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Last summer I came face to face with a huge dilemma: My writing space had been invaded by an alien—the dreaded non-writer husband.

Writers need our own space. It’s a right of passage. A given. An essential part of this crazy puzzle we call writing. Whether it’s a corner in a bedroom, the office den, or a special seat at Starbucks, we need a space for our creativity to come alive. One writer I know uses a vacant closet. I can’t feature a closet with nothing in it, but whatever works, right?


My DH (darling husband) retired last May. I was worried about him going bonkers (he's used to thirty fifth-graders vying for his attention). I needn't have worried--he adjusted quite nicely. I didn't. This man doesn't know how


 
 
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The leaf showed up at my feet, not by the wind, not by human hands, but almost by magic. My grandpuppy, Ryleigh, dropped it at my feet. 

Ryleigh is constantly flinging her toys at our feet, so at first I wasn't paying attention. But when I saw what she'd left for me, my stomach did a little jittery thing. After all, it's been eleven years. I wonder if Ryleigh knew? Did she sense the magic of fall? Of family? The connection? 

The leaf is from our Autumn Fantasy maple we planted in October of 2005 in honor of my mom who passed away on October 16 of that year. My mother


 
 
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I let his fingers slip from mine.

His lower lip trembled and tears filled his eyes. He begged me not to leave him, but I knew I had to before I lost it too. The door to his kindergarten class closed and God how I wanted to turn around and drag him away, back to me, back home where he belonged. 


I don't remember walking to the car or starting the engine, but I do remember I cried all the way home. Later, my son came home with a brilliant smile and handed me a crazy Crayola picture. Through my tears


 
 
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I never win anything. Ever. I donate my money to worthy causes and someone else takes home the loot. I know this, and I'm okay with it. 
So, when Orly announced my name at the Women's Fiction Writers Association Retreat as the winner of the critique from agent Carly Watters of PS Literary, I almost wet pants. And then I panicked. And stalled. For two weeks.


A writer's biggest obstacle is fear. Fear no one will read their work. Fear they will, and hate it. Fear it's not


 
 
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I knew that look.

Wave after wave of cold gooseflesh shivered over my skin, then settled as a sort of squeamish feeling in the pit of my stomach—one I couldn’t describe as dread, but not exactly fear either. But the feeling was as distinct and as sharp as I’d experienced over thirty years ago. 


A few nights ago my husband and I ventured to the movie theatre, a rare treat as he




 
 
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The following 2,800 word short story placed as a "short-listed" finalist in the Writer's Village International Short Story Contest, Summer 2014. 
http://bit.ly/1xLwCvr 
The story is an excerpt (revised to fit contest guidelines) from Dragonflies, a full-length work-in-progress and deals with the harrowing cycle of abuse, duplicity and possessiveness abused women often find impossible to break free of, as in the case of Alexandra (Zan) one of the three main female characters in Dragonflies:



Vicious Circles:
A short puff of breath chuffed from her lungs. She drew in another and held it. Still, the bed sheet trembled like the flutter of leaves on a quaking aspen against


 
 
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It wasn’t our decision to have only one child.

On Valentine’s Day—fifteen years into our marriage—my doctor found irreparable damage to my fallopian tubes and I was told I would never bear a child. If I did conceive, the result would most likely end in a tubal pregnancy.

Twenty-six years ago, I cried for days. Twenty-six years ago, I thought my dream of becoming a mom was over. Twenty-six years ago, there were few options. And no one understood. How could they? Everyone I knew had children.  



Technology was in its infancy and in-vitro fertilization was considered “experimental”— and insurance 


 
 
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Ahhh…Valentine’s Day. 

Some love it. Some hate it. 

I love it. 

Duh.



I'm a romance author so anything to the contrary would be on the hypocritical side, don't you think? I'm a hopeless romantic, even though when I fell in love, I did so


 
 
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Hello? Is anyone there? OH! There you are. I’m a little nervous, can you tell?

Hi! I’m Susan Haught. Since we're acquainted now, please call me Susie. Sounds younger, don’t you think? Besides, I didn’t begin this writing journey until I had more gray hair than brown, so anything to set the time clock back a bit certainly helps. Even if it’s temporary. 


 
 
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All is well.
May all your dreams come true...

Susie