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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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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

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

Conclusion: Interview with Regency Author, Jennie Goutet

Author, Jennie Goutet

Q. What makes a writer great?

JG. There is natural talent, of course. But I think what makes a writer great is being able to handle critique and to incorporate the good critiques into future works – to constantly learn and grow in the craft.

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

JG. I get a rough idea and write a few chapters that I love. Then I crash and don’t know what to do next so I call my development editor and we talk through the ideas. I write a really skeletal first draft and hate it. Then read through and think it’s not quite so bad. I get my critique partners to have a look and take their advice. I edit again then send it to the developmental editor in completed form (or at least at 80%). I edit again on the computer then on paper and send it to the line editor. I edit again with her changes and do text to voice to catch repeats or strange wording. Then I read it on my kindle to see it as a reader would before sending it to the proof editor. In the final stages, I send it to early readers who catch all the typos and other mistakes no one else caught. Then it’s ready to go out.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

JG. I’ve lived in a lot of places. I’m curious about human nature. I observe. I’ve suffered from the darker things like grief and depression. I’ve known wild joy and adventure. I think my characters come to life from what I’ve experienced.

Q. What’s your down time look like?

JG. This is a weakness of mine. I do not have down time. I work all day on writing or the other aspects of the business (marketing, social media, production, translation, audio), then make dinner and listen to my teens talk about their day. On the weekend I’m doing ministry stuff. (We serve the teen ministry). I know this is just a phase, though – these teen years – so I’m okay with it. I really enjoy reading in bed at night. And we go away a few times a year, which is great. Sometimes I take a walk by the Seine river, or visit a friend, or go into Paris, but there is no regular downtime.

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

JG. I’ve written contemporary romance. A Noble Affair was my first novel and it’s not the finest in terms of literature but it was good practice for a full-length fiction work. And A Sweetheart in Paris is a decent book, I think, but it hasn’t attracted much attention. I’ve written a memoir as well, Stars Upside Down. I think if I were to switch genres I wouldn’t stray far. Georgian or Victorian as opposed to Regency. But I really love what I write.

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

A. Well, this won’t be relatable to everyone, but my main life’s lesson is that when I draw my last breath my books won’t matter. Only my relationship to God will. So I need to make sure that success doesn’t go to my head and that failure doesn’t destroy me. I am just God’s kid, and He’ll make sure I have all I need.

Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2?
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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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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Interview with France based author, Jennie Goutet (part 2)

The summer Alps

Q. What does it feel like to be an American writer, living in France, writing in an English, historic romance genre. (Special challenges? Funny stories?)

JG. I can usually forget about where I live when writing my Regency England books. But it can be tricky when translating the books, especially when the Napoleonic wars are portrayed. My latest book was set in Waterloo and we all know how that turned out for the French. I’ll be putting a disclaimer in the front and the back of the book for that one. (Oui, oui, I love my adopted country). Otherwise, I think it helps for the historical details. I have a much easier time getting to the French chateaux, but they can easily inspire me much in the same way the English ones would were I able to visit them.

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

JG. Sometimes I start out with a good idea of the character and who he or she is. At other times, I discover my character as I go. He or she takes control of the story and runs off with it in an unexpected direction.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

This blogger is a big fan!

JG. I had tried writing when I was younger. A handwritten book in the 8th grade, 10 chapters of a book that went nowhere when we were living in Africa, a fantasy book that I mapped out and abandoned. It was finally the freedom of writing for the sake of writing on my blog that allowed me to see how much I enjoyed written expression, and it was my memoir that allowed me to see that I could finish a book. From there I wanted to keep writing books but I had already told my own story. It was time to tell someone else’s.

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

JG. It truly depends on the book. I might start with Character: ‘I want to tell the story of a woman who keeps her poise when faced with a series of difficult situations’ (A Fall from Grace); or Situation: ‘I want to tell the story of an arranged marriage where the bride is furious to be sold off and the husband is feeling sheepish about having arranged it’ (His Disinclined Bride); or it could be that I know the character from previous books and tackle Both: ‘I want to put shy, retiring Phoebe with her unrequited love through the fires of Brussels in 1815, which will show her just how strong she is.’ (A Daring Proposal). It just depends.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JG. I should say yes. That is what a proper writer is supposed to say. But no, not always. Sometimes it’s just a job and I have to get the word count in. Fortunately (for the reader, I suppose) there will always come a point when I am fully invested. But in terms of proportion of time spent getting lost, it’s a little less like first dates / falling in love and more like married for 25 years and still grateful – if that makes sense. Even if a lot of the writing feels like work, I do love it.

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

a trip to Rouen

JG. Right now I’m in the process of launching two season finales. A Daring Proposal is just released in the Memorable Proposals series. This is the one about Waterloo. And The Sport of Matchmaking is set to come out in May. This one is the last of the Clavering Chronicles series, and it’s fun and light in tone. There is a pretty strong contrast to A Daring Proposal, which is more about the deeper emotions. So now it’s time to start something new. I am in the process of thinking about a series. I’m working out the setting, the characters, the covers and the names, but it’s too early in the process to say anything because it might yet change.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

JG. I was a regular and invested blogger for years, but those were always short posts rather than the longer works. I published my memoir at the end of 1813 (Oh my gosh. That is how much of a Regency writer I am – I literally wrote that date instead of the 21st century) in 2013 and I have not looked back since.

