Revamping Your Blog

Today I was looking for a link I knew I had shared on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ a while ago. It took me almost twenty minutes, but I finally found it – and then I faced an unwelcome surprise… the link was ‘blind’, which means, it went nowhere…

I realized, the blog post itself was about five years old. Part of ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ are promotional posts, connected to other authors, sharing posts that I re-blogged, or interesting articles that I found relevant for writing… there are many more reasons, why we connect our blogs to other bloggers and posts, and each one of them is important.

Longevity is important for every single blog, no matter what the basic subject is about. The longer you have your blog, the better. You develop a particular readership, and you would like to provide them with the reliable, long-lasting post content. Now, with our habit of re-blogging, sharing, and linking other blogger’s content to our blog, we’re at a risk to connect with blogs or posts other bloggers are deleting at one point. Maybe they’re re-vamping their blogs, or decide to delete the entire blog. Maybe something else happens, we don’t know. But it makes it clear that with the connection to other blog posts and blogs, we are not only facilitating traffic between blogs, we are also encouraging the risk of maintaining our own blog in a more regular and more careful way.

According to Eb Gargano, an avid and experienced blogger, with her blog ProductiveBlogging.com we bloggers should take good care of our blog, and ‘revamp’ it occasionally.

Eb says, we don’t have to delete our old blog posts, unless, they had become useless. (Like in my case, the one with the ‘blind’ link.) But we definitely should comb through our blog and update and re-write the one or other post, set up new pictures, add some creativity and design, and re-post them. This is not only a recommendation, it’s advice. Eb Gargano says,  “”If you have a lot of old, out of date, irrelevant, and/or poor-quality blog posts, this will have a negative effect on your SEO.” (For the ones who don’t know what SEO is: “Search Engine Optimization”, you will find a link to another one of Eb Gargano’s posts).

Reviving, re-writing, and re-vamping your older blog posts, and even re-posting them again, can boost your SEO – and your reader’s and visitor’s experience. Keep your blog as accurate, reliable, modern, and current as possible. Delete old and outdated posts and slim your blog down when necessary. You don’t need posts with old links that lead to an error page. Show your readership and followers, that you’re taking care of your blog, and that it’s important to you!

Fosterwebmarketing.com says, “Deleting irrelevant, unviewed content may be painstaking, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to boost your search engine rankings and improve user experience. Just like all white hat, ethical SEO techniques, there is no silver bullet to ridding your site of old content.”

That means, to us writers and author-bloggers: a blog is not a book – once written, preserved for eternity! It means a blog is constant work, permanent revision, renovation, updates, maintaining, and revamping. Having a blog means, spending time with it and on it, precious time that we don’t have, and that is taken from us from writing. I’m glad, to be honest, I only have one blog to take care of… I can barely imagine how the ones with two or more blogs are groaning now: “Oh, noooooooo!”

Of course, I’m not going to force anyone to do anything on their blog. This is a recommendation, or ‘good advice from good ol’e A.J. if you will.

But you will have to excuse me now, I have to work on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ updating. Hopefully, see you soon!

Part of the picture is courtesy of Google.com

As The French Say: “C’est le ton qui fait la musique.” – A Book Review By A Writer

Picture courtesy of Freerangestock.com

Many writers have a myriad of other writers and authors in their network. Since we all know how important book reviews are for us authors, most of us are willing to help out and write a review for our fellow authors. If not, we should.

At this moment I won’t repeat how and why book reviews are essential to our work, I published plenty of blog posts on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ about that subject, many of them written by other bloggers and writers and shared here.

Also, I won’t add any more tips and tricks on how to write a review, because, ditto…

But what, if we agreed to help and find ourselves in the horrible situation of having to review a book that’s not what we expected, neither in character development, character voice, description clarity, or plot arc? What if we just cannot find the thread that leads us through the story, and we have the feeling that this particular writer suffers from a lack of skill, ability, and talent to actually write a book?

And here, I admit, I feel torn apart… I want to be honest, I don’t want to discourage a fellow author, in particular a young, upcoming author who’s just starting out… But at the same time, there’s that nasty little thought that tries to talk me into protecting the world from a really bad book…

Picture courtesy of: https://stock.adobe.com/

So, what should we do in such a case? And here, each one of us might decide differently. There are, of course, different possibilities. I’ve seen them all.

  1. I write and publish an honest review, clearly stating that the book is not good
  2. I don’t publish that review, but send it to the author personally and tell them, the book is crap
  3. I contact the author and let them know that I read the book and ask if they’re willing to ‘listen’ to some advice
  4. I want to help and recommend the author to remove the book from the market for a while and work on it before re-publishing
  5. Tell the writer that it might be a good idea to find another occupation, maybe as a gardener, at least they’d do something useful

I admit I wish I had never made that horrible experience or stood in front of that decision. But unfortunately, it happened. What did I do?

Very simple: I tried a mix of numbers three and four.

Now, we are talking about three different young authors and three different reactions.

Author A: “How DARE you judge my book like that. My Mum said it’s a great story, and my sister said the same thing. That’s why it’s published, and they both helped me with the editing and stuff.” (You must be a writer, man… I like the ‘and stuff’ part best). Basically, I dare to judge your book ‘like that’ because you asked me to. If you ask for an honest review, you will have to brace yourself for the possibility that you will get a very honest review, and it cannot always be good. If you only want a good review, ask your Mum and your sister. Being a writer, and a published author is not always a ride on a pink rainbow unicorn. It’s hard work, and you give many people the chance to libel your name. Get a very thick skin, that’s the only way to protect you from being harmed. Not everybody is as nice as to tell you in private that your work needs a bit of polishing.

Author B: “Thank you very much for telling me. I’d like to hear what you recommend, please! I really appreciate it. I don’t get much support from anyone, and I feel I can do with some help.” (Needless to say, I’m still in contact with that author, and the story has massively improved. I will promote the book here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’, once it’s ready.)

Author C: “I hate you! You hurt me so much! I will make sure that nobody will ever take you seriously as an author. You will pay. for what you said..” (In that case I would really have liked to recommend a good shrink)

Now, in each one of these cases, I’m not talking about a published book review on my side. I contacted each one of these authors and told them, that I’d like to talk about that book, carefully explaining, why I thought, at this moment a review wouldn’t be the best idea. Also, in each case, I started by mentioning the good things I found. (Even though there weren’t many, I tried my best). Only then I listed the things that should improve.

There’s always more than one way to say something. And right here the title of this blog post kicks in. As the French say: “It’s the tone that makes the music.”, or in French: “C’est le ton qui fait la musique.”

Let’s say, you’re at a party, and the host serves an adventurous combination of manchego cheese, pickles, pineapple, and maraschino cherries on the avocado salad. You can either say, you’re allergic to avocado (And hope, she doesn’t remember you ate her guacamole last time you were there) or, you can ask her, if she’s pregnant, because, nobody in their right mind would eat something like that without vomiting big time. I’m known to be quite straight out, but even I wouldn’t eat that salad, and faking an allergy at that moment sounds just perfect.

Or, you’re taking your two besties out for dinner to celebrate… and when you arrive at the second one’s house, she shows up in a white mini-dress that has seen better days, and she’s completely oblivious that she grew out of it, most likely, about twenty-five years ago, you have two choices. Tell her, that she forgot to get dressed in something age-and weight-appropriate, or ask her if she forgot to get dressed – period.

In our case, things are similar. I had two possibilities: publish a book review that tells everybody the plot is crap, the characters are lame, and the book is poorly written, by a completely talent-free individual… or, I did what I did and try to help these authors by telling them something good I found to avoid killing their buzz, and then carefully showing them different blog posts and articles that help them to improve their story plot, their character voices and -development.

It’s all in the way we say things… how we make and keep friends, how we make sure we don’t hurt people, and how we remember, that our strongest talent and skill are words. That saying ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is true. Words can injure and kill, as horribly as a blade can. In doubt, just remember one more thing: “Talk to others the way you want to be talked to.”

How would you handle a situation like that? And do you remember it’s the tone that makes the music? Let us read your comment, please.

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com

The Sad Retirement Of A Tradition

When I was a kid, I watched my parents carefully marking their days and appointments on an agenda. Back then, you got these 2022 ‘agendas’ from your bank, the butcher’s shop, or some other company that used them for advertisement. I always wanted my own ‘agenda’, despite me being only 4 years old and going to Kindergarten.

