Friday, April 08, 2016

my short story "Sanfilippo Syndrome" is up at Change Seven Magazine

I'm delighted to have my short story "Sanfilippo Syndrome" published by Change Seven Magazine.  Go here to read the story.

This story came about because of a newspaper article I read about a family with an inherited degenerative disease. Accompanying the article was a photo of the mother, her young daughter, and younger son. The little boy was on his way to have gene therapy.  In the photo, the mother's dress swelled out and she looked pregnant. I thought a long time about the right way to tell this story, for it seemed to me to be a story about denial. Different flavors of denial, from each of the members of the family. The protagonist is deeply moral, but has limited agency. Pretty much all of her options are bad ones. I think you'll be able to tell which she chooses. I don't condemn or excuse her; I am transfixed by her dilemma.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My sestina "Isle Ronan" is up on the Elohi Gadugi Journal

Here's the main page.

Elohi Gadugi Journal.

Click on the Summer 2015 Issue, (Rivers) and then on Isle Ronan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Can't we talk about something more PLEASANT? by Roz Chast. A memoir.

Of course I have enjoyed Roz Chast's cartoons in the New Yorker for years, but this is the first time I've read one of her books. Wonderful, funny, tender, accurate, and heartbreaking, this is her memoir of her parents and their aging and death. It must have come up on some search I did for books on aging and dying, my two new subjects, and ones I used to avoid. Not any more.

What makes Roz Chast's book so enjoyable is her clear and honest and funny writing, and her marvelous drawings. She is honest about her feelings for her difficult mother and sometimes dotty father, telling the reader how she avoided talking with them about what they wanted when they were no longer able to live alone in their Brooklyn apartment. These are hard things to consider, for ourselves and for those we love. Denial is the first response, of course.

The odd thing is how fun a read this book is. Who knew? A funny book about aging and death! With cartoons!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas

I just finished reading Abigail Thomas' most recent memoir, What Comes Next and How to Like It. Amazing! True!

Of course, that's partly because Abby Thomas can write anything and it is riveting. But it is also because what she has to say about getting old and loving and living, well, it's the damn truth, boys and girls. I'm old too, and so I've been reading all these books about getting old, because that's what a dedicated reader does in a new situation. She reads. So I have been reading about the very process I am in. Getting old. Yup. I don't recommend it. Getting old. However, as the alternative is being dead, getting old begins to look pretty good, even on a bad day.

And now, here comes A. Thomas and her wonderful book. Oh yes, I've loved her other books. Especially Safekeeping, which I recommend to anyone who wants to know how to write a memoir. And oddly enough, I don't usually like memoir. Not the usual memoir, where the author had some kind of trouble but gosh and golly it's all better now. Hmmmpf, I say as I toss the book casually (but with pretty good aim for an old gal) onto the sofa, in case the dog might want to read it, because surely I do not.

What Comes Next and How to Like It filled me with joy and dread and love and excitement. The way a really good book does, when you find one. So I heartily suggest that you trot right out and get yourself a copy. Even if you aren't yet old. Because you never know, you might live long enough to need this book......

Monday, June 10, 2013

GLOSSOLALIA by David Jauss

A new collection of short stories by David Jauss is always a cause for celebration. Here's why. This is the opening line from "Brothers:"  "When my mother called to tell me how little time my brother had left, I decided to risk a run-in with Frances and go home to see him."

See what I mean? It looks so easy on the page, telling the reader what they need to hear, what will pull them into the story, letting the reader in on the big secret right away, so they are invested. But this kind of skill is hard, a combination of talent, luck, and steady work. Ah, the payoff is the great stories!

I've been lucky enough to have David as a workshop leader at the Orcas Island Writer's Workshop, and he is a fine teacher, as well as a delightful human being. So trot right out and order his new book of short stories from Press53 - Glossolalia.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Proof is in the Poodle

I think very highly of my dog's allergy veterinarian, Dr. Donna Kelleher. And now she has a new book out, The Proof is in the Poodle: One Veterinarian's Exploration into Healing. 

If you live in the greater Seattle area, you are lucky, because you can get your dog or cat or horse out to see Dr. Kelleher. If you live elsewhere, you can read her book, which is excellent.

Here's her bio, from the back of the book:
"Donna Kelleher, DVM, graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, and a member of the Veterinarian Botanical Medical Association, Dr. Donna uses chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition to heal dogs, cats, and rescued horses."

Dr. Donna Kelleher's website is

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I remember meeting Nicole when her first book came out in 1998. I was a buyer at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, and we were all pretty excited about Lost in Translation, which went on to win numerous prizes and do very well in sales for us, and for many other bookstores. I liked her first novel and I like this most recent novel even more, The Last Chinese Chef.
I found the characters believable, and the setting exotic. Not the kind of exotic that feels completely foreign, but the kind of exotic that feels like someplace I might want to visit, a place I might find felt like home. This is a rare and particular talent, sometimes evinced by travel writers, but not often by novelists.
Also, the book is about food. Glorious, scrumptious, heavenly food. Chinese food. Of course I was hungry, you had to ask? I had to make broccoli with fresh ginger and green curry, for heaven's sake.

Friday, July 13, 2012

CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw

CARRY THE ONE by Carol Anshaw is that most delicate and amazing of creations, a literary novel that has glue on the pages. Yes, it is not perfect. No, I no longer expect perfection from literature, or from any other part of my experience of the world, for that matter. But this novel is so satisfying and the characters are so real and compelling and flawed in all the right ways.

A big thing happens right near the beginning of the book, and then the characters have to deal with it. Or try not to deal with it. Roving close third person POV, one of my favorites, and the storyteller past tense, so there is nothing to get in the way of the dream. By this I mean the reader's dream, where I sit down and go into the book and then look up and Considerable Time Has Passed during which I should probably have been Accomplishing Something.  Ah! Lovely!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost, by Lan Samantha Chang

Rarely do I finish a novel and start to read it all over again, but that's what happened with All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang. It wasn't just that I was sorry the book was over, but that I was so engaged with the story, the characters, the narrative arc, that I wanted to experience it all over again.

And it is about writers. A real book about writers, instead of all the phony books and movies about writers. The author is Samantha Chang, who is the author of two previous books: Hunger and Inheritance, and the director of the Iowa Writers Workshop. I took a workshop at Stanford from her on the novel, and she was an excellent teacher.

This is a novel I will be thinking about for a long time. Sometimes when I read a particularly good book I feel intimidated. Not this time. Reading Sam Chang's novel makes me want to work on my own novel, makes me understand how wonderful the novel can be, shows me once again why writing is worthwhile.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BOOMTOWN now available

I have a short story in the anthology BOOMTOWN: Explosive Writing from Ten Years of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA Program.

My story is "The Evangeline," about the WWII rescue at Dunkirk told from the point of view of a woman boat captain. The Dunkirk rescue was in May, 1940, when British soldiers were stranded at the port of Dunkirk in Belgium. The British Admiralty called on everyone who had a boat to get out across the Channel and rescue the soldiers, and the amazing thing is how many did. There are many accounts of this, and many stories, and novels, among them The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico. Even now, I can't read about Dunkirk without weeping. I was waiting for the emotion to still before I started writing, when I realized that maybe that's now how I write. Maybe I write in the white hot center of the emotion. So I wept as I wrote, and I wept as I researched. (By the time I came to revise, I was dry-eyed, you will be glad to hear.)


Monday, April 18, 2011

Golf books for women

Yes, the rumors are true. I have taken up golf, or more accurately, golf has taken me over. Who knew it would be that enjoyable to smack a little white ball with a metal stick? So, of course, I've been reading up on golf. Here are the golfing for women books I like. I buy all that I can, whenever I am in a bookstore. That's right, I just march up and purchase every single golfing for women book I find. So now I have all three of them. Clearly, a need exists for more.

Golf Girl's Little Tartan Book: How to be true to your sex and get the most from the game, by Patricia Hannigan, amusing and useful, well-organized, suggests focus on short game is best strategy for most women, clearly true for me, as I'm not going to be a power hitter in this, or any other sport.

A Girl's On-Course Survival Guide to Golf, by Christina Ricci, spiral bound, designed to fit in the golf bag, and be hauled out when confronted with particular problem on the links.

The Women's Guide to Golf: A Handbook for Beginners, by Kellie Stenzel, simply the best place to start.

And although by a man, very important bedside reading, Golf Without Tears: stories of golfers and lovers, by P.G. Wodehouse, helps to keep the maddening qualities of golf in perspective.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

British animal voiceovers

This made the rainy morning all the more pleasant.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

book trailer for Midge Raymond & John Yunker

This is a hoot! Oh, and their books are good too!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Submishmash is a web-based submission system that is getting quite a good bit of buzz.

From the interview with one of the founders of Submishmash:
"So slowly it became clear we should focus on publishers, not writers. If we could solve a problem for independent publishers, then their writers would do well. If publishers had more time and money, then writers would. The present version of Submishmash came from that."


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Help is here

Sometimes we just need a little help....


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ron Butler's Obama in the manner of Gilbert & Sullivan

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Artist Trust EDGE Program for Writers - applications due Dec 6th

I was delighted to be part of the 2010 Artist Trust EDGE program for writers, and I cannot say enough good things about the program. This is all the business side of writing that never (or rarely) gets covered in MFA programs, or other classes. Artist Trust has been doing professional development programs for visual artists for quite a few years, added filmmakers recently, and then expanded to writers in 2009.

For an application, go here.

"Literary artists who reside in Washington State are encouraged to apply to participate in the 2011 EDGE Professional Development Program for Writers, made possible by generous funding from

The EDGE Program provides artists with a comprehensive survey of professional practices through a hands-on, interactive curriculum that includes instruction by professionals in the field, as well as specialized presentations, panel discussions and assignments. The EDGE Program focuses on supplying artists with the relevant and necessary entrepreneurial skills to achieve their personal career goals and with the opportunity to develop peer support and exchange.

The EDGE Program for Writers is open to emerging or mid-career writers of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Applicants must be residents of Washington State but cannot be students enrolled in a graduate- or undergraduate-degree program. Applicants must commit to completing the entire 50-hour program."

Contact: Nirmala Singh-Brinkman, Program Manager; 206/467-8734 x20; toll free 1/866/218-7878


Thursday, October 28, 2010

rain gardens

The city of Seattle is getting behind rain gardens in the outer Ballard neighborhood, and with any luck, will continue to support them in the rest of the city.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Opera Company of Philadelphia "Flash Brindisi" at Reading Terminal Market (April 24, 2010)

I particularly like the delighted faces of the onlookers, as they realize what is happening. This is the way to grow an opera audience.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900

Oscar Wilde, the great dramatist and poet, died in a shabby hotel room in Paris.
Reputedly his last words were, "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Andrew Bienkowski & Mary Akers on the radio June 30th

Andrew Bienkowski and my pal Mary Akers will be doing a radio interview on Wednesday, June 30th, for their fine book One Life to Give: A Path to Finding Yourself by Helping Others.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I'm teaching this Saturday, June 5, at the Hugo House Write-O-Rama

I'm teaching at the Hugo House Write-O-Rama this Saturday, June 5th. A full day of writing workshops, $50 for the whole day, 10am to 5pm. The lineup of other teachers includes Wendy Call, Midge Raymond, Ann Teplick, Dickey Nesenger, Roberta Brown Root, and Judith Roche.

Details and registration at Write-O-Rama.

Postcard Secrets with Linera Lucas

This is a three-part exercise. The first part is to write as the person who sent the postcard. The second is to write as the person who received the postcard. The third part is a secret, to be revealed only in the workshop.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Roy Zimmerman at Phinney Ridge Saturday, May 8, 7:30pm

I heard Roy Zimmerman last night at Kenyon Hall, and laughed so much I actually slapped my thigh. The woman next to me laughed and cried. This is political satire at its best. Zimmerman is the heir to the crown of Tom Lehrer.

Roy Zimmerman: Real American
Saturday, May 8 7:30 PM
Phinney Neighborhood Center
6532 Phinney Ave
Seattle, WA

from Seattle Folklore Society site:
"Ever wonder who was the composer/lyricist behind that hysterical Colbert Report skit? Who was that fabulous voice Amy Goodman played between guests? That featured blogger for the Huffington Post? It was Roy Zimmerman. Just check out his videos on You Tube...Roy has been actively touring the country for 20 years, producing numerous recordings, countless YouTube videos and a host of satisfied listeners. He’s even better in person!"


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hugo House class Saturday, May 15, 1-5 pm

I'll be teaching a one day class at Hugo House on Saturday, May 15, 1-5 pm.

Reading Like A Writer (a reading class)

As readers, we want to know why we let dinner burn while we turned the pages of one book, but left another unfinished. As writers, we want to know how to effectively steal the shiny bits. For both readers and writers the key is in understanding how to read like a writer. In-class readings will be from contemporary and classic masterworks.

Instructor: Linera Lucas
Meets: Saturday, May 15, 2010
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Min: 5 Max: 15
General: $96
Members: $86.40

Sign up online for spring classes here, or call Hugo House at 206.322.7030.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

UW spring quarter class May 3 - May 24

My spring quarter class through the UW Women's Center runs from May 3 - May 24, 2010, four Mondays, 7-8:30 pm, $45.

You can register online here,
or call the Women's Center at 206.685.1090.

Writing Your Story, Finding Your Voice
Every woman has a story to tell, in her own voice. In this four-week session we will release our stories, silence our inner critics, and have a good time! Come prepared with pen and paper, your imagination, your fears and joys, your secret expectations. We will focus on short pieces of prose and poetry, using lively free-writing exercises. For those new to writing, and those who want to revisit the freedom of the beginner.