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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Reminiscing Week - Half My Blood

First Line:
Blood has been one of the primary flavors of my life.

Pages: 212

Publication date: June 16, 2015

My favorite things about the book:
I really enjoyed having the chance to write this one. I love when my favorite authors release extra tidbits, deleted scenes, or whole novellas, because I can't spend enough time with the characters I love. So it was fun to play out this little storyline for the true fans who wanted a little extra.

From the moment Dee flung that accusation at Mercy in her bedroom, about Remy and Evelyn O'Donnell, Colin went from this shapeless shadow in the background to a character I really wanted to introduce, and this novella gave me the chance to do that.
I also love comparing and contrasting it with the other half-sibling relationship in the story. Writing about those sorts of familiar relationship will always be my favorite aspect of the craft.

Things you might not know:
Colin's appearance and Aidan's accident were originally supposed to be a part of The Skeleton King, but it became clear that was too many storylines for one book.

Favorite Scene(s):
The Ava/Colin conversation just before Aidan and then Mercy come rushing in.

Michael and Holly having lunch together at work, because I love writing the soft moments.

Favorite Line(s):
He was wrong about one thing, though,” she added, quietly, and Colin’s head snatched around. “Mercy would never have made that decision. He would never have gone along with that plan. He would have killed them all.”
            A humorless snort flared Colin’s sharp, L√©cuyer nostrils. “He could have tried.”
            “No. He would have. That’s the thing you don’t know about your brother.” A little shiver stole across her skin. Not fear, not revulsion, but something very much like excitement. “He’s capable of anything. The deepest love, and the darkest violence. He doesn’t try things. He does them.”

Last Line:
She smiled.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reminiscing Week - Price of Angels

First Line:
I think I found my killer.

Pages: 414

Publication Date: March 23, 2015

My favorite things about the book:
Michael as the MC outcast. Though the club is a brotherhood, as with all families, there are the quiet members who don't quite fit in and who may have siblings, but lack friends within the group. It's fun to watch him grow socially.
Holly's very sweet, unspoken strength. Strength comes in all forms, and she has her own variety.
The tone of the novel. This is some of my favorite prose and I continue to be really pleased with the pacing and energy. Some of my proudest work, right here. It's my favorite of this series.
Keeping Mercy and Ava's story going. I can't let them go, and it was fun to work their continued adventures into this book.
Ian. :)
Things you might not know:
The angel on the cover is an angel from the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta, GA.
Michael is modeled (loosely) after Rochester from Jane Eyre. Obviously, he isn't wealthy, or a lord, and is even less talkative. But my love of the character was a driving inspiration behind Michael's severely lacking social graces.  
Holly's backstory. Completely gut-wrenching to write, and distressing to read during edits. But here's the thing about the level of detail in those flashbacks - it felt necessary. Because I had some sick enjoyment of being that descriptive? No, not at all. Far from it. But because too often terrible abuse is used as a plot device, and I think if you're going to talk about abuse in fiction, it needs to be real, raw, and make you uncomfortable, because that's how you celebrate the survivors, by acknowledging what they went through. By showing the past, and showing the present, I felt Holly's character was established in such bold strokes, in a way that honored her, and didn't lean on her abuse as a cheap plot device. Showing vs. Telling. Realistic vs. Manipulative.
I go back and forth, back and forth, but these two might be my favorite couple. They aren't the sorts of characters you'd like to be yourself; but for me, their love is warming and more romantic than most stories I write - you could almost call it a romance novel.
My favorite scene(s):
The first time he comes to her loft to see her, and they sit in the parlor of the house, him being all spooky.
When Michael "takes care" of Dewey. "Michael," she whispered. She didn't understand any of this; wasn't even sure what it was she wanted so badly. "Go downstairs and wait, honey. Just wait."
Wynn and Michael in the hospital, waiting for Holly to wake up - that uncle/nephew exchange. "Ah, son. I know it hurts. But it's worth it. She's worth it."
My favorite lines:
"'Beautiful' isn't a feminine word. I don't even think it's a human word. It isn't what something looks like; it's what something is."
"Congratulations. You just got a divorce."
"Her dragons are dead. And I think...I think if she wants to move on, and leave all this behind, I have to let her go."
"Can I give you a piece of advice? One f*cked-up a**hole to another?"
Last Line:
All those feathers, light, and soft, and hope-scented, lifting her to heaven.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Reminiscing Week - Fearless

First line:
"There are no facts, only interpretations." Friedrich Nietzsche had said that.
Pages: 738
Publication date: January 13th, 2015

My favorite things about the book:
Its size. I know there are readers who are completely repelled by the length of this novel, and in our world of instant gratification, I don't blame them. I didn't set out to write a book of a particular length, and was shocked, and a little horrified, to learn that it was so lengthy when I finished. But I wouldn't change it. This was such a special project for me, and I wasn't willing to sacrifice the quality of their very throwback Gothic narrative for the sake of speed or that ever-mentioned "tightness" of contemporary novels.
New Orleans. A timeless, gorgeous city, and only the South will do when you're alluding to English literary movements.
Mercy. You demon, you.
Ava. You delight and horrify me all at once.

Things you might not know:
If hard-pressed, I'd probably tell you horror is my favorite genre. I am not a romantic individual; I'm a Romantic. Horror and those rich old Gothic romances were born out of the Romantic movement, and there's something about love, passion, and horror that are irrevocably linked. Okay, get to the point, Lauren, you're thinking. I'm big on reviving classic themes through contemporary stories, and when I wrote Fearless, I wrote it as if it were a Gothic character tale with strong horror elements, not as if it were a contemporary romance novel.
In an homage to Heathcliff, Mercy is not a "bad boy," driven by rebellion and hell-raising. He's passionate, tortured, and tragic, driven by love, above all things. This makes him one of my favorite characters to write, because there is no artifice in him, and you never question his motives...even if his means are extremely questionable.
I love to play him off of Ava, who is perpetually caught between her passionate and logical halves. She is his echo, but in so many ways is made of stronger steel, as any good Gothic heroine should be. It is a Southern, feminine steel, full of grace, but inflexible all the same.
My favorite scene(s):
The Five Years Ago flashback scene in Hamilton House, with Mason. "Ava. Call him off."
On the highway in NOLA: Then it was just Larsen, his hair a pale halo in the sunlight as he turned to stare at her, uncomprehending. He was screaming.
My favorite lines (for purely emotional reasons):
Ava: "What I know is that everyone in his life who loved him, or claimed to, allowed him to get hurt. Badly. His whole life. That stops with me. I love him. And I won't let him get hurt anymore."
Ghost: "There's not anyone in the world who could make you less than what you are."
Last Line:
He kissed her again, in their room full of sunlight, and treasured memories, and possibilities.
My thanks:
I can never say "thank you" enough to my truly wonderful readers who have been so supportive of this book, and this series. I keep at it for you guys. You make me Fearless.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gathering Thoughts

Any time I give any sort of public talk, I always begin the event by reminding everyone that I'm a writer, and not a public speaker. It lowers their expectations, that way. So when I come to a screeching verbal halt and get Bambi-eyed, they can lean over to one another and whisper, "She's a writer, remember. Writers are strange folks."
But in all seriousness, having to sit down and gather your thoughts about your career, your voice, your process, and your approach to art can be a very helpful thing. Most of the time, I'm running off pure impulse and subconscious. It's a theatrical trailer and a play program in my head, with my muse saying, "Sit down, darling, and let me handle this." So when I put a presentation together, it's a bit of a revelation, and it's fun to dissect everything and package it up in coherent paragraphs.
In prep for next Thursday's evening event, I'm finding that, as usual, I have very little to say about myself, but a lot to say about art. I've now got pages and pages of notes that are inspiring all sorts of Workshop Wednesday posts. This process has reenergized me; talking about the importance of prose, and the revival of classic themes - it makes me want to write, and write. I'm so looking forward to an evening of talking shop.
Quick reminder that the JLCM Sustainer event has changed time and venues.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Skeleton King, Launching in Hiram

So glad I got to spend the evening with Felipe, Martha, Karen, Candy, Valery, Adelynn, Suz, Reanell, Jessica, Gail (and Kandace peeking out back there!)
In the South, we do Thank You Notes. Grits, sweet tea, and Thank Yous. So you'll have to please forgive me that I'm a little late in getting this posted, but consider this my formal Thank You, to the wonderful family and friends who came out to Hiram Bookstore on Friday to help me celebrate the launch of The Skeleton King.
When you write a book, especially a book series, your characters and their adventures become a part of your own daily narrative. In a literal sense, you woke up, ate breakfast, and sat down at your desk. But you also orchestrated a tense breakfast meeting between an MC president and an English drug lord. You stopped in for a visit with Walsh, to glean some monotone wisdom. You sat in on Sam's Shakespeare class; fixed bikes with Mercy; called Aidan an idiot under your breath. The fictional happenings in your book world become these dominant, very real events in your mind. But they aren't anything you can discuss over dinner.
Well, Friday I had the unbelievably exciting chance to meet some of my awesome readers in person, and I'm so thankful for the chance to talk books with them face to face. I'm also thankful they drove all this way to see little ol' me! I still can't believe it! An author simply doesn't have a career without readers, and mine are pretty darn fantastic. Sending you all virtual hugs today.
I also have to thank my family and friends, for being supportive of my crazy writing habit. I love you - thank you for everything!
And a big Thank You to Hiram Bookstore. Bryan and Patty are wonderful and I've loved working with them. They'll be selling the books next Thursday at the JLCM Sustainer Luncheon, where I'll hopefully not embarrass myself too badly as guest speaker.
Will it be annoying if I say "Thank You" one more time? Too bad. Thank you, everyone. I had a lovely launch party, and I hope everyone who came did as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Skeleton King, Dartmoor Book III

It's live!!!!!!!

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CA:
Amazon AU:

Happy Reading, Everyone!

And don't forget about the Launch Party and giveaway fun, this Friday. Come Like my author page on FB to keep up to date.

Also, join the FB Dartmoor discussion group to chat with other readers (and me!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Almost There...

Let the countdown to midnight begin! We're just about fourteen hours away from The Skeleton King going live and making its way to your Kindles (preorder here). So...are you ready? Here's everything you need to know before diving in:

- Specs: 106k words, 372 pages, book 3 of ??

- This is NOT a standalone. I repeat: not a standalone. Ongoing and interwoven storylines give this series a unique saga feel, and that's just too fun to pass up.

- Walsh is a brains-over-brawn, thoughtful sort of romantic lead, so don't hold that too strongly against him.

- The next book on the roster is Aidan's, and this book sets it up. TSk ushers in a whole new level of drama and threat for the club, and kicks off some exciting stuff.

- Friday is my launch party at Hiram Bookstore, and on Facebook. So be sure to head over to my author page Friday to enter to win a signed paperback copy of TSK and a tote full of Dartmoor swag.

- Tomorrow I'll put up an "Ask the Author" thread on FB, so you can hit me up with any questions about the book or series as a whole.

A big THANK YOU to everyone for your patience! I can't wait to share Walsh's story with you, and am already elbow-deep in writing the next adventure.

Happy Reading.

Friday, September 11, 2015


14 years, and it's no less painful to see those images on the TV screen, is it? The reading of the names still chokes you up. Your heart still throbs when you listen to the stories, told again and again, just as they have been since That Terrible Day.

It's always a strange day, the 11th, clothed in so many colors. There's the remembered shock, the grief, the sadness. Panic still lingers on the back of the tongue. I remember the ripples of fear that swept across the country, the fear that another city would be next: my city, your city, all cities. The anger still boils up in the blood; tears still prick the eyes. It reached through screens and telephone lines and touched all of us that day, in some way. It wrecked families. It broke countless hearts.

And fourteen years later, we still mark it, we still take those moments of silence, we remember the lost, we thank the brave ones who ran into the fire. The magic thing, the truly wonderful thing, is that this day is a day for love. Remembrance. Holding one another's hands. A day for honoring heroes and loved ones. The countless acts of bravery, the thousands of stories of sacrifice, of grace - that is America. That it what humbles and amazes me. The enduring spirit, the legacies of heroism.

We the people, indeed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Goodbye Summer

I'm finding it hard to believe summer is really over. It flashed by in a blur; I spent my time writing. Which I guess means fall and winter will slide on past in a whirl of colors, too.

Labor Day weekend was an outdoor sort of weekend here on the farm. It's time for fall bush hogging, asphalt repair. It felt like the last little burst of warmth and flowering color, and I'm sad to see it go.

Though I do love fall. Oh, how I love it. It makes me want to WRITE. Forget football, forget pumpkin latte, for me, fall is a time for books. For revisiting my favorite Poe stories and sitting in the cool breeze and plotting the sorts of obstacles my characters need to overcome.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday.

A few things:

- Fearless and Price of Angels are on sale today, so if you've been waiting for the right time to dive into this series, now is it! Yes, the series is set within a fictional motorcycle club, but I promise you it has cross-genre appeal. It's mostly family drama, part action/adventure, a little thriller, and some romance. Think Outlander as opposed to routine Highland romances.

- The Skeleton King releases in exactly one week! Preorder here, and get set.

- Local readers, I'll be at Hiram Bookstore next Friday, the 18th, from 4 - 8pm, so come out and see me to pick up your signed Dartmoor books.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Character Ramblings

(Notice how so many of my post titles involve the word "ramblings" these days)
I've just recently watched the 2011 Jane Eyre film, and why I waited this long, who knows. I still think the miniseries incarnation, with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens is a more comprehensive, accurate version. The 2011 film could have used with more time to develop the characters further - but, it was misty, gorgeous, and the cast was stellar. I especially loved Michael Fassbender's portrayal of Rochester (I love when a favorite actor plays a favorite character).
The movie got me thinking. I like to draw from classic literature whenever I can, and the characters themselves are the most obvious evidence. Fitting with this series, I think, given it's called "Dartmoor" and it doesn't get much more English than that...even if I'm writing mostly-American bikers. Mercy as a kinder, gentler (well, sometimes) Heathcliff. Michael as a way-less-charismatic(and that's saying something) Rochester. Walsh ended up being a bizarre conglomeration of the men in Bathsheba Everdene's life in Madding Crowd (though largely Farmer Oak). Suffice to say, I like those English character archetypes, and I like using their spirits in contemporary settings. Their stories are not the stories of Heathcliff, Rochester, or Oak, but there are sparks of those characters inside them. And I don't usually know who I'm referencing until I get inside his head.
Except for Aidan. I've known him all along. Prince Hal, circa Henry IV, parts I and II. Hal's relationship with his father was the primary inspiration behind  the Ghost and Aidan dynamic. Which would make Ghost Henry IV himself - very fitting. Here's hoping Aidan can grow into a full-fledged Henry V.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#TheSkeletonKing - First 2 Chapters

It's September first! First off, how the heck did that happen? Second off, we're just two weeks away from The Skeleton King! I feel like I've been torturing you guys with the teasers, and while I don't know if this will make it worse or better, I wanted to share the first two chapters of the novel. Let the countdown begin!

Happy Reading.

Excerpt from:

ISBN -13: 978-1516905874
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley
Cover photograph Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley