Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post by Speculative Writer Nicole Luttrell


It’s my pleasure to feature fellow Solstice publishing author and speculative feature writer, Nicole Luttrell, with a great guest post about writing. 

Hi, my name’s Nicole. I’m a writer. I kind of make a big deal out of that. Specifically, I’m a speculative fiction writer. That means I write horror, science fiction and fantasy. I wrote a book called Broken Patterns, and I sort of think it’s the best fantasy book since Dragonriders of Pern.

Am I a little full of myself? Yeah, I’ll admit it. Calling myself a speculative fiction writer a hell of a mouthful.

I also happen to be a professional author.

I love the hilarity of that sentence, you know? A professional author? I can’t think of anything less professional, you know? I mean, think about it.

brokenpatternsWe make up stories and tell them to people for a living. We have imaginary friends and they talk to us. Lots of writers, like myself, write in our pajamas, on our couches, with a cup of coffee. We are the last people you’d think of as professional. We’re really just big kids, playing with our imaginary toys.

Well, except that we don’t just write in our pjs. We also write in waiting rooms, at red lights, during our lunch breaks. We write before our kids get up and after they go to bed. We write while other people go to the movies and go to bars and, you know, sleep.

We have to write in all of these times because most of us, including me, have day jobs. I have a full time day job, in fact. We write around jobs, school and families. In fact, a lot of us write around all three of those things at the same time. (Not me, though. I just have a full time job and two kids. Oh, and also a husband and too many pets.)

We weep over our writing, did you know that? We kill of your favorite characters, yes. But they were our favorite characters long before you ever heard of them. Characters don’t just exist for us, they live inside our minds. Killing one is gut wrenching.

Of course, the rough draft is only half of it. Once it’s done we start in editing. We edit, edit and edit some more. We edit our work until it glows. Until we could repeat the stories from memory. And sometimes we feel like we do that.

Usually, that whole repeating it from memory comes when we start promoting our work to everyone. Have you ever worked in sales? Imagine that, but all the time. The thing that makes it better and worse at the same time is that you feel like you’re selling a part of yourself. So you really believe that everyone needs what you’re selling, but you’re also taking every rejection hugely personally.

Finally, when we’re done with a book, we start all over again. Because writing’s an obsession, one that we cannot escape.

So professional writer is kind of a ridiculous thing to call us. It’s better to call us what we really are.


Connect with Nicole:

Posted in Romantic Suspense

Have you read Desert Jewely by Natalina Reis?

desertjewelpromodesertjewelpromo2Rebellion brews inside Milenda’s heart as the date for the Trials approaches. As the heiress to the throne of Natale, she is forced to choose a consort from the survivors of the grueling quest across the desert.

Milenda’s heart belongs to Jaali and wants no part in the ancient and cruel ritual, but the Elders—the true rulers of Natale—will not back down.

Jaali was brought from the far North as a child slave. His only chance to be with the woman he loves is to volunteer for the Trials, no matter how dangerous or how much Milenda objects.

Together they begin their journey of discovery and rebellion against the Elders. But will their love be enough or will they lose everything they’ve fought for?

“This was what home felt like. It turned out she could indeed love and be loved.”

What People Are Saying About Desert Jeweldesertjewelpromo3

“Desert Jewel was a great read. I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. I enjoyed Jaali and Milenda’s story. It was one wrought with peril. Their love was an enduring one that weathered a lot of storms. I have never read a book by this author before but I would like to read her other books. I like her writing style it flowed well and was very easy to dive into her story.”

“Desert Jewel was an interesting story about love, survival, and inner strength. Another impulse request on NetGalley, I was worried that it wouldn’t be as good as its fabulous cover artwork. However, I found myself staying up late at night just to finish it. I was captivated throughout and couldn’t help but keep turning the pages to see what would happen next.”

“I am almost sure that there is going to be a sequel. The story is far from over. I just can’t wait to read the rest of the story!!!”

“I absolutely loved Desert Jewel! Such an incredible adventure and romance! Both Milenda and Jaali were such great characters you couldn’t help but root for their love. Natalina Reis does an incredible job taking you into this world and making you feel all of the emotions of the characters. Milenda is a strong heroine character, which I always love reading about those types of characters, and Jaali is a strong hero who really cares for Milenda deeply. Milenda and Jaali both fight against the norms forced upon them and they both know what they want in life, freedom and real love. I am so happy I had an opportunity to read this book. It really is a hidden gem!”

All links:

Posted in Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Thanks for Making My Mystery #2

2Thanks to all those who voted for Between a Rock and a Hard Place in the P&E Reader’s poll category for best mystery and also to my wonderful publisher, Solstice Publisher. Although I came in #2, I am very proud to display my winner’s top 10 badge. There were a lot of great books running. I am pleased to have taken second place, and I owe it all to my friends, family, and fans. It means a lot to me.

Posted in Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Writing

A Call to Fans & Friends

votecountsI’m not a competitive person and that’s why I find it hard to ask people to buy my book or vote for it in competitions. However, my mystery, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is currently #2 in a contest that ends today (January 14).  So many people have already supported me, and I’m thankful for each person who took the time to vote. For those who may not be aware that my book was running, there’s still time to back it. Being #1 would be a great honor for me but not because I outdid anyone else with votes because I know those competing must also have wonderful books. Instead, being #1 would show me that I have a following of fans and friends who are interested in my writing. It will give me even further incentive to continue writing.

For those friends who are also authors, I’m sure you know the hard work that goes into producing a book. When you are a new author, it is especially difficult because there are few rewards for your efforts. Royalty sales do not offset most of the expenses you incur initially. The main compensation for a new author is the knowledge that people are reading and enjoying their books. Besides buying copies and spreading the word about them, the next best thing fans and friends of authors can do is vote for them in competitions.

betweenarockandahardplacesolsticecoverVote here for my Mystery Novel: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Don’t forget to confirm each vote with the email you receive after placing it for it to count (if you have more than one email, you are allowed to vote with each one).

Thanks so much for your support. It means a lot to me.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Solstice Publishing

Author Spotlight: Nicole C. Luttrell

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with Nicole C. Luttrell from Butler, Pennsylvania.dsc_0020

Hi, Nicole. Welcome. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Nicole C. Luttrell. The C stands for Christine. I was named for the Stephen King book. Here’s the fun thing, my maiden name was Ford. If you never saw the movie, Christine, you know she was a Ford Mustang. My parents thought themselves witty. I live in Butler, Pennsylvania. It’s an old steel town that’s slowly coming back to life. We have our very first Starbucks now.
Interesting. Also please tell us about your writing.
brokenpatternsI’m a speculative fiction writer. I write Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror. Broken Patterns is my very first traditionally published book. It’s my baby. This series has pretty much encompassed my whole life for almost four years now. It just came out in December, which just made my year. I’ve also self published two other books. The first was a collection of short stories called Days and Other Stories. The second, and the one I’m most excited about, is a science fiction novella called Seeming. It’s the first in a series called Station 86. I’m planning on releasing at least two more Station 86 books this year.
I’m hoping that this is going to be a big year for my books. Broken Patterns is the first book in a trilogy. The second book, titled Starting Chains, is done and I’m planning to submit it shortly. I’m currently working on book three, titled Missing Stitches.
I’ll be posting the second Station 86 book, titled ‘You Can’t Trust the AI’, on my website starting on February 15th.
Very nice. What other plans do you have for your writing in the future?
Over the next few years, I intend to finish the Woven trilogy. Once that’s done, I have plans for a two book collection connected to the trilogy. It will be in the same universe, but with a whole new cast of characters.
I also intend to write at least ten Station 86 novellas over the next three to four years.
I admire authors with so many projects in the works. I have several myself. I just wish I had more time to accomplish them.
Can you tell us about your ideal reader, Nicole?
I often picture my ideal reader as a young adult or new adult. I’d hope that my books can reach a wide age demographic. You’re never too old or young for a good story.
Vert true.
What advice would you give to writers trying to break into publishing?
The best advice I can give to an unpublished writer is this; Understand you’re a writer right now. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been published, you’re a writer if you write.
Keep writing. Keep sending your work out to publishers and agents and fiction magazines. When you get a rejection letter, and you will get rejection letters, send your work out again. And again and again.
Absolutely. A writer has to be persistent. There’s a lot of competition out there, but also a lot of markets. It takes time to find the right one.
Can you tell us about the struggles you faced before becoming published?
I have to say, the biggest struggle I faced in getting published was finding the time to write and submit. I work a full-time job and have two kids. I had to learn to get by on seven hours of sleep, write before the kids get up and get real serious about time management. I had to give up some hobbies and scale some others way back. But it’s worth it.
I can sympathize. I also work full-time and have a daughter. I do most of my writing at 5 am before I go to work and my daughter leaves for school. I’m a morning person, so that seems to work for me, but that’s still not enough time to get the myriad activities an author needs to do, as you mention. I have to sneak extra time in on the weekends when I can.
Have you taken any writing classes or courses?
I’ve never taken any creative writing classes, but I did study Journalism in high school. I was on my school paper for three years.
I was on my college paper for several years myself, Nicole. I didn’t study journalism but got experience from that. I was an English major and then I studied library science later to become a librarian. I’ve worked at a public library for 25 years.
Can you tell me about your hobbies?
When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading. I also crochet, knit, play video games and watch way too many cartoons.
lol. I’m sure the cartoons are a great way to relieve stress.
What do you like most and least about writing?
The thing I love most about being a writer is sharing my stories with other people. I love knowing that someone else read one of my stories and enjoyed it. I’ve spent most of my life loving stories, so I’m glad to give that to someone else.
The worst thing, I think, about any form of art, is having someone misinterpret it. Think of what happened with Catcher on The Rye, or all of the drug insinuations over Alice in Wonderland. That’s my fear.
I think it’s important for authors to write what they believe in and feel in their hearts. I know that it’s hard not to wonder about the reaction of your words on readers, but you can’t worry about that. There will be people who love your writing, those that hate it, and many others in between.
Thanks so much for the great interview, Nicole, and best wishes on your future books. Please list your social media links, so people can connect with you.



