Call for Submissions Earth Day Nature Anthology

Photo by James Wheeler on

I love nature, words, and worthy causes. This morning I read a poem by Jason Bayless that inspired me to publish a nature anthology to raise awareness for our environment, to celebrate nature, and to support the worldwide Earth Day movement.

I have published and contributed to several anthologies to support worthy causes. It’s my favorite poetry to write.

Are you a nature lover? If so, I invite you to submit a poem, short story, or black and white photo/artwork for the nature anthology that will launch on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.

If you would like to be part of the Earth Day Nature Anthology, please email your poem, black and white photo/artwork, or story along with your contact, social, bio info to

Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2021.

You can participate after the deadline, but it will not be included in the anthology. Post to Instagram along with the hashtag #natureanthology2021, tag @kathyskingdom and @bigsalpoetry.

The poem, photo, artwork, story can be previously published. The only requirement is that it is yours. You maintain the copyright to your submitted works beyond the book that may be published in various formats. Contributors will be able to purchase the book at minimal cost plus shipping. Proceeds will be donated to nature awareness programs and environmental conservation efforts.

I will read select poems on my Instagram live on Earth Day, April 22, 2021, from 12–1 p.m. EST.

Words are powerful. They can inspire positive change. Let’s do our part in our own unique and creative ways to be the change.

Book Club for Indie Authors

I just became aware of a really cool thing on Amazon, the ability to create our own book clubs on their platform! Without hesitation, I made a book club for Indie Authors!

Of course the next question is which book to read first?

It has to be The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. I’m excited to see she has an updated 25th anniversary edition. This is the book that got me to finally call myself a writer. Before reading The Artist’s Way, I didn’t feel like I could call myself a writer unless some big publishing company chose me, even though I enjoy both the writing and publishing process. Julie Cameron states it simply, “If you write, you are a writer.” No MFA or New York Times best selling book necessary. How freeing is that? For me, it enabled me to get past the internal chatter long enough to write and publish a few books. And here I am 20+ years later doing what I love, writing and publishing anthologies, memoirs, personal development books, and poetry. Sharing my stories with anyone who stills to listen.

I invite all you writerkats to join me on this journey of honing our writing craft and learning the business side of writing from those who are where we want to be! Writers like Julie Cameron, Jerry Jenkins, Steven Pressfield, and others like those generous souls that are happy to share what they have learned to help writers like us tell our stories in engaging ways.

I will choose a new book at the beginning of each month for our Indie Author Book Club members to read. I welcome your suggestions. What books helped your writing career?

Write on!

Kathy G

Writing, Publishing & Times Square

While I was uploading my latest book to Author Central today, I noticed the sales rank on some of my other books: 5M, 9M, 12M, 15M… M as in million! My first thought was, “How many books are on Amazon?!”

My second thought is my eternally optimistic outlook that has seen me through the toughest times, “At least I’m there!” I had that same thought when I was shoulder-to-shoulder with a million people in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, 1999. What a rush!

A few of my books don’t even have a rank because they haven’t sold one copy. Self-doubt rares it’s protective head at that thought, “If no one is reading what you are publishing, are you really a writer or are you just a wannabe?” Ha! I’m not going down that rabbit hole to join the pity party.

I’m taking the high road and continuing to pursue my passion at all costs. Life is too short to do anything less. I will continue to write and publish what is on my heart to share. I will keep the faith that in doing so, I will not stay a starving artist forever, and if I do, oh well, at least I’m in the game, on the hero’s journey, sharing my stories instead of burying them in the shallow grave of my mind. I proudly wave my writer flag along with millions of other brave souls.

Write on!

No More Excuses


Well, well what have we here with this COVID-19 virus that has the whole world shut down, social isolating, spending all our time at home…

We have no more excuses! No longer can I say I don’t have time to write or publish my collection of poems, charitable anthology, and handful of books I’ve procrastinated on for the past few years!

Now is the time I guiltily feel those of us who wish for more time manifested for ourselves. Be careful what you wish for! I admit it, I wished to not be so busy, not have to go, go, go all the time, but not in my worst nightmare could I have imagined it would be under these circumstances, with an invisible enemy cutting life short for so many. It’s surreal, like a sci-fi movie. How could we ever prepare for such a time as this? I pray the experts find a cure quick and that we learn whatever lessons we need to learn to never have to go through this twilight zone again.

In the meantime, I am using my unexpected “free time” to catch up on my writing, starting with this blog.

Perhaps I can finally overcome the procrastination that I have blamed on not having enough time, because right now, time is abundant. All I have to do is focus and write on!

Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening


An inspiring young poet I met on Write Out Loud, who now resides virtually on Instagram as @BIGSALPOETRY, asked me a to do a collaboration poetry book with him. He likes to team up with poets to publish books that help charities which is right up my alley.

