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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

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  Featured Author

Patricia Harrington

This article sponsored by:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft    Definitely not just for horror writers! No matter which genre you write in, King will make you a better writer.   It's so helpful it's scary.  

 

Sometimes there's a gap between the dream and reality. Sometimes, that gap spans decades, from the time when a young girl hid under the bed covers to write down her thoughts, to a later time when an overly tired grandmother typed away at her novel with only Curious George, her cat, to keep her company.

My dream to be a writer was inspired by Louisa May Alcott and her alter ego Jo in Little Women and Jo's Boys. When I published my first book Death Stalks the Khmer two years ago, it was in the mystery genre. (And I felt pleased to learn that my literary icon Alcott had made her bread-and-butter money writing for the pulps of her day.)

A Cambodian refugee couple living in the Seattle area are shot and killed in their apartment. The Khmer community whispers that their deaths were caused by bad karma. Bridget (Bridg) O'Hern believes the couple's deaths are rooted in the horrors of the Khmer Rouge years. Bridg is assigned as a liaison between the community and the police investigating the homicides. Little does she know when she signs on to help that she, too, may be a target for murder -- or worse.

Death Stalks the Khmer

Patricia Harrington

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Since my novel came out, the writing and publishing pace has truly quickened. My poetry is in an anthology titled When I Was a Child (PoetWorks), and I have a story in a parapsychology anthology Mystery in Mind. I also have four story picture e-books out now that featured series character Fat Cat and his friend Gray Mouse. Their adventures are for beginning readers and available at www.gadxoox.com. And I recently co-edited a micro-mystery anthology BULLET POINTS that will be released in trade paperback this fall from Wildside Press.

Perhaps those decades of raising children, teaching and writing grants provided the fertile soil for creative ideas to germinate. I only know that after decades, I'm pleased with my reality and know that there's "no grass growing" under this writer's feet (or chair). Patricia can be contacted through her website at www.patriciaharrington.com

 

          Grab a sweater and enjoy this  short story by Patricia Harrington

              

A Chilling Clue

The level rose slowly but incessantly. There was no way to stop the water, and I had to face the inevitability of what that meant. I could feel the cold creeping up, ankles to calves, the chill rising like a cold hand to reach and stop the beating of my heart. How could this be happening to me? I touched the clammy sides of the well, seeking a handhold, a crevice where I could climb to freedom. I found none. John had been so clever; I should have known. How many chances had I given our marriage? How many times had I forgiven his infidelities, the lipstick smudges on his collars, the indignity of finding black lace panties in the glove compartment of his car?

My friends had said he'd married me only for my money, but I didn't believe them. No, I chose to think I could overcome our age differences, provide him with everything that he wanted. But it was only my money he wanted, and now he would have it. The thought of the humiliating sessions at the spa, as young hands tried to shape and mold my aging body, burned in my memory but couldn't warm me. Such a sad accident, he would say, mourning, crying with those tears he turned on so well. Those brown eyes would become pools of sorrow.

The water had risen to my hips now, fed by the underground springs that had surged with the heavy fall rains. No light came in to help me. Even the sky was denying me solace, hiding its moon behind dark clouds. I couldn't swim. Was there any way I could let the world know what John had done? To show how he had pushed me over the rim and then left laughing, knowing no one would come out to our secluded cabin? My cries echoed, only to be answered by my own sobbing.

I searched my pockets for a piece of paper. None. I turned in my prison. The water had risen to my waist. My teeth chattered, and I shook from the cold that numbed my body and my thinking. Desperately, I left the only clue I could think of that would say this was no ordinary accident. I tore off my blouse with stiff fingers, and then I took off my bra, slacks and underpants. My teeth chattered so uncontrollably that I thought they would break. I felt a warmth creeping over me, consoling yet deceiving. Hypothermia. Surely when my body was found, those who knew me would say, "Virginia would never have committed suicide by downing herself naked in a well. There must have been foul play." And surely, they would look first to the toy-boy husband for my murderer.

~Patricia Harrington