By Jessica Johnson
Since we are halfway through the year I thought it would be a good time to update you on the exciting achievements of some of my interview subjects. This idea was generated by the news that a couple of them had books coming out this summer, and as I reached out to others, more good news began to flow in.
It’s all very thrilling, and I welcome the opportunity to share more of what our talented locals are up to in upcoming columns. In the meantime, in alphabetical order, here are our creative updates and announcements:
(interviewed October 2016)
Cara’s new book, Murder in Saint-Germain comes out on June 6. This is the 17th book in her best-selling Aimée Leduc series. Each of Black’s mysteries is set in a different arrondissement (administrative district – Paris has 20) in Paris and that alone makes it the perfect livre to read this summer!
Cara will be reading and signing books in Oakland at A Great Place for Books on June 16 and in Mountain View at Books, Inc. on June 28. Visit her website at www.CaraBlack.com for more readings around the bay area and to learn how to visit Paris with her this fall.
(interviewed April 2016)
Painter Janas Durkee has had a very busy year! Since her interview in April of 2016, Durkee participated in her first Open Studios and welcomed more than 350 visitors to her Santa Cruz garage art studio. She currently has a show in the Santa Cruz County Government Center that runs until August 4. This show features several of her new local landscapes and they are stunning. (Confession: I have already begun squirreling my spare change away in the hopes I will be able to buy one someday.)
Janas told me that one of the more notable pieces in this show is a portrait of Ted Durkee (no relation). He was a County Administrator in Santa Cruz for many years and his daughter, who commissioned Janas to paint his portrait, has graciously loaned it for the duration of the show.
“I felt it was important to have Ted hang in the building where he did most of his good work for Santa Cruz,” Janas shared.
(Interviewed April 2017)
Poet, essayist, and translator Stephen Kessler will be reading his new poems at the Porter Memorial Library on June 24 at 2:30 p.m. He is currently working on the final edits of his poetry manuscript, Garage Elegies, however a publishing date has not been set.
Stephen’s work is being published over the coming months in the Chicago Quarterly Review, The Arkansas International, and the Santa Cruz-based Catamaran. His translation Save Twilight: Selected Poems by Julio Cortázar is in its second printing from City Lights. You can also read his weekly columns most Saturdays in the Sentinel.
Kaia Roman is currently a very busy woman. She is packing for her family’s return to Santa Cruz, after being in Costa Rica for over a year and will be back in town just in time to promote her new book, The Joy Plan, which comes out on July 11. Pre-orders are available now.
She is excited to be holding a kid-friendly book release party at the Museum of Art and History on July 14 at 7 p.m. in the Atrium. In The Joy Plan Kaia shares how she went from joyless and anxious to grateful and optimistic.
The book description says, “Using scientific research on hormones, neurotransmitters, and mindfulness, along with the daily dedication to creating a more joyful existence, Kaia’s insights will help you create your own Joy Plan, so you can move past temporary happiness and succeed in creating joy that lasts.”
I’m super excited to read her book and I look forward to following her success.
Amber Coverdale Sumrall
Poet and gifted writing instructor Amber Coverdale Sumrall is currently working on her third book of poems. The yet untitled book is scheduled for publication in 2018.
She is offering a writing retreat at The Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg from October 22 – 25. The Bishop’s Ranch offers an art room, a labyrinth and “delicious meals and many beautiful places to walk, sit, and write,” Amber shared. She has space for three or more, if you wish to share, to join. Having gone to several of Amber’s retreats myself I cannot recommend them enough. The magic of writing with Amber’s guidance is a one of a kind experience for beginners and seasoned writers alike. For more information contact Amber directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, I would like to share that I have an updated website, www.writewithjessica.com, where you can learn about my new writing groups designed to offer a safe, fun, creative space for writers to explore the power of the pen. My next group will begin in late summer. In the meantime, I currently host a fun and non-traditional virtual writing group each Tuesday night called, Rosé Write Along. Past groups can be found on YouTube.
In the meantime, I hope you will follow up with our talented creatives and continue to explore and support the local artistic community and all it has to offer!
An Aptos native, Jessica Johnson is a freelance writer and teacher dedicated to inspiring others to live brave, creative lives. Learn more at www.writewithJessica.com. Email your questions, comments and creative suggestions to her at email@example.com.