Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Ultimate Decongestant

I couldn't figure out why I kept waking up feeling like I'd been tumbled around in a clothes dryer rather than sleeping...or why the mucus in my chest and nose lingered, regardless of my super-infusion of soup, tea and vegetables...or why, in response to a friend's question, "How's your new novel going?," I felt chest pain. Roughly 3.5 seconds later, I realized what I'd missed: I'd moved my novel-writing slightly lower on the totem pole in order to make more money, yadda yadda yadda...Another 0.5 seconds later, my totem pole was rightly configured—mine happens to have a Christmas star on top—and my nasal passages, clear.

I woke up the next morning after bumpy sleep...(My novel kept waking me up and telling me to work on it...) feeling again tossed and tumbled. As soon as I began clacking away on my laptop my angst dissipated and I returned to my usual, if hyper/obsessive self. Who needs Nyquil? Dayquil? Those nasty nasal sprayers? Sleep? (Ok, maybe that's important.) I've known for some time what writing creatively means for my emotional health. This episode showed me my body needs it, too.

According to a study published in the "Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine," science may support my "findings." Researchers studied the health and happiness of 334 healthy volunteers at Carnegie Mellon University for 2 weeks. Afterwards, the researchers inserted the rhino virus into each of the volunteers noses. While pessimistic, less-happy individuals weren't more likely to develop cold symptoms, people assessed as "happy" and "fulfilled" developed the fewest cold symptoms. In other words, go get happy! Or stay happy. Or...get even happier.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bouchercon...Festival of Kindness

When I told an author friend of mine that I'd finished my first novel he told me I "must" attend Bouchercon. ("Boucher-what"?) Well, I've just returned from the crime fiction writer/agent/fan conference, this year hosted in San Francisco, and knew within minutes of arriving that my friend had been right.

I'd contacted the conference registration office to find out if there were opportunities to network with agents. "Just hang out in the bar," the friendly woman told me. Okay... I really had no idea what I was getting into, but figured it was worth a shot. I contemplated strategies. Should I bring business cards? Have my "elevator pitch" ready? Prepare a song and dance?

More importantly, how would I avoid pestering agents the way I've seen actors harass Hollywood executives, agents and models/actresses with agents. As it turned out, the only "strategy" required, if you could call it that, was good old genuine kindness. I've never been in a more welcoming community; the kindness was reciprocal to say the least.

An author from the U.K. shared an on-going joke and point of tension in the British writers community. Apparently someone high up in the mystery/thriller genre commented that mystery/thriller writers are the "nicest bunch of blokes" because they get all of their angst out in their novels. Romance writers, on the other hand, are "a bunch of caddy bitches." I can't say the latter is true, but from my personal experience thus far, the mystery/thriller writers is.

I loved the conversations with fellow writers that went something like, "Are you enjoying the conference?" "Yes! It's great. I love your sweater." "Thanks! Yours too. What's your novel about?" "A man who eats policemen's feet for dinner. Yours?" "That sounds fascinating! Mine's about a cannibal who stalks pedophiles." "Awesome!" And so on...

At one point I was wandering in a spaced-out cloud, contemplating the novel I started that morning in my hotel room, when an author I'd met previously approached me. "Did you hear me calling your name and waving my arms wildly?" "Sorry..." I mumbled, blushing. "I was...writing?" Rather than look at me as though I was crazy, the multi-published author smiled, nodded and said, "You're gonna do all right, kid." Affirming, to say the least...

A highlight of my trip came when I stepped out of a panel to get a beverage and decided to sit at a table of two men and an empty chair. "Mind if I sit?" They looked at me, seeming a bit stunned. Fearing I had food bits on my face, I sat down anyway. They promptly asked me if I was a writer.

"Yes, I just finished my first novel—a thriller. I'm starting the "find an agent" process."

The men exchanged knowing glances then asked me what my novel is about. I told them. "We'll take a look at it," one of them replied. "Sure," said the other.

"You will?" (My turn for a shocked glance.)

Anyone with guts enough to talk to them was worth a shot, they said.

*GULP* I walked away clutching a business card, hoping my palpating heart wasn't apparent through my blouse... It wasn't until I returned home that I discovered via Google that one of the men owns a prestigious literary agency. (HOLY CRAP!) The other represents a slew of authors I admire.

Perhaps one day someone will ask me the proverbial "How did you get an agent?" question and I'll reply: "I was thirsty." or "Ignorance." I suspect it will be something like "By being friendly." Of course you have to write your heart out, produce good work, tell great stories, etc... Regardless of what happens next, I left the conference feeling like I was leaving a gathering of friends in a community in which I fit.

"Do it. Whatever it is. If you have a dream, go ahead, take the risks, and make whatever sacrifices you possibly can."
~Robin Black

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Celebrating the Path...and Emulating Gabby

How is it late-September already?! Okay, so I already know the answer... I've been, shall we say... busy. I would venture to guess that you all have been, too, and hope you are happy, healthy and enjoying the beginning of fall.

I finished polishing the final draft of my novel and celebrated with my mother and a group of close friends at a "Novel-Tea Party." I knew as soon as I started my novel that I wanted to share and celebrate its completion, before and regardless of agent/publisher interest. (It's all about the journey...right???) Thus, I scheduled the party before my up-coming meetings with two agents and before my truck-load of query letters go out. The party was a blast, its main hight light, hearing of dear friends' wishes, successes and dreams. I have a feeling that the lot of us will reap success from simply spending that time together... I feel I already have. (Thanks, you guys!)

Our collective dream-board:

Speaking of dreams, one has been drifting through my thoughts since I read Yahoo News this morning. The 25th anniversary edition of Elle Magazine features Gabourey Sidibe—the talented actress and star of the movie, Precious. In my eyes, there is no one better suited to grace the cover of Elle than Gabby. She is beautiful inside and out, talented beyond measure and inspiring to boot. I wish more women, men and children accepted and loved themselves as I've seen Gabby express in interviews. They lightened Gabby's skin substantially for the shot, however, and revealed very little of her physique.

As someone who has been on both sides of the photoshop issue (I've seen photos of mine photo-shopped in various publications and have had various parts of my body "stand-in" for other more recognizable peoples'...whom, I can't say...or I might end up in the hoosky...) I have a serious problem with the images the general public is faced, no—bombarded with. When I was modeling full-time, I often tried to justify my career path in my head. "It's like basketball," I once coached myself. "Some people are born athletes." And I was born...photogenic? Unfortunately it isn't simply about photogenic-ism or how well one moves before the camera. I'd feel far more pride regarding my modeling career if the industry portrayed, and society accepted or demanded, a broader definition of "beauty." Some days I feel we're making progress...others, not so much.

I hope we can all emulate Gabby's character. She is a model in truest form:

mod·el (mdl)
n.: One serving as an example to be imitated or compared; worthy of imitation; a preliminary work upon which others will be based

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stories Untold

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
~Maya Angelou

I believe this with every ounce of my being. I had the pleasure of visiting a good friend of mine last week and the added pleasure of hearing her idea for a novel. She's had the story in mind for years and now feels it's "the time." I hope she does write it; it's a fascinating story and she has the brights and passion to complete it. Writers should write and not let anything stand in their way.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I like cleaning?!

