Writer's Notes

When is it “The End?”: Kay Mehl Miller

You’ll Cry Too by Kay Mehl Miller, author

K Mehl Miller novel coverMy best works leave the reader asking, “ And then what happened?”

Take my latest book Ring Around Reality: A Novel. The first time I wrote it 37 years ago, I came to the end, put my head down on my typewriter and cried and cried and cried.  Why was I was I crying?  I’m not going to tell you, but I bet you’ll cry too when you read it.  I’ll give you a clue, though.  The novel is based on my alcoholism— I’ve been sober for 44 years now. But that is me, not necessarily my character Diana Lossen.

How come it took 37 years before the book was published?  Because I was intimidated by it. The facts, which I turned into fiction, were stark, a reality for most practicing alcoholics. My family of origin was bound to be impacted, so I didn’t publish it.  In 2014 the last of  that family died. I took down the hefty manuscript and spent over a year rewriting it, changing the title, some character names, and a lot of this and some of that, honing and polishing until I was awed by my own writing. In the end I bowed my head over the computer keyboard, this time, and cried and cried and cried.

Am I still intimidated by the book? You bet I am. Every time I do a reading, I wander what is in the mind of my audience. At my last reading, I glanced up after I read about four-year-old Diana’s mother throwing her child’s new red wagon in the swamp. I saw horror on the faces of most of my audience and later was asked how a mother could do such a thing.  I knew then that people in that audience would read the book to the end to see if there is an answer to their question.

On the way through the book, my audience will find significant character flows in Diana, vividly described. Parents will hide this book from their children. I will hope that my readers will discriminate between my character Diana and me, and yet, I write about the things I know.

If you are wondering how you will know when your book ends, try crying.


Kay Mehl MillerKay Mehl Miller,Ph.D. was a newspaper reporter, intermediate school English teacher a columnist for LGBT media and, eventually, a psychotherapist in Hawaii. Besides Ring Around Reality, she is the author of two creative non-fiction books: Talking it Over: Understanding Sexual Diversity and Living with the Stranger in Me: An Exploration of Aging. Her first novel is Love Comes at Twilight: A Love Story for Seniors. She has written two plays, one of which was produced by Santa Rosa’s Sixth Street Playhouse.


and the links.



Cop loc auth close up Malice cover

Read Thonie Hevron’s books:

By Force or Fear, Intent to Hold, and With Malice Aforethought are available through Amazon.

Writer's Notes

A Moment to Savor

By Thonie Hevron

As an Army brat, we traveled while I was growing up. One of my earliest memories was of making friends with Patsy Simmons, another brat in my military housing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. We were friends for the three years I lived there. When we moved back to the states, I never saw her again. I didn’t have much time to make new friends in Tacoma, Washington (Fort Lewis posting) in the next six months because we were unpacking, then packing again to go home to Mill Valley, California. Before I was twelve, we’d bought and sold three homes in that small town. Moving seemed to be a part of life like taxes. In one school, my class began to learn old math, the next school, I’d just missed learning “new” math. I still have issues with the multiplications tables. Still, I became adept at making friends, because I had to do it over and over.

All this has less to do with computation skills than giving you a glimmer of who I am. As a kid and young adult, I yearned for one place to call home. In 1966, my mother finally found a house she wanted to settle in Mill Valley. After attending three different schools in in this quaint Northern California town, I enrolled in “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” elementary school. I started in the sixth grade. Being tall for my age, I was always at the end of the line. No worries, I was used to it. But at Mount Carmel, there was a girl even taller! I began to feel at home as I caught up socially and academically. Thus began a fifty-two year friendship with Helen.

High school was even more satisfying. At Marin Catholic, I was introduced to college prep education. In this school, there were children of “successful” parents—one owned a Ford dealership, another was the grandson of a major maritime shipping line, many were children of attorneys and doctors. Being the child of a master sergeant, then a Deputy US Marshal, I felt like I didn’t fit in. While my mother made most of my clothes, I didn’t appreciate the uniqueness. “Store-bought” is what the other kids had; why couldn’t I have that, too? Oh, we don’t have enough money? Okay.

Scholastically, I was an average student. I chose to daydream and goof off rather than apply myself. My friends at Marin Catholic centered on Jan (who came to MC in our sophomore year) and Helen. I felt gratified when the “popular” kids spent time with me and my pals. We didn’t hang out a lot because in those days, I eschewed the prom queen and cheer leaders for “hippier” people. Socially, I was sure I was somewhere in the middle between the “ducks” and the “cool kids.” I’m not so sure, now.

All my moving around made me want to be like everyone else even more.

When my class graduated, my friends went on to college and flourished as nurses, teachers, a Stanford professor, top executives with IBM and such. I spent the next thirty-five years in police stations.

Marin Catholic Class of 70 Christmas Luncheon 2012
Marin Catholic Class of 70 Christmas Luncheon 2012

Fast forward forty-four years (OMG!): Since our 40th high school reunion, many of us have found we enjoy each other’s company so much that we don’t want to wait another decade to visit. In the four years since our big “40th,” many of us have gotten to know each other even better. Annual dinner parties, picnics and even a girls’ sleep-over one weekend are examples of the fun we have together.

Our annual 2014 dinner party was scheduled for August 26 at Rickey’s in Novato, Ca. I had a reading in Santa Rosa, 20 miles to the north, earlier in the day so I told the girls that I’d be a little late for pre-event drinks at the bar. On the drive down I made better time than I anticipated, so I was excited to see my friends and a little breathless at rushing around.

I walked into the bar and a dozen of my dear friends looked up and spontaneously cheered my arrival. “Hurray for Thonie!” and “Here’s our published author!” My chest could barely contain the gratitude I felt for all these accomplished women who saluted me. I felt like not only had I achieved my dreams but I had done something worthy of their attention. Truth is they probably would have shouted a grand hello to me anyway. I didn’t care. The honest spontaneity of the greeting made this a significant event. In years past, I might have yearned for it. I can’t remember that far back. But, it came that day, on its own schedule.

It was over quickly, as I grabbed a glass of champagne and joined them. I’ve never been good at being the focus of attention, even when I secretly enjoyed it.

No matter. It is in my heart forever.


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