Monday, June 30, 2014


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thank You!

Meet Sonja Baron of Barnes & Noble - Issaquah!

Many thanks to her and Laura Sylvia for their warm welcome yesterday.

And hearty thank you to all the wonderful folks who stopped by my signing table to chat.

I was especially pleased to visit with a gal I first met at Issaquah Elementary School a very long time ago! Meet Ginny Shinn. She came by after a baseball game just to say hello. How great is that?!

Friday, June 20, 2014


I grew up in a time when everybody's farm was referred to as a "place" and Pickering Place was just that, a large, stinky dairy farm. Now much of the farmland of my childhood is gone and Pickering Place is an upscale suburban shopping mall anchored by a multiplex cinema, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and a big red barn used for weddings and the like.
On my cynical days, I hear Joni Mitchell's crystal voice singing Big Yellow Taxi. Still, Issaquah claims a special spot in my heart, and Main Street, Gilman Village, and yes, even Pickering Place, hold much of the charm I remember.

I hope you'll join me at Pickering Place for my homecoming!

Pickering Place
1530 11th Avenue NW
Issaquah, WA 98027
Saturday, June 28 @ Noon

Monday, June 16, 2014

When 59 is 60

That's a rain-soaked bike computer you're seeing. It reads 0.0 mph because I was stopped. (I really wouldn't take a photo while riding in the rain at dusk.) The next number tells time in the saddle: 4 hours 43 minutes. Yes, that's 59.65 miles at 7:54 p.m. (it was really 8:54 p.m. but I never reset the clock for daylight savings time).

We were drenched and tired when we climbed into the car. As I blasted the heat, I told my riding partner, May Toy Lukens, our mileage.

"Shoot," she said. "We should've ridden around the block."

"In this rain? Not a chance."

But I admitted I'd had the same thought. 60.0 would've been so much more rewarding than 59.65.

We'd just completed the Centennial Trail round-trip between Snohomish and Arlington, WA. A Rails-to-Trails Conservancy trail, the Centennial is a beauty of a ride. Flat and fast through Pacific Northwest forest and farmland.
Centennial Trail built over old railroad trestle
You've got to love an organization with a mission like this:

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.

We started in Snohomish and ended the 30-mile ride at Nakashima Barn, built in 1908. Then we returned. An hour or so from our start point, the rain caught us and I learned just how not-waterproof my vibrant green biking jacket really is.

Nakashima Barn, 1908
And how am I feeling this morning, you may ask. Tired, a few sore muscles, and immensely pleased about reaching 60 miles (almost). The first day of RSVP will be 106 miles, the second 82. With two more months of training, I just might be able to do it. I know May will!
May Toy Lukens after 59.65 miles!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Synchronicity or Subconscious?

At a recent reading someone asked if my decision to tackle RSVP, the 188-mile bike ride from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada, was linked to my recently released novel titled, Biking Uphill. All I could think to reply was that I wish I had the marketing savvy to come up with such a clever idea.

Reality is far less interesting. The truth is, I've carried Antonia's story for a very long time. I finally began research in 2007 and started writing what I then called Carolyn & Antonia in early 2012.  

While I've always done some biking, I was never a distance rider or a bike commuter. Summer 2012 friends invited me to train for RSVP with them. I was too late to register, but I rode more that summer than ever before. My friends completed RSVP without me, and I ended the summer flying over my handlebars on a solo ride. 
A rest stop with Luna Girls by artist Lezlie Jane on the West Seattle waterfront.
When summer 2013 rolled around, my friends decided they were done with distance riding. I was without a training partner and the intensity of my weekly rides waned. That same summer, on a camping trip in August 2013, I received a contract offer from Booktrope Publishing for The Alki Trilogy.

As I shared in Biking ... Insanity? a few weeks back, I now have a new training partner. May and I are registered and clocking miles in preparation for the August 15-16 ride.

