Today we are celebrating Linda Sansalone. Since 12 Short Stories started in 2017 we’ve seen many of our writers go on to publish and accomplish great things with their writing. The Prompt to Publication emails are all about celebrating these writers and their wonderful stories.
I hope these interviews will help you and teach you how to use Deadlines for Writers to build your author platform.
Author feature: I’d like to introduce Linda Sansalone.
Linda completed the 12 Short Stories Challenge and the 52 Scenes Challenge in 2021. She is currently rewriting her novel.
What have you published?
Linda Sansalone: I’ve published a short story anthology, Tales of Suspense and the Heart, in October 2021. Most of the stories were from the 12 Short Stories challenge, but some were written prior to the challenge. I also included the short story, John Hollow, for which I won the 2020 12 Short Stories Reader’s Choice Award.
Also, I’ve since published a children’s picture book, Sea Life Motel. This was a result of my neighbour buying my anthology and her five-year-old son asking if I could write a children’s book he could read. He was so hopeful that I couldn’t say no. As a result, I published Sea Life Motel in January 2022.
Both books were self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing, hosted by Amazon, in ebook and paperback editions.
When I was younger, University and high school days, many years ago now, I published a few poems, an article, and a short story for the school’s paper and creative writing journal. I also won an honourable mention for a poem, A Snapshot, inspired by Timothy Findley’s book The Wars. I also had the wonderful opportunity to read the poem on television for Remembrance Day.
Has 12 Short Stories helped you as a writer?
Linda Sansalone: Participating in 12 Short Stories has truly helped me to have the amount of writing and the courage needed to publish, which is something I always wanted to do. I’ve never published a book before joining Deadlines for Writers. The prompts and deadlines helped me to keep writing every day and to continue onward. Also, the comments from the other writers in the group were very encouraging and helpful in keeping me writing, and improving my writing!
What did you learn that you applied to your novel?
Linda Sansalone: I learned to keep writing and that I am truly a writer. I learned how to keep writing with the use of deadlines, which I find very important. Also, I found that a lot of the writers in the group really enjoyed reading my short story John Hollow; as much as I enjoyed writing it. As a result, my novel is a continuation of that short story, a supernatural thriller.
Did the feedback and discipline help at all?
Linda Sansalone: The feedback from the group encouraged me to keep writing and believe in myself as a writer and publish.
What is your favourite story you wrote for 12SS?
Linda Sansalone: My favourite short story that I wrote for 12 Short Stories is titled, “Is It A Game?”. This story definitely inspired the suspense section of my anthology. However, there is another story I wrote years before that inspired the heart section of my anthology. This story, The Oak Tree I wrote in memory of my dear sister who passed away suddenly. Both these stories are in my anthology, Tales of Suspense and the Heart. I wanted both of these stories along with my other short stories to be published and read by others, and thus they inspired me to publish the anthology.
I have been writing since I was about 10, and have published a few poems and a short story and article years ago while in high school and University. I have a Master’s degree as a Librarian (where I met my husband) and worked for four years in my career but then chose to stay home to be here for my two daughters and work from home indexing for Gale Canada. After that was outsourced I decided to train as a lifeguard and swim instructor at 42, something which I started in my 20s but never finished until later. I have since taken courses on writing and have written a memoir though not published.
I overcame writer’s block at the beginning of the Pandemic with the help of Mia’s free challenge, The Keep Writing Challenge. The deadlines along with the prompts helped me write something every day, which is something I definitely needed and enjoyed. I went on from there to join the 12 Short Stories Challenge for 2021 and enjoyed completing that too. The 12 Short Stories challenge brought me back to being a writer again, and for that, I am forever thankful. Also, that challenge gave me the courage to self publish my first book, Tales of Suspense and the Heart. I also signed up for Mia’s writing coaching sessions and learned a lot from her edits and encouragement, which gave me the courage I needed to believe I was a writer and could publish books.
Read an excerpt from Linda‘s story.
THE OAK TREE
Everyone has a story. Even a tree and a bench. If only they could speak to us.
Angie always arrived in the coffee shop like a burst of sunshine on a quiet day.
” Hi! How’s it going Paul?” She turned to me with a big smile.
” Oh, hi! Pretty good. I’m just reading the paper as usual. Seen any good movies lately?” I lifted my head responding with a smile to her warmth.
“Yeah, last night I took my nieces, Stefania and Charlotte, to see the movie, “Up”. I thought it would be funny, but the first ten minutes brought tears to our eyes. We had some laughs too, but I had no idea how emotional the movie was going to be.” She walked over to my table.
“Would you mind if I sit with you? I mean all the seats are taken…” her voice trailed off as I realized she was expecting me to answer.
“Of course,” I smiled. Would I mind? Of course not. From that day on we’d sit at the same corner table by the window.
Her entrance always made me smile and feel warm inside. It’s hard to describe, but it seemed to bring me out of a lost moment into a feeling of belonging. A feeling of finding home in a storm. Silly, eh? Feeling at home in a coffee shop just because this woman walks in, notices me, and then actually starts talking to me. I sound like a loser, but I guess that’s just how I felt until Angie came along. These meetings, if you could call them that, started happening a few months ago and continued on a daily basis. We always seemed to be at the coffee shop at the same time somehow.
She shifted in her chair fairly often, as she said she had a bad back and no doctor was able to find the cause of the constant pain she was feeling. It always made me sad that the woman who healed my wounded soul lived in constant pain. It was as if she absorbed the pain from everyone she met and carried it with her. Nonetheless, she always had a bright smile and a warm hello.
She preferred to listen to me rather than talk about herself. Usually I don’t like to talk, but I felt comfortable with her. She always wanted to know what I was up to and how I was doing since I confided in her that I lost my job as a reporter. She could sense I was feeling pretty low and seemed to genuinely care. She suggested I write a book about my experiences, as she thought it would be interesting and help me focus on something. It sounded like a good idea, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to write. I had lost my interest in writing the day I was laid off. If it weren’t for my dog, Echo, needing walks, and my desire to see Angie, I’d never leave the house. …
Buy the book – Amazon
My books are only sold through Amazon. These links are for Amazon Canada, however, are also available through Amazon in other countries.
Tales of Suspense and the Heart:
Engage in stories that explore the supernatural, grief and hope. When is a house not merely a house? Or, a basement exists and then doesn’t? Can we communicate with the great beyond? What’s that leaking from under the cold cellar door? How do we find solace when drowning in depression? Using music and friendship to bring hope to our future. These are some of the stories and themes that exist in Tales of Suspense and the Heart.
COVID-19, one of the greatest global catastrophes in our lifetime, fostered a new way of living. No longer were we able to go freely outdoors and live our lives in the manner in which we always had. Using forced lock-downs as a catalyst, this author used the time to join an international writer’s group, Deadlines for Writers, to weave a tapestry of people, eerie places and heartwarming events.
Sea Life Motel:
Visiting the ocean for the first time, Ben and Samantha learn about sea life. While they look completely different, the sea life learn that they each have strengths, and unique abilities, by playing in the Sea Life Motel. A story of acceptance and friendship.
Well done, Linda!
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