I’ve published hundreds of freelance pieces in newspapers, magazines, and online and I’ve included some of them here. They range from first-person essays to travel pieces to more journalistic subjects. Print samples of these and many other published pieces are available. (And I own all the reprint rights, should you publishers be hunting for piquant content.)
The complications and confusions of marketing departments organized into non-communicating silos is inefficient enough, but when the company is international? Trouble. Here are some approaches to make the trouble much less troubling. Published in April 2017 in the Content Standard, Skyword’s marketing industry newsletter.
You probably suspected all along that whiskey drinking transforms the commonplace person into a stellar soul, but here I offer all the evidence. Published in April 2017 on the fine spirits blog known as Flaviar.
There’s a bounty of agencies and entities, big and little, to work with companies to plan strategy, provide content marketing, dig into data and tie ribbons on the industry prizes their work wins for you. But how to choose? Some advice here. Published in April 2017 in the Content Standard, Skyword’s marketing industry newsletter.
Hiking edge-to-edge on the sensationally desolate Kilauea Iki Crater trail, and then biking to see glowing lava vents and the molten stuff pour into the sea. Wow. (But gosh, Times, can you come up with a better headline than that? Mine was, “For Your Pleasure, the Big Island Is on Fire.”) Published in April 2017 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
Crikee, the power and the Internet went out multiple times during this drenching California winter. For us working out of our houses, that’s bad. But there are some options that worked out OK. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in April 2017.
A quickie article on a big-eyed bike ride atop the stunning cliffs (affording even more stunning views) at Santa Cruz’s Wilder Ranch State Park. Teamed up with other “Big West” rides. Published in April 2017 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
Your tech guy might think keeping the servers sizzling is his only concern, and the marketing maven thinks customer engagement is the only worry, but today’s businesses know that the twain have finally met—and managing talent is the meeting place. Published in March 2017 in the Content Standard, Skyword’s marketing industry newsletter.
Airbnbs are everywhere—but the Bolivian salt flats? (Actually, that one’s not an Airbnb, but the article has lots of other intriguing Airstream digs hosted by the rental service, and in some way-out places). Published in March 2017 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
A hike along the stunning Oahu shoreline—but we forgot the water! Thank god for the margaritas later. Published in March 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.
Email campaigns are powerful components of successful marketing. But when they are done badly, man, can they stink up the joint. (And send your customers away holding their noses.) Published in March 2017 in the Content Standard, Skyword’s marketing industry newsletter.
Native advertising got a bit of a black eye when it was used deceptively. But there are ways to make it a useful component of your marketing toolkit. Published in March 2017 in the Content Standard, Skyword’s marketing industry newsletter.
Ahh, the freelancing life: a little Twitter, a little YouTube, a little Facebook. What, I had a deadline? Let’s think about this. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in March 2017.
There is a growing mass of statistics (and viewers) that points to the power of video marketing in 2017. Need proof? Check out these ten trends. Published in February 2017 in the Content Standard, Skyword’s marketing industry newsletter.
Strolling the busy and colorful Long Beach shoreline bicycle pedestrian path, with a goal in mind: craft beer. Published in February 2017 in the San Jose Mercury News.
The latest content marketing trends—by way of 40,000-year old cave paintings. Storytelling: it sticks. Published in February 2017 in the Content Standard, Skyword’s marketing industry newsletter.
Chad and Cate Battles sell their North Carolina bar and hit the high road in a fabulously painted 1976 Airstream Argosy. They seek a new permanent home, but in the interim, the Argosy is blue-ribbon (and other colors) fun. Published in December 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Dang, do I have to think about retirement? Well, NOT thinking about it won’t be of much help. This might. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in February 2017.
David Fischer spent more than 10 years on the pro volleyball circuit, zooming coast to coast in chase of professional volleyball tournaments—but that zooming wouldn’t have been possible without his Airstream motorhome. Published in the Winter 2016 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2016 Airstream Life, published with permission.
My goodness, there’s a lot to do at these big resorts! But it all seems to start and end with eating. I spent three savory days on a press trip at the new MGM Grand National resort in Maryland, just across the Potomac from Washington DC. (Many calories and much congeniality ensued.) Published in February 2017 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
It’s easy to be distracted as a freelancer, and find that your fizzling morning became a frittered afternoon. Here are a few fixes. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in February 2017.
A review of the varied and extensive Heritage Collection of artworks at the new MGM Grand National resort in Maryland. One of the gratifying visual treats on my recent media trip. Published in February 2017 on the Wandering Educators travel site.
Freelancers often don’t have a lot of spare dough to advertise their goods and services. But you can start small on some of the major platforms (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn) and get tracked results. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in February 2017.
You might be surprised how your skills can be traded for services from people who have entirely different skills—and ones you need. The bartering economy never died. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in January 2017.
There’s a little more here than “Don’t buy a Corvette with your first paycheck,” but we can probably agree that common sense is sometimes not all that common. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in January 2017.
It’s complicated, but there are resources as well as good advice for freelancers to find health coverage, though easy and cheap benefits aren’t so easy and cheap. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in January 2017.
How to put together an elevator pitch for your business that is crisp, lively and demonstrates to your prospects that you can solve their problems. Written for the IndyLife site, published by Fidelity, on freelancing tactics and resources. Published in January 2017.
I get to taste-test three American whiskies with six high-end chocolate bars—yes, life can be very, very good. Published in December 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Chad and Cate Battles sell their North Carolina bar and hit the high road in a fabulously painted 1976 Airstream Argosy. They seek a new permanent home, but in the interim, the Argosy is blue-ribbon (and other colors) fun. Published in December 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
I get to be a wise old sage (or maybe just old) here, speaking of the glories and the gutters of being a freelance contractor, and handing out some free advice. This is for a new IndyLife site published by Fidelity on freelancing tactics and resources; I’ll be writing some more of these. Published in December 2016.
