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Go-To Resources To Unleash Creativity

There are times when we need to change up our routine to keep sane. For instance, if you work in the same cubicle doing the same tasks for the same minimal pay–perhaps your life could benefit from creativity. Or if you’ve finally taken time off to use your vacation time and don’t want feel like you need a vacation (from) vacation, simple creative activities could help.

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Check out this list of go-to resources to unleash creativity and use the ones that catch your interest. The lists are in two categories: writing related and non-writing related. I admit most of the recommendations are veered toward introverts because I’m a happy and proud introvert myself. 🙂

Writing Related

The thrill is gone. Once upon a time you had the feels for the book or story you started, but the thrill is gone. Maybe you need a break from a long-term goal. Your imagination can go wild when you write flash fiction. From 100-1,000 words, challenge yourself with a new story trope or idea.

Not sure about where to find ideas? Try TVtropes.org and find tropes from your favorite categories and genres related to movies and TV shows. Finish your story piece and publish it or keep it to develop later. But finish it. You did it! Now go back to that big idea. You can do that too.

No idea where to start or what to do. Do you like movies? Most people have a favorite movie they know or can quote. They are familiar with the story. But have you ever applied your writing to one of your favorite movies? Screenwriting tips from Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” method uses a three-beat system to divide scenes up into three beats. Take a look and print off the worksheets. Then sit down and take brief notes when you watch the scenes in your favorite film or even tv show. You’ll eventually begin to grasp story structure.

Apply what you learned about writing to a short story idea. Perhaps the story could also have potential to become a working outline for a novel (Here is a helpful site to download free resources to outline a novel, when you’re ready.) You’re off to a great start. Keep writing!

Blog? What is this blog thing and how do I do it? A blog is a place of unlimited potential for just about anyone. You can make a blog as formal, as funny, as serious as you want to make it. It can be on any subject under the sun. Blogs are happy places where you can be yourself on your part of the web. You’re able to monitor comments or turn them off. Blogs LAST beyond the ever-changing whims of social media channels. Check out Hubspot’s blog topic generator for ideas on what to post. Visit bookpromotion.com to know how to effectively pimp your blog out. Also, don’t be afraid to go to your favorite blogs and see what they are doing. Copying posts is a BIG no-no without permission from the author, but you may come across content that inspires you to write your own spin on the topic.

“I’m all out of love for ideas.” Yeah. We’ve all been here before. It sucks. To re-vamp your inspiration try Pinterest. Type in some of your interests or things related to your interests. Like if you enjoy cooking, type “recipes” or if you only like to eat vegan type “vegan food.”

Non-Writing Related

Oh my, are the options endless here. I’ll throw a few out for you to explore. Of course, if you think of any others, do those too. You know you better than anyone.

*Love Machines (technology)*

I-Movie is a fun way to create a movie or book trailer. It’s simple to put something together and share it with friends for fun or compile something for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. The music is pre-loaded, but I think you’re also able to upload your own music. Just be sure to use royalty free images and music.

Did you know you can create simple memes, Facebook banners, and jazz up your photos in MS Word and Pages for Mac? You can. It’s time- consuming, but for those who love to tweak (not twirk) until the sun comes up, you’ll love doing this. Here’s a YouTube tutorial for Facebook banners . There is a ton of instructional videos on how to design on Word or in Pages (for Mac.) Go crazy designing and show off your work.

Move to the beat. Playlists encourage movement and happiness. If you’re sad, there’s a song for it. If you’re mad, there’s a song for it. Playlists on Spotify are a fun way to categorize music for whatever mood you want to nurture. If you’d rather bypass the low monthly fee, try I Heart Radio. There will be commercials on your favorite radio stations, but that is why it’s free. YouTube is another way to categorize music videos into stations, and it works sort of like a playlist. If you’d rather not be bothered with ads, the small monthly fee is well worth it.

*Hands-On Hobbies/Occupations*

Crocheting is a skill that can be learned and is a creative and relaxing way to create numerous things. Check out Crotchet Guru on YouTube.

Repurposing home goods is good for the environment, but it also saves money and encourages practical solutions in a creative way. Here are some ideas from a previous post I’ve written. Pick something you like to do and make it your mission to complete it.

Pottery creation is a way to spin ideas while creating original art. You can paint, glue, and design to your heart’s content. Then use the final product later as a centerpiece, stepping stone, or pen holder.

Adult coloring books are a thing now. Check out these free and printable designs. For those who are mentally burned out, coloring is a subconscious way to soothe anxiety and stress associated with burnout.

Cuddle an animal if you have high blood pressure, PTSD, have anxiety or depression, or want a better perspective on life. Local animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to walk and care for the animals. The advantage to volunteering is that you’re able to love on the animals too. When potential adoptive parents come in to ask about the animals, you’ll know their best attributes so they’ll find a loving home. Who doesn’t need more love in their life?


Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow this blog. I follow back and enjoy keeping in touch through blogs and email. My email is authorlauriekozlowski@gmail.com . I have two FREE flash fiction stories for you to enjoy. The first one is a humor diddy: Undercover Panty Agent . The second story is suspense: Dagger of The Damned. My usual genre is contemporary romance fiction and I write for Booktrope Publishing. More on recent publications can be found >here<.  I have book to be released soon and will set up a newsletter because it will be fast forward from there! 🙂 Happy reading and writing!

Laurie Kozlowski


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Our Safari Experience-Pictures Included!

Seeing a giraffe on safari was a highlight of our family’s trip. We were fortunate to observe many wild animals up close. To touch them would have not only been dangerous, but it would require climbing out of the gigantic jeep bouncing us and several other people around on the rough terrain, similar to an actual African safari.

I imagine Africa is a lot hotter than where we were, only a brief bus ride from the Magic Kingdom. I was relieved to see the animals had plenty of refuge in the area, and Disney had truly done what I perceived as a fine job at caring for them though they were out of their natural habitat.

This post is not me endorsing animal captivity, by the way. If I could know every animal on Earth is free from harm, I would arrange it. But reality says another thing, so I’m sharing what I feel is more of a moment of appreciation for these wild and beautiful beasts.

We were all amazed by the beauty of the majestic creatures surrounding us. I’d love to share the moments we captured in snapshots with our camera with you today. Here they are.

See the goofy gardener’s hat? The day we left the Animal Kingdom was the last day I wore it! It was replaced by a hip Minnie hat with polka-dots. Still, I miss this goofy hat! No pun intended!
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Our eyes caught the first sign of “Harambe.”
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Safari time! It was warm, but not too hot that day.
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Simulated mountains overlooking a very real bridge, trees, and beautiful waters. We viewed this from another bridge and I captured the peaceful atmosphere.
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Family safari! Zoko, my husband and I hop aboard a huge jeep. I think there is more technical term, but it escapes my thoughts.
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Rhino not feeling photogenic at the moment. Most likely, though, it’s because he can’t see but two feet in front of him. We learned many facts about animals from the tour guide.
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Hippo. I had to cut off the hind end of this picture because he/she…um…was flinging poo on the wall with its tail.
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Helllooo. Ostrich just being who it is. All feathery and calm for the moment.
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Flamingos hanging out near the water. Beautiful sight to see.
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This elephant had a few or couple of friends, but liked his space.
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I cannot remember the name of this animal, but his head and face was boxy and he stayed in proximity of a herd of similar animals.
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This one reminded me of some of the pastures I pass near my home. We do not have animals like these in Northeast Georgia, but it was serene. Loved it.
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There were several giraffes. This one played peek-a-boo while having lunch.
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Hippo and bird, up close.
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Small herd of rhinos!!
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We took a rest at a food court place afterward.
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This duck was not shy and loved to interact with people. We would talk to him and he would move his head to the side like he understood our every word.
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Man-made gigantic tree. It has several carvings of animals on the trunk including an owl, snake, horse, and several others.
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Waiting for Baloo and photo Op from the balcony.
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I loved this flower tree, so I stood beneath the branches on the last day I wore the gardeners hat and before we to dinner.

To add to this, I’m going to add an analogy a friend shared with me one day, a few months back. It holds weight concerning perception of ourselves and others, and I have reflected on her words more than once:

“There are giraffes and turtles. The giraffes are occupied looking up and pursuing possibilities while the turtles graze on lower possibilities.”

She shared this thought with me just after I had gotten finished going through a list of comparisons of myself versus a few other acquaintances. I think many people have this negative self-talk going on, and there are days we have to talk ourselves up from it.

The thing is, as I watched the giraffes nibble on the higher leaves of the trees and observed the huge tortoises below them, I knew I wanted to be the giraffe. My friend was sharing her faith in me that day, and today I’m giving it to you!

Being concerned with the turtles who are content on feeding on lower conclusions of themselves does not mean we giraffes of the world have to get down there with them. Some days we will lift the negativity from ourselves and be able to help others up. Other days, we may only be able to help ourselves up.

I know the big idea for me is to feed consistently from the upper branches while giving grace to myself and others going through the “turtle phase mentality.” This challenge is a work in progress, but I’ve come far in the past several months.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my eyes and heart open to receive and give grace. The posts will continue while seeking refuge in the possibilities while finding a way through moments when I think I’m a turtle! 😉

© Laurie Kozlowski 2015

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RWA Member | Founder of Book Escape Reviews | Pro Reader Participant, NetGalley | Founder/blogger @ luluzoko.com (Messy Muses, Children’s Books) | Also Tweets at: @nextbookescape (Book Escape Reviews)

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Best Posts From LaurieWriting in 2014

Hello friends!

2014 was a surreal year with many challenges, successes, and a few bumps along the way. If you’re new to LaurieWriting, or have some catching up to do, here are a few highlights from 2014. But first, let me express to you how grateful I am to have you all coming along for this journey by saying “HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope your lives are filled with great success, fulfillment, and PEACE.”
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[Image credit: Photo.elsoar.com]

Now for the highlights–and overview of 2014 on LaurieWriting:

“Love in The Land of Misfits” 

>>> A funny post on a grocery run with my husband when a journalist wanted a picture of us after we’d just rolled out of bed. <<<

“Proving and Proofing Yourself as a REAL Author”

>>> A no-holds barred and inspirational post on cultivating a “can do” attitude and letting go of comparisons. <<<

“What My Daughter Has Taught Me About Being A Brave Writer”

>>> A post and analogy of how children often motivate adults to let go of what doesn’t matter in life. This funny post was written on a day when I was quite discouraged, but came back fueled to face my writing after finding inspiration from observing my young daughter and her friend as they played. <<<

“A New Project: Messy Muses Children’s Books”

>>> A post announcing mine and my daughter’s new and progressing adventure in the world of producing and publishing a children’s book.<<<

“Serendipity Summer Cover Reveal”     

>> Cover reveal of my second contemporary romance, Serendipity Summer. <<

“Practicing Self-Acceptance”

>>> A heartfelt post on insecurities and conquering self-image fears. <<<

“Interview with Author Laurie Kozlowski” (by Kyrian Lyndon)

>>> My first interview on blogtalk radio. Kyrian Lyndon and I discuss writing, social media, my newest book release, childhood memories, and much more on Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian. <<<

“Deep Gratitude Hits Home–My First Book Signing Event” 

>>>  An overview of how my first book signing went and an appreciation for writing and readers who are supportive during this journey. <<<

>>>> Books by Laurie <<<<<
>>>>>Laurie on Twitter<<<<

Don’t forget you’re able to Follow This Blog By Email and get updates on new posts! Click on the “Follow” button to the right of this page on the sidebar and follow the prompts, then you’re all set! Thank you, and happy new year!

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INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR LAURIE KOZLOWSKI

My first author podcast interview! I was interviewed by lovely author and writing friend, Kyrian Lyndon on Heart to Heart with Kyrian. Please stop by to hear our fun chat and to read her review of my newest romance book release, Serendipity Summer. #bookworm #fictionbooks

http://kyrianlyndon.com/2014/11/10/interview-with-author-laurie-kozlowski/

KYRIAN LYNDON

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I had the opportunity to interview the author, Laurie Kozlowski, on my radio show, Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian. Here is a podcast of that interview.

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About the Author:

Laurie Kozlowski resides in Northeast Georgia with her daughter and husband. Having small town roots, she’s intrigued with the charm, drama, and humor of the south, often weaving those themes into the fiction she writes.

Her first contemporary romance book, Serendipity Summer, is the first of four books in the Riverbend Way Series. The Riverbend Way Series is contemporary small-town romance fiction. The series touches on serious modern day issues, a twist of earthy and sometimes bawdy humor, and a heavy dose of love.

Laurie enjoys incorporating family-centered themes and stories including friendship, hope, and healing.

She also writes under the pen names of Roxie Nash and Lulu Zoko.

When not writing, she loves to make music and jewelry, picnic near the river…

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Author Spotlight: Debut Author, Kyrian Lyndon and ‘A Dark Rose Blooms’ review #poetry

Check out my review of A Dark Rose Blooms on Book Escape Reviews. Kyrian Lyndon, the author, wrote this short poetry book and included an excerpt from her upcoming novel series, Deadly Veils. I’m hooked on her writing, and hope you’ll stop by to find out more about Kyrian and her work. A Dark Rose Blooms will be published soon. You don’t want to miss it!
Thanks for reading ~
Laurie
http://bookescapereviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/author-spotlight-debut-author-kyrian-lyndon-and-a-dark-rose-blooms-review-poetry/

Book Escape Reviews

Please welcome Kyrian Lyndon–writer, author, and poet, in celebration of her new poetry book, A Dark RoseBlooms. I’ve had the honor of reading the ARC, and am also posting a review of the soon-to-be-released book of poems, as well as sharing some things readers may not know about this debut author. It’s your time to shine, Kyrian, so congrats on your new book release!

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Review of A Dark Rose Blooms

Five Stars  * * * * *

A Short and Potent Book of Heartfelt Poems

I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful collection of poems featured in A Dark Rose Blooms. I have always greatly admired those who pour their hearts out in poetry, because in gives an insiders view of important moments and emotions within a person’s life. This book captures the lighthearted and fun moments as well as a few deep, solitary, and sometimes quite dark moments…

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Author Spotlight : Romance and Women’s Fiction Author, Ann Roth #Women #Relationships #Fiction

Women’s fiction and romance author, Ann Roth, is featured on my new book review site, Book Escape Reviews. If you love heart-warming stories of love, family, and friendships, you are sure to enjoy Ann’s new e-book exclusives! I hope you stop by to check out Ann in the Author Spotlight post! Thanks 🙂
~ Laurie Kozlowski
http://bookescapereviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/author-spotlight-romance-and-womens-fiction-author-ann-roth-women-relationships-fiction/

Book Escape Reviews

Ann Roth has written numerous romance novels for Harlequin, but most recently, has also waded out into self-publishing. I’m excited to feature her new e-book exclusive titles today, in celebration of this wonderful author’s work! Congrats, Ann, and thank you for writing such heartwarming, romantic, and beautiful stories for readers to sink their hearts and minds into.

