Tag Archives: Central Coast Writers Conference

Spoiler Alert! SLO NightReaders Book Discussion – Sins of the Past

In August we read a mystery novel by Susan Tuttle.

Sabrina Compton’s life was almost perfect with her adored husband—until the day she returns from shopping to find him brutally slaughtered. Her whole identity is shattered, and the blows keep coming in the guise of an FBI agent who destroys the memories that were all she had to hold onto. The story moves from Buffalo, New York to a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, where a deadly confrontation threatens her life. Will she find the inner strength to survive, or will the sins of her husband’s past destroy her, too?

Here are some questions for you, NightReaders!

1. The main character, Sabrina, learns that everything she knew about her husband was a lie. How would you feel if you discovered that the person you thought you knew the best was not that person at all?

2. Do you think Charlie loved Sabrina? Do you think his new life was a reflection of the new, better person he had become? How much can a person change?

3. Which character was your favorite? Why?

4. What was the biggest surprise or plot twist for you?

5. If you could ask Susan a question, what would it be? Go ahead, she might answer it for you!


Thank you for reading and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the September book reveal!

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SLO NightReaders – August Pick

Sins of the Past

Sabrina Compton’s sheltered life is shattered when her beloved husband is brutally slaughtered. And though their home has been ransacked, nothing appears to be missing. Unable to face the memories the house holds, Sabrina flees to her great-grandmother’s cottage on Gaffe Island, off the coast of South Carolina. But the peace she tries to recover there is crushed by the revelations of an intrusive FBI agent, and her life is forever altered by the weight of her husband’s devastating betrayal. As a hurricane bears down on Gaffe Island, she discovers her husband’s killer is now after her. Will Sabrina survive both the storm and the killer’s rage? Will the presence of the F.B.I. agent be enough to protect her? Or are the sins of the past destined to destroy her, too?

In August, we are proud to present Sins of the Past by a NightWriter Susan Tuttle. Susan was elected president of NightWriters in June of 2007. She has also served as vice president and president of the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC), and is now newsletter editor of both organizations. She will be presenting at the 30th Central Coast Writers Conference at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo this September. Susan is a novelist and freelance editor of fiction and creative nonfiction. She is the author of five suspense novels and has worked with authors from California to New York. A personal writing coach, she also teaches writing workshops based on her Write It Right workbook series. Susan offers writing prompts at www.SusanTuttleWrites.com.

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Spoiler Alert! SLO NightReaders Book Discussion – Take Charge of Your Talent

Don Maruska’s and Jay Perry’s Take Charge of Your Talent program focuses participants on each individual’s unique and natural talents. Many people are tired, discouraged, or simply don’t think about their talents and how they could be using them. Consciously or unconsciously people become captive to a particular story about what they are capable of accomplishing. Take Charge helps people step out of the stories in which they are stuck and create new ones that are filled with possibility. The Talent Catalyst Conversation and other tools give participants new perspectives that they can’t discover on their own. It’s like looking at yourself in a mirror and gaining new insights that you wouldn’t otherwise see. The proven practices to overcome obstacles, develop action plans, and boost productivity and fulfillment support participants in pursuing their intentions and making their hopes real. A key incentive that pulls them through is the transformation of what they learn into enduring career assets. This also motivates their organizations to support them because the organizations benefit from those knowledge assets as well.

1. What was your biggest “aha” moment when reading this book?
2. Have you had your Talent Catalyst Conversation yet? What have you discovered?
3. What was the most valuable advice for you?
4. Which tool was the most difficult for you to implement?

Don’t forget that Don Maruska will be a guest speaker at the 30th Central Coast Writers Conference at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, September

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Spoiler Alert! SLO NightReaders Book Discussion – The Beginning of Everything

Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before – before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is lyrical, witty, hilarious, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Did you like the book? Let’s discuss!

1. With regards to SLO NightReaders, we know that the majority of us is not in the “young adult” age group anymore. (Don’t worry! We won’t tell! Ahem…) Earlier this month, Internet world was caught up in a heated debate about whether YA books are appropriate for grown ups, or whether once you’re out of your teens they can only dumb you down. What do you think? Do you read YA? Why? Why not?

2. How does the title The Beginning of Everything relate to the themes of the book?

3. Fitting in is one of the main themes of this book. We all know how important it seemed to fit in when we were in high school. How important is it to you now? What changed? What stayed the same?

4. Why do you think Ezra finds himself drawn to Cassidy? What do you think their interaction would look like if the car accident had never happened?

5. Where do you think Ezra will be 20 years from now? Cassidy? Toby?


Thank you for reading and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the July book reveal!

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SLO NightReaders – June Pick

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings. Robyn will be presenting at the Central Coast Writers Conference in San Luis Obispo this September.

The Beginning Of Everything

The Beginning of Everything

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: In one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met—achingly effortless and fiercely intelligent.

Together, Ezra and Cassidy discover flash mobs, buried treasure, and a poodle that might just be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby. But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: If one’s singular tragedy has already hit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She is also responsible for the existence of the middle grade Knightley Academy series, written by her possibly fictitious literary alter ego Violet Haberdasher. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

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SLO NightReaders – Forged in Grace

Dear NightReaders –

we hope you are enjoying our April pick. We will be discussing the book at the end of the month and Jordan Rosenfeld will be available to answer your questions!


Are you reading? It’s not too late to pick up a copy (well, if you read fast).

Chat soon!

