IWSG — Book Awards, Milestones, and Changes — Oh My! And November Question of the Month

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.

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I didn’t intend to drop off the face of the blogosphere a couple of weeks ago. Life happened, with a lot of things going on at once, so blogging had to take a backseat.

First, for anyone who didn’t see the announcement on my Facebook page, my first book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, did win the award in the Independent Publishers of New England Book Award contest in the Fantasy/SciFi category. Whoo, hoo! I had a great time at the IPNE fall conference in New Hampshire on October 21st and 22nd where I went to accept the award.

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Second, I reached another milestone with my blog. This will be my 300th post!

And third, life happened in the form of my getting a new job. It happened in a whirlwind and rather unexpectedly. It’s definitely a good thing, but the difficult part is that this job requires an intensive ten-week training course, which will consume pretty much all of my waking hours from November 14th until late January. I know the job itself will be interesting and rewarding, but the training will be a challenge.

Which brings me to my insecurity for this month (and for the next few): My writing time will be nonexistent for the next ten weeks and probably beyond until I get settled into the new position. It’s going to be hard to live without it. I had hoped to publish one book a year to build up a backlist, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish the book I’m working on and get it out by the end of 2017 or not. It’s still a possibility. It’ll just have to be a fall/winter book instead of a spring one like my first two.

Blogging time will also be nonexistent. I will keep the author promo commitments I’ve already made. I’m in the process of scheduling those posts now, but other than that, after November 14th, I won’t be around much, if at all.

Here’s to a successful training session, and Happy Holidays to everyone!

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And now for the November IWSG question:

 What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

My favorite aspect is writing the first draft. When I sit down at the keyboard and the story is playing like a movie in my mind and the words are tumbling out of my head like a waterfall and I can barely get them down fast enough. I live for those moments.

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

Meet Officer Blake Herro from Chrys Fey’s 30 Seconds Before

Chrys Fey and Officer Herro are taking over my blog today in honor of Chrys’ new release, 30 Seconds Before. Catch the exciting excerpt after the interview!

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Chrys Fey here interviewing Officer Blake Herro from 30 Seconds Before. This will be a quick interview for a busy man.

  1. Did you ever shoot someone while on duty, and how did it make you feel?

Once. It’s not something I ever want to do, but to protect myself and my partner, I did shoot a man who had opened fire on us. Even in the name of self-preservation, it’s never an easy thing to deal with afterward. The moment when bullets hit our car and I had to open fire replayed in my mind for nights, days, and weeks. The man died, and I struggled with that. A fellow officer sat me down and made me see that, although some officers can go their entire careers without firing their weapons, some of us aren’t so lucky, but that doesn’t make us bad officers.

  1. Have you ever made a mistake?

I think all rookies make mistakes, but I thankfully never made a life-threatening one or put anyone in jeopardy. Well, unless you count going undercover in the Mob. Yeah, that might’ve been a mistake.

  1. I do think that counts. What do you do to de-stress and relax?

I sit back with a beer and watch football if it’s the season for it. I also don’t mind cooking, which I know will surprise many, but my grandmother taught me how to cook, and I enjoy it. On occasion, to shut down after a hard shift, bourbon helps a lot.

  1. Bourbon works. When you went undercover in the Mob, is there something you wish you had done or didn’t do?

I wish I hadn’t been so good at it.

  1. Now I have to ask a question for the ladies. Why are you single?

Because I am my job, and I don’t meet many eligible bachelorettes when I’m in my uniform.

Well, we like a good-looking man in a uniform, don’t we, ladies? Okay, so I’ll stop teasing Blake and let him get back to work.

30secondsbefore_w-11122_750

 

Title: 30 Seconds Before

Prequel to 30 Seconds

Genre: Mainstream Thriller

Page Count: 60 (novella)

 

BLURB:

Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?

 

BOOK LINKS:

Amazon US / Amazon UK /  Amazon CA

Nook / Kobo / The Wild Rose Press

Goodreads

 

EXCERPT:

Blake’s gaze continued to scan the area. Too many officers needed help. Blake strained his eyes to see if the nearest officer was still breathing, but the darkness and flashing lights obscured his vision.

Dread was ripe in his veins, twining his intestines into knots. The assailants who attacked the officers could be lurking nearby, watching and putting him in their sights. Being out in the open with nothing but his Kevlar vest as protection was not where he wanted to be, but the officer he was helping would bleed out if he moved.

Blake studied the officer. His lips were an unnatural shade of blue. He was shivering from the frigid December night as well as blood loss.

“Did you see them?” Blake asked. “Do you know who did this?”

The officer’s lips moved.

Blake leaned forward, bringing his ear to the officer’s mouth. “What was that?”

The officer took a shuddering breath. “Red.”

 

sale-image

30 Seconds, the story that follows 30 Seconds Before, is on sale for 99 Cents. Get it at this discount so you can read the entire story from start to finish!

 

SALE LINKS:

Amazon / The Wild Rose Press / NOOK / KOBO

 

75b4b-chrysfeyauthorpicBIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. She is an administrator for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and heads their monthly newsletter.

Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four adopted cats who keep her entertained with their antics, and three nephews who keep her entertained with their antics. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and through her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers!

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

 

 

Celebrate the Small Things — Today’s the Day! And Lynda R. Young’s New Devotional: Cling To God!

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 the Independent Publishers of New England Book Awards! Today’s the day I find out if I’m the Finalist or the Winner. The winner will be announced at the IPNE Book Awards ceremony this afternoon at 4:30 as part of the IPNE 2016 Publishing Conference in Portsmouth, NH. Wish me luck!

I’ll be at the conference over the weekend, so I’ll return comments and visits when I get back. Either result — Finalist or Winner — will feel like a win to me. So exciting!

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And now for another super celebration — Lynda R. Young’s new devotional, Cling to God, is here!

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Cling to God: A Daily Devotional
by Lynda R Young


Release date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Freedom Fox Press

 

Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

Kindle      Amazon     Nook     B & N     Kobo     iTunes     Goodreads

 

lyndaryoungLynda R Young writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here:

Blog     Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads


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What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

Welcome, L.G. Keltner As She Shares The Challenge of Writing a Series in a Year, and an Excerpt!

L.G. Keltner has a new book out in her Self-Help 101 series that is perfect for Halloween: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People. She’s visiting today with a guest post on some of the challenges she faced with her series. And check out the excerpt at the end! Take it away, L.G.!

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The Challenge of Writing a Series in a Year

When I first realized the Christmas novella I’d just published was not to be the stand-alone piece I’d originally thought it was, I began to eagerly plan out what was to come next. I felt energized. I was starting a new year with a clear goal in mind, and I was actually feeling confident that I could accomplish all I needed to do in order to make it happen.

Writing a series poses a lot of challenges, though. Continuity is important. Some series pose more of a challenge in this respect than others, but they all require the author to build upon the events of previous installments. Unless you’re doing an anthology style series, of course. Because of the need for continuity and consistent character development, plotting has become a little more challenging with each novella in the Self-Help 101 series. Conflicts that were set up in prior installments need to come to a head later on. If they don’t, readers may feel cheated.

My largest challenge, however, when it comes to writing this series has been time. When I decided to write it, I set the goal of completing the four novellas by the end of the following year. That time frame made sense to me, because the four novellas take place over the course of a year. It also didn’t seem like too much to handle. When you start at the beginning of a new year, it seems like you have all the time in the world. As most of you know, however, life tends to throw up road blocks every now and then, and time tends to go far faster than you’d hoped. I unexpectedly got pregnant, so that left me feeling icky and not up to writing for those first few weeks. As it is, I’m still on track to meet that initial goal, and I’m feeling pretty good about that.

I’ve learned a lot from this experience, and the challenges have helped me grow as a writer. Try not to let challenges get you down. There’s nothing more rewarding than finding a way to overcome an obstacle and achieve your goal.

What writing-related challenges do you face? How do you deal with them?

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Excerpt:

 “This salad has seen better days,” Daniel said as he moved the wilted greens around the plate with his fork.

“I think the same could be said of any food that’s about to be eaten.” I looked around the dining hall. The staff were all wearing Halloween apparel of some kind, and cheesy spiders, spider webs, and pumpkins adorned the walls. No sign of Seth yet. His class had probably run a few minutes late. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Daniel shook his head as he looked at my chicken sandwich. “No, I think your chicken’s worst day was the day it was killed to become food.”

“Yum. Slaughter. Just what I want to think about when I’m eating.” I picked up my sandwich and took a big bite anyway.

“You’ll never take over the world if you’re disturbed by a little slaughter.”

“That’s why I wrote a book about it. I never intended to actually do it myself,” I said. “If I had intended to do it, I would have kept my nefarious plans to myself.”

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Title: Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People

Author: L.G. Keltner

Genre: holiday/humor

Length: 29,000 words

Cover Art: L.G. Keltner and Jamon Walker

Release Date: September 27, 2016

 

Blurb:

Book 3 in the Self-Help 101 series.

Dani Finklemeier is adjusting to life in college and the realities of living away from home for the first time. She’s also learning to deal with the criticism that stems from sharing her writing with the world. Some of the online criticism is even spelled correctly, which somehow makes it worse.

Fortunately, she has a Halloween party, a group of friends, and a supportive boyfriend to distract her from the things that are bothering her. Of course, a holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without something going wrong. Between an unpleasant confrontation with an infuriating classmate, some shocking costume choices, and a bizarre fraternity stunt, the evening will be anything but dull.

Dani’s detractors may not like it, but she’ll definitely have enough material for another book.

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L.G. Keltner spends most of her time trying to write while also cleaning up after her crazy but wonderful kids and hanging out with her husband. Her favorite genre of all time is science fiction, and she’s been trying to write novels since the age of six. Needless to say, those earliest attempts weren’t all that good.

Her non-writing hobbies include astronomy and playing Trivial Pursuit.

You can typically find L.G. lurking around her blog, on Twitter, or on her Facebook page.

Purchase Links:

E-book:

Amazon US     Amazon UK     Smashwords     Barnes & Noble     iBooks     Kobo

Print:

Amazon US     CreateSpace

Add it on Goodreads.

 

Celebrate the Small Things — Weekend Edition!

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

Sorry I’m late to the party! This week’s celebrations:

  1. I have a short story for the IWSG Anthology Contest, which is an accomplishment for me, because rarely does anything I write end up short. Ironically, though, the story is actually too short for the 3,000 to 6,000 word limit, so I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it.
  2. We went to my daughter’s National Honor Society induction ceremony. I’m so proud of her!
  3. On Saturday, we made our traditional trek through the corn maze! It’s always fun, and the best part is eating bakery treats afterward. Yum!

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. 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

The leaves are really starting to turn here, and it’s just beautiful. The Green Mountains are showing off their red, orange, and gold. For this lovely fall week I’d like to celebrate:

  1. Book Awards! As I mentioned in my IWSG post, I won a Finalist award in the Independent Publishers of New England Book Awards contest. Originally, I thought that “Finalist” was my final position, so to speak, but I found out last night that the winner’s trophy was still up for grabs and that the contest was down to two people, me and one other Finalist. I still have a chance to win. Whoo, hoo! So exciting!
  2. We went to “Paying for College” night at the high school and learned about the process of applying for college financial aid. My daughter is a junior this year and she’s starting to think about life after graduation. My baby is growing up. *sniffle*
  3. This Saturday is Indie Author Day! From the website:

“During the Inaugural Indie Author Day on October 8, 2016, libraries from all across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. In addition to these local programs, each library’s indie community will come together for an hour-long digital gathering at 2 pm Eastern featuring Q&A with writers, agents and other industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity for libraries and authors to connect on both local and global levels!”

Are any of you authors joining in the celebration?

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

IWSG — Book Awards! And October Question of the Month

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. insecure-writers-support-group-badge

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I know there are quite a few book award contests out there, and I’ve often wondered if it’s worth the upfront cost to enter them. Sometimes it feels like throwing money down the drain. If you don’t win or place, you have nothing to show for the investment.

And are all those contests really legit? Or are some of them created by unsavory characters preying on authors desperate for any recognition that will lift their books up out of the ever-widening sea of published novels? And if the contests aren’t big name like, for example, the Hugo Awards, will readers be influenced to buy your book if you do win?

I don’t know the answers to the first two questions, but I’m about to find out the answer to the third one. I received notice a few days ago that my first book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, won a Finalist award in the Independent Publishers of New England Book Award contest I entered a while back. Whoo, hoo! I’ll be going to the IPNE fall conference in New Hampshire on October 21st and 22nd to accept the award and hopefully do a book signing, and just enjoy the conference. It will be interesting to see if the award and the publicity surrounding it have any effect on sales.

What experiences have other authors had with book contests? What ones did you enter? If you won or placed, what happened then? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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And now for the October IWSG question:

When do you know your story is ready?

My basic rule is that if I can read through my story without tinkering or making any edits, it’s ready. Of course, this is after it has gone through the necessary revisions and professional editing. But if I can read through it and not find anything that feels just a little off, and if everything reads smoothly without any wording that trips me up, it’s done.

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And Don’t Forget the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest!

Last year’s contest was science fiction — parallel world/alternate history — and the result was Parallels: Felix Was Here. This year, there’s a new theme and all members are invited to submit.

 Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter — blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.

 Word count: 3000-6000

Genre: Fantasy

Theme: Hero Lost. It could be about a hero turned villain, a villain’s redemption, a hero’s lack of confidence, a hero’s lack of smarts, etc. It can be about any kind of hero including superheroes, mythological heroes, unexpected or unlikely heroes, or a whole new kind of hero. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

 Deadline: November 1st, 2016

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group.

 Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.