In This Issue
April & May Contest!
From the Inside...Out
Prarie Hills contest winner
Tracking down Susan
A Tale of Two Villians...
Contact Info

Find Sugar! 

PJ Sugar's first novel - Nothing But Trouble will begin to make some sneak appearances across the country starting the end of April. 
Go Hunting for Trouble, and let me know where you see it.  Send me the Name of the Bookstore where you found it here  (and the city, please), and we'll put your name in a drawing for a preview copy of The Great Christmas Bowl - my Christmas Novella, coming out this fall!  
Send me a PHOTO of you and the book in the bookstore, and we'll add your name 5x! You can send the photo to

Go....Hunt up Trouble! 
Oh...and she's going on tour with the book May 11th-23rd! Stay tuned for more info about that Nothing But Trouble tour and fun contest PJ's cooking up!
 Article-on the couch hdr
I've been wanting to do this for a few years now, a response to so many of the basic, but essential questions that participants in my beginning writer's workshops ask.  How you do you plot?  How you develop characters?  How you do you pitch a book?  What goes into a scene?  How do I craft a black moment?

And can you help me do it?

Yes!  And, it doesn't have to be overwhelming!  I believe that writing a book doesn't have to be agonizing, that it can come from your heart, and still be put inside a framework of proven storytelling.  And this book, my method of looking inside for your plot and characters, teaches you how.
Buy a copy here  at Amazon. If you've already read the book, tell others what you thought by posting a review. Thanks!
The book went on tour
in February ... find out what people are saying here!

What's your name... 
"She's just a troublemaker."
My daughter returned home from a high school dance, came and sat on my bed, and proceeded to describe for me her evening.  Who she danced with, the slow songs with her boyfriend, and of course....the troublemakers.  I knew them - we all do.  Living in a small town, it's easy to know who fits where - the athletes, the actors, the musicians, the entrepreneurs...and the troublemakers. 
The names we call ourselves have power.  Our labels can define us.  Sometimes, that's a good thing - like the names I give my children: Princess, or Super Pete.  But sometimes they can trap us into the past, into a mistake, into an identity we long to discard.  Messy.  High Maintenance.  Troublemaker. 
I'm writing the third book in my "PJ Sugar - Trouble" series.  I love PJ because she feels like someone I could hang out with - she's redeemed, but sometimes she still wonders how God can use her.  In this book, she is tired of being Nothing but Trouble and she is trying to figure out who else she might be. 
I Peter 1:9 has some suggestions:  "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God...."
I love those names: Chosen.  Royal priesthood.  Holy.  Belonging to God.  I love how, when God picks someone - Jacob, and Peter, for example - he changes their name.  They're no longer the thief (Jacob), or the troublemaker (Peter).  God has changed our names, too.  Joint Heirs.  Beloved. 
Do you have a name you long to discard?  It's time to hear God's voice, God's name for you.  Start a list somewhere - in the back of your Bible, perhaps -- of all the names God has for you. 
Here's your first one:  Zephaniah 3:17 - The Delight of the Lord.

Your friend,
Susan May Warren 
Prairie Hills Contest Winner! Prarie Hills
Wow! What a blessing your contest entries (a memory of a grandparent, or someone who modeled true love for you...What was the memory, and what did it teach you?) were...thank you all so much for opening up about your families! I posted a few of my favorites below!
The winners (chosen at random) of the 5 copies of Prairie Hills are:  
Joy I.
Beth E.
Rose all.
Jessica B. 
Pamela C.
 (email your mailing address to and she'll send out your book!
Prairie Hills: Letters from the Enemy/Treasure in the Hills/The Dreams of Hannah Williams (Heartsong Novella Collection)
Beth E.: My Grandma Lerch came to know the Lord while on her death bed, but she so incredibly modeled love to me while growing up. Every Saturday we would head to Grandma's apartment for the afternoon. At her house we put together scrap books of old wall paper and cards,made cookies, washed all our stuffed animals in her sink, dressed up in her expensive wool suits. All the while Grandma was right beside us enjoying our adventures and encouraging us to be creative. What a joy to know she will meet me in Heaven one day where we can reminisce about women's roller derby and submarine sandwiches!!
Suan S.: I was blessed to know my great-grandparents, too. They operated a truck farm in rural Arkansas until they were well into their 90's. Eventually they had to move into a nursing home and my grandfather died within two weeks of being taken out of his home. We all visited the funeral, and returned home to a message that Great Grandma had died. They had never been apart for more than a week and she didn't think it was a good time to start. I imagine them sitting on a front porch of their mansion in Heaven holding hands and telling jokes.
Bonnie G.: I think of my Great Aunt Marie when I think of true love. There are many memories and things that she has done to show her love. Every year she would knit hats for my kids for winter (she was 99 when she stop knitting).  She always wanted to come to all my kids events, as well as mine when I was little.  The best thing that I will remember her for was what she did for my mom.  She loved my mom like she was her own daughter when her mother had abandoned her.  She taught my mother to forgive and treat her mother with love and respect, even if she did not show it.  Like my mom has told me, "she is an Aunt by relation, but a mother by relationship."  She was truly a great example that I try to follow.  When I think of her the first thing that always comes to my mind in Proverbs 31 and that is the best way I can describe her and how she has shown me her love.

Tracking down Susan!
Here are a few upcoming events:

May 11 - Speaker: HIS Writers (ACFW Denver Writer's Group)

And a quick photo from the Quad Cities Writer's retreat
My Book Therapy: LOVE TO WRITE!
Write a book with My Book Therapy Voices in 2009!
Update on Blog-A-Book! We're currently editing chapter 2! Here's a preview... 

Chapter 2.1 Rough Draft Final

"Leaving L.A. just feels like running away to me, Greg, and the truth is...I never run away from trouble." MacKenzie walked to the railing of the rooftop porch, overlooking Manhattan Beach. Greg didn't exactly have a sandy front yard, but from three stories up on his Mediterranean-style home, she could see the Pacific Ocean surfing up the shore past the last gilded rays of the day into the shadows of twilight. Palm trees and volleyball nets along the shore shivered in the wind, and the sun iced the roofs of the neighboring homes with hues of gold.

This month's Christian Fiction Online Article: Craft Tips and Techniques from Today's Blockbusters

A Tale of Two Villains: The Dark Knight
So, a great villain is human... 

I love Batman. I don't know why-maybe it's the cool gadgets, but my fascination started with "Holy Toledo, Batman," in the fifth grade as I watched Adam West run around in his blue pajamas. Even then, the villains scared me-the Penguin and Catwoman . . . but no one was worse than the Joker. And through the years, he's only gotten scarier-first through Jack Nickolson's portrayal in the 1989 version of Batman, and most recently the late Heath Ledger's amazing performance.

But what makes the Joker so frightening, the quintessential villain? It's not just his face, or his crazy antics, although they help. No, there is a formula to every epic villain and the Joker nails it.

First, however, let's find out what makes a villain.

"Holy super-villain, Batman! Is that a list?"

1. A great villain is Human, a little bit like us. He wants what we want, or has been through what we've been through. For example, the sad (but untrue) story the Joker in The Dark Knight tells one of his victims about being abused by his father makes us, just for a second, feel for the sick, deranged Joker. Says our favorite caped crusader: "Criminals are complicated . . . we just need to find out what they're after."
Read the rest here!

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Susan May Warren
Soul-Stirring Fiction