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Showing posts from September, 2012

Sunset Over Phoenix Lake

A particularly stunning sunset over Phoenix Lake. It makes life that much more wonderful.



I Am Speaking This Sunday At The Writer's Retreat In Columbia

Many thanks to Gary Linehan and the Union Democrat for their excellent piece about the Writer's Retreat in Columbia this weekend, and for writing so generously about me.

Anyone interested in attending the retreat should contact Jill Klajic-Ryan on 209-743-8097. I am speaking at a lunch at the Columbia House Restaurant (recently The Black Bart Skillet) on Main Street in Columbia on Sunday September 30, from 12:30-2:30pm.


The Simpsons: Homer Votes 2012 - VIDEO

WATCH this brilliant and hilarious SIMPSONS VOTING VIDEO - and also fight to ensure that everyone is actually allowed to vote, even if they don't have ID...or are black...or poor...or students...or yellow cartoon characters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArC7XarwnWI&feature=player_embedded

Since requiring ID to vote is a Republican idea, I think only registered Republicans should be required to show ID!

Thanks to @RafalcaRomney, Mitt's dressage horse, for this one :)


Chavez Ravine - A Sad But Astonishing Chapter In Los Angeles History

There is an absolutely fascinating article about a lost chapter of Los Angeles history on KCET's website, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.  KCET is the Los Angeles-based community television station for southern and central California.

Chavez Ravine, now known best as the hillside above which Dodger Stadium perches, was once the site of a thriving Mexican-American community, dating back as far as 1844, when Julian Chavez acquired 83 acres encompassing a narrow valley northwest of the city center.

Chavez was a native of New Mexico who had arrived in Los Angeles in the 1830s, and who promptly became a leading political figure.

The story of how the community developed (actually as three distinct neighborhoods: Bishop, La Loma and Palo Verde), with goats grazing on hillsides and residents raising domesticated animals from pigs to peacocks, is vividly told on the KCET website.


Sadly, due to various attempts to redevelop the land (at the expense of the local community), by 1957 only 20 f…

Sonora Democratic Headquarters

We have our own Sonora Democratic HQ - not bad for some pretty Republican territory. Does Romney even have an office here?  (Maybe he has 53% of an office - minus the 47%:)  

There's a grand opening ceremony this Friday September 21 from 5-7pm.  The address is:

47 Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370 - tel: 209-588-9288.

Major kudos to Barbara Farkas on this one!

And remember to vote for President Obama - and a Democratic Congress - in November!

I Will Be Speaking At The Tuolumne Writer's Retreat In Columbia State Historic Park

I am speaking on Sunday September 30, 2012 at a lunch from 12:30pm-2:30pm at the Sonora Writers' Group's first Tuolumne Writer's Retreat, which runs from Friday through Sunday, September 28-30, at the Columbia State Historic Park.

The retreat includes a ghost walk on Friday, open mic sessions with poems, stories, music and a Native American poetry and drum circle on the Saturday, and "Author's Row" on the Sunday.  Guests include Blanche Abrams and Charity Maness.

I will be speaking during the lunch about my career as a writer and my experiences both as a novelist, non-fiction writer and children's author, and as a screenwriter for the major Hollywood studios and independents. 

For more information about my career, please visit the Biography page of this blog.

Advance registration is required for the workshops and meals. The registration fee is $145, with a 20% discount for students.

Please contact Jill Klajic-Ryan at 209-743-8097 or visit www.sonorawriters.org…

Brilliant Chang, Cocaine and Chinatown Nights

The image below of a woman taking cocaine is, I believe, from the 1910s and is one of the many research pictures I've amassed for my noir novel - a love story and thriller set in 1919 - Chinatown Nights.

Although drugs do not play a huge role in the plot, several of the characters in the novel are involved in the world of illegal drugs, illicit drinking clubs and other rather suspect activities - including arms dealing.



Brilliant Chang, a notable Chinese figure in London in the 1910s and 1920s, who is fictionalized as a character in Chinatown Nights, was alleged to be one of London's primary cocaine dealers (cocaine was a popular drug, then as now) and was the subject of a great deal of police attention.

