Monday, December 15, 2014



You and I
In a knot

Bound in a
Of our own

The spider

Our random
Fraying but
Still raveled

Still we weave
In coarse twine

In your kiss—
I'm undone

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Brace yourself... winter's coming....

Three Haiku

brittle land yields as
onslaught descends wrath upon
capacious spaces

those left living brace
b'neath squall’s relentless torment
Retreat, Surrender

dreary sky deceives
tomorrow, rime world rebirths
under sundrenched blue

- Theresa Milstein

Sunday, November 16, 2014



After a
The number of


Who are these
Like them--
I know.

My corpse won’t tell.

- Theresa Milstein

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Manuscript Maven

Sharon Mayhew  has been a blogging buddy and a critique partner for years. And I also consider her a good friend. She’s helped me get my writing up to snuff and has always been exceedingly supportive, so I'm excited to be able to return the favor.

Read on to find out about her new endeavor and how you can enter to win a critique!

If you'll recall, I spent a lot of time this year critiquing/editing/and coaching writers. I seriously considered working for a literary agency, but one of the things I learned is that literary agents never have an ending point. Yes, when they sell a book and it gets through the publishing stage they only have to worry about marketing that book, right? Well, not exactly. They do an amazing amount of work.

So, if you have an agent be grateful for all of their hard work and if you are looking for an agent, be patient and understand the amount of work they are doing. It is NOT a 9-5 job!

I did gain some perspective, along with a lot of new writing friends. I LOVE LOVE LOVE editing and critiquing. It's a great feeling to help someone move their manuscript forward or to help them write a query that catches someone's attention. I love having a beginning and ending point with each project I undertake. Not that I don't continue thinking about people's manuscripts. I don't know how many times I've sent someone an email starting with: I was just thinking about your manuscript....

This experience led me to where I am today. I'm launching my own website offering my services for manuscript critiques, line edits, query critiques, and general coaching. I hope you will pop over and check out The Manuscript Maven. If you have any feedback or suggestions to improve my site, please leave them in the comments.

To celebrate, the winner on each blog will have the choice of the first 250 words of a picture book critique/line edits, the first seven pages of a novel critique/line edits, or a query critique/line edits.

The winners will be picked by on December 19th. Please leave what genres you write in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a lovely Fall!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gears of Brass

Gear up for GEARS OF BRASS! 

A world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device.  

Within this tome, you’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings, as well as original stories that will send your gears turning.  

Welcome to the steampunk realm, with eleven authors guiding your path. 
GEARS OF BRASS is a steampunk anthology published through Curiosity Quills.  It will be available for purchase on November 10, 2014.  Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings.  Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets. 
Meet the authors:
Jordan Elizabeth writes young adult fantasy for Curiosity Quills, including ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW which was published in October and the upcoming TREASURE DARKLY; she’s represented by the Belcastro Agency.
J. Million is the author of Last of the Giants and can always be found reading or writing.
Lorna MacDonald Czarnota is a professional storyteller and author of several books including, Medieval Tales That Kids Can Read and Tell, Breadline Blue, Legends Lore and Secrets of Western New York, Wicked Niagara, Native American and Pioneer Sites of Upstate New York, and Dancing at the Crossroads: Stories and Activities for At-Risk Youth Programming.
SA Larsen is represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary and is the author of published short stories, community-interest stories, and magazine articles focused on children. 
Grant Eagar is an Engineer who would take the tales he told his children at bed time, and transform them into fantasy stories. 
Clare Weze is the author of The House of Ash (forthcoming) and the co-author and editor of Cloudscapes over the Lune.
Eliza Tilton: gamer, writer and lover of dark chocolate; author of the YA Fantasy, BROKEN FOREST, published by Curiosity Quills Press.
Heather Talty's stories have been featured in Enchanted Conversation, as well as her own fractured fairy tale site, Mythopoetical (
W.K. Pomeroy is a third generation writer who has published more than 70 short stories/articles/poems across many genres and styles, which now includes Steampunk.
Christine Baker is the author of Lana's End, The Guild of Dagda, and many more. 
Natalia Darcy: a bookilicious reader, tea drinker and Zumba aficionado who enjoys playing cards against humanity and washing her hair with ice cold water. 
You can get your steampunk fix before GEARS OF BRASS is released in November.  To enter for your chance to win a copy of GEARS OF BRASS, you will need to share the cover.  This can be on your blog, Facebook, Twitter… Each time you share the cover image, log it into Rafflecoper (#insert link) to record it.  It will give you more chances to win.  The drawing for the winner will be held on October 27th. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

How I Found the Write Path

How I Found the Write Path is available.

And it’s FREE.

The e-book is a compilation of letters by 60 authors who wrote to their new-writer selves. The book is free to help writers.

This was my letter  for the blogfest back in May. My letter is included in the book.

From one of the project’s founder and co-editor, Carrie Butler  on why she started this project:

“Because it’s one of the most crucial periods in a writer’s life—full of nerves and hope we refuse to acknowledge. We’ve all been there.

That’s why over sixty of us have written letters to our past selves, candidly sharing things we don’t always discuss in public. The hope is that those of you who haven’t published will learn from our experiences. And those of you who have published? Well, you just might realize you’re not alone.”

From one of the co-editor, PK Hrezo  on why she wants you to download this book:

“I can't tell you how excited I am about this book. There is seriously SO much great advice compiled in this baby. No matter what stage you're in of your writing, you will most definitely find something beneficial in this book. And most likely, you'll be nodding your head in agreement as you read. (I sure was!)”

Here’s my take:

This book is for writers at every stage of their journey. Hopefully new writers will learn from our mistakes. And experienced writers will commiserate. Every writer can find inspiration.

Please copy the below links and share:










Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer Song

As autumn arrives, I yearn for those summer seas….

Summer Song

Frothing saline revels in my crooks
I am a salt-encrusted fish
Donning sashimi limbs

Seaweed tendrils cascading
Siren song enraptures
Luring me undertow....

I gargle between glistened peaks
Briny breath wafting sweet
Across luminescent rhythms

Vividity echoes ashore
Upon chafing cheeks
And sun-speckled carcasses

Returning to the submerged
I cup a translucent moon
Elusive and beautiful

- Theresa Milstein

Monday, September 15, 2014

What's in a Name?

Michael Di Gesu  is hosting a blogfest. The stories will be compiled in an anthology, and the funds raised will help Melissa Bradley  pay her medical bills from her cancer treatments. Here’s my story for the anthology. 

 What's in a Name? 

This story is dedicated to Abby.

I enter the all-too-freakin’ familiar hospital door ahead of Dad. Usually Mom takes me, but she’s due to have a baby soon. By the time I leave through these doors again--if I come out alive--the baby will not only be born, but they’ll be a new family of three.

I’ll be the outsider.

I rush ahead of Dad, like I’m looking forward to my stay at Camp Cancer. Instead of hikes in the woods and swimming at the beach, I’ll sit around a lot while they inject poison into my veins.

Mom calls it medicine.

Dad calls it “therapeutic.”

We all know what it is—my last chance to live.

I’m here for a clinical trial for Secret Drug #11, just like my age.

Nobody’s waiting in the lobby, for a change. I press the elevator button. The door opens like magic. I step inside and press the Doors Close button.

“Will!” Dad calls.

Too late. The doors slide shut.

He can take the next elevator. Or go home. I don’t care.

The elevator doesn’t stop until it reaches my floor. By then, I’ve recovered. If I’m going to be stuck here, I’d rather do this alone.

The familiar receptionist, Karen, greets me with her usual toothy smile. At least she doesn’t have lipstick on her teeth this time. “Hi, Will. Where’s your dad?”

I shrug. “I think he’s on his way.”

She faces her computer screen and types. “Why don’t you have a seat until he arrives.”

So much for doing this alone. I slump into a chair next to the desk. It’s only 9:00 am, but I’m ready to sleep. Not only does the cancer and all the poison they put in my body exhaust me, but I also didn’t sleep well last night. I chew on the inside of my cheek like I always do when I’m nervous. The metallic taste caused by the chemo distracts me. I wonder if food will ever taste normal again.

Dad arrives all harried a few minutes later. It satisfies me to think of him stuck on a crowded elevator that stopped on every floor while mine was empty and sailed right up. I won’t look at him and he doesn’t say anything to me as he plops my bag at my feet. It’s full of Sherlock Holmes books. Even though I’ve read them all at least ten times, I’ll go through them again. The pre-cancer me used to love to investigate, and I used to write articles for the school newspaper. When I grow up, I’ll solve mysteries just like Sherlock Holmes.

“Sorry I’m late,” Dad says to Karen.

She grins. “No problem, Walter. I just have a few more forms for you to fill out.”

I pretend to doze while my dad completes a zillion forms in a chair next to me. Leave it to a hospital to already make my dad fill out a dictionary-sized pile of paperwork and then make him do it all over again.

“Will.” Someone’s nudging my shoulder.

I guess I really did doze off. When I open my eyes, Dad’s still next to me. Standing in front of us is Dr. Abrams and Nurse Dan with a wheelchair. Maybe it’s because I haven’t completely woken up, but I forget to stay mad. “I’m not ready,” I whisper.

Dad’s brow crinkles. His eyes meet mine and he nods like he can read my thoughts. I’ve been avoiding these eyes since my parents told me I’d be stuck here. He turns to the doctor and nurse. “Give us a minute, please.”

They don’t back up all that much. Probably think I’ll bolt the first chance I get. I’ve already taken off once today, so I can’t do it again even if I want to. I really want to.  

Dad takes my puffy hand in his. Everything about me is puffy from the side effects. Now I’ll have new drugs with new side effects. I’m so tired of this. Just so tired.

“You can do this,” he says.

“No, I can’t.”

He squeezes my hand. “Yes, you can.”

I look down, so he can stop reading my mind. “You’re leaving me here to… you’re moving on.”

“Will” Dad’s voice is as hard as his grip. “Don’t you ever, ever think that. We are doing this so you have a chance to live a long life. I’m sorry your mom can’t be here and the timing is bad. Your little brother is going to need a big brother.”

I lift my head. “It’s a boy?”

The crinkle in Dad’s brow switches to around his eyes from his smile. “Yep. I was going to surprise you when he arrived, but it looks like you need to know now. And,” he takes a breath. “Mom and I want you to name him.”

I stare at Dad’s strong hand on mine. “Me?”

“It’s an important job, so who else would we leave it to?”

I rest my head on his shoulder. I don’t magically feel better about everything but if I get to choose the name, it’s a sign my family isn’t trying to get rid of me. The name I choose will affect my brother’s whole life. My parents named me Will, which fits me perfectly because in some versions, William Sherlock Holmes Scott is his full name.

Maybe, besides all the doctors I’m spending too much time with, I need a Dr. Watson. The character is a good doctor and friend to Sherlock—that would be a good start for my little brother. Watson’s first name is John. But John isn’t the right name for him.

“Dad, can I borrow your phone?”

I look up Watson. It means Son of Walter. My dad ‘s name is Walter! It’s fate.

I hand Dad the phone. “I want to name him Watson.”

Watson needs to understand why I chose his name. If I’m going to explain, I have to keep fighting this disease until I’m better.

Dad nods with understanding. That’s what I like about him—he doesn’t say it’s too uncommon or not practical or that I might not like Sherlock in a few years—like other parents might do. He knows me. And he knows I can do this.

I stand. “I’m ready.”

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Test of Time

The prolific Nicole Zoltack is here for a cover reveal!

Hi, everyone! This is Nicole Zoltack. I've written a bunch of romances, a lot in the speculative realm, and finally wrote a time travel romance: THE TEST OF TIME. And I adore the cover. It's beautiful. Wanna see it? Sure you do!

I could not be happier with it. What do you think of it?

BLURB: Katia jumps at the chance to go to England with her best friend after Rose ditches her deadbeat boyfriend. While walking through the market, she spies a large mansion and recognizes the guy out front as her high school friend Tony. Just as they start to reconnect, Katia passes
through times and lands in the arms of Lord Landon, who looks like Tony but certainly doesn’t act like him.

Soon, Katia learns that this 1815 is different from the one in history books. Trapped in a parallel world, Katia struggles to not fall for Landon but his charm proves too much for her. Just when she is about to confess her love for him, Katia travels through time yet again. The course of love never did run smooth and if Katia can’t figure out and master the test of time, she’ll never see or friends again, or worse, never be reunited with Landon.

So I'm sure you're dying to know the release date 
and luckily it's not that far away! THE TEST OF TIME releases September 9th! Be sure to grab it on the 9th!

it on Goodreads!

BIO: Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses
(pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit her blog.

Friday, August 29, 2014


“A climactic scene should not come as a total surprise for the reader. If anything, it may come as a relief, because scenes prior to this one should have increased in tension and suspense, and become more emotionally dramatic for your protagonist, clueing the reader in that a terrible collision (literal or figurative) is on its way.”

-  From Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld (recommended for the retreat)

Often, anticipation falls short of the actual event. Especially when we’re waiting for something big for months, the payoff can seem small in comparison. Last week, I saw Arcade Fire perform in Manchester, MA at the Xfinity Center, which is outdoors. The weather was perfect. The band was AMAZING. I ordered those tickets during pre-sale in November 2013. It took me 45 minutes of trying to order before I finally snagged a pair. And I’d already been waiting for the tickets to go on sale since the album Reflektor came out.  When the band finally performed, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. But somehow the excitement of the wait was as much a part of the concert experience.

Does that make sense?

I worried that when I attended the Revision Retreat run by Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown at the Highlights Foundation that the retreat couldn’t possibly be as good as I built it up to be.

It would be my first formal writing retreat.  

Back in February, I wanted to take class at Salem State University. I needed a prerequisite, but the professor thought I was ready. So I received permission from the university. This would make it easier for me to finish my special education certification by May 2015.

The happiness was short-lived when I realized the second weekend of the course would take place the same weekend as the NE-SCBWI Conference.

Clearly, I couldn’t attend both.

In the end, my “hobby” had to take a backseat to my paying career. This epiphany hurt.

I still wanted to do something. But what? I thought about going to another conference, hiring an editor to review a manuscript, or attending a retreat. The people who attended the Highlights retreats always raved about them.  They were more than I spent for conferences, so I hadn’t seriously considered them before. I checked with Harold and Highlights to find out if there’d be a revision retreat. Several times. When the dates were confirmed, I think I was the first to sign up.

Back then, shoveling snow, August seemed too far away.

I should’ve known all I had to do was wait for summer. What moves faster than summer?

On the drive to the retreat, I hit downpours and drizzles until I reached the NY border. The blue skies seemed like a good sign.

All I can do is gush about the retreat. I learned a lot at the tour of Highlights Magazine and Boyd Mills Press. Then we headed the 8 miles to The Barn.  They thought of everything. If you take a plane, someone will pick you up. We were given a bag of goodies. There are flashlights in the rooms, in case you’ll be out after dark. The accommodations are comfortable. They supply unlimited drinks and snacks any time of day or night. The chef cooks gourmet meals. Yoga if offered each morning. We took walks in the picturesque paths each afternoon. There are writing spaces inside and outside—designed for inspiration. 

Loft for yoga, writing, and critique sessions.

A deer-muse visited me outside my bedroom window.

But besides the accommodations and the food, what made the place special was the people. The staff working at Highlights, Harold and Eileen, and the writers made those 5 days critical to my revision process.  I learned a tremendous amount from the workshops and critique sessions, and other writers also provided invaluable resources. I got a lesson on how to use Scrivener. People set up impromptu critique groups. Best of all, we all had so much to talk about—both writing and non-writing related topics. During meals, I felt like I was hanging with old friends.

Those 5 days went by too quickly.

As I drove down the highway on my way home, I noticed it was 5:30pm. I sighed. Wonder what the chef is serving for appetizers tonight.

A couple of nights later, I attended the Arcade Fire Concert. In 1 week, I was lucky enough to have 2 amazing experiences. And the next day, my son turned 16, and he passed his Learner’s Permit test.

Maybe it’s like what Jordan E. Rosenfeld says in the book, Make a Scene. As writers, we want to build up to the climax so that the readers are in a high state of anticipation. Then that climax needs to pay off.

The excitement of the week has passed. Life goes on. School begins just after Labor Day.

But I keep the memories close. We knew each other for such a short time but all connected so well. And I found guidance for my manuscript, which has reinvigorated me (and my story). Best of all, I can use the tools I’ve learned for other projects.

I’m already saving my pennies in anticipation of next year’s retreat.

Writers, have you attended a formal writing retreat? 
What was your experience? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014


“Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon”
 - Song “Waiting for my Real Life to Begin” by Colin Hay


I stare at the page—
My moxie has fled for
Prolific pastures.

What’s the point?
My pencil’s nub
Rubbed down by cliché.
Cracked in half by this

This pen bleeds
Ink ‘til it runs dry.
And rips this
Paper, wrinkled.
I ball it in my fist
Crushing, crinkled.

Laptop keys used to
Flutter under fingers
Like wind chimes.
Music no more.
I’ve lost the melody
Trampled the score.

Well-worn words
Mock me.
The lighted screen—
Like a moth I am drawn.

- Theresa Milstein

This poem is dedicated to the writers at the Revision Retreat  run by Harold Underdown 

UPDATE: I actually wrote this poem a few weeks ago. My critique experience at the retreat was actually positive, and gave me direction and inspiration + I learned some beneficial revision techniques.