Since I grew up in a so-called well-protected parental home (and I’m very grateful for that!), my life was generally controlled by my mother. That meant, all my appointments, play afternoons, or birthday parties were noted in her agenda. She had to be informed about everything we children did. I think, when I got my first personalized agenda for my birthday, she impounded it and I never saw it again.

Then, planners, and ‘Filofax’ cases became not only a fashion statement but also a necessity for every business person (and a few others too)… and I would have loved one of these. Instead, I had to settle for an agenda, a promotional article from my bank. (I could have my own now, I was almost an adult).

When I finally got my first combined planner/agenda/address book/notes case in size 9 x 13″ from COACH, the fashion statement was basically on its way into the archives, not to mention that I found out, that thing added about 6 pounds to my already heavy writer’s purse. To make things a little easier (and lighter on my back), I left that rock-heavy combined case at home and got myself a light, ring book paper agenda to take with me. I love paper, and I continued entering my appointments, plans, and tasks in both agendas, one for home and one for ‘the road’. By the time it got hard to get a replacement for my annual COACH agenda, I was so sick of my method, that I decided to set the state of my COACH stone to ‘out of service’ and further just kept using my light and practical paper agenda, which I, on an annual basis, bought at Walmart or Target.

Since I’m a writer, and was a job seeker at that time, and had other things to do I took notes of, and love post-its, my agenda always looked like a ‘work book’, with notes, corrections, and hooks, and post-its and tape, and I loved it.

And then came the time…

When my life took a big hit with the pandemic, and I decided to add another huge change and start traveling, I realized, that my paper agenda used up a lot of space and just didn’t serve its purpose anymore, no matter how much I loved it. I kept collecting paper in it, rather than using it for its original purpose, and took fewer and fewer notes, which I had started adding to my electronic agenda on my devices, (phone and tablet) instead. That way I knew I had them with me at all times. They didn’t use up additional space and were even lighter and less bulky that my beloved paper agenda.

Only a few days ago I finally found it, somewhere, on a dresser, forgotten and abandoned, ragged, shriveled, used… and still, somehow sad and neglected. And with a heavy heart, I had to recognize the sad truth: it is time to bury an old tradition… Another one of my beloved paper products will not be with me any longer. My poor, orphaned paper agenda will retire…

Does that mean, I’m completely computerizing myself? Hell, no! I will always enjoy taking notes by hand, on paper, with a beautiful pen. But there won’t be notes for books, or something else… they won’t be appointments, tasks, and meetings on paper anymore. That will be over. A. J. Alexander goes electronic!

Goodbye paper agenda. Thank you for your decades-long services! I will always remember you.

Writing By Hand – Available Tool BOOX

I mentioned many times that I write the first drafts of my books by hand. Even though I love paper and pens, the fact is, that even though the typing from the paper into the computer gives me the opportunity to catch plot flaws and errors in general, it is also a strain. For quite some time I have been looking for a possibility to work directly on my computer, but I just don’t feel too comfortable with it. Writing by hand has always been my thing, and I love this part of being an author far too much to just entirely give it up.

A wonderful friend of mine has shown me a tool, called the BOOX Note Air2, a ‘paper reader’, namely a tablet, thin as paper, light, handy, where the owner can take notes by hand, which the tablet then transfers into a computer font. Perfect!

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com

My writer-self was screaming when I had that thing in my hand: ‘want!” GIVE ME THAT THING!”

The other half of my author-personality was more rational: “Now, you won’t type in your stories anymore, that might mean, you’re going to miss plot flaws, other errors, your books are going to suck…”

What am I to do?

Well, it’s never wrong to start researching the things you’d like to have. After all, these are expensive devices, and you will have them for quite a while.

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com

What we have here is the comparison between four different products, one of them the BOOX Note Air2, with THe Meebook E-Reader, the Kobo Sage E-Reader and the Kobo Forma E-Reader. All of the other products cost more than $200 less than the BOOX Note Air 2. Also, they cannot offer what the BOOX Note Air2 can. We’re talking about a tablet that can take notes, transfer them into a PDF, transfer handwriting into computer fonts – and here it gets tricky… I tried the handwriting-transfer-document possibility, and the BOOX Note Air2 had problems to adjust my handwriting and transfer them into decent text. It has WiFi, it can take recordings, one can draw, create, take notes, correct, adjust, show, present, and is an e-reader as well… but it had problems with my handwriting, which makes me hesitate. That was actually the reason why I considered buying one!