~ Another Life Book Blurb ~
Learning of her husband Stephen’s fatal heart attack is the worst thing Mary Beth Mason can imagine… Until she learns about the other family he left behind. Another wife, another daughter, another home…

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* Click Here To Buy This Book*

~ Review of Another Life ~

Five Stars * * * * *

An Unconventional Story of Two Widowed Mothers

When I first read the story blurb for this book, I knew I had to read it. Never could I have predicted how it would all…

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Author Interviews · Erotic Fiction · Giveaways · Guest Posts · Romantic Suspense · Uncategorized · Writing

Gift Card Drawing and Interview With Author MJ Flournoy – Inside Her Erotic Romantic Suspense Novel ‘A Matter of Trust’

Please join me in welcoming MJ Flournoy, author of steamy, emotional, suspenseful and gripping erotic romance. It’s my pleasure to share with you more about this wonderful author and her great novel, A Matter of Trust. We’ll also be giving away an Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter, so read on!

Laurie: Welcome, MJ! I’m thrilled to have you on the blog today to share more about who you are and why you write.

MJ: Laurie, thanks so much for having me today. As you know, I write romantic suspense for ARES, which is an imprint of Renaissance Ebooks. I write because I love being in charge of the outcome of my plots. I enjoy making things happen, then figuring out how to undo what I’ve done to my characters. My days are spent as a special education teacher, but my evenings are all about writing romantic suspense.

Laurie: What a great and enjoyable way to unwind after a work day 🙂 What activities/hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t writing?

MJ: Reading is one of my very favorite things. I also enjoy travel – I’ve been to Europe three times and hope to go again soon. I adore the beach, being near the ocean inspires me to write. I also love to cook, trying new recipes is a passion.

Laurie: Oh, it will be nice as summer is approaching to enjoy some beach time. Best wishes on travels to Europe, how exciting! Your elegant blog – http://authormjflournoy.wordpress.com/about/ – brings to light your love of travel. Of all your travels, what place do you favor most and why?

MJ: I simply adore Italy and the Greek Isles. I’m a history geek and never tire of seeing all the historical sites. My favorite place however, isn’t a city, it’s a ship. I love MSC Musica. What better way to travel than to have your elegant hotel sail from one romantic city to another? Musica is a member of MSC Cruise Line’s fleet. While it isn’t the largest, it won my heart with its wonderful crew. Cruising is my passion!

Laurie: How lovely! A very beautiful way to travel, for sure. I’m all about the romance, as you can tell 🙂 Please tell us about your book – A Matter Of Trust. What type of story is it and what makes it unique?

MJ: A Matter of Trust is a romantic suspense/thriller with paranormal elements. The unique thing about it is the plot idea came to me when I heard about a teacher who encountered a child and felt something just “wasn’t right,” her concern and the fact that she acted on her intuition saved the life of a kidnapped child. With that story, Jolie Wyngate sprang fully formed into my mind and along with her, the Maniac who is the voice in Jolie’s head.

Laurie: Wow. Absolutely amazing. I’m sure your mind went into overdrive to create this terrific story. That is what captured my attention the most as I read this book – the unique plot and characters. What was the most challenging part of writing this story and why?

MJ: The most challenging thing about this book was the Maniac’s dialogue. I had to retype it from all caps, to Italics, to regular type and back to Italics. Everyone who read the manuscript, including the final editor had a different idea of how it should be done.

Laurie: Yes. I remember you previously mentioning the Maniac was the voice inside Jolie’s head. I can see where it would be quite challenging to differentiate the dialogue between the two, but I think you pulled it off nicely.
What is your goal as a writer, concerning how people perceive and receive your work?

MJ: The most important thing for me is to be entertaining and offer escape. I read for escape and I hope that my readers will enjoy the adventures and obstacles I throw at my characters.

Laurie: I agree. There’s nothing better than escaping into a great book. Your book is very much an escape as Jolie is thrown into obstacles during her adventure.
Who and/or what are your main influences in pursing writing and why?

MJ: My favorite book is Shanna, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. When I finished reading it, I sighed and whispered, “This is what I want to do.” It took me a long time and several false starts, but I finally achieved that goal.

Laurie: A very great accomplishment, indeed, to finish writing a great book. I’m sure there are many readers who will read your book and be inspired, also. Are there any other memorable books that are your all-time favorites?

MJ: As I mentioned above, Shanna is my all-time favorite. I also enjoy reading romantic suspense by many of my friends who are members of Kiss of Death.

