Wednesday, March 04, 2015

IWSG Wednesday - Snow Days

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

I have a special guest post this Wednesday from a friend in my writer's group. Her name is Debra Clay and she writes short stories/flash fiction with a unique style. This month, as we look forward to spring, her short story "Snow Days" seemed to be exactly right, uplifting. I hope you enjoy it! Also don't forget to visit our Co-Hosts this month and thank them.  

Snow is one of nature’s most enigmatic occurrences. Whether viewed from the front porch or under a microscope, it is beautiful. Yet it can be one of nature’s most destructive forces. I remember my first snow days from school. As a matter of fact, living in South Georgia, they were my only snow days from school. Although we in the south are more accustomed to dealing with heat and thunderstorms accompanied by lots of lightning, the rare snow storm does occur.
It was in March of 1962 and what a storm it was! Forty-mile-an-hour winds, temperatures in the upper twenties and, yes, snow…wet, heavy snow that stuck wherever it landed. Tree limbs, power lines, clothes lines and anything that could fall, did. Needless to say life came to a standstill with power outages affecting half the state. We were used to having to ‘rough it’ without power, but only for a few hours in the summer. We would raise the windows to let in the cooling breeze, cook supper on the grill, light some candles at night and generally have a high old time. Not so in winter, I discovered. We’re talking three days—three days without power. The only heat was what our own bodies generated and who wants to grill outside in subfreezing weather? I thought my life was ending after only 8 short years on this earth.
Fortunately for me (and my siblings) Mom and Dad grew up in a time when there were none of the conveniences that my generation had become accustomed to. They huddled in a corner for a while, hatching a plan to keep us all alive until the power was restored. Then Dad began to issue orders.
“Okay boys. Take your wagon and gather as much wood as you can. Girls, you follow your mother to the kitchen and, and…do whatever she tells you.”
We ultimately settled in the smoke house where a large kettle set in hollowed out concrete served as fireplace, water heater and cook fire. We girls had helped mother bring cast iron cookware and food from the kitchen. We bathed in warm water taken from the kettle, ate sausages and biscuits cooked over coals pulled from beneath the kettle, and generally had a high old time. It was just like hog-killing, only without the hogs. Sleeping on burlap tobacco sheets spread on the ground was the only tough part of that adventure (if you don’t count having to go outside to take care of business. Mom and Dad didn’t worry about us being out there. The cold and the darkness insured we didn’t stay out for long.), but at least we were warm in the smokehouse, full and safe.
Those snow days taught me to appreciate the things that made life pleasant: central heat, a kitchen stove, running water, a soft bed, electric lights, a room of my own and, of course, a flush toilet. I’m all grown up now and sometimes when I feel down, unloved, unwanted, and insignificant I take ‘snow day’ stock of my life, making a list of all the things I am grateful for but sometimes take for granted: family, a home, good health, US citizenship, education, income, transportation… My list is five pages long and growing daily. This exercise certainly chases away the blues and serves as a reminder that, I am having a high old time.
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Book Release by Lori MacLaughlin


Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble by Lori L. MacLaughlin
Genre: Fantasy — sword and sorcery, epic fantasy adventure with a side of romance

Trouble is Tara Triannon’s middle name. As swords for hire, Tara and her sister Laraina thrive on the danger. But a surprise invasion throws them into chaos... and trouble on a whole new level. Pursued by the Butcher, a terrifying assassin more wolf than man, Tara and Laraina must get a prince marked for death and a young, inept sorceress to safety. There’s only one problem – eluding the Butcher has never been done. Aided by a secretive soldier of fortune, they flee the relentless hunter.
Gifted with magic and cursed by nightmares that are all too real, Tara must stop an army led by a madman, and fend off an evil Being caught in a centuries-old trap who seeks to control her magic and escape through her dreams – all while keeping one step ahead of the Butcher.

Available at:

Lori 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.
Lori's Website/blog:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Indy Lights Book Parade - Author Cynthia Enuton

Indie Lights Book Parade – Cynthia Enuton, author

The Fur Angel Series:
Angel in a Fur Coat (first book in the series) begins in a faraway place where angels are trading their wings and halos for fur coats to be born on earth as dogs. First, they must learn what it means to be a dog, so they go to school. They learn about dog breeds and various dog jobs, and after graduation they get their fur coat and are born to find the person they were made for.

Now, as Fur Angels on earth, Legend of the Pink Toe explores the wonderful world of dogs through the eyes of one special little angel who bears the mark of a legend…a pink little toe.

The legend is unleashed in Wayward Angels when fifteen-year-old Rebecca is pulled into the fantastical world of Fur Angels by her roommate, eleven-year-old Tanisha, who believes in fairytales and Angel in a Fur Coat is her favorite book. Life isn’t easy for the students of Tikkun Olam, a facility for troubled kids also known as the crazy kids. But with the help of therapy, friendship, and a little therapy dog, Peanut, maybe a fairytale ending isn’t all that impossible.

Dolittleology dives deeper into the phenomena of human and animal communications.  When fourteen-year-old Billy Cohen claims to talk with his Pug named Stimpy, he is admitted to the Tikkun Olam Institute. Once a psychiatric treatment facility for kids, but things aren’t what they appear to be. Billy discovers secrets hidden inside its walls and within the subconscious of his mind.


My Promotional Tree

Every author’s dream is to publish a book and have it fly off the shelves. Promotion gives your book wings to fly. With millions of books to choose from, how do I get people to pick my book ─ or even see my book? That seems to be a common question among authors.
I begin with my website. Right now I have two sites that are linked to one another. My book site: and my fun, everything-else site:
I envision my websites as a tree trunk where all my treasures are waiting to be discovered. I try to keep my sites simple. Book covers are displayed with a short blurb and a buy button that takes you to Amazon.
Each social media outlet I use is a branch of my website (tree) that reaches out to people all over the world. Every promotion I do leads back to my website. I try to make my branches fun and creative. Something people can relate to, makes them smile and laugh. I’ve designed my tree branches to fit my writing genre which is the fantastical world of talking- dogs. Yes, my tree is colorful, magical, and a little nutty and so are my branches.
My first branch is Facebook, and the groups I subscribe to are filled with talking-dogs, dog photos, contests, and a lot of caring people with a love of dogs. My dogs are known as the 3 Goobers. They support dog related charities, auctions with donations of autographed books, as well as host their own dog photo contests where the winners win…you guessed it…signed books.
Other branches are, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I always carry a camera with me and post at least two pictures a day on these outlets followed by a link to my website. Remember, all things posted should lead back to your website.
My nuttier branches are Fiverr, where I make talking-dog videos for $5.00 and Youtube, where I post the videos.
Anything related to your writings that could branch off and lead back to your books is a form of promotion. I also sell art work of my books illustrations on a site called society6, They put my illustrations onto shirts, pillows, bed covers, rugs, shower curtains…basically just about anything. And once again, everything leads back to my main book website.
As far as sales go, Amazon is my biggest outlet. It allows me to share my books all over the world. They have many promotional options for authors. If used in conjunction with independently operated promotional sites, authors can gain good exposure.
And finally, book signings. I love going to schools to give book presentations. It’s fun talking to students about my books, writing techniques, the publishing process, and playing my talking dog videos. The kids love them. Book festivals and book store signings are more for author interaction rather than sales. Festivals usually charge a pricey booth-space fee, and bookstores take up to 50% or more of sales. But it’s always fun talking with customers and autographing books to them and their dogs.
Book promotions can be hard and tedious but with a little creativity and thinking outside the box it can be a fun adventure.
Cynthia Enuton
Cynthia grew up in Maryland and received a BA degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland (UMBC). She worked at a State facility for severe emotionally challenged adolescents for over 13 years. Cynthia currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida, as a children/YA author and travels with one of her Fur Angels, Augie Dog, to book signings of the Fur Angel Series.

C L Enuton
Author and Illustrator of the Fur Angel Series

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