The reviews for all of the compared products aren’t much different from each other. The BOOX product does have wonderful reviews, but there was the one or other user who wasn’t happy with it, and they returned it. But so were users with the other products.

The BOOX Note Air 2 has a screen size of 10.3 inches and weighs only 2.2 pounds (it does feel lighter)… But what is it good for, for me especially? I have a fully functional SAMSUNG Galaxy tablet, aligned with my phone and laptop, and I use a Kindle Paperwhite reader, which is, according to many studies one of the best e-readers, currently. (Well, after someone apparently trampled on it and gave it a good kick, it got a couple of hiccups, occasionally, but that’s only a detail). But basically I’m working here, as a writer. I’m fully equipped, and by thinking about it, a paper journal costs me $30, and doesn’t use any batteries.

After carefully studying the devices, I’m not that much wiser than I was before.

Maybe someone has experience with the one or other tablet/e-reader/device and can advice me on what to do?

Soul Taker Secrets – The Council Of Twelve Is Fantasy!

I was asked a short while ago: “The Council Of Twelve” series is a series of religious books, right?” I almost laughed. However, I kept my cool and smiled. “No, it’s not. I’m writing a YA fantasy series!” And it is important to me that my readers take it as such!

The Council of Twelve series is a work of fiction, it won’t proclaim truth or even faith.

The Catholic Bible mentions seven Archangels, some of them named, and some are not. According to old scriptures, four Archangels’ names are known: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. I ‘borrowed’ these names and added eight more Archangels to form the ‘Council of Twelve’. (Also, who tells me, these names are correct? We know them, yes. But I doubt very much anyone on Earth can remember, that our Lord God named four of his Archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel). Still, through history, these names, in connection with a strong, powerful creature called an ‘Archangel’, represent the ‘ultimate’ Good.

In my series, I wanted the ‘ultimate Good’. I wanted the fight ‘Good vs. Evil’… And angels and demons are the ones fighting that war. The characters of Archangels, angels, demons, and their respective hierarchies give me freedom any fantasy writer can only dream of!

Now, while Michael has on occasion been called the ‘Angel of Death’, others called him the ‘Archangel of War and Conflict’, on further websites and in articles he was the ‘Archangel of Peace and Safety’… who is right? Nobody knows for sure. And that’s why Archangel Michael in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, is exactly, what I made him; the strongest, most powerful individual in existence, except his creator, of course, the oldest existing Archangel, and the leader of the Council.

Who said, Raphael was ‘the Healer’? In other essays, he’s described as ‘the Guardian’, and nobody can tell for sure, what and who he is, right? I made him both; the protector and keeper of the Healers and the Guardians…

It seems different sources are clear about Gabriel being ‘The Messenger’… and I kept it that way. The bible is clear about Gabriel being the Archangel sent to inform Virgin Mary about her being the mother of God’s son. Gabriel was also the Archangel who announced the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem.

As for Uriel, nobody is sure about his sources and roots. He’s described as ‘the Fire of God’, in other articles he’s been called the ‘balance of the world’, and other sources claim him to be ‘the Angel of Death’. It is said in certain books, that Uriel was the Archangel who killed the firstborn sons of Egypt when the Pharao didn’t let Moses’ people leave the country. The bible only talks about the ‘Angel of Perdition’, no name was mentioned there. But since it was talked about a powerful angel with a ‘fire sword’, it was assumed that Uriel was the one fulfilling God’s orders in that case. But again, nobody can tell for sure. In ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, Uriel is God’s beloved son, made out of fire and ashes, with flames in his wings. My Uriel is an Archangel existing in my fantasy… he’s caring, loving, and protecting, and he looks fabulous.

