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Authors, Where Do You Find Your Characters?

Over and over again, I preach the concept:  ‘let it flow’, ‘let your characters take you on a journey’, ‘If it’s going well, I will happily be just the typist’.

I recently interviewed Dean Koontz and here’s what he said on the subject:

Photographer: Thomas Engstrom

“And then I start. In the first few chapters, the lead characters are forming, and I am learning who they are. I’ve often said that if I give characters free will, if I don’t plot out the story and instead present them with a problem and watch them deal with it, they begin to take on a life of their own, frequently surprising me with the choices they make. This is mysterious and exciting. When it’s going well, it’s simultaneously an intense intellectual endeavor and an almost dream-state journey of wonder and emotion.”

Author, Matt Jorgenson recently said when asked: Where do you first discover your characters?
“Initially I don’t think of them as characters. It’s kind of like arranging furniture. I need OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsomething tall here, wide there, elegant there. I often just plop them in for the energy they lend to the development of the story. When I’m unable to sit at my laptop and write I will often sketch out backstories for some of the characters with pen and paper based on what seems reasonable according to how they act/function in the story and then weave those details back in later.”

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Bragging….A Little Bit Is Allowed, Right?

Samuel French's bookstoreA few months ago I developed and published four Creative Writing Journals. The Samuel French Film and Theatre Bookshop in Hollywood carries these journals and are on their third re-order. I think they’re so popular because while there are 275 blank pages for the writer’s work, there are sections on ‘How To‘. Each page’s margin is embedded with an inspiring quote from a famous actor, author, playwright, poet, etc. I am so proud of these journals. Two of the four were created with female writers in mind. One for men entitled “Real Men Work Out….on Paper’.

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For Old Timers ONLY!!

I have a few gripes as I grow older and thought I would probably have an audience that can IM'ingrelate!

1. Please!  No child-proof caps on my medicine….these old hands cannot open them.

2. Whenever I say ‘thank you’ to anyone under 50 the answer I get is ‘no problem‘.  What happened to ‘you’re welcome’?  ‘No problem’ implies that whatever they did for me to incite a ‘thank you’ might have been a problem for them.

3. Change in driving habits:  decades before we put a name to yelling, flipping someone off, etc., it wasn’t road rage….it was freedom of speech. In my twenties,  I went so far as to make a plaster mold of a hand flipping ‘the bird’ so I could wave it out my window!  Now?  I am a meek and courteous driver…you want to beat me to wherever you are going….be my guest! more »

Attention! All Writers Out There!

There’s a BLOG out there that is dedicated to the art of writing and honing your craft. Yep!  I’m talking about mine and this is a shameless promo.  You won’t be disappointed.

For three years now I have published my posts twice a week and it’s always something about being a better writer.  Once a month I interview best selling authors such as Dean Koontz, Sue Grafton, Jeffery Deaver, Sherryl Woods, Anne Gracie, CW.CoverRaymond Benson, Lee Goldberg, Charles Bukowski and dozens more.   My goal is to inspire other writers to write more, tell their stories, try writing a play, or maybe some poetry.

Sign up on my home page  and receive an email with each day’s post.  Delete it if it doesn’t interest you.  It’s that simple.  Recently I have developed a series of ‘creative writing’ journals with ‘How To’ tips and famous quotes to inspire my fellow writers. more »

Author’s Roaring Twenties Featured on UK Blog

Tara.Ford.photoAuthor, Blogger Tara Ford seems to love my writing….so much that she is featuring my books on her web site at Fiction Five Fridays.
Tara is a successful author out of the UK. To help support her fellow-authors, she has developed this clever Friday Special.  Visit her web site and wander around. You won’t be disappointed!

The rules are simple – 5 sentences from a page with the digit 5 in the number. Short and sweet and readers get a little taste of what their favorite (or new) author is writing.

TODAY!  I have been chosen by Tara with my 5,5,5 contribution  (fifth day of the week, a five in the page no. and a five sentence excerpt) from a roaring twenties, hot jazz and cold gin, wild novel that I wrote about San Francisco:  “Wild Violets”WHAT FUN!!

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CREATIVE WRITER’S Journal and Handbook Now Available!

1.Creative.Write.BookCoverImage  Actor, director, playwright, author, Trisha Sugarek has created 305 pages of ‘How To’, Tips, Quotes, and  275 blank, lined pages for your writing.  ‘I have created this journal for writers of all genres.  Taken from my personal experience in the writing process, I hope it kick starts new writers to begin and more experience writers to continue.’

~~This spirited journal is designed to help writers open their hearts and minds. Much more than a journal for your creative writing, this handbook provides the writer with the ‘how to’s’ of writing. Tips, instructions and prompts to help you to hone your writing skill. Each blank, lined page has writing tips and quotes from other famous authors.~~

Available at    

A writer is only a writer when he or she is writing. Thinking isn’t writing, research isn’t writing, doing anything other than writing isn’t writing. 


MacNeal’s release of new book Sparks Give-away!

Never one to break with tradition…..there’s a side story with regard to my enthusiasm for Susan Macneal’s writing. 

The first of the Maggie Hope spy mysteries, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, (which I highly recommend) is fiction but based in fact.  The author was fortunate enough to have had several interviews with Churchill’s private secretary before her death.  The book is about a ‘typist’ who was relegated to a menial job because of her gender.  She was actually educated in mathematics and cryptology and could easily have fitted in with MI-Five (British CIA) but for her being a woman.

I was so taken by Winston Churchill’s pets having the run of the war offices….and how Susan wove this little fact (with many others) into her story so deftly.  At the time I was looking for lighter material to round out my of short plays for the classroom.  An idea came to me  of Mr. Churchill noodling away in front of his easel and Nelson, his cat talking to the audience; telling them something about the times that they lived in, an anecdote or two about the Prime Minister and of course, listening patiently to Mr. Churchill’s comments about the world at large.

July 1st,  the fourth and newest book in the Maggie Hope series will go on sale.
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Author, Trisha Sugarek Featured on Fiction ‘5’ Friday

Tara Ford, Author**Fiction,Five,Fridays

Tara Ford, Author**Fiction,Five,Fridays

There’s a very clever blog out there offered by author, Tara Ford of the UK. To help support her fellow-authors, she has developed Fiction Five Fridays.

The page features excerpts from various author’s books. The rules are simple – 5 sentences from a page with the digit 5 in the number. Short and sweet and readers get a little taste of what their favorite (or a new one) author is writing.

One of Tara's books

One of Tara’s books

TODAY!  I have been chosen by Tara with my 5,5,5 contribution  (fifth day of the week, a five in the page no. and a five sentence excerpt from one of my novels).  WHAT FUN!!

This has been a very busy month here at my Writer’s Blog.  Tomorrow begins my Interview with author, Dean Koontz.  Then announcing a free book give-away of Susan Elia Macneal’s new release, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, and of course more storytelling by yours truly.  Hope you’ll come back often to visit and enjoy my blog!




In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!    Dean Koontz dean2photo_9will be interviewed by me June 28th in a two part sensational visit with this suspense-thriller mega-star.

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!



My Narrator got Trapped in a Hotel Closet….

kids books, audio books, fairy talesThe weirdest, best, weirdest, most awesome, weirdest, and most fun thing is happening right now, and Cheets and my kids book, The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf are indirectly involved.  My wonderful narrator for the audio books got trapped in the closet at a hotel while narrating the EEElf?

It was a crazy hilarious saga, and because she was in the middle of narrating, and she had a sound recording of the whole ordeal. A few months ago, Carin pitched the story of her “trapped in the closet” saga to the NPR radio show This American Life, and they LOVED it! They were going to use it as a segment on one of their shows a few weeks ago, but Ira Glass (CEO) decided he wanted to do something totally different… by turning the story of me trapped in the closet into a mini opera.  more »