Sunday, August 20, 2023

My Blog Is Changing

 Hi Everyone,

After eleven years of not missing a week, I'm going to devote more (nearly all) of my time to writing my books rather than my blog. I have a second series in the works that will eventually join  my annual stories about Owen, Spot, and the rest of the gang. For those of you who are interested, I will send out emails when that second series approaches publication. If you're not on my email list, send a "Please add" email to

I may still put up an occasional post when I have new books coming out, but it won't happen every week.

For you writers who have questions about writing and publishing, most of what I know is in the "On Writing" section to the right. Please scan those posts.

Thanks for your continued interest. Eleven years is a long time to pay attention to my ramblings. I appreciate it!


Sunday, July 23, 2023

South Lake Tahoe Library Meets Tahoe Flight

 I always enjoy library talks.  It's also great fun to introduce my new books. We always have a good time.

This Tuesday, July 25th, will be the launch of Tahoe Flight. The event is open to the public and is at the South Lake Tahoe Library at 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd. The scheduled time is 5 p.m. for doors to open, and my talk to begin at 5:30. 

If you'd like to get a signed book, please come early. Books are $15 including tax, and 25% goes to the Friends of the Library.

At the end of my talk, we'll have a Q & A, and you can ask me about the book, the characters, the writing process, publishing, or anything else. We can even trade dog stories.

Thanks in advance for your interest!

See you there.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

New Tahoe Mystery Signing Schedule

My new book, TAHOE FLIGHT, is almost out. (Look to the left to see the cover.)

I have a range of events planned from Silicon Valley to Tahoe to Reno. Come on up and get a signed copy... THANKS!

Here is a current list of talks and signings for TAHOE FLIGHT:

July 25th, 5 p.m. South Lake Tahoe Library
Talk, Q & A, and Signing at the South Lake Tahoe Library, 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. Signing at 5 p.m., talk and questions at 5:30. (Please come early to get books signed.)

July 29th, 11 a.m. Sundance Bookstore
Talk, Q & A, and signing at  Sundance Bookstore, 121 California Ave, Reno, Nevada. Come on down and get a signed copy of TAHOE FLIGHT!

July 30th, 8:30 a.m. The Red Hut Cafe
Signing at The Red Hut Cafe, Ski Run and Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

August 4th, 5 p.m. Luminary Books
Talk, Q & A, and Signing at Luminary Books, 1503 US Hwy 395 N Ste I. Gardnerville, NV (Luminary Books was formerly Shelby's Books in MInden.) Talk is at 6 p.m. Please come at 5 p.m. to get books signed.

August 5th, 6:30 p.m. 
Signing TAHOE FLIGHT at Word After Word books, 10052 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA.

August 6th, 8:30 a.m. Red Hut Cafe Carson City
Signing at The Red Hut Cafe, 4385 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701

September 9, 10, 10-5 p.m. Mountain View Festival
Signing at the Mountain View Art and Wine Festival, Castro Street, Mountain View, CA.

September 23, 24, 10-5 p.m. Candy Dance Festival
Signing at the Candy Dance Festival, Genoa, NV.

November 10, 11, 12, 10-5 p.m. San Mateo Harvest Festival
Signing at the San Mateo Harvest Festival, San Mateo Events Center San Mateo, CA

November 17, 18, 19, 10 - 5 p.m. Sacramento Harvest Festival
Signing at the Sacramento Harvest Festival, CalExpo, Sacramento, CA

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Echo Lake Is Still Perfect

 Just off Echo Summit is Echo Lake at 7400 feet. Gorgeous and surrounded by mountains, Echo Lake is the most popular trail head into Desolation Wilderness because it is the highest trail head. Which means less elevation gain on your hike.

In the distance is a glimpse of the Crystal Range, a series of mountains that are just a few feet shy of 10,000 feet.

Echo Lake Road goes from Highway 50 just to the lodge/chalet at the close end of the lake. From the chalet, there is only a hiking trail that leads along the shore to many summer cabins, which are hiking/boat access only.

If you like, there are kayaks and canoes available for rental.

Or you can take a ride down the lake in the boat taxi, pictured above.

