I’m going to the Philippines in November for the first time. It’s past time. The scenes in my first book When the de la Cruz Family Danced that were set in the Philippines were wholly imagined. They could’ve been based on first-hand experience if four decades ago I’d chosen differently When I finished college, my …

Continue reading

My hometown of National City, CA claims a modest but eclectic list of notables. The Return of the Killer Tomatoes, starring George Clooney, was filmed in National City. The serial killer Andrew Cunanan was born in National City. Olympic sprinter Gail Devers graduated from my high school, Sweetwater Union High, and Rosie Hamlin, lead singer …

Continue reading

There’s a great monthly reading series at Phinney Books called Dock Street Salon. It’s organized by Dane Bahr and Heather Jacobs of Dock Street Press, a boutique publishing house in Ballard. The press was founded by folks who believe that “a book is a piece of art.” Dock Street brings that same sensibility to the …

Continue reading

A “Las Vegas virgin” is what a fellow guest at The Flamingo called me when he learned that this was my first visit to Sin City. I had sidled along the hallway after depositing my bag in my room to avoid photobombing the selfie with his companion. They turned around and saw me and we …

Continue reading

The Whiteley Center is a retreat for scholarly and creative activities at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island. “It is a phrontistery – a space for study and thinking,” says the website. And it’s a space for writing, I would add, which I did plenty of during my recent week …

Continue reading

At Hedgebrook’s recent annual fundraiser called Equivox—equal voice—to support women’s stories as vehicles for change, I was again much moved by the sheer energy, goodwill, and, yes, love that this very special writing retreat inspires among alumnae and community supporters. This year I got to meet Hollis Wong-Wear, alumna of the Hedgebrook Songwriter’s Retreat, and …

Continue reading

This summer I’m going to the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference—again. I’ve been to others, all wonderful places, each offering its unique atmosphere and particular added attraction—a mountain to hike at Squaw Valley, readings held at wineries at Napa Valley, fierce bonding at VONA, a sense of history and celebrity at Bread Loaf, the D.H. Lawrence …

Continue reading