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.

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

Today I’m very much enjoying the cooler air of fall! Spring and fall are my favorite seasons. It won’t be long before the leaves are turning in earnest and painting the hillsides in glorious color.

Celebrations for this week:

  1. VT Comic Con! I had mixed results at Comic Con last weekend. Sales weren’t stellar, but I did give out a lot of book cards for, hopefully, future purchases. I think the attendees were more looking to spend their money on comic/anime-related things. The good part was that several people recognized my books, having seen them either at local bookstores or when they popped up on Amazon as being similar to something they were buying. One person said her coworker had read my first book and enjoyed it, so she took a photo of the second book with her phone and sent it to her coworker to let her know there was a sequel. I thought that was pretty neat.
  2. The Champlain Valley Fair! So many things to enjoy — the rides, the entertainment, the animals and crafts, and the food! Maple frosted donuts, ice cream, and caramel apples! Yum! And then we went back in the evening a couple of days later to see the Double Figure 8 race and Demolition Derby, which my son loves.
  3. Getting back into a routine now that school has started. My kids may not be happy about being back in school, but I get a lot more done.
  4. The Mad River Valley Craft Fair coming up this weekend! This will be my first time participating as a vendor there, so we’ll see how it goes.

 

JackSkellington

Jack Skellington

 

Storm Troopers examining artwork made entirely from duct tape.

Storm Troopers examining artwork made entirely from duct tape.

 

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One of 2 rollovers from the Double Figure 8 Race. (No one was hurt.)

One of 2 rollovers from the Double Figure 8 Race. (No one was hurt.)

 

View from the top of the 125 ft. tall ferris wheel.

View from the top of the 125 ft. tall ferris wheel.

(Sorry for the photo quality. They were taken with my phone.)

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

I can’t believe July is almost over. The summer is flying by way too fast. I have some great things to celebrate this weekend:

  1. A book-selling opportunity at the Bookstock Literary Festival in Woodstock, VT, this Saturday!
  2. My son’s birthday on Sunday!

And here are some pics from my Barnes & Noble book signing last weekend. I sold 8 books to family and friends and a few walk-in customers. Thank you!!

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And this is what my kids were doing.

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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.

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 busy week. Things I’m celebrating:

  1. A good friend’s birthday party coming up on Saturday!
  2. My Barnes & Noble book signing on Sunday!
  3. Swimming at the beach! The water level was really low, but we were still able to swim around and cool off.
  4. Driving go-karts! My daughter is really nervous about driving and taking Driver’s Ed. this fall, so she’s getting some practice beforehand in go-karts. Makes my son pretty happy, too. He loves the karts.

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! 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

This week I’m celebrating Renaissance Faires! I spent last Saturday and Sunday at the first (and hopefully annual) Ren Faire in Stowe, Vermont. The Faire was good-sized with over 60 vendors (including me!) and lots of medieval-style entertainment. There was a huge turnout, much higher than what was expected. And what was really neat was that many of the people came in full medieval costume despite the 90+ degree temps.

My kids had a fun time exploring all the wares and watching the various performances — singing groups, archery demos, equestrian games, armored combat, and even jousting! I got to see some of them, but mostly stayed at my table. I sold 13 books — a personal best for me at an event — and handed out tons of book cards, which turned into a few more purchases online, judging by sales reports. For the first time, book sales covered the event fee. Whoo hoo!

Photos courtesy of my kids:

The Ladies of Integrity, Aristocracy, Repute and Society, aka The L.I.A.R.S.

The Ladies of Integrity, Aristocracy, Repute and Society, aka The L.I.A.R.S.

 

Unicorn!

Unicorn!

 

The Brotherhood of the Arrow and Sword

The Brotherhood of the Arrow and Sword

 

The Silver Knights Joust Team — Spearing the Hay Bale

The Silver Knights Joust Team — Spearing the Hay Bale

 

The Silver Knights Joust Team

The Silver Knights Joust Team

 

Can’t wait until next year!

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

This has been one of those up and down weeks — the typical author rollercoaster. Still, there are positives to celebrate, even in the midst of disappointments.

  1. A book giveaway and blog hop — one of the good things. My book is included in a giveaway/blog hop over at Rockin’ Book Reviews. Enter to win a free print copy of Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble!
  2. The local cable channel TV interview — definitely a positive. It was fun, and I think it sounded okay, though I haven’t seen the footage. I’ll put up a link when it goes on the air.
  3. The library book signing — very slow. Nobody came in specifically for the event. However, I did sell a book to one of the people who works at the library. She bought it for a friend who is a writer who likes fantasy, in hopes of inspiring her to take the leap into self-publishing.
  4. The sales report received from Ingram/Spark for last month — good and bad. Six print books and two e-books sold, but twelve print books were returned. I think Barnes & Noble finally returned the leftovers they had from my July book signing. If they only returned twelve, though, that means eighteen must have sold, since they originally ordered thirty. I’m considering that a success for the first book from a completely unknown author.
  5. On the home front: started some much-needed fall house cleaning. Definitely good.
  6. Finally got my lawn mowed. Also good, though I had to take the lawn mower apart and WD-40 the power cord pulley to get it to work. That was a pain, but that fact that I got it back together and it worked was very satisfying.

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! Weekend Edition and UPRISING (Children of the Gods #2) — Jessica Therrien’s New Release!

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, I don’t know where this week went. It just flew right on by. Things to celebrate:

The Burlington Book Festival last Saturday provided two great opportunities. The League of VT Writers’ table where I was volunteering was right next to the BBF table. A woman who worked at Barnes & Noble when I did my book signing was volunteering at the BBF table. She remembered me, and we got to talking, and she invited me to do a radio interview on her show Books, Yarns, and Tales for station WBTN 1370 AM. I’d never done a radio interview before, but said sure, why not? She called me on Monday morning, and we did a live/on air interview over the phone, which included a reading from the first chapter of my book. I wasn’t expecting to do the reading. She sprang that on me without much notice, but I think it sounded okay.

Here is the link for anyone who’d like to hear it: http://www.wbtnam.us/imlogger/index.php. Where it says “Pick a Feed” choose “Books, Yarns, and Tales” from the drop-down box, then put in Monday’s date (9/28). That should pull it up. At the moment, there’s only one option, and it starts at 9:04 and runs about 46 minutes.

I also met the book buyer for the University of Vermont bookstore at the BBF. She stopped by the table, so I pitched my book to her, and she said she’d order it for the store. It will be great if I can get into the college market.

On Monday, I donated my book to four more libraries, who all accepted it into their collections. It’s fun looking up online to see if my book is being read, and right now, it’s checked out of four of the libraries I’d donated it to earlier. Whoo hoo!

I had some time to really get into the final edits for Book 2. It’s still going to be a few months before it’s ready, but I’m excited about it!

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I sold a couple more books at my book signing event at Bear Pond Books in Stowe, VT, yesterday. Quite a few people came through the book store / souvenir shop / café complex, but a lot of them were from a bus of 65+ age tourists there to see the foliage. I haven’t met many senior citizens who are into fantasy adventure, so I didn’t have a lot of sales, but the people were fun to talk to.

Looking forward to the local cable channel interview on Monday and a library book signing event on Tuesday!

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

UPRISING (Children of the Gods #2) — Jessica Therrien’s new release now available!

Uprising Second Edition Cover

UPRISING (Children of the Gods #2)

Jessica Therrien follows up her best selling novel OPPRESSION with UPRISING, the second book in the Children of the Gods series. OPPRESSION, translated and sold around the world, was one of the bestselling YA novels of 2012.

UPRISING continues the story of Elyse, William and the Descendants. Elyse has been in hiding for most of her life. Only now she’s hiding with William, and she knows who she’s hiding from. The Council wants a child Elyse and William have yet to conceive, a child who will be the next oracle, and who will provide the final piece to a plan Christoph has been organizing for years.

Charged with leading the rebellion against Christoph and his Council, Elyse feels well out of her depth. But she has good friends and strong allies who are willing to fight with her to the end, regardless of how far they have to go, and how many lives will be lost in the process.

They have one goal: to live freely and openly with the rest of humanity, out from under The Council’s oppressive rule. The stakes could not be higher for Elyse and the Descendants longing for freedom. They’ll have to learn to fight if they want to stand up against The Council, and to find allies in a world ruled by their enemies. The hardest part of waging a war is knowing who to trust. Elyse knows their uprising will change the world. She doesn’t realize it will change her, too.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ibooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Oppression Second Edition Cover

OPPRESSION (Children of the Gods #1)

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s well over eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal.

For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability.

Or so she thinks.

Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning-and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Coming Soon!

