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!


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?



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


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.

Blog Tour! A Book-Related Interview with Host Juneta Key!

I’m celebrating the release of my new fantasy adventure novel, Trouble By Any Other Name, the sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble!

I hope you’ll join me over at Juneta Key’s place, Writer’s Gambit, for a conversation about my new book. The Author Spotlight interview goes behind the scenes to discover the inspirations behind a certain character and plot twist. I’m also sharing a couple of my most memorable author moments. See you there!

Happy Fourth of July to everyone in the States!


Trouble By Any Other Name


Amazon           Barnes & Noble          Kobo               iBooks





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

Celebrate the Small Things! And Blog Tour! With Tyrean Martinson and Juneta Key!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

Today, I’m celebrating that my new fantasy adventure novel, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, is now available in print! Click here for details.

I’m also celebrating the wrap-up of my two-week-long blog tour with Tyrean Martinson and Juneta Key! Hop on over to Tyrean’s and see what Bilbo Baggins and I have in common, and to Juneta’s to learn more about my characters and their stories in a book-related interview.

Here’s a huge THANK YOU!!! to everyone who hosted me on their blogs and to all who visited along the way! I truly appreciate it!!

Blog Tour Stops:

3/5:      Eclectic Alli & Jo @ My Inner Geek          Reviews

3/6       Doreen McGettigan & Unicorn Bell          Interviews

3/9       Caffe Maggieato                                            Behind the Scenes

3/10     Marie Andreas                                               Reason #57 Why I Chose To Self-Publish

3/11     Elizabeth Hein                                                Lessons Learned

3/12     Sue Archer                                                      Conversation Corner

3/14     Diane Burton                                                  Saturday Sampler

3/16     Loni Townsend                                               Typos: Say What??

3/17     Kari Jo Spear                                                   The Magic of Names

3/18     Kristin Smith                                                   My Writing Space

3/20    Juneta Key                                                       Book-related Interview

3/20    Tyrean Martinson                                          What Bilbo Baggins and I Have in Common

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! and The Liebster Award!

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:

Juneta Key at Writer’s Gambit nominated me for a Liebster Award!


Juneta blogs about her writing, shares writing resources, and hosts authors for interviews and guest posts. Thank you very much, Juneta!

The current rules for accepting this award are:


Answering Juneta’s questions:

  1. Who is your favorite author?

There are so many wonderful authors to choose from, but I’m going to stick with J.R.R. Tolkien. His epic novels are the epitome of heroic fantasy adventure, my favorite genre.

  1. If you had 3 wishes what would they be?

Hmmmm… Globally: for humanity to achieve world peace, for the eradication of all the horrible diseases afflicting mankind, and for the Earth to be healed of all the damage pollution has wrought.

Personally: happiness and success for my children, for me to be able to travel and see the world, and for my books to sell well enough for me to afford the aforementioned travel.

  1. If you were given a free round trip ticket to anywhere, where would you go?

Bavaria, Germany. I’ve always wanted to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.

  1. Would you rather live near the ocean, forest, mountains or the fourth option;)?

I’d rather live near a forest. I find them magical and awe-inspiring.

  1. What is your favorite genre of music?

I’d have to say pop rock, though I’ll listen to anything other than screaming headbanger stuff and rap.

  1. Plane, Train, Boat, Car or other for vacation travel?

Car would be my first choice. You never know what interesting places you’ll drive through on your way to your destination. Planes, however, would be a close second, since I’d love to go overseas and unfortunately can’t drive across the ocean. A boat would be a definite No. Cruise ships make me seasick.

  1. Where is your favorite place to escape from the daily grind?

My writing space.

  1. What is your best memory? (You probably have several, but pick one)

Falling in love on a beach in northern Scotland.

  1. Do you have a hobbit? If not, what would you like to do for a hobby? ROFL @ SELF okay this error was too good to correct—go ahead tell me who is your favorite hobbit?

Ha, ha. That cracked me up, too. My favorite hobbit is Samwise. “And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam…” (Tolkien, The Two Towers) As for hobbies, other than writing which is no longer a hobby but a fulltime endeavor, I like to read, travel, go for long walks, and build Legos.

  1. What is the most memorable book you have read, or movie if not a big reader?

I have to go back to Tolkien here on both counts. The Lord of the Rings, books and movies all, blew me away.

  1. Would you travel around the world in 80 days if you could?

Yes. In a heartbeat. Though I would rather spend more time… a lot more…


The 11 random facts:

1: I’m my own handyman. I had a great teacher: my Dad.

2. I love to draw maps to go with my stories.

3. Spring is my favorite season.

4: I tend to be a hermit and enjoy doing things by myself.

5: My favorite breed of dog is a little black Scottish terrier.

6: I once bartered with the natives for an amber necklace and bracelet in the Dominican Republic.

7: I love the sound of rain on the roof at night.

8: One of my favorite books when I was learning to read was The Large and Growly Bear.

9: I used to love watching The A-Team on TV.

10: I’ve taken computers apart and successfully installed new components.

11: I think dusting is the worst household chore ever.


My 11 Nominees:

I don’t know how many followers these blogs have. Some probably have more than 200, but I enjoy them, so I’d like to nominate them anyway. Here they are, in no particular order:

Kylie Betzner — Kylie just published her debut novel, the funny Arthurian parody, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other.

Shells, Tales, and Sails — Sharon’s breezy blog contains book reviews, writer’s resources, and posts about her writing.

Diane Burton — Check out Diane’s blog for “adventure and romance… in this world and beyond.”

On Becoming a Writer — Marilyn creates short story audio books, where things don’t always go as expected.

My Inner Geek — Jo wears many hats: computer programmer, gamer, artist, baker, to name a few.

Scribblings in the Storage Room — Author Elizabeth Hein writes women’s fiction with an edge.

Anne Higa — Anne is the author of the Elves and Magic fantasy YA trilogy.

Lauren Jeffrey — Fellow writer Lauren is on the path to becoming a published author.

Often Clueless, Always Shoeless — Fantasy writer Olivia Berrier blogs humorously about her characters and her writing life.

A Novel Journey — To use her words, Rhonda is a writer “experiencing life through words and grace.”

Faeries, Dragons, and Spaceships — The home of Marie Andreas, science fiction and fantasy novelist with one of the best blog names ever.


And last but not least: the 11 questions for the nominees to answer (should they choose to accept):

1: What is the best place you’ve visited?

2: What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done?

3: What’s your favorite song?

4: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

5: What fictional character do you like best?

6: What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?

7: Do you have any phobias?

8: Morning person or night owl?

9: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

10: What do you consider your most important personality trait?

11: Have you ever performed or been the recipient of a random act of kindness and what was it?


And that’s it! Thanks for reading!

What other celebrations are going on out there?





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