I purposely refrained from using any further Archangel names as they were mentioned in additional articles, books, or the ‘lost books of the bible’, the Apocrypha. I made up eight Archangels, born in my imagination and fantasy, each one strong, powerful, unique, and with his own set of skills. Each of these Archangels brings his own personality, talents, and voice into the ‘Council of Twelve’ and completes his brothers. Each of the Archangels is good to the core, fights the evil side, and protects his troops. They all fight, discuss, plan, protect… sometimes they joke, they laugh, they support each other, and they fall in love.

I have been writing about doing ‘research’ for ‘The Council of Twelve’ series. We are talking about the list of demons of the Ars Goetia, which helped me get my ‘Evil’ side organized and set up. The Good side needs an antagonist, and Lucifer doesn’t fight all alone. Again, we aren’t talking about a fact list… We’re talking about a lot of fantasy being involved in getting ‘The Council of Twelve’ series created. Of course, I didn’t take every demon’s name and transferred the creature into my book. I made some of them up, I gave them a voice, a look, a truly hateable creature. But all this is rooted in my fantasy and imagination.

If an author takes fantastic creatures and magic and transfers both into our existing world, in combination with falling in love and kissing, the genre is called ‘Paranormal Romance’. The Council of Twelve series is taking place in Heaven, on Earth, and in Hell, two of the three places are unknown to living organisms, which made me consider ‘my genre’ as ‘Fantasy’. There are too many unknown factors to call it ‘Paranormal Romance’.

Now, we know what the genre is called, but I downright refuse to consider ‘The Council of Twelve’ series ‘Christian or Religious Fantasy’. There’s too much fantasy in these books to truly consider them religious. It is an undeniable fact that the author of these books is a believer in God. It’s clearly readable that the Creator of the World has my highest respect. I never describe Him in detail. When He shows up within the stories, only His voice is mentioned. Heaven and Hell are formed and described after my imagination.

I’m not going into religious discussions, I don’t use bible quotes, and I am not going to argue with anyone about whether my fantasy is the ‘real’ Heaven, Hell, or story. The Good side is, what’s close to my heart, and you won’t find anything better to fight for the ‘Good side’ than a dozen Archangels with their love interests. Not to talk about the fact that I added a bit of humor to the stories, and I expect my readers to laugh, enjoy the stories and fall in love with the characters, just like other authors do. I’d like my readers to be entertained, and not to think too intensely about religious beliefs when reading ‘The Council of Twelve’ series. Read, be entertained, and enjoy.

Find ‘The Council of Twelve’ books here below:

Soul Taker: https://books2read.com/u/m2roOj

Sundance: https://books2read.com/u/mgGGeX

Demon Tracker: https://books2read.com/u/3yEx6l

Bounty Hunter: https://books2read.com/u/mgzd5X

Book 5 – to follow soon!

Read the books and enjoy the read! And don’t forget, I’m a writer, I’d be enthusiastic about your good review.

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part III

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, April 28, the second part followed. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]


Let’s take a look at creating the protagonist and antagonist. Of course, I’m not saying, there aren’t many other characters to create. Many writers will tell you that this is the part that holds the most fun. I tend to believe that myself.

To me, the creation of a new story is fun in its entirety. I love to do that, but the characters hold their special magic. Think about the wonderful opportunities! You can create a character that could be your best friend… you can form that character, until he or she reminds you of your best friend… or even start by taking your best friend as an example, or inspiration! Of course, there are endless opportunities for inspiration: on the street, within your family, friends, co-workers, or the barista in the coffee shop on the corner.

There are so many articles, blog posts, and ideas about character creation. ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ is blessed with presenting quite a few from different writers, right here. If you add ‘character’ to the search bar on the widgets, you will find them listed. To make it easy for you, I prepared the search ahead. You can click HERE. The one or other post was even written by me.

There are as many ways to create a character as there are writers. You will find my writing process descriptions here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’. There is no right or wrong on how to do these things. Every writer has a particular process and, from what I found out, most likely will stick to that, once established.

As for me:

I have, of course, two different ways of creating my characters, depending on the book I write!

The Council of Twelve Series holds supernatural characters, which gives me the opportunity of creating whatever and however I like. Besides Katie and Sundance, the lead characters in the first two ‘The Council of Twelve’ series books ‘Soul Taker’, and ‘Sundance’, who both are angels,


Books three and four show us Zepheira, who has ram horns since they started to grow when she was a teenager, and Simin, who is a bounty hunter and holds her own secrets. Both women are immortal supernatural creatures.


When I started writing my current WIP, a crime novel, I realized, I didn’t have that freedom anymore. I still have the liberty to create whatever unusual character I please, but they have to fit into what we would call a ‘normal’ world and everyday life. It’s nevertheless a wonderful challenge, and still a lot of fun, but it is different. I have to work more with psychology, rather than with horns and wings, sulfur and fire.

Of course, next to the protagonist and antagonist, many other characters will show up in our books. But most of us writers don’t start to create them while preparing the book. In my stories, they just ‘wander’ into the book, and sometimes they wander out again…

How are you creating your characters? Is it the best part of writing a story for you? Tell us about your creative process when it comes to characters. We’re curious!

Creating A Story – Creating A Book – Creating A World

Picture courtesy of: https://quotefancy.com/

When I read that quote I immediately felt ‘understood’… I know, that sounds presumptuous. That was never my intention, of course! I don’t want to say, I feel like being God, of course not! At this moment I felt like ‘an artist’… someone who ‘creates’ something… stories in my case, just like Sidney Sheldon. Needless to say, I admire him to no end. He has been a true artist, his unbelievable talent consisted of everything, from writing for Broadway, Musicals, TV, Film, and, of course, books.

I’m not even hinting, my modest talent gets anywhere close to Sidney Sheldon, but he has been an inspiration for me for a very long time. I think, reading this quote connects many artists, composers, writers, and also painters… some have an empty piece of paper or sheet of music, and others have a blank canvas. We all have something in common: we would like to fill it with a piece of us.

In my case, it’s my fantasy, my idea, my plot, my characters, and sometimes even ‘my world’ that I’d like to create, write about, and would like to introduce my readers. I’d like to show a part of what’s in my head to my readers, take them on a trip inside my head and fantasy, and fill them with wonder, surprise, laughter, tears, anger, and many more emotions. I’d like them to love my world, feel at home within my stories, and love my characters (or hate them, when I write about the antagonist).

All that is part of a creating process, a very very tiny one, compared to the creation of the world, of course, and still, it’s not an easy process, no matter how small it is, compared to others. Even in the mini-version, it’s not easy to create. We need our God-given talent and abilities to deliver good work, a good story, and a good piece of art, no matter what it is! We want our work to be recognized, we want readers, we want them to love our characters and world. But it is still a difficult process. There are days things go a bit easier, but on other days, it’s hard work, and the ideas I had the day before just won’t return like someone buried them overnight.

I’m quite convinced I’m not the only one chewing on the pieces I bit off. But the fact that someone as talented and successful as Sidney Sheldon struggled with the very same creative process, makes me feel a bit better, and makes the hard days a bit less difficult. Thank you, Sidney Sheldon!


Picture courtesy of https://www.famousauthors.org/

Sidney Sheldon, an American writer, playwright and novelist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 11th February 1917. His father Ascher “Otto” Schechtel, was a jewelry store manager and his mother was Natalie Marcus. When Sidney was ten, he sold his poem for ten dollars making it his very first sale. He went to the Denver East High School and for graduate studies he attended the Northwestern University. There he made contributions to the drama groups with his short plays.

In the beginning of 1937 Sheldon tried his fate in Hollywood by writing and reviewing various scripts. He finally managed to sell one of his screenplays ‘South of Panama’ to a studio for 250 dollars in 1941. During the World War I he was recruited as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. After the end of the War he returned to New York where his reputation as a creative writer started building up. He wrote musicals for the well known MGM Studios and Paramount Pictures. Once he had three of his musicals at once on Broadway. They were ‘The Merry Widow’, ‘Jackpot’ and ‘Dream with Music’. This success brought him back to Hollywood. The first film written by Sheldon was ‘The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer’ which got him the Academy Award in 1947.

With the rise of television as a popular medium, Sheldon decided to try out his luck in it. He wrote a series called ‘The Patty Duke Show’ and for the next seven years wrote every episode of it. He also made, produced and wrote the show ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ using three pseudonyms ‘Mark Rowane’, ‘Allan Devon’ and ‘Christopher Gollato’. These were also used when writing ‘Nancy’ and ‘Hart to Hart’.

His first novel was ‘The Naked Face’ which was published in 1969, earning him a nomination for ‘The Best First Writer’ category. The second novel ‘The Other side Of Midnight’ was published in 1973, topping ‘The New York Times Best Seller’ list. Sheldon was very particular about the writing and validity of his books. For this very reason before writing his novel ‘Windmills of the Mind’ which was a story about the CIA, he personally met Richard Helms who was a former CIA recruit. He also went to Argentina and Romania, and spent some time in ‘Junction City, Kansas’ where one of the lead characters of the book resided. He said during an interview in 1987:

‘If I write about a place, I have been there. If I write about a meal in Indonesia, I have eaten there in that restaurant. I don’t think you can fool the reader’.

His marriage to Jorja Curtright Sheldon, an actress and interior designer, lasted for thirty years. After her death in 1985, Sheldon married Alexandra Kostoff in 1989. His legacy includes 18 novels which have sold three hundred million copies, 200 TV scripts and 25 major films along with 6 Broadway plays. Sidney Sheldon died due to Pneumonia in California on 30th January, 2007. He was buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.

Interview With One Of My Characters VII

Hello Alfred, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I really appreciate you took the time to visit me here.

Thank you very much for the invitation, A.J. I enjoy being here.

It’s a little impertinent to ask, but how was your trip?

*booming laughter* Thank you, it was as fast and pleasant as ever.

Does that mean, that your kind teleports, just as Archangels, and many other supernatural creatures?

Of course, we do. Cherubim are Angels, after all.

I’m trying to hide a giggle, to be honest. I’m so sorry… but I always imagined, Cherubim to be short, little overweight boys in diapers, just sprouting their first wings?

*amused laughter again* Yeah, I don’t hear that the first time. Koyu told me the very same thing, once she found out who I am. But I have to disappoint you, just as I had to disillusion her. In Middle Eastern art, we were represented as lions or bulls with eagle wings and a human face. According to Christian beliefs, we belonged to the angels who guarded the entrance of the Garden of Eden… later, in Renaissance art, we were represented as little chubby kids with tiny wings. But the truth is, we are angels of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy. We serve and praise our Highest, and very often, we serve as observers, just like I do. And just like every other angel, we look as we look. We blend in.

Thank you for your detailed information. I really appreciate it. Now, you mentioned being an observer. That’s what you do in your bookstore?

You’re welcome – and that’s exactly right. I met Koyu there. Sometimes we drank a cup of coffee together. She’s an unusual personality, but I wasn’t sure what she was up to. At one point I had to report her. She understood I had my duties, and we remained friends.

So, she wasn’t mad about you reporting her? She was taken in front of the Council Of Twelve, wasn’t she?

Yes, she was. And no, she never held a grudge. She still visits me in my bookstore, and occasionally we have a cup of coffee. Of course, now she’s got her own duties and tasks, and our meetings became rare. But I appreciate each one of her visits and consider her a friend.

Can you tell us more about her? I mean, how did the story start, and how did you know she isn’t human?

I cannot tell you more about her. Don’t forget, her story isn’t generally known yet. I told you, we occasionally met on the backstairs of my bookstore in the alley and drank a cup of coffee. Everything else you will read when her story will be published. As for me realizing she’s not human… I’m an Angel, that’s what I do. I have that talent, just as each one of my brothers and sisters has it.

You said Cherubim are the second highest order in the divine hierarchy. Does that mean you’re a good friend with the Council Of Twelve members?

*laughs* Yes, and No. Don’t forget, an Archangel is as different from an Angel, as an Angel is from a Human. The power an Archangel radiates intimidates many of us. We do have commanders, supervisors, and higher officers. I’m on a more friendly term with Andreas, the Council of Twelve assistant. He’s an amazing angel, and we get help from him, no matter when we call. I know the Council Members, yes, and I spoke to the one or the other before. But these Archangels are a powerful lot. On the other hand, they carry the burden of the World on their shoulders, taking over the responsibility as custodians for our Father and Lord. That’s not an easy task and they have my highest respect for that.

I understand a bit better now. Thank you for telling us. Now…

I’m sorry for interrupting here. But I’m called. I will have to leave you for now. But it was a pleasure meeting you in person. And one day, we might meet again.

Goodbye, Alfred.


Koyu’s Story Is Ready To Be Told

COMING SOON!!!

The fifth book of “The Council Of Twelve” series

DREAM WALKER

All Writers Are Introverts

My answer? Not true!

Picture courtesy of Google.com

First of all, from what I learned, there are very, very few true introverts or extroverts in this world. Most are a mix of both. Yes, we people tend to one side, but in general, we are a quite healthy mix of both.

Also, don’t forget, introverts aren’t eremites. It’s not like these people tend to hide in a cave, locking out everyone and everybody who approaches them. It just means, they usually prefer smaller gatherings before loud parties with dozens or hundreds of people. It doesn’t mean, they never go to a party, it only means, after a while, they will politely say good night or prefer a so-called ‘French farewell’, where they disappear and contact the host the next day to let them know, all is good, and they ‘didn’t feel so well’, but it was a wonderful party and thank you for the invitation! Nobody who knows introverts is going to be angry about that… it happens on a regular basis with them.

Now, who did set the rumor up, writers had to be introverted, because they bury themselves in work, all alone and brooding, separated from society, until they dive up, reborn from the ashes of the paper of their stories, flying high, soaring for a moment, enjoying the immense honor and love their fans shower them with, until the next idea forces them to once more disappear in the undefined cave of their narrow broom shed, where they write, during the night… whiskey and tequila next to them, while sleeping off their hangover for days at the time… (Oh, I love that image… I’m actually trying to picture myself doing that, but I get interrupted by the loud laughing fits I keep having.)

Now, let’s face a little reality here. Writers do their work the best they can. There are as many work processes as there are writers, probably even a few more. Most writers are not drunk while working; Hemingway’s drunk depression might sound like an ideal example of a world-weary genius, but most of us writers prefer to be able to write a coherent sentence that actually makes sense. We prefer to do our work with a minimal chance of typos or grammatical errors. We don’t ‘bury’ ourselves, we just prefer to work in peace and silence without too many interruptions that kill the buzz or interrupt the flow. Most of us set a goal, like 7 – 8 hours a day. (Sometimes only six, to each his/her own)… after that, we have a meal, shower, go to bed and work again the next day. Yes, our story is told in our head, we work alone, but also, the writing is only the smallest part of our work. Marketing, social media presence, public speaking, author visits, book clubs, teaching…? We are busy with many other things, too, that is part of what we do! And most of that part, demands meeting with people, networking, being chatty, open, friendly, and everything else nobody would expect an introvert to master.

There are plenty of articles around, describing introverts and extroverts, none of them describes being one of them as suffering from a personality disorder. It’s just a personality trait. Habits, preference, whatever we want to describe it. Introverts are not sick, they just feel good with their work, the peace and quiet, and the characters in their latest book.

I read a great article about introverts and extroverts on introvertdear.com. They also offer a quiz that goes with the article. Answer 21 questions, and you know if you tend to be more of an intro- or an extrovert.

What do you think, I turned out to be? Oh yes… no surprise there…

What is your experience with either personality? What do you think you are, and were you surprised finding out more about it? Let us know in the comments.

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part II

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]


Last time I ‘drafted the plot’, today I’m trying to find a motive.

I’m not sure, should I tell you, to me that’s more difficult or easier, than drafting the plot, since technically you can’t have one without the other.

Let’s find an example: you’re reading a crime story; the killer strangles a woman, when the police identifies and confronts him, he jumps off a bridge and you’ll never know why he did it. Wouldn’t you be disappointed? I know I would be.

In the case of a crime story, the motive of the killer is basically what drives the book. Why does the murderer what he does?

When we look at the ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, I have to find the motive for the actions of ‘both sides’, Good and Evil. Clearly expressed: Why does the Evil side what they do, how does the Good side react, and what is the outcome? We got the ‘why’, and that results in the ‘how’ – hence, the motive and the plot, which belong together.

The motive is the ‘why’ and with that in mind, we want to ask ‘how’, which leads us to the plot. One leads to the other, and we’re already in ‘the middle’ of story-telling.

What would you say to a criminal story without a motive, or a story without recognizable reason? Wouldn’t it just be empty? What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.