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.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gardening Fever

As soon as the gardening catalogs begin arriving in my mail box, I begin dreaming of how to lay out my small, raised bed garden. It's an enduring obsession. Fortunately, I am restricted by size or who knows how out-of-hand things might get. My guiding principles in selecting what to grow are uniqueness, disease resistance, and abundance. I never plant anything of that I can buy cheaply at the grocery store if there is no difference in quality.  Planning a Small Garden

This means tomatoes are a must because you can never buy anything that compares to what you can grow yourself. This year it will be Black Krims, Cherokees, Beefmasters, and San Maranzanos.

The other thing I grow is peppers of all varieties, but paprikas are de rigueur. Home grown and dried paprika is an incredible essential for my kitchen chemistry lab. Making Your Own Paprika  It is the main ingredient of Devil's Dust.

After peppers, come beans, eggplants, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, herbs, and anything else I can manage to squeeze in. This year the soil needs a major overhaul--deep tilling and amending with manure, compost, and peat moss (to help retain moisture). So I've sorted through my seeds and figured out what I need to buy, including fertilizer and sprays. In a month or so trays of seedlings will be setting in southern facing windows and I will be asking myself once again--why am I doing this? Gardening is an art form. The best part is you get to eat what you create.  

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