How does one become a great public reader? How about learning from the best?

No time for a long-winded missive, I’m afraid — that will come later in the day — but I wanted to give Seattle-area members of the Author! Author! community a quick heads-up that one of the great local public readers, brilliant fiction stylist and cookbook author Bharti Kirchner, will be reading from her fifth novel and eighth book, Tulip Season, this evening at Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park at 6:30 p.m..

Why slip you the info? Really gifted authors who also happen to be wonderful at reading and speaking in public have become as rare as dodo birds riding on unicorns in recent years. The indirect result: many, many first-time authors have been finding themselves standing gape-mouthed before crowds of fans in recent years, unsure what to do or what to say. All too often, they’ve simply never seen it done well.

How might one avoid this dreadful fate? How about seeking out good local authors and seeing how they pull off this difficult high-wire act? Like, say, this evening, or on June 12 at Wide World Book & Maps (7 p.m.)? Or even on June 29 at Seattle’s Couth Buzzard Bookstore (7:30 p.m.)?

Oh, and just between us: Bharti is a well-known writing teacher as well. If I had a literary question on anything from mystery writing to literary fiction to how to whip up a fabulous vegetarian ragoût, I might want to creep up to her gently after a reading and murmur my concerns. But that’s just me.

And did you think I would recommend an author’s talk without giving you some indication of her latest work? Perish the thought. Here’s the publisher’s blurb for Tulip Season:

A missing domestic-violence counselor. A wealthy and callous husband. A dangerous romance.

Kareena Sinha, an Indian-American domestic-violence counselor, disappears from her Seattle home. When the police dismiss suspicions that she herself was a victim of spousal abuse, her best friend, Mitra Basu, a young landscape designer, resolves to find her. Mitra’s search reveals glimpses of a secret life involving her friend and a Bollywood actor of ill repute. Following the trail, Mitra is lured back to India where she uncovers the actor’s ties to the Mumbai underworld and his financial difficulties –- leading her into a web of life-threatening intrigue where Mitra can’t be sure of Kareena’s safety or her own.

Best of luck with it, Bharti, and everybody, keep up the good work!

“Til death do us part,” or, when it’s a good time to cheat, by guest blogger Kate Evangelista

Good evening, campers –

Yes, it’s another dead-of-night post, but that seems appropriate for our next guest blogger, YA novelist Kate Evangelista. If her name seems familiar, well, it should: Kate is a longtime Author! Author! community member, a diligent commenter, and, as those of you who tuned in earlier this month may recall, a proud first-time author: her debut, Taste, was released in e-reader format by Crescent Moon Press earlier this month. Now, it’s also available in hard copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or, for those of you that prefer patronizing indie booksellers, Powell’s.

Today, by special request (okay, outright blandishment), Kate is here not only to contribute her wit and wisdom to our ongoing series on series writing; she’s also going to share her direct-from-the-front-lines insights on breaking into print in the hyper-competitive YA fantasy market. Can’t you feel the atmosphere crackling with excitement?

You should, because Kate is one of Author! Author!’s homegrown success stories. To apply the overused phrase properly for once, she was once standing (or, more probably, sitting) precisely where most of you fine people are right now — reading through these posts, writing her heart out, hoping someday to break into the biz.

Do I hear an it can be done?

Because Kate is one of our own, I’d like to take a rather unusual approach to giving you a sense of her authorial chops, one that’s more reflective of the progression from composition to published book. First, let’s take a gander at an excerpt from Taste in manuscript form, as we might have seen it if we were lucky enough to participate in the same critique group as today’s guest. As always, if you are having trouble making out the individual words, try holding down the COMMAND key and pressing + to enlarge the image.

Quite the intriguing YA voice, isn’t it? The tone is evocative, yet the prose is nicely spare. Here’s what some reader reviewers — including another longtime member of the Author! Author! community — had to say about Kate’s voice and story:

“Intriguing, mysterious, and a taste is not all you will get! Must read!” — K.M. Whittaker

“My new favorite novel.” — Wendy Russo

“Awesome-sauce! A delicious book to taste and devour.” — Book4Juliet

What is this story of which they speak so highly? Glad you asked. Here’s the publisher’s blurb for her book.

At Barinkoff Academy, there’s only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka, the more she is plunging them all into a centuries-old feud.

Or, as the book trailer puts it (and rather well, too):