I pull the drawer open halfway and then push it closed again really fast.

I try again, this time with one eye closed and manage to get the drawer almost all the way open before I catch a glimpse of the first two chapters of an unfinished werewolf romance circa 1992 involving an old Victorian house, an interior decorator, and you guessed it, a curse.

I slam the door shut.

Then I remember that the werewolf was kind of hot.

I open the drawer all the way.

I have some pretty cringe-worthy stuff tucked away in there.  But none of it was a wasted word.  Every piece led to the next.  And every word fed a need inside me, giving voice to my insecurities, fantasies, and the even the dark places that lurk in the corners of my subconscious.

Here's what I find in the drawer:

Some short stories:  Not all, but a few.

OPPORTUNITY- the story of a girl willing to sell her soul to ride an Olympic level show horse.  Complete with comments from an undergraduate creative writing professor in red pen: "Your characters all gorgeous and rich."  I remember thinking, "my main character is not rich. That's why she sells her soul."  (She was gorgeous though).  Flash forward twenty years and I'm still writing characters who are better looking than average, and even a few with money.  They're more fun to screw with.

REUNION- the story of a young woman who seeks revenge on a guy who spurned her in the seventh grade, by seducing him and then dumping him in spectacular fashion.  Ah, who doesn't love a revenge fantasy?  Especially when said fantasy involves making the boy (who humiliated you by telling everyone you were  a sloppy kisser) into a love sick puppy dog who wants you even after you've broken his heart in a million little pieces.  Who needs therapy when you've got fiction?

NINE LIVES- A one-act play written as part of a year long college workshop, and one of only a few selected for production at the end of the year.  The play equated marriage with death and was meant to be a dark comedy questioning whether anyone really knows who they are meant to be with.  When produced, it played more like a sitcom having "a very special episode," if you didn't count all the gratuitous swearing.  Still, I'll never forget opening night, surrounded by friends and family.  Listening to a packed theater laugh at your words is an incredible experience, one that you can't duplicate with novel writing.  This was the moment I realized that I wanted writing to be my career.

Some sample dialogue:

You wrecked my car?

I'm fine.  Thanks for asking.

I can see that.  (Under his breath) How f***ing unfortunate.

(Throws keys at him) Your car folded up like tin foil.


A real  laugh riot, that one.  It was meant to be satirically misogynistic, with the guy's marriage seen not as the culmination of love, but the death of it. He was giving up on relationships by committing to someone he knew wasn't the one.  Did I mention I was engaged when I wrote this?  Yeah.  That didn't work out so well either.

THE WOLF WITHIN- Two chapters of an unfinished category romance involving an interior decorator and one very sexy man who turns into a wolf.   Hmmm.   I might have to finish this one.

THIRTEEN PARTIES- A seventy page start to the novel of my heart- a story of a teen girl whose true love has been there all along, but she doesn't realize it until many years later, after she is married to someone else.  This is the piece where my writing voice starts to take shape, where I discover pacing, and where characters start to feel real as opposed to stepping out of the pages of an eighties glam show.  This is also where I realize that I love writing teens.

THIRTEEN PARTIES (Screenplay)-  Why wait for a film deal when you can write your own movie?  I actually had plans to shoot this between my first and second year of law school using a cast of law students and digital video.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) digital video was still a new and expensive technology and I elected to go to summer school instead. That and my budget included more for catering than editing. 

WOLFSBANE- the story that would land me an agent; and after some significant revision, become my first published novel, BANDIA.  My first finished novel!  It took over a year to write, and included some scenes that are still in the published version, although the werewolves (yes, they were hot!) and the entire third act are gone.

I still miss this little bit:


"I almost forgot."  he reaches into his pocket, pulling out a small box.  "Happy Birthday."

I take the box from his hand and stare at it.  "I can't take this."  My fingers close around the velvet box.  I chew on my lower lip and push my hand back to Austin.  He holds his palm up then walks back to join the others.

I stare at the little square, turning it over in my hand.  I glance back at the group in front of the store.  Haley is still entertaining them with her psycho analysis.  Blake doesn't even look in my direction.

I flip the lid of the box open.

A gold chain shines, even in the darkness.  A round silver charm hangs from it.  I pick the chain up and look more closely at the circle.  It's a quarter. There's shiny gold script across George Washington's face.


My breath catches.  I roll the quarter over in my palm.  On  the other side is more gold lettering.

Or not.

I can't help laughing.  When I look back up at Austin, he has his arm around Haley and whispers something in her ear.  Her answering smile is breathtaking, even from here.

Tails it is.


In the end, my writing drawer has a lot to teach me.  Not only about my writing journey, but my personal one.  The subjects and themes I chose to write about changed over the years, reflecting things about myself that I can only see on reflection.  Things I might have missed, if I didn't have a record of my subconscious thoughts, insecurities, and fantasies.  Although there is one consistency.

Werewolves were always hot.

What does your drawer have to teach you?


I don't have a drawer. Mine's a giant cupboard. With binders. Mostly full of stuff that should never see the light of day. And a couple of good ideas. Thanks for the tour. It's encouraging to know I'm not the only one with both novel & screenplay versions of one story. I've also got verse and prose version of a couple ideas :)

I have an under-the-bed-in-Target-containers collection of UCSB notebooks and binders and bits that were typed on an actual typewriter. You have reminded me to search for something! I will be brave...

Stasia, I haven't tried a verse novel, but I do have a notebook full of really bad poetry that was written to fake a school project in the ninth grade. I don't know why it seemed easier to write a fake limerick than to look one up, but in my defense, this was in the days before the internets.

PB Rippey, Some of the aforementioned crimes against undergraduate programs happened at UCSB! Hello fellow Gaucho!

Hysterical! I was just telling my husband I need a new Gauchos sweatshirt (he has absconded with mine). Go Gauchos! (although I have no idea how the Gauchos are doing in any sports endeavors...)

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