Bonnie asked if there were differences in the processes of writing fiction and nonfiction. My best answer is, it depends. :)But in most cases, for me, the inspiration is very different for the two flavors of writing.

I came to nonfiction with a passion to build a better world for my two sons, who have autism, and their developmentally unique peers. Childhood is short, too short.  When you know you live in a world that is bound to be less than friendly to your child, you realize you have to hit the ground running.  At least that was true for me. I knew if I was going to change their worlds, even a little bit, I was going to have to quit mourning the children I’d dreamed of having and take care of the kids God gave me–who, as it turns out, were the perfect ones for me.

The passion and drive to write about autism, persons with autism, and their vast array of skills and abilities has never left me. I think I’ll be doing this until the day I die, and most of what I write in that regard, I don’t get paid for. Nor would I want to.

But writing about a subject so near and dear to my heart didn’t fill *all* of me.   I’ve always longed to create beauty, whether it be through dance, art, acting, or the written word.   As my children have gotten older, I’ve realized that the time to chase our own dreams is necessary if we are to refill our spirtual well so that we can serve those who mean the most to us. For me, writing is a performing art. When I write, I am playing parts for my potential readers.

As the autism battles ticked by, my mental exhaustion grew.  I felt like an open tap on a water tank that never got refilled. The performance artist in me needed something more than just the facts. 🙂  I needed to play, to dream, to reconnect with the gifts that God gave me.

In part, I started recognized that the time had come to start writing fiction because of the growing temptation to *embellish* my nonfiction for the sake of a better story.   Though I’m still searching for who I am as an author, all my stories are steeped in magic and magic realism. My editor once said of my mermaid novella, Heart Storm, which appears in Secrets, Vol. 27, Untamed Pleasures, that my stories ran the gamut from lighthearted sparkle to brooding emotion.  I think she hit the nail on the head.  Here’s an excerpt from that story:

I’ve never known anyone like Sirenia. And deep in his gut, Byron knew he never would again. Once the storm was over, he’d find a way to get her back to civilization, maybe even take her home with him for a while—if she agreed. He grinned, considering what fun he’d have, watching those soft, blue eyes open onto a world where women were free to choose, even if that choice didn’t lead her to back to him.

That thought—the very idea of her offering her love to another–tore at his heart. But the next thought, that she’d only gifted him with her virginity because of an imagined life debt hurt a helluva lot more.

To love freely…she deserves at least that much. She is far too spirited to survive as any man’s slave.

Damn, she was gorgeous. No. Striking was a better word. Her rich curves saved her from coming off too athletic for his tastes. In spite of her statuesque size, there was a kittenish sweetness about her. He’d first felt it in her delicate touch as she tended his wounds and the shy way she peered at him through the golden sweep of her lashes when she thought he wasn’t watching.

She is…uncomplicated.

Abandoning claim to better judgment, he allowed his eyes to caress the tumble of her hair, which ended just where her ass cut into her thighs.

And a magnificent ass it was.

Every time the wind shifted, it captured a new section of ringlets, offering him tantalizing glimpses of sculpted thighs and rounded butt cheeks.

No under-slung runway wannabe here. Sirenia de Mar-ala was one-hundred percent female. She wore her nakedness like a comfortable pair of blue jeans. Nothing about her manner spoke of the emaciated frog hogs back home who prided themselves on wearing their SEAL boyfriends like this season’s Prada.

Hell, they didn’t even seem to be from the same species.

“Sirenia?” his voice was barely more than a hoarse whisper. Even the sultry sound of her name whispered of slow, sweet seduction.

“Sirenia,” he repeated, louder this time.

She lifted her head, turning it his way just enough so his eyes caught the elegant sweep of her cheekbone. A fresh sound invaded his mind, though it was something felt more than heard—a soft, rhythmic thump-thud. A duel of drums sounding off in the distance.

Urgent and insistent.


Before Byron knew it, he was on his feet, striding into the water. Stepping up behind her, he wound his arms around her waist, folding her against him. Dragging the coils of her hair behind her shoulder, he pressed his lips against the pulse throbbing beneath her earlobe. Only then did he realize that what he’d heard was her heartbeat, dancing counterpoint to his.

“I’m sorry”, he whispered. And he meant it. He ached for her to know he never would have taken her virginity if he’d known why she offered it. He yearned for her to understand he’d never meant to invite harm her way.

Resting his chin on the top of her head, he peered across the violet-tinged water, searching for the words he needed to communicate the chain of tragedies that had led him here, to her. A breeze rippled the lagoon, pushing neon streaks of magenta along in its wake. “I’m so sorry,” he said again.

Sirenia turned around in the circle of his embrace, threading her arms around his neck. “For what do you have to feel sorrow? The only sinner I see reflected in those golden eyes of yours is me. And if you stay this close, I promise, I will have no choice but sin again…to take you again.”


Anything can inspire me to write a story.  A song, a poem, the turn of the leaves before a storm.   Heart Storm was inspired by a kayaking trip through the mangroves of Tarpon Bay with my daughter, Gina. This world is so beautiful, and we’re all here together for such as short time.  Writing is my way to tap into something higher than just myself, to connect with others on a level that runs deeper than our personal stories.   For me, this  is what story telling is all about.

For more about my stories and my two July releases, be sure to check out my website. To stay in touch with what I’m doing, and writing, you can follow me on twitter or facebook.     I’m running a viral Win a Kindle contest on Twitter, so you don’t want to miss that. 😉

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