Christmas Scavenger Hunt Round-Robin: The Gift of the Magpie

Merry Christmas and greetings! I hope you are enjoying the Christmas Scavenger Hunt Round-Robin and learning about many Christmas books. Remember, you need to visit every author’s site in the round-robin to qualify for the chance to win an Amazon $300, $150, or $75 gift card. And you must provide the answers on this Google Form.

Thank you, for the opportunity to share about my book Gift of the Magpie. I love to talk about my tender and humorous romances that show that opposites distract.

Amanda Larrowe is an English teacher and an award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys. It’s a few days before Christmas and Amanda is holed up in her house to meet a January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia, has ever experienced, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, her heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high school Valentine’s Day date.

Camden may have transformed into a handsome, amiable photographer, but his likability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When he doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong.

I had so much fun writing this book. You’ll find the answer to my scavenger question, but what the Magpie is remains buried in the story. The magpie is not a bird!

Go to the book at this Amazon link. When Cam came to Amanda’s door, what did he ask her for? When you have the answer, fill out this Google form and head to the next blog.

Thanking you for your visit. On with the scavenger hunt! Marissa Shrock is the next author on the tour, telling us about her Christmas book, Deadly Holiday. You can find it at at this link. Remember, the round-robin will end on December 16th at 11:59 PM EST!

Writing Help: Pay It Forward with These 6 Gems

image by laminaria

You can pay forward the writing help you received and continue on the road to excellence at the same time.

I pay forward the coaching I received in my writing journey with the same gems that molded me most.

         contest feedback 



                                    writing retreats

                                             blog posts

                                                      books on writing

Here are thoughts and pointers on each.

1.  Be a judge for contests. If we give quality feedback with the right attitude, entrants will less likely feel under attack. 



  • Don’t sign up to be a judge, if you’re not able to give the entries the time they need.
  • Find something the entrant did well and build from there.
  • Include examples in your feedback. Some of us need applications to get it.

2.  Lead a workshop. Participants arrive eager. Strive to assure they leave with at least one ah-ha they can’t wait to try.



  • Don’t assume, because you gave the instructions, participants have gotten the principles. Give the instructions in an alternate way.
  • Give many examples.
  • The more workshops you lead on the subject, the more pitfalls in understanding you’ll observe and be able to address.
  • More tips. And more.

3.  Join a critique group. Because the rest of the group will voice the obvious problems, try listening for a subtle problem. For example, the writer may use vague words throughout the scene. Give suggestions for specific words that will get the writer’s juices flowing.


  • For online or email groups, limit the number of people. If you’re writing, marketing, and working on your platform, you won’t have time to do a good job on six submissions each week.
  • Learn the level of “tell-it-like-it-is” each member can handle, but always give feedback in a non-threatening manner.

4.  Hold a small retreat. Ask each participant to share one writing principle or technique. Nothing like having to teach something to learn something.



  • Give an exercise that participants can apply to their work in progress and provide time for participants to creep away and work on it.
  • Schedule time for participants to do what they like best – talk about writing.

5.  Write blog posts. Give tips on your blog as a post or an inset on each post.



  • Do the research.
  • Write posts on the writing activity you’re doing that week, e.g. softening an unlikeable protagonist.
  • Read magazines like Writer’s Digest.

6.  Write a pamphlet or book on writing. This is an undertaking. One that I know. I’ll tell you about Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days soon.



I’ve found that every time I pay forward the help I’ve received, my own work moves toward my goal for excellence.

Pay forward the writing help you’ve received with these 6 activities.  Click to tweet.

How do you pay forward the help you have received so far?

COOKING UP KISSES  – the $0.99 deal for all five books ends July 18.

Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Here’s the link.  Here are the blurbs: