The overgrown hedge starts it all, the friendship, the Koffee Klatches, the white wine, and the sharing of secrets that lead to a friendship that carries the two women safely through the bad places in their lives: the damaged children, the damaged men who came back from two wars, the threat of a bad mistake made long before, and the deadly illness that appears unexpectedly over a cup of coffee. The women's friendship becomes as strong as those tough laurel hedge branches that had been part of their first project together.
Veterans bring their families to Holgate Farms in order to begin again, except that they aren't sure where to start: the nightmares? the alcoholism? the anger? the depression? In l970 they still call it battle fatigue. Their wives call it Hell.
Eleanor and Patsy persevere, connecting their homes and lives through a hole in the hedge.
This is a story of women's strength in adversity––not alone, but with a good friend who is going through a lot, too. Let's have a glass of white wine, they say, and let’s talk. Maybe together we can do something about it.
Edith Finlay has lived the unfinished life of any number of women in their sixties. The question she and they ask isn’t, “Is this all there is?” It’s more like, “When did I drop the reins?” In fact, when Edith wakes to find her husband of forty-seven years lying dead next to her, her first concern is the Christmas strata she’s to bake in an hour or so.
Art’s death offers Edith one last chance at taking control of her life. Scraps in Art’s pockets send her on a search for answers to his secrets. She discovers a lover, maybe, a prostitute, sometimes, and her son, a man of secrets also. She also finds herself, the real Edith.
When Ellie, a disgruntled old woman whose hobby is removing graffiti from the neighborhood's mailboxes meets Sarah, a smiling Goth girl in black who looks as if she might done some of the tagging Ellie is wiping off, neither of them suspects that in a few days they both will be running from a serial killer preying on transients who wander through the nearby county park. So different in all ways, neither can imagine that she will become dependent on the other for safety. And neither will admit that she knows who the killer is. One of them finds out she is wrong, the other that she was right all along. But not before both end up facing the killer's sacrificial knife in front of a blazing bonfire in a forest high above the city.
The Runaway examines the life-contorting consequences of losing one’s family, the difficulties of finding another. And healing that comes, despite the scars, when that happens.
Four women, old college friends, meet at Madge's beach house, as they have done before, for a weekend retreat. This time, along with good food, glasses of wine, a little gossip, they discover that Madge, a successful novelist, has included them in her next book containing the stories of their lives following their days and nights in the sorority solarium smoking Pall Malls and talking as sexy as one could in the late 50's.
"Your stories aren't finished," Madge tells them, "just as your lives aren't. And l need your help with my own story." But what Madge is asking of them may be more than they are willing to do.
Jackie, Lou, and Joan spend four days walking the beach, worrying in front of the fire, inventing stories for the sheriff, dealing with a man in a pony tail, hiding a guilty car in a debris-filled garage, and despite a few hissy fits, revisiting the intimacy they once knew in the smoky late hours in the Gamma Psi house. They breathe deeply and accept the awesome responsibility their friendship brings.
This story is about women who have faced challenging changes in their lives, have kept friendships despite these changes, and who understand that they do have choices about which path to take next. Even at sixty.
I'm very pleased you are visiting my place. Here you'll find me and my books and ways to talk with me if you'd like. And I'd love to meet you, learn more about your life, because I write about people like you (except for the serial killer, of course.) So pour a cup of coffee, relax, spend a few minutes turning pages and enjoying. Then find a book or pick up your e-reader or your own journal and join me in the world of words.
After graduating from Willamette University, I spent the most of next thirty years teaching, counseling, mothering, wifing and of course, writing. For a couple of years, though, I did none of this, preferring to live a little.
While I was working as a counselor, my writing appeared in small literary magazines and professional publications. Since retirement, I've had the time to write four novels and two screenplays.
The first book used my teaching life as inspiration, and served as a way to leave a profession I loved. The second story focused on my then-prodigal son, the hockey player. I believe he is relieved that it has not yet been published even though he served as my consultant on the icy details. My third novel, Her Last Words, is an intimate, almost true, story of four women a lot like my own long time friends. The Runaway examines the lives of an old woman and the underworld of the homeless in living the forest nearby. The next book, Never Too Late, tells of Edith, who wakes up one morning as a widow.
If it appears that my protagonists are growing old, well, so am I.
My stories and essays, as well as the novels, reflect my observations of women's lives and the people who inhabit them: the children, husbands, parents, friends, strangers who happen by and change everything.
We'll post any book signing events here as they are scheduled.
Featured in The Oregonian/OregonLive: Chick Lit? Portland author, 81, focuses on the 'hens', July 29, 2016
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”