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, December 3, 2015

Short Fiction: Call Me Michael

I want each painting to be a challenge, an attempt to learn more about watercolor and grow as an artist. I hesitate when I say artist and wonder if I dare call myself artist.

I cobbled together this painting of a tall ship and a lighthouse for my nephew. He’s pleased with it but I’m letting the painting sit on my easel while I contemplate what further changes need to be made. I think it needs a story so here it is.

* * *
We are five couples staring across the bow at a most magnificent golden moon and sipping wine and cocktails. We will be spending the night on this tall ship replica—in rather cramped quarters, I might add. We each coughed up beaucoup bucks, but it’s supposed to be a romantic experience so I do not complain even though my stomach has been a little queasy at the rocking of the boat and the evaporation of my paycheck. Every now and then my husband glances at me to see if I have turned green. I stick to my medicinal beverage—straight scotch on the rocks. It keeps my mind clear and it doesn’t give me a gut ache like everything else. I stare at the golden orb and wonder at the immenseness of the universe while everyone around me is talking and laughing. The heavenly scents of dinner are coming from the galley, but I don’t really care. I just want to float heavenward and set foot on the moon before I drift off further into the universe.

This scotch is getting to me. I feel as though I’m about to slip out of my body: I listen to the conversations around me and find my mind bombarded by a clairaudient voice. My husband is talking shop with a man named John. He is unhappy about his work situation and mentions the difficulties he is having with his boss. My husband nods sympathetically and offers some benign advice. I take a swig of scotch and the words come tumbling out of my mouth. “You are going to be fired.”

The man blanches and my husband frowns his disapproval at my brashness.

“Prepare yourself as much as you can and start looking for another job. This will be a blow to your ego but in the long run it is for the best. You will find a new path in life.” I wonder how this man has overlooked so many signs.

“Honey.” My husband reaches for my drink but I snatch it away. “You need to slow up on the scotch.”

I sigh. “I apologize, John. I’m just saying get all you ducks in a row. Now.”

I look up at the moon and I’m ready for lift off. My husband is annoyed with me. Everyone is looking at me as if I just dropped in from outer space. I try to turn off this channel I’m tuned in to. I get up and help myself to some hors d’oeuvres. The conversation around me resumes. I look up at the moon again and wonder that I am not entranced by this romantic scene. Instead I am overwhelmed with a darkness and you can say it’s the scotch, but it’s the tragic unhappy things I see and hear and feel in my bones. The sensations flood my brain and the Voice says something is coming. I don’t want to know and I challenge the Voice. Why not something good?

The Voice says: "You shall see the good too as big and golden as the moon in the sky, but first the battle. I am Michael of the sword."

I am startled, bewildered. Michael who? I set down my glass. Enough scotch. But the moon hangs like a golden promise in the sky and I feel the darkness lift.


  1. A lovely tale. I hope he takes her word to heart, the battle yet to come - I'm not sure I have the patience nor the courage. Well done!

  2. Uh oh. That scotch! 'Nuff said. And Linda, what a beautiful painting just 'cribbed' together. :-)