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Above: Erik Vanstrum, Big Rock; GV photo

Left: Nick Vanstrum, Waiohai; GV photo

Welcome, dear Readers.

Here's the place to voice your opinions regarding book reviews (Man Bites Book), the Pacific Surf Report, Fiction In Progress, or anything else your heart desires.

Just send an e-mail to:


June 20, 2017


Thank you for the great Father's Day concert Sunday.

I really enjoyed your wry notes on the program and also reading your blog. I couldn't get through The Corrections either although I did read all of The Satanic Verses, despite its bad writing. I bought it at a bookstore in Orange County the day it came out in the US in a shopping center next to the theater where I saw Joan Sutherland perform in "Norma." Anyway I am curious what you thought of Rushdie's novels you planned to read after you changed your mind about him.

My wife and I really enjoyed the concert and she remarked about how impressed she was with your playing. We were so glad someone sent the item about the event to the Reader. I work as a long-distance editor for a website on Middle East affairs on Sundays and got done much earlier than normal, and my wife said we should do something for Father's Day, so I pored through the Reader looking for what to do until I came upon the perfect fit!

Also, please add me to your email list for upcoming musical events.

I am amazed how much you can pack into a day, or life. I perhaps should do as you have done, and just mark off certain times to get certain things accomplished. I like how you say so much in few words. In your case, you perhaps have to, because of your pressing professional and other obligations - perhaps the inverse of Blaise Pascal's saying something along the lines that it takes longer to write shorter.


D. G. S.
Writer, Editor, Spanish-to-English translator

September 24, 2013

K.C. writes:

Thank you for your letter about overpopulation in the August 12 & 19 New Yorker. I had similar thoughts to yours, though could not have expressd them so well.

I am frustrated/disppointed by how little attention population growth receives. My friends seem to be afraid of the topic, or fear loss of funding if they bring it up. What happened to Zero Population Growth?

My beau tells me I get on a soap box about this, so I will stop -- since I know you know.

Thank you for the New Yorker letter that will hopefully be read by many people.

Best to you,



Dear K.C.:

Thanks for your letter. Since you asked, Zero Population Growth, founded by Paul Ehrlich in 1968, has morphed into the educational and advocacy group, Population Connection. It has 150,000+ members, supporters, and educators.

According to their website, PC's main programs are "to educate young people about unsustainable population growth, to inform constituents across the country about their congressional representatives' stances on population growth and family planning," and to lobby Congress and the White House vis a vis family planning and funding levels.

"Population Connection works to ensure that every woman around the world who wants to delay or end childbearing has access to the health servises and contraceptive supplies she needs in order to do so."

So, even though world's human population has added a billion in the last ten years or so, there are still groups dedicated to slowing that process down.




August 9, 2013

E. M., re my letter to the New Yorker (see New), writes:

If only it really was "birth control teaching," instead of sterilization "safaris", forced abortion, shots and patches that make women sick, an overriding philosophy that the world's problems are to be blamed on poor people and people of color having "too many" babies rather than people with power consuming too much, and anti-child attitudes that deny the deep yearnings nearly all humans have to bond with another and raise a family.


Hello, EM.

You make some good points. No question one wealthy American consumes way more than five? a dozen? impoverished Africans.

The other stuff, blaming the world's problems on poor people and people of color, anti-child attitudes, sterilization safaris, forced abortion--those opinions (and practices) may be out there, but none of them are beliefs of mine. It's a long way from birth control teaching to forced abortions and sterilization safaris.

Probably the best way to get to sustainability, to a world population that doesn't lead to environmental impoverishment re food, soil, water, and the other creatures on the planet (yes, we share Earth with others) both in the developed and undeveloped world, is to achieve both good health care and education, so a family that has fewer kids can bring them to adulthood.

Education of women has been shown to be the best method of birth control, both in rich and poor countries.

These hot-button issues get people pretty worked up. Atul Gawande stayed away from all this, perhaps wisely, to keep his discourse from getting embroiled in passion.

Thanks for your letter.



March, 2012

Hi Glenn,
It's Kevin's wife Betsy. I just spent the last week with the flu and finally had a chance to read your book while recovering. I couldn't put it down! As soon as Kevin has time to get through it we'll come up with a review that will hopefully do it justice.

Also FYI-I downloaded it to my iphone using the Kindle app and all went extremely well. Take care,



Hi Betsy and Kevin,

Thanks for the kind words re Humboldt. As you can tell, I mined Tales of the Emerald Triangle for info on pot farming, just as I borrowed mercilessly from Julia Butterfly Hill's book on tree-sitting, Richard Preston's book on redwood climbing (The Wild Trees), Lucy Thompson ( Che-na-wah Weitych-Ah-Wah) for the story on the Yurok, etc. I want to thank Kevin for his help, once again.

I pretty much couldn't put down Tales of the Emerald Triangle, either.

I'm on to a new one, now, about three mentally-ill musicians playing a Beethoven piano trio in an insane asylum in NYC (Opus 1, No. 3). I'm heading to Brooklyn in August to visit Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, which they wanted to close in February because of several patients dying and several assaults. I'm a little nervous about this one.

Amazing how fun, and how necessary, it is to research and write novels.



January, 2012

forum: We have Kindles, not the Fire (they have color, cool!). I like ordering books from Amazon, and don't really use the thing for magazines, etc. Maybe I should .

chris: I do not have one yet, currently weighing the differences between Kindle Fire and an iPad. Any thoughts?
forum: Good one! Let me know what kind of e-reader you have!

chris: Thanks Is the contest over? Here's another:
Spouse abused. Resolution failed. New address.

forum: Sorry I didn't get to this sooner. I like 'em
both, specially #2.

chris: Hi Here's a couple:
Band plays. People dance. Singular energy.

Politicians talk. People fooled. Nothing changes.

forum: Good luck with the Kindling. It's not hard, trust me. Good luck on the book warming! I think the book's a winner, so keep on it. Keep me posted.


December, 2011

brian: Ah, Todos was great yesterday. A little windy, but by the 2nd wave in each set, clean face. Between 15- 20'. I stuck with my 7' 6". Not scary big, but enough to get the adrenalin going. I managed to snag a perfect stand up 8' wide tube. Happy camper :-)

Looks like next week could be pretty big, interested? Not sure exactly what day yet, but I'm keeping an eye on it.

forum: Yeah, Nick (the 14 yo) wanted to surf Xxxxx. Erik and I said, whatever. So we surfed there--there were some definite good ones, no long tubes, but good lefts and rights. I think Headkick got better as the tide went out..Thanks for the invite to Todos--I've got too much to do here, sorry. But thanks!

kevin: It's Betsy, Kevin's wife taking a minute to get back to you. Thanks for the information about Kindle! I'm the techie part of our team and this could really help. The book is already available in practically every e-format via the publisher, Authorhouse, but they're way behind the times where Kindle is concerned. This is on my list to tackle and I appreciate the direction.

On a plus note...we have our official (only 10 years past the original publication date) book launch and signing happening next month. A good friend has offered to host it at his venue and it should be a great evening. We just nailed down a date of February 23rd, and are working out the rest of the details. We're also working on a date in NorCal, back in Kevin's old stomping grounds. If you'd like, I can add you to our email list to keep you informed.

Also, we have a Facebook page, which if you haven't already done that it might be a good way to spread the word about your book. Social media seems like the big deal as far as today's marketing goes. I'm going to dig in over the next couple of weeks and ramp up our website too, which is very bare bones right now. 2012 feels like it's finally the year to break out with this genre so it's all hands on deck where we're concerned. Keep us in your loop and hopefully we can cross paths in person someday! Follow it on Facebook! Hi, Checked out the link. I downloaded Mark Coker's free guide to formatting at, formatted according to his easy explanations (with the nuclear option, the links to sections of the book, etc.), and uploaded seven books (five novels, two sets of shorts) myself to Kindle. Amazon is way ahead of all the other e-books, so that's important.

You can't upload .doc files to Amazon, though, you have to do a conversion. Save your file as a .html (you will get two files, one for the document, one for the images). Put the two in a file, and then compress them using control-click (on a Mac) and you will get a zip file. That will upload smoothly to Kindle.

Write me if you have trouble.


On Tue, 27 Dec 2011, kevin: Hi Glenn, I'm (I should say my wife Betsy) is working through the e-book maze. I think the book is Ipod ready, but not Kindle. Different file or something. Don't know about you, but I always have had the desire to write a book, but the selling of a book? That's a whole 'nuther deal. Have you shopped for an agent? There was something in Publisher's Weekly, (I put the link below) about how the industry is starting to get with our kind of book, (maybe we can catch a wave). We've been pretty bare-bones in our approach so far, got a Web site up and crawling, and the book has it's own Facebook page. It would probably be better if I knew what a Facebook page was, but oh well, it's a brave new world in the publishing biz, or so I've heard.

I didn't know Kirkus was pay-to-play, guess I've never thought about it, but it makes sense they would be. Bottom line, nobody's going to read a book they've never heard of. Good luck with getting the book launched, it's a real challenge.


On Dec 22, 2011, at 11:00 AM, wrote:
Hi Kevin,
Good to hear from you. I truly enjoyed reading your novel, so writing the review was easy. Hope it helps sales. At present I haven't sold many books, but at least a few people out there are reading them, and they're not just sitting in my computer gathering electrons, or whatever it is unread files gather.

I've thought about springing for some Kirkus Indie reviews ($425 @--ouch!) and, fairly enough, no guarantee of a positive outcome. Plus you have to send two damn manuscripts (I'm an e-book guy right now, trying to save paper). We'll see. But that Kirkus name doesn't hurt sales, or so I've been told...

All best wishes,

P.S. Is you book out on Kindle yet? Not that hard to convert it. Or urge your publisher to do it for you. It's the future, I think. Like the iPod.