I don't actually...Love a clean house, dislike the cleaning process. As I remove the dust and grime from my novel, though, I can't help but wonder if Mr. Clean reaps similar satisfaction from polishing floors. Perhaps I've been saving my cleaning fervor all these years for this process.

I recently read Stephen King's, On Writing--a fabulous part-memoir, part "how to" writer's guide. He writes about his first mentor who told him that the first draft is for you (the writer); the revision is for everyone else (the readers). Though I'm polishing my revision, not my first draft, this insight rings helpful and true.

I'm surprised that I enjoy this tidying phase as much as I do...I get to enjoy my novel as a reader and experience the final draft as it reveals itself. Some days I feel like I'm dusting dirt away to find hidden treasures. When I come across Good Will giveaways instead, I'm happy to make cuts. (So is my editor.)

A few more quotes from On Writing I dig:

"Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open."

"Fiction is truth inside the lie."

"The road to hell is paved in adverbs."

"A short story is a kiss in the dark from a stranger."

"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."

"A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar."

"Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around."

(All quotes from Stephen King)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Black Hole PC

Last time I dropped my husband off at the airport, my car battery died in front of LAX. Today after dropping him off, it was worse--my COMPUTER. Rather than the novel I was eager to submerse myself in while dodging rush hour traffic, I hit the power button and found nothing to pursue but a black hole. (Sounds to me like a cheesy greeting card, right?... "My lights go off without you!" In this case, it's tragically true...)

Long story short (not my strong suit, but this is a blog and I've exhausted myself in computer salesman schpeals (sp?) and "how to cut and paste in Mac" tutorials...which isn't as rough as Mac-loathers make it out to be, by the way...

You guessed it--I BOUGHT A MAC. Leaving my trusty...(more like DUSTY, bird feather/dog fur filled) old Toshiba at Best Buy to retrieve the contents the black hole ate made me sad... We've been through a lot together, the "shib" and me. *sigh*

But here I sit, all MAC-ed out, and digging it. I have lots to learn, of course...such did the sales guy use it to take our picture during price check...and how do I make the internet screen and font bigger...and where do my documents disappear to after I upload them...and why is there a purple cup and saucer-type type thing (or is it a paintbrush?) bouncing around on my screen's bottom right now...?

If any writers have pointers on MAC's that might accelerate my learning curve, I'd appreciate hearing them. As for my hubby, I'm grateful I have someone to miss so much...especially in the dark. ;)

I had something deeper to chat about today, but it's long-since forgotten...or at least lurking in the "hole" contents, yet-to-be-recovered. More--hopefully--soon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Workaholic, Schmerkaholic...(Vacation's are OK.)

With tears coursing from my cheeks to my keyboard pad, I finished my novel on the 16the day of the 6th month at 9:36am. Seeing as 3's my lucky number--and what better judge of success and possiblitiy is that?! ;)--I'm stoked on multiple levels. I'm now in the polishing/final touches stage, in eager anticipation of meetings with several agents in September. (Cross your fingers and toes, 3 times!)

I've since been enjoying a rather European-style summer, in which I work less and play, rest and travel more, without beating myself up (very often) for my "laziness" (which I don't rationally believe in). Granted, my rendition of "play" often involves writing...and working less still lands me at a reasonably hefty schedule. I am, however, starting to see the value in the Euro-way. When I lived in Paris, I grew tired of people asking me where I'd planned to go "for holiday." Christmas is months away, I kept thinking. It took me a while to catch on... Once I did, I loathed the idea of taking a month or so off work to do, in my opinion, nothing.

Having spent time with my family in Minnesota--relishing my beautiful sister's wedding--and in North Carolina for the 4th of July, I'm finding that respite effects my writing like much-needed "mental health days" home from school. According to a National Sleep Foundation study, the average American employee works 46 hours per week and 38% of Americans work more than 50 hours per week--factors linked with sleep problems, reduced lifespan, yadda yadda... I imagine self-employed/independent contractor types (present company, for example) work even more. Since pursuing work one enjoys improves longevity, I figure I've cancelled my heightened risk factors, I hope. If not, I'll rely upon my European-style summers, which may last days, or weeks or more, and which I may opt to cancel at anytime.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A diversion from my "usual" writing-fare, but one that's near to my heart... My first music video, directed by my uber-talented friend, Scott David Martin, and starring Hannah Sullivan. Here's to all the "Cinderella's" out there! May all of your dreams come true...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

If Dogs Were Editors..., would we feel loved. My editor is more like Simon Cowell. But every now and again--okay, often--I read aloud to my beloved (did I mention deaf?) bull dog, Zoe. She may be slightly less literate than my Cowell-esque editor, but she sure does listen well (with her heart) and praise me as I walk through the door with my manuscript (with a number she calls, "squirmy-dance-with-wiggling-tail"). Though she occasionally snores mid-listen, she never leaves me feeling unworthy, unloved or "pedestrian" (my favorite feedback term I've heard applied to writers...). Granted, thumbs-up from my editor means a great deal and I find myself perpetually on my toes. I dig him, I should add, he's tres cool; but nothing beats a furry friend writing companion. (I'll address the bird another time...)

No matter who we are, what we do or what echelon of success we meet, life would rather stink without the unconditional support of loved ones...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do We/Dreams Grow Up?

Strolling through the Assamese mountains in Northern India, crooning my latest spiritual-funk hits over radio waves and hosting a English/Hindi talk show with my BFF Jill...That's what the 5-year-old me dreamed of becoming when I grew up. I also considered mountain climbing, after watching "The Sound of Music," none too coincidentally. When I realized that climbers don't actually sing in fields with outstretched arms, and must wear atrociously ugly shoes, I moved on.

As a child, according to "Slate Magazine," author Amy Bloom aspired to become an "inspiring, heroic boy." Writer, Jane Smiley dreamed of becoming a nuclear physicist, and author, Vivian Gornick, hoped to evolve into a prince. I'm not surprised that these talented, accomplished writers held dreams that involved inspiration, imagination and even the impossible. (In the world of writing, impossibility fails to exist--unless as a significant plot point, of course. ;))

My parents sent me a box of childhood keepsakes recently, chock-full of mysteries I composed during grade school...(the "Mysterious Pizza Tree," and the "Mystery of the Big-Headed Man," for example.) They reminded me that most of my meanderings about my future pursuits took place in journal form, or between chapters of Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King and Baby Sitters Club mysteries. My nose was perpetually glued to books. Perhaps whatever it is we dream of becoming as children remains our dream throughout our lives. We may stray from it and it may take various forms, but I suspect the heart of it never changes.

Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

(The below photo is a snapshot from a recent photo shoot I did for Dolly Couture. Like I said, dreams seldom change...)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reject me!

When I first decided to pursue a writing career I attended a seminar on book publishing. The speaker (a successful literary agent) stood before the sea of hope-drenched faces with visions of book deals dancing above our heads, and said the "chances of getting a manuscript read by an editor or agent is about 5 in 100. Of that 5-percent, a few are published." Hope-bubbles popped around me and a few tall-postured front-row-seaters slouched in dismay. I, on the other hand, lit up like a Christmas tree. Those stats sounded terrific after a decade-plus as a model/actress! ;) If I could survive and thrive all of that, I figured publishing would be pie... (Yum.)

The book deal isn't why I write. But I do believe that persistence plus passion plus hard work pays off--for writers that often (yes, often) results in published books and paychecks. To that end, I embrace opportunities for rejection letters. ("Reject me, so I'm one 'NO' closer...!") Today I picked up a book at my favorite used book store entitled, "Rotten Rejections: A Literary Companion." HA HA HA! Even the title cheers me. *sigh*

A few worth sharing:

"We are willing to return the manuscript for the same (advance) as we paid for it."
(Given to Jane Austen in 1818...)

"...the American public is not interested in anything on China."
(Given to Pearl Buck, in response to The Good Earth, in 1931...)

"We found the heroine as boring as her husband had."
(Given to Mary Higgins Clark in response to "Journey Back to Love" in 1962...)

"The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift a book above the "curiosity" level."
(Given to Anne Frank in response to The Diary of Anne Frank, in 1952...)

In short: don't give up and keep on laughing. Worst case your rejection note may end up in a quaint, fun little book.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happiness...& American Idol

Okay, I admit it. I'm an Idol-worshiper. KIDDING--watcher. ;) Granted, this season isn't as Adam-Lambert-thrilling as last year. Even so, I find myself lured to the tube Tuesday and Wednesday nights, eager to discover whether Lee has grown another echelon in confidence or if Crystal has let her dreds down. Happy to say they've been my favorites from the beginning. What I love most about Lee and Crystal is their evident joy and passion for singing. They've both been known to shed tears and I swear Lee has a perma-grin hiding under his subtly smiling lips.

Last night I read, "Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth," by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener. (Sounds hype-y, but it's not.) It's chock-full of extensive research findings pertaining to happiness. In a section about job-related happiness, the authors speak of working "in the zone." They compare happy workers to runners who lose themselves in blissful hyper-focus. (Hmm...never quite had that while running...)People who love their jobs/work/careers lose track of the time, wish they had endless hours to partake in it, and not due to harsh deadlines, mean bosses or financial gain.

I think most Idol fans are drawn to the bliss the up-and-comers find and reveal on stage. I've certainly felt similar passion while singing or performing a particular song...but I don't wish do any of it all day. My writing, however...alternate stories (ha, pun) altogether.

I'm wishing "the idols" the best tonight and a fond farewell to Simon (who gave a great interview on Oprah, by the way...). I plan to step out of my writing zone to watch the finale tonight. May we all find our zones and frolic happily about in them, without time clocks, calendars or ceilings to hold us back.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

For love or money...?

I went to a book reading by Jennifer Lee Carrell at Vroman's last night. She's a fantastic thriller and historical fiction writer--her most recent novel, Haunt Me Still, a combination of both. She's as fascinating a speaker as her books are can't-put-'em-down-ers. Haunt Me Still is a modern-day thriller about an American theater director who gets wrapped up in the Bard's witch-hunted Shakespearian play, MacBeth, in London. (Carrell did inform me that typing/reading/writing the word does not beckon dark magic...whew!)

As she spoke of her writing process and journey as a successful writer (her pre-quel to Haunt Me Still, Interred With Their Bones, is an international best-seller) she said she always dreamed of becoming a writer, but figured there was "no money in it." She became a teacher instead. I heard Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight) say almost the precise same thing during an Oprah interview.

In both of these ladies' cases, it seems that "love" eventually won out. Is this to say that one's destined path will eventually come into fruition if they remain open to it? Or that some people take longer to connect with their true passion than others? The whole love or money question always baffles me to an extent, likely due to my up-bringing. My parents raised my siblings and me to follow our hearts and pursue what we love. Prime example--my brother was on the path of becoming a doctor when he dropped it for art. My parents essentially said, "Yee-ha...Go for it!" He did and he's uber-successful. (Check

My own path has been windy to say the least. When I told my mother I applied for a street singer's permit in Santa Monica she sent me a box of "hippie clothes" and a plaque that reads: "The most beautiful music comes from the heart." Since I've become a full-time writer, she and my dad periodically send books, book reviews from the local MN newspaper and stories I wrote as a child. (If that ain't love, I don't know what is...) When I modeled full-time, I made money at it. Same with acting, same with writing. Granted, I had periods of the proverbial "feast or famine," but for the most part, I've stayed afloat each time I've pursued my passion. (Similarly, I was flat-broke/living on Top Raman during a time I was lost for passion. Apathy is a potentially disease, in my opinion...)

I don't disrespect money as a motivation. I suppose I just don't understand it. I do agree that one must have money and that it plays an important role in life. It just seems to me that it carries more weight in people's lives than is helpful or necessary. I believe our world would hold less pain, anger, frustration, disappointment and cruelty if we lived lives based upon joy and fulfilment rather than climbing a particular status ladder or keeping up with the Joneses. Now is probably the most difficult time in recent years for Americans to pursue their passions, during the financial crisis, but perhaps it's also the most important.

I'd love to hear your thoughts...answers to the cliche but significant question: For love or money?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Monster in the Mirror

The moment she awoke, she knew it. The monster had returned. Why now? She looked at the sleeping man beside her—her husband of less than twenty-four hours, with tears saturating her cheeks. Chill out, she told herself. She might be wrong.

She slipped out from his sleepy grasp and tiptoed to the restroom. Unopened soaps and cushy white bath towels greeted her—every detail, pristine and new. More tears. Stop! She took a breath. She shouldn’t start the grief process yet. Or perhaps she could.

She turned toward the mirror, and saw it—the monster. Insidious eyes stared back at her from a puffy, wrinkled face. Her own hair, normally lush and auburn, now stood in spiky, gray disarray. Her skin hung on her body like an antiquated wet suit. Faded, sagging rubber one wishes to yank off.

She fell to the floor in horror, her promise echoing in her head: If it happened again, she’d end it. Pull the trigger and shoot. (T.B.C....)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quotes and Quips

That happen to be ringing in my head...

"An adventurous person will always have moments of feeling like a fraud--it's a sign that you're creating new roles for yourself, that you're evolving.It means you're doing passionate work." ~Todd Kashdan

I'll remember this when my fingers don't seem able to catch up with or do justice to the stories in my head...

"I'm no model lady. A model's just an imitation of the real thing." ~Mae West

It's taken me long enough, but could've taken longer, to accept who I am--inside, outside and the yet-to-be discovered... I wish the same and more for all other women, okay, yes--men too... ;)

"I may not be your big strong, mama, but I always see and can help from far away...I'm your 'your masala mama.'" ~my mom

I'm grateful every day for my parents who love me and my siblings uniquely, equally, unconditionally... (A peony from their garden.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Killer Recipe

She watches him stir the batter, mesmerized by the clockwise rounds, the repetition. She…is…getting…sleepy… She giggles to herself. It’s like a game, her secret. He taps an egg on the countertop—one, two…splat! Goose bumps. He’s getting close.

“Thanks for letting me bake for you. I was pretty upset when you said you wouldn’t allow it. On your birthday, of all days.” He kisses her forehead. “Every princess deserves a royal cake.”

“It’s no problem.” She leans forward onto the countertop. The aroma of sweet, vanilla-kissed batter reaches her nose and makes her smile. Just like home.

“What else did your parents do for you on your birthday?” He pours flour into a separate bowl. One cup, two.

Meticulous, she notes. He won’t miss a beat.

“And the…” He searches the counter.

“Baking powder. Here you go.” She slides the Arm & Hammer box toward him. One part baking powder, two parts poison. “Remember to use extra. It’s like the secret ingredient.”

“Really…” He squints at her—flirtatious, inspecting. “I’m surprised you’d share your family recipe with me. Must mean I’m special.”

“Oh, you are.”

He adds the dry mixture to the wet, stirs again. Round one, round two, then faster. She’s like an engine, revving higher with every swipe of his spoon. Come on, faster…faster!

He licks the batter-coated spoon. “Salmonella, shmal-monella. It tastes too damn good. Want some?”

The spoon moves toward her lips, filling her breath with air of danger. She closes her eyes. “No, thanks. I’ll wait. But I loved watching you.”

His eyes say, Really?

Hers say, Yes.

She watches him. Another long, slow lick. That’s right, good. Her insides tremble, she’s about to explode. Oh, god…oh, god…oh, YES! YES! YES!

“Are you… Oh my, god, Emily, are you…?” The look in his eye moves quickly from heated to desperate. “What…wha-” He gasps, chokes.

She watches the life slip out of him like stage lights, fading to black. “Happy birthday to me…happy birthday to me…” He even looks like her foster parents. Say ‘Hi’ to them for me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What a difference...

...a good night's sleep makes. I awoke to the sound of rain falling outside my window and the happy realization tha the parking tickets in my dream were ficticious...whew.

During my morning drive I contemplated a play I saw over the weekend--"Begal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo." I love art that entertains, educates and pries your mind wide open. I don't know much about the writer (Rajiv Joseph) but I got the feeling that he conjured a premise and fascinating characters--some metaphoric, others true-to-life--then let the characters drive the story. I aspire to write that way, too...(Who can "write" a more authentic or poignant story than the characters who actually live in it?) I suppose there are as many approaches to writing as there are writers. Hooray for them all...I dedicate my hooray's today to Rajiv Joseph and Moises Kauffman (the director).

An idea struck me while sitting in the darkened theater before curtains went up: how cool would it be to sit at the center of a stage and write a story? Guess that's my next self-imposed challenge. Off to soak up s'more alone is rainbow enough for me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Once upon a time there was a girl who couldn’t connect to the internet. Though she knew of countless other matters of greater significance in the world (starving children, global warming, the health and wellness of her loved ones, having loved ones in the first place…) she still felt like whining, kick-boxing a heavyweight dummy-bag and ripping every clothing item she owned out the window. (She realized her last wish made little sense.) She had deadlines to meet, research to conduct…not to mention this goofy blog she’s recently embarked upon. Did she mention her stress headache?

Sure, she could haul her computer to a Starbucks – again. And she will, tomorrow. But, today is Sunday...and don’t even workaholic writers deserve some slack? (It’s practically written in the bible. She thinks.) *Sigh.* She wonders if the universe is suggesting she lay around sloth-like in her PJ's with Ben and Jerry to keep her company. She knows herself well enough to know, however, that sloth-like respite aggravates her more than cell-phone-talking-beer-drinking-drivers-who-do/say-rude-things-to-kind/loving-people.

So…she rants about it, safely within the constructs of her bedroom, forces herself to thank her lucky stars for life’s vast blessings, then conjures a suspense thriller about a woman who plots to conquer Viral-Techno-BLECH-Man, the computer virus wreaking havoc on all women’s and creative artists’ lives, and wins. Her novel leaps to the top of best seller lists and lands her on Oprah. “What inspired you to compose this story?" the queen of talk asks. "And can we hang out after the show?"

“Funny you should ask," she responds. "And yes.”

"The prize is always worth the rocky ride." Emily Saliers

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Til Death

I set out today with the mission to compose a story based on someone, or something, that caught my eye. If you dig the notion, give it a whirl. May as well maximize on our daydreams...

Allison Manning unloaded her shopping cart at Wilson’s Country Mart, reviewing her mental checklist. Sodas, trail mix, granola bars, a first aid kit, make-up, an Atlas. Trivial contents compared to the magnitude of her venture. Her entire life was about to change. “Hey Jimmy, how’s it going?”

“I’m fine. Better now that you’re here.” The middle-aged clerk flashed a crooked smile and smoothed his poof of thinning gray hair.

Allison didn’t mind his ritual flirting, particularly once she realized that Jimmy was a bit “slow.” She figured he deserved her congeniality. Even if it had irked her, it wouldn’t tonight.

“Must be goin’ somewhere,” he added, lifting her book of maps. “Where are you going?”
“Good question. Depends on the wind, I suppose.” She considered, for a split-hair of a second, telling him everything. But she couldn’t, not yet.

“It’s a boyfriend-girlfriend trip, isn’t it?”

“You could say that.” The nervous carbonation in her belly surged. In contrast, Jimmy’s joy went flat.

“He sure is lucky to have a nice lady like you.” His face lit up. “Can I come?”

“Sorry, Jimmy, not this time. Don’t you think the store would be helpless without you?”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” He lifted powder and concealer from her items. “A pretty lady like you doesn’t need all this. Does Steve tell you that?”

“He does, yes.” Her eyes grew moist. “Thanks for the compliment, but I’ll take them anyway, just in case.”

He looked at the register. “Thirty-eight seventy-seven. That’s good luck—two sevens.”

She smiled, hoping he was right. She swiped her credit card through the machine. “That’s odd. It’s not going through. It says ‘error.’”

“Can I see it, and your ID? Sometimes it needs verification.” He examined both cards closely, punched numbers into the register and handed them back to her. “There you go.” She signed the electronic signature pad. “Have a good trip. If you change your mind, come back. I’ll go with you.”

“Thanks, Jimmy. Night.” She lifted her bags and walked to her car.

“What do you mean, she’s not in today? She told me to pick her up, here, at four-thirty.” Steve paced the floor at Allison’s office, glancing repeatedly at his watch.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what to tell you.” Allison’s assistant, Jennifer, appeared flustered. “We tried reaching her at home and on her cell. Perhaps you could try her loved ones, or--”

“I am her loved ones.” He hadn’t meant to snap, but this wasn’t like Allison. He noted the ring box rubbing against his leg.

