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, February 25, 2015

A Short Story: Running Away (Part 2)


For over a week now, the closet in my spare bedroom has been full of suitcases and boxes. Lora is going to make a break for it. She has rented a mini-van under her new name and I am loading it up with her belongings while she is hiding out with the children. I have packed a box of groceries for the kids and a few toys. I wonder how she will set up a bank account, get a phone, find a safe place to live, get a job, create a new identity so that her husband Jack cannot find her. I wonder if Jack will suspect that I am helping her. Lora and I must be very careful how we contact one another. Only on my work phone and email. I don’t know. I hope she’s sorted this all out. It’s too much for me.

I put the last of her belongings in the minivan, which is concealed in our garage, and wonder that her husband never noticed that all this stuff has disappeared from their home. My husband Don is quiet about this whole escapade, perplexed but sympathetic. Worried.

The phone rings and it is Jack. He wants to know if Lora is here.

“No, I haven’t heard from her for a couple of days.”

There is silence at the the other end.

“Is something wrong?” I ask.

“Shannon, if you hear from her…” He hesitates. “She needs to call home right away or she’ll be damn sorry.”


“You heard me. Give her that message.” He slams the receiver down.

Don's eyes lock on mine. “You drive the van. I’ll drive the Peugot.”

We hop in, open the garage door, and start our engines.

We drive through the drizzle, windshield wipers slapping, and pull up to the poorly lit street that backs up to the nature trail. “I’ll run down and get her,” Don says.

“Be careful not to frighten them.”

The beam from his flashlight bounces across the dirt trail and he heads out.

* * *

“In the car, kids,” Lora says opening the sliding door of the minivan. They pile in, making little squeals. I hand the keys over to Lora and give her a big hug. “Call me at work when you get to your destination.” I hand her over a paid phone. “Do you have enough money?”

“I took what there was in the checking,” she says in a whisper. “I have access to a small savings account that Jack doesn’t know about. It will carry me through for a few months until I can get on my feet.”

“Do you have all the documents you need? Birth certificates? Passports?”

She nods. Lora is a very logical woman. She leaves no stone unturned.

“Be safe.” I embrace her. Don embraces her. We do not ask her where she is going. We are afraid to know.

To be continued . . .

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