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Book Club: Spotlighting 10 Local Authors

Whether you prefer perusing poetry, self-help, or history books, there’s a locally written read for you. Here we present the latest stack of accomplished area authors and their published works.

Dear Earth...From Your Friends in Room 5 by Erin Dealey (Placerville), Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

"Dear Earth...From Your Friends in Room 5" by Erin Dealey


When the kids in Room 5 write to Earth asking what they can do to help save our planet, they’re delighted to get a letter back. This beautiful picture book is a celebration of every child’s ability to connect with the environment and make a positive impact.

Erin Dealey is the author of 16 children’s books. She’s also the “drama mama” at Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp, where she heads the theater department each summer. A credentialed English/theater teacher, Dealey looks for every opportunity to connect kids with words.

Practical Mindfulness: A Physician's No-Nonsense Guide to Meditation for Beginners by Greg Sazima, MD (Roseville)

"Practical Mindfulness: A Physician's No-Nonsense Guide to Meditation for Beginners" by Greg Sazima


This no-nonsense, no-incense guide to mindfulness and meditation provides clear training and helps readers respond and adapt to the inevitable opportunities and stresses of contemporary life. It was written for smart, curious readers interested in the nuts and bolts of mindfulness but skeptical of the crystals.

Gregory Sazima, MD, is a psychiatrist, Stanford faculty, and meditation teacher. Mindfulness practices helped in managing his life with aggressive bone cancer. Sazima intends to "pay forward" the benefits of meditation through his book.

Excursions of the Mind 2: Stories Take Flight by Joanne Kenzy (Lincoln) 

"Excursions of the Mind 2: Stories Take Flight" by Joanne Kenzy


Reading this collection of short stories is akin to listening to the lyrics of a song. Excursions of the Mind 2 explores Kenzy’s appreciation of history as well as her love of God and country. The poetic short stories will further encourage the reader to explore more of their own lives and minds.

Joanne Kenzy is a freelance writer with roots in one of the smallest towns in America. Her writing reflects thoughts from America’s Heartland.

This Mommy Needs Some Coffee by Rachel Medel Cabalse (El Dorado Hills)

"This Mommy Needs Some Coffee" by Rachel Medel Cabalse


Depicting the struggles of parenting, the beauty of everyday life, and love of coffee, this endearing picture book captivates parents and children alike. The cadence and illustrations appeal to kids, but the message and tone are relatable to parents. There's even a “look & find” game and fun section just for caffeine-deprived parents!

This book was written after Java Mama (the author’s kid-friendly coffeeshop in Folsom) closed. It was resurrected mid-lockdown and brought to life.

Dead Flowers by Christian DeWild (Folsom)

"Dead Flowers" by Christian DeWild


This collection of poems and illustrations touch on the funny side of the macabre but also includes more personal poems about self-realization. There is a little bit of everything in the collection, including limericks and very detailed drawings.

Christian DeWild is a local singer/songwriter who has performed all over the Sacramento area for 20 years. ‘Dead Flowers’ is his second book of poems and illustrations.

Principles and Practices of Nonviolence: 30 Meditations for Practicing Compassion by Eddie Zacapa (Sacramento)

"Principles and Practices of Nonviolence: 30 Meditations for Practicing Compassion" by Eddie Zacapa


These practical meditations aim to quell polarizing viewpoints that lead to disconnection, resentment, and hatred in our current times by focusing on the principles of nonviolence as espoused by Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

Eddie Zacapa is the co-founder of Life Enriching Communication and a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication. He has facilitated nonviolent communication workshops, training, and programs, and has worked in the domestic violence field for over 19 years. He has written two books.

Black Label by James L’Etoile (Cameron Park)

"Black Label" by James L’Etoile


A pharmaceutical executive wakes up in a strange apartment and finds herself suspected of the murder of her company's CEO. The overwhelming evidence is enough to convince her she’s the killer. Believing she's either insane or a murderer, Jillian Cooper goes on the run until she can unravel the secrets of Black Label.

James L’Etoile uses his 29 years behind bars as inspiration for his books. He’s been an associate warden at a maximum-security prison, a hostage negotiator, facility captain, and director of California’s parole system. He’s been nominated for the Silver Falchion Award for “Best Procedural Mystery,” and The Bill Crider Award for short fiction.

Buckley the Highland Cow & Ralphy the Goat by Renee Macalino Rutledge, Photos by Leslie Ackerman (Shingle Springs)

"Buckley the Highland Cow & Ralphy the Goat" by Renee Macalino Rutledge, Photos by Leslie Ackerman


This is a story of perseverance, friendship, and the meaning of home. Real-life best friends, Buckley, an orphaned cow, and Ralphy, an orphaned goat, help each other thrive even under the most difficult of circumstances. They inspire readers to appreciate good friends and be a good friend in turn.

Renee Macalino Rutledge is a journalist and author. Her next children's book will be out next summer.

Leslie Ackerman is a retired veterinarian tech and former zookeeper. She’s also the (human) mom of Buckley and Ralphy. All three live on a farm in Shingle Springs.
Follow Buckley’s adventures on Instagram @buckleythehighlandcow.

Lollipop Brigade…The Wish by J. A. Sweeney (Folsom)

"Lollipop Brigade…The Wish" by J. A. Sweeney


In this enchanting series, two best friends find a pretty pink box in the attic that’s filled with 12 lollipops. Each lollipop takes them to a magical land where they learn a valuable life lesson.
Jennifer Sweeney had a dream three years ago to write one book. She then found a publisher and now plans to write 30 books in total for this series. All of the illustrations are original paintings done by the author.
Follow her on Instagram @ourfeettravelwhilereading.

Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortensen (Cameron Park)

"Arlo Draws an Octopus" by Lori Mortensen


When Arlo decides to draw an octopus, the head looks like a hill and the eight arms look like roads—it’s a disastrous piece! But just as Arlo vows to never draw an octopus again, he makes a discovery that changes his perspective about his drawing, and much more. This endearing and relatable story reminds readers that we’re better than we may think—sometimes all it takes is a second look.

Lori Mortensen is an award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books, including 'Cowpoke Clyde & Dirty Dawg,' which was one of Amazon’s best picture books of 2013.


Love books as much as we do? Check out these great local bookstores!

Barnes & Noble
280 Palladio Parkway, Suite 913, Folsom, 916-984-4428; 1256 Galleria Boulevard, Roseville, 916-788-4320,

Beers Books
915 S Street, Sacramento, 916-442-9475,

The Book Cellar
96 Lincoln Boulevard, Lincoln, 916-645-9999,

The Bookery
326 Main Street, Placerville, 530-626-6454,

The Bookhouse
3000 Green Valley Road, Suite 13, Cameron Park, 530-350-8903,

Boomerang Books

6925 Greenback Lane, Citrus Heights, 916-722-6133

Capital Books
1011 K Street, Sacramento, 916-492-6657,

Crawford’s Books
5301 Freeport Boulevard, Suite 200, Sacramento, 916-731-8001,

East Village Bookshop
3604 McKinley Boulevard, Sacramento, 279-202-9018,

Face in a Book
4359 Town Center Boulevard, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9401,

Half Price Books
7975 Greenback Lane, Citrus Heights, 916-722-1101,

Ruby’s Books
724 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-790-8760,

Trent’s Bookworm
8544 Madison Avenue, Fair Oaks, 916-961-0542

Winston Smith Books
933 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-823-5940,

by Tara Mendanha