to some 100 members and guests of the La Crescenta Woman’s Club.

Twenty-year member and event chair Debra Cant welcomed her audience at the club’s 15th annual Author Luncheon this past Saturday.

First up was author Desiree Zamorano, who was introduced by club member Carol Stein.

Making it clear she was “no Sofia Vergara,” Zamorano described her book, “The Amado Women,” as “four Latino women linked at birth but separated by secrets.”

Zamorano also writes mystery books. Her private investigator protagonist has “a tortilla chip on her shoulder.”

Club member Barbara Edwards introduced author, Matt Coyle. He was also quick with the quips.

“A call [from a book agent] is good, emails — you’re going down,” Coyle said.

He is the author of the best-selling Rick Cahill crime novels. Coyle’s advice to a would-be writer — “You have to write to become a writer.”

Club president Marianne Jennings introduced cartoon writer now novelist, Dianne Dixon.

Her debut novel, “The Language of Secrets,” was rejected by six agents before the seventh wanted to represent her and the book.

The main character in Dixon’s mystery novel is a man. She related that at her first book signing at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, a man in the audience said she had convincingly captured the male voice.

He then asked, “Did you used to be a man?” Dixon assured him she hadn’t.

After lunch catered by Gourmet A Go Go, the authors were available to sign their books purchased at the event. Prize auction opportunities and a cash-split drawing followed.

An appropriate end to the afternoon was the presentation of Certificates of Recognition to the three authors. Vickere Murphy, district representative for state Senator Anthony Portantino, made the presentations.

A portion of the proceeds, including the $40-per-person tickets, will benefit the club’s philanthropy funds.

It’s not every day an organization celebrates its 150th birthday, but that just what happened this past Saturday when P.E.O. members celebrated its sisterhood’s sesquicentennial at the Oakmont Country Club.

P.E.O., which stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization, is an organization where women honor the advancement of women.

Robin Collins, reciprocity vice president of the Glendale P.E.O., welcomed the more than 200 members and guests present.

The group’s president, Dr. Carol Ann Burton, was absent due to a grandchild’s birth.

An invocation and spirited entertainment by Pam Kay and the Tap Chicks followed.

Collins then gave a history of P.E.O. There are more than 225,000 sisters in nearly 5,874 chapters worldwide.

More than $321 million has been raised in 150 years. Those funds go to educational projects in the form of grants, scholarships and loans.

Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., is owned and supported by the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The college was founded in 1884 by Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard.

Statistics aside, these P.E.O. ladies know how to have fun and raise money at the same time. Opportunity baskets were overflowing. Popular was one filled with pet supplies, won by member Rosina Maize.

She said the basket held “about a year’s worth of pooper scooper bags.”

The program ended with the recognition of P.E.O. sisters who have been members for several decades. One of those hailing from Glendale was Donna Ziel, who has been a member for almost 40 years.

Ziel has been president of her GD Chapter as well as president of the California P.E.O.

Garland Graas of Chapter MQ and Berdella Bal of Chapter OM have been P.E.O. members for 71 years.

Although recognized during the event’s program, neither woman was present.

P.E.O. member Mary Dunn gave the benediction.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at