489 Extracted Words – The Tease – April 2016


April 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a novel in progress. April is National ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Month. To highlight this, I have chosen a piece involving a character with ASD (which was also presented in an earlier Tease, with some additions).

She had to reach up to brush his hair. She wasn’t short by any measure, but he had sprouted to nearly six feet over the summer. Where had her little boy gone? The child she knew had fled, slipped out in the night while she was trying to glue together a life for him. In his place, a stranger had arrived, a lanky, teenage man-boy, with wavy brown hair and tragic blue eyes. Buried inside him was a well-disguised sense of humor, the kind that laughed at curse words (even ones she was certain she’d never exposed him to) uttered in public, often laughing even louder when she reacted to his reaction. The little boy her mind still pictured didn’t know a thing about cussing. Of course, that child also didn’t kick holes in walls, self-mutilate or engage in the worst offense of all, looking just like his father. Every day, he acquired more of his dad’s stoic good looks. Unfortunately, he also shared his father’s pension for escape and his frigorific ability to plunge an emotional pick axe into her heart. The only difference, and it made all the difference in the world, was that Austin didn’t know he was doing it. The other bastard did, and could rot in hell for it.

“What’s it going to be today, Mr. Man? Shower? Bath?” She preferred that he shower, but Austin liked baths. As long as he did one or the other daily, and included a shower thrice a week, she didn’t push too hard. It was a fine line with Austin. The harder she pushed, the harder he pushed back. But he needed guidance and that escalated the tension, creating tough choices. In her parent group, Trish spoke about choosing useful battles, if able. But so often, the battles chose them.

An acquaintance gifted her a parenting book once, when Austin was about six, written by a Hollywood couple with zero child rearing credentials, other than their fame. It only took three pages for the authors to state unapologetically that most kids on the spectrum were misdiagnosed, even suggesting that some parents sought an ASD diagnosis for their personal benefit. She had immediately tossed the book in the trash, along with a spoiled head of lettuce, Austin’s wet bed pads and the scum that she scraped out of the dishwasher tray. The golden couple had their beautiful images plastered all over the cover so she gave them an extra shove into the garbage, face first. There was no incentive for obtaining a fabricated diagnosis. Autism was no bucket of fame. If anything, spectrum disorders manifested in secret, the secrets of parents, siblings and the autistic children themselves. Who could cypher the mysteries inside a child such as Austin?

Her son grunted his choice. Bath. She turned the water on. Hot. He liked it hot, even in August, just as she liked her coffee.



Spokane’s Get Lit! 2016

Spokane’s Get Lit! 2016 – Garth Stein and Corinna Nicolaou.

This year’s edition of Get Lit once again featured a roll call of literary talent. Garth Stein headlined, but Shawn Vestal, Samuel Ligon, Jess Walter and numerous other local writers added to the mix.. Our favorite event this week involved Corinna Nicolaou.

On Wednesday, we attended an enlightening event with Corinna Nicolaou, author of A None’s Story. The session, held at Auntie’s Bookstore (one of our favorite venues), was followed by a sign and greet.

Thursday night brought the now famous Pie and Whiskey readings. This event’s unique blend of Dry Fly whiskey, homemade pie, slamming poetry and flash fiction never ages.

We look forward to seeing what surprises are in store for Get Lit! 2017. As you might have noticed, the countdown has already begun.

Little Spokane River Natural Area – South Bank

Pictures from the LSR trails.









Arrow Point

An early spring visit to Lake Coeur d’Alene.











264 Extracted Words – The Tease – March 2016

March 2016

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a novel in progress.

IMG_3150Facing down Main Street (hell, the only street) in this tiny, unlikely town on the edge of humanity, wedged between the green, cut banks of spruce and the green, icy waters of Lacy Cove, the tallest building he could see wasn’t even a building. It was a ship. And that ship, the Balkan Jewel, Jewel of the Inland Passage, carried in its massive hull many more jewels. The ice in Alaska didn’t always form in hidden coves with shaded saltwater or even in cascading tumbles over glacial valleys. Sometimes it came by courier or personal shopper, duty-free and pear cut. Diamonds.

He had shadowed the little, silver-haired group and their guide for days, learning all their turns, noting how each little case was unlocked, counted and locked again. In the end, it wouldn’t be difficult at all. He knew the odd, idiosyncratic twitches of two dozen elderly, rich couples. A pat to the breast pocket, a tap of the purse. They relentlessly invaded each tourist town, guided by their “expert” purchaser – buying, trading, getting a deal. But, the investment was his. Their money, his treasure, they just didn’t understand the arrangement, yet. And when the time came, he would sweep in without mercy, harvesting the contents of pockets and satchels like fresh eggs in an unguarded hen house. In the morning, when the squawking and clucking began, the victims and their cruise ship would be two hundred miles away. One more day and they wouldn’t even be in the same country. His plan was as perfect as the stones that would soon rest in his gloved hand.




Afterglow – Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille – March 16, 2016 – Forest




evening star shines

swallows dip over still water –

afterglow warms night




Fuyu No Tsuki (Winter Moon) – Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille – March 2, 2016 – Moonlight

Winter Moon



fuyu no tsuki

snow dust swirls and sparkles clear –

chalk light bent by night



View original prompt here.