Looking for Feedback on Your Story’s First Page? Check Out Today’s Critiques 4 U Contest at Writers Helping Writers!

Writers Helping Writers

OMG, I’m so excited, everyone! Helping out Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers for their Critiques 4 U contest back in March went really well. So guess what? They asked me to come back for this month’s contest! 🙂

If you’re working on a story or manuscript, or if you didn’t get a chance to enter the March contest, continue reading to learn how you can enter this month.

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New Interviews at Coach Daddy and SheBreathes

Hi, everyone! I’m here to share not just one recent interview I’ve done, but TWO. 🙂

First up is a #GirlsRock interview with Eli at Coach Daddy. The #GirlsRock series is dedicated to highlighting women who are doing amazing things and making the world a better place. Some of the women Eli has interviewed in the past include journalists, podcasters, TV reporters, and musicians / artists. So I’m honored – and psyched! – to be featured on Eli’s blog again. (I wrote this guest post for Coach Daddy back in 2015.) We talk about my editing / writing coaching business Heart of the Story, poetry, and my one piece of advice for women who enjoy writing.

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Heart of the Story’s Question of the Week (Plus, Looking for Feedback on Facebook Groups)

If you follow me and my editing / literary coaching business Heart of the Story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have noticed an experiment I’ve been running on Mondays. It’s called Question of the Week, a conversation starter where I post a question about writing and any writers who are interested can respond.

So far, some of the questions have focused on your current writing project. Others have been about reading (since reading is an instrumental part of being a writer, right?) or the highlights and challenges of the writing process. So the topic varies from week to week; and since it’s not a chat with a set timetable, it’s something you can drop in on at your convenience.

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New Poem Featured in the Spring / Summer 2019 Issue of The Aurorean

The Spring / Summer 2019 issue of The Aurorean is out, and I’m happy to share that my poem “Twilight in April” is included! My contributor’s copy arrived last week, and I have to admit: As much as it’s fun to see your poems published online, where they’re easily accessible to most of the world, it’s just as fulfilling to see your words on a printed page.

(Read more after the jump.)

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New DIY MFA Post on Writing Exercises for the Theme of Family (Plus, a Quick Note About Iceland)

So far in our recap of the theme of family at DIY MFA, we’ve covered why this theme matters to readers and shared recommendations for books about family. Today, we conclude our recap with a “how-to” post – specifically, how to explore the theme of family in your writing. This post is filled to the brim with writing prompts and brainstorming activities to help you with different angles of approaching this theme, from demonstrating family relationships through dialogue and interaction to using major life events to heighten conflict. So, grab some paper and a pen – or open a new document on your computer – and let’s begin!

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What’s Making Me Happy: February and March 2019 (Plus, I’m on a Semi-Hiatus Until May)

OMG! By the time you read this post, I’ll be back at the Iceland Writers Retreat!! 😀

I have to admit, though: The past two months have been a whirlwind. A big part of that was launching my business Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services in February. Since then, life has been a juggling act between that, the day job, preparing for the Iceland trip, preparing for the ACES Conference (more on that shortly), and some unexpected things in my offline life, including a relative’s health emergency. And I’m aware that while I’m keeping up with my blogging schedule, I’ve fallen behind in just about every other area of this part of my life. 😦

In a way, I knew this was coming… and once I’m back from Iceland, it might be time to slow things down here and finally get the Heart of the Story blog up and running. But for now, let’s focus on the good that’s happened since the previous edition of What’s Making Me Happy. And as always, feel free to share the things that have made you smile recently in your comments on this post!

Let’s begin with…

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New at Writers Helping Writers: This Month’s Guest for Critiques 4 U + Guest Post on Writing Flashbacks

Writers Helping Writers

Yes, I’m posting on Tuesday instead of Wednesday this week! Why? Because something AWESOME is happening at Writers Helping Writers today, and I don’t want you to miss out on it.

Today, Writers Helping Writers (run by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and other best-selling resources for writers) is running its monthly Critiques 4 U contest. The rules are simple: Comment on this morning’s blog post within 24 hours of it going live, and you’ll be entered for the chance to be one of three (3) writers to receive feedback on the first page of your manuscript.

Usually Becca critiques the three winners’ first pages. However, she and Angela have invited a special guest editor for this month’s contest: yours truly! 😀  So if you’re working on a story or manuscript right now, keep reading after the jump for more details.

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My Favorite Fiction Reads of Winter 2019

Did anyone else have a weird season of reading? For my first few books of 2019, I’d love or enjoy one book, then be disappointed by the next one. I was even worried that I’d fall into a reading slump – and I think we can agree that those are never pleasant.

Luckily that back-and-forth didn’t last long. (Hooray!) So out of the 10 fiction books I read over the winter, I’m highlighting seven of them in today’s post. And I have to admit, I like this season’s round-up a LOT. It features a great mix of genres, a couple “hidden gems” that deserve more attention, and a couple early contenders for Favorite New Book of 2019. 😉

Ready for some new book recommendations? Let’s start with…

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Thank You, Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019)

These lines from Mary Oliver’s “When Death Comes” took on new meaning when I read them on the afternoon of January 17, 2019. I’d read the poem before, but time has a way of changing your perception of what you read. In this case, I was re-reading one of Oliver’s most well-known poems about mortality just hours after learning that she, my favorite poet, had died from lymphoma at the age of 83.

The timing was eerie, too. Around the same time last week, I started working on a similar tribute to my favorite author of all time, Ursula K. Le Guin, who had recently passed away. (Oliver died 5 days before the first anniversary of Le Guin’s passing.) So, naturally, I’ve been drawing comparisons between the relationships I have with their work. And I remembered one difference that might surprise some people: While Le Guin’s stories resonated with me right away, it took a few years for me – a fantasy fan and a poet in equal measure – to fall in love with Oliver’s poems.

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