Tag-Archive for » women’s fiction «

When A Story Takes You by the Throat!

Women Outside the WallsHow do writers find their stories??  This one came to me as I sat, one Sunday morning, in the waiting area of a state prison. I was there to interview a convicted murderer for a play I was writing(Cook County Justice) about his case. I found myself sitting with many other women;  wives, sisters, daughters, grandmothers.  We all had one thing in common; we were there to visit a man behind bars and all of our shoe laces were untied. (They search you.)

Was I nervous?  Scared?  YES!  I’d never been in a prison before and I was about to enter a visiting room filled with convicted murderers, rapists, thieves and drug dealers.  The one thing these men had in common was they were someone’s son, husband, and father.

I have often advised new writers to write about what they know.  I did not follow my own advice.  These women had such an impact on me…..figuratively taking me by the throat and insisting that I tell their story.  So I did….with research, research, and more research.

This story is told by three diverse women married to men who made a bad decision. more »

Interview with Author, Jennifer Ryan

TS:  To say that Jennifer Ryan writes ‘romance’ novels would be doing her a disservice.  Her good, solid stories are about good, solid people with a little romance and some modern day ranch life and cowboys is more accurate.  I love her stories and so when she agreed to this interview I was thrilled!

J.Ryan.photoQ. 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.

A. I have two writing spaces. My “office” is in my kitchen. I love the little table in my breakfast nook with the windows all around looking out at the backyard, pool, and garden. The second place I write is off the kitchen in the small living room. Sometimes I just want to sit on the sofa with my feet up, a movie on the TV I’ve seen a dozen times ten times turned down low in the background, and type away, lost in the story.

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.)

A. I’m a creature of habit. I write every day. For the most part, I’m focused on the work, the story, my characters. But I do love to have a cup of tea, cookies or chocolate. I’m pretty sure I keep the Hershey’s company in business.

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

A. I started writing when I was pregnant with my daughter Jenna. I named the heroine of my first book, Ryan.photo..32.58 (Small)Saved by the Rancher, after her.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

A. With 3 kids, I need to stick to a schedule (that whole creature of habit thing). During the school year, I sit down to write after I drop the kids at their respective schools. I work until 11 AM, hit the treadmill, shower, have a snack, then back to work until it’s time to pick the kids up from school. I eat lunch in the car while I wait at each school. Once home, it’s snack time for the kids and homework. I work until dinner. Cook. Then if I’m on a roll for the day, I’ll work into the evening. Other nights, I’m on the couch with my husband watching one of our favorite shows. On the weekends, I work from the time I get up through the evening with short breaks for meals and doing stuff with the kids. There’s a lot of stops and starts, but I’m used to that. Life happens, but I love seeing the story in my head come together on the screen.

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

A. Oh, how I love to procrastinate. That’s why I’ve set up a routine. Some days I write for hours. Others I may only get an hour done. The thing is, I make time for it each and every day. Even if I only get a few lines or paragraphs down, I’ve made progress. Over time it adds up.

Cover.J.Ryan..ScanQ. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?

A. Yes. I love those days. The story seems to fly across the page – though it takes hours. The satisfaction I feel from a day of great writing can’t be described. It’s such a relief to have the story out of my head and on the page. If my husband is off with the kids hiking or dirt biking, I can write all day without interruption.

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

A. Let’s just say I’ve got a very active imagination…..
Don’t miss Part 2 on Tuesday

and….Coming Soon! my REVIEW of ‘Her Lucky Cowboy’ released later this month!

DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     Jennifer Ryan,(Aug.), Grant Blackwood (Tom Clancy) Sept. and Julia London.
Don’t Miss it!  A bonus Interview with Iconic comic book writer, Chuck Dixon, in September.
Coming Soon! Don’t miss my Reviews of
Sue Grafton’s ” X “ , the newest Kinsey Millhone mystery  and Jennifer Ryan’s newest release.
To receive a free audio book and my  blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  sign up!  On the home page, enter your email address.  I love comments!  Take the time to write one at the bottom of the post.

‘Blue Prints’…A Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing  REVIEW  5 out  of 5 Quills     ‘Blueprints’ by Barbara Delinsky

Everyone across America loves the ‘how to’ TV shows.  How to flip it, how to gut it, how to cook it, how to not be the worst cook, how to lay tile, how to create curb appeal, how to love it or list it….there is something for everyone.

‘Blue Prints’ by Barbara Delinsky, will take you ‘back stage’ to experience all the intrigue, the politics, theBlue Prints by Delinsky back stabbing of a popular. home improvement reality show.   The joy of her writing is she quickly tells about the many characters and before we turn too many pages, we care about all of them and are rooting for them. more »

All The Single Ladies…a Review

reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing(5 out of 5 quills)     A Review  All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank

I turned the last page with a hearty, well satisfied (but somewhat regretful) sigh, last night.  I think the ultimate compliment to a writer is when a reader says, ‘I didn’t want it to end‘.  And that’s how I truly felt having to leave best friends, Lisa, Suzanne, Carrie, and Miss Trudie. All the Single Ladies

Any woman over (oh, let’s say) forty years of age will really relate to these middle aged women.  They have had their failures and triumphs; they are now knocking along as best they can, having learned the hard way that nothing in life is guaranteed or forever. They come together initially to champion the memory of a friend… more »

Interview (part 2) with best selling Author, Barbara Taylor-Bradford

A Young Barbara

A Young Barbara

TS:  More than a treat, it’s a honor to interview this illustrious author with such a body of work! 

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

A. When I was ten years old, I was encouraged by my Mum to enter a short story contest with a magazine in England. It was about a young girl who desperately wanted a pony. Amazingly, long after I’d forgotten about it, I received a postal order with a small amount of money and a note that I was one of the winners in the competition. Seven years later, I joined the Yorkshire Evening Post as a typist. Within a year, I had become a reporter for them. I’ve been a journalist ever since.

Q. How long after that were you published?

A. My first novel, A Woman of Substance was published in 1979. I had tried to write four earlier novels that weren’t working for one reason or another. But all along, I was still a published journalist. I had a syndicated decorating column in the US throughout the 1970s. I also wrote and had published several decorating books in the 70s. Prior to that, I was a Women’s Page editor on Fleet Street with a handful of newspapers and magazines in England. more »

Have you worked with an illustrator yet? Here are 12 Tips

Working successfully with an illustrator   I have used several artists, depending upon the project.  I have had wonderful response from my illustrators (free-lance) and as a team we get the job done!
David White has done several covers for me, most prominent and recent the newest in the World of Murder series.

The illustrator for my children’s books is brilliant in a different way.  He reads the story as I write it with clear instructions (from me) on where I want the illustrations placed in my story book.  Then he creates all these different perspectives that I would never have dreamed about.  They are truly wonderful.

So I thought I would share these tips, with you, about working with another artist.  Hopefully they are helpful as you work with your ‘image-maker’.

Tip #1:  Be patient.

Tip #2: They are artists, much like you, so they are sensitive about their art.

Tip #3:  Don’t push them; they have a time-table that might not be yours.  I do state my time-table in the beginning of a project and get some assurance that they will try to meet it.

Tip #4: Be patient.

Tip #5: Be certain that you give them at least two credits in your publication, book or script. I routinely credit them on the back (exterior) cover and on one of the first pages in the book.

Tip #6:  Pay them the most that you can budget.  Remember the old adage: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

Tip #7:  Because I am on a budget; I state my rates (per size of image) right up front.  Be honest.

Tip #8: Be patient.

Tip #9:  Don’t be afraid to use students at an art school.  I have used them (or graduates) from the Savannah College of Art and Design.  They are fresh, have the newest technology, and are the most excited by the project.  Do I occasionally meet a ‘prima dona’?  Who, without any work history, without any credits of any kind, without any life experience, behaves as if they work for a big city design firm, expecting top dollar and……. are confused when you don’t see it that way. (sigh) Yes,  I have!

Tip #10: Try to be as clear as you can on what you want in the image.  Don’t be afraid to tweak the work as you and your illustrator work together.  My illustrators appreciate the second set of eyes.Journal for Creative Writers

Tip #11: Pay the illustrator promptly.  As I have my illustrator working as I write; when I receive final images I pay him as we go along.  I don’t make them wait until the project is finished to be paid.

Tip #12: Be patient.

E. Van Johnson will be our January author!

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!




Freshfiction.com reviews “Women Outside the Walls”

FreshFiction.com reviewed my book and I couldn’t be more delighted.WOW.BanW._wow (3)

Meet the heroines of WOMEN OUTSIDE THE WALLS.
These women are all brought together through one avenue: Their husbands are all in the same prison.

