2 Chances to Win Every Week!

Win a signed paperback from Laurence MacNaughton

Every week, you could win a signed paperback of It Happened One Doomsday or A Kiss Before Doomsday from Goodreads! Don’t miss out on a chance to win. Come back and enter every week!

Enter to win Book 1: It Happened One Doomsday >

Enter to win Book 2: A Kiss Before Doomsday >

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Create the Perfect Villain: a 6-Step Master Plan

Create the Perfect Villain: a 6-Step Master Plan

Mu-ha-ha-ha!

In my last article on Fiction University, I laid out 6 Ways to Make Readers Fall in Love With Your Characters.

If you’re writing a story or novel, pay attention. Because now I’m going to flip all of those techniques upside down.

I’ll show you how to use the opposite of those exact same methods to create a villain that your readers will love to hate.

How? Find out on Fiction University.

Want more free fiction writing tips, plus a chance to win free books? Sign up for my author newsletter. >

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Undead behind the scenes in A Kiss Before Doomsday

Science Fiction Book Club featured selection A Kiss Before DoomsdayIn case you missed it, the Science Fiction Book Club chose A Kiss Before Doomsday as a featured pick. Which, as an author, is incredibly exciting.

To celebrate, I put together a behind-the-scenes special that the book club shared with their members this summer.

If you’ve ever wondered where writers get their ideas, read on.

Science Fiction Book Club: Spotlight on A KISS BEFORE DOOMSDAY

One of the toughest jobs a fantasy writer has is coming up with new and interesting monsters. When I sat down to write the second Dru Jasper book, I knew that the bad guys would be undead creatures. But today’s readers have seen countless undead foes. How do you put a brand-new spin on the idea? Continue reading

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Is Canva the Betty Crocker of Book Covers?

Canva book cover review- It Happened One Doomsday

It could have happened so many different ways…

If you’re an author, what’s the easiest way to make a decent book cover?

Unless a publisher is creating the book cover for you, you can expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $1,000 hiring a designer.

So when Canva comes along and offers ready-to-use book cover templates — for free — it makes you wonder.

Can ordinary people like you and me create a free book cover?

How difficult will it be?

How good will it look?

I decided to put Canva’s new book cover templates to the test. Here’s what I found out. Continue reading

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It Happened One Doomsday ebook $1.99 until Oct. 2

It Happened One Doomsday ebook

Only $1.99 until Oct. 2

Dru Jasper now officially has her own book series. (Yay!) So if you haven’t tried it yet, now is the perfect time to start.

Plus, you can get a free bonus ebook.

Here’s how:

1. Get the first Dru Jasper ebook for $1.99 (hey, that’s 89% off).

2. Tell me when you leave a review (on any website), and I’ll send you the latest Dru Jasper novelette, Put A Spell On You, for free. It’s my gift to you.

That’s it! So easy.

But! The deal only lasts until October 2. So get it while it’s hot!

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo

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My Funny (and True) Ghost Town Story

Colorado Ghost Town

Nice to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Here in Colorado, we have our fair share of ghost towns. GPS and smart phones make them easier to find these days, but years ago you had to get there the old-fashioned way.

One summer day, my wife and I were exploring a decently intact ghost town deep in the mountains. The roofs of the buildings were caved in, but the storefronts were still standing. After hiking around and snapping photos, we sat on the tailgate of the Bronco to share a sandwich.

In the distance, a wispy dust cloud appeared, accompanied by the growling of a motorcycle engine.

Continue reading

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Discover New Fantasy Reads at Knaaks Knoll

Black City Demon by Richard KnaakWhen I was a kid, DragonLance was the first series of fantasy novels that totally hooked me. I still get chills thinking about Raistlin changing his robes from red to black.

Now, my friend and fellow author Richard A. Knaak (longtime DragonLance author and New York Times bestselling author of Black City Saint and Black City Demon) has started up a Facebook page focused on spotlighting the undiscovered gems of fantasy and science fiction.

Check it out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KnaaksKnoll/

Want a chance to win a signed paperback book? Join my author newsletter. >

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The Best 80s Game You Probably Didn’t Play

Advanced Fighting Fantasy - Stellar Adventures RPG

Look closely and you’ll also spot Rebel Planet on the right, which shares the same cover art. Hey, the more giant sword-swinging space lizards, the merrier!

Way back in the 1980s, there were gamebooks, those choose-your-own-adventure type of books where you made a decision and then turned to a specially-numbered paragraph to find out what happened next.

Now, they’re back.

Ian Livingstone, who (along with fellow Games Workshop founder Steve Jackson) sold millions of Fighting Fantasy books worldwide in the 80s, has just penned Port of Peril. It’s the first brand-new Fighting Fantasy adventure in many years. I’m completely psyched.

Continue reading

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6 Easy Steps to Writing Unforgettable Characters

Salem - A Kiss Before Doomsday

This is Salem, one of the most powerful sorcerers in the Dru Jasper series. Whatever you do, don’t make fun of his hat.

Every writer knows that creating interesting characters is one of the toughest parts of the job.

I don’t feel like an expert on characters by any means, but RT Book Reviews said this about my latest book: “MacNaughton has a real gift for developing quirky and crazy characters.”

Nice to hear, but I’ll tell you: it’s not really a gift. Nobody is born knowing how to write great characters. It’s a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned.

Want to know how I do it? I’ve laid out how to create your own characters, step-by-step.

You can read it here on Fiction University.

What elements of writing do you struggle with? Leave me a comment below.

Want more useful writing tips? Subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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The Best Worst Summer Bookstore Trip Ever

Best Worst Summer Bike RideAs I kid, I was a voracious reader. My sister was too, so between the two of us, we went through books at an astonishing rate. One summer, when I was probably nine or 10 years old, I realized I had run out of good things to read. Uh oh!

There I was, out in the middle of the country, at the height of summer vacation, and we were out of books. Can you imagine the horror?

So I hatched a mad genius plan. We would ride our bikes to the bookstore!

The nearest bookstore was a place called the Paperback Trader, and they were pretty much the only affordable option for a kid on my particular budget. Besides, I was absolutely certain we could get there and back before anyone noticed we were gone.

Somehow, I convinced my sister to go along with me in this scheme, even though it hadn’t occurred to me just how far away the bookstore really was.

In fact, round-trip, it was a full 25 miles.

Still, we knew the way by heart, since our parents had driven us there and back so many times to buy books.

We were ready for the journey. My sister’s bike had a banana seat and a white plastic basket decorated with flowers. I had a black fixed-gear Huffy bike with checkerboard padding. I also had my backpack, two Whatchamacallit candy bars, and a whole pocketful of quarters for buying books.

What could possibly go wrong?

Continue reading

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