amazon.com/authors/laurengilley

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FAQ

Greetings from the quiet side. I've been a bad blogger, Facebooker, Tweeter, what have you lately - and mostly that's been on purpose. Spring and summer are busy outdoor seasons on the farm. Plus, I've decided to pull back a little on the social media front and spend my computer time writing. I had a spinal adjustment yesterday that was, in my chiropractor's words "bad," and I'm really feeling it today. Yikes. Ouch. All the more reason for me to limit my chair time as much as possible.

I've received a lot of the same sorts of questions lately in emails and messages, and in the comments sections of posts, and I'm happy to respond to each one, but it makes me think there are a lot of you out there wondering some of the same things. So I thought I'd check in and do a quick FAQ. I thought it'd be nice for the people who are like me and never ask, but just wonder silently. :-)

When will Tastes Like Candy be available for purchase?
I'm working on the end of it now - not much father to go! So it should be on sale mid- to late May.

When will Loverboy be available for purchase?
Oh, Loverboy. It's currently on hold while I finish up TLC, and then I'm anticipating at least a month of hard writing before it's ready for edits. So July, I'm thinking.

Will there be a Ghost and Maggie book?
I get this one A LOT. I have (what I think) is a fun, cute, and unexpected storyline mapped out for them. One of those gut-reaction things I didn't think I'd want to do, but now can't stop thinking about. I'm working on some side projects at the moment, so the answer is: maybe. We'll see how things are going after LB and then I'll decide whether or not to pull the trigger. I would like to. But please be warned that a book about them will have duel timelines: a present day story, and a flashback story about how they met and became the  king and queen that they are now. Complete with little kid Aidan, Ghost's wildly terribly parenting, and Maggie's jailbait antics. So. Just be ready for that. It won't be the "mature" book I've been asked to write.

Fox??
Everybody loves Fox. I love Fox! He's one of my book babies, after all. And one of the few characters I have "cast" in my head with a real actor. I'll be candid - the first time Walsh stepped into the scene, back in Keeping Bad Company, sitting watch in front of a strip club in London, I already knew I wanted to write an entire book for him. It was love at first concept. But Fox? That was a slippery, tricky thing, and I knew that I was going to love having him as part of the equation, but I never intended to write a book for him. SO MANY people have asked about a book for Fox. And I'm really touched. But I'm also really conflicted, because I can't just "make" a story happen. It has to come to me organically; I have to believe in it, become invested in it. So I'm not saying "yes," but I'm not saying "no." I would love to "find" a Fox book along the way somewhere. But I can't force it to happen - it would suck and you all would hate it if I strong-armed the man into a love story. He's still revealing himself to me in fits and snatches, and I have to patiently wait until I know him, completely. Fiction-writing, for me, is not a simple matter of fantasy fulfillment. I'm a cynic, and decidedly not romantic, so it has to feel raw and real for me. So I hope we can get there, but I'm not willing to put it on the roster and hold myself to the task just yet.

Who do you envision as (insert character name)?
There are a few characters who I "see," and a few who you guys have quite wonderfully cast. But for the most part I don't like to push my vision off on the audience, because normally I see the character first, and have to go back and cast later. And my casting is admittedly biased - I like to envision actors or actresses I think are talented and interesting. I like for you guys to be able to use your imaginations, see someone you find interesting and attractive. I have a Dartmoor board on Pinterest where you can find landscape and misc. inspiration pics.

That's all for now! I will add more as they come at me. Right now, I'm going to get out of this chair and rest my back a little.

Happy Tuesday.







Monday, April 18, 2016

Music Monday 4/18

I did something I haven't done in years: I took a four-day weekend. I do something writing-related every day of the week, holidays included, but this weekend, I didn't lift a finger in that direction. I was sick last week, and so by Thursday, I just said "screw it" and shut down the computer for four whole days. This weekend, I worked outside - there was still half a tree to cut up and haul down to the pile - and can now report to being sore and sunburned. And if not "fresh" then at least not quite so mentally exhausted.

I can't say I was exactly ready to hit the ol' purple writing chair again this morning, but what are you gonna do?

It's Music Monday, and here's what listened to this weekend:

"Just Like Fire" - P!nk (always so excited to see new tracks from her)
"American Dream" - MKTO (love this album so much)
"Pity Party" - Melanie Martinez (such a cool sound to her music, like a haunted carnival)

I'm back "in the office" this week, so I'll be back to answering comments/messages, etc.






Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Reflections


I'm such a bad blogger! Every morning this week, I've opened up this post, typed about ten words, then deleted them and backed out of the site. It's just not been a blogging kind of week. I always wonder if it's better to keep silent and wait for something more interesting to say, or to at least post something. This week, waiting won out.

And guess what? I still don't have anything to blog about!

Okay, not exactly true.

I had to take my War Machine to the vet this morning because he has a little crusty lump on the tip of his ear. Turns out, it's something called a - get this - ear-tip tumor. And the vet says given his age, it should be the harmless kind and resolve itself in a few months. The good news is, there's nothing wrong with him. The bad news is I had to bother my poor brother on his morning off to come help me wrestle said War Machine because the last time I tried to boost all 127 pounds of Viktor into the backseat of the truck, my back seized up so badly I thought I was having a heart attack. (Also, Viktor's real name is Wolfgang's Riddermark War Machine) Viktor is all ready to make war, but not to actually jump into the truck on his own. Oh, this dog...

Anyway, it was actually fun to talk writing, and character studying, and Daredevil with my poor dog-boosting brother for a little while. We have similar views on character development, and sometimes I need to talk shop with someone who actually sees things the way I do.

I've been feeling a little frustrated lately. Part of it's that mid-book blues. Part of it is wanting to branch out a little. The result is that I decided to just be proactive and plan a non-Dartmoor release for later in the year. Turns out I needed that mental avenue. The idea that I can work on something totally new, totally character-driven, something that harkens back to my earlier works. Don't get me wrong, I do love my outlaws, but sometimes I just really want to write about two people having coffee without the expectation of badassery looming over everything. I haven't decided yet if I'll publish it under a pen name - leaning that way at the moment - or if I'll use my name and hunker down against the slings and arrows.

Either way, I'm hoping for a headache-free, productive week next week, and hoping to have more Candy ready for everyone this weekend.

Happy Friday.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hello, April

Xeno the barn kitty.

Is March gone already? Is it really? Ugh. That was a fast month! And a 31-dayer too! I repeat: Ugh.

March felt both busy and unproductive somehow, but it was good, all in all, despite the disastrous headaches and assorted other ailments.

If you follow along on Facebook, you know we're up to Chapter 26 of Tastes Like Candy (yay!) and that I'm slowly plugging away at Loverboy. It's a slow-going book. Like I've said before, I'm happy with the progress, but it's heavy, and it's definitely not the book anyone's expecting, so I'm glad to take my time with it. I'm also working on some unrelated side projects. I get restless when I feel hemmed in, so I've decided to work on my more literary projects when the mood strikes. It's been a great mood-booster, not ironically.

This month I attended the Authors In The City book signing in Florida.

I read fewer books that intended:
Breathing Lessons (for book club)

My favorite read of the bunch was The Martian. It makes me want to dive back into my scifi roots with a vengeance! Some days I really wonder how in the hell I wound up writing love stories about bikers when I'm this big of a nerd. Life makes no sense, honestly.

I'm currently reading Slaughterhouse-Five (I know, I'm just now reading it, for shame).

No release dates yet. You can find TLC on Wattpad, and Loverboy is taking its sweet time unfolding, because Kev is damaged, and he needs me to be patient, sweet boy.

Happy April.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Martian


Read March 2016

Okay, I loved this book. I made time for it before bed every night. So know that this isn't a true book review, per se.

I have eclectic taste when it comes to books. For me, it's all about the author's voice and competence, and the characters of the story. Subject matter has no real bearing, and I love to feel like I'm learning new things as I read for fun. So The Martian was perfect on all those levels. I was a bit wary going in, because I knew it was going to be a very technical novel, and I have only a rudimentary grasp of space travel and exploration. All those worries were expelled the moment the story starts, and we meet Mark, our intrepid Martian explorer, thought dead and left stranded on the Red Planet when his crew aborted the mission and went back to the ship. Mark lives a year and a half on Mars, constantly encountering problems and having to engineer solutions. The narrative is comprised of his log entries, and the occasional flash back to Earth, as they try to devise a way to bring him home.

First off, Mark is an adorable dork, and he injects a quirky humor into everything. Though the story is dangerous, and suspenseful, Mark's voice takes the it from a place of nail-biting melodrama to one that is entertaining, appropriately nerve-rattling, and always interesting to read.

