All Press Releases for October 15, 2020

Author Explores Living Artfully in New Memoir

Wine, art, and passion central in a couple's love affair with their Pauma Valley paradise

A lush and expansive exploration of vibrant and creative living,The Orange Woods has been likened to Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun in its honest human portraitures and richness of natural detail

    SAN DIEGO, CA, October 15, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- We all have moments where we consider leaving the hustle and bustle of our daily routine and starting an entirely new life. Maybe it's selling seashells on the beach in Hawaii. Perhaps it's taking up painting in Provence. For San Diego author, Marilyn Woods and her husband Jack, it meant leaving behind careers in radio broadcasting, and restoring an old house nestled in an orange grove and creating a vineyard in Pauma Valley.

A lush and expansive exploration of vibrant and creative living, Woods' memoir, The Orange Woods (ISBN: 978-1-947966-31-4) has been likened to Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun in its honest human portraitures and richness of natural detail.

"In writing this book, I wanted to preserve a romantic recounting of a couple's adventurous and no fear-farming endeavor, full of laughter, family, friends and often most welcome solitude," Woods says. "I wanted to share in a compelling story the love of harvests, art, sunsets, music, laughter, heartbreak and most importantly tales of the guy who inspired it all, Jack, the master storyteller."

Woods captures the California lifestyle with the pitch-perfect story of Jack's lifelong fascination with the Golden State. The author, originally a Texas girl, agrees to move to California, equally smitten with the golden state after her first visit.

On the brink of retirement, the couple saw a lone realtor working on New Year's Day and, on a lark, turned the steering wheel of their car to his office. He only had to show them one property because they immediately fell in love with the artistic beauty of a place they christened The Orange Woods.

"I hope readers will understand that art is everywhere," says Woods. "And see a little more clearly how a love and appreciation of art, whether street art or fine art, can inspire like it did our time in the country, tell fascinating stories of other times and cultures, comfort in loss, and with just a glimpse remind one of extraordinary memories. It does all of that and more for me even more so now that my book is written."

The memoir examines an enduring love story not only between Marilyn and Jack, but the people and they land they surround themselves with. Magical and intoxicating, this memoir is not to be missed.


On the brink of middle age, Marilyn and Jack did a one-eighty, leaving their world of big city radio and broadcasting to take on a new adventure with the purchase of a Southern California farm. As they stumble and succeed over the two decades that follow, they experience losses, failures, and stunning successes as they craft a life among orange groves, lavender fields, and vineyards in San Diego County. When the devastating, unexpected death of her husband leaves Marilyn alone with a shattered dream, she must reclaim the inspiration and courage that led them to their country life in order to find a new way forward. This story is a portrait of the grief, joy, courage, and hope of a life lived boldly, and an ode to the solace that can be found in nature and art. It is a story that will inspire readers to embark on quiet adventures of their own.

The Orangewoods: A Memoir

Often, as she sat on the damp soil, inhaling the scent of fresh turned earth and soaking up the warmth of the setting sun, Marilyn marveled at the turn her life had taken. No longer living in the big cities of their past--New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Dallas--in middle age, she was living an unexpected country life on magical acreage in Southern California.

On celebratory trip to Paris she and her husband, Jack, a radio personality, found themselves in the Musee d'Orsay. They were captivated by a Henri Matisse masterpiece, which sparked their imaginative vision for a small piece of farmland back home. Luxe, Calme et Volupté, not only a vibrant painting by Matisse, but also a poem of the same name by influential French poet Charles Baudelaire, came to be the inspiration behind the couple's every move as they cultivated their newly acquired countryside plot.

With childlike enthusiasm and hard-earned knowledge (in the early years before the internet), Marilyn and Jack considered the land their canvas. They researched and planned; demolished and developed; planted and harvested. Over the twenty years that followed, the pair cast aside their wristwatches and day timers and learned to live "under the Southern California sun" as their seasons became defined by budding, blossoms and fruition.

When the dream of The Orange Woods is ended by Jack's unexpected death, Marilyn's memories of both Matisse and Baudelaire's incantations help her to realize that the legacy of what she and Jack created could never been taken from her. This memoir is a love story between two people and a Southern California farm. In addition to harvests and wine making, coyotes and critters, oranges and lavender fields, the story is peppered with tales of their radio days, travels, Steamer their big black dog, grandchildren being born and loved ones dying. Romance, art, music and spirituality are woven throughout this passionate portrait of life's second act.

Marilyn Woods is an artist, teacher, and matriarch of a family of fifteen. She holds degrees in journalism and psychology. Marilyn began her career as a broadcast journalist. After earning her BA in Journalism from Texas Technological University, she and her husband became pioneers in radio syndication, which lead them to live in major cities around the country, including Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, and Dallas. Her life changed when the pair gave up big city life to purchase a small farm in Pauma Valley, California, population 980.

There, she and her husband planted a Provence lavender field, built a bocce ball court and a labyrinth of white stones, installed a vineyard, built a boutique winery, and learned to be vintners and farmers. As though this wasn't enough to keep her busy, Marilyn also became a docent at The San Diego Museum of Art through their rigorous two-year training program. Her life changed again with the unforeseen loss of her husband, which prompted Marilyn to return to city life to live alone for the very first time. This led her to a new chapter in her life, in which she focuses on art and writing in her wise and street-smart, contemporary and emotional voice.

Her love of California, nature, family, art and a big black dog named Steamer, populate her humorous, sometimes heart wrenching, portraits of an extraordinary life.

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Jennifer Coburn
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San Diego, CA
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