Fresno's Eden West has been an avid book reader all her life. She jokes that she's worn her eyes out reading.
Most of the time when she finishes a book, she thinks that she could have written something just as good.
The 82-year-old finally was inspired to try her hand at writing a few years ago during a family trip to Pismo Beach. While alone in the camper, she tore apart a brown paper bag and began jotting down her ideas for the story. Those notes became the book "Never Say Goodbye" (self-published, $21.95).
Her book is about the search for a missing twin — separated at birth from his brother — that becomes a mystery when the remaining twin, Jules Gallant, and his best friend, Armand "Beau" Beauchamp, follow a clue to New Orleans just before the start of the Civil War. Things become more complicated when Josette decides to tag along in search of her own private quest — finding the mysterious voodoo priestess who can give her a love potion that will make Jules fall madly in love with her.
"I have always wanted to write a book, but life and work kept getting in the way," says West, who did clerical work most of her life. "I've always had stories in my head and would tell them to anyone who cared to listen."
She spent two years writing the book. Then there was a delay when her original publisher, Vantage Press, went out of business. "Never Say Goodbye" is available at Amazon.com.
It took 10 years, but Bullard High School graduate Anthony Geraci's latest book, "The Letter from the Virgin" (Amazon Digital Services, Inc., $7.99), is available as an e-book.
Geraci, a practicing neurologist in New York City, wrote the book during his daily one-hour commutes to and from his job.
"I have a passion for writing. The book is about a mysterious letter written by the Virgin Mary the night before the crucifixion of Christ and a fabled relic that has powers conferred on it by heaven. These objects and the secret in the letter drive the story through three epochs: 2000 years ago, medieval Rome and present day New York, Rome and Jerusalem," Geraci says.
Previously, he wrote "Mama's Story," published in 2009.
"The Letter from the Virgin" is available in the e-book format on Amazon and other e-book retailers. A print version is due in a few weeks.
Nathan Shelton, a 14-year-old at Clovis East High School, has just released his debut mystery and detective novel, "The Mystery of Cambria" (Tate Publishing, $12.99).
The story follows four best friends who are living rather normal lives when an event changes their lives forever. They become a part of a mysterious murder plot after stumbling into a deserted city.
The book is available at bookstores, tatepublishing.com/bookstore, barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.