Weekend Update: Leaves & Loves

Last week, I was invited by a great publication to do an interview on what it means to be a romance writer who also supports equal rights for women (commonly labeled as a feminist). Sure! Love to! I’m honored!

On Saturday I started in on my responses and found myself fired up. As an autumn storm brought heaving gusts of wind that spun the gold, green, and brown leaves through the sky, I dove in and didn’t come up for air for hours.


Finally I surfaced, took stock of the fallen limbs, the smattering of raindrops on the deck, and was struck with a a bone-deep love for the fact that I’m a woman, a romance writer, and a woman who celebrates other women. What a time to be a woman. Truly.

Important issues in our culture that have been hiding in the shadows for decades–centuries!–are coming to light. Women are coming together, holding hands, and championing one another through difficult discussions (like sexual assault). Now, for clarity, I’m not talking about political affiliations; what it means to be a woman in our culture in this day and age, goes beyond the presidential election. I’m speaking simply about my own gratitude to be a woman surrounded by really awesome women doing really awesome things with their lives. (I love men too, but that’s another topic.) 🙂

On Sunday, the leaves continued to drift and spin and scatter, tree limbs kept falling on the deck, making me think a bird was trying to fly through the french doors, and the rain drizzled enough to coat everything–including my favorite heart-shaped grape leaves–with a nice dampness, but not enough to make true, foot-stomping puddles. I read over my interview responses, tweaked and refined a bit, then got to work on my current book, listening to the occasional gong from the wind-chimes.



The final moments of the weekend were rewarded with a glass of red wine and some homemade “kitchen sink” ramen–so satisfying on a cold evening. (Okay, maybe a cool evening. Yes, this is California in October, not New York in March.)

I hope everyone has a marvelous week!

xo Isla

PS- I’ll post a link to the article once it’s published!





A Weekend of Work & (Fast) Walks

It’s hot, stuffy hot, and raining ash. Animals–the deer and turkeys, birds and squirrels, raccoons and bears–are desperate for food and water. Our lovely, wonderful mountains of California are having a tough time and my heart breaks for the people who lost their homes to one of several fires over the weekend.

Red sunrise over smoke-rimmed mountains
Red sunrise over smoke-rimmed mountains

So while it would be easy to complain that the air is dreadful and dangerous, the heat instantly exhausting, I’d rather just be grateful to be in my favorite place on the planet: home.

Friends, neighbors, husbands, wives, and kids of friends go off to fight the fire and we’re so very grateful, knowing that they’re doing their best to save lives and homes.

As I’m sending love from my happy place–home in front of my computer writing with my puppy snuggled next to me–I’m glad to be productive. It’s been a weekend of work and super-duper quick walks so that puppy doesn’t go absolutely bananas. We both need our exercise but we get it in five minute treks given that the air is thick with falling ash.

Office manager hard at work
Office manager hard at work
Happy girl
Happy girl

This afternoon, we’ll pour cold micheladas and toast to the people of this amazing state working hard to keep us safe.

xo Isla

Nature…In Nature

We’ve had a bug man—whom we affectionately call Cowboy Bug Man given his long, long mustache and because he calls me “babe” and “sweetheart”—who has been tending to the abundance of creepy crawly things in and around the house. He tells us that, because we are in a major drought in California, and because we didn’t really experience much of a winter, the bugs are plentiful as frost, snow, and ice didn’t kill many of the crop off as usually would happen.

I explained this to Gigi so she would understand too. (Photo above)

Now, I don’t mind nature so much. In fact, I quite love it, especially after spending so many years living in cities like NY and SF where to go outside means to go out on the sidewalk where drunk frat boys dressed in santa costumes are passed out from the night before (true story).

And while sleeping drunken santas might be easier to deal with than spiders that descend from the ceiling a foot from my face Mission Impossible style, I still love living in the mountains of California.

Of course, that love is tested when, for example, over the weekend, the animals caught a lizard (or baby snake…couldn’t tell from it’s wiggling place in the cat’s mouth) and tried to bring it inside like a prize, my pup cornered several spiders, and…yep…just now I had to stop typing to go smash two plump carpenter ants.

It took a sturdy glass of scotch to wash away the heebie jeebies in order to sleep. (Photo #2 above)

By the way, we’ve just finished remodeling the home so it’s not like these bugs have been in the shadowy crevices for decades. I’ve only spent 3 nights in the new place!! I I should buy more bottles of scotch…

At the end of the day, when I have scotch in hand, I like nature. When it’s IN NATURE. Not in my house. 🙂

Happy Monday. May it be bug free.