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Mary Walz

I am 29 years old, and I hail from Victoria, Canada! I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I spent my childhood years hacking away at my parents' old black-and-green computer, and in my teens I was told my more than one English teacher that I should consider becoming an author. I have written a few full-length stories and several short stories. I am involved in an online writing community, where two of my short stories have won cash prizes. I have also recently completed a fiction course through Gotham Writers Workshop. When I write, I aspire to paint a picture with my words, to immerse the reader in the tale I am telling. The piece which I have submitted was inspired by the colour and poignancy of autumn, and by the recent loss of a loved on to cancer.

Story: Butterflies and Autumn Leaves


Frances Bell

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This is so beautifully written, I am in awe! Definitely the best story I have read in this competition. Each sentence is beautifully written, expressed and correct. Not a word wasted, nothing superfluous, used with precision. As readers, most would be so caught up in the expression of emotion and clever manipulation of time, they wouldn't notice just how intelligently this story is told. I am now a huge fan, Mary Walz and will look out for your writing elsewhere and buy your books!


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Beautiful! I really like the way one assumes they know where the story is headed, and then it is turned around. Gorgeous imagery, sweet emotion, really good subtlety. Loved it.

M.J. Milner

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This was a sweet, reflective Fall retrospective. Good imagery and a fine sense of writing style. I like the daily "ordinary" as a topic so I really enjoyed your story. Thank You.


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i have read most of mary's work and this one has a great twist and i enjoyed it greatly she is amazing

Carolann Kaiser

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A love story, well written and with a 'didn't see it coming' twist. Truly, that was a surprise, even though I felt sure I should have seen it. I can only think, Miss Walz is a very clever writer, I'm impressed with the prose, and more than a little with the story. It led me on, compelling me to read to the end.


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From day one I have always enjoyed your stories. This is a captivating story that truly caught me off guard.

Aaron Redfern

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Touching and bittersweet in all the right places. Sometimes a little rambling and seemingly pretty predictable (though that isn't quite true--I feel like I should have seen it coming, but I didn't), but it's a lovely story that anyone can relate to and connect with.

Happy Dagger

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Very well written, I enjoy Mary's writing. I catch myself remembering parts of the story as if it was a film short from the protagonist's position, like the cabin scene and walking around the outside of the church, etc. Nice metaphor, like the flittering of butterfly wings, so are the short brilliant flashes of our beautiful and meaningless lives that we cherish and suffer.


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Very lovely. Wonderfully told, attractive characters, beautiful ending.


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BEAUTIFUL story, BEAUTIFULLY written! I absolutely love the fact that it does a perfect job of leading the reader to believe one thing while subtly foreshadowing the unpredictable (at least, unpredictable for me) ending. The descriptions flow beautifully, the imagery is as crisp and clear as I imagine the weather at the cemetery, and the emotions genuinely heart-wrenching. As a personal preference, I also like that the ending is clearly defined, but requires the reader to re-read certain passages for clarity, or simply because the pace of the story tempts the reader to skim ahead out of ravenous curiosity until the very end. A true joy to read, and much better than lots of (unfortunately) newly-published works we often find on bookshelves. I'm looking forward to more! Awesome job!

Lisa P

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I think this is the best thing I've ever read by you. It's written in prose but it feels like poetry. It took me awhile to get into the story, but I stuck with it because of the pictures you painted with your words, and I'm glad I did. I loved the ending, both the surprise and the poignance of the scene, the way it was painted and the emotion of it. I had to check back at places in the story to reread them from this new perspective- I was legitimately not expecting that, although it was alluded to in wonderfully subtle ways. Short story short, I loved this piece.

Evelyn Steward

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I recently read this work and found it not only interesting but different in its POV. The story held me as it unfolded with well written dialogue and descriptive prose. Thoe story itself is in the romantic genre and I found myself getting more involved as I read on. The ending di surprise me, and I am not often surprised. Well done Mary. Liked this piece very much. best of luck. Evelyn

Meli J

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A wonderful and very well written story. The details and vivid descriptions capture the reader immediately. It is a must read. As always Mary does an amazing job. Bravo!


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Gorgeous love story with an unexpected ending. Thanks for the tears :0)

Book lover

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This did not start out as a four or five star story...But it sure turned into one! I was ready to give this story a DNF at one point because I just wasn't getting it...I am really glad I didn't! The ending of this makes it totally worth it! What a strong finish...looking back, I am not sure there was anything else to do with the beginning. BECAUSE of the way it is written, the end jumps up and smacks you in the face with a huge surprise!

Lisa Rose

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I had to read it four or five times to make it all the way through without crying and to be sure of what I was reading. I was right the first time - perfect. I guess my chances of winning have just gone down. Thanks for the great story!

Andrea Javel

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I'm sure 'exquisite' will be used to describe "Butterflies and Autumn Leaves" for years to come. This wonderful offering is a testament to the true talent of a pen with endless ink. Well done, Ms. Walz.


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Interesting story. The ending comes as a surprise though.


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Great read, Mary! Your description is beautiful and very appropriate to this time of year. And I loved the surprise ending!


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A beautifully written story, Mary that was very touching & heartfelt. Your characters were very lifelike and your description, awesome. You are a very talented writer.

s. G. Ricketts

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Superbly written. At the beginning, it was hard to get the flow, since second person speech is so infrequently used in stories, but it quickly fell into place. The cadence, the descriptions, the vividly different personalities: all of it combined to create a truly amazing piece of work. Of course, any true measure of a work is the wealth of emotion it uncovers: this story had my heart in my throat for pages, and tears by the end. That alone is rare, and as such deserves recognition. Very nice!

J.C. Laird

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Absolutely beautiful. I'm jealous; I must aspire to paint such wonderful pictures with words as you have. Poignant and bittersweet, a sad but inspirational tale of loss, redeemed by an enduring love. And an unexpected, but uplifting ending. Excellent work.


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I really enjoyed this Mary. It pulls at the heartstrings but in a more bittersweet way instead of a sad way, it has a hopeful tone about life and death, that one can find happiness even if it can be for a short time. I admire anyone who can even finish a story, let alone being a great writer like yourself!

Kate M

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Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this story. And I truly love an unexpected ending. Very well written!!


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The picture you have painted was exceptional. The colors were brilliant. The story was warming and thoughtful. All and all, it was truly a piece I would love to hang on my wall./joeparente

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Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!