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 hereCelebrateSmallThings_Badge

It’s the Weekend! And I’m happy to be celebrating some exciting and fun things, like —

1.  A fantastic review from the Booklife Prize in Fiction! The reviewer said:

“MacLaughlin’s plot is exciting, fast-paced, and full of surprises. From detailed maps of the fantasy world to the overall magical mystery, MacLaughlin’s work possesses the charm of the work of Holly Black and Neil Gaiman, and the supernatural and whimsical elements evident in such worlds as C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. The Road Once Taken is titillating and terrifying, an enchanting novel that straddles the line between the fantasy and mystery genres.”

I may not win the actual Booklife prize, but the review is enough of a prize for me.

2.  I started writing Book 4! One chapter down, many more to go. This isn’t the book I’m supposed to be working on, but it’s the story that’s loudest in my head right now.

3.  Drive-in movies! Last summer, my family and I rediscovered drive-in movies. I used to go to them when I was a kid. They were a lot of fun. Last night, we went to see Christopher Robin at the Sunset Drive-in. Very cute family friendly movie. From where I was sitting in the driver’s seat, I actually could see all four movie screens — Christopher Robin in front, The Meg and Incredibles 2 out the side window, and occasional glances at The Spy Who Dumped Me in my side mirror. It was great.

4.  A fun trip to a waterpark! Swimming and sliding and just cooling off. It was sooo nice after all the hot weather we’ve had.

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

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

Celebrate the Small Things! – Back from a very long blogging hiatus

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.

Happy Summer! I’m jumping back into the blogging pond. Or maybe I should say ocean. I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with posting every week, but will try for every other week, at least. I’m looking forward to catching up with what’s been going on with everyone.

Celebrations in general:

  1. My daughter graduated from high school last month and will be heading off to St. Michael’s College at the end of August!
  2. My job is going well.
  3. I finally managed to publish my third book! The Road Once Taken came out in e-book in April, and the print version came out June 1st. I have a book signing tomorrow from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Eloquent Page bookstore in St. Albans, VT. Woo hoo!!

TheRoadOnceTaken

The Road Once Taken

 Jacinda Harper just wants a vacation — a little time to spend with an old friend and her new baby. But a speeding car on a rain-slicked road crashes just ahead of her, and alters her life forever.

 The last wish from the dying woman in the wrecked car sends Jaci to a lonely mansion, where she finds a mysterious grandfather clock, a cryptic diary, and a strange key… and magic…

 Unwittingly transported into a fantastical world of ominous castles, wild forests, and rebel swordsmen — a world ruled by a ruthless sorcerer whose quest for world domination has long been thwarted by the loss of a magical key stolen from this world long ago — the key that Jaci has just brought back into his reach…

 Jaci must find a way back to her own world before the sorcerer finds her.

*****

What other celebrations are going on out there?

 

 

 

 

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

Spotlight on Crystal Collier’s New Release: Timeless, and Medieval Funnies!

Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some medieval funnies!

 

timeless_ebookcoverIn 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

 

Amazon| B&N

 GUEST POST

Thank you Lori for having me here today!

Writing is my hobby (a little more than a hobby if you couldn’t tell). It gives me a reason to dream, a reason to stretch, and a reason to LEARN ABOUT EVERYTHING. How cool is that? (You might hate research. That’s fine. All the more for me!) But you have something you love. One thing I’ve learned from studying across time periods, the environment may change, but the humans have always been the same. We’ve always craved love, survival, and healthy recreation. (Or sometimes not so healthy.)

This month, TIMELESS, the third book in my Maiden of Time trilogy is out! (Knights, battles, time travel, an epic love story, and special powers…WHAT?!) Today I’d like to share some medieval hobbies with you. (Pick your favorite, eh?)

PE (Physical Exercise)!

Language!
Music!
Technology!

Oh wait, how did that get in there?

Hobbies have always been a part of life, but how wonderful when someone (ME) can share my happy place with others (YOU)? And now the shameless plug: go buy my books. What hobby would you most miss if you lived in medieval times? What is your favorite medieval movie/story? What’s your favorite hobby?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her online HERE.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

 

The Prizes! Click prize photo to Enter

The Prizes!
Click prize photo to Enter

 

 

 

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

*****

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.

ipne_bookawardwinner_image_oct2016

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!

*****

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