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!





My Mother

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Mom & Me

Some people provide us with life (my mom), some people provide us with a laughter so lovely (my mom) and a shoulder so ready to receive a good cry (my mom). Some people provide a haven for a person to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually (my mom.)

My mom is a beautiful being who declared while in college that she was going to work in education. She became a teacher, a special ed teacher for severely handicapped children, then a principal, then the only female school superintendent in California (at that time), then, after retiring, was elected to the local school board.

My mom has had a strong intention to work in education–to give her intelligence, her compassion, her love, to educate children. This has always been what she has navigated toward, and she has done so without bold stripes or loud declarations. My mom simply lives the life she wants to live, goes in the direction that aligns with what matters most to her, and all else gets very little attention (like negativity or naysayers). Again, she does not do this starkly or with blatant abandon, but rather with subtle confidence and striking self-reliance which is visible if you’re lucky enough to witness it, and astute enough to pay attention to it.

My mom taught me to honor my inner compass, to live compassionately and confidently. She is my best friend. She is beautiful inside and out and I am so grateful to be her daughter.

Happy Mother’s Day. Cheers to all of you who live life according to your intention, your inner compass, even on days when it’s difficult and/or you face opposition–whether from others or within your mind.

xo Isla

Women, Fabulous Women

As you know, I love writing about independent women who are doing interesting things. This is important to me, writing women with a strong, evolving point of view, and one of the many reasons I enjoy telling stories–I get to celebrate women being fabulous women.

In the book Pacific Passion, I adored writing about a budding female film director. We need more female film directors in the world and before we dismiss the past as locked with a giant men-only poster on the door, BFI compiled some photographs that celebrate female film directors of the past. 

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xo Isla

Women on Women

Why are women so hard on other women? And why that’s the wrong question to ask…

A woman recently voiced her opinion about a character I wrote that I found particularly interesting. She relayed it was hard to believe that a 24-year old woman could be as professionally successful as the character was. This has me wondering…pages of romance novels are filled with successful young men. Why not women? Why is that so unbelievable? Also this female character is wealthy and comes from a loving, hardworking, and successful family. I was told this also wasn’t believable.

I’ve had enough life experience to understand this perspective is not limited to a singular reviewer. Examples abound.

So why are we as a society quick to judge someone, particularly a woman, for living a life they love? We want success, we want affluence, we want careers that give us purpose and joy (if we so choose). So why do we find it unbelievable when someone does achieve this things?

As these questions bubble up, I realize I’m asking the wrong questions. Instead I find it more interesting to ask–what can we do as women to contribute to our collective greater good? What can I do as an individual to contribute positively to women who desire purpose and affluence–whatever that looks like? For some it may look like a woman who primarily focuses on raising a healthy, happy family. For others it may look like the top of a corporate ladder. So how can I, as one tiny person on the planet, contribute to a more positive perspective of female success?

I can celebrate women. I can celebrate women who are successful in whatever ways they are passionate about.

And I can write stories of women with these qualities. And if that doesn’t suit some, that’s okay too.There are plenty of books out there.

As a woman, I feel that it’s important to believe in another woman’s success–whether it’s a fictional character or a real-life character. And in the spirit of things, I celebrate that this woman who voiced her opinion of this character actually helped clarify my own intention, my own purpose, and my own success. And for that, I am grateful.