Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My 2017 Reads

This year I didn't read as many books as I would have liked, possibly because I read more unpublished manuscripts for writer friends than in previous years. Unfortunately they don't count towards my books read total. According to Goodreads, I read 2,616 more pages this past year so I must have read longer books. If you want a quick summary, here's my year in books from Goodreads.

I listened to several audiobooks at the beginning of the year but found I ended up burning out because I was constantly listening and not giving my mind much downtime. I've taken an audiobook break but have been considering picking them back up.

In total, I read 30 books this year. Eleven were audiobooks I listened to between January and June. My physical book reading was way down this year, unfortunately. I also only made it through three e-books. I usually have a physical book and an e-book going at the same time. E-books I read while I'm eating because I can prop up my tablet. I think my e-book reading was down because I read more hard covers that I can prop open while I eat. If given the choice, I will read a physical book over an e-book.

It could have been my mental state or maybe my choices in books, but I didn't read anything I loved. There were lots I really liked, but nothing that I couldn't put down. I started the year with two authors I enjoy, but ended up disappointed in their books. One was Nest by Terry Goodkind and the other was Anne Rice's Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, which was actually better than I'd thought but still wasn't as good as I'd hoped given my love of Anne's work.

One of my favourites this year was by Em Shotwell. She did a novella called Froget Me Not. I actually critiqued it for her, but even rereading my physical copy, I had the same emotional reactions. It made laugh, broke my heart, and made me cheer...I may have even become teary on my second reading, just like the first. For a little more on this novella, check out this interview I did with Em earlier this year.

This year I read more young adult than previous years. It wasn't on purpose, just happened that way. I enjoyed The Hate You Give and have been loaning my copy out to friends. Karen McManus's, One of us is Lying was really good and once I hit the half way mark, I did have a harder time putting it down because I needed to know what happened! Her twist was really good.

It was also my year for V.E. Schwab. I read Vicious on the recommendations of two friends, and really enjoyed it. I also read the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy (and convinced my boss at the library to order them for our collection), which captivated me. The third book had me crying in the first fifty pages. I adored her characters and the story was fun. This Savage Song was a really good read and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel when it's my turn on Overdrive.

The closest I got to a book I couldn't put down were the audiobooks for Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I did tons of housework so I'd have an excuse to listen to it. If I'd read it, that series would have destroyed me. I wasn't pleased with the third book, but it summed everything up. I'd like to go back and read the physical books to get the full experience, I don't find listening to audiobooks as fulfilling as reading.

For 2018, I'm looking forward to the latest Iron Druid book, Scourged. I want to read more Laini Taylor. I've been itching to read Bernard Cornwell's Last Kingdom series, maybe 2018 will be the year I start. Then again, I'd really like to read the books I have in my to be read pile, some have been waiting a few years.

What were some of your favourite reads in 2017? What are you looking forward to in 2018?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Current Work In Progress

My blog has been quiet as it's been a bit of a busy and rough year for me.

The manuscript I'm working on has been a long time in coming and will hopefully be ready in the new year after a couple more round with critique partners.

To give you a taste, here's a novel aesthetic I put together...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Writers Persevere! - Emotional Wound Thesaurus Launch

Today I am happy to be part of Writers Persevere!, an event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their release of their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

I have been a fan of their thesauruses for a few years now, they are a huge help in breaking away from "go to" descriptions, ideas, action. I highly recommend them for anyone writing.

Because Angela and Becca have spent the last year exploring painful human struggles, they wanted to highlight a very important aspect of overcoming difficult circumstances: it can make us stronger. I promised to let Angela hijack my blog today, so please read on!

Hi everyone! When you set out to find examples of inner strength, you don’t have to go very far. Right here in the writing community we see it every day. Writers more than anyone understand the swirl of emotions as we work toward publication. We dream of making it and seeing our books in the hands of readers…yet doubt and frustration can be a constant companion. For us, there is a lot to learn, much to steel our nerves for, and unfortunately, a host of real-world problems that can try to derail us. And, even as we slowly move forward and grow, we can sometimes feel like impostors. This is a tough road.

But the fact that writers face this battle, day after day, and KEEP GOING…this should be celebrated! We need to be reminded that we are much stronger than we sometimes believe. We dream, create, and force ourselves to keep striving. Through the ups and downs, we persevere!

Have you encountered something on the writing road that made you question yourself? Have you faced an obstacle that required a force of will to get past?

If so, we want to hear about it! Join Becca and me at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell us about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, join this event by writing a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere.  Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us. 


We also have a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost, so stop by Writers Helping Writers. I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!

If you struggle, remember to reach out to others. We are in this together, and by supporting one another, we cross the finish line together (and then keep going!). 

Happy writing!

Angela & Becca

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What I Hope My Writing Journey Is Teaching My Children

Writing is hard. Querying is hard--soul sucking at times. But then again, so is life.

I've been very open about the writing and querying process with my children. They see me write and send out queries, and hear about requests and rejections. I don't make it a point of telling them, but if they ask or are around when I receive an email, I tell them. They also hear me talk about it with my husband and ask questions, which I answer.

By seeing me work hard and not give up, I hope it will give them the courage to chase their dreams. Children often think their parents have everything figured out, or by the time children come along, parents are usually settled into their careers. Not all children see their parents strive to build a career.

When they see me get rejected and keep going, I hope they can carry that into their own lives by understanding it's not the end of the world. You can't win at everything. Just because you're turned down by one person that doesn't mean that someone isn't looking for what you have to offer.

I try to teach my children that if you want something, you need to work for it, don't expect things to be given to you. Hopefully my writing journey will help them understand that.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Forget Me Not Release Day and Interview!

Happy book (well novella) birthday to Em Shotwell!

I'm happy to help launch another of Em's stories! I can't wait for everyone to love Forget Me Not as much as I did when I first read it.

The special thing about this novella is that Em is donating all of her royalties from this novella to Operation Homefront.

Maybe falling for the good guy isn’t so bad?

When Rex Somersby’s family matchmaker sets him up with the famous Evelyn Cadeau, he can’t believe his luck. Evelyn is the woman with the perfect Gift—the woman every man wants—while Rex’s own magical ability leaves much to be desired.  He travels from Missouri to meet his dream girl in her rural Mississippi home, where Evelyn makes it clear that winning her heart won’t be an easy task. Good thing farm-boy Rex has never been afraid of a little hard work.

Evelyn Cadeau is used to getting her way. As the woman with the most powerful Gift, she knows she can have her pick of anyone she wants. And who she wants is slick, handsome, and off-limits Guy McCallister—not gawky, buttoned-up Rex Somersby. Yet, after an arranged date with Rex takes a dramatic turn, leading to a bottle of wine and sneaking to the creek for a late night skinny dip, she realizes there may be more to by-the-rules Rex than meets the eye.

Just as the young couple start to think their family’s tradition of matchmaking isn’t quite so backward, Rex is drafted to Vietnam. With war threatening to tear them apart, will love be able to save them? Or will it take a bit of magic?

Order your copy today here! If you want the ebook, you have to wait until August 22nd, but you can pre-order here.


With a new novella, I figured it was time to catch up with Em. Here's a little about how she's been doing since the last interview...

It’s been over a years since BBS came out, have you found anything has changed for you?

Yes. I understand so much more about publishing, and have been quite busy with projects. When Blackbird Summer came out, it was my only focus. I kind of miss that.

What’s been the most unexpected thing you’ve dealt with since releasing BBS?

I have been surprised by people I know who have read the book. I knew friends and family would pick it up, but I have received messages from people who I knew when I was a kid, or who are friends with my Grandma, who have told me they have enjoyed the book. That support has been terrific.

What are you working on currently?

I am currently working on both the third book in the Blackbird series as well as a novella series about a family of witches and all the trouble that ensues when they try to use their magic. The witchy stories will be released in an anthology with authors Sara Dobie Bauer and Wendy Sparrow from Pen and Kink Press in 2018.

Why did you choose to tell the story of Evelyn and Rex?

Because I just love them! I wrote a love letter from Rex to Evelyn as part of a blog series I ran in 2015. The story had been brewing in the back of my mind ever since.

Why did you choose the charity you did to donate to?

Operation Homefront has a stellar reputation. They are accredited by the BBB and have a five star rating from the organization Charity Watch. I wanted to give to an organization whose focus was on helping military families and vets, and I think I found a good one! 

When do we get the next installment of BBS?

Hopefully there will be two books coming your way in 2018, as well as (hopefully) another short story.

How many more books are planned for the series?

Right now there are four books plus novellas and short stories. Who knows. It could grow—that universe has endless possibilities.

Do you have any advice for those looking to get published?

Be open to feedback but also don’t lose sight of your goal.  Most importantly, never stop growing, learning, or writing.

Don't forget to grab your copy of Forget Me Not (print or ebook)!

And if you haven't yet...pick up a copy of Blackbird Summer. You'll thank me later!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Writing Contests

We are on the verge of another year of Pitch Wars and excitement is building! Along with hundreds of others, I've been frantically editing my manuscript so I can enter. I've wanted to write this post for over a month but thought I'd better get my revisions done, first.

Last year I was fortunate to have been chosen for two contests, one was Pitch Wars. I've entered many others and was never chosen. Though I'm far from an expert, I wanted to share some of what I've learned though my experiences and what I've learned from others.

Writing contests are intimidating and stressful. We all want our work to be loved and accepted, but that's not reality. It's important to put your work out there for others to see. Yes, you will likely be judged by some, but most will give you some thoughtful feedback that you can use to grow. If you join in, you will meet many wonderful people along the way who will accompany you on  your journey. This is the real benefit to entering the contests.

Contests are just as subjective as querying to agents or publishers. No one likes every book they read. Mentors in writing contests are the same. They are looking for one they love and know how to help. Sometimes I critique things and know something is off but can't put my finger on it. If a mentor thinks that, then there's no sense picking that manuscript. Another mentor may be able to see exactly what said manuscript needs. So not only are mentors looking for something they love, they are looking for something they can truly help.

Writing contests are not the end all and be all. Some people think that getting into a writing contest is the only way to get an agent or publisher. No. There are people who didn't get chosen for any writing contests that went on to write best sellers. There are also many people who get into contests but don't get an agent from them. Some go on to find an agent or publisher for their Pitch Wars manuscript through querying, while others write a new manuscript and find an agent or publisher for that. People get picked out of the slush pile every day. Everyone's path to publishing is different. Writing contests are only one path.

Don't self reject. Enter. What do you have to lose? The worst that happens is that you meet some people and you don't get picked. You're no worse off. Yes, not getting picked stings. Rejection always does. You allow yourself sometime to mope, then pick yourself back up. This business seems to be lined with rejection. It's part of the process, a painful but necessary one. On the flip side...what if a mentor loves your manuscript and wants to work with you? It's worth the chance of a no.

Be ready to work. If you do get in, be ready to revise your ass off. Some people in my Pitch Wars class rewrote their entire MS in the two months. It can be intense. But you have a great group of people to support you.

So why enter a writing contest?

Networking. Meet people, make friends (or critique partners). Learn what you can from anyone along the way. Even if you're not picked for the contest, this is the big win.

If you get in, you have a chance to make your manuscript better. This is an opportunity to get another set of eyes on your work and elevate it to the next level. You'll probably learn a lot during this process to better your future work.

The agent round is a bonus.

Those seem to be the main topics I see relating to writing contests. If you had any other questions, hit me up!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Virtue and Honour - Interview With Randi Perrin

I'm happy to help launch the final book in Randi Perrin's Earthbound Angels trilogy.

Angela Waters juggles two high-stress jobs: nurse and earthbound angel. On a rare girls’ night out, she intervenes and saves the life of Mason Kearney, a stripper with southern charm and a secret. It’s a move that will force her to contemplate why in all the heavens she puts up with the injustice of being an angel, which leads to a bombshell that challenges everything she’s ever known.

In the midst of falling for the Alabama boy, she’s in for the fight of her life when a demon, hell-bent on taking her wings, shows up at the most inopportune times.

With a family of angels rallying behind her, she’s sent on a mission to learn everything about them, herself, and evil, to save all the earthbounds from an untimely demise.

Can Angela survive with her heart and her wings intact?

Get your copy today!
Amazon     Kobo     iTunes     Nook

Add to your Goodreads shelf!


Where did you come up with the idea for the Earthbound Angels series?

It was, legitimately, an accident. I was busy plotting out a contemporary romance novel for my NaNoWriMo project, and I was coming up with unique character traits. I decided early on she was going to have a full-back angel wing tattoo, though I had no idea the significance when I made that decision. One night, I sat up in bed, smacked my husband, and said, “Hey, what if she actually was an angel?” And from that moment forward, she was an angel. But I don’t ever do things the way everyone else does them—because that’s boring. I decided that my angels weren’t going to have feathers on their wings. From there it took on a life of its own as I completely rewrote angels into something new.

Tell us a little about the final book in the Earthbound Angels trilogy, Virtue and Honor.

Whereas Virtue of Death focuses on Sera, and Promises of Virtue focuses on Cheryl, I introduced two brand new characters for Virtue and Honor.
For all three of these books, my girls struggle with who they are. In Virtue and Honor, not only does she have that same struggle going on, but as she’s figuring that out, and how to navigate love and wings, there’s something big going down. Something that not only threatens Angela, but every single Earthbound. Both her heart and her wings are at stake and she’s not sure either one can escape intact.

What was your favorite part of writing the series?

I think bringing something completely new to the table. I love taking something people know and spinning it on its head. 

What is one of the trickiest things in writing a series?

Well, this trilogy ender was incredibly tough from so many different aspects. But, I think one thing is making sure I remained true to the characters while exploring them from different angles was a challenge with each of the books. 
Another one was bringing characters back, and how I was going to weave them in. How could I make sure they were pertinent to the story, while also allowing the main characters of the stories shine on their own right. By the third one, there was a rather large ensemble cast and it’s always hard to effectively manage a large cast.

Do we see Sera or Cheryl in Virtue and Honor?

Of course. Destin and Luc are there too, albeit in their fifties. But Sera’s still baking, and Cheryl’s still snarky. 
You might be surprised just who makes a return appearance in Virtue and Honor.

Do you have a favorite character in the series?

All of them for one reason or another. Though, I guess if I really want to wax philosophical, I’d have to say Sera because she was the one who knocked around in my head and said, “pssst, I’ve got a story to tell.” The rest only came about because of Sera.

What are some of your favourite books and authors?

My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It’s trite and everyone says it, I know, but I’ve just always loved that book. (Admittedly, I first picked it up because a cute boy two gradesahead of me was reading it and I wanted to read what he was reading. I never expected that it’d stick with me quite the way it did.) 
Of course, I will read anything and everything Sara Dobie Bauer writes (and she knows it too). Oh, yeah, Em Shotwell, too. I could go on and on about indie authors I adore if you’d let me. Mary Billiter, Megan Lowe, Gen Ryan, Marie Piper, Wendy Sparrow, Jen DeLuca…. 
I loved Good in Bed and In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. One of the things I love bout Jennifer Weiner, she’s always written fun, flawed, and real characters—which is something I strive to do when I write, as well.

Don't miss the first two books in the series!

Nothing about life or love comes easily. For Sera though, she’s got it all figured out. Life is about ingredients in the right proportions to make something beautiful. It’s classic. It works.

When her calm peaceful existence gets flipped upside down, it’s good versus evil while Sera breaks every rule she’s ever played by. A little defiance is not necessarily a bad thing—even if you’re an angel.

After a fall that drastically changed the course of her life, Cheryl’s off to take the vacation of a lifetime. Along the way she learns a bit about herself, how deep-seeded her passions truly are, and how much she longs to be loved.

This time it’s not about defiance, but self-preservation. Can she survive once her heart and mind belong to someone else?

Randi has spent her entire life writing in one form or another. In fact, if she wasn't writing, she'd likely go completely and utterly insane. Her husband has learned to recognize when the voices are talking in her head and she needs some quality time with an empty Word file (the key to a successful marriage with a writer). 

She lives with her husband, daughter, and four-legged children (all of which think they are people too).   

A pop culture junkie, she has been known to have entire conversations in movie quotes and/or song lyrics. 

Find her on online

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#PimpMyBio - Pitch Wars 2017

It's that time of year again! Writers are frantically fixing up their manuscripts in preparation for Pitch Wars.

I was lucky enough to get in last year and am going to try my hand at it again with a new manuscript. One of the best things about entering Pitch Wars is the wonderful people you meet who are also tossing their manuscripts into the ring.

Why enter again?

Same reason as last year. I want to work with someone who can better my writing and my manuscript. I'm open to tearing it down and building it back up if that's what it needs.

I'm looking for a mentor to push me and call me on things. Some of my favourite comments from critique partners are ones that point out a problem and tell me I can do better. I'm here to learn. So let's get to work!

My editing style is binge editing. I do better when I edit in large chunks at a time. I've tried swapping a chapter a week with people, but it doesn't work for me. Binge editing lets me immerse myself in the story and characters so I can really get into the flow. I'm not one to do things half way. I'm a go big or go home type of person.

What do I write?

If you don't know me from last year, I usually write adult contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, and speculative fiction. I tend to write on the darker side and don't always believe in happily ever after for my characters. My characters are usually stuck with happy for now if I'm being nice.

I like characters who banter, are sassy and broken. If I can throw some weird in there as well, I will, though my Pitch Wars manuscript doesn't have that. What it does have is a female lead who meets my mentioned criteria, plus she's a Pagan and bi. She breaks my heart because she won't let herself have anything good.

A Little About Me...

This is always the part I struggle with...what do I share?

Favourites is always a good place to start....

Some of my favourite reads are:
  • Interview With The Vampire
  • The Witching Hour
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • American Gods
  • Harry Potter
  • Geek Love
  • Plus one from a PitchWars mentor but I won't say because I wouldn't want to be accused of sucking up.

I don't watch a lot of television my favourite shows at the moment are:
  • The Handmaid's Tale (I LOVE this series!)
  • Supernatural

And Now The Fun Stuff...

Other exciting facts about me:
  • I've read Tarot cards for over 25 years (wow, that's a long time). During that time I've mentored people, written articles for the Canadian Tarot Network, and did readings over the internet and at events.
  • I live in a house once owned by the mother of the original author of the Hardy Boy's series.
  • I LOVED Nancy Drew books when I was young (the New Case Files, not so much the original ones).
  • Music has always played a big role in my life and I usually listen to music when I write. Though there are some songs that come on and demand I take a rock out break.
  • I co-host #DarkLitChat on Twitter once a month with one of my CPs.
  • Sarcasm is my second language.

Thanks for taking the time to pop by and get to know me a little better. Hope I've managed to entertain you somewhat. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Soul To Give - Interview With Magali Frechette

I'm thrilled to help launch Magali's book My Soul To Give. We bonded, not only because we're both Canadians, but also because we were chosen by the same mentor during a writing contest. Mags is such a wonderful person and I'm so happy to see this book. I can't wait to read it!

When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.

After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.

His company never existed.

His family history was a lie.

And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto's charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.

Get your copy today from EvernightPublishing

Interview with Magali

Q: Tell us a little about the characters in My Soul To Give.

The story is in two different POVs for Celina and Mekaisto (known as Kai for short), but it’s more focus-based on Celina’s POV. 

Celina has been living a pretty secluded life with her husband, Thomas, for the past five years they’ve been married (had dated for five years before that); his gift to her was a house he built out in the country, and while building them her dream home, it also made it nearly impossible for her to really get out much. She’s sometimes a bit naïve about the world, and even more so when she discovers a whole new world (copyright to Aladdin lol) filled with demons. The rules have changed in her life (what she has left of it), and she doesn’t always catch up fast enough. But, she’s feisty and doesn’t hold her tongue (even if, sometimes, she should). She’s determined, though, and it’s that fight in her that drives her to accept a deal for revenge. She just has to pay with her life and soul; no big deal, right?

Mekaisto is hard to say anything about without giving away spoilers, but I’ve heard him described by a lot of things by beta readers. Basically, he’s charming, tempting, alluring; everything you think you want until you discover (often too late) it comes with a price. There’s a quote by Tucker Max “...the devil doesn't come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you've ever wished for...” – fitting. He’s arrogant, cruel, sadistic, and has no mercy when it comes to others; except when it comes to Celina. And he has his reasons. He always tells the truth, but he doesn’t always tell the whole truth, and sometimes, it’s a truth you don’t want to hear.

Q: What's your fave scene (without spoilers) in the book?

Oh boy…That’s always a hard one, but I think my favourite one is when Celina first meets Mekaisto. I’ve got another one toward the end of the story I like, but that would have way too many spoilers. The ones I enjoyed writing the most, though, were with a character named Shiriki. Won’t give many details about him, but from what readers have told me, he grows on you…in a parasite-infested kind of way.

Q: How long did this one take you to write?

This question is hard to answer. It took around…five months to write, I believe. Started in April
2014, and finished August 2014, but through all the editing rounds, rewrites, and revisions…the last time I considered it ‘ready to query again’ was July 2016…so, quite a while. And it did change drastically since it was first finished. This was my 19th manuscript, and since finishing MSTG in 2014, I’ve written around five more.

Q: What do you like most about writing fantasy?

There are no limitations to what can happen. I noticed this most when I wrote my first non-paranormal/dark fantasy manuscript recently (I’m rewriting it right now), and everyone is just so…human (sounds weird, I know lol). But, it puts limitations on what people can and can’t do, and for me, limits/puts a block of sorts on my imagination. I mean, even with fantasy, there are always rules I follow in my universe, but they’re vast. I also always loved creating new worlds, or adding to our own; the idea that not all is what it seems, and darkness hides everywhere has always fascinated me. And, I’ve always had a thing for vampires (like, seriously…Team Spike!), but I grew fascinated with the idea of demons when the story came to mind.

Q: Your writing tends towards the darker side, why?

I guess I mimic the real world. There’s darkness, cruelty, and monsters come in the form of people here. But, when acts of kindness happen, we appreciate them so much more; we hold onto those, and remember there are still good people. As Sam in Lord of the Rings put perfectly: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” I want people to understand they can go through the most horrible situations, and still, not only survive through, but live and grow from those experiences because good people are stronger than most give them credit. They’re not victims; they’re fighters. I guess, writing dark stories is a way for me to express my experiences in a certain form; but I always make sure there are moments that are sweet, romantic, and just ‘good old’ positive experiences in life. There needs to be a balance; it’s never just good and bad, and even that isn’t always black and white. (I think I rambled on this question – sorry! lol)

Q: Do you have any writing quirks or unique habits?

Not that I can think of. I outline in notebooks by hand, write in scrivener (though, if I’m not at home, I’ll use my iPad, or work computer, then transfer), and I edit in Word. Those are my ‘steps’, so to speak.

Q: What are some of your favourite books/authors?

I have a lot, but a few of my favourite including (be warned, there are French series in here! *Le Gasp* - please remember I’m francophone lol) Les Héritiers d'Enkidiev and Les Chevaliers d’ Émeraude series by Anne Robillard (there, started with the French ones and got them out of the way lol), Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan, the entire Night Huntress Universe by Jeaniene Frost (especially the Night Prince series *swoons over Vlad*), Bride by Jule Garwood, The Krinar Chronicles series by Anna Zaires, Darkworld series by Emma L. Adams, Wraith Kings series by Grace Draven, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (obviously! lol), Storm and Silence series by Robert Thier, and a lot of mangas I won’t list because it’ll make this all way too long.

Q: What advice do you have for querying writers?

I imagine everyone has heard this before, but don’t send out too many queries at once. A lot of times, you only get one shot, so it sucks to find out the only reason you missed out on a publishing deal was because your query turned them off. So if your query isn’t great, and you send it to fifty different publishers and agents, then you can cross them all off your list, instead of just crossing out maybe five. Also, remember that sometimes, form rejections don’t mean your query is bad, it doesn’t even mean your writing isn’t great; sometimes, it’s just the market. I write paranormal and dark fantasy – trust me, the market was never “good” and I heard that so many times. I have the feeling most of the time, agents/publishers read ‘a paranormal/dark fantasy novel” and didn’t bother with the first few pages. Some awesome publishers and agents still publishing despite the market, but what I’m trying to say is just don’t get discourage. Maybe your book isn’t the right story for right now, but you can always dust it off later and try again.

Here's a little taste of My Soul To Give...

“I am a demon, Celina, and above all else, demons love the hunt.” He smirked when her eyes widened.

“So, you see having sex with someone as a hunt?”

He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “By your expression, I would say you still do not quite understand.”

“It’s your twisted logic.”


“I take my time, stalk my prey first, count the number of breaths she takes, imagine her screams…”
She arched an eyebrow. “That’s not at all creepy.”

Kai ignored her. “I am a creature of infinite time; the world creeps by, yet an intimate moment is so fleeting, it feels as though it is gone in less than a second.” He stopped, expecting an interruption again, but she stayed silent. “The pleasure is heightened by the danger, and in the throes of passion, I could lose my control and revert to the form least likely to be found pleasurable by my … partner?” He lost himself in the images in his mind, pinning down Celina’s body, taking her in a way she would never be able to recreate with a mere mortal man. “Hunting is simple. There is always one in the crowd that stands out—rarely is it the one searching for the one-night stand—no…” Kai locked his eyes with hers and goose bumps rose on her arms and legs. “No, the one unsure of what society wants her to be, the one who is desperate to be loved and appreciated. She is the one I seek.”

“So, social outcasts are your type?”

His eyes pierced her until he could see through her mind again, to all those curious little fantasies.
He smiled. “It’s about finesse, Celina. I listen to her, and as she speaks more confidently, I brush a hand over her skin”—his hand skimmed Celina’s neck as he brushed her back—“just enough so she shivers with anticipation of what my lips would feel like in the same spot.” He delved into Celina’s mind as his words worked against her disdain for him. “Then I caress her in a way she won’t notice, but her subconscious will let her lean into, let her mind take over and her body will beg for more.”
“She’d notice if…” She followed his gaze to his hand on her knee.

“Are you certain?” He’d worked his own body into a sensual frenzy as he’d drawn her into his web.
She stared at him, her cheeks flushing. “I—”

“Eventually, I suggest a night filled with pleasure.” He couldn’t contain his smile as he moved closer. “I keep touching her in small ways—maintaining physical contact at all times.” His hand inched up her side, until he tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She sucked in a breath and he cupped her cheek.

About Magali...

I’m passionate about writing, reading, photo manipulation artwork, animals, anime/manga, video games, the fandom world of TV shows and movies, and stuff like that. I’m a proud Ravenclaw: I’ve always been sorted into this house, but the recent Pottermore sorting placed me in Gryffindor―I don’t care since the Sorting Hat couldn’t consider my choice, so I identify with Ravenclaw, and that’s where I’ll remain!

I have two main hobbies: writing and creating book covers. I’m also a gamer (Diablo, Zelda, Final Fantasy), enjoy listening to music (and always singing along to Disney), have a passion for Japanese culture, and adore reading. I love anime/manga, Japanese Dramas and consider myself a proud fan of many different TV shows including Buffy, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Game of Thrones, Outlander, etc.

I wrote my first story when I was 12 years old (and we’ll never talk about that story), but started writing three years later. Since then, I always write, and this particular novel is my 19th story. It’s always been a dream to be a published author, and I can happily say I’ve reached that goal―I plan on continuing writing and publishing for the rest of my days.

Finder her online...

Monday, May 29, 2017

Forget Me Not Cover Reveal

You're in for a treat with this novella! I've read it. I know you're totally jealous. 😉 This one made me laugh and cry. She broke my heart, as only Em can do, but stitched it back together. If you liked Blackbird Summer, you'll love this. And if you haven't read Blackbird Summer, what's wrong with you? Get a copy!

Before I show you the cover, here's a little bit about Forget Me Not to get your ready for its release:

Maybe falling for the good guy isn’t so bad?
When Rex Somersby’s family matchmaker sets him up with the famous Evelyn Cadeau, he can’t believe his luck. Evelyn is the woman with the perfect Gift—the woman every man wants—while Rex’s own magical ability leaves much to be desired.  He travels from Missouri to meet his dream girl in her rural Mississippi home, where Evelyn makes it clear that winning her heart won’t be an easy task. Good thing farm-boy Rex has never been afraid of a little hard work.
Evelyn Cadeau is used to getting her way. As the woman with the most powerful Gift, she knows she can have her pick of anyone she wants. And who she wants is slick, handsome, and off-limits Guy McCallister—not gawky, buttoned-up Rex Somersby. Yet, after an arranged date with Rex takes a dramatic turn, leading to a bottle of wine and sneaking to the creek for a late night skinny dip, she realizes there may be more to by-the-rules Rex than meets the eye.  
Just as the young couple start to think their family’s tradition of matchmaking isn’t quite so backward, Rex is drafted to Vietnam. With war threatening to tear them apart, will love be able to save them? Or will it take a bit of magic?

Without further delay, here's the beautiful cover for the upcoming Forget Me Not:

Isn't it wonderful?

When can you get your hands on it? Not until August. BUT, you can pre-order the e-book or a hard copyEm is donating royalties to military charity: Operation Homefront.

Here's a little more about this awesome author:

Em Shotwell is a cancer survivor, foster care advocate, and casual geek. Sometimes she writes books about misfits and the people who love them.

When she’s not frowning at her computer screen, Em enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, or indoors daydreaming and wishing she could play the banjo.

Visit her online at www.EmShotwell.com. She hangs out on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EmShotwellAuthor/ where she often hosts giveaways and posts witty memes.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fell On Black Days

I'm heartbroken today.

My husband called at seven this morning to tell me Chris Cornell had passed away. I was still asleep and tried to wrap my groggy mind around the news. As I got my children ready for school, my thoughts raced. I'd actually had "All Night Thing" stuck in my head since five a.m. because I think I had a dream with the song in it.

Now that the children are off to school, it's sinking in. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and all those who loved him.

I don't usually do posts like this, but anyone who knows me understands how much I love Chris Cornell and his music. For me, this isn't just another celebrity passing away, it's like losing a friend. I've been a fan since Soundgarden's early days. Fell On Black Days was my high school theme song (even though it didn't come out until my second last year of high school). When I'm having a rough day, I often put on Cornell's music--Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of The Dog, solo, it doesn't matter--the music helps bring me back to centre. His music has helped bring me back from the edge more than once. I've found inspiration in some of his interviews, especially ones where he's talked about his own creative struggles. I've used many of his songs as soundtracks for my writing.

He's touched my life in many ways and his music has always been there when I've needed it. I'm upset that there will be no more and I won't get to see him perform again.

I saw him with my husband over a year and a half ago. It the the first concert we saw when we decided that we'd go to a concert every year for our anniversary. I was so excited that I didn't sleep for over a week before the show. It was ridiculous how excited I was. I'd blogged about my experience (here) and still wasn't able to fully capture what his show meant to me. And when I woke up to this tweet:

my mind was blown that he'd possibly took the time to read what I'd written. 

He was an amazingly talented singer and songwriter. His words and music helped so many people (I've been reading the Twitter feed all morning). No matter what I write here, it doesn't seem to do justice to the loss I feel.

I hope the initial reports are wrong with the talk of suicide. It's a good reminder to be kind to people. Everyone is struggling with something that you don't know. Sometimes a kind word or gesture is all it takes to lift someone's spirits. Depression is a very dark place, and those who haven't struggled with it will never understand what that pit is like. We all smile and put on our happy faces for the world, but behind those masks some people are having a hard time putting one foot in front of the other.

Thank you, Chris, for the amazing memories and music you left us.

Monday, May 1, 2017

#RWWChallenge - Week 5

This will be the end of the #RWWChallenge I took part in during April. I'd like to thank Round The World Writers for hosting it.

This past week was a little crazy again so I missed posting my answers on Twitter at the end of the week. You can see my other answers for week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4. Below are my answers for this past week.

Day 25 - The best thing about my work in progress (WIP) is that it's fun. I've written a lot of darker stories but this one is a little lighter and fun.

Day 26 - The minor character I love the most is the main character's teenage daughter. She's sassy and allows me to explore the mother-daughter relationship.

Day 27 - This is one I missed on Twitter because my notebook computer wasn't turned on. My opening line at the moment: "Magic sizzled in the tips of my fingers."

Day 28 - My main characters' names weren't inspired by anything. I choose names based on the feel I have for the characters.

Day 29 - Honestly I haven't had much help as far as edits or they story goes yet since no one sees my first draft because it wouldn't make sense to anyone. As always Dea Poirier is my go to person for feedback on ideas. Tamara was helpful with some brainstorming my ending. I also want to give a shout out to the Pitch Wars '16 class for their encouragement and many writing sprints. Writing is not a solitary act.

Day 30 - Pitch my WIP...I'm not quite ready to share that one :)

I hope you've enjoyed the bits I've shared about my latest project. Hopefully it will be ready to pitch soon!

What are you working on right now?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#RWWChallenge - Week 4

This past week was a busy one as I worked some odd shifts at work then went away for a writing workshop on the weekend. Though I may not have hit everyday on Twitter, I'll fill in the ones I missed on here.

For those who missed this series, I've been doing the #RWWChallenge  put on by Round The World Writers on Twitter. There's a question every day that writers answer about their WIP (works in progress). Here's the list and below, you can find my responses for days 18 to 24.

Day 18 - Three random things that are important to my WIP are: tea, patience, and magic.

Day 19 - I was asked to share an image that inspired this work...I shared two.

Day 20 - The three words to describe my antagonist are: sneaky, young, and deceptive.

Day 21 - See above pictures for two stories that I compare my story to.

Day 22 - My WIP doesn't have a theme song...Maybe Blondie's "One Way or Another" because of the stalking, nothing to do with love. I've been using Collective Soul as my sound track mostly, though that will likely expand as I enter edits.

Day 23 - I haven't deleted any scenes that I love...yet. I'm just embarking on edits.

Day 24 - Who would play the lead if my WIP was a movie...I'm not sure. I haven't given it much thought. I'd love Scarlett Johansson or Keira Knightly because they are both cool.

You can find week 1, week 2, and week 3 of the challenge on my blog.

One more to go! This has been an interesting exercise for sure. Hope you've enjoyed learning more about my work in progress.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#RWWChallenge - Week 3

I'm a day late posting because this long weekend has me all turned around.

For those of you just seeing this series, I'm taking part in a month long challenge on Twitter by Round The World Writers. Each day I answer a question about my work-in-progress (WIP) on Twitter and on Mondays (usually) I post a roundup of the answers on my blog. Week 1 and Week 2 are available.

So let's get on with Week 3!

Day 11 - My current WIP is contemporary and set in a city. I'm still undetermined as to which city. I worry about marketability if I make it a Canadian one.

Day 12 - No favourite line comes to mind immediately. I do like banter so there is some of that in this WIP. I haven't gotten my hands dirty in edits yet to know the MS (manuscript) well enough to choose a line off the top of my head.

Day 13 - My protagonist's biggest secret is that she's lonely. She's a window and a single mom who believes she's too busy with parenting and work to have a relationship of any sort.

Day 14 - One of the hardest scenes to write is when my protagonist is trapped in a house with someone she's trying to help and they have to fight their way out. I struggled for days with that scene since I just wasn't feeling it. I ended up taking it as far as I could and then wrote, "and they escape." I'll fix it in edits and probably curse my past self for not finishing it.

Day 15 - I don't have a daily word count since I finished the 0 draft of this MS last week. I'm getting ready to embark on edits.

Day 16 - I didn't get around to posting this one on Twitter unfortunately. I'd love for Anne Rice to do a blurb for my book one day. Though I'd be happy if any author took the time to blurb my book.

Day 17 - Planning? I laugh in the face of planning! Not really. Being a pantser, there's not a lot of planning that goes into my 0 drafts. I did make a few notes before starting and kept a document with some thoughts as I wrote.

That's it for this week!

Monday, April 10, 2017

#RWW Challenge - Week 2

So far I've kept up with the #RWWChallenge on Twitter. If you want to see my responses to week one, you can check them out here.

If you're interested in getting in on the challenge, check out Round The World Writers on Twitter.

Day 4 - I don't have a character in my current work in progress that I want to be BFFs with, at least not yet. I'm still working on connecting with the story and characters. Hopefully the time will come when I love them all.

Day 5 - I usually write in the evening once my imps go to bed so I have fewer distractions. I make a tea, maybe grab some chocolate, and write.

Day 6 - That day I didn't write because it was my night to work late.

Day 7 - I have such an amazing group of writer friends. I give shout outs to Dea Poirier, Em Shotwell, Ian Barnes, Gwynne Jackson, Kassandra, and Tamara Girardi. That was all I could fit in one Tweet. Honestly, the true list is long.

Day 8 - Sorry, no inspiration board...yet.

Day 9 - My favourite subplot is the main character's daughter developing her own magic.

Day 10 - I had intended not to have any romantic interest in this manuscript. Then one appeared, as seems to happen to me. The advice I was given was a) my manuscript needed a love interested and b) they needed to sleep together. Of course the writers who declared this were just teasing me but it's still fun to blame the whole appearance of a love interest on them.

That's it for this week!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

#DarkLitChat Special

Every month I co-host #DarkLitChat on Twitter with my friend and critique partner Dea Poirier. We invite writers of all genres who writer darker stories to join us for an hour long chat.

Before Christmas a conversation came up during a chat about short stories. There were many people who said they struggled with them and were unsure the best way to go about them. I happen to know a wonderful author who writes amazing short stories and invited her to join us to answer questions.

Rhonda Parrish will join us on Tuesday, April 18 at 8 pm (eastern) to answer questions.

Rhonda is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She founded and ran Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press and is the editor of several anthologies including, most recently, Equus and D is for Dinosaur.

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been in publications such as Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015). She also co-wrote a paranormal non-fiction title, Haunted Hospitals, with Mark Leslie.

You don't want to miss out on this #DarkLitChat!

If you want us to remind you...sign up for a reminder email here.

Any questions...just leave them below.

Monday, April 3, 2017

#RWWChallenge - Week 1

Twitter has all sorts of fun for writers. I've seen events where each day you share a bit about your work in progress (WIP). They always look like fun, but I often forget about them or find out about them after the fact.

Round The World Writers is hosting an April Writer's Challenge and I thought it was time to try one out since I'm working on a new story.

Though I'm sharing daily on Twitter, I'll do a little round up each week here of my responses. I don't have much to share this week since the event is only a few days in.

Day 1
My current WIP is an adult speculative fiction. It's based in our current time but has some fantasy elements, like magic.

Day 2
Three words I'd use to describe my protagonist are: mother, independent, magical.

Day 3
My WIP was inspired by the movie Mr and Mrs Smith and thinking about ways to twist it a little.

If you're working on something, feel free to hop on Twitter and share your responses under the #RWWChallenge.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

To Read or to Listen?

Last fall I decided to start listening to audio books while I sorted laundry, then it turned into listening while cooking or tidying up. I use a service provided by libraries to listen to the books on my tablet so I can take it around the house as needed. This has been a great way to absorb more books.

Last time I was choosing an audio book I realized there were some I didn't want to listen to.There are some I wanted to read. It was a strange realization and something I've taken time to ponder.

Audio books are the fastest growing book format as people try to cram more into their lives. It's convenient to have books to listen to while driving, working out, or doing tasks. When I listen to audio books, though I enjoy the story, I don't become as fully immersed in it since I'm buzzing around, doing whatever task while listening.

There's still something to be said for taking time out to read. We lead busy lives and sitting down to read is a treat, giving yourself time to focus on one thing, to relax, to let your mind wander and explore another life (if you're reading fiction).

I'm not putting down audio books, and I will continue to listen to them. I've just found the experiences between the two formats--audio and physical--more different than I thought.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the differences between listening to and reading books.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Always A Lesson To Learn

I'm stubborn and persistent, which means I don't give up on things easily. This includes reading books I'm not fond of. When I pick up a book, I usually finish it no matter what. It once took me a five years to finish reading an anthology. I have a friend who keeps telling me that life is too short to read books you don't like. While I do agree because there are so many books and never enough time, I find that I'm actually learning from those books as much as from ones I enjoy.

I don't want to call the books I'm not enjoying "bad" books because they aren't necessarily. Just because a book isn't for me, doesn't mean someone else won't enjoy it. That's why when I leave reviews for books I didn't enjoy I try to point out some positives.

Because I write and edit so much, I read much differently than I did before my brain became rewired to watch for things. I'm pickier about things, though I do forgive a lot when I'm reading for enjoyment as opposed to critiquing for a friend or editing my own writing.

But sometimes, there are things you can't get past in a story. Those are things I try to learn from so I don't do them in my writing.

I recently read a thriller that I didn't enjoy. It was mostly conversations explaining things. Mind you, it's better than just plain telling, but this one went over board. The story started with a murder (great way to get things off the ground) but the rest of the first hundred pages were mostly a conversation explaining things that could have been woven into the story better. The rest of the book was the same way, light on action, high on conversations explaining things. Lesson: Telling is telling, info dumps are info dumps, even if they are in a conversation and they slow your story. Hopefully I can note these better in my own work.

The same book also had graphic scenes, which I don't mind. Though when you're being graphic just for the sake of being graphic it stands out like a neon sign and is a turn off. Lesson: Make sure your violence, graphic scenes, etc. have a purpose and aren't there just for shock value.

If I don't like the main character, it's hard not to abandon the book. If I like the main character, I'll follow her/him through (almost) anything. I often try to figure out what about the character bothers me. Lesson: This one is really subjective but I think the lesson is to use beta readers. If you're hearing from lots of people that they don't like your main character, it could be time to tweak him/her.

I'm listening to an audio book that is an older fantasy and makes me realize how different story expectations are now. The backstory in this book seems to go on and on and I'm left thinking, Can we please get to the point of the scene? There are times where I've forgotten what the point of view character is actually doing. Much of the backstory isn't necessary, could be worked in more naturally, or could be condensed. This is probably why this audio book is about 20 hours long. Lesson: Backstory has it's place, but if it's jarring the reader out of the forward momentum, then cut it. We all love telling our characters' backgrounds, but too much will slow the story down and possibly lose your reader. If you have trouble judging in your own writing, this is again where beta readers and critique partners help.

These are just some things I've learned while reading books I didn't really enjoy. Though they may not have been my cup of tea, they've pointed out what doesn't work and how it affects someone's reading experience.

Do you often finish a book you start to read no matter what or do you put it down and move on?

Monday, March 13, 2017


Acts of kindness always inspire me. When my fellow Pitch Wars '16 mentee Tamara Girardi announced she was doing #KindWriters, I thought it was a great idea!

Tamara took time to answer some questions on how this idea started and its rapid growth.

Tamara, tell us about #KindWriters and how you came up with it.

#KindWriters evolved from a one-time Random Act of Kindness Day. On March 1, one of my best friends spearheaded the day to honor her daughter Gemma, who passed away at birth one year ago from complications of spina bifida. I was with her when Gemma was born, and the experience was, as expected, incredibly emotional. Throughout the Pittsburgh region, and more broadly around the country, people completed random acts of kindness in Gemma’s honor and posted about them on my friend’s Facebook page. The sense of community was strong, and everyone was so inspired by the power of kindness shared in the name of a small baby they never had the pleasure of meeting.

One of my random acts that day was to tweet that I would critique—for free—either the first five pages or the query letter for the first three people to respond. My Pitch Wars class retweeted for me, and within minutes, my Twitter exploded. I finally stopped at eight critiques, well beyond my plan of three, but I wanted to help everyone. When I got to the point that I felt I might not give them the best critique possible, though, I decided I really needed to end the offer.

However, the next day, I extended it for three more critiques. For a chance at them, writers had 24 hours to complete a random act of kindness and tweet to me about it. Nine authors participated, and their kind acts were amazing! Additionally, I received so much feedback and encouragement. People WANTED to hear more about kindness. They wanted to do good deeds. They wanted to spread love in the world—something we so desperately need in our political climate and especially on social networks where the negative tends to invade.

From there, I decided we needed #KindWriters. Everyone I’ve approached about volunteering or helping has been so supportive, which just goes to show, we truly, truly need this!

How do people participate?

So glad you asked! I hope a ton of writers participate. The more participation, the more kind acts being spread around the world! I haven’t decided on a regular schedule just yet. I think it will depend on how much time each round takes and how many volunteers we have, but I’m hoping to host once a month.

Writers should watch for the #KindWriters tag on Twitter. When #KindWriters is upcoming, participants should get their kind acts ready. Plan what they’re going to do and when. Have some fun with it. Or keep it simple. Whatever works. Really, to enter the contest, writers should complete an act of kindness that they might not have done otherwise. If anyone needs ideas, do some Googling. In the initial experience, one of the participants posted a web site with lots of ideas, so I know they’re out there (although that link escapes me at the moment…).

Every kind deed counts as a chance toward a critique. So the more kindness you spread in the world, the more entries you’ll receive in the contest. It’s really important that the entries include #KindWriters and also a preference for a critique. If you’d like your query critiqued, post #Q. If you’d like your pages critiqued, post #P in your tweet. This will help me match up the winners with the volunteers who are critiquing.

I’d love if the participants would also spread the word and encourage others to do kind things during the contest window (and all the time, really). The goal of this contest is to spread kindness in the world. Simple as that. I’m really excited about it!

How do the critiques work?

Winners will be randomly selected using a software program. Then, they will be matched with a volunteer from my database. Volunteers have designated whether they will read queries, first five pages, or both. Also, volunteers have noted how many critiques they’re able to do. I’ll match the winners with the volunteers on Twitter, and then they can coordinate the exchange of pages from there.

Volunteers will get feedback to the winners within three days of receiving their pages. The critiques should be honest and also encouraging, but so much in this business is subjective. I hope writers find that the feedback they receive resonates with them, but if they do not, they should disregard and chalk it up to subjectivity. 

Sounds like you have some great volunteers!

My volunteers are awesome. They are completing this act of kindness, too. It’s not about promotion for them. They’re just doing something nice for someone else, and that is so wonderful! :)

Why did you choose acts of kindness as the way to enter?

Service to my community is very important to me. I’m a Rotarian, and Rotary’s motto is Service Above Self. Rotary does so much good work in the world and has brought a lot of value to my life. Also, manners are crazy important to me. I find it frustrating when someone lets a door slam in another person’s face rather than holding it. Or doesn’t say thank you. Or, let’s face it, worse!

I realize that sometimes in life, we get caught up in all of the things, but I hope this gives people the time to pause and think about others around them. Kindness as a trait is undervalued and overlooked. I hope participating in #KindWriters reminds people of the unequivocal value of being kind to those around you.

Do you think it’s important for writers/authors to give back to the writing community?

I do! And writers do it all the time. Pitch Wars, which I was lucky enough to be part of, does this so well. But so do other online pitch contests—and there are several!

But more than that, I think it’s important for everyone to give back to their communities. It’s so, so, so important! I’ve been the recipient of kindness in so many ways throughout my life, which is probably a topic for a different blog post—lol—and it’s so touching when you realize someone is thinking of you, especially when you didn’t expect it.

People are frequent to say hate begets hate. I don’t disagree, but perhaps we might also want to remember every day that love begets love, and kindness begets kindness. So often, when someone does a random act of kindness for someone else, the recipient follows with his/her own act of kindness. And so on. Paying it forward is what makes communities strong.

This is the second round of #KindWriters, will there be more?

Yes! I have some great volunteers interested in critiquing as part of the contest, and I hope that list will only grow. I hope this is something that continues to grow and develop into even greater opportunities for kindness that I can’t even fathom right now!

Are you surprised with the reaction you received the first round?

I was, actually. I was most surprised with the kindness. In the first critiques, I explained why I chose to offer them, and the recipients, although not required to, all paid it forward in different ways. They told me about what they did and why, how my kind act inspired theirs. It meant so much to me, which is why I went back for more. :)

To spread love (and luck) for St. Patrick’s Day, #KindWriters will be held this week! The contest window will open Tuesday, March 14 at 8 a.m. and close Friday, March 17 at noon. Watch the tag for more instructions and other details!