Long, long ago and far away…another place, a different time

Jennie and I just got back from a four-day visit with friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We stayed in the Las Campañas area, home of one of the three couples that made up our traveling group. It was a beautiful place on the high mesa, populated by piñon pines and surrounded by the Jémez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges. The sunsets were otherworldly, intensified by thunderheads and the occasional lightning strikes. The day temperatures fluctuated from the mid-seventies to the high eighties—perfect weather for the seven-thousand-foot elevation.…

The most influential person in your life

Aunt Dotsie was a superlative artist. She created hundreds of beautiful pieces—landscapes, portraits, still lifes, water scenes, and a host of other subjects. She photographed her work and kept the images in a big binder. She had the idea to write poems to go along with her paintings and then publish them in book form.

However, the words did not come easily.

So she asked me to write poems for her.…

To be sure, no one ever got hurt too bad

I found myself the father of three teenagers (a five-year age span). But in reality, I played the role of old-school male role model for about three dozen other young hellions. …

For all who wander are not lost

In the past few weeks, Jennie and I have taken a couple of road trips relating to my historical novel, Five Hundred Moons. These were short, two-day excursions—just long enough to feel rejuvenated and offer some relief from our daily routine.
 
Our first getaway was to the small valley town of Colusa……

It’s (almost) all fun and games

There is a saying that I’ve heard, “Granddaughters are the best reminders of the beauty and innocence of childhood.” I find that to be true……

Winning isn’t everything, but it sure feels good

Sixty-six years ago, in 1957, the 49ers played the Detroit Lions in an NFL playoff game at Kezar Stadium. My father, uncle, and two other prune ranchers from South San Jose had season tickets, and they were all looking forward to attending the game. As luck would have it, my dad became ill a couple days prior and told my uncle to take his son……

Woof! Snuffle! Lick! Dog cuddles!

Some of my earliest memories are cuddling up in a dog fort surrounded by the earthy smells of a canine lair, then falling asleep with my head on a soft, warm, furry belly.…

Life, Strange Times, & Redemption on a Sea of Change

A young man walked into the store and asked to speak privately to the owner. He seemed nonthreatening, so I invited him into the office and offered him a seat. He didn’t sit down but instead reached into his pocket and pulled out a $100 bill…

Can a father be his son’s role model?

Recently, I had occasion to wear an old camelhair coat to a memorial service. The coat previously belonged to my father. It’s warm, still stylish, and fits me well. While putting it on, I reached into the inner pocket and felt a folded piece of paper….…

Are you “wowed” when you watch a sunset?

Just before the sun dipped into the western horizon, a golden aperture appeared near the mouth of the Pajaro River, a bright orange reflection from a glass window, angled just right as to shine brightly into our eyes. The occurrence brought to mind the green light that appears in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby…

Home is where your head is…

I talked of growing up in Capitola and my family’s history in the area, realizing, within sight, I could point out several places that sparked childhood memories. …

Musing of a poet on the rim of the world

I recently submitted a poem to the Morton Marcus Poetry Contest…I did not win the poetry contest—however, I did get an email from the sponsor, Catamaran Literary Reader, informing me that they were “releasing” my poem back to me. (I hadn’t realized they were holding my work captive, but I felt a strange sense of comfort upon its return, like getting your coat back from the hat-check counter on a dark and stormy night!)…

On Writing about Strong Women

Literature is full of classic novels portraying strong female characters. Titles like Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, and My Ántonia, to name just a few, have graced old and new bookshelves for many years. History, as depicted in both fiction and nonfiction, has been shaped in large part by women—women with strong voices, convictions, and fortitude who have influenced every part of human existence. This demonstration continues today and no doubt will continue in the future. Check out contemporary novels like The Covenant of Water, Songbirds, and The Secret Life of Sunflowers if you’d like to read about extraordinary female protagonists.…

A while back, I built a Little Free Lending Library

A while back, I built a Little Free Lending Library. You know the kind: a boxy receptacle with shelves, a pitched roof, and small swinging glass door housing used books on various subjects.…

A poem about the Ohlone people

While writing and rewriting some poems recently, I realized I never wrote a poem about the Ohlone people that inhabit my novel. In so many ways, I want to pay tribute to them and yet not speak for them. It’s not for me to define their worldview, I can only attempt to pass on a few things that I’ve learned in studying their culture, of which so little is actually known. The following is a modest attempt to capture a small part of their consciousness. Perhaps it also speaks to some current thoughts in our lives today.…

My poems are “accessible.”

A while back, I compiled some of my poetry and had Community Printers in Santa Cruz print up two hundred copies, which I distributed to family and friends. I did three readings and maybe sold a half dozen books. All in all, a great experience. I have continued to write poems, but not at a great pace since most of my literary time has been spent on my novel. I recall writing and gifting one particular poem to a friend on her birthday. She made the comment that my poems are “accessible.”…

Recent Storms

I’ve been thinking about recent storms that battered the Central Coast with high winds, twenty-five-foot swells, six-foot tides, and copious amounts of rain. …

Adventure in Lombok Strait—2003

This blog has nothing to do with my novel, Five Hundred Moons. (Did I hear some sighs of relief?) No, it’s about my son and his friends and an adventure in Lombok Strait—2003. An experience they would just as soon forget.…

Reunions and Reviews…

The past two Saturdays I’ve been involved with two reunions—my 50-year high school reunion (Soquel High) and a family reunion that Jennie and I hosted at our house (all descendants of my grandfather). Both affairs were enjoyable. I got to visit with people that I’ve been close to for many years, many of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while. Good food, good wine, and good conversation accompanied both events.…

What’s in a Name?

The original title for Five Hundred Moons was In the Name Of. Throughout the entire writing process that was the name of the book. I even had my daughter-in-law design the cover art with that title in bold print. I assumed most people would add their own opinion as to what In the Name Of stood for, with the Father, meaning Father Junípero Serra, as the obvious fill-in-the-blank choice. So, what’s in a name?…

How I Learned to Write

Since I published Five Hundred Moons, several people, including some I’ve known since third grade, have made the comment, “I didn’t know you could write so well,” or posed the question, “How did you learn to write?”…

Baptized Book Giveaway! Limited Time Offer!

At a recent bookstore reading, a person was so engaged in conversation that she accidentally spilled some red wine on a copy of my book. Unfortunately, she did not purchase said book. I am offering this slightly baptized edition to a random person. Just go to my Facebook page and like and share.

I’ll draw a name in a couple of weeks and send the signed copy to anywhere in the USA. Salud!…

Watsonville Rotary Club: Book Talk

I recently spoke at the Watsonville Rotary Club about Five Hundred Moons. I had told the president that if he was ever in a bind about a canceled speaker I could fill in at a moment’s notice. In just two weeks’ time, such an occurrence materialized.…

My Wedding

On June 27, 1981, at 5:00 pm I stood next to the altar in the Mission Carmel Basilica, waiting for my bride to appear from the courtyard about a hundred feet down the center aisle. Below me, entombed in stone crypts, were the bones of three men—Father Juan Crespi, diarist of the Portola expedition and a strong ally of Junípero Serra; Father Fermin Lausen, priest and successor to the presidency of the California Missions; and Father Junípero Serra, the man most influential in inaugurating the Spanish and Catholic colonization of California. Little did I know these three men would one day play a central role in my novel, Five Hundred Moons.…

June 3, 2022: Save the date!

I believe I’ve mentioned before that writing a novel is much easier than marketing a novel. Short of hiring a literary agent, which would be my last resort, I’ve been muddling along with some personal outreach, a few print interviews, some social media presence, a book talk or two, and a book signing …

Traveling along the Central Coast

While traveling along the Central Coast, Jennie and I took a trip down to Anzo Borrego Springs to see the wildflowers. Unfortunately, rainfall in the desert has been so sparse this year that we were mostly treated to cacti, dry shrubbery, and the occasional ocotillo bloom.…

A short road trip…ro

Jennie and I took a short road trip down to Oceanside a few months back. The brief trip was a spur-of-the-moment getaway…

My Adventures in Book Writing…

When I first saw the printed and bound copy of my book, I was overjoyed. Four-plus years of writing, researching, and editing had finally come to fruition. Little did I realize my adventures in book writing were just beginning.…