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

England!

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).

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Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London

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Buckingham Palace, London

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

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Tower Bridge, London

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We had to ride the double-decker bus.

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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.

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Penshurst Place and gardens, near Tonbridge, Kent

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

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Bodiam Castle ruins, East Sussex

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Arundel Castle, West Sussex

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

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Pevensey Castle ruins, East Sussex

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Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury (Restoration in progress.)

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

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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.

Edinburgh!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IWSG and A to Z Challenge: My Bucket List! – Past, Present, and Future: C is for Caribbean Cruise

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.

I don’t really have any new insecurities at the moment, just the usual ones, so I’m going to move on to the IWSG question for this month: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE?

The things that help me to be the most productive are a good night’s sleep and a quiet house. It’s impossible for me to concentrate and think creatively if I have a tired brain or too many distractions that disrupt my focus. Sometimes going outside and either taking a walk or just getting some fresh air helps clear my head if the words aren’t coming as easily as I’d like. Another thing I find helpful is to go back and re-read the last several pages I’ve written or even the previous chapter. Many times, when I get back to where I left off, the way forward becomes clear, and I’m back on track and ready to dive into my characters’ next adventure.

And speaking of adventures, it’s 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.

C is for – Caribbean Cruise

I went on my first and only cruise way back in September of 1988. I always thought it would be a fun thing to do — to sail on the ocean and visit tropical locales like you see in the movies. The first things that struck me when I landed in Miami (besides the heat) were the palm trees. I had never seen real palm trees before, only pictures. That may sound kind of silly, but I found them really interesting.

Things didn’t go quite as planned in the beginning of this adventure. Someone was supposed to meet me at the airport and give me a ride to the ship, the Caribe, where I would then meet up with the tour group I would be traveling with. No one was there, however, so I ended up hopping a bus that took me to the port where the cruise ship was docked. Of course, there were several ships docked there, and, not being able to see the names, I had no idea which was the Caribe, but after stopping and asking a few people for directions, I did find the right ship.

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After I made it onboard and got settled in my cabin, I discovered a not-so-fun thing about cruises: ships rocking in the ocean make me seasick. And we hadn’t even left the dock. That prompted a visit to the ship’s doctor who gave me a shot and some motion sickness pills that solved that problem.

Things went much more smoothly after that. Our first stop was in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. It was my first time visiting a developing country. I remember bartering with one of the natives for an amber necklace and bracelet. The differences in the way of life between the people there and where I live were both eye-opening and sobering and made me think about how many things in my world I took for granted. We visited a market place, took a scenic drive past sugar cane fields, and spent some time on a lovely beach.

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Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

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Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

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Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Our second stop was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We took a tour through the city and saw the capitol building and some other places. Some of the city’s streets have the unique feature of being paved with blue cobblestones. Apparently, when the Spanish sailed across the Atlantic to the West Indies looking for gold in the 1700s, they brought the blue cobblestones with them as ballast in their ships. They left the cobblestones behind when they took the gold back to Spain, and the people of San Juan used the cobblestones to pave their streets. A few of the original cobblestones still exist. There’s a legend that says if you stop to listen, you can hear the footsteps of the Spanish soldiers who once walked the streets.

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Capitol Building, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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If you look really closely, you can see the blue cobblestones through the bus window on the right.

We also visited Castillo San Felipe Del Morro, a citadel built by the Spanish between the 16th and 18th centuries to protect the entrance to San Juan Bay against seafaring enemies. The citadel was used as a military base by the US during World War I and II.

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San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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View from San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

From there, it was on to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, the land of amazing beaches. We took another scenic tour, shopped in the shopping district, and enjoyed the white sands and gorgeous turquoise water.

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Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. My ship, the Caribe, is the little ship behind the huge Sovereign of the Seas in the bay on the left. The Norway is the ship farther out to sea.

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Megan’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

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Bolongo Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

The flight home was uneventful, thankfully. The Caribbean cruise was quite an experience, but I have to say that once was enough for me. I have no desire for any more ocean excursions.

 
And now for the Writing Update:

I added another 1,000 words to my WIP, Trouble Times Three, since my last A to Z post. Feels like a turtle pace, but at least it’s moving forward.

Anyone else have any bucket list items beginning with C?

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IWSG — The Fleetingness of Summer

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 hereinsecure-writers-support-group-badge

I had writing plans for this summer. Not big ones, but small ones I thought would be doable. I’d market my new book and get started on my next one. I’d get back into blogging. As I’m turning the page from July to August, I’m realizing the summer is nearly over and I’ve hardly accomplished any of the things I’d wanted to. This will be my second blog post since last year, so there’s a tiny bit of progress. I just need to build on it.

The idea was to continue to get up early over the summer and use that time to write before having to go to work. That doesn’t work well, though, unless I go to bed early enough to still get 7-8 hours’ sleep. A foggy brain does not a good writer make. It was a great plan, in theory. But I can’t believe how hard it is to make myself go to bed early. Between after-dinner family time and doing what needs to be done, it’s 10:30 – 11:00 PM before I know it.

So my insecurity for this month is that I won’t be able to turn my schedule around, salvage the summer, and at least get my next book started. Can I do it? We’ll see. Wish me luck!

The ISWG question for this month is: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I think the biggest pitfall for an independent/self-published writer would be to not go the extra mile to put out a quality product. Professional editing, proofreading, and a professionally designed book cover are essential if a writer wants to be taken seriously. It’s the only way self-publishing will lose its stigma of being inferior to traditional publishing. Self-pubbing has come a long way, and we need to keep it moving forward.

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2018. All rights reserved.

IWSG — Time Flies, Whether You’re Having Fun Or Not

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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How did it get to be July already??? I had hoped to get more blogging done in June, but that didn’t happen. And I didn’t get much done in the way of visiting during last month’s IWSG, either, but I’ll try again this month and hopefully do better.

I am making progress on my WIP, though. Whoo hoo! I’m right at the edge of the climax and can’t wait to see what surprises are in store before I hit The End. I just need to find a way to carve out a little more writing time. It’s so hard to do when there are so many demands on my time. My insecurity is that I won’t be able to find that time and writing and blogging will fall by the wayside again. Does anyone ever feel like they have enough time to do all the things that need to be done?

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2017. All rights reserved.

IWSG — Working My Way Back

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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Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve had a chance to get back into the blogosphere. When life steps in, it can throw everything for a loop. But I’m happy to say I survived the intensive ten-week training course, passed the required 4-hour certification exam, and have settled into my new job, which is going really well.

The best part is that I’m finally starting to get back into writing. I can’t tell you how good that feels. So what is my insecurity this month? I’m wondering if writing is like riding a bicycle. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything new that I sometimes feel like I’ve forgotten how. I’ve been reading through my current WIP so it will be fresh in my mind. It’s called The Road Once Taken, and it’s about ¾ done, so I don’t have too much left to write. My goal is to publish it this fall. Fingers crossed that I can find the time to make it happen.

My free time is still extremely limited so it may take me a while to return visits and see what everyone has been up to in the last six months, but today’s post is a start, and I’ll be working my way back to blogging more often.

One thing I did accomplish was to get the book cover done. I wanted to have some “coming soon” book cards printed to hand out at the book events I have coming up this summer. Carrie Butler of Forward Authority Design did a fantastic job with it. And I always get the images for the cover and for the book trailer at the same time, so I’ve been playing around with that, too. Click below to see the latest version.

Happy IWSG Day!!

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2017. All rights reserved.

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.

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.

IWSG — Resource List of Experts and Links?, the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest Theme!, and the September 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

The awesome co-hosts for this month: C. Lee McKenzie, Rachel Pattinson, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Elsie Amata, and Me!

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Resource List of Experts and Links?

Sometimes when I write a scene involving something I’m not really familiar with, I worry that it won’t sound realistic enough, particularly to someone who has been in a similar situation. I try to think of someone I could talk to who might have experience with it, but finding someone like that isn’t always possible. I do research the topic, which helps, but it’s not as good as talking to someone who’s been there.