A great mix: an invigorating day hike in one of big Sur’s beautiful—great views!—state parks, followed by a more-than-a-mouthful reward lunch. Published in December 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.
Kim Hayes bought a vintage Airstream in 2004. Her journey, though she’s barely been on the road, has been long. But her future is undeniably shiny. Published in November 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
A story that haunted me for 40 years turned out not to be the real story. How you can mine your past for fictional prompts—and be surprised by what you find. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in November 2016.
A weekend’s worth of history (and no, not the dull stuff) in the old California Mission town of San Juan Bautista. Published in October 2016 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
Two USA Today reporters with a love for rock and roll travel in a vintage Airstream to sample the sounds of SXSW, but not before stopping off at some of the most iconic spots in rock music history. Published in the Fall 2016 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2016 Airstream Life, published with permission.
A sweet stroll through the birdwatching bounty of Central California’s Elkhorn Slough, with a little tipple later. Hope to do some more of these for an intermittent “Trail Mix” column. Published in October 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.
Looking at how to travel as a writer without emptying your wallet (and perhaps even fattening it a bit). Using house-sitting gigs, press trips and weekend jaunts to freshen your writing eyes and put some roving inspiration on the (published) page. Published in Writer’s Market 2017 in October 2016.
What pulls readers into the page? Often, it’s the vulnerability of the characters, felt though the reader’s own. This piece tries to piece together how that works and what it means for writers. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in September 2016.
A nice “twofer” travel treat: A Honolulu-based tour of the Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s monarchy (and the home of U.S. treachery), and then off to the nearby Bishop Museum, which houses a vast and compelling trove of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and history. Lunch too! Published in September 2016 on the Wandering Educators travel site.
A look at how the Supreme clothing company developed its customer base with clever marketing and go-viral practices. And if that virality can be sustained. Published in September 2016 on Content Marketing.
Nancy Fraley snatched a snootful of bourbon at a wedding when she was six years old. “Wow, that’s good!” Many years later, she is a professional distillery industry “nose,” telling spirits makers what’s right and what’s not about their hootch. Published in September 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
Though I didn’t find any gold dust in my hair, there’s lots of shiny fun to gallop to in the Placerville area (just stay ahead of the noose). Published in September 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, rewritten in marketing vernacular. Somebody had to do it. Published in August 2016 on MarketingProfs.
They first took a page from the Scots, but Japanese whiskies have rewritten the book. Published in August 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
The work-in-progress, Savannah-based CreekFire Motor Ranch is polishing its Airstream themes—glamping encouraged. Published in August 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
A through-the-lens look at the most distinguished family of photographers in Airstream history. Showcases the newer work of Randy Miller, son of Ardean Miller, who took Airstream’s most iconic photos in the ’60s and ’70s. Randy’s work ain’t half-bad either. Published in the Summer 2016 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2016 Airstream Life, published with permission.
The methods and the madness by which (over the last two years) I worked with another writer in collaborating on a novel. (And now on to the editing!) Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in July 2016.
Having a trusted working relationship with a publication’s editor is a sharp boon to a writer. But what happens to your writing prospects when that editor leaves? Published in July 2016 issue on The WriteLife.
A stroll through the remarkable number of writers—and how their writing was shaped by their environment—who frequented (or called home) the Monterey area since the Carmel Artist Colony days just following the great San Francisco quake. [Note: you can see the unfinished captions; the final print version will be up soon.] Published in the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of Carmel Magazine.
The odd histories of some way-out (and now great) whiskies, which had some gap years between bottles. They’re making up for it now. Published in July 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
A quick look (though somewhat peeled) of the fabulous Onion House, on Hawaii’s Big Island, one of the early examples of “organic architecture” from famed architect Ken Kellogg. Published in the June/July 2016 issue of Hana Hou, the in-flight magazine of Hawaiian Airlines.
My brief interview with the delightful Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs on what’s current and what’s to come in marketing. Published in June 2016 on Content Marketing.
This is one (literally) cool camera. The SeeStar open-source research camera, here deployed in the frigid depths of McMurdo Sound. And in many deep and shallow waters to come. Published in the Summer 2016 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
When hipsters decided Pabst Blue Ribbon beer was it (oh, the humanity!), it was it. Briefly. What happens when branding depends on shooting stars. Published in June 2016 on Content Marketing.
I can’t believe an otherworldly place like Pinnacles is less than rio hours—and millions of geologic years, away from me. I love this place. Published in May 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.
Canadian whisky has often been kicked around as soft-faced younger brother who keeps hanging around. No more. A little history on our boozy brothers from the north, along with some new big-brother releases. Published in May 2016 by the WhiskeyWash newsletter.
The founder of a corporate branding company gets fed up with his workaholic nature and decides to take summers off, forever, in his 1958 Airstream. And it is a dandy. Published in May 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Such a sordid, dark tale! But isn’t that the essence of high school? My story of betrayal and ambush, morphing into a writing lesson on backstory. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in May 2016.
Drinking deep of Big Sur, one of my favorite places in the world. That old cliché of a bad day in Big Sur being better than a good day anywhere else is so true. Published in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Carmel Magazine.
I don’t put a lot of my content-marketing writing in this section, but this one has such amazing websites linked in it that I thought it worthy. A look at how some brands use amazingly immersive website tools to draw readers (and potential customers) in. Published in May 2016 on Content Marketing.
