Left Coast Writers® Bonnie Portnoy – The Man Beneath the Paint (Corte Madera Store) đź—“

Please join us for a reading by Bonnie Portnoy from her book, THE MAN BENEATH THE PAINT, and a Q&A hosted by Book Passage for this event organized by the Left Coast Writers.

SATURDAY, May 11th, 2024   2:00pm 

Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||

The untold, multifaceted story of one of the most adventurous and prolific landscape painters of the American West.

Bonnie Portnoy explores the life and work of California Impressionist Tilden Daken (1876–1935), famous in his day, painted in every California state park and national park in the West—from the redwood forests to the High Sierra—and beneath the Pacific Ocean in a custom-built diving bell. In The Man Beneath the Paint, Bonnie Portnoy, Daken’s granddaughter, has deftly defined his indomitable spirit, audacious exploits, insatiable curiosity, and endlessly colorful life during the era of California Impressionism—from the early 1900s to the onset of the Great Depression. A close friend of writer Jack London, Daken lost his home and studio in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake, got caught up in the Mexican Revolution, and participated in the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. A portrait of perpetual motion, he ventured on art expeditions to Mexico, Baja, Hawaii, and the South Seas; spoke out against the oncoming forces of modern art; socialized with many famous personalities of his era; and demonstrated his sensory synesthesia to the Hollywood crowd, painting to music in the “key of red.” Notwithstanding his wanderings, frequent relocations, and persistent self-promotion, he painted constantly and with passion. His legacy lives on, thanks to the thousands of canvases he painted of California’s stunning scenery more than a century ago.

“Tilden Daken lived during a golden age when artists, writers, and scientists championed the protection of landscapes that today are precious state, national, and regional parks. His works are a very personal expression of the life of a man who was a tireless adventurer and infectious painter. Bonnie Portnoy reveals the man and brings to us the world through his eyes and imagination. Her book is beautiful and inspiring. We owe a debt of thanks to her for her passion to see this through and to Tilden Daken as well for bringing these images to the world at a moment in history when the public voices first began to influence the preservation of these lands for all to enjoy.”

—Armando Quintero, Director, California State Parks.

Quintero leads the largest state park system in the country. He has served as a national park ranger, California Water Commission member, executive director of the UC Merced Sierra Nevada Research Institute, and elected member of the Marin Water Board and various cultural, parks, and volunteer organizations.

“Bonnie Portnoy is not hesitant to reveal family secrets. Alternating between biography and background history, she keeps the reader turning pages. Tilden Daken is revealed as a fascinating raconteur who pursued his own version of representational landscape painting. The Man Beneath the Paint is well-documented with footnotes and enhanced with family photos and many color illustrations of Daken’s paintings. It is a welcome addition to the ever-growing body of literature on California’s historic artists.”

—Nancy Dustin Wall Moure California art historian, prolific author, former curator for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and recipient of the 2022 Wendt Award from Laguna Art Museum.


Bonnie Portnoy lives just a few miles north of the enchanting Arts and Crafts house Tilden Daken built in Mill Valley, California, in the 1920s—unbeknownst to her until she launched the Tilden Daken Legacy Project to unearth the mysteries about the grandfather she never knew. Through the project, she made invaluable connections with art historians, museum curators, gallery owners, and avid collectors who helped her flesh out Daken’s long-lost story. In addition to family lore, she mined hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, exhibit catalogs, personal letters, autobiographical short stories penned by the artist, and much more. Portnoy, a former merchandising and marketing executive at several San Francisco-based retail firms, lectures frequently about Daken at a wide variety of public and private venues.

Bonnie Portnoy- photo credit – author.

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Left Coast Writers Book Launch: Unswerving by Barbara Ridley đź—“


Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||

PREPARE TO BE INSPIRED … A story of courage, resilience, and love, Unswerving challenges readers’ preconceived notions of disability, of limitations, and of the inevitability of fate.

When Tave wakes up alone in the hospital, she barely remembers the car wreck. Far from home, dazed, and despondent, she struggles to face the challenges of her new paralysis—all while worrying about her partner, Les, also severely injured in the accident, now cared for by her homophobic parents who refuse to allow contact.

In rehab, Tave relearns life skills and comes to recognize that her future will be completely different than she’d imagined. Where will she live? How will she find the help she needs? Can her friends rise to the occasion? Or will she be forced to move back in with her mother, putting up with endless talk of faith healers? Her one beacon of hope is Beth, her physical therapist. But Beth’s relationship problems with her own girlfriend push her toward overinvolvement—and risk damaging both her career and Tave’s recovery.

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LCW Reads: An Elephant Ate My Arm by Laurie McAndish King đź—“

Laurie McAndish King

LCW Reads: An Elephant Ate My Arm by Laurie McAndish King
Book Passage, Corte Madera
Saturday, June 12th 2pm

Left Coast Writers At Book Passage
That’s right: at Book Passage in Corte Madera, outside on the patio, for the first on-site event of the year.

Left Coast Writers® at Book Passage is pleased to present the latest book by Laurie McAndish King, An Elephant Ate My Arm: More True Stories from a Curious Traveler.

The third book in a series that includes Lost, Kidnapped and Eaten Alive and Your Crocodile Has Arrived this new collection of travel tales is far ranging, exciting, and often hilarious. Laurie’s reading will be accompanied by wine, snacks and Cuban salsa music (possibly dance lessons, too).

“Halfway through An Elephant Ate My Arm, King describes her own method: ‘I had a nose for weirdness.’ Indeed, King finds weirdness and wonderfulness all over the world, and she describes both with verve and humor. But something else is at play here: a willingness to explore not just the outer world, but the inner one, too. To this personal journey she brings understated grace.”
—Constance Hale, Journalist, travel writer, and author of Sin and Syntax

PS: Please order your copy of An Elephant Ate My Arm from Book Passage in advance to ensure availability. Call 415 927 0960

To join Left Coast Writers go to: https://www.bookpassage.com/salon-registration/left-coast-writers-registration

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Left Coast Writers Zoom Wandering in Greece: Athens, Islands and Antiquities đź—“

Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Linda & Joanna

Thursday, March 18, 2021 ON ZOOM

Wandering in Greece
Wandering in Greece

Please join us on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 5PM PST for an online book event featuring the 8th anthology of award winning travel writing from Wanderland Writers: WANDERING IN GREECE: ATHENS, ISLANDS AND ANTIQUITIES with editors Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar and some of their contributors.

Once again workshop leaders Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar take Wanderland Writers on another adventure —this time to Greece to wander amid its islands, its rocky shores, and upon those wine-dark seas of legend and lore where they discover how travelers who come to Greece as seekers find not only Greece, but, as Lawrence Durrell once wrote, themselves—and generally so much more—on the journey.

Stone, marble, mountain, sea and sky framed by endless blue—these are the elemental foundations of Greece, just as Greece is the elemental foundation of Western Civilization. For thousands of years Greece and its culture, philosophy, politics and spirit has inspired and influenced the lives of generations. In Wandering in Greece, this talented and inquisitive group of writers has captured some of the joy, warmth, grace, and wisdom of Greece and its people. These stories, poems and images will remind a whole new group of travelers that a visit is a must, and those who have already ventured in Greece that they have to return. 

—Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis, ret., Lt. Governor of California

Contributors include Daphne Beyers, Joanna Biggar, Sandra Bracken, Connie Burke, Barbara J. Euser, Annelize Goedbloed, Thomas Harrell, Donna Hemmila, Laurie McAndish King, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Gayle McGill, Mary Jean Pramik, and Anne Sigmon.

For more information go to www.wanderlandwriters.com

Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Joanna Biggar have floated down the Canal du Midi in France, danced in the sunlight of southern Greece, toasted the best of times in Ireland, devoured the culture and countryside of southern Italy, wandered through landscapes lost and found in Costa Rica, investigated the myths and magic of Cornwall, uncovered the soul of Andalusia, partied in Paris, basked in the magic of Cuba and explored the Indonesian island that is known as an earthly Paradise in their award-winning series. In each destination, they eat and drink, laugh and get lost, explore and expound with their merry band of travel writers. And they always return with a varied collection of tales, some mystical, some inspiring, some funny, some terrifying—each told in a different, highly personal voice.

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Left Coast Writers Book Event: The Encampment by Stephen Davenport đź—“

LCW Book Event: The Encampment by Stephen Davenport

Stephen Davenport
Stephen Davenport

Please join us at 6pm on March 5th for a Left Coast Writers Zoom Event celebrating Stephen Davenport’s latest book, The Encampment, chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a Best Indie Book of 2020.

In this third installment of Davenport’s Miss Oliver’s series, which centers around the choices made by privileged girls at a prestigious boarding school, two young women who encounter a homeless man on the school grounds are confronted with the need to choose between doing the correct thing and the right thing, the latter being a decision with significant consequences.

“Davenport is an accomplished stylist with a keen ear for nuanced dialogue; he also has a knack for making serious political points with a light touch that makes them broadly accessible….A thoughtful and compelling account of the responsibilities that come with privilege.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Stephen Davenport is the author of Saving Miss Oliver’s, the first novel of the Miss Oliver’s School for Girls series. He is a retired teacher and leader of day and boarding schools, earning The Capital Area Distinguished Teacher Award from Trinity College early in his career. His writing has been published in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Sunday (more…)

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Left Coast Writers Panel: Four Paths to Sanctuary đź—“

Cindy Rasicot
Veena Rao
Judith Teitelman
Anniqua Rana

Join us on February 10th at 4PM for A Panel of on Four Paths to Sanctuary

Featuring Cindy Rasicot, Veena Rao, Judith Teitelman, and Anniqua Rana, introduced by Linda Watanabe McFerrin

The search for sanctuary—safe haven—is not uncommon throughout time, history, and geography—most especially during uncertain times like ours when many people are feeling insecure. In this hour-long program, listen to four authors discuss the unique paths they chose for their characters to find sanctuary:

An immigrant woman who is trapped in a loveless abusive marriage realizes self-love is a powerful force

A baby abandoned and covered in flies is raised by two mothers 

A Northern California housewife is ordained in the Thai Buddhist tradition 

A woman had a glimpse, a taste of her ultimate destination, and was unwavering in her quest

Join us for a Zoom panel featuring these four authors published by She Writes Press, an award-winning, female-run hybrid publisher of novels, memoirs, and nonfiction work by female authors on February 10th at 4pm.

Registration Link
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Revelation, Transformation, & Inspiration in Memoir: Terry Sue Harms & Linda Watanabe McFerrin Discuss Memoir

Revelation, Transformation, & Inspiration in Memoir

Please join authors
Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Terry Sue Harms
as they discuss the newly released memoir


The Strongbox:

Searching For My Absent Father

Monday, December 7th at 6:00 PM
















“A complex tale about deception and revelation as profoundly confessional as The Liars’Club, and a great job of storytelling—in The Strongbox, reluctant sleuth Terry Sue Harms sifts through clues to a dark past in a relentless probe for identity.”
—Linda Watanabe McFerrin,
author of Dead Love and Navigating the Divide

“I wrote The Strongbox: Searching For My Absent Father because I had lived an over-experienced and under-narrated story of paternal abandonment. Breaking away from a legacy of neglect, shame and secrecy to gain a life of love, pride, and self-care was too good to keep to myself”
—Terry Sue Harms

There will be a Q & A opportunity following the discussion.

Advanced registration is required for this free Zoom event.
*To join this discussion event, please use the following link for registration:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email. It will contain login (“Join”) options and a password/passcode to be used on the evening of the event.

For additional information regarding Terry Sue Harms and her memoir, The Strongbox: Searching For My Absent Father, please visit:



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Special Presentation: “America after November 3rd” 🗓

Special Presentation: “America after November 3rd”

Left Coast Writers

Special event: Monday, October 26, 5:00 pm

We’re back!  After a considerable hiatus, our Left Coast Writers Literary Salons and events return, zooming to you at home.

Some things have changed—sessions will be BYOB so the cocktails and wine will flow as freely as you like and you won’t have to drive anywhere before or after— and some things remain the same. We’ll continue the now nearly two-decades-long support of our members in the production and promotion of their literary work through speakers, members’ book events and a super support network that begins at Book Passage, our long-time home, and reaches out across the globe.

Our first salon is epic … and historic.

In advance of the upcoming election, Book Passage’s Bill Petrocelli will be chatting about his new book Electoral Bait and Switch: How the Electoral College Hurts American Voters and What Can Be Done about It with online journalist Mort Rosenblum who’ll be sharing work and ideas from his new book Saving the World from Trump.

It will take place at 5pm on October 26th

Of course I’ll also give you a quick preview of what we have in store for our members.


Thanks for signing up and standing by.

Your invitation is on its way.

You can find more info here: www.bookpassage.com/left-coast-writers

Left Coast Writers® has been providing support and inspiration to writers in the Northern California area for more than 17 (more…)

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LCW Book Launch: Dr. Joan Steidinger, CMPC, Author of Stand Up and Shout Out đź—“

Joan SteidingerLEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH:  Stand up and Shout Out: Women’s Fight for Equal Pay, Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities in Sports

Saturday, March 14, 2020 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera ||

Women, take action! Join the crowd for an impassioned discussion between women and the men who support them with Dr. Joan Steidinger, CMPC.

Today, women have greater opportunities to participate in sport than ever before, particularly due to the passage of Title IX in 1972. Yet, despite all this growth, women still struggle to hold leadership positions, become coaches of both girls and boys teams, receive equal pay, and get even adequate coverage in the media.

In Stand Up and Shout Out: Women’s Fight for Equality in Sports, Joan Steidinger explores the three crucial areas in sport that remain huge concerns for women: leadership, money, and media. Steidinger looks at the number of ways in which women experience vast inequalities by examining topics such as the politics of sport, sexual assault, the #MeToo (more…)

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LCW Book Party: Sheldon Greene, Author of Waiting for the Messiah đź—“

LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH:  Waiting for the Messiah by Sheldon Greene

Sheldon GreeneMonday, March 9, 2020 || 6pm
Book Passage-San Francisco|| San Francisco Ferry Plaza

Join us for what Kirkus Review calls “A profoundly funny meditation on how one can find strength in religion.
“In Greene’s novel, the director of a new Jewish boarding school rankles the community with his offbeat style—and there are rumors that he might be the Messiah.

Nudelman, a successful and irrepressible truck salesman proposes a novel idea to the Synagogue Board in the Jewish community in Bolton, a small town in Western Pennsylvania: to start a Jewish boarding school. Although they initially reject the proposal, Nudelman wins them over, suggesting that an old retirement home has plenty of room to house incoming students, and the endowment that sustains it is considerable enough to be partially repurposed. The board hires a Russian school director, Lev Kyol—“tall, angular man, weathered as an unpainted barn”—who admits a Palestinian boy to the school, inaugurates a celebratory Palestinian Day, and organizes a fundraiser for a Catholic hostel. Some members of the community are apoplectic—teacher Martin Schweig schemes to get Lev deported—while others think that he’s the Messiah. The author’s artful brew of farcical comedy and theological provocation may remind readers of the work of (more…)

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