Chang was charged in 1924 with possession of a single packet of cocaine (a surprisingly small amount for one of the supposed "drug kingpins" of London - probably planted by the police), was jailed and was eventually deported from Britain.

He moved to France…

Chinatown Nights Kickstarter Campaign Very Successfully Funded - And Ended

I was thrilled that the Kickstarter campaign for Chinatown Nights ended yesterday, meeting not only its initial target of $2,000, but the new unofficial target I set of $2,500, thanks to a very generous donation yesterday afternoon.

Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed. My full thanks, and more details of both the novel and the campaign, are on the Chinatown Nights Facebook Page. Please "Like" it if you visit it! Thank you.

Only 7 Hours To Go To The End Of My Kickstarter Campaign For Chinatown Nights!

Only 7 hours to go to the end of the Kickstarter campaign for my noir novel set in 1919, Chinatown Nights - and it's just $101 short of my new unofficial target of $2,500!

The campaign will end at 6:13pm Pacific time today, Thursday August 6, 2012.

Please contribute now, if you can. More details, images and extracts from the novel are at its Facebook page: Chinatown Nights.

There are also several posts about the book if you scroll down below, including an extract from the end of Chapter Three of the novel.

Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!

Very best wishes,
Alexander

Our Phenomenal First Lady: Michelle Obama At The Democratic National Convention (VIDEO)

We are fortunate indeed to have a First Lady as intelligent, eloquent, committed, compassionate and grounded as Michelle Obama.

Here is video of her entire and very wonderful speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday September 4, 2012.

Santa Cruz, Wilder Ranch State Historic Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park

We have fallen in love with Santa Cruz, and in particular with Wilder Ranch State Historic Park, located on the coast of Monterey Bay, just north of the town of Santa Cruz.

Originally known as Rancho del Matadero, and founded by Mission Santa Cruz in 1791, the Wilder family later acquired the land and operated a very successful dairy on the property - which includes an extraordinary stretch of coastland, with spectacular cliffs and coves.


Many of the coves of what is now a state historic park are preserved for the benefit of marine wildlife - snowy plovers, pelicans, seagulls, seals and dolphins. 

You can walk along the cliffs and enjoy the spectacular vistas, but only a couple of the beaches are accessible for swimming - but they are well worth the hike to get there.


Our entire family, including Hudson, who's eight, and Paradise, who's three, enjoyed climbing out along the rocks to view an outcrop of rocks where seals and pelicans were basking in the sun.


Hudson and I also greatly…

Hyperbole And A Half - Why I'll Never Be An Adult

These images are from one of my absolute favorite online comic strips/blogs/sites, Hyperbole And A Half by Allie. This particular post is called: This Is Why I'll Never Be An Adult - and these are just a few selected panes from a very funny and telling sequence:




To check out the entire strip, go to this particular link for Hyperbole And A Half.

You might also want to check out the Hyperbole And A Half Store, which has many goodies such as this wonderful Bird T-shirt. Other designs can be applied to whole variety of products, such as T-shirts, mugs and iPhone cases (please note that not all designs are available for every product).

I love the Bird T-shirt because it makes me think of our much adored lovebird, Miso, who I'm certain spends a great deal of his life squawking these words in a language we can't comprehend because we're too stupid:


Please visit Hyperbole And A Half for a little (in)sanity. You'll be glad you did. Or maybe you won't - maybe you really are …

Chinatown Nights Kickstarter Campaign Meets Its Target

Thanks to a generous contribution from Emma Dowson (my longtime and very wonderful book publicist), my Kickstarter campaign for Chinatown Nights has now reached and exceeded its $2,000 target - and Emma is the winner of a unique Anna May Wong Kickstarter T-shirt. (Anna May Wong is one of the major inspirations for the central female protagonist of the novel, Lady Shao.)

There are still 4 more days of the Kickstarter campaign to run, and there is no limit to how much can be raised, so if you would like to contribute, please do so by clicking on this Kickstarter link. Thank you.

And huge thanks to Emma - and to all of you who have contributed so generously - for making this campaign a success. I hope the novel will be as much fun (in my usual dark way:) as the campaign!