Back Again For a New Year! Book Signing at Barnes and Noble this Weekend

I spent last week helping my daughter get ready for the American Shetland Sheepdog Association National, brushing and bathing 5 dogs. Instead of writing. Then I had to recover. The National is this week at Purina Farms outside of St. Louis. It’s a week of very hard work, shmoozing with friends, and showing the dogs. She’s got 12 this year. That’s the plan.

So back into the writing universe. I have a couple of chapters left in DreamWalker. Then off to editing. I’m working on a re-launch of Red Dragon’s Keep with an Amazon Best Seller campaign for the ebook in June. More on that to come. Oh, and an audiobook release of Red Dragon’s Keep. Why didn’t I do this when it was snowing?

By Natli VanDerWerken © 2021

Book signing at the Barnes and Noble @bnbuzz Colorado Blvd store in Glendale on Saturday 9 – 5, and at the Southlands Barnes and Noble store in Aurora 10 – 5. I’ll be with a bunch of authors supporting the AuthorU Foundation. All genres for all ages.

Come out and get signed copies from some of the best authors in Colorado.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are coming. You’ve Been Warned. Hahahaha!

Write On!

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One More Booksigning

I've got one more book signing this month. I'll be signing my books at the first artisan vendor fair at Fabric Play Quilting, 15464 E Hampden Ave, in Aurora, CO from 10 - 4 tomorrow, December 10. If you need great books for Christmas gifts for kids from 8 to infinity, I can personalize them then. See you there.


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Holiday 2022 Schedule

Sorry I haven’t sent out an update for a while. Thought I’d give you an update on where you can find me this month.

  • November 4 – Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show - Colorado Authors League booth- book signing at the Event Center, 3960 Palmer Park Blvd
  • November 5 – Heritage Eagle Bend Club House 3960 Palmer Park Blvd, book signing
  • November 6 - Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show - Colorado Authors League booth- book signing at the Event Center, 3960 Palmer Park Blvd
  • November 26 – Barnes & Noble book signing Southlands, Aurora
  • November 27 – Barnes & Noble book signing Colorado Blvd, Denver
  • December 3 – Firestone Charter Academy Craft Fair – Firestone, CO
  • December 9 – Aurora Gateway Rotary Club – speaking engagement

That’s the schedule for now.

I’m writing as fast as I can on DreamWalker – book three in the series. It will be out in Winter 2022/2023. Just worked out a major hurdle in the story. That was fun! Let me know if you’d like signed copies of Red Dragon’s Keep or WindRunner. I can ship them to you.

Oh, and I have a big favor to ask of you. If you’ve read the books, could you please leave a review? It’s the best way I know to let other people know that they might like them, too. On Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas and New Year!


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Timmy’s in the Well!

When I was little, there was a TV program that featured a young boy and his very smart collie, Lassie. The collie was always rescuing Timmy, his mom and dad, all of the neighbors and townspeople, and any animals that needed it. She would run from whatever problem that threatened to the nearest adult who could solve it. She always saved the day and taught life lessons along the way. Self-reliance, adults worked hard to solve problems, and collies could save everyone. I wanted a collie of my very own.

People would fall down cliffs or fall into the well or from a tree or a roof. Lassie got a rope and dropped it down whatever so that the human could climb out or she’d race to let someone know there was trouble and then lead the rescuer to the fallen. I remember her pulling on the rope to get either Timmy or another kid out of the well.

Then I found the book at the library. Lassie Come Home, by Eric Knight. It wasn’t anything like the program, but it tugged at my heartstrings just like it. Thus started my time spent in the worlds created in books. Thornton Burgess and Reddy the Fox may have been the first book that brought me to tears. Lad a Dog by Albert Payson Terhune consumed my imagination.

I fell in love with my first horse, Black Beauty. Then onward to Margarette Henry and Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, Justin Morgan Had a Horse. Who can forget Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion? Remember the TV show Fury? I collected statues of horses from the toy shop and told myself wonderful stories as they galloped across the landscapes of my mind. I was horse-crazy. I eventually had two of my own.

Enter science fiction and fantasy. Tom Corbet, Space Cadet. I was halfway in love with my first Marine, Donald “Scotty” Scott from the Rick Brant science adventure series. It didn’t hurt that my dad worked in the space industry with the astronauts. I got to meet some of them when they came to the house for dinner. There were stars in my eyes even then. I wanted to be an astronaut. Heinlein’s Space Cadet and all the rest of the stories of the future made me want it even more.

I joined the Navy after a year and one-half of college and became a meteorologist and anti-submarine warfare specialist. I served at NAS Naha, Okinawa, Japan as the first woman ever stationed in the meteorology office there with only one other enlisted woman on base. I met and married my Marine after transferring to NAS Atlanta in Marietta, Georgia. We bought our first Shetland Sheepdog there. Best little dogs in the world. Instinctive herding dogs, ours kept our young girls away from the street until we could put up a fence after we bought a house in my home state - Colorado.  We’ve raised, trained, and shown Shelties for 46 years.

This long tour of books in my life emphasizes how much they influenced me. Now I write stories about dragons, magic swords, and demons. The books are good vs evil, the classic Hero’s Journey. Who would have thought?

A final note. Whenever my shelties start barking, my first comment to them is “Is Timmy in the well? Oh no! Timmy’s in the well!”

If Timmy had a sheltie, nobody would have gotten close enough to fall in the well. Good dogs.

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Celebrate National Dog Day

It’s National Dog Day. I thought that was earlier, but it doesn’t matter. It’s always worth celebrating Dogs! Or Dragons! I’m working on “DreamWalker”.  Here’s an excerpt:
“The path beckoned to her as Breanna skimmed the edge of sleep. She pushed the gate open that signified the beginning of her dreamwalking. Her feet carried her smoothly beyond the first bend of the trail. No pain followed her into the dream as she moved.

Wrap my mind with threads of silk
Shroud my walk from notice.
Guide me to the sand King’s dreams
Reveal his plans and patterns.

The familiar spell of veiling enveloped her dreaming mind, dampening its radiance to a tiny flicker to anyone else walking in their own dreams.

Breanna stopped and cocked her head in consternation. Instead of the aspen and lindens that normally bordered the path she followed, palm, Joshua, and fruit trees faded into the distance on either side. Shrubs grew under the taller trees, obstructing the view deeper into the grove.

Frowning and shaking her head, she continued down the path. Maybe it’s because we’re in the desert now. The trail split to the right and left.  A golden light rose from the horizon to her right.

Breanna stopped at the junction of the two paths. She glanced to the left, sensing wisps of dreams. Nothing was close. She turned to the right and settled into an uneasy wait, searching the dreamscape as far out as she could extend her senses.

A sudden blaze at the very edge of her perception made Breanna twitch. Its power pulled at her, making her want to hurry toward it. Instead, she waited. What is that? With reluctant steps, she started walking toward the energy. It felt nothing like the grey Dragon she’d met before in the dreamscape.

She scanned around her, suddenly anxious that the monster might find her. Her heart sped up and began pounding with fear. Stop. It is not here. She breathed deep, slowing her panic.

She did not find that evil thing anywhere near. Instead, the golden glow pulled her toward it. As she drew closer, her steps slowed further. The trees were thinning, allowing her to peer between the trunks.

The light shimmered gold and red. An older man in the loose long cream-colored robes of a Bedouin, a shemagh draping his head and shoulders, stood as if waiting. Breanna stopped her advance, slipping completely behind the thick bole of one of the palms growing among the fruit trees.

“Child, you are well come. There is nothing to fear here. Your shields are strong. You are invited to sit with me and rest.” He sank down onto a rug decorated with swirls of blue and red and yellow big enough for two at his feet.”
The book is finally coming along nicely. I’m working toward a Christmas release. Cross fingers and hope to shout.
And now some pictures of my shelties! Yeah for National Dog Day!

Write On! Natli VanDerWerken
Aurora, CO 80017
303 755-5404

© 2015 – 2022 Natli VanDerWerken / Zenith Star Publishing, LLC  
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Holiday? Not At Our House

Labor Day was not a holiday in our house when we were growing up. Dad was gone a lot, working on national defense, and the times he was home were precious. So, we worked.

We worked: putting in fences, mowing, trimming, weeding, cleaning the stalls and the chicken room in the barn, washing and painting the lawn furniture,  changing the brakes on the cars, mowing the field with the tractor, vacuuming, dusting, laundry. And always the looming threat of winter, especially in Colorado. It snowed on September 3, 1961. That was the year the first day of school was on September 3.

Poor Mother. She had cleaned and ironed our uniforms, polished our shoes, and made sure lunches were ready. We three girls had our hair in rag curlers and the boys’ hair was neatly trimmed. She had to dig out the winter coats, gloves, hats, and boots that night. It was snowing heavily, blowing sideways when the bus stopped in front of the house. Slipping and sliding, we made it to school.

Back to Labor Day. Starting as a protest by labor union members against intolerable working conditions in the late 1800s, it became a celebration of the working man and his accomplishments. We always celebrated by laboring.

After the new paint on the lawn furniture dried around 6 at night, Dad would barbeque hamburgers. We’d have potato salad and baked beans. We sat on the chairs, almost too exhausted to eat.

So I continue the tradition. Maybe not the physical labor repeating my childhood, but I labor. I’m spending the weekend writing about a young woman on a quest to find an amulet and, just maybe, herself and her path in life.

Happy Labor Day. May you not labor this day.

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Roller Coasters and Mother’s Day

Roller Coasters and Writing,

And Mother’s Day

 I’m sitting at the table looking out at Spring. The crabapple trees are in bloom (stupid trees, it’s going to snow again in 3 days). Dandelions are blooming as well as crocus and tulips. One little daffodil made it this year. Ooh…and the forsythia is blooming.

That hint of snow in three days got me thinking about roller coasters. This past year has been up, down, slam right, slam left, up, down, again and again and again. I seriously get sick on roller coasters. Plus, they are terrifying, especial down.

I don’t mind the whirling cups or the whirligig. Remember the spider at Elitches? And there was a Viking boat that swung back and forth ‘til, if you sat in the very back, you went weightless just before momentum started on the downswing. The kids loved it. Me…not so much. Funny, I have no problems up on a roof or jumping out of airplanes.


I've done a video reading of an excerpt from WindRunner for the Colorado Authors League YouTube page featuring winners and finalists in their Book Contest. WindRunner was a finalist in 2020 in the fantasy category. It should be posted sometime in the beginning of May. (Next week? Already?)

Back to roller coasters. When can we get off? I’m really sick of the constant changes to rules and regulations. The constant hammering in the news and ads by the government. Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. Get a vaccine, but still wear a mask. Small groups of vaccinated people are ok. No they are not. Wear a mask outside. Don’t wear a mask outside. What are the bureaucrats trying to do? Drive us crazy? What if you already had the virus? Still get a vaccine? Why? Why don’t they give numbers instead of percentages?

Roller coasting (is that a word?) is what has happened to DreamWalker this past year. The writing has gone up and down and sideways a lot. I’m pretty sure that waiting for the next shoe to drop in the real world has translated into my parallel world of Ard An Tir. It’s like slogging through mud – or sand – as Breanna, Marta, and Corcra make their way toward the Fasach capital through the desert.

Roller coasters. When can we get off?



Mother’s Day is two weeks away. Do you know anyone who likes to read? My books make great gifts! The pictures have links to Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Everyone deserves a chance to curl up with a good book!


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Of Death and Life

Of Death and Life

Twenty-one years ago my husband of twenty-five years was dying, paralyzed by metastasized brain cancer.

I stood at the open window of our bedroom on a glorious day in May, listening to the birds and looking at the nodding heads of daffodils and tulips. Waiting.

He was lying on the bed behind me, sleeping for the moment. My strong steadfast Marine was leaving, moment by moment. The ticking of the clock on the wall counted down his minutes. There was nothing more to be done.

I turned from the window to finish folding laundry on the trunk at the end of the bed. I heard kids outside laughing and shouting.

“Get it,” I heard. “Quick. Don’t let it go!”

I looked back out the window and saw three boys, between nine and eleven years old, two with sticks, hitting the evergreen groundcover growing by the sidewalk in the front yard. They were poking the sticks into the shrubs, intently focused on what they were doing.

I raced down the stairs and out the front door, down the sidewalk and over to the boys.

“What are you doing?” I wanted to shout, but asked it pleasantly.

The boys hesitated. “We found a baby duck and we were taking it back to the creek,” one answered.

Sure they were.

“Well, I’m glad you found it. I think I can take care of it now. Why don’t you go on home?”

“We were just going to take it back,” the youngest said, a pouting whine in his voice.

“Thanks, but I’ll take care of it.”

They slouched down the street, whacking the pavement with their sticks and muttering about the “mean old lady”. Half a block away, they began to skip and run. I watched until they were gone.

Movement among the evergreen branches caught my glance. Leaning down close to the ground, I watched a tiny duckling trying to hide under the branches. “It’s ok baby. It’s ok,” I murmured. I slowly reached out and wrapped my fingers around the quivering little body. I picked it up and held it close against my chest.

I’ve been around a lot of baby birds. When I was growing up, Dad bought us baby chicks to raise and we grew out pheasant chicks for the state fish and game department to release in the state parks. My dad found a young mallard hen sitting in the middle of the road along his route home late one evening. He stopped, picked her up, put her on the passenger side floor and brought her home.

 “Quackers” fit right in with Waddles, Doddles, and Toddles, our three Peking ducks. In the summer, we’d fill a wading pool with water that the ducks loved to bathe in. Quackers would take off and fly around the house, the blue bars on her wings flashed in the sun. She’d land in the wading pool with a huge spray of water. She never flew away.

I knew what to do. The baby needed warmth and food. I found a shoebox and put newspaper in the bottom and tore thin strips to make a nest and cover for the little one. A daughter was dispatched to the pet store to buy chicken feed. A shallow dish held water and another, the feed.

 I held the little creature close to my heart many times over the next days, murmuring and petting. I took her in for my husband to see. He could not talk any more, but his eyes, those wonderful dark brown eyes, softened and tears ran. I lifted his hand and trailed his fingers over downy feathers.

I wasn’t sure that the baby would live. As my husband declined, the duckling grew stronger.           

It took a week for my husband to leave. Stepping into the next life was hard work. Between one moment and the next he was gone: a breath away.

After the funeral and burial at our National Cemetery among the other heroes, and the gathering at home for friends and family, quiet descended on the house. The shelties needed care and the duckling, still alive, took time too.

My niece named her Peepers. I knew I couldn’t keep her. Her soft little churring sound when I fed her or held her pulled at my heart. I called Wild Birds Unlimited and asked them what I should do.

“There is a sanctuary for young ducks that the Wildlife Department runs. You can bring it here to the store and they will come and get it. We already have five.”

I wrestled with the decision for another week, but finally decided to let her live free. When I walked in with her, the lady was surprised. “Most babies that young don’t survive,” she said. “She’s bonded with you.” The baby was three weeks old.

So, I let her go. I kissed her and ran my fingers over her back one last time, put her in her box and handed her to the lady.

You would think that’s the end of the story.


Nine years later in June, I was on the phone, sitting on the front porch steps. I saw two mallards fly past the house and land across the street in the neighbor’s yard.

“Oh my gosh. I gotta go. The duck I saved has come back!”

I put the phone down and moved to a spot on the driveway behind the van. I sat down and started to talk to them. The female walked across the street and onto the driveway about two feet away. She looked at me and churred. I talked to her for about twenty minutes. The male, his green head glowing in the sun, slowly made his way to the driveway. He never got as close as she did, but he came. The bell at the school blared, signaling the end of the day. I slowly stood and told the mallards they needed to go. I walked toward them and they moved out to the street. “Go,” I said and raised my hand. “Thank you.” They took one last look, and flew away.

It was a remarkable moment. I’d often wondered if she’d survived. I was given the answer.

With profound gratitude, thanks to all who have gone before, who have served, and who are serving now.

On this Memorial Day, remember that with death, there is always life.

Semper Fi.

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National Craft Month

March is National Craft Month...and National Womens Month and ...

By Natli VanDerWerken © 2021Writing is an Art. It’s also a craft.

Gather your tools. A laptop, cup of tea or coffee. A glass with some pencils and pens. A pretty vase of spring flowers. Take your place in front of the keyboard or the paper. Write the first word, the first sentence, the first paragraph. Craft a story. Three acts. Inciting incident. Ending. Plotting. All the filling in between.

Pull the parts and pieces together. Don’t be dismayed if they don’t all fit the first time. Re-write. Polish. Create a work of Art.

Release the Book. (Kind of like RELEASE THE KRAKEN).

Start on the next one.

You’re an Author.

© 2015-2021 Natli VanDerWerken


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Where is Winter?

From snowless Denver: Where is Winter?

I pretty much missed the past two months. Thanksgiving and Christmas were a blur and January the same. I did get a little bit of writing done, even if it was only one word or sentence a day.

I've been creating new ads for Red Dragon's Keep and WindRunner. What do you think?

I've also been doing some quilting and office organizing. You know. Beginning of the year stuff.

I've finally figured out what Breanna Arach has to lose to move DreamWalker forward. I wrote for about an hour last night. Just the motivation I needed. It's almost 2/3 done. I'm pushing to finish the book by the end of February.


~Imagination is the Key~

(I'll try to remember, too :))

© 2015-2021 Natli VanDerWerken



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