Best-selling author Shiloh Walker pens this bi-weekly column of online advice for writers. Walker is a full-time author who is published in both e-book and traditional print formats. Now she shares her experience and advice to help aspiring and published authors figure out the "Writes and Wrongs" of the digital world.

It’s February…lets show the love…

Hey, we write romance, right? We should know all about showing love. Remember… we show, don’t tell! I like to take it off the pages of the book, though, and move it out into the real world. Loving my neighbor, helping out where I can.

It’s good to give back, when you can. Sometimes it’s a small thing. Sometimes it’s a big thing. 

Something I’ve seen over the years is that the romance community can be very, very giving…the readers, and the writers.

Ever wondered how to you become a part of that? Ever wondered if you should? Why you should?

Nobody but the individual can decide if you should…although there are plenty of reasons why it’s wonderful to give back. 

I do it because I want to, plain and simple. I believe in it. It never hurts to help another.

You could consider it a way to have something besides books to talk about…although yes, we all love our books. But sometimes, focusing on that bigger picture? That never hurts, either. Reaching out to those in the community, to those in the world who need help…it’s a lovely thing to do. It never hurts to help another…and you might be surprised at the blessings that come on you for it.

Now…how to do it? How do take that step and get involved? 

Ever had a call go out to donate for an auction…say something like the Brenda Novak Diabetes auction? Or a writer from your chapter was collecting books for a cancer benefit? Those are small things that don’t take much time and it’s a wonderful way to give a small something back. You can get as involved as you want as well. Some authors even offer critiques instead (or in addition) to reviews. Have some books on hand in your office? You can always contact your local library and ask if they’d like to have a book from a local author—but if they don’t or can’t take it, don’t be upset. Not all libraries can take them.

Want to take a bigger step? Is there a cause that’s has really touched your heart and you want to do more? If so, there’s nothing stopping you. 

And in blatant full disclosure…I’m trying to do more. Right now at my blog, I’m trying to spread the word about Marrion P’Udongo, a man in the Congo who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant—without it, he’s not very likely to live much longer. When I read his story, it touched my heart so strongly, I couldn’t not do something… he’s a hero in the truest sense of the word. For the next week or so, every comment I get up to 400 comments, I'm donating $1 per comment to his fund. If anybody would like to read about more about him, and what else I’m trying to do to help him, you can check it out here

This Valentine’s Day…take a step and reach out…spread the love. I truly believe it will come back on you later down the road.

- Shiloh Walker

Check back for the next installment of Shiloh Walker's column in two weeks. Seeking more specific advice? You can ask the author any questions about the "writes and wrongs" of online behavior here. Your question might even get featured in an upcoming article. And of course, you can also follow the Shiloh Walker online daily at her website, on her Facebook page and via Twitter.

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