Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Farming

Spent the morning with my ponies, having their feet trimmed. Getting new shoes tacked on, in Markus's case.

My farrier brought fresh eggs from his chickens. I tended the garden, vegetable and flower. The crepe myrtles are blooming down at the barn.

There's nothing quite like the good energy of getting your farm chores done at seven a.m. And splurging a little on lunch. I've been super-hungry post-flu, my body trying to gain back the lost weight. And even if I should have had something healthy and was pizza tater tots for lunch.

I can't believe it's July already! No WW for today, because I'm in the writing zone. All this farming makes puts me in the mood to write, and I'm going to run with it. As it stands now, the planned release date for The Skeleton King is September 15th. Don't hold me to that, because I've lost some time being sick, but here's hoping.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Music Monday, Chatting About Walsh and Other Stuff

Be warned, this is sort of a dump post. Lots to say, without the patience or time to space it out properly.

This weekend, there was the cutest little pavilion a short walk up from the restaurant where I had dinner, and the band was really good! Lots of blues covers, mainly B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, with one great cover of "Voo Doo Child" thrown in. Hard to go wrong. And the hour spent listening struck me on a couple of levels.

For starters, Walsh is a blues man, a total convert to the Tennessee culture. So my mind went to him, and his story, and the series as a whole.

Secondly, I became more deeply aware of a parallel. Here was this small band, playing their hearts out - quite well - in a small town on a Saturday night, dreaming of bigger things, thankful for the applause they had in the moment. Not so different from the indie author struggle. No agent, no crew, no staff, no publicist singing your praises - just you and your work, hanging out in the wind, pouring your heart into your art and bowing deeply in thanks for the praise that comes your way.

Dartmoor has felt heavy lately. It's a very involved series, and it takes a lot out of me. I've been in a subdued headspace, not wanting to blog, Tweet, etc., not feeling too excited by the prospect of beginning another full-length, in-depth novel. Sitting and listening to songs that I love - songs that, in my mind, Walsh loves - was good for me. It smoothed away some of those jagged edges of discontent.

The thing about Walsh is - he's my favorite kind of character. Not sure if you've noticed, but I really don't enjoy the whole "alpha male" stereotypical stud. I like writing the quiet, thoughtful guys, the ones who think more than they say. Most of the fun of Walsh's story is digging up his past, learning his interesting family history, and watching someone practical and effective do what he does best. His story is important to me, and it was difficult to work on it because in my mind, I was already hearing the backlash. But that was a mistake. Those who like the series will hopefully like it; all I can do is write the story in the way that it comes to me, hone it, edit it, and believe in it.

I'm currently hooked on this song. And aside from feeding my pop addiction, it reiterates the way I'm feeling right now. This is my house. I want everyone to feel welcome, but if they hate it here, then they don't have to stay. I will make no apologies.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Vicarious Travel

This weekend, I've been traveling vicariously, through research, to some lovely spots in England: chiefly, Brighton Racecourse, in East Sussex, and nearby Rottingdean. Walsh's story is going to have a different tone than some of the others, thanks to his history, and the experiences of some of the new characters who will be introduced.

I have such a busy week coming up, thanks so my two weeks of convalescence. I'm ready to tackle it, and hopefully, get some decent writing done.

Rottingdean, East Sussex, UK

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why I Write This Way

Okay, I did it. I'm sitting at the computer. It only took me until 1:00 to talk myself into sitting upright. Hey, that's progress! This has been an awful bout of flu. The muscle aches, the exhaustion, the headache, the queasiness. Just awful. But hey, I made it all the way across the living room to my desk, so that's progress.

I made the mistake, when I first booted up, of opening The Skeleton King and scanning what I've got so far. Ugh. Don't ever try to write when you're sick. You hate everything about your work, yourself, pretty much everything. Just don't. So then I decided I'd better blog, and then realized I have nothing to blog about, seeing as how I've done nothing for days but sleep, watch old The King of Queens reruns, and read. So hey, let's talk about reading. Let's talk about what I like to read, in the hopes that it gives better insight for my readers into why I write the way that I do.

