March 25, 2019

My old childhood neighbor Eva Morkoff (not her real name) woke one morning to find her identical twin, three year old son gone from her home.  I’ll call him Christopher. The police were called, neighbors and others came out to help find him. The guy next door checked his pool and found Christopher in it, drowned hours prior. They couldn’t revive him. It was presumed he’d gotten out of bed in the middle of the night and got into the neighbor’s pool.

At eight years old, Christopher was the first person I knew that died. It was hard to understand that he couldn’t come back.  I heard stories of Eva’s great sadness, and couldn’t fathom how she was coping. She would always know what Christopher would have looked like, growing up, because of his identical twin brother. 

About fifteen years later, at a woman's house party, Linda explained her nephew was resting on a bed in the guestroom. “He’s nine...

March 5, 2019

winning a writing contest at my local library awarded me a prize for a free writing class worth $350. I was ecstatic! I grew up in an environment of word addiction, over using words, using additional words, and using vague words as if you could read minds. Later in life, I wrote my first two books which readers insist I shouldn't change a thing. However, my reader base numbers told me another story. I was clueless about what I needed to do to get more readers. But I knew whoever taught writing knowing what traditional publishers look for in books, I'd solve my issues, if I was good at it.

     Overusing words was due to the belief it would emphasis your talking points, however it actually reduces their meaning in the professional world. And words we didn't use would easily replace a whole bunch of (dragged out) words to complete a more concise sentence.  

In class I'd learn to cut these words out...

November 12, 2016

I approached a jewelry counter and the upset clerk told me that her children call her a kook and asked me if there was anything wrong with that. I said to her, "Well, that depends. Are you a good kook or a bad kook?"

Her face grew into a smile. "A good kook," she grinned.

One of the shocking things two writers said in a small group of us  happened the other day while I was traveling out of state. Sometimes keeping my jaw tight during conversations is a good choice. Why? Because I wouldn't want to insult anyone. I want to get to know people and by reacting  at what they say, they might feel uncomfortable and stop sharing, so I kept quiet. Besides, some people say strange things. For writers, listening is research.

Here's what happened. Writer Julian (not their actual name) said, "I've always heard voices in my head."

I didn't say, "That's crazy!"? This is where I waited for further explana...

“LIAR!” Alex screamed at his ex-wife Kat Barringer-Holmes as his vehicle swerved to avoid an oncoming car and he went through a red traffic light.

     Alex Barringer snarled at his ex-wife Kat through the storm door of her home. His fist barreled through the glass window from which he stared at her. Shattering glass sprayed Kat and her friend Lexi who were standing inside the breezeway near the garage.

     He reached inside the storm door and thrust the lever upward unlocking it, blood running down his thickly muscular arm and off his hand. “You stupid, bitch, you!” 

      Lexi grabbed Kat’s wrist and ran up the few steps that went into the house. Kat lost her balance for a second as Alex flung the door open. She ran up the steps and he lunged for her ankle with his hands. Lexi screamed and pulled Kat by the arm as Alex’s fingers wrapped around Kat’s ankle. Kat clawed at the threshold trying to keep herself from being dragged down the stairs, and attempted to get away from the man that had a history of beating her...

June 21, 2016

The Fortiers, a wealthy dysfunctional family from Ridgefield, Connecticut are abusive. Jeffrey Fortier’s sister Ellie helps to raise him on their estate where neighbors’ homes are not in close enough proximity to hear their parents’ psychological abuse which is used as discipline.

Jeff displays no regard for danger, and Ellie gets punished for anything bad that occurs. She is lonely and will not confide in anyone because she is terrified it will get back to her parents. While visiting, Ellie and Jeff’s great Aunt Ida observes the Fortiers’ disturbing behavior. She pretends to have lost her glasses and asks Ellie to read a letter, about the two dolls named “Jenny” and “Emily”, that she says are from a friend. However, Ida is the one who penned the letter... After reading, Ellie fears the dolls are bad luck. Aunt Ida is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Knowing she doesn’t have long to live, Ida sends newborn great...

I added a chapter to explain about Detective Wolfgang Haus and his physical aggression at the end of THE PAINTING OF DECEIT and wanted to post it for anyone who read the book. Here it is:

Mike Edwards ordered two beers at the Pub and Grub. Wolfgang had just left the Ridgefield Police Department and met up with Mike. The barmaid slid two frosted mugs in front of them.

“So what ever happened to Mary, Wolfgang?” Mike inquired.

