Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I’m pleased to announce that Emmy-Award winning science communicator Cara Santa Maria will join actors Joe Mantegna and Seamus Dever, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, and Internet personality Jeff Cannata as a celebrity reader at the Ray Bradbury Read on August 22, the ninety-sixth anniversary of the birth of the literary master.

The Ray Bradbury Read will take place in Maguire Gardens in downtown Los Angeles, situated between the Los Angeles Central Library and Ray Bradbury Square (Fifth & Flower) and featuring members of the general public reading five minute-and-under excerpts from the novels, stories, essays, and poems of Ray Bradbury.

Cara has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy, a Master of Science in biological science with a concentration in neuroscience, and has taught biology laboratory courses and performed neuronal cell culture duties and electrophysiology research at the Center for Network Neuroscience. She enrolled in a doctoral program studying clinical neuropsychology at Queens College, City University of New York, where she worked as an adjunct professor and laboratory researcher, but withdrew after a year of coursework to pursue science communication full-time. It is her fervent belief that it is essential for the public to know and understand what science is and what it tells us about things big and small in the universe.
Cara was the Senior Science Correspondent for the Huffington Post contributing print journalism and hosting the HuffPost video program, Talk Nerdy to Me. Since leaving the HuffPost, Cara has performed hosting and correspondent duties for network, cable, and local television stations, and for various Internet venues. She has appeared on BBC America, CBS, CNN, Current TV, Fox, Fox News, G4tv, Nat Geo WILD, Science Channel, SundanceTV, the Travel Channel, and KCET in Los Angeles where she contributes science reports on the Peabody Award-winning SoCal Connected.

Cara hosts her own popular podcast, Talk Nerdy, where she has conversations covering science, knowledge, reason, and the essential need for their promotion and application for a better world.

Like many people in the sciences, Cara was greatly influenced and inspired by the works of Ray Bradbury. Not so much for any details of science, but for the sense of wonder he conveyed that every good scientist needs.

Full information can be found HERE on the blog of Steven Paul Leiva, the organizer and director of the Ray Bradbury Read.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Peter Lonsdale
1951 - 2016

One of the finest people I have known, my great and good friend Peter Lonsdale, died yesterday of an apparent massive heart attack. Being a big-hearted man, it had to be a “massive” heart attack to fell Peter—nothing less could have done the deed. Yesterday was one of the saddest days I have ever experienced. I don’t think that sadness will go away. In fact, I refuse to let it go away.

I met Peter in 1978 when I was hired by the Los Angeles International Film Festival (FILMEX) to be a special programmer for animation. Peter was in the film prep and film traffic department, charged with preparing reels of film, in all forms, for screening, and getting those reels, in big, heavy film boxes, to the right screening room at the right time. 

Peter in the middle with long hair. From the FILMEX program book

As I remember it, we became friends rather quickly. Why would you not want as a friend a young man always ready with a quick smile and sporting an infectious enthusiasm for what you had gathered together for—in this case, the presentation of Film as art. Peter had graduated from U.C. Berkley with a degree in film, and had come down to Los Angeles—sometimes known as Hollywood—to find a career in filmmaking. I’m not sure what his particular ambition was at that time, possibly to direct, but he became a film editor. It was not something he settled for, he became passionate about the powerful contribution that editing makes to the total film. He saw it, I believe, as a craft you needed great knowledge for, and an art you needed great instincts for. No matter what job he was on—a major feature like Back to the Future or a cartoon series for Disney—he always applied the full measure of his knowledge and instincts; his craft and his art.

We remained friends after I left FILMEX for a number of years. When I was a publicist for animation studios, and Peter was just breaking into the industry, I would often hire him to do still photography, another passion of his. 

Photog Peter

I went to his bachelor party when he got married for the first time. But, as often happens in friendships, we drifted apart as he started working in film editing, and I headed towards being a producer and writer.

I was always thrilled to see Peter’s credits as part of the editorial team on such films as Ruthless People, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Rocketeer, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the Back to the Future trilogy. 

On the editorial team for The Rocketeer.