“If we hear anything, I’ll contact you right away. I’m sorry, I wish--”

Steve didn’t wait for her to finish. He blew out of the building, fueled by frustrated steam. Allison’s words from the previous night haunted him. “I love the way we are right now,” she’d said. “I wish I could push ‘pause’ and freeze it. Everything feels so right, I’m almost afraid I’ll do something to screw it up.” She sounded emotional but Steve hadn’t pressed. Why hadn’t he pressed? He shouldn’t have hinted at his proposal plans. He imagined her running away from him on tepid feet, further and further until she reduced to an unattainable spec on the horizon. Or what if she already had the “something” she referenced all planned out? Damn it, Allison. What did you do to screw this up?

He drove to her apartment, his hands clenched to the steering wheel as though squeezing hard enough might bring her back. But he raced his way to nothing. Allison’s parking space remained empty but for abandoned tar and litter bits. Her landlord hadn’t seen her since last night.

“She came home with shopping bags—Wilson’s, I think. That must’ve been about…eight-thirty?”

“Thanks, Phil. In case you hear anything.” Steve handed him a business card.
The inside of her apartment still smelled of her—her perfume, her shampoo. They’d argued over it, the place she insisted on keeping “until they were married.” She had said that, hadn’t she? “Until,” not “if?” He slammed his fist down on the countertop. “Fuck!”

Wait. Shopping bags. Wilson’s. He scavenged the apartment for unopened toiletries, groceries, dish soap, a receipt, then bolted out the door.

“I’m sorry, Sir, you’ll have to get in line behind the other customers,” Jimmy said.

“I’m looking for a woman. She came here last night and--” Steve upheld a photo.

Jimmy glanced at it. “Nope, haven’t seen her. But the rule is first come, first serve. If you want to talk to me you have to get in line.”

“Dip shit,” Steve said under his breath and stomped to the next register.

The clerk examined Allison’s photo. “Sorry. She looks familiar, but we see so many people every night. You can check with customer service in the back. Maybe they can help you.”

But no one would help him. Not even the police.

“Would you consider her a threat to herself or anyone else?” The stone-faced officer sat like a stubborn bulldog at her desk, glaring up at him over wire-rimmed glasses.

“What? No, she wouldn’t do anything to…What does that have to do with anything? She’s missing. My girlfriend’s missing.” His heart pounded in his chest. If he weren’t such a health nut he’d be suffering a coronary.

“And no sign of foul play?”


“History of mental illness? Schizophrenia, depression…drug or alcohol abuse…”

“Christ. No. No! What if someone took her? She’s a pretty girl, living alone. Damn it, I should never have...” He took a breath. “Can you at least send someone out to look for her?”

“Sir, have you and your girlfriend had a fight recently?”

If angry before, now he seethed. He felt it in his nostrils, flaring like a bull, prepping to fight. Officer Bull Dog seemed unaffected.

“Here.” She held out a clipboard. “Complete this form and I’ll see what we can do.”
Steve grumbled and snapped the clipboard from her hand, irony striking him with every pen swipe. Marriage license forms sat in his briefcase, blank. Fuck this. He’d find her himself.

His thoughts circulated on the last twelve hours as he drove, an ocean of 'should’ves,' 'would’ves,' 'could’ves,’ and ‘if only’s.’ Think. There had to be signs, clues, some inkling. Where are you, Allison?

As though on auto-pilot he returned to the Wilson’s parking lot. He surveyed the parking lot, eyed every shopper who came and left. He checked his phone for missed calls, messages, texts. He tried her again. Come on…Pick up! “Babe, it’s me. I’m worried about you. If…” His voice cracked. “If you get this, call me and let me know if you’re okay. If you’re hurt, or…” He couldn’t get the words out. “I love you.” Click.

He looked up and saw the clerk from earlier exiting the store, his face angled downward, his step--anxious. Steve watched him climb onto a bicycle, peruse a thick book—an atlas? He tucked it in his bike basket and took off.

Steve trailed him for half a mile, each block affirming their destination--Allison’s apartment.

Steve waited for the man to park his bike and enter the building. With pocket knife in hand, he followed.

(Part 2 en route...)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kidney Stones, PMT and Wireless-less

When I set out to post here daily, I neglected to consider unforseen circumstances, such as kidney stones (not mine, though witnessing that kind of pain in someone you love...), premenstrual synd-er, trauma (okay, mine...), lapses in my wireless and the very topics I swore against--self judgment, critism and depricating blither. I also knew that "stuff" would come up and that my angst in forging ahead regardless was a primary reason I should. (A therapist once told me never to use the word "should." Hmm...) So here I sit, on-line and hoping the connection persists until I finish this entry. If God/destiny/the universe/what-have-you intervenes, I'll accept the guidance.

Steven Pressfield might call my obstructions resistance, and perhaps rightfully. (Any of you who haven't read "The War of Art," I recommend it.) I have been writing, thank God, just not, well, here. I'm nearing my goal of completing my novel revision before my editor's return from vacation this week. Articles are going well and I have new short stories written and en route to the Writer's Digest story competition. (I'd share them here, but they're no longer "present.")

Speaking of which, I wonder many paintings, songs, stories, novels and other art would exist in the world if we didn't spend so much time re-vising, scrutinizing, putting up our own walls and distracting ourselves with ______, ______ and _____... Trust me, I want little more than to bring my work to its finest level. But I also know that having characters, stories and ideas dance around in my head eventually evolves into a sort of artistic constipation. Like other sorts of blockage, it's wise to let it out.

A friend of mine (and uber-talented composer) is here in Los Angeles, pitching a song he wrote, recorded and believes in with all his heart. In listening to the piece, his passion rings louder than its notes and words. Over lunch, he asked me how I focus on my craft. I've been pondering that since. My greater challenge of late is focusing on writing primarily while I'm writing, and setting it aside when I should be focusing on life. A HA! Perhaps my therapist knew what she was talking about. Forget the "should" business. I'm going to focus on whatever my heart and mind desire, knowing that the stories in my head only hurt me when I never let them out. Doing so will likely make me a more pleasant real-world participant anyhow. Wish me luck....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wait Train

Sitting on the line in a railway station, watching your life as it all passes by...Wondering what's next, what fate holds for you. Wondering if today marks a bump in your ride...No matter what happens, what life throws to you, your heart's on the page and you know you'll survive...

Lyrics from a new song. (Perhaps soon I'll figure out how to post songs here...)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mr. Danger

She swept through the open window of my luxury Miami apartment at hurricane velocity, with lightning-like sunrays streaming from her wingtips. She handed me the magic dust and in a swift move extracted the voice box from Mr. Wrong, saving the clueless damsel before she could even blink; before the day for her turned to a tumultuous night that might carry on forever.

Okay, so luxury’s a strong word. And the lighting and window were more like lamps and landing pads at the Miami International Airport. The dust was curry powder, the damsel—me, and the superhero—unquestionably, my mom.

