Thursday, February 18, 2016

Welcome author Elizabeth Ivonovich today


Hello, and many thanks to Dawn for hosting my first-ever guest post today at Dawn's Reading Nook! My name is Elizabeth Ivanovich, and I'm a freelance writer and journalist living in northern California. In October 2014, published my first book, Going Coastal: Santa Cruz County and Beyond. This collection of work is very close to my heart, but sometimes I have trouble describing it to people. Is it a regional travel guide, an examination of a local arts and entertainment scene, or a character study of some fascinating (though sometimes eccentric) county residents? The answer is "all of the above, plus some other things." Since audiovisual tools always helped me when I was in school, I've put together a Going Coastal playlist below. It features five of the many musicians who are interviewed in the book.

Track One: "Smile For You" by Dressed In Roses

Santa Cruz's Jacklyn Partida first found acclaim as the singer-songwriter-guitarist with the power trio Jackie Rocks. When I first interviewed her in 2012, she had played more than 400 shows (including national sporting events and music industry conventions)...and she had not yet finished high school! Today she attends Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music, while performing everything from shredding goth-metal to shimmering acoustic pop with her various bands. Check out "Smile For You," from her indiepop act Dressed In Roses:

Track Two: "Dendê" by SambaDá

SambaDá practically defines the term "world music." What other band features two Brazilian-born lead singers, a trained jazz saxophonist who moonlights in a klezmer act, and a drummer from Minnesota? The Santa Cruz band's brand of "Afro-samba-funk-dance music" has been a fixture of the thriving local scene for nearly twenty years. "Dendê" appears on SambaDá's Gente! album, produced in 2010 by Grammy winner Greg Landau:

Track Three: "She-Devil In Disguise" by the Atomic Aces

By day, Mercy Vaisseur is a mild-mannered Santa Cruz hairdresser. Lately, more people know her as Miss Mercy, the powerful lead singer of local supergroup The Atomic Aces. The band twists punk and rockabilly elements into its own intoxicating brew, and can be relied upon for intense live performances. "She-Devil In Disguise" appears on the Aces' 2009 debut, Bettie's Rage:

Track Four: "Moonshine" by Shovelman (Isaac Frankle)

One of my favorite Going Coastal chapters, "One Man's Trash Is Another Man's...Guitar?," introduces readers to Robbie Schoen. The artist is renowned for guitars that he crafts from found objects. Most people wouldn't expect an axe made from a Millennium Falcon toy or a toilet seat to work properly, but Schoen's guitars are fully functional, as the following YouTube clip proves. In the story, Isaac Frankle reveals that Schoen's shovel guitar transfixes audiences: "They don't know whether to scream or throw hay around!" Naturally, Frankle often performs as Shovelman. Here, he plays Schoen's shovel guitar at Santa Cruz's Felix Kulpa Gallery, which Schoen himself manages:

Track Five: "The Weird Waltz" by The Great Morgani (Frank Lima)

No Santa Cruz music playlist is complete without The Great Morgani, also known as former stockbroker-turned-street musician Frank Lima. Morgani's repertoire includes everything from Fellini movie themes to a French waltz arrangement of "Stairway To Heaven," all learned by ear. Then there are the outrageous head-to-toe outfits, which Lima makes himself. Style, whimsy, and talent have combined to make The Great Morgani a local legend:

If none of these songs appeal to you, never fear: Going Coastal features everything from Japanese taiko music to vintage '60s rock. (There are also stories about mix tapes, artisanal ice cream makers, and chocolate, to name a few other topics.) I hope you enjoy the following excerpt, which is taken from the final chapter, "2001: A Kitchen Odyssey." Please feel free to comment here or on my (often musically inclined) blog, Coastal Book Gal. Take care, and happy reading!


It started innocently enough. My parents were finally getting their kitchen remodeled, and the work had just begun. On the first day, my mother surveyed the proceedings for a while, then approached me with concern. "I think I might serve the workers some coffee and snacks. What do you think?"

I eyed her warily. Knowing my mother, today's innocent plate of cookies would evolve into an increasingly complex parade of dishes in the coming weeks. To make matters worse, these Lucy-and-Ethel schemes would invariably involve me somehow. I thought it over.

"Go ahead. Just don't stay awake nights worrying about what the foreman takes in his coffee." As she headed into the kitchen, I had no idea that I had just set a ritual in motion which, within six months, would grow to take over our lives.


Contact: Elizabeth Ivanovich, eai@ stanfordalumni .org 


by Elizabeth Ivanovich 

ISBN: 978-1-63263-466-5

$13.95, 137 pages, paperback (October 1, 2014)

5726 Cortez Rd. W. #349
Bradenton, FL 34210
Phone/fax: 305-768-0261
Angela Hoy, Publisher
Contact at:

Wholesale order form:

The book is distributed through Ingram.

Back cover blurb: California's Central Coast can be a confusing place. Electric guitars are made from car parts, bronze sculptures fill nursery gardens, and people actually want to watch a guy play the accordion! Elizabeth Ivanovich has deciphered these and other mysteries for Santa Cruz County readers over the years. Now, you can unearth them inGoing Coastal, this collection of her best-loved work. Meet local icons, discover the best of everything from record stores to ice cream parlors, and explore cultural life throughout the Bay Area. Equal parts character study, travel guide, and cultural analysis, Going Coastal reveals the California most visitors haven't seen.

Current bio: Elizabeth Ivanovich is a native of California's Central Coast. She attended Watsonville schools before earning a bachelor's degree in art history and a master's degree in drama, both from Stanford University. Her work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz Style, South Bay Accent, Student Traveler, The Writer, and the anthologies Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth (Feral House, 2001) and Lost In The Grooves (Routledge, 2005). She was the arts and entertainment columnist for the now-defunct Santa Cruz, California publication Student Guide for thirteen years. Going Coastal is her first book. Her Coastal Book Gal blog is found

Going Coastal:Santa Cruz County and Beyond purchase links: (publisher):


Barnes and Noble:


The book is also available from many independent bookstores, including Powell's Books:


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