When we’re wishing hard for something, we feel that the universe can grant only so many wishes, that one must prioritize, perhaps weigh the greater good against the personal gain. During Super Bowl Week earlier this year my family, like so many others in Seattle, was caught up in Seahawks Fever. Who doesn’t like a…

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Some might consider a young woman traveling alone independent and adventurous. Some might consider her bilingualism an asset. Apparently, though, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers consider both of these suspicious. And if the young woman fits the physical profile of a Latina, then that’s a problem, too. My older daughter has her father’s…

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For a couple of hours one warm September afternoon in 2011, I had the sublime pleasure of watching a quartet of lithe and polished dancers perform a bolero, which was expertly captured by a filmmaker to create the book trailer for my novel. Now three Septembers later, a memorial will take place this week to…

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It was a fun year for me. I saw old friends and met new ones. I learned new things. I got older and, if not wiser, maybe more reflective. Here are my thanks to some of the people and places that made the year memorable. San Francisco – April Thanks to Heyday Books for including…

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This year Hedgebrook, the writing retreat for women on Whidbey Island, celebrates 25 years of nurturing women writers. It’s the year of the alumnae, with former residents returning for one or two-week stays to reconnect with the place, the staff, and each other. And they come to write. Because that’s what happens at Hedgebrook. The…

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Most summers I attend a writers conference. I want to be inspired by other writers, meet new people, and learn from an established writer whose work I admire and who has a reputation for being a good teacher. This summer I especially wanted an atmosphere that was serious, but not intense, a vibe that was…

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Impatience, hope, despair, rage, fear, acceptance. Path to self-destruction? Guests at a pity party? No. They are states of mind of the writer and they were lived and witnessed during the course of an uplifting, inspirational three-day writing salon for women called Vortext, held May 31-June 2. Created by Hedgebrook, the writing retreat for women…

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It’s been nearly two years since my novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced was published, so more than ever it’s a delight to discover readers, especially when they are practically in your own figurative backyard. Having lived in Seattle for thirty-six years, I’d heard of Indianola, but had only a vague idea of…

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Getting one’s writing published can be an exercise in both perseverance and masochism. Most of us have experienced both seemingly endless strings of rejections and mercifully short ones. This is a story of the latter. Two rejections indirectly led to my essay “Home is Where the Wart Is” being included in New California Writing 2013,…

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Wendy Call, author of No Word for Welcome (winner of the Grub Street 2011 National Book Prize in Non-Fiction), tagged me in the Internet chain game in which writers answer a set of questions about their next writing project. You can read Wendy’s lovely responses here. Her next book promises to be a lush and…

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