After he worked on Roger Rabbit, Peter found a great delight in working on animated films, although he also continued to edit live action, both dramatic films, and documentaries.

One day, maybe around the turn of the millennium, I found myself driving behind an SUV with the license plate TOONEDITOR, or something like that. I knew immediately that it must be Peter. I sped up, got in front of him and checked my rearview mirror. It was indeed Peter. As I had him in my speed dial, I called him and we had a short but sweet (and possibly dangerous) conversation while mutually traveling west on Magnolia Boulevard in the Valley. That lead to more, if sporadic, phone conversations, keeping in touch with each other.

Then, in 2003, after I had published my first novel, Blood is Pretty, Peter called me to say he had bought it and would love to get me to autograph it. So we met at a Peet’s Coffee on Ventura Boulevard, I signed the book, and he was the first person to tell me that I had a “voice” in my writing. It was possibly the greatest compliment I have ever received.

But it wasn’t until a little later that I really got to know Peter. It was after the last Writers Guild Strike in 2008 when some members of the guild decided to start Strike.TV, an Internet venue for WGA members to create and own Web series.  I decided I wanted to create a series of VidBits called The Old Curmudgeon’s Book of Questions. It would be very simple, just me as the Old Curmudgeon asking his curmudgeonly questions. But, having no technical filmmaking skills whatsoever, I needed someone to help. I naturally called Peter. For one reason because I didn’t think he would think I was an idiot. And for another—the man had the skills. So we did the series with Peter shooting the video, directing the Old Curmudgeon, and editing the final product.

There was no money involved, just time, effort, and—on Peter’s part—a generosity I had no business expecting, and certainly didn’t deserve. But that was Peter. The most important factor in this was the time we spent together shooting the VidBits, and in his home editing room putting them together. We talked, we talked a lot. We joked. We discussed Jazz, which we both loved, and Rock music, which only Peter liked. And movies, we talked a lot about movies. Peter’s passion for film was a delight to experience. We talked about our daughters—the joys and the concerns—and we talked about youthful sexual adventures we had had, or wished we had had. And, most important, we talked about the love of a good woman, which we were both lucky to have found. And we talked about other friends and colleagues we both had in the film business. I never once heard him say a negative word about his. I’m not sure I could say the same thing about me.

Peter’s generosity to his friends was natural, sincere and appreciated. It’s what made him a true gentleman, in all the best meanings of that word.

After the Old Curmudgeon, I kept coming back and bugging Peter to help me on other video projects—a promo piece for Blood is Pretty; a video of Ray Bradbury that the Buffalo Film Festival asked me to do; coverage of some of the events during Ray Bradbury Week in 2010, which I organized. All of which he did not hesitate to do, all of which I paid him nothing for. Oh, I made lunch now and them, but other than that, I was the bono asking him to do it pro bono. And he did it, always with a smile, with laughs, with a damn fine professionalism, with his heart and his brain.

Peter had a huge and great generous spirit, the kind that could be taken advantage of. And I did. But then, maybe we were Mickey and Judy,  just “kids” having fun putting on a show. I will not venture to guess who was Mickey and who was Judy.

When Bluroof Press, the publisher of my novel, Traveling in Space, suggested we do an audiobook version of the book, I knew I only wanted to do it if Peter would produce it with me and be the sound engineer and editor. I got Bluroof to draw up a contract that cut Peter in on the royalties. We took two years to get the audiobook done. Partly due to our schedules and the busy schedule of Jeff Cannata, the actor who performed and not just read the book. It was fun, sometimes grueling, and I often made us all lunch. But we got it done, and we were all proud of what we had accomplished. And as the audiobook has sold relatively well, there actually has been royalties to share. Not a fortune, but it was with great relief for me that something Peter so generously did for me generated some compensation for him. If any man was worth a million, Peter was that man.

In 2013 I dedicated my short book of essays, Searching for Ray Bradbury, to Peter, saying: “For Peter Lonsdale—Who tolerates my intrusions into his life with equanimity, a smile, and, I hope, just a little love for this crazy bastard who is always presenting him with another project.”

I had—will continue to have—more than a little love for Peter. One reason might be that he reminded me of my father, for I never met anyone who didn’t like my father, who was a sweet and gentle and generous person. Certainly the same can be said of Peter. And Peter died on the anniversary of my father’s birth, tieing the two together forever in my memory. It’s a great thing to have had such a man as a father. And a great thing to have had such a man as a friend.

Friday, May 27, 2016



August 22, 2016
12 Noon to 3 PM

Maguire Gardens - Downtown Los Angeles


On August 22, 2016, in celebration of the ninety-sixth anniversary of the birth of American and Angeleno literary great Ray Bradbury, the Ray Bradbury Read will take place in downtown Los Angeles from twelve noon to three p.m.

The Ray Bradbury Read will feature three hours of short readings from the works of Ray Bradbury; from his short stories, novels, poems, and essays.

The Ray Bradbury Read will happen in the beautiful setting of Maguire Gardens, situated between Bradbury’s beloved Central Library of Los Angeles and Ray Bradbury Square at the intersection of Fifth & Flower.

The readers of Bradbury’s work will be members of the public selected by the process described below. There will also be guest celebrity readers.

The event will gather its audience from the surrounding downtown workers on their lunch breaks and from all over greater Los Angeles.

The Ray Bradbury Read will be a casual event designed for drop-ins. Bring your lunch and stay for half an hour and feed your mind with the wonderful words of Bradbury; drop in for ten minutes for a quick infusion of some of the finest writing of the Twentieth-century, or stay for three hours and encourage our readers to soar on the wings of Ray Bradbury.

To be considered as a reader you must submit a proposal for a reading of a five-minute-or-under excerpt from one of Bradbury’s many works. The excerpt can come from any of Ray’s published prose and verse writings and should have a central theme, coherence, and completeness about it. More than one excerpt or poem can be read, as long as their reading time does not exceed five minutes. Excerpts from plays and screenplays will not be accepted.

You must submit your excerpt in a typed, double-spaced Word or PDF document. The date you are submitting the document should be at the top of page one, along with your name and contact information. Before the text of the excerpt, list the work it is from and, in the case of a story, essay, or poem, the collection you found it in. After the excerpt, you are more than welcome to add a few words of why you chose the excerpt and what it means to you.

The readers will be chosen by Steven Paul Leiva, the director of the Ray Bradbury Read, in consultation with the Ray Bradbury Read Board of Advisors:

Ray Bradbury’s Daughters:
Susan Bradbury Nixon
Ramona Ostergren
Bettina Bradbury
Alexandra Bradbury
Jon Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana University

Joe Mantegna, star of "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" (play & film) and long-time friend of Bradbury's.

Michael Congdon, Don Congdon Associates, Bradbury’s long-time agent.

Phil Nichols, blogger at www.bradburymedia.co.uk and Senior Advisor to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.

Jennifer Brehl, SVP, Executive Editor & Director of Editorial Development, Morrow and Voyager, imprints of HarperCollins Publishers., Bradbury’s editor for many years.

Howard Green, VP, Communications for Walt Disney Animation Studios, publicist on the film version of Something Wicked this Way Comes, long time friend.

Marsha LuMetta, Trustee of the Ray Bradbury Family Trust

Readers will be chosen based on what excerpts will make for the best possible program of readings for the afternoon, with a balance between the types and tones of Bradbury’s writings. In the case of duplicate excerpts proposed, if an excerpt is included in the program, the first submission of that excerpt will be chosen.

Submissions will be accepted between June 1 and August 15. Submissions should be sent as attachments to an email sent to Steven Paul Leiva at stevenpaulleiva@aol.com.  Readers will be chosen and informed by August 8.


(1950) The Martian Chronicles
(1953) Fahrenheit 451
(1957) Dandelion Wine
(1962) Something Wicked This Way Comes
(1972) The Halloween Tree
(1985) Death is a Lonely Business
(1990) A Graveyard for Lunatics
(1992) Green Shadows, White Whale
(2001) From Dust Returned
(2002) Let's All Kill Constance
(2006) Farewell Summer

Collections of Short Stories
(1947) Dark Carnival
(1951) The Illustrated Man
(1953) The Golden Apples of the Sun (The Golden Apples of the Sun and Other Stories (1997); as A Sound of Thunder (2005)
(1955) The October Country
(1984) A Memory of Murder
(1988) The Toynbee Convector
(1990) Classic Stories 1
(1990) Classic Stories 2
(1996) Quicker Than The Eye
(1997) Driving Blind
(2002) One More for the Road
(2003) Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales
(2004) The Cat’s Pajamas: Stories
(2005) A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories
(2007) Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band is Playing & Leviathan ‘99
(2007) Summer Morning, Summer Night
(2009) We’ll Always Have Paris: Stories
(2010) A Pleasure to Burn
(2011) The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury: A Critical Edition – Volume 1, 1938–1943
(2014) The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury: A Critical Edition – Volume 2, 1943–1944

(1990) Zen in the Art of Writing
(1991) Yestermorrow: Obvious Answers to Impossible Futures
(2005) Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars

(1973) When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed
(1977) Where Robot Mice and Robot Men Run Round in Robot Towns
(1981) The Haunted Computer and the Android Pope
(2002) They Have Not Seen the Stars: The Collected Poems of Ray Bradbury

Monday, May 23, 2016


Starting today and running until June 5 the eBook edition of my first Fixxer adventure, BLOOD IS PRETTY is going on sale for only 99 CENTS! When discussing dates for this sale period with my publisher, Handsome David Wilson of Crossroad Press, I picked these particular dates as they encompass my birthday (May 26) -- and I thought it would be a fine thing to offer a discount as sort of a party favor for all my friends out there in digital space -- AND the birthday of my dear darling daughter, Nanette (June 5), who has always been one of the best presents I have ever received.

So, join the party! Order your eBook now from Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle reader app.

And for those who are already fans of the book, thank’s for your support and please pass this onto on to your friends. Here are the links for the US and the UK where BLOOD IS PRETTY is on sale for 99 PENCE!

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/nmppdlg

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I am pleased to announce that popular Internet personality Jeff Cannata will join actors Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) and Seamus Dever (Castle), and L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar (14th District) as a celebrity reader at the Ray Bradbury Read August 22 in Maguire Gardens, just off Ray Bradbury Square (Fifth & Flower) in downtown Los Angeles (subject to availability).

The celebrity readers will join members of the public in reading excerpts from the novels, stories, poems, and essays of the American literary master in celebration of the ninety-sixth anniversary of his birth. The read will take place from 12 noon to three P.M.

Cannata first gained notice on the Internet by co-hosting The Totally Rad Show with Alex Albrecht and Dan Trachtenberg. The Totally Rad Show was a Webby award-winning video podcast of reviews and commentary on pop-culture phenomena such as movies, videos games, television programs, and comic books. 

The show ran for five years, ending in 2012 when Trachtenberg was tapped to direct the feature film 10 Cloverfield Lane for J.J. Abrams.

Cannata went on to create his own popular video podcast, Newest, Latest, Best (NLB) 

and appears on a number of Internet shows including the videogame-themed DLC, an Entertainment Weekly “Must Listen” podcast. Cannata co-created and co-hosts with Anthony Carboni, We Have Concerns, a comedy podcast wherein they take interesting or unusual news stories and pick them apart to reveal their own existential dread and the hilarity therein. It was named an iTunes Best of 2014 podcast.

Additionally, Jeff is an actor who has appeared on such TV shows as Scandal, Shameless, and The Mentalist and performs regularly on Los Angeles stages. He starred in the Edgar Award-winning comedy mystery The Psychic by Sam Bobrick.

A long time Ray Bradbury fan, Jeff participated in Ray Bradbury Week In 2012 by performing in a staged reading of the Bradbury one-act play, "The Better Part of Wisdom," along with James Cromwell and Seamus Dever.

More information on the Ray Bradbury Read can be had at http://tinyurl.com/gvydnfa

To contact Jeffrey Cannata: Jennifer A. DaRe, Mgr. 323-230-5360

I can be reached at 818-679-2825