Redemption First Edition Cover

REDEMPTION (Children of the Gods #3)

The Series from Acorn Publishing:

OPPRESSION (Children of the Gods #1) – AVAILABLE NOW!

UPRISING (Children of the Gods #2) – Released October 2, 2015

REDEMPTION (Children of the Gods #3) – Coming November 2, 2015

 

 

 

 

© 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

This week has been just beautiful, sunny and cool, the way I like it. Fall is finally here, and I have lots of things to celebrate:

  1. Fun at Vermont Comic Con this past weekend! You can read all about it HERE. (And see the photo of Groot!)
  2. A great opportunity presented to me at the Milton Farmer’s Market yesterday evening! I sold 5 more books and was invited to do a guest interview on LCATV, the local cable access channel. Whoo hoo!
  3. Making progress on my final edits!
  4. The Burlington Book Festival coming up on Saturday! I’ll be helping out at the League of VT Writers table and maybe selling more books!
  5. A day to sleep in! My kids didn’t have school on Wednesday, so we all slept late to make up for having to get up early both weekend days for Comic Con.

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

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

Tyrean Martinson’s Dynamic Writing 1 and VT Comic Con Wrap-up

New from Tyrean Martinson!

compressed DW1

 

Dynamic Writing 1– 161 Lessons for Middle School Students by Tyrean Martinson – is a full year curriculum for home or classroom use, studying journal, essay, fiction, and poetry writing. Available in paperback at Amazon. The First Fifteen Lessons Are Available for FREE at the website.

Tyrean’s description of the book:

Dynamic Writing 1 is available in complete form in paperback through Amazon. Containing 161 Lessons for Middle Grade Students, this curriculum is meant for a complete year of home-school, home-school co-op, or classroom use. Eighteen of the lessons are “double” lessons and may be split over two days worth of time to extend the school year to 179 days with a planned celebration day at the end. Teaching notes, grade sheets, a resource list, and extra writing prompts are included in the text, as well as an answer key at the back of the book for the writing exercises. Within a year, students will study journal writing and essay writing, with short forays into fiction and poetry. Specific instruction in sentence variations, similes, and other writing concepts is spread over the course of the book and reviewed throughout the year so that students can wrestle with these concepts over the full course.

Be sure to check out Melissa Sugar-Gold’s stellar review!

 

Vermont Comic Con Wrap-up

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What an interesting weekend it was at VT Comic Con! There were large crowds on both days, and the cosplay was amazing. So many people dressed up as comic book and video game characters. My favorite — and the crowd’s favorite (he won the people’s choice award) — was the 8-foot-tall Groot.

Photo Credit: Nancy Mock of Hungry Enough to Eat Six!

Photo Credit: Nancy Mock
of Hungry Enough to Eat Six!

I didn’t know if my book would sell at this kind of event where the focus was more on superheroes and such, but I wanted to try it as an experiment. As it was, I sold six books, and I saw that two e-books sold over the weekend. A lot of people picked up my book cards for, hopefully, future purchases. It was good practice in getting out there and talking to people. Even though I didn’t sell that many books, I think it was worthwhile.

Two questions to ponder before signing up for next year’s event:

  1. Should I have sold my books at a discounted price?

I considered selling them for $10, rather than the cover price of $16.99, but decided to see how they sold at regular price. All the people who asked me how much it was were interested enough to buy it. Next time around, I might try the discounted price and see if it gets any impulse buys. Of course, it would help if I remembered to put out the sign that says I can accept credit card purchases. I put it out on Sunday, but forgot on Saturday. That might have made a difference.

  1. Should I sell the sword charm necklaces I made separately?SwordCharms

I displayed the necklaces with a sign that said free with book purchase. Anyone who bought a book got a necklace to go with it for free. Several people asked about buying the necklaces. I chose not to sell them that way, because I don’t want to go into the jewelry business. I would have made more money if I’d sold them separately. I don’t really know what would be an appropriate price for them. I’d have to do some research. Something to think about, anyway.

The best part of the experience was when one of the people who bought my book said they had seen it on Amazon. Apparently my book had popped up as a suggestion for her to buy, being similar to the book she was buying on Amazon. I thought that was pretty neat!

I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on both selling and buying at these kinds of events! For those selling — would you discount or sell at regular price? And would you have sold the necklaces separately? For those buying — would a $10 book cause you to make an impulse buy? Please let me know what you think!