Category Archives: Uncategorized

Workshop: How to write a kid’s book – with your child!

An ideal workshop for parents with creative, imaginative children who are looking for a fun project to work on together this summer.

In a concise 2 hour session, this workshop will provide parents and their children the structure and practical tools to imagine, draft and create a book together that is good enough for a bookstore!

Date: July 12, 2016
Time: 6:00-8:00pm
Location: Highstreet Fraser Valley Community Room

Tickets: $95.00 ($20/extra child)

Ready to write? Click here for tickets! 

Not my flower girl.

During our hours of dress shopping together this year, Madison is asked, “Oh, and are YOU the flower girl?!”

All the women at the dress stores ask so kindly. They often kneel or bend down to be eye-level with her and we both can hear the encouraging enthusiasm in their voices.

Then, my favourite part happens. Madi looks right back at them, “No.” She waits for their surprised reaction and then offers, “I’m the Maid of Honour.”

This is the quick story of how that answer came to be…

Shortly after we got engaged, Brad, Madi and I were out for dinner. Giddy with the new change to our little family, we talked about our ideas for a wedding.

Across the table, Madi dropped her first serious question. “So, am I going to be a flower girl or….”

I looked back at her with an equal amount of seriousness and asked, “That depends, would you like to be a flower girl or bridesmaid?”

“I’d like to be a bridesmaid.”

“Great!” I skipped ahead a year to picture Madi and Adrienne standing beside me.

“Wait.” She cut into my dinner-dream. Her wrists were resting on the table, hands pointed towards me as if to to help articulate her next question. “So who is the one who you will give your flowers to. Like, the one who stands next to you?”

I understand that “Maid of Honour” isn’t in her nine-year-old vocabulary, but I did understand what she was asking. Her nervousness also didn’t go unnoticed, as if she had already pushed her luck by asking to be a bridesmaid.

“Oh I see what you’re asking.” Without pausing to think, I asked her in a way I knew she would understand, “Madison Reaveley, would you be the Liesl to my Fräulein Maria?”

(For those of you know the Sound of Music, you know the significance of this. If you don’t know the Sound of Music, do your life a favour, watch the movie and come back to this post when you’re done.)

Her gorgeous brown eyes tightened as her smile widened. “I will be your Liesl!!!”

And THAT is how nine-year-old Madison, daughter of my fiancé, came to be my Maid of Honour. She is the Liesl to my Maria, and someone I love having by my side.

xo

View More: http://prairiestudiosphotography.pass.us/megan-bridal-shower

p.s. Wondering about Adrienne? She’s my person. That should explain just about everything.

Twelve more days!!

 

Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month

When it comes to awareness months, I find we all start the off strong, but eventually, as the month goes on ‘the cause’ becomes less talked about.

So, as March – Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month – comes to an end, here are five simple ‘share-able’ facts about a cancer that is very complicated.

5 Things to Know about Multiple Myeloma

Sources:
http://www.themmrf.org/multiple-myeloma/
http://www.myelomacrowd.org/march-multiple-myeloma/
http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/must-know-facts-about-multiple-myeloma/

Judging: Writers Digest Awards

In April, I entered myself into the Writers Digest Awards (self published/non fiction).  I didn’t know a whole lot about it – just that they are one of the few competitions that accept self-published books – and jumped at the chance. After following the guidelines, I sent off a copy of Our Interrupted Fairy Tale somewhere to middle america.
Yesterday, I got my judging back. Winners aren’t announced until March/April 2015, and I don’t really know how much weight the judging has – but I’m pretty, very, a lot, pleased with what came in to my inbox yesterday!
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.
 

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5

 Voice and Writing Style: 5

 —–
Author, I have very little to say here! That’s because on every level, this is such a good book. Many books have a good story or are well-written, but fall short on the cover or the editing or the organization. Yours doesn’t. At every point, it’s excellently crafted.

First of course is the story, and that is lovely and poignant. I was of course hoping for a happy ending, and was sad at the end, but then I realized there WAS a happy ending, because there was love “forever” as you end the book. You’ve told a lovely story and shown two people who aren’t perfect but who, out of love, become heroic.

Second, the design of the book is worthy of the story. Please pass on my compliments to the cover designer first. This cover, with the title overlaid on the image of the handwritten notes, was brilliantly conceived and executed. The colors were well-chosen, and the way the perfect title was portrayed, with “interrupted” in a different, harsh font, was especially good.

I was also impressed with the editing and formatting within the book. The proofreading and copy editing were near to impeccable, and that’s unusual. I especially liked the way you had chapter titles along with the date of the blog entries. That helps give the feeling of a blog and simultaneity of action and writing.

My only suggestion, and it’s a minor one, is that there might be too much space between the lines on the page. It gave more of a feeling of “lightness” than I thought necessary. You might in another edition experiment with a lesser amount of spacing, just to see if it reads better.

Lovely book! Thank you for writing it. Please also tell your editor and designer that they did a great job.

___

Not so bad right? Once again, big, ongoing thanks goes to KaitCreative who made The Book’s cover something people stop and pick up, and to Lori Bamber who made this book in to something that people can’t put down.

xo

#HartForTheCause

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Last night I got this great print for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As I showed a few friends and explained what it represents, I was reminded that Breast Cancer is one of “those cancers” that unforgivably closes the degrees of separation, leaving few people unaffected; my friends included.

So, if you’re a fan of pink, you like love and your work space needs a bright and meaningful piece of art, pick up a heart from KaitCreative.com (the same girl who designed The Book’s cover) or her partner, Prairie Girl In The City for $20.

Kait and Jen are donating all of their creative, hard work’s proceeds to the Canadian Breast Cancer Society – and that’s pretty lovely.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Love, Hawk.

Yesterday was one of those days that feels like Chad never left. Maybe he was out of town or something, but he certainly wasn’t gone.

I spent the evening with his “brother” Jesse Hawkins and wife Nicole (if you’ve read the book, they are Chad’s best friends from Louisiana who visited somewhere around page 305). They were back in Vancouver for a visit and I was so pleased when they got in touch. I know how hard it is when visiting your home town for a short period of time, and so many people to make time for, I was so happy to see them.

I had met them when I was 20, but I was really only “that young chick hanging out with Chad.” Though they knew how serious Chad and I had become in those following next three years, I didn’t see them again until they visited during Chad’s last November. It was then that I got to know who Chad’s “brother” really was. After one of their afternoon visits, I walked them to the elevators, and as we kept talking, I rode with them to the main floor, as the conversation continued for another 20 minutes (only occasionally concerned I should go back upstairs and check on Chad).

We all were worried about Chad. Jesse and Nicole, maybe more than I, understood how serious the situation was. And though they made sure that Chad never felt like they were in Vancouver for him; they were. In confidence, they explained they didn’t want to wait until, or if, things got worse. The wanted to get time with him as he was. Whether or not Chad would admit it, he needed his friends and that visit did wonders for his spirits.

Less than a month after that visit, Jesse and Nicole were back in Vancouver – for Chad’s Celebration of Life. We were all glad they had come when they did.

I still have the Saints shirt they brought me when they visited in November (it remains in the do-not-throw-out-pile in my room at Mom and Dad’s house). I still wear one of the wonderful knitted “prayer blankets” someone in their Louisiana community sent with them when they heard about Chad. The other prayer blanket was with Chad when he took his last breath, and was still on him when I left him for the last time.

Being around Jesse and Nicole last night felt like I had just seen them last week – certainly not four years ago. The banter was the same, and talking to two friends who knew Chad so well, felt like I was just standing in for Chad while he was out of town.

In the same way that yesterday’s visit made me miss Chad more, it brought him a little closer today. And when Nicole said, “The same way we used to see Chad in Vancouver, we have to see you now.” I felt heavy with gratitude for the good people Chad left me with.

Thank you Hawkins for staying as close to me as I feel to you.

Megan Williams, Jesse and Nicole Hawkins, Ambleside Beach, 2014

_________

One of my favourite notes from Jesse on Chad’s blog – a pretty good character reference I’d say.

Brotherman,

Last week was timeless. Sitting and talking with you was a real pleasure; a genuine honour. While it was a little less manic than our time in Holloway-Smith, it reminded me of the friendship and guidance you always provided to me. Thanks for being a brother to me, then and now.

While your fight alone is enough inspiration for me to lift more weight during lunchtime (it is like you are there spotting me), to send chills throughout my body, to simply be better, I like to send you the energy I draw from Drew Brees’ pre-game rally cry and substitute the wording for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Hv7Tc1VoE&feature=related

Today, we take a hold of this cancer!
Today is the start of our recovery!
When I say who are we, you say Chad! 
When I say are we ready, you say Ah-yoo!
WE ARE TEAM RALLY CHAD!!!

The WHO DAT NATION and TEAM RALLY CHAD are behind you. Let us lift you up. You will stay strong because it is who you are, but lean on us. We will support you. You are loved.

Your approach is that of a true CHAMPION; one step at a time. Keep stepping. I know you will because you have the biggest balls I have ever seen, literally and figuratively.

See you in Nawlins soon, Hawk.

Missing Seat

If you were a fellow diner at the restaurant last weekend, looking at our table it would be an easy gathering to figure out. Family in town, everyone together, getting along, no family drama, friendly and loving, good laughs shared. And you’d be right.

We’ve done it several times before, mostly at Christmas and summer BBQ’s, when Chad’s parents, his sister’s family from Edmonton, my brother and parents all get together. I know I speak for the Williams side of the family when we say just how much we look forward to these family gatherings. When we’re together, it’s so easy and fam-iliar that it would be easy to forget how in fact we all came together.

But we don’t. For me, it was before appetizers were ordered, everyone had menus in hand, bantering about the food choices, and smiling. I looked around at everyone smiling and had that familiar heart cinching thought. Chad’s not here. There is a missing seat at this table, and the person who brought us together isn’t here.

When Chad was here, our families got together a few times, but we ran out of time to share Christmas dinners and summer BBQ’s as a full family of 10. I am equal parts sad as I am grateful for this Williams-Warren family; I love that we are able to be together as if nothing has changed, yet we all have been.

Anyway, there is no conclusion to this feeling, just that you were missed at dinner and that missing seat is thought of. xo

Chad & Family

Williams Warren Family

One Month Since Launch

I have to admit, I’ve been hesitant writing this as I’m not really sure how to do it.

It’s been one month since launch – Our Interrupted Fairy Tale has received coverage from three different news channels, three newspapers, two radio shows, broke into the top 1000 Amazon Bestseller list, and is in most lower-mainland Chapters/Indigo stores (Victoria and the Interior happening next week) – something I was told as a self-published author was near-impossible.

But, BUT, here’s the part I have been hesitant to write because of how cliche and Oscar-speechy it sounds like. So I’ll babble for a bit – then the music will start (i.e.: you’ll get bored and skim to the bottom and check Facebook instead).

Thank you. This last month would not have had the momentum and success it has if it weren’t for those of you keeping it going.

Thank you for coming to the signings – whether to buy a book (or five),  come to say hi because you’ve already read it and wanted a copy signed, or simply dropped by because you wanted to offer support. Every time – thank you. 

Thank you Mom and Dad who have come to every signing, just to “see how it’s going” (and if you see a Dad like-guy who looks like me, hanging around the table, pretending to read a copy when you come by a signing, introduce yourself, ’cause it’s my Dad).

Thank you for saying you “will spend eachday like it’s my last in honour of Chad.

Thank you for coming to the mall signings on your weekends. ESPECIALLY Metrotown, on FAMILY DAY long-weekend.

Thank you for writing, texting or calling to let me know what you think of The Book. Thank you for being honest, and thank you for helping me shake my insecurities and feel proud.

Thank you for donating to Chad’s1Million.com

Thank you for introducing me to people who can help share the story.

Thank you for sharing the story. Thank you for helping Chad live on.

999965_226824327519577_1373628466_n[music starts playing]

“Thank You” really doesn’t feel sufficient for all the small details that have made a really big difference; I simply wish I can somehow convey how much I (we) appreciate your support.

Thank you. 

On to the next month!
xo

 

 

Its been 11 days of launch-like happenings – and it has all been bigger and better than I could have ever imagined, ESPECIALLY in it’s first week being available.

To say I’ve been overwhelmed with the kindness and support of friends, family, strangers, long-lost-touch friends, and parents of friends would be an understatement. I have to do some more thinking on how I can properly express the last few days, but in the meantime, here are a few photos to highlight this craziness.

Friday, Feb 7th – CTV Morning Live

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(*For full interviews/reviews – 
click here)

Saturday, Feb 8th – Global Morning Live & Chapters Metrotown Book Signing

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(*For full interviews/reviews – 
click here)

Sunday, Feb 9th – Chapters Metrotown “Hottest Seller” List!

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Monday, Feb 10th – More book stores agree to take Our Interrupted Fairy Tale into their stores

Chapters Metrotown
Chapters Coquitlam
Indigo, Park Royal
Indigo, North Vancouver
Black Bond Books, New West
Black Bond Books, Lynn Valley
32 Books, Edgemont Village

Tuesday, Feb 11th – Chads Birthday, Book Launch and one of the happiest days of my young life. So many friends blending together. I cried and was so full of love.

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(*More photos from the launch will be posted on our Facebook page).

Wednesday, Feb 12 – Rest Day. Return to track workouts. Champagne diet ends.

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Thursday, Feb 13 – Return to the states to pick up more books for newly scheduled weekend book signings.

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Friday, February 14th – Mike & Tara in the Morning, QMFM Radio Review, Interview on CKNW’s The Bill Good Show and front page of The Province’s Entertainment section (called a “Canadian Bestseller” – woot!)

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(*For full interviews/reviews – click here)

Saturday, Feb 15 – Return to Chapters Metrotown, only to find out Our Interrupted Fairy Tale is a #1 Bestseller for the store!

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Sunday, February 16th – Chapters Coquitlam Signing.

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And that’s it (so far!) xoxoxoxoxoxox

Just Another Day

I know it’s just another day. I know it’s coming, because it happens every year.

It is just another morning that I got up before the sunrise to go for a run. The only difference from before, is now I pep-talk myself from under the warm sheets on the other side of the bed–your side.

The route has changed, but not the distance–still the reliable 6 miles. I know you liked the girls and would be happy I still have such positive, healthy people as friends; keeping me focused on the path ahead. And a teary, sweaty hug doesn’t faze them; they just hold tighter.

Soon, I’ll go to work. Which is also different than it was four years ago, but I love it. I love my job; especially the people I work with. But again, today is just a regular day for everyone there, and I won’t do well with any attention on what today is really is. I especially don’t want to cry–and at this point in the week, a hug could turn the faucets on.

Then tonight, I’ll have a tequila shot, because that seems like an appropriate thing to do. I’ll “cheers” The Bubble on text message. Then, after a whole day of swallowing hard and thinking about not bringing it up, I’ll talk to your mom, dad and sister, then my mom and dad. And then to Brad. And somewhere in there is when I’ll likely sob out what I’ve been thinking all day.

Today means that you’ve been gone for four years. Today means that I’ve thought of your absence, consecutively for 1,460 days. It’s not just another day, because we’re still here and you’re not.

Come back.