Some months ago, a co-worker who hails from Hayward, Calif., recommended that I try to land a signing at an independent bookstore in her neighborhood. I contacted Renee, the proprietor of Books on B. After some back-and-forth correspondence, Renee and I came to an agreement for Saturday, July 28.
B Street in Hayward is a thriving hub of activity with restaurants, boutiques, and micro breweries. Books on B is in the middle of it all. The moment you walk into the shop, the smell of books fills your nostrils. It is intoxicating if you are a bookstore nerd like I am. A varied, eclectic selection lines the shelves and Renee and her effervescence twirl around the store like a whirling dervish helping customers and playing hostess.
There was a great turnout for the event. It was a nice mix of my friends from both work and my neighborhood, store regulars and curious shoppers. I signed books, chatted about my novels and read excerpts from them. Renee provided a snack tray and beverages.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and find yourself at the end of I-580 or along the I-880 corridor and you love books, be sure to stop in to Books on B. It’s a quaint, cozy shop and you’ll definitely find something great to read. There’s plenty of parking in public lots behind the little plaza as well.
Thank you to everyone who came out and indulged me, and thank you to Renee for hosting me at her fantastic store. I look forward to the next event at Books on B.
I have two events coming up. The first is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20, at Books Inc., in Alameda, Calif., time TBA, and the second is The Avid Reader in Davis, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. If you live in Northern California, come on out, I’d love to see you.
Since I became a novelist, many people have asked me how I “got into vampires.” My typical response is that I have been a fan of Gothic Horror since I was very young, that I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula when I was nine years old or so and that I have just been drawn to the genre.
While all of that is true, there is one film that started it all – Dan Curtis’ Dracula starring Jack Palance as Stoker’s titular vampire king. This 1974 made-for-TV movie scared the living daylights out of a then-four-year-old me. Now, I have no idea why my mother had this on the 19-inch Zenith when I was at that tender age. But, I was quite taken with Palance and of course, the character of Dracula.
The digitally remastered film is now available on Amazon Prime video and I just watched it in its entirety for the first time in 45 years. Palance, although uneven, is commanding as Dracula. The great Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend, penned the screenplay for this version. Liberties were taken and characters were omitted but several elements that many adaptations remove from the source material were included.
Dr. Jack Seward, Renfield and Quincey P. Morris are omitted, Lucy Westenra is now the Count’s long-lost love interest, and Jonathan Harker … well, you’ll just have to watch the film. Mina and Van Helsing remain, along with Arthur Holmwood.
The lavish set pieces and countryside scenery add to the richness of the production and they are reminiscent of the many Hammer Gothic Horror productions. There is a fair amount of fangs and blood, especially for a made-for-TV production.
If you are a fan of the genre and Dracula in particular, this is a more than acceptable entry in the canon. Check it out on Amazon Prime.
And the fact that I first saw this film when I was four years old certainly explains quite a bit.