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

Friday, August 29, 2014


So here we are. The product of my computer-free weeks. Fearless is many things: it's the spirit and the womenfolk of a story I wrote several years ago that I wasn't sure would ever get its chance to shine out in the real world; it's a character epic; it's a forbidden love story; and it's an experiment of sorts.

"Lying Down With Dogs" is the first installment in a multi-part novel. Rather than release Fearless six months from now, I decided to try something new, and release it in ebook installments. It's something I've always wanted to try, and the expansive world of Fearless is a perfect fit for this project. After all the installments have been released, I will then release a final, complete ebook and paperback of the novel. And I would love to host a signed paperback giveaway when the time comes.

The project has its own page here, and I'll be posting release dates and other info on Twitter, Facebook, and here on the blog through the rest of the season.

Okay that's all the boring stuff. Let's talk story.

Fearless shifts from the Russells' outside perspective of the Lean Dogs MC to an inside perspective, that of club wife, Maggie, and club daughter, Ava. Maggie and Ava have been with me a long time, and I'm so excited to bring them to life like this, in a totally new, reimagined way.

Then of course we have the boys. The wives. The hangarounds. A rich cast of characters steeped in local color.

Lace up your boots, folks. Here we go...

From the back of the book:

From the author of the Walker Series comes a family drama like no other, a sprawling character epic, a forbidden love story full of angst, adventure, heartbreak, and second chances.  Welcome to the mother chapter of the Lean Dogs Motorcycle Club; meet the girl raised by outlaws, and the fearsome man who will always hold her heart.

Ava Teague left for college with a busted heart and a deeply ingrained love for her biker family. She returns home to Knoxville for grad school, just in time for her father to accept the burden of president…and for Mercy Lécuyer to roll back into town, looking to patch into the Tennessee chapter once more. She’ll steer clear of him, she tells herself. She has a new life, a new boyfriend, and a new outlook. But she can’t shake her DNA. And maybe she doesn’t want to.

Felix Lécuyer left the swamps of Louisiana for a life as an outlaw biker named Mercy, but it was his family, and the retribution he dealt because of it, that made him famous within the club. Fourteen years ago he fled New Orleans for Knoxville, to become an extractor and bodyguard within the mother chapter, guarding Ghost Teague’s family, becoming a constant companion to little Ava. When she was seventeen, he finally crossed the line. Now she’s twenty-two, and he’s back in town as on old nemesis rears its ugly head, and puts the entire club in danger. The fate of the club is uncertain, but Mercy has no doubts about his heart; it still belongs to Ava.

Told in installments, this rich narrative travels from the swamps outside New Orleans to the foothills of Tennessee, spanning fourteen years, following a family of outlaws bound by brotherhood, blood, and a love that knows no boundaries. Dive into Fearless Part I: “Lying Down With Dogs,” and be on the lookout for Part II: “Crossing Lines,” this fall.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Song A Day: Nothing But The Water (I) - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

I've gotten behind on this "song a day" thing. Sorry. We'll make up for it today.

First up is "Nothing But The Water" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Lots of water in this story.

Then it's the entire Magic Potion album by The Black Keys, namely "Strange Desire" and "Goodbye Babylon." If you haven't ever listened to any of the tracks, I recommend you do so immediately. I personally think this is their best album. A little more drama and darkness than some of the newer stuff.

The official release date for my new project Fearless is tomorrow, so we'll talk about it then. But it's on Amazon if anyone wants to go take a peek. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Playing It Safe

The Lean Dog

If you read my blog, you by now know how much I adore Sherlock Holmes. My favorite adventure being The Hound of the Baskervilles - or "The Hound of the Baskervilles" if you're watching it. Long have I been fascinated by the black dogs of British folklore, the spectral dogs - the crossroads demons, the hellhounds, the heralds of death - who haunt the moors and back roads of the Isles. The legend of the black dog is pervasive; there's been a concentration of sightings on Dartmoor, but they are said to haunt other quiet places. In Hertfordshire, the malevolent spirit of a huge black dog with glowing red eyes, said to be the spirit of a chimney sweep hanged for murder, haunts a roadside where a gibbet once stood, sinking into the road when anyone lays eyes upon it. Locally, it is known as the Lean Dog.

I love the sound of that: Lean Dog.

I love that it resides in Hertfordshire, the setting of my all-time favorite literary novel, Pride and Prejudice.

I bring up the legend of the Lean Dog because I have some news regarding my Russell novels and my upcoming Friday release. When I first wrote God Love Her in 2008, I knew I had to name the motorcycle club "The Black Dogs," my special tribute to sinister folklore and Sherlock, too, if I'm honest. I searched online, and could not find an outlaw club by that name. But I didn't publish God Love Her then; it was only released last year, and the copyright stands only from that point forward. I've recently realized that there now exists a law enforcement MC that has copyrighted the name "Black Dogs MC," one founded before my book was released.


What are the odds a club would care about my books? About me using the name? I asked myself. But I've been thinking on it all week, and I realized something: the name of the club in my novels isn't as important as being respectful of other people's copyrights. It's just not.

In my writing life, I've had the bejesus plagiarized out of my stories. It's a terrible feeling. I never want to do that to anyone else. I never want anyone to think I stole something from them.

So, moving forward, The Black Dogs of my novels are still the Dogs - they are still steeped in mythology and folklore and the bar in Keeping Bad Company is still called Baskerville Hall, but their name will now be the Lean Dogs Motorcycle Club. They're still black dogs, and bear them proudly on their cuts; they're just not Black Dogs.

I hate the idea that this might cause any confusion, but it's something I felt was important. I have already gone back and adjusted the name in God Love Her, will do so for KBC, and Friday's release is ready to go as the Lean Dogs.

So, the Black Dogs are now the Lean Dogs, and all the novels should now reflect that. Sorry, everyone. I thought it best to rectify the matter before going any further, especially since Friday's release is so chock full of Dogs. :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Short Change Hero

A soundtrack song a day: "Short Change Hero" by The Heavy

Welcome to Knoxville
source: pinterest
The Tennessee River in Knoxville, TN.
The waterways of a place have a profound effect upon them. The rivers, lakes and coastlines drive the local culture - to a certain degree. The identity of the city is often wrapped up in the water that flows through it. This is the Tennessee River, and along its banks you'll find the setting of Friday's Super Secret Project. We're going to Knoxville for this latest adventure.

Market Square Alleyway art print by David Patterson
Neyland Stadium at University of Tennessee

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jypsi - Mister Officer

A soundtrack song a day for the Super Secret Project. Love this track; one of those bands they'll never play on the radio around here. Their cover of "House of the Rising Sun" is amazing.

New Faces

Happy Sunday, everyone. I hope it's not as muggy where you are as it is here. So much for autumn rolling in - it's hot! A certain baby boy doesn't "do" the outdoors when it's muggy and hot. I tell you, Dobermans are born spoiled rotten. So we're having to play with toys indoors, being careful not to mess up the wrapping on his freshly posted ears. I'll have before and after shots soon.

So Keeping Bad Company hits the market September 12. It was my greatest hope to have it ready for an August release, but with my computer troubles, that just wasn't possible. I've got my final proof, and am doing one last run-through. I think all the edits will make it well worth that wait. I'm so excited to share it.

But during my laptop hiatus, I had some time to reflect on some things, and some time to play around with a story I wasn't sure I'd ever bring back to life. I ended up doing a lot of writing by hand, and some writing on my old iTunes-only computer. I had a bit of a revival, if you will. The Russells might not return until next month, but this Friday, I have a super secret project to share, one I am so excited about, and I hope my readers will enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

To get ready for it, you need to meet two new faces. If you've read the first four chapters of KBC, you've met Walsh. Now meet Mercy:

From Keeping Bad Company
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley
All the guys were up in the clubhouse, ranged around the common room’s centermost tables. Johnny spotted the two new faces right off: a tall, darkly tan guy with shiny black hair pulled back into a short bun, sleeves cut out of his shirt, and an unassuming dark blonde with scruffy cheeks and narrow blue eyes who couldn’t have been taller than five-nine. He was even shorter than Jaeger. Both wore cuts. The tall dark one had the Black Dogs dog tatted on one impressive bicep, surrounded by a series of tribal swirls that flowed down to his elbow. The blonde wore a chambray shirt with a collar that stood up, a pack of smokes rolled into one sleeve. The tall one glanced over as Johnny entered with curiosity. The blonde’s expression was too guarded to tell.

            “Preppy,” Danner greeted from his perch on a table. “Come be social.”

            Rev stood. “Johnny, this is Mercy” – the big one – “and Walsh” – the smaller one. “Boys, this is Johnny Russell. They’re from our New Orleans chapter,” Rev continued, motioning to Mercy. “And Knoxville.” That was Walsh.

            Mercy stepped forward first. “You’re Ray Russell’s nephew, huh?” His accent was flavored with New Orleans, warm and Cajun. He extended a massive hand that swallowed Johnny’s and gripped hard. “I like Ray. Lawyer turned outlaw.” He laughed.

            Johnny tried not to wince as he retracted his hand and flexed his fingers. “Yeah. That’s me.”

            “They call you Preppy?”

            He plucked at the collar of his American Eagle t-shirt and twitched a half-smile. “Yeah.”

            “They’re real creative, huh?” Mercy winked.


            “Ain’t none of ‘em ever got my name right. It ain’t Mercy. It’s Merci.” His accent spiked the word, highlighted the French version of it.

            “Thank you?” Johnny asked.

            “By the time he gets done with someone, they say ‘thank you’ for the kiss of the knife,” Doc explained with a grin, dragging his finger across his own throat to demonstrate.

            “Only the rednecks can’t ever say it right,” Mercy explained, still grinning a wide, white grin. “So I’m ‘Mercy.’ It ain’t so bad.”

            Johnny was half-impressed, half-intimidated. He glanced over to Walsh, who jammed his hands in his jeans pockets and said nothing, just kept staring with those strange, light eyes of his.

            “Walsh is our money man,” Rev explained. “He sets up businesses for the club. The whole club.”

            Recognition dawned; Johnny had heard talk of him. Originally from the London chapter, he was ex-air force and a genius with financial planning. Anywhere within the Dog sphere, if there was a startup happening, he was called in to consult.

            “They’re gonna take over the Elephant for us for a while. Get things rolling with Quinn and his crew.”

            Coffee churned in Johnny’s empty stomach. He nodded. “Okay.”

            “And you’re gonna help.”

            “I am?”

            “Yeah. There’s not anything to do around here today. Go load the van and be ready when they’re ready.”

            Mercy slugged him on the shoulder in an affectionate, friendly gesture.

            Walsh lifted a foot and studied the underside of his boot, finding something he plucked out of the treads with careful fingertips.

            Johnny wished he’d run into a telephone pole on the way over.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Cowgirl

I saw this graphic on my Facebook feed, posted by Country Outfitter. Not only do I absolute love these boots (check them out here) but I love the quote.

There's really not enough tough Southern women in modern fiction. Not enough girls who don't mind getting their hands a little dirty and who stand strong when their families need them.

I'm working on that, one novel at a time.

And a gal needs boots. I like to keep an "in my dreams" boot wish list. Some of my faves are:



and these.

You see why it's "in my dreams." If I ever won the lottery, I'd blow it all on boots.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Road

I love detail, but there's a balancing act involved, between filling your story with rich detail and keeping the plot moving along. I think of it like a road. You can see the texture of the pavement right in front of you, the cracks and shadows and flecks of glitter. But you can see that the road stretches ahead of you, too; you can see that there is a path to follow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Get Creative

I love this post on BuzzFeed: a collection of "The 23 Absolute Best Quotes to Boost Your Creativity."

I've read that creativity and anxiety walk hand-in-hand in the mind, and for me, this is true. I do struggle with anxiety, and many times, finding a creative outlet is the best cure. There are always a thousand reasons to feel overwhelmed with some new endeavor, and it always helps to take a moment, take a breath, and let the creative part of the brain do its thing. It's not about a lack of inspiration, or having no idea how to proceed - it's about letting the anxious voice that says "you can't" get the best of you. Nothing like some good visual quotes to shake off the doubt.

For everyone fixing to take a leap again, like me, trust in this Maya Angelou quote, because she hits the nail on the head. Creativity - true creativity - multiplies. Trust in it, and ignore the nerves.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Looking Through

I really love this shot. It was one of those random things that turned out decent; I snapped it this weekend while putting in a new gate down at the entrance. This is an old board that's part of the original fence that was in place when we first moved in. There's such character to the old wood. And though out of focus, you can see the entire shape of one of the chestnut trees through the knot. It frames the tree. It's the same landscape, but there's something intriguing about looking at it through this narrow scope that makes it seem infinitely larger, and ripe with possibility. Like peering into a room through a keyhole. What you're looking at doesn't change; what changes is the way you see it.

Perspective in fiction greatly impacts the way we see the events that unfold within the narrative. I don't mean first vs. third person (I will forever and always choose third every time, and no one can ever change my mind) but the narrator. Whoever tells the story helps us see it in his or her light. As an author, you have a choice to make: will this narrator be telling this story as a newcomer? Or as a fixture? How does he or she see the world of the novel?

There's an approach that I've affectionately dubbed the Harry Potter Approach. Meaning, like Harry, the narrator is plunged into a new world of endless fascination, and we the readers experience all of these wonders for the first time alongside the narrator. I think this is part of what makes the Harry Potter books so immersive and believable.

Then there's the Inside Track: stories in which the narrator is a fixture in a world that is new to the readers, and through the narrator's experience and navigation within this world, we come to see what "normal" is in the life of someone unlike us.

Both approaches fascinate me. With God Love Her, I took the Harry Potter Approach, Layla resolving herself to this new way of life she'd never considered. It's an approach that carries through for some of the characters in Keeping Bad Company. But in my next project, I'm taking the Inside Track, writing narrators deeply immersed in a less-than-normal life who know no other reality. It's something I've done before, and am returning to, and it's fun. It's so fun. There's a certain freedom that comes with shaking off "normal" and "supposed to."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Late Summer Revival

Fall couldn't come at a better time. That sounds stupid - it comes when it comes - but this year, I need that invigoration of the season. Fall reenergizes me mentally, physically, all the way around. It's a period of intense creativity for me, always. This year, with bouncing baby boy in tow, I'm not getting a ton of sleep and my days are pretty puppy-packed, so those first early signs of fall have been quite welcome. And even if I'm chugging caffeine and yawning, I'm in a good place creatively, and I have the late summer revival to thank for it. As some plants are growing exhausted, tired from their long summer of blooming, others are going through a recharge thanks to the cool evenings; the sunrises are becoming more golden; the horses feel like running; you can smell the shift coming in the breeze. Bring it.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Complementary Characters

This is my favorite sequence of definitions for "complement." I love the phrase "make perfect," even if perfect is subjective in the most beautiful of imperfect ways. A complement makes something perfect in the light of that complement. These things are only perfect together, to each other.

And of course, since this is Workshop Wednesday, I'm talking about bringing characters to perfection through their complementary characters. Both romantically, and platonically. Stories full of clones do not represent real life. Characters with competing, overlapping strengths are less dynamic together. It is a blend of strengths that brings characters to shining light amongst one another. As they complement others, they become more unique and special themselves.

I like to write complementary pairs or sets of characters. This is a technique that I feel grounds the fiction in a practical sort of realism. This isn't for everyone, but it's my favorite way of writing romances - or great friendships.

My favorite fictional complements are Jane and Rochester from Jane Eyre. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that their dynamic has been a driving creative influence in my writing. I strive to write couples, and friends, who do not seek to change or redeem one another ("Ugh" to redemptive story arcs), but understand one another deeply and find a love that bridges their differences, rather than destroys them. Complementary characters do not break each other so that they may reform a new conglomerate person. They are their original selves, enhanced by the love and acceptance of their complements.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What We Look For

On my farm, I have what's called a "pole barn," meaning its frame is composed of deeply-sunk telephone poles, its body fleshed out with old heavy barnwood boards, and its roof of long corrugated panels of green steel. It was originally a storage building with a shedrow of cow stalls along the back. The inside is still used for storage: the tractor, the horse trailer, the riding mower, the manure spreader and bush hog. The three shedrow stalls I stripped of their old dangerous feeders, cleaned up, reinforced, laid with rubber mats, and outfitted with horse appropriate doors some six odd years ago when the horses came home. It isn't the world's prettiest barn, but the horses like it; it keeps them dry and safe. I have great hay storage and nice run-under shelter for when it rains. Do I wish I had an adorable red wood barn with white trim and center aisle? Yes. But this is what I have, and it works, and that's what counts.

Because it isn't built to any kind of standard, neither is the barnyard pen fence; its posts are railroad ties stood up on their ends, some of which tower over my head, like this one, right at the main pedestrian gate.