Here’s an article I wish I could offer you in the glass, but alas, here’s the page instead. A primer on Irish whiskey, with a little history, distilleries old and new, and a wee bit of rivalry between the Scots and the Irish. Published in April 2016 by the Whiskey Wash newsletter.
Two tales of Airstreams transformed into studios, both distinct, both dynamic: one a recording/broadcasting studio to teach disadvantaged girls in New York, the other a “media lab” in California. Published in the Spring 2016 edition of Airstream Life magazine. (c) 2016 Airstream Life, published with permission.
Travel opens up your mind—and sometimes takes it out, dribbles it like a basketball and shoots it to the rings of Saturn. Travel puts many more colors in your writer’s ink. Published in April 2016 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
Spending time at a kava bar (and a bunch of other sweet spots) at the tip of the Big Island. Published in April 2016 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
A 1970s discovery of an original Works Progress Administration National Park poster led to a 2016 (the 100th anniversary of the park system) tour of all the national parks in a 1948 Airstream trailer, talking park history, WPA history and vintage poster history. Time is tricky, ain’t it? By the way, the trailer is incredible: decorated like a national park itself inside. Published in March 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Visits to some of the Big Island’s many heiaus, sacred places and temples from Hawaii’s tribal times. Some beautiful, and some, with their sacrificial history, plain scary. Published in March 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.
What could be more appealing than a 1961 Flying Cloud Airstream filled with Kit and Ace “luxury loungewear” zipping across the country? If it’s stylishly restored and coated with gleaming copper paint. Published in March 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
A stroll through the remarkable old (and new) theater district in LA, made all the more crazy colorful with lunch at the eye-popping Clifton’s Cafeteria. Wow. Published in February 2016 in the San Jose Mercury News.
This trailer runs on 94-proof fuel. (Well, not really, but it’s the right feeling for a piece on a customized Airstream that’s promoting Colorado’s Stranahan’s whiskey.) Published in February 2016 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
A road trip with Mark Twain and Hunter Thompson, in search of (duh) The American Dream. Published in January 2016 in Catamaran, a literary arts magazine.
How do you get street cred as founders of the “AirBnB for RVers”? You hit the road for a one-year jaunt in a spiffy Airstream. Published in December 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Shame, guilt and other delights you can visit upon your characters to deepen their behaviors, motivations and inner grindings. And of course, just to annoy them, because you can. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in November 2015.
“Lively” doesn’t begin to describe all that’s happening in, on and around this lovely lake in central Myanmar. (Here are some livelier words that do describe it.) Published in November 2015 on the Wandering Educators travel site.
The magnificence of the spiritual expression of the Buddhists in Burma—centuries of stunning pagodas, shrines and temples. And me wandering, golden-eyed. Published in November 2015 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
Drinking killer Kona coffee on the Big Island—be still my beating heart!, published in the San Jose Mercury News, September, 2015.
What a fickle thing is man. Or some such rot. Anyway, I’m trying to write two novels at once (or trying to avoid writing them). Watch me squirm. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in September 2015.
The fabled Route 66 and the fabled Airstream came about around the same time, and they are both still kicking (though Airstream’s kicking stronger these days). Published in September 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Unexpectedly Good Integrations In Life: Amazing Bitters-And-Booze Pairings That Make Life Worth Living
Here’s a difficult assignment: get me to write about how bitters can enhance—and make more complex and interesting—the taste of cocktails, particularly the classics. Yeah, they even paid me decently for it (and this boozy blitz from an IT company, of all things). Published in August 2015.
Is it a plane or a trailer? No, it’s a restaurant serving bratwurst in the Munich airport. Oh yeah: it is a vintage Airstream, with an actual airplane engine attached. Why not? Published in August 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
The Heartfelt, Unpublishable, Captivating, Shallow, Sound, Abandoned, Reclaimed, Worthless, Most Excellent Potential Novel
Damn, I better not write too much more after that title. Anyway, I’ve struggled with my second novel for oh, eight years. Hear my screams. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in July 2015.
How writing short, front-of-book (FOB) pieces for magazines is good income in itself, and positions you to write longer and more lucrative pieces later. Published in July 2015 on the excellent Make a Living Writing site.
An “On the Road” saga that takes a vintage Wisconsin Airstream to a Brooklyn, NY flea market—after a fancy face-lift. Vintage befits vintage: now it’s a vintage goods boutique. Published in July 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
A lifelong adventure photographer goes from film to digital to video (and a million photographs in between)—my Forbes piece on his life behind the lens. Published in June 2015 on Forbes.
How can you draw upon those specific sensibilities—your love of language, writing influences, personality quirks, where you part your hair—and conjure your unique writing voice. Published in June 2015 on Writer’s Digest.
Some peculiar perceptual abilities of writers give them an advantage in going from perception to page—and those abilities can be improved. Published in June 2015 on Medium.
How the cosmos showers you with writing inspirations, if you just move your mind via your body. (And wear your helmet, in case of heavy cosmos showers.) Published in June 2015 on Writing World.
Well, they’re shaped like cigars, so why not smoke in them? Two Michigan brothers make a mobile-cigar event wagon from a vintage Airstream, and it’s smokin’! Published in June 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
When your inner writerly self tells you you’re a horse’s ass, just put on a saddle and ride. Published in June 2015 on Medium.
Whiskey alchemy? Profiles of a St. George Spirits, a pioneer in craft distilling, and Venus Spirits, upstart newcomer. Looks at the creative insights as well as the science of small-scale distilling. Published in May 2015 on Forbes.
The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes all things Austin with a shiny vintage Airstream. Published in May 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Been 10 years since I spent a year on a tiny Micronesian island. It was splendid, depressing, dazzling, perplexing and odd. A reminiscence on a little-visited splash in the universe. Published in May 2015 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
Three-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl champion Jordan Gross retires to the good life of Airstream travel. And maybe tackling a little sports reporting on the side. Published in the Spring 2015 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
History with wheels: a 1954 Airstream trailer transformed into a mobile museum by students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Published in April 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
Betty Reid Soskin, longtime blogger, civil-rights activist and at 93, the oldest full-time ranger in the national park service. Oh, she gives speeches too. Wow. Published in the Spring 2015 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
My interview of the mad (and popular) scribblers behind Write. Publish. Repeat and oh, a million and half words published in each of the last few years, across various fictional genres. (Psst! Sean and Johnny: you’re making us look bad!) Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in March 2015.
A wedding weekend in Placerville that got a little cheesy. (Hey, it wasn’t my wedding.) Published in March 2015 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
A look at Greg Medow’s Bar Car, an impossibly polished vintage Airstream transformed into a spiffy mobile bar serving the San Francisco Bay area. Published in February 2015 in Outside Interests, an online Airstream newsletter.
A profile of intrepid innkeepers Jan and Jon Brosseau, who transformed an arid, inhospitable chunk of California landscape into a thriving vineyard and luxurious bed and breakfast. Published in the Winter 2015 issue in Carmel Magazine.
You always wanted to know how editing is like mashed potatoes, didn’t you? You’ll find out here, along with buttery explanations of developmental editing, copyediting and proofreading. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in January 2015.
Whiskey alchemy? An interview with the co-founder of Time and Oak, a startup marketing a product to transform low-tier whiskey into the high-test stuff, naturally. And almost instantly. Published in Jan. 2015 on Forbes.
A sweet stay at the historic Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, California. Release your inner cowboy (or at least drink good wine). Published in December 2014 on the Wandering Educators travel site.
My song of praise and wonder for Big Sur, a place that always touches me for its beauty and odd charms—it’s one of my favorite places on the planet. My entry in the We Said Go late 2014 Gratitude travel writing contest.
An essay that reflects back on my first love, who disappeared a few years after high school, lost on a wild river in Colombia. First-prize winner in the 2014 Past Loves story contest.
Peeking into the Digital NEST, a provider of new technology and entrepreneurial skills to youth in underserved communities, modeled on successful Silicon Valley companies. Published in the Winter 2014 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
Oh dear, this Catholic confession thing might go too far: Me using my minor-league high school criminality and major-league awkwardness to illustrate using high school “types” to catalyze fiction writing. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in November 2014.
How to get sloshed, retro-style: Drinking at the historic Sky Room in Long Beach, and bedding down in the even-more-historic Queen Mary, published in the San Jose Mercury News, November, 2014.
On the media trip mentioned below, I attended a performance of Zarkana, produced by Cirque du Soleil. No big deal: they merely re-wired my brain, short-circuited it, and gave it back to me as 1,000 AAA batteries. Published in November 2014 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
Vegas. I lived there a zillion years ago, left broke and dazzled, and still like the place—it’s as improbable as ever. Here’s my account of a recent media trip, staying in the impossibly lavish ARIA hotel. Published in October 2014 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
A profile piece of the star of a new ABC sitcom, written for Zap2It, an online television listing and show review. Published October, 2014.
A piece on a welcome and not-too-pricy weekend in charming—but sometimes costly—Carmel. (I get the feeling Carmel must get tired of being called “charming.” Let’s just call it “pleasing” instead.) Published in September 2014 in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
Find your sources for character mishap and affliction in the pages of my own life: How to use deep, layered emotions in your fiction to touch your readers. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in September 2014.
A look at the long challenges the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has had in trying to get government approval to test treatment for soldiers with PTSD using marijuana. Published in the Fall 2014 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
Long-time Austin radio host J.B. Hager produces and streams live performances from his Austin Airstream, introducing new music to enthusiastic fans. (And introducing them to the charms of the Airstream trailer.) Published in the Summer 2014 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Why NOT build a 16-million-and-that’s-still-not-enough bricks fort way out in the Florida waters just in case some lunatic army wants to conquer all the sea turtles out there? Well, we (or more accurately, the government) did it. And man, it’s amazing. Published in August 2014 (and third-place winner of the annual travel-writing contest) on Dave’s Travel Corner.
A round-up of sights and bites and boggling beauties during a whirlwind trip through the always enchanting Florida Keys. From Papa Hemingway’s hideaway in Key West to Bogie’s African Queen steamboat in Key Largo. Published in July 2014 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
Turning the deadly sins of presumption and prejudice into advantages in your writing and storytelling. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in July 2014.
A profile of Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics, the owner of the only commercial coffee farm in the continental U.S. Ruskey’s sustainable farm is producing a host of exotic fruits thought impossible to grow in this country. Published in the Summer 2014 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
A look at how to apply a soothing salve to the nagging sore of writing anxiety. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in May 2014.
You meet the nicest people hitchhiking. Except for the ones with guns, or the ones on acid, or the ones driving a stolen truck at insane speeds over the mountains. Hey, I still have my thumbs. Published in April 2014 on Medium.
A profile of Jay Shafer, a leader in the Small House movement and a designer of small, efficient and beautiful homes. Published in the Spring 2014 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
A frolicsome look at the sum of a writer’s parts, head to toe. Published by the fine folks at WriterUnboxed in March 2014.
A sheaf of short essays, on subjects like shoplifting, Mark Twain tattoos, naked landlord tormenting and the like. Published on Medium.
Despite being more of a peanut-butter sandwich (or peanut-butter cup) kind of guy, once in a while, by hook or by crook, I get to live a bit of the luxe life. Thus this piece on what it’s like to take a vacation in a luxury villa. Published in the Spring 2014 edition of The Glenlivet’s Cask app.
The trials (and thin results) of promoting your book without appearing to be a self-obsessed asshat sleaze ball, housed at the wonderfully writerly home of WriterUnboxed as of February, 2014.
A detailed look at an amazing transformation of a vintage Airstream into a hauler and showroom for luxury vehicles. Published in the Winter 2014 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
A vintage Airstream criss-crossing the country selling curated artworks and an idealistic mobile philosophy: The Small Room Collective. Published in the Winter 2014 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Travel piece on the amazements (and they are there in multiples) of Pinnacles National Park. Includes where to eat and stay (but in the park, you must walk and gawk). Published in January 2014 in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
Runner-up in the inaugural See Something travel writing contest. An account of gravitating toward—and then running away from—a first-hand account of locating and testing the narcotic drink sakau on a little Micronesian island. Published in January 2014 on See Something.
The Florida Keys can seem like a place in a different country, in the best of ways. Here’s an account of a quick jaunt over (and in) the waters. Published in January 2014 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
The ongoing (and extraordinary) story of the building of a giant clock—courtesy of the Long Now Foundation—intended to keep time for 10,000 years. Published in the Winter 2013 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
Travel piece on the the good things going on in Fort Bragg, CA—good grub, good crib, good shrubs, good waves. Good stuff. Published in October 2013 in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
Moving the Airstreams along in time, from grandpa to dad to son—a piece about family histories seen through the windows of the Silver Bullets. Published in the Fall 2013 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
The heroin of books. Reading: once you’ve had a taste, you’re hungry forever. Published in October 2013 on Writer Unboxed.
Robert Whitall is on a mission from God—or at least from Airstream. He’s been traveling to blue festivals for years, and using his trailer as the mobile publishing center for his Big City Rhythm and Blues magazine. Published in the Fall 2013 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Tiny things, big impact. A short piece on how those teensy-weensy ocean phytoplankton have more than a little to do with our breathing. Give them more respect (and care), the little critters. Published in the Fall 2013 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
A travel junket to Los Cabos where I was shocked, shocked to find they encourage you to drink tequila. Perhaps more than you expected. (Mom, I didn’t get married to anyone named Zelda, I promise.) Published in October 2013 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
Perhaps you aren’t acquainted with Johnny Cash’s fictional efforts. Me neither, but he makes for a great example of gathering stories, and putting them together, as odd and unrelated as the elements might seem. Published in August 2013 on Writer Unboxed.
An ever-so-damp detailing of what it’s like to live on a tropical isle (Hint: it’s hot.). Published in August 2013 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
Dr. Edward Tufte is famed for his work with using data and images to truly deliver high-resolution information without clutter and distraction. But did you know he designs and builds gigantic, arresting sculptures (“megaliths”), one of which is a truly original take on an Airstream? Published in the Summer 2013 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Raising a champagne glass to the considerable charms of Santa Barbara (which makes me think it’s time for another visit). Published in August 2013 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
All the buzz (or sludge) about “brand me” and “platform” isn’t the stuff of now. Mark Twain had it down 100 years ago—and he still has an amusing thing or two to say about how it’s done. Published in July 2013 on MarketingProfs.
You probably thought writers used fervid affirmations to propel themselves to pile words on the page. Nope. Tequila and cookies, baby, tequila and cookies. Published in June 2013 on Writer Unboxed.
An exposition—or perhaps confession—on my Vegas days, which includes a stripper, a stolen car and dark times at the blackjack tables. Hey, it all led to me going to college, so living in Vegas is all about moral uplift. Published in June 2013 (and chosen as second-place winner of the travel-writing contest) on Dave’s Travel Corner.
An essay on how a house-sit on a lovely Caribbean isle can go so very wrong. Published in June 2013 on Dave’s Travel Corner.
A peek at the mad sculptural genius of Dr. Edward Tufte, who continues to pursue data purity as a vocation, but can’t help but build awesome works of inventive art on the side. Published in the Summer 2013 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
You probably had no idea of the personality quirks and fervid emotional states of punctuation marks. I bare all to the world here (and you could lose an eye wielding that exclamation point, so be careful!). Published in May 2013 on Writer Unboxed.
Just a blip of an article, but it’s as concentrated as a splitting headache: learn about the Hangover Heaven bus in Las Vegas, where you can have that hapless head soothed by oxygen and vitamin doses. Published in the March/April 2013 issue of Draft magazine.
How to be a human being in business; my finalist entry in Firepole Marketing’s Awesome Engagement Strategies contest. (Of course, being a human being is always advisable, strategic or not.) Published in January 2013 on Firepole Marketing’s site.
A feet’s-on review (no sweating) of hiking trails in the Monterey Bay. Published in the 2013 edition of GuestLife Monterey Bay magazine.
A brief (but still sweet) look at the history of chocolate, from a bitter brew to bourbon-laden bounty. Published in the Winter 2013 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
An insightful interview with golf-instructing legend Laird Small. Published in the 2013 edition of GuestLife Monterey Bay magazine.
A close peek (interior and out) of the sophisticated process and the results of European conversions of Airstreams into silver-polished mobile advertisements, dining cars and presentation centers for heavy hitters like Veuve Clicquot. Published in the Winter 2012 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
My Men With Pens post on what brought me, as a goggle-eyed adolescent, to look at writing as a form of deep expression and exploration. (Yeah, heavy dude, I know.) Published in November 2012 on the Men With Pens site.
A fun contest of the Gotham Writer’s Workshop, requesting a 50-word monologue on suburban life in the 60s. Just for being one of the five finalists, I won two tickets to the Broadway revival of Who’s Afraid of Virgninia Woolf. Published in November 2012 on the Gotham Writer’s Workshop site.
Thirty years of the Dead: that’s more than just a lot of music (though they’re still going through the music). It’s a vast collection of artwork, letters, concert posters, crazed bits of psychedelia and some indescribable oddities. And now that trove has been collected in an archive at the University of California at Santa Cruz. A short look, published in the Fall 2012 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
Why camp in your trailer when you can use it as a full bar, espresso operation, pot-prescription exam room and more? Published in the Summer, 2012 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
A quickie in honor of Charles Dickens’s 200th b-day. Even an old English major like me had to furrow my brows to parse this one, but it’s worth it. Published in the Summer 2012 edition of The American Scholar magazine.
Me waxing poetic (but short, mind you) on how short story collections are the weird sister of the publishing world. Published in May, 2012 on the Guide to Literary Agents blog.
A bit of beguiling business on how you can face the terrors of the blank page by seeding it beforehand with a few budding or ripening “word seeds.” Published in March 2012 in Upmarket magazine.
How storytelling (and we’re talking storytelling from an authentic perspective) is the best means to make a connection between your business and your customers. And maybe even between you and your girlfriend. Published in March 2012 on Men With Pens.
Bronze (3rd Place) winner of the 2011 Best Travel Writing Solas Awards in the “Travel and Shopping” category, sponsored by Traveler’s Tales. How obtaining your daily bread (and other good stuff) can be a wee bit challenging for bewildered Westerners on a far-off tropical isle. Published March, 2012
Honorary Mention in the “100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest.” A little story biscuit about the master’s writing habits. It’s good fun to try to write within such constraints as a 100-word shoebox. You’ll have to search for my name among all those snooty winners. Published March, 2012
A plushly outfitted Airstream that comes to you—laden with cigars and booze and promo opportunities. What’s not to like? Published in the Winter, 2011 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Austin is glutted with Airstreams that serve every kind of food imaginable. But as many Austin entrepreneurs know, Airstreams make for much more than wheeled burger palaces. Published in the Winter, 2011 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Santa looks peculiar covered in sweat. Christmas musings of the palm tree variety, published in December 2011 on Squidoo.
That Tolstoy guy wasn’t so hot—see how I reject that puff piece, War and Peace, in this Writer’s Digest article. Published in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest.
A few unusual venues for the whiskey arts, including how to take your shots in popsicle form. Published in the Sunday, November 6 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Galileo and Leonardo discuss the merits and demerits of a copywriter focusing on a single niche versus writing for a spectrum of clients and across genres. Leonardo wins. Published in the Sunday, November 27 edition of Bob Poole’s Daily Doughnuts.
Mom, don’t read this article of how your son used to terrorize the neighborhood on Halloween. I’ve reformed, I promise. Published in October (of course) on Squidoo.
A breezy look at the Big Wind Kite Factory, which has been making custom kites—and teaching kids how to fly them—for more than 30 years on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Published in the June/July 2011 issue of Hana Hou, the in-flight magazine of Hawaiian Airlines.
How to plan out—and accomplish—a personal writer’s retreat. The mindset, the means and an incomparable atmosphere. Published in the new 2012 edition of Guide to Literary Agents.
Nothing like a travel piece on Big Sur in which I get to showcase my own elderly Benz. Published in the July, 2011 edition of Mercedes Enthusiast magazine.
A striking travel tale of a technologically outfitted Airstream motoring through Russia and the Ukraine (where Airstreams are likened to UFOs). Published in the Summer, 2011 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
A series of editing tips (with bloody examples of my own editing fiascos) on this popular business writing blog. Published in May 2011 on Men With Pens magazine.
Traveling the U.S. with a hand-built “gypsy wagon,” book artists Peter and Donna Thomas give workshops and a personal peek into the artistry of handmade books. Published in the March, 2011 edition of Fine Books and Collections magazine.
A peek behind the barrels at the distilling practices and pursuits of St. George Spirits, a California craft distiller that produces a notable range of soulful libations. Published in the Winter 2010-2011 edition of Whisky Life and Spirits magazine, a publication of the Whisky Guild.
A word-tour (too bad there are no shot glasses) of the Urban Bourbon Passport Program, a jolly lineup of bourbony bars in Louisville, KY where you can quaff from a liberal collection of fine bourbons at nine warm establishments. There will be a gleam in your eyes as bright as the one in the glass. Published in the Winter 2010-2011 edition of Whisky Life and Spirits magazine, a publication of the Whisky Guild.
A round-up piece of various business enterprises run out of Airstream trailers. I wrote the Harveys “seatbags,” Shasta Tourism and Aha Moments pieces. Published in the Winter 2010 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
What makes a wedding all the more shiny (and romantic too)? Having your Airstream as its centerpiece, along with a cooperative full-moon night. Published in the Fall 2010 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Polishing the mirror on my adopted hometown, Watsonville, CA. Published in Smithsonian.com’s My Kind of Town section, August 2010.
Profile of a couple who innocently bought a new Airstream trailer, plunging them down the fateful path of Airstream infatuation: they now own—and are refurbishing—nine vintage Airstreams, including some cool collectibles. Published in the Fall 2010 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
A colorful (and form-filled) collection of essays written by the members of Triiibes, Seth Godin’s network of entrepreneurs, marketers and wily poker players. Mine is the last one in the ebook, titled Ideas Take Shape. Published in August, 2010 on Scribd.
Airstream Life article on an intrepid fellow who retraced John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley route on the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication. And he brought his Maltese along too (though that pup goes by Max, not Charley). Published in the Summer 2010 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
Airstream Life article on modern miracle: organic pancake mix in a can. Next thing you know, they’ll give away plastic toys at burger joints. Published in the Summer 2010 edition of Airstream Life magazine.
LA Times travel piece on the first nesting condors (and baby chick) in 100 years at Pinnacles National Monument, one otherworldly place. Published in April 2010 in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.
A chance for me to trumpet my broad knowledge of writing in a dictatorial fashion, on the Guide to Literary Agents blog. (Well, really just me taking a shot at how to get some writing done, amidst all those publishing parties and Oprah invitations.) Published in April 2010.
Airstreams—restored vintage trailers or spankin’ new—are now available for rent from individual owners, some even with towing privileges for the renters. See some beautiful restorations and learn about the Airstream rental world. Published in Airstream Life magazine, Spring 2010 edition.
A short essay on a desert setting’s magic soothing the seethings of camping antagonism. Winner of the “adult entry” category of the National Steinbeck Center’s “What’s Your Story” contest. Published in February 2010.
Being the goggled-eyed witness to a fledgling swallow’s first flight (and everything leading up to blastoff, after being the happy (?) host to the swallow’s parents in my garage. Published in The Ultimate Bird Lover anthology, January 2010.
Two ebooks inspired by Seth Godin’s free What Matters Now ebook, supplying the advice of 70 “big thinkers” on moving ahead with insight and progression in the new year. Here’s How and Fear and Loathing, which offer variations on how to make a practical difference in behavior and practice for the social good, were produced by the members of Godin’s Triiibes network. I wrote a piece for both books, and was one of the principal editors for the project. Published in January, 2010.
What could be more fun than reading about my vasectomy? (But it’s funny, honest.) Published in You & Me magazine, August 2009.
What do you do with your youthful indiscretion? Sell it! A story about a story about shoplifting, good enough for second place in the Writer’s Market 2010 Freelance Success Stories contest.
Who knows what’s going on in your neighbor’s house—or more precisely, their bathtub? A piece on home distillers of booze, currently in resurgence, and not restricted to the Southern rum runners of old. Published in the July/August issue of Draft magazine.
A profile of jazz musician and Airstream aficionado Teresa Doyle, who fills the air of her Prince Edward Island artists’ retreat with music (and fills the fields with Airstreams). Published in Airstream Life magazine, Summer 2009.
Think you’ve got a commute? Debbie Israel commuted five years, twice a week, from Houston and Santa Cruz to a Los Angeles rabbinical school to become a rabbi. She made it. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 2009.
Good grilling starts with your attitude, according to the lads at Blackboard Catering. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 2009.
How to work off some Kauai-made treats by treating yourself to some of the island’s fabled—and heart-accelerating—wonders. Published in the Los Angeles Times, April 2009
A desperate cry of thirst for a glass of good wine on a tiny Micronesian island. Published in Wine Enthusiast magazine, April 2009.
Harvesting volunteer labor, Grow Food Party crews create instant gardens—and a network of sustainability and friendship—in Santa Cruz backyards. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2009
Earthquakes, floods and fires—nothing stops the progress of one of Santa Cruz County’s most venerable nurseries. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2009
Rock Shabbat tilts the temple for Friday night service at Santa Cruz’s Temple Beth El. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2009
Profile of two brothers, both martial arts experts, whose pursuits have taken somewhat divergent paths. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2009
A St. Paddy’s day profile of Mary Mc Laughlin, Santa Cruz, CA–based singer and teacher of Gaelic choir and Celtic music. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2009
Silver (2nd Place) winner of the 2009 Best Travel Writing Solas Awards in the “Travel and Transformation” category, sponsored by Traveler’s Tales. A stab at capturing the essential Americanness of hitting the open road. Published February, 2009
Profiles of five Santa Cruz, CA couples, looking at how the special qualities of Santa Cruz County are expressive of their romance and their relationships. Published in Santa Cruz Magazine, February 2009.
A inspiration at 90: a profile of Ernie Rideout, Santa Cruz sailor and raconteur, having just won another National-level sailing race, and showing no sign of slowing down. Published in Sailing magazine, December 2008.
New York has been the hub of the publishing world for a long time, but in Internet days, much about closing a publishing deal has changed. Or has it? Published on the Guide to Literary Agents blog, December 2008.
An article on a harrowing day spent with my elderly father in the emergency room. Luckily, we both got out alive (though others weren’t so lucky). Published by You and Me magazine, December 2008.
I’m a member of Seth Godin’s Tribes, a (to this point) closed social network centered around his concepts of tribes, as detailed in his new book, which examines associated notions of leadership and viral ideas in tribe-building. Four of my “case studies” were accepted for Godin’s Tribes Casebook.
The casebook is a compilation of various Tribes members’ explorations of what tribes are all about, how they begin, work, and don’t work. My pieces can be found on page 15, 58, 60 and 61.
The Q&A explores, though a series of related and evolving questions and answers, concrete examples of tribal origins, communications, challenges, business applications and future-focused discussions on changing the nature of business through tribal principles. I contributed several questions, answers, and was an editor for the entire book. Below is a video that will give you a sense of what the Q&A is all about.
Profiles the convergence and divergence in the pursuit, achievement and defeat of dreams in the lives of Marshal South, an artist, writer and self-styled desert hermit, and Wally Byam, the inventor of the Airstream. Published in Airstream Life, Fall 2008.
A tribute to the depth and dedication of the vast volunteer force at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Published in ExpressLane, the in-flight magazine of Express Jet, June 2008.
Silver (2nd Place) winner of the 2008 Best Travel Writing Solas Awards in the “Travel and Sports” category, sponsored by Traveler’s Tales. A cautionary tale of avoiding becoming canine lunch while bicycling on a Micronesian island. Published March, 2008.
A puzzled piece on the “Man Land” phenomenon. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, August, 2007.
A light look the small cracks in travel’s wide road. Published as one of the “Thanksgiving Turkeys” in the Los Angeles Times, November 2006.
A look at Sony’s new ebook reader, with enthusisasm and skepticism vying for attention. Published in Wired, September, 2006.
Looking for a couple of days of classic California? Take some hints from my article on the dizzying array of delights found on a weekend trip from craggy heights to the coolest of coasts. Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, May 2006.
My struggled—and strangled—attempts to teach English on a tiny island in Micronesia, published in the May/June 2006 issue of Adjunct Advocate. (To all my students: would it have been better if I’d worn the clown shoes?)
An effort to peer into the gaps, distances and bridges of understanding and emotion between my father and me, filtered though the prism of his Alzheimer’s disease. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, April, 2006. Fourth-place winner in Writer’s Digest 74th annual writing competition, in the Inspirational category.
A look at the Beatmobile, Jerry Cimino’s Beat Generation rolling museum and its travels across the U.S. Published in Airstream Life, Winter 2006 issue.
An account of the infamous pirate Bully Hayes and the potential of his stolen riches having been buried for over a century on the Micronesian island of Kosrae. Published in Treasure Cache, the 2006 annual digest of Lost Treasure magazine.
A piece detailing the boggling oddity of viewing local S.F. Bay Area broadcasts on our “local,” regular channels–on a Micronesian island 5,000 miles away. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, May, 2005.
A first-person essay about writing first-person essays, published in Personal Writing, a special edition of Writer’s Digest magazine, April 2005. Reprinted in the newsstand Writer’s Digest, August 2005.
A succint piece on using a vintage Airstream as the aluminum flagstone (besides bathroom and kitchen) for the expansion of a home on and around the trailer. Published in Airstream Life, Winter 2005.
First-place winner of the LP WordSolutions First Reader essay contest, December, 2004. A short piece on why The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a treasure.
The perils of eBay shopping, where with a click you can buy an Airstream trailer–sight unseen–and have its antique aluminum amazements delivered to your driveway from hundreds of miles away. Published in the Summer 2004 issue of Airstream Life magazine.
A condensed version of this profile of three Airstream restorers–whose work sometimes results in exotic trailer reworkings upwards of $100,000–was published in Airstream Life’s Summer issue, 2004.
A grisly account of a pitched battle between a flustered homeowner and a crafty rat (and nobody wins). Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, June, 2004.
Stick an 18-year-old in a Greyhound for three days and then let him loose in Juarez. Oh dear. Published as an Editor’s Choice in Traveler’s Tales, June, 2004. Here’s an audio version, broadcast on KUSP in Santa Cruz, CA in 2004, as part of the Foreign Stories Project.[audio:http://www.tombentley.com/Bentley-Juarez.mp3]
A wide-eyed look at the marvels in and around the Pinnacles National Monument, published in the San Jose Mercury News, May, 2004.
The perils and pleasures (?) of gobbling a 1,200 calorie fast-food burger after 20 years of abstinence. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, March, 2004.
The startling (and sweaty) travel experiences on the tiny Micronesian island of Kosrae, published in the San Jose Mercury News, March, 2004.
A sidebar to the Micronesia piece above, published in the same S.J. Mercury issue.
A screed both admiring and antagonistic about the wily raccoons who preyed on my outdoor fish tanks and my Rube Goldberg attempts to thwart them. Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel in November, 2003.
An affectionate look at the Airstream trailer, published online at things magazine; print publication in Fall 2003.
A light look at the source of article ideas, published online at AbsoluteWrite, 2003.
My own methods for extracting words from brain to page. Published online at WriteThinking, 2002.
Safe Computing: How to Protect Your Computer, Your Body, Your Data, Your Money and Your Privacy in the Information Age
An informative (try and overlook my self-congratulation) how-to book on dealing with viruses, hackers, Internet fraud, ergonomic issues, data loss and many other computing concerns. 200 pages with shareware CD for Mac and Windows.
A paean to the dictionary, published in the Summer 2002 issue of Verbatim, The Language Quarterly.
A light piece on writer’s procrastination, published online at AbsoluteWrite, June 2002.
Thrilling video documentary on harrowing encounter for the Einsteins. Excuse the video fidelity—I did it with a digital camera. Might load slowly on a dial-up.
Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 2001.
Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2001; Honorable Mention, Writer’s Digest 2001 Personal Essay Contest.
Published in SV, the magazine of the San Jose Mercury News, September, 2000.
Published in SV;June 2000.
Published in SV; January 2000.
Published in SV; August 1999.
My twisted saga of what is now 30 years’ correspondence between me and the Jack Daniels Distillery. And yes, they did send me chewing tobacco. Published in the San Francisco Chronicle; reprinted in the Brown Forum.
Desperately searching—pre-Starbucks days, for a good cup of coffee across America. Published in Motorland; reprinted in The Adventure of Food, a Traveler’s Tales publication, in November of 1999 and as a StoryHouse coffee label in 2001.
Published in West, a former magazine of the San Jose Mercury News, February 1998.
Published in the Santa Cruz Good Times.
Published in SV, November, 1999
Published in the Santa Cruz Metro.
Published in the Santa Cruz Good Times
Published in the online magazine, Zinos.
An .mp3 file of fair Alice reading a little piece of mine on a local Santa Cruz radio station. (Depending on bandwidth and how your browser is configured, it should stream, so that playback is immediate.)
Alice once again mouthing off on the radio, reciting a story I wrote about our recent Christmas debacle. A mouthful, but still less than 3MB.