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

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
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

  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


Auld Lang Syne ~~ Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of year….Auld Lang Syne and as the poet, Robbie Burns wrote,  “old long since”.  And I’m in the mood to tell a story.     

Wild Violets, a novel

Mother, Violet, on right, circa 1922?

In a very ‘Auld Lang Syne’ kind of mood, I  remembered things from my long ago youth at  holiday time.  Especially my mother’s traditions in the kitchen.  Christmas dinner was a big stuffed turkey with all, and I do mean all, the trimmings.  Dinner began with a ‘shrimp cocktail’.  If there was fresh shrimp (there had to have been; we lived in the Pacific Northwest for goodness sakes); my mother had never heard of them.  Canned shrimp filled two third’s of a martini glass, topped with her homemade cocktail sauce.  A sprig of parsley  on top and the glass was then placed on a paper doily covered saucer.  On the saucer was ONE, (never two or three) Ritz cracker.

The sage, giblet stuffing, made from scratch and that means my mother saved the heels of bread loaves for weeks. I’ve never tasted dressing as good since.  She would make the usual trimmings, gravy from the turkey drippings, green beans (out of a can, of course) flavored with bits of boiled bacon, baked sweet potatoes, and jellied cranberry sauce.  She considered whole berry cranberry sauce savage.  Home made biscuits and mashed potatoes.  And then the pièce de résistance………..her oyster dressing. (Fresh oysters)  Heaven in a bite!

family histories, family secrets, story telling, writers

Mom & me

Not being a particularly religious family the blessing was be short.  If my Dad could get away with it, he would add: “Pass the spuds, pass the meat, for

Godssakes, let’s eat.” We would toast each other with Manischewitz  wine. A wine connoisseur Mom was not!  And I never knew why a Kosher red wine was part of her tradition.  

As dishes were passed around the table,  someone would always mention my mother’s off colored joke about a “boarding house reach“.  A stickler for good manners, she would instruct us that a ‘boarding house reach’ was when you could ‘reach’ for something on the table and at least one butt cheek remained on your chair.  That was an acceptable ‘reach’ and not bad manners. Otherwise, you must ask politely for someone to pass down the dish you wanted.

roaring 20's, flappers, new fiction, Wild Violets

the flapper days

I was never certain whether she had run a boarding house or had just lived in one sometime during her 1920’s flapper*bar owner*professional bowler* speckled younger days.  If she had run a bordello it would not have surprised me!    Miss you, Mom!

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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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An Irish Country Yuletide by Patrick Taylor ~~ Book Review

 3 out of  5 stars    An Irish Country Yuletide

A sweet little story ideal for an easy read during the holiday season. If you’re a fan (which I am) of the Irish Country series, you’ll love this novella. 

The village of Ballybucklebo turns out strong for the Christmas season.  All the characters that readers have grown to love return in this book.  Including a few new ones that are a complete surprise. The prodigal son returns after decades of being banished in Australia.  A new young family (temporarily) in trouble arrives to shelter for awhile.  Engagements and new marriages abound.  

Fans of Patrick Taylor will thoroughly enjoy this book. 

Did you miss my Interview with Patrick Taylor?
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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
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde **Review

5 stars     ** Book Review **

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s brilliance as a story teller knows no bounds. In Boy Underground she creates wonderful characters that the reader loves
and cheers for by page three. Secondary characters shine with believability. While the reader may hate some of them, Hyde gives the reader some insight to why they are such terrible parents, friends, and classmates. Dross and riffraff of a small town. 

While weaving this wonderful story about four high school misfits, Hyde brings forth a time in America’s history that should drip with shame for all of us. Woven through this fiction is non-fiction history about social norms and the betrayal of US  citizens, on so many levels.
(Note: This is as much as I am willing to say about the story to avoid, as I do, spoiler alerts.)  

This book is a must for your library; to read and read again and then to keep on the shelf that holds your most treasured books. 

Now available at your favorite book store.
Did you see my Interview with Catherine Ryan Hyde
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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
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

Interview with Historical Romance Author, Mimi Matthews

Bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, & Booklist, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo of you at work in your shed, room, closet, barn, houseboat….) Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

Jet and Stella

MM. I mostly write in bed. This is owing less to laziness than to a cervical spine injury I suffered several years ago. My neck requires lots of propping and support to keep it from flaring up. My room is wonderfully bright and spacious, though, with high ceilings and lots of big windows. I have built-in bookcases filled with history books, law books, and all my favorite novels. I also have a capacious secretary desk, which I don’t use as much as I should. One perk of writing in bed is that my cats and dogs all pile in with me. They’re basically my co-writers.

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

MM. I have no quirks, rituals, or writerly affectations. My process consists of opening a word document on my laptop. Of course, peace and quiet helps tremendously. And diet Cherry Pepsi, too, if I can get it.

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

MM. I love to travel but hate to fly. In the past, I used to master by fear in order to go to the places I wanted to go. Now however, I’m not sure I’ll ever fly again. Even thinking about it makes me anxious. The last time I was on a plane it had to make an emergency landing. There were firetrucks waiting for us on the runway. That may have been it for me.

Coming! January, 2022

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

MM. I start with my laptop. That’s pretty much it.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

MM. I like to start by 1pm. Ideally, I start earlier, but 1pm is my “do or die” marker.

One of this blogger’s favs….

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

MM. For me, some days all it takes is opening a word document. Once I have the document in front of me, the words often come. If not, it helps to reread the last scene I wrote. Writing sprints can also help if I’m really feeling reluctant.

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

MM. I always begin a story with an idea of them, even if it’s just a vague one. As I write and research, they become fully formed in my mind. I’m a pantser, not a plotter, so am accustomed to discovering things as I go.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

MM. When I was very small, I used to tell stories to my mom. She encouraged me to write them down. It was a personal exercise, done more for my own amusement than with any view to being a writer one day. I’m not sure I even understood what a novelist was.

Don’t miss the conclusion.
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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
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

How To Write a Play Journal is Now in Hardback

This beautiful journal/handbook is now available in Hardcover. Here’s a little of what you can expect inside. Plus hundreds of blank pages for your own writings and plans for a stage play.

1.  Format is very important.    If you submit your new play to anyone they will not read it if it is not in the proper format. There is software out there that offer auto-format but I found them lacking.   The character’s name is centered. Blocking (action) is indented and placed in parentheses. Setting (indent once), Rise  (indent once) and Dialogue is far left. Double space between character’s name and first line of dialogue.  Blocking (action): is placed below the character’s name in parentheses. (indent x 3).  A ‘beat’ is a dramatic pause to enhance the pace of the speech and is placed in the dialogue where you wish the actor to pause for a beat or two. 

2. Each page represents approximately one minute of time on stage.  So if you have a play that is 200 pages long, that won’t work.  Audiences aren’t going to sit for more than one and a half hours unless you are providing a circus, a fire drill, sex, and an earthquake.  You should keep your full length script to about 100 pages which equals 1.6 hours of stage time.  For a one act divide that by 2.  For a ten minute play your script should be from 10-15 pages. These times and figures are debated by others but this has been my experience as an actor/director/writer.

3.  Leave lots of white space on the page.  One day when your play is being produced, actors will need a place to make notes in the script during rehearsal.  This is a sample of an actor’s (mine) working script. The    
actor usually ‘highlights’ their lines and writes the director’s blocking in the margins. (in pencil, as blocking frequently changes)

4.  The blocking is indented, in parentheses, and directly below the character’s name.  This is where the playwright gives the characters instructions on when and where to move.  But, keep it short and sweet.  Remember there will be a director who has their own ideas of where he/she wants their actors to be.  Be aware of costume changes in your writing.  An actor can’t exit stage left and enter stage right, seconds later, if you haven’t written in the time it will take for them to accomplish a costume change.

5.  Your script has to work on a stage.  If your story takes place in more than one locale, you have to be aware of the logistics of set changes. So keep it simple to start.  If you are ambitious in your setting buy a book on set design to research if your set is feasible.  There are some wonderful ‘envelope’ sets that unfold when you need to change the scene.  But you have to consider the budget; would a theatre have the money to build it? Always a worry.

6.  Dialogue: Now here’s the sometimes hard part:  everything you want the audience to know about the story and the characters, is
conveyed in the dialogue.  Unlike a short story or a novel, where you can write as much description as you’d like, a play script has none of that.  NO description. 

Here is a Sample of formatting your script correctly.  (Click link for details.) 

Journal includes instruction on: 

How To Begin
How to Write a Play
Formatting your Play on the Page
How to write Dialogue
How to Create Rich, Exciting Characters
Designing a Set
Stage Lighting
Stage Terminology
and more…..
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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
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my 

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

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK