Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Elizabeth Spencer Carey, Patroness of Poets

(Miniature portrait painted by Nicholas Hilliard, date unknown)

Elizabeth Spencer Carey (1552-1618) — my 5th cousin 15 times removed — was the daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorp and the wife of Sir George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon. She is best remembered for her patronage of the arts in Elizabethan England and sponsored the poets Edmund Spenser and Thomas Nashe and the composer John Dowland.

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) is best known for his poem, The Fairie Queene, first published in 1590 with the aid of Sir Walter Raleigh, which glorifies Queen Elizabeth I and the Tudor family.

The poem is an epic composed of 6 books. All total, the poem contains 36,000 lines and 4,000 stanzas. Spenser invented the Spenserian stanza to write the poem, with 9 lines in each stanza. Eight lines were composed in iambic pentameter with the last line – the alexandrine – in iambic hexameter. The rhyming scheme came out to ABABBCBCC.

In a sonnet dedicated to The Fairie Queene, Spenser honored his patroness as follows:

“Ne [no] may I, without blot of endless blame,

You, fairest Lady, leave out of this place,

Remembrance of your gracious name

Wherewith that courtly garlond [garland] most ye grace

And deck the world.”

Carey was also Spenser’s inspiration for Muiopotmos in 1590 and the character “Phyllis” in Colin Clots Come Home Againe.

Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) was a poet and playwright, but he is best known for his novel, The Unfortunate Traveller. Whenever he was short of cash, he wrote erotic verses, which earned him harsh criticism.

“And make me happie [happy], stealing by degrees.

First bare hir [her] legs, then creepe up to her knees. . .”

John Dowland (1563-1626) wrote numerous songs and instrumental pieces. His most famous instrumental piece is Lachrimae, or Seaven Tears. One of his most famous songs is “Flow My Tears.”

Flow My Tears

“Flow my tears, fall from your springs,

Exil’d forever let me mourn;

Where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings,

There let me live forlorn.”

Later, Carey’s daughter, Elizabeth Frances Carey Berkeley, took on the role of the patroness of the arts.




Dawn Pisturino

May 17, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


We Can Do It!

(Photo from Professional Woman’s Magazine. Naomi Parker Fraley, the real Rosie the Riveter, died in 2018 at 96.)

I wrote a short script for a One Week Short Script Challenge early in April. After getting all the feedback, I edited the script multiple times and re-submitted it for more feedback. On May 1st, I entered it in the 2023 Pipeline Media Group Short Script Competition. I’m not expecting to win anything, but I’m proud of myself for doing it. I challenged myself, and that makes me feel stronger as a writer.

What are you doing to challenge yourself?


The Writers Guilds of America, East and West, are officially on strike. This is a significant strike against the major Hollywood studios and networks that will affect everyone. New movies and TV shows will not be produced or delayed, projects may be canceled, and the new season episodes we are all waiting for will be put on hold. We will see more reruns and recycled TV shows until the strike is resolved.

Writers are striking for the same reasons all workers go on strike: long hours, less pay, loss of value and respect, less creative autonomy, and fewer opportunities. The regulation of A.I. is on the list of demands.

The WGA has already sent emails to its members and members of organizations like The Black List, warning against “scabbing” and crossing the picket line. Any writer who sells a screenplay, makes a deal, or gets hired to write for a Guild signatory company during the strike will be blacklisted and banned from WGA membership for life. Their Hollywood career will be over.

Dawn Pisturino

May 3, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Humans Only

(Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash)

HAPPY MAY 1st! Old Man Winter is gone, and Summer is officially on its way!


Recently, I read posts on LinkedIn and Reddit about A.I. and how it seriously impacts freelance writers and content creators. Freelancers sell their services to clients and rely on repeat and new customers to make a living. Content creators may be freelancers or work for a company. The spotlight on A.I. has made customers wary of freelance writers and creators to the point where they are canceling contracts, refusing to pay for work already completed, and questioning the integrity of the writer/creator’s work. To put it bluntly, customers don’t want to pay for content generated by a robot. Since it’s hard for freelance writers/creators to prove they have not used A.I. in some capacity, customers react to the spread of A.I. with paranoid accusations against them. (And some do use A.I. for limited uses.) I see this problem getting worse, not better, as A.I. is used increasingly in the creative arts. I have not seen any articles about how this affects companies using A.I. or the people who work for them.

If you are using A.I. to generate blog posts, artwork, poetry, prose, or any kind of creative effort, revealing it and which A.I. program you are using would be a good idea. If people know this out front, they cannot accuse you of deception.

I use Grammarly to correct my punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors. Otherwise, my writing is generated by my own brain.


Dawn Pisturino

May 1, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Too Many Books, Too Much Competition

(Photo by Gaman Alice on Unsplash)

I re-blogged this from an earlier post.


January 11, 2013:

In an interview with the blog SIX QUESTIONS, John Raab, Publisher/CEO/Editor-in-Chief of Suspense Magazine, answered the following question:

“What can you truly expect to get out of your writing?”

“I feel that many authors have false expectations and think they are writing the next NY Times Bestseller. Here is the problem with that. Just because your book is not high on a list or selling that great, doesn’t mean you can’t write. Authors have to remember that anybody can now publish an EBook on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. What does that mean? That means that readers now have to navigate through thousands of more books to find one they like and readers only have a certain amount of money to spend. If you don’t have thousands of marketing dollars behind your work, then you have to spend triple the amount of time marketing to fans than it took you to write the book. Writing the book is the easy part, getting paid from it is the difficult part. Authors should expect to not retire off their work, but instead write for the love of it, because it is your passion. Writing and music are the same thing, you see a great band in a bar and say ‘They are better than anything I hear on the radio, why aren’t they signed?’ Writing is the same way.”

Is it true? Are there too many books on the market? Writers don’t just write for the love of writing, they write to make a living. But if thousands of self-proclaimed authors are flooding the market with books, how can someone achieve that goal?

For myself, I stopped buying books because I was tired of wasting my money on mediocre crap that was marketed as best-seller material. A slick cover and a wide audience do not a-book-worth-reading make. Extensive marketing will not salvage a poorly crafted commodity. Readers might buy from you once, but they won’t come back again.

The book market is, in fact, overwhelming. Every time I go into Barnes & Noble, the stacks of unread (and unbought) books make me want to swoon. Scanning through Amazon and Goodreads makes me feel the same way.

The books shout in my head: READ ME! READ ME!

It’s the same on Facebook. Thousands of self-proclaimed authors scream at me: BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK!

Millions of blogs and online publications float around in Internet outer space, vying for attention.

TV, movies, and video games also provide tough competition. And to top it off, a recent poll suggested that only 75% of the population ever reads a book (print or digital.)

So, what’s a writer (and reader) to do in an age of information overload?

1. Write the best damned book you can, using original ideas.

2. Don’t write derivative material because thousands of others are doing the same thing. We don’t need anymore books about vampires and wizards unless the slant is so original, and the characters so unforgettable, that the world just can’t live without them.

3. Define your goals realistically. If you are only writing out of love for the craft, then be content to do so. But if you dream of making a living as a writer, then treat it as a business.

Personally, I think the publishing industry bubble is going to burst, just like the dot.com bubble and the housing bubble. Too many books means too many choices and a flattened market. After all, people don’t have the time or the money to spend on reading all the books out there. And traditional publishing houses depend on blockbuster best-sellers to keep themselves afloat.

I will continue to write because I love to write. But don’t be fooled: I want to make a living off of my writing as much as any other writer. The question is: can I beat the competition?


April 26, 2023:

The book industry did, indeed, undergo a massive upheaval. Publishing houses folded or merged, small presses failed, people lost their jobs, authors lost contracts, and writing scams emerged as independent authors sought alternate publishing avenues.

Traditional publishing is a challenging route to pursue. As of 2022, only 64% of the population reads a book in twelve months. Only 1% of books submitted to traditional publishers are lucky enough to get published. Nonfiction generally sells better than fiction. An author will never make big money in niche categories like poetry and short stories. People have shorter attention spans and become more visually-oriented thanks to movies, TV, and social media. Writing screenplays has become “the thing” because that’s where the demand is, a writer can make big money, and it sounds cool. Writing for TV can be incredibly lucrative, although it’s demanding, and living in L.A. is mandatory.

When I wrote my middle-grade children’s mystery novel for a children’s writing class, I spent hours editing, writing the synopsis and query letter, and submitting it to agents. And yes, agents looked at it, turned it down, and encouraged me to edit more and submit it again in two years. I re-wrote the first part of the book because it was too long. But I was so sick of that book I put it away and only recently pulled it out again. I will finish it because I love the characters and the story. I LOVE WRITING! And that’s all that matters.

And yes, I still buy a book occasionally, but it’s more likely to be a used book I haven’t read, a free Kindle pick-of-the-month, a nonfiction book I can use for education and reference, or a poetry book I want to review. I have six bookcases full of books, many not yet read. As I read them, I give them away unless there’s a good reason to keep them. I have always loved to read a good book.

Keep reading because you love it! Keep writing because you love it!

What are your thoughts?

Dawn Pisturino

January 11, 2013; April 26, 2023

Copyright 2013-2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Out of My Comfort Zone

(Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash)

I’ve been expanding my boundaries and moving out of my comfort zone:

I wrote my first short script for a scriptwriting challenge and submitted it. I also participated in reading, evaluating, and scoring 12 short scripts written by other writers in the challenge. I got valuable feedback in return for my script.

I turned my short script into a short story, which was harder than it sounds.

I’ve been studying screenwriting and working on my first feature-length screenplay.

I’m writing an opera libretto (the lyrics) for my daughter.

I’ve been writing poems and submitting to new publications. And yes, I get rejections like everybody else.

I’m still writing short stories and poems for Gobblers & Masticadores, Masticadores USA, and Masticadores India.

I’m still working on the novels I started and editing a middle-grade children’s book I finished.

If I disappear for a few days, it’s just because I’m busy with these projects. I always follow up on comments, likes, and follows.



Dawn Pisturino

April 12, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Spotlight on Poet Phil Gennuso

(Graphic art by Phil Gennuso. Copyright 2023 Phil Gennuso. All Rights Reserved.)

Scrapbook Dreams by Phil Gennuso (2023). Available on Etsy or direct from Phil.

Phil Gennuso is a graphic artist, poet, prose writer, and computer scientist who lives in New York state. I’ve been reading his lovely poetry for a while now on his blog and enjoy it very much. He always accompanies his poems with original graphic art or photography.

When I read his latest ebook, Scrapbook Dreams, I was impressed with the colorful artwork and the simplicity and beauty of his poems. There is an innocence behind his words which touched my heart and made me want to read more. The world is a beautiful place despite pandemics, poverty, and the doldrums of daily existence. We just have to open our eyes and see it. Phil does this for us, giving us a rich experience of color, sight, and sound that’s woven into every word. I felt much happier after reading his collection of poems because they are uplifting and positive.

Here’s just one example:

Sunday Trumpets of Glory

trumpets of glory

play a sweet song

as the sun sets across the land

You can get your copy of Scrapbook Dreams by contacting Phil at philgennuso@gmail.com

or his Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PhilGennusoArts

Website: https://philgsblog.wordpress.com

Dawn Pisturino

April 5, 2023

Copyright 2023 Phil Gennuso. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Author Website Updated and Re-Vamped

(Photo by Dawn Pisturino. Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino.)


I just spent hours updating and re-vamping my author website on Wix. You can visit it here:


I was just informed by Wix that they are raising the annual price of my website by a whopping $100.00. I had thought of upgrading my blog to a WordPress website, but I’ve talked to too many people who have had problems with their WordPress websites. I’ve seen some people leave WordPress because of it. So, I will keep my WordPress blog and promote my Wix website separately. I’d rather pay a little more for reliability. Plus, Wix is user-friendly.

Thanks for visiting!


Dawn Pisturino

March 29, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


“Just Me and the Clock” on Masticadores USA

(Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash)

I want to thank Barbara Harris Leonhard and her staff for publishing my poem, Just Me and the Clock, today on Masticadores USA. I hope you will visit them and show them your support. Thank you!

Just Me and the Clock

by Dawn Pisturino

Long hours of night creep slowly by.

Tick. . . Tick. . . Tick. . . Tick. . .

The clock clangs one.

I am utterly alone.

Just me and the clock.

Tock. . . Tock. . . Tock. . . Tock. . .

Please read the rest of my poem here.


Thank you!

Dawn Pisturino

March 21, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Chat GPT Photo and Poem

(Photo generated by Chat GPT)

I’ve read so many things lately about Chat GPT, especially on Reddit, that I decided to try it. I entered the same words as before (in my previous post): “I want an image of a desert landscape at sunrise,” and this is what popped up. Not bad, but the photo looks flat to me.

Next, I requested a poem about a desert landscape at sunrise, and this is what it produced:


15:48 March 2, 2023

In the silence of the desert still,
As dawn begins to spill,
A hush comes over all the land,
As orange light takes its stand.

The sky, a canvas painted blue,
Is streaked with hues of pink and new,
The sun, a glowing ember bright,
Rises slowly into sight.

The sand falls soft beneath your feet,
As you walk with cautious beat,
The air is crisp, so clear and clean,
With a feeling so serene.

The cacti stand tall in their rows,
With arms stretched up like nature’s pose,
Their thorns, a warning to beware,
Against the creatures that roam there.


Not the best poem I’ve ever read, but also not the worst. To be computer literate, we should know about AI and how to use it since it’s becoming so prevalent. The more artificial the world becomes, however, the more I appreciate my fellow humans and their genuine living, breathing, thinking, and feeling creativity!

What are your thoughts?


Dawn Pisturino

March 10, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Poetry Book Review: Archery in the UK

Archery in the UK by Nick Reeves and Ingrid Wilson (2023). Available on Amazon.com.

While reading this beautiful and deeply-moving collection of poems, certain associations kept popping into my head. Sonnets from the Portuguese. Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Robert Browning. This book is quintessentially a collection of verses devoted to Love – the remarkable uniting of two cherished souls, love of the land, love of nature, love of beauty, and love of the language that allows us to shape our thoughts, feelings, and dreams into words.

Most of the poems in this collection are not sonnets, but the quality, tone, rhythm, and spirit of these verses capture the essence of Shakespeare, the two Brownings, and classic British lyrical poetry in general. Love in this poetic realm spreads its wings wider and flies higher than mortals are allowed in the ordinary world. The poets invite us into their secret bower of shared passion and romance, reminding us that love is a beautiful gift, and so is every precious moment of our lives.

This is an excerpt from Honeymoon Night, whose simplicity, sincerity, and repetition captured my heart and helped me to visualize the scene so clearly:

“. . . Our bodies entangled

our minds even more so

complete, I love you oh

so sweet, I love you so.

The candlelight flickers and flares

trickles tallow

temptation’s so sweet – oh

I do so love you so.

As husband and wife

we awake on the morrow

‘I do’ and ‘I will’ so

I’ll always love you so.

Our honeymoon song’s

taken up by the sparrow:

I do so love you so

I do so love you so.


Archery in the UK was published by Experiments in Fiction (Ingrid Wilson).

Nick Reeves’s website: Nick Reeves’s Blog

Dawn Pisturino

March 1, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


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