Posted in Authors, Monday blogs

A Taxing Task for Writers

Most people dread preparing their taxes each year. If you write professionally, even if it’s part-time, you should know that the IRS considers it a business and requires you to account for your income and expenses. I found out, the hard way, that records should be kept monthly to avoid the last-minute rush of trying to locate the information for filing. I’m including links to some articles on tips for writers on what they should claim on their taxes and also a list of what I claim on mine.

‘I see here you’re a professional writer. That explains the touch of whimsy in your return.’

Although as a new writer, my expenses far outweigh my income at this point, I still need to account for both. My income this year came from three library talks, an article I published in a magazine, an award I won in the Cat Writer’s Association contest last summer, and my royalties. Since publishers often pay royalties on a quarterly or monthly basis, the dates the amounts are deposited are later than when the author earned them.

One of the categories that I listed for expenses included my annual membership fee in writing organizations. I pay for all of them except International Thriller Writers because they offer free membership to authors who publish with a publisher on their approved publisher list. I’m lucky that my publisher, Solstice Publishing, is one of these publishers.

Other expenses included:

Book Tours

Prizes (gift cards as well as books)

Bookmarks/Business cards and other promotional material

Conference Fees (travel, hotel, registration, etc.)

Postage costs

Contest Entry fees

Subscriptions to writing Magazines

Books on writing and publishing

Copyright Fees

Ads

Miscellaneous costs (Book trailers, Editing, Teasers, etc).

Here are links to some articles about taxes that might be helpful to authors.

https://www.thebalance.com/taxes-and-the-book-author-2799907

https://janefriedman.com/author-taxes/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/get-published-sell-my-work/tax-advice-for-writers

Writers, please also feel free to comment on any other expenses or income you have claimed that isn’t mentioned in this post.

Posted in Authors, Monday blogs

Wordup at Long Island Litfest: A Tribute to Authors and Storytellers

Yesterday afternoon, I attended Wordup: Long Island Litfest at the Madison Theater at Molloy College with two author friends, Kimberly Amato and Lisa Diaz Meyer. This annual event, in its third year, featured popular Long Island authors and was kicked off with a choice of two free writing workshops. My friends and I selected the Storytelling Workshop presented by Tracey Segarra of the Now You’re Talking Show. After treating the attendees to one of her own stories, Segarra broke down the structure of a story and invited everyone to try two storytelling exercises. The first consisted of prompts to help generate ideas. The second was a group activity involving object description and active listening. Although the workshop was short, it was quite informative. Segarra also invited everyone to her May 6 event, The Tipping Point, at the Merrick Theater and Center for the Arts at which several authors and storytellers will share stories.

Cathi Hanauer Interviewing Gail Sheehy at LI Litfest

The main event of the Long Island Litfest commenced at 1 pm and ran to 4:30 pm. It consisted of two sessions of speakers followed by questions from the audience, book sales, and author signings. The Emcee and first speaker for the event was Barry Dougherty, author of How To Do It Standing Up, The Friars Club’s Guide To Being A Comic and other books on comedy. The first-session speakers included Caroline Leavitt, author of the novel Cruel Beautiful World and New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, and many other works; and Steven Gaines, co-founder and a past vice-chairman of the Hamptons International Film Festival and author of numerous books, including Philistines at the Hedgerow and his memoir, One of These Things First. The last two speakers of the session were  Cathi Hanauer, New York Times bestselling author of three novels and editor of two anthologies, The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage and the recent The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier; and Gail Sheehyauthor of seventeen books, including internationally acclaimed best-seller Passages, named one of the ten most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress. Hanauer and Sheehy spoke alone, and then Hanauer interviewed Sheehy about her recent memoir, Daring: My Passages,.

Alan Zweibel and Dave Barry answering audience questions at LI Litfest

Session two featured George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, writer, actress, producer, monologist, and Internet radio host, and author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George ; Bill Scheft, Emmy-nominated and long-time staff writer for David Letterman and author of five humor novels, including his latest, Shrink ThyselfAlan Zweibel, an original Saturday Night Live writer, who has won multiple Emmy and Writers Guild of America awards for his work in television, which includes It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Late Show With David Letterman, and Curb Your Enthusiasm and has also won a Tony Award and the Thurber Prize; and Dave Barry, Pulitzer-Prize winning humor writer whose columns and essays have appeared in hundreds of newspapers over the past 35 years who has also written a number of New York Times bestsellers including the recent, For this We Left Egypt, a parody of the Passover Haggadah, co-authored with Alan Zweibel (and Adam Mansbach). After Barry spoke, he and Zweibel opened the floor to questions.

Book sales for Litfest were handled by Turn of the Corkscrew bookstore. Other sponsors included The Madison Theater, Long Island Pulse, Now You’re Talking, and East End Fringe Festival. It was nice to be able to buy the presenters’ books and have them autographed on the spot. It was a very entertaining afternoon and an opportunity to listen to some great stories and storytellers.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, Solstice Publishing

Author Spotlight: Chad McClendon

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with  Chad McClendon from Ohio.

chad

limitlesslibrarylounge

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

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

Well, I have been published since October of 2015. My very first publication was a short story entitled “Borris.” It is a Gothic Satire about a Vampire Raccoon who continues to live by targeting stock boys in Grocery stores late at night. I say it is Gothic because it contains classical elements of gothic stories, such as fire, a brooding hero, and castles, to name a few. 

One of my most recent publications is called “Die.xlsx” and is published by Fun Dead Publications, and it is a dark comedy.

I have several other online publications for my short stories & flash fiction tales. To name a few, “Just One More” appears in Bewildering Stories, and is the story of a Campfire Legend come to life (careful, it’s a chiller!) I’m pleased to say that my first poem will be published in The Voices Project in early 2018.

chad2And of course, my first title to appear in a book all my own was Lipstick Trace, published by Solstice Publishing. It is a story of two boys becoming unlikely friends, and falling in love with the same music, women, and in some ways each other.

Congratulations on all those publications.

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.

I have a tendency to write horror when it comes to my shorter works, whereas most of my novels tend to be Fantasy or Young Adult. Lipstick Trace is Young Adult, but my next project is called “Natalsa of the Brim”, and it is set to be a series.

Natalsa is about a witch struggling to reveal evil in the world, all the while trying to restore her own robbed powers. It is a tale of romance, adventure, deception, and most importantly, Magic.

Sounds very interesting.

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?

My goal for the longest time was to simply be published. This was accomplished in 2015. My next goal was to appear in print. This happened with “The Accident” in the “Tales From The Grave” anthology. My next goal was to be published in a book all my own and collect a profit, and this happened in Lipstick Trace in May of 2016!

So, my next writing goal is to appear in the New York Times Bestseller list. This is more a long term project. The goal to get there is to get at least 10,000 people to read my books.

To get to that goal, I am attending Literary Conventions, speaking at Schools, soliciting local Book Stores to see if my work can be sold there.

Excellent. I am also hoping to attract a wider readership. I’ve been querying agents and also speaking where I can, mostly at libraries because I’m a librarian. I’ve also spoken at my local Barnes and Noble and am attending a writer’s conference in May and Book Expo in June.

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

With Lipstick Trace, the 20-30 year old crowd. It was originally written 10 years ago, so it would deeply appeal to this demographic, as it contains pop culture references that they would most probably like. However, it is still a book centered around Teenagers going into Young Adulthood, I think they can still get a lot out of it.

Good luck with that.

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

Collect 100 Rejection letters over the course of 365 days. Let me know if you aren’t published by that time.

I like that suggestion. Persistence is of utmost importance to authors.

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

My biggest hurdle, and my most frustrating complaint, was getting rejection after rejection with no exact reason for why it was being rejected other than ‘it’s just not right for us at this time.’ It was a cop-out answer then, and it still is. However, I will say that I learned to seek out opinions on my writing from local author groups, people that weren’t my close friends or family. They gave me unique critiques that was able to get my works to a more publishable state.

Beta readers and objective readers are always a big help to authors.

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 went to college at Northern Kentucky University for Creative Writing. I took a lot of writing classes. I took the standards Grammar Class, Basic/Advanced College Writing, & Shakespeare. But once those dreadful things were out of the way, I got to take Creative Writing, Novel Writing, Fiction Writing, Gothic Literature & The Arts, so many others.

Writing is like learning to shoot a gun. Anyone can shoot a gun, but that guns gonna work a lot longer if you know how to clean it and keep it functioning right. The classes that provided me the most valuable lessons were Creative Writing & Novel Writing. These were groups that promoted constructive criticism, novel development, how to publish, and things to look out for when finding a publisher. If you’re local to NKU, I advise taking them.

They sound great. I was an English major but haven’t taken too many creative writing courses. However, I did take some online publishing courses from the Gale Courses database through my library. I thought they were very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I like playing with my kids, playing League of Legends with my wife, camping, and recently grilling out. It’s been 60 degrees this week, and we’ve grilled out twice so far. I love the smell of smoke and extinguished matches, so naturally this is a good hobby for me.

Family time is important, and it’s also good to enjoy the outdoors in good weather .

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

I like that beautiful flash of creation that comes with the idea of a new novel. It is unlike any other experience in the creative process. You are filled with hope, plotlines, character arcs, and most of all potential. What I dislike least, rather what is most challenging, is finding the dang publisher for the thing. Publishing has gotten easier now that I have a few titles under my belt, but it’s still hard to break through!

I agree that writing is a wonderful creative process. I find marketing the hardest part of it because even when you find a publisher, you still need to find buyers for your book.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Website – www.cmcfiction.net

Facebook – www.facebook.com/cmcfiction

Twitter – www.twitter.com/cmc_fiction

Free Download for Lipstick Trace (Valid until March 1st 2017) – http://goo.gl/Z05Ckg

Thanks for the interview, Chad, and best wishes to you on your future books.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authors, Guest Post, Solstice Publishing

Guest Post by Author Christopher Davis

It’s my pleasure to share the following guest post by my fellow Solstice Publishing author, Christopher Davis.

Good Morning and thank you for having me.

I’ve two novels on tap so far for 2017—one short and one full length—and both will be published by the good folks at Solstice publishing.

41oqgurj9ql-2Walking to Babylon—the first up and released February 2nd—is the longer version of a story that I wrote for the Multiple Myeloma Research charity anthology Paladins. My story in the anthology was titled Low and Outside and as you could guess takes both its title and story line from the game of baseball, as the story is told over a couple of beers at a farm team game in Las Vegas.

The collection was published in England and is stocked with some of the best indie crime writers on the scene today from both sides of the pond. Paladins was put together for a crime writer friend—Craig Furchtenicht and his wife—Henrietta—who at the time—was fighting a valiant battle against Multiple Myeloma. She has since lost that battle and writing the longer story was my way of remembering the smiles posted from a hospital room on Facebook as she struggled to keep those of us writers participating, in the game.

Walking to Babylon is not for the faint of heart as it follows a pair of unlikely Vegas mob types—Sammy Soriano and Tommy Two Guns Viglierchio—as they grow up busting balls for the old man.

 Vigleirchio has cancer and Soriano knows it, but there is really nothing that he can do except be a friend. After a hard life of drug use, fast living and even faster women, Viglierchio chooses to end it all one night in the desert outside of Las Vegas under a silver summer moon.

15380474_992590437512238_5384982518763232614_nAin’t No Law in California is a much longer post-apocalyptic, western that has lived on the hard drive of my computer for six or seven years. The original story was slated to be a traditional western and written as three stories, in the hope of gaining the attention of the shorter e-book publishers of the time.

After two complete re-writes and another in first person, I scrapped the idea and the story took on a more SCI-FI, Steam-Punk, Dystopian feel. A couple of folks read through it—after having read the original version—and it seemed that the Dan Bardwell series of odd westerns would get off the ground.

An untitled follow up is nearly complete and both are written as traditional as can be with the exception that they take place a hundred and fifty years in the future after a nuclear war has nearly wiped humanity out.

Walking to Babylon was just released on the 2nd of February and Ain’t No Law in California is making the various rounds of editing and should be out before spring and available through Amazon or Solstice Publishing?

***

Christopher Davis is a central California native and grandfather of three rambunctious little ones. When not tending herd, he can be found trying his hand at writing Crime, Western and Horror fiction. Chris lives with his wife and a little dog that has nearly lost his mind.

Find out more at www.christopherdaviswrites.com

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books

Author Spotlight: Women’s Fiction Author J. Schlenker

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with  J. Schlenker from Olive Hill, Kentucky.

jschlenker1

limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Jerri (I hope you don’t mind my using your first name here).  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published? Please give details.

I don’t mind you calling me by my full first name at all. I’ve been published since December 2015. My three books are Jessica Lost Her Wobble, The Color of Cold and Ice, and  The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries (A Collection of Short Stories).  They are all Self-Published.

Congratulations. I have a small publisher, but I admire those who do it themselves.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

jschlenkerIn my short career I would say I write mainly women’s fiction.  I would categorize both “Jessica Lost Her Wobble” and “The Color of Cold and Ice” as women’s fiction, mainly. Both have women going through transitions in their lives. Although, “The Color of Cold and Ice” also has men going through transitional stages. “The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries” (A Collection of Short Stories) is a hodgepodge. However, the stories, I think, would appeal to the middle-aged or older woman. Should I say ‘more mature’ woman?

I am currently working on two new books: “The Innkeeper on the Edge of Paris” – A woman leaves her marriage and job in the US and travels to France and stays in an old inn where she has strange dreams and encounters a ghost, and meets a man. “Sally”  – Historical Fiction about a woman I met when I was 8. She was 103 at the time. She was born in 1858 into slavery.

All your books sound interesting. Women’s fiction is a very popular genre.

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’m not one of those people who put goals out there, but as a writer, I want to write something that I’m happy about, something that causes someone to think, or smile, or cry in a good way.  I would hope to see my books as book club pics and in every library.

Those are excellent goals; and, since I’m a librarian, I like your desire to have your book in libraries. One of my goals is also to touch readers and make them think and feel.

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

The mature woman or mature male for that matter.

I think my Cobble Cove mystery series also appeals to mature readers because of the age of the characters. The main ones are 40+, although I’ve tried to introduce college-age characters as well as children into the series recently.

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

First off, write what’s in your heart, what you are inspired to write.

I agree with that. Many writers are influenced by what they think the public wants to read. I believe you have to write what you feel or it won’t come across as genuine.

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

Finding the right words?  After that, there was beta reading (I’ve lucked out on that one – I’ve found some great people who give me the feedback I need) and editing (the editing takes more time than the writing, on my part. My editor goes through it quickly – I lucked out on finding a good editor, too.). What does that leave? Formatting, getting it ready for publication. I’m self-published. So, I had to figure out to get it out there. I’m technologically impaired. So, up until recently, as I’ve had lots of practice doing this now, the formatting was the hardest. Now, I’m back to finding the right words as being the hardest.

Yes, editing takes a lot more time than writing. I don’t think people realize that until they’ve published a book. The first draft is just that, a draft. You have to mold it into the final product and that takes a lot of work. Beta readers and editors can help, but only you know what you want your work to convey.

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.

Yes, and yes, they’ve helped a lot. I belong to several writing groups which is helpful. We use writing prompts and critique each other’s work. I’ve taken around ten online writing classes. They are available through my library. I’ve learned a lot through them. I also met one of my beta readers through one of them.

I think you are referring to the Gale Courses, Jerri, and I believe you took some of the ones I took through my library with Eva Shaw. Gale Courses is a database that is offered nationwide through libraries. They have wonderful writing and publishing classes but also many other courses.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Art, Yoga, being with my family

Very nice. Your covers definitely show your art talent.

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

Making myself write, the self-doubt.

Self-doubt is a biggie for most authors including myself.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

https://www.facebook.com/J.SchlenkerAuthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14763892.J_Schlenker

https://athursdayschild.wordpress.com/

Thanks so much, Jerri. It was a pleasure having you here and learning more about you and your writing. Best wishes to you.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, New Releases

Author Spotlight: Stephen St. Clair

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with Stephen St. Clair from Council Bluffs, Idaho.

sinclairphotoThanks for joining us, Stephen.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

How long have you been published?

I was first published last September with a short story. I now have a full-length book out.

Congratulations.

Please give details about both your published works.

sinclair1sinclair2Tales from the Wondrous Attic appeared in Realms of Fantastic Stories Vol. 1, and my own title- Kindred Souls: Voyage of the Scotsmen. Both are with Solstice Publishing

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.

So far,  I have written in fantasy and historical romance genres. A sequel is in the works for Kindred Souls: Voyage of the Scotsmen. No date set for release or completion at this point.

Very nice. I believe my short story, The Path to Rainbow Bridge, was also in the same Solstice anthology as yours. I have a mystery series with Solstice, but I also like to write other genres. My short historical romance, The Seashell and the Stone, is being published in February in their Cupid’s Arrow anthology. Two of my Cobble Cove mysteries should also be published in the spring.

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?

My interests are writing fantastic tales that take people out of their normal, everyday life and puts them in a world that grants them reprieve, dare I say a different adventure outside of their own normal life. I hope to continue to write and gain some sort of positive notoriety for what I write. I want to learn to write better and have a better marketing plan for everything I put out.

I think most readers enjoy immersing themselves in a good book to escape the daily routine. Improving one’s craft and planning marketing strategies are two important parts of being an author. I wish you luck with those goals.

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

If I write in a specific genre, I hope to attract new readers to my book. It’s hard for the average reader to step outside of the author-comfort zone. I hope that most people that pick up my book are already into that kind of genre, but if not, I hope they will give my book a chance.

I hear you completely. It’s difficult for new writers to reach an audience initially; but, with persistence and more publications, a good author will eventually attract readers.

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

Don’t be afraid, learn to craft your stories with passion and a sense of adventure, and try your hand in different genres. you never know what might come from them.

I agree, as I like to experiment with different genres myself. I think it helps one grow as an author.

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

I blame April Erwin. She’s the one who got me in touch with Solstice. I also blame my wife, she’s the one who kicked me in the proverbial writing pants and said “You’re not done! You have more stories to tell!” My biggest challenges were staying put long enough to actually write something.

Lol. I think many writers can relate to that. We need motivation from our friends and relatives and belief in ourselves. For me, it was my husband’s suggestion to self-publish my first book and then a patron at the library where I work who continued to ask if I was writing anything else. Had it not been for her and a series of events that followed, I would never have published with two publishers and currently have several short stories and a mystery series.

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 sat thru two college degrees and wrote paper after paper. Each one having their own praises and put-downs. You learn as you go.

Very true. I also have two degrees, one in English and the other in Library science. I also gained a lot of experience from writing for my college newspaper as well as taking several writing and publishing online classes.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I like to wood carve/wood burn(pyrography) I like to spend time with my wife and go hiking in the woods in hope of coming across some hidden city or alternate reality or dimension.

That sounds like fun especially the last part.

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

I like the most is seeing what I have created. The part I like the least is going over and fixing my errors. It’s a time-consuming monster that sucks the life out of you!

Yes, editing if very time-consuming. It usually takes even longer than the initial writing. I don’t mind it so much. It’s the Promoting and marketing of the book after and before that I think takes up the most time away from writing and that I least enjoy.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.

stephenstclairwriter@gmail.com

@craftedquill on Twitter

stephenstclairwrit.wixsite.com/craftedquill

stephenstclair.webs.com

stephenstclairwriter.blogspot.com

Thanks so much for the interview and reciprocating by having me on your website and Facebook page. I wish you the best in your future writing endeavors.

 

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

https://www.facebook.com/Natalie-Silk-Author-313822162074307/?fref=ts

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.