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Authors Blog

Eliminating Redundancy

When I began the task of converting Ronald G. Powell’s great history of Rancho Soquel to print in May, one obstacle that I did not expect was his heavily redundant writing style. Granted, the manuscript in my possession is a first draft and Powell never made a second one, but he had an extraordinarily idiosyncratic way of writing that, while predictable, has taken far more time to correct than I had originally anticipated. More than… Read More »Eliminating Redundancy

Courier Font is Not Your Friend

Most people know what a typewriter is and a good majority of readers will have used one before. I mean, the personal computer in its modern iteration really only became affordable in the mid-1980s. But what everyone seems to forget is how awful the default font was. You see, newspapers generally use some variant of Times—a font literally designed for newspapers (the New York Times, anyone?). But the typewriter, after much give-and-take over a century,… Read More »Courier Font is Not Your Friend

Unexpected Discoveries

Research is by definition a work in progress. Once research is done, something can be published or something else can begin. But sometimes things get in the way and must be dealt with first, before continuing research. As I approached the end of writing the first draft of Section 3 of Railroads of the Santa Cruz Coast, which focuses on the Aptos-area lumber railroads, local historian and former UCSC archives librarian Stanley Stevens inadvertently revealed… Read More »Unexpected Discoveries

The Importance of Good Logos

Santa Cruz Trains as a brand developed rather haphazardly without much forward planning. Originally, the website just used a South Pacific Coast—Sunset Route logo, which dated to the 1890s when Southern Pacific was heavily promoting their New Orléans-West Coast service. A relic of this still survives in the background address for my website: southpacificcoast.blogspot.com. Original Santa Cruz Trains website banner. Once plans for my book began in 2013, I began playing with a more formal… Read More »The Importance of Good Logos

History is Hard

As I put the finishing touches on my Aptos Station article, it has become abundantly clear that writing history is hard work. People jokes about how sitting in a seat and writing is hardly the same as physical labor, but they are more incomparable than one being harder than the other. After writing this final article, which is sitting at five single-spaced pages, it has become clear that summarizing the entirety of a town’s history… Read More »History is Hard