Anna K Stein
Author of great romances and kids books. And creator of fantabulous designs.
My personal logo. The Pa-Kua Cross. Doesn't mean I'm holy. I just love Jesus, and the symbol above the cross, in the center of the Pa-Kua, is God's symbol; the Om. I love Him, too.
Now here's my story:
I have 3 causes I donate to. One is the Wounded Warriors Program. Another is Shriner's Children's Hospital. These 2 are well known so I won't go into them here. But there is one special cause I'd like to talk about.
There is no organization for people who make a little too much money to qualify for government help, but not enough to pay their bills and feed their families at the same time. Or even to feed themselves if they have no family. I don't know if our government has anything in mind for this, but every city in our nation has this problem.
There is a dilemma in our nation, the USA, that I'm sure everyone has experienced. It is: the cost of living has risen over the last 50 or so years faster than people's wages. Way too many of our people are fighting a losing battle. They can't keep pace with their bills.
Now I'm not talking about luxury bills. I'm talking about regular, necessary bills like utilities, auto payments, insurance and medical, and grocery bills. House payments. Some people's wages are too inadequate to the point where they even lose their homes. I know this from my own experience. I lost my home, too.
My own experience is what put this idea in my head. I tithe, but instead of putting my money into programs that have so much red tape for people to go through, I go directly to the utility companies here in town and ask them to choose a family's bill that's overdue and I pay it. Or if the bill is more than I have to give, I put my donation toward it.
I don't make enough money to pay every needy person's bills, or even all of one person's bills, so I pick one family and only one of their bills. It's not much but it's something.
This is one reason why I put up all my websites here. One reason is, of course, to sell my books and designs, but my second reason is to let everyone know about this dilemma here in our country. Most people know about this problem but some don't. I'm just mentioning it here to let all of you know that a portion of my earnings are going toward this. I will continue to contribute as I have been doing and I thank all of you for helping me do this.
It was a dark and stormy. . .No. Actually, it was a bright, sunshiny Wednesday morning, 8am, when I was born. June 23. And even, though, my brothers and sisters keep telling everyone I was born an allotted number of months after the Roswell, NM alien spaceship crash event, it isn't true that I am 'one of them'. My preference for writing weird and unusual stories does not come from 'out there'. Or. . .maybe it does.
Anyway, I have always loved animals and anything to do with the sky. How that's related, I have no idea but there it is.
My first stories were simply daydreams. Mom, and sometimes Dad, would read to us kids from the myriad books we had around the house. I loved that. My favorites were the Grimm Fairy Tales. I would go to bed each night and daydream stories that would fit in with the one that was just read to me and I would have a wonderful time until I went to sleep. And then, most of the time, I would dream all about that. Needless to say, my imagination got a good workout. Of which I am very pleased because it has stood me in good stead with the stories I am now writing.
Next came school. Since I am Catholic, I attended a Catholic elementary school, St Anne's. I didn't excel in elementary school, even though I knew the lessons the nuns assigned us kids. Mom always made sure my siblings and I got our homework done, and learned as well. So during class, while the nuns had to tutor the kids whose parents didn't see to their learning, I took the opportunity to stare out the windows and daydream about my stories. I loved that time, but I always got in trouble for it because I wasn't paying attention to the teacher. And the teacher would get upset with me for not knowing what question she was asking and therefore not knowing how to answer. I struggled clear through elementary school, 1st grade to 8th, with that. I hadn't yet learned to prioritize.
Things got worse, though, when I was in the 3rd grade. That's when the nuns taught my grade how to use the public library. I thought I was in heaven then.
The nuns had set up a room in the school as a library. The walls were lined with bookcases filled with books. When I stepped into that room, my eyes bugged. I didn't want to waste my time with the card catalog. I didn't need it. I wanted to start with the books right there next to the door and work my way around. Of course, I wasn't allowed to until I learned the card catalog, so I did my best with it. But the moment I was let loose in that room, I proceeded with my plan. They would only let us check out 3 books at a time so that's what I did. It took me only 2 days to read those books and then I was back for more, returning those 3, of course. It took me all year, but I read every book in there.
And discovered science fiction. I fell in love. And started writing my own stories. By then, I had learned to write and so I took every advantage of that knowledge.
This went on for 2-3 years until they quit using that room as a library. It broke my heart when they quit, but I didn't quit writing my stories. Trouble was, I started several stories that I wanted to be novels but I couldn't finish them. I ran into aspects of the stories I didn't understand and so would quit writing. Started another story.
My first stories were about animals, dogs and horses mainly, because I hadn't yet discovered science fiction. But when I did discover it, that became my focus. My favorite scifi was, and still is, 'Against the Fall of Night'. by Arthur C. Clarke. That is the one book I kept checking out until they made me stop. They wanted to give the other kids a chance to read it.
I began writing science fiction stories then, but as usual, I ran into road blocks again. I hadn't yet learned to research, didn't even know I needed to. I always thought all those books I read just came out of those authors' heads. It made me start wondering if I would ever be a good writer.
I slowed down my writing when I got in high school and paid more attention to my teachers. My grades shot up then. But when I graduated, 1966, I got busy with it again. Reason being, I started going to the public library then. And discovered a whole new set of rules for writing.
I started reading how to books about being a writer and learned about doing research. I was a voracious reader of those books. I wanted to be an author, so I read everything I could find about being one. And those books mentioned writing proper sentences and grammar and punctuation so I was very happy I had been an English major in high school. Those were classes I had enjoyed very much.
I was eager to learn how to write well, but I didn't start in to writing stories until after I had read all those how to books. Then all I wrote were short stories.And I finished them. And was thrilled to the gills I could actually finish a story.
But I never tried to get them published. Did not even occur to me to try, even though I had read that in those how to books. Okay. Call me slow in the up-take here, but I wrote my stories for my eyes only. All I wanted to do was get down on paper what was rumbling around in my head, then read it over and over until I had a beautiful wonderland created where I could daydream all I wanted about being there. Loved every moment of it.
But then I had to get a job. Didn't like that part of my life very much, but if I wanted a car to run back and forth to the library quicker than walking, I had to have some way to pay for it. So I got a job with Bell Telephone and did fairly well for myself. I still lived at home so I was all right there. Could still have time to write. Didn't feel the urge to grow up until I transferred my job to a different one in Bell Telephone in another town altogether. From New Castle to Muncie. I was 25 then. Yeah, I was a late bloomer.
I moved out and on my own into a nice, big apartment and had time to write a lot and I did. More short stories, though. But when I met my husband and married, I really had time to write. He didn't want me to work so I quit. He made enough money for us and we never had children. He told me he didn't want any. He was too worried about his time in Vietnam close to where that Agent Orange was used. So we didn't have kids.
And so I decided to write my first complete novel. Science fiction. I titled it 'The Gardens of Gen'. I have since edited and rewritten it and it is now on Amazon's Kindle, titled 'The Lords of Gen'.
It took me 2 years to put that book together. I wrote it in scenes, most of which I dreamt about at night while asleep. But I had fun doing it. And still no thought to publish.
During my marriage, I did get small, part time jobs and one of them was a sports reporter for the Hagerstown local newspaper. It covered all the sports the town schools were into.
I don't like sports, never did. I mean, if every sport in existence were to suddenly disappear, I doubt I would even notice. But I could write, and the fact that that newspaper kept me on for 2 years attested to that. I quit because I found myself in need of a job that paid better than they could.
I was married for only 13 1/2 years. My husband didn't understand my need to write and so we drifted apart. There were other problems, too. It was a mutual severing of our vows so I needed to get a better job. I ended up as a residential counselor for a mental health institute.
My writing slowed down quite a bit there for a while, but I didn't let that last long. I started writing my Zeke and Tam stories. But I could never get them to work out right.
I was trying to write them in the science fiction genre. I had them in spaceships, going here and there to planets I made up. Dealing with people I made up. I enjoyed the dickens out of writing all that, but I could not get them completed. Even after all the research I did. I started feeling like I did back in elementary school.
So I decided to go to college for more learning about writing. And so I did at Indiana University East in Richmond. I didn't graduate. I didn't go to get a degree. I didn't feel I needed to. All I wanted was more instruction on how to be a good writer. I attended off and on for about 6-7 years and ended up accumulating 3 years' worth of college education. I was an English major. Got good grades. Ended up with a 3.75 grade average.
And then I started getting really into writing. And still had no thought in my head to try to publish. Go figure. Lordy. I don't know why I never considered it by this time. It just didn't occur to me.
But then I met a woman at a Star Trek convention who was a publisher of a Star Trek fan magazine and we got to talking. She liked some of my story ideas and asked me to write a short Star Trek story. I did called 'Sarek's Revelation' and she published it. Wow! Did the windows come open in my head then, or what?
So I got the bright idea to try to publish my Gardens of Gen book. My emotional high was way up there. For a while. Until I received rejection after rejection. I couldn't understand why no one wanted to publish my book, but no one did, so I pouted and tucked my book away, deciding I would just write for myself. I know. No gumption, but what can I say? I'm a big baby at times.
But I recently, some 30+ years later, pulled that book back out and read it again. And immediately saw why they didn't want it. I couldn't believe i wrote that badly. So armed with all the writing knowledge I now have, I sat down with that book and edited until I had more red ink in it than black. And then I rewrote it. And decided to forego regular publishing and self publish it myself on Kindle. I had already been doing that with my other books. The book is a whole lot better now. Believe me. Even if I didn't have all this writing knowledge now. Then I went back to my Zeke and Tam books.
The story here goes, I still tried to write them in the science fiction genre. And still could not get them to work. I couldn't figure it out, but then the Harry Potter books started coming out. I didn't pay much attention to all the talk about them until the 3rd one was published. I still didn't read them, though, because I didn't want to be influenced.
I was determined to get my stories done, but I still couldn't by the time the 4th Harry Potter book was out and talk about the 5th one coming soon was in the air. I decided then I would buy the first 4 and see what the fuss was all about. And see if I could discover, through them, what I was doing wrong.
I bought the first 4 books in paperback, took them home and read them within 5 days. And fell in love. For 2 reasons. The first reason was because they are a wonderful story, but the second was because they showed me I should be writing my Zeke and Tam stories in the fantasy genre instead of scifi. I was elated. I immediately dug into my stories again and started over.
My spaceships became the flying cabs.
The front viewing window of the kids' spaceship that traveled all over their ship when they called for it became the living pictures in the palace Diamondorn.
The little Ko people became the gawbies living and working in Diamondorn.
The flying bicycles Zeke and Tam rode became their broomsticks.
Their ray guns became their wands.
And so on.
I made all manner of changes like that but I added so much more. Like the dragons I had wanted in my stories but couldn't figure out any satisfying storyline that would keep them with the kids. And the tiny Harper's dragons, also. I added lorecats and other winged animals I couldn't fit into the scifi version of my stories. And I could use the elves and fairies I wanted, too. I don't know why I wanted them, I just did, but I couldn't get them all to work. I needed to write fantasy instead of scifi but I didn't see that until I read the Harry Potter books.
Now did I copy the Harry Potter format? Of course I did, are you kidding me? Have you seen the success Ms Rowlings has had? And I'm talking besides all the money. I read in a book called 'Muggles and Magic' by George Beahm that JK Rowlings inspired a young boy who suffered severe dyslexia to try harder to learn how to read. And finally succeeded. She also got kids back to reading again instead of forever playing their electronic games.
I want to do that. How can there be any better success than that? Wow! So yes, I copied her format. I made my Ezekiel Mayhill stories fit right into it. And I will continue to do so until I have all 9 books in the series written. (As it stands now, I'm thinking that it may be only 7 books in the series. Outlines are one thing, but actually writing the stories is something else altogether)
That's where I am today. Weird stuff as well as romance. I love romance stories, too. Fantasy love stories as well as the conventional Regency Romance. I'll have all my romance stories listed on my Gold Frame Romance website. All my children's stories will be listed on my Magical Writing website.
I dabble in other things, too, such as health issues, which I'll have on my Healthy Broad website and spiritual stuff on my Living Thunder website when I get them finished. And then there's my Bully Bitch website where I yell at people about all the other things I'm interested in. (Healthy Broad is not quite finished)
I do designs, which I have over in my store at Cafe Press. Stein's Designs. Nice ring to it, huh? I have it finished now, so go check it out. Lots of fancy designs, spiritual designs and more.
That's about it right now. I'll keep you posted on new developments as I get them done. For now, I'm wishing you all well in all your endeavors.
Love and peace,