The Austin Chronicle

Trailer Tales


By Clay Smith, February 19, 1999, Books

Having a hard time getting the word out about your book? Witness the latest adventures of Santa Fe mystery writer Walter Satterthwait, who began his Terrible Trailer Trash Tour in January and will pop up at Barnes & Noble Arboretum on Thursday, February 25 at 7pm to read from his latest mystery, Masquerade (his others include Cocaine Blues, Escapade, and Accustomed to the Dark). On Satterthwait's Web site ( he says that, "A German publisher Goldmanns has published the rights to Masquerade, and with the money I've just purchased a 1980 Winnebago motorhome. I've hired a graphics guy to do some work on it. What he's going to do is make a duplicate of the Masquerade cover, three feet by four feet, and put that on the side of the motorhome. He's also going to make a separate copy of the book's title and put that over the Winnebago striping on the side, in letters that are 17 inches tall. And, naturally, he'll be making a copy of the bar code and ISBN number, and slapping that over the wheel cover, on the back. This'll look just the way it does on the backof the book, except it'll be three feet wide. What I'm shooting for here, obviously, is that subtle, tasteful look." Jan Grape, who did the legwork in getting James Ellroy to town and whose nonfiction work Deadly Women is up for an Agatha Award after having been nominated for an Edgar and winning a McCavity, will doubtlessly be looking tasteful traveling around the nation with her husband Elmer in their new camper. The couple, who own Mysteries & More bookstore, has decided that if the store doesn't have a buyer within the next few months, they'll close it. "The stress is just eating [Elmer] up and if I want to keep my husband alive, I've got to get him out of there, " Jan says. "So I said, 'Let's get a fifth wheel and a new pickup and take off.' And I said, 'We can be gone a couple of months and come back for a couple of months and then take off again.' And I can still write, I'll get a laptop with communication. ...

We can sell books over the Internet, first editions; we can go booking in Kalamazoo, Mich., you know. So we both decided that's what we really want to do." Anyone who knows Jan will be glad to know she plans on taking all 40 pairs of her grape earrings on the road. And Satterthwait, by the way, will be back in town on Sunday, February 28 at 2pm at Mysteries & More with Bill Crider and Susan Rogers Cooper, who will be signing their latest books. James Ellroy will be the guest at a reception at the Maloney Room in the Main Building at St. Edward's hosted by the Austin Writers' League at 6pm on Tuesday, February 23. Following the reception, Mysteries & More hosts a reading and booksigning of Ellroy's latest book, Crime Wave. Both events are open to the public and are free.


The authors of What It Is ... What It Was: The Black Film Explosion of the '70s in Words and Pictures will be at Book People Monday, February 22, at 6:30pm. The authors are Gerald Martinez, vice president and creative director for Rolling Thunder Pictures; Diana Martinez, a former journalist, editor, producer, and news editor; and Andres Chavez, the former film director for KABC-TV in L.A. Some of the films What It Was covers will be screened during QTIII (see "Short Cuts") at the Alamo Drafthouse...

There's a Big Panel about Big Bend at Barnes & Noble Westlake on Saturday, February 20 at 6pm. Ron Tyler, author of Big Bend: A History of the Last Texas Frontier, will be there with Kenneth Ragsdale, Gentry Steele, and Laurence Parent.

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