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Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Oh gosh, sorry you guys! Yesterday was just one of Those Days. From the water going out the night before (timing switch burned out on the well) to the horses getting shoes, to one of the barn cats passing away in the night - it was just a busy farm sort of day, and when I finally sat down to blog, my head hurt too badly for any of it to