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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#TeaserTuesday w/ AH

Happy Valentine's Day! My gift to you: an extended look at one of the flashback sequences in American Hellhound.

From American Hellhound
copyright ©2017 by Lauren Gilley

Ghost stepped out of the pharmacy with three different kinds of children’s fever reducer. Plus some Pepto-Bismol in case the stomach trouble persisted. At the register, he’d added a package of Skittles, because Aidan loved Skittles, and candy always made everything better. He stood on the sidewalk, plastic bag in one hand, head tipped back so he could feel the sun on his face. It wasn’t warm enough to fight the nip in the air, but he liked the way the light burned against his eyelids. Maybe, if he stood there long enough, his problems would melt away into the soothing whiteness that slowly filled his head.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Planning

Currently listening to: "Way Down We Go" by Kaleo

It's Monday, and it's a work day! Baby steps, still, baby steps.

Being as sick as I have the past month has reinforced the necessity of something I've been thinking - but not doing - for a while now. It's time to get more organized. My book-publishing MO tends to be "work as fast you can" and "decide where you're going when you get there." This is partly because I'm really impatient, just in general. Partly because I have too many projects I want to wok on. And partly because I don't want to disappoint my readers by making them wait. But as I've realized, while I've had much too much time to reflect on things while I recover at a snail's pace, this way of doing things actually makes the process much more difficult and stressful than it needs to be.

Organization is important.

Specifically, for me, organizing projects and planning release dates far enough in advance. It's time for me to face facts: I have too much to do these days to get away with "when it's done" anymore.

This weekend, I looked through my projects folder and my calendar, and opened myself up to the idea of scheduling work time for projects I don't plan to release until fall of 2018. I laid out release dates for several big works I want to incorporate into my schedule, and the best part was, planning that far ahead, I felt relieved rather than stressed. I've been frustrated lately, thinking there are books I want to write but don't have time for. Putting them on the schedule helped with that stress. It was really freeing to think of the next two years, rather than worry about trying to get everything done at once.

My new strategy is to save "brainstorm" files on my computer for my future projects. When inspiration strikes, I go type up the notes, and then make myself step back. Priorities! And then when it's time to really dig into the meat and potatoes of writing those stories, I'll get to it.

It's been so easy for me to add extra work - new spinoffs, new bonus scenes, holiday stories, promises to title books I don't have time to write. I still want to be able to provide free and bonus content - I don't do the ARC thing with bloggers; if I'm giving stuff away, I want it to go to fans and regular readers - but I have to be better about managing my writing time, and making sure I have time to work on the big projects that are important to me.

Right now it's full-steam ahead on American Hellhound. I have a feeling that when everyone reads this book, they'll ask for a follow-up about a specific character. It's a possibility, for sure, but it's got to wait its turn and find a spot in the schedule. Too many books, not enough hours in the day!

In case you missed it, I released a post-Walking Wounded Valentine's Day short story titled "Love Is..." yesterday. You can find it here on Amazon.

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Sweet On Our Readers" Luncheon - Author Appearance

I've been slow to advertise this what with all the pneumonia-having and terrible-feeling, but fingers crossed I'll be feeling much better in a month.

The best part about being an indie author is also sometimes the scariest part: that of running your own small business. When I can, I like to support local bookstores and small businesses that are kind enough to offer my books for sale. Next month, I'll be participating in a multi-author signing event, Sweet on our Readers, being hosted by Hiram Bookstore.

The event is a luncheon, held on Saturday March 4th, from 10:30am to 12:30pm. The $25 admission price includes lunch, entry to win an author prize basket which includes books and swag, and $5 toward book purchasing. I'll be giving a presentation in an intimate, table-discussion type forum (think speed dating, but with books instead of awkward personal questions). Afterward, Hiram Bookstore will be selling copies of my books, and I'll have a chance to sign them for you.

Event details can be found here.

You can register and pay here (see pic below for reference). And if you're one of my readers, please indicate that you were invited by me in the message box.

If you're a local reader, I'd love to meet you! I'll have copies of the Dartmoor/Lean Dogs books and Walking Wounded on hand, but if you'd like me to bring a copy of one of my other books, let me know and I can order one.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Paid The Cost...

...To Be the Boss. That's Ghost. In this particular dog pack, he's the one true alpha. They can take a vote, they can talk it out, but so long as he's got that president patch, his word is the final law in the kingdom of Dartmoor.

I'm back to writing the last couple of days, which means I've had a brain full of Ghost. This book belongs to him, and to Maggie, to them as a couple. But I feel like the story reinforces what we already know about Maggie, while revealing a side of Ghost that hasn't been showcased in the series so far. In a lot of ways, it's a book about the ways Maggie was able to help Ghost realize who he really was, and what kind of man and club member he wanted to be moving forward. And a book about the ways they're still encouraging and shaping one another, even at the midlife crisis point.