So, all I can say is this. I was never consciously aware of a connection between Biking Uphill and my own biking. As writers, we write what we know, and I suppose my life and the life of my characters crossed paths without my permission.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Thank You Third Place Books!

A gorgeous spring Saturday evening in Seattle made for a small group at Third Place Books, but that didn't stop us from having a good time.

Many thanks to all for the hardy welcome and interesting conversation.

And seeing my book in the stacks made it just that much better!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Save the Date!

I am very pleased to announce the release of my second novel, BIKING UPHILL, from Booktrope Publishing. I hope you will mark your calendars for Sunday, July 13th and join me at 3 p.m. to celebrate a dream come true.
You see, like Chris Stevens in RUNNING SECRETS, Elliott Bay Book Company has always been a special place to me. And though I will not be walking down the old spiral stairs of the original book shop, I'll still be reading at ELLIOTT BAY!!! To this Seattle writer, not much can top that!
Sunday, July 13 @ 3:00 p.m.

Please spread the word!
If you'd like to be part of my Launch Team, please contact me at

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What's Your Third Place?

Are you, or anyone you know, in the Seattle area? I'll be doing my last scheduled RUNNING SECRETS reading at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park this coming Saturday and would love to meet you there!

Saturday, June 7
6:30 p.m.

1717 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

Monday, June 2, 2014

Biking ... Insanity?

It must have been mid-winter. May Lukens and I were at a colleague's birthday party when she mentioned our own upcoming (BIG) birthdays. We're both turning 60 this autumn. She wanted to commemorate her special day. I needed a cycling partner. The RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Portland and Party) is a 188-mile ride sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club every August. I wanted to do it, but not alone. 

"So let's do RSVP," I said. "It's only a few months before our birthdays."

I'm not sure if it was the gin martinis talking, but we agreed to train and do RSVP together. When registration opened, we each plopped down our two hundred dollars - a buck a mile and then some. We were committed.

In early January I figured I better start exercising, so I signed up for an in-door cycling class at Cycle University in West Seattle. I was the mom in the room. But my teachers, Jeff Neubert and Craig Undem, as well as my classmates urged me on. I built some strength, learned about cadence, and ventured into the world of pedal clips and vivid Lycra.

Bike in Office
When National Bike Month (that would be May) rolled around, I decided it was time to take my bike outside, and I joined a campus Bike to Work team. I'm pleased to announce I only fell once with my new pedal clips and logged 130 miles for my team. Not record-breaking, but it was a start to my outdoor training.

On Memorial Day, May and I did our first ride together. Last Saturday I did my first group ride. Cascade Bicycle Club volunteers lead a number of rides in the Seattle area. The rides are rated by distance, pace, and terrain. This one was listed as 45 miles, steady pace (meaning 12-14 mph) with some hills.

I'll admit I didn't jump at it. We'd only done 35 miles the week before and it was just the two of us. I didn't know how to negotiate speed and distance in a group. Still, how was I going to get stronger? How would I do 200 in two days, if I was wimping out about 45?

So I said yes.
The Fearless Seven
We met our ride leader, Jeff Stewart, and four other riders at Terminal 91 on the Seattle waterfront. A group of seven, we headed south along the water, through downtown and straight up Yesler hill. That was the first time I was tempted to get off the damn bike and throw it in front of the next Metro bus storming past me. And I'll admit it wasn't the only time the thought zipped through my mind during that "some hills" ride.

On a positive note, the weather was gorgeous and the group was fun. We rode to Curt Cobain's home and visited Jimi Hendrix's gravesite. After cruising through Renton, we rode around the south end of Lake Washington and then north along the east shore before crossing the Interstate 90 floating bridge over Mercer Island and returning to Terminal 91.
 I reached home sunburned, exhausted, and determined to replace my fat mountain bike tires with a pair of sleek road tires, strip  off all excess weight (i.e. rack, trunk pack, lock), and get the thing tuned up so the gears shift smoothly.

This week we grow to back-to-back centuries (that's 50 miles in bike talk). I'll let you know how it goes!