IWSG Post 11: Writing to be read. I never looked back once I said yes. #iwsg


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]


As a kid, I was so consumed with fear about doing the right thing.  I never stopped to think, it’s ok to be human and screw up, how we all screw up at some point. I also never thought, hey, maybe someone else might feel the same thing I do.

Because of this fear, I’ve also had a constant war inside of me with wanting to be heard and fearing what others might say once they listened, or read what I have written. I’ve grown since then.

I’ve been writing my whole life. Short stories to cope with change and emotion and boys and friends. Back then, I didn’t think much about sharing my writing with anyone except me.

High School opened me up to the possibility how others might like what I write. Believe me, it wasn’t my own revelation, but the coaxing of a great mentor to join a writing group. Not just a high school group, but her own own circle.

Scared? Heck yes, I was.

Today’s post topic is, “What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?”

It took me awhile to figure out which piece I could actually say was the first one. I decided to go with length and the first time I shared my novel idea with others.

I don’t remember ever having a title for this piece. I was a sophomore in high school with so much life spinning in my head. History was always dear to me though. I could see it. I could think about motive and possibility. So naturally, my first long writing project took a little of my own past growing up as General Conference Mennonite, a pacifist, and combined it with my studies about William Penn, Quakers, and their motive for relocating to America in the early days. I loved reading about the light they believed everyone had inside. I loved thinking about a kid game, the Oregon trail and the wild world of survival.

That was it. Then I made my main character a mute by choice, who only talked to trees. She’d witnessed so much persecution at the hands of the law, of the church, nothing seemed safe.

Trees were safe.

So that was it. I made it 100 pages in and stopped.

I still have a hard print out on old perforated printer paper. I still have a floppy and maybe a jump drive with bits and pieces.

Will I finish it? Possibly. Ok yes. I supposed a story so dear to me at one point in my life still deserves to be told.

How about you? Do you have a story you started and still needs to be finished? When do you know when to start it again?

I want to take a moment to thank the awesome hosts from the IWSG group!

Thank you …

Tamara Narayan
Tonja Drecker
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
Lauren @ Pensuasion
Stephen Tremp
Julie Flanders

And I hope you all have a great rest of your week🙂

Cover Reveal: The Promise by C.E. Wilson

cxc Cover Reveal


I have something lovely to announce today. It’s a really great book, with a really interesting cover and question: What Does It Mean To Be Human?

Check it out. Read more about the author C.E. Wilson. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And the cost? Today, it’s only 99 cents.🙂

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

The Promise by C.E. Wilson!

The Promise


What does it mean to be a human?

Lily Larkin is about to find out when on what should have been a day of great happiness, she is diagnosed with a rare and unbelievable disease. She is shrinking, possibly without limit.

As her life starts to spin out of control and the world starts to grow around her at an uncontrollable rate she is forced to confront her greatest fear – losing the man whom she loved from the moment she saw him. Can they stay together even though she feels her humanity slipping away? Can she trust him with her secret and, as her disease progresses, her safety and even her life? Can she trust herself?

A bittersweet story of love and loss, The Promise is a YA
Paranormal Fantasy that will have you questioning the meaning of your own humanity and the weighing of trust against love.

What will Lily choose?

What would you choose?

add to goodreads

The Promise by C.E. Wilson
Publication Date: November 16, 2013

Available for Purchase:




C.E. Wilson


C.E. Wilson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, grew up in Millersville, Pennsylvania, and has been living in Pittsburgh since 2009. For the first few years living in Pittsburgh, she was an English teacher. Her first book, “Oath of Servitude,” was published in 2012. In 2013, she quit teaching to be a full time author and hasn’t looked back since. She loves spending time with her daughter and husband.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


The Promise2




I IWSG POST 10: A Tribute to Influencers


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]



When you think back on the one thing in your life that makes you get out of bed and move through your day, how did you know it meant so much in the first place?

When I close my eyes …

… I see myself as the little 7-year-old in braids with more dreamy thoughts and a whole lot of “prove myself attitude,” staring up at my teacher Mrs. Heinz, blinking, listening, letting the words sink in how much she loved my story about a girl who could see unicorns. She handed me that scribbly card and said something like, “Someday Erika, you will be a writer.”

… Standing outside in the cold after a fire drill at 16, talking to an astonished peer who smiles and said, “You mean you come up with these thoughts naturally?”

… My Sophomore history teacher Mrs. Lafoy, who took me under her wing. I joined my first formal writing group and she really really wanted me to follow in her footsteps, to become a history teacher and develop my writing projects on the side…

…Dr. Martin, an English professor who loved my creative voices in a creative nonfiction writing class I took from him …

… And I picture the faces of all my fellow writing friends and readers, Martha, Debbie, Becky and Adrienne, and of course my mom and stepdad … I can’t say thank you enough for every last bit of encouragement and advice.

Today, I am thinking about Influencers. Those people in our lives who did just the right thing or said just the right thing and woke up that passion or internal gift. Would your life be different without them? 

I was asked to write about the topic, “The best thing someone ever said about my writing.”

I don’t really have a best thing. I do know I may never have pursued writing without others who stepped forward and convinced me I could write and make something of my writing.

So here I am. And the photo of flowers above? It’s just there because they make me happy and smile.🙂

Question: Would you agree? Does your writing passion, or any other passion you may have, stem from the belief of someone else in you?

My last thought is this: “One thing I’ve learned through all the ups and downs is that if you’re doing things right, then you have a core group of people. Not just a core group like your homies or your buddies, but a group of people that has a good influence on you, who you respect and admire, and you know that if they’re on your side, you’re doing something right.” ~Hope Solo, Brainy Quotes

This Month’s List of Awesome IWSG Hosts:

Yolanda Renee
Tyrean Martinson

New Book Release and Guest Post: Trouble By Any Other Name, Author Lori L. MacLaughlin

A quick word from me🙂

Today, I’m sitting at my computer near my kitchen table smiling. It’s been two long years since I began the rewrite process of YA story I just couldn’t sit still with. The character came alive, but her story seemed to move and transform every time I tried to write it. I have it printed on my table ready to deliver to my beta readers. I’m so excited. I know there will be strings to tie up, but I have this sense in my gut, that this, finally, is the right draft of the right story.

I let my son carry the printed draft to the car. He said, “Wow mom, this is a lot of work.”

Yes. Yes it is.

And with that being said, I’m here to push the hard work of a friend. Lori’s new release is out there, and I think it’s pretty great how she’s here to share her own process and dreaming with you.

So here she is …

… Lori MacLaughlin

Thanks so much, Erika, for hosting me!!

I’ve always been a “pantser” — meaning I write “by the seat of my pants.” I don’t use an outline, and I don’t plot much in advance. I have enough scene ideas to know the general plot direction. And I always know the beginning and ending. Armed with that knowledge and the maps I’ve drawn of my imaginary world, I forge ahead with my stories.

Tagging along with my main character, Tara Triannon, is a lot of fun. I get to watch the action unfold as if I were watching a movie in my head. Sometimes it’s hard to slow things down enough to get the words written, particularly if the plot skews to the side and takes off while I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor saying, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” But then, Tara is never predictable, which makes writing her story so much fun!

Tara has always been my alter ego. I love her spirit and her fierceness. When I first began creating my stories, I imagined the kinds of adventures that I’d like to have if I could somehow transport myself into my imaginary worlds. The more swordplay, the better. Fast-paced action stories appealed to me with character development built into them and a little romance thrown in.

I learned over the years, though, that getting that first draft down is the easy part. Then come numerous editing phases and critiquing sessions with fellow writers and then more editing. It may sound like a long and tedious process, but it’s so worth it when you see your beautiful story emerge from the cocoon of extraneous words.

I chose the self-publishing route for my books, partly because I didn’t want to wait the amount of time it might take to go the traditional route and partly because I liked the idea of having full control over the publishing process. It took me about a year from the point when I set my writing up as a business, rather than a hobby, to when my first book came out in both print and e-book.

Things I did:

  1. I started my own business, Book and Sword Publishing, so I could publish my books under my own imprint.
  2. Bought my own ISBNs.
  3. Set up my website/blog and started building a social media presence.
  4. Hired a professional editor and revised based on her feedback. (My book had already been critiqued and revised before reaching this point.)
  5. Hired a professional designer to collaborate with me on the cover.
  6. Had the book proofread.

If you’re going to self-publish, #’s 4, 5, and 6 are of utmost importance. The only way self-publishing will ever lose its stigma is if all self-publishers put out a quality product.

No matter which publishing route you take, establishing a social media presence as an author and editing/polishing your manuscript to its finest before submitting to agents or self-publishing are critical for success.

And one last all-important writing tip — Don’t give up! Believe in yourself and in your writing dream. You can get there!

If you’re not a writer, what’s your dream? If you are a writer, where are you in your writing journey? And are you a pantser or a plotter?



road in steppe receding into the distance

road in steppe receding into the distance

TITLE: Trouble By Any Other Name

Sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble


AUTHOR: Lori L. MacLaughlin


RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2016

GENRE: Fantasy




About the Book:

Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She’s yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn’t dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?

With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara’s sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she’d killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.

Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

Where can you buy the book?

Currently four options are available:

Amazon          Barnes & Noble          Kobo               iBooks

Author Bio:

LoriLMacLaughlinLori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She’s been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids’ shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she’s not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

You can find her here:

Website/Blog               Goodreads       Facebook         Google+          Pinterest




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