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This is my donation to a grass-roots movement to help a beautiful friend & neighbor in her battle against cancer. Learn more about this insane swim-around-the-island, and see photos by Pete Saloutos here:

PLEASE say you’ll join in the fun. We need you, all of you, near and far! The Novel: Live! is about to launch:

T-shirts now available! All profits benefit the good works of
Link to buy:

Now taking suggestions for The Novel: Live! You are cordially invited to send in any ideas for plot, character, setting . . . anything at all! We will seriously consider each and every suggestion. Send all suggestions to: suggestions, or take in person to Queen Anne Books in Seattle.

Kick-off Party next Sunday, Oct. 10 6pm at Elliott Bay Books! All welcome! Drinks! Music! T-shirts! and Nancy Pearl auctioning off naming rights for the protagonist, love interest, murder victim, and pet! More public brainstorming! All fun and for a good cause, Writers in the Schools.

REALLY. Check it out:

You will NOT believe what I’ve signed up to do. Come see us in Seattle this October:

So Lakeshore Christmas is all about saving the library. In fictional Avalon, finances are tight and hard choices have to be made. One of the most painful cuts that has to be made is to the library. The citizens pull out all the stops to keep their library open.

Be an angel - save the library

Be an angel - save the library

Then I was getting dinner tonight when this story came on the air. In order to keep from closing, the children and citizens of Roy have mounted a grassroots campaign to save their library.

The book is fiction but the problem is all too real, and being played out across the country. I put my money where my mouth is, and sent my check (plus copies of the book and audio CD) right away.

Every little bit helps. If you can spare anything at all, please make your check out to Roy Friends of the Library. Here’s the address. Thank you!

Roy Friends of the Library
PO Box 700
Roy, Washington 98580

I’m loving this review from RT. Thanks RT! Lakeshore Christmas final front2

by Susan Wiggs

RT Rating: ****½
Publisher: MIRA
Published: October 2009
Type: Contemporary Romance

Combining sentiment with sarcasm and sweetness with spice, Wiggs concocts a terrifically tasty holiday confection sure to be enjoyed by fans and new readers alike. A keeper.

Summary: Librarian Maureen Davenport has been involved with Avalon’s holiday pageant for most of her life. This year, she’s in charge — and she intends to make it memorable. But her co-director, ex-child star Eddie Haven, doesn’t share Maureen’s vision. His biggest claim to fame is a well-loved Christmas movie, which is ironic, since he hates the holiday and everything associated with it.

Once she gets to know Eddie, Maureen swears she’ll change that, but he’s a tough sell. Against the odds, the two wind up together … but it’s certain to end in disaster, because the one thing Maureen and Eddie have in common is terrible luck when it comes to matters of the heart. Unless a Christmas miracle happens, that is! (MIRA, Oct., 384 pp., $21.95) MILD

—Catherine Witmer

The water’s only 56 degrees F and the current is swift…so what are these people doing?

gorgeous photo by the incomparable Pete Saloutos:

It’s a fundraiser to help a friend in need. 🙂

well-written recipes

well-written recipes

As if my roundup of romance wasn’t enough, here’s something else to tempt you:

Local, national authors dish up their favorite recipes

By Mary Ann Gwinn

Seattle Times book editor

At my book club, things always go better with food. Amateur critics may disagree; politics has been known to trump the chosen title as the matter under discussion. But a good dinner or a sublime dessert grounds the clash of ideas in the comfort of animal appetites.

A new local cookbook combines the world of food and books: “Literary Feast: The Famous Authors Cookbook” has just been issued by the King County Library System Foundation. Compiled and edited by Terry J. LaBrue, with a foreword by local chef/author Greg Atkinson, this compendium may ease your way as you contemplate what to serve for your next literary gathering.

Though the book largely focuses on Northwest authors, it includes some A-list national writers and their recipes: Arthur Agatston, M.D. (Mr. South Beach Diet); the mystery-writing spousal unit Faye and Jonathan Kellerman. Jacquelyn Mitchard! Alice Waters! Alexander McCall Smith’s recipe for Mma Potokwani’s Fruit Cake!

Contributions by area authors seem to fall into two categories: complicated and simple. This feeds my theory that authors, like other creative types, either throw themselves into cooking (if they love it) or consider it time wasted (if they don’t).

In the “complicated” category falls science-fiction author Greg Bear’s recipe for Chicken Mole Poblano, which actually appears to be his wife Astrid Bear’s creation. Bear describes this dish as “mouthwatering” and says he and his spouse serve it each year at their home to celebrate the annual Clarion West workshop for budding science-fiction writers.

