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Meet the Author — Local Writing Community

From the BookShelf Writers

The BookShelf Writers consist of four Estero Bay women who have been writing and critiquing together for over five years. For more samples of their work, please visit www.the

Each issue, this column will feature one of the BookShelf Writers: Debbie Black, Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich, Judy Salamacha and Susan Vasquez.

March 26, 2023

Are you a writer? Have you ever thought you wanted to publish a book? Do you dream about living the life of a New York Times bestseller? Maybe you love to read and collect books, especially treasured books signed by the author? SLO County is home to many published authors and host to many community events featuring books and authors, including the recently announced 39th Annual Cuesta College Central Coast Writers Conference (CCWC) on Saturday, October 14

‘The Greatest of Ease’ 
written by Teri Bayus.

Members of the SLO writing community love to meet-up and share tips and experiences with each other, but book launches and signings with our readers is special. For me it was my “aha moment” that I was truly a writer! I had published in newspapers for years, but when asked for my first autograph on my book that was available at bookstores, I could finally admit I was a writer.

Next month offers several opportunities for book-lovers to hang out with authors, buy their book, listen to a reading, ask them questions and even ask for their autograph.   

Teri Bayus, author of “The Greatest of Ease: A Circus Story” is on her countywide book tour. She will be at the Atascadero Library at 2:30 p.m. on April 13. May 26 she’s at the Cayucos Library and May 31 at the Cambria Library. Check out times and other dates at

“All events are free, but you can purchase a personally signed book,” Teri said. “I do a reading, share circus snacks, tell some circus facts, and answer questions.”  

Join author six authors for an event at Coalesce Bookstore.

Teri is one amazingly talented woman known for a variety of entrepreneurial successes, including being director of CCWC for six years. She hosted and produced the TV show “Taste Buds,” was a food and film critic for local newspapers and taught writing at local colleges. During COVID she decided to focus on publishing. None of us will be surprised when her book covers state New York Times bestseller.

“The Greatest of Ease” is a roman à clef.” Teri explained. “That means, everything is true, but the names and order of events have changed for dramatic purposes. Other examples are “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “On The Road.” 

The back cover of her book asks, “Did you ever threaten to run away and join the circus?” followed by “It’s 1980, and Gail has decided to blow off her full college ride and become a trapeze artist.” It tells the story of Gail, aka Teri, breaking into a dysfunctional circus community, looking for love, becoming an under-valued family member as she achieves trapeze artistry, tactics to surviving the life and then … well you’ll have to read the book.

Teri said, “People seem to love being transformed into the inner circle of the circus.” She admits not many want to try the life she lived, “It’s not an easy life. But everyone is fascinated.”

She has two more books in the works. “I am writing a nonfiction called ‘The Universal Conspiracy.’ It is about how I believe the Universe conspires to make our dreams come true, if we go for it. It is basically all my crazy leaps of faith —28 businesses owned in 30 years. It will be out in May 2023. Next is a fiction story of two orphans lost and found set in Belize after a hurricane.”

Sunday April 14 at 1pm at Coalesce Bookstore in Morro Bay six authors will entertain. Author/actress Mara Purl will launch her latest book in the Milford-Haven series, “Why Hearts Keep Secrets.” Years ago, while performing at the Pewter Plough Playhouse, Mara fell in love with Cambria then adopted and adapted it as the backdrop for her successful mystery/romance series.

Purl invited her writer friends to join the festivities. Most of them she met through SLO NightWriters, Central Coast Sisters in Crime and while she presented at CCWC. “Amongst us we have humor, romance, and plenty of mystery!” Mara said.

Anne R. Allen writes “funny mysteries and how-to-write books.” Any novice or experienced writer won’t find better advice than Anne’s weekly blog, Anne R. Allen Writing About Writing. 

Tony Piazza is a prolific mystery writer with his other ten fingers tapping out books on Hollywood yester-years, like his time with Steve McQueen during the filming of Bullet. 

A retired middle grade teacher, C.S. “Charlie” Perryess loves working with children’s book authors. He has a terrific voice so is often tagged for audio books. Ilona Stone also voices audiobooks and is a classical music host for KCBX.  Lida Sideris has a new mystery series, Murder & Other Natural Disasters.

And, if you really enjoy hanging out with writers, October 14 is not that far away. Early-bird registration is currently open for Saturday’s writers conference at Cuesta College. Many of us transitioned from other careers wanting to write and publish. We found our jump-start at CCWC. 

Brian Schwartz is the new director. Past president of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, Brian currently writes the “Local Author” feature in SLO Life Magazine. He’s the author of two books and the CEO of a publishing services consulting firm based in San Luis Obispo. For the past 15 years, Brian has worked with hundreds of authors at, including several New York Times bestsellers.

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