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.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beware of Daughters Bearing Gifts

Rocoto Peppers (Orange)
A year ago my youngest daughter gave me a small withered plant that was sitting in her kitchen window. A friend had given it to her and told her it was some sort of Peruvian pepper plant. I adopted it because I knew it was about to die under my daughter's care and I believe everything should have a shot at life.

The first summer this frail-looking plant brought forth fuzzy green leaves and tiny purple flowers that turned into small walnut-sized fruits that eventually turned orange. I discovered that it was a rocoto pepper plant. It's a perennial that requires some support, but I didn't give it too much thought because it was a relatively small plant about the size of a normal pepper plant. The peppers had a medium heat, but like most hot peppers they made me cough uncontrollably. The process of dicing hot peppers always gets me.

This summer, after being dormant for the winter, I decided it needed a larger pot and to thank me it turned into a tree. The peppers are double the size this year--about the size of small apples. I've had to cut back some of the branches to restrain it and I'll be looking for someone who wants an unusual pepper for their salsa. Ah, yes, beware of daughters bearing pepper plants.

Rocoto Bush (perennial)