Motivational Moments…for Writers #29

All works in a series, sequel or trilogy must stand alone. Therefore the writer must duplicate information (set-up) about the characters, place, time, etc., in each book.

Being an avid reader and fond of series, I noticed that it didn’t bother me that I was reading duplicate information. It struck me that it was probably true of most other readers. I doubt most readers even notice unless they are ‘binge’ reading an entire series.

My message here to you other writers, is don’t let it worry you. Each book must be written as if it’s the only book that your reader will read of yours. 

It’s also acceptable to throw in teasers from books in the series. For example I tell (in book #7, World of Murder) of my detective going to a cake tasting in preparation for his wedding.  This might ‘tease’ my readers into wanting to know how O’Roarke and Summer met, fell in love, how he proposed and so on.
And nothing is sweeter than to have a fan ask if there will be a sequel or if the first book will become a series. Both has happened to me!

“words like wine, words like blood, words out of the mouths of past loves dead. words like bullets, words like bees, words for the way the good die and the bad live on…”  Charles Bukowski

“Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves…that’s the truth. We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives…experiences so great and moving that it doesn’t seem at the time that anyone else has been caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter
                                                                                   
                                        
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #28

As writers, we are all guilty of using particular words or phrases WAY TOO MUCH!!  

I was recently reading a delightful series by an author but it was very distracting when she used the same phrase over and over.
“Custom glass workroom”.  The shop where the story takes place is just four rooms so it is my opinion that:

1] the author needed to change it up; There is an office, a retail room, a classroom and the custom workshop.  Just a little chance would make all the difference. For example:  ‘the workroom’  and  ‘the workshop’  and ‘the specialty glass room’. 

2]readers are smart and we should never underestimate their ability to follow along. If they can’t then we, as the writers, have failed at our job.
3] If we miss our idiosyncrasies, and we all have them, then the editor, beta reader, proof reader, etc., should catch it.

My most common ones are the words, ‘just’ and ‘that’My watchdog, first defense, is to use Word’s ‘find’.  Then I review the manuscript looking for when I over use the words and why.
“There is no way of writing well and also of writing easily.” Anthony Trollope

“All fiction is largely autobiographical and much autobiography is, of course, fiction.”  P.D. James

 

 

Now available! Release date, May 15th. 

 

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.   June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter
                                                                                   
                                        
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How To Write Creatively~~ a New Book

For several years I’ve been writing posts for my Blog entitled, ‘Motivational Moments...for Writers!’  I got to thinking that I should compile all 28 posts into

one place.  This new, exciting, instructional book is my sharing of over twenty+ years of my experience honing my craft of creative writing. 

That first, all important, sentence
How to develop rich characters
Writer’s Block
Procrastination
………….and many more words of encouragement and tips
………………….including quotes from successful writers such as yourself
AVAILABLE NOWamazon.com

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed. July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter
                                                                                   
                                      
To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #27

I’ve always believed that to be a good writer you must read. Why? 

I can only answer for myself. Other writers inspire me to improve my writing skills. This is true of my fiction, stage plays, and poetry.
Their styles are innumerable, their dash extraordinary, the story telling superb.  Oh sure, I stumble upon the ‘not so good’ authors but they contribute to my self-confidence.  I say to myself, “Oh! So I’m not the absolutely worst writer out there.”  I learn from the great ones and I learn from the mediocre.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading. Fiction mostly. I love a good story…and better, a good story-teller. I recently discovered Janet Macleod Trotter, one of our hidden treasures and, I predict, her books will be considered some of the best modern-day classics of our time.

Here are more some quotes that I stumbled across recently and really enjoyed. 

“That’s what the greats of literature did — they got their characters up a tree and threw rocks at them…” Robyn Carr (excerpt from ‘What We Find’)  Another great weaver of stories. 

“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude.” Sir Thomas Browne

“Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered pot holder.” Raymond Chandler

 

Coming Soon! Release date, May 15th.

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author)  joined us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed. July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter
                                                                                   
                                        
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A Review ~~ “Little White Lies” by Ace Adkins (Robert B. Parker)

Ace Atkins

writing, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fictionwriting, creating, reviews,fiction, children's books, fiction for adults, women's fiction

(5 out of 5 quills)  A Review

Ace Adkins is a brilliant, best-selling author in his own right.

I love his murder mysteries set in the deep south. A South that few people are exposed to unless you and your family have been around for decades. 

What truly amazes me is how Ace can write in Robert B. Parker’s voice. 

In Little White Lies, Spenser is hired to try and recover a vulnerable woman’s money from a master-con man. Connie Kelly thought she’d found her perfect man on an online dating site. He was silver-haired and handsome, with a mysterious background working for the C.I.A. She fell so hard for M. Brooks Welles that she wrote him a check for almost three hundred thousand dollars, hoping for a big return on her investment. What she got back was zippo, nada, goose egg and her ideal man disappears. He’s slippery and a consummate liar. Qualities that Spenser truly hates. 

Characters that we fans truly love are back. Hawk, Susan Silverman, Pearl (the Dog) and Henry Cimoli at the Harbor Health Club. Robert Parker lives on through his stories and the wonderful writers who
keeps them alive.

Did you miss my Interview with Ace Adkins?

Little White Lies Released May 2nd. Order now!
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed
  
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‘My momma always said, ‘Life is Like a Box of Chocolates’….or words (part 8)

An argument was presented to me recently in the film Words and Pictures (movie, 2013 with Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche)famous people, Marilyn Monroe

As the students looked up a word, on their electronic devices, the English, Honors teacher presented the theory that if the students relied on their device of choice they would see only the word that was assigned.  If they used the (paper) dictionary, and while thumbing through the pages to find the word, they would be exposed to other words and mostly likely one or two would reach out and grab them. 
 
I put it to the test. EQUIDISTANT Definition: equally distant <a location equidistant from two major cities>Origin of EQUIDISTANT
Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin aequidistant.First Known Use: 1556
 
NostalgiaA Greek word meaning to Grieve, to Ache
Modern Dictionary a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.            And:

Meritocracy:  A system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement

BUT then one can make a strong argument for ‘Pictures tell a thousand words’ too. Pictures almost always illicit some sort of reaction from us.

Can you look at any of these photos and say that you feel nothing?


The movie
Words and Pictures is worth your time!

 

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed
  
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New Poetry…Let’s Go Out West

The Long Trail © by Trisha Sugarek

 

The Circle Heart brand on the wet rump
rippled as the horse shivered with exhaustion
the sun lost its battle with night and
dropped behind the far peak

 

Chaparejos, worn thin and soft fit his legs
like they had grown there

dusty spurs jangled as he trotted into the sleepy town
a saddle that had seen a thousand miles
creaked and complained as he stepped down
the crown of his hat stained with sweat
from the hard ride

 

Reins dangled in the dirt
the horse hung his head, relieved
to not be moving

A drink or two to wash the Santa Fe Trail dust
from the cowboy’s throat
he stepped up onto the boardwalk,
turned and gazed at the town
the mountains beyond the color of old blood
as the sun lost its glory

 

He pulled a cigarillo out, with one smooth
movement wiped a match on his pants,
the tiny flame ignited
he puffed and blew smoke into the evening air
watched the town close up for the night
Across the street a cur scurried around a corner
a merchant keyed his shop closed and
lit the gas lantern beside his door

The work had been good at the Circle Heart ranch,
the grub even better
But the trail was his siren, always calling him,
luring him over the next hill,
down the next wash,
up the next canyon 

sleeping next to a small camp fire,
staring at a billion stars
wondering if someone, something out there
was staring back

He wanted to settle but he hadn’t found
the right place
the right woman
the right time

Flicking the smoke into the street, he turned
and sauntered into the saloon,
honky-tonk piano played
the doors behind him whispered back and forth

The patrons saw another dusty, tired cowpoke,
looking for a few hours of pleasure
some music, some whiskey, and if he could afford it
the soft body of a woman

The cowboy saw weak town folk,
forever saddled to their days
the bit in their mouths dictating their lives
wary of any stranger, their gaze shied away

Set ‘em up and keep ‘em comin’, the cowboy barked
Show me your coin, the barkeep growled

His days were numbered,
the boys from the Circle Heart ranch
would find him and the horse
They would take their horse and probably string
him up to the nearest tree.

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A Review:   Stark reality saturates your little bit of ink.”  from a fellow poet

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed
  
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Interview with South African author, Johan Thompson (part 3)

Q. What makes a writer great?

JT. O boy… I’ll ask one when I see one, but will try and answer the question. It must be your passion in life as it will reflect in your writing.

Persistent writing, in order to create your unique writing style. The talent to envision and write that special story. When other writers read it and say, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?” My exact words when reading George R. R. Martin’s work. Like Gary Player once said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” 

Q. and the all important:  What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?  

JT. In the beginning I feel like a sculptor, standing in front of a big rock, visualizing an image. I don’t know exactly how the sculpture will look but I have a rough idea. Then, I start chipping away, starting at the feet, laying the foundation. The most exciting time for me is that first few pages, the opening scene. I set the bar as high as possible in order for the momentum/story to carry me to the end. The moment I get bored writing, I know the reader will also get bored. So I write what I love, and I think with any writer it reflects in his work. It keeps the story alive, and it also helps with your rhythm and routine. It’s not that hard then to get your ass in the chair and start with the next chapter. I’m not one of those writers that pushes themselves to write a certain number of words each day. I work on a scene, maybe for two or three days until I’m satisfied.

It could be 500 words or 2000 words a day. For me creativity can’t be rushed. As my story unfolds, I make notes on discrepancies, plot twists I need to change in the beginning of the story etc. After I’m done with the first draft, I start from scratch, applying my notes and fix grammar mistakes. ONLY THEN do I give it to an editor friend to read and give feedback on. I never let anyone see it until I’m done with the story. Another rewrite follows. After that the sculpture is still far from done though. Next it’s the publishers turn: Usually three edits – continuity, content and grammar. Douglas Owen from DA Owen Publications is a brilliant editor and picks up on things that I’ve never thought about. So taking a book from “no book” to “finished book” takes bloody hard work, but when you hold that “finished book” in your hands… it’s all worth it.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

JT. When writing an emotional scene, I draw from my own experiences. You have to in order to create an authentic character. With regards to storyline and plot twists, not much… my life, luckily, is not that chaotic. 

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?  

JT. I will definitely give it a go, but as soon as I get bored writing it, I will drop it. The reader will realize, because it will reflect in my writing.

Q.  Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

JT. I’m not going to go away, so they might as well start reading my books. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Did you miss Part I of this Interview?
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed
  
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Interview with South African author, Johan Thompson (part 2)

…on our way to the river…

Q.  Where/when do you first discover your characters?

JT. It can happen anywhere or anytime. In our business we meet a lot of people, so I take a note of the strange and crazy ones. The characters in my stories are never a carbon copy of someone I’ve met or read about. I take the interesting bits and create my character, almost like Frankenstein. Sometimes a good story pops into my head, then I work on the character to fit. Or a unique character pops in my head and I think of a situation to put him or her through. I then start adding the meat.  

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories? 

JT. My love for stories. Before I started writing, as a kid, I would get into bed and think of a story. It would be like a mini-series, every night I would continue with the story. I know, weird. I’m still doing it, but now in daytime as well. The only difference is, I put it on paper.   

Q. What comes first to you?  The Characters or the Situation?

JT. It’s a difficult one. What was first, the chicken or the egg? Do you develop a plot around a character or a character around the plot? With The Clone, I started with the plot and then created the characters to fit. The plot, in the beginning is very basic, but then, as you add the characters, it starts to grow, twists develop, characters develop. I do have some idea of how the story will end, but I’m in the hands of my characters. You cannot force a story into the direction you want to, in the end the characters steer the ship. You have to stay true to your characters, otherwise the reader will disconnect.  

Q.  Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JT. A lot. It’s a part of the writing process. You need to keep at it until – BAM! – you get that plot twist or beacon that gets you back on course. That’s one of the most exciting times for me. Actually, I’m lost with the story I’m developing now. But every morning I wake up, make my cup of coffee and start writing. I’m trying my best to get my stubborn protagonist to see the beacon, but she won’t bite. I’m at the point where I want to send in a tsunami.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

JT. My fingers, just kidding. I think it will always be my wife. She is the first one that reads the beginning of my draft, so I push myself to create a unique story, thereby pushing the limits of my creativity.

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

JT. I’ve recently completed a sci-fi novel that is set in the not too distant future. Burnt Brethren confronts the burning issues of global warming and immigration which divides our nations. That is why I love to write science fiction; I magnify social issues, and create a world and story that portray a worst case scenario. I’m also currently working on a time travel novel. The basic premise of the story is that if you could go back in time and prevent a bad experience, would you do it. Sometimes from a bad experience, a good experience will flow. So if you prevent the bad experience…

I met my wife of twenty years, because my father died of cancer and my mom installed a new kitchen from his life insurance money. My wife was the kitchen designer. Life is truly stranger than fiction. So the question is, would you go back? I would, in a heartbeat, but I will also go back and give my parents the money for a new kitchen.

Q.  When did you begin to write seriously? 

JT. Approximately eight years ago.

Q. How long after that were you published?

JT. I finished my first novel five years ago, but didn’t submit. Instead, I started with my next manuscript… and then my next…

I only really made an effort two years ago, sending in my first manuscript. It took me about six months to find a publisher. Don’t ask me why it took me so long to submit – maybe it was the fear of rejection.

Q. What makes a writer great?

Did you miss Part I of this Interview?

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed
  
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

 

 

Interview with South African author, Johan Thompson

TS.  Johan Thompson is a writer by night and manages a law firm by day. He lives with his wife, two boys and two dogs in Johannesburg, South Africa. After studying creative writing, screenwriting and watching every science fiction film created, he decided to draw on his interest and imagination to create his first science fiction novel. The Clone is his third novel.

Q.  Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

    JT. I do have a few special places, including a study. But where the creative juices starts to flow is on the patio, very early in the morning before my two boys wake up. I like to write outside; it feels as if my mind is more open, no boundaries. When I search for the next word or twist, and look up from that blinking curser, I don’t want to see a brick wall. 

Q.  Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

JT.  I must have a cup of coffee, a clean work space and comfortable clothes i.e. shorts and t-shirt. Like the Naked Chef, I’m the barefoot writer.

Q.  Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

JT.  I’m a bit of an introvert. Personally I think it helps with my writing. I would rather listen to a conversation than create a conversation. People think I’m shy, but I’m actually trying to figure out if your story is worth something.

Q.  Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

JT.  Yes, I wake up at 4:30 and write to about 7. Then all hell breaks loose. Our two boys Luke and Matthew (half the Gospel) need to be fed and taken to school. I also help my wife in her law firm, so no writing for the rest of the day. Weekends, I start writing at 5 to about 10. At night, after the kids go to bed, I read. When you’re a writer, reading is just as important.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

JT. Routine. You need to find the time in the day when there’s the least distraction and stick with it, no matter what. Also, to put it bluntly, a true writer will never procrastinate for too long. If I do not write every day, I’m miserable and depressed. It’s like a drug for me, an essential part of my life.  

Q.  Where/when do you first discover your characters?

Join us for Part II of this fascinating Interview ~ April 7th

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April. May’s author is Cheryl Hollon.   
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!