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Authors Table

Posted on Oct 24, 2005

Author's Table brings together best-selling writers
and their fans at dinner gatherings

Dinner, conversation and books are on the menu for "The Author's Table," and the combination is bringing back the literary fund-raiser for its fourth year.

CSUMB and the National Steinbeck Center are collaborating to raise money for each organization's reading program by putting together best-selling authors and their fans at intimate dinners.

Fourteen dinner parties at private homes around the Monterey Bay and Salinas will be held on Nov. 7, each featuring an author as the main attraction, in addition to lavish dinner for a small group (ranging from 10 to 24 guests).

Platinum tickets are $500 per person and include first choice of dinner as well as an invitation to the opening reception honoring the authors and hosts at the National Steinbeck Center on Nov. 6. Gold tickets are $300 each and include first, second or third choice of dinner locales. Silver tickets are $150 and include one of six choices of dinner, in order of preference. Tickets may be purchased by calling (831) 625-8190.

This year's event chair is Paula Downing.

The lineup of authors includes several best-selling writers of fiction and non-fiction, an Edgar Award winner, an O. Henry Prize winner, and the winner of a New York Times Notable Book award. This year's honored author's include:

• CHARMIAN CARR was chosen to play the role of Liesl von Trapp in the 1964 film "The Sound of Music," an adventure that changed her life forever. In early 2000, she co-authored "Forever Liesl," a book detailing her experiences making the movie, and in 2001, she released her second book, "Letters to Liesl." This year marks the 40th anniversary of "The Sound of Music," which has prompted a visit to Salzburg, commemorative concerts and a re-release on DVD of that very special film.

• CATHERINE COULTER published her first long historical novel in 1982. It was followed by eight trilogies, which makes her the pioneer of the trilogy in historical romance. She writes one historical romance or one contemporary romantic suspense novel every year. That's in addition to the FBI suspense thrillers she introduced in 1996. Over 60 million copies of her books are in print worldwide; her titles have landed on the New York Times bestseller list 53 times. Out this year: Blowout (in paperback), Point Blank (her 10th FBI thriller) and Lyon's Gate (the ninth Sherbrooke series historical romance).

• ANTHONY DOERR's most recent novel, "About Grace," was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Washington Post. His first book, "The Shell Collection," won the 2002 Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, two O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the Ohioana Book Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book and an American Library Association Book of the Year. His fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Atlantic Monthly and The Best American Short Stories. Doerr also writes a bimonthly column on science-related books for the Boston Globe.

• FRANCINE DU PLESSIX GRAY's book, "Them: A Memoir of Parents," was released earlier this year to rave reviews from Time Magazine, The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her biography, "At Home With the Marquis de Sade: A Life," was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. Her broad-based career has focused on non-fiction, from her first book - "Divine Disobedience: Profiles in Catholic Radicalism," which won the National Catholic Book Award - to her articles on Klaus Barbie and the French Resistance, which appeared in Vanity Fair magazine, and received the National Magazine Award for Best Reporting. Her work has appeared in scores of foreign publications, in addition to the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic and Rolling Stone.

• JOHN GRAY, Ph.D., is the author of 15 best-selling books, including "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus," the No. 1 best-selling relationship book of the last decade with more than 30 million sold in over 40 languages. An expert in the field of communication, Dr. Gray's goal is to help men and women understand and appreciate their differences in personal and professional relationships. He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, The View, Politically Incorrect, and Larry King Live, and has been profiled in Newsweek, Time, Forbes, USA Today, TV Guide and People.

• LAURIE R. KING's first novel, "A Grave Talent," featuring San Francisco homicide detectives Kate Martinelli and Alonzo Hawkin, won both the 1993 Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Award for Best First Crime Novel and the Edgar Award. She has since written three more novels in that series, plus gone back in time with her award-winning Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series. A third series focuses on Anne Waverly, a university professor in alternative religious movements. She has written three stand-alone suspense novels, a futuristic novel and two other novels. Her most recent book is "Locked Rooms," which was released in June.

• JOSEPH M. MARSHALL III was a consultant and actor in "Into The West," Steven Spielberg's six-part mini-series on TNT last summer. Marshall has published five books, including "The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living," and most recently, "Thunder Dreamer: The Journey of Crazy Horse." He has been a high school teacher, craftsman of primitive Lakota bows and arrows, historian, writer, community organizer, lecturer and screenwriter. He has served as technical consultant on a number of films and had a screen role in the television mini-series, Return to Lonesome Dove. He is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

• NINA MARIE MARTINEZ's first novel, "Caramba!," was described by one critic as "one part Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one part John Irving and one part Tom Robbins, crammed in a blender and set on puree." Now at work on her second novel, Martinez is a high school dropout with a bachelor's degree in literature from UC Santa Cruz. She is a vintage clothes dealer and an avid baseball fan.

• PATT MORRISON, a writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is the author of "Rio LA, Tales from the Los Angeles River," which was honored by the Southern California Booksellers' Association as the best nonfiction book of 2001. She is the host of the nationally syndicated The Book Show with Patt Morrison, produced by PBS affiliate KCET, and is regularly featured on National Public Radio. She has won five Emmys, four Golden Mike awards, and was a member of two Los Angeles Times' reporting teams that won Pulitzer Prizes. Other awards and honors include a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles Press Club, Ms. Magazine's Women Who Made Difference, Woman of the Year by the League of Women Voters of Beverly Hills, and the ACLU's Freedom of Information Award. Her newspaper work has included national political profiles, campaign reporting, the Persian Gulf War, the Olympics, fall of the Berlin Wall and Britain's Royal Family, while her interviews have included Salman Rushdie, Henry Kissinger, Frank Gehry and Jane Goodall.

• CARL NOLTE is, by his own description, just a humble reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. He's also been an editor there, a soldier and a sailor. He has covered baseball, forest fires, crimes, politics, the Gulf War and the Iraq War. This fourth-generation San Franciscan has authored three books, including "The San Francisco Century" which is being released this fall.

• DANIEL OLIVAS has been described as a rising voice in Chicano literature. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, educated at Stanford University and UCLA, where he received a law degree. He is the author of four books, including his most recent: "Devil Talk: Stories." His work is included in three anthologies. He is employed by the Department of Justice, specializing in environmental enforcement and land use.

• JOHN RECHY is the recipient of two coveted Lifetime Achievement Awards, from PEN-USA-West in 1997 and the Publishing Triangle's William Whitehead Award. Rechy has written 12 novels, beginning with the now classic "City of Night." In 2004, he jumped to the top of the Los Angeles Times best-seller list with "Coming of the Night." Greeted with controversy when they first appeared, Rechy's books have been singled out for praise in recent years. "City of Night" was named one of the 25 all-time "best gay novels" by the Publishing Triangle in New York and "The Sexual Outlaw: A Document" was named one of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century by the San Francisco Chronicle. A CD-Rom of Rechy's life and works was produced through the Annenberg Center at the University of Southern California and debuted at the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles to an overflow crowd. His most recent books are "The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens," a novel inspired by Fielding's "The Adventures of Tom Jones" but set in contemporary Texas and Hollywood, and "Beneath the Skin: The Collected Essays."

• KEVIN TRUDEAU is the controversial author of "Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About." He made headlines with radio and TV infomercials he hosted for a range of products. In 2004, this prolific marketer was banned by the Federal Trade Commission from appearing in, producing or disseminating infomercials that advertise a product, service or program to the public, except for truthful commercials for informational publications.

• JIM TUNNEY, the dean of NFL referees, was a football and basketball official for 31 years and was the first official to be named to the "All-Madden Team." His book "Impartial Judgment" chronicles that NFL career. Of equal prominence is his career as an educator, motivational speaker and author. His most recent book is "It's the Will, Not the Skill: Principles and Philosophies of Success as Seen Through the Eyes, Mind and Heart of Herman Edwards, Head Coach of the New York Jets." He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller "Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan's Soul." He currently writes a weekly column in the Monterey County Herald, "Tunney Side."