Mercy’s Village

It takes a village to create a book. Here are shoutouts to the many many people who’ve helped me with A Mercy of Widows.

Learning My Writing Craft

The Write Practice – Early in my learning, I stumbled, almost literally, onto a webinar hosted by the founder of the Write Practice, Joe Bunting. I signed up first for an intensive 100-day drafting process, with daily emailed lessons, weekly writing assignments and critiques, and weekly office hours with Joe himself. I learned so much, I signed up for a more intensive year-long program. Four of the eleven writers in this program continue to meet regularly, and all of them remain key critique partners and cheerleaders. (The Write Practice website is:

Daniel David Wallace (I fondly refer to him as DDW) – One of my critique partners told me about DDW’s summits and courses. DDW brings together dozens of speakers to explore a particular aspect of writing, everything from honing an authentic voice to finding one’s ideal readers. I’ve subsequently signed up for several of his speakers’ courses causing a bit of a cascade in my learning. (DDW’s website is:

Laurie Schnebly at – The same critique partner introduced me to Laurie Schnebly’s classes. I was also thrilled to have attended my first retreat with Laurie in the fabulous town of Oberlin, Ohio. Laurie creates intensive one- to three-week email courses with a twist. Every day, Laurie sends out an email featuring an article on the course subject and requests a specific homework assignment. When homework is submitted on time, Laurie carefully goes through each submission offering feedback, insights, guidance, suggestions, resources. I am slowly working my way through all of Laurie’s catalogue. (Laurie’s website is:


Early on, I joined the Women’s Fiction Writing Association. The organization is run by volunteers, and offers an extensive catalogue of superb webinars, courses, mentorship programs, writer’s awards, a weekly newsletter, and a couple retreats. 2023 is the tenth anniversary for the WFWA and I am so grateful this important organization is enjoying such success. (The WFWA website is:


Abigail K. Perry provided me with a gobsmackingly insightful diagnostic of an early draft. She provided plenty of insights about what was working with my story and what wasn’t hitting the mark. Then, she helped me brainstorm solutions to the many problems. (Abigail’s website is:

Jess McKeldon (through Reedsy) provided an equally thorough copy-edit, but of a later draft. (I actually lost count of the number of drafts I went through with this project.) Jess’s copy-edit was exacting, and she called me out on many cringe-worthy points. (Jess’s website is:


I was very fortunate to be paired with Melissa Collings as part of the WFWA mentorship program. Melissa has helped me craft a compelling first chapter, correct my originally inglorious middle, and develop a more satisfying ending. (Melissa’s website is: I love her weekly newsletter.)

Early Readers

I had one brave extremely early reader: Penny. The draft Penny read was so early, she had to contend with cardboard characters, missing plot elements, loose plot threads, typos and repetition. She saw something worthwhile in the story though, and has wanted regular updates since.

I had a cadre of official beta readers, and every single one of them offered me some important advice. Thank you to all. Daryll, Bobby, Chris and Dave, Erin, Paul, Kay.

Finally, I thank my critique partners. Tyler, Mary, Selma, Morticia, and Anne. These folks all read early chapters, entire manuscripts, and everything in between. Anne has probably read my manuscript as many times as I have. (I am exaggerating, but very slightly.)


So many people believed I would finally, eventually publish my stories. These people often had more confidence in my ability than I did. Thank you: Mom, Hilda, Marnie, Erin, Judy, Gladys, Kerri, Travis, France, Cassie, Anne, Jim, Chris, Mark, Janet(s), Edna, Daryll, Penny, Rita, Robert, Joan, Heather, Don, Bobby, Paul, Kay, Eileen, Cheryl, Jaime, Michi, Denise, Shereen.

Words cannot express how much I appreciate your encouragement and patience.


The profile picture of me for the book cover and author pages was taken by Kerri Martin, a friend and photographer out of Alberta. If you are looking for some eye candy, I recommend you take a look at some of her amazing wildlife photography at

4 thoughts on “Mercy’s Village”

  1. Hey, Marcy. It takes a village, yes, I know. Gurl, you did it. I’m so proud of you–really.
    Thanks for the shoutout. Now, I really cannot wait to read the finished work. Over 300 pages.
    Oh my. Bless your heart. I wish you more miracles.

    1. Thank you, Selma, for everything you did to help me realize my dream. I hope “Mercy” is a satisfying read for you.

  2. Laurie Schnebly

    Marcy, it’s lovely that you remember all these villagers — and I’m honored at being one of them. ?Only four weeks to go until I can read the whole book, hurray!!!

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