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Quite the World, Isn't It?

Waves big and small

Unusual circumstances -- krill close to shore -- have brought magnificent blue whales for a protracted stay in the channel between Los Angeles and, well, the Channel Islands. So last Sunday Margaret and I on a whim took a whale-watching boat from Newport Beach to Two Harbors on Catalina Island, and back.

The marine layer was thick on the way out, and we only saw a pod or two of dolphins -- which is pretty cool, but we were looking for blues. The water was a little rough -- at least three people got sick that we saw -- and I couldn't shake from the back of my mind Susan Casey's book The Wave, which I reviewed for the LA Times.

But we made it to Two Harbors without incident, had lunch and a nice little walk around (saw a couple of buffalo), then boarded the boat under brilliant blue skies for the return trip.

And saw the whales. Magnificent. This is the best of the photos I was able to take. And this links to a Flickr stream of some of the others.
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This is what The Fear Within will look like

This is always a fun moment in the life of a writer: Getting to see the cover of the next book. The design folks at Rutgers University Press did a very nice job with a difficult art element, an array of mugshots. I think it works very neatly. Still awaiting word on official pub date but it's looking like sometime in March.

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Wondering if this is a measure of success

I have to admit, I laughed when this popped up the other day. And I assume it means my first book has cleared some sort of hurdle -- an online site that sells essays to college students has done one on Blood Passion.

Of course, these pre-packaged essays are crap, and I hope any professor who receives one fails the offending student (I've already failed two students and severely reprimanded a third for plagiarism issues, and I'm only on my fifth class).

But as a barometer, I guess this means enough labor and history profs have assigned the book (thank you very much) that these vultures think they can make a profit by selling essays about it. Read More 
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