Please stay with me awhile,” I said. “I have to wait for the rain. The fire man only worked in the rain.”

Wynn smiled. “Just for a while,” she said.

Sit beside me, then. Let me see you. The sun is too bright to see all your features.”

She shook her head solemnly, like a little girl. “I can’t. You know that.”

I sighed. “I know that. Then just stand there and talk with me. It’s been a terrible summer and I need some light.”

The same wistful smile stayed on her face, and she said nothing.

I nodded. This was how it would be.

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel  A Very Tall Summer


You tease!


First draft almost complete – check.
Cover art finished- check.
Revisions and editing – Lord help me.

I’m rarely one to brag about my work, but I’m excited by the cover art for A Very Tall Summer. It’s taken me almost as long to work on as the writing. Creating covers is not only a hobby, it’s one aspect of my job that I completely enjoy. And so I worked on this, when I probably should have been writing. It’s a gratifying creative outlet, especially when I’m the finicky client and I can tell myself to back off, buster, I know what I’m doing. (People who pay part of your wage never like to hear that. I know, right?)

Hopefully, the first draft will be completed this weekend… or next. The job has been more demanding than usual and family responsibilities come first. But maybe….

Take a deep breath – check.

And repeat.

A smallish man

For a moment, I was that shape, inside it. The shape of a man, a smallish man, with a hard belly and calloused feet. He was hatless and cold as the rain slid down his shoulders and slopped on his boot tops. He was shirtless under his jacket, and his pants were torn and charcoal-stained. There was an ache in his bones from so much travel; walking was all that soothed him, other than fire. The flames filled his veins; walking soothed his need to be anywhere but where he stood.

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel A Very Tall Summer

This was home

A small and simple wood frame, seared by generations of wind and dust, peeled down to the marrow. Shabby weeds poke from the dirt, the geography reduced to a raw scour. This was home. Not the image I kept in my head, but a faded place built by long-dead hands. I now see it as a newcomer would, a stranger with a less fragile demeanor.

Jeremiah was sitting on the porch, hoisting his jug. His throat was working more than his hands ever did. Fresh splats of tobacco around his chair in an imperfect semi-circle. He knew how much I disliked his habit, and he usually spat into an old mayonnaise jar he kept for the job.

Of course he wasn’t there.

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel A Very Tall Summer

Remember the clouds


Remember the clouds of spring: thin, transparent silk. Skim milk clouds. And in autumn, those October clouds that can turn mean, and when they don’t, they are piled like spun sugar, clouds you can grab by the handful if you arms could reach. But summer, this summer, just this greasy blue, this frying pan sky. Calm yourself, Charlotte. Stay sweet.


I should have told him, “Jeremiah, I do not wish for a tall sky. It is too overwhelming and can make a person feel even smaller than how they already feel. It diminishes them almost to invisibility. I will be a wife, and a mother if that’s meant to be, but I cannot be invisible. Too much of myself has been invisible, or unlovely. Of the two, I would rather be unlovely. So take me to a small place, where the sky is a blanket rather than this infinite breadth, and let me be safe for a while, away from the hugeness that awaits us all. Be my tall and I’ll be your small, and when the world turns cold, we will have each other to hold back the heartache.”

And that is what I should have told him. Some people are not meant to live under a tall sky.

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel A Very Tall Summer

A blur in the rain

The flame wasn’t much more than a blur in the rain, but it was bright, and the man held it aloft like a carnival prize. It bobbed as he walked… towards, away… but neither his shape nor the shape of the flame seemed to change. I was transfixed by the motion of the opposing shapes – one dark, one bright, that I forgot where I was. I forgot about my grief and anger; there was no future or past, only this moment, staring at a thing (or things) that seemed so extraordinary that I almost dismissed it all as a dream. But I could feel my feet upon the cool linoleum of the kitchen floor, and I could hear my fingers drumming upon the table. I could count my breaths as I inhaled and exhaled, and feel a small cup of wind gather behind my neck. It was no dream, only an extension of my alertness, vivid, vivid.

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel A Very Tall Summer