“Here, take these.” She handed me spice packets—curry, turmeric and cardamom. “And these.” A bag of frozen, but thawing chicken breasts. “Oh, and this.” An old-fashioned chrome skillet she’d found at a thrift store for negative-one-tenth of its price at retail or antique stores.

“They let you bring these on the plane?” The spices—though tantalizing--looked remarkably like pharmaceuticals.

“Why wouldn’t they?”

I should’ve known. Mom’s faith could open doors in concrete walls. She’d flown to Miami to attend the screening of my first film, Paparazzi, in which I played a woman who takes revenge on the photographers who exploit her. Though a low-budget indie-film, I conjured comparisons of Mom and me to Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow, whom I knew from watching Oprah appeared at Gwyneth’s premieres jointly, too.
Mom started cooking and I sat on a stool, awaiting tasks.

“What is it?” she asked—not, ‘Is something on your mind?’ or ‘Did something happen?’ She just knew.

“Nothing.” I smiled, instantly aware of my disingenuous pep. “Can I help?” I sliced a potato and glanced repeatedly at my phone. He’d sent several text messages and a voicemail I was apprehensive but desperate to listen to.

“Is it him?” Her eyes burned into me.

How did she know? “Who?”

“Let me see.” She reached her hand out.

“No!” My hand snapped to my phone like a Venus fly trap. Then tears filled my eyes and her truth serum caused everything to open up. (I told you her spices were magic.) He didn’t yell at me per say, but he had a temper. I didn’t deem him dangerous, though he did chase a man who looked at me a certain way around a parking lot with a knife. He wasn’t violent, though he did snap a chrome towel rack I could barely lift in two when I shared my dream of moving to Los Angeles. And though he “loved” me, he punched a hole in the wall when my dreams began coming true and visions of his monster-eyes kept me awake to the wee hours of the night. For reasons I couldn’t explain, it broke my heart to leave him, perhaps more than it did to stay.

My phone rang and Mom answered it. “Yes, this is her mother. I just want you to know that you are never to call my daughter ever again. Ever, understood? Oh…you love her. Good! You can prove it by leaving her alone.” Pause. “I’ll pray for you.” Click.

For a moment I felt as though the floor fell from beneath me. I watched my body free-fall from a cliff with nothing in sight to catch me. But then the air felt quiet and the breeze outside, peaceful. I breathed calmly for the first time in months and felt the hard marbles of tension ease from my back and shoulders.

“Well,” Mom said, “Guess that’s it!” She wrapped her arms around me, then grabbed her keys. “Let’s go shopping.”

My tear ducts were like on/off sprinklers the rest of the weekend, sometimes out of heart ache, more often from relief. Mom kept my phone in her purse and between bargain hunting adventures, cooking fests and film parties I caught glimpses of a knowing look in her eye, assuring me that I was strong, capable and most of all, loved. Not by Mr. Danger, but by my superhero mom.

A year later in Los Angeles, I encountered a woman who knew my ex. Her similar blond hair and blue eyes gave me chills. The one she could no longer open broke my heart.

“He did this to you?” I asked.

She nodded. “You’re lucky you got out when you did.”

No, not lucky. Blessed.

For my superhero mom...Love forever, Putsu

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Experiment

Blood shouldn’t have such beautiful color. She wipes her hands on her pant legs. Smears of burgundy, like dust from rose petals. She wonders how she got here in the first place, how it all could’ve happened. It was meant to be a simple experiment. An exercise. She was just…acting.

“As actors we seek truth,” Mirabelle Florence began. “Then we share it, bring light to it on the stage and share it with humanity. Stanislavski said we bring truth to imaginary circumstances. That, my dear ones, is your job. So…” She turned to the dry-erase board. “Your assignment for next week.” She wrote the words ‘imagine,’ ‘create’ and ‘report’ in aqua blue. “Venture into the world with your story. Believe it yourself, then illuminate the truth you’ve created for others. Any questions?”

No, Camille thought. For the first time since the class began, she didn’t. Until tonight she hated acting homework. She’d only taken the course to fulfill a dare from her roommate, Emily, who had stardust streaming from her eyes and practically had her Oscar speech embroidered on her pillow. Camille never admitted her other motive for taking the course--an easy ‘A.’ Or so she thought.

“Good then. Au revoir.” Mirabelle shooed her pupils away as though batting flies. Within moments, the energy in the theater rows shifted from captivated to bustling. Camille, who normally would’ve rushed out ahead of the pack, remained planted in her seat, her mind whirling. Until tonight, acting seemed this elusive thing. This alternate form of consciousness she couldn’t grasp or step into. “Stop thinking so much,” Mirabelle told her repeatedly. “Don’t think. Don’t act. Just be.” What in the hell did that mean? Wasn’t acting rather the point? What else had she paid three-hundred-forty dollars for? She could sit around be-ing on her own. She planned to resign tonight and surprise Emily with front row tickets to Wicked!--her end of the bargain. Instead, something clicked.

“Man I love this stuff.” Emily approached, awestruck as usual. “It almost inspires me to tell my parents I dropped biology for performing arts.” She paused. “I am a total hypocrite, aren’t I? All this talk of truthfulness and here I am, lying my ass off to my parents.”

“Maybe you’re just acting,” Camille replied.

“Pardon?” She looked at Camille, perplexed.

“Maybe it’s only lying because you don’t believe it. You should do what Mirabelle said--sit in the story. Imagine you’re a bio-major when you’re around them. It only has to be true for you, right?”

“On stage, yes. But with my parents? Speaking of which…” She glanced at her watch. “…the scientists await. Au revoir.”

Camille turned to gather her things and felt a presence behind her. She turned to see Christian, the classes’ latest addition and the eligible apple of many an actress eye.

“You’re right,” he said. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop. But I liked what you were saying, about honesty. I get sick of all the bullshit, you know?” He furrowed his brow. “You’re not from LA, are you?”

“How can you tell?” And why was she blushing?

“Too honest. People here seem rather…”

“Flaky…shallow…pretentious…cocky... Shall I go on? Don’t worry, you’ll get past it. I’ve met some of my best friends here. You just have to be particular. And you’re right, I’m not from here. Dubuque, Iowa. We grow corn.”

He squinted and cocked his head, as though deciphering an amusing puzzle. “Want to partner up for the assignment?”

Would the old Camille take him on? No. She’d be busy dropping acting class. But now, who would she be…? The answer leapt to her head and drew a smile to her lips. “Yes, let’s.”

(To be continued...)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Voices, Part I

Anne Hayworth knew that once she became a therapist some patients would change her life and others might hand her theirs for saving. But in her first two years in practice, her cases remained mild – people with basal-level depression, frustrated with work, wanting out of bad relationships. Disappointing? Somewhat. But years had passed and a lot had changed, including her expectations. When Sarah S. first entered her office, the striking young woman with sadness drawing rings under her eyes, she had no inclination that she’d soon have that life-saving chance; or that once it arose, she’d feel utterly incapable of saving her.

“Good morning, Sarah. How are you?” Anne asked.

“Fine, thank you.” She placed her hands atop her pant legs and smoothed a wrinkle that, from Anne’s perspective, didn’t exist. Anne noted the precision of her makeup, so consistent it had to have been tattooed on. Her coiffed auburn hair and sheik wardrobe matched her make-up in flawlessness. With any progress Anne hoped she might one day appear in jeans.

Sarah always answered her ‘how are you’ questions the same. She knew that for Sarah ‘fine’ could translate to ‘not worse,’ ‘uninjured,’ ‘still breathing.’ In their last two sessions of an accumulative twenty, Sarah had begun to open up, allowing a tiny gap in her snugly wrapped cocoon. She felt purposeless and devoid of passion. And an elusive woman – her mother, Anne gathered– judged her harshly. Nothing Sarah did or said ever seemed good enough.

“She got mad at me again,” Sarah began with her eyes planted on the floor.

“The woman you told me about last time?”

Sarah nodded.

“Want to tell me about it?”

“We had a fight. She doesn't like my clothes. Or how I wear them. She said I look foolish and I could at least try. She made me change outfits a bunch of times before I came here. It almost made me late.”

Anne noted the irony in her words. Sarah would radiate surreal beauty, if not for the melancholy cloud that cast shadows over most of it.
“Why would she do that?”

“I don’t know." She paused. "Do you think she’s right?” Tears fell from her eyes, revealing the authenticity of her eye liner. It streamed down her cheeks like offshoots of muddied rain puddles.

“It’s okay. Let it out.” Anne handed her tissues. Tears were good. They meant progress. “And no, I don’t think she’s right. What do you think?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know why I even care.”

“Do you have any guesses? Why you care?”

“No, not really.”

“Maybe that’s something you can think about.” Anne jotted a note in Sarah’s file. “Do you live with this woman?”


“Can you tell me who she is?”

“I’d rather not.”

During the week that followed Anne found it difficult to move Sarah from her thoughts. Was the woman a pseudonym for Sarah herself? An abusive family member? Fictitious? For once Anne couldn’t limit her musings to office hours. Sarah crept into her thoughts at the grocery store, ran beside her on the treadmill at the gym, pressed creases in her shirts she attempted to iron. Anne had seen major depression before. Hell, she’d felt it. But there was something unique and far more troubling about Sarah. And for reasons she couldn’t explain she feared that one day Sarah would vanish—disappear like raindrops into the ocean.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Read this one slooowly... ;)

His presence looms over her like an alien spaceship honing in on an inhabitable body. Stop it. No. Stop TOUCHING me! Get me out of here… Please, god.! With her lips stretched open, she can barely breathe. Saliva pools in the crevices of her mouth. A stream spills out onto him; he couldn’t care less. If only she could talk-—no--yell. But what would she say? She’s the one who started it in the first place. Damn it! It's all her fault. A single impulse, a moment of braveness she now deemed foolish. She picked up the phone, and bam! That was all it took. She should’ve known better. She’s been here before.

A stinky brew of something chalky, something clean and maybe metal beckons nausea, a swirling bucket of rot inside her, begging to come out. But she can’t get sick, not like this. She pictures it—not pretty. Come on, think of Sammie. The birthday party. She’ll make it there, and soon. Happy birthday to you…Happy birthday… She distracts herself with silent singing, fighting tears. Her husband’s face flashes in her mind. Oh, Frank, where are you? She should’ve let him drive her this morning as he offered. Then maybe she’d be someplace else right now. Eating wok-chicken and Kiamichi, spilling half of it on the placemat as she always does, instead of… Ow! She winces. Tears spring up from the pain. Stay strong, he’s almost finished.

“Kathy…” The voice from all her nightmares.

Don’t say it! She doesn’t want to know. Or did she? Oh god…help!

“Good work. No cavities this time.”

Relief rifles her body like downy feathers. For once she’s glad she didn’t bite him

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A sneak peak...

Today I visited an old friend--aka, a long-ago-written, freshly updated page of my novel. I promised a reader I'd share an excerpt, so here you have it. Shh...don't tell!

Excerpt from my novel:
She gulps the swig of poison like an eight year old inhaling cough syrup – nose plugged, eyes squeezed shut, her face cringed into a tight round ball. Toxic, metallic tasting vapors trail the liquid down her throat, filling her with venomous stench and nausea. Swallow, she instructs. Gulp. Breathe. There, that’s it. She did it.

She trembles on the floor, her sweaty back pressed against the bedside, awaiting action. The wrapper from the candy bar he forced into her mouth lies on the floor beside her, crumpled like an odd bit of wrapping paper on Christmas morning. No celebrations today, though. Well, maybe after. She withholds her tears, clinging as though to a ledge she can’t let go of. If she cries the poison might come out and that would ruin everything. Come on, she thinks. Work, damn it. Work! If it doesn’t start soon, she’ll have to sip some more.

A moment later she feels it. The gurgling in her stomach, the slight lift in her gut, the poisoned-food-particle-stuff moving raucously around inside of her, ready to regurgitate. Yes, she thinks, it’s working!

Vomit shoots violently from her, a volcano erupting. It cuts slashes in her esophagus, wounds that will sting like paper cuts. But she doesn’t mind the pain. In a way, she likes it. Proof of her efforts, her un-doing of the food forced in.

She stands, dizzy, and grasps the countertop for balance. A moment to collect herself. Easy does it. Bumping around or toppling over would make too much noise. Any noise is too much. She tucks the bottle away with caution, conceals the evidence before flushing. The gushing water obscures the swishing sound in her mouth. She puffs warm breath onto her cupped palm and sniffs it. Well done. No scent, no flavor, no reason for him to suspect.

She teeters back to her bed, aware of the heaviness that holds her body. She’s weighted down, far wearier than usual. Dizziness clamps her brain as she tucks herself into her bed, the sheets now cool from her absence. She rests her head on her pillow, then slumber finds her, almost too quickly. She’s asleep before she has time to consider that she’s drifting, nothing like the insomnia she’s accustomed to. A dream captures her before she can notice the blood trickle escaping her nose.

Monday, May 3, 2010


A wise friend once told me that Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor) had multiple desks for his multiple projects. Today I hope to draw the spirit of Burton as I leap from my novel to articles to short stories and 'round again. Laptops make such movement easier, though a desk-filled home sounds rather cool. Hmm...

Sidenote: Posting stories in this impromptu fashion feels a bit like wearing a bikini into church (I imagine)... Speaking not of church, here's the latest. ;)


She enters the bar and spots him – tonight’s victim. Tall, broad-shouldered, clean-cut. She can almost smell his posh leather and silk-filled closet, his Clive Christian No. 1. He stirs his dry martini; she imagines it on her lips. Soon she’ll taste it there.

“Table for one?” the hostess asks.

“No. Thank you. I know where I’m going.” She strides toward him, brushes past then sits at the nearest table. The first up-close encounter always excites her. Meeting the men she’s watched for weeks. First virally, on the internet. Then at their workplace – in this case, a prestigious Manhattan law firm. Observes their taste in woman – his, red heads. Their marital status – married. And their moral character – nil. She’d spotted him with six other women over the past two weeks, only one of them, his wife. When she’s learned enough, she makes her move. Seduces them, reels them in and nails them. But not until they hand her the hammer. It’s beautiful magic, if you think about it. In the four years since she emerged from victimhood in her own life and realized there was work to be done. A little plastic surgery, some hair dye – okay, a lot of hair dye. It’s worth the dieting and extra hours at the gym. The horror in their eyes when she catches them, the moment they morph from powerful man to weak, quivering boy. Her prize that’s worth the rocky ride.

She orders a drink with easy alcohol then lifts her cell phone from her purse. She speaks with just enough volume so he can hear. “Hey… Tomorrow? I’m already booked. What’s the rate?” She pauses. “Tell them if they’ll pay cash, I’ll consider it. But I’d have to take a later call time. And no swimsuit, even if they beg. It’s not in the contract.” Pause. “Great. Cheers.”


“Excuse me--” he starts.

Bingo. “Yes?” Demure, innocent.

“-- I’m sorry.” He squints and cocks his head. “Your voice sounded familiar and now…” A nervous chuckle. “This is going to sound cliché, but do I know you?”

She flashes him a radiant, though bashful smile. “I don’t think so. I’m not from around here. Sorry.”

She refocuses on her drink and her phone, pretends to answer it again. “Hello? …The whole campaign? God, Franco, you’re the best. Yes, we’ll celebrate soon…Thanks so much.”

“Yes!” she exclaims, an accentuated whisper.

“Good news?” he asks.

“Uh, yes. Sorry. I normally don’t talk on the phone in public, but…when work calls.” She smiles and shrugs.

“Well, congratulations, on whatever it is.” He extends his hand. Big. She envisions it reaching for her – then, snap. Perfection. “William. William Hoxton.”

I know. “Kaytlin. Nice to meet you.”

With their eyes locked, she notes the electricity pulsing between them, a racing stream of pheromones. Or whatever the hell it is that men like William Hoxton thrive on. She’s learned to dig it, too. For different reasons. She blushes again, retrieves her hand. She flips her long auburn hair from her shoulder and notes the look on his face as he notices.

“Sounds like you’re in need of a celebration,” he says. “Can I buy you a drink?”

She bites her lip, considering. “Why not?”

“Another round. For myself and the lady,” he beckons the nearby server and sits at her table. “Let me guess…Model? Actress?”

She flashes her palms outward. “You got me. I’m in from Los Angeles through the weekend.”

“Ah. Maybe that’s where I’ve seen you.”

“Possibly.” She sips her drink. “And you?”

“Lawyer.” He drops to a whisper. “But please don’t hold it against me.”

“I won’t, if you’re nice to me.”

For the next hour, they chat. She plays it tipsy, but cool. At the first lull in conversation, she undresses him with her eyes. Nice body. He works out. His nipples harden beneath his dress shirt, tiny erections his undershirt can’t hide. She stretches. Arcs her back, accentuating her breasts. He’s affected, but completes his joke. “Nothing. Lawyers are supposed to be that evil!”

“You.” She sets her drink down. “Are so…funny.” She pats his hand like a school girl, then grasps it. She pulls him toward her, so close he can feel her breath. His smells precisely as she imagined.

“I’m married,” he whispers.

“I don’t care,” she whispers back. She locks her lips with onto his then enters in, excavating his mouth with her tongue. With her hand she wriggles his wedding band from his finger. “Until we’re finished.”

“Sorry it isn’t nicer. The client put me up and I didn’t get the luxury suite this time.” She opens the hotel room door, appearing less drunk, but not quite sober. She truly would’ve preferred the penthouse but she checked—too many windows. Perhaps tomorrow she’ll take an upgrade, enjoy her breakfast before the Central Park view. For tonight the drapes are closed for privacy, the lights pre-set for intimacy. She’s focused, aimed and ready. Soon their bodies will entangle, dark silhouettes contrasting the pure white sheets, conveying the ugly truth.

He follows her in like a timid mouse, eager for a nibble but fearful of a watchful cat. “Are you sure about this?”

“Oh, I’m sure. Aren’t you?” She steps toward him, unbuttons her top and presses her breasts to his chest. “I thought you wanted to help me celebrate. Speaking of which…” She pulls the bottle from her purse and slips him two pills. “Ecstasy. Sort of an underground model-perk.”

He looks at her, amused. “I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t asked me…lured me in. You know that, right?”

She stops and stares him in the eye. “Take them. Then shut up and let me fuck you.” Fuck him in so many ways. She pretends to swallow pills then passes him the water glass.

The door opens. Two police men, pointing guns. “Meredith Kaitlyn Kiloeski? You are under arrest for illegal substances and the exploitation…” Their words blurred together as mind leaps to her manuscript. It's okay. It's safe. “You have the right to remain silent…”

She looks at William. His steel glare reads: Gotchyou.


by Meredith K. Kiloeksi


When I started this project, I never imagined I’d end up completing it from prison. But I have no regrets. The photos within these pages may have been cropped and some identities disguised, but the men and their evil are real. Look at them. Absorb the sensuality. Hell, let it turn you on. Then imagine who these faceless monsters might be. Cheaters, rapists, liars. Men who yell, steal, ignore, strike and molest. And ladies, if the little voice inside your head whispers warnings and your gut tells you it might be him, look closer. Because even if it isn’t, it probably is. Take it from one who’s been there.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I awoke today feeling grateful...Amidst a theater-filled weekend, though still finding time to write, I'm digging it all. Particularly grateful for my loved ones (including those furry and feathered) who keep me grounded. "Please step away from the computer..." It helps to hear that on occasion.

The Office

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Write Present...What the heck am I doing?

I had this goofy idea while running this morning that I should start a blog pertaining to writing and add to it daily. (Is it true that people's rational mind's malfunction during intensive exercise??? If so, please keep that disclaimer in mind.) Last week, a dream of mine came into fruition--I became a full-time writer. No, I didn't land my huge publishing agreement (yet). And yes, I still wear other hats on occasion. But I believe that success and identity are based on drive, heart, passion, belief, dreams and what you spend most of your time and energy doing. I feel blessed to reap financial fruits for my "labor," but I know I was a writer long before that. Perhaps every writer has that 'lightbulb moment.' For me, it felt like a lightning storm.

"So...where is she going with this?" you ask. To be honest, I don't know. In vague terms, I plan to post something here daily...without obsessing over fine-tuning or grammatical perfection. Perhaps it's a journey you'll take with me--imperfect meanderings, short stories, song lyrics, musings. And one day when my novel's complete and on bookstore shelves (not why I write, but gotta believe) this blog may act like an embarassing childhood photo your parents pull out at graduation. If I have the (in?)sanity(?) to send this out to anyone in the first place.

So, there you have it, your first Write Present edition. Oh, one more thing--the reason for the title. On seoncd thought maybe I'll let y'all figure that one out on 'yer own. (See? Practing my "bad" grammar acceptance.) Until next time...I guess that's tomorrow, yikes.