reviews “Women Outside the Walls” reviewed my book and I couldn’t be more delighted.WOW.BanW._wow (3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t forget to go back and……

writing, process, writers, styleI was recently working on my blog, and fiction that I had written over a year ago  I realized as I cut and pasted excerpts from my writings (in preparation to posting on my own site, and other sites) that with all the flurry of editing, rewriting, deleting, (I have grown to love my delete key)  and proofing I rarely  stop to enjoy the final product. 

And when I do go back, it’s always with an editor’s eye and I am very critical.  I could have done so much better!  Do you ever feel that way?

So as I was organizing and doing the housekeeping that a web site requires, I took a moment.  As  I chose and inserted excerpts, I stopped to just enjoy the poetry of the words, the dry humor in a line of dialogue, or a quip from one of my fictional characters…. Continue reading “Don’t forget to go back and……”

A Word to ‘New-bee’ Writers, freshly hatched…..

“He was, in my opinion, the greatest American fiction writer of the last half of the 20th century.   Fortunately for his book sales, authors, writers, reviews, famous authorsmost think of him as the archetypal drunk, misanthropic male pig. Whatever else he was, he was also the archetypal writer, a force of nature who knew exactly what to do to a blank page. 

Bukowski attributed so much weight to the single line that it eclipsed all else in his philosophy of writing. If the single line was magnificent, the rest would take care of itself.  In a 60,000 word novel, the
working focus was on the single line. In the sex stories he wrote and sold to skin mags for money, the working
focus was on the single line. In a small, immortal poem that 50 people might read, his working focus was
on the single line.

Do you possess this kind of love for your words? Do you respect your craft enough to narrow your focus
to the attention of a single line? It’s not easy. It’s not fast. But this must certainly be a path to immortal (and powerfully influential) writing.  If you can stomach it.”   Robert Bruce ( about Henry Charles Bukowski, Jr.
Well?  Do you?  Possess this kind of love and respect for your work?

I’ve used the words:  “re-write” and “delete” and “edit” so much in my blogging you probably want to take a
‘delete’ key to me! 
BUT!  It’s what makes a so-so writer into a good or great one.

Experienced writers know this and value the rewrite more than anything.  That’s really when the magic happens.
In a recent interview here with Jo-Ann Mapson, she said, “I love rewriting. Just thank God for it every single day, because that is where good writing pokes its head up.”

A word to you aspiring writers:  I’ve been there, believe me, when I was terrified to delete a single word.
Not that I was certain that everything I uttered was ‘gold’…..far from it….no, terrified that I had nothing better to replace it with. Now that I have found my ‘process’ I understand how I work.  I write it in my head for days, then, when the moment comes I type (thank God for my secretarial skills of 75 wpm in a previous life).  Once the story is laid down, I begin the re-writing, editing, adding, deleting.

Re-writing and deleting:  some of my best work has been born in the re-write.  Some of my worst work has been write, create, writing, authors, blogdeleted.  Get it?

The Delete key:  I know, I know, I’m a tired old record.  But it can’t be said enough.  Get to know and love your
delete key. 
Every word you write isn’t going to be ‘golden’.  Before you push your child (story) out into traffic
(the world) you are the only critic and editor in the room.  Be certain that you critique yourself; keep polishing,
keep editing.

I’m of the school of writers that believes my work is never finished;  I could and have found something to re-write in everything I have published.  It’s a demon I have to live with.

The Mocking Bird by Charles Bukowski ©

The mocking bird had been following the cat
all summer
mocking, mocking, mocking

Teasing and cocksure;
the cat crawled under rockers on porches
tail flashing
and said something angry to the mocking bird
which I didn’t understand

Yesterday the cat walked calmly up the driveway
with the mocking bird alive in its mouth
wings fanned, wings fanned and flopping
feathers parted like a woman’s legs
and the bird was no longer mocking…   (from his book of poetry:  The Pleasures of the Damned)

Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A NEW SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and plan on featuring an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal, Maya Angelou, Robert McCammon, Mark Childress, Sue Grafton, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Mark Childress is our April author.  Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author.
features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander.

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on “join my blog”. You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ . Thanks!

