Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Ratatouille. Not the crazy rodent--vegetable stew. This morning was a typical June gloom kind of day in the O.C. when I snuck out into the garden and harvested a basketful of green beans.

I decided that ratatouille was the only solution for this abundance of beans. Here's the recipe. Improvise all you like.

a bunch of green beans (the large, flat ones are very meaty and don't have strings)
1 large eggplant or 2 medium-size
2-3 potatoes
1 large zucchini
1 large sweet onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 large can of diced tomatoes (or fresh if available)
diced bell pepper
2 tsp. ground paprika
1/2 c. ketchup
olive oil (you know, the bottle with the sprig of rosemary in it)
your favorite herbs (basil, oregano, chervil, marjoram, parsley, thyme)
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Cut the beans in bite-size pieces and put them in a large stainless steel pot with the tomatoes. And a little water, if needed and bring it to a slow simmer.

  2. Chop the eggplant into bite-size pieces. I prefer to sauté the eggplant and sliced garlic in a little olive oil. You don't have to, but it gives the stew a better flavor. 

  3. Chop the potatoes into bite-size pieces and sauté with the chopped onions in a little olive oil.

  4. Slice the zucchini.

  5. Dice the bell pepper.

  6. Add all the vegetables and ketchup to the pot.

  7. Season to your own taste and simmer until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Et voilà. Ratatouille!


  1. It was DELICIOUS!!!
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful treat!!