Some New Books by Seattle Friends

I have a book coming out in this year. So do a number of my friends here in Seattle and little beyond. I’m excited about reading their books. Here are a few.

Kathleen Alcala 

The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island is due out this fall from University of Washington Press.

Kathleen Alcalá set out to re-examine her relationship with food at the most local level. Remembering her parents, Mexican immigrants who grew up during the Depression, and the memory of planting, growing, and harvesting fresh food with them as a child, she decided to explore the history of the Pacific Northwest island she calls home.

This is Kathleen’s sixth book. She has also authored three novels, a collection of short stories, and a collection of essays. She lives on Bainbridge Island.


solace_reducedLaurie Blauner

The Solace of Monsters won the Leapfrog Press fiction contest in 2015 and will be out in September.

Here’s praise from Helen Phillips, author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat:

The Solace of Monsters is courageous and innovative and mesmerizing, Frankenstein for a new age. Laurie Blauner never shies away from the grotesque, or from the beautiful.

Laurie, who lives in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, is a prolific writer. She’s had five books of poetry and four previous works of fiction published. I’ve read several of her novels. I think Phillips’s words – innovative and mesmerizing – about The Solace of Monsters can apply to these other works as well. And that’s not all. Laurie is also a painter!


Jeannine Hall Gailey

Field Guide to the End of the World is the winner of the 2015 Moon City Poetry Award and will be published in September.

Matthea Harvey, author of Modern Life, says this about the book:

Gailey allies herself with the mutants of the world—from zombie stripper clones to teen girl vampires—but unlike them, she is haunted by the possibility of the world and the self coming to an end.

Jeannine is one of my favorite poets in a city teeming with talented poets. This is Jeannine’s sixth book.


Sam Ligon

Wonderland—Stories from Lost Horse Press and Among the Dead and the Dreaming – A Novel from Leapfrog Press were both released this month. An abundance of riches.

Here’s what Steve Almond says about Wonderland:Wonderland-Cover-JPEG-1-674x1024

Sam Ligon has mastered the art of capturing the sweet derangement of love. His characters are drunk with desire and reckless in all the right ways, and his prose is incandescent, absurd, wickedly funny and, in the end, achingly true.

Northwest literary icon Jess Walter says this about Among the Dead and the Dreaming:

A wildly original love story, a ghost story, a tense and suspenseful story in which the wickedly talented Ligon channels voices—of the lost, the longing, and the damned.

Sam is the editor of Willow Springs and teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane. He’s the artistic director of the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference where I’ve taken some of his workshops. He’s a terrific teacher.


Maria Victoria

La Casa De Los Secretos will be published this summer by Planeta in Mexico.

Almost forty years ago, when I took Latin American and Spanish literature classes at the University of Washington, I read novels in Spanish. Of course, I did it with a dictionary at my side. Regretfully, whatever marginal skill in Spanish I had at the time has disappeared over the years. But for those of you with better reading fluency in Spanish, be sure to pick up Maria’s new novel. It is bound to be a winner like her previous novels. This description is from Maria’s website:

Her first novel, Los Hijos Del Mar (I Leave You The Sea, Ediciones B), was a finalist for the Mariposa Award (Best First Novel in Spanish) at the 2006 International Latino Book Awards in Washington, D.C. Her second novel, Más allá de la Justicia (Beyond Justice, Entre Líneas, Libros y Palabras) took third place in Barcelona, Spain, at the prestigious Premio Planeta de Novela book awards (2010), and honorary mention as the Best Novel in Spanish at the New York Latino Book Awards (2012).

Maria is originally from Vera Cruz, Mexico. She moved here as a teenager and now splits her time between Bellevue, WA and Petaluma, CA where her six charming grandchildren live.

And check out the new books from these Seattle7Writers: Sean Beaudoin, Deb Caletti, Jim Lynch, and Kevin O’Brien.