Writers and Psychic Energy

My friend was discussing psychic perception and writers.

“I was talking with another playwright the other day and we got onto the topic of how when your writing is in full flow you feel like something outside of yourself is actually doing the writing, and at the same time you can get frequent “psychic ” events– like premonitions,  predictive dreaming, synchronicity events. It’s  like going to an unconnected event and someone who is an expert in the field you are writing about just happens to be there. We wonder if playwrights in general are more psychic than the normal population? So I said I’d ask here and check if any of you have had similar experiences.”  Margaret McSeveney to ICWP connect list.

As it turned out, several of the playwrights responded that they had. One had called it fate’s intervention, like writing a psychic book and then meeting a psychic at the grocery store … similar occurences. The universe’s way of saying, “This was supposed to happen.”

In Psychology, there is a syndrome where we can feel like a “Participant” and “Observer” at the

same time. The observer watches the participant. The observer, the other worldly judge, and the participant, the person moving through the action. An example would be when you went to a party you didn’t want to attend. You moved through the party watching the people, maybe not participating in a conversation at first, just observing those around you. Then you interact with a fellow party goer, maybe someone you know. But you have stepped back, into a world of observing, half-attentive, and you can watch the people around you, take in their conversation while you are talking. It’s like angels picked you up and carried you in their arms above those speaking, away from you and your guest, but you are still interacting with the person speaking directly to you. At the same time you have a sense, a perception that you should leave. That all is not well somewhere, or the party may have trouble, or the world is going to shake. You leave. You find out later that someone in the party initiated a brawl that seriously hurt other party person.

Is that similar to the other-worldliness of the writer? Is that any different then the gas station attendant, the English teacher, the worker bee in any field that is working in full flow …  and feel like something outside themselves is actually helping with their work and, at the same time, receiving a “psychic ” flash, like going to party and something outside of themselves tells them to leave?

I believe it is part of the human condition, a natural part of us that we are in the process of understanding.

LINEA: A Magazine of Short Fiction

Spring 2019 volume 1

April 26th, release party
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is thumbnail-2.jpg
Adell Donaghue, Publisher of Simian Press, and I at the release party

My short piece, “Clay Horse Ashtray,” was selected to be part of the first release of the hand-stitched, limited copies, 180 worded pieces.

Clay Horse Ashtray

I love my room of four years, its flea market vogue. Vonnegut would be proud. A cockroach crawls up my desk as Beethoven’s Moonlight crescendos. Next to the desk, bamboo crates from the corner bodega holds my overdue textbooks, my NYU acceptance letter. The roach hits my clay horse ashtray choked with half-smoked Marlboros, wisely turns around. I stick a finger in the pages to hold my place in Vonnegut as the roach scurries over my exams, all A’s. I wish for nothing but my smokes, and, on special occasions, fresh water from one of those bottles that says its pure, two bucks a piece! Almost as much as I payed for my dying DVD player. Masters of Fine Arts: I try it on in the mirror. Moonlight Sonata ends. This summer, my framed NYU acceptance will hang at the entrance of my family’s diner, for all to see, before I come to their tables to take their orders. Pat Morin

Eighty to 100 people came, listened to the authors, and bought the magazine.

Hanukkah and Yiddish

Happy Hanukkah!



It’s fitting for me this year to discuss this holiday.  Why should a would-be Christian care about this beyond respecting the faith of my friends and fans? Because I have worked on my full-length play A CLEAN WELL-LIGHTED PARK BENCH (taken from a short story in my mystery short-story collection, DEADLY ILLUSIONS and made into a short play that was part of an award-winning TBA anthology!_ Hoo-Haa!) Saul, a Jewish Octogenarian sits on a bench in Central Park lamenting the death of his wife, that he believes he killed, and to the moon. He reminisces about her, not in a positive way,  She was a  verkelemp shiksa that “Hokk me a tshynik“. Translation: Crazy non-Jew that talked and talked and talked, oh, and ad nagged, to the point of abuse. At their wedding, Saul signing on the dotted line of the Ketubah, and they stood under the Chuppah, the wedding cover,  she was supposed to circle Saul seven times for the seven days of creation, a Jewish tradition, she stopped after five and told the Rabbi that people should only work five days, not seven. Truth be she was zaftig, fat. Her mother said they may as well be in Hotseplotz, middle of nowhere, that they should not expect many visits. New York City, is that far away from Toms River, New Jersey? No homemade latkes, potato pancakes, for Hanukkah either.

An appreciation of my growing Yiddish words lead me to a better appreciation of the traditions, their tongue-in-cheek humor, and their religious honor–for their loyalty to their goy kadosh (a holy nation).

So for all you Jewish fans out there es gezunterheyt with your whole mishpocha. Yes. Eat in good health with your family, or friends, or have a vegan lunch with your pets, and Happy Holiday!


The Visit

I wrote this little ditty of a piece  as a submission  for an animal story in a magazine. They wanted something that really threatened man and beast. This was too much of a fluff-ball for them, but I really liked it and thought I would share it. 🙂


The Visit

We met eye to eye on my back porch. He/she/ it, whatever, didn’t look friendly. “Whatever” studied me, and I could tell by its movement around my crow’s nest high deck overlooking the bay, it was searching for food. I stood perfectly still.

“Looking for something?” I murmured more to myself, not wanting to scare it. As quickly as it came, it left. Maybe it’s hungry and I should feed it?

No sooner than my mind flash on its beauty, it returned. “God, you’re fast,” I whispered as its fluttering wings zipped by me, a clicking sound following in its wake. It shone an iridescent red and green, a tiny Christmas tree of cheerful colors soaring straight up into the air like a fighter jet, but then it made a sharp right, and returned back to the porch, and in my face, not two feet away!

I froze.

“Lots of crow’s here, little hummingbird. One could snap you up and crunch you like a potato chip. If not them, those black vultures that eat live prey. Hungry? Not many plants for you this year with the fires.”

It circled me, and buzzed near my ear as it repeated its last route around the porch and hovered over the gallon water jug. “It’s not sugar water, but I’ll buy you a feeder and hang it on the porch.” The little shining Christmas-tree clicked a verbal reply and took off.

Yeah, like it understood me. Fat Chance. I wasn’t that stupid.

I drove down the hill to the old hardware store on Main. I bought a plastic feeder and red sugar water. “They like the color red,” Jerry behind the counter said as if I didn’t know. At home, I hung the feeder up, about six feet off the ground, just like the directions read. I eyed the circling black vultures. Not a good year for them either.

I waited and waited, but the sun got the sugar water that summer. Don’t know what happened for certain to the little bird as I envisioned it being chased by one crow and caught by another, its neck snapped like a potato chip. But maybe it moved on to a safer place.

Doubted it.

In a weak moment, I was going to buy a little Christmas ornament I saw in the local hardware store, a shining bird of red and green that one could clip on a Christmas Tree that winter, but I didn’t. I was sorry “Whatever” didn’t return, but truth be told, I was mighty glad for its visit.

The End




A fun Sunday–dog surfers

Sometimes you just have to do something very different, and fun, and maybe silly … like I said on my tweet … throw work cares into the mist of the waves.


Here are some fun photos we took on the Pacifica, CA, beach. 


Leave my unicorn alone!


Pug on surfboard, actually had a good time.


Oh no, not this again!


Retriever surfing home.


The line getting to the beach.


The crowd on the beach

Fellow watchers above beach



   The area surrounding the event on Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica. 

Channel 4 and the surfing pugs

So, what do our non-surf dogs do while all this is going on?



look good  AND




Gender Parity: A Road More Traveled

This is my article to Sisters In Crime Newsletter

I was drawn to the relationship between gender parity in theatre and publishing through my work with the International Centre of Women Playwrights (ICWP). Of which I am the president. We had just completed our 50/50 Applause Award honoring theatres that promote women playwrights on an equal basis to male playwrights. ICWP’s mission is to connect, inspire, and empowers women playwrights to achieve equity on the world stages.

The theatre world is dominated by men: artistic directors who choose the plays, directors, board members, decision makers, and other employees. Women’s productions on main stages is where bigger budgets are allotted for royalties, actors, and marketing. Unfortunately, the statistics for women productions has only ticked up oa few percentage points in the last seven years (from 25 percent to 28 percent, and in some places 30 percent). Although ICWP reached Seven countries outside of the US: Australia, Canada, Finland, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, and Wales—our percentage of theatres promoting gender parity remained low.   

          In late 2017, American Theatre magazine reported that, out of 513 not-for-profit theaters across the U.S., only 26 percent of their new plays and revivals were written by women, with 63 percent written by men and 11 percent co-written by women and men.

Women playwrights were paid less in royalties, given smaller stages, and had fewer performances.

My work with ICWP and gender parity led me to ponder about women who write mysteries. Are women mystery authors paid equal or close to equal royalties to their male counterparts? Similar advances (given same individual publishing data)? Do they get equal review space in newspapers and magazines? How has the women movement impacted women mystery writers as far as equal pay and equal opportunity?

