The gardens in Imaginary Gardens by Elizabeth C. Ward, both real and imagined, are as varied the Big Sur, restless under a full moon; long white beaches where madwomen dig for shells; sun-gold walled gardens and gardens created in the dark night of the mind. Jamie, aging poet rages across the landscape in pursuit of a woman he has seen silhouetted against the moon, while his wife, Caitlin, black haired and ugly, older than the stones at the bottom of the creek, hunkers back in the dark and waits for her chance to wreak vengeance. A thin rivulet of the sea winds its silent way inland, past field and farmhouse to the city, glides down street and alleyway and up a stairwell to the room where Iain and his incent young bride lie in each others arms. Moser, school teacher, alone under the light at the kitchen table correcting essays, envisions the strange dark eyed student whose talent is greater than his own, splayed across his attic bed on the other side of town. Imagines clasping that would-be Icarus in his arms; accompany him on that godlike flight toward the sun. Five year old Law watches an unending line of cars, a ghost train, inch its way through Pasadena of 1942, on its way to Manzanar. In this collection of dense, rich stories, it is life that dominates, relentless in its sole purpose: the creation of more life. The battle is waged between youth and the old, incence and kwledge, life and art; the burning of autumn leaves and spring's stubborn and glorious renewal. And always, in Ward's stories, life wins. Elizabeth Campbell Ward grew up in Pasadena, California. After graduating from Stanford University, she moved with her husband and children to Newport Beach where she authored the Coast Road Mysteries series: Laguna Contracts, Coast Highway 1, and A Nice Little Beach Town. Death in a California Landscape, the fourth in the series will be published in summer, 2013. She has also published the vel, Muse.