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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge #40: Greener Pastures

I've been so busy editing my novel and taking a publishing class, that time totally passed me by. I never got around to making a submission for Romantic Friday Writers. So here's my non submission, a 600-word story about longing for greener pastures when your own life is not going so well. Hope you like my quirky take on greener pastures.
* * *

     “Why don’t you come with me to my channeling class?” Martha asked.

     “You’re what?”

     “Don’t be so judgmental. Come along and observe. It might give you some insight.”

     I sighed. I definitely could use some insight. My husband Dan and I were locked in a perpetual cold war that had worn down my soul. So after a light dinner and wine, I finally capitulated and went with Martha. She assured me that I would be impressed with the progress her classmates were making in summoning the wisdom from the other side. There was no subduing my skepticism. Nevertheless, I hoped for a little comic relief.

     When we arrived, there were already several people seated in a circle in a dimly lit room. I half-listened to Martha’s explanations about channeling while I observed this diverse group of people and wondered what they wanted from the spirit world.

     The teacher explained that we would only be channeling good spirits. For those that were afraid of channeling dark spirits, there was a special prayer for that. Good, I thought. One dark spirit in my life was quite enough. And so while everyone launched into a few minutes of prayerful meditation, I twitched in my chair and waited for the channeling to begin.

     The channeling chair was placed at the front of the room with a bright lamp light focused on the chair. Whenever anyone was ready to channel a spirit, he or she approached the chair, sat down, and closed their eyes while the instructor monitored the experience. A few complained the effort of channeling raised their body temperatures and caused a more rapid heartbeat. Of course, the instructor had suggested this would happen and that they would also probably feel weak and unable to stand for a few minutes after completing their channeling—an out-of-body phenomena, I guess, or mass hysteria. Most began their session with blissful greetings from the other side about love and peace. Some imagined themselves to be channeling wise Indians while others sang, chanted, or mouthed enlightened speeches. There were some good actors on the channeling hot seat. Others didn’t seem to get the hang of it.

     Martha asked if I wanted to give it a try. “Hell, NO.” I glanced at my watch. My mind became a blank, entranced by these communal charades. Unspoken words ricocheted through my mind. I could have sworn I felt a strong, reassuring hand caressing my shoulder.

     “Why don’t you try it?” Martha said.

     “Are you kidding? The spirit I’m channeling will get me thrown out of this class.” Someone was laughing at me, but it was no one in this darkened room.

     As the next person in the channeling chair began to moan and tremble, my spirit friend tweaked my ear and I could have sworn I felt a warm, sweet breath on my face and neck. “Do you know why they are all here?” he whispered in my ear.

     I tried to dismiss him, but I wanted to ask him which cologne he was wearing. He smelled good, his touch was comforting, and I wished he were mine.

     “Stop this bullshit,” The words exploded out of my mouth and with horror I realized that everyone was staring at me like I was possessed. The instructor moved across the room towards me and I understood she meant to wrestle my spirit friend to the ground and silence him.

     “Are you all this starved for love?” my deepened voice boomed uncontrollably. The pure silence said it was so. All I knew was that I wanted to be on the other side.


  1. Hey Linda, I just picked this up on the RFW blogger list. It's great. Such a shame you didn't get linked up in time! It was such a good lot of entries this week.
    This was one quirky story. I love the no-nonsense voice. As always, your endings are great. Loved it.


  2. Nice twist at the end. I've attended some things similar and must admit have kept quite sceptical throughout although .........

  3. Hi Linda. I actually added your story to the link so it will be there for future ref. D

  4. Oh I liked it. I got a thing for creepy voices in the ear, lol.

    I am sorry you missed this linked posting. But life has a way of taking priority sometimes. Writing to prompts is good practice though, and I've found it sometimes sparks a longer work. I hope you develop this into at least a short story. I am intrigued by how she came to be "channeling" this spirit, and what he means to her personally. thi sis a story I could definitely get into.


  5. Loved the twist at the end.Nicely narrated !!! Thanks for sharing

  6. Thanks everyone. I have been working very hard on editing my novel Laughing Hawk so I can hand it off to someone for an edit/review. On top of that, I have been taking a course in self-publishing which is mind-boggling. There is so much information to sort through and decisions to make. This learning process makes me squirm. Some times it depresses me because it is so overwhelming. I am an electron--always looking for the path of least resistance!

    1. Hello again Linda. Would you consider doing a Guest Blog post on RFW to tell us what you've learned so far. May help you cement what you've discovered. Just email me if you're interested.

      Just posted Charmaine Clancy's guest post about marketing your ebook...