I asked Big Sal what topic he was thinking of and he said, “I don’t know, how about the therapeutic benefits of gardening.” Interesting topic, especially since I’m into the plant-based lifestyle and have been wanting to get back into gardening. I used to love to garden, but stopped years ago when “making a living” became my priority and everything in life seemed to take a backseat including spending time with my family, tending to my health, and getting my hands dirty.

Now that I am working from home and getting clarity on my priorities, I see the compounded results of neglecting the important things in life… obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue and other serious health issues, fractured relationships from a platonic marriage, to self-medicating “Cats in the Cradle” kids to family and friends that communicate big life events through social media instead a visit or phone call, to apathy for the environment and devastating world events.

Neglect seems small, insignificant at first, but over time it adds up to catastrophe! The reality of it all feels overwhelming and makes you wonder what you can actually do to make a difference. I think the solution is so simple that it is often overlooked… BACK TO BASICS!

For me it doesn’t get much more “back to basics” than planting a garden! So, that’s exactly what I am doing starting yesterday. The ripple effect is already beginning. I feel slightly sore muscles like I spent an hour lifting weights in the gym. It doesn’t hurt, it actually feels good, like my body is thanking me. And, I’m inspired to write which hasn’t happened in a while. Growth already!

I plan to continue taking notes as I grow my garden and get my priorities straight, which I hope can not only become inspiration for the poetry book, but a life transformation for the matriarch of a family that continues into the next generation.

Write on!



Gardens provide us with a profound sense of connection to something that is eternal and beyond us. ~Tom Spencer

Real Poets


I mentioned one of my favorite InstaPoets, Atticus, to a fellow poet the other day and I promptly got a HuffPost link to an article questioning his authenticity. The article stirred up some strong emotions I have on the subject.

In a nutshell, anything that gets people interested in poetry gets a nod from me! Who can judge what is “real” poetry? One of my biggest pet peeves in the writing world is the air of superiority that demands scholarly stanzas marching in line like broken men molded into saluting soldiers.

As you may infer from my seething alliterations, I was once wounded in the battlefield of “real” poets. I was barely out of my teens and decided to join a local writers group for what I thought would be a great place for encouragement and support of my budding art.

My grandmother died not long after I joined and I wrote a poem about her which included her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. It was difficult to express the loss and pain I felt from losing the most gentle and loving person I had known in my life. I wrote something about a storm and lost tiger cubs… I was so nervous to share my poem with the group, but I worked up the courage to read it aloud.

A seasoned writer and published poet, proceeded to rip my poem to shreds, saying it was full of cliches. A few other “real” poets nodded in agreement and suggested I rewrite the poem. Their criticism was all it took for my ever-present inner critic to rapid-fire a stream of negative comments like, “I told you so!” “You’re not a writer. You will never be a real poet.” “Don’t quit your day job!” I believed those “real” poets and I listened to my crippling critic. I never went back to that writers’ group and I didn’t attempt to write poetry again for several years.

I shake my head in disbelief when I think of all the wasted years that I could have done what turned out to be my greatest passion.

Fortunately, my interest in writing and poetry continued even though my confidence was shattered. I never stopped learning. I took college English and writing classes, attended writing workshops and conferences, read several books on writing including two perennial favorites: Stephen King on Writing and Bird by Bird.

When I finally decided to write and share poetry again, I made a promise to myself that I would never again let anyone’s opinion (including my own) stop me. So, when I see criticism of a poet’s work, it brings those memories flooding back and makes me feel a little defensive.

Who cares if it’s cliche? Seriously! If you don’t like a poet’s writing, move along to the next one. Now, that I’m a grandmother, I have earned the right to share what grandmothers say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

We all have different styles of writing we like. For example, I don’t like horror, (sorry Stephen King, I do love your book on writing) but I don’t criticize it, I just focus on reading and writing what I do like, which is mostly romance. Yes, I admit it, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. Thank you Nicholas Sparks (another writer who has been criticized for creating formulaic, commercialized art.)

I also enjoy uplifting writing and quotes. Atticus covers all those bases! He has over a million followers, proof that a lot of readers like his style. To each their own. The important thing is people are getting interested in poetry again, which not long ago was considered a dying art.

I’m excited about the influx of newcomers into the poetry world joining those who have been inspired to start writing again. Bravo to platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for providing creative ways to share our art.

Write on!

Write Any Way
by Vautaw

So it’s cliche,

write anyway.

So it’s not grammatically correct,

write anyway.

So it doesn’t rhyme,

write anyway.

Don’t let judgmental “experts”

distort your perception of poetry

or silence the part of your soul

that longs to make sense of life.

Just write

any way!


Mother Teresa

I am honored to have a few of my poems included in the latest Bards Against Hunger anthology. I love to write poems for good causes and eradicating hunger is one of the best causes I can think of. Proceeds from the sell of this book will go to The Homeless Advocacy Center of Anderson and Madison County.

YOU are invited to join us for the book launch which will be November 17, 2018 from 1-3 p.m. at the Elwood Public Library. The launch will also serve as a food drive for the Anderson Preparatory Food bank. Suggested items for donation includes: Any non-perishable food items that are not past the expiration date. Cans of fruit, vegetables, spaghetti-o’s, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, oatmeal, fruit snacks, granola bars, etc.

The poem below titled, “Hunger” is one I submitted for this project. It was inspired by someone I have admired as long as I can remember. Someone who gave tirelessly to help the poorest and sickest among us… The one and only Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

One of Mother Teresa’s quotes in particular made me think about hunger in a different light, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

Yes, we must feed the hungry, eradicate hunger from the face of our planet. But, we must go beyond bread by showing kindness and love for each other. Then, the healing of our world will begin.

Mother Teresa also said, “If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” and “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” It is wonderful to help our community and is much needed, but let us also lift up those in our own family who may be hungry and feel alone, especially during the holidays. Who do you know that is hungry for love? Tell them. Show them. Feed them.

Write On!


I hunger for
more than bread.

I hunger for

I hunger for

I hunger for

I hunger for

I hunger for
tender touch.

I hunger for

I hunger for


Passion and Paper Tigers


Fear preys on passion, but it is a paper tiger. ~Vautaw

I received a check for $25 today from the Poetry Society of Indiana for winning 1st place in the Linda Bannon Memorial Category with a poem I wrote specifically for the contest called, “Overflow“.

In my mind, I wielded the check like a sword to shred the paper tiger that has pursued me since the day I dared to publish my first word. Apparently, it worked, but I know a legion of paper tigers exist for every word I dare to share.

I am taking advantage of this momentary victory and boost of confidence by dreaming big, writing like I am already famous, and visualizing my name among the greatest writers of all time: Hemingway, Vonnegut, Faulkner, Joyce, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Eliot, Bronte, Woolf, Plath, Atwood, Angelou, Christie, Cartland, Steel, Vautaw…

That last one is me, one of my pseudonyms, fits right in doesn’t it?!

Whew, I got that out before the next paper tiger spotted me and fueled my inner critic with enough adrenaline to make me want to escape through the open tab to check my email or scroll social media… anything to avoid the thoughts of inadequacy, of not being good enough to even think of being in the same sentence as the “greats” or “real” writers, of dramatic despair of dying with my words and stories left unsaid…

But, wait, I have my sword. I may not even cash the check. I may post it on my vision board as a reminder of an Amelia Earhart quote, “Fears are just paper tigers“. So, write to your heart’s content. Write the words that you want to share with the world. Write the stories that make your soul shine.

En Garde!



No Excuse

Little wins

Little wins create big victories! ~ Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff

I really have no excuse for not stringing words together much beyond my Morning Pages lately. No one cares if I do or don’t. No one but the soul that is currently taking up residence in my fleshy abode and patiently waiting for me to do what I was born to do which, from all the flashing arrows and neon lights in my mind, is… WRITE!

My response to this other worldly prodding is typically some form of resistance from blissing out on Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or other vegan confections to procrastinating with another personal development/business building program, to the infinite social media scroll.

But today, the Universe wins. I showed up and let my muse dance across the keyboard, despite the steady stream of interruptions that started the moment I sat down. I forgot what an endorphin rush it is to push through the obstacles and finish something as simple as a blog post.  It’s little wins that create big victories!

Write On!

Kathy G



Keep the Drama on the Page

Maxwell (3)“Keep the drama on the page!” ~ Julia Cameron

Friday, the 13th. A day of drama, real and imagined, that at best distracts you and at worst consumes you. What I have discovered from years of journal writing is that drama is best kept on the page! I became aware of this truth by studying my favorite author, Julia Cameron who coined the phrase, “Keep the drama on the page.”

Before reading Julia’s life-changing book, “The Artist’s Way,” drama would play out in my life in various ways from shouting matches with my spouse to withdrawal and depression. Drama zapped my energy and misaligned my focus. It flooded my mind in a sea of negativity. I had no outlet.

Then I read, “The Artist Way” where I discovered that I didn’t have to be a professional writer to write. I let go of the perfectionism that held me prisoner for so many years. Julia was a welcome warden, a professional writer who encouraged me to write without any preconceived notions or aspiring accolades. “If you write, you are a writer.” Her simple mantra unlocked the guarded gates of my mind so the words could flow and heal my soul. I have been writing ever since.

Sometimes, I hit the ground running and don’t write for a few days, but it doesn’t take long for the drama and negativity to seize my mind. Writing is the only way I have found to release the onslaught of fear-based thoughts that threaten to confine me. Morning Pages is the life line that deals with the drama, purges negativity, and gives form to my creativity.