Archive for the Category » A Writer’s Take…… «

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.

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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!

New Short Play, Trans-G Parents

Book #30 in the ShortN’Small Series of short, one act plays.   The Trans-G Parents

 A look into the world of the parents who are trying to do the right thing…support their child….love their child…sometimes
even save their life.  Their child is confused and frightened by their physical being telling them they are one gender
while their heart, soul and mind are telling them that they are another.

This short play’s setting is a support group for parents. Resigned, angry, confused, religious, experienced and lost,
they come together out of a common desperation.  Some handling the situation much better than others.

The script offers an insightful and educational dialogue from parents.  There is no manual on parenting much
less facing the challenges of this gender affirmation generation. 6f. 5m.

 

TS.  This seemed like a natural sequel to the Trans-G Kid, another short play by this playwright. Inspired by the television documentary, The Gender Revolution. 

 

 

 

 

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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 Sci-Fi Author, Sheryl Steines

TS. Science-fiction author, Sheryl Steines shares her writing world with us.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….) Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

SS. I write on the couch, under a blanket with the tv on for background noise. I’m slowly moving back into my guest room/office where I have a large desk, all of my research books and all of my sci fi/fantasy fan paraphernalia. Unfortunately it’s still not put back together after a small computer fire.

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.)

SS. When I’m not working full time, I always have to get my housework, errands and other chores done before I can comfortably begin to work. When all that’s taken care of, I sit down with a cup of tea, huddled under my blanket with my computer in my lap. I work best in the afternoon to early evening.

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

Me with my kids at a Cubs game

SS. My guilty pleasure is American Ninja Warrior and I have a secret dream to write the teleplay to turn the Wizard Hall Chronicles (my book series) into a tv show.

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

SS. My most productive times are between 12 pm – 7pm. For whatever reason, those have always been my most productive hours. Otherwise I squeeze in what I can between 7p and 9pm after work.

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

SS. I tell writers all time; write every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a sentence, paragraph, page or chapter. If this is what you want to do, just do it and do it every day.

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

SS. Hmm… That’s a good question. I’ve said it lots of time, I don’t plan a book well. I try and it just goes off course. So when I start with a new book, I try and have a beginning, middle and rough end. Since I have my main characters already, I just start writing and every once and a while, I need someone else, and usually, they pop in my head. By my tenth draft, I usually have a pretty well rounded character that adds a little something to the story.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

SS. There was something about the Nancy Drew mystery series. At seven I just fell in love with the detective/mystery novel and I never looked back. But I didn’t just want to read the books, I wanted to create my own stories, so I did. I wrote my own little detective novels.

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

SS. Situation definitely. It starts with a little idea, whether it’s from watching a tv show, reading a book, seeing something online, it doesn’t matter. That little spark sends me down a path and from there, I can create an entire story.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

SS. Sometimes, yes. When the story flows, when the ideas come, I can’t pull away. Part of it happens because I can’t plan books well and I just run off on tangents. However, I like getting lost in the surprises, like a reader would. It’s fun.

Join us for Part II of the Interview on February 25th

sherylsteines.com
Twitter @Sherylsteines
FB : Wizard Hall Chronicles
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   November was best selling author, Grace Burrowes and in December, Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January is Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines.
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!

Halo-Halo Book Review Praises Song of the Yukon

A REVIEW

‘I read Trisha Sugarek’s novel Song of the Yukon, as I’m generally interested in homesteading and off-grid stories. Trisha’s novel, set in Alaska, more than satisfied my curiosity. It’s about LaVerne, a teen and budding song writer who followed the poet Robert Service’s trip into the wilds of Alaska. The inclusion of Service’s life offers a welcome layer to the story, and the references are inserted harmoniously so that they seem a natural instead of forced companion to the primary plot of LaVerne’s life: she impersonated a boy to be hired aboard a freighter who took her from Seattle to Alaska; along the way, she experiences boat rides on the Yukon, meets members of native tribes, files homestead papers and works the land.

Song of the Yukon also delights due to its structure of seamlessly weaving poetry, song lyrics and correspondence within the novel’s narrative. There was  a scene around a camp fire where LaVerne gets to know the indigenous guide, Black Eyed Joe and his mother, Edna that I particularly liked. Sugarek weaves Service’s poem into the dialogue where Edna makes an observation about Mother Earth.

Sugarek’s use of correspondence also doesn’t grate in the narrative flow. My personal experience is I’ve found the insertion of correspondence to be an interruption or a cheat in writing a story, but such isn’t the case here. Here, the correspondence makes the story more personal as well as is effective in bringing onto the page the rest of the world beyond LaVerne’s particular environment.

Last but not least, the story weaves in a love triangle, (perhaps not the first time but) a rare point of view within the genre of homesteading, off-grid Alaska and Wild West stories.  All in all, Sugarek’s multi-layered approach uplifts SONG OF THE YUKON from the crowded field of such stories.’ ~~EILEEN TABIOS, Senior Editor The Halo-Halo Book Review
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   November was best selling author, Grace Burrowes and in December, Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January is Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines.
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!

 

Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates…..or Words #7

         If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know by now that I love words and more; their origins.

Ashtray  ~~ noun.  A receptacle for tobacco ashes of smokers. 

In the Urban Dictionary it has taken on a new meaning: ash–tray, useless, unwanted, failure.

Never having been a smoker, I wondered why these two words were slung together; ‘ash’ and ‘tray’.  I pictured a butler, back in the day, arriving with a silver tray holding a box of ciggies, gold lighter and a bowl for the smoker’s ashes.  Nope. I asked myself why not: butt-dish, fagtray, rollie-bowl, stogie-saucer?  These are all slang words for the cigarette: ciggy, lungdart, smoke, coffin nail, butt, fag, rollie, and cancer stick. 

At my first wedding back in 1959 we received a cut-crystal ashtray and I loved it.  We didn’t smoke but had family and friends who did. Back then visitors smoked in your home and ashtrays were mandatory.  This wedding present had place of pride on our coffee table.

‘While rudimentary forms of ashtrays existed long before the 19th century, it was during this time that the design, aesthetic and their popularity really took off. As more and more women began to smoke in the early 1900’s, the ashtray inched closer and closer to an art form of sorts. Many women shunned the use of the traditional ashtray as it failed to reflect their feminine values through an activity that was long heralded as being exclusive to men. What emerged were detailed, often very ornate ashtrays. These ashtrays depicted pastoral scenes of maidens wandering through vibrantly colored landscapes. Some even featured very lavish, cast-iron models of women in frilly dresses, animals in states of play and the occasional porcelain/ceramic tray highlighting extravagant floral arrangements.’

I love to watch people’s rituals when they light up. (the writer in me).  They never deviate from it. Open the pack, shake or draw one out. Stick it in their mouth, reach for their lighter, cup the flame with the other hand (whether there is a breeze or not) and take that heavenly, first drag deep into those poor, beleaguered lungs.  Ahhhh!
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   November was best selling author, Grace Burrowes and in December, Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January is Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines.
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!

 
 

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, A Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing 5 out of 5 quills    A Review  ~~  Rogue Lawyer

By now all John Grisham has to do is show up with another great story.  Rogue Lawyer is a whole new direction for Grisham. And I like it….a lot!  This isn’t a collection of short stories, as I first thought, and really don’t care for.  No, Rogue Lawyer is a day, week and month in the life of street lawyer, Sebastian Rudd.  Little vignettes but it doesn’t feel like it….the reader just follows this defense attorney around in a customized bulletproof van (that is his office), complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, and fine leather chairs. He has no firm, no partners, and only one employee: his heavily armed driver, who also so happens to be his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddie.

He defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team. Why these clients? Because Sebastian believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial—even if he has to bend the law to secure one.

He reminds me a great deal of one of Robert B. Parker’s characters. I hope very much that Sebastian Rudd drives back into town (one day soon) and continues his dangerous but valiant work defending the indefensible!

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? October Author, Lisa Jackson.  November was best selling author, Grace Burrowes and in December, Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series

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!