I have very eclectic taste in books. When I was little, my mom gifted me with sweet animal-centric stories, and my dad gave me Edgar Rice Burroughs and all sorts of things seven-year-olds probably shouldn't be reading. So I'm not a genre-specific reader. Instead, what I've discovered about myself over time is that I am deeply attracted to rich, textural, immersive narrative styles. I've been truly blessed with a wonderful, truly kind reader base, and I am thankful for each and every one of them. We have the loveliest discussions on Facebook. But I know that there are casual readers, who've stumbled across my books via a friend's Goodreads list, who are disappointed in the substantial length, florid prose style, generous breadth of storylines, and the distinctly non-raunchy sex scenes. I try, tactfully, through summaries and author notes, to signify that anyone hoping for a quick romp, or skimming through looking for the dirty bits will be let down. I think sometimes I'm too tactful. the interest of tact, here's what I love best:

Pedestal Authors
No one is ever going to dislodge them. They are the artists who make me loathe my own work, and who stagger me with what can be accomplished.
- J.R.R.Tolkien
- Washington Irving
- Jane Austen
- Charlotte and Emily Bronte
- C.S. Lewis
- Rudyard Kipling
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Margaret Mitchell

My Deep Love for Romantic Horror Writers
I have always adored the crumbling damp mansions, the macabre nightscapes, the ravens, the tombstones, the trailing cobwebs. The gorgeous prose of horror writers who played on atmosphere, nature, and below-surface universal human fears. Not gory modern slasher stuff, but flat-out CREEPY.
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Bram Stoker (Dracula is the most brilliant book)
- Mary Shelley
- H.P. Lovecraft (moving into Post-Modern with him, but with true terror and not all the hipster nonsense of today)

He's already told every story better than anyone else. He's in my Pedestal category, but he needed his own spot, too.

Contemporary Reading
Unlike the heavy stuff above, this is for continual, everyday consumption, to keep me sharp.
- I set out last year to read everything Anne Rice has written, and I'm still working on it, but My God, her Vampire Chronicles.
- Diana Gabaldon
- Stephen King
- Tana French
- George R.R. Martin (I'm a book purist, and had to leave off the show several seasons ago)
- Patrick Rothfuss
- J.R. Ward
- Lisa Kleypas
- Tami Hoag

I'll read just about any genre, but prefer mystery, literary fiction, horror, and historical. For me, I must engage with realistic characters, and I must find something interesting and delightful in the prose itself. Simplistic and crude is not my scene - I like beautiful words, I like laugh-out-loud moments, I like vivid imagery, I like strong world-building, and I would rather read one 700 page book of quality than seven crappy 100 page books. (By the way, 100 pages is not a novel, but a novella. I don't quite understand this new trend of supershort books)

I hope a look inside my "library," so to speak, has provided better insight into the books that have shaped my creativity. There are heaps and heaps of titles available on Amazon designed for readers who enjoy short, sexy books. I don't want to write those books. I want to write books for readers who are more like me. I thank my readers for letting me do so.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Song to Share

First off, I want to say "thank you" to my wonderful readers for helping me celebrate the release of Half My Blood on Tuesday. Though small, and though lacking any central action, this book plucks several important threads loose from the weave, and I'm so excited about all the stories that will unfold as we move forward.

Since I missed Music Monday, I wanted to share this track from the new Florence + The Machine album. I love "Ship to Wreck," but "Which Witch" is haunting, spooky, and has a real "Seven Devils" vibe. Perfect listening for getting back into the writing frame of mind.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Half My Blood

 It's here! Half My Blood is available.

Download your ebook here.

I'm giving away 3 paperback copies via Amazon, and you can enter by following this link.

I'm answering questions about the book and series on FB, so drop me a comment or message over there if you're curious about anything.

If you haven't started the series, now is the perfect time! Pick up Fearless and Price of Angels for just 99c each today only.

Thank you, readers! Happy Reading

Monday, June 15, 2015

Half My Blood - Chapter One

Tomorrow is the big day! Today is the last day to preorder Half My Blood. After that it'll just be...for sale. Ha. Anyway, here's a look at Chapter One: The Henley Street Bridge. Please be warned that it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so if you'd like to wait until you have the entire book to read, I won't blame you.

Happy Reading!
Henley Street Bridge, Knoxville, TN

Half My Blood
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley