Flight of the Condors Is A Finalist

Filed under: Articles,Awards,Nonfiction — Administrator at 10:14 am on Sunday, August 14, 2022

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My article Flight of the Condors, originally published in Alta Magazine, was a finalist in the 64th Southern California Journalism Awards. Read the full list of winners here.

Alta Article: Tin Can Mailman

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 9:25 am on Sunday, August 14, 2022

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For Alta Magazine, I wrote an ode to my favorite childhood bookstore, Tin Can Mailman in Arcata, California.

I also wrote a round-up of North Coast Bookstores.

Mental Floss: Mary Astor’s Purple Diary, Old Hollywood’s Most Infamous Sex Scandal

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction,RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM — Administrator at 9:16 am on Sunday, August 14, 2022

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For Mental Floss, I wrote 10 Juicy Facts About Mary Astor’s Purple Diary, Old Hollywood’s Most Infamous Sex Scandal. This scandal was a huge inspiration for my novel, Right Back Where We Started From. Poor Mary Astor was done dirty.

Alta Live: Why Mark Twain Canceled Bret Harte

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 8:11 am on Wednesday, May 4, 2022

I was invited by Alta Magazine to discuss my article When Mark Twain Canceled Bret Harte on Alta Live.

I was joined by Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021.

What started out as an investigation of the 30-year literary feud between Mark Twain and Bret Harte turned into an unfortunately relevant conversation about anti-Asian violence. Click the above video to listen to our discussion.

Article: Make It Rain

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 7:54 am on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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For Alta Magazine I wrote about cloud seeding. Did you know we already have the ability to increase precipitation in clouds? And that we’ve been doing it since the 1950s? And that the technology was invented by Kurt Vonnegut’s brother? Read it here.

USA Today Article: Is It Finally Time To Turn Against Workaholism?

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 11:38 am on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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For USA Today, I wrote an article about the consequences of hustle culture and its roots in the California Gold Rush. Excerpt:

Whether it’s called hustle culture or toxic productivity, workaholism is now mainstream. For the past few years, the idea of “rise and grind 24/7″ has infected American life. People are working extreme schedules, forfeiting weekends, relationships and even sleep to attain success. It’s the newest incarnation of the American dream, the belief that if you hustle now, later you can enjoy a luxurious lifestyle and astronomical achievement. You too can become Bill Gates or Oprah, if you just work hard enough.

However, the pandemic ground much of hustle culture to a halt. For many, there was nothing to do for months but look at personal and societal problems that could no longer be covered by a busy schedule.

Read the rest here.

Article: Mary Astor’s Purple Diary, Old Hollywood’s Most Infamous Sex Scandal

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 8:44 am on Saturday, April 17, 2021

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For Mental Floss, I wrote about a juicy 1930s Hollywood scandal involving Mary Astor’s Purple Diaries.

It’s one of the first Hollywood sex scandals–plus it inspired part of my novel, Right Back Where We Started From, which starts in 1930s Hollywood and has a Scarlet Diary and a controversial starlet in it.

Check out 10 Juicy Facts About Mary Astor’s Purple Diary, Old Hollywood’s Most Infamous Sex Scandal.

Article: Greedy Women In LitHub

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 1:05 pm on Monday, November 9, 2020

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I have a new article on LitHub, On the 19th-Century Food Writer Who Embraced Gluttony As a Virtue.

It’s about how I read The Diary of a Greedy Woman by Elizabeth Robins Pennell, which I loved… until I didn’t.

Article: Lost Beneath Lake Berryessa

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 4:23 pm on Sunday, January 12, 2020

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Check out my Alta article about the town of Monticello in Napa, which was turned into a lake and reservoir in the 1950s. Dorothea Lange documented the human and environmental toll that went into creating Lake Berryessa. Excerpt:

Goat Island in Lake Berryessa pokes up from the water like the crown of a hat. Beyond it, the hills are unusually triangular, coming to soft peaks instead of rolling mounds. Standing on the shore, I tried to imagine the island as it had been 62 years ago: not an island at all but the top of a hill. The lake is man-made, the result of a dam built across Putah Creek. The 1.6 million acre-feet of water cover a fertile valley and a town named Monticello.

The idea that there’s a town under a lake in Napa County, an hour-and-a-half drive from my house, was intriguing. Add to that the fact that Dorothea Lange, whose photographs humanized the Great Depression, shot a series on the flooding of the valley and the town, and I knew I had to see Lake Berryessa.

Read the rest here.

Story On Front Page Of The Washington Post!

Filed under: Articles,Nonfiction — Administrator at 7:56 am on Saturday, November 9, 2019

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Last week, the Kincade Fire tore through Sonoma County, where I live, and 200,000 people were evacuated. My town of Petaluma became the first stop for evacuees. I interviewed some of the evacuees for The Washington Post. Hearing their stories was a moving experience, and I’m still in shocked that this keeps happening to my beloved home.

Then the story was on the front page of The Washington Post! Wow! I didn’t expect that at all. Heather Kelly and Scott Wilson also worked on the story.

Here’s the article in full. Give it a read!

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