True strength is in knowing when you’ve screwed up. I know…you might not get that at first. How can knowing you made a mistake be strength? Easy.

Recognizing your error gives you a chance to correct it.

Like this article, for example. It was due…oh…a week ago.

Yeah, I screwed up. It is 5:30 in the morning and I’m scrambling to get it done in the hopes that it will still post on time because if I don’t I’m letting a lot of wonderful ladies down.

See, there’s another aspect of that strength I was mentioning. I care that I screwed up and realize it will affect other people. What if I’d forgotten about this article altogether or decided “meh, I’m already late, what’s the point?” What wonderful things might go unrealized because of that easy choice? Yeah, I’d rather be sleeping. Yeah, maybe I’m too late. Yeah, I had to try anyway, because yeah, it’s worth it. To keep my word the best I can, to support those who have been doing their part to promote the Athena’s Daughters anthology. To not leave the Silence in the Library blog in the lurch when they planned on my piece for today.

This is an important life lesson. Not just for me as a person, but for me as a writer. Think of all the process I just went through to reach my decision to get this done. Now think how that applies to any future character I write. They will be strong—or not—based on the choices I let them make. They will know consequences. They will know the potential for failure and recognize the pivotal part one forgotten commitment can make.

Something as simple as a message not delivered can change the outcome of a war. A task left incomplete can lose a valuable opportunity. Or, the easy way out can lead to unforeseen complications…

In my story, “Looking Back”, Lady Clara must decide if her relentless pursuit of her desire to find her cousin is worth the unwitting harm her search has caused to the very fabric of time. Does she disregard the warning that comes to her from an unexpected quarter? Or does she have the strength to step back and recognize that forcing fate could have dire consequences? It definitely takes strength to pursue a dream…but how much more it requires to let it go.


Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s published works include four urban fantasy novels: Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court and The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She is also the author of the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections. Learn more at In her down time she concocts her own cookie recipes (Spirited Delights), gets crafty, and makes costume horns. All the spaces in between are filled with reading…lots of reading!

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