We were talking with four Sacramento-area authors the other day, and learned some good news.
National Book Award-winning journalist-novelist William T. Vollmann of Sacramento will submit his finished manuscript of ghost stories to his publisher, Viking, in March.
Vollmann has always favored the biggest canvases for his unique style of long-form reporting and fiction. For instance, his examination of California's Imperial Valley, "Imperial," is 1,300 pages. His historical-novel series "Seven Dreams" is composed of seven books.
"(This collection) is called 'Last Stories and Other Stories,' roughly 20 ghost stories set all over the world Eastern Europe, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Japan, a few in the U.S.," he said.
"They span centuries and are of different lengths. One of the neat things about many Japanese ghost stories is that the ghosts are very different figures from the ones we have here. Their ghosts are often really beautiful and sad, as opposed to frightening. They're caught in attachments of love or revenge."
For more on Vollmann, visit www.harpercollins.com/authors.
Thriller novelist James Rollins has a new book coming out in January. The El Dorado Hills-based writer left his veterinary practice about 14 years ago to write adventure novels that mix sound scientific principles with rough-and-tumble action. His summer title was "Bloodline, the eighth in the best-selling Sigma Force series.
"The new title is 'The Blood Gospel,' " said the New York Times best-selling author (William Morrow, $27.99, 496 pages; on sale Jan. 8). "It's the first book I've co-written with another author, Rebecca Cantrell, a former student of mine and now an award-winning mystery writer. It's a big departure from my usual fare, blending gothic horror and adventure. She's flying from Berlin to Sacramento for the launch event."
The launch party will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Barnes & Noble, 1256 Galleria Blvd., Roseville; (916) 788-4320.
Visit him at www.jamesrollins.com.
Amanda Scott of Folsom is publishing "The Laird's Choice," "the beginning of my new trilogy, 'Lairds of the Loch,' set in the Scottish Highlands near Loch Lomond," she said (Forever, $7.99, 400 pages; on sale Dec. 18).
The romance writer is a meticulous researcher known for her historical and geographic accuracy.
"I patterned the three heroines in the series on the Fates, and each one has certain gifts," she said. "(The gifts) are the sorts of instincts people still have today, but tend to doubt when they occur, such as the instinctive ability to read body language, or thinking of a person just as he or she calls."
Visit her at www.amandascottauthor. com.
Robin Burcell of Lodi expands her Sydney Fitzpatrick mystery-police procedural series with books three and four, "The Dark Hour" (Harper, $5.99, 400 pages; on sale Tuesday) and "The Black List" (ditto; Dec. 26). Fitzpatrick is an FBI special agent and forensic artist who will face "her biggest cases yet," said Burcell, who is working on book five.
Burcell is a former Lodi Police Department officer and forensics artist and a former criminal investigator for the Sacramento County Department of Human Services.
"The new books take place on a worldwide canvas, from Washington, D.C., to Amsterdam and Paris, with a little bit of the Brazilian jungle thrown in for good measure," she said.
Visit her at www.robinburcell.com.
Next up for speakers series: Bill Clinton
It's not too late to buy tickets to witness a bit of living history. Author and former President Bill Clinton will speak at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., Sacramento. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The founder of the philanthropic William J. Clinton Foundation is part of the Sacramento Speakers Series' lineup of six global notables hosted by the community lecture series.
"We have a limited number of VIP seating in the dress circle, and some in the second balcony," said Tiffany Kelly, the company's executive director for marketing and business development.
Tickets are $200 for VIP seating and $120 for seating in the second balcony.
For tickets and more information: (916) 388-1100, www.sacramentospeakers.com.
On Oct. 23, the subscription series' eighth season began with neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, author and Emmy-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN.
After Clinton, four more speakers will take the stage at the series' usual venue, the Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento. They are:
Jan 8: Thomas Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, New York Times columnist and documentary filmmaker.
Jan 29: Michelle A. Rhee is an education activist (and wife of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson).
Feb. 27: Louise Leakey is a paleontologist, conservationist, educator and National Geographic explorer-in-residence.
April 2: Robert Ballard is a maritime archaeologist, geophysicist and educator.
Mysteries uncovered enjoy again
Good news for mystery lovers who like to go back to the roots of twice-told tales: Harper Collins recently expanded its domain with Bourbon Street Books, a new imprint that will publish "all types of mysteries paperback originals, reprints, backlist titles and reissued classics."
Part of it is a four-book revival package by Dorothy L. Sayers, "the mistress of the Golden Age mystery" (1893-1957). The classy-looking quartet "Strong Poison," "Have His Carcase," "Gaudy Night" and "Busman's Honeymoon" ($14.99 each) feature the eccentric "gentleman detective" Lord Peter Wimsey, who was a subject of PBS' long-running "Mystery" TV series.
The four titles were among 11 Wimsey novels and two collections of short stories originally published between 1923 and 1937. More information: www.harpercollins.com.
Just sayin' what Squidoo says
We're not guaranteeing its accuracy, but the "user-generated community website" Squidoo reports, "On average, Hollywood releases more than two dozen movies based on books each year."
At www.squidoo.com/upcoming-movies-based-on-books, scan "a continuously updated list of books being made into movies."
A 2013 sampler includes "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks (February); a remake of "Carrie" by Stephen King (March); "Odd Thomas" by Dean Koontz (May); "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins (November); "Jack Ryan" by Tom Clancy (December); and two without release months, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows; and "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson.
Another helping of Bourdain
In the 1990s, Anthony Bourdain was the self-described "poster boy for bad behavior in the kitchen" and an unknown line cook in New York City. Then he skyrocketed to prominence with his 2000 tell-all book "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly."
Since then, he's written more books ("Medium Raw," "A Cook's Tour") and hosts the Travel Channel's "No Reservations."
If you missed "Kitchen Confidential," now comes the "Insider's Edition" with Bourdain's quite interesting "hand-written footnotes and afterthoughts" (Ecco, $11.99, 384 pages). Required reading for foodies.
Three titles to crack open
Try this disparate trio:
"The Hollow Man" by Oliver Harris (Harper, $14.99, 480 pages): In this clever series debut, British police detective Nick Belsey bids a bitter adieu to his former self when he assumes the identity of a millionaire hermit. It's easy street now, right? Seriously, do these things ever work out?
"Cash Out" by Greg Bardsley (Harper, $14.99, 400 pages): A Silicon Valley speechwriter plans to cash out his $1.1 million in start-up stock and opt for a quiet life on the beach. He didn't foresee being threatened, stalked and kidnapped. It's being billed as a comic novel.
"One Kid at a Time" by Jake Dekker (Nice Tiger, $16.99, 272 pages): On a serious note, Dekker spent two years representing children as a court-appointed special advocate. This is his memoir of how and why he rescued a brutalized 10-year-old "captive" of the foster-care system, and continues to inspire adoptive parents around the country.
LET US KNOW
If you have information on author appearances or other book-related special events, email it to bookmarks @sacbee.com at least two weeks before the event. To read the online calendar, go to www.sacbee.com/books. Questions? Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.