Between the lines: ‘Literary mash-up’ set at Lake Tahoe

When it comes to the literary scene, local writing coach-author Jennifer Basye Sander has her hands on a lot. For starters, she hosts the annual Write by the Lake workshop at Lake Tahoe ( Two of her many books are “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Getting Published” and “There’s More You Should Know,” a hands-on “prompt” journal for memoir-writing.

Now she’s co-founded the inaugural Tahoe WordWave: A Festival of Story, a “literary mash-up” of storytelling, readings, workshops, performances, theater and more, Oct. 9-11 at Valhalla, the mansion-events center at the Tallac Historic Site at South Lake Tahoe. Most WordWave events will be free, but some are ticketed.

On hand will be best-selling authors Garth Stein (“The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Sudden Light”), Pam Houston (“Contents May Have Shifted” and “Cowboys Are My Weakness”), Gayle Brandeis (“The Book of Dead Birds” and “Delta Girls”), and Christian Kiefer (“The Animals” and “The Infinite Tides”). Joining them will be American Indian storytellers, 15 Lake Tahoe-area writers, and literary agents.

As a bonus, 25 photographs from the “Ernest Hemingway’s Veneto” traveling exhibit will be on display. The photos were taken in northern Italy, by and of the Nobel Prize-winning author.

For more information and tickets:

A friendship with Harper Lee

The book world has been buzzing positively and not-so-much over the July 14 release of “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee, which the author calls “the parent of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (Harper, $28, 288 pages).

Getting lost amid the national conversation is the new paperback reprint of the best-selling “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee” by Marja Mills (Penguin, $17, 304 pages). After striking up an unexpected friendship with the reclusive author, the journalist rented a house next door to her. This is the memoir of that experience, the perfect contextual backdrop for approaching “Watchman” and “Mockingbird.”

Novak’s new series

Romantic-suspense writer Brenda Novak of Carmichael is moving from publishing mass-market paperback books to larger-format trade paperbacks, a graduation to a higher status within the industry. Plus, being bigger, they’re easier for fans to read.

Her first is “The Secret Sister,” kicking off a new series set on an island off the South Carolina coast (Mira, $15, 400 pages). When post-divorce Maisey returns home, she has to deal with her brother and her mother, and an old flame. When she finds a box of old photos “that evoke distant memories of a little girl” her brother remembers too, the question becomes: Did they have a sister, and what became of her? Mom denies all.

Novak will host a book-launch party at 7 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble at Arden Fair mall, 1725 Arden Way, Sacramento. Visit her at

Surviving Katrina

Angel Knox, who serves in the Air National Guard and lives in Sacramento, was a college senior when she was caught in the horror of Hurricane Katrina as it struck New Orleans in August 2005. Her survival experience changed her life in a spiritual way, as told in “My Three Trees” (Westbow, $12, 95 pages). Knox will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Brickhouse Art Gallery, 2837 36th St., Sacramento, 916-475-1240.

Coming to Bee Book Club

So far, about 1,500 of you have attended this year’s edition of the Sacramento Bee Book Club to see presentations by New York Times best-selling thriller writers Tess Gerritsen, C.J. Box and James Rollins, and historian H.W. Brands.

Still to come are mystery novelist Sara Paretsky for her new V.I. Warshawski adventure “Brush Back” (Aug. 6; free tickets are at, and literary fictionist Vanessa Diffenbaugh for “We Never Asked for Wings” (after “The Language of Flowers”), Oct. 22. Events are held at the Sacramento Public Library’s Tsakopoulos Library Galleria.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe