Archive for the Category » Creative Writing «

Happy Father’s Day…..

Dear Dads and Grandads,

As you sit with your children or grandchildren today, eating Bar-B-Q or enjoying a picnic or having a traditional Sunday dinner with all the fixin’s….

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Look across the table at the little ones….now picture them torn away from your family/parents and segregated (by gender) and placed in concentration camps.  YOU don’t know where they are, you may not able to find them…ever.  Picture your six year-old daughter or granddaughter in a cage, alone, with 100 other little girls. Hard to imagine, huh?

Put ethnicity, skin color, legality aside for a moment. LOOK at your kids and picture them in concentration camps, locked up, defenseless…..alone. 

How does that feel?  What would your precious children be thinking? Feeling?  What level is their terror?

 

One news report stated that in order to get the children away from their parents, ICE told them the kids were being taken for ‘showers’.  That sent a chill up my back….at the German Camps the human line that was to be exterminated were told that was the line to go to the showers. But instead of water coming out of the nozzles, deadly gas was released.

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Read your history….this is how it all started in 1938 in Nazi Germany.

‘Once in power, Hitler moved quickly to end German democracy. (Sound familiar??) He convinced his cabinet to invoke emergency clauses of the constitution that permitted the suspension of individual freedoms of press, speech, and assembly. Special security forces — the Gestapo, the Storm Troopers (SA), and the SS — murdered or arrested leaders of opposition political parties (Communists, socialists, and liberals).’
(credit: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/1933-1939-early-stages-of-persecution/)

Who’s next?  Your Jewish children? Your Asian children? Your Muslim children? Your Catholic kids?

My purpose, with this post, is to make the food STICK in YOUR THROAT!

 Is this our America?  A country built on the backs of Irish, Chinese, Japanese, Native Americans, Africans, Germans, Jews….all immigrants. With the exception of the Native Americans, there isn’t a person who lives in this country today who cannot trace their lineage back to ‘the old country’. We are all immigrants! Even our Beloved Leader, Herr Trump.

(I thought to myself: Gee, maybe I should apologize to my followers for digressing so far off my mission…to write about writing. But, no, I can’t. The idea of little precious children being placed in camps with an excellent possibility of never seeing their parents or siblings again STICKS in MY THROAT.)    

Interview with Thriller Mystery Writer, Manning Wolfe

      TS. I met Manning after discovering her exciting new release, Green Fees. Manning Wolfe is an author and attorney, with one foot in the business world and one foot in the creative realm. Manning writes cinematic-style, intelligent, fast-paced action-packed legal thrillers with a salting of Texas bullshit. She is writing a series of Texas Lady Lawyer novels based on her main character, Austin attorney Merit Bridges. Manning’s background as an attorney has given her a voyeur’s peak into some shady character’s lives and a front row seat to watch the good people who stand against them.

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. 

Writing Space on Houseboat

MW. Since I travel a lot, my writing space often changes depending on the city, state or country I may be visiting. One of my memorable writing spots was on a houseboat in Berkley Marina near San Francisco, California. I could watch the sailboats come and go, sea lions visited while I drank my morning tea, and the sunsets reflecting on the Golden Gate Bridge were breathtaking.

View from my NYC desk

 

 

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.)

MW. I have a ceramic wolf that I purchased in Alpine Texas. I set up my travelling space and face the wolf toward the window. Then, I know it’s time to write.

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

MW. I raised a dyslexic son, Aaron. It was heartbreaking to watch him struggle to read – the very thing that means so much to me. I always include something about literacy in my books. Aaron was enrolled in a school for dyslexic students and not has a complete command of his reading and writing skills.

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

Sand Sculptures – Port Aransas

MW. No. I am not a good sleeper, so I may write in the middle of the night, or any time during the day that the story comes to me. I tend to think things through at odd times, i.e. while sleeping, cooking, walking, etc. Mindless tasks allow my mind to wander around in the story and I usually come up with my best ideas at those times.

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

MW. My self-diagnosed periods of procrastination turned out to be times when the story was not clear in my mind or I was needed elsewhere. I’m not sure procrastination exists.

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

MW. In my series, the next story comes to me when Merit Bridges starts to feel caught up in something. She “calls” to me and I start solving the problem mentally. When I feel there’s something of substance story-wise, I begin to write.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

MW. I told my mother stories when I was very young. I grew up in my small-town library. By the time I was in junior high, I had read every book in the building. I loved Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Thomas Hardy, on and on. I always thought I’d write a book someday.

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

MW.  As above, my main character, Merit Bridges talks to me about a situation. That said, all my stories are based on real life legal dilemmas that happened in my law firm. Of course, I take the facts only so far and then explode them into a thriller.

Tune in for Part II of this Interview  June 22nd.

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe

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Failure Is An Option ~ Book Review

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

H. Jon Benjamin had me at the dedication, “For all you failures out there, you can do worse….”

The Robbery (and how I failed to stop one), The Threesome (and how I failed…), How I Failed to Have Chinese (while visiting my 

parents…) it’s chapter after chapter of failures that could be taken from any of our lives and it’s hilarious!   

I would consider  H. Jon Benjamin a comedy business success…. “But he’d like to remind everyone that as great as success can be, failure is also an option. And maybe the best option. In this book, he tells stories from his own life, from his early days (“wherein I’m unable to deliver a sizzling fajita”) to his romantic life (“how I failed to quantify a threesome”) to family (“wherein a trip to P.F. Chang’s fractures a family”) to career (“how I failed at launching a kid’s show”). As Jon himself says, breaking down one’s natural ability to succeed is not an easy task, but also not an insurmountable one. Society as we know it is, sadly, failure averse. But more acceptance of failure, as Jon sees it, will go a long way to making this world a different place . . . a kinder, gentler place, where gardens are overgrown and most people stay home with their pets. A vision of failure, but also a vision of freedom.” (Amazon.com)

Impertinent, tetchy and sidesplitting …I recommend this book to all who need a break from life’s little and big failures. A good laugh always helps. And you can pick it up, read a quick chapter, and put it down again until you need another giggle.

 

H. Jon Benjamin is an actor, voice actor, and stand-up comedian. He lives in New York.

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS! April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe

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Motivational Moments…for Writers and their Partners #38

 

This was just tooo good not to share! As a writer, I will tell you that it’s good, no, great advice if you are involved with a writer.

Okay, all laughs aside….seriously….if you are the significant other to a writer you are one of my HEROES!!   When we are writing and you try to talk to us,  we are not being rude by not answering you, we don’t mean to be neglectful, we don’t mean to hurt your feelings.  We simply don’t hear you.….when we are deep into the zone we aren’t even in the same room or house with you…we are in the world of our story, if we are lucky.

writer
This, in fact, is one of the questions I ask the authors that I interview. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long? And they have all reported back that yes they get lost in the story and in their characters.

So if you give the writer in your life some slack, bring them a cup of coffee but don’t speak, quietly close the door to their ‘writing space’  you are a true supporter to that writer.

 

A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.”– Sidney Sheldon

My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.”
– Anton Chekhov

“I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.”
– Edgar Rice Burroughs
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe

To receive my posts sign up for my   On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

Did you like this tip?  See all 37 tips for writers in the book, How to Write Creatively

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Create Your Own Story Board if It Helps….

Visuals really are important! Create your own story board if it helps you write. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw; cut and paste. After all, nobody is going to see it except you, right?

Sketch for layout of Title and credit/s

At this point, in my story, I had to see a visual. My illustrator would not be working on this part of the tale for weeks, so I created my own.

Excerpt from “Cheets Heads for Trouble-sville” ©

‘Cheets, the elf,  swooped down and dove into the empty box. The carrot beaconed to him from the far end of the box. Cheets tipped-toed across the box, lightly stepping up on a silver platform.

SNAP! B.A.N.G! The door to the cage slammed shut. Cheets whirled around and ran back.  Cheets grabbed the side of the door in the cage and shook it as hard as he could. Nothing. It wouldn’t open.  He shook it and shook it. He was trapped.  The big, juicy carrot didn’t look so good now. 

Two large human hands clutched the sides of the box and lifted it down. A shadow fell over Cheets and he looked up.  What appeared to be a huge, rough man stood over the cage and grinned at him.

Original art by Jefferson O’Neal

“Got’cha!” He extolled. “Ya little varmint!” He turned away. “Hey, Simon. SIMON!  Lookie what I got.”

Across the aisle, Simon turned and looked at his friend. “What? I’m busy, I’ll be there in a minute.”

“You’re gonna wanna see this! Hurry up!” Herman said.

“Okay, okay, keep your shirt on.” Simon yelled.

A moment later Simon was in front of Herman’s stall. “What’s the big to-do?”

“Ta-Da!” Herman whipped off a rag he’d put over the cage. He grinned at his friend. “Whad’ya think that is?”

“Holy smokes! Ya caught the little bugger!” He leaned over and peered closer, “What is it?”

“Don’t know. It ain’t a dragon-fly or a bat. I’m stumped.”

A crowd quickly formed when the news spread through the farmer’s market that Herman had caught something in a trap.

“Lemme see!”

“I can’t see!”

“What is that?”

“Does it bite?”

“I can’t see!”

“Whad’ya gonna do with it, Herman?”’

Postscript: My illustrator finally caught up with me and here is a sample of his delightful images. Jefferson O’Neal. 

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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    
March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up on the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

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New Children’s Play Released!

Children’s Play  (#5 in the Fabled Forest Series) has been released!  Children’s story book by the same name.

The story is in play form. A one hour children’s play, by the same title, offers a part for every child who auditions. 

New characters are introduce: Barcode and Fiona the two cats. Reginald the Raccoon and his merry band of baby raccoons. And lots of others.

Synopsis: Cheets is looking for an adventure!  The elf had heard about ‘town’. Emma and her mother went all the time but no one from the fabled forest had been there. Cheets was certain it was a magical place and he decided that he must head for Troublesville. He stows away in the car one day and finds himself in busy, noisy streets all alone. He begins his adventure by befriending two cats who live in a house with two humans. Then because of his obsession with carrots, he is captured in a trap and that’s when his adventure no longer is any fun.  6f. 15m. (many roles non-gender)

Recurring characters from the series return to help find Cheets. Don’t miss Cheets’ escapade and daring rescue!  Full color illustrations by Jefferson O’Neal.

 

To preview or Purchase, click here

Story book

Emma and the Lost Unicorn, The Exciting Exploits of an effervescent Elf, and Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon: Go to Samuel French, Inc.

Bertie, the Bookworm and the Bully Boys: Go to: Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up on the home page, enter your email address. 

Thanks! 

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Journaling, a Gateway Drug to Creative Writing!

Recently a naysayer challenged me about posting writing ‘tips’ to a Reddit Community dedicated to journaling.  They didn’t think it was ‘a correct or appropriate community for the post.‘  My first reaction was, “huh?” But it got me to thinking….

What is ‘journaling’ but an amature and undeveloped form of creative writing. A writer waiting to step through the door and try a short story or a poem or even the beginning of their first novel. Maybe a stage or screenplay that they have always wanted to try their hand at.  

So my second reaction was to write a reply to the community (in question) stating the above. Was this person coming from a place of fear?  Were they a person who journaled and was terrified of going one step further? Had they tried a piece of creative writing and given up?

My message is to all you people journaling out there:  Don’t be afraid. Try to write some fiction. Write some  more. Then write some more. It doesn’t matter how bad it is; practice makes perfect!

“Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.” W. Somerset Maugham

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett 

Inspiration is not that difficult for me. The difficult part is the normal procrastination of not wanting to sit down and work, not wanting to make it real and face that compromise.” George Lucas  
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MY  features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Mystery writer, Manning Wolfe.
 
To receive my posts sign up  on the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 
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Purchase Click here

 

New Release of Book #5, Cheets Heads for Troublesville

NOW Available!   Book #5 in the Fabled Forest series.  CHEETS HEADS for TROUBLEsville

Cheets is looking for an adventure!  The elf had heard about ‘town’. Emma and her mother went all the time but no one from the fabled forest had been there. Cheets was certain it was a magical place and he decided that he must head for troublesville. He stows away in the car one day and finds himself in busy, noisy streets all alone. He begins his adventure by befriending two cats who live in a house with two humans. Then because of his obsession with carrots, he is captured in a trap and that’s when his adventure no longer is any fun.

 

 

 

Don’t miss Cheets’ escapade and ultimate rescue!

 

Beautiful full color illustrations by Jefferson O’Neal.Click here to Purchase
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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up on the home page, enter your email address. 

Thanks! 

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Guest Blogger, Best selling Author, Jodi Thomas

Author, Jodi Thomas

Free Falling 

I have been in the writing game for thirty years. Forty-eight novels and fourteen short story collections. From my third book, most have been national bestsellers and over half were on the New York Times bestseller list. I have five RITAs, the highest award in women’s fiction from RWA as well as many other awards.

In interviews, I’m often asked what one thing I would tell a beginning writer if I got the chance. Study your markets? Read everything? Learn your craft? Write? All came up as possibilities, but one lesson kept whispering in the back of my mind. Maybe it’s not the most important tool a writer needs, but it can be vital to your success.

Learn to Fall!

There will be times, thousands of them if you stay in the game as long as I have, when this business doesn’t go your way. You have to stop holding on to the safety strap and learn to jump out into the unknown.

The first time I remember taking a tumble was before I sold. I was frantically writing, sending off to every contest, agent, and editor I could find. One day, I opened the mailbox to discover three rejections. I felt like I’d faced a firing squad and all twelve bullets hit true. I walked back to the house, sat down and started crying. My four-year-old son, Matt, came up to me, leaned on the arm of the chair and asked what was wrong. Through tears I told him about my total failure. He smiled and said simply, “Mom, like you say when I play t-ball: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get rained-out.

I stopped crying and realized it wasn’t me. I was a good writer doing the best I could. I just kept getting rained-out by editors who didn’t read the slush pile and agents who already had full client lists.

From that day on I developed a plan for falling. Whenever I stumbled and fell flat on my face, I let go of the corpse I was dragging around trying to sell, celebrated what I’d learned from the work and moved on with my career.

I have to be honest. There for a while quite a few bodies of old manuscripts lay around the house just in case they got a second life, but it never happened. I had to learn that the next thing I wrote would be stronger than the last. I was growing, getting better, getting stronger.

My Plan for Falling:

1. Burying the corpse. I know writers who wrote a book back in the ‘90s and are determined not to go on to another until they sell their first one. They keep painting a

Available Now!

new face on the body and shoving it into a new casket. Beginning writers probably don’t want to hear that you may write your first book, or even your second or third, for practice. We need to believe that first book will make millions or we’d never go through the work of learning to write. But sometimes you have to kiss the well-traveled manuscript good-bye and bury it under the bed.

2. Celebrating. I hope all beginning writers party at each success: a contest win or even an honorable mention. A letter asking for more or a book deal. All are worth a party. But, maybe more important is the party you have when you let go of one dream and open up to another. So win or lose you finish the race. You’re a success simply because you wrote a book. You’ve won when you mail it off to an agent or editor or self-publish.

3. Moving on If what you’re doing isn’t getting you where you want to go, maybe you are on the wrong road. Take the tools and knowledge you have learned and start carving out a different work of art. Take a lane you’ve never tried. Who knows, it might be the fast lane.

You might be surprised, you might just find a place where you and your work belong. You might grow and love writing more. So, try changing genres. Move from adult fiction to young adult. Jump from historical to contemporary. Don’t try to write what everyone else is writing. Twist it a little. Change times. Change audience. Change direction.

When I turned loose and thought of myself sky diving and not falling, my world began to change. I wrote deeper. I discovered a new love of writing.

Phil Price, an accomplished playwright, once said, “I’ve often wondered why sky divers yell for joy and people who fall off cliffs scream. After all, they’re both seeing the same view. It’s only the last foot that changes.” So, I decided, whether I’m falling or sky diving through life, I might as well decide to enjoy the view.

This year my editor at HQN suggested I step into a more mainstream story and I jumped. I read her e-mail on Friday and by Monday I had an idea I was excited about. MORNINGS ON MAIN just came out April 10, and I think my fans will follow me into this shift as they have for the past 30 years.

And if they don’t? Then I’ll stand up, dust myself off and get back in the game. Because I’m a writer, that’s what I do, I write.

On Sale September 25, 2018

Mark Twain once said that compared to writing, horseracing is a stable occupation. Maybe he was right, but the gamble is worth the try. When we’re all done and sitting around the home which would you rather say, ‘I played as hard and fast as I could,’ or ‘I never ran into the game because I was afraid of falling.’

The winners are not the ones who grab the prize. The winners are the ones who play the game, rainy days and all.

TS.  Thanks, Jodi, for these words of wisdom and comfort!

Jodi Thomas
www.jodithomas.com
www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor ;

Be sure to go to http://www.jodithomas.com and sign up for my e-mail newsletter for all the latest news about book signings and new releases!
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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up on the home page, enter your email address. 

Thanks! 

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Review ~~ See Also Proof by Larry D. Sweazy

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing 5 out of 5 quills    See Also Proof  

~~ A Review  

A fresh, new voice in mystery fiction. Larry Sweazy writes with a distinctive flavor that I haven’t seen in awhile.  

“Night returned right on schedule. There was no such thing as a lingering evening in January. Darkness arrived abruptly, showing up before the clock struck five as if the color black had ownership rights to the world…..”

I can’t quite put my finger on it. Phrasing, selection of words, certainly imagery. January in North Dakota, a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business. and then murder comes to town.

The protagonist and amature sleuth, Margorie Tremaine, is by profession an indexer. What the heck is that?  The ‘index’ section that resides in the back of most non-fiction books; well, someone has got to write them and it isn’t the author. It takes a specialized eye to read a section of a book (mostly on subjects the ‘indexer’ hasn’t a clue about) and choose just the right word that a reader might use in looking up something specific in the index. I have used indexes (infrequently) over the decades but never gave a thought to how they were created or who wrote them. 

The fun thing is that while Marjorie gives the reader an example of her job and how indexing is done, it doesn’t get in the way of this excellent murder mystery. In an odd way, it ‘fleshes’ out her character and demonstrates what drives her. 

Those of you who know me as a writer/reviewer know that I don’t write spoilers in my reviews. It’s a easy way to fill space and more than once has spoiled a book for me that I had intended to read. So never will you read the entire story, often giving up the ending, in one of my reviews.  I”d rather talk about the writing, the interesting quirks, or the characters in the story. 

This series (there are three now) are stand-alone mysteries so you won’t be missing anything if you start with SEE ALSO PROOF, but I guarantee that you’ll want to read all of them!  I highly recommend Larry Sweazy’s books!

My only critique is about the cover. It might confuse the new reader to Mr. Sweazy’s work. It is unique but obscure and one could say too cerebral. But once the reader tumbles to the idea behind the index card on the cover and the odd phrasing of ‘See Also —–‘ it’s extremely clever.  And I adore clever!

Postscript:  ‘See also’ references in an index refer to another entry that bears similarity to one where the reference is attached.
 

The three books in the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series, See Also MurderSee Also Deception, and See Also Proof, all incorporate the See also reference since Marjorie’s main function in life is that of an indexer, a person who writes indexes. Each title is specific to the book, and denotes an event or a concept that bears similarity to another concept or event in the book. 

Did you miss my interview with Larry? Click  here
SEE ALSO PROOF available now

http://larrydsweazy.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up on the home page, enter your email address. 

Thanks! 

To Purchase