History Museum's 'Catch the Spirit' features Authors Showcase

The Los Altos History Museum has scheduled its annual “Catch the Spirit” event noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 15.

In addition to refreshments, live music from Schola Cantorum and a holiday boutique stocked with gifts, holiday decor and community mementoes, “Catch the Spirit” will include an expanded Authors Showcase at 1:30 p.m.

This year’s Authors Showcase will feature a panel of eight local writers discussing their recently published books. Moderator Robin Chapman, a Los Altos native and author of “California Apricots: The Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley,” will pose questions about how the authors approach the creative process and the inspiration for their books. The authors will sell and autograph their books during the event.

“We are fortunate to have so many talented authors in our community writing about such a breadth of topics,” said museum Executive Director Elisabeth I. Ward.

The selected authors for 2017:

• Susan Bickford, author of “A Short Time to Die.” The thriller takes place in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Finger Lakes area of New York. Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Detective Vanessa Alba and her partner, Jack Wong, dive into an investigation that lures them deep into the Finger Lakes. They find a community silenced by the brutal grip of a powerful family bound by a twisted sense of blood and honor, whose dark secrets still haunt the one family member who thought she got away.

• Diana Chan, author of “Easy n’ Healthy Cooking” and “Animal Kingdom.” “Easy n’ Healthy Cooking” offers a combination of Chinese, fusion and western recipes. “Animal Kingdom” is filled with photos and information about the many mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish photographed by Chan during her travels around the world.

• Ryan Dietzen, author of “Murder Most Garlic” and “The Burnt Man.” The mysteries chronicle the exploits of a freelance writer bored with his career. In “Murder Most Garlic,” while on a visit to his mother’s hometown in upstate New York, he stumbles on a passion for detective work when the not-so-beloved host of the town’s annual garlic festival is found dead.

• Mary Feliz, author of the Maggie McDonald Mysteries. The series features a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. In Feliz’s latest novel, “Dead Storage,” Maggie tackles her toughest case yet when a dear friend is falsely accused of murder.

• Anne Heffron, author of “You Don’t Look Adopted.” Heffron’s memoir details how adoption can be tricky. It’s a wonderful thing to be chosen, to be brought up by loving parents, but for this to happen, there has to be an initial abandonment, and this loss can settle like a seed of unease in the adopted child, quite possibly affecting the entirety of his or her life.

• Donald McPhail, author of “The Millionaires Cruise: Sailing Toward Black Tuesday.” McPhail’s page-turner of a novel is filled with unscrupulous bankers, arrogant financiers and spoiled young heirs who prefer dancing and drugs to reality days before the stock market crash of 1929. It’s a world where greed and privilege are locked in conflict with ethics and integrity – the fundamental battle between capitalism and democracy.

• Fritz Trapnell, author of “Harnessing the Sky.” Trapnell’s biography of his father, Vice Adm. Frederick M. Trapnell, chronicles one of the last untold stories in 100 years of naval aviation and explores the legacy of the man who has been called the “godfather of current naval aviation.”

• Barbara Wilcox, author of “World War I Army Training by San Francisco Bay: The Story of Camp Fremont.” Wilcox offers a historical account of Camp Fremont (in present-day Menlo Park), a story of adaptability, bravery and extraordinary accomplishment on the mid-Peninsula during WWI.

The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 S. San Antonio Road.

For more information on the authors and their books, visit

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