A few weeks ago I read a blog post on IWSG member Anna Simpson’s (aka Emaginette’s) page where she asked if readers would be willing to share their knowledge with her in whatever field or subject they had a lot of experience or expertise. Her idea was to collect a list of names of people who would answer her questions and serve as a resource so that when she needed real life info about a situation her characters were in, she could contact them for help to make the scene more authentic.

For example, if she had a character who was going to go skydiving, but she had never done the deed herself, she could go to the resource list, find a person who had skydived, and ask them questions about the experience.

Anna’s first commenter was IWSG member Juneta Key, who gave an impressive list of experiences she was willing to help out with, one of which was something I needed some info on. I contacted Juneta, and she steered me in the right direction with a scene I had involving a police scanner. (Thanks again, Juneta!!)

The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a great idea Anna had. Then I wondered — what if the IWSG website had a page like that? I was thinking how incredibly useful it would be to have a resource page on the site with a list of people who were willing to share their knowledge. Or if they didn’t have firsthand knowledge but had researched topics, they could contribute the names of the sites where they found the best information. The page could be arranged by subject — sort of a one-stop-shop for research.

Would it work? What do you think?

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Announcing 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, we have a new theme and invite all members 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: 5000-6000

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!

Our amazing judges this year:

Elizabeth S. Craig

Richard Harland

Laura Maisano

Russell C. Connor

Dawn Frederick

Michelle L. Johnson

Ion Newcombe

Lynn Tincher

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And now for the September IWSG question:

How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

Well, half the time I don’t, which is tremendously frustrating. But I do my best to carve out small blocks of time here and there. The hardest part for me is to ignore all the other things clamoring to be done and not feel guilty that I’m not doing them. I’m perpetually behind on household chores and yardwork, but you know, in the grand scheme of things, dust bunnies and overgrown yards are not all that important. I have stories to tell, and I need to get them out. The other things can wait their turn. I’m writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

IWSG — 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 really don’t have a lot of writing insecurities this month other than the usual trying to balance writing and marketing, so I’m going to go right to the Question of the Month.

The August 3rd IWSG question: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

I’m happy to say that my first piece of writing has been published! After many years of hobby-writing and revising and then a year of serious revising and editing, my first piece — my novel, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble — was published on February 27, 2015.

For anyone slogging in the trenches of whatever stage of writing you’re at, be it drafting, revising, editing, querying, or looking into the self-pubbing process, I’m here to say, Don’t give up! Keep going, you’ll get there.

During all those years working on my story, I had many doubts that I’d ever see my book in print. It was a dream I chased without much hope of success, but with hard work, persistence, and determination, I brought that dream within reach. It is possible to make dreams come true. I have the book in my hand to prove it.

Keep chasing those dreams, and never, ever let them go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

IWSG — How Much Is Enough?

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

Last year when I published my first book and saw it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, I thought that was the best thing ever and I’d never be able to top it.

Today while out running errands, I stopped at one of the Phoenix Bookstores, a local indie, and took a couple of photos. Book 2 is on the shelves now, and I have to say having two books out there is even better.

 

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So what’s my insecurity this month? Marketing. How much is enough? Since publishing Book 2 in mid-May, I’ve run a wonderfully epic blog tour and participated as a vendor in two farmer’s market/craft shows and the Renaissance Festival. I’ve got more market/craft shows lined up, along with VT Comic Con, and I just set a date with Barnes & Noble for a book signing, coming up in about two weeks (Yes!).

All this is great for sales and getting the word out, but it’s also time-consuming, and I’m not getting much writing done. At some point I have to say enough is enough and get back to writing, because if I don’t, there won’t be any new books to sell.

Does anyone know if there’s any kind of rule of thumb for how long to market a new book when it comes out? How much effort do other authors out there put into it? I’d love to know!

 

The July 6 IWSG question: What’s the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

I love it when people tell me how much they care about my characters. They can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens to them. That means I’ve written my characters well and made them as real to others as they are to me. And to me, that’s the best compliment.

 

 

 

 

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