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Reading Books!

This was my journey with books except for the frustration part.

Somewhere around #7 “Rediscovering books” I began to seriously write. Stage plays to begin with…then children’s books….

then full length novels and poetry. And then more stage plays. But always reading…reading…reading.  Non-Stop! 

Books take you away…to far off lands, to adventures which you’d probably never have, and
to meet other people from all walks of life. 

Keep reading, keep writing……remember,

Writing isn’t a calling….it’s a doing! 

 

 

 

(acknowledgement: www.grantsnider.com)

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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Book Review ~ Olivia Holmes Inherited a Vineyard

 4 out of 5 stars ~~ Book Review

In one of my recent searches for new authors to read (and maybe review) I bought this one by Mark Daydy. I wasn’t

 enamored of the title…too long, not very creative and certainly a spoiler alert. Why did the writer give away the plot of the whole story? I thought, ‘a much better title would been  Vineyard in the Moonlight or Grapes to Glass or The Vines. I could go on and on about the wrongness of the title but instead of giving it a pass, I bought the book. 

Next I’m not a fan of a man writing chick lit (fiction for women). They simply don’t have the empathy to write about women for women. I scoffed but ran my credit card anyway. 

I’ve been eating crow with each page that I turned.  This was an excellent story, with well drawn characters.  There was a certain crispness that I don’t find with female authors, much as I luv ’em.  My only critique was that Olivia was a bit ‘wishy-washy’ at times. It would have been a stronger story if she had been more decisive about (for example) leaving her job. She could have done it sooner in my opinion.  But what PANACHE! when she finally did it!  

I’m looking forward to reading the sequel very soon.  

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Conflict, Lighting, Sets……Action!

As a playwright you better find some conflict in your story. Little Women had soft, cozy conflict but make no mistake there was conflict. Romeo and Juliet had glaring conflict represented by a family feud that wrought murder and mayhem. To be successful, you must have antagonists and protagonists in your plot.
CONFLICT: It is a challenge to write conflict with dialogue only. There is no description (like fiction) where you can tell the reader how angry and against something your antagonist is. Granted you have the characters right there in front of you, to tell the story with their body language but the dialogue carries the day and is the difference between weak writing and strong, successful writing.
Using examples from a recent play of mine, I will demonstrate conflict in simple, but successful (to the overall plot of the play) terms. A children’s play but the rules still apply and are no less challenging because it’s a kids’ play. Perhaps even more of a challenge.
Sub-PLOT: The sooner the plot is revealed the better. If you haven’t engaged the audience in the first three minutes, you don’t have a very good plot. 

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Back in the day when there were truly ‘starving actors’ we started up theatre companies all the time with a couple of platforms and four ‘spots’ that one would use in a shop in the garage at home. This is a cheap ($12. a piece) adaptable, portable light. You can even attach a gel to the cone for a few pennies per gel. Use blues for night and warm colors (amber) for day. Each light has a wire running back to the control desk/booth and while you won’t have a dimmer option, you must be able to turn the light off and on.

When we started our own company, we had to be totally portable as our performance space could be an art gallery, a café, a gymnasium, or school auditorium. Anywhere they would allow us to use their space. All sites had to be vacated when the weekend was over and then loaded back in for the next performance date.

We could light just about any play with four of these clamp-on, shop lights. The purpose of any stage lighting is to light the actors and the set. If you don’t accomplish anything else, you need to make certain this happens. If your stage is in a very small space, it’s not super critical to light the actors brightly. Just be certain they stay in the light, which is where the director’s blocking comes in.

Even if you need to stick to the basics of simple illumination, lighting makes everything feel more professional and helps the audience to better focus on what is going on, on the stage. Theatrical lighting doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Lighting is about making certain that you can see the people on stage and that the moods of the play are represented and amplified.
Clamp lights aren’t the be all and end all. You’ll have to live with the shadows that they cast.
But remember, this is all you can afford now, and you’ll also need to be able to break it down and take the lighting with you.

I still remember the thrill when we could finally afford a couple of Klieg lights.

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Most theatres have a set designer who creates the set based on the director’s vision. But it is important that the playwright sees the set. Where your story takes place. If your set requires two different scenes/sets and you have structured the play around two sets you must think about time and money. Anticipate the cost because you want the director to choose your play to produce. But if the cost of more than one set is too much, your play might never be chosen.
An envelope design works nicely for the need of two locations/sets in one play. The first set in created on the outside fold of an envelope. When the scene changes the ‘flap’ is opened, like a tri-fold (by the stage crew) and a new set/location is used. Set pieces (Furnishings) have to be changed out and this calls for some cleverness on the director’s part.
One play comes to mind that I directed: The Cemetery Club. The main set was a living room of one of the female characters. But I also needed a Jewish cemetery. The four widows went there every month to visit their dead husbands and maintain the gravesite.
So what I designed was a single backdrop (scenery). What you might see out the living room window. Then I furnished the living room with set pieces. Sofa, chairs, coffee table, lamps, etc.
Upstage on a riser I created the cemetery with three graves. I designed starfoam monuments with the Star of David on the downstage side. The women would walk up on the risers and, while gazing at the graves, deliver their monologues. It worked because the actors believed it. Thus the audience believed it.   The magic of theatre!
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Review ~~ Sunday at the Sunflower Inn

5 out of 5 stars   ~~   Book Review

First page, first sentence, the reader meets McCoy and is hooked.  A broke-down, wounded, homeless handsome cowboy. Who can resist?  This new book is part of the “Honey Creek” series. 
   
The other characters in this story are equally empathetic and interesting. Jam, Tucson, Pecos, Pop Sadler, to name just a few. My only criticism (if you can call it that) is I would have liked more paper and ink dedicated to McCoy’s story. 

This is a story of small town, USA; Honey Creek.  Infused with colorful and interesting characters that only Jodi Thomas can serve up. 
The writing is supurb…it is Jodi Thomas after all. 

On Sale: April 26, 2022
Did you miss my Interview with Jodi? 

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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How Protagonists Engage Readers….or Not

What’s the secret?  Why does one protagonist immediately engage the reader when another is slow to achieve this or never does?  I recently read two novels, back to back, (it sounds like I read sporadically; not true, I have a book in my hand 24/7). 

Anyway, back to my point…..one book (Growing Season by  Melinda Foster) had a single woman, late 30’s, who’s life falls apart.  Long time relationship ends suddenly, and she is found to be redundant at her job of 14 years with the same company. (Most of us can relate to some or all of this.) She is called away to her home town to help family with the business and a small farm.  She was immediately empathetic due to the excellent writing and character development. 

The other book, House on the Harbor by Elizabeth Bromke was not engaging. The four sisters, Kate, Amelia, Megan, and Clara came across as mealy-mouthed and victims. Yep, all four of them. Maybe if the development of the characters had been stronger. Maybe if the author had the reader spend more time with each sister. And the house on the harbor was a non-entity. The house should have been the fifth character.   At first glance, they have  each inherited 1/4 of the house. At first glance….

But this reader didn’t care about any of these women.  I kept speaking to them: “put your big girl panties on and move forward!”  I did finish the book but felt relieved when I had, not satisfied. 

What’s the secret?  Good writing, finely drawn characters, people the reader can relate to.  
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Book 1 in series

 

 

 

 

Available Now! A New Journal for Playwrights

Available NOWHow To Write a 10 Minute Play ~~ Journal and Handbook

Lots of great instruction about the art of writing a ten minute play. And over 250 blank, lined pages for your creative writing as you write your first or tenth 10 minute play.  

Excerpt from back cover:  ‘As you prepare to write your first 10-minute play, pretend that you have walked into a room and interrupted a conversation, mid-sentence. Or you have turned on the television and tuned into a sit-com, ten minutes into (late) a thirty-minute episode. That’s where your head space should be when you begin writing your play.
Give yourself permission. Sit down and write.

This journal/workbook gives you not only the space to write down your ideas for a play but there are instructional sections to help you create your ten-minute play. Develop your story line. Create the characters. Try out different dialogue. 250+ blank, lined pages with famous quotes by actors, playwrights, and writers on each page to inspire the writer in you.’

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                “Writing isn’t a calling; it’s a doing!”  t. sugarek
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet, April: S. Brian Jones
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From Samurai Warrior to Haiku Poetry (Nostalgia #14)

As I swiveled around in my office chair I faced the back wall of my office and stared unseeing at a (manually) typed letter from James Clavell dated June, 1971. Clavell being the author of the classic and world renowned, ‘SHOGUN‘. (for you poor pathetic illiterate readers out there who have never read this classic or heard of James Clavell.)  The letter was a response to my asking him for more information on the word ‘joss’ and how it was used in ancient Japan. He responded with my answer and an invitation for us to sail up through the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island and his home.  WOW! 

‘SHOGUN‘ began my love affair with Samurai Japan and the history of ancient Japan.  The Samurai, a military caste in feudal Japan, began as provincial warriors before rising to power in the 12th century with the beginning of the country’s first military dictatorship, known as the shogunate. They continue to rise to great power, known for their superb fighting skills, their unwavering loyalty, and (oddly)  their poetry.  I became a student of this warrior class for over two decades. Searching out and reading their Haiku and Renku writings. 

I was fascinated by the fact that these fierce, bloodied, bigger-than-life warriors who dedicated their lives to their lord and war could, in turn, write delicate, tender poetry. So delicate you felt as though the paper the poetry was written on would crumble if you held it too tightly. So tender your heart wept at the reading.  

One day; I don’t know which day or what prompted me, I wrote my first Haiku. And as they say, the rest is history.  I have written Haiku for over three decades, published three books of poetry. 

It is a wonderful exercise in brevity and translates over to your other writings. Helping you to cut away the excess, the fluff in your writing. And if you write enough of this poetry, the fluff in your writing will never appear in the first place. 

The Garden

I wander my blooms
the morning sun barely peeks
above the far hills
~~Trisha Sugarek

Samurai Song (Renku)
                                                                                                                                                   
delicate blossom                                                                                                                       
rests in the still gnarled hand                                                                                                                              
bruised petals weep tears                                                       

weary eyes open
tiny cuts, the body bleeds
peace still years away

sun rise breaks the hill
heralds another battle
draw your sword and charge
~~Trisha Sugarek

If you want to try writing some Haiku, click here

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Gautet, April: S. Brian Jones 
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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

Inspiration Comes in All Forms

  chilren's theatre, children's plays, fairy tales, inspiration, actors You find inspiration in the strangest places.   I was dedicated to writing scripts for the stage.   A few years back, I attended this production of my children’s play, Emma and the Lost Unicorn, outside of Boston .

After the actors had their curtain calls, the Director told them that if they changed out of their costumes and did their assigned tasks back stage, they could ‘have some time with  Trisha’.

So I found myself holding impromptu stage craft classes with these adorable young actors (age 5–18).  I was struck how serious they were about their craft.  Their questions were very sophisticated.  And then it happened……the inspiration to dare to write something completely out of my comfort zone…..a book.

children's theatre, plays for kids, writing, stage plays,

Emma

The  youngest ones begged me to write the stories from my scripts into storybook form.  They wanted to have Emma, Stare, Cheets, and Stanley in their personal libraries.  Six children’s books, a mystery series and three novels later I have found a new outlet for my story fairy tales, dragons, books for children, children's playstelling.  These children, who knew no fear, gave me enough courage to try chapter books, poetry, and becoming a novelist. Experimental at times, risky at times, scary, but so rewarding.
 
I was lucky and had a head start using my stage plays as a story outline as I adapted them to story book form.  But for my true crime series and the novels, I was flying solo….staring at a blank screen, typing that first sentence (that I am always talking about). 

   So step out of your comfort zone and try writing in a different format… it’s very liberating and you might surprise yourself.  I did!
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Book 1 in series

 

 

 

Book Review ~~ The Raffle Baby

 5 out of 5 stars ~~~~ Book Review

 

This is one of those rare books where the reviewer wants to give it ten, no, a hundred, no, two thousand stars!  The writing is stunning. Ruth Talbot has a delicate, beautiful usage of words that we mortal writers can only dream of for ourselves. 

And her words craft a wonderful story. Griping, grim, tragic at times, nostalgic and loving. About friendship, perseverance, crushing hardship, with no real happy ending.  Talbot takes us tramping across this great nation of ours during one of the bleakest times in our history. The Great Depression. I, for one, never imagined that children….yes, you heard me correctly….children were cast out into the world to join the thousands of ‘hoboes‘ who jumped on and off trains and used them as their only transportation. Following work and seasonal harvests in order to not starve to death. 

Beautiful writing….a book you’ll want to take your time with. Mulling over a turn of phrase in the prose if you are a ‘English literature’ buff….or view, in your mind’s eye, the stunning visuals Talbot paints for her readers. 

This appears to be Talbot’s debut novel and we can only hope that she is working on her next one.  
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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Buckle-bunny

Another pair of cowboy boots
beneath my bed
banishing dreams of
a permanent man
right out of my head

They call me a buckle-bunny
but that sets low the bar
for at the end of the night
I take home the rodeo star

He rides wild horses
and even wilder bulls 
I lap him up by the mouthfuls

Lust curls in my belly
when I spy the champion buckle
his laughter is sweet as honeysuckle

An aging buckle-bunny is what I see
until the next cowboy smiles at me
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With years of practice writing Haiku, Renku (and prose) poetry, I feel as though I have acquired some skill. Because that is what it takes, practice.  The more you do anything the better you become. This my first attempt, ever, at ‘rhyming poetry’.  For two consecutive mornings I had lain in my bed, between that creative space of half-sleep and wakefulness.  The poem swirling around and around until it distilled to this and I had to write it down. (for better or for worse.)

The biggest reason that “rhyming poetry” has fallen out of favor is that it is often forced and unnatural. … To the ear, it will sound more like internal rhyme (but to the eye it will appear as some form of end rhyme). In a good rhyming poem, the reader might not even realize it is rhyming poem (until later).  (Unknown. From the Internet.)      If I accomplished this, dear reader, it was by pure accident. 

The title: A young country-western song writer made up this term and it caught my fancy.  She meant it as a name for the groupies that follow the rodeo and its cowboys.
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Gautet
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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK