IN HER SHADOW Paperback Release and Giveaway

As a kid, my mouth seemed to house only sweet-teeth. I’d eat sugar cubes by the handful, given the chance, and once trick-or-treated in the heat of July (dress up plus free candy: a total sweet-o-holic win-win). Years later, when disordered eating set in, sweets became the bad boyfriend I had to resist, or face punishment. It’s a beautiful thing to be past all of that, particularly since it’s allowed me to recognize and pursue my writing dreams.

Good thing nature makes "candy," too.

Good thing nature makes “candy,” too.

In his book How to Write a Damn Good Thriller, James Frey describes concern over social injustice as the reason authors write certain thrillers, such as Blood Diamond, Dr. Stangelove, Serpico and The Constant Gardener. The authors feel compelled to shed light on and perhaps help correct these injustices, he says, thereby improving the world. I certainly relate to that motivation, and in my own meager way, that’s one of the things I’ve tried to do with In Her Shadow: shed some light into what eating disorders feel like from the inside. From understanding stems growth.

Since my e-book release last month, there have been exhilarating highs and proverbial dips. One day after I received praise from Kirkus Reviews, a reader called my novel unedited, and my use of the acronym  E.D. “lazy” and mistakable for erectile dysfunction. (You can laugh. I have. :)) Like all books, mine is not for everyone, nor is the rocky ride known as publishing. When our work resonates with readers, though, WOW. It’s a remarkable feeling that makes bumps seem bearable and sitting down to the empty page again and again a near given. (Every one of you who posts reviews for books you enjoy, give yourself a big ol’ hug!)

I thought about sharing the worst and best reviews today, but Mr./Mrs. Erectile Dysfunction included spoilers. Instead I’ll share two of the most touching:

I was breathless from the first word I read!, January 28, 2013

This book touched my heart before I even turned the first page.

Ms. McLaughlin’s writing is elegant, gentle, subtle, and drew me into her story by the heart, stirring concern and compassion for her exquisitely vulnerable characters. She writes about pain without assault or brutality. Whereas the stories of many authors leave one feeling bruised and hurting, August evokes caring, tenderness and a deep empathy.

Of special note is the sensitivity with which she dealt with the dynamic of an eating disorder, bringing me into the experience in such a vulnerable way that I was allowed to live it, sharing the anguish of it, not just looking at it and “understanding” as an observer. This is not only incredible writing, but a gift to those who struggle with eating disorders, unable to find the words to describe their torment to a culture that cannot comprehend the “illogic” of their behavior. — Psychologist/Author, Jan Harrell

The other came via email from a woman who’s struggling with bulimia. With her permission, here is an excerpt:

I’ve read lots of books about eating disorders, but this is the first time I was like, “Yes. The author gets its.”  I gave it to my boyfriend to read. I think it’s helping him understand it, and me… Thanks for writing In Her Shadow. It gave me strength. I also had fun reading it, which is saying a lot. (It must be good to distract me from my freaking disease. :)) I hope you always keep writing. — J.

And here is the brand-spankin’ new back cover, by the ever-fabulous Steena Holmes:

IHS back

In celebration of my paperback release and in honor of J. and her courageous battle, I’ve decided to offer a fun little giveaway. To qualify, follow these two steps:

1. Pop over to Amazon between now and February 2nd—and order In Her Shadow.

2. Email me your purchase confirmation (august at augustmclaughlin dot com) and where you’d like your LOVE YOUR BODY affirmation magnet sent. Yep! Everyone who orders within the first two days can claim one.

Thanks so much for the continual support, all. It means more to me than healthy or sugary sweets ever could.

What’s your main writing motivation? Any funny/horrible or rave reviews of your work you’re up for sharing? What feedback or compliment has taken you by surprise?

Leave a comment


  1. Congrats on the new back cover! Exciting!

  2. Great news! I’ll be ordering the paperback this weekend. Stay tuned for my review!

  3. Congrats on the good reviews! I’m glad you were able to help even one person with their struggle 🙂

  4. So happy for you, August! Well-deserved. 😀

  5. Kourtney Heintz

     /  January 31, 2013

    Congrats on a terrific Kirkus Review and those awesome author blurbs. Wow! I saw the reviews you got and some of them absolutely baffled me. But you have been a consummate professional in how you didn’t respond to them. You always set the best example in everything you do in your writing career. That’s something I aspire to do too. 🙂

    • Thanks, Kourtney! Yes, I’ve had two pretty harsh reviews. Admittedly, one really hurt at first. It’s tough because they stand out, and while we want to reply, there’s no use. I’ve learned that all authors endure such things…and that reading reviews just before bed is not the best idea. LOL Entire post on reviews, coming soon! 😉

      • Kourtney Heintz

         /  February 1, 2013

        Sometimes the 1 stars really sound like someone just venting and taking some other issue out on the writer. Poor Robert Jordan got all those one stars over the ebook release being delayed. I wish there was more standardization around the star rating system. Or at least guidance that readers could click on before making the star assessment.

        I just read about an author who swears he never reads reviews because it interferes with his writing process. I don’t know what sort of will power he’s gifted with, but I think it’s impossible to ignore reviews.

        Look forward to that post! 🙂

  6. Yeah, August! Finally!

    Step 1: Read eBook (Done!, LOVED it!)
    Step 2: Purchase print version (Done!)
    Step 3: Stalk August with book-in-hand for autograph (in progress)

    Oh my gosh! On my first two manuscripts it was what they didn’t say that killed me. “Yes! Loved the first fifty. Please send the full manuscript.” Then. “Thanks, but I wasn’t pulled into the character, plot, blahdy, blah…”

    Ever try to determine exactly where they stopped reading? Did they leave any tell-tale signs? Not possible, and NOPE!

    In the interest of brevity (Yes, I know. It shocks me, too), I’ll share one WTF (????) from a friend of mine. She is French Canadian, so writing her books in English is especially challenging since she has to make the translation from French to English as she writes. Her historical novel won several contests. It is excellent, and placed in France & England during the revolution. She occasionally used French terms in dialog.

    One agent sent back a critique that stated (paraphrasing here) “I found your French phrasing to be awkward and likely something you Googled for translation. You should not attempt to use a foreign language unless you are either fluent or it is your first language.”

    I think of that any time I get a critique that’s off-the-wall.

    • You’re so right, Gloria. Agent responses are impossible to pick apart. The fact is, we don’t want un-eager representation, so regardless of the reason, it’s best we move on. Viewing the process as us interviewing them as well can help. Sounds like you’re on a great track, and with a stellar attitude. Kudos!

      I’ve heard that meeting your agent is a bit like meeting your soul mate. Having met mine, I agree—not in a romantic or GB way, mind you. 😉 I have total faith that you’ll land the perfect (for you/your work) someone soon. I can’t wait to cheer you along the way, and follow your fabulous progress! And WOW, regarding your friend’s response. 🙂

  7. What can I say? I “like” your post, I “like” your book, and I “like” you too! 🙂 IN HER SHADOW will do great.

  8. Congrats on the paperback! I don’t know if I ever said that I finished reading the Kindle version… but of course have not gotten around to posting an Amazon review yet. I promise I will soon—and it will be the kind of review that makes you feel good about writing, not the other kind 🙂

  9. Catherine Johnson

     /  January 31, 2013

    Congrats August. The back cover looks awesome. It’s been a long time since I read such a thrilling page turner. Now month of poetry is over I’ll get on to writing reviews :0)

  10. Congratulations! It’s a treat to hold that paperback copy in your hands, isn’t it? 🙂

  11. The back cover is super cool–like you. 😉 You sure know how to write a fab thriller (and endearing posts). Here’s to continued success!

  12. Raani York

     /  January 31, 2013

    I love the back cover!! It’s great! You’ve such an amazing taste August!! I admire you! Congratulations on the paperback release of your book. I can still only hope I’ll get as far as you some time….

  13. I’m thrilled for all the readers your book is giving voice to. Wonderful! And the back cover is gorgeous!

  14. Just remember the good reviews! Pluck the constructive criticism out of the not so great ones and then put them in a little box in your mind and burn them!
    Isn’t it funny how the bad always outweighs the good?
    Congrats to you! I’ve downloaded and am reading!

  15. Awesome cover August (and Steena). Sorry you’ve had harsh reviews. Colin Faulkner had a great post on classics that were rejected in the same sort of way. One day you’ll look back and laugh at them too. Anyway, what is art if it doesn’t excite and anger at the same time?

    Best of luck!

    Cheers 🙂

  16. August, I know I’ve been scarce of late so I’ve been waaaay behind on what’s happening in everyone’s lives but just wanted to say how proud I am of you and how well your book is doing. That blurb looks fanatastic! And what an exciting storyline, I will definitely be ordering my copy soon… 🙂

    And as for the critics, every author has them so I wouldn’t worry too much about them. 🙂
    Lots of love to you my friend… ❤

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