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This morning I came across some exiting news from Terri Tiffany. Terri was one of the first people I got to know when I entered the blogosphere six years ago and she was, and still is, one of the most encouraging and inspiring women I have ever encountered. I couldn’t click the link fast enough when I saw the title of her most recent blog post in my Feedly reader: The post I’ve dreamed of writing. I guessed at the news even as I began to read, I know some of Terri’s story over the past few years, and there is no one more deserving than she is of what she shared with us. One of her novels has been accepted for publication and I couldn’t be happier for her!

Terri’s news got me thinking about the many other talented writers I’ve had the privilege of getting to know–some in person, others by virtue of an online connection.  Today, I want to introduce you to a few of them.

Kim Michele Richardson’s The Unbreakable Child is a heartbreaking tale of unimaginable abuse she endured at the hands of those who were charged with caring for her at the St. Thomas/St Vincent Orphanage but, more than that, it’s an inspiring and unforgettable story of forgiveness. I was privileged to be a co-author of the reader’s guide for the book and I’ve very much appreciated Kim’s generosity in sharing her learnings about the publishing world with me over the years. Recently I had the pleasure of reading Kim’s recent fiction work, Liars Bench, and look forward to it being released. Kim is also a contributor to The Huffington Post.

I first got to know Kathryn Magendie through our respective blogs before she published her first book Tender Graces. Since then she has published Secret Graces, Family Graces, Sweetie, and her most recent book The Lightning Charmer has just been released. These days I keep up with Kat on Facebook where I delight in her down-to-earth style and irreverent sense of humour.

New York Times bestselling author, Joanne Demaio, is a force to be reckoned with. She published her first book Whole Latte Life (I got to know Joanne through her blog by the same name) in 2012. Since then she has followed up with Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans and, just in time for the holidays, Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes. Her next book is due out in Spring 2014. Joanne taught me the value of owning it, whatever it might be at any given time.

Debra Kraft, aka Dorothy Marie Tate, was one of the original members of the local writing group I started three years ago. Her novel, The Claddagh Ring, is a rich and compelling story that takes the reader to places around the world. It’s a great book to curl up with anytime you want to lose yourself in a well-told story. (Confession: certain parts also made me blush.) I’ve had the pleasure of reading Debi’s memoir about her experience going through medical school while balancing the demands of raising a family. I’ll be shouting from the rooftops when it’s released, trust me! She is an amazing writer.

The tag line on Lynne Spreen’s blog Any Shiny Thing is “Midlife Magic” and her novel Dakota Blues certainly illustrates that. I couldn’t put it down and, in addition to enjoying the story, it had me reflecting on choices I’ve made in my own life. Couple that with the fact that reading it took me back to the prairie of my childhood and you have a book I will return to again and again!

So, there you have it. A small glimpse into the work of just a few of the amazing women I’ve gotten to know over the years. Some have chosen a traditional publishing route, others have elected to retain control and do it themselves, and a couple have chosen to experience both sides. The publishing world in 2013 offers a variety of opportunities–all of them gifts to readers and writers alike. I’ll be sharing more writers with you soon.

Now, I’m getting ready to head out to my writing group. This will be our final gathering as the group has run it’s course and (Lord willing) Gerry and I will be moving back to Canada soon. It’s been my honour to get to know the members over the past three years and to bear witness to the stories of their lives and so it’s a bittersweet time. Even still, I look forward to retaining the connections I’ve made and to making new connections with women writers in the years to come.

By the way, if you’re looking for some holiday reading I encourage you to support these authors!

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