2018 Update: A Sale, A New Facebook Group, A New Book, A Quiz, and more!

Join Me!

It’s been some time since I’ve blogged here. My apologies; 2017 was quite a rough year on the personal front.

I’ve also been focusing my energies on my VIP Readers Email Club and my new Locked On Love Facebook group, a fun place for romance readers to talk love and so much more. I hope you’ll consider joining either or both groups, if you haven’t already!

And hey, I’m working on beefing up my Instagram presence, so if you’re active there, I’d love to follow you!

A Sale!

Just in time for the month of love, I’ve put each title in my award-winning Magic of Love series on sale for only $0.99 each (in e-book format). And did you know all of my books are now available on iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play, as well as Amazon? Wahoo!

Want free excerpts and background information from A Man of Character so you can try before you buy? Sign up here!

Gawain and the Green Knight medieval illustration

The Legendary Duke

Another reason for my relative silence of late is I’m hard at work drafting The Legendary Duke, the second in my Put Up Your Dukes Regency series. It’s loosely based on the Arthurian legend of Gawain and the Green Knight, and I’m having a grand time dropping Arthurian Easter eggs into a Regency tale. I hope to have it out by the end of the summer.

I thank all my readers for their patience in waiting for my next book. While I’d hoped to have had a title out sooner, my mom’s illness and subsequent loss not only devastated me emotionally, but prevented me from researching and writing for the second half of 2017.

USA Today Bestseller The Demon Duke

USA Today Bestselling Author!

Thanks to YOU, I’m now a USA Today Bestselling Author! The response to The Demon Duke has been wonderful, far beyond my wildest dreams, and y’all launched it to bestseller status on both Amazon (it hit #21 in the entire Kindle store!) and the USA Today list! Unbelievable!

Input Wanted! A Quiz:

Finally, I’d love to hear from you! What do you like to read in an author’s blog? Behind the scenes info? Personal stories? Historical research tidbits?

Thanks for any input you’d like to share…my goal is to serve YOU!

A Thank You

Last but not least, I just want to express my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you. It’s been a wild ride since A Man of Character first debuted.

I’m often still in disbelief that people are not only reading my stories but they all take the time to tell me, either in reviews or directly, that they love them and want more.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Searching for Balance: An Update

OvereatingI don’t know about you, but I tend to be all or nothing. It’s true in how I eat (either off sugar or face down in chocolate), how I read, how I work, and how I love. I’m a binge-everything. Which, uh, makes it very hard to find balance: I’m either going full throttle or at a stand-still (or creeping in reverse like a tortoise on retreat).

Coahuilan Box Turtle (Terrapene Coahuila) isolated on white background.

This fall, I’ve been stuck in turtle mode. Why? Some personal stuff, but also because last year was such a whirlwind of writing and editing and publishing and meeting new readers and attending fairs and making promo and just figuring out this whole “how to be an author thing.”

ASMPreOrderAdThanks to you all, I’ve already succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I’m no NYT bestseller, but I’ve got regular sales and, more importantly, y’all seem to really like my books! I’m so touched and surprised and pleased and … and … terrified.

Private Or Public Directions On A Metal Signpost

Terrified? What? Yeah. I am. Because what if the next thing I write, people hate? What if I’m not “doing it right,” whether in terms of publishing frequency or keeping a street team or knowing where to be when or…? “Not doing it right” is the worst fear of a perfectionist. Because I guess it’s code for “failing.” And who likes failing?

So, yeah, stupid anxiety’s got me pulling my head into my shell.

familyselfieThe other hard reality I hit this summer was realizing I can’t put quite as many hours into my writing career as I feel I need to to “do it right”, because, well, I still have a darling husband and two wonderful kids and a messy house that need me. And friends and family to be with it and…and…

See? That balance thing again. Dang it.

portrait of young gymnasts training in the stadiumLast month, I fell off the beam. After manically doing flips and handsprings for over a year (figuratively – in real life, I hurt myself doing somersaults now!), I suddenly found myself face down on the mat.

And I haven’t wanted to get up. Just this week, I realized it’s because I’m scared if I do, I’ll return to trying to pull off a routine that surpasses my current level of talent and ability. That all-or-nothing thinking again. Oops.

Female legs jogging on a trailTime to stand up. Time to take those steps forward. One foot in front of the other – no fancy tricks required, just steady movement. I’ve got my NaNoWriMo project set (A Delicate Matter – Sophie’s story!), The Demon Duke to edit, and a whole bunch of other authorly things to catch up on.

Joy, sunlight, wheat.

Because screw you, anxiety! You won’t rob me of my joy anymore. I’m ready to get back to the happy and peppy and fun-loving Margaret I truly am, the one who’s so grateful for all the blessings she has – including the ability to be on this journey with y’all. Because sharing the love is what I was born to do, peeps.

Thank you, dear readers and writer friends and everybody who’s supported me and cheered me on this far. I’m gonna figure this balance thing out. Because I have a whole lot more stories to tell and I love writing them. I love sharing them. And I love you. With all my heart.

Book pages in the shape of a heart

It’s Good To Get Off The Interstate, In Life And In Writing…

MountainViewUsually, the monthly Virginia Romance Writers meetings take place in Richmond. To get there, I simply hop on interstates 81 and 64, and two hours later, I’ve arrived. It’s fast. It’s familiar. It’s not particularly relaxing.

This past weekend, the VRW meeting happened in Fredericksburg. Let me tell you, there is no direct interstate route between Harrisonburg and Fredericksburg. Oh, I could take interstates, but it’d actually tack time onto the trip. Instead, I dutifully followed Google and traversed the smaller highways, 33 and 20.

It was heavenly. It was stunning. It was an unexpectedly delightful experience, both coming and going. Continue reading It’s Good To Get Off The Interstate, In Life And In Writing…

Writing, Editing, Marketing, Family Life: It’s All a Matter of Time

Old pocket watch and books in Low-keyHa ha, see what I did there? A Matter of Time is the name my next book. Working it into the title of this blog post was a stroke of genius, or, more likely, a sign I need more sleep.

See, like many authors, I’m discovering there just isn’t enough time. For anything, it sometimes feels.

Writing isn’t even a full-time job for me – or it isn’t supposed to be. The Mom Hat still comes first, and since I have to drive kids to and from school, it chops up my day. Not to mention in the mornings and once they’re home, my silly kiddos actually want some of my attention. My darling husband, too.

But writing could be full-time, easily. It’s trying to be. So could editing, if I had the stamina for it. Don’t even get me started on marketing – that’s a job and a half, at least.

Stack of vintage books isolated on whiteOne day last week, I vented on Facebook about feeling as if I’m never doing anything right as I stumble along this book writing/editing/publishing/marketing path, and I got back wonderful responses. Truly wonderful. I keep returning to read the responses, but Grace Burrowes‘ advice has really stuck with me. It’s advice I’ve heard from many, many other authors, as well: the only job I really need to do is write the books, write the books, write the books.

I just wish I had time and energy enough to do what I want to do with writing (and editing and marketing and…). When I have time (evenings), I’m often out of energy. When I have energy (day), I’m lucky if I get a good four hours in. Because darn if my family doesn’t want to eat, so I have to grocery shop and cook. I have to occasionally do laundry and dishes, so that we’re not eating naked off our thighs or something. I sometimes decide to pick stuff up, so that we don’t end up on an episode of Hoarders.

I’m hopelessly behind in email (not in the least because I sign up for newsletters about writing, free video courses about writing, etc., etc, but can’t find the time to read/watch them). I do get caught up in social media, I admit; I want to respond to everything and everyone, but of course, that takes time. Time I willingly give. Plus, well, yeah, I get distracted by George Takei‘s posts and cute cat videos and pictures of friends’ kids, etc.

bookdanceTime management is not one of my strong suits and never has been, so I’m sure part of this–maybe even a lot of this–is me. I’m sure I could do better.

I’m just tipping my hat today to those authors out there who seem able to do it all: write quality books, and write them quickly, edit them quickly, publish them quickly, market them astutely, keep up with social media, etc. I admire you.

Someday, I hope to be you! In the meantime, can you share your secrets?

Meanwhile, it’s back to the Editing Cave. Time, energy, or not, A Matter of Time will make its way back to the editor September 28th. Wish me luck, will you?

Twofer … Friday? I’m doing double duty on two different blogs today – woo hoo!

A Man of Character Cover Margaret LockeWow. I am feeling the love today. I’m so thrilled that Annie of The Write Review and Cate of Romance Debuts wanted to interview me – and so surprised that both interviews hit the Internet today!

Find me (and my babbling here):

Romance Debuts – Keep your eye on this new blog; Cate is featuring debut novels from newbie authors (like me). Isn’t that a wonderful gift to the writing community?

The Write Review – Leave a comment on my interview and you could win a free copy of A Man of Character! Annie is such a delight, and I’m so privileged she profiled me on her site.

Thank you, Annie & Cate!