First, there’s Alma. Her husband, Charlie, is in prison for murder. At first that sounds terrible, but there’s a story behind this that makes you see that everything isn’t so cut and dried as it may seem at first. Alma has been in love with Charlie since she was 16 and he was 23. But he knew he was too old for her and he went away so he could avoid making a mistake with her. Abandoned by her mother in favor of a boyfriend that didn’t want kids around, she was taken in by a neighbor that helped her get through the next couple of years until she graduated from high school. That’s when Alma found that she had a talent for exotic dancing. It was at the end of one of her performances in a high end strip club one night that she was reconnected with Charlie, quite by accident. The next thing she knows, Alma’s pregnant and Charlie runs again, at least temporarily. They do end up together as a family and all is well until Charlie gets in trouble.

Next is Kitty. She’s a woman of wealth and social standing. Her husband, Edward, is imprisoned for a white collar crime and she’s simply not equipped to handle it. However, she does take herself to the prison on visiting day to see him. He agrees to see her once and that’s only to tell her to get a divorce and make a new life for herself and their children. After that, even though Kitty comes faithfully on every visiting day, he refuses to see her.

Then there’s Hattie. She’s a proud, African American woman with a talent for cleaning, a head for math and a heart of gold. Her husband, Joe, doesn’t belong in prison. He’s only there because he’s protecting his little brother. But Hattie is counting the days until her Joe gets out and can come home to her and their kids. Joe loves Hattie and they both look forward to that day.

These women all come together in the waiting room and then visitor’s room at the prison while waiting to visit their men. They all have one thing in common and that’s the fact that they love their men. In the process of this shared experience, they become connected in a way that no one else would ever understand.

Life goes on in this way until the day that a tragic event takes place that will involve them all even more. Things may not end as anyone expects.

Told in both the present and past tenses, WOMEN OUTSIDE THE WALLS offers a bittersweet look into the lives of women that love incarcerated men. There’s laughter and tears but, most of all, there’s the strong emotional bond these women share.

This is an honest book, which means that it’s not always a happy book. It will touch your heart in ways that you wouldn’t expect and is a book well worth spending the time to read. You’ll come away with a new respect for women in this situation and a bit more understanding of why they continue supporting the men they love, no matter what.’ ~~Review~Freshfiction.com

Skip to the Head of the Line

bookstoreMy book store is just a click away!  USE THIS CODE 336699 AND GET 10% OFF of any BOOK purchase UNTIL November 31st.   The Web Site has a new feature: you can now buy an autographed copy of any book directly from the author using your Visa, MasterCard through PayPal. And you don’t need a PayPal account to use it. It’s so easy!

Scripts about bullying and other teen issues.  Great for the

Ten Minutes to Curtain, Vol. I, II, & III

Ten Minutes to Curtain, Vol. I, II, & III








Fiction.  The new mystery series, ‘The World of Murder’ with Detectives O’Roarke and Garcia.artofmurder_cover (2)



WOW.BanW._wow (3)Don’t miss “Women Outside the Walls” 





and”Wild Violetsfiction, women, flappers, prohibition, San Francisco, roaring twenties

more »

An Interview with best selling author, Elizabeth Hoyt


Another one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Hoyt writes historic romances with humor.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

A. I have an office—it’s a sun room at the back of the house. I also do a lot of writing at coffee shops.????????????????????????????????

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.)

A. I like to have something to drink—both coffee and water, preferably.

Q. What is your mode of writing?

A. If I wrote in longhand I wouldn’t be able to read the result. 😉 I use Scrivener on an eleven inch MacBook Air.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

A. I write to deadlines. When I’m on deadline I write. 😉

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

A. I find that the bowel-loosening fear of defaulting on a contracted deadline and possibly messing up my entire career is a pretty good incentive to sit down at the computer. If you don’t have a contracted deadline, you need to make your own deadline or goal because the muse may never arrive if you’re waiting on her to write. more »

Interview (part 2) with best selling author, Barbara Delinsky

delinsky.lake._nPart 2: Continuing with this look into best selling author, Barbara Delinsky’s world:

Book signing

Book signing

Q. What makes a writer great?

A. Not fancy prose or even extensive research. I believe that a writer is great when she can produce book after book that readers love.

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

A. Discipline. That’s it, short and sweet. Produce three pages each day before allowing yourself to leave the computer, and you will eventually finish a book. Do I start with an outline? Vaguely. But it’s sketchy and subject to change as the book grows and characters take over.

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

A. Given that my books are character-driven, my characters come to me at the very start. That said, I don’t fully know them until I’m nearly halfway through the book. This is good. By not boxing them into a preconceived notion of who or what they should be, they take off on their own and do things I may not have planned. Those things are often what make the book shine.

Q. What inspires your story/stories ? more »