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SLO NightReaders – April Pick


Fire almost killed her as a teen. Will rekindling a dangerous friendship finish the job? At age 15, a horrific fire left Grace Jensen scarred and highly sensitive to the pain of anyone she touches. Thirteen years later, living with her hoarder mother and half-in-love with her former doctor, her long-absent best friend, Marly Kennet, returns to town and convinces Grace to make a leap-of-faith trip to Las Vegas. There, Grace discovers she not only feels others’ pain, she can heal it. This healing gift soon turns darker when the truth of Marly’s past and the fire that scarred Grace is revealed, pushing the boundaries of loyalty and exposing both women to danger. With the intensity of a thriller, and a touch of magic realism, Forged in Grace leads to a dramatic climax in which she must choose between healing and revenge.

For April, we have selected a novel by Jordan Rosenfeld, Forged in Grace. Jordan will be presenting at the Central Coast Writers Conference in San Luis Obispo in September.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld is an author, writing coach, editor and freelance journalist. She earned her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the author of the writing guides, Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books) and Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life with Rebecca Lawton (BeijaFlor Books). Jordan’s essays and articles have appeared in such publications as AlterNet.org, Publisher’s Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The St. Petersburg Times, The Writer and Writer’s Digest magazine. Her book commentaries have appeared on The California Report, a news-magazine produced by NPR-affiliate KQED radio. She lives in Northern California with her superhero-obsessed son and psychologist husband. She is co-founder of http://www.indie-visible.com.


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SLO NightWriters Online Book Club – March Pick(s)

It’s March and we have a challenge for you – read not one, but two books this month!

We are pleased to introduce The Other Woman by Victoria Zackheim and The Other Man by Paul Alan Fahey. Both Ms. Zackheim and Mr. Fahey have agreed to participate in our discussion at the end of the month!

The Other Woman

She’s been called the vixen, the Jezebel, the Lorelei, the bitch…and other choice names. In truth, she is someone’s daughter, mother, friend, confidante. She seduces husbands, breaks up marriages, and occasionally becomes a stepmother. Sometimes, she is even a victim. So who is this creature who arrives like a wrecking ball to destroy lives and families? She is the Other Woman – but she’s only half the story.

For every Other Woman, there is a wife or girlfriend whose relationship has been devastated or–surprisingly–blissfully liberated. Some women find themselves playing both roles during the course of a lifetime.

With twenty-one insightful essays from some of the country’s most respected and award-winning female authors, The Other Woman anthology explores the highly personal, sometimes anguished, sometimes hilarious, but always compelling experiences of women on both sides of these highly charged and emotional situations.

Victoria Zackheim is the editor of six anthologies of personal essays including The Other Woman, For Keeps, The Face in the Mirror, He Said What?, Exit Laughing, and Faith: Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists Confront the Big Questions (Simon & Schuster/Beyond Words 2015). Ms. Zackheim’s novel, The Bone Weaver was published by Elton-Wolf Publishing, and her last documentary, Where Birds Never Sang: The Ravensbruck and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps aired nationwide on PBS. She will be presenting at the Central Coast Writers Conference in San Luis Obispo in September 2014.

The Other Man

Inspired by The Other Woman, Paul Alan Fahey edited the 2013 Rainbow Award winning anthology The Other Man. It is an artistic collaboration by and about gay men and their relationships. If you’ve ever been the other man, had him invade your life, or are just plain curious about this beguiling, unpredictable and dangerous creature, then this anthology of personal essays is for you. Twenty-one of our most acclaimed authors, many Lambda Award winners and finalists, write candidly about either being the other man, suffering the other man or having their relationships tested by infidelity. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to the It Gets Better Project.

A SLO NightWriters member, Paul Alan Fahey writes for JMS Books. He created and edited Mindprints, an international literary journal for writers and artists with disabilities, at Allan Hancock College, and it made Writers Digest’s “Top 30 Short Story Markets” list for two consecutive years. His writing has appeared in Byline, Palo Alto Review, Long Story Short, African American Review, The MacGuffin, Thema, Gertrude, Kaleidoscope, The Feathered Flounder, and in several other literary journals and anthologies.

Happy reading!

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Spoiler Alert! Book Club Discussion – What the Heart Knows

Dear NightWriters and friends –

First of all let me share some exciting news with you. Ms. Mara Purl, the author of our February pick What the Heart Knows, has graciously offered to participate in our discussion and will answer any questions you may have. She will also be giving out a hardcover copy of one of her books to a lucky winner! What do you have to do to enter? Comment below! I will randomly select the winner from the first five participants.

Below is a list of questions to help you get started. Use them or leave them, but let us know how you liked the book!

1. What is the significance of the title? Would you have given the book a different title? If yes, what is your title?

2. When it comes to making important decisions, do you trust your heart or your head? Do you believe in intuition?

3. What draws people to living in small towns? Would you like to live in Milford-Haven? Why? Why not?

4. Did any of the characters remind you of yourself or someone you know? How?

5. What do you think about Jack and Sally’s relationship? What advice would you give to Sally? What advice would you give to Jack?

6. Do you think that what Miranda and Zack are experiencing is a love at first sight? Do you think they have a future together, or do you think it’s just a fling? What about Cynthia?

7. (And how about that Zelda??)

8. If you could smack any of the characters upside the head, who would it be and why?

9. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask? (Ask away – Ms. Purl will answer your questions!)

PS: Our next read will be announced tomorrow (March 1st) – make sure to check back! You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date.

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Online Book Club – Happy Valentine’s Day!

How about celebrating Valentine’s Day with a book? Our February pick has been specifically selected with romance in mind – What the Heart Knows is the first book in the Milford-Haven series, written by Mara Purl. Set in California Central Coast, the book features romance, mystery, environmental issues, and a cast of successful, sexy, sometimes quirkily independent characters.

Author Mara Purl is a former soap opera celebrity from “Days of Our Lives,” as well as a former journalist from the London Financial Times and the Associated Press. She will be presenting at the Central Coast Writers Conference in San Luis Obispo in September 2014.


PS: Last month we read Anne Perry’s The Face of a Stranger. You can still add to our discussion here.

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