By Janee Law
Author Lois Stern worked for five years to compile her first book, “Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery,” a collection of stories from over 100 women about how cosmetic surgery impacts women’s lives. Come 2006, however, she was disappointed when several publishers turned down her work.
What got back to Stern as she was trying to have her first book published was that she didn’t have enough of an “author platform,” lacking a following in the industry. So, Stern, of Halesite, thought, “There must be a lot of writers out there who are talented and are in this kind of position.”
This birthed Stern’s six-book series Tales2Inspire, an “authors helping authors” project/contest that is intended to give young authors a shot at getting their work published, while also gathering up stories meant to inspire readers.
Stern, a former teacher, also works with authors on stories she sees potential in, helping to spruce them up for publication.
“I love giving different authors a start, and giving them the encouragement,” she said, adding that the feedback she gets is “worth more than money.”
Stern said 20 percent of all proceeds from the books purchased through Tales2inspire.com are donated to either the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.
She recruits authors from across the United States, as well as from far-away countries like Australia. She markets the series by hosting local presentations, including one last Thursday at Cold Spring Harbor Library.
Before the presentation, Stern said she hopes people gain inspiration, since each story delivers a special message.
Maria Diaz, of Huntington, was in the crowd and said that while she is younger than some of the characters that were portrayed, “it inspires me to continue my journey of life.”
Diaz added, “I’m going to be inspired, energized, vitalized and I’m going to pass on what she passed on to me.”
For authors, there is no fee to submit a story to Stern. Each author whose work is accepted gets to also judge three other stories anonymously. They score based on writing quality, and the level of inspiration.
The Tales2Inspire series launched in 2013 with “The Emerald Collection: Beyond Coincidence.” Then came “The Topaz Collection: Awakenings & Aha Moments,” “The Sapphire Collection: Echo in the Mind,” “The Ruby Collection: Gifts of Compassion,” “The Crystal Collection: Stories that Tickle the Funny Bone” and “The Garnet Collection: Stories in Feathers and Fur.”
Each book focuses on a different gem that has a symbolic meaning, relating to the collection of stories. Stern said she self-publishes the books using CreateSpace.
“I try to write at least one story because I love to write, and I want to. So, if I hear something really good that I want to write, I write it,” she said.
Stern grew up in Cold Spring Harbor, learning to love writing at 4 years old. She would later go on to attend Barnard College of Columbia University in Manhattan where she studied sociological research. She later went back to school to earn her professional diploma in reading and special education from Hofstra University.
With her husband, Ken, Stern is a mother of two boys. She has worked at the Kings Park School District as a resource room teacher, retiring in 1996. Stern said being a teacher has carried into her passion to help writers.