Haus looked annoyed. “A piece of crap agent named McClain at the FBI was bugging her. He knew I had a thing for her and we’d been seeing each other, but he decided to interfere. He was flirting with her. She said it was nothing. She’d laugh at his jokes. But it got personal because he started calling her house and then asked her out. She declined, but the scumbag decided to insist she date him. She was afraid of him and that’s when I gave him an ultimatum.”

“Is that why you left the FBI?” Mike...

Ronny Quinn of Quinn Security Agency stood at the helm of the agency's conference table. Fifteen undercover agents were ready to hear the mornings’ briefings. "Agent Astolfi, hit the lights. Will you?" Ronny picked up the projector remote.

Maverick Astolfi leaned back and pushed the light switch up with the back of his head. The room went dark and then the projector light illuminated the wall beyond the conference table. Ronny pressed a remote button and a photo of a man came up on the wall. "This nice gentleman is Alexander Barringer. Alex for short and Kat Holmes-Barringer's ex-husband. He's thirty-five, stands five feet, eleven inches. Eyes are blue. I've been busy collecting information on him for the last few days.  Agent Sanders?" Ronny tossed the remote to her.

Sylvie Sanders’ hand snapped upward and caught the remote. She pressed on a button. "For any of you who are unfamiliar with this case," Sylvie pointed...

Kat Holmes-Barringer was stressed about meeting her best friend Lexi at Beechwood Coffee. “They remodeled the place?” Lexi placed a large coffee down in front of Kat. “My treat.”

“That’s nice of you, Lex.” Kat trying not to tear up because she couldn't afford a coffee, took a sip of her drink and smiled. “Yeah, just last week the construction was taking place in here. Today’s the first day they’re open. There’s more electrical outlets, so no more waiting for the guy that hogs the plug for hours.” Kat’s phone beeped. She glanced at it and her face fell.

“Is it that weirdo? The tile guy?” Lexi took a sip of her latte.

“No. It’s the ex.”

“Alex?” Lexi moved to the edge of her seat and stared at Kat’s phone which beeped again.

“Yeah. He’s been blowing up my phone.” Kat put her coffee down without taking another sip.

“Can’t you block him?”

“I don’t think I should. The violation officer told me to record all the times he contac...

The mail truck’s engine hummed in front of Kat’s house and she heard her mailbox snap shut. It triggered fear. She’d been late on her mortgage for months. She no longer looked forward to getting mail six days a week. It had become anxiety inducing. Days’ worth of mail was still in the box. She knew she had to get it. She didn’t want anyone to think she was away, because mail was starting to pile up. Sorting it was too painful. The pit in her abdomen reminded her how sick mail now made her feel.

The JOE COFFEE CHRONICLES © is a fictional short story series about a man who leaves his life's earnings to a security company to keep an eye on his unsuspecting daughter, Kat Holmes-Barringer, because she was attacked by someone posing as a home buyer.

There had been numerous days that the air was cool and even chilly, but now it was cold. She looked at the thermostat and hesitated about turning the heat on. She was shiverin...

The man who engaged Kat Barringer days prior, followed her to Newport Lake's Beechwood Coffee and watched her enter the shop. He sat in his dented truck trying to figure out what he'd say to her. He noticed five people, in their cars, were waiting to get a parking spot. There aren't going to be any seats left next to her, he thought, and went inside, but used the wall partition to shield him from her view should she look around. His palms were sweating and no seats were available. Damn it. He decided to wait in his car until some of the joe drinkers left.

Kat pulled her laptop from its bag. She booted it and typed in her password. Her computer started running updates, so she got her usual Chai latte. When the homescreen came up, she went through her icons to figure out what some of them were. Let me get started on email. She clicked the  envelope icon instead.


Agent Ryan Roberts logged onto the dating site...

Undercover agent, Ryan Roberts zipped into Quinn Security Agency. Outside Ronny Quinn, his boss, made eye contact with him, nodded towards the agency's building, and went inside. He grabbed his phone, the image of a battered woman that his boss sent him the previous night, on it's screen. Ten years on the Newport Beach Police force got Ryan's foot in the door at Quinn’s agency. He was getting his first assignment this morning and hurried inside wanting to make a good impression.

 Agent Sylvie Sanders, who started her career with the F.B.I., placed a coffee pot with a tray of amenities on the table’s center, jousted her cold coffee with fresh caffeine, and grabbed the seat next to Ryan.“Okay, this morning’s meeting will start with ‘Who’s on First.’ Ryan, you’ve got Kat Barringer detail.”

There were a few meows and purrs from the room. Ryan laughed. “This cat doesn't know she's a Manx, right?

Ronny spoke. “This young l...