amazon.com/authors/laurengilley

You can check out my books on Amazon.com, and at Barnes & Noble too.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Links and Such


It's me, your epically boring author, checking in to say I'm still writing. Big surprise. I'm so sorry for the long wait - we're getting there, we really are! Imagine my disappointment when I think back on this time last year, when I had TWO books out already. The self-loathing, it's real.

Reminders and links for the wait:

- If you didn't catch it at the time, I wrote some Dartmoor Christmas fluff at the end of last year.

- The teaser above is from my Instagram. Mostly farm and book stuff, including links to the talented candle maker who crafted my Mercy-themed candle (I'll be ordering more for a release day giveaway!)

- There's new Dartmoor merch up at Redbubble.

- If it's reading you're after, don't forget that there's Dartmoor cameos, and plenty of Southern vigilante justice in the Russell Series, which I'm currently reformatting for Kobo.

- Don't forget about December's standalone release, Walking Wounded, part love story, part historical fiction, and my favorite project.

- My ongoing romance Dear Heart is available to read for free on Wattpad.

- I'm currently reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Thank you, everyone, for your patience while I work on Hellhound. Here's hoping it's worth the wait.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 4/6/17


Since last week I talked about my favorite project ever, I thought it only fair to talk about my not-so-favorite this week. I shouldn't admit to having a least favorite - that's probably some bad writer etiquette. But it isn't that I mean to say anything bad about the book - it just is what it is, a least favorite of the bunch. It's Tastes Like Candy.

The book does, however, explore Walsh's half-siblings in more detail than in any other book, and that was my favorite part of writing TLC. The Brood is a personal favorite, almost a guilty pleasure. Everybody likes Candy because he's big and bold, but I have a soft spot for Walsh's kin because they're interesting.

I especially love Albie and Fox, who had some fun scenes in this one:

Paul took a breath, hesitated.
            Albie pressed until the first pearls of blood welled up against the knife’s edge.
            “Sixteen,” Paul said on a deep exhale. “But you know she was never mentally sixteen–”
            “Next question: Did you break her heart?”
            “I broke things off with her.”
            “That’s not what I asked.”
            “I don’t think so, no. She never loved me.”
            “What did you think would happen if I ever found out?”
            Paul’s eyes closed, and when he swallowed, the knife jumped in Albie’s hand. “This. I knew this would happen.” Tears beaded beneath his lashes, shiny in the glare of the overhead light.
            Albie pulled the knife away and gave a hard yank on Paul’s hair, throwing him down flat on his back on the concrete floor. He was shaking, he realized, as he reached for a cloth to wipe the knife. “Fuck you,” he whispered. “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.”

For me, these guys are the dark horses, the threats no one ever sees coming. One of these days, probably later this year, I'll actually start writing their books.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Cover Reveal: American Hellhound

In case you missed it yesterday on social media, here's the cover for American Hellhound, book six in The Dartmoor Series.


All my initial design ideas involved black backdrops and flashing fangs, red eyes. I thought it ought to look scary and minimalistic. But as with everything I do, when it came down to it, I went in a completely different direction, and this ended up being my favorite cover so far. It has that faded, sepia-toned look of old English photos you might find in dusty, leather-bound volumes in forgotten libraries, which I think definitely works toward establishing a sense of Lean Dog mythology, their roots being English. I also love that I had the chance to use a photo of my dearly departed Riddick, who was just the best dog ever. In casting a hellhound, a Doberman is a pretty good fit. And unlike my current Doberman, Viktor, Riddick was slim and trim and athletic, and altogether "Lean."

I think this might be the longest I've gone without having a cover ready. Usually, I get the cover together early in the writing process, and it helps me stay focused. The cover, for me, has to say don't you want to know more? Something symbolic. Something that piques your interest, but doesn't give anything away. The simpler the better, in my mind. And I intentionally never use humans because that taints the imagination of the audience, I think.

Long story short, I'm pleased, I hope you guys like it. I hope by some miracle I can have this thing finished by May 6th, because right now, that seems like WAY too much writing in too short a time.

Happy Monday, and if you live in Georgia, I hope your power has just been restored as mine has. Storms, go away! Stay safe, everyone.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Book Rec: The Goldfinch



My favorite books - the ones that get shelved in the permanent section of my mental writing library - are the ones that make me feel hopelessly, overwhelmingly like a hack. The ones that inspire me to say, "When I grow up, I want to write like this." The ones that make me want to drag everything I've ever written out into the yard and light it all on fire, lest it have a chance to offend anyone's poor eyeballs ever again.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is one such book.

Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me what we can speak to each other across time.

It was described to me as Dickensian, and that's definitely true, both in the plushness of the narration, and the tragic/poetic journey undertaken by our young protagonist. And also Boris - my favorite character of the book, our modern incarnation of Dodger from Oliver Twist.

I won't spoil any of the plot, because it deserves to unfold without preconceived ideas. But I will say that it contains all of the things I hope (in my wildest dreams) most to achieve in my own writing someday:

- A sense of being present in the narrative, grounded in the setting and all its rich trappings, caught up in the hero's thoughts, so engrossed that, no matter what's occurring on the page, you can't bear to walk away from it. I spent a considerable portion of my reading time last night with a hand over my mouth, breathing through it, gasping.

