Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hook, Line and Sinker

One of my favorite things about writing novels is the magic moment when the hook happens. That one sentence that is the punchy tagline for the whole book. Keeping Bad Company is mostly Johnny's story, so the hook belongs to him.

"You can’t live in two worlds, Johnny; it’s time to pick one.”

Keeping Bad Company,
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gearing up for the Signing

I mentioned on Friday that I've got a book signing coming up on the 19th, which is just - eek - a few days away. I didn't advertise it here before because most of my local buyers aren't blog readers, and most of my blog readers aren't local. Also because I hate advertising. Getting my promotional material ready for an event like this isn't my favorite thing in the world.

But, I'll be on the square in Dallas next Saturday with copies of everything and a brand new thin-line Sharpie. I'm really excited to have another book signing opportunity - it's fun to get the face-to-face feedback.

My books arrived from the printer last week and it was a...reality check, if you will. There were a lot of boxes.

There were a lot of books.

A year and a half ago, it started with...










I needed something sweet; I needed a break from genre, and my muse guided me to the Walkers.

Now I'm dipping my toe back into the outlaw world again (although, it's not so much dipping
anymore as plunging).

I've been drawn to stories I never anticipated writing. I've realized I tend to write the sorts of men I'd like to meet in real life. It's all organic and mysterious and it comes when it wants to. I would never have predicted this particular stack of books sitting on the dining room table. That's art, for you, though. It has a mind of its own.

I expect Keeping Bad Company will be out sometime this summer, but until then, I present to you my year-and-a-half's work in the humblest of offerings. It is my greatest dream to be able share what I love.

If you're in Dallas, GA next Saturday, I'd love for you to come see me! 8-3, roughly.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hoofprints on our Hearts

Horses are my home. The dusty inside of a barn will always be the mooring where I tie up my boat. My anchor. Before I understood life, I understood my connectedness to horses, the way dreams of them lived in my marrow. Before I learned that I was uncool, and small, and uninteresting, I learned how to run my hand down a cannon bone, how to pinch and lift a hoof. I learned how to wrap legs and hold reins and curry slick coats. I taught myself to French braid, not on a doll or a friend, but on Skip's red-black-brown tail, fretting slender strands together and together into an intricate pattern of intersecting lines. I did not wander the mall; I sat on stepstools and listened to the adults tell stories of their equine triumphs and tragedies. My hands learned the shape of wheelbarrow handles. My skinny arms learned to flick manure off the end of the fork and send it lightly into the muck bucket from ten paces away. I learned how to fall; how to get back up. I learned the magic of standing in the middle of a pen and having a wordless dialogue with a frightened, twelve-hundred pound animal, and being rewarded with his trust. I learned to dance in the center of a longe line circle. My wardrobe was one of baseball caps, muddy boots, and busted jeans. The symphony of my life was the clop of steel shoes on concrete aisle, the soft chewing of hay, the deep bellows breathing of a perfect dressage test. My childhood smelled of sun and hide and fly spray.

I was told that I would outgrow horses one of these days. I'd "grow up." I'd leave that childish life behind and get married, have babies. But I didn't outgrow it, and I learned a long time ago that I never will. Because it was never a stage. It's woven into my DNA. I'm not married, and I don't have babies, but that's because all these years of horses have taught me that I am an incurable tomboy, and I haven't yet found the mythical man who might find me interesting. And in the meantime, when the world mandates a different form of femininity from me, it is to sun-shot afternoons of waving grass and swishing horse tails that I retreat. I am in love with board fence, the sound of a tractor starting, with the gentle softening of big brown eyes as I am contemplated and accepted as part of the herd. It is to books that I race, when the need hits. I love the taste of words, the rustle of pages, the smell of ink, the vast, rich worlds that live between glossy covers.

I have entered a season of life in which I feel the need to defend my loves to others. Never let anyone tell you that their goals should be yours. When something gets in your blood, it becomes a part of you, and the ones who love you will have to learn that there is no erasing something as strong as the hoofprints on our hearts.

Ready? Make a wish.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nerd Things 4/11

source: youtube
Listening To: "Air Balloon" by Lily Allen. Given that yesterday was National Siblings Day, want to acknowledge Lily's brother, Alfie, who plays Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones. Talented siblings, these.
source: amazon
Watching: Season 1 of Being Human UK. Loving it. Just what I needed - another show to love that no one in the immediate area has ever heard of, let alone seen. I do this to myself over and over.
Before this gets too British, let's go local:
In Print: Seeing my name in print is always a little surreal. It's just my name: that thing I printed across my schoolwork, the words on a roll call sheet, what the nurse calls out when the doctor's ready to see me. It's not snazzy or clever and it's not a pen name. Considering I didn't exist on the internet until 2012, I still blink and cock my head when I see my name on one of my covers, or on a website, or a Tweet.
The very kind and encouraging ladies from book club helped me run an article in the paper. It serves double duty as a "meet the author" and an invite to my signing on the nineteenth. I'm starting to worry I didn't order enough books for this event! (I'll talk more about the signing next week) A big thank you to the gals for this article.
The text:
Paulding author Lauren Gilley is thrilled to have the chance to share her work with local readers. She joined book club Grace, Grits & Gossip at Lyn Swenson’s Dallas shop, Art Things, for a discussion on her debut novel Keep You last week. The club meets the second Thursday of every month to discuss a new novel, and Lauren was delighted to be the March pick. “The face-to-face feedback was wonderful,” Lauren said. “As an author, I’m happiest when I’m sharing my love for storytelling. I couldn’t have asked for a lovelier group than Grace, Grits & Gossip. They made me feel so welcome. It was beyond rewarding to hear the ways in which the readers identified with the characters, and to learn that some of their favorite elements of the novel are also my favorites.” Lauren, a Kennesaw State University graduate, is part of the ever-expanding “indie” author movement. “For me, it’s all about writing the sorts of books I like to read, and telling the stories of everyday people,” she said. “My parents helped me discover the gift of literature when I was a little girl, and I relish the idea of passing that gift along as an artist.” Lauren writes contemporary family dramas, with an emphasis on character. She’s the author of eight novels and one short story collection, including the Walker Series – Keep You, Dream of You, Better Than You, Fix You, Rosewood – mystery, Whatever Remains, and her ongoing Russell Series – Made for Breaking, and God Love Her. Her books can be found in paperback and ebook formats on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble online. She blogs at hoofprintpress.blogspot.com, and loves to hear from readers. Available for book clubs and signings.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lines 4/10

The good news is, the writers' block is clearing up. The bad news - that doesn't apply to blogging. Wanted to share my fave lines from the day before I head off to book club.


They were dangerous. Not because they happened to be, but because they wanted to be.
His eyebrows were of the angular, arched, dramatic variety, and lifted over black-brown eyes.
“Come on. I wanna show you something.”
She chuckled. “Said every child-abductor ever.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - The Inevitable Writers' Block

It happens to all of us. One minute, we're slaloming down fresh-packed hillsides, brains digesting words like carbs and begging for more; the next, we're pushing that one shopping cart through the store with the bad wheel that spins and spins and doesn't roll, forcing the stupid thing around each corner and dragging it along the dairy cases. Writer's block is inevitable, and annoying beyond belief. I think it hits all writers a little differently. For me, it's never that I don't know what comes next, it's that I don't have the mental energy to say it well. The words just won't arrange themselves artfully and make my fingers type them. Argh. And for me, the block is usually tied to some sort of physical stress. I messed up my back riding last week, and then unloading thirty bales of hay, hauling bags of shavings...yeah, my back is unhappy. I feel like a little old lady. So annoying.

So today's topic wasn't what I set out to write about this week, but it became appropriate. What do we do when the block sets in?

There's a standard set of strategies, and they are tried and true. The best is - go do something else. For some people it's going for a jog. Yoga, walk, read a book, etc. Being with the horses helps me - mucking, grooming, riding, all of the above. Listening to music. I like to mess around in the garden, go take pictures, watch a movie, clean house, anything that takes my mind totally away from the story.

But I've got another strategy, one I use when I feel like I need to write something.  When the novel turns into the messed-up shopping cart, I write a oneshot - a short story - that ties into the novel somehow. I take the characters on a little side adventure, a deleted scene, a bit of fluff, and a lot of times, that does the trick. It's how I got Rosewood. And a lot of the time, those fluffy scenes become important and I fold them into the novel. Right now, I'm working on a little piece set between God Love Her and Keeping Bad Company. I'd love to see if I could put it in the Kindle store as a short story download. Either way, it's fun to explore those "between" moments, and at least I'm writing something.

I think the big thing, though, with writers' block - what I've had to learn to cope with over the years - is to remember that it will go away. The words will come back. The book will get written. Taking breaks is difficult, because as writers, we never leave our work at the office - it's with us always. It's taken me a while to learn that sometimes you have to shut the power down yourself, get some air, and come back fresh. And sometimes, you can start something new, and surprise yourself.

Monday, April 7, 2014

5 of 100 Reasons to Love Paramore

 Ain't it fun?
    Living in the real world.
    Ain't it good?
Being all alone
I'm in the business of misery
I've gone for too long
Living like I'm not alive
Well go get your shovel
And we'll dig a deep hole
To bury the castle
Bury the castle
The truth never set me free
So I did it myself.