I am the daughter, sister, wife and mother of a Veteran!

         Members of the military impacted my life in many ways. My life  was certainly changed by members of my family serving in the armed forces.  So what better time than on this Veteran’s Day to honor them….those who keep us SAFE and FREE!  And to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us and their country.


Gerald Guyer (cousin)   US Marines**WWI – gave his life in Normandy, France ** Son of Gladys; nephew of Violet, my mother.

W. Jay Woods

William Jay Woods (father)  US Navy ** WWII –   South Pacific – PTSD.  He met my mother in San Francisco, where she owned a bar and grill.  He returned from war  an alcoholic, experienced rages and had a parrot named Butch.

John Cable, ‘Dad’

Johnny Cable (step-father)  US Army/Infantry ** WWII Southern Pacific. Lost an eye, suffered from jungle rot and PTSD.  At five years of age I remember not being able to run in and jump on the bed in the mornings to ‘wake up Daddy’.  He would awaken ready to fight the ‘Japs’ and in those first few seconds he was back in the jungle.   He was a wonderful father but the horrors of the South Pacific battles were never far from the surface. He later served on a ship in the Korean War as a meat cutter.  He was instrumental in serving the troops a HOT Thanksgiving dinner on the beach that year.

family histories, family secrets, story telling, writers
my mother, Violet

Violet Guyer (mother) US Armed Forces ** Wife, sister, and mother of members in the military. My mother, who I write about, was auntie to Gerald.  She married Jay (active Navy) and Johnny (active Army) and was a military wife for two decades. She was mother to Jack (US Air Force) and Doris, (US Marines).

Brother Jack

Jack Borden (brother)  US Air Force
** Loaded B52 bombers – hot spots around the world – 20+ years of service.  My brother would come home from far away places like Germany, Iceland, Africa, Panama and because he  didn’t have a hometown girl, he would take me, his teenage sister, ballroom dancing.


                            Doris Borden (sister) Joined the US Marines, Reserve and was upgraded to active duty when the Korean War broke out.


Jack Henderson, US Air force

Jack Henderson.  (first husband) US Air Force * While in the military, he was on a ship in the Pacific
and witnessed one of the first A-Bomb test explosions off Enewetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  

Robert Berry, Navy Seal

Robert Berry (second husband)   US Navy Seals, US Coast Guard ** 20+ years of service.  Robert was a Navy Seal, underwater demolition during the Viet Nam years.  He later served as a warrant officer aboard an icebreaker and was certified to scuba dive under the Arctic ice.


John Sugarek, Viet Nam

John Sugarek (husband)  US Marines ** Viet Nam –   John was my husband for 30 years. He was kind-hearted and funny and everyone loved him.  I witnessed two of his  flashbacks from battle in Viet Nam (twenty years later)  and he suffered, untreated, from PTSD. Partially due to the PTSD (I believe) he died at his own hand in 2006.  His fellow wounded warriors celebrate him at the Whiskey Battery Reunion, once a year.marines


We are all grateful to our military for their unswerving bravery, service, and loyalty and we honor those who have come home, battered but alive.



MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    

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 10 minute Play for Teens

This is my newest 10 minute play for teens and the classroom.

Synopsis: What does a girl do when her best friend’s boyfriend hits on her?
Teen breakups are messy. Most teens haven’t done it very often and they consistently get it wrong. If Rob wants to be with Kelly, she has some rules about that happening. After all, Rob’s soon-to-be ex-girlfriend is Kelly’s best friend.
1 m. 3 f.


This new play is part of a series, ‘Short N’ Small’.   Over 30 short plays, wonderful for the classroom.  No sets, no costumes, no props.

To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  

A few BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREKcyber-bullying, bullying, girls who bully, teen violence, short plays for teens

Interview with author, Donna Everhart (conclusion)


DE.  I was going through chemo again in 2019. My hair had grown back in, [at least I had hair at the moment]. but I was about to lose it for a second time – and within two months of this photo, I had none.  I just got home from receiving a heavy dose of chemo at the hospital. 

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

DE. I’m always working on a new book, and my next novel, When the Jessamine Grows, releases January 23, 2024. It’s a different story from my others because I’ve stepped back further in time to the Civil War era. This is a morally complex story about the McBride family, subsistence farmers whose principles are brought to the foreground after their eldest son runs off to join the Confederacy after being influenced by his staunch Confederate grandfather. The father, Ennis, goes after his son, leaving his wife, Joetta, (my main character) to look after their younger son, and the farm. What follows is a harrowing time for her, and the rest of the family as she is bound to stand by their beliefs, and by doing so, becomes a pariah in the community.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

DE. In 2008, when the company where I’d been working for twenty-five years went bankrupt. I’ve often wondered if they hadn’t, whether or not I would’ve started. It was the shove I guess I needed, because I’d thought I would retire from there. I’m so happy they folded. (haha)

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

DE. No – at least I hope not. (You do have wonder about all that paper, and the trees, and the pulp industry) But, I think this was already sort of proven when there was those few years when it seemed e-books might surpass sales of paper books. I haven’t looked it up lately to see if e-books are overtaking sales, but I think we’d hear it from the industry if that were to happen. Speaking from my own personal experience, paper book sales for my work is always higher than e-books.

Q. What makes a writer great?

DE. Speaking personally, what makes a writer great for me is when I look forward to getting back to the book, when they teach me something I didn’t know, or when they write about a concept, or topic that’s never been written about before. It’s when their way with words makes me re-read their sentences. Some writers hit all of these marks, some hit maybe one or two, but some aspect of these things, or all, are what I think make for a really brilliant writer.

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

DE. It looks . . . never-ending. It looks impossible. It looks like a fever dream. Chaotic. Messy. Dumb. I’m usually at a loss at the start. There are days/weeks of staring at nothing. Days/weeks of thinking, thinking, thinking. Trying to write, tossing it out, trying something else. It’s endless discussions with other writer friends. Eventually, a foundation, an inkling of THE idea comes. Then, it’s brick by brick through the first sentences, to the first paragraphs, and first pages. It’s getting through those 1,000 words a day goals. It’s self-editing, killing words, and birthing better ideas. Then comes the moment of angst when someone else reads it. Then the agent reads, and then the editor. There’s praying involved during the “others are reading it” phase. Lots of it. Then comes the polishing, (copy edits) honing, (first pass pages) and then, voila. Book!

Q. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?

A. I’m a Stage IV cancer survivor, and at one time, I was a single mother, and all along, I’ve been known to be stubborn (hard-headed???) so, this is something I draw on when writing my stories. I gravitate toward writing about characters with fortitude, and mental strength. Physical strength is important, too, but, writing about characters overcoming the odds because of their convictions – whatever those might be – is compelling. I love writing about people who were doing just fine until something comes along and knocks their world topsy-turvy, and now they have to figure out how to straighten it up. I’ve been there, we’ve all been there, and it’s rewarding to overcome obstacles.

Q. What’s your downtime look like?


DE. Well. Downtime for me is getting away from my computer. I used to run, but since I can’t do that anymore due to all the radiation I’ve had, I like to walk

 (sometimes with weights) or go on a long bike ride. I also love to go to the movies, or watch a movie on TV, or a good series. We got caught up in Yellowstone, but then it started getting over the top. We gravitated toward the origin stories (1883 and 1923) and enjoyed those more. I love to go to the Blue Ridge mountains, and to sometimes take day trips – like I just took my grandkids to the zoo this past week.

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

DE. I did write this one book . . . that will likely never the see the light of day. It My agent said it was a “hard crime” novel.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

DE. What you worry about at night is nothing in the morning.

Did you miss the rest of this INTERVIEW?


To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart


Interview with Author, Donna Everhart (part 2)

Donna & her grandkids

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

DE. You’re “looking” at a procrastinator. I’ll come to my desk every day and have a word goal in mind (usually 1,000 words) and oftentimes do everything but start working toward that goal. What follows is GUILT as time ticks by. By the end of the day, if I haven’t made the word count because of lost time on something unrelated to my writing goal, there’s the inevitable slump in mood. My best days are when I make a concerted effort to get the word count in. Even if I don’t, and get, say, 500 words, I’m happier for it because I know the effort was honestly made. It takes discipline to not get onto social media or think of the other million ways to avoid doing what needs to be done to accomplish the end result – i.e., a finished book. What I’ve found works best, write first; everything else comes after – even laundry.

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

DE.  Usually through an idea for a story. Sometimes a name comes to mind first, and I start to think about who this person would be, and what is it they want, what they’re good at, what they’re bad at, and if they have any enemies. It’s kind of all over the place. A messy, messy process.  

Q. What first inspired you to write?

Donna with hubby

DE. Reading stories that made a big impact on me were the main influence or motivator. The enjoyment I got from books where I wouldn’t stop reading for a long time, and when I finally took a break, I’d look around in a daze. I’d become so invested in that world, I think I was surprised I wasn’t “there,” instead of sitting on a couch in my living room. That kind of story made me want to create something similar. The idea of affecting a person’s mood, thought process, and emotions resonated for whatever reason.

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

DE. It’s actually been both. It’s never always this, or that. For example, in my debut, The Education of Dixie Dupree, it was the character of Dixie. In The Road to Bittersweet, it was the situation – the 1940 flood in western North Carolina. It just depends. When I begin to search for a story, I’m often lookin g for a situation, but out of nowhere, a name will come to mind – and then I’m thinking, who is this? (I have to have a name before I can develop a character)

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

DE. Absolutely. When I’m really in that zone, hours can go by and I’ll sort of come out of it and realize, oh, wait. I haven’t eaten. I’m often shocked half the day is gone. It’s kind of scary sometimes!  

Donna with her granddaughter

Q. What compelled you to choose and settle on the genre you now write in?

Donna with daughter

DE. I love, love, love reading stories set in the South where I’m from, and so I guess it makes sense I’d want to write about my culture and the region I love. Aside from the classics out there for Southern literature, like Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, etc., it was reading the more contemporary writers like Kaye Gibbons (Ellen Foster) and Dorothy Allison, (Bastard Out Of Carolina) that jumpstarted my urge to pursue it. After I read their books and I was on the hunt for more stories like theirs. This was around 1987, or so, and as I began to discover these Southern stories which really resonated with me, I knew if I ever wrote anything, it would be something like this.

Did you miss the start of this interview?

To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart



A New Mystery Series from Grace Burrowes ~ Book Review

4.5 out of 5 stars   ~~   Book Review 

Grace Burrowes is well into her new series, The Lord Julian Mysteries.  And Burrowes is the VERY BEST at writing in the 1800’s. There is no one who comes even close to her accuracy and care with the period.  She evokes the people, the places, the animals, and the activities, for her readers to ‘see’.  Her flavor never wavers. 


Book One, A Gentleman Fallen on Hard Times, is a mystery to the last page.  I don’t know why but this reviewer had it in her head that these would be murder mysteries.  Not so (so far as I’ve only read book 1), and the stories are richer for it.  No spoiler alerts in the form of a synopsis from this reviewer. 

I particularly love Burrowes’ rich character development.  Lord Julian and Lady Hyperia are perfect protagonists. And Lord Julian Caldicott is a welcomed addition to the list of Burrowes’ characters. 

 I am so looking forward to reading A Gentleman of Dubious Reputation soon and recommend A Gentleman Fallen on Hard Times to all of my readers. Book Three is out!!

Did you miss my interview with Grace Burrowes?

To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart


Author, Donna Everhart ~ Interview

Donna Everhart is a USA Today bestselling author known for vividly evoking the complexities of the heart and a gritty fascination of the American South in her acclaimed novels. She received the prestigious SELA Outstanding Southeastern Author Award from the Southeastern Library Association, among many others.  Born and raised in Raleigh, she has stayed close to her hometown for much of her life and now lives just an hour away in Dunn, North Carolina.  

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, or special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ workspace.

DE. I have an office upstairs that’s pretty secluded, which I love. It’s actually the same office I used when I was working way back when in the corporate world. Since I left that occupation in 2012 to write full-time, the one big thing I’ve changed is adding bookshelves. Lots of them! These shelves hold my inspiration and of course, my entertainment. The books in the pictures were placed right after the bookcases were built when I was still organizing, and boy, that was a lesson learned. I must’ve moved my stacks at least three times until I finally settled on read non-fiction/craft books to be read and my own work.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat workspace, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, a glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

DE. We’re all so uniquely different with how we approach writing, so, I suppose you could say we all have quirks. I don’t necessarily need a completely pristine

 workspace, but I don’t want it so messy it’s distracting. I like medium point pens, although I don’t (and never will) work in long hand. The pens are for taking notes when I have an idea I don’t want to forget. And, usually, around 4:00 p.m., I often need a break, and I’m prone to have some caffeine so I can catch a second wind. It’s usually coffee, but if it’s really hot, (I’m in NC – it gets pretty hot!) I’ll opt for slightly sweet iced tea with a squeeze of lemon.

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

DE. I found a body on the beach once. It was a young man in his early 30s who was pulled out by an undertow. It was right after 9/11 and eventually I found out he was fasting, and praying, and on that particular day, the day he was due to go back home to West Virginia, he went out for a swim and, sadly, drowned. I found out all of this through his mother who contacted me later. She was able to find my address from her other son who was a state trooper, and had access to information. She wrote to thank me for holding his hand until help came. Even though he was gone, I felt compelled to do that. It was kind of scary because his eyes were still open, and I SWEAR he could see me, but given other things going on with him physically, it was apparent he’d passed on. It was really tragic and sad.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

DE. I go right to the keyboard. My writing is too messy, (note the remark about long hand above) and I think too fast (sometimes) to be able to write anything legible. I even have trouble with my grocery list and deciphering what the heck I wrote on it.

Q. Do you have pets? Tell us about them and their names. 

DE. I don’t have any pets at the moment. I used to have Yorkies. First, we had “the girls,” Bella and Kiwi. We tragically lost them in the summer of 2012, within three weeks of each other due to that whole fiasco with jerky treats. (If anyone is wondering what I’m talking about, just Google dog jerky treats made in China and FDA.) About 4 months later, in December of 2012 we got another little Yorkie we adopted who was 3 years old. His name was Snickers, but we renamed him Mister. (close in sound) He was a mess, really quirky, was NOT food driven – at all. He had some health issues like IBD, and chronic pancreatitis. We also tragically lost him in the summer of 2021. I took him to get his teeth cleaned and he suffered a catastrophic event. It’s a long story, but it tore my heart to pieces. Right now, we don’t have any pups, but I keep going out to sites to poke around and look. I know one day we’ll have some again. I’m thinking of adopting a bonded pair, if I can. I think that would be perfect.

Q. Do you enjoy writing in other forms (playwriting, poetry, short stories, etc.)?
If yes, tell us about it.

DE. The only other form of writing I’ve done is a very short form of flash fiction. I used to write these one-hundred-word stories where five prompt words were

Coming Soon!

provided and the goal was to write a complete story (beginning, middle, end) in 100 words. I’m so consumed now with writing to contract that I’ve not done this in years, but it was fun, and actually really challenging – more so than you’d think.

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

DE. You’re “looking” at a procrastinator.

Don’t miss part 2 of this entertaining interview with Donna next week. 


To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart


Book Review ~~ Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde

   5 out of 5 stars  ~~  Book Review

A Jewel.  Flawless, as is the norm for Hyde.  

A story of unconditional love and bottomless generosity of spirit.  
The characters are so richly drawn that writers of lesser talent or experience have cause to weep. 

This reviewer flirts with being bombastic, I know.  But I know with each book, [like the last], I crack open to the first page of the story, and I am lost in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s world be it runaways, old crotchety men, strangers coming together in unlikely, but totally believable situations, or in this case a “wild thing”. 
My readers know I abhor giving a synopsis of the story [ruining it for everyone]  and I will refrain once again. I will say this, ‘Just a Regular Boy’ will uplift you and make you happy that this author created these characters and you got to meet them!

This book is a must on your ‘books to read’ list. 

To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart



Poetry Soup honors Trisha’s poetry

Congratulations, this is a quick notice from us here at Poetry Soup to let you know that your poem Journey Through Life is one of the poems
being featured on the PoetrySoup home page this week.

Journey through Life ©  (Renku)

happiness, the fire
forges our steel to withstand
pain and thorny times

laughter melts metal
cold bath sets the steel mettle
fine blade to cut life

blade wrapped in fine silk
until the next battle comes
pain and blood drip down

To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart
haiku, poetry, pen and ink art, poems, Japanese haiku,

Trisha’s poetry gets a Rave from BookReview.com

Title: Butterflies & Bullets
Author: Trisha Sugarek
Rating:  Must Read!
Publisher: Trisha Sugarek
Reviewed by: Eric Jones, Book Review

I knew Sugarek’s work in the past from her collection of short children’s plays, Ten Minutes to Curtain, which involve the complicated dynamics of growing up. Flannery O’Conner said that if you live through childhood then you have enough material to write forever, and Sugarek has been there and then some. Her short work for the stage has put her in the perfect position to transition from play to poetry with her new book, Butterflies and Bullets.

Even the title denotes the strange duality between innocence and loss, and that theme is prevalent throughout the work. Mostly in free form, Sugarek keeps everything in a minimalist range, lending focus to intimate moments like a man playing his Mandolin beside a fire or the quiet landscape of the Serengeti just before rainfall. These truncated pieces of life feel like literary snapshots. These are Sugarek’s butterfly collection. Then, of course, there are the bullets.

The bullets are also set in free form, however they deal with much more happenings and are more narratively set. My favorite poem is one of these. “Hair Cut… Two Bits” chronicles the return of a barber from war-torn Europe in 1934 via a freighter into the Mississippi from the Gulf. The story, though scarcely a few pages, manages to convey the loss, struggle, and triumph of war given a single, near microscopic, experience. Not to mention that it’s all the more topical today, given the current mess in off the shore of New Orleans.

There are many that are like these, managing to say a lot with only a little and Butterflies and Bullets comes off splendidly. The collection feels complete and utterly whole, no piece of the pie excluded. Such close ups reveal that every place is connected. The ocean, if you look closely enough, looks just like rain on the blistering asphalt of your driveway. Shanty Irish curtains, at a certain scale, are indistinguishable from the sculpted wood of a Native American totem pole. This is the nature of Sugarek’s poetry, that when you pull back you see how different everything is, but when you put it under the microscope, a butterfly is really just a bullet with wings. 
To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart
haiku, poetry, pen and ink art, poems, Japanese haiku,

Monday Motivation for Writers! #30

Pride Yourself on Your Great Dialogue!

Definition: the conversational element of literary or dramatic composition

I’ve often wondered if authors whom I’ve read, like Edna Ferber, wrote pages and pages of narrative/description because they never mastered the art of dialogue. Hmmm.

I got lucky because I began my writing career by writing stage plays. And they are nothing but dialogue. So early on I learned from, not only writing plays but, reading plays…thousands of them over the years.

To be good at it, I think one of the tricks is to write more and more dialogue and then write some more. You have to be able to get in that character’s head. What do they ‘sound’ like? Is their grammar messy? The character who hails from the Bronx, for example, is going to cut off words such as: walkin’, talkin’, eatin’, and so forth. There will be more idioms (such as ‘grill’, ‘to front’, ‘rachet’, ‘na’mean, and ‘spaz’)  than a person who was raised in a household where grammar and diction were more valued. You have to be able to switch characters and write ‘flavor’ into their speech. How would an eastern Indian, whosewriting, create, write, blog, authors
first language is not English, ‘sound’?  Now write it that way.  How would a southern ‘sound’? Be careful, people from Charleston, S.C. sound totally different from people in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Now, go back over your story and focus on how each character sounds. Is one character’s grammatical habits spilling over into another? Once in awhile I will read over my dialogue and suddenly one of my characters ‘sounds’ like me but they’re not anything like me. I let my own idioms slide right into my character’s mouth.  It’s disconcerting because it’s so easy to do. When you’re out and about listen to other people’s speech patterns, idioms and speech habits.

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L.Doctorow

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” Logan Pearsall Smith
To receive my weekly posts, sign up   On the home page. Enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard.  May: Victoria Costello.  June: Laila Ibrahim, August:  Donna Everhart