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…

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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…

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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…

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There’s a new promo video about National City, California, the place where I grew up and about which I wrote an essay titled “Home is Where the Wart Is.” As you might imagine, my essay is at odds with a Visit National City tourism campaign. All soft focus with bouncy music and a honeyed voiceover,…

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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…

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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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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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