Looking Forward To YOUR A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z

Hey Lovelies!

Just wanted to stop in quickly and say THANK YOU for dropping by for my yesterday’s A to Z Challenge Reveal .

And THANK YOU for letting me know that you are participating too!

I’m still on “hiatus” but I will be getting to each one of your comments soon and visiting your space to check out your theme reveals.

I’m truly looking forward to all the wonderful reading in April!

Let’s have some fun!


M  xoxo




The 2018 A To Z Challenge Theme Reveal Is Today! @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

The A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal for 2018 is here!

I’m only crawling out of my “hygge/hiatus” today to join in on the A to Z Challenge theme reveal with all other participants across the globe. If you don’t know what the A to Z Challenge is, you can click here. And there is still time for you to sign up and join in!

Back in this post, I asked you for ideas (THANK YOU!) but nothing really stuck. I wanted do something different from my Delaney/Tyler/Ella/Tyler character snippets (2016) and the “Living To Die” story (2017).

After all of that thinking, I decided that I wanted to experiment with a topic that could provide a few real life lessons.

My theme for this year’s 2018 A to Z Challenge for 2018 will be a “personal journal” style fiction about:

Power & Control

Part of my personal challenge will be to make you forget that it is a fictional story. But if you have ever been in a toxic relationship, you will quickly recognize the red flags in the story. And if you’ve never had such an experience, hopefully this story will give you a taste of what one is like.

Here is a quick teaser.

“Breaking The Mirror” (title subject to change)

Photo by °<~ Gabrielle Sinatra ~>° on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Note: I found the graphic above at http://foter.com/ff/photo/2553065984/94d2789c72/ and simply added the words from my story – Marquessa.

You can follow me on social media from these links below:


Facebook Page that you can “Follow” and “Like”

Facebook Group *under development*, “Behind The Pen – Marquessa’s Private Lounge


You can also sign up for my email list by signing up here.


M xoxo

“How To Do The A to Z Challenge” #WisdomWednesday #bloghop @Shalz75 @slimexpectation

This post was written for #WednesdayWisdom with Shalzmojo and SlimExpectations

When Shalini and Zainab asked me to contribute to their #WisdomWednesday blog hop related to the A to Z Challenge that takes place every April, I was more than happy to comply.

I’m not sure what new tips I can give you but I can definitely tell you about my experience.

April 2018 will be my third time participating in the A to Z Challenge and my experiences so far have only been positive. Not only have I always made new writer friends and discovered fantastic new blogs, A to Z helped me produce pieces of fiction of which I am proud. I have since taken down most of my first year’s participation (fiction based on song titles) but my last year’s project, a 26 installment fiction piece called “Living To Die“, is what I am planning on publishing as a novella this year. If you are interested in reading what I posted last year, you can find it by clicking here.

If you plan on participating in the A to Z Challenge this year, I have a few pieces of advice for you to successfully win the Challenge.

Start Early – Though I chose a theme last year and had a general idea of what kind of fiction I wanted to write, I was a “pantser” from 22h00 to 23h59 every night, six days a week with no outline. My only rule was to keep up with the daily alphabet and not fall behind. But writing that intensively made me exhausted by the end of April and I didn’t have the pleasure of reading as many other blogs as I would have liked.

Don’t let this happen to you. Plan ahead and pre-write most of your posts otherwise you will miss out on great reading. Not only do I plan on drafting mine in March, I am thinking about having an Instagram component to it too.

Choose a Theme that Resonates with You – A theme is not mandatory but if you have one, your writing will likely be more focused and inspired.

  • Do you love baking and would love an excuse to post recipes according to the alphabet?
  • Maybe you are a film fanatic and want to share your favorite A to Z movies with readers?
  • And one of my favorites, maybe you are a guerilla gardener who has 26 gardening hacks to share?

Last year, my theme was based on words associated with Hawaii and every post I wrote was linked to it – “malasadas”, “na”au“… My theme kept me on track to my end game (“zori”) and I wasn’t distracted by any other ideas.

Experiment – Take a risk and write outside the box. Write something you normally wouldn’t write. I did and my last project worked out better than I could have hoped. It’s only 26 posts, right? What do you have to lose?

Choose a Theme that Resonates with Others: When others officially “reveal” their theme near the end of March, you’ll get a taste of the blogs you could follow for the month of April and maybe even after the official challenge is over. And if you want others to read your posts, your theme needs to resonate with them too. My trip to Hawaii and all the beautiful pictures I had taken was the reason why I chose that location as a theme. It was only afterwards that I realized that “Hawaii” would attract readers who:

  • enjoy travel;
  • had traveled to Hawaii;
  • wanted to go to Hawaii; and
  • those who enjoy fiction.

On my end, I followed lots of themes that revolved around fiction, travel and the indie writing process.

Write Short Posts – I DID NOT FOLLOW THE RULE of writing short posts. And yes, I did receive a few “complaints/constructive criticism” telling me that my posts should have been shorter…that I would get more “hits” and “reads” if my posts were shorter. It was a very valid point BUT getting as many readers as I could was not my main objective. The audience I focused on where those interested in the ongoing journey of Kate. When I write, I write in “scenes”, end a story where it feels natural but at a point that you will be seduced to come back to for more…So if your goal is to get as many readers as possible, yes, you should consider creating short posts. But if your posts touch your reader, they will come back, regardless of the length of your post.

Make a List – As you read through other participant blogs, you will quickly realize that you will need a system to keep track of the ones you fall in love with. Some use a simple Word document, others create a feed in their browser. I am an Evernote freak so every time I encountered a blog that I wanted to follow for the entire challenge I added it to my Evernote “A to Z List”.

Those are some of my tips. Hopefully they are helpful to you.

I strongly encourage you to take part – it has always been a great way to produce. Feel free to drop me a line during the A to Z!

Good luck!

M xoxo

Help! I Need Ideas For The A to Z! #atochallenge @AprilA2Z

A blogger friend reminded me about the A to Z Challenge in April. The challenge completely slipped my mind.

I’ve been successful at the last two A to Z’s but last year’s exhausted me, pushing myself to write each next installment before midnight.

Readers told me they enjoyed it and I liked the end result though I had no clue what I would write next for “Living To Die“.

But this April, I want to do something “less fiction” and more “creative non-fiction”. Short pieces that will make you think but I have no ideas for a theme or what words to use for my alphabet.

This is where I need your help.

If you are reading this right now, you likely know me and my writing style.

Please pitch me some ideas. Pretty please?

If you have never done the A to Z Challenge, I would encourage you to participate. You’ll read some great posts and make lots of new blogger-friends.

M xoxo

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Kate Is Living To Die – #fiction #weekendcoffeeshare #freeread

I suddenly realized that I had much better things to do with my time, especially now that I had some living to do.

It was time for me to start living to die…

This is the story that I wrote during last year’s A to Z Challenge. Since I’m currently editing it to publish as a free novella, I thought it would be fun to repost. However, for the entire 26 part story, you’ll need to subscribe at the end of the prologue get them in your inbox.

I’ll also be creating a Facebook Group for email list subscribers (stay tuned) to chat about some of the themes in this story as well provide feedback on the final draft.

I hope you enjoy!

Click below to start.

Living To Die


All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews.














Reflections on the 2017 A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

As part of the 2017 A to Z Challenge, participants are asked to provide their “Reflections” on their experience.

This is a quick post to share mine and to provide my humble suggestions to the A to Z Challenge organizers for 2018.

Let’s talk about my experience…

I started off strong and ahead of the game with “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”, using a flash fiction piece “Living To Die”, as a base for 26 posts to serialize the story. When I first posted “Living To Die – An Intro to Kate”, it was a one-time stand-alone piece. But after a trip to Hawaii, I thought it would be cool to incorporate little Hawaiian details into a story and so I picked on “Kate”. I had no set storyline and/or ideas except wanting to tackle a more “serious” topic and explore someone’s regrets when death is banging at the door. I took countless hours perfecting those first four posts to my liking but I didn’t mind being behind the schedule I had set for myself because I was proud of my work.

But life took a turn and a health scare forced me to truly think about some of the same questions I was throwing at Kate. I got stuck and my pen became very, very heavy. I found myself struggling to write because in the back of my mind, I was thinking, “Could I be writing certain things into my own existence?”

Is that crazy or what?

Somewhere in the midst of it all and to distract myself, I came up with the idea of introducing “Kate” to “Galen”.  While I waited to find out if things were okay health-wise (they were), the distracting of having to think through Galen’s “purpose” gave the story an unexpected “spin”, one that I had not planned on.

And if you read the Epilogue, you know what I mean. 🙂

All in all, the A to Z Challenge started out smoothly, hit a few bumps but ended well with content I can revise into a novella. I’m exhausted and happy it’s over but I do look forward to next year. Now, it’s time to revise and edit!

Thank you to all who followed the story and became so invested! I truly appreciated your ongoing feedback and commentary.

Let’s talk about the technicalities of the A to Z Challenge…

Kudos to the A to Z Challenge organizers! And congratulations to all those who survived and won!

I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of hours and work that they put in to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year, the organizers decided to make a big change to the “link posting” process as a way to make the administrative side of things easier for them – which is totally understandable.

If you don’t try new approaches, there can be no progress, right?

I’ll try my best to avoid pointing out what I felt worked/didn’t work during this year’s challenge.

Instead I’m posting what my ideal wish list would look like for the 2018 A to Z Challenge:

  • Limiting links to the A to Z Challenge Facebook Group ONLY.
    • Having to post links on FB + the A to Z Challenge website + the A to Z Challenge WordPress site, more than once I was tempted to simply post my link in the FB Group and call it a day…well, it was more like call it a night.
  • Time Zone Confusion Equality
    • Initially, I was confused when I saw the official “letter drop” the day before it was due at 3PM. Then, I realized that it was because I am in Eastern Standard Time but still often found myself forgetting and posting “early” thinking that I was behind! 🙂 I would love to see the letter drop more  “in the middle” of the road for all so that it is late for some, on time for others and early for the rest of the participants.
  • A return to Category Codes.
    • “Category codes” would make it easier to focus on blogs that truly pique our interest. For example, I write a lot of fiction and also have an interest in reading other people’s fiction so by placing a “category” next to our linky, it would be easier for others to know right away if they want to read or not. As an example, here is the introduction I used and what I added in bold is only as an illustration of what I propose:

There were even a few blogger-writers who took the initiative to list “fiction” participants on their own blogs as a way to make the differentiation. I’ll be doubling back to give all of those a read…

Generalized categories like “Fiction/Poetry”, “Blogging/Writing”, “Travel”, etc. would help me with my “blog follow” choices. Sure, I like to read the occasional post about pets and mommy blogs but not necessarily 26 posts in a row about them.

Sorry… uh, not sorry.

  • A Call to Action to all A to Z Survivors on Facebook
    • In addition to the “Reflections” post, I would love to see the A to Z organizers ask all “survivors” who completed all letters on time to say it on a specific FB post. Besides bragging rights, it would be a place where participants like me who plan on “doubling back” to read “completed” challenges. I’ll be honest, I find it frustrating when I start following a blog, look forward to more and then the blogger/writer goes MIA…

Those are my thoughts in a nutshell on a rainy Sunday morning!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

M  xoxo