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, October 29, 2014


This month's challenge at Write...Edit...Publish is ghosts. If you have a good ghost story or poem, drop by and submit your entry or check out the entries of others. Feel free to critique my entry.

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Most of us have an uncomfortable, hidden belief in ghosts, but who can see them and who can’t? Well, apparently, not me. I’ve never had a ghostly encounter until one Christmas my oldest daughter Tonya informed me that our house was haunted.

Seventeen years ago, after my mother died, my stepsister packed up a box of items and mailed them to me. In the box were some items that belonged to my maternal grandmother who had preceded my mother in death. There was a bell pull and a needle-point of a Rembrandt painting that my grandmother had made. I hung them in my dining room where they still remain.

I never knew too much about my grandmother Marge (her real name was Inga) because she never shared any of that history. At the age of 12 she emigrated from Norway. At 18, a happy, fun-loving girl converted to Catholicism and married my stern, hard-working grandfather. Soon she was weighed down by the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood. I don’t think she was all that happy with her lot in life, but she stuck it out. My maternal grandparents were not very affectionate people. No hugs or kisses, no laughter or jokes, no interest in my or my brothers’ existence except that we be good Catholics. Something in their life experience made it impossible to touch a child’s heart.

Grandmother Marge (on right)
What I remember most about my grandmother was that she loved her things—furs, stylish clothing, fine furniture, collectible figurines. Unlike my mother, who was a penny-pinching bargain hunter, my grandmother loved quality, well-crafted things and was willing to pay for them.
So when two of her things ended up in my home, apparently she felt the need to check up on them. At that time, my oldest daughter Tonya (age 25 and a nurse) had come home for a Christmas holiday visit. She shared a bedroom with her 11-year old sister Michelle. A couple of weeks after the holidays, Tonya worked up the courage to tell me that our house was haunted. I laughed, but she was serious. She recounted the story of how she woke up in the middle of the night and saw her great grandmother momentarily hovering over her sister’s bed before vanishing. She swore it was not a dream. There was one more incident of waking up and finding an elderly woman standing at the foot of her bed, but she couldn’t recognize the woman’s face.

My take on this ghostly visitation is that Grandmother Marge’s spirit tagged along with the box of her belongings. She hung around just long enough to assure herself that all was well and her belongings were in a safe place. Nothing scary, just Grandmama taking care of business.


  1. Grandmother Marge sounds quite the character. I'm pretty sure ghosts exist in some form as many people have felt /seen them. Writing ghost stories is fun. I loved hearing your family history and the doings of your ghostly gran.

    Thanks for participating in the WEP blogfest Linda.

    Denise :)

  2. How thrilling! I think your grandmother Marge came back to check on the grandchildren, she's discovered that the love of the materialistic hasn't served her well, where ever she is, but the love of family - and demonstrating such - would have served her better. Maybe it's too late, but she seems to be interested in the people not the 'things'. Maybe she'd love a chance to make things right. Thanks for sharing! My family has long had the same problem - love isn't easily shared!

    If this posts twice, my bad, I keep forgetting to sign on to google before posting.

  3. Being an immigrant to Canada many years ago, I can understand Marge wanting to be sure her 'things' were looked after. I couldn't bring much either as I came by car and left from my singles apartment, where I had only the necessities. As she may not have had love in her life, she loved her things. I liked this story Linda, well done. Actual experiences don't have to be scary. I like Yolanda's comment too.

  4. I have a few treasures (junk to most) that I'd probably check up on after my death too :)

  5. I love real life ghost stories. I lived in a haunted house when I was a child although I've never seen a ghost like your daughter. Real life is always stranger than fiction. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I enjoyed this bit of family history, real life ghostly experiences are way cooler than fictional ones. Though I am sure it must have been unnerving for your daughter. Our grandparents' generation lived harder lives than us mostly, sometimes that turned them into harder people. And that needlepoint is lovely.

  7. What a great combo of a "ghost" story and a family history. She sounds quite intriguing, your grandmother and the way you wrote about her makes me want to know her story! Thanks!

  8. Awesome. I lot it when the ancestors pop in. I haven't had the pleasure so far. Just my dad a couple of years after he died. That was a shocker. Loved your story.

  9. Hi Linda
    A ghostly encounter. My sister has a number of things that our paternal grandmother left behind. Her daughter told her that she saw my grandmother watching my sister working on the computer through a mirror, sitting in a favorite chair. Both having belonged to her. Gave me the creeps. Loved hearing about your grandmother and her history.

  10. Glad you all liked the real life ghost story and I'm somewhat relieved that some of you have had the same experiences with relatives.

  11. That's quite a story. Interesting that the ghost was attached to a thing such as a family personal item. That seems to give them a level of authority.

    Thanks for sharing with us. I've been in a few haunted houses myself so I believe they exist.

  12. A lovely story, so glad your grandmother could make her presence known and obviously not in a scary way.