Local Authors on the Radio

A fun way to learn about North State writers is to tune in to North State Public Radio’s weekly radio program, Nancy’s Bookshelf. The host, Nancy Wiegman, has lived in Chico since 1990. She started broadcasting with Chico State University’s NPR station KCHO as a classical announcer that same year. She has hosted Nancy’s Bookshelf since 2007.

Every week, Nancy interviews local, regional, or national authors. Just this year, Nancy has interviewed three Writers Forum members:

Recent guests include a neurosurgeon on America’s health care system, a high school teacher on the Lassen Peak eruptions of 1914-15, and a Chico author with a collection of family recipes.

You can listen to Nancy’s Bookshelf on Friday mornings from 10:00 to 11:00 on North State Public Radio at 88.9 FM, or go to the website to listen to a podcast of past episodes. Just follow any of the links above.

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Success Story Saturday: Steve Callan

Congratulations to Writers Forum member Steve Callan on being selected by Foreword Reviews as a finalist for their 2013 Book of the Year Contest!

Here’s the press release as originally published on BriefingWire.com.

BriefingWire.com, 3/13/2014 – Traverse City, MI, March 13, 2014 — Today, Foreword Reviews, the only review magazine solely dedicated to discovering new indie books, announced the finalists for its 16th Annual Book of the Year Awards. Each year, Foreword shines a light on a small group of indie authors and publishers whose groundbreaking work stands out from the crowd. Foreword’s awards are more than just a shiny sticker on the front of a book; they help connect the best indie books to readers eager to discover new stories written by previously unknown authors.

The following Coffeetown titles have been nominated for the 2013 Book of the Year Awards: Badges, Bears, and Eagles, by Steven T. Callan in the Nature category; Gabriela and The Widow, by Jack Remick, in the Literary Fiction category; The Spy’s Little Zonbi, by Cole Alpaugh, and We, a novel by Michael Landweber in the General Fiction category. In the next two months, a panel of over 100 librarians and booksellers will determine the winners of these prestigious awards. A celebration of the winners will take place during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m. with awards in over 60 categories, cash prizes for the best in fiction and nonfiction, and widespread recognition.

Congratulations, Steve!

Success Story Saturday: Sharon St. George Signs Three-book Contract

Writers Forum member Sharon St. George recently signed a three-book contract with Camel Press, the fiction imprint of Coffeetown Press in Seattle, Washington. St. George’s hospital-based mystery series is titled The Machado Mysteries, and features Aimee Machado, a forensic librarian who works in an acute care hospital in rural northern California. Her brother, Harry, plays a part in helping Aimee solve these amateur sleuth mysteries.

The debut book in the series, Due for Discard is already in the publisher’s hands. The deadline for her second book, Checked Out, is May 1, and the third, Breach of Ethics, is a work in progress due  August 1. They will be published as print on demand (POD) paperbacks and as e-books. At this early stage, the date has not been set for when the books will be available to purchase.

St. George is proud and happy to be published by the same company that publishes Steve Callan, another Writers Forum member. Callan’s nonfiction book, Badges, Bears and Eagles, published by Coffeetown Press, is enjoying great success.

For those who do not recognize the author’s name, Sharon St. George is the pen name of Sharon Owen, Program Director of Writers Forum.

Visit Sharon St. George at www.sharonstgeorge.com

Member Monday: Timeless Advice for the Story Writer by Steve Callan

Welcome back to Member Monday.  We kick off our September theme “A Lesson Learned” with a piece of advice from member Steve Callan.  Steve is the author of Badges, Bears, and Eagles.  Steve will be signing copies at the Chico Costco on Friday, September 6th from 10:00am to 4:00pm and again on Friday, September 13th at the  Redding Costco from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  You can also hear Steve’s author program and pick up a signed copy of his book at Sisson Museum in Mt. Shasta on Friday, September 20th at 7:00pm.

Timeless Advice for the Story Writer

by Steve Callan

Last spring, my wife and I enjoyed a week’s stay in a rustic historic cottage near Pacific Grove’s Lover’s Point.  Much to my delight, the cottage had a fabulous library, and amongst its treasures was a tiny paperback entitled Becoming a Writer.  The author was born in 1893 and died in 1948, the year I was born.   Her lessons are as relevant today as they were back in the early 1900s.  I was so taken by one particular paragraph that I copied it, freehand, and keep it nearby whenever I’m writing:

“But at the time of writing, nothing is more confusing than to have the alert, critical, over-scrupulous rational faculty at the forefront of your mind.  The tormenting doubts of one’s own ability, the self-conscious muteness that drops like a pall over the best story ideas, come from consulting the judge in one’s self at the moment when it is the story teller’s turn to be in the ascendant.  It is not easy at first to inhibit the running verdicts on every sentence, almost every word that is written, but once the flow of the story has well set in, the critical faculty will be content to wait its turn.” -Dorothea Brande (1893 to 1948)

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: A Hot Summer Day in Chico Creek Canyon by Steve Callan

Welcome back to Member Monday.  We kick off our July theme on “Summer” with a piece  from member Steve Callan.  Steve is the author of Badges, Bears, and Eagles.  You can hear more from Steve on his NPR interview.  

A Hot Summer Day in Chico Creek Canyon

by Steve Callan

One of my most memorable trout fishing trips took place during the summer of 1964.  My fishing buddy, Paul Martens, had heard that some trophy browns could be caught in upper Chico Creek.  The only way into this treacherously steep canyon was an overgrown caterpillar track that hadn’t been traveled in years.  Throwing caution to the wind, I shoved my 1947 Chevy pickup into first gear, stepped on the gas and inched forward.

“I just bought a new Mitchell 300,” said Paul, obviously excited.  “I can’t wait to try it out.”

“If this road gets any narrower you might not get your chance,” I said

Walking might have been faster than the old truck moved in first gear, so it took us almost an hour to reach the end.

“OK, where’s the trail?”  I asked, climbing out of the truck.

“It’s supposed to be here somewhere,” answered Paul, in a sheepish voice.

“It’s only nine o’clock and already hot,” I complained.  “The temperature’s supposed to hit a hundred today.”

Paul and I peered over the canyon’s edge.  All we could see were giant boulders, scrub oaks and what appeared to be an impenetrable wall of poison oak.  Reasonable adults might have surveyed the situation and decided it wasn’t worth the risk, but we were sixteen year old boys, not reasonable adults.  Besides, we could hear the trout stream rushing and rippling below.

Paul discovered what might have been some kind of human foot path a short distance from where the road ended.  I looked it over and was convinced that it was no more than a deer trail, but that was all we could find so we gathered our gear and began the day’s adventure.

Both of us carried cloth fishing creels and two piece spinning rods, with reels attached.  “Watch for snakes,” I warned, as we carefully squeezed between two patches of poison oak.  About fifty yards down, the trail disappeared and the canyon became even steeper.  Sweat poured off our faces and into our eyes.  We had already forgotten about avoiding poison oak.  The fear of stepping on a rattlesnake paled in comparison to the anticipated joy of reaching the stream and flopping into the refreshingly cool water.

Expletives rolled off our lips as we charged forward, pushing brush and sharp branches aside.  “It’s too late to turn back,” I shouted.  “Keep going, Paul, we’re almost there.”  I reached a clearing, fifty feet above the stream.  It was then that I heard Paul cry out, “Sheiiiit!”  I looked up just in time to see my fishing buddy burst through a patch of poison oak.  He was still on his feet, but sliding on the soles of his Converse All Stars.  Paul’s fishing rod, with his new Mitchell 300 reel attached, was still firmly clutched in his right hand.  Suddenly his feet flew out from under him and he fell backward onto the hard red clay.  The impact loosened Paul’s grip on the fishing rod and away it went, bouncing down the canyon, over the rimrock ledge and into the stream below.

Fortunately, Paul’s rod and reel didn’t break into a hundred pieces.  They did, however, land in what had to be the deepest pool in Chico Creek.  Paul was devastated.   He had not only lost his new reel, but after all of the work getting there, he didn’t have anything to fish with.  “Cheer up,” I said, still laughing.  “I’ll get your rod and reel back.”  I reached into my creel and pulled out an old diving mask.  “I brought this to see if there are any big browns in this stream, like you said.”

Paul and I carefully climbed down the remaining rocks to the water below.  I marveled at the beauty of this Northern California trout stream.  The water was crystal clear as it rushed over car sized boulders, creating one deep pool after another.  Alders provided much needed shade, creating an ideal environment for fish and other aquatic life.

Ditching my shoes at the water’s edge, I carefully maneuvered across the rocky bottom until the swirling water was shoulder deep.  My face mask had not been used for some time, so I rinsed it out, spit on the inside glass and thoroughly rubbed saliva around before rinsing it again and putting it on.  Leaning forward, I stuck my head under the water.  The sounds from above were immediately silenced and replaced by the muffled sound of rushing water and millions of foaming bubbles flowing downstream.  Pushing off from the stream bottom, I skimmed across the surface toward the steep cliff on the opposite side.  Tucking my upper body and straightening my legs, I began my descent.  Within seconds I was ten feet below the surface, continuing downward.  The water became dark and suddenly colder.  Pressure began to build in my ears.  Peering toward the bottom, I saw several eight-inch rainbow trout dart upstream toward the falling water and disappear into the bubbles.  My peripheral vision was limited by the sides of the old face mask, but I managed a short glimpse of something larger, much, much larger…

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Bears and Bad Guys: An Excerpt from Badges, Bears, and Eagles by Steve Callan

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to showcase another installment from member Steve Callan’s book Badges, Bears, and Eagles.  You can read previous excerpts here and here.  Then mark your calendars because Steve will be signing copies of Badges, Bears, and Eagles at the Redding Costco on Saturday April 26th from 10am to 4pm.  Today Steve shares a chapter about a three-year undercover investigation that turned out to be one of the most successful wildlife-related criminal investigations in California history. 

Bears and Bad Guys: An Excerpt from Badges, Bears, and Eagles

by Steve Callan

 

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“So what’s been going on?” Westerby asked. “I tried calling you a dozen times.”

Hoang convinced Westerby that he had been out of the country.

“I figured you was,” said Westerby.

“These aren’t too bad,” said Hoang.

Westerby began to act impatient: “What’ll ya give me for ’em?”

“These aren’t too fresh,” Hoang said. “When did you take them?”

Westerby blinked a few times and looked around some more, as if stalling while he decided how to answer. “One was killed two days ago, one was four days ago and the other was five days ago. I’ll be gettin’ more, too.” he added.

“Yeah?” said Hoang.

“I killed two cougars yesterday,” said Westerby

“Wow!” said Hoang.

“Ya know, I just got home about two nights before you called,” said Westerby.

“I’ll give you four hundred,” said Hoang.

Westerby puffed himself up and pursed his lips, unhappy with the offer.  The diminutive undercover agent realized that the much larger man-a classic bully-was going to try to intimidate him, so he played along, milking his role as the timid, soft-spoken Asian.  Agent Hoan had become quite proficient at his temporary job.  The more he negotiated over price, the more convincing he appeared.

 

“I can get two apiece for ’em right up the road here,” Westerby growled, gesturing wildly.

Having recently listened to a recorded conversation near Jason Lee’s mountain rental house, Hoang immediately realized who Westerby was referring to.

“The guy right up the road gives me two for the small ones and three or three and a half for the bigger ones,” Westerby boasted.

“Who are you dealing with?” asked Hoang.

The easily excitable Westerby launched into a tirade. “Every hound hunter in the world.  Ya know what I mean? Hell, there’s only a hundred hound hunters around here who have connections, ya know. And Jason does better than that.”

Westerby’s recorded statement validated what Szody and I had suspected for some time: many of the area houndsmen were selling bear gall bladders and most of them were selling to Jason Lee, either directly or indirectly.

The cat was out of the bag.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!