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

JG. I’m not sure. If we increase bamboo production and start to use that instead, and start to reduce battery-operated small appliances … maybe we’ll keep paper? Unless the e-readers all become solar charged? I do think that the trend will be based more on the needs of the environment rather than readers’ preferences.

Did you miss Part 1 of our interview?
Join us for the conclusion next week. 

Did you miss my REVIEW of this author’s book?
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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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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

A Little Haiku

Flat Busted

broke down in Tucson
flat-busted, him punchin’ cows
and her slingin’ hash

Haiku (c) by Trisha Sugarek ~~  More Haiku

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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 Gautet
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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

Friday Refreshment

I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately. Another self-help book for my readers and fans. Trying to share the practical, no-nonsense tips that others forget or don’t think to share. My approach being down-to-earth, pragmatic, and helpful (I hope). That which has grown out of my years…no… decades of creating books. Starting from scratch, like you, not knowing the first thing.

So I find myself weary after putting the final touches on this book, just newly released on Amazon.
I frequently go to Charles Bukowski for renewal, for refilling my tanks. Strange but true. So thumbing through my much read copy of The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain I came across this:

help wanted and received ©
I’m stale sitting here
At this typewriter, the door open on my little balcony
When suddenly there is a roar in the sky,
Bruckner shouts back from
poet, wisdom, Charles BukowskiThe radio and then the rain comes down glorious and violent,
And I realize that it’s good that the world
Can explode this way because now I am renewed, listening and watching as
Droplets of rain splash on my wristwatch.
The torrent of rain clears my brain and my spirit ads a long line of blue lightning splits the night sky.
I smile inside, remembering that someone once said, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” and
I quickly think, “I’d rather be lucky and good”
As tonight as Bruckner sets the tone as the hard rain continues to fall
As another blue streak of lightning explodes in the sky
I’m grateful that for the moment I’m both.

Today I am lucky and good!

Did you miss my Interview with Bukowski?
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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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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

Want To Publish Your Book?

NEWLY RELEASED!      I’ve just finished some final editing on my latest “How To…” book and it is now available on Amazon.com and all other book outlets.

I’ve tried to create a handbook that will lead the writer, step-by-step through the self-publishing world.  Topics such as picking the right size for your book to advice on choosing a title. Manuscript formatting tips to  recommending self-publishing programs. From royalties to creating a dynamic cover for your book. And much, much more.  

This book is available at your favorite book store and on-line. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Gautet
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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

Nora Roberts Land by Ava Miles ~~ Book Review

2 out of 5 stars     ~~   Book Review

I ordered more books by this author (hope it was not a mistake) based on the first one I had read. This offering Nora Roberts Land ruined a pretty good story.  The author kept referring to book titles by Nora Roberts and the protagonists of each story. It became very distracting, very quickly.  It smacked of: ‘See how clever I am to know all these titles and their heroes?‘  

I first suspected that this was an indie published book because the formatting was all wonky.  That’s the first clue that an author self publishes. That’s not a bad thing but the author should do their very best at formatting.  The ‘justify’ margin selection would have solved many of the wonky right margins found in this book. It was obvious to me that she had used the ‘left’ margin key. Very distracting. 

The characters were a little shallow. The plot was okay but with the many references to Nora Roberts’ characters it came across as CORNY. 
The sex scenes were lascivious rather than salacious or  scintillating. 

I never finished this book. An unheard-of thing for me.  I usually stick to the bitter end. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Writer’s Sprints/Writer’s Block (part 2)

Writing Sprints (Part 2)

In writing my sample of a writing sprint (for this blogging session) it WORKED!  I had been ‘resting’ from my creative writing; fiction, scripts, etc., but writing every day, my blog, etc. But after writing a couple of ‘sprints’ I seemed to have kicked aside whatever was holding me back and wrote a short, one act play in less than a week.  And returned to an unfinished novel in my true crime series. 

If you want extra accountability, start your writing sprint by posting “Starting a 30-minute writing sprint” on one of your social

A new short play

media sites (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) with the hashtag #writingsprint.
Before you start, double check one last time that you have everything you need to do your writing sprint. Preparation is critical to a successful sprint.
Once you are ready, start your timer. As soon as you start the timer, start writing and don’t stop until the timer stops. Don’t pause to consider word choice. Don’t stop for a sip of water (or wine). That can wait. Don’t think about what to do next (hopefully, you have planned it out earlier, so just implement your plan). It doesn’t matter what you write as much as that you keep your fingers or hands moving and words going down on the page or screen.
You can always edit your writing later. Remember:  “Writing is not a calling; it’s a doing.” (t. sugarek)
Stop only when the timer goes off. Then celebrate your successful sprint (and motivate others) by posting your word count achieved on social media and in any group forums if you are participating in an event.
Finally, record your sprinting session to track your progress.

