top of page


 Author. Artist. Educator. Storyteller.

As a professional Writer, I aim to create a better understanding of the world and our place in it — a mission which has cast me in many different roles: author, artist, teacher, farmer and mother.

Book Signing



Welcome to my blog about celebrating family, friends, art, and all the joys and sorrows of life's second act.

Talking with Lisa Deaderick at The San Diego Union-Tribune about the true stories that inspired my latest book.

New Release

After Goya: A Mature-ish Fairy Tale (Jan. 3, 2024)

If you love art and romance, a little bit of sex and a lot of magic, I think you’ll like my second book. 

It started with a gift. Or maybe it began long before, with the painting that captured my imagination...

For over twenty years, I researched, admired, and talked about one of the most important works of art in The San Diego Museum of Art, Vicente Maria de Vera de Aragon, Duque de la Roca, by the great Spanish master,  Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes.


As a brilliant example of a psychological portrait, it fascinated me. While I did love all the pomp and flourish of the great military man’s career, it was the artist’s story that captivated me most.


Goya’s paintings were in great demand by the nobility for their vivid likeness. This one of the Duke, he painted in 1793, two years after an illness left him deaf. Fortunately, his creative powers were as magnificent as ever.

I didn’t know I’d write a book about Goya’s painting of the Duke.

Not until the pandemic happened and a charming guy gave me a painting.

How this work of art and its artist are related to that Goya peice in the art museum . . . and to how it came to hang in the entry hall of my home, became an inspiration for my newest book.


My Books

Anchor 1

After Goya
A Mature-ish Fairy Tale

It began with a gift. An oil painting that carried with it a bit of magic, the kind that some (inaccurately) believe belongs exclusively to the young.

On the brink of complete meltdown from the boredom and isolation of Covid-19 existence, an aging princess living alone high on a hill encounters a worldly prince in hot pursuit. His love of art and adventure is appealing, as are his dapper charms, but instead of falling into his arms, she resists for reasons even she can’t fully comprehend. This later-in-life romance is fraught with misgivings, false starts, and spells that must be broken.

Part real, part make-believe, it’s a story of love after immense loss, second chances and weaving your own “happily ever after.” 


Order a Copy

The Orange Woods

audio book available now on


Marilyn's debut memoir follows the lives of a big city radio couple who morph into small town farmers during a two-decade love affair with a magical piece of land in Southern California. Their dream-like life, complete with an orange grove, vineyard, a loyal black dog and unparalleled scenic views, comes to a sudden end when Jack unexpectedly dies, leaving Marilyn alone to face her devastation and her future.

It is an inspiring story of poignant memories, shining moments of laughter, immeasurable grief, and, ultimately, hope.

Order a Copy

Praise for The Orange Woods

Column: How San Diego author Marilyn Woods found creative life after a crushing loss

...when people finish reading “The Orange Woods"...they will have had several good cries over this beautiful, awful, awe-inspiring thing we call life.

Reader Reviews 

David Hodgens, San Diego

The voluptuousness spills off the pages from the vineyards and orchards. The calm of rising and setting suns and full moon evenings combine with it to supply the luxury that only nature and quiet and countryside can provide. With masterful strokes, Marilyn Woods has painted with her words a tribute to a long era in her wonderful life. The vivid and crisp descriptions, seasoned with references to classic art works and contemporary music make photographs unnecessary. She has created a tribute to a time and to a love. The Orange Woods is beautifully written, but the beauty goes beyond that of the idyllic era described. It serves as a substrate for the portrayal of a love and devotion so deep that its magnitude will never be measured, as it is still expanding. It serves as the backdrop for a painful, long, slow, but ultimately successful recovery from the profound depths of loss over a loved one, and becomes a tribute to him, as well. In the dynamic of this literary painting, a tribute develops also to a strong supporting family, a limitless bank of fond memories, and of the comfort brought to one by the art with which she is surrounded. It is deeply and appropriately touching to all who have experienced love, ecstasy, contentment and loss. It becomes also a beautiful tribute to the author and artist who has lived the life and done the painting. 

This precious book came up on my Kindle less than 24 hours ago. I couldn’t put it down. It is a love story spanning over 50 years. Entwined are heartwarming stories of wedded bliss, devoted family, art, music, travel and the beauty of nature. It is a love story to Jack, the authors husband, the strong, witty and sexy radio personality turned farmer and winemaker. You will cry with and for the author as she learns to deal with loss and grief. Marilyn is gifted at weaving their beautiful true life story together over the years and it will touch you to your core.

My friend, Cindy, selected this book for our next book club and I am so glad she did! I loved this book on so many levels. The author writes fondly about Pauma Valley, CA, and I live in this lovely valley. The author is an artist and enjoys collecting and critiquing art. Me too! Marilyn loves to travel and describes many of my favorite travel destinations. This well-written book is shared from the heart and with compassion. It is happy and uplifting but also heartbreaking. It is a book about healing. I look forward to discussing Marilyn's story at our next book club. An added bonus is that Marilyn Woods will be joining us in the discussion. Can't wait!

I’ve lived in San Diego for almost 44 years and could picture the many beautiful places written in this wonderful book. My hope is that this excellent author will continue to write and share more of her life as she continues on her journey. I wanted to hug her and let her know how strong she was to share her feelings. This book was beautifully written and brought not only smiles but tears as well.

Marilyn Woods writes beautifully with much love and gratitude. Her book, The Orange Woods made me laugh out loud at times, cheer for her, and then at times brought on tears of sadness. Only the best books do that. Living in San Diego county, this book spoke to me in many ways. I adored the love story of Marilyn and Jack and their love and zest for life and then the devastating loss of that love hurt as I read Marilyn's words. This story of raising a bustling family, creating a warm, comfortable and one of a kind home, her passion for her career, beloved supportive girlfriends and all that matters most in life grabbed my heart and held it until the very last page.

Every year or so i read a book that just grabs me - heart and soul. This is certainly one of them. I am a slow reader (dyslexia); which is a good thing when it is a book to savor and this one is. Every day, I treat myself to 3 or 4 chapters - between chores. It is so artfully written. As an art lover, I ate up her descriptions of how art is interwoven in Ms Wood's life. Loved reading about her love story. I have never read better descriptions of the piercing pain of grief and one of the hardest of the human condition.


Sue Chadwick, Oxnard, CA

Laura L. Engel

Ki Johnson, Colorado

Kate Joyce

Sandra, SD


In Progress

I was certain I would never again be happy. 

Throughout my years of country living, I always vowed I would return to urban life if anything happened to my husband. He always joked, “Yeah, you’ll return—with some young dude.”

There was no young dude, but there is an old house. Older than me.

I fell in love immediately.

215 w. palm sample cover (1).jpg

The Eleven Year Plan 

In Progress

“We’re moving into together in eleven years,” we tell interested parties, which garners mixed responses. Puzzlement. Hilarity. Shock. Disbelief. Silence.

It's an experiment of sorts.  A way two late-in-life lovers have chosen to preserve the lustful, loving, and electric passion and adoration they are experiencing.

The unspoken question hidden in all those reactions, and perhaps even somewhere in my own heart is: will it work?

Love novel red book cover with woman photo (1).jpg
Stack of Magazines

Other Publications

Anchor 2
Screen Shot 2023-01-18 at 8.28.40 AM.png

Wild Roof Journal Issue 18

January, 2023


We were together at twilight time.


As we strolled, holding hands after Cadillac margaritas and carne asada fajitas at our neighborhood haunt, the song “Twilight Time” drifted into my head.


NOMADartx Review

July 2, 2022


In Stoner, a semi-autobiographical novel by John Williams, I stopped when I read the phrase “almost without regret.”

That grouping of words stayed with me a very long time. I don’t know why it resonated at the time; I think I do now.

Screen Shot 2021-10-05 at 12.28.21 PM.png

Essay for The Twin Bill 

 October 26, 2021

A remembrance of minor league ball with my dad and this summer’s experience at a major league game with my grandson, Calvin.

io journal.jpg

The Ridotto

iō Literary Journal

"Tales from Six Feet Apart"



A short story in an upcoming, open-access e-book.



VOLUMES 11 | 12 | 13


Marilyn's short story, Loosing Steamer, is included in the 2018 Year in Ink Anthology. 


Lyft, detailing her first experience using ride share, is featured in the 2019 Year in Ink Anthology.  


A short story by Marilyn is featured in the most recent Year in Ink Anthology: Volume 13.  



Marilyn's short story,Thirtieth Reunion, is included in this collection of non-fiction short stories, edited by Marni Freedman & Tracy J. Jones. 


Jan. 14, 2024

Marilyn's imaginary tale of she and the Roman statesman, Cicero, in her garden will be included in this collection of non-fiction short stories, edited by Marni Freedman & Tracy J. Jones. 


Your details were sent successfully!


  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
bottom of page