This is the outflow from the lake. It is ice cold because the lake only just thawed!
Part of the water goes down Echo Falls to the east. That water flows into the upper Truckee River, which leads to Lake Tahoe. However, there is a flume that carries a portion of the water toward Highway 50, to ultimately join the American River heading west.

If you look at the lake photo above, you'll see snow on the Crystal Range mountains. Up there is Lake Aloha. At over 8000 feet, it is still frozen. You might think that water would flow east to Echo Lake. However, it flows south and ends up going over Horsetail Falls below.
You see Horsetail Falls when you drive west from Echo Summit on Highway 50. It is visible as you come around the big curves above Twin Bridges. The water joins the American River just above Strawberry.

I hear you commenting about the scenery. Yes, you're right. We're not in Kansas anymore.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Can A Girl Do Anything? Heck, Yeah.

 Because my last book, Tahoe Moon, had a girl named Camille Dexter, who happened to be a good skateboarder, I've paid a little more attention to skateboarding recently. Especially girls with skateboards, because my vision of a young kid with a skateboard tends to be a boy. Right? Wrong? Just observing...

So I was delighted to hear that a 13-year-old Australian girl named Arisa Trew, just performed something most of us have trouble just imagining. Nevermind doing.

Arisa performed a flawless 720. This is no small thing. To my limited understanding, the trick involves flying down a vertical wall, up another verical wall and into the air, where she spins two full rotations and then lands. On a vertical wall, of course.

(When I was 13, I thought merely riding down a gentle slope without falling was significant.)

Check it out. Congrats, Arisa Trew. You rock.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Libraries Are The Cultural Center Of Town

 For some people, the most meaningful place in town is the family dinner table. For some, it's church. For some, it's the local restaurant or bar or rec center. But for many, it's the local library.

On Friday I spoke at one of the few libraries in the area I haven't visited in the past.

Pollock Pines is a foothill town of 6000 people. It sits along Highway 50 on a ridge at 4000 feet of elevation and is approximately halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

The library is quite small, a single good-sized room filled with well-organized bookcases, and an impressive collection of books. I met several of the staff, all book lovers of course! They were kind and fun and focused on the value of books. Clearly, the town is in good hands with these purveyors of information resources.

They brought in enough chairs to seat more than 30 people, all of whom were engaged, polite, and interested not just in my books, but in the process of writing. They had many thoughtful questions,  and kept me speaking for an hour. We had a great time.

As I drove away, I once again had the very strong sense that a local library is the cultural center of any town, a magnet for people who desire information as well as for people who want to get to know others who are very intelligent and interested in a larger world. These are not people who spend all day watching TV. They are readers, well-spoken, well-traveled, well-educated.

If you move to any new community or simply visit a new community for any length of time, remember to stop by the local library. There you will find people who, like yourself, value the best that people have to offer.

In many respects, the best part of being a writer is meeting library patrons.

My thanks to Pollock Pines Library and all other libraries.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Hiking Surprise

 Near the highway up to Echo Summit is Osgood Lake (formerly Osgood Swamp but then beavers came and did their thing). It was named for Nehemiah Osgood, who built a toll house nearby back in 1859 to collect funds to maintain the road up and over Echo Summit.

 I was hiking around Osgood yesterday and heard water flowing. Looking up the mountain to the west is a 100-foot-tall waterfall. In the land of big waterfalls, all of which are gushing, this one is a delicate delight, cascading down the mountain. If I were to go 1000 feet up, I'd hit Echo Lake, which, at 7400 feet, is no doubt still frozen.

If you don't pause and look carefully, you'll miss the falls.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Tahoe Bird Festival

 Coming Saturday, June 24th is the Lake Tahoe Bird Festival at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center just north of Camp Richardson near South Lake Tahoe. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tahoe has many, many impressive birds, and this event will showcase them.
Come on up the mountain and check it out!

Here is the link for more information:

Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Ultimate Snowmelt, River Rafting Closure Irony

 Maybe I've got this wrong, but from what I understand, rafting on the Truckee River from Tahoe City to Alpine Meadows is canceled until August despite having as much water as we've ever had. Why? Because the water will be temporarily too low for rafting.

Apparently, the water deciders are looking at the big picture and they're worried that all the snowmelt running into the Tahoe Basin is putting downstream reservoirs and communities (like Reno!) at risk. 