Posted in A Stone's Throw

Book Discussion Feedback on A Stone’s Throw

stonesthrowamazonThe first book of my Cobble Cove mystery series, A Stone’s Throw, was discussed today at my library, and I was asked to attend to open the discussion and answer any questions the readers had about me or the book. Because this was a local event, I decided to write a summary for my blog readers who who may have also read A Stone’s Throw or might be interested in learning more about the book and my writing.

I opened the discussion by explaining that the version of A Stone’s Throw published in November 2015 that the book group members had read is no longer available except for a ridiculous sum from third-party sellers because it is currently out of print. A new version will soon be released by my current publisher, Solstice Publishing, and will contain some fresh material, although the main plot and characters will remain the same. The new book will also feature a different cover. It will be available in both paperback and ebook editions.

pbjBefore I invited the book group members to ask questions, I spoke about five of the characters in the book and how I had created and/or named them. I explained that Alicia, my main character who is also a librarian, was based on me and also shared some of my personality traits such as being a bit hesitant to try new things and being afraid of letting go of the past. As the book progresses, Alicia becomes more open to change and realizes that “things happen for a reason.” The elderly character, Mac, is actually the first person who says this phrase in the book. I based him on a man I worked with in my college days at the C.W. Post library who ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day. In the book, Mac has a special recipe for PB&J sandwiches and, in the second of the series, I have included a recipe that won a contest that one of my readers submitted.

sneaky-the-library-catMac’s first love who he never completely forgot, was named Carol after my mother-in-law who passed away a year before I wrote the book and to whom I dedicated it. The library cat, Sneaky, was modeled after my Siamese, Oliver. I even started a fun blog where Sneaky “interviews” cat characters from other books, but he also branches out sometimes and interviews real cats of authors or those with a special story to tell. For instance, he recently interviewed some cats who live at a winery. To read his blog, you can visit:

The last character I discussed was John, the widower and newspaper publisher with whom Alicia becomes involved with romantically when trying to locate her dead husband’s family in the small upstate New York town of Cobble Cove where she ends up working in the local library. Although John is not based on my husband or any particular man, he is named after a childhood friend who I was sorry to learn had recently passed away. In the new book, I’m adding a dedication to him along with the one for my mother-in-law.

questionmarksHaving given some background about my characters, I opened the discussion up to questions. Some that were asked related to the book; others to the writing and publishing process. Below are some of them along with my answers. I am always interested in readers’ comments and questions. If you have any that aren’t listed below, please post a comment. I also started a Facebook group where a different character from the series answers questions each month and also offers a contest. January’s host is John. The Cobble Cove Character Chat group is located here:

Here are the book discussion questions and answers. Some of them have been edited for clarification.

Was Gilly, Alicia’s friend, based on anyone you knew? 

No. I have had a few friends and known women with similar personalities, but Gilly was not based on any particular person.

Is Cobble Cove a real town?

No. Although many of the towns mentioned in the book are real, Cobble Cove is fictional as is the nearby town of Carlsville. I decided to create a fictional place and populate it with quirky characters.

How long did it take you to write A Stone’s Throw?

It generally takes me six to eight weeks to write a first draft. I then edit and revise it a few times before submitting it to a publisher and that can take another two months. I also try to send it to beta readers, friends or fellow authors who give me feedback on it, before I submit it. After I submit it, if I’m offered a contract with a publisher, I’m assigned an editor. Sometimes I get one quickly, and other times there can be a wait. Once I start working with the editor, we go back and forth through a few rounds of edits before the book is published. So, you see, the writing itself is only part of the time it takes to publish a book.

Do editors change your work?

I’ve heard that some editors and publishers require some authors to make changes, but I’ve been lucky that the editors I’ve worked with have allowed me to review their suggested changes and decide whether I accept them or not. Working with an editor is a two-way street. I’ve found things my editors have missed and vice versa. Even after something is published, errors might be noticed. It’s good to let writing sit a bit before looking it over yourself and also important to have other people proof and edit it. You can go crazy revising and editing, so you have to get to a point where you’re satisfied enough with the manuscript to let it go.

Do you make a lot of outlines and notes before you write or let the plot and characters develop as you write?

There’s a term for people who do a lot of preparatory work before they write. They are called plotters. The opposite are pantsters who “work by the seat of their pants.” I fall in to the latter category, although I try to create character sketches and a flexible plot to start. I often don’t know who-dun-it until more than midway through the book. In my second of the series, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, I ended up killing off a character I had not planned to have murdered. I figure if I surprise myself, I’ll probably surprise my readers, too.

Do writers need a lot of real life experience to draw from to be good writers?

I believe that’s helpful, but there are other ways of gaining experience than actually living them such as research. For instance, for my second book, I spoke with pediatricians and new mothers to gather some facts about babies. I have a daughter, but I couldn’t remember the things she was able to do or not do at six months old. Real-life experience is always useful, though. If you are writing about something you’ve never done, like skydiving, you might want to try it, so you can accurately describe it in the book. But if you’d rather not jump out of a plane, you could talk with a skydiver for the info. If you haven’t been to a certain country you’re setting a scene in, you may want to travel there, but if you can’t afford to do that, reading about it or speaking to someone who lives there, could be a good substitute.

Is it very hard to get published?

The problem with getting published is that there’s so much competition. Publishers and editors receive thousands of submissions a day, and many of them end up in the slush pile, even if they are promising work. It takes authors many years to establish themselves and build a fan base. There are pros and cons to self publishing, landing an agent, being at the right place at the right time, etc. I currently have a wonderful publisher. They are small but have been around for nine years which is a long time in the small press business. I’d love to have my books published by a large publisher, so they would be distributed more widely and in additional formats. I have one I’m currently querying with agents, but I’m happy with my progress so far. I love writing. I like editing. I’m not too fond of promoting because I have a hard time pushing people to buy my book, but I realize writing is a business and to continue to publish I need to show sales.

How do writers get paid?

If you publish with a small publisher, like I do, you usually get a statement of your book sales and then receive payment through Paypal or a check for the royalty amount which is less than what the publisher receives. Like any small business, you usually spend more money on promotion the first few years than you make back in royalties. If you publish with a large publisher, you may get an advance which you keep but which you need to earn out before you start earning additional royalties.

Besides the questions the book group members asked, people also made some comments. I always find it interesting to hear what people take away from reading my books. One person thought the epilogue was too neatly tied up and would’ve been better placed in the second book, while another really liked the epilogue and love how I tied together all the subplots. One person said they had trouble keeping track of the characters and their relationships with one another, but another person thought the characters were easy to follow and that the book was an easy and quick read. Someone suggested I submit the books to the Hallmark channel (several other people have told me my series would fit there, so I’m giving this some consideration).

Along with the positive comments, I received a few negative ones which I took as constructive criticism. One person thought I featured the police officers in the book as too stereotyped eating donuts and not pursuing the investigation seriously. I explained that one of the reasons for this was my attempt at putting some comic relief into the plot, but I assume it didn’t work for this reader. Someone else thought the character of John was not likable at the beginning and seemed to be hiding something, but as they read the story, they realized it was because I was trying to make his behavior suspicious to test Alicia’s trust and have the reader question whether he was a bad or good guy.

I was thankful that I had the opportunity to interact with the library book club group, and I hope some of the feedback I presented here might be of interest to other authors and readers.




Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post by Dina Rae: Are Angels Really Aliens or Vice Versa?

dinaraebookcoverAre Angels Really Aliens or Vice Versa?  By Dina Rae

As a Christian and a believer in extraterrestrials, I wanted to write a novel about some kind of divine or intellectual race of beings who help humans evolve.  Are angels and aliens one in the same? 

We’ve all heard about UFO sightings, alien abductions, burnt crop fields, and cattle mutilations.  Roswell, New Mexico. and Area 54 are the meccas of American X-files.  Bright discs are seen everywhere around the world.  What does the Bible have to say about extra-terrestrials?  Were things so different three thousand years ago?  Or are we just using a different vernacular?

Anyone who has ever picked up the Bible knows the story of Noah and the ark.  God chose him and his family because they were ‘pure’ (Genesis).  The question is pure heart or pure bloodline?  Angels mated with women back in those days, producing a half-breed called Nephilim.  These beings were described as giants with superhuman powers.  Could the Nephilim be an old version of modern day aliens of a mixed race or even early attempts at genetic modification?  Was Noah and his family the last ‘humans’ left of the human race?

Angels and aliens are always described as glowing with light.  Ezekiel, an Old Testament prophet, vividly describes a spaceship in his book.  Ezekiel 1:16: “The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.”  Many Ancient Alien theorists use this passage as documentation of Ezekiel witnessing a spacecraft landing on earth.  The description of the wheel is definitely futuristic.

Enoch’s writings about angels were controversial enough to be edited out of the Bible.  More of his writings were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.  He regularly communicated with angels and ascended up to Heaven to speak with God on behalf of their shortcomings.  Possible abduction?  Genesis 5:24 clearly states that Enoch “walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

Did angels or aliens come to Earth to show mankind technology and weapons?  One of the Bible’s biggest examples of this, at least according to Ancient Alien Theory, is Lot’s wife.  Genesis 19:26 says, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”  Lot and his family were warned not to look back.  We know now that nuclear blasts leave salt.  There are large salt contents all over the Dead Sea to suggest that there was once an ancient nuclear explosion.

In the Bible, these beings appear to prophets, kings, and every day people.  In modern day many geniuses such as Tesla and Da Vinci claim that brilliant ideas just popped into their heads.  Some alien believers call these moments of greatness part of the Akashic record.

Whatever you believe, angels or aliens were definitely here thousands of years ago.  Our history books only tell us bits and parts of our past.  The Best Seller, my new sci-fi novel, uses ancient alien theory, New World Order, Nazi conspiracies, and aliens to weave an entertaining tale that will leave you wondering about our collective past.

The Best Seller (Solstice Publishing, May 31st, 2016)

When Maya Smock writes her first novel, everything seems to go her way. Her book practically writes itself. She marries her gorgeous agent. Her name is on all of the best seller lists. Billionaire author Jay McCallister takes an interest in her meteoric rise to fame and invites her into his world of alien-believing celebrities. Her life changes forever when he tells her that they were both created inside of a laboratory. These authors are embedding an alien genetic code within the pages of their novels that originated from Nazi Germany because…
The time has come. They are here.


Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, Solstice Publishing

Author Spotlight Natalie Silk

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with Natalie Silk from Illinois.dsc02706-1limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Natalie.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

snowfalls-secret-1I now have two books published, Stars’ Fire (with another publisher) and Snowfall’s Secret (with Solstice).  I also wrote a short story, Synapse, for the latest SF anthology.  I’m currently working on a third book with a tentative title of Storm’s Eye.

Very nice.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I want one of my books to be read by as many youths as possible.

Good luck with that. Most authors want their work read by as large an audience as possible.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I love writing science fiction for young adults.  When I was a tween there were no SF books for us (particularly girls).  I’m glad things are changing.

Great point. My 12-year old daughter enjoys science fiction books, as do other girls her age today.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Don’t give up. Ever.

Excellent advice.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

There was no internet or self-publishing ebooks.  In fact, there was no such thing as an ebook.

Interesting. It’s true that ebooks have made a big change in the publishing field.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I took two writing classes in college to fill a prerequisite.  I have to say there is a fine art in finding the right writers’ group.

I’m sure that’s true.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love traveling, sightseeing, and camping in warmer months.  I turn into a real snuggle bug in winter (knitting, reading, and watching movies).

I think a lot of us have seasonal hobbies. Yours sound like fun.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love getting lost in my writing and the sense of accomplishment when I finish.  The toughest challenge is getting my work published.

Yes, getting published is tough and selling your work afterwards is even more of a challenge.

Thanks so much, Natalie. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

My current work is Snowfall’s Secret.  It’s a about a girl from another world who must live like any other tween on Earth (and she suffers from amnesia).  Of course, she learns to enjoy shopping at the mall with her very own debit card and has a few secrets. At its core is the message that everyone has value and has something special to share. 

The story was inspired by a dream I had when I was twelve.  I saw five monks standing in a semi-circle.  They were all wearing a triangle-shaped pendant with a red stone in the center.  One of the monks looked at me and said, “You’re not ready,” and I woke.  I had subsequent dreams of a girl with a pendant to the one the monks wore and I wrote them all down.

My favorite character to write about (funny how that turned out) was a secondary one to the story:  Mrs. Margot Greenfield. I based her on a favorite childhood teacher.

By the way, my favorite genre to write is science fiction.  Surprise!  Just kidding.

My focus right now is science fiction for girls; but I’ve also wrote a short science fiction story and I’m still playing around with a short story that’s alternative history to give myself a mental stretch.  I have this irrational fear that the last thing I finish writing will be my last.  I wonder if I’m not alone.

I’m pretty ‘old school’ when it comes to my writing habits.  The first thing I do is buy a brand new hand-sized spiral notebook and use it to write the basic story that’s mostly action punctuated here and there by dialogue.   The little notebook helps me believe that I’m accomplishing so much.  I then use my trusty laptop to write the second draft that looks as if I threw words down to see what sticks.  The technical term I like to use is word hurl.  Each subsequent draft looks a little more refined than the previous one.  I then use the little spiral notebook to make notes and jot down ideas for the story.

I began writing when I was ten and back then we didn’t have home computers.

I was asked a while ago what I would do if I weren’t a writer; and I quipped that I would be an artist.  I dug deep down and realized the truth is that I would be a very sad person without writing.  My words are what ground me and keep me sane.

I’ve been asked advice by aspiring writers.  I’m very, very flattered.  But let me tell you, I’m still an aspiring writer. My advice is simple:  don’t ever, ever (and I mean ever) give up.

Please reach out to me on:

Facebook  Natalie Silk, Author

Twitter @natalieasilk

Thanks again, Natalie. It’s been a pleasure having you as a guest. We both have in common that we started writing very young and have been published by Solstice Publishing. I’ve also done some Sci-Fic writing but for adults and not teens. I wish you the very best on your future books.


Posted in Facebook, New Year's

Making People Your New Year’s Resolution

2017yearI didn’t make a New Year’s resolution this year. Most of the ones I’ve made in the past were abandoned before the end of January. I think goals are more realistic. What do I want to accomplish this year? This month? This week? Today? When you know what you want to achieve, it’s easier to take steps toward making it happen. But as much as we plan, organize, and schedule ourselves, there are more important things we often forget or ignore. I learned a lesson this holiday season that I want to share with my readers because it affects everyone, even more so as the years pass and one grows older.

What are your priorities? Work? Money? Success? Are you neglecting any of your relationships? Where on your to-do-list are getting together with family and friends? Are there any people who you’ve wanted to reconnect with but have put off trying to contact?

Although life is very busy today with more social contact through phones and computers than personal face-to-face encounters, it’s important to try to make time for the people you love and care about.

2016-12-08-10-00-03-hdrI was lucky to have had a chance to see two long-time friends over the holidays. I traveled into New York City with one, and we attended the Christmas Spectacular at 2016-12-08-15-35-50Radio City Music Hall. Then we had lunch together and spent some time in Bryant Park near the New York Public Library (since we are both librarians, we took some photos near the famous lions outside who were wearing decorative wreaths). We also watched the ice skaters while having hot chocolate and ended our day viewing store window decorations as we walked back to Penn Station for our train home. It was an enjoyable excursion with a friend I hadn’t gotten together with in a long time.

2016-12-30-15-24-20After Christmas, I saw another friend. Although we spent our time locally, it was a nice day shopping in a nearby pet store (we both are cat lovers) and then browsing the shops at the Milleridge Village that were still decorated for the holidays. We stopped in the cafe where we also had some hot chocolate. I had a craving for their famous peppermint ice cream, but they were all sold out.

Those will be two memories I’ll cherish from 2016 and 2017. They mean more than all the texting, chatting, IMing, and emails I share. However, I realize it’s not always possible to personally see people especially when they are in another state or country. That’s where social media can help. Many relatives and friends have been reunited through Facebook and other sites. I’ve reconnected with many college and school friends through Facebook and that’s one of the reasons I keep my maiden name on my profile.

fbfriendAn experience I had recently spurred me to write this post. I found someone on Facebook from my childhood who was very special to me. I sent him a friend request before the holidays, but he didn’t accept. At first, I thought it was because too many years had passed. I was sure he had changed from when I knew him as a 13-year old and probably wasn’t interested in catching up with me now. He had also moved to another state and was most likely married, as I am. Still, I was curious. Although we’d known one another only briefly, he had been the inspiration and namesake for my male main character in my Cobble Cove mysteries, and our friendship had been the basis of a story I’d written and hope to publish in an anthology one day. Another novel that I’m currently querying with agents also features a man and woman who cross paths with one another twenty years later after having known one another as kids.

I don’t know why I sent the friendship request at the time I did or why I hadn’t tried earlier; but, the day after New Year’s my request was accepted — not by him but by his son. I later learned he had died a short time before Christmas. I was shocked and saddened by the news. Of course, I sent his family my deep condolences, but none of them knew me or what he’d meant to me. He had been my first boyfriend. He had given me my first kiss. It had been innocent. I was a lonely girl with a weight problem, but he didn’t care how I looked. We had fun together. I showed him my writing that I was interested in even then, and he encouraged me. We played some silly games. We went to the movies with his older sister and my older brother. We made believe we would marry one day. When we lost touch, I was very sad. I got over it, of course, and went on to lead a new life, as did he. But, as I said in A Stone’s Throw and also in my unpublished thriller, Sea Scope, “you never forget your first love.”

After I found out about my childhood friend’s death, I thought about another friend who’d died a few years ago after calling me. She’d been to my wedding, but we hadn’t been in touch for a long time. I tried to make plans to meet her, but she passed away a few weeks later before I found the time to arrange it.

I guess the lesson I’ve learned from these experiences and a resolution I’d like to make for life and not just New Year’s is to keep in touch with the people in my life, those there now and those who were once a special part of it. It’s easy to make excuses, but life is too short for regrets, holding grudges, being shy, feeling awkward, not having the time, etc. The Latins had the right idea with their motto, “Carpe diem,” Seize the day. Call, text, email, write, or visit a friend or loved one you haven’t heard from in a while. Don’t wait until a New Year to do it.