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Vivid imagery, humor in the ordinary, and the complexities of intimate relationship are what propel Marylu Downing's writing. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in anthologies, on-line, in newspapers and in magazines.

When she is not writing, and not in the garden, she may be found in her art studio.

book cover art - 'Desire, Secrets, Bones'

Desire, Secrets, Bones

Chapbook of Marylu's latest poems.

book cover art - 'Tales from the West Pole'

Tales from the West Pole:
A Dreamer's Uncharted Journey
by Marylu Downing
Published October 30, 2013

With a messy love life in the forest, days spent watching out for widow makers or falling down art-filled rabbit holes, western Sonoma County writer and artist Marylu Downing uses images and stories to capture a Brigadoon-like place before it disappears. In the process, she pins a new destination to the map: The West Pole. Buy from Amazon.

book cover art - 'Gratitude Report'

Gratitude Report
30 Days to a Better Life

Cover for a book by Peg Melnick.

book cover art - 'Hair Pieces'

Hair Pieces

Cover for an anthology produced by Margaret Caminsky Shapiro, with the help of Nan Koontz and Marie Galleta.

book cover - 'Whenever Millie Speaks to Me'
Artist Janet Moore, author Dick Lemon, and Marylu

Whenever Millie Speaks to Me
by Richard Lemon
Illustrations by Marylu

"Whenever Millie Speaks to Me"
is a charming poem by author Richard Lemon. A little philosophical and whimsical at the same time. Fun to read aloud and kids like it! Buy on Amazon.com

Rest in Peace Richard Lemon
Thank you for supporting artists through your creative books for kids and adults

book - 'Jasmine Nights and Monkey Pluck: Love, Discovery and Tea'

Jasmine Nights and Monkey Pluck: Love, Discovery and Tea
Teatime and you're invited!

Jasmine Nights and Monkey Pluck is a collection of vignettes and poems with lovely color photos on each page. The book is about love, discovery and tea. It includes the work of many well-known Northern California writers, including the poetry of Terry Ehret, Sonoma County's Poet Laureate. To order a copy ($18.95 plus tax and shipping) email Marylu.

book - 'Juicy Tomatoes'

Juicy Tomatoes
by Susan Swartz

Swartz looks at women in their mid-lives. She writes a bouncy, no-holds-barred book filled with stories of women who are not content to age gracefully, but push themselves at this creative time of life.

book - 'Horse Orchard'

Horse Orchard
features the raw poetry of Fionna Perkins

The cover was a humbling experience learning to draw horses, the first attempt being declared much like an "anteater". Persistance won out and the raven feather and wild mane are indicative of Fionna's wild and dark words about her beloved ponies and metaphors for the end of life and of cycles.

book - 'Saltwater, Sweetwater'

Saltwater, Sweetwater

was the second anthology offered by Barbara Baer's Floreant Press. It is a book of place, Mendocino and Sonoma County in particular. Dedicated to writer Suzanne Lipsett and Environmentalist Judy Bari, the tone is sometimes somber, always irreverent and funny too. The artwork includes numerous West County "Donkey Barn" artists, and photographers from the area. The cover represents the rivers and the ocean, the woman made up of the elements of earth , sun and sea. Being a native Californian I had to write a nefarious little piece of "fiction" entitled, "Native." The book is still available, and I usually sell copies during Art Trails.

book - 'Cartwheels on the Faultline'

Cartwheels on the Faultline

now out of print, was the first Floreant Press anthology featuring North Coast writers. Essays, short stories and poetry lend a rambunctious flavor to this little book. It was also my first experience as a published writer of short fiction and as the cover artist. The cover, a collage of paper bits and painting, features the wheeling woman; the zagged diamonds represent the notorious San Andreas Fault, which cuts through Northern California going out to sea off the Bodega coastline.

book - 'Cover Yourself'

Cover Yourself

Sue Pekarsky Gary, a long-time fashion designer, asked me to create a cover for her insider book about the fashion business. I enjoyed using paints, collage and pastels to create the same kind of wearable art for the cover that I once sewed!