93eaef19-bb8c-4b7d-b640-a14ddeca368dWould you like to multiply your writing productivity by ten, while still keeping your focus on the joy of the creative process?

If so, you will love my newly updated monthly coaching video and tools, Become Your Own Writing Coach.

Become Your Own Writing Coach is for writers who want more support in their careers but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it.

If you are curious about the process, I will let you test-drive the October video and the October tip sheet until Friday, October 16th at midnight.

You won’t get the goal worksheets because those are reserved for those who subscribe to the program. But you will get a sense of the quality of coaching you’ll receive each month if you do decide to subscribe. And the cost to test-drive October’s materials is only $10.

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FAQs Answered

Which types of writers should sign up for this?
Any writers who want to set goals, increase their productivity, and have a more authentic career will benefit from these tools and resources. This goes for nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and screenwriters. You customize your monthly goal worksheet to suit your needs and dreams with the help of my monthly ten-minute pep talk and tips poster.

I’ve never done a subscription with Paypal before. How does it work?
Subscriptions on Paypal are simple and you are always in control. Once you sign up, you will be charged a $10 fee. You will then be charged that same amount, $10, every month on the same date as the date you signed up. So if you sign up on the 18th, you will be charged $10 per month on the 18th of every month. Just as you can sign up at any time, you can cancel at any time. So try the monthly program and see if you like it. And if you don’t like it, simply unsubscribe.

BYOWC is not just good advice for writing; it’s good advice for life.
Even if you are not trying to make huge strides in your writing career right now, you will love the support and encouragement you get from Become Your Own Writing Coach. We are living in a world where there is never enough positive encouragement. But now you can get all the encouragement you need each month and have it on hand to keep you going whenever you need a little boost.

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profileWho doesn’t love pie at Thanksgiving?

You can make this pie for Canadian Thanksgiving or American Thanksgiving, or better yet, both!

I had never heard of butterscotch pie before I joined my now-husband for his extended family Thanksgiving gathering. As stuffed as I was with all the delicious food, I still had room for a sticky, sweet, meringue-covered slice.

The story goes that my husband’s grandfather once made butterscotch pie for a pie social. It was his first attempt at pie and it came out beautifully, but the snowy roads were so bad that they had to turn back and ended up eating the pie all by themselves. Gramps never made another pie, since he said he couldn’t improve upon it and he didn’t want to spoil his reputation as a baker.

Besides inheriting a tradition of great food, my husband is a dual Canadian-American citizen, so he grew up celebrating Thanksgiving twice a year! Whether you are Canadian or American, I hope you enjoy my mother-in-law’s family recipe for butterscotch pie.

Butterscotch Pie

First, make the piecrust.

  1. Mix 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ tsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt.
  2. Add ½ cup butter, shortening, or lard (or a combination), cut into small pieces. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to work the fat into pieces the size of small peas.
  3. Add ¼ cup cold water and toss the mixture with a fork. Slowly add more water until the dough can form a ball.
  4. Pat the ball into a ¾-inch disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least one hour.
  5. Roll the dough out and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the excess. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fit a piece of aluminum foil over the piecrust and fill with dried beans.
  7. Bake the crust 15 minutes. Then remove the beans and foil, prick the dough all over with a fork, and drop the oven temperature to 375. Bake 15 more minutes.

Next, make the filling.

  1. Melt ¼ butter in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Stir in ¼ cup flour.
  3. Add 2 egg yolks, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 ½ cups milk, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Cook until the filling begins to thicken, then 15 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add ½ tsp vanilla.
  6. Spread in pre-baked pie shell.

Finally, make the meringue.

  1. Beat 2 egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.
  2. Slowly add ¼ cup white sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form.
  3. Spread meringue over pie filling, making sure it reaches the crust on all sides.
  4. Place the pie under the broiler until brown (a moment or two).

Margaret is a fiction writer fascinated by the way artefacts from the past affect the present. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and two young daughters. She recently launched her website, www.mebondbooks.com, where you can read her blog, find recommended websites and novels, solve monthly ciphers, and subscribe to her email newsletter, The Mouse & Pencil.




Sometimes I catch a glimpse of something cool and think, “Ooo, something shiny.”

Translation: something super-cool and creative.

I’d like to be able to share these things with you, and what better place to do this than my blog?

I thought I’d better come up with a name that reminds us that we deserve all the cool creative stuff we could possibly want.

Here’s this week’s round-up:

Smash The Patriarchy Wreath by Grace Chin

No description needed, because it’s obviously one of the coolest things ever created. Clearly everyone needs one of these. I’m not usually into smashing things, but honestly, I am on board with this. Read more about it in Grace’s Etsy shop. Be sure to favorite her shop while you are there.


Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I will be honest with you. I’m not afraid much any longer. But I will read or listen to this anyone because Elizabeth Gilbert is cool. Just watch her TED talk if you don’t believe me. And for the record, I did not love Eat, Pray, Love, the book, but I did like Eat, Pray, Love, the movie. And I appreciated it more on the second watch. So, go, Liz Gilbert!

Evan Carmichael’s J.K. Rowling’s Top 10 Rules For Success

This one is free, folks, and definitely worth watching. I really like Evan’s idea to round-up clips of the most inspirational quotes from successful people. I found J. K. Rowling’s tips to be particularly moving, since I’m a writer. And if you have not had a chance to watch the movie based on her life story, I thought Magic Beyond Words: The J. K. Rowling Story was worth checking out. You can find it on Netflix or on Amazon.

Felt Ball Garland In Autumn Colors

I originally ordered this garland for my daughter for her bedroom, but I’m not sure if she is going to get it back because it is so darn cute! This garland is currently on sale and ships from Lithuania. Ours arrived fairly quickly and shipping was reasonable. See it on Mellsva’s Etsy shop and below in our home. If you think felt ball garlands are as nifty as I do, then favorite her shop.



Okay, well that’s enough inspiration for one day, don’t you think?

Let me know if you like anything you see, and I’ll be back with more eye candy soon!


Jane FriedmanToday’s delicious soup recipe comes to us from my friend and former editor, Jane Friedman. Like many of you, I’ve been following Jane’s writing and publishing advice for years and it’s always fun to catch a more personal glimpse of her life. Please join me in congratulating Jane on her forthcoming Great Courses lecture series! What an honor to be selected for such a prestigious gig!

I left home at fifteen, and spent the next six years of my life living in dormitories, where I depended on university dining halls to feed me.

Once I finally graduated to a living space with a kitchen, I didn’t know what to do with it. I bought a lot of pasta, packaged foods, frozen dinners, and canned soup. Even after I was married (briefly), my habits didn’t change much.

But one thing that did change is that I started learning the difference between good food and packaged food. I traveled extensively, ate at wonderful restaurants, and started getting depressed with all the crap I ate at home.

I decided I would have to do better. I began watching the Food Network and PBS cooking shows (and subscribing to various foodie magazines). I started to learn a few recipes I could execute well and tasted like I put a lot of work into them. One of the first trusted recipes was for roasted red pepper soup. You cannot screw up this recipe. You can’t overcook it, you can’t over-season it (unless you dump in the salt shaker by accident), and you can’t add too little or too much cream. And it can sit on the stove indefinitely at pretty much any temperature.

Best of all, I’ve never had a man in my life who didn’t like it.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 4

2 tbsp butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
3 cups roasted red peppers — Divina is the best brand if you don’t roast your own, and don’t stress about the amount here; you can add more or less liquid to adjust
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
5 sprigs thyme (add loose or tie in a string)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream

Heat butter, then saute garlic and onion with a 1/2 tsp of salt. Once the onion is lightly brown, add flour and stir. Toast for a minute or so. Then add roasted red peppers, pepper flakes, thyme, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and partially cover. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove thyme springs. Purée with a hand blender, then stir in cream.

Jane Friedman teaches digital media and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. She’s proud to be a Great Courses professor for the upcoming “How to Publish a Book” lecture series (launching October 22nd). She is the co-publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors. Stay in the loop by RSS subscribing to JaneFriedman.com. And be sure to check out Jane’s latest book:


Change The Way You Think About Goal-setting & Empower Your Writing Career

September 28, 2015

One of the reasons I have changed the way I teach goal-setting is because I have realized that goal-setting needs to be a personal process for writers. There is no one set of goals that suits every writer! Yet I have noticed that the world is full of messages for writers telling us what our […]

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A Writer’s Got To Eat: Lisa Seplak’s Harvest Loaf

September 24, 2015

It’s not fall in my house without the aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and pumpkin; blended and baking in a delicious Harvest Loaf. Add in chocolate chips and this is a recipe my son has been requesting ever since he could talk. I originally got the recipe from a former roommate. She got it […]

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Writing Prompts For Winter Stories Is Now Available!

September 22, 2015

I am excited to announce the release of my latest seasonal prompt workbook. Here is a list of what my seasonal prompt books can do for you as a writer: Help you get in the seasonal mood more quickly Activate your storytelling imagination by prompting seasonal images in your mind Build bridges between your story […]

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