Grandmother's Devil & Other Tempting Tales

Why Grandmothers?

I have been asked, “Why grandmothers? What do these stories have in common?”

My answer has been “I don't know,” except perhaps that these grandmothers may be observed engaging in a common mission: caring for the world and their loved ones as best they can. After all, grandmothers are Wisdom Keepers in many of the world’s cultures.

Nor do I know where these stories came from. These grandmothers are not my grandmothers nor the grandmothers of anyone I know. Perhaps they are yours. Or perhaps not.

I can tell you the first of these stories, “Grandmother Sits,” started life as a short narrative poem. An altogether undistinguished poem, to be sure, and so a perceptive reader thought when I first read it to her. She rightly suggested it might make a better short story.

Ideas for other stories followed. There seemed to be no end of these grandmothers wishing to be heard. Some I rejected out of hand. Others I fussed with, but they did not make the cut. The stories of others I might have written and may write tomorrow or some other day. In the end, I have arbitrarily capped the number at six for this book.

I want to express my gratitude to the literary journals which first published two of these stories. “Grandmother Sits,” was first published in a slightly different version on July 31, 2018, by ( I also read this story on KZCT Community Radio, Vallejo, on the April 18, 2019 edition of “The Storytellers,” and it may be heard at

Another story, “Grandmother of God,” first appeared in an anthology published by Napa Valley Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club.

I am grateful to colleagues who read early drafts or fragments of these stories and offered helpful comments, including James W. White, Aletheia Morden, Deborah Fruchey, Gregory Montoya, Nicky Ruxton and others at the Benicia Writers Workshop. My thanks also to a superb proofreader who wishes to remain anonymous. And to my wife, Jan Malin, who line-edited the stories, designed and produced the book, my love and gratitude.