Finding the Spark: Inspiration 0

On April 21, 2017, I hosted a webinar titled Finding the Spark: Inspiration. There was no sales pitch – just a half hour to explore writing ideas and how to find inspiration.

You can watch it at

When I was first writing fiction, I struggled to figure out what to write. I honestly stared at the page. Until I found a simple trick. Many tricks really, which I will share with you.

For the past year, I have used this website as my sole method of getting stories out there. Now that I am working at placing stories with publishers, I am looking for even more inspiration.

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.” — T.S. Eliot

Inspiration means we come full circle. The “Ah hah” moment. We gain knowledge and inspiration from those things we experience and our memories. We must build an inspiration arsenal.

The Cure for Back Pain 0

A Conversation

“I’m just going to take a quick walk to stretch my back.”

“Does your chair tighten you up too?”

“Something awful.”

“I heard a rumor we might get new chairs.”

“I heard it too.”

“Either they give us new chairs or they supply us with an unlimited supply of Ibuprofen.”

“Honestly, either option couldn’t hurt.”

Into Hagerman 0

Water leaked out of the cliff forming a irrigation waterfall from the alfalfa, potato, and corn fields north of Hagerman. The photographers pushed off from the shore in a long boat headed toward the island in the middle of the Snake River.

The mayflies rose up in the spring sun darting around the passengers. A single fly landed on Tom’s cheek. He brushed it away in a casual sweep. He pulled his green hat down as the boat skied across the water.

A few yards from the island the boat slowed. On its starboard, a group of nesting grebes rested in the water lilies. The birds dipped below the water in an uncomfortable dance of avoiding the boat and protecting their nests. Tom lined up the birds taking closeups of the water nests with his Nikon. The boat slid across the water with the current. Soon, it reached the island and the passengers climbed onto the shore.

The island covered in cottonwoods seemed primordial. Wisps of grass hung from the bottom of the trees. The air carried a distinctive muddy smell. And then the prize; hidden among the trees hundreds of Great Blue Herons made their nests.

Each bird stood stoic among the lower branches hidden as sticks. Their eyes bubbled out from their beaks. But otherwise, they stood still.

The photographers took time to capture each bird. They stood silent too. Tom framed up the hidden bird until the light lit up only its face between the limbs. He slowly squeezed down on the shutter. The film advanced through the camera and the bird shuddered. Tom felt the shudder and let out his breath. Then the melancholy of the birds became too great. Tom gathered up his camera and walked to the boat. He took a last look back at the island, then the boat slid back across the water toward the far shore.

My Cat 0

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

To switch and scriggle and unruly wiggle.

For mischief playing or a glancing Lear.

My cat uses those muscles to make me giggle.

A Painful Throbbing Inside His Head 0

The alarm reminding him to take his medicine alerted every two hours. If he forgot, the alarm grew insistent and demanded he satisfy its need. He put the alarm on snooze. Sometimes he couldn’t take care of the plea. The pills sat in a drawer far away. This time, he finished mile four on the indoor cycle and started uphill.

The alarm made him ashamed; a grown man tethered to a pill bottle. He tapped his phone to squelch the alarm. It went off nine minutes later. A reminder of the reminder of the first alarm. He grew anxious and put it on snooze again. He looked at the trainer, then his phone. He could see the dust falling around the bike wheel.

The trainer’s mouth became a painful slow motion movie of round vowels and hard consonants. The clock hand grew larger beating out every deliberate second. Then, the trainer sparked a nerve. The alarm went off again. He looked at the phone and back at the trainer.

The medicine could wait.


Best Sex Ever 0

A Conversation

“He asked me to dance for him.”

“Seductive and sexy?”

“Not really.”

“I don’t follow.”

“He found a picture of me tapping when I was eight.”

“A little soft shoe.”

“I felt silly, but I went into my old routine.”

“You danced up a storm?”

“Until I tripped over my shoelace.”

“Broke a leg!”

“Landed in his lap laughing.”

“An awkward performance.”

“We just looked at each other until he suddenly kissed me.”

“And then what happened?”

“Best sex ever.”


Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn 0

A Conversation

“Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn.”

“That seems like an odd thing to say to a woman”

“He’s frustrated and done.”

“I guess. But it still seems harsh.”

“She’s gone too far with the poking and running. He’s had it.”

“He certainly seems like a bear.”

“I think he still loves her.”

“Well, he sure has a strange way of showing it.”

“Maybe she just needs to bring him a Mint Julep.”

“Cause, all sorts of good things happen when you mix alcohol with them.”

Fresh Mint Lemonade 0

A hot summer day requires a dash of lemonade in a glass. Thanks for dropping in! Now how about a refreshing glass before you go?


Fresh Mint Lemonade

6 lemons
1/2 inch length fresh rosemary
5 leaves fresh mint
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups water
ice (optional)

Cut and twist those lemons into a pitcher. Rinse the mint and rosemary and rip them up. Drop the torn leaves into the pitcher. Add the water. Fill a bowl with the sugar and enough water to cover it. Microwave the sugar and water for 2 minutes. Pour the dissolved sugar into the pitcher. Mix it all up and serve. Add ice to your glass, if you wish. Enjoy!

Now, how about a cookie?

Kay Roy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies 0

Sometimes you have to take the sweet with the sour. These cookies are the best with a large glass of lemonade.

I’m not sure where I got this recipe, or the identity of Kay Roy, but I do know that these are better than any chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever eaten, including Tollhouse and Mrs. Fields. It might be the vanilla. Drop a batch in the oven and let me know what you think.

3/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed. Drop by rounded teaspoons on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.