I don't know if Ghost is hated, per se, but I know he's got his critics, for sure. He's constantly caught between being a good brother, and being a good president, and sometimes those two things don't coincide. He was completely heartless when he was questioning Holly and Emmie's motives for cozying up to his boys, but then he can turn around and be a tender father figure for Tango when he needs it. That back and forth is one of my favorite things about writing Ghost: the way he struggles between the morally right thing, and the smart thing that will keep his club afloat. He can't afford to be idealistic; he has to make those ugly decisions no one wants to make. And at the end of the day, the fact that he's a legitimate criminal, and we're arguing the points of his morality - that's my favorite part about being an author. Digging into gray-area characters.

My hope, as an author, is that readers will walk away from Hellhound with a new understanding for Ghost - if not a new appreciation. The Lean Dogs MC of his younger life - under the leadership of his uncle Duane - is an entirely different beast, not much at all like the MC we're familiar with up to this point. Ghost accomplished a lot in the process of making his club a true brotherhood, but he's human, and fallible, and he questions everything.

I can't promise this will be the most surprising book of the series - you already know Ghost and Mags are together -  but it's really meaty, and completely character-driven. There's a few new characters to meet who bring lots of intrigue and suspicion to the club, and plenty of young Ghost and Mags and little-kid Aidan. It's alternate title could be: How To Be A Boss...And Stay One.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Walking Wounded 'Verse Short

This is a writing exercise that started as an attempt to recharge my creativity and may turn into something bigger. Spoilers for Walking Wounded. First time Tara POV.

“Boys are stupid,” Luke has told her more than once. “Nothing good comes from boys, just stay away from them.”

Monday, January 23, 2017


Good morning and good Monday, y'all. It's been a while, so I thought I'd check in with an official update. The good news is that I'm feeling better. The bad news is that it takes a long time to get over pneumonia, so I'm still exhausted, and still resting, and this is officially annoying. This is the first time I've booted up the computer in a week, so that's progress!

A few things:

  • I still haven't managed to get to the post office, which makes me really angry with myself, the situation, what have you. I promise I'll mail giveaway (and sale) books as soon as I'm able. I have a really terrible immune system, and I tend to relapse if I'm not careful. I'll be sure to let everyone know the moment I've got everything mailed.
  • Remember how I said Hellhound would be out by March 20-something? Stand by. That might have to be pushed back. Hopefully not by much - thus far, the writing has gone really quickly.
  • I've decided to publish the Secret Project I've been teasing under a pen name. I considered using one during the early planning stages of Walking Wounded, and now wish that I'd followed through with the idea. The Secret Project is very different from Dartmoor, and I think it best to set some clear distance between the two series. So I won't be sharing much in the way of teasers here on out; just know that when things are quiet on the Dartmoor front, I'll be working away on the other.
  • Speaking of Walking Wounded, it's still my favorite project ever...You should totally read it if you haven't...
  • One last quick thing...the Falcons are going to the Super Bowl!!!
Hopefully I'll be back to work soon. If nothing else, I can research from the couch.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Rec: The Captive Prince Trilogy

Writing as much as I do, I don't get nearly the reading time I'd like to have. So I tend to be a really picky reader. Book club selections and research materials for my own work dominate my reading list, but every once in a while I get to completely lose myself in something indulgent...that also happens to be really worthwhile. I have yet another cold (keeping score, I've been sick for a month and a half with various colds/flus/etc.) so I spent much of the weekend devouring the Captive Prince Trilogy by C.S. Pacat.

I've seen this trilogy recc'd for a while in the comic fandom, and I've read some really smart commentary about it. Turns out, it was all well-deserved.

An easily-defined, tightly-boxed tale it is not. Here are my favorite aspects:

The Plot
The main storyline centers on the rightful heirs of two fictional kingdoms. There's been war between the nations before, and the uneasy truce is threatened my the machinations of two wannabe kings trying to outmaneuver one another and get rid of their respective princes: Laurent and Damen.

A love story, yes - and an emotional, complex, delicately-balanced one at that - but there is so much going on in this trilogy. From political intrigue, to sword fighting, to cross-country adventure. The author plays with big themes in a layered, effortless way: family, inheritance, brotherly love, legitimate vs. illegitimate heirs, forgiveness, honor, loyalty. All the relationships are complicated, the conflict multi-faceted. Truly a never-a-dull-moment kind of book, with a pleasing symmetry between the lives of the two main characters.

I LOVE the way the author uses dialogue. The way, as in real life, it's subtle, uncluttered, and usually hiding the character's true feelings. The language used by the characters manages to be eloquent without being pretentious. I love that the precise word choice delivers a deep emotional punch. The dance of tension and relaxation - but mostly tension. Really top notch.

The Characters
You know me; the characters make or break a story for me, and everyone in this trilogy is richly-drawn. Flawed, insecure Laurent hiding behind his cool arrogance and wicked tongue, and faithful, strong Damen struggling through his circumstances with more grace than any of us could lend to the situation. Supporting them is a cast of three-dimensional secondary heroes and villains, fleshing out a fantasy world that feels tangible.

World Building
There's no info-dumping here. The author paints us a portrait of her world through organic story-telling, rich with details, but never bogging down in unimportant minutiae.

The best books are the ones that seem to end too soon, and that's definitely true here. Highly recommended.