Sunday, April 12, 2015


--Always great to start a tour with lots of familiar faces in the crowd, including my sainted-mother-in-law Rhoda Kurzweil and good friends Stephan Placido and Karen Sattinger and many others.  The store proprietor Diane Sinchuk has been boosting the work of yours truly since the days of John Deal and she continues on, despite the fact that I am now out of mysteries and into histories.  The audience was about as engaged in the Q&A as any I have ever seen, largely because of the current drought conditions in California (and the looming shortage caused by over-development in South Florida as well.)  The focus of WATER TO THE ANGELS is primarily on what happened in Southern California 100 years ago, but, history has a way of repeating itself.  Mulholland built the LA Aqueduct as a way out of a drought that had plagued the city for more than a decade.  He would never have dreamed that one day the population would surpass 10,000,000--as he often told city commissioners, "growth has its limits here."  But, unfortunately, developers paid about as much attention back then as they do today.

Friday, April 10, 2015


--The touring on behalf of WATER TO THE ANGELS is about to begin.  Please come by and join the general hilarity, which includes a little chat, some Q & A, and a book signing.  If you can't make it, any of the stores will be happy to take your order for a signed/personalized copy.
Saturday, April 11, Delray Beach, MURDER ON THE BEACH 6 PM (272 NE 2nd Ave.  561-279-7790)
Monday, April 13, Coral Gables, BOOKS & BOOKS 8 PM (265 Aragon, 305-442-4408)
Sunday, April 19, Los Angeles, LOS ANGELES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS 12:30 PM (USC campus,booth signing at Skylight Books #138, 305-778-6068)
Tuesday, April 21, La Jolla, WARWICK'S 7:30 PM, (7812 Girard Ave, 858-454-0347)
Wednesday, April 22, Pasadena, VROMAN'S 7 PM (695 E. Colorado, 626-449-5320)
Thursday, April 23, Corte Madera, BOOK PASSAGE 7PM (51 Tamal Vista Blvd., 415-927-0960)
Friday, April 24, Mendocino, GALLERY BOOKSHOP & BOOKWINKLES 6:30 PM (319 Kasten St., 707-937-2665)
I will also be dropping by to sign copies at COPPERFIELD'S in Sebastopol (707-823-2618), at BOOKS, INC. (415-776-1111) in San Francisco and at COMPASS BOOKS (650-821-9299) in the San Francisco Airport.  If you would like to have a copy signed or personalized, just call the store.
Check back for updates, including an event TBA at THE BOOK MARK in Neptune Beach/ Jacksonville (904-241-9026)
 Also in California, sort of:
June 6-June 13, Tecate, Mexico, RANCHO LA PUERTA, Writers Week, with co-faculty Madeleine Blais and Ellen Sussman.  This is the place where "spa-dom" began.  Put it on your bucket list.
September 25-27, Kalispell, WRITERS OF THE FLATHEAD, Annual Conference. Couple days talking about life and art in the shadow of Glacier National Park.  What is not to like?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


You may have come here from the new landing page that the good folks at Harper Collins/Ecco have created to help spread the word about Water to the Angels:  William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct and the Rise of Los Angeles.  Or maybe you were looking for the order form for the executive model of the Hurricane Floor Mop.  In any case, I am glad you dropped by.  I am not the greatest blogger--my excuse is that I only have so many words in me--but I keep vowing to do better.  I will start my promised semi-regular posts having to do with the launch of WTA by pointing out that when I started work on this book four years or so ago, there was no drought in California (well, aside from the fact that California has basically always been in a drought compared to Eastern states).  I simply wanted to write the story of the formidable accomplishments of a character who my research showed me was one of those larger-than-life types from another era, a man who conceived of and built the most significant civil engineering project in American history:  the Los Angeles Aqueduct.  When I began working on this project I did not know the full contours of Mulholland's achievement.  I was simply guided by a chance comment made by Robert Towne, Academy Award winning screenwriter of CHINATOWN shortly after that terrific film came out in 1974.  Towne's statement (says my failing memory) was something to the effect of, "I wish I could have told the true story behind Chinatown because that is as fascinating as what we made up."  That comment stuck with me for many years until it was time to begin a new book, and when I began to dig into the historical record, I saw exactly what Towne meant.  All this Chinatown material forms one of the later chapters in my book, so if you are intrigued, there is just one more reason to go buy your copy now.  One thing I will tell you is that, as I suggested to Towne when he and I talked, the real William Mulholland (he was a colorless pipsqueak called Hollis Mulwray in the film) was the same imposing, powerful type as was bad guy Noah Cross (John Houston).  I wondered to Towne if he might have derived his portrayal of Cross from the real-life Mulholland.  "I never thought Mulholland was a bad guy," was all the answer I got.  More to come, including a breathless blow by blow account of the author's tour through California, including a stint at the Los Angeles Festival of Books on Sunday, April 19.