Last night, as I was putting the horses away, I glanced up and spotted this little guy - or gal - looking all kinds of tiny and ferocious. When I stepped in close to take her picture, she cocked her head in that unnerving mantis way and gave me a glare of pure insect challenge. Come on. I dare ya. Seeing her made me smile; one of those tiny feats of nature that made me glad I'd had my head on the swivel and hadn't been hemmed in with tunnel vision. There are innumerable tiny delights that cross our paths every day, but if we're always on the hunt, always looking for something in particular, we are unable to feel the simple joy of the unexpected. I could have missed the mantis. I could miss the more charming details of my old pole barn because it wasn't what I was looking for.

source: Pinterest
I found this graphic on Pinterest and it sums up something I've been thinking about lately. I love to begin new books, to dive in with no expectations and be completely swept away with the story the author has chosen to tell. But if you enter a book looking for one point in particular, you'll doubtless find yourself disappointed. If you're looking for one thing, and that one thing isn't there, all you'll be able to see of the novel is what it's lacking, rather than what other splendid things it offers. I like to read without tunnel vision, with a clear head, receptive to all the little lines and paragraphs and plot points that will endear the novel to me. Don't go looking inside a book, I say; let the tiny feats sweep you away, and see it.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Swing

If anyone kept track, that was two weeks of a malfunctioning laptop (I had it propped at a goofy angle and couldn't breathe on it lest the screen go black) and two weeks of no laptop while it was in the shop. It's a four-year-old Dell with the superbig 18 inch HD screen, which is great for watching movies, but a great big power vacuum. My computer repairman thinks the heat from having it on so much melted the AV cables. Yikes! So, some new cables, and a new screen, and she's back to full power. And a good thing, because the withdrawal was reaching critical mass. All my data was saved - and all my books are on a flash drive - but this was yet another lesson in backing up data. I had some book covers saved on the hard drive and I would have been so upset to lose them.

Okay, so, back in the swing of things. I must admit that the moment this baby was back in my hands, my immediate focus was on my work, and not blogging. I think I've forgotten how to blog. So I'm easing back into things with a bunch of random notes.

First off: I spent my computer-free weeks taking Instagram pics of my puppy. There's plenty of farm and flower pics there too. My handle is @hppress if anyone wants to follow along.

Second off: Has anyone notice how completely dark it is first thing in the morning? When I took Viktor out at five-thirty this morning, it was black as pitch outside. The days are getting shorter. Autumn is creeping in, not-so-slowly but oh-so-surely. Autumn is such an evocative season for me; my brain just churns overtime as the seasons bleed together. I turn into a writing fanatic in the fall. Which is a good thing, considering all the stuff I have planned for the rest of this year.

Third off: Did I mention Keeping Bad Company releases September 12? I think so. All this tech trouble pushed me back by a month. Ugh! But never fear, it's coming.

Fourth off: This is officially the bounciest, brattiest puppy in existence. He's "helping" my mom plant her Japanese ferns in this photo. Always thinking of others, this one.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Trick

The trick. That fateful trick we all chase. The trick is, if we can just figure out that one magic piece, that missing piece that will slide all the others into focus, we will unlock all the secrets of our craft. The secrets of success, of money, of greatness. And so many of us spend so much time worried about the trick, we miss all the mundane landscapes flashing past in our rush to greatness.
When it comes to horses, no amount of shortcuts makes up for the communication between horse and rider. There's no secret button to push that ignites the magic. The trick isn't physical - it's mental. If you know a creature-  a human, a horse, a character - you can figure out the rest as you go. Because you see, the trick is that there is no trick. It's just time, and hard work, and savvy.

The past two weeks without my computer have seen the editing of my tenth novel, and the realization of my eleventh: a sprawling character epic full of angst, adventure, heartbreak, and second chances. Sometimes, we arrive at things slowly, and that's okay, because that's when the time, the hard work, and the savvy lift you up and give you wings.
Keeping Bad Company releases Sep 12, and be on the lookout for another announcement coming soon. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Back In Business

I've got my computer back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I needed that many exclamation points.

I've got so much to update, so much to talk about, time permitting, of course. I hope to be back later today when a certain little monster is napping.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Still No Computer

And it's so irritating that I'm unable to post. Ugh. I have two big book releases to talk about! Until then, I'm writing away old school-style and listening to a perfect song for my newest project. It's so sad these guys broke up - they are so talented. Fingers crossed I'll be back in business by this weekend.