Back On Track

Okay, I think we’re back in business. The file appears to be working now. My copy of the book that I downloaded from Amazon for my Kindle no longer has glitches.

The customer service representative I spoke with at Amazon a little bit ago said that for anyone who purchased the e-book earlier, if their devices are connected to wi-fi, their book file should be automatically updated with the new, non-glitched file. I’m not sure exactly how this is supposed to work. I think she said the cloud file would be updated and could be re-downloaded to whatever device the original file had been on.

I’m hoping this works for everyone with no problems, but if for some reason it doesn’t, you should be able to contact Amazon and get the updated file. Their customer service number is 1-888-280-3321.

Again, I apologize to everyone for the inconvenience. It has been one rollercoaster day.

Waiting, Again

I thought today would be an exciting day with the release of my new book, and it has been, though not in the fun way I’d expected.

I posted my Celebrate the Small Things post last night, just after midnight, when my book went live. Later, when I looked at the download I’d preordered from Amazon, I noticed that there were no page breaks, and it had these weird symbols here and there in place of dashes, ellipses, and sometimes commas.

I called Ingram/Spark, and they said it was likely an issue with Amazon and suggested I contact them. I spoke with Amazon, and they said it was Ingram’s problem. I called Ingram back and talked with a different customer service person who was more helpful. She asked me to e-mail her screen shots of the problems, since they weren’t showing up in their files. I sent her the screen shots, redid my file and uploaded it, so they could compare and hopefully figure out what was causing the issues. The file I had originally uploaded had looked fine on my computer. The preview on the Kobo site looked fine, too.

At any rate, she sent everything to the processing department and said it could take 24 to 48 hours (business hours) to get a response, which means Monday or Tuesday.

So now I wait.

I apologize to everyone who downloaded a book with these formatting issues. I hope to get this resolved quickly.




© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Celebrate the Small Things — My First Novel Has Arrived!!

EDIT: Thank you to everyone! I’ve discovered some formatting issues with the e-book, and I’m working to resolve them. I’ll visit and reply to everyone as soon as I get this ironed out.


Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

It’s here!!!!

This week I’m celebrating a very BIG thing — my first novel is being released today!

Whoo, hoo!! I’m so excited! To think that after all these years, my book is finally in print. Well, sort of. It’s currently available in e-book form, but will be out in print form very soon, if all goes well. The color issues have been fixed, and the print cover file is being processed. All my fingers and toes are crossed that it goes through this time.

Either way, I’m going to celebrate!!!



Trouble is Tara Triannon’s middle name. As swords for hire, Tara and her sister Laraina thrive on the danger. But a surprise invasion throws them into chaos… and trouble on a whole new level. Pursued by the Butcher, a terrifying assassin more wolf than man, Tara and Laraina must get a prince marked for death and a young, inept sorceress to safety. There’s only one problem – eluding the Butcher has never been done. Aided by a secretive soldier of fortune, they flee the relentless hunter.

Gifted with magic and cursed by nightmares that are all too real, Tara must stop an army led by a madman and fend off an evil Being caught in a centuries-old trap who seeks to control her magic and escape through her dreams – all while keeping one step ahead of the Butcher.


Available at:


Barnes & Noble:




What other celebrations are going on out there?




© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.


The Long-Awaited Cover!

Early last week, I received the long-awaited cover for my fantasy novel, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble.


I love the colors and the way the elements blend together.

I had hoped that once I got the file, it would be smooth sailing into publication, but was it easy? Of course not. What was I thinking?

Making the e-book cover from the cover file using Adobe Photoshop was simple enough. But then I had to figure out how to convert my MS Word file, including the cover, to the epub version 3 required by Ingram/Spark for the e-book. Calibre only converts to epub version 2. I searched the Web for a free program that would do the conversion without a huge learning curve. I know some HTML, but I’m not a programmer. Ingram/Spark would have done the conversion for me, but I really didn’t want to pay them the $250 or so to do it.

I ended up using a program from the Daisy Consortium: a “Save as Daisy” add-in for Word, which, along with the Consortium’s Tobi and Pipeline 2 programs (all free downloads), allowed me to convert my file. Interestingly, the programs’ original intent is to create books with sound for people with vision problems. Below, are the links to the programs and the instructions.

The instructions weren’t hard to follow, but I did have to do some uninstalling and reinstalling of the programs to get them to work together the way they were supposed to. I persevered, though, and in the end, I had the necessary version 3 epub file.

I’m sure there must be other ways to do a free conversion of Word to epub 3. If anyone has experience with other programs, I’d love to hear about it.

At the end of last week, I uploaded all the files to Ingram/Spark, set a release date of February 27th, and crossed my fingers that everything would go through. The customer service person told me that file processing generally takes 3 to 5 business days.

The e-book files went through with no problem, but they found an issue with the print cover file — something about the CMYK color percentages being too high. The file needs to be adjusted and resubmitted. Unfortunately, it’s not something I know how to do. So, until I can coordinate with the cover designer, who I think is away on vacation since we have school vacation this week, the print version of my book is on hold.

However, the e-book version has already been picked up by Amazon and Barnes & Noble and is available for preorder. I discovered this when I did a search on the book title out of curiosity over the weekend. (My jaw hit the floor.) I hadn’t expected it to be listed so quickly. I’d read that it could take two or three weeks to show up on retail sites.

Now, I’m having a hard time getting my head around the fact that Friday is the big day. THE DAY! After almost 30 years of chasing this dream, it’s down to 2 days. It seems too surreal to be true. In 2 days I will be a published author!!!!!!!




© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Kate Sparkes’ Torn (Bound Trilogy: Book Two) — Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal:



Kate Sparkes


Cover art by Ravven

Torn (Bound Trilogy: Book Two)

Aren Tiernal knows that safety is an illusion, that his cruel and powerful brother will never forgive his betrayal. Still, returning to Tyrea to challenge Severn for the throne would be suicide. It’s not until Severn himself comes to collect what’s owed to him that Aren decides to risk everything in an attempt to bring down the most powerful Sorcerer Tyrea has ever known. The mission seems doomed to fail, but it’s Aren’s only chance to save himself, his country, and the woman who thawed his heart.

Rowan Greenwood has troubles of her own. Though she should be a great Sorceress, years of being closed off from her magic have left her unable to control her incredible power. When a pair of ominous letters arrive from her home country, Rowan has to choose between her new life and a chance at saving her family—and just maybe changing an entire country’s beliefs about the evils of magic.

Torn apart by separate quests, Rowan and Aren will have to discover untapped strengths and confront their darkest fears in order to overthrow a ruler determined to destroy them both.



 Release date: March 31, 2015

 Limited time launch price: $2.99

Also available:

bound sale 1


Find Kate Sparkes at:

Disregard the Prologue (blog)

Celebrate the Small Things! and The Liebster Award!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

This week I’m celebrating:

Juneta Key at Writer’s Gambit nominated me for a Liebster Award!


Juneta blogs about her writing, shares writing resources, and hosts authors for interviews and guest posts. Thank you very much, Juneta!

The current rules for accepting this award are:


Answering Juneta’s questions:

  1. Who is your favorite author?

There are so many wonderful authors to choose from, but I’m going to stick with J.R.R. Tolkien. His epic novels are the epitome of heroic fantasy adventure, my favorite genre.

  1. If you had 3 wishes what would they be?

Hmmmm… Globally: for humanity to achieve world peace, for the eradication of all the horrible diseases afflicting mankind, and for the Earth to be healed of all the damage pollution has wrought.

Personally: happiness and success for my children, for me to be able to travel and see the world, and for my books to sell well enough for me to afford the aforementioned travel.

  1. If you were given a free round trip ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

Bavaria, Germany. I’ve always wanted to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.

  1. Would you rather live near the ocean, forest, mountains or the fourth option;)?

I’d rather live near a forest. I find them magical and awe-inspiring.

  1. What is your favorite genre of music?

I’d have to say pop rock, though I’ll listen to anything other than screaming headbanger stuff and rap.

  1. Plane, Train, Boat, Car or other for vacation travel?

Car would be my first choice. You never know what interesting places you’ll drive through on your way to your destination. Planes, however, would be a close second, since I’d love to go overseas and unfortunately can’t drive across the ocean. A boat would be a definite No. Cruise ships make me seasick.

  1. Where is your favorite place to escape from the daily grind?

My writing space.

  1. What is your best memory? (You probably have several, but pick one)

Falling in love on a beach in northern Scotland.

  1. Do you have a hobbit? If not, what would you like to do for a hobby? ROFL @ SELF okay this error was too good to correct—go ahead tell me who is your favorite hobbit?

Ha, ha. That cracked me up, too. My favorite hobbit is Samwise. “And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam…” (Tolkien, The Two Towers) As for hobbies, other than writing which is no longer a hobby but a fulltime endeavor, I like to read, travel, go for long walks, and build Legos.

  1. What is the most memorable book you have read, or movie if not a big reader?

I have to go back to Tolkien here on both counts. The Lord of the Rings, books and movies all, blew me away.

  1. Would you travel around the world in 80 days if you could?

Yes. In a heartbeat. Though I would rather spend more time… a lot more…


The 11 random facts:

1: I’m my own handyman. I had a great teacher: my Dad.