Midwest Book Review loves “The World of Haiku”

The MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW gives “The World of Haiku”  glowing praise


haiku, smaurai, Misashi, poetry, writing, blogging, blogs                ‘The World of Haiku is a striking collection of original poetry; each poem consists of three haiku verses. Bold, pen-and-ink artwork embellishes each brief poem. The World of Haiku embodies the spirit of encompassing timeless observations in a fleeting moment of verse, and is a delightful treasure for any who enjoy contemplative haiku poetry.

©”Summer Woods” : a single leaf floats / deer creep along well worn paths / fish leap with delight // rings spread on the pond / katydids shout their presence / goslings paddle near // breezes stir the trees / the forest floor perfumes rise / a lone bird exults’
~~~Paul T. Vogel,Reviewer

Tips on how to write this beautiful form of poetry.  Click HERE

writing, journaling,poetry, japanese poetry,A companion book,  “My Journal**Haiku” is also available to spark your poetry writing.

Pushing out Experiments (part 2)

Haiku poetry, poetry, female poets, Japanese,A Poet You’re Not!

In talking more about experiments I need to go back to 2010.  I began writing poetry in my head.  Wait just a darn minute!  I thought,  I’m not a poet!  I don’t know the first thing about pentameter, or phrasing, or any of that stuff!  Cut it out! I ordered my brain! ……No sale!

So I began to put it down on paper to see what I might have.  One day I remembered a little silver journal that sits in my bookcase where I keep quotes that I like and don’t want to forget, tidbits of this and that, and (surprisingly) quite a bit of what I, myself, had scribbled over the years and tucked away.  (Remember what I said about the drawer and letting your writing rise like bread?)

So with my trusty ‘delete’ key at the ready, (the letters are practically worn off that key) editing and re-writing and with much trepidation I considered publishing my first book of poetry, “Butterflies and Bullets“…….but a little voice (the one that keeps me from exposing myself and keeps me from experimenting)  kept poetry, Haiku, family, love, betrayal, death, grief, recoverywhispering, “Who do you think you are?  A poet now?  HA!”

To protect myself  if someone actually said: “She thinks she ‘s a poet now?!” I subtitled the book: poetry, musings and other stories.  Then I showed a proof to an acknowledged poetess to see what she thought.  To publish or not to publish, that was the question.  With her encouragement  (she thought I had some good stuff) I told my ‘little voice’ to shut up; I was going for it.

Well, I’ve never sold a single copy to a stranger. Plenty of friends and family say they love it but no real customers buying it for the love of poetry.  An experiment that failed.…or was it?

This opened my brain and my heart further and I began to write Haiku.  I had read the great Samurai warrior-poets for years and it must have rubbed off on me.  For months I had an unfinished book with all the poetry written but the pen & Ink art work that I wanted to include wasn’t completed.

Enter my new website…….(May 2012) I started getting hits on my Haiku poetry. Almost every day!  There has been a wonderful Renaissance of this time-honored poetry and people were coming to my site looking for more.  So I put my book, “The World of Haiku” on the front burner and completed the art work.  My audience was calling!

It’s only been out about eight weeks and it is selling!  No one is as shocked and amazed as I am. I have since added a companion book, a Journal to inspire others to try their hand at writing Haiku.

So, writers, keep pushing your experiments….keep writing….if one thing doesn’t work try something else.  Yeah, the money’s nice but what we, as writers, really want is for people to read what we write!  Right??

Wind Horse ©                                                             Haiku poetry, Japanese poetry, Japanese art,

running free, wild, brave
tail streaming high in the wind
hoof pounding the earth

horses turn their haunch
to show their scorn for the storm
and nature’s tantrum

allows man to think
he can command elegance
and tame the wild heart

Trisha Sugarek

(image used with special permission by Lori Smaltz)


To receive my posts sign up for my blog.  Go to the home page; On the right side you’ll see a box where you can enter your email address. Click on join my blog“.  You need to confirm in an email from ‘Writer at Play’ .  blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fictionThanks!



Midwest Book Review of “Women Outside the Walls”

The Midwest Book Review rated Women Outside the Walls a ‘must read’. To see all the best books, visit their site: