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, November 21, 2013

Sharing

The topic for Write…Edit…Publish this November is sharing and so I decided to share a little of my struggling artist/writer agony. I'm all about storytelling, whether I'm writing, reading, gossiping, watching a movie, or trying to master the basics of watercolor painting.

I recently took up watercolor painting because it is a challenging medium in many ways. No point in counting the ways. Take my word for it--it's hard. I've decided that I am not going to be a landscape artist because there is not enough story in most landscapes to sustain my interest. I am more drawn to the landscape of the face, the hidden emotions and thoughts. It is much closer to writing. So here are a few of my watercolors with all of their flaws on display (my instructor points them out to me on a regular basis).









And since it's the holidays, I'm also sharing a few paragraphs from my novel, Dreaming of Laughing Hawk. My novel is available on Amazon in print or ebook and if you watch for the December 8 - 11 countdown promo, you can pick up the ebook at a discounted price.

It's 1964. The country is in turmoil and so is Elizabeth Leigh. A fortuitous invitation from her cousin to come to Los Angeles rescues her from an uncertain future. What she doesn't know is that the good life she dreams of is going to be turned upside down by a quicksand character named Mark Laughing Hawk. The following bar scene features Hawk and his uncle, Kills-at-Night (aka Killer).


     The room was dimly lit and had a hazy red glow. Bottles of liquor lined the shelves behind the bartender who was all business and no smile. Saturday night was hopping, and there were a couple of pretty waitresses in short tight skirts and low-cut tops running back and forth. Usually the jukebox was playing, but tonight a smooth jazz floated just above the haze and the din of voices and clinking glasses. Some struggling musician had managed to talk the owner into a little play time.

     Hawk saw her coming—a well-built blond with ample cleavage and a dangerous swing of the hips. She picked the bar stool next to him.

      "Thirsty," she said. "What do you recommend?"

     Hawk stared at the damp blond ringlets that clung to the nape of her neck. She smelled hot. A concoction of malt and perfume cut with smoke.

     "A cold beer. Schlitz," Hawk said.

     "No, Pabst."

     Hawk ordered her beer, scotch for himself and Killer.

     Killer leaned forward to get a better look.

     When the bartender brought the round, she said, "I'll have a little salt."

     Hawk paid.

     She sprinkled salt into the beer and took a long drink. "Thanks. I was parched." Her tongue chased the salt on the glass. "What's your name?"

     "Laughing Hawk."

     "Indian?"

     "Hawk is what I'm called."

     "I thought you was Mexican or something like that." She slipped her hand into her blouse and pulled up her bra strap. "My name's Angelique."

     "Good name," Hawk replied.

     "I never knowed an Indian before."

     "First time for everything."

     She laughed, looking like a woman who had just found her compass, and then she lightly brushed a thread off his sleeve. "This joint plays the best music, don't you think?"

     That was news to him, but he decided to throw her a bone. "You a musician?" Hawk felt his uncle’s sharp elbow against his.

     Ignoring his sarcasm, she traced the rim of her glass with her finger and leaned close enough to brush his shoulder. "I'm good."

     Hawk clinked ice against glass. They both understood one another.

     Her well-manicured hands stroked her glass and began to tap impatiently. "Is it a big decision?” she asked. “I don't have all night."

     Killer smiled and stared straight ahead.

     Hawk gave her the head-to-toe look she seemed to expect. "How much?"

     "Forty."

     "What do you do?"

     "The usual. Anything kinky is extra. Some things I won't do."

     "Exactly what do I get for forty dollars?"

     "All the pleasure you can stand." She rested her hand lightly on his thigh. "You want me to draw you a picture or do you need a checklist?"

     "How are you going to do me?" Hawk said. He could see in the mirrored wall behind the bartender that the gap in Killer's front teeth was showing.

     "What do you mean by how? First I take your clothes off, then I…"

     "No, no. I mean describe it. How do you take my clothes off? What makes me want to take my clothes off?"

     "Are you an idiot or a pervert?"

     "Both. How about a little imagination?"

     She slid her empty glass across the bar in his direction. "I'll tell you what, when, where and how much, but if you want me to describe how, that's double."

     "I can't afford to pay for the time it would take you to imagine it."

     "I thought so," she said. “No money.” Her eyes scouted the room, no doubt looking for another john.

     Hawk pulled out his wallet and counted a hundred. "You’re right. It's not enough."

     "That's enough to buy you the best time you can imagine."

     Hawk put the money back in his wallet. "No, it wouldn't be enough for my imagination. I'm a hungry man."

     "You're fucking crazy."

     Killer laughed.

     "You should pay me if you've never done an Indian before. You'd get your money's worth," Hawk said, stuffing his wallet in his back pocket. "Hell, I'll fuck your mind for free."

22 comments:

  1. Hi Linda. What an artist! What lovely watercolours. I love this form of art. My favourite is the guy on the motorbike. His face to me shows a moodiness. who knows what he's thinking. I love the landscapes too. They move. Keep it up. I'd love to try...

    Thank you for sharing for the November blogfest LInda. I have put up a notice in the CBox so people know you've posted.

    Hopefully see you on December 18th!

    Denise

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  2. Thanks, Denise. The guy on the motorbike is my favorite too. I plan to show up for the December 18th post.

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  3. Love the man on the motorbike and the two people on the sofa. Wish I could paint or draw. What a wonderful gift. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I love your excerpt - great humour but also (I'm pretty sure) a bit of darkness in there. Love the last line. ;P

    Oh, and your watercolours are great! You made me feel guilty for all the art I DIDN'T do this year (was meant to try & do something new every week!).

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  5. You're truly talented, Linda. I LOVED the river watercolour.

    And I loved this part from your excerpt:

    "Are you an idiot or a pervert?"

    "Both. How about a little imagination?"

    Imagination is priceless. ;)

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  6. I think I am going to have to come up with a story to go with the guy on the motorcycle. Any suggestions?

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  7. You are a very talented lady. The brooding biker conveys all sorts of things in my imagination!

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  8. I love the thinking motorcycle guy. He has marvelous eyes - looks like he's been through the wringer emotionally. Is that a face in the motorcycle headlight? Happy Thanksgiving!

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  9. Wonderful, such talent! I am so envious - I've always wanted to be an artist, my mother is and I have no talent whatsoever - you, WOW! And a talented writer too! You are amazing, congratulations!
    Beautiful, the painting.
    The story - I kept going back to the first picture of the guy on the motorcycle - great piece - Let me know if you need help getting the word out for holiday shopping - I'm open to a guest post, interview - whatever you need!

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    1. Thanks for your generous comments. I'd love to do a guest post or interview.

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  10. I've worked in acrylic and oils with some success, but found watercolour almost impossibly difficult. Yours look great! (And, like writing, critique from instructors may be hard to swallow sometimes but it always leads to growth!)

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  11. Love your story! Excellent dialogue.

    Thanks for sharing your paintings, too.

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  12. The excerpt is fantastic, the dialogue painting a great picture of these characters. I really want to know more about them!
    As for the watercolors, I think you're very talented. They are all wonderful... and, yes, they are telling stories...

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  13. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! Make sure to follow me back at http://lorenmathisbooks.blogspot.com/ . Thanks!

    L

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  14. From one artist to another, I think your watercolor is exceptional. The writing is naughty but well done. Happy Holidays.
    Nancy

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    1. Thank you. It's a little daunting to try to learn a new art form. I should stick to writing and try to master that but I always have curiosity about other things.

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  15. Your paintings are stunning... really gorgeous.
    You are multi-talented! An artist in more ways than one... (I wish I could draw/paint...)
    Great excerpt too. It captured my imagination...

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    1. Thank you. Well, everyone has a little artist in them. I'm sure you do too. You just need to make a space for it.

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  16. I wandered over from the WEP list. Sorry it took me so long; computer was on the fritz!
    Your watercolors are great! I've tried watercolor painting and you're right, it's a very difficult medium. It looks to me as though you're doing quite well with it! I love the seascape.
    And the novel excerpt was very good. Very vivid. I agree with Michelle; you're multi-talented :)

    Nice to meet you! Thanks for sharing,
    Jen

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  17. You are so brave to take up water colors. I'm no artist that way and would never even try! I liked what you wrote from your novel. Was a bit confused at first because I thought she was your main character! Glad I finally got it straight. Thanks for sharing all!!

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    1. Elizabeth is a main character, but so is Hawk. They both fight for that spot.

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