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Author Interview

Wendy Siefken

Currently working full time at a local store as a cashier and from home as a published author with MasterKoda Select Publishing company writing stories. I am a virtual assistant to those in need of an extra pair of hands online setting up social media sites and navigating the maze of today's social media sites. We live on a farm withand I enjoy reading, gardening and other activities with my family and friends.

Story: Hiding in Plain sight


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Keep writing, take any critisism you receive find good information on it and use it to improve yourself and just let the personal opinions go. And for heavens sake, have fun!
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
We just jump right on in there and get wet! we do discuss the story and work out the details but otherwise we just get in there and write! :-)
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I don't usually ignore criticism. I take the good points in it, such as repeating words, or sentence fragments things of that nature. if they just don't like it, its an opinion. I can't change that. but structure and stuff I can fix.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
I would have edited it better and been better prepared for it. I would have made it maybe more clear and not from two view points.


William Marlow

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A page turner and excting. Thanks

Margaret Alice

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I think this story has good potential. Like what other reviewers have said, it does need some editing. Other than that it was a good read! Could you check out my story, "The Fate Continuum?" Good luck!


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ok read. could use some improving but has great potential.


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Get an editor. its a good story but comes off wordy. Is there a word count in this contest ? Great concept

My Write Side SAM

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This has a nice little tone to it, a sweet little mystery, solved by someone in need of a fresh start.


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It was a thrilling read from start to finish. I would have liked to have seen the story longer.

Susan Gale Wickes

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I like a little mystery in a story and this one delivered. There was a little confusion with the switching back and forth but, all in all, I enjoyed your story and wish you success. If you get a chance, I'm looking for reviews of my story, "Bigger Fish to Fry".


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This story has a lot of problems. Chief among them is focus. The title would insinuate that the focus is Pat, but the story itself favors Chief Betts, although the story centers on a crime committed by the anonymous young man at the end. What is the point? Pat's mysterious secret? Justice for the bank? The chief solving the case? There are a lot of sloppy sentences, redundancies, inconsistencies, and in many places it's just far too wordy. There is too much repetition, especially of names, and this gets especially confusing when characters are referred to by multiple names. Going back and forth between "Chief Betts" and "Tony" was is distracting. Once we know his full name and occupation, we don't need both labels. For example, in Jaws, once Peter Benchley has introduced us to the character of Chief Martin Brody, he simply refers to him as "Brody" from them on out. Others may address him by his rank or first name, but in narrative he is referred to consistently as "Brody." Additionally, there was a lack of realism, both in plot and composition. A bank robber with money all over his back seat is going to call a locksmith? With a car like that, wouldn't he most likely just break a window? The emphasis on fingerprints makes little sense, as the robber clearly wore gloves the whole time. I understand that the intention of this is to connect the crime to Pat's past, but since we never find out anything about that past, there is almost no reason to connect it at all. The dialogue is generic, and does not demonstrate a credible knowledge of police procedure. The punctuation also needs a lot of work. The bottom line is that this story needs to tighten its focus, both in plot and structure, and undergo a punctuation overhaul.

Rose Burke

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Love the action, still curious what 'the secret' was though! This piece kept me hooked from start to finish! A great read! If you get a chance check out my story This Girl and a Bartender, thanks!

Keep at it

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There is no conflict in this story :O and no rising action. Sometimes your description is cliche "salt and pepper hair." To me this story is about characterization, since contextually that's all there is here. Keep up the writing! read some acclaimed short stories, to be great we must surround ourselves with greatness!

Mr. Bishop

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I am reviewing this because the author reviewed my story, although it is written under another name from what I use here. Again, with every story I have read, or started to read, in this competition, there are the editing issues. I'll provide two specific examples besides the common mispellings and punctuation. "Chief Betts flicked off his light to his office and walked out the door and pulled it firmly shut behind him." Wordy and overuse of similar words. (Chief Betts turned off the light to his office, walked out, and pulled the door closed.) at a minimum get rid of one "his" in the sentence. The other issue is one that I have myself, you use the word "had" too many times. Look through the story and take note of every "had" in it. I'll bet that you could remove at least half of them. Aside from that, it was an easy read story that actually read like a story. With a little fine tuning, I think it could go from good to very good.

Lisa Rose

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I really like your story. I also like the fact that we don't need to know the secret. Hey Pat was starting over, right? The past is the past. If you have the time, please read my story, 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you liked it.


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Hiding in Plain Sight was okay. I'm not sure why it was categorized as science fiction when it's really a detective story. More description of how the characters respond to events in their lives would have made them more well rounded. However, this improved as the story progressed. Unlike some reviewers, I liked that we never discovered the locksmith's secret.

Misty Harvey

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What a great short story. I love the way it all worked together, and what a great twist. Keep up the great work, Wendy


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The matching of fingerprints threw me off since gloves were worn. Would like to know what was found out about the twin brother, was the actual robber really a twin? Otherwise, enjoyed the short story. Keep up the good work Wendy!!!


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Overall, a good short. Likeable characters with what little we got to know of them. I couldnt seem to get past the fingerprint part, the story states the criminal had on gloves and alot of story line was dependent on prints. I understand the author wanted to connect the prints to the locksmith but it just seemed like two different short stories going on. In the end you were waiting to see what secret the locksmith had, and the robber just appeared out of nowhere with no story to him. Felt confused about the man in jail with a twin, was the author telling us that the twin looked like the locksmith, if so it wasnt entirely clear even given the comments by the Chief. Not sure if story was proof read, that would help as there were some minor mistakes, a he where it should have said she... I like this author and will keep an eye on her, the story left me wanting more.....I think this author is going places! Thanks for the read! Heidi


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Great story!


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Great little story. Flows nicely and keeps the interest throughout. I'm impressed.


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I love a good mystery and the twist the Author has created in this one was perfect! I think the only thing I found choppy was how it seemed every other sentence was Chief Betts this, Chief Betts that. I would recommend working on that so the story flows better. I feel the Author has a very good imagination and has created a story that shows she has some good skills. Keep it up and Good luck!


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This was a fun loving short story and I know there must be more to it nevertheless I enjoyed every morsel of the story and knowing the locksmith no longer had anything to hide.

The Black Jester

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An entertaining read from start to finish. Good work and keep it up. Good Luck.

Frances Bell

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I'm with Alyce Wilson. She's said everything I would have... just as she has when critiquing other stories. I too was expecting SCI FI to match it's label but unfortunately it got bogged down in details which didn't advance the plot.

De Ann Native

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Hola Wendy, sonrisa....spooky stories aren't really my thing, but I wanted to support you ;) Happy I did, sonrisa.... Great Story!!! Absoluta Fabuloso!!! You are a truly talented writer and I wish you mucho success!!!

Erik Gustafson

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Really great story. I enjoyed the mystery and building up to the end. One thing I noticed is the quotes of the characters were usually on separate lines from the dialog tags. It may have just been a formatting thing.

Miss Christy

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very well done! Your writing is great! I can see this turning into something bigger!

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December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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