“We’re calling it a Uni-Tea as proceeds from the event will benefit The Unity Shoppe,” explained Ms. Purl who has hosted several notable author teas around the country to benefit other local non-profits, including Possibili-Teas, Hospitali-Teas, and Generosi-Teas. Her online Milford-Haven Socie-Tea, a membership community tied to her latest Milford-Haven Novels series, will co-sponsor the Uni-Tea and offer special editions and other bonus items to those who attend.

“Mara is a perfect fit for our Valentine-related Uni-Tea,” Unity Shoppe’s Executive Director Tom Reed shared while discussing their reasons for the fundraiser. “She is a national award-winning author whose Milford-Haven Novels and the book that starts the series, What the Heart Knows, focus on all kinds of relationships and life along California’s Central Coast. Half the action is set in Santa Barbara. The early editions of her Milford-Haven Novels collectively won fifteen prestigious book awards along with two audio book awards. The stories emanate from the esteemed BBC Radio drama series entitled Milford-Haven U.S.A. that Ms. Purl created following her days as an actress on Days Of Our Lives (as Darla Cook). Her radio drama attracted 4.5 million listeners in the U.K. before she decided to move the evolving story lines into a series of novels. She has written as a journalist for the Associated Press, Rolling Stone, The Financial Times of London, Working Woman Magazine, and The Christian Science Monitor. Other awards in her list of writing accomplishments include: for radio, the New York Festivals Award; for her play Mary Shelley: In Her Own Words, the Peak Award; and for public service in the area of domestic abuse, Woman of the Year 2002 by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women.”

The Unity Shoppe fundraiser is one of a series designed to keep its doors open to help those in need of temporary assistance, job training, food, clothing, and other aid following the loss of a job, a natural disaster like a fire, or any other set back. It generally takes about six visits to help the average client get back on their feet. The Unity Shoppe was instrumental in helping (and continues to help) the victims of the Tea Fire and the Jesusita Fire, along with a long list of about 25,000 other clients every year throughout Santa Barbara County.

“Though I’ve done several events in Santa Barbara over the past several years,” Ms. Purl said, “working with Unity Shoppe is absolutely a dream come true. I’ve admired this innovative charity for several years, and am honored we’ll be doing this event to help them. And in true Santa Barbara style, this will be an event that’s all about unity — unifying the goal of helping others, with the goal of creating the kind of elegance and style that has made this town famous.”

The venue for the Uni-Tea will be La Casa Nichita, the former home (circa 1907) of Fernand Lungren, an early American artist known as the Pioneer of Painting the American Desert. “What better location for a tea by someone in the arts than in the garden and historic home of an early American artist,” Mr. Reed added.

At the Uni-Tea, Ms. Purl will speak on pursuing a successful life in the arts by unifying head and heart and briefly discuss her new novel, What the Heart Knows. Included in the afternoon’s festivities will be a tour of the 1907 home and grounds, and an award for the best hat worn to the event.

For more information about event sponsorship opportunities and tickets, email pat@unityshoppe.org.

More About Mara Purl:

  • Mara Purl is also an accomplished musician. Her instrument is the koto and she recorded and has played on the international stage with many noteworthy musicians including the works Sumahama recorded with Mike Love and the Beach Boys, Pathless Path recorded with Charles Lloyd, Koto Keys with Marilyn Harris, and Teiji Ito’s Watermill recorded with Grammy-winning musician Steve Gorn.
  • The hit song “Jet Laggin’” she co-wrote with Marilyn Harris is in current release on the new CD Orphans.


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