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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The week is often hectic and filled with drudgery, worry, and frustration. You have to make room for those little diversions that make things more tolerable—a movie, a walk in the park, a good book, a family outing, a divine meal.

I don’t have much patience for being in the kitchen during the week, but when Friday rolls around I’m looking for a decent meal and an exotic experience—something unusual and not too complicated. I notice a lot of people feel the same way I do when it comes to desserts. They are always digging up the recipe for Kataifi. They want exotic, but they don’t want to be in the kitchen for hours. Here’s another great dessert that is worth the effort. Tiramisu.

Lady Fingers
The main building blocks of Tiramisu are lady fingers – approximately 1-½ boxes. If you can’t find them in the store (which happens occasionally), then you’ll have to make your own. Following is an easy recipe for making lady fingers. If you can skip this part, you can throw this dessert together in no time. The hard part will be refrigeratoring it a few hours before you eat it.

2 tablespoons butter (to grease cookie sheet)
¾ cup flour (plus 2 tablespoons to dust cooking sheet)
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a baking sheet with butter and dust it with flour. (You can skip the butter and flour routine if you use parchment paper.)
  3. Beat 4 egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  4. Place egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed until mixture is pale yellow, thick, and has tripled in volume (about 8 minutes).
  5. Stir in ¾ cup flour, salt and vanilla.
  6. Gently fold in egg whites so mixture is smooth.
  7. Drop batter on cookie sheet in oblong blobs--about 1.5” x 3”
  8. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Cool thoroughly and remove from cookie sheet.
Tiramisu Custard
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
½ pound mascarpone cheese
¾ cup strong coffee
¼ cup Kahlua liqueur
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Beat 4 egg whites and salt until frothy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until thick and holding shape. Set aside.
  2. Beat yolks with 2 tablespoons sugar until mixture is thick (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add mascarpone and continue beating until mixture is smooth.
  4. Stir one-quarter of egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, and then gently fold in remaining whites. Mixture should be smooth and light.
  1. Mix the coffee and Kahlua together. (Go heavier on the Kahlua if that’s your preference.)
  2. Place a layer of the lady fingers on the bottom of an 8 x 8 pan.
  3. Sprinkle about one-third of the Kahlua mixture over the layer of cookies. (If you are using commercial ladyfingers, you can also try dipping them in the Kahlua mixture before layering them into the bottom of the pan.)
  4. Cover with one-third of the custard mixture.
  5. Place a layer of lady fingers on top and sprinkle them thoroughly with the coffee mixture.
  6. Continue the layering with second third of the custard and another layer of lady fingers and Kahlua.
  7. Finish by adding the final third of the custard.
  8. Sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder on top (use a small, fine sieve to sprinkle the cocoa).
  9. Refrigerate until serving – at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. That's the hard part. You need to give the flavors a little time to develop.
The end result is light and creamy and not too sweet.


  1. I really enjoy tiramisu and don't have a good recipe so I am happy you have shared yours! Thanks!!!

  2. This is on my list of recipes to attempt