2015: A Year of Giving Thanks, Meeting Romance Idols, & Making New Friends

2015 has been a very good year for me. I am so thankful. 

This year, I:


Eloisa James with Margaret Locke
The ever-charming Eloisa James and I.
The fabulous Sabrina Jeffries!
The fabulous Sabrina Jeffries!
With Pamela Morsi!
With Pamela Morsi!
With the gracious and knowledge-generous Valerie Bowman
With gracious & knowledge-generous Valerie Bowman.
With the exuberantly charming Cathy Maxwell.
Sue London getting silly at the West Virginia Book Festival
Sue London getting silly at the West Virginia Book Festival.


  • met a ton of new people, and, even more amazingly, new fans! I, little ol’ Margaret, now have fans. What, what? But, yes, I do, like the oh-so-fabulous Annie, who even had lunch with me when she was in town.
Annie is a riot, y'all, and we had so much fun at our far-too-brief lunch in October!
Annie is a riot, y’all, and we had so much fun at our far-too-brief lunch in October!
Long-time friends supported me, too, including my grade-school friend Heather, whose animals apparently also want to read A Matter of Time!
Long-time friends supported me, too, including my grade-school friend Heather, whose animals apparently also want to read A Matter of Time!
Some fans read my books out loud to their babies!
Some fans read my books out loud to their babies!
... While others forced their kids to do things like this!
… While others forced their kids to do things like this!
  • solidified relationships and friendships within my Shenandoah Valley Writers critique group and more, and basically surrounded myself with writer friends the whole year through.
Maggie and Rebekah helped me celebrate debut day!
Maggie and Rebekah helped me celebrate debut day!
And these fine characters cheered me on, critiqued my work, picked me up when I felt down, and celebrated my successes!
And these fine characters cheered me on, critiqued my work, picked me up when I felt down, and celebrated my successes!
  • had the loving support of my family, including my very own computer-science-professor-in-shining-armor husband, who read BOTH of my books, just to support me (and help me find typos). He’s that awesome of a guy.
My real-life romance hero.
My real-life romance hero.

Yes, it’s been a very good year. 

And I owe so much of that to you all.

  • Thank You Word CloudThank you to everyone who took a chance on A Man of Character (and now again on A Matter of Time!).
  • Thank you to the friends and family who’ve supported me, and the new readers who’ve picked up one of my books this year.
  • Thank you to the book bloggers and reviewers who graciously gave their time to review my books.
  • Thank you to Tessa Shapcott, my editor, for her invaluable guidance, and to Joy Lankshear, my cover designer and formatter, for making my books look better than I ever imagined they could.
  • Thank you to the fellow writers I’ve met on Facebook and Twitter, whose companionship brightens my day every day, and whose wisdom is lighting this crazy, twisting and turning path I’m on.
  • Thank you to the people who’ve liked my books enough to join my street team, Locke’s Flock, or to review them on Amazon or GoodReads, or even just to tell someone else about my books and/or me. All of those seemingly little things make a HUGE difference.

Simply put, I wouldn’t be here without you, and I wanted to express my gratitude as 2015 closes out and 2016 gets ready to begin.

What does the next year hold?

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?

Becca The Bibliophile Reviews A Man of Character!

… and this is the opening to her review: “What a fun concept for a book and I absolutely loved every minute of it.”

Woo hoo! Want to read more of Becca’s review, and enter to win your own autographed paperback of A Man of Character? Head on over to Becca The Bibliophile‘s website!

Becca The Bibliophile

Extra! Special Guest Interview: Elisha N. of European Geeks Publishing

ElishaNWoo hoo! Special guest in the house today … Elisha from European Geeks Publishing! She was so kind to host me on her blog right before A Man of Character debuted. I desperately wanted to ask her a bunch of questions based on the whole geek thing alone (I doth do hearteth the geeks!), and luckily, she obliged. We delved into other topics, as well. Settle in and enjoy!

I love the Tardis on your (old) blog’s header, so clearly you’re a Whovian. What is it about Doctor Who that appeals to you? What other shows have sucked you in? (Please say Merlin… ;)) 

Doctor Who is the anti-super hero. He is a hero in his own right, but without using any violence or weapons. He saves the world, which is not even HIS world, time and time again simply by using his brain. He is very active in the belief that all lives are important and tends to remind his friends to never give up their morals – no matter how bad the situation is. I am a big fan of Orphan Black and Torchwood (of course). I also enjoy some lighthearted romps, such as Two Broke Girls and Mike & Molly. I did follow Merlin for a long time, but, unfortunately, fell behind when we moved into our new house and haven’t caught up yet. 

ML: You’ve just summed up why I also love Doctor Who – although you articulated it twenty times better. 

You call yourself a “self-proclaimed nerd.” I love it. What does that mean to you?

Nerd used to have a negative connotation when I was in high school. Before geek became chic, my friends and I began to call ourselves self-proclaimed nerds. If we took control of the term, those ‘popular’ cheerleaders and football players couldn’t use it as an insult anymore. Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect does the same thing. When asked why she calls herself Fat Amy, she responds: “So twiggy bitches like you can’t do it behind my back.” If you retain control of the term, it loses any derogatory meaning. Nowadays, nerds rule – so the term has become a positive anyway. 

What are you writing? Tell us about your novel.  

I have a few things in the works. My children’s book is currently being illustrated. I’m still penning my baby at the moment. My novel is called RED, and it is a blend of Grimm’s fairy tales, pagan and Celtic rituals and history, and much more. It focuses on Roslyn, a twenty-four-year-old who is plagued by nightmares, visions, and a strange feeling that she is being watched. As her twenty-fifth birthday approaches, her visions become more intense, revealing a startling truth about her family history that has been kept from her for years.

I’m hoping to have it completed by the end of the year.

writingHow does your work as an editor inform your own writing?

It both helps and hurts. Most authors tend to just hammer the words out. They feverishly write the story out and then go back and make their edits, or ship it off to someone else to tidy up. I will rewrite the same sentence thirty times before moving on. I also find that I can’t just sit down and write – every time I sit down, I end up editing the chapter I’m working on.

On the plus side, I’ll find most of the errors, plot snags, and unnecessary phrases before anyone else gets their hands on it.

What’s your take on indie vs traditional publishing?

I used to be all for traditional publishing, but over the last decade I have lost my faith in the system. I see so many amazing authors who can’t get an agent or publisher to look at their work, but yet books like Fifty Shades are pouring onto the shelves. I believe indie publishing is the new medium for truly gifted authors to get their talent acknowledged. It is also much better for the authors, who get to regain more control over their work. 

Do you prefer to read digital or physical books? 

I am a huge fan of holding a real book in my hands. I have adamantly refused to get an eReader. Unfortunately, my toddler cannot stand to see Mummy holding a book, so I have commandeered my husband’s Kindle until further notice. 

How did you end up in the US? 

My father is actually American. He was in the US military, stationed in Germany. My parents met at Octoberfest. They divorced when I was just under two and my mother and I left Germany and went home to the UK. When I was older, I wanted to meet my father… and here I am. 

silverkissWhat are your top three favorite books of all time?

Oh, that’s difficult. I would have to say my number one favorite is called The Silver Kiss, by Annette Curtis Klause. It’s a young adult book, but it was the first dark fantasy book I read as a child and it drew me in immediately. I sometimes pull it out to remind myself of that feeling that I’m looking to portray in my own work. Of course, the iconic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams because, well – you never want to forget your towel. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike would be my third. As with The Silver Kiss, it is one of my top favorites strictly because of how they made me feel – it drew me in as a child. I was so addicted to the entire series that my middle school friends would get mad at me for not spending any time with me. I always had my nose in a book. 

Which writers influence you most?

Joss Whedon is a huge influence in my life. Although he is a screen writer, he is one of the most genius storytellers. The way that his stories and plot twists could make me feel is something I would love to emulate one day. Otherwise, my cousin – Alastair Swinnerton (http://www.toonspace.co.uk/) is high on the list. His resume blows away most writers and after decades, he is still going without fail. A few others are Alex Marwood (author of Wicked Girls and The Killer Next Door), J Edward Ritchie (Fall From Grace), and Ian Thomas Malone (A Trip Down Reality Lane, Five More College Dialogues). I’m impressed by their drive, talent, and the fact that they are down-to-earth people. 

Tell us about your new company, European Geeks Publishing…

European Geeks Publishing is a new, exciting, small press that believes in the support and promotion of its authors. We partner with our authors, making sure they are involved in the entire process – from cover art to marketing. 

At European Geeks Publishing, we focus on a smaller catalog to ensure that we spend an adequate amount of time with each author from the beginning steps through to the marketing and promotion of each book launch to ensure maximum success for each project.

We specialize in science fiction and fantasy – in picture books, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult genres.

ML: So, authors, head on over to the European Geeks website to find out if you’re a good fit with their vision!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Elisha, especially since I know you’re busy with your new Publishing House. Always nice to find a fellow geek. 

A Man of Character: One Week In & a Great Big THANK YOU!

A Man of Character Cover Margaret LockeWait, what? It’s been a full week since A Man of Character debuted? I can hardly believe it.

Thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response I’ve received! I’ve shed more than one tear in the last seven days, but luckily they’ve all been happy tears.

Thank you everyone who’s bought the book, everyone who’s reading the book, and to everyone who’s taken the time to leave a review on Amazon or GoodReads.

Y’all rock. 

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve heard this week:

“Mrs. Locke, I just finished your novel, “A Man of Character.” I just wanted you to know that it was one of the best books that I have read this year. I look forward to reading Eliza’s story, and I hope you will write William’s story as well. Thanks for the pleasure of your words.”

“Loved the story. I read way past my bedtime. It was an interesting and thought-provoking romance. Looking forward to more books from this author.”

“I don’t usually read romances, but I couldn’t quit reading this one. It arrived in the mail late Thursday, and I finished it Friday morning. This novel has a clever premise, cool characters, a neat twist toward the end (a perfect set-up for the sequel), and a great sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can’t wait for Margaret Locke’s next work.”

“I loved it! This fun and thought-provoking romance novel offers a great balance of comedic elements, sweetness, and sizzle. Throw in a handful of handsome eligible men, a touch of magic, and journey of self-discovery, and you have a wonderful story. The book was a joy to read, both for the creative content and craft (it is very well-edited and formatted — the author obviously knows her stuff and invested the time necessary to develop an excellent product). I am very impressed and am looking forward to the next book! (I hope it’s about Eliza. I loved her character!)”

Margaret Locke A Man of CharacterThose are words that feed the writer’s soul – especially a nervous Nellie newbie like me!

I hope you’ll continue to help me spread the word about A Man of Character, whether through sharing about it on Facebook, tweeting about it, or good, old-fashioned telling someone about it directly. Word-of-mouth is everything in the book world, and something on which indie authors are especially dependent.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my romance writer’s heart. You know how to make a girl feel special!