- A sense of the epic - the weight and importance of the world, revolving slowly, dragging you along on grand adventures that take time to unfold properly.

- A sense of realism, down to flop sweats and fever dreams, shaving nicks and bad pub food.

- And an attachment to the characters, for better or worse, captivated by their stories, gestures, bits of wisdom.

You can talk about "tricks of the trade" all day, but really great books have that unteachable something special. They have "it," and this book certainly does.

For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time - so too has love. Insofar as it is immortal (and it is) I have a small, bright, immutable part in that immortality. It exists; and it keeps on existing. And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost, and tried to preserve them and save them while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 3/30


When I was still actively showing horses, ribbons and high scores were two very different things for me. Some days, I'd walk away with multiple blues, but wasn't pleased with my performance, or my score. I'd won because I'd outscored the competition, but given it wasn't my best riding, it wasn't a feel-good win. Conversely, some days I wouldn't win anything, but would have had an excellent ride, the kind where all the training clicked into place, when my horse and I communicated beautifully. For me, joy existed not in winning, but in improving, in becoming a better rider.

Have you ever seen a singer interviewed, and when asked to name his or her favorite song off the album, the answer is something obscure, that never made it as a single, definitely not the most popular track on the album?

What I'm getting at is this: for me, Walking Wounded was a writing victory. It was the result of meticulous planning and attention to detail, a concerted effort to try something new, to write each chapter, each scene, each sentence with total purpose. A book that came about from sitting at the table surrounded by notebooks, and maps, and grainy black and white film footage of a war I thankfully never had to see firsthand. Hours spent silently interviewing Luke, and Hal, and Will, and Tara.

Walking Wounded is my no-ribbon, high score. Writing that book helped me become a better writer, and I love it for that - among other reasons.

On Instagram, I shared Luke's dissociative moment at Sandy's table where he recalls Sadie's funeral, and of course five minutes after that I realized what my absolute favorite moment of the book is: typical.

It's this, near the end:

Maybe a half hour passes before Luke works up the courage to clear his throat and ask, “So…Hal’s Finn, isn’t he? That’s who you think of him as.”

            Will glances over, his smile patient and kind, and Luke wonders how he ever thought this man might hate him. “No, son. You’re Finn.” He shifts a little closer in his chair. “But you get to live.”

By the end of the book, Luke realizes that his view of himself, and the people around him, is just that - his view. And that it isn't necessarily accurate. I loved teasing that Luke and Will were similar characters - and they are, for sure, they have a lot in common - but this reveal from Will forces him to look at himself, and his role in the lives of others, differently. He's always seem himself as the sidekick, the one who wasn't enough, and always assumed that Hal, a shining star in his eyes, was the vibrant, wild, violent, passionate sun of their friendship. What he sees, finally, is that he is the wild sun, and that patient, steady, dependable Hal has always been the one in orbit.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Check-In


Today's #MusicMonday pick is very Ghost and Maggie: "Believer" by Imagine Dragons. Pay attention to the lyrics on that one: spot-on.

I had a very productive weekend, writing-wise. I surpassed my word count goal both days and made some important story decisions that will take me through to the end of the book, so I'm thrilled about that. At this point, the deadline seems scary-close, but I know what I need to write - it's a matter of putting the work in at this point.

Right now, I'm in full writing lockdown mode, which means I'm only on the web long enough to post things, and I'm unfortunately behind on responding to messages and emails. I promise I'm not ignoring you! I'll get caught up. But I make the best progress when I pretend the Internet doesn't exist.

There are more character-centric teasers on the way, on FB and Instagram (@hppress). This book, like Fearless, has parts for everyone to play, the whole giant family chiming in, so I'll try to share  spoiler-free tidbits as we go along.

I'm back to work, just wanted to check in and say that writing's going great! Happy Monday, everyone.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 3/23


Because Loverboy was full of so many difficult moments, it made the good moments twice as special. The scene with Tango and Ian sitting on the Jag, watching the sun come up, is probably my favorite of the entire story:

In a small, vulnerable voice, Ian said, “Do you think it will be better now? Since she’s gone?”

            “I hope so.”

            Ian sat up, and leaned against Tango’s shoulder, the warm pressure a comfort. It felt like apology and gratitude. Like friendship. Like letting one another go.

            They watched the sun come up.

It was a scene that was sketched very early in the process, a note off to the side: must include this scene. Even when I wasn't sure exactly how the plot would shake out, I knew I wanted a moment of quiet closure between these two, just them being messed-up boys trying to let go of the bad things. We always see Ian so polished and manipulative, and I wanted him to have a reflective, human moment.

A note on Ian: he's one of my absolute favorites. Total indulgence on my part; I thought "how can I incorporate a dandified English gentleman in this series?" Tango's backstory evolved early on, while I was writing Fearless, and Ian took shape along the way. Then it was a matter of hoping everyone loved him like I did.