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, July 7, 2014


The coffee shop was busy and the scent of fresh-baked scones and coffee always made Lana feel comfortable and relaxed. She pulled the lid off her too hot coffee and looked up at her friend Joan through the ascending steam.

“You look tired. Did you not sleep well last night?”

Joan took a sip of her coffee. “Nightmares.”

“I usually don’t remember my dreams, but few of them seem to be nightmares. Most are just bizarre and nonsensical and so I just sweep them out of my head like so much fairy dust.”

“I suppose it’s work-related. I’m always getting lost in buildings and can’t find my way out. This morning I was being chased by furry monsters that started out as coworkers.”

Lana smiled.

“It’s aggravating and when I wake up, I feel exhausted from running all night.”

“Do you remember that cottage we used to have at the beach?” Lana asked.
My Crude Watercolor Sketch

“Of course. I loved that place with its quaint little rooms and window boxes full of flowers. God, the smell of salt in the air. The balmy breeze. Oh, those lazy days laying in the sand while the kids splashed in and out of the water. That was pure heaven. Why in God’s name did you ever sell that place?”

Lana shrugged. “Frank was adamant about it. I thought it was a big mistake. I never understood his reasoning. He had a dozen lame excuses why we should get rid of the cottage.”

“If we had had any money, we would have bought it from you. I really miss that place.”

“Funny thing is—I had a dream about the cottage last night. It all started out kind of work-related too. I was having some computer problems and I needed to back up some data from one computer to another. I’m running around trying to solve this problem while the cottage is topsy-turvy. Beds unmade, beach towels and clothes thrown everywhere and who shows up to help me?” Lana grinned and settled back in her chair. “You’ll never guess in a million years.”

Joan threw up her hands in exasperation. “Why do you get to have all the good dreams?”

“You remember that guy I used to work with about 8 years ago? You met him at one of our beach barbecue parties.”

Joan stared blankly until a flicker of light seemed to ignite her brain. “Oh, tall-dark-and-handsome? The guy with the big smile and aw-shucks attitude?”

“Right. Jake. Well, he shows up out of nowhere and he just jumps right in and gets to work on my computer problem.”

Joan took a sip of her coffee. “Do you think he might be willing to show up at my office? I’ve got a dozen technological problems that need solving plus it would also be nice to have a change of scenery from the hunch-backed cubicle rats.”

Lana wagged a cautionary finger at Joan. “No wonder you dream of furry monsters.” She sighed. “I wish I could remember more of my dream. I can only remember the end.”

“Go ahead. Make me jealous.”

“Well, a bunch of us rented a power boat in the late afternoon and we all piled in. I’m in the stern and as the boat is backing out of the slip, to my surprise, Jake turns around. His hand is on the wheel and he smiles at me.”

“And so you ride off into the sunset. Disgusting.”

“No. I rest my forehead on the seat in front of me and mutter under my breath, `I love you with all my heart and soul.’ The end.”

Joan stares at me thoughtfully over her cup of coffee. “That’s pretty scary.”

(P.S. I apologize for the clumsy watercolor sketch. I am trying to get the hang of painting with water colors, but I've got a long way to go.)

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