What It Means to Be a Writer

by Pat Marcello on January 16, 2015

I started writing when my daughter was born. She slept most of the day, and I needed something to keep my brain alive. I’d had a 60 hour a week career going before that, so if you’re a career woman having a child later in life (I was 37), you know how that goes. My brain needed activity!writing

But something I always had terrible approach/avoidance to was writing. I HATED to write anything! It was too much thinking and way too much work, but writing haunted me.

Not to brag, but to illustrate, my writing professor (a required course or I’d never have taken it) would read my article to the class, telling them, “This is how an article should be written.” Or, I’d always be writing analyses for work. Or writing recommendations/references and such. And I hated every minute.

Then, one day while the baby was asleep, I saw this computer program that would teach you how to write fiction. Since I’d been getting picture books out of the library for my daughter, almost from the day she as born, I felt I had the ability to do at least that — write a children’s book. So, I bought the program and started working with it.  (Little did I know that writing books for kids is more complicated than writing for adults for so many reasons.)

But I got the program, and first, it taught me to draw characters. That was actualy fun! I was able to make up people and tell their stories. I really got into that.

Then, I learned about crafting a plot, and that was fun, too! I decided that maybe I did want to be a writer, but not a professional writer, just maybe sell ONE thing that I wrote — just to prove to myself that I could.

Four years later, I was still trying because you see, I had to learn to write. Writing well is MUCH more than sitting down with a notebook and a pen, at least if you want to sell what you write. You need to learn formatting, pace, usage, what NOT to do, and so much more! During those four years, I was becoming what I had never wanted to be — a writer, and at the end of them, I sold my first short story to a magazine for $75. I couldn’t have been happier.

Today, I’ve written 10 books (11 if you want to count one that I self-published), and I guess I learned my stuff because they’re all with major American publishers. A couple weeks ago, I learned that my publisher had sold sub-rights to my book about Mohandas K. Gandhi. OK, cool. Not much money but hey… It’s a book I wrote more than 10 years ago and it’s still selling, so I guess that’s something. And yesterday, I got a package with 5 books inside, all written in Hindi. I can’t read a word, but it still felt pretty good.

But today, you see, I write every single day. Now, writing is part of me. It’s who I am, and though I started off with a totally negative attitude, I’ve changed. I love being a writer, though I’m not in the publishing end of things these days. Unless you’re very lucky or Stephen King or another prolific wildly successful writer, you don’t make a lot of money. I’m still paying advances back from books I wrote a long time ago.  I couldn’t live on what I made, so… I quit writing books and went into something that did pay the bills.

I have a digital marketing company, and in that business, there’s a LOT of writing involved. I also write for SEMRush.com every couple weeks about technical topics. But I write.

One day, I hope to  go back to being just a writer again. That was without a doubt the BEST part of my life.

So, is it inborn? I think it is. I mean, people can be taught to write, but that may not what they were intended to do. After all these years, I truly think I was intended to be a writer, even though I went into it kicking and screaming all the way. Either you can draw or your can’t. Either you can write or you can’t. Same thing. I think our strengths are inborn, for sure.

What’s the point? If you have a talent, please don’t ignore it. It will make you crazy if you don’t use it. Don’t fret over it, either. Just DO. When you try whatever that is, you might find that you’re happy doing it, though you may have thought you would never be. There’s a higher power that knows why we’re here.  It’s best not to disappoint.


An Amazing Way to Reach Students

by Pat Marcello on December 21, 2012

I got an email the other day from Michael Leifer, who is the co-founder and president of ecodads.org. Michael wanted me to check out their new project on Kickstarter: “Fun Education Apps for Kids & Teens.” I get a lot of emails and press releases from people, and often ignore them. But this intrigued me. ecodads.org

So, I went on over to Kickstarter to check it out.


I was blown away! I mean, I knew this kind of stuff was possible, and in fact, even recommended to my former employer that we do something similar, but on a much lower level.  What these guys have done is make learning fun.  Not just kids would love this, but I’d be excited to learn this way myself.

What they have done is to create a very professional and interactive textbook that can be viewed on any computer, but meant for iPads and other tablets. It extends the excitement about learning any topic by providing clickable links with further information, videos, vibrant images and it’s just amazing. Why didn’t they have these when I was a kid? Oh, wait… They didn’t even have computers then. 🙂

Intended for the California education system, I hope that their project goes national. The Kickstarter project with a goal of $20K has exceeded that amount and there’s still 5 days to go.

If you want your kids to learn in a 21st century way that takes the power of electronic media to the next level, go and watch the video. And please, give the guys some money to make this happen. This is the most exciting kind of text book I’ve ever seen, and once you watch that video, I’m guessing you’ll fee the same way, too. Just click the link above and be amazed.

You guys rule!



Books that Shaped America

by Pat Marcello on July 18, 2012

I wish I were on this list from the Library of Congress, but no. How many have you read?


I found that I have quite a bit of catching up to do.Cover of

Did you know that you can get books for free for Amazon Kindle? Many of the classics are free, and some are under $1. I’m guessing you can get many of the books on the LOC’s list very inexpensively.

Last week, my husband wanted to read Harold, Last of the Saxon Kings, and it was 95 cents.  He was thrilled because he’d not been able to get hold of a copy for many  years, and was delighted at reading it.

So, there you go… Get some classics free or next to free and have a wonderful summer of reading fun!

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Terry Pratchett Discusses His New Book: Snuff

by Pat Marcello on May 7, 2012

Terry Pratchett is absolutely one of my favorite writers of all time. He has written 50 novels by himself, and his whole creation — the Discworld — and all its inhabitants are nothing short of wonderful!

If you like writers with a killer sense of humor and an amazing creativity that can’t be matched, you’ll be interested to hear his thoughts on Vimes, his new novel Snuff and an older work Nation, his battle with Alzheimer’s, and much more:

My favorite characters are Granny Weatherwax and DEATH, who really does want to try other things. 🙂

Who are yours?


New Middle-Grade Level Mystery from Pat

by Pat Marcello on August 17, 2011

I’ve worked with traditional publishing for more than twenty years, and it’s been a real experience. I enjoy writing for publishers, but when it comes time for the royalty checks to come rolling in, they just don’t.

What cracks me up is that the editors and production people make annual salaries, and they have to be paid. But writers? They expect to get them for a song and dance because there are so many of us out there willing to do it for peanuts, just to have their names on a cover. I get that. I remember when I felt that way, but there’s a better way to do it!

Self-publish. When you do it online, it’s not terribly complicated, though you will need some tech skills, mainly with Word, creating .pdfs and if you want a good cover, graphics. You can, of course, hire people to do these things for you, but I opted to do it all. So, you may see this book in your local Amazon.com!

The Tragic Secret of Cyrus Crowe is a story about two fourteen-year-old girls that solve a haunting. I wrote it several years ago, and with all the rigamarole involved with publishing traditionally, I just never had enough time to get it sent out over the past five years. So, I decided to just do it myself.

The Tragic Secret of Cyrus Crowe is available in paperback or with Direct Publishing for Kindle.  If you have a kid between eight and ten, I know they’ll love it!

This just in from Gma Barb on Amazon.com:

“I read this book before giving it to my grand-daughter. I was surprised that it held my interest until the end. The book tells the tale of a pre-teen girl experiencing natural fears of unknown sounds and events when home alone. She becomes physically affected by her fears. Her best friend is understanding but thinks it’s all imagination until she shares in some of the events and they find themselves in a true mystery.

“My grand-daughter then read the book and liked it very much. She said that after telling one of her friends about it, the friend asked to borrow it. Her answer was, ‘Nope, I don’t want to lose it. I think I’ll read it again.'”

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