So they've decided to limit what flows out of Lake Tahoe for the next two months. This will sadden many, many people who come to North Lake Tahoe for rafting. 

However, I understand. I once stood on the shore of the Truckee River in Reno as the river was about to rise over the edge and flood downtown Reno. The river was a roaring, gushing, whitewater torrent carrying water from Lake Tahoe. Although I was safe, and it would have been easy to run up a nearby slope if the river quickly rose even higher, it was actually kind of scary to see that much water barely contained by the river banks.

When people conceive of their building projects and activities near slow-flowing streams, it's hard to imagine those little trickles turning into deadly, monster flows. 

These situations even catch campers unaware. Countless people have set up a peaceful campsite near a nice little stream in the woods without thinking that the warm afternoon temperatures are melting huge quantities of snow upstream. Those campers sometimes crawl into their sleeping bags and tents, lulled to sleep by the pleasant sound of the creek. But the lag time with melting snow in the afternoon is often such that the new meltwater collects in an increasing gusher of water that  reaches peak flow after midnight. Those campers are asleep when the creek rises to engulf their campsite and tent in icewater and carry them all downstream at 2 a.m.

So we'll be patient and wait until August. The water deciders will open the dam then. 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Is Lake Tahoe Full?

Almost! The legal limit for the lake is 6,229 feet. As of May 26, the current level per the US Geological Survey is 6,227 feet, and that level is rising every minute, because snow melt is gushing down from the mountains.

Upside? You will have no trouble launching your boat, and it's simply nice to know that there's a lot of water in storage. When the level rises to 6,229 feet, all extra water is released into the Truckee River, making rafting down from Tahoe City great fun.

Downside? The beaches are smaller than normal. When the lake level rises another two feet, there will be even less beach. After the lake rises to 6,229 feet, and, if snow melt continues very fast, any major thunderstorms will push the river toward flood stage, putting downtown Reno on edge. We hope that doesn't happen.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the water!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Dark Sky Lighting Coming To South Lake Tahoe

Anyone in an urban area who's ever wanted to see something in the night sky is typically frustrated by light pollution.

In the more rural parts of Tahoe, one can find fabulously dark night skies, the better for seeing stars, shooting stars (meteors), planets, and satellites such as the International Space Station.

However, those close to Tahoe towns, South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Tahoe City, and Truckee, will struggle to see what they want because even small towns produce too much light that often shines upward.

The new Dark Sky initiatives hope to change that. And South Lake Tahoe is playing its part by converting 200+ pedestrian walkway lights into specialty lights that have a lower color temperature (i.e., not so much blue light), and that shine more light toward the ground and less toward the sky.

The first area converted will be along El Dorado Beach where Highway 50 runs alongside the lake.

Here is a link for more information:

Enjoy the night!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Pollock Pines Library Talk

In the last 20 years I've spoken at more libraries than I can count. Several dozen across Northern California and Northern Nevada.

Next month I speak at one of the few I've never visited.

The Pollock Pines Library is part of the El Dorado County library system. Everybody who's ever driven to Tahoe on Highway 50 has driven within a block of the library. If you take the Sly Park exit, drive north a block, then drive west on Pony Express Trail a couple of blocks, you go right past it on the south side of Pony Express Trail. Watch for the signs, as parking is around back.

The address is 6210 Pony Express Trail in Pollock Pines. The RSVP phone number is 530-644-2498.

Pollock Pines Library

I'll be speaking on Friday, June 23, 2023 4-5 p.m. I'm giving a talk about writing and my most recent book TAHOE MOON.

On the library website, they ask that you RSVP if you are planning to come. So please pay them the courtesy of a phone call at 530-644-2498 in advance. If they know you're coming, that will also save you the trouble of showing up and possibly not getting a seat.

For those of you who are aware of my books, I should point out that my upcoming book, Tahoe Flight, isn't published until August, so I won't be focusing on the new book.

As always, I will be answering all questions about the books and the process of writing. I might even have a dog story or two!

My talk starts at 4 p.m. You may want to arrive a bit early.

Thanks for your interest, and I hope to see you there!

Pollock Pines Public Library is located at

6210 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines 530.644.2498