When to Do a Writing Sprint

There are certain times where writing sprints can be extremely useful.
• When you have writer’s block
• When you only have a limited amount of time to write
• When you want to increase your writing speed
• When you want to reach a specific word count goal by a specific time
• When you want to break out of editing mode

There is no right way or wrong way to do writing sprints. So you can’t write 500 words in fifteen minutes. So what?  Just do your best. Stop over thinking it and just write as fast and furiously as you can. Put words down and see what happens. That blank page isn’t going to fill up by itself. 

Did you miss Part I of this post? 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews
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  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Writing Sprints May Cure Writer’s Block

Writing sprints are timed writing sessions of usually 15-60 minutes where writers try to achieve a specific word count or write as many words as possible. Just like running sprints, writing sprints aim to maximize results in minimal time.
We are going to explore exactly how to do just that…every time.

Why Writers Do Writing Sprints

There are many reasons why a writer might conduct a writing sprint. But the most helpful is to cure writer’s block.
A writing sprint can be an effective way to break out of a writing slump. Writing sprints, with their focus on high intensity pace and word count over quality, can be just the kickstart a writer needs to shatter writer’s block.

Ok, that’s all well and good, but how do you actually do a writing sprint?

Start by deciding whether you want to do a writing sprint alone or as part of an event with other writers. Solo sprints are more flexible because you only have yourself to think about, but tandem sprints or group sprints can be incredibly motivating and fun.
Select a writing goal, usually a set word count or number of pages if you want to complete. Usually this number is between 500 and (gulp) 1,000 words.
Next, choose a time limit between 15 and 60 minutes. Obviously, make sure the time limit is reasonable for the goal! You don’t want your hand to fall off.
If possible, remove all distractions. Choose a quiet place to conduct your sprint so you won’t be disturbed or interrupted by noise or other people. (Of course, some writers thrive off ambient coffee shop sounds or music, so do whatever works best for you!)

Prepare your writing tools. Gather your pencils, pens, paper, timer, laptop, writing software or apps, etc. It’s a good idea to have backup writing tools and to ensure that your computer is fully charged with a charging cable available in case you need it.
If you are using a timing device like an egg timer, get that ready and ensure that it is fully charged or has batteries with backup batteries available.
Make a writing plan. Either have a prompt (or series of prompts) ready or create an outline for the scene, chapter or sequence you want to write. A little bit of preplanning can make all the difference in your pace during a sprint.
Choose a time of day when you know that you will have high energy and few distractions. Some writers write best in the mornings, others do better at night. If you have a choice, pick the optimum time for your sprinting.

Following is a sample of my own writing sprint. Four hundred words in 15 minutes. I used only one punctuation, the period. As I intended to use an edited version of this in my current book-in-progress, I threw in quote marks out of habit.  A habit hard to break. 

Detective Phoebe Sneed knew she had one shot to make people believe that she was under age, no more than seventeen. These men liked ‘em young if reports were to be believed. She put on her big eyed innocent look and walked through the door of the mansion. She heard music coming from somewhere in the back of the house. She found a hallway leading back of the house and walked down it. the music intensifying. Stepping through a doorway, she entered what looked like a small ballroom. Some furniture bordered the walls leaving a sizable space for dancing. The girl she met last night rushed up to her. “Where’d you go last night?” You disappeared.” Phoebe sighed and pouted, “I got sick. I ate at a bodega for lunch and it hit me. Something must have been bad.”
“Well, come join the party. I told Geoff all about ya. He wants to meet you. He’s fond of brunettes. How old are ya, did you say?”
“I’m sixteen.”. Phoebe waited for the incongruitous laughter but the girl just nodded and grabbed her by the wrist. Pulling her onto the dance floor, she began to gyrate in front of Phoebe and they joined the dancers.
Meanwhile, a small knot of middle-aged men stood in a corner watching the young dancers. It was reputed that Geoff Wexstein collected princes, politicians,

Book 1 in series

CEO’s, and an occasional Catholic Bishop to his parties. Their leers were not hidden as the men all but salivated in front of the young girls. A politician, in an Italian silk suit and bold red tie whispered in Geoff’s ear.
“Fuck, Geoff, this is a prime batch of pussy, here. How old are they?”
“Giselle tells me the usual; around fifteen, sixteen. Nice, huh?”
“I’m gonna go dance.” The politician peeled off and half danced across the floor to join the girls. Soon they were are around him, laughing and gyrating. They could smell the money coming off of him in waves, mixed with the Armani after shave.
Phoebe danced with the guy, avoiding his hands which had a propensity to wander and accidently brush butts and breasts. “Eww.” She thought. What a creep.”
Soon the other men had joined in the group dance and in a few minutes, pairs were being formed. Geoff, the host, was very careful that there were always more girls than men so there was plenty of choice.  ©

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion. In the meantime try your own writing sprint.
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A new short play