National Poetry Month

Did you know that reading poetry…

  • Improves verbal skills and memory.
  • Develops empathy and insight.
  • Improves creative thinking.
  • Enhances awareness.
  • Reduces stress.

Best of all you can enjoy the health benefits  of poetry without any strained muscles. Mary Oliver’s Dream Work is only 90 pages long.

Okay, I’m a little late to the party since National Poetry Month started April 1st. But the best thing about this type of celebration is that there’s still plenty of time and resources to celebrate the rich world of poetry. Try reading a poem a day with your morning coffee or before you turn in at night. Or better yet, do both.



Writer Interview-Wendy Van Camp

Describe your day job.  My day job is being an artisan jeweler and have been in business for 25+ years.  I create my jewelry in my home studio and sell it at various science fiction conventions, concerts, and celtic events all over the Western United States.  My jewelry features natural stones or art glass and wirewrapped bails and findings.  I’m a trained certified gemologist and have an extensive collection of unusual stones that I use in my work These days, you’ll find my books and poetry selling along side my jewelry on my table.  It is all good .

Tell me about your latest book. The Curate’s Brother is the first of four books in my regency historical series. It is a women’s historical fiction based off the characters and setting from Jane Austen’s novel “Persuasion”. I am not a romance author, per se, but I fell in love with Jane Austen’s work and I couldn’t help myself from writing with her characters and historical setting. This novelette can serve as a prequel to “Persuasion”, but it is also the first of four books I am writing that will take Austen’s characters on a new journey.

Books two through four will take the reader into different historical settings and showcase the English culture of the time.  You will get a taste of battle at sea, the marriage mart in London, a sense of the structure of classes of the time period, and the plight of women during this era.  While the story has sweet romantic elements, it is more a historical drama.

Who are your writing role models? I would claim Jane Austen as a good influence.  I love her attention to detail in the settings and deep characters without overwhelming the pace of the story.  Another favorite is Robert A Heinlein.  While I don’t always agree with his politics, he was a master at merging science with story.  There is an old saying that in science fiction, “Heinlein was there first.”  I’ve researched writing advice he’d given to other successful authors in science fiction and keep those tips for my own use.  Many are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.  Finally, I have a great deal of respect for Brandon Sanderson.  Not only for his interesting books, but for his online writing courses.  I am awed by his story planning ability and the amount of output he has with his books.  It is certainly someone to emulate.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?  Scheduling is the key to making things work.  There are a few things that I like to do each morning.  For instance, I do either weight training or aerobic exercise in the morning before breakfast.  I am not a fitness junkie, I only workout for around 30 minutes in my home gym, but it is enough that I have seen strides in my health.  I find the key to keeping up with it is to alternate what tasks I do each day.  It keeps it fun.  This also gives me time to wake up, think about stories while my hands and body are doing something else, and be away from computer screens.

Once I’ve exercised, had my morning meal, and checked my email, I go into a dictation drafting session.  I have outlines that I prepare once a week and have ready to work on so I keep the momentum going.  I dictation short stories, articles, and work on my novel drafts in this manner. I’ve only been dictating for a few months, but I am growing fond of creating drafts this way.  After an hour or two, I close that down and take a mid-day break.

In the afternoon I lug my laptop to the coffeehouse to work on revisions or I stay home and do my online marketing/blog tasks.  Occasionally, I might make jewelry in the afternoon.  It depends on if I have a show coming up or not.  After 25 years I’m pretty fast when it comes to putting earrings and necklaces together so my “day job” doesn’t get in the way of my writing.

My evenings are for my own entertainment.  I watch movies, read books or hang out with my husband.  I also like to read my poetry at open-mics.  It is a fun way to join in your local writing community.

I tend to not write on the weekends.  I’m either at a venue doing sales or going to a writing seminar/workshop.  Sometimes I take a day off and enjoy myself.  I know that many writers feel they must write every day, but after a few decades of earning my living via the arts, I’ve learned that it is okay to take a Sunday off now and then and recharge yourself.  I am consistent with my writing on weekdays and this is enough.

What are your other passions outside of writing?  I am into sketching with fountain pens.  For a few years, I was an avid zentangler and did doodles in my bullet journal to relax and pass the time.  Lately, I’ve been expanding into using watercolor with my sketches and I’ve been dabbling in urban sketching.  I have not gone out on location to sketch yet, I’m still a beginner, but I think that perhaps on one of my Sunday breaks, I might join an urban sketching group and give it a shot. Why not?

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? When you are an author, you often are writing alone in your office with no other company but your dog at your feet. Sometimes the hours grow long and you wonder if it is all worth it.  Then out of the blue, a reader sends you a positive comment on your Facebook page or on your blog about one of your stories and it is like a ray of sunshine.  I hope you all continue to be my guiding lights.  Thank you all for your support.


In the summer of 1806, a young curate is surprised by the arrival of his brother, Commander Frederick Wentworth of the British Royal Navy. All the good commander wants is to flirt and dance with the ladies until he is called back to the sea. He is drawn to a baronet’s daughter and pays no heed to warnings that the girl is above his station even as Frederick’s flirting with another young beauty infuriates his brother.

At the end of summer, a letter and package arrive that will change everything for the two brothers. Which will prevail? The bold actions of the commander or the quiet manners of the curate?


Wendy Van Camp writes science fiction, regency historical, and scifaiku poetry.  No Wasted Ink is her platform featuring essays, poetry, flash fiction, and author interviews.  Wendy’s stories and poems appear in magazines such as “Quantum Visions”, “Scifaikuest”, “Lit Up”, “Writing Cooperative”, and “Far Horizons”. She has won Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest and is a graduate of the James Gunn Speculative Fiction Workshop.


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The Curate’s Brother:

Everyone Wants to Talk to the Governor

Sam’s Town, Las Vegas-20 Books to 50K Conference

Waiting for the 10:10pm flight back to Reno from the 20 Books to 50K Conference I noticed a tall elegant couple standing in line. They attracted a lot of attention, not only were they the best-dressed pair in the terminal (he in a tux, she in a midnight blue ball gown), they happened to be former Governor Sandoval and his wife Lily. They carried on a friendly conversation with the guy next to them, a regular Joe carrying a canvas backpack. Except for one slick businessman who made a point of getting a selfie with them, the pair were left alone though their presence created  quite a buzz among the other passengers.

Writers conferences also have their share of celebrities, an industry insider or best-selling author that everyone wants to talk to. It can be tempting to focus on the star and ignore the rest of the universe. Or worse, having a sense of genre bias and only hanging out with members of your genre. Such short-sightedness can really limit your experience.

At your next conference instead of focusing on who you want to meet, consider what you need to learn.  Do you need to find software tools to amp up your production, expand your social media presence or build a newsletter? Have a list of questions in mind when you head to the conference and talk to everyone.

Creative Places-Copper Cat Studio

During Reno Open Studios last October I was fortunate to meet Katie Packham, mosaic artist and owner of Copper Cat Studio.

What inspired the start of your business?

I’ve always been creative, enjoying and excelling at many different art forms from a young age. It’s when I got to college that I was hesitant to make a career out of it. I got a degree in interior design because it was creative but also included a lot of problem solving and project management. I’m very right/left brain equal. I did that for many years and was able to nurture a mural business on the side for about 9 years before delving into mosaics. That is what ignited the passion to make me quit my day job 11 years ago.

My biggest breakthrough came when…

My biggest breakthrough to the path I’m on now is when the mosaic supply company where I taught class for years offered to sell me their business. It was mainly an online business but there was local clientele and I quickly found running it out of my home studio wasn’t going to work. My first move to a public location was in a cute boutique location in Midtown. It was immediately apparent that the space wasn’t big enough for how the business was evolving- mostly workshops, and so when my rent significantly increased after a little over a year, we moved into our current location. I guess that was a huge breakthrough too. I was really upset about the rent increase, but it ended up being the catalyst for the exponential growth we’ve experienced in the last year and a half. I couldn’t be happier with where we are right now!

How do you balance your creative pursuits with your day-to-day commitments?

I would say finding that balance in my day-to-day commitments of running a studio, workshop space, retail front and yoga studio is tough. My time for my own creativity has definitely suffered. I have created a space where others come to nurture their souls through the arts. I feel like I’m finally on the right track and am starting to get in the groove after the move a year and a half ago, so that I can find that bit of creative nurturing I need as well. I love the bustle and energy of a busy studio, but find that I really appreciate those days where it is quiet and I can just mosaic all day without interruption.

What’s next?

I’m not sure…I’ve learned to let the universe guide me. I know that sounds cheesy, but I’ve found that if I lay out some intentions and not try to be too specific with details, the right opportunities pop up at exactly the right time. I am enjoying what we are doing currently but it’s always evolving. The diverse workshops we offer are hugely popular but it’s a lot of work. I see myself simplifying in the years to come and concentrating on just mosaics, yoga and Reiki and other healing modalities.

Anything else to share with the readers?

Just that with our crazy lives, it’s important to take care of ourselves. Whether through yoga, meditation, creativity or getting out in nature…whatever nurtures YOUR soul, we have to fill our own vessel before being able to give to others.

Copper Cat Studio

300 Kresge Lane, Sparks, NV 89431


Tessera Glass

Author/Artist Interview S.L. Dearing

I met Shannon through her Etsy business, Underdweller Treasures. I needed some swag for an upcoming author event. Not only did she meet my deadline, but the treasures she crafted for Ever After were a big hit.

Describe your day job.

My day job LOL. I am an Office Assistant and receptionist at a marketing firm in Century City, CA. It is part-time, but I am blessed in that I can do marketing for my books and side business, Underdweller Treasures.


Tell me about your latest book.

My most recent release is a two part collaboration with three other authors (Magen McMinimy, Jax Walsh and Jean Michaels). It’s called The Similayer Project and it is a post-apocalyptic, contagion, survival story loaded with intrigue, romance and everything in between. It is also formatted as a normal timeline, so it’s not a collection, but rather a fully fleshed out book that we all wrote. It was a huge undertaking and I have to say I’m super proud of it!

Who are your writing role models?

My biggest influences are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, JK Rowling, Robin Jarvis, William Shakespeare, Magen McMinimy


How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I can’t say I’m always successful with that. I try to manage my time as best I can, but I drop the ball a lot. That is life. As long as the most important aspects of your life are intact, it’s okay. So that means, sometimes writing falls to the wayside, and I try to do it when I can.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Besides, family and friends, I have a side business I mentioned above, Underdweller Treasures. I make jewelry and swag, and I really love that. My sister taught me when I was in my twenties. I read, love movies and music. I’m trying to learn some new languages and would like to learn to play the banjo.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Oh, wow, I guess be patient with your favorite authors. Writing can be a slow process sometimes. As a reader I know it’s frustrating to wait for the next book, but it is a long process. Other than that, find your passion, try to make it your life’s work, and if you can’t, make sure to take time out to enjoy. Oh, and remember, there is no shelf life to dreams… you can always find a new one.

Links to S.L. Dearing


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Artist Interview-Kelly Burr

I met Kelly Burr at the Copper Cat during Reno Open Studios and I was impressed by her warmth and energy.  

 What are some of the challenges you faced transitioning your artistic work into retirement?

The challenges….OH the challenges. The biggest challenge I’ve had so far, with the exception of my body cooperating with my need to work, is the feeling of “ not contributing to the household”, so finding a way to balance that, has been interesting. Because my “retirement” was forced upon me after my accident, I didn’t have that lead time one takes, before planning such a big change. But, I’ve adapted, and I’m learning to work WITH my body’s schedule, and not against it. My days are random as far as what I can do, but we are making it work.

Kelly included one of her art magnets along with her business card.

What advice would you give someone at a similar place in her journey?

The advice I would give is just to embrace your new place…like anything else in life, it’s an adjustment and you’ll need to find the right balance for YOU, but I promise, once you arrive, you’ll feel amazing, energized and ready to take on the world.

What are your other passions?

I was in the catering/event planning business for 40 years, with my last few years being an executive assistant to a fairly famous( in my neck of the woods) Chef, and I love to plan elaborate parties and cook awesome meals…I just don’t want to do the cleanup!

What’s next for you?

Hmmmmm….what’s next? I’m hoping to be able to teach more, do more private lessons. It’s so cool to watch students, of all ages, learn and create something in THEIR vision, not mine. I love sharing my art and I want others to be as joyful as I feel when I make something!

Anything that you’d like to share with our readers?

EVERYONE has creativity, in some form. I can’t draw, or paint a “picture”. I cannot crochet, knit, spin or weave. I can’t do metalwork, woodwork or blow glass…Find YOUR thing. Study it. Experiment with it. PLAY WITH IT. Let your mind wander. It’s ok. In fact, it’s essential to happiness. You know the old saying…All work and no play, make us ALL very dull people. Go out and be shiny!!!

Website info: Coming soon…

Facebook:  Mai Whey Art Studios


September 6th-National Read a Book Day

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Stephen King

September 6th is National Read a Book Day. While this notable day doesn’t include any paid vacation, celebrating is as easy as reaching for your favorite read, no need to endure long lines at the grocery to pick-up the ingredients for the celebratory meal.  However if you choose to make it a family affair, opt for take-out so you and the kids have more time for reading.  Remember children’s books expose kids to 50% more words than prime time TV.

By the way, the pictured dragon resides at Sundance Books and Music, a Reno indie bookstore. He’s appeared in at least one previous post, but you never can have too much dragon in your life (or too many books). So what are you waiting for?