Author Interviews, Fiction Blog

The 2016 2K Indie Book Tour: Lori L. MacLaughlin

Today’s interview on the 2016 2K Indie Book Tour (co-hosted by Kate Evans and myself) is with fantasy adventure author, Lori L. MacLaughlin.

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. 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.

Here’s a bit about her novel, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble:

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.

Sequel: Trouble By Any Other Name (coming spring 2016)

Now, here’s our interview with Lori:

What was the inspiration behind your book?

I’ve always been drawn to strong female characters who are more than capable of looking out for themselves and who are accepted as they are. I also prefer fantasy worlds where women and men are treated as equals, places where it’s not unusual for a woman to rule a kingdom or handle a sword well.

I built my story around these ideas and fitted them into the world I’d already created in maps and sketches. Then I dreamed up adventures for my characters that I would like to have.

Who is your favorite character?

I have trouble with that question. My first inclination is to say Tara, because she’s such a part of me. She’s an adventurer, vulnerable on the inside but hard and cold as the steel of her blade on the outside. She keeps everyone but her sister at sword’s length. She’s been hurt too many times to let anyone inside her guard.

However, I think I’d have to choose Captain Natiere, the wolf-like executioner known as the Butcher. He claims the wolves as his kin, though he’s not a werewolf. His traumatic past turned him into the monstrous person he is, but there’s so much more to him than anyone knows. He holds many secrets in the unfathomed depths of his soul.

What is one thing you want readers to know or “get” about your book?

My book has a lot of action and swordplay, but it’s much deeper than that. It’s more about the characters and the relationships between the characters, particularly the sisters, and how they grow and change throughout the story.

Who is your ideal reader? Or, who will enjoy your book?

With a female protagonist, my book will likely appeal more to women, but anyone who likes an epic fantasy adventure with swordplay, magic, and a little romance will enjoy it.

What three writing tips do you have for aspiring authors?

1. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or anything else when writing your first draft. Just get the words down on paper (or on the computer). First drafts are meant to be messy.

2. Have others read your work. Find a critique group somewhere that will give you honest feedback. Your book will be so much the better for it.

3. If you’re going the traditional route, make your book the best it can be before submitting it to agents/editors. If you’re self-publishing, hire a professional editor to go through your manuscript before putting it out there. That’s probably the most important thing you can do for your book, along with hiring a professional cover designer.

9781942015000-Perfect-lady-thy-name-is-trouble_EbookCoverWhere can readers buy your book?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LoriLMacLaughlin

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Name-Trouble-Lori-MacLaughlin/dp/1942015003/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453908169&sr=1-1&keywords=lady+thy+name+is+trouble

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-thy-name-is-trouble-lori-l-maclaughlin/1121255932?ean=9781942015000

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lady-thy-name-is-trouble

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lady-thy-name-is-trouble/id972283359?mt=11

Where can readers learn more about you? 

Website/Blog: http://lorilmaclaughlin.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriLMacLaughlin

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lorimaclaughlin/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/116100629272052336875/posts

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/lori-l-maclaughlin/ba/478/274

Twitter: @LLMacL, https://twitter.com/llmacl

Book Reviews, Fiction Blog

Indie Book Review: 1001 Islands by K.T. Munson

Print1001 Islands by K.T. Munson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

1001 Islands by K.T. Munson is a fantasy adventure novel that takes place in a sea-focused world with, you guessed it, 1,001 islands. The story follows several characters (everyone from a kidnapped princess to Elementals and witches to swashbuckling pirates), whose lives converge as rebellion rises within the world. With a full cast of characters, sword-fighting adventure, and two strong romantic subplots, 1001 Islands has everything readers of traditional fantasy crave.

Initially, it took me a while to get into the story. The reader is thrown into the world without much explanation of “the rules” of the land, or who the characters are. There are several characters and plot lines to follow, and while they are each enjoyable and important, there is a bit of a whiplash sensation as the reader is tossed from one to the next. That being said, when they begin to link up, the story truly shines. The characters’ story lines are woven together nicely, each fitting next to the others like adjoining pieces in a puzzle, and highlighting the overarching themes of individualism, freedom, and revolutionary spirit.

As to the characters themselves, they were complex and well-crafted. Munson has written well-rounded, flawed individuals — from their back stories to their present actions. The female characters, most notably Emilia and Princess Roxana, are strong and independent-minded, yet still show deep love and compassion, which is particularly important to me as a reader. (The same can be said of the minor female characters as well.) Likewise, the male characters, specifically The Silence and Caliel, strike the perfect balance between brave hero/love interest figure and the person who needs saving. In short, the characters are extremely well-written, and to me, are what made the novel such a fun read.

While the majority of 1001 Islands kept me captivated (and even smiling) as I read, there were a few moments that sucked me out of the story. Some of this had to do with editing more than story telling, as there were a few errors and other writing issues throughout. However, I daresay, as an author, I am pickier about this than the average reader.

As for the actual story, the only thing that felt out of place was an intimate love scene between two of the characters. Personally, I have no problem reading erotic content (and this scene was perfectly well-written and logical within the plot), but it did take me by surprise, given the rest of the novel politely skirted around opportunities to directly show “adult” content. But truly, it wasn’t a big deal, and I only mention this because I know some readers are uncomfortable with graphic sexual content. To give a better picture, I believe my thoughts were: OH, we’re doing that? Okay, cool.

Last, I felt like the ending was too abrupt. Munson does say in a note that there is a possibility of a sequel, but I still wish more time would have been taken to bring 1001 Islands to a more complete close. As it stands, I think the novel needs the sequel to truly satisfy the lingering questions in the reader’s mind.

Overall, 1001 Islands is an incredibly fun story. It beautifully blends the lines between fantasy, adventure and romance — seamlessly incorporating the hallmarks of all three genres. With a cast of complex, well-written characters and a tightly-woven plot to boot, 1001 Islands is sure to delight readers of good, old fashion fantasy tales.

View all my reviews


PrintIf you are interested in reading 1001 Islands and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it through my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, nor will the author receive a cent less, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.

Guest Posts, Writing & Publishing Articles

Guest Post: Write What You Know by Fia Essen, Author of ARIEL and ANNA

Hello, everyone! Today I am thrilled to bring you a guest post from Fia Essen, a fellow author and blogger. I first encountered Fia through her blog, but I have also been lucky enough to host her on The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour. Today, Fia is back to share with you all the best piece of writing advice she has: write what you know. Enjoy!


Hello friends, fans, and followers of Kate!

My name is Fia Essen and I’m an author. Two of my novels have been published this year and now I’m making the rounds on the internet, spreading the words about my books, and doing blog interviews. One question that keeps coming up is “What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?” And I can honestly say that the answer to the question is write what you know.

That’s exactly what I do. I write what I know. I take my own experiences and events from my life and pour them into my writing.

Ariel is a lifelong expat. I’ve been an expat for twenty-five years. Anna booked a last minute ticket to Greece in a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity and left her old life behind. I did that too.

My move from Singapore to Crete is what inspired me to write Anna. Not only did I find myself adjusting to living in a different country, I was inundated by an entirely different culture, too. After two decades of living in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Europe was utterly alien and downright esoteric to me.

I had visited the Greek islands as a tourist before I impulsively packed up my life in Singapore and headed to Crete, which is the largest of the Greek islands. Like most tourists, I took the romanticized and perfectly idyllic version of the Mediterranean home with me in my mind when my vacation ended. The reality of daily life on a Greek island came as a huge culture shock. Singapore and Crete are both islands but that’s where their similarities begin and end. One is a bustling metropolis of the highest modern mode. The other often operates on medieval morals. Crete has one foot firmly and proudly planted in its illustrious past while the other foot tentatively treads on present ground.

Ariel is perhaps even more personal than Anna. This woman is stuck in a rut, she’s at rock bottom and can’t see a way out. She has lost sight of who she is and what she wants. Not long ago, I felt the same way. Writing the book helped me get out of my own rut. It reminded me that nothing is ever set in stone. As I sorted out Ariel’s fictional problems on the page, I began sorting out my own. When I gave Ariel the courage to chase her dreams, I rediscovered my own confidence.

Yes, the best piece of writing advice I ever received is write what you know.

If you’d like to find out what happens to Anna and Ariel, both books are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback format. Ariel is here: http://mybook.to/ariel and Anna here: http://mybook.to/anna

And if you’d like to get social with me, you can…

Visit my Website – http://www.fiaessen.com/

Follow me on Twitter – @FiaEssen https://twitter.com/FiaEssen

Join me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/fiaessen

Thank you!


Leave your questions and comments for Fia below! Thanks again, Fia!