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 18, 2012

Death in Hollywood Hills

Since breaking my arm five weeks ago, I've been living in a twilight zone, well, actually it felt more like a hole in the ground. Now that I'm past the surgery and pain and I no longer have to wear a cast, I returned to work this week and also started physical therapy. I'm crawling out of my hole and glad the worst is behind me. But I've come to the conclusion that being so focused on self for five weeks kind of dulls your senses. Until today.

There are always murders in Los Angeles County, but a recent murder roused my curiosity. Two joggers on a popular hiking trail near the Hollywood sign in Hollywood Hills came upon a grisly scene. Two dogs were playing with a plastic bag near the trail when the severed head of a middle-aged man rolled out of the bag. Investigators later found two hands and two feet--so far, no body. With this little snippet of a story, the mind tries to imagine who committed the murder, why, and how. What sequence of events led to this man's death? We all love untangling the riddles of a shocking story, don't we?

I think I'll tuck that story in the back of my brain and let it percolate for a while. Who knows, maybe it will inspire a twisted tale one of these days. In the mean time, I keep working on my novel, Laughing Hawk. It's sort of "done," but there are parts that don't satisfy me yet. I dare not let a death in Hollywood Hills distract me.

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