The 2015 BAIPA Book Award winners were announced at the December meeting. Below is the list of winners, the categories they won in, and a little bit about the authors and the books.
MYSTERY AND SCIENCE FICTION
Bones in the Wash, by John Byrne Barry
In Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough, Family is Tougher, the 2008 presidential election all comes down to New Mexico. Albuquerque Mayor Tomas Zamara knows politics is like playing football on a muddy field—if you don’t get dirty, you’re not giving your all.
Mayor Zamara, charged with delivering New Mexico’s five electoral votes for John McCain, is directed to shut down voter registration drives and accuse the Democrats of stealing the election. He’s also grappling with a fierce opponent, a demanding and volatile new woman, and his father’s unrelenting pressure to use city money to rescue the family business. Then, when a flash flood unearths the skeleton of his long-missing wife, investigators zero in on Zamara as a suspect.
John Byrne Barry wrote his first book-length project in fifth grade at Kilmer School in Chicago—a 140-page treatise on dinosaurs. One page for each dinosaur, and lots of white space. He’s been writing ever since—magazine and newspaper stories; political comedy; advice columns (the Lazy Organic Gardener); and more. He’s even written for a seed catalog. His first novel, Wasted, is a murder mystery set in the garbage/recycling universe in Berkeley, California. He lives in Mill Valley, California, with his wife and family.
Silent Suspect, by Tony Hawthorne
On a dark summer night walking between her studio and the safety of her secluded house on Cape Cod, sculptress Olivia St. Clair, 72 years old and mysteriously mute, is startled by police officers who arrest her for the murder of her lover, Ezra Handley, 32 years earlier in rural South Carolina.
A trial lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 40 years, Tony Hawthorne’s first forays into fiction writing were as a Yale undergraduate where he took Yale’s infamous ‘Daily Themes’ course—five short stories per week for an entire semester. The last child out the door to college, Tony joined writing seminars. Silent Suspect is his first novel.
Travel Writing (Guides and Travel Memoirs)
Chronicles of Old San Francisco, Exploring the Historic City by the Bay,
by Gael Chandler
Discover one of the world’s most unique and fascinating cities through 28 dramatic true stories spanning the colorful history of San Francisco. Author Gael Chandler takes readers through more than 250 years of American history with exciting essays on topics such as the city’s origins to the founding of the Presidio of San Francisco and the Mission San Francisco de Asis to its modern role as the progressive and innovative heart of a nation.
Gael Chandler spent 30 years in Los Angeles working as a film editor, teacher, and author of three books on editing. Since returning to the Bay Area, she has embarked on a new career making video book trailers and enhanced e-books. She also serves as vice-president and co-chair of programs for the Marin branch of California Writers Club.
SELF HELP/HOW TO
On Folded Wings: Paper Airplanes for All Ages, by Michael Weinstein
Thirty new aircraft, all original, all flyable, six of them for novice folders! Each chapter opens by profiling someone who was influential in the history of aviation: Louis Bleriot, first to fly the English channel; Burt Rutan, visionary designer of a privately built spacecraft; Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry, and many more. Every section features information about real airplanes, aircraft materials, engines, and landing gear. Even the paper is new: this squadron uses the square preferably kami, Japanese origami paper.
After earning a Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego, Michael Weinstein became an assistant professor of molecular genetics at Ohio State University. An experienced pilot and longtime origami enthusiast, the Toledo, Ohio native has published two books of innovative folding designs for paper airplane enthusiasts.
Bookbinder’s Daughter, A Life Lost and Found, by Judith Fisher
The beautifully visual and ethereal quality of the writing belies the intensity of the drama in this engaging memoir. It starts with snapshot vignettes of childhood, (much like memory), of the intense times; both the warmth and support of Grandma, and the emotional and physical demands of an ill parent whose needs are perceived in the family dynamic to be more urgent than those of her child’s. This requires young Judy’s needs to be constantly secondary, and sets up the tendency towards ineffective defense against strong or predatory behavior. She survives her teen years by retreating into a dissociative depression, which, coupled with her parents’ inability to cope, lands her in a mental institution.
Judith A Fisher is a writer and massage therapist/healer living in Northern California. She was born in upstate New York, the only child of a mother who dealt with prescription drug addiction, and a father who struggled with the resulting fallout. Her interest in healing and massage led her to study at the Pacific School of Massage, as well as the Upledger Institute. She lives on the Mendocino Coast, and shares the Healing Arts Center and her life with her husband, Peter.
Children’s Picture Book
My Amazing Day, by Karin Fisher-Golton
The ordinary world is extraordinary when seen through little one’s eyes. My Amazing Day is a remarkable everyday journey that ends with a happy burst of gratitude. People have long experienced that expressing gratitude brings them happiness. Now scientific studies show that expressing gratitude leads to many health benefits as well.
Karin Fisher-Golton is an author who writes picture books, children’s poetry, early readers, and children’s nonfiction. Earlier in her life she completed a teaching credential program and has worked with children in preschools, elementary schools, and other lively places. She lives with her husband and son in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bird Watch, by Claudia Chapline
“In this first collection of haiku, remarkable for its evocation of the northern California sand spit and salt water estuary where the writer-artist makes her home, over 150 poems take us through the four seasons on land and sea, in mind and heart.” Harvest moon/noctiluca swimming/my own light forgotten.”
Claudia Chapline is a multimedia artist and arts presenter: painter, poet, art journalist, former college professor, choreographer, founder and director of galleries for new art in Santa Monica and Sacramento, consultant and mentor. During most of her long career she has worked on the leading edge of art as healing, performance art, fiber sculpture, assemblage, and installation. Her art has been exhibited in hundreds of museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the U.S.A., in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Japan, Korea and Australia.
DRAMA, ROMANCE and HISTORICAL: TIED
The Golden Chalice of Hunahpu, by William Vlach
Comedy of Terror, by John Fremont
This epic novel of the struggle for the Americas is an odyssey moving from the pre-Columbian Mayan empire to the
splendid Golden Age of Spain, then back to the battle for the land and soul of Guatemala. The tale is told in three first-person chronicles: Kaqchikel Mayan prince Belehe Qat is both witness and warrior as he tries to save his people; young and fierce Spanish noblewoman Beatriz pursues marriage to the powerful conquistador, Alvarado, only to find the New World is more than she bargained for; and the hilariously acerbic Domingo, a Sancho Panza-like monk, seeks to find meaning in the middle of this 16th-century American holocaust. Their intertwining stories lead to the shocking volcanic climax.
William Vlach’s poetry has been published in the United States and the United Kingdom. Both his playwriting and parody have won writing awards. William has published essays on diverse topics such as police psychology, the history of health care ethics, film noir, and the psychology of genocide. Currently he is completing his second historical novel, The Naked Greek. He continues his practice of clinical psychology in San Francisco where he lives with his wife, Norita.
Joe Benton is an agnostic who considers all religions cults, but he makes an exception for Melody, a high priestess with whom he fell in love on a cruise. Leave it to Joe to fall for someone who lives on a commune and worships a deity from a distant galaxy and leave it to Joe to find himself on the radar of the FBI, which has linked him to three terrorist attacks. Add a mysterious vanishing, political scandal, and a tongue-in-cheek perspective on America’s delusions, and you have a black comedy filled from start to finish with intrigue and unexpected twists and turns.
John Fremont is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, publisher, political activist, and columnist, and has taught American literature and creative writing at colleges and universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Cofounder of the Mendocino Festival of Books and the Mendocino chapter of Amnesty International, John has for 19 years been the senior and consulting editor for Cypress House, an independently owned publishing company in Fort Bragg, California. Comedy of Terror is his third novel.