Laurie: For readers and writers not familiar with Kiss of Death, it is a chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America), specifically centering on romantic suspense. To visit their “place on the web for murderously inclined romantics,” here’s the link to their site: http://www.rwamysterysuspense.org/index.php
Do you have any favorite quotes? If so, please share!

MJ: “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” is my motto and my favorite quote is “I don’t give them hell, I tell the truth and they think it’s hell”—Harry S. Truman

Laurie: A great motto and quote. Are there any current projects or interests that you’d like to mention or include before we leave everyone to ogle over the excellent cover to your book and hopefully indulge in Jolie’s and Mac’s romantic suspense adventure?

MJ: I’m currently working on the second book in the NVC series (A Matter of Trust was book 1). This book finds Jolie and Mac working for New Ventures Consulting and has a big surprise in store for the Maniac.

My other Work in progress is tentatively titled, the Serpentine Thread and has an Autistic Savant, a special education teacher, and a former SEAL turned FBI agent working undercover to infiltrate a homegrown terrorist cell. (I am retiring this year after a twenty year career as a special education teacher and I look forward to having much more free time for writing!)

Laurie: Oh, wow! I’ll certainly be looking forward to seeing what big surprise you have in store in the continuance of this series. Once again, you’ve left me intensely curious about your unique works in progress. Early congrats on your retirement. What a great and meaningful accomplishment, as I’m sure you’ve played a great role in molding many young minds. I look forward to reading more of your stories!

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND BUY ON AMAZON

Her paranormal abilities had always caused her grief. But can they save the life of a child who has been spirited away fro her parents and the life of the man she loves?

Jolie Wyngate is a middle school teacher with an extraordinary gift—or is it a curse? Throughout her life, she’s been never been sure. Now, when she is implicated in the disappearance of a child, the ultimate value of her powers will be put to the test.

Mac Carlson, former Navy SEAL and security expert, is tasked with rescuing the girl, Rachael Anne. From the moment he meets Jolie, his suspicious and protective nature sets its sights on her as a prime suspect. Can Jolie clear her name and gain this man’s hard-won trust?

More importantly, can she save the girl before time runs out? She won’t be able to do it without her psychic abilities—but Mac has a hard enough time trusting Jolie as it is, let alone trusting her powers to lead them to Rachael Anne.

As Mac and Jolie realize they have no choice but to work as a team—and as they slowly warm to each other in the process—they realize they have a new problem: the man they are after has set his sights on Jolie. Now Jolie will need all of her abilities, and all of Mac’s strength and skill, to stay out of the fiend’s hands and bring Rachael Anne back home.

 

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ABOUT MJ:
M.J. Flournoy is an author of erotic romance. MJ writes stories laced with suspense, paranormal adventure, love, lust and sensual details. MJ’s stories are steamy, emotional, suspenseful and gripping.
When not crafting hot stories for Sizzler Intoxication line, MJ enjoys travel. Cruising is a particular pleasure for MJ and she loves cruising the Mediterranean. So far, MJ has visited, Austria, Italy, Greece, France and Spain.
Follow MJ on Facebook at authorMJFlournoy or contact her at authormjflournoy@aol.com.

Also, be sure to subscribe to her NEWSLETTER to know of her latest progress, announcements, or updates.

MJ also enjoys hanging on Facebook on Sundays with her critique partner Mary Marvella to celebrate their new releases and writing in general. Be sure to stop by A Romance Caper with Mary Marvella & M.J. Flournoy so you can join in on the fun!

Special thanks to MJ Flournoy for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to be a guest on LaurieWriting today and so generously offering a $5 Amazon gift card to a lucky random commenter on the blog.

To be entered into the drawing, simply leave your name, an email address where we can send the gift card, and reply to this question in the comments section of this post:
What makes a hero unforgettable?

REMEMBER: NAME + EMAIL + ANSWER = DRAWING ENTRY

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!