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 was 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!

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 (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
  
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 (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!

 

 

 

Motivational Moments…for Writers! #26

HATS!!!
This morning was typical…as an indie author. Wearing many, many hats!  There’s a hat for writer, blogger; one for editor, proof reader, and publisher.

  Check emails for that BIG break!  A Hollywood film Co. wants to make my book into a movie, a ‘big-name’ Publisher stumbled across my novels and wants to publish me. 
                                                                         Nope! Not yet! 

Next, Edit and proof the short play I’m working on….rewrites,  rewrites,rewrites, rewrites,….did I say rewrites?  Submit edited play to my publishing platform and wait for the proof to be approved or more changes.

Work on my book of poetry and get it launched onto Amazon.com

 

Work on postings for my Blog. This is a job that doesn’t go away if you want to be considered someone with ‘viable content‘ by the search engines. 

and after all those chores are complete……….Do some creative writing……..never neglect this!  Write Every Day!! Also found time to write 10,000+ words
of book #7 in a true crime series.

“I’m not saying all publishers have to be literary, but some interest in books would help.”~~ A.N. Wilson

“Contrary to what many of you may imagine, a career in letters is not without its drawbacks – chief among them the unpleasant fact that one is
frequently called upon to sit down and write.”~~Fran Lebowitz

                                               “As a writer, I marinate, hibernate, and speculate.” Trisha Sugarek
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author is Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in March.    
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!


 

Nostalgia…remember when… (part 11)

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

I guess I’m the last person, on the planet,  to watch the series, MAD MEN.  I was so surprised; it’s my life as a (very) young  married housewife. I was treated (as seen in MadMen) like that as a woman. It’s hard to believe now and of course when it was happening, I didn’t know any better…..and the men in my life CERTAINLY DIDN’T!!!  That was my husband; me always asking for permission. Him handling the money, etc. Cheating on me. Demeaning my worth with tiny arrows and jabs. And the employers I had at the time….just like the ‘ad men’ in Mad Men.  Talking down to the female employees and always reminding us of our place. Where did men, at that time, learn this behavior? Their fathers…and their fathers before them?

me – circa 1978

  I swear I even had some of those skirts that Peggy wore.  And one of the dresses that Joan wore was in my closet.

I am  amused and shocked that I had that life and then to watch it back in such precise and accurate detail!  Given where I (and most women) are today,  it seems like a life time ago. Oh! It was.

And here’s the really wonderful thing…..the music of that time. As the show opens and closes the sound tracks are from that era. And, fifty+ years later,  I can sing along REMEMBERING EVERY LYRIC OF EVERY SONG.  (The brain is truly a wonder.)

 

 

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    January was Dinah Jefferies and Feb/March’s author is Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April.

Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #25

One of the main problems you may face as a writer is standing up to your inner critic.  Being overly self-critical can be very dangerous; stopping you dead in your tracks.  It is all too easy to tell yourself to give up, that there is no point, that you will never get anywhere.

But saying things like this to yourself is untrue and the kiss of death to your creative spirit!

So how do you control your inner critic and learn how to shut it down when it is threatening to ruin your writing career? Here are some examples of what it might say, and exactly how to respond.

‘You’ll never be as good as [insert name of your favorite author)’. We can’t help but compare ourselves to authors who have been and gone, ones who’ve had successful and seemingly effortless writing careers, whose fans adore them, who are praised by the media and their peers, who win awards and make millions.

Of course, there are going to be writers out there who are more successful than you, but this shouldn’t stop you from writing. Nor should it give you any reason to think that you can’t be that successful too.

There is no one right way to write, many different authors have become successful for various reasons. Write for your audience and yourself and know that you are unique, your stories are written just the way they should be and comparing yourself to others will get you exactly nowhere.

‘Your book will be a flop.’  Your self-critic will always try to make you feel like a failure and will fill your head with thoughts of giving up.

Don’t let it win.

Your inner critic has many tricks up its sleeve. They’ll range from petty insults to targeting your biggest fears and insecurities. However, knowing how to respond, to shut it down and feel positive about your writing will only help spur you on to become a better more productive and more exciting writer.

So whatever you do stand up to your inner critic, and never let it stop you from writing!

 

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking.”  Unknown

“It’s okay that I am a little strange, I’m a writer.” Satine

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   December: Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January was Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in March.
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!
 

Book #6 True Crime Series…Available Now!

Just released.  Beneath the Bridge of Murder

In Book #6 of this true crime series, someone is knocking off the homeless of NYC. There don’t appear to be any motives; what could a bum have that anyone would want? Their life style affords the killer plenty of opportunity and who cared what happens to these shadow people?  Detectives O’Roarke and Garcia quickly realize that they have another serial killer on their hands as more bodies are found at an alarming rate. 

Midwest Book Review said, “Beneath the Bridge of Murder (Book 6 in the ‘World of Murder’ series) just goes to show several things: that a series of murder mysteries can each successfully hone very different settings, characters, and circumstances that tie together under a universal theme; and that an ability to build tight, unpredictable characters is possible across a number of series titles if the author is truly skilled.

 

Available at:  Amazon.com or your favorite book store. Also available in e-books.

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   December: Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January was Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in March.

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!

New Book of Poetry Available Now!

AVAILABLE NOW!   Moths and Machetes

Moths and Machetes begins where Butterflies and Bullets left off.  A collection of free verse poetry, Haiku and musings about life, loss, love, and grief. Some fall on the ears like the touch of moth fluttering against the light. Others slice into you like a knife.  The poet’s inspiration was taken from life’s experiences.

Sample:

Ruin  (Renku)

The barn, sad and old
forgotten  still standing strong
cob webs in sun beams

recycled boards raped
floor torn away, back bone gone
dust haze dance in light

the barn sad, noble
survives the last season proud
the roof falls, barn death

‘A fascinating mélange of sensual experiences. Your poem reads like a mosaic — never tiring us by lingering too long on a particular stimulation. Every line is fresh and invigorating.’ ~ Review:  Fragrance of Life

Superbly crafted word images — descriptive, picturesque and imaginative. Superbly crafted word images — descriptive, picturesque and imaginative.‘ James Toil

Rain on the Face of Africa  ©

The great Serengeti‟s broad
face lies in the African sun,
dry, weathered, cracked,
thirsty for the season‟s tears.
Storm clouds gather on her
brow like an old lady‟s curls.
Promises, promising.
An empty promise.

The rains are too late…..

 

 All books, plays and poetry available at www.amazon.com

Book Cover Art by David White
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   December: Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January was Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in March.
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 Author, Sheryl Steines (part 2)

Part II of my Interview with Sheryl Steines, Sci-Fi writer 

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

 SS.   It’s weird but I think right now, time is my muse. The older I get, the farther away I feel from accomplishing my goals, I feel as though I’m fighting with time. And knowing that time moves so quickly, it inspires me to keep writing and creating and working.

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

 SS. Black Market. It’s the second book in the Wizard Hall Series. Annie Pearce, is a wizard guard, a magical police officer. She is called by her contact at the FBI who warns her of a John Doe in the forest. He’s dressed oddly for a hike in the forest and Annie, learning of his location is worried because the body was discovered just outside the portal to the black market, the magical shopping area selling illegal objects, potions and animals.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

 SS. At my 20th class reunion, I caught up with a former classmate who I discovered was a published author. I was so jealous because it had been my life’s dream to be an author. That emotional awakening, forced me to face the reality that I hadn’t even tried to accomplish my goal. It took two years before I finally was able to write the book, but since then, I haven’t looked back.

Q. How long after that were you published?

SS. I self-published the book in 2010, two years after I started writing.

Q. What makes a writer great?

 SS. A great writer is someone who watches, listens, understands people and the world around them. They’re intuitive, empathic and when they write, the story and the characters come off the page.

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

SS.  I start with an object, an idea for a murder, a location or a snippet of a scene; one thing that starts the story. I can come from watching television or reading a book on mythology or folk tales. When something sparks, I do more in depth research learning about the history of the object, person, story until the idea grows. I’m a pantser, I write by the seat of my pants. I let the story unfold for me once I get the basic idea drawn out. My first draft is usually short and incomplete. After finishing the draft, I wait about four weeks before I touch the story again. The next several drafts add color. I change or adjust the story lines, I add characters, or make tweaks to existing characters. Sometimes this could take up to 10 drafts or more until the story unfolds in a fabulous way. My second book took 10 drafts before it was ready to go to an editor. When I originally wrote the story, the middle and the end were completely different than how the final draft came out because I saw things differently in the later drafts; I rewrote the ending, I changed the bad guys, I changed the murderer, I gave different magical skills to the creatures until the story felt complete and whole.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

 SS. I write about death because of the death of my daughter. It helps me understand the grief and in the stories, my main character Annie Pearce also tries to figure out how her father’s death affects how she lives her life.

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

SS. Every once and a while I see something or read something that I think would make a great book idea, something that’s not part of the Fantasy Genre. I just wish I had the time to write it.

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

SS.  I’m a mom of two. I love being creative and enjoy interior design. I’m an avid reader, love driving my ’66 Mustang convertible, I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was born and love to travel and immerse myself into my location.

Click here to enjoy Part I

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   December: Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January was Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in March.

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!