Category Archives: travel

Electric Cars Spark Change

Don’t hold your breath waiting for politicians to move this country to sustainable energy policies. Focus on the marketplace if you want  to help our country transition to sustainable energy. Right now is the perfect time to go solar if you own a house. We did it, and we love watching our electric meter run backwards.   solar roof

Recently we leased an Electric Vehicle, which we plug into our solar system to charge. It’s amazing! No gas, no oil! And California Department of Energy gave us a $2,500 cash rebate for driving our new 2015 Chevy Spark EV off the lot!


There are now many great electric car options on the market. Tesla seems to be everyone’s first choice, but we couldn’t afford one. So we took a three year lease on a Chevy Spark. We love it! It has about a 100 mile range, which we find is all we need most of the time. (Our Prius, which we use  for longer trips, is usually parked these days.) Our Sparky is peppy. Lots of torque. chevy evCharging is easy. Around our area there are more and more public charging stations available. But so far, we haven’t needed to use them. We get our charge at home. We just plug in to our 240 V wall outlet. We charge overnight, when our electric rates are lowest. With our solar system, even with our car plugged in, we now pay nothing for electricity. Zero. All our power, including our transportation, comes from the sun. maryChange seems to have accelerated this summer. Sharks, possibly warm water creatures of the south, have taken up residence at our favorite cold water swimming beach in Santa Cruz. The color of the water itself has changed,  due perhaps to the warmer temp. According to a marine scientist friend, a warm water plankton who doesn’t “belong” here, a protist called “cocolithophoridae”, who showed up and is shedding its calcite scales, is turning the bay glacial-melt blue. No sane person can deny the reality of global warming any longer, and yet the Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline is still being shoved down our gullets and Shell Oil is trying to drive its ship up to Alaska to drill. This crazy addiction to fossil fuel must be stopped before we end life as we know it on our precious Mother Earth.

Green Peace Photo

Green Peace Photo: Activists in Portland, Oregon hang from bridge to block Shell Oil Vessel bound for drilling operation in Alaska.


Greenpeace activist blocks Shell Oil vessel from heading to Artic







Another thing that seems to be rapidly changing is the proliferation of Electric Cars in our neighborhood. This is good! The time has come! If you’re in Santa Cruz County, go see our local Chevy dealer, Chevrolet of Watsonville. They  gave us an incredible deal: No down payment, they made our first month’s lease payment for us, and they pay all vehicle maintenance. (Plus, there was that state cash rebate.) Check it out! You could be driving right past the gas station soon, and never ever have to stop and fill up again. No gas. No oil. Imagine! It’s a great feeling. Make the change!






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Luis Valdez, Anne Perry and Jack London


I’ve been rubbing shoulders with genius. I’m a huge admirer of Luis Valdez of Teatro Campisino. His work influenced my novel. This Fall, I went to see his brilliant Valley of the Heart (Oh, you MUST see it!) in San Juan Bautista, and he graciously consented to this photo. (Swoon)  LuisValdezThe San Francisco Lit Quake was on my birthday this year – October 19th. Joe accompanied me up to the City, where we heard Anne Perry and William Gordon (noir writer and husband of Isabel Allende ) in conversation. annePerrycityLights2Last weekend, Thanksgiving Holiday, I talked Joe into going with me up to Glenn Ellen in Sonoma area (wine country). I needed to make a pilgrimage to see Jack London. He’s been calling to me. I stood by his mossy grave under the oaks and he told me I needed to see this novel through to publication. That it’s important to get this story out there.

Jack London’s Ranch is now a beautiful park! 1400 acres of trails and pristine vistas, along with historic buildings and a museum. Luckily, the park, suffering from lack of public funding like all of our parks, was recently saved from closure.  I had no idea, until I went to visit Jack, that he was more interested in sustainable agriculture than in anything else. Did you know that? On his Valley of the Moon Beauty Ranch, he was an innovator in sustainable ag practices at the beginning of the 20th century.

“I am rebuilding worn-out hillside lands that were worked out and destroyed by our wasteful California pioneer farmers…I believe the soil is our one indestructible asset.” Jack London.

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Writing magical eroticism

The last part of my story takes part in a magical world, where the Salmon People get out of their salmon bodies and dwell in Río Abajo Río (Clarissa Estés term) in a village on the river that runs underneath this river. It is a magical and erotic section, and was very fun to write. I wrote much of it while in Ireland, around Dulin, the Cliffs of Mohr, and Dublin, which, I think, helped add to the magic. I’m currently reading Laurell Hamilton’s Faery series (Not for Children!!!!), about a Faery princess exiled in LA and working as a private detective. Very Fun, and I do think she influenced my work on the last part of Death of the Gecko. Do you think readers will be offended that my story becomes explicitly erotic at the end (finally resolving much romantic tension throughout the novel)? Do you think it will enhance or detract from the story of everyday people fighting back against the big corporations poisoning their land? Please comment! I’d value your opinion!

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