Friday, August 25, 2017


What a month: August 13th I cycled a hundred miles for cancer research, August 16th I announced the re-release of my three novels, August 21st I observed a total solar eclipse.

My husband and I were invited to camp with friends at their nephew’s home in Camp Sherman, Oregon, a ranch at 3000 feet elevation in the Deschutes National Forest. Here at my Seattle desk, I can still smell the fragrant air: dry grass, wild flowers, ponderosa pines. And smoke.

We’d experienced two weeks of Canadian forest fire smoke in Seattle earlier in the month. Now we were again engulfed in smoke, this time from a fire only nine miles west of Sisters, Oregon. I found it unnerving. Camp Sherman is fifteen miles north of Sisters.
As we set up tents in a small meadow next to Canyon Creek in the late afternoon sun, I wasn’t mindful of the drop in temperature we’d later experience. That night when it fell to just above freezing, memories of childhood camping trips interrupted sleep: cold so intense feet became ice, head burrowed inside sleeping bag, condensation collecting. A thick woolen blanket from our hosts made the second night much more comfortable.

Sunday we hiked through burned snags and new growth, reminders of a forest fire fifteen years earlier. A terrible beauty. A wilderness restoring itself, the miracle of nature. My phone registered 9.1 miles, my blisters insisted more, but the eerie beauty made me oblivious to both until hours later.
We drove five and a half hours to Camp Sherman and thirteen hours to return to Seattle for one minute and forty-one seconds of magical magnificence. The sky darkened like winter dusk. The temperature dropped approximately twelve degrees. The moon crossed over the sun in perfect alignment leaving inky blackness surrounded by a glorious rim of fire. As it crossed in front of the sun, the craters of the moon allowed light to seek passage creating a spot of brilliance: a diamond ring.
Was it worth it? I’m asked. For me, those thirteen hours driving home were physically and mentally as tough as cycling a hundred miles the week prior. But was it worth it? Absolutely. It was more than a total solar eclipse. It was the generosity of our hosts, their family and friends, the communal meals, the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings. The totality of people, place, and natural phenomena made it a weekend I’ll never forget.  

What a month! And it’s not over yet …

Friday, August 18, 2017

UK Interview

I was recently interviewed by Fiona Mcvie for her blog authorsinterviews. I was surprised to learn she lives in Scotland, just outside of Glasgow. As I work on my latest memoir project, I find myself on a road trip with my friend, Judi, driving the picturesque Scottish countryside. Such sweet sad memories.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did:

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi Fiona! Thank you for inviting me to your blog. My name is Arleen Williams. I’m 62.

Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Seattle, Washington, USA. I lived in other places—California, Hawaii, Venezuela, and Mexico—before returning to Seattle. I now live not far from where my father grew up in West Seattle.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I grew up on a small farm outside of Seattle. I left home at seventeen, took ten years to complete a Bachelor’s degree and two years to earn a Master’s in Education from the University of Washington. I have spent the last thirty years teaching English as a Second to immigrants and refugees at a local college. My husband and I have lived in the same West Seattle home for the last twenty-seven years,where we raised our only daughter and watched the city change around us.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have big exciting news! A little over a year ago my publisher went out of business and my three novels and two memoirs found themselves homeless. I’m very happy to announce that my three novels—Running Secrets, Biking Uphill,and Walking Home—are again available in print and ebook formats on Amazon.

I’m still seeking a home for my memoirs—The Thirty-Ninth Victim and Moving Mom—but hope to have them available before year’s end.

I’m currently working on a third memoir that explores my years as an undocumented immigrant in Mexico City in the early 1980s.  Click here to READ MORE at Fiona's Blog!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Alki Trilogy is Back!

 Uplifting stories of cross-cultural, multi-generational friendships—and redemption

A year has passed since the publisher of The Alki Trilogy went out of business and my novels became unavailable. After endless months of waiting for another small press to re-release them, only to be told that it will publish Texan authors, exclusively, I decided to do it myself. 

Running Secrets, Biking Uphill and Walking Home are again available in both print and ebook format. Yeah! I've re-edited to (hopefully) catch all my errors missed in the first edition. Also, I’ve added Reading Group Questions to each novel. And best of all, I was able to lower the price: $13.99 print, $3.99 ebook, $13.99 + $0.99 for both!

Do you already have your own copies? Wonderful and thank you! Maybe you could mention them to anyone looking for a good read.

Do you know anyone who belongs to a book club? The Reading Group Questions stimulate great conversation making all three books provocative club selections.

Do you know anyone with an upcoming birthday? The Alki Trilogy might make the perfect gift!

Finally, writers need reviews. Reviews help sales. Sales mean more readers. More readers make writers happy. If you haven’t already done so, please consider writing a brief review on Amazon.

Just for fun ... the first three people to write a comment below and email me will receive a complete ebook collection of The Alki Trilogy!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Can You Do the Dutch Reach?

I call myself a cyclist, but I’m not a commuter, and frankly, I’m a mediocre distance rider at best. But I cycle the streets of Seattle several days a week until inclement weather pushes me into a gym. I love the exercise, the fresh air, the world I see when I’m not within the confines of a vehicle.

I’m lucky. I’ve only had one accident. It was my own fault. No cars, pedestrians or dogs involved. I pulled too hard on my front brake as I dropped about three inches from pavement to gravel and went head first over my handlebars. My helmet saved me from serious injury.

I know some drivers grumble about the sharrows, those shared lane pavement markings we have in Seattle. Why are they so far into the lanes of traffic? Why can’t cyclists stay on the shoulder? Why can’t cyclists just drive? 
I’ll ignore the last grumble. As to cycling on the shoulder, where they aren't used for parking, shoulders are often uneven, graveled or littered with broken glass—all dangers on a bike. Where shoulders are designated parking areas, a cyclist has to stay deep enough into the lane to allow space for the random door swung open without a mirror check.

There were over 800 bike deaths and 45,000 reported injuries in the U.S. in 2015.  In over a third of those accidents, a car hit a cyclist.

Do you know the Dutch Reach? How many accidents could we prevent if we all learned this simple technique? Can you take a moment and click on this short video?
Let's give it a try, make it second nature, tell all our friends. I'm a cyclist, but I'm also a driver. I sure don’t want to hit a cyclist and I doubt you do either.