Are women mystery writers paid less in royalties, given smaller advances, and fewer reviews?

Let’s take a short look at what has happened in gender parity over 2017 and 2018 thus far.

In January, 2017, the first Women’s March, one of seismic proportions (over 4,000,000 women), created a tsunami of awareness and solidarity that flooded major US cities, as well as other cities throughout the world. Women were taking a unified stand.

Actress America Ferrerra, during th march, said,  “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families.” January, 2017  https://www.womensmarch.com/

This march was repeated again in January, 2018

The #MeToo movement spurred on more resistance by women. What began in October 2017 rocked the film, media, publishing, and theater industries across the world–when actresses started using the #MeToo hashtag on social media to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. It followed on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations

The #MeToo, #TimesUp, #I’m With Her movements strengthened the power of the Women’s March, 2017-2018. Issues of job discrimination and pay discrimination shared the spotlight with sexual harassment complaints. Women were asking questions, becoming bolder, and demanding recognition. Men in power were stepping back and reevaluating, while also being made to answer for sexual harassment complaints. Women, also, mind you, but men more so.

Leigh Anne Ashley, writing in Writer’s Digest said, “There seems to be no genre that has not been impacted by women finally feeling able and welcome to tell their stories. A recent Google search with the words “#MeToo articles” returned 6.6 million results. To those of us who have been paying attention, seeing the internet filled with so many women’s voices, including so many new voices, is a remarkable thing. I’ve noticed a shift in my writing; I feel gutsier and less apologetic.” “The #MeToo Movement and Its Impact on Women’s writing.” March 29, 2018

Has this movement helped women mystery writers on the road to gender parity?

I say yes … even though the crime writing, mystery world has slowly been amassing female authors, the publishing world around them needed to change.

“Though overall numbers have improved, more mysteries by men than women are nominated for and receive high-prestige awards,” Barbara Fister wrote in Bitchmedia 2014, “More men than women are reviewed in high-profile publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Women are far more likely to be published in paperback than hardcover and find the warmest review reception among book bloggers, who are increasingly important contributors to book criticism but get less respect than “professional” reviewers. “Women make up more than half of the mystery writers—but get criminally few reviews.”    

Unlike plays that are divided into flash, short, one act, and full-length, the fiction world breaks down into many genres, with more delineated statistics: Gender Ratio of the Best-Selling Genres by Decade: https://pudding.cool/2017/06/best-sellers/ “Bias, She Wrote,” by Rosie Cima of Pudding breaks down the history of M/F percentage in the fiction world from 1950 to 2015.

The publishing business, however: “Publisher’s Weekly’s annual salary and jobs 2016-2017 survey certainly (also) backs up the …  power that men hold in the publishing industry. Despite the fact that men are a minority (20 percent) of the overall workforce, 51 percent of managers are men (2016). Publishers Weekly Survey 2017 (PW, Nov 3, 2017 Jim Milliot) Women dominate men as literary agents.

But now, after 2015, women mystery writers, as well as crime writers, have taken women mystery and women crime writers close to the 50/50 gender parity mark (55M-45W).

Female crime writers have fared the best, with a slow but steady rise in the last ten years. Today, men are using female pen names to sell crime mystery, a real turnaround in the world of publishing! As Sophie Grant states in The Atlantic,August, 2017 “Over the last decade, female writers have come to dominate crime fiction, a genre traditionally associated with men.” “Why Men Pretend to Be Women to Sell Thrillers.” 

“Also, through the work of Sisters in Crime 1986-2013, the percentage of mysteries by women reviewed in the New York Times Book Review went from a miserable 17 percent in 1987 to 36 percent in 2013. The Paris Review and the New York Times have grown more responsive to women’s writing. The New Republic and The New York Review of Books, not so much. We know women have been seriously underrepresented in high-prestige venues, and that this situation can be improved” (Fisher also wrote in  Btichmedia).

And so it has … 2016, and especially 2017 sees a marked change in the number of reviews, and the number of awards, as well as the number of mystery authors on the top ten list of Times, Post, Atlantic, Kirkus, and others.

Where does that bring us? Women in the mystery and crime genres are nearing perfect gender parity and, notwithstanding gender-changing names from men, have flooded the market!

Also, in 2016 and 2017, and growing in 2018, women mystery authors crept to a near 50/50 gender split with men mystery writers for “best-mystery-books-of-the-year” choices.

The Washington Post’s 2016 “best mystery” listed seven men and three women, however the Washington Post 2017 honored six women and four men!

In 2016, the New York Times selected four women and six men on their “best-of- mystery list”. In 2017, the number for the Times remained six men and four women.

Kirkus Review showed an even seven-seven pick for best of 2016, 2017.

Booklist for 2017 named fourteen men and six women as their best for the year.

Although … reviews on women’s mystery books are still lower, and the recent pay differences between male and female mystery writers were not available Although … a recent article by Danuta Kean in The Guardian states: “Women fare worse, according to the survey, earning 75% of what their male counterparts do, a 3% drop since 2013 when the last ALCS survey was conducted.”


In the US, there were (202-2012) fluxes in prices from women and men books according to genre, and women identified books (Romance) were not consider as highly as other genres. There is more to be explored on the recent issue of pay differences between men and women authors.

Top Mystery magazine recently placed 20 women in their 100 pick of best mystery writers.

Would the changes in the publishing industry have occurred without the impact of the surging wave of the women’s movement? Probably, but I believe, much slower. Also, women in the publishing workforce will hopefully speak louder and more clearly about the changes that still need to be made in the both the theatre and publishing industry. The movement is still growing.

In most areas, though, women authors have leaped to the forefront in mystery and crime fiction: A success story, and one we hope to see in the future with playwrights.

FYI: definition and history of feminist hashtags:


Two months working with the 50/50 awards for women theatre parity

Since working as President of ICWP, time has passed quicker than the fastest  water current, and carried with it a new awareness of several things. Being President of any organization teaches lessons on Governance and all that applies to legal, social (the community around the world), and membership considerations (following a mission statement, delivery of services promised, and an understanding of the vast amount of cultures we serve). I’ve been traveling that stream, and not able to walk, yet, on my home ground, feeling safe sequestered in my books and plays.

But I want to share our press release for the 50/50 and show exactly how extensive this program was, and International Centre for Women Playwrights is:

Awards Announced for Theaters Around the World Promoting Gender Equity

Industry still has a long way to go, Centre for Women Playwrights finds

The International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) today announced its 2018 50/50 Applause Awards, honoring theaters that produce plays written in equal measure by women and men. At the same time, the Centre finds that the vast majority of theaters around the world are coming up short in terms of gender equity.

The Centre received 103 nominations and only 62 qualified for the award.

The awards honor theaters at least half of whose productions in their July 2017- June 2018 seasons are written by women. Further, a theater must have staged three or more productions during the season and have plays authored by both male and female in their season. For the 2018 Awards, only Main Stage productions were taken into account, as that is where most theater budgets are spent and where playwrights receive the most media attention and career advancement.

The 62 recipients of this year’s awards are found throughout Australia, Canada, Finland, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, United States, and Wales.

For the 2017-2018 season, approximately 60% of the qualifying theaters are repeat recipients. For example, Here Arts Center has made the list for six years in a row, while off the WALL has made it for five consecutive years. Awardees range from community and college theaters to internationally renowned public theaters.

“We are pleased to see that there are some theaters that, year after year, provide opportunities for women playwrights. We salute their efforts,” said 50/50 Applause Award Co-Chair Patricia L. Morin. “However, we will witness more economic discrimination toward women playwrights (smaller stages, less performances, less pay), as well as the constant promotion of male voices, unless more theaters step up and join the ranks to support 50/50 gender parity.”

Academic and charity organization research continues to support the notion that there are gender inequities in theatrical companies around the globe.

For example, the League of Professional Theatre Women recently released the results of its 2018 “Women Count” study. The percentage of women playwrights represented by the theaters profiled in the study ranged from 29% in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 to a season high of 37% in 2016-2017.  This looks like an upward movement to be welcomed, but a closer look at the figures shows that five theaters profiled in the study had no women playwrights at all in the 2016-2017 study season.

In late 2017, American Theatre magazine reported that, out of 513 not-for-profit theaters across the U.S., only 26% of their new plays and revivals were written by women, with 62% written by men and 11% co-written by women and men.

The Playwrights Guild of Canada reported that for the 2017 season in that country, productions by male playwrights continued to dominate — 64%, which was the same as 2016 — and shows by women playwrights still hovered around the 25% mark.

The National Voice, a publication of The Australian Writers Guild, reported that, of 95 shows surveyed for 2017 that included Australian playwrights — including those staged by state theater companies — 56% were written by men.

The 2018 50/50 Applause Awards come in the wake of a momentous year for women’s struggle for equality in many different arenas. The #metoo movement that began in October 2017 rocked the film, media and theater industries across the world. The movement has shown how a bullying and sexually abusive environment limits the participation and career success of women.

A majority of theater artistic directors do not stage the work of female and male playwrights in an equal proportion, and this has repercussions for society by suppressing women’s stories and filling the theater stages with the male imagination. The male presence not only dominates artistic directors, it dominates the theater boards, governing boards, and public funding institutions throughout the world.

The bravery of those speaking out in the #metoo movement is echoed in the words of Millicent Fawcett, the early 20th century British suffragist who campaigned for women’s rights throughout her life, and whose motto was “Courage calls to courage everywhere”.

To have a professional theater scene that encourages, enables and celebrates women playwrights, governing boards, public funders and artistic directors around the world should ask themselves if the theater programs they are supporting are enabling gender discrimination in favor of men, and silencing the voices of the creative women who have equally valid things to say. The 50/50 Applause Award certificate should be as important as fire and public safety certificates, and their theaters should not be able to open their doors without it.

At the urging of feminist and journalist Caroline Criado Perez, a statue of Millicent Fawcett was placed in London’s Parliament Square in April. In the foreword to the Fawcett Society report “Sex & Power 2018″, Perez writes: “Finally, we have to stop pretending that the path to equality is out of our hands. Power is never given freely. Liberty is never achieved by chance. It is achieved by design. So let’s start designing it.”




Characters from our collective unconscious, or are we psychic?

We share:


But we also have: negative influences

and one of the conduit: dreams

and another: meditation

Then there are those realizations.

Stephen King once thought that many of his characters came from the deepest part of his unconscious, a collective unconscious- so many characters, so many lives, so many stories.

WT Jowett says:

The common themes of the collective unconscious are referred to as archetypes; like the unconscious mind, individuals do not have ready conscious access to the archetypes, but they are revealed through events and experiences in individuals’ lives.  When an archetype is experience individuals unconsciously recognize it as what it represents and it appears as “mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual’s own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind” (Jung, 1978).

What does this have to do with being psychic, you may ask?

Rupert Sheldrake, (Morphic Resonance, The Nature of Formative Causation) has found statistical evidence of a psychic connection between every species that is evolving and growing.

“Ever have the feeling that you know you’re being watched? Or that feeling when you’re thinking about someone right before they call you? These feelings are sometimes thought to be merely coincidental or just happenstance. But the fact that these are common incidences and something that everyone can relate to, leaves open the possibility that there could be something metaphysical happening. Rupert Sheldrake says he believes that these occurrences are psychic phenomena that is evidence of an interconnected consciousness between all humans …” 

Can the connection between us and the collective unconscious be that psychic thread? 

To be continued …




Swept Away …

I’ve been swept away again, away from my series on how we are all psychic , and hopefully not afraid of that realization. In fact, I met a man at an airport, and I shared with him about my latest novel about the psychic sociopath that goes to a psychic shrink, and how I want the novel not only to be a good thriller, but also to help people realize that we are all a bit psychic–having some similar experiences to the protagonist who is like, very psychic. Not only that, I hoped to help readers see that there are ways of handling the unknown if you feel threatened by something you can’t see. He shared his psychic experience and it gave me chills. I wanted to go home and write about the experience for me.    

But, I have been involved with the 50/50 Applause Awards 2018 again, beginning the Award process earlier this year–easier to research theatres when you are in the middle of the season, then at the end.

 The International Centre for Women Playwrights @womenplaywrights has initiated the 50/50 Applause Awards earlier this year for the 2018 season. The mission of the awards is to honor those theatres that produce women playwrights as often as male playwrights-50/50. Right now, production numbers for women playwrights stand at about 25-27% percent worldwide. Some plays by women, when produced, have less performances than plays by men, especially on the main stages that get more funding and many more seats. This year we added that the funding sources, taxes paid by men and women, might need to answer for all male productions! And this year we have more support and more countries around the world participating. Great news. We are succeeding, more so than last September.

It is still difficult to find theatres that have both men and women playwrights, not filled with festivals, have full-length plays, and other items necessary to the rules, but we have twice the volunteers and a more powerful PR team. The nominations are rolling in. We are doing well.

The 50/50 is very time consuming, and as you know, one minute you can be working on a wonderful, fun-filled project, then be swept away to an equally fulfilling project, and lose sight of where you once were. Then when you can come up for air, you remember! Aha! Back to the novel. Something is calling me to finish it … now.







Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: