My passion for the craft of writing has never been stronger. And I know with each sentence I write, and every paragraph I compose, my ultimate goal is to find the perfect word.
The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe
5 Star Review from the San Francisco Book Review!
Published by Silver Leaf Books
Susan Jordan awakens at her Santa Fe apartment, cloudy and disoriented. Her clothing is unfamiliar. Where has she been? Her nose crinkles as she smells his scent. Jack's back! Rubber filled legs brace against the stone cold tile floor as she reaches for the pile of mail haplessly setting on the table. Dozens of letters!
Jack Monroe never stops. Susan wishes he would just leave, take his advice and go back to Detroit. He's gaining too much control! He's taking over!
Excerpt from Burtrum Lee
Santa Fe, NM, 1960
“Burtrum, I’m not going to tell you again, slow down! You’re going to lose control in this weather,” Katie Lee pleads, as the wheels of the black sedan catch a patch of ice. Katie feels the Buick fishtail, clipping a nearby snow bank.
“Shut up, Katie! You know how important this child is to us. We might never have the chance again, and I’m not going to let anything happen to him.”
“You’re going to kill us all, and then where will we be? Please, Burtrum, I beg you, just ease up a little.”
Katie Lee cannot believe this tragic turn of events. She knew it was a bad idea when Burtrum insisted she come to New Mexico with him, she in her ninth month. Now her instincts are proving true. The contractions began an hour ago, and here they are, out in the middle of nowhere, lost in a snowstorm, miles away from any hospital.
Doubts began to surface early on in the pregnancy; messing with nature and all. Even though Burtrum, a world-renowned fertility scientist, guaranteed his new experiment, artificial insemination, was fail-safe, she still had her misgivings. But what else could she do? Refusing was out of the question.
As the months progressed, and her terms eased along, Katie began to relax and trust her husband’s genius, joyfully planning the future of their baby son.
Now, though, as she sits in water soaked panties, those happy feelings are replaced with fear, as she prays her husband will pull over for a minute and let the gale force winds pass them by. Katie sees a smile in the black window as she wonders what her son will be like.
The wheels skid on the icy road a second time, and Katie clings tightly to the armrest, her knuckles turning whiter than the snow outside.
“Damn-it, Burtrum! Now, please, let’s stop for a minute!” Her cursed words echo in the silent cab. Her pleas are futile. She can see the crazed intensity in his blackened eyes, as he speeds down unfamiliar snow packed roads, oblivious to the ghostly dangers lurking.
“I’m fine, I know what I’m doing, there’s no need to get belligerent. Just relax and hold the baby in until we get to the hospital. Is that too much to ask?” His words are firm and direct.
Leaning her head against the frosted window, Katie sees an ashen reflection mocking her terror. Large blue eyes sparkle as she recalls first meeting Burtrum Lee. How gruff he acted with her at the beginning, kind of like now, but then after a while softened up to her. For Katie, it was love at first sight.
Even though Burtrum is twice her age, they married almost immediately. Their union, up until now, has been a good one, and Katie speculates things will change between them with the child.
Vicious winds whip the heavy car back and forth, making it impossible for Katie to see out. She glances over at Burtrum, hunched and leaning closer to the icing windshield.
“Honey, please!” Katie softens. “We can wait until the winds ease up and you can see better. I’m fine. The contractions are still pretty far apart, so we have plenty of time.”
Katie hates to lie. The pains are closer than ever and she knows the baby is coming. Clenching her fist to her mouth, she holds back her moans as a jolt rips through her gut. Burtrum’s determination overrides any trace of common sense as he continues to plow through the unforgiving swirling gales. Katie leans her head against the window again and closes her eyes. The coolness on her forehead helps to soothe the increasingly intense labor pains.
Excerpt from Fruit Loops
Sheriff Jon Anderson sits in the living room trying not to doze off as he listens to his wife finishing up the dishes in the kitchen. She’s been in there for the past hour, and to him, that seems like a long time. For some reason he feels like she’s avoiding him, but doesn’t know why.
Her queer behavior started a couple of weeks ago, when she began disappearing before he’d get home. The only reason she probably didn’t go out tonight is because of the weather.
“Maybe at last I can get to the bottom of this,” he whispers to himself, watching her shadow on the door as it reaches up and hangs a pan.
Glancing up at the Coo-Coo clock placed above the mantel, Jon admires the fireplace he and Carol built together, rock by rock. They’d planned on raising a family, but Carol couldn’t conceive, so the two of them have lived in this large house by themselves for twenty-one years. John loves the space, but obviously, Carol is feeling a little cramped.
Closing his eyes, Jon recaps his day. The only incident was with that Bryant boy who was skate boarding on the sidewalk. All Jon wanted to do was give the kid a warning, but he skated off, flicking Jon the finger as he disappeared down an alley.
“There’s just no respect, these day,” he mutters.
Strolling in from the kitchen, Carol asks. “What did you say?” She continues to wipe her hands on the blue-striped dish towel.
“Nothing.” He replies, rolling off the couch, like a bear from a rock. “You all done?” He wraps his arms around her, nuzzling her cheek.
Gently pushing him away, she responds. “Yes, with the dishes, but now I have to make a cake for the grade school bake sale tomorrow.”
“Bake sale, why are you baking one?”
Shaking his head, and sitting on the couch, Jon says. “I just don’t get it.”
“There’s nothing to get Jon, I like participating, it keeps me busy. Plus, I enjoy being around children, they make me feel alive, not stifled.”
“Now you’re being stifled?”
“No, you’re taking this the wrong way, and I can tell which direction this conversation is heading, so let’s just drop it. Okay?”
“I don’t want to drop it. You’ve been acting strange lately, and I want to know what’s going on.”
“There’s nothing going on, Jon. I just feel like I need to make a few changes, do something invigorating so that I can start growing again.”
Rising quickly, Jon sweeps his arm around the living room. “This isn’t stimulating? Our life, our home, me?”
Carol Anderson looks at her husband longingly, “Yes, Jon it is. I just feel I need some outside inspiration. You don’t understand.” Carol snaps as she retreats back to the kitchen, leaving Jon mesmerized in her wake.
“What the hell.” He yelps. “Carol, get back here.” He half orders, knowing she won’t respond.
Baffled over the turn of events, Jon thinks about going down to the station and finishing up some paper work, but then reconsiders as he hears the winds howling from outside. It would be crazy to go out in this weather, instead, he decides to lock himself up in his study and watch some TV. If Carol wants to talk, she knows where to find him.