Also complicated is Seattle author Garth Stein’s recipe for Clams with Sausage, Beans and Pasta, which makes sense, since Stein managed to craft a best-seller with a dog as a narrator (“The Art of Racing in the Rain”).

“This recipe evolved from a simple cannellini bean and garlic side dish I used to make for my wife when we were first married,” he writes. “Later, I added more stock, Parmesan and some escarole, and it became a soup. And finally, I got to this form after I saw someone cook clams and sausages together on TV — I didn’t know that was possible!” Stein appears to be what my long-ago psychology professor called a “divergent thinker.”

But the most useful recipes may be the simplest, the ones in which writers create fuel to keep on writing. Kit Bakke, author of “Miss Alcott’s E-Mail,” contributes Real Graham Crackers, because Louisa May Alcott’s family probably ate them. Children’s author Brenda Z. Guiberson’s recipe for “Writer’s Almost Nonstop Soup” is what it says — a nourishing soup, always on the stove, so you can keep on writing.

And my favorite: Portland author Chelsea Cain’s recipe for Pizza à la Chelsea Cain:

1 healthy cup laziness

The telephone number of your local fine pizza establishment

Approximately $25, with tip

Salt and pepper (to taste).

You know where this is going.

“Literary Feast: The Famous Authors Cookbook” can be ordered at; you can find it at bookstores later this summer. Proceeds go to local literacy and lifelong-learning programs.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or Mary Ann Gwinn appears on Classical KING-FM’s Arts Channel at http://www.king.orpages/4216533.php

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company. Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or with your request.

My contribution–inexplicably not mentioned in the otherwise-terrific review–originated right here on this blogRosemary Olive Oil Cake. I’m thinking it falls in the “simple” category. It’s fabulous. I just had a note from my friend Stephanie, who adapted it for Weight Watchers.

What about you? Do you like to cook “simple” or “complicated”? Post links to your fave recipes below!

I got to be a judge at WagFest this year. How fun is that?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Wagfest! Everyone’s a winner!“, posted with vodpod


What’s a WagFest?
WagFest is a fun way to help raise money for special PAWS programs, specifically two new initiatives — PAWS Dog Adoption Days and the PAWS Visiting Therapy Dog program. WagFest is also a celebration of all things dog and great fun for families and their pets!

It is also a shining moment of wish-fulfillment for yrs truly. Why? Because I get to be a celebrity judge at the costume contest. My fellow judges are Rep. Sherry Appleton and famous pet painter, Cynthia Dice. I kid you not. I intend to take my duties very seriously. Barkis is counting on me. I need your advice. What does a celebrity judge wear???

In addition to a 1.5-mile fundraising walk, this benefit event will feature all sorts of doggie demonstrations, activities, vendors, and contests — watch this space for schedules and descriptions as the event draws nearer.

What Will I Do There?

Kid’s Activities
K9 Freestyle Dancing
Microchip Clinic
Flyball Demo
1.5 Mile Dog Walk
Rally Obedience Demo
Costume Contest
Canine Good Citizen Test
Educational Demos
Photo/Costume Booth
Talent Contest

To join in, see below. To donate to save the animals, go here.

The Microchip clinic will be from 10am – 1pm. $20.00 fee. Why Microchip your pet? Over 127,000 lost pets have been reunited with their owners thanks to microchipping. No method is perfect, but more identification dramatically increases the odds of finding a lost companion.

Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program
The CGC is a certification program designed to reward dogs that have good manners at home and in the community.  All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.  If your dog can pass the CGC test, you are only 4 exercises away from having a certified Therapy Dog! Read more….

A Canine Good Citizen test will be held at WagFest at 11:00.  If you are interested in participating in the test, please contact Judith Bell of BeauJes Dog Training at 360-797-7979 or We only have room to test 20 dogs at the WagFest so sign up now!

Driving Directions and Parking
Directions –
From Highway 305, turn west onto Koura Road, then south (left) on Miller Road. Turn west (right) onto Tolo Road and then turn north (right) on Battle Point Drive. The park will be on your right.
View a Google map of Battle Point Park (11299 Arrow Point Dr NE, Bainbridge Island, WA)
Parking – Please enter Battle Point Park from the west along Battle Point Road. Follow the road to the eastern side of the park, near the community garden. Parking attendants will indicate where to park.

Flyball Demo

The Cascade Comets will perform at
WagFest at 1 p.m.
K9 Freestyle Dancing

See the Emerald City K9 Freestyle Dancers at WagFest.

See more of the Cascade Comets on YouTube.

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