‘Women Outside the Walls’ by Trisha Sugarek

 Many years ago I visited a state prison for men in Illinois. My first time ever, in a prison, doing research for one of my plays. I was there to see a confessed murderer, Bill, and was writing his story. (Cook County Justice)  I sat in the reception area, very nervous and scared; much like Kitty in the beginning of this story.

I was deeply moved by the nameless women around me who had come to visit their men. One woman told me that she was visiting her son and had been coming once a month and every holiday for thirteen years. During another time in her life she had faithfully visited her husband for fifteen years while he served out his time. Many of the children I saw had spent their growing up years in a visiting room behind bars.

The entry process that I write about [and went through] is accurate in this story. Most notable about the visiting room was the frustration, anger and fear, thick in the air.  In the visiting room, the rage and disappointment emanating from inmates was palatable.

There seemed to be two types of prisoners; ones like Bill who kept their heads down, caused no waves, and spoke in a monotone. Or the other type who were aggressive, ‘in your face’ bullies and troublemakers. Always running a hustle. As I sat there interviewing Bill, I was struck on a visceral level about how these women coped year after year. How did they come to be here? Was it a simple matter of choosing the wrong men? Did they grow up with the same dreams most women have about living with a good husband and raising wonderful children? As I sat there, I wondered: where did it all go so terribly wrong?

Praise for Trisha Sugarek

Women Outside the Walls~~ ‘Step inside the sisterhood of the women with men behind bars. 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. 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.’ ~~ Fresh Fiction

 Love can see people through the roughest times. This novel, Women Outside the Walls, from Trisha Sugarek takes the reader along as she explores the nature of women outside the prison walls who are trying to get by as their men are serving time. Finding an unusual friendship through their tough time, more plight comes their way and challenges what they have left as independent women as one of their daughters goes missing. Women Outside the Walls carries a positive message, and shouldn’t be overlooked, very much recommended.’ ~ Midwest Book Review

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Have you worked with an illustrator yet? Here are 12 Tips

Working successfully with an illustrator   I have used several artists, depending upon the project.  I have had wonderful response from my illustrators (free-lance) and as a team we get the job done!
David White has done several covers for me, most prominent and recent the newest in the World of Murder series.

The illustrator for my children’s books is brilliant in a different way.  He reads the story as I write it with clear instructions (from me) on where I want the illustrations placed in my story book.  Then he creates all these different perspectives that I would never have dreamed about.  They are truly wonderful.

So I thought I would share these tips, with you, about working with another artist.  Hopefully they are helpful as you work with your ‘image-maker’.

Tip #1:  Be patient.

Tip #2: They are artists, much like you, so they are sensitive about their art.

Tip #3:  Don’t push them; they have a time-table that might not be yours.  I do state my time-table in the beginning of a project and get some assurance that they will try to meet it.

Tip #4: Be patient.

Tip #5: Be certain that you give them at least two credits in your publication, book or script. I routinely credit them on the back (exterior) cover and on one of the first pages in the book.

Tip #6:  Pay them the most that you can budget.  Remember the old adage: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

Tip #7:  Because I am on a budget; I state my rates (per size of image) right up front.  Be honest.

Tip #8: Be patient.

Tip #9:  Don’t be afraid to use students at an art school.  I have used them (or graduates) from the Savannah College of Art and Design.  They are fresh, have the newest technology, and are the most excited by the project.  Do I occasionally meet a ‘prima dona’?  Who, without any work history, without any credits of any kind, without any life experience, behaves as if they work for a big city design firm, expecting top dollar and……. are confused when you don’t see it that way. (sigh) Yes,  I have!

Tip #10: Try to be as clear as you can on what you want in the image.  Don’t be afraid to tweak the work as you and your illustrator work together.  My illustrators appreciate the second set of eyes.Journal for Creative Writers

Tip #11: Pay the illustrator promptly.  As I have my illustrator working as I write; when I receive final images I pay him as we go along.  I don’t make them wait until the project is finished to be paid.

Tip #12: Be patient.

E. Van Johnson will be our January author!

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Don’t miss an Interview with Jo-Ann Mapson Tuesday

writing, authors, interview, best seller,writers                              Next Tuesday the second in my series of Interviews will be with Jo-Ann Mapson.     I thought my readers might enjoy hearing about other authors’ writing processes.  So I created a Question & Answer-type Interview and then began contacting some of my favorite authors to ask them to take part.

  In this three-part blog, we will chat with best-selling author, Jo-Ann Mapson.  She is one of my favorites and I always wait with bated breath until her next book comes out.  Her characters, (men, women, dogs, horses), are vivid and believable and they often return in one of her new books.

I hope that you enjoy her insights, humor and really great stories….  writers, interviews, best selling authors, blogs

In the coming months:  Authors, Susan Elia MacNeal,  Rhys Bowen, Walter Mosley, Tasha Alexander, and many more will share their writing life with us!


    I hope you will come out today for my

BOOK SIGNING !!dragons, elves, fairies, dragon, fairy tales, new book for your child, new fairy tales, running away, friendship

  Shaver Book Sellers, on Madison Square in Savannah  
to hold a book signing.

              This event will begin at

2PM today, November 17th.

              Shaver’s carries all of my children’s books, my poetry and novel, “Women Outside the Walls”.  Also available, today only, will be most of my play scripts.

Come by and say “hello” and enjoy this historic, iconic book store that is locally owned and operated.


326 Bull Streetgreed, ecology, elves, warlords, love, friendship

A foggy night, at a ferry landing, inspired me…(part 4)

ferry landing, poetry, foggy night, blogs, writing, I was sitting, late one night, at a ferry landing, waiting and watching the boats ferry back and forth until it was my turn to board.  Fog horns, misty fog, reflections on the black water, the screech of the gulls, and the silent hunting of the pelicans.

The wet air, the silence, the sound of a lone fog horn warning vessels of danger.  The fog smearing everything I looked at… I was inspired  to write poetry.  But the scene could have inspired a murder mystery writer to write about a body, weighted down, being slipped into the water;  or it could have inspired a romance writer to write about two lovers parting as the boat docked.  Never to be together again.  For me, it was poetry.  Here is an excerpt of what came out of that black night……..


The white orb, saturated with tidal flows 

peers through the veil, 

a ghost ship slips up the fog laden channel

 Night gulls’ sing with strident cries 

fog seeps in, the tide rolls out, 

day is gone, the night creeps on 

Trees, dressed in ebony, drift by 

water glistens, injectable methandienone online in uk gold and wet 

Night is soft and tender, edges blurred 

damp seeps into cloth, hair, bone 

Fog casts tents of light over the landing 

Hunters of the sea know not day nor night 

Fishers all, white feathers stark 

against the night shadows 

Palm trees, silhouetted against the ochre gauze, 

brushes hardened with black paint……

I raced home as I had nothing to write with in the car.  Opening my front door, I dropped my keys and purse onto a chair, tore off my coat as I sped down the hall to my studio.  Waking up my computer, my fingers flew across the key board, lest I forget the words that were born in the night.

To read more click here for the book, "Butterflies and Bullets"





What’s your favorite word? Nostalgia is one of mine!

family, sisters, writing, blogs, women,     Were you there when the movie “Little Women” came out? Not the new (1994) version…the old version (1949, it’s on DVD)  with June Allyson who played Jo,  Peter Lawford as Laurie, Margaret O’Brien as Beth, Elizabeth Taylor as  Amy, and Janet Leigh (yes! from Psycho fame)  as Meg.   Do you go all nostalgic when you think about those simpler times with  Jo, Beth, Amy, and Meg?  I do.  Have you read the book by Louisa May Alcott?  She was writing about her family.

Part of me wishes I had a bunch of sisters, (be careful what you wish for, right?) part of me wishes that I had lived in a simpler time. I am a part of a family like the Marches.  My mother had  five sisters and six brothers.  I grew up with twelve aunties and uncles.  And so many cousins I still don’t know the number.

So I write about them.  I am much like Jo; writer, tomboy (in my younger days) outspoken and trying to be the very best at what I do…….writing.  

My suggestion to other writers is to write about your grandmother, great-aunt, second cousin, twice removed.  Write about what you know. Write about the past.  I am so very lucky to have the ‘Guyer girls’ to draw from …..I couldn’t make up the stories that they have given me out of their real lives.     family, women, sisters,



One of the most rewarding parts of being a writer (on the Internet) is the responses I have gotten from all over the world.  India, Australia, Argentina, Great Britian, and now Spain.  Tanya is a working actor and has become interested in Billlie Holiday as a way to fine tune her musical career.

I thought my readers might enjoy her letter,

My name is Tanya R. and I’m an actress interested in training and developing my acting and singing abilities. I came to find your play and I was very lucky to find it (Scent of Magnolia)

I’ve read it and I have really enjoyed it. I hadn’t really gone in depth in Billie Holiday’s life or music. My only objective is to do some training with the play. I was born in Colombia, raised in both Colombia and England and presently live in Spain. I try to develop and work on the characters I play from what is the most difficult for me from a humanistic point of view. I try to work on a basis of affection, humbleness as a person, tenderness and respect with no judging, and I know that can be very very hard. I just think your play is an excellent opportunity to grow as an actress, and as a woman. I find your play very beautiful because though Billie Holiday’s life was so difficult, what attracts me so much is the way the character can be so close to you as you see/listen to her telling her story, so close.

There’s is a lot in it, told with affection and respect. Not only that. I am Colombian, and accent, background, my god, my profile is far from the character’s, which makes it more challenging to work on. I have had a look at your material, and I am very interested in reading all of it. The play with the 4 women seems so interesting to develop such different colours to the characters. Also I work a lot with my son’s friends in creations in video and theatre, they love acting so we do simple things in english as well. You have some material on short plays for young actors which I will be using no doubt.

I am very happy to hear from you and your work. I will let you know about my process, of course. As I said, my aim is to be a better actress and person and your play has the perfect ingredients for it.

A warm hello, Tanya

A Good “beach read”

women's fiction, prison, love, new fiction,   You won’t be disappointed!  This is just a darn good story based on real women and real events.  And it opens a door on a subject that most of us women have never thought about….having to visit our man in prison.

Just as you are thinking that you know and like these three women, the story takes a dramatic turn with a shocking event.  Changing the women’s lives and friendships with each other forever.

There’s humor, family, love, suspense and sex.

FreshFiction.com said,  “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.’

Click here to visit the on-line store where you can purchase this book!  Be sure, in your order to mention if you would like an autographed copy.



New Web Site Launched for Writer!

bloggers, blog, writing, writer, one act plays, play scripts, fiction for women, fiction,
Announcing the LAUNCH of my new and improved web site. A new and interactive look with an easy to use on-line store!  You can buy my scripts, fiction, children’s plays and books, and my poetry.

Please leave a comment and let me know how you like my new look!


Best regards,  Trish


PS: My web designer and consultant is: Leon Adato,AdatoSystems

“Must Read” rating for “Butterflies & Bullets”

Eric Jones, a reviewer on BookReview.com, just wrote a lovely piece on “Butterflies and Bullets”, my book of Poetry, Essays and Musings. Click here to read it on their site, or scroll down for a reprint.

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

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 given their accompanying illustrations by Lori Smaltz, which are printed small in keeping with the book’s minimalist structure, “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.