Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CASTLE'S SEAMUS DEVER TO BE A CELEBRITY READER AT THE RAY BRADBURY READ




I’m pleased to announce that actor Seamus Dever will be one of our celebrity readers at the Ray Bradbury Read August 22 in Maguire Gardens, just off Ray Bradbury Square in downtown Los Angeles (subject to availability).







Seamus is well known for playing Detective Kevin Ryan for the past eight seasons on ABC’s popular show, Castle.








Seamus will join actor Joe Mantegna ("Criminal Minds") and Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Huizar, 













and members of the public in reading excerpts from the novels, stories, poems, and essays of the American literary master in celebration the ninety-sixth anniversary of his birth.




The multi-talented Dever -- he’s a singer as well as an actor -- also participated in Ray Bradbury Week in 2010, a week-long series of events honoring Bradbury on his 90th birthday. Dever performed in a stage reading at the Writers Guild of America of Bradbury’s one-act play, The Better Part of Wisdom, along with James Cromwell and Jeff Cannata. The one-act was one of Bradbury’s favorites, and he was greatly moved by the reading and the performances.


It’s wonderful to have Seamus with us for another tribute to this great American author whose novels, stories, poems, and essays -- not to mention his presence in millions of lives -- have meant so much to so many.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

L.A. COUNCILMENBER JOSE HUIZAR TO BE A CELEBRITY READER AT THE RAY BRADBURY READ




I’m pleased to announce that Los Angeles City Councilmember, Jose Huizar 



has joined actor Joe Mantegna as a celebrity reader during the Ray Bradbury Read on August 22, 2016.



The Ray Bradbury Read will be a three-hour (12 noon to 3) event in Maguire Gardens situated between the Los Angeles Central Library and Ray Bradbury Square in downtown Los Angeles. The read will see public readings of excerpts from the novels, stories, poetry, and essays of Ray Bradbury, one of the most popular and important American writers of the Twentieth-century, and a great lover of the city of Los Angeles.

Most of the readers will be chosen from the public submitting proposals of excerpts to read, but several celebrity readers will read as well.

It is wonderfully appropriate that Councilmember Huizar should be one of those readers, as I believe Ray would have been thrilled with the Councilmember’s dedicated work toward making downtown Los Angeles a very livable area though his “Complete Streets” proposals, ushering in groundbreaking pedestrian and bike-friendly policies that are seen as the model for the entire City.  Ray was a long time proponent of “humanizing” L.A. by getting people out of their cars and onto the streets and sidewalks to shop, eat, commune, and appreciate their surroundings.

I am currently working on inviting other celebrity readers, as well as designing the method by which members of the public can propose excerpts from Bradbury’s works that the would like to read, and which proposals will be chosen. I hope to have a Call for Submissions out by June 1.

You can keep informed of my progress by checking in on my blog at: http://tinyurl.com/leivablog

Or going to the Ray Bradbury Read event Facebook Page at: http://tinyurl.com/rbrevent


Councilmember Jose Huizar at the dedication of Ray Bradbury Square 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

ANNOUNCING A NEW TRIBUTE TO RAY BRADBURY -- THE RAY BRADBURY READ





Ray Bradbury was a great and important Twentieth Century American writer. 




His novels, such as The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, and Dandelion Wine, as well as hundreds of short stories, poems, and essays, now have a permanent place in American culture. He also established a fine international reputation and is as beloved overseas as he is here. Truly if any writer became a literary citizen of planet Earth, it was Ray Bradbury.


And yet, Ray Bradbury was deeply an Angeleno, with Los Angeles shaping not only the writer but the man. Born in 1920, Ray moved to L.A. in 1934, falling instantly in love with this city. 





It was a love that never diminished.  From its beaches to Hollywood 
to its diverse ethnic population to its great libraries (especially the downtown Central Library), Ray fed off the energy of Los Angeles and converted that energy into fine writing.


In order to pay tribute to Ray on his ninetieth birthday, I instigated and organized Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles in 2010. 




With great encouragement and assistance by the then president of the L.A. City Council, and now Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, and the Bradbury family, I was able to put together a week-long series of events in coordination with, and the participation of, the Writers Guild of America, west, Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Foundation, the Central Library of the LAPL, and the Paley Center for Media.




In 2012, I spearheaded an effort, working closely with Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Jose Huizar, the Central Library, Maguire Gardens at the Central Library, downtown L.A. business leaders, and the Bradbury family, to have the intersection of Fifth & Flower dedicated as Ray Bradbury Square.