2. I love to draw maps to go with my stories.

3. Spring is my favorite season.

4: I tend to be a hermit and enjoy doing things by myself.

5: My favorite breed of dog is a little black Scottish terrier.

6: I once bartered with the natives for an amber necklace and bracelet in the Dominican Republic.

7: I love the sound of rain on the roof at night.

8: One of my favorite books when I was learning to read was The Large and Growly Bear.

9: I used to love watching The A-Team on TV.

10: I’ve taken computers apart and successfully installed new components.

11: I think dusting is the worst household chore ever.


My 11 Nominees:

I don’t know how many followers these blogs have. Some probably have more than 200, but I enjoy them, so I’d like to nominate them anyway. Here they are, in no particular order:

Kylie Betzner — Kylie just published her debut novel, the funny Arthurian parody, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other.

Shells, Tales, and Sails — Sharon’s breezy blog contains book reviews, writer’s resources, and posts about her writing.

Diane Burton — Check out Diane’s blog for “adventure and romance… in this world and beyond.”

On Becoming a Writer — Marilyn creates short story audio books, where things don’t always go as expected.

My Inner Geek — Jo wears many hats: computer programmer, gamer, artist, baker, to name a few.

Scribblings in the Storage Room — Author Elizabeth Hein writes women’s fiction with an edge.

Anne Higa — Anne is the author of the Elves and Magic fantasy YA trilogy.

Lauren Jeffrey — Fellow writer Lauren is on the path to becoming a published author.

Often Clueless, Always Shoeless — Fantasy writer Olivia Berrier blogs humorously about her characters and her writing life.

A Novel Journey — To use her words, Rhonda is a writer “experiencing life through words and grace.”

Faeries, Dragons, and Spaceships — The home of Marie Andreas, science fiction and fantasy novelist with one of the best blog names ever.


And last but not least: the 11 questions for the nominees to answer (should they choose to accept):

1: What is the best place you’ve visited?

2: What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done?

3: What’s your favorite song?

4: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

5: What fictional character do you like best?

6: What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?

7: Do you have any phobias?

8: Morning person or night owl?

9: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

10: What do you consider your most important personality trait?

11: Have you ever performed or been the recipient of a random act of kindness and what was it?


And that’s it! Thanks for reading!

What other celebrations are going on out there?





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Celebrate the Small Things!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

For the past couple of weeks, it seems like a lot of my daily activities have revolved around snow. So, my celebrations:

  1. For the moment, the sky is blue, and it’s not snowing! Unfortunately, that won’t last long. We’re supposed to get more snow this weekend. Am I glad I don’t live in Boston.
  2. I’m getting plenty of exercise. I’ve shoveled varying amounts of snow out of my 100 ft. long, steep driveway 11 out of the last 17 days.
  3. We have more than enough snow to go sledding — our favorite winter outdoor activity. Now, if it would just warm up above zero…

What other celebrations are going on out there?





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Consider Yourself Tagged! — Reading Habits

While visiting Eclectic Alli’s blog a couple of weeks ago, I ran across a “consider yourself tagged” post about reading habits. Alli talked about how and when she reads and what she does and doesn’t do during that time. It started me thinking about my own reading habits, so for fun, I decided to answer the questions. Thanks, Alli!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

My writing space doubles as a reading space. I went into a Borders bookstore when they were going out of business a while back and discovered they were selling their 76-inch-tall bookshelves very cheaply. I came home with six of them (okay, I made two trips with my van) and turned my office/writing room into a small library. It’s nice to curl up with a blanket in my comfy chair, surrounded by books, and read.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmark. I love bookmarks and have collected quite a few over the years. I rotate through them as I read. When I finish a book, I switch to another bookmark for the next book. Occasionally, though, in a pinch, I’ve used whatever odd thing was at hand — a clean tissue, a receipt, a plastic Lego sword.

3. Can you stop reading anytime you want or do you have to stop at a certain page, chapter, part, etc.?

I prefer to stop at the end of a scene. It doesn’t have to be a chapter end, just at a transition point. When I get interrupted in the middle of a scene, I feel unfinished and have to keep sneaking back to the book to find out how the scene ended.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes. Sometimes the book is so good, I have to read straight through lunch. Half the time, I don’t even remember what I ate.

5. Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

No. Not at all. I need a quiet space with no distractions, so I can get lost in the book.

6. One book at a time, or several at once?

One at a time. I can’t be in several stories at once. It makes me feel scattered, like being in a cluttered, messy room. I need order and organization, or I get stressed.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere, definitely. I like to read anytime I have to wait for something — appointments, picking up my kids. I’ve even read while waiting for my food to arrive at a restaurant (when going solo).

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Mostly silently in my head. The only time I read out loud is with my own writing to see how it sounds. I used to read out loud to my kids all the time, but I don’t so much now that they’re older and like to read for themselves. Except for Mad Libs. We read those aloud, if we can stop laughing long enough.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

As a rule, no. If I run across a book that I just can’t get into, I’ll skim through it to see if it gets better before relegating it to the DNF pile.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I like to keep my books new-looking. I try not to damage them in any way. They are prized possessions.

11. Do you write in books?

No, other than to put my last name in the front cover if I’m taking the book out of the house. I’m more likely to get it back that way if I accidentally set it down at an appointment somewhere. I don’t like marked up books. It’s a pet peeve of mine. It detracts from my reading experience. Handwritten words catch my eye and pull me out of the story every time.


What are your reading habits? If you feel like answering any or all of the questions, consider yourself tagged!




© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Celebrate the Small Things! And Loni Townsend’s Bucket List!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

Today I’m celebrating: Loni Townsend’s This World Bites Blog Tour!


Loni is stopping by today to share her hilarious Top Ten Bucket List. I still can’t read it without giggling. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Lori for letting me on her blog. She suggested my top 10 bucket lists for me and my character. It seems appropriate since her blog is Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams.

With that, these are the top 10 dreams I want to pursue…with a bucket. (It is a bucket list after all.)

10. Become an awesome enough writer to get a Red Bull endorsement. Writing is a sport, isn’t it? (I’d drink a bucket of Red Bull!)

9. Attend a masquerade ball. (My husband offered to wear the bucket as his mask.)

8. Go sky diving. (I could catch the clouds in my bucket.)

7. Return to pole dancing.* (The dollar bills need to go somewhere, even if it’s only my husband handing them out.)

6. Actually pass the motorcycle skills test. Yeah… But hey, I got a 100% on the written. That has to count for something. (I’ll practice weaving around a row of buckets.)

5. Own a BRZ. Okay, so maybe I’m just fascinated that Toyota and Subaru would get together and build a sports car. I love both companies, and that’s really why I want the car. (With my leadfoot, my passengers might need the bucket for their stomach contents as I round the corners.)

4. Master a martial art. Any martial art would do. (Maybe there’s the art of bucket wielding.)

3. Build a dojo. (My bucket would hold the water I’d use to clean the floors.)

2. Spend at least a year living in Japan. (I would collect souvenirs in my bucket.)

1. Finish the remaining 3 books in the ninier series. (I can keep my printed copies in my bucket.)

*I’ve never professionally pole danced, I’ve only taken lessons. But I do have a pole in my living room. It’s an incredible whole-body workout.

Cera, my main character in This World Bites, has one goal in life: Find a cure for her father. It drives her to travel from world to world. Oh, she’d like other stuff–pursue dancing, find true love, save her world… But those are all trivial compared to saving her dad.


What are your goals? What would you do if you had a bucket?



It’s her first day on a new world and Cera’s already found trouble. Michael, her guardian, has been bitten by a zombie and will soon join the undead ranks.

Everyone tells her there’s no cure, but Cera isn’t one to be deterred. She’s willing to face off with zombie hordes, demon slavers, and black market informants if it means she’ll find a cure for Michael. But she’s not the only one hunting for something.

Something is hunting her.



Barnes & Noble:











By day, she writes code. By predawn darkness, she writes fantasies. All other times, she writes in her head.

People call her peculiar with a twisted sense of fashion, but don’t let those understatements fool you. Her behavior is perfectly normal for a squirrel disguised as a human. That’s part of being a ninja—blending in.

She makes her home in Idaho with her sadistically clever—yet often thwarted—husband, two frighteningly brilliant children, and three sneaky little shibas.

Find her on her blog or social media.

Contact info:

Blog —

Facebook —

Twitter —

Google+ —

Goodreads —


What other celebrations are going on out there?

IWSG — The Waiting Game

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. IWSG_Badge

I had hoped to be celebrating my book release at this point in February, but unfortunately, things are not working out as planned. Between the communication issues and the variety of problems my cover designer is having, the cover still isn’t done.

I feel bad for her, as it’s been one thing after another — things breaking down, computer crashes, kids getting sick. Dealing with life’s snarls is obviously more important than publishing a book, but, man, it is frustrating to be so close and not be able to get there.

So for now, I’m sending positive thoughts and energy her way in hopes that it might help smooth things out on her end. After all that’s happened, she deserves a break! And it’s a great lesson in patience for me.

Is anybody else out there playing the waiting game?




© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.