Home:  San Francisco, California
  • Author of Red Diana, the gripping new thriller set in San Francisco, available at bookstores as well as and Kindle.


  • This chilling psychological thriller explores themes like the desire for revenge, the terrible burden of guilt, and the tyranny of unethical lawyers and corrupt judges. It also focuses on the love between parent and child, the shattering pain of losing a loved one--and the many routes survivors take to deal with their loss.



Readers have called it "a gripping tale" for "anyone with a passion for psychological thrillers";  "a tangle of abduction, murder, corruption, and insanity. Enjoy it!"



  • Author of A Quicker Blood, the sensational thriller available at bookstores as well as and Kindle. 
      Here's the Amazon link: ie=UTF8& =books&qid=1242059850&sr=1-1



       Readers have called this story of a burned-out lawyer who leaves her Wall Street law firm, assumes a new identity, and begins to fear for her life a "page-turner" they "couldn't put down."

       Readers have called this mystery "an engrossing read with a gutsy, likeable heroine"; they were "totally immersed in the story and could not put the book down until they finished it."



All three novels are on the shelves at these bookstores in San Francisco: Books Inc. on Chestnut Street in the Marina and Browser Books on Fillmore Street (at Sacramento).  


Red Diana is also on the shelves at Book Passage in the Ferry Building, San Francisco; Books Inc. in Laurel Village, San Francisco; Green Apple Books, San Francisco; and Alexander Book Co. at 50 Second Street (between Market and Mission Streets), San Francisco.


  • Author of commentaries in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and other publications

  • Author of articles on the law in a wide range of professional and mainstream publications

  • Author of travel articles in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Baltimore Sun, and the Raleigh News & Observer


Some other info about me:


I'm a graduate of Harvard Law School who has worked as a lawyer in the public interest and has also served as a federal judge’s law clerk, an arbitrator, a law school professor, and a consultant on legal writing.  I also spent several years at three Chicago law firms.  


I now focus primarily on writing.  My fiction writing includes my three novels described above.


My writing has also appeared in a wide array of publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, The San Francisco Daily Journal, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and a host of other professional and mainstream publications.  I was the first editor of The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, and my short story “Neglect” was a winner in Chicago Lawyer magazine’s first annual fiction competition.


Recent Author Talks and Other Events

  Book launch, October 18, 2018:  Books Inc. on Chestnut Street in the Marina

   Author talk, April 18, 2019:  Golden Gate Valley Library, San Francisco

  Author talk, July 16, 2019, Book Passage bookstore in the Ferry Building, San Francisco


Upcoming presentation:  Introducing the film "The Woman in Black" at SFMOMA's "Haunted" film series, August 31, 2019

 Upcoming presentation:  Member of the author panel on publishing sponsored by the Harvard Club of San Francisco, September 18, 2019



My Blog

In October 2012  I launched a blog, Susan Just Writes, focusing on "the passing scene."  I've covered issues like health, politics, law, travel, business, and fashion.  Some posts are updated versions of commentaries published elsewhere, but most posts are brand-new and highly topical.  I add a new post to my blog at least once a month.


Some recent blog posts:

"Have You Measured Your Face Lately?"

"What Shall We Do About Plastic Bags?"

"If You're Getting Older, You May Be Getting Nicer"

"What'll You Have? A Brewed Awakening in 2014"

"It's Gonna Be a Bright, Bright, Bright Sunshiny Day"

"Go P'Nuts! Peanut Butter is Actually Good for You"

"Italy Was Amazing, And So Were We"

"Sharing Old Clothes in Panama City"

"Women's Clothes Should All Have Pockets"

"You CAN Go Home Again"

"Sunscreen--and a Father Who Cared"

"Hamilton, Hamilton...Who Was He Anyway?"

"Punting on the Cam"

"John Grisham:  Advocating Change via Great Storytelling"

"Let's Lobby Congress to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act"

"(Sid) Caesar Reigned Supreme"

"You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry"

"Down and Hot in Paris and London (with apologies to George Orwell)"

"But Are They Reunion-Worthy?"

"The Old Man and The Movies"




You can contact me at 



Here’s a current list of my publications:




Three novels:

Red Diana, a thriller published in 2018


A Quicker Blood, a thriller published in 2009


Jealous Mistress, a murder mystery published in 2011


All three novels are available for purchase on and Kindle.


“Neglect,” a short story published in Chicago Lawyer Magazine (prizewinner in its First Annual Fiction Contest), August 1993


San Francisco Chronicle Publications  

Twelve op-ed/commentary pieces, January 2007-December 2011:

“No butts about it,” January 29, 2007

“A good man is not so hard to find…if he’s been cloned,” September 16, 2007

“Charitable organizations presume too much,” October 28, 2007

“Why emulate Chicago?,” June 16, 2008

“High heels are killers,” July 4, 2008

“Gender equality came via the keyboard,” September 14, 2008

“Toys for boys and girls,” December 24, 2008

“Federal waste we can end,” January 28, 2009

"Before you buy, ask: Is it reunion-worthy?" May 12, 2009

"To travel cheaply, sleep on the sofa," July 23, 2009

"Unequal pay harms U.S. women," April 23, 2010

"Politics afflicts the Christmas tree trade," December 15, 2011


Chicago Tribune Publications

May 13, 1996, “Pension Problems Come Alive, Along with Practical Guidance” (book review of The Pension Book by Karen Ferguson and Kate Blackwell)

June 28, 1992, “Foul play: Some games have no winners” (commentary)

October 12, 1991, “How much is a child’s love worth?” (op-ed piece)

April 12, 1989, “Playing by the Rules” (travel)

September 11, 1988, “Law School Ladies’ Day is No Longer Such a Trial” (commentary)

March 15, 1987, “Intellect Can Sprout in London’s Bloomsbury” (travel)

November 23, 1986, “Questionable Language: to a Person, We Could Use This Cure For Sexism” (commentary)

March 18, 1986, “It’s All the Lawyers’ Fault!” (op-ed piece)

 March 28, 1982, "Penny-pinching tourists can find many bargains in Paris these days" (also published in the NY Daily News) (travel)


Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Publications

March 21, 2003, “Author:  Racial ‘pathologies’ still plague U.S.” (book review of “Interracial Intimacies:  Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption” by Randall Kennedy)

February 24, 2003, “A case of contempt” (book review of “The King of Torts” by John Grisham)

July 22, 2002, “Searching for truth; decisions of consequence” (book review)

October 23, 2001, “Structure your writing to make your point”

May 23, 2000, “Sometimes both sides lose” (book review)

November 19, 1999, “Sexual autonomy as the foundation for a new law on rape” (book review)

August 18, 1998, “Watch out! Your vacationing relatives may be ‘living with’ you”

March 11, 1998, “Getting tough in fight against pollution”

December 17, 1997, “State should recognize value of children’s companionship”

March 15, 1996, “Horrific acts spark attorney’s internal debate” (book review)

January 25, 1996, “Ensuring future security with private pension plans” (book review)

January 9, 1996, “Personal liability under Family Leave Act”

August 1, 1995, “Insurance case yields ruling on allocation”

June 22, 1995, “Insurer forced to cover sex abuse claim”

June 6, 1995, “Admission withheld, admission denied”

May 4, 1995, “2d Circuit says it’s reasonable to rely on insurance broker’s coverage statements”

April 27, 1995, “Distinguishing between law and equity”

April 11, 1995, “Officers escape some liability for failed S&L”

March 30, 1995, “Pollution case weighs personal liability”

September 12, 1994, “Appeals court rejects bank’s claim for lien”

July 13, 1994, “Judge allows parents to recover in vaccine-injury case”

May 24, 1994, “Court invokes two-part test for preferential transfers”

Nov. 19, 1993, “Making Adoption Accessible, Affordable and Acceptable” (book review of “Family Bonds” by Elizabeth Bartholet)

Oct. 20, 1993, “‘Lax business practices’ prove fatal in bank dispute”

May 24, 1993, “United flight attendants on strong legal grounds”

July 2, 1993, “Courts must do their part in fight against sexual harassment”

February 2, 1993, “Court rules IRAs exempt from a bankruptcy estate”

January 12, 1993, “Landowners’ indifference’ will not be rewarded: court”

November 2, 1992, “After 4 losses, lenders win in 5th Circuit”


Some Other Publications 

“Legal Writing 101:  Some tips on creating a framework that makes your documents clear and easy to understand,” The Recorder (legal publication in San Francisco) (December 21, 2009) 

Book reviews of Unwanted Sex: The Culture of Intimidation and the Failure of Law by Stephen J. Schulhofer appear in 86 American Bar Association Journal 86 (August 2000); Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Nov. 19, 1999); Los Angeles Daily Journal (Dec. 28, 1999); San Francisco Daily Journal (Dec. 28, 1999)

Book reviews of We Love Each Other, But by Dr. Ellen Wachtel appear in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (May 23, 2000); Los Angeles Daily Law Journal (June 13, 2000); San Francisco Daily Journal (June 13, 2000); 22 Pennsylvania Family Lawyer 73 (Dec. 2000)

“You’re a lousy dentist!” November 1998 (focus: defamation), in the ADA Legal Adviser: A guide to the law for dentists, a monthly newsletter published by the American Dental Association

The high cost of getting old, August 1998 (focus: long-term care insurance), in the ADA Legal Adviser: A guide to the law for dentists, a monthly newsletter published by the American Dental Association

One patient’s tale of trouble, November 1997 (focus: insurance coverage), in the ADA Legal Adviser: A guide to the law for dentists, a monthly newsletter published by the American Dental Association

Do you want a perfect lawn or a healthy family? Pioneer Press Forum, May 30, 1996

Mozart and the Abuse of Women, Today’s Chicago Woman, April 1996

Granada Memories Will Live On (commentary), Chicago Sun-Times, March 5, 1990

Symbolic Synagogue (travel article about Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island), Raleigh News & Observer, January 1, 1989 

Legal London: A Brief Walk Lets Visitors Judge Its Historical Treasures (travel), Baltimore Sun, Jan. 18, 1987

Legal London: A World Rich in History (travel), Chicago Sun-Times, June 15, 1986

A Walking Tour of Legal London: The Inns and Outs (travel), Raleigh News & Observer, May 18, 1986

Everything you always wanted to know about the federal judiciary (but didn’t know you could find in a book), Washington University alumni publication, 1985

Penny-pinching tourists can find many bargains in Paris these days,  Chicago Tribune, March 28, 1982 (also published in the New York Daily News, 1982)

Travel article about the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, New York Daily News, 1982


 Articles in professional journals

Book review, 86 American Bar Association Journal 86 (August 2000), reviewing Unwanted Sex: The Culture of Intimidation and the Failure of Law by Stephen J. Schulhofer

Preemployment Inquiries and Examinations: What Employers Need to Know About the New EEOC Guidelines, 45 Labor Law Journal 667 (1994)

Book Review, 17 Illinois Family Law Reporter 159 (July 1994), reviewing Elizabeth Bartholet, Family Bonds: Adoption and the Politics of Parenting (1993)

The Fourth Circuit decides that ‘indifference’ will not be rewarded, March 1993, Environmental Control Law (Illinois State Bar Association newsletter)

Twenty Tips for Associates, 7 CBA Record 24 (Feb. 1993) (with Elias N. Matsakis), reprinted in 34 Law Office Economics & Management 143 (1993) and selected by the editor to appear in LOEM Manual at sec. 18.07 (1993 update)

Hoffman Homes decision limited USEPA’s power to regulate isolated wetlands, September 1992, Environmental Control Law (Illinois State Bar Association newsletter)

A Fairer Hand: Why Courts Must Recognize the Value of a Child’s Companionship, 8 Thomas M. Cooley Law Review 273 (1991)

Book Review, 62 Kentucky Law Journal 1161 (1974)

Business-Sponsored Mechanisms for Redress and Arbitration, in Staff Studies Prepared for the National Institute for Consumer Justice (1973)

The Captive Patient: The Treatment of Health Problems in American Prisons, 6 Clearinghouse Review 16 (May 1972), reprinted in Medical and Health Care in Jails, Prisons, and Other Correctional Facilities: A Compilation of Standards and Materials (American Medical Association, Commission on Correctional Facilities and Services, 1973)

Legal Analysis of Problem Situations, in Freya Olafson, Confidentiality: A Guide for Neighborhood Health Centers (Monograph No. 1, Neighborhood Health Center Seminar Program, 1971)

Abortions for Poor and Nonwhite Women: A Denial of Equal Protection?, 23 Hastings Law Journal 147 (1971) (with Alan Charles)

The State of Emergency Medical Services Under the Highway Safety Act, or Don’t Be Caught Dead in an Ambulance, 5 Clearinghouse Review 72 (June 1971)

A Child of a Different Color: Race as a Factor in Adoption and Custody Proceedings, 17 Buffalo Law Review 303 (1968)



Editor of the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary: Profiles of All Active United States District Court Judges (1984-85)

Editor and author of articles in the ADA Legal Adviser (newsletter published by the American Dental Association; winner of the 1998 Silver SNAP award) (1996-98)