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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Russell Sale This Weekend

Each of the three volumes 99cents in honor of me not caring about football :)

1) Made for Breaking
2) God Love Her
3) Keeping Bad Company

The Heavy Dark Moments

wish my window looked like this

A random Saturday, bright colorless January light filtering through the windows before it sleeps and wakes again as February. A late lunch of homemade chicken tortilla soup, a Reese's cup, and the keyboard. That's where I am, at the moment. Writers never really take breaks, you know. Stolen moments, dog naps - they call to us.

I wish writing a book happened as quickly as reading a book. If it's enthralling enough, and there's time, you can devour a four-hundred page book in a day. But the writing takes so, so much longer. And scenes that we read in minutes often take days to finish at the computer. The downside is that you have to stay in that book moment for those days, mentally. Not all the time, not while watching TV or going for a walk, but when you sit down to write, you're back in that moment. And sometimes, as is the case with this project, there are the heavy dark moments of the story that you have to live inside for days. And it doesn't matter that you as the writer aren't living this moment; your greatest weapon as an artist is empathy, feeling deeply for the characters in a way that allows you to project it in your work. If what you wrote made you shudder, chances are your audience will shudder, too. That's the goal.

So...sorry in advance if those dark parts make you shudder. Going through the dark makes the bright spots all the more radiant, the connections deeper, the victories more worthwhile.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lines 1/30

Price of Angels
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley
Michael felt the slow, even pounding of his heart against his ribs. He didn’t want to hear the story she was about to tell him. The dread was already building in him, swirling like bile at the base of his throat. But he needed to know how bad it had been. He needed to have this justification for what he was fast realizing he had to do.

            “What did they do to you, honey?” he asked, quietly, his shoulders stiff with anticipation.

            She closed her eyes a moment, pain lining her face. “Promise me something first.”

            He waited until her eyes were open, and nodded.

            “Try – at least try, please – not to hate me, after I tell you.”

            “I won’t.”

            Her smile was small and wry. She took a deep breath. “My mother fell in love with a monster…”


Back In Business

Sunrise view from my new office

Let there be internet! The new router arrived in the mail yesterday and it's all hooked up now, so barring other minor disasters, I'm web-accessible again.

When I realized that I would be without a connection for a few days, I had the option of trucking it to Starbucks every day to blog and Pin and keep up with email. But that first morning, I realized something -  I was getting so much writing done! So apologies to those I've been late to contact in return, but I decided to take advantage of my lack of distraction and really concentrate on the book for a few days. I got so much work done on Angels, and I'm so excited about it. The book is really starting to take shape, and the deeper I go, the longer I realize it will have to be. I hope nobody has anything against long books. I'm fast realizing that my goal is to make this series the Outlander of biker-themed fiction. Less romp, more epic. And genre? What genre?

A few things:

Don't forget the giveaways are still going on. You can enter the Goodreads giveaway by clicking here, or using the widget over at the top of the sidebar. You can enter the social media giveaway by contacting me with your entry in one of these three ways.

The release date for Angels is sometime in the middle or end of March. No firm day, yet, but we've still got all of February to get through. I need the writing time, and it should definitely be worth waiting for. :)

I'm hoping to make up for the lack of posts with some good ones this weekend. Between my freshly adjusted back (oh my God, it's like having braces tightened, the way it hurts afterward) and my poor doggie's post-neutering sadness, I'm hoping to get another post done today. We shall see.

I'm so glad to have the web back. Happy Friday, everyone.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Price of Angels - First Look, Chapter One

I promised on Facebook last week that I'd post Chapter One this week, so here goes! Please keep in mind that this is raw text, straight from the document, so there may be a typo or two. Apologies.

Price of Angels
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley



September 1st.

I think I found my killer.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Workshop Wednesday (Belated) - No Slouching

source: pinterest
When you're a kid, the adults in your life are always worried about your posture. Stand up straight. No slouching. Put your shoulders back. Pick your head up. It's all about appearances, isn't it? That's what we think, in our little kid-minds, because we don't understand how the way we walk, stand, sit could be of any importance.

Flash forward to the debilitating pain I'm experiencing at age twenty-seven, and all those admonitions make sense.

Okay, so, I wasn't a slouchy kid, but I've been pretty slouchy the last few weeks, as the pain in my upper back, arms and neck continued to worsen. I stupidly didn't seek medical help, because I was convinced I'd pulled a muscle or something. Lifting a heavy feed bag, being jerked around by Viktor, something. I'm young, healthy, active - how could I have back problems?

I finally broke down and went to the chiropractor yesterday because I was in tears with the pain. Even now, standing at the counter to type this post is very uncomfortable. I wish I'd gone to see the doctor earlier, because it turns out I don't have a pulled muscle or a pinched nerve, but a loss of curvature in the vertebrae in my neck. He showed me my X-rays (spooky-looking straight neck I've got) and said I looked like someone who'd been in a car accident. He then explained the unevenness in my shoulders as mild scoliosis (thank you, high school backpack). My neck needs to be realigned - one adjustment already, and going back Friday - and then I'll have to implement some lifestyle changes and religiously go through my neck exercises. I'm going to have to start living a more ergonomic life; the techniques I'm going to share here, as they are prescribed, because it was startling to see what can happen while you're just sitting still. My damage is cumulative, from years of sitting improperly at a desk, and from working and straining and taking tumbles at the barn.

Have I bored you to tears yet?

This week was a workshop for me; I was the one getting the lesson. Writing can be dangerous! Haha! So make sure you're not slumped over a laptop; it will save you a lot of pain. I'm going to have to retrain myself to write in a more supportive position. And then hopefully I can stop whining about how much my back hurts!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cover Reveal - Price of Angels

Hard to see the shape because it's white on white here, but there it is. I decided I want to do alternating colors, black, then white, then black, so that when the books are lined up on a shelf, the spines will go back and forth in a pattern. I'm so pleased with how it turned out!
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley

Monday, January 19, 2015

Music Monday

First, a soundtrack pick for Angels.

"Angels & Devils" - Sarah Darling

I love this artist, and they never play her on local country radio. Her singles "Jack of Hearts" and "Feels Like Home" are worth a listen, too.

And then, because a new release from them is always a treat:

"Uma Thurman" - Fall Out Boy

I like "Irresistible" too.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekend Recap

If you missed it yesterday, I posted a social media giveaway. I'm giving away three signed copies of Fearless. Click here for entry and rules.

Thursday, I posted a scene from Angels, a fluffy Ava and Mercy tidbit. I love writing their relationship as it grows.

It was such a gorgeous weekend, if a little cold. Lots of sunshine. The animals loved it. I think I'd forgotten what the sun looked like.

Some neat antique shop finds:
The cutest set of children's books.

Look at the illustrations inside.

Almost makes me think I'm missing out being kidless.

And my British obsession continues, with this 18th century teacup, all the way from England.

Look at the inside!

Tomorrow is Music Monday. And look forward to more Angels this week.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Giveaway

Okay, I'm a little put out with Goodreads. I've been waiting all week for my Goodreads giveaway to be approved, so I can announce both Fearless giveaways, and they're taking their sweet time. So, since who knows when that will get sorted, let's go ahead and kick off the other giveaway.

What: Giving away three signed paperback copies of Fearless, shipping to anywhere.

When: Enter anytime between now, and March 2nd.

How: 3 ways. You can enter the giveaway by
1) Messaging me on my author Facebook page. Just say "I want to enter the giveaway" and I will send you a confirmation message and put you on the list.

2)Tweeting me at @lauren_gilley. Tell me you want to enter the giveaway. Confirmation Tweet will follow, and I'll put you on the list.

3) Emailing me at, telling me you want to enter. I will send confirmation and add you to the list.

On March 3rd, I will draw the names randomly from a hat to see who wins, and will then contact winners via their method of entry, as well as announcing on my blog and FB.

1) Must be willing to provide some sort of physical address at which mail can be sent, so you can receive your winnings.

2) Must enter before midnight on March 2nd.

When the Goodreads giveaway becomes available, I will announce it also. But really, this is the one I'm excited about. On Goodreads, I'll have entrants who've never read me or heard of me, and while that's great - expanding readership - it doesn't give back to the awesome readers who've been following along from the start. I'm so excited about sharing a few of these chunky, honking books with you, so good luck! Contact me with any questions you may have.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Help, I'm Addicted to Books

This disorderly bookshop makes me think of Fourth Down from Fearless, where Ava likes to shop. The wonderful clutter of too many books.

I've been a bookworm from the word go. My parents read to me until I was old enough to read to myself. A family tradition. It was horrifying, in school, when my friends said they never read for fun. Reading was addictive, always, but with school, and a 48-hour work week for so many years, I didn't have much time for it.

When I finished school, and took up writing in a serious fashion, I made time to read because it's a necessary element of writing. Feed the brain, better the work. And in the last couple of years, I've devolved slowly into this person who is hooked on books, in every way imaginable, like they're meth. I love the smell of the pages; I love seeing them unread on my shelf; I love reading all different genres of them, and talking about them, and blogging about them, and drawing creativity from them.

Book club has been really fun, because I'm reading books I wouldn't normally choose for myself, and I'm stretching in that way. Last night's discussion of The Light Between Oceans was a great one. As a side note, I want, this year, to document book club a little better, and do a review for each month's book. February's read is this.

Basically, I've turned into this completely obsessed, hopelessly addicted book nut, who reads too many, writes too many, and collects too many. I'm pretty sure there's no hope of reversing the condition, at this point.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lines 1/15 - First Look at Angels

I've been itching to share some of Angels; writing's going well and I'm so excited with the way it's shaping up. Mercy and Ava have their little parts to play, though this is someone else's book, and without giving away too much plot too early, I can share this tidbit I wrote earlier in the week. It's squishy and domestic. Can't help myself. Spoilers for Fearless under the cut. Raw text; apologies for typos.

Price of Angels
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley

There’d been a time in his life when working late hadn’t been an imposition. When there’d been nothing but his books waiting on him at home. Not that he hadn’t loved reading by the lamplight, but these days, there was a lot more incentive to get his ass home when he punched out every day. And this day, Ghost hadn’t made him work OT, so at five, Mercy headed straight for the apartment, a bright warmth filling his chest that blotted out the lingering pain in his bad leg, and the sour remnants of that afternoon’s business meeting.

Book Rec

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman was this month's book club pick, and though I procrastinated, I'm so glad I managed to squeeze some reading time in for this.

British and Irish literature are my preference, when compared to contemporary American authors, and I was hoping that would extend to this Aussie novel - and it did. A fast read, Oceans balances a streamlined prose with moments of poetic spark as Stedman describes the craggy Australian coast. A lovely blend of detail and simple, impactful sentences.

Set after WWI, the central characters of Tom and Isabel reflect the pure-hearted goodness of that time period; genuine emotions, and a toughness sorely lacking in the world of today. Tom is stoic, gentle, and impossible not to love, Isabel his bright, spunky opposite. Their story is both sweet and tragic. This is a sad, sad read, but well worth the time. I love the deep-rooted appreciation of the simple, the necessary, and the wild beauty of nature, that reminds me so much of the British Romantics.

Wonderful book for a rainy day, though you might have to have something lighter and happier on stand-by once you're done, so you don't mope the rest of the day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Workshop Wednesday - On Female Leads, With Buffy Summers

source: pinterest
Every year, when I get the reminder email about the annual romance writers conference, I notice a class on the lineup that truly, truly puzzles me. They call it different things, but it's the same basic subject matter: How to Write Heroes. Or How to Write Men.

This is disturbing for several reasons:
1) A man, a hero, is a human, after all. If you have trouble writing men, chances are you have trouble writing convincing people. Why single the man out, as if he weren't human? As if it weren't more a case of learning how to bring flesh and blood humans to life in your story, rather than some flat, archetypal "man."
2) Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. While there are some pivotal heroic traits, there is so much room for diversity within your hero. To assume that all readers want to root for a stereotype is short-sighted. Not to mention, different women are attracted to different attributes; that's why we need variety in our heroes. I'm attracted to slender men with prominent noses, who are well-educated and have more brains than muscles. The overbulked, oversexed, trash-talking jerks in such prominence today are not only getting old, but aren't really heroes at all.
3) And, most importantly, what about the heroine??? Should the leading lady not also be likeable, relatable, dynamic, strong and interesting? An author should put just as much thought and hard work into the lady as she does the lad. Female readers are coming at the story from the female perspective; the heroine is equally important.

So how does one concoct a female lead who isn't merely a cipher for the male lead's overwhelming sexuality? Who isn't merely a pair of eyes through which the reader can observe the hero? A female who is a hero herself?

I have so many favorite examples. Lizzy Bennet is my spirit animal. But today, I want to talk about everybody's favorite teenage vampire slayer, who proves that age and fingernail polish color have zero bearing on one's status as a super strong woman who audiences can fall in love with.
If you were a geeky child of the nineties, you probably watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and if you were like me, your mother wanted you to stop watching it. Too bad, Mom (I say with the deepest respect and affection). The show was a hit for so many reasons: it poked fun at itself; it balanced truly hokey moments and teen moments with drama that, used sparingly, packed a real punch. The dialogue was fantastic, the one-liners perfect, and the entire cast of characters was lovable.

Buffy worked so well as a hero because she was several archetypes rolled into one, all of them conflicting, but somehow maintaining a certain ironic harmony. She was the girly girl, and she was the dangerous girl her classmates whispered rumors about. She was the sexy girl, but was awkward with boys. She looked like a popular kid, but was an outcast, not a nerd herself, but sweet to nerds, and found two best friends in Xander and Willow, respective King and Queen of the dorks. Her physical strength was explainable, through her slayer powers, and was never something she flaunted. It was just a part of her, like her blonde hair, an attribute, rather than bragging rights. In fact, what made her so endearing was that she didn't really want to be the slayer, and her constant struggle with having a normal teenage (and later young adult) life turned slaying into a calling, and a duty, rather than something cool. She had to be violent, to keep her loved ones safe; what she wanted was to watch movies and spend time with her friends.
While her physical strength gave her the edge on the vamps, it was never what made her truly strong, or made her a hero. She was kind, compassionate, and merciful. As Giles explained to Ben/Glory, Buffy would never kill an innocent man, just to kill an evil goddess. As a side note: Giles had no such qualms, which, in this instance, made him pretty heroic in a different way.

Buffy's most heroic moments were those in which she made the hard call, tears coursing unashamedly down her face: sacrificing herself for her sister, sacrificing Angel, to save the world; going down into the actual mouth of hell. And we loved her for it because she was afraid, and she was in pain, and she grieved, and that was what made her human. Because it isn't about being invincible or fearless or having super powers. Heroes and heroines are the ones who make the hard calls, the impossible calls. There is strength in tears, and in smart comebacks, and in finding a way to tell a joke at the end of the world.
The entire show was full of heroes and heroines, really, all of them showing tremendous strength when it counted, counterbalanced by the most human frailty. Heroes and heroines have feelings, deep emotions; what makes them heroic is what they do despite those feelings.

Buffy is one of many examples of a female lead who is both tough, and feminine, fragile and resilient, brave and frightened, loving and kind. So let us please, as writers, stop focusing on the "alpha male," and start focusing on ALL of our characters, hero, heroine, Scoobies and all.
Joss wrote it, Spike said it, as part of the most awesome monologue.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fearless At Last

She's here, the whole big honking thing! Excuse me while I dance...Okay, that's better. After four months of writing, weeks of editing, designing, proofing, dwelling, stressing, Fearless is at last available in its final format, in both paperback and ebook formats.

Thank you to all of my kind and wonderful readers for sticking with me on this installment experiment. I'm not sure I'll do that again any time soon, but it was a fun way to release this first Dartmoor book, and I'm so thankful for everyone's feedback. It would be lovely to have some reviews for this final edition :)

I'll be announcing two giveaways later in the week, so stand by for more info. Here's the dirty details:

Order it here.
738 pages
10pt font
2.7 pounds

Download it here
861 pages

Thank you, readers, for making this such a fun project!

Monday, January 12, 2015

All Time Top Five

Workshop Wednesday has been a blog fixture for a year now, and with a few exceptions here and there, it's been something I was able to keep up with. I enjoy having that structured block of blog space where I can talk shop in a serious way. And since I was able to stick to it, I've decided to add another day-of-the-week post series. Since music plays such a pivotal part in my creative process, I thought it'd be interesting to have a Music Monday, where I can post what I'm listening to at the time, what's inspiring me, and talk about old favorites. Kicking it off today with my top five favorite albums of all time. Be warned: I don't have a cool bone in my body, so don't expect the music to be a departure from that.

Okay, here goes.

1. Back in Black, AC/DC
Favorite band, song, and album, all rolled into one ("Hells Bells" being the song). Trying to explain my love for AC/DC would be difficult. I don't understand it, and I've decided that's okay. Their sound is evocative; it feeds the writer in me. Stephen King writes to their music, so I supposed I'm in pretty good company there. I saw them live in 2008: cross that one off the bucket list.

2. Born to Fly, Sara Evans
This album released during my formative early teen years, and it stayed in the CD player in my room for about four years solid. Sara was a highlight of a truly bright spot in country music, before bro-country, before women shut their mouths and got into bikinis. Her voice is beautiful and there was a mood to this album that made me feel creative and deeply rooted. I still listen to it all the time and still adore it. "Born to Fly" and her cover of "Every Little Kiss" are my faves; but "Four-Thirty" comes in a close third.

3. Rascal Flatts, Rascal Flatts
Their first album will forever and always give me goosebumps. Their harmonizing is incredible, and their songs managed to be heartfelt and meaningful, without being cheesy or cliché. Such a perfect album by one of my very favorite bands.

4. Riot!, Paramore
My brother kept insisting that I listen to this band, and when I finally did, I didn't know why I ever resisted. More emotive and real than your typical emo band, their songs are catchy and beautiful, and can be applied to any genre of storytelling. I dare you to listen to them and not find a soundtrack song among the mix. "Miracle" is my favorite of this album, but "Misery Business" is so much fun.

5. Gold, The Allman Brothers Band
This is compilation album, and though I'm loath to reference those sorts of things, for their lack of original sparkle, this is such a great track list of their best work. "Whipping Post," "One Way Out," "Not My Cross to Bear," "Melissa," "Midnight Rider," and even more of their biggest hits. My dad introduced me to them, when I was very little, because he was a big fan. I don't think you can be born in Georgia and not have some Allman Brothers in your blood. They are timeless.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

This Week

Radio silence today, because I've been submerged in my final adjustments for the paperback edition of Fearless. It's releasing this week, and once it becomes available, I'll announce my two giveaways. I can't wait to share some signed editions with my readers!

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dream of You for 99cents

I decided to make it a Walker weekend, and today, the second installment in the series is only 99cents. Dream of You picks up right where Keep You left off, featuring a Tam and Jo-centric secondary story, as they move deeper into their marriage, and a main story starring Jo's "twin" Jordan, and the student he falls for.

I won't lie: Jordan is my favorite Walker. Partly because he's just him, but partly because I'm in love with the idea of a non-traditional leading man in a romance. Skinny, curly-haired, slightly geeky, Jordan is the anti-beefcake, and his Ellie the anti-vixen.

If you enjoyed Keep You, I think you'll like Dream of You, as the family grows and expands. Get it right here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thematic Inspiration

Hope, and feathers. Angels. Saints. Sinners. Paths to be chosen. Legacies to be overcome. Angels is a story about understanding your past, and making decisions that go against your awful inheritance. Making the good decisions, the ones flavored with love and hope. It's about seeing that there's still a chance for a future. It's about things with wings.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Keep You for 99cents

It doesn't seem possible that it's been over two years since my first novel was released. In so many ways it felt like blinking, those years. And in others, I can see the time laid out in exacting detail, chronicled by the words, pages, and books I've written since. All caught up in the Dartmoor scene right now, I admit that I overlook some of my earlier work, and that's not fair to the Walkers! They were all-consuming, when I wrote their five books. When I let my mind wander back to them, I smile, because they brought me such joy as a writer. So on this awfully cold day, I wanted to share the first in the series with all of you for 99cents.

Keep You is a family drama, centering around the youngest of the five Walker children, Jo, and her childhood sweetheart, Tam. Reunited by Jo's brother's wedding, they travel to Ireland, and discover how very much in love they still are. Tam has past demons to wrestle with, though, if they can ever hope to find their happy ending.

The novel is told in a "Then" and "Now" style, clearly marked flashbacks providing the background for the current action in Ireland. Some readers really enjoy this method, while others don't. Originally, I pitched Keep You as a romance novel, but then discovered, through feedback from early readers, that it was more of a family drama. It's more about the family, their love, their acceptance of Tam, than it is about anything steamy or romantic. I've been really surprised by the number of men who've picked it up, and really enjoyed it.

My book club read it last year, and during out discussion, one of my fellow book clubbers pulled this quote from the text:

Dreams were for children - for little girls who didn't understand their parents' money woes and who believed in magic, the power of wishes, and the authenticity of meant-to-be love.

And he said he felt like this was a representative line, one of the novel's central themes. It's been wonderful for me to hear what different readers interpreted from the text, what their takeaway is.

So if your primary interest is MC fiction, this might not be the book for you. But if you like sweet stories, I think you'd really enjoy Tam and Jo's. The novel is about family, love in all its forms, acceptance - of one another, of our standing in life, of circumstances beyond our control. Give it a try, if you feel up to it, and happy reading.

You can find it right here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Workshop Wednesday - Watching While You Write

Each writer has her own recipe for productivity. Some listen to music, some prefer total silence; some like to write outdoors, some curled up in bed; some write at desks, others sprawled across the floor with laptops. The best approach? Whatever works. Whatever keeps your fingers flying is the best setup.

During my 6:30 a.m. writing block, I plug in the colored lights on my little potted tree, and write in the dark, without any distractions. I'm more lyrical and creative that time of morning, before I've had to worry about anything else. But later in the day, during my afternoon block of writing time, I set up my laptop on the kitchen table and turn the TV on in the background. I love a good scripted drama, but lately, with Viktor, I haven't had time to truly sit down and watch anything during primetime hours. What I watch instead are my "writing shows," the ones that help me work productively without getting too stuck inside any kind of plotline. My guilty pleasures, you might say.


I love to look at houses while I'm writing. Gives me so many ideas as I create fictional spaces.

Fixer Upper
This is my new favorite. Husband and wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines take clients house shopping for, appropriately, fixer uppers, then renovate and redesign with stunning results. Chip is the contractor, Joanna the designer, and her taste is impeccable. Would love to have her design a room for me. What I love about this show, compared to some of the others, is the total lack of drama. The Gaines are just adorable, they get along so well, their clients are never quarrelsome. They live on a farm full of goats and chickens with their four children, and their hour-long renos are delightful to watch.

99 Cents Tomorrow

I'll post Workshop Wednesday in a bit, but first wanted to share that Keep You will be 99cents for download tomorrow. It's going to be such a bitter, cold, unpleasant day where I live tomorrow, so what better to do on a frigid day than read? More details about the book tomorrow along with links.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Summary - Angels

source: pinterest
Michael, the archangel. The sergeant at arms for the Lean Dogs Motorcycle Club. And the most quiet, thoughtful, emotionless man Holly Jessup has ever known. After four months of serving drinks to the Dogs, Michael McCall seems the likeliest biker to make a bargain with her. She’s looking for an avenging angel, with a masterful touch, and she’s willing to pay any price.
Michael isn’t in the habit of accepting contract hits, but the tiny waitress with the big green eyes isn’t the kind of girl who comes chasing after Dogs. She’s petrified, and she’s infatuated with him, and she might be the first woman in his life to see him for the man that he is, rather than the patches he carries on his back. For Holly, maybe, he can become St. Michael, at long last.

Book II in the Dartmoor Series, Price of Angels, coming March 2015.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Here Comes the Cold

I knew a mild winter would be too much to hope for. By Wednesday, we're expecting highs in the twenties. Time to bust out the water trough heaters, the heat lamps, the extra horse blankets, the layers and layers of gloves.

I'm thankful, though, that we're also expecting sunny skies during this days' long deep freeze. Last January looked like this...

Anyone who thinks Georgia is a tropical Southern hot spot, think again. Our winters have been nasty the last few years.

Sounds like a great time to curl up in front of the fire with a book. I'm supposed to be reading this for book club, and I really want to. I've heard nothing but good things about this novel. You know I'll be writing instead, though. I'm looking forward to sharing a sneak peek of Angels soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Goodness

I mention all the time how much I love Tolkien. It's a lifelong love affair with Middle-Earth, and since Peter Jackson started making movie adaptations thirteen years ago, Tolkien's works have been synonymous with the Christmas season. Yesterday was the perfect rainy day to make the trek to the theater and see the last Hobbit installment. I wish, in a lot of ways, that this last jewel in the crown had been more true to the book, but overall, I loved it. And thankfully, the 3D glasses hid the fact that I was crying for the last twenty minutes of the movie. Martin Freeman was, as always, wonderful.

Tolkien is my muse. I say that often. He's one of the great influences on my writing, and the thing about great influences - they exert their power in subtle ways that we don't always notice at first glance. From Tolkien, I will always take away the need for a certain inherent goodness in our heroes. Characters can be interesting, can be dynamic, can be entertaining, but it's that thin streak of something good and loyal and loving that boosts them over the edge, and makes them lovable. Even if that goodness isn't always visible at first glance.

A great lesson, and a reminder for me, as I set out to write Michael and Holly's story. It's not about redemption, for them, but about bringing out that goodness. It's about giving a character a chance to shine, no matter who or what he is.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Two Quotes

Welcome to the New Year! January is a bit of a bleak month, don't you think? No flowers, very little sun, long, dark nights and chilled fingers. I'm convinced that's why we all make New Year's resolutions - to find a reason to be excited about this long, freezing month. In January, I find my writing inspiration in good books, in the words of other writers. I got up at six-thirty this morning and wrote in bed, bleary-eyed through my glasses, to steal a bit of truly quiet time, in the black predawn. I leaned on two quotes.

I feel sure he's talking about life - the things we don't say to the ones we love. But I'm going to stretch that to include the things we say in print, as well. Fictional things, even. Six-thirty is a time for brave writing, when there's no one counting curse words over your shoulder, and there's  no world beyond the black windows. It's a time not for hinting at what you want to get across in your story, but laying it flat-out, unapologetically.

This quote I love. As writers, we have to stay true to our characters' voices, no matter how twisted. They're not us, after all. They aren't even reflections of our subconscious. Characters are manifestations of years' worth of observation and data collection. And we are not responsible for what comes out of their mouths. Making them feel like real people means taking our own voice out of the equation. They have lives, minds, vocabularies of their own. Let them breathe. And don't hold back - let them say what they need to, so there's no regrets.

Cheers to brave writing in the new year.