Last year I conceived of, and since then have been working on, an event that could become an annual tribute to Ray Bradbury here in Los Angeles. It is an event that will not only be a tribute to Ray, demonstrating Los Angeles' love for him, but will also call attention to downtown L.A., our Central Library, the beauty of Maguire Gardens, and the existence of Ray Bradbury Square. I would love to see Ray Bradbury Square become a destination for all literary Angelenos and for visitors from around the world.


On August 22, 2016—Ray Bradbury’s birthday— we will hold The Ray Bradbury Read in Maguire Gardens, 




situated between the Central Library 



and Ray Bradbury Square. 




It will be a fairly simple three-hour event held from noon to three during which people will read from the work of Ray Bradbury. The public is, of course, invited, and we hope to draw many downtown workers to drop by during their lunch break and have their meal in the gardens listening to wonderful words of Ray Bradbury.


Most of the readers will come from the public to be chosen by a method yet to be decided. But we hope to have celebrity readers as well reading from Ray’s work. The celebrities could come from entertainment (film, TV, theater, sports), literature (authors influenced by Ray, or just ones who love him), science (such as individuals involved in space exploration, or the study of dinosaurs), and even politics, or better said, civic service (councilmembers, the mayor, members of congress, etc.). 

Already actor Joe Mantegna 



has agreed to be a reader subject to availability.


I have the full support of Ray Bradbury’s four daughters, and they have joined an exciting board of advisers I will call upon to help in shaping the program for the read.


The full board of advisers for the Ray Bradbury Read are:


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 Ray's.


Michael Congdon, Don Congdon Associates, Ray’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., Ray’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


I am being joined by some wonderful people and institutions in putting together the Ray Bradbury Read:


The Los Angeles Public Library and City Librarian John Szabo & library staff.


The Maguire Gardens and their property management company, Heins


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti & staff.


Los Angeles City Councilmember for the 14th District Jose Huizar & staff.


In the coming weeks I’ll be seeking support from downtown L.A. businesses and possibly sponsorship from media outlets.


And I’ll be asking for volunteers for the event and for services.


The event, at the moment, has no budget. I hope to keep it a simple celebration of Ray Bradbury and his words on the anniversary of his birth.  


I have created a Facebook event page for the Ray Bradbury Read, and you can find it here:




And you can find information my personal blog at: http://stevenpaulleivasthisnthat.blogspot.com/

Keep checking both for updates.








Saturday, February 6, 2016

YAKKIN' ON THE 'NET -- Guesting on podcasts and other internet venues


We all get ensnared in the 'Net. It's become such a part of our lives. Podcasts, videos, commercial sites, political rants, hate speech, love speech, the cuter than cute, the most horrible of the horrific, real and true information, and myths upon myths upon myths. All this makes the internet really not that much different from any other conduit of communication: TV, Radio, newspapers, books, pamphlets, the local coffee shop, and the neighborhood bar. It is just so much bigger, pervasive, and not only in your face, and in your home, but in your pocket. It is a big (even if small), digital companion. We can only hope that for most of us, it is also a friend.


For an author of books, it allows you to get your face and voice out there for discovery. As authors rarely get invited on to early morning and late night network and cable shows, that's a pretty good -- if nowhere near as potent -- benefit.

And it can be fun. I've had some good times being a guest on podcasts and videos, and even making a few of my own in the past eight years or so. And I thought it might be useful to gather them together in one place just in case anyone trying to decide to take a chance on my books wanted to get to know me a bit. So, here they are:







Cara Santa Maria is quickly becoming one of our best and brightest science communicators. She was the senior science correspondent for the Huffington Post, and now not only reports on science for public TV station KCET in L.A., but participates in several popular podcasts, including her own, Talk Nerdy. I was thrilled to be her guest one fine day last year to talk about science fiction, the future of humanity, and my novel Traveling in Space.








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Frank Thompson is a film historian who has a great podcast, The Commentary Track. Here he has illuminating conversations with other film historians and people involved in the making of films. As he knew of my twenty-year plus history of working in film, and some of the people I worked with, including Chuck Jones, Dick Zanuck, and Ray Bradbury, he asked me to sit down and yak with him. I was more than happy to oblige and had a good doing so. 








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Sword & Laser is a popular internet show on all things SF (the laser) & Fantasy (the sword). Jeff Cannata, who recorded the audiobook of my novel Traveling in Space (which I produced and directed), and I appeared on the show and talked about our collaboration and my novel in some detail.













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April 2, 2014, Peter Lonsdale and I finish recording the audiobook of Traveling in Space with the very talented Jeff Cannata. And we get a little silly. 


















On September 23, 2013, the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library in Los Angeles was dedicated to Ray Bradbury. This had been Ray's local library, and he had spent many hours here with his four daughters and often spoke here. I helped bring this about, although it really was the combined efforts of Councilmember Paul Koretz, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Friends of the Palms-Rancho Park Library, and leaders in the local community that made it happen. After the dedication I joined fellow authors Harlan Ellison and George Clayton Johnson upstairs in the Ray Bradbury Room to talk about our mutual friend, Ray Bradbury. This video was shot by another friend of Ray's, John Sasser.


















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L.A. public TV station KCET invited me to be one-day food critic on their internet show, Free Lunch. I was happy to do it as free lunches are gold to a writer.












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I've guested often on Peter Anthony Holder's The Stuph File podcast. Here's on of my favorites, sharing the mic with Jonah Cummings, the audiobook narrator of my novel Blood is Pretty.
















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Speaking of Blood is Pretty, here's a piece shot by Peter Lonsdale of me -- speaking about Blood is Pretty 














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The last work I did in film animation was to voice the character of Scott, the owner of a Snow Dome store, who wants a son, in Steve Moore's (although credited here as Oscar Moore) award-winning animated short. It's a charming, if off-beat, love story.














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I was the first person to be asked to give some free advice for a series of internet shorts. My free advice actually was wisdom I had received from a world famous film animation director who shall remain nameless.





















Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MY FIRST REVIEW FOR THE NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS



Several months back I was invited by the publisher of the New York Journal of Books to begin reviewing for this successful online venture. Last week my first review came out. It's a review of The Nearest Thing to Life by literary critic and Harvard professor James Wood.  It begins:


The late Ray Bradbury was often approached by fellow authors for cover blurbs for their upcoming releases. As a generous man and dedicated to encouraging others people’s creative endeavors, he accommodated as many as he could, but only if he sincerely felt the work deserving. After reading one novelist’s book, he wrote to him with a blurb suitable for marketing, but added a personal note that what he really liked about the writer’s novel—ostensibly a thriller—was that he took detours or asides to describe the world surrounding the characters, and even the interior landscape of the characters themselves. “After all,” Bradbury wrote, “people don’t really read just for plot.”
It is likely that James Wood, a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University, would agree with Bradbury, given the evidence of his latest book, The Nearest Thing to Life. It is a short work that gives deep consideration to the art of fiction and the importance of that art to our culture...
To read more go to: 
http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/nearest 



Monday, February 2, 2015

TRAVELING IN AUDIO SPACE -- BOOKS IN 3-D





Here is a Facebook message exchange I had right after the release of the audio book of Traveling in Space that sums up perfectly the importance and power of a spoken word version of prose writing. And how the use of a really fine actor -- as opposed an author who's just a happy ham -- is required.  




Reader Peter Frazier had read Traveling in Space twice (and I thank him for that), but in this listening, a certain aspect of my words and what I do with them took on another dimension making my intentions stand out in a way Peter never saw before. It was almost as if the audio book was a good 3-D version of the text

Now, I have no problem with people just reading my words and getting my intentions in the lovely one-dimension of ink on paper, or even E-ink on screen, but as readers read in different ways -- some sound out the words in their heads, some don't and report that they just see "images," some read only for plot, some skip the descriptive parts (I shudder here in existential writer’s fear) -- that you can't trust that your author's "voice" will be "heard" as you want it heard. But in an audio book, especially if you have the opportunity and skill to direct the performance of your words yourself, you can strive to record a voice you trust will fully convey your voice.

Often it can even go beyond that The actor sometimes surprises you with an interpretation of an intention you didn't even know you were clever enough to have. In other words, the actor brings something of his voice to your "voice" and as long as it is not a 180 turn away from your intentions, it might just be a small revelation to you -- and for the audience.

Here's the whole thing in short -- I try to put music in my words; there is music in the human voice; it is only natural to meld the two.


You can purchase the audio book of Traveling in Space on Audible.com HERE



Print editions of Traveling in Space are available on Amazon.com HERE

Thanks for listening!