Books and wine go together like a horse and carriage, or for those too young for that pairing – pen and paper, toast and jam, keyboard and monitor, government and taxes – take your pick. Here in central California, books and wine are most appropriately paired. Which is why I hold author events at vineyards and tasting rooms.

I cannot think of anything more pleasant than to sit in a chair in the shade of a spreading oak, reading a gripping novel and sipping a glass of local wine. Unless it is to discuss books with friends and avid readers under that same oak, still sipping wine.

And so I am looking forward to an upcoming event promising to be just that: the Western Author Party & Signing at Bedford Winery here in Los Alamos on August 20 with friend and author Wanda Snow Porter. Wanda and I have had a long professional relationship. We have found the courage to critique one another’s books, shared time in a local writers’ group, spent hours together selling and signing at events. Wanda even created a cover for my mother’s first (and only) book.

Wanda has written in a variety of genres, but is likely best know for her young person books. She writes particularly of the special relationship between children and animals. A story of a fourteen-year-old coming of age and facing her demons within the challenge of Riding Babyface, the adventure of a young vaquero whose dream is to ride the wild colts in Spurs For Jose, a thirteen-year-old boy who seeks help in training a wild burro from the ghost of his grandfather in Remedy are just a few examples.

But Wanda has something for older folks too in her well-researched history Voyages Of No Return, which links the infamous mutiny on the Bounty to the Pacific shores of Central California and families descended from a single, tragic relationship in far off Tahiti.

Writing and reading novels are solitary pursuits, but selling and buying them are social activities, and are for me a welcome diversion and respite from my self-imposed solitude. Every page I write, every character I create becomes something unique to each reader, re-imaged in their own minds. I enjoy nothing more than a conversation exploring these diverse and fascinating viewpoints. It is the best part of an event such as this.

Event details: Western Authors Party & Signing: Bedford Winery, 448 Bell Street, Los Alamos, CA; Saturday August 20, 3-6 pm. Event free.

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