New Blog Series Coming In October!


Hello Readers!  This is a special S.M. Nystoriak’s Writer’s Block Announcement!

This October, I will be hosting a special blog series, featuring foods and recipes inspired by the novels we write. I am still coming up with a clever little title for it, but whatever the series title, this ought to be a lot of fun!

Each post in the series will feature an author, in their own words, discussing a food and/or recipe that somehow connects to their novel.  It’s been a lot of fun preparing for this, and I look forward sharing the series with you all.

I hope you will all tune in!


My Post-Conference High




I just got home from a writer’s conference, and it was a good one.  I thought I might share some of the awesomeness with you all.  First, a little bit of background:

I heard about the Lakefly Literary conference in OshKosh, Wisconsin on Twitter a few months ago, when one of my good Twitter friends posted about it.  My thought at the time:  Sounds like fun!  I wish I could go!

Then I went online, and read about the lineup of workshops and presenters.  I admit that I was not familiar with the presenters.  They seemed to be local to Wisconsin, and here I am in Northern New York.  But the workshops seemed to be just what I needed, especially the one about making a marketing plan.  Also, the price point couldn’t be beat.  But the final thing that tipped the cart for me was the fact that several of my Twitter friends would be there, live and in person, and what an opportunity it would be to meet face to face.

So I booked my conference and flight to Wisconsin!

The Lakefly Literary Conference is still pretty young, only in its 4th year.  It is small enough for an out-of-stater like me to feel welcomed, yet offers enough of what I was looking for to really make it worthwhile.

Ruth Percey, who runs the OshKosh library, puts the event on along with several other folks, and they really went out of their way to make sure that the offerings met our needs.  By the end of the conference, she knew me by name! I left there with a great feeling of accomplishment.  Being able to meet and hang out with authors and publishers is a special thing.  There were many opportunities to browse books of all sorts, and even have them signed.  New friends were made, and folks I had only known in the Interwebs suddenly became real people.

So here I sit, in my Post Conference high.  I look forward to using the information I gathered at #Lakefly16.  Feels good!

Anyone else going to a writing conference?  Have you been to any good ones recently?  Feel free to share in the comments!


Spring Cleaning 2016


Hello Readers!

This is the time of year that many people take to the broom closets and cleaning supplies as they rid their homes of a winter’s-worth of dirt and dust.  Yesterday, I spent Easter with the family and did a little bit of cleaning (not deep enough to be called “Spring Cleaning”, but it afforded me a change to take a look at many things I had accumulated.

Some of the things I found simply needed to be placed neatly away.  Others needed tossing, and still others, unfinished house projects which were at various stages of completion, needed to be places on a schedule for completion.  It feels good to go through that stuff and bring order to our crazy lives.

Cleaning and taking stock in these things also reminds me to take stock in my writerly life.  Last year, I spent a while looking through my old blog posts, and organize them into categories.  This year I find myself looking at my other writing output.  Like the clutter in my home, I discovered a few poetry pieces that needed to be categorized on my computer for easy access, unfinished  short stories and novels, some in the idea-gathering phase, which were put at the forefront of the to-be-done folder, and a few throw-away documents which needed to be cleared from my desktop.

I also glanced at my blog posting output, and while I am extremely pleased and gratified by the stuff we talk about on here, my posting schedule has been less than regular lately.  There is a reason for that…I’ll be clearing that all up really soon!

So in the meantime, I will be working on some unfinished projects trying to continue to clear away some of the writerly clutter.  I hope you all enjoy all of the joys that Spring can bring, and as you declutter, you find some gems!

Happy Spring!

Book Review: ARTIFACTS, by Pete Catalano


Sometimes, out of the blue, we are able to experience a joy that takes us back in time a little bit; back to our childhoods, when magic, friends, and summer camp seem to go hand in hand…in hand.  This time, though, I got to take a trip down memory lane with my daughter.

Author Pete Catalano asked if I might read his upcoming middle grade release, ARTIFACTS, in exchange for an honest review.  As an author, I don’t read or write middle grade at all, but the premise of his story intrigued me; middle school students with their summer camp vacation on the line, must search for artifacts from fairy tales to be displayed in a library exhibit, or else be remanded to summer school!  I teach in a middle school, and I could hardly wait to see how the 6th graders in Mr. Catalano’s book fared in their quest.

This book provided an opportunity to read something brand new with my school aged daughter, and let me tell you, she loved it!   In ARTIFACTS, Mr. Catalano creates vivid characters, and places them in wildly imaginative settings as he weaves the tale from start to finish.  You will find yourself rooting for Jax, Korie, Crunch, Mouth and Tank (Great names!) as they battle fairy tale villains from the past in search of the artifacts.  I was impressed with how Mr. Catalano was able to create the hysterical sarcasm that is the trademark middle school wit.  Trust me, I know!  I hear it every day!  This was a really fun read.  It is creatively written, and absolutely cracked my daughter up in several points, to the point of hiccups!  I’ll be recommending it to my school’s library, as well.

I really enjoyed reading this with my daughter, and I know that others will enjoy reading it, too.  My only wish would be that there were illustrations to begin each chapter.  Pete Catalano’s writing is so vivid in some scenes!  But then again, I enjoyed letting my imagination paint the pictures.  I look forward to more from this author.

ARITFACTS releases in May, 2016, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon, here:




David Bowie and Me


David Bowie has passed away, and I’m saddened.

Growing up in the 80’s, I would listen to his infectious music often.  His Album, “Let’s Dance” was one of the first that I ordered through my Columbia House Tape Club.  Remember that?  Twelve tapes for a penny!

Listening to his music put a beat I’m my step and a song in my heart.  I know it sounds corny, but still, the sentiment is true.  I could always pop one of his tapes into my Walkman, and escape.  I’m going grab a fresh set of double A batteries, slide one of his greatest hits tapes in right now, and take a trip down memory Lane with David Bowie.

I remember watching a television show called Puttin’On The Hits, a lip sync competition, where one amazingly made-up kid performed Bowie’s China Girl.  I wish I could find a clip of that!  Well, here’s the original, and it’s awesome:


Another gem from my Bowie Collection is Modern Love.  That song takes me back to Middle School dances!  I can remember all of us running into the center of the gym floor when the Footloose-like beginning of Modern Love came  pumping through the DJ’s speakers.  We all formed a huge circle in the center of the gym and jumped up and down to the beat, singing along.  (SHOUTING was more like it!)


Ooh!!  Next up is Under Pressure!  Fantastic!  Queen and David Bowie was magic!  And then, years later, when Vanilla Ice came under fire for the amazing similarity of Ice Ice Baby’s hook to this original tune.  Do you remember?


This next song used to make me cry, but I loved it.  It’s a song that told an amazing story.  I loved Major Tom, and this song made me feel what it might have been like.  Here’s Space Oddity:


Does anyone remember Live Aid?  One of my favorite moments from that epic event was when David Bowie and Mick Jagger performed Dancing In The  Streets.  Here is the Live Aid version of the song:


Ugh!  I’m running low on batteries again.  (Anyone else have those memories?  The power light on the Walkman always seemed to begin to fade too fast!)  Time for one more fave! Here’s Let’s Dance!


Bowie’s music has stood the test of time, with its recognizable vibe and melodic ambition, spanning across the decades.  So, while David Bowie has left us, his words and music will  live on in my Walkman, and on YouTube.


Do you have any David Bowie memories?  Share them in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2015 is over…

once upon a time

Hello, Writerly Friends!

I have grown to love NaNoWriMo.  That 30-day long leap into the throes of frantic writing exhilarates me.  Not only that, but the month of October has, through the years, become treasured as well, because that’s when I plot and plan my way through a fresh new manuscript idea.  Love it!

But, as October 2015 came lurking on my calendar, I knew, deep down, that starting something new might not be the best idea.  Sure, I still have a million ideas in my head; little snippets that will eventually become stories, or subplots within other stories.  Also swirling around my imagination are characters which are still in their embryonic stage, but will someday become mature.

This year was different, though.  Along with those gestational ideas waiting to be developed, I had a few novels that needed finishing touches.  Since my RodeoRomCom was nearly complete, that became my focus.

So, October 1, I made my plan of attack:  Scan through my RodeoRomCom, plan out where to polish, add, or delete.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans, right?  Yeah.  That happened to me.

Mid-October, my husband took me on a weekend trip to coastal Maine.  This was a much needed break and I reveled in every moment.  And that’s when I noticed the multi-toned sounds of the harbor bells.  It was these tones that awakened a sleepy, partially written manuscript I had set aside when it needed a time out.  A-ha!  An epiphany!

So there I was, mid October, and I was ready to switch gears completely.  I dug out my completely unfinished Literary Fantasy (thank you for the genre identification help, @KisaWhipkey!), and jumped in head first.  All of a sudden, the book had direction, a major focus shift, and best of all, an amazing TITLE!

So, this November, I worked on this Literary Fantasy, THREE HARBOR BELLS, which I can now say is one of the deepest, most cool pieces of writing I have ever done.  It’s still not complete, but I can see how it ends, and I couldn’t be more pleased with its direction.

In the end, this year I was not able to get 50K new words of a new novel.  But, hey, I still got so much out of the month!  And isn’t inspiration a magical thing?  Who knew that my little weekend trip to Maine would yield something so amazing?  THREE HARBOR BELLS has a really great ring to it.

Keep writing, everyone.

How did NaNoWriMo work out for you all?  Let me know in the comments!