Gathered here are synopses and links to excerpts from works in progress (WIPs).

Expect imperfection. Writing is an evolutionary, iterative process, sometimes even after publication. Go ask Walt Whitman about Leaves of Grass if you doubt me. And if you still feel that internal desire to critique, comment, complain, congratulate, compliment, or commend, do so. Writers need to know what’s working as much as what is not working. There is only so much these four walls can tell me in reaction to a WIP.

Kill All Cats (PUBLISHED – June 2016)

Ron Black’s next-door neighbor dies along with her thirty-eight cats. His alibi, “I was at work.” When detectives find incriminating evidence, Ron fears they will uncover his checkered past and narrow their focus to him.

Can his smart-mouthed cockatiel, Brisbane, save Ron? Or, is there more deception hiding behind Brisbane’s beady eyes than there appears to be?

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Paper or Plastic: The Grocery Store Chronicles (PUBLISHED – October 2016)

From the Introduction–How I Got Here.

When I paid off our house in January 2013, I put aside money for federal taxes but forgot about state taxes. On April 3, I realized with horror, my mistake. The next day, our 400-foot deep well pump died. A week later, the car demanded extensive repairs, depleting the rest of our emergency funds. I didn’t want to tap our retirement monies. I wanted to keep writing my novels, but royalties didn’t cover the unexpected bills. I needed a job with a steady paycheck.

Being older, finding a good job in the early 2000s proved difficult. Interviews were few regardless of your work history. Expectations plummeted until any job seemed acceptable. For me, it was a night shift grocery store stocker doing a job better suited for a teenager.

I take a Zen approach to work—regardless of what I’m asked to do, I do it with pride, and then try to do it better—exceed expectations. I might not always succeed, but without trying, I’m just punching the clock and not making a difference. One of the penalties you pay by not trying your best in any situation—time drags. I hate that.

Despite my best efforts, I failed at being an effective stocker. The physical demands and my arthritis trumped my best efforts. Management must have liked my attitude though and made me the night cashier. In retrospect, it was the ultimate win-win. I was not a fast cashier, but I hated being idle and did all the required night cashier work, plus those little things I felt made the store function better.

Writing on Facebook about what happened during work began as a lark. Small blurbs mutated into stories about my life, the customers, and life in the store after dark, revealing everyone’s peccadilloes. People seemed to like the mostly quirky postings about a different sort of nightlife. I edited the early blurbs so they would reflect the style I settled upon, but the stories remained, and they are all true.

I hope readers enjoy vicariously my experience as the night cashier, the lives I’ve touched, and those who’ve touched me. In life, as in working behind the cash register, you do what you have to do. In addition, it helps to do it well.

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Don’t Fear the Reaper

Coming in early summer, 2017. Sixty-year-old Rick Blaine’s world has spiraled down ever since his wife took ill and then died. Blaming Rick, his son disowned him. Her family came after Rick as though he was a parasite who had killed her. The economy rendered Rick expendable. What was once a promising life from humble beginnings had left him with a mountain of debt and few prospects until Southern Groceries hired him. But it was still a margin life, and not one that left him with much to live for until someone unexpected entered his life and gave him a glimmer of hope. Was it enough?

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Haiku for a Hedgehog

Coming in April 2017. Haiku and poems and song-poems of mine that soothe the soul of the hedgehog.

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