I'll paraphrase it for you:
Me: "This is obviously a clog. How about I take it apart and check the internal tubing?"
NASA(after five hours of deliberation): "No. You'll fuck it up and die."
So I took it apart.
Me: "I took it apart, found the problem, and fixed it."
NASA: "Dick."

....

You know what!? Fuck this! Fuck this airlock, fuck that Hab, and fuck this whole planet!

...

Things aren't as bad as they seem. I'm still fucked, mind you. Just not as deeply.

...

Fun fact: This is exactly how the Apollo 1 crew died. Wish me luck!

...

Stop laughing.

...

It seemed to work well. The seal looked strong and the resin was rock-hard. I did, however, glue my hand to the helmet.

...

Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped.

...

As with most of life's problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.

...

I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.

I highlighted the heck out of this book on my Kindle. Can't recommend it enough if you like scifi and space. And I also recommend it to people who are curious and just plain like to read. Five stars from me. Loved it.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

LG's Writing 102: The Ensemble


3/23/16 - The Ensemble

Starting today, I'm going to move from the Writing 101 series to the newer, more detailed 102 series. 101 was the basics, and now we're going to take a deeper look at some topics, and talk about a more nuanced way of writing. As with the 101, this has all got the Lauren-slant, and should totally be taken as my personal approach to writing, and not any sort of rule of law. So, ready?
 
Today we're going to talk about writing ensemble casts.
 
Organic, believable, compelling character development is essential to any great book, and no easy feat. Having organic, believable, compelling development among a large and diverse cast of characters? It's complicated. The more characters in play, the more intricate the juggling. Because I like to torture myself, I tend to work with large casts. This doesn't appeal to everyone, authors or readers, but in my eyes, there are some big advantages to setting the stage with lots of players:
 
- Real world feel: we don't live in bubbles, and a big cast makes the fictional world feel like a real place.
 
- Opportunities for story: characters can have side stories with other characters, and the plot has the potential to grown in any number of directions.
 
- Potential for a long-running series.
 
- A multitude of varying perspectives that give the story a richer, deeper tone.
 
It's a challenge, but a rewarding one, and a large cast lends itself to that cinematic feel I'm always shooting for in my work. For me, the great fun is that your ensemble is full of very different people, and they create a well-rounded look at your fictional world.
 
Here are my inexpert tips for writing ensembles:
 
- First, make sure there's a reason for the ensemble. The group approach should enhance the overall story. In my Dartmoor books, a big cast is necessary, because a club wouldn't consist of three guys.
 
- Make sure each character is his/her own person! This is the most important. Whether it's a group of friends, coworkers, family, or, yes, a biker club, there is personality diversity within every group. Writing about a group who all think, act, and speak in the same way (unless that's the point of your scifi clone novel) adds nothing to the story, and is not realistic. Every group needs to delegate tasks. For instance, not every Lean Dog can be just like Mercy: they need leaders, thinkers, organizers, enforcers, and foot soldiers. It takes all kinds.
 
- Create an interesting dynamic between the members of your ensemble. There will be disagreements. They won't all like one another. Some will be better friends than others. They will have conflicting goals (like, say Ghost, who's always looking out for the club as a whole, while his guys get caught up in personal struggles with their families at home). The goal is to keep it interesting.
 
- Use the varying POVs to add new interpretations, new world viewpoints, and new logic to the story. Every character should be interesting. Every character will be touched by different aspects of the story.
 
- Different strokes, you know the rest: with varying goals come varying wishes and fantasies, so a happy ending won't be exactly the same for each character. For example, Mercy's happy ending is Ava, and pretty much only Ava. Tango's happy ending will be happiness, finding a little peace with the idea that life has been terrible, but that it will get better.
 
Like I said, an inexpert list. After years of it, I can say that I prefer writing large ensemble casts, and that it keeps me engaged with my stories and on my toes, always ready to become fascinated by someone new. But it takes some planning, some thought, and a strict adherence to your characters, and their personalities.
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Michelle's Aesthetic

For Chelle:
 
Think of it as her Instagram account. She likes order, she likes pretty, she doesn't mind living small. She loves hanging out with her Uncle Albie: furniture maker/arms dealer. She misses London, and she really wishes she'd bought those blue cowboy boots. A London girl who won't admit she's in love with a Texas boy.