IWSG and A to Z Challenge: My Bucket List! – Past, Present, and Future: E is for England, Edinburgh, and Easter Island

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.

My insecurities this month revolve around the use of social media. There are so many social channels out there, how do you know which is the best to use to connect with potential readers? And what is the best way to find those readers?

I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and I recently started an Instagram account. I’m also on Goodreads and, of course, WordPress. And my book trailers are on YouTube. I find Twitter overwhelming, so my blog posts are linked to it, but I haven’t done much else with it. Finding the time to keep up with social media is also a challenge.

I’d love to know what social media channels other writers use most effectively and how they organize their social media time.

The IWSG question for this month: Do you have any secrets that readers would never know from your work?

I couldn’t think of anything to reply to this, so I’ll be interested to read how everyone else answers this question.


Now on to the A to Z Challenge!

I’m taking the long way around with A to Z this year. My plan is to post every couple of weeks, so I will have time to visit other blogs in between and still have time to write.


E is for – England, Edinburgh, and Easter Island


On that same 1995 trip to Scotland I wrote about for A to Z A, we also visited England. My Dad’s side of the family hails from Northhamptonshire. We flew into London, stayed there for a couple of days, then rented a car and drove around the countryside. I had made a list of places I wanted to visit, and we hit as many as we could. We saw the usual tourist sites in London: Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, the Tower Bridge, and Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London (both from the outside).


Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London


Buckingham Palace, London


White Tower of London, where royalty was imprisoned before execution. (Rumored to have many ghosts.)


Tower Bridge, London


We had to ride the double-decker bus.


Me, 25 years ago, doing the tourist thing.

I have to admit, though, that as lovely as those places were, I was more interested in the castles and ruins outside of the London area. The cathedrals were pretty spectacular, too.


Penshurst Place and gardens, near Tonbridge, Kent


Hever Castle, Kent (postcard – I couldn’t get the whole thing in one photo)


Bodiam Castle ruins, East Sussex


Arundel Castle, West Sussex


Arundel Castle Library (postcard – my favorite room in the castle)


Pevensey Castle ruins, East Sussex


Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury (Restoration in progress.)


Tintagel Castle ruins, Cornwall. Steeped in the legend of King Arthur.


Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

One of my Dad’s ancestors came from Sulgrave, a small town in Northamptonshire. Interestingly, Sulgrave Manor, built in 1539, (PHOTO) is the ancestral home of George Washington, First President of the United States. Unfortunately, we drove through the area on a Sunday, and the manor house was closed to the public.


We visited Edinburgh, capital city of Scotland, in 1995, as well. We spent quite a bit of time at Edinburgh castle, taking in (figuratively) the Honours of Scotland and touring the Scottish National War Memorial, United Services Museum, St. Margaret’s Chapel, the Royal Scots Museum and the Prisons of War. So much history in one of the oldest fortifications in Europe.


Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland. One of those misty, moody days.

Interesting fact: The Honours of Scotland are the oldest crown jewels in Britain. During WWII, the Crown of Scotland was hidden for safekeeping by burying it in a medieval latrine closet.

For information on the storied history of the castle and more interesting facts, click HERE.

Easter Island!

Ancient monoliths have always intrigued me. Who built them? What was their purpose? Easter Island, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, is home to one of the world’s great mysteries: the massive stone heads called Moai.


Moai on Easter Island Photo credit: http://www.goodfreephotos.com

The Moai were carved from volcanic rock by the Polynesians who settled on Easter Island sometime between 800 AD and 1200 AD. The island, also known by its Polynesian name of Rapa Nui, lies over 2,000 miles west of Chile in the South Pacific Ocean. It’s mainly made up of three extinct volcanoes, and along with surrounding small islets, it forms the summit of a 6,600-foot-tall underwater mountain, part of the Sala y Gomez Ridge, a Pacific undersea mountain range.

Rapa Nui was given the name Easter Island by Dutch explorers who first landed there on Easter Sunday in 1722.


Moai, Easter Island Photo credit: antoinese @ http://www.goodfreephotos.com

One theory is that the stone statues were built to honor the settlers’ ancestors. There are nearly 900 monoliths, and almost all of them stand with their backs to the sea, looking inward toward the villages as if watching over the people. Only a very few face the ocean; those that do also overlook a village. One possible suggestion is that the statues facing the sea were placed there to help others find the island.


Moai, Easter Island Photo credit: Jaboczw @ http://www.goodfreephotos.com

The statues averaged 13 feet tall and weighed 14 tons, with the tallest being closer to 40 feet and over 80 tons.

Between the late 1700s and mid-1800s, all of the statues on the island were toppled, either by civil war between the islanders, conflicts with European explorers, or earthquakes, according to various theories. Many have since been restored.

Maybe someday I’ll see the statues for myself and contemplate their existence like those ancient explorers did.


And now for the Writing Update:

Between vehicle problems and life in general, I only added maybe another 100 words to my WIP, Trouble Times Three, since my last A to Z post. Still, that’s a little progress, miniscule as it is.


Anyone else have any bucket list items beginning with E?




© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2020. All rights reserved.
























22 thoughts on “IWSG and A to Z Challenge: My Bucket List! – Past, Present, and Future: E is for England, Edinburgh, and Easter Island

  1. That looks like a fun trip, one I hope to someday take myself. Japan is on my bucket list. I would love to go visit the old shrines and walk in the forests.

    As far as social media goes, well, I suck at being social. 😀 I do hang out on Instagram quite a bit, but that’s more tailored to my personal and digital art side (@lonitownsend and @art_by_loni). There it’s all about the hashtags. I can’t manage other platforms. I’m just not social enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. IMHO soical media keeps your network alive, but I’m not sure it does more than that. If I advertise (as in pay for ads) that works fairly well, but I have to bear the cost up front. Loved the pictures of England and your very sensible approach to the A to Z.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been to a few of the castles above, but not enough. That was 5 years ago now. Wow, where did the time go. One thing I’ve learned the hard way, Lori is you can eventually build a fan base, but you need to keep it up. IOWS, get those books written and published, but keep going. I used to receive letters from readers, but since I haven’t published anything for several years, the letters have stopped. That’s a strong indication that I need to get back to it. All we can do is keep plugging away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, it’s been 25 years for me. Where does the time go? Building up a fan base does take a lot of time. I just need to keep at it. I love hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books. Hope you get a chance to get back at it. Thanks, Joylene!


  4. Like you, I have no idea which channels are most effective on social media. Honestly, I don’t use it half as much as I should, and I know how important it is. Glad to know I’m not the only one feeling this! Happy writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay to we outside-the-box AtoZ participants! I love that you and I are approaching this the same way, meaning our take-your-time way. This is a wonderful post and I might not have paid it its proper attention if it had been one of 26.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome photos, Lori. Lucky you to have visited England, Scotland, and Easter Island. Truly amazing. By the way, I don’t exactly know how or where to find my followers on social media either. I’m on twitter, facebook, and pinterest. Let’s try to connect! All best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve only traveled outside the country to go to Canada and Jamaica and when I was a child to Haiti. Haven’t been anywhere else but would love to go to Akihabara in Japan. Been doing more reading than writing this year but soon hope to use all that reading to good use and finish my story. And put a good dent in the rewrites by Fall.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

    As for social media, it all depends on you. Some people love Twitter, but me…not so much. My Author Facebook (like) page and Instagram are my favorites, so I focus more on those. I also have my newsletter and my blog, which both are very important to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I find sharing on social media overwhelming as well. I know it’s good to share, but I just feel like there is always one more task that needs to be done, one more place I need to share my blog posts.

    Thanks for sharing your awesome pictures and stories from travel! They were a fun addition to the post!

    Liked by 1 person

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