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.!

*****

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?

 ***** 

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.”

 *****

 final

 

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.

*****

photo

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

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

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

Wow, how did we get to the end of September already? This week I’d like to celebrate:

  1. My parents came over to my house and my Dad helped me fix my broken picket fence gate and a couple of other things. He’s great at that sort of thing.
  2. We went to open house at the high school and I heard nothing but good things about my kids.
  3. I went through a jurying process and was accepted into one of the larger craft shows that will be coming up in November. So now I have four craft shows/farmer’s markets lined up for this fall, plus an event at Barnes & Noble, and I’m hoping to add one more craft show for the holidays.
  4. I had my car inspected and all they found wrong with it was that it needed new front tires. Whoo, hoo! (I was expecting much worse.)
  5. We survived another driving lesson.

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Spotlight on Diane Burton’s new novella: Mission To New Earth and a Giveaway!

mission-to-new-earth-750-cover

 

Mission to New Earth: a novella

By Diane Burton

Genre: science fiction romance

Release date: August 31, 2016

Length: 88 pages (25k words)

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ ARe ~ Smashwords ~ Barnes & Noble

 

The Story

Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?

In 2172, Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of volcanic winter—the timeline changes.

With eight years of training crammed into four, Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch. But are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.

*****

UNDERGROUND HIDEAWAYS

While the majority of Mission to New Earth takes place on Titan, Saturn’s moon (the launch platform) and the rest on the new planet, which they named Serenity—my shoutout to Firefly—the astronaut teams are aware of what’s going on back on Earth. And the news isn’t good. So far, they’ve had earthquakes, tsunamis, and now a potential supervolcano. Could it get any worse? Oh, yeah, the super-size passenger starships aren’t ready yet. Sara’s team and/or the other two teams had better find a new home. Quick.

Back home, the United Earth Nations government is preparing underground bunkers for Earth’s inhabitants to ride out the next calamities. Caves and mines are ready-made shelters. Think about all the natural caves in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the world. They would have to be modified, of course. Sealed entrances to keep out ash from a supervolcano or floods from tsunamis. Ventilation would need to be upgraded, roadways enhanced, sanitation facilities added. But the main work of hollowing out underground bunkers is already there.

In the story, there’s a brief mention of the salt mines under Detroit. Yes, indeedy, salt mines 1200 feet under Detroit and suburbs, even going under the Detroit River into Windsor, Ontario. Although I grew up in the Detroit area, I never imagined over 1500 acres and over 100 miles of roads underneath my feet.

Photo Credit: Nolan Ross

Photo Credit: Nolan Ross

 

 

 

This cutaway diagram shows the Detroit River with the Detroit skyline in the background.

 

 

 

 

In its heyday, the mines produced over 8,000 tons of rock salt a month. Over time, operations stopped and started. Since 1998, the mines don’t produce table salt. Instead, road de-icing salt, a necessity for Michigan winters.

Photo Credit: Wayne State University

Photo Credit: Wayne State University

 

 

 

If you look carefully, you can see a miner in the middle surrounded by bags of salt.

 

 

 

 

In the 1940s and ’50s, schoolchildren toured the mines. When my husband was in college, he went on a tour of the mines. He said this picture is what he saw.

Photo Credit: detroitsalt

Photo Credit: detroitsalt

A plus for anyone living in the salt mines, besides the cool temperature, is no rats or cockroaches. Nothing for them to eat. With people living there, that might change.

Until I researched for this story, I didn’t know that the Great Lakes rest on the largest salt deposit in the world, estimated at over 71 trillion tons of unmined salt. Imagine if they expanded the tunnels to accommodate more people.

Having learned all this, I started asking myself questions. What about the people who had to live down there? Or in any cave or mine? Talk about close quarters. Little or no privacy. How did the government determine who gets in first? What about those who are claustrophobic? Once settled in, what did people do? Sit around or would they have jobs? What if someone didn’t want to go? Would the authorities force them? What could go wrong?

As I thought about all those questions, I got ideas for more stories. Isn’t that what writer do? Think what if . . .

*****

GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

diane-burtonAbout the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Amazon author page

Sign up for Diane’s newsletter

 

 

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

It’s been another one of those crazy busy weeks. Things to celebrate:

  1. The Ghost Walk Tour! It was a blast. I had no idea there were so many hauntings in Burlington, VT.
  2. Apple picking, cider donuts, and apple crisp! Yum!! Our annual trip to the apple orchard is one of my favorite traditions.
  3. College Fair Night! Over 200 college representatives filled the gymnasium at local St. Michael’s College to answer questions from high school students. My daughter is a junior this year, so off we went into the maze of college brochures and financial aid info. It was overwhelmingly noisy and crowded, but we came out with a lot of useful information that will help as we move on with the process.
  4. Farmer’s Markets! The last craft day at the local Farmer’s Market was on Thursday. One lady bought both Book 1 and Book 2 and said she couldn’t wait to read them, which made me happy. 🙂

 

The haunted Timothy Follett House

The haunted Timothy Follett House

 

The spooky window of the Follett House where apparitions have been seen lurking.

The spooky window of the Follett House where apparitions have been seen lurking.

 

The full moon during the Ghost Walk.

The full moon during the Ghost Walk.

 

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

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