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  • Writer's pictureElaine Marie Carnegie

"Life is what happens..."

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

Please Welcome Ann Stolinsky of Celestial Echo Press and Gemini Wordsmiths to the Writer's Journey Blog this week!

When I write a story, the words seem to flow effortlessly. When I teach a class on a subject in which I’m well-versed and passionate, the words flow effortlessly. Ask me to write about myself? That’s torture.

I think the majority of writers will say they’ve always been writing, and I’m no exception. Perhaps I am slightly unique in that my work was first published when I was seven years old. Our teacher wanted us to write a short piece on what we wanted to be when we grew up. My mother loved what I had written, and sent it to our local newspaper, the Philadelphia Bulletin, which published it.

Fast-forward to my angst-filled teenage years. I filled notebook after notebook and journal after journal with poems. My 11th-grade English teacher approached me when I was in 12th grade about an open submission call for an anthology requesting poems from teens under the age of 18. I think I submitted 50 poems, no exaggeration. They chose one, “Loneliness,” and it was published.

Then life happened. (As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”) I wrote sporadically, although I do remember composing a poem or two upon John Lennon’s death. I tried to write when my mother died (I was only 22) but couldn’t. Poetry flowed from me when I was upset as a teen, but not when I was devastated.

I believe it was after my divorce, when I was 40, that I started to write often again. I still had all of my responsibilities (single mother, working fulltime, attending college), but after the kids were in bed, I’d pull out my notebooks and jot down a few lines.

The kids are grown, I’m a Bubbie (grandmother), and I’m deeply immersed in the writing community. And loving it.

I took a short story writing course about seven or eight years ago, with Jonathan Maberry (yes, that Jonathan Maberry, the multiple Bram Stoker award-winning author), and authors Jon McGoran and Don Lafferty. I walked into class one evening and told Jonathan that in the story I had written for that meeting, I didn’t like my main character. He told me, and I quote, I “must have written it right.” High praise from him.

I joined the Writers Coffeehouse in Doylestown, PA in 2008, or 2009. That’s where I met so many authors. I highly recommend that writers join a community like the Coffeehouse. Newbies and oldbies (my word, trademarked LOL) sit and talk about everything from where to market a short story to what’s going on in the business. I am always energized when I leave a meeting.

I met my business partner, Ruth Littner, at a Coffeehouse meeting in 2011. We got along great immediately; after all, we are twins (except she’s 6’ tall and I’m not). We formed Gemini Wordsmiths on June 1, 2011, and have been very fortunate to have a vast array of clients, from famous Hollywood screenwriters to ESL students; from business chambers to children’s authors; and from political strategists to accountants. And more than several repeat clients.

We edited four volumes of The Vinyl Dialogues, written by Mike Morsch. The volumes are contained in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame archives, with our names in it! So cool.

On May 10, 2019, we formed Celestial Echo Press, a micro-imprint.

Our first publication, The Twofer Compendium, (below) an anthology based on the theme of twins, was published as an ebook in December 2019, and in print in February 2020. Our next anthology, The Trench Coat Chronicles, will be published before the end of 2020. And who knows where we’ll go from there?

As for my writing journey, which is probably where you wanted me to go. … I was published in Space & Time Magazine in fall 2015. That’s a prestigious publication for my first credit as an adult! I’ve since been published in several anthologies by Clarendon House, two issues of Canyons of the Damned, and assorted other publications.

I belong to a local critique group whose rules demand a story to be submitted by each member periodically, so I do have plans to continue to write, edit, and publish.

Hah, this wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be! Thanks, Elaine, for hosting me on The Writers Journey Blog.

BIO: Ann Stolinsky’s most recent publishing credit is a short story in Alpha One, an anthology by Linden House, in September 2020. In March 2020 one of her stories appeared in Klarissa Dreams Redux, a charity anthology. Other publishing credits include a story in April 2019 by Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, and another in Flash Fiction Addiction, also in April 2019.

Additional credits include short stories in We Will Not Be Silenced, Fireburst, an anthology by Clarendon House, and Curiosities #2, an anthology published by Gallery of Curiosities in March 2018, also narrated on their website. A short story was published in December 2017 in an anthology by Clarendon House, Condor.

Her short story, “Lost Children,” was published on the With Painted Words website in August 2017, and a short story was published in March 2017 in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 1 by Running Wild Press. A poem was published in the Fall 2015 issue of Space & Time Magazine.

She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class, including guest instructors Jon McGoran and Don Lafferty. Ann is a member of the Writers Coffeehouse and a writing critique group located in Elkins Park, PA.

Ann also is a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Gemini Wordsmiths formed a publishing imprint, Celestial Echo Press, in May 2019. Its first anthology, The Twofer Compendium, was published in December 2019.

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