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Never Let Me Fall by Abbie Roads

I just finished Abbie’s newest book and as always, she did  not disappoint. Superb storytelling from beginning to end, as she brings two damaged souls together and makes them whole.

The third installment in her Fatal Dreams series, Don’t Let Me Fall is the story of Thomas Brown and Helena Grayse; Thomas can’t see color since a childhood family trauma, and Helena hasn’t spoken in ten years, as it was the only thing she had control over in her world.  Continuing the mythology of Nameless and the Bear, and some of her previous characters make cameo appearances throughout the book.

Here’s an excerpt:

She dropped her arms from their defensive position. Even though it was dark, starlight reflected off the snow, providing enough illumination for her to see him. His face was ravaged with some emotion she couldn’t name. The scar on his cheek blazed bright, somehow looking painful. There were no words to utter, so she cupped his damaged cheek.

He sucked in a breath as if her touch pained him, but when she tried to withdraw, he grabbed her wrist and held it in place. He wanted her skin on his.

Their eyes met. The impact devastating and healing at the same time. She tumbled into his gaze like a free fall. Enjoying the freedom, fearing the fall. And then he broke the connection and let go of her wrist and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Why did you run from me? I would never hurt you.” Truth twined through each of his words. “I was worried out of my head when you weren’t at the hospital.” He shook her, emphasizing his words. “You know how stupid it was for you leave there without a coat, or gloves, or boots?”

She nodded, couldn’t help it. Her body had been screaming that same message thirty seconds after she’d walked out the hospital doors.

“Why would you do that? You could’ve frozen to death out here.”

Not thinking, she shrugged.

He grabbed her face in his hands. His fingers warm and rough and perfect against her skin.

The world fell away, leaving only him and her. He stared into her. Warming her from the inside out. She no longer felt the coldness of the snow against her backside. All she could feel was him. Inside her. Around her. Over her. He was the air she breathed. The heartbeat in her chest. He was her whole world. And she never wanted this impossible moment to end. She wanted to stay right here. Right now. Forever.

“Don’t you do that.” His tone was deep. His volume soft. “Don’t you ever act as if your life doesn’t matter. It matters.” His thumbs brushed over her cheekbones, sending pleasurable tingling along her nerve endings. “It matters to me.”

Her ears heard his words, but her brain had a hard time translating them.

“Yes, you.” Again, he seemed to be answering the question she didn’t ask. “You matter to me.” He spoke with heartbreaking sincerity. “How could you think otherwise?”

Because I’m Helena Grayse. She slammed her eyes closed.

“Stop that.” The irritation in his tone startled her eyes open. “Stop hiding from me.” His expression was tense, but one thing didn’t change—his kind eyes. “Good God. You’ve got to be freezing to death.” He moved away from her and stood, then grabbed her hands and pulled her to standing. He took off his coat and placed it over her shoulders. The inside warmth soothed her cold skin, and his scent rose up, surrounding her like a hug. He helped her thread her arms through the sleeves and then zipped the coat up under her chin.

The backs of her eyes burned, and she felt the beginning of tears forming. Damn it. She wasn’t going to cry every time he was nice to her. That was just stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

“Come on. Let’s get you back to the house and get you warmed up.” He held out his hand in invitation, giving her the opportunity to decide her fate.

Her feet shackled her in place. She shouldn’t go with him. She should follow her plan and go find a room for the night. She squeezed her hand holding the ziplock bag, just to make sure she hadn’t dropped it. The more time she spent with him, the harder it was gonna be when he found out her real identify. All he had to do was peek at her ID card.

Logic dictated she walk away. Her soul told her to stay.

She reached out to him. He turned her hand over and examined the gash that had been there just yesterday but had since healed. She’d always been a fast healer, but even for her, that was record time.

His gaze flicked up to her eyes and he smiled, an upturning of the lips that contained satisfaction and truth and happiness. The scar on his cheek completed him, making him more breathtaking, in the same way that a flower’s delicate imperfections only made it lovelier.

Together, they trudged through the snow toward the house. Winter didn’t seem quite so cold with him holding her hand. His skin against hers infused her with a heat that traveled up her arm, across her shoulders, and down into her belly, causing warm tingles of arousal to stir.

She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye to see if she affected him the same way he affected her. He didn’t seem fazed by the chill temperatures. Not at all. In fact, he acted as if they were out for a stroll on a pleasant spring evening.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t at the hospital when you woke.” He glanced at her, then back through the woods in the direction they were traveling. “Tonight was my sister’s wedding, and I couldn’t miss it. Evanee’s been through some bad times, and this meant a lot to her.”

They broke through the forest and started across the lawn, following a line of tracks that led to his back door.

“I told her—my sister and her husband—about you. They were excited.” The corner of his mouth tilted upward.

Her mouth went dry, and a stone lodged itself in her throat. Denial looked exactly like this. It looked like a woman and man holding hands while they walked in the snow. It looked like everything was all right on the surface. But underneath…it was all a lie. A lie that had started with him accidentally calling her Helen. A lie she’d perpetuated because she’d never corrected him.

She thought about yanking her hand from his and running, but he would catch her and demand to know the reason. Ugh… How did she go from her plan of getting a hotel room for the night to deciding to go back home with him? She was powerless to resist temptation.

Here are the links, in case you want to read further!!!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2D9YOGq   
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2yBzMvJ  
iBooks: https://apple.co/2OXpMHC   
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2OSFpjw  
Google: http://bit.ly/2AJe4Yc    
Target: http://bit.ly/2zpPQAy

Building Your IG Following

 

About six months ago, I had about 250 or so Instagram followers.  Let me say, first, I LOVE ig. Love it so hard. No politics. Few ads. Little conflict. My kind of place.  It’s also really, really hard to reach out to anyone else. To create meaningful interaction, even though the endless scrolling through lovely pictures soothes my soul.

To be fair, the 250 was a huge improvement over a year ago, when I still hadn’t heard of tagging, but I digress.

Somehow, I don’t even remember how, (it probably popped up in my feed) I saw a post  for an Instagram book challenge. And I thought….I like to take pictures of books.

I have tons of books.

This sounds like fun!

For about 2 weeks, I participated in that first challenge. I’m not going to lie. It was super fun. It was kind of hard. I took a lot of pictures.  Most of them were pretty bad, actually. Poorly lit, badly staged. And so, to solve my photography shortcomings, I went out and bought new books.

(As an aside, I should mention, I’m a fulltime artist and I take about 200 pictures a week, edit them and post them to sell my glass pieces, so this is really nothing new. Just a different sort of photography, and one I really sucked at. At first.)

Now, I’m not saying this is how it’s going to go for you, but I will warn you, it might. There’s something about pictures and lighting and books that must make you want more. Just sayin’, because now I’m buying books every week and my husband thinks I’ve gone insane.

But I digress, yet again.

Each  month’s challenges are usually different, have a theme of some kind, depending on who’s running them (Harry Potter, vampires, romance across the centuries, antique books, to name a few) so you do have a starting point. Then, every day has a theme of some kind- Favorite villain, best female character, best series, blue books, YA, Fantasy, and so forth.  Then there are the “challenge specific days”, which go like this: #SockSunday, #MapMonday, #Bookshelfie, #StackSaturday, #MugshotMonday, #BookHaul, #TBR, and so forth.

For instance, this is an example for #FlatLayFriday

Here’s an example for #FantasyFriday:

 

So I take the pictures, I edit the pictures (either on my phone, or in the app), and either write something about the photo, or include a quote, to complement the daily theme.  In six months, my followers have gone from 250 to 1380. I’ve gotten better at taking pictures of books, and depending on who you ask in my house, my book collection is awesome!

If you’re looking for a way to build your following, this is a fun way to try and meet some new bookish friends, and find some new readers.  Search for the tags: #bookstagramchallenge, #bookishchallenge, #bookphotochallenge

Here are a few of my favorites:

#bookstagramreadsseptember

#bookqueenssept18

#brightbookpagesseptemberchallenge

#inflameslit

#readgushsept18

They usually post the challenges during the last week of the month, for the upcoming month, so you have a week or so to prepare. There’s no need to do it every day, I usually skip a few days, just because I can’t come up with 30 ideas every month.

Check out my Instagram if you need any ideas: my instagram

Setting Up A LinkTree on Instagram

If you have been wishing there was some clickable way to allow your followers to click over to more than just your website, this is an easy and free way to accomplish this!

First, let me say, I’m not affiliated with this company, a fellow author was using them, and recommended them to me.

I signed up for the free version to start.

The free version includes walking you through the LinkTree set up, tracking of link clicks, and a couple of themes.

How it works: This site puts a link in your bio page, which then one-click links to a “tree” of your social media links- I have 4 right now, but you can add unlimited links. The template is somewhat customizable- you can drag the social media links into the order you want, and there are a couple of background choices.  Nothing fancy, but it does the trick.

It took me a total of about 10 minutes to set this up, including the time to cut and paste all the shortcuts into the fields and name the tabs to my liking- these will probably get some tweaking, once I look at them for a week or two.

I’ll report back when I have used it for a month or two and see if it streamlines usage.  With a big release coming up next year, I’m trying to position myself better, and people seeing my books on ig and then being able to access my other social media platforms, including this website, with 2 clicks, should make it easier.

Happy writing!  LA

2018 NEORWA Writers Conference

Where to even start with this past weekend?  Every year the NEORWA conference seems to come at the best and worst of times. I’m overly busy, I can’t squeeze in enough time to write, yet alone hold down my day job (the one paying the bills right now).  But I also know when I walk out of there, I’m going to have accomplished a couple of things.

First, my love of writing is going to be reignited. Somehow, someway, listening to everyone TALK about writing, TALK about craft, AND deadlines AND plotting AND character, AND even all of their problems and hangups, is going to make me so damn ready to get back to my manuscript.  Secondly, I’m going to leave there with at least one or two new writing connections (this year, I left with three). Yay me! Introvert masquerading as an extrovert.

We were incredibly fortunate to have Sonali Dev as our featured speaker this year, and the speech she gave…oh the speech she gave, I didn’t have any mascara left by the end of it, and I say that in a good way.  Perfect start to a wonderful conference, where I learned a bit about pitching, query letters, what an agent is (and is definitely not)looking for right now, a little about contracts, and discovered a wonderful new author, who I sat up until three in the morning reading, because I couldn’t put her book down! Throw in a stellar presentation on outlining (my greatest weakness) by Julie Anne Lindsey, and I came home with a folder full of notes and a head full of ideas.

This is a business we get into because we love to write, plain and simple.

It is also a lonely business, one that cuts us off from our colleagues, our friends, and sometimes our families. Deadlines keep us from doing the fun stuff, ideas keep us up at night. But when you get a chance to attend a conference, do it. You’ll find your tribe. You’ll talk to people just like you, doing the same thing, facing the same struggles, fighting the same battles.

And when you get back home, you’ll find yourself ready do dive in and do it all over again.

As always, happy writing!  LA

2018 RONE Voting!

I am so excited!!!  My book, Shadows of Ghosts, is up for a 2018 RONE Award in the fantasy category!!!!  Tomorrow is the last day to vote- May 27th.

This is the final round of voting, so if you have a moment, I’d really appreciate it if you could cast a vote for Shadows!

Here is the link to the site:  www.indtale.com

On the homepage, the link to the contest is at the top right- IND’SCRIBE/RONES, 2018 RONE Awards, go to week 6.

Direct link (hoping this works): http://indtale.com/2018-rone-awards-week-six

Also, you have to subscribe on the website at www.indtale.com in order to vote. Once you subscribe, if you haven’t already, you’ll be required to click the verification link sent to you via email. If you do not verify your registration with this link, you will be unable to vote. This is very important to help insure that the voting is fair and maintains the high quality standards required for this top-tier award.

Thank you and goodluck to all the other nominees!!  -LA

 

Fan Girling!!!!!

kmm signing pic la mcginnis

I’ve spent way more time than I’d like to admit obsessing over what to do this year.  Trying to fit in solid, productive writing time, plus working full time (gotta pay those bills) leaves little time for the fun stuff associated with writing- aka, the reading part of it.  My plan this year was to attend some author events, just to see how the big girls do it, and had several on my schedule.  My two favorite authors- Karen Marie Moning and J. R. Ward both had big books coming out this spring, and both (somehow) managed to have signings close enough to me that I could work in a day trip for each.

So I decided to trade a big event – the 2018 RAGT (Reader Author Get Together) – for two smaller, more intimate signings.  I’d been to the last 4 or 5 J. R. Ward signings, but had never met Karen, and was really looking forward to it.  So last weekend we headed to Cincinnati.

Wow, was I impressed.  Both with the event itself and with Karen.  What a class act.  She’d had her big Dublin signing the weekend before and even though she’d picked up a bug, she was incredibly gracious and sweet.  Interacting with people for six or seven hours is not easy, especially when you’re not feeling your best, and it ended up turning into a long day.  So here are my takeaways:

Hands down the best book cover of the past 12 months

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I’m about halfway through (trying to finish 3 other books for book club meetings this week and it’s actually killing me to know its there and I don’t have time to read it) and so far I am, as always, blown away.  Both by her writing style and her story structure.  Incredibly complex and character driven.  She talked a lot about emotional currency, and this book has it in spades.

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She held the event at Newport on the Levee (KY), which is across the river from Cinci, I snapped a sweet shot of the city:IMG_7368

As some kind of bonus, it was 56 degrees that afternoon and we sat in the sun for about a half an hour while we waited, first sun I’ve seen in almost three months.  Ohio is a cruel state in the winter, I kid you not.

All that being said, this was more what I expected when I think of a traditional book signing.  Interaction with your readers, a long, detailed Q&A, focusing on the current book, past books and future WIP’s.  It was refreshing to hear that she struggles with so many of the same writer problems, time management issues and general issues with plotting and character development we all do.  I wanted to scream “YES” several times during her talk.  I resisted the temptation.   Plus, I think I must buy a hat.  -LA

 

If you have never read Karen’s work, she had two distinct lines,  one is the Highlander series (paranormal romance), the other is the Fever Series (urban fantasy).  I’d recommend both!!

Final SoG Book Signing!!!

the learned owl shadows of ghosts book signing 2018

I’ll be having my final book signing for Shadows of Ghosts this coming Saturday, January 27th from 1:00-3:00 at the Learned Owl Bookstore in Hudson, Ohio.  These last couple months have flown by so fast- I know when I scheduled this it seemed so far away!  A big thanks to all of my readers and supporters who have made this journey the wonderful trip that it’s been!  I couldn’t have done any of this without you!!!

I just sent in the MS for Reflections of Your Heart, book 2, to my editor at the beginning of this month, and finished the first draft of book 3 last week, tentatively titled Echoes of Time (although that will most likely change).  But maybe not, I kind of like it.  That will sit for a month while I work on another project, and then I’ll pick it up again in March and edit with fresh eyes.

If you are in the area this Saturday afternoon, and have a minute, stop by and check out this sweet bookstore, one of the few independent book stores left in our area. Here are a few pics and a link:

the learned owl shadows of ghosts signing 2018  learned owl bookstore shadows of ghosts book signing 2018

The Learned Owl Bookstore

 

 

Continue reading “Final SoG Book Signing!!!”

Insecurities, Successes and Coffee

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So it’s always the same thing whenever I sit down to start a new project.  Am I all written out?  Are the ideas going to come? And if they don’t, what am I going to do?  I’ve spent the past month finishing up (my) final edits on Book 2 and getting ready to send it over to my awesome editor at TWRP, but before I did that, I felt like I had to  get Book 3 at least partly finished.

Honestly, there’s just something about knowing where the story is headed next that gives me a sense of security, because turning it in without knowing what’s going to happen to the characters leaves me anxious.

So I sat down to start Book 3 with a cup of coffee, no plot, no outline, and just a vague notion that Ian and Logan should be in Scotland, maybe finally having that big, fancy wedding they’ve been waiting for.  At least, that’s what Logan would have wanted.

Writing, however, is a sketchy business.  I never quite know how things are going to go.  And therein lies the anxiety.

But last night, hitting about 83,000 words, a decent plotline, a new villian who I couldn’t wait to kill, an ending that didn’t totally suck, and a new romance heading into Book 4, I must say I’m feeling a lot better about this whole writing thing.

For today, at least.

Happy writing!  – L

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What Happened to 2017?

This morning I realized, a little bit too late, that 2017 is almost over.  I can’t even begin to tell you half of what happened this year, because it’s pretty much a blur of missed doctor’s appointments and deadlines barely met, and I’m pretty sure that next year will be more of the same.  For someone who on January 1st was damn confident they were the Queen of Multitasking, this year has sure been the great equalizer.

On one hand, I feel like I have accomplished nothing.  Zero. Nada.

On the other hand, I feel like I haven’t had so much as an hour off in the past six months.

“So which is it?” I ask myself.  Expecting, I guess, an answer.  Haha, not surprising, I don’t get one, probably because I’m already busy doing something else.

Still, for the past two years, I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to make a living doing the two things I love the most- writing and art.  It’s just I thought I’d be so much better at this work/life balance thing!  Overall, the year’s been a great, albeit in a blurry kind of way.  Not in the way that my sophomore year of college was.  More like when I had two little kids and don’t even remember that day trip to Sea World.  (still kind of baffling).

We got the tree up:

L A MCGINNIS SHADOWS XMAS TREE 2017

 

 

We had some snow:

L A MCGINNIS WHITE CHRISTMAS

Which meant the outside Charlie Brown tree looked awesome:

SHADOWS OF GHOSTS CHRISTMAS 2017

And the dog looked like this:

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I’ve got to remind myself, here I sit, working on edits on book two of the Shadows series, and getting ready to plot out book five in my urban fantasy series, so there’s that.  Still, why is it that progress feels so slow and time goes by so fast?  Here’s hoping that I’m not sitting here in a year wondering the same thing!  Happy writing to all of my author friends, and hope you find a book that moves you, for all of my reading friends- with much love, L. A.

 

Here is my next stop:

L A MCGINNIS SHADOWS OF GHOSTS SANIBEL TRIP