Califia’s Daughters: women rule

This past weekend, a lot of women (and yes, men) came together to reiterate their commitment to the sort of fair behavior that is not being found in our government. As my minor contribution to this discussion, my publishers agreed to put into special offer a book I wrote some years ago in which most men have died off and women run things: Califia’s Daughters (listed as “by Leigh Richards”.)

 If you haven’t read it, you might enjoy it. And if you have, you might enjoy revisiting the story in e-book format, which is currently only $1.99 (in the US, anyway…) It’s available in Kobo (through my local, Bookshop Santa Cruz) here—or if you want a signed paperback, they can get you one of those, too, here, or of course, Nook or Kindle.

I’ll be talking more about Califia’s Daughters in coming days, but I thought I’d begin with a blog post from a few years back, about who I was when I wrote it.


A lot of crime writers start out in the science fiction realm. I was one, although my venture into SciFi didn’t make it into print until I was well established as a mystery writer.

I started writing this, my first novel, in the summer of 1984, when I had just finished my MA in theology and took my kids (ages 1 and 4) and my mother to England for a few weeks. While the kids were sleeping, I sat and wrote—about a young woman with interesting gifts, and dogs instead of children.

I wrote about half the novel before realizing that I didn’t know how to finish it, then life got busy and I left it on the shelf for quite a while. Three years later, when the one year old was four and in preschool a few days a week, I started writing again, only this one (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice) set me on the path of being a mystery writer.

I never quite put away my first book, however. I loved the characters and enjoyed the setting, and although in the meantime PD James had written an alarmingly similar novel (even the name was startlingly close: hers Children of Men, mine originally called Daughters of Men.) I finished it along the way, and eventually Random House agreed to publish it, as a paperback original and under a pseudonym, lest “my” readers expect to find a mystery.

Dogs play a central role in the novel, although I’m not much of a dog person (not even much of a cat person, at the moment..) But the canine presence was born during that trip to the UK, when we went to visit family near Dublin and visited a friend of theirs who raised Irish Wolfhounds. And the following spring, she shipped us a puppy, a black Wolfhound who lived with us for eight short years and dominated our lives in ways only a 110 pound, four-legged Irish lass can do.

I’ve been rather spoiled for dogs ever since; most other canines seem a weak imitation.

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  1. Christine on February 21, 2019 at 11:29 am

    It must be due to your publisher’s recent efforts that Califia’s Daughters came up as a recommended read on my library’s Overdrive (ebook) page. I’m about a third of the way through and am loving it. I’ve read several Kate Martinelli mysteries and enjoyed them, but have truly loved your standalone books.

    I stumbled on this blog post as I was poring over Google Maps trying to decide where Dian’s Valley must be located based on being a four-day ride, three of which would be in the hills, and looking to see if anyone had discussed locations online.

    I’m glad to see this world is back in your mind. I can already tell I’ll be quite eager for a prequel and sequel (hint, hint).

    • Laurie King on February 21, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Oh, I wish. Some day, maybe….

  2. Elma Cadena on August 29, 2022 at 5:15 pm

    Hello Laurie!
    Is it someday already? Please write more on this stand alone (stood alone?)

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