Author Archives: Laurence MacNaughton

About Laurence MacNaughton

I'm an urban fantasy and thriller author. My books include It Happened One Doomsday, The Spider Thief and Conspiracy of Angels. Get free previews, bonus features, and more fun stuff at www.LaurenceMacNaughton.com

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?

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It Happened at the Tattered Cover

Life is so weird. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith was at the Tattered Cover on Friday, when I had my book signing. I did not, in fact, get a chance to ask him if “Dude Looks Like a Lady” was actually about Vince Neil from Motley Crue. (But I have my suspicions.)

As always, the Tattered Cover was a fantastic place to do a book signing, and I’m eternally grateful to all of the wonderful people there for having me. Sorry about the mess.

I did get the chance to make new friends and talk about the inspirations behind A Kiss Before Doomsday, including secret underground bunkers, magic crystals, go-go boots, demon-possessed muscle cars, and the fact that zombies don’t drive. At least as far as I know.

Then I read one of my favorite scenes, answered a bunch of questions from my endlessly smart readers, and gave away handfuls of brightly colored crystals – in this case, sucrose crystals. (Rock candy!) Afterward, we celebrated at the scrumptious restaurant next door, modestly called The Goods.

None of it would’ve been possible without my unstoppable agent Kristin Nelson, my tireless editor Rene Sears, all of the good folks at Pyr, and most of all, the support of readers like you. Thank you so much for making this book a success!

Kristin Nelson and Laurence MacNaughton at Tattered Cover - A Kiss Before Doomsday

Funny, I thought the Tattered Cover would have maybe four or five books on hand…

the actual kiss before doomsday

The real kiss before doomsday. (Or at least, before the book signing.)

Laurence MacNaughton and fans at Tattered Cover

I’m a fairly tall guy, but my friend and fellow Colorado author Kevin Wolf is six-foot-six.

2017 Book Signing at Tattered Cover - with boots

True story: my lovely wife’s go-go boots are so fabulous that I actually put them in the book. Watch for the scene where Dru goes undercover at a sorcerer’s masquerade. These are the boots.

Kristin Nelson and Laurence MacNaughton cut the cake at Tattered Cover

Now available in paperback, ebook, and my favorite format of all – cake!

Tattered Cover bookmark

The coveted “golden bookmark” from the inestimable Tattered Cover. This is seriously cool. I don’t feel worthy.

Don’t miss out on more fun events, giveaways, and other cool stuff! Subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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Win this book from Goodreads!

A Kiss Before Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

 You could win a signed copy of A Kiss Before Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton.

New giveaways start every week. Don’t miss out!

 

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New Author Interview on Blog Talk Radio

Wooden Pants - Daily Author podcastThe Daily Author turned out to be one of my favorite live interviews ever. Richard and I got into some pretty in-depth discussions about:

• What it takes to overcome creative anxiety
• Connecting with your creative support network
• The importance of knowing good advice from bad
• Independent vs. traditional publishing – there is a third way
• The long journey from freelancer to author
• And much, much more!

Plus, I’m doing a special giveaway just for podcast listeners. Listen here.

Don’t forget to subscribe for bonus content and an extra chance to win. >

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Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Friday July 14 at 4pm ET

Reddit Books - urban fantasyJoin me on Reddit today and ask me anything.

Seriously. Any questions you may have about writing, publishing, crystals… muscle cars… cheeseburgers… whatever. Hey, I’m happy to help. Continue reading

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There Are Two Kinds of Book Reviews (and Not the Kinds You Think)

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Photo credit: Guido van Nispen

Authors have a love-hate relationship with book reviews. Some reviews make you light up and glow. Others make you feel like you’re dying an agonizing death.

Reading reviews of your own books is fraught enough to make even the toughest writer quiver. But what most people don’t realize is that there are actually two distinctly different kinds of reviews. Continue reading

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Top 10 Underrated Books of 2016

The BibliosanctumUpdate: Read the brand new review of A Kiss Before Doomsday from The Bibliosanctum. >

I love top 10 lists. Maybe I just love reading them and trying to think of two or three things they left out. Or maybe that’s just me.

At any rate, this is a list that you definitely need to check out.

The marvelous Mogsy over at The BiblioSanctum has put together a thought-provoking roll call of hidden gems from 2016: Continue reading

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Interview on the Rocky Mountain Writer Podcast

RMFW Podcast - The Rocky Mountain WriterRecently, I had the great pleasure of chatting with notable Colorado author Mark Stevens, host of The Rocky Mountain Writer podcast. We chatted about writing and publishing, and I read an excerpt from my upcoming book, A Kiss Before Doomsday. Listen to the RMFW podcast here.

As I’m sure you know, I love sharing writing tips and productivity tips that anyone can use. In the podcast, I got the chance to talk about an acronym I use to help me write absolutely anything from a blog post to a novel. It’s CODE:

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8 Favorite Bookstores for Readers

Ginormous Library

Ironically, no one knows where to find the Self Help section.

Do you have a favorite bookstore?

For my money, one of the neatest bookstores on the planet is the Tattered Cover on Colfax Avenue in Denver. Did you know that it’s built inside an old theater? Strange, but true. They even kept a few of the old folding red theater seats, where you can sit and read, and pretend you’re just killing time between acts. Also, they have a delectable coffee shop.

(By the way, I’ll be doing a book signing event at the Tattered Cover for A Kiss Before Doomsday on Friday, July 21, at 7:00 pm. Prizes, treats, and lots of fun. Join me!)

Last month in my author newsletter, I asked subscribers to tell me about their favorite bookstores, and I gave away a signed copy of It Happened One Doomsday to one lucky reader. I also heard some great stories and shout-outs to some real bookstore gems. Here are a few:

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