Signed Copies at Queenstown Book Warehouse  on Saturday, May 8th — Noon through the afternoon

Reading provided a much-needed, therapeutic escape during the 2020 pandemic lockdown. Fourteen months later, it’s good to see signs of normalcy return to small businesses and local authors on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Lauren Monroe, author of The Maryland Shores women’s fiction series, will greet book-buying customers, looking for Mother’s Day or graduation gifts on Saturday, May 8th at Book Warehouse/Queenstown, beginning at Noon through the afternoon hours.

“Mother’s Day and holidays are the two biggest draws for this women’s fiction series,” says Loriann Oberlin, therapist, non-fiction author and novelist using the pen name Lauren Monroe. “Most of us authors got to work on sequels and new books during lockdown. We were concerned for brick-and-mortar bookstores and missed meeting readers.

She admits that while women between the ages of 26 and 86 are the target audience for her fiction, many husbands, sons or boyfriends have gifted these novels to women in their lives. She adds, “I’m thrilled to offer the books again, give a quick glimpse into Book Three for those who wish to chat, and just be surrounded by books and fellow readers.”

During quarantine, Oberlin wrote one of her Psychology Today blogs titled One Stress Reducer to Put to Use Now: See Your Anxiety, Sex Drive and Mood Impacted By This Self-Help Measure (https://tinyurl.com/Pandemic-Stress-Reducer).

A tip: reading even six minutes a day and losing oneself in a character’s world slows down heart rate, eases muscle tension, and reduces stress levels, according to University of Sussex researchers in the UK.

Headlines reveal that during the pandemic and even now with its residual effects, people still struggle. Wearing her therapist hat, Oberlin points out that clients who took to this option to read as a distraction report how lovely it’s been to explore worlds of fiction, choosing the material they prefer and/or the pace. They report it was indeed impossible to fret about the virus or other anxieties while transported to a different setting and time.

Other benefits: Postgraduate researchers found that readers had advanced social skills and more empathy because they tried to fill in the gaps on the page and understand what char­acters were up against. “We all need a bit more empathy in this world, for sure,” Oberlin admits, adding that “human interactions and relationships are at their core complex.”

“I write what many women desire, but I also write real, with challenges, people’s mistakes, messy emotions, relationship failures as well as solutions, and how people work to improve themselves and their lot in life,” she says.

Avid readers also gain ideas, other perspectives, and enjoy familiar scenery and pastimes.

Letting Go: The Maryland Shores (Book One) takes place mostly on the Annapolis side of the Chesapeake during the anxious year after 9/11 when a young widow attempts to rebuild her life. Second Chances: The Maryland Shores (Book Two) features a family living on Kent Island. All is well until it is not.

Amid Chesapeake boating and cheering the Ravens or Steelers, characters face unexpected hardship through historic storms, a hurricane and much drama. The plots of both books intertwine with themes of loss, intricacies of workplace dating, and difficult people who stand in front of their goals.

She’s currently hard at work on Book Three, which will carry the story of the characters in Letting Go and Second Chances through but with a new hero, heroine and main plot.

Join her via social media @laurenmonroenovels, @OvercomingPassiveAggression, @writingtomakemoney, and check out the book links on www.loriannoberlin.com/books.

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