So here's the scoop.  I was born in Oakland, and I can never seem to get away from here for long, despite all the reasons to leave, like earthquakes, because of all the reasons to stay, like the heartrending blue of the sky.

My mother is from Mexico and moved to Berkeley at 15, and my father was born in Los Angeles and moved to Berkeley as a toddler. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army Airborne and jumped out of airplanes behind enemy lines. So when people ask me if writing is hard, I say, "Not really," because no one is actively shooting at me while I'm at my laptop.

My mother has a passion for American movies, sports, and meatloaf. As I child, I strove to catch colds so that I could stay home from school and watch afternoon movies with her. She'd give me 7-Up, a treat reserved for the infirm, and we'd indulge in black-and-white romantic comedies, sinister film noirs, and unapologetic tearjerkers.

I have three brothers and longed for a sister. I sought female companionship in books and read obsessively. I tore through the children's section in the local library, sprinted past the teen books, and hit the adult novels at full speed, discovering all sorts of intriguing things.

I went to Stanford and received degrees in English & American Lit and Creative Writing, which qualified me to do very little except read books.  That was my goal all along, but no one pays you to do that. I studied British drama and history in England and missed the sun. I worked in non-profits and theatre and missed paychecks.

I live with the fabulous spouse and have a wild and wonderful son and a sweet, half-feral mutt named Lola Wiggles. I am a messy gardener, leaving tools and supplies scattered about. Although I live in year-round coastal fog, I continually attempt to grow tomatoes even though I know my efforts will fail. Because I can be persistent or stubborn or obsessive or all of the above.

I've won some awards for my writing, but I get a real thrill when a fan sends me an email. I think it takes a lot of courage to send an email to a stranger, and I feel both appreciation and admiration.

What do people say about my novels? They frequently say, "I don't know what kind of book this is." Sometimes they say that they eventually realize my stories are subverting something or transgressing something or post- something or pre- another thing. My writing is analyzed in doctoral theses and presented at conferences, and my novels are taught in universities and high schools. Pretty cool for someone who believes that humor is not taken seriously enough as a craft and art.

A college pal once observed, "People who don't think you're funny, don't think you're funny at all. But the people who think you're funny, think you're hilarious." That pretty much explains my place in this world.
The photo above shows my dogs, Bosco and Betty, who lived to a fine old age. I still miss them terribly. They were adopted from the local German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue group.
We had another GSP named Baxter, who was the best dog ever, and a pointer-mix named Molly, who was an escape artist. GSPs have crazy, wonderful energy. My current mutt, Lola, has a more placid nature, and I enjoy that, too.

You may notice that I constantly change my book covers and even book titles. It's one of my issues. I have a lot of issues. I believe I'm on the autism spectrum. My friends insist that I am just a really difficult, eccentric, and obsessive person.

Some of My Interviews & Guest Posts

Listen to my commentary on NPR - KQED about dog parks and behavior.

Read my interview with Danielle Binks at Alpha Reader about gothic fiction and Dark Companion, and read her earlier Q&A with me about my Casa Dracula series and to find out why Australian themes always pop up in my books.

Read my interview with Amanda at Love Vampires, discussing my Casa Dracula series and how no one understands me.

Read "Forget Intuition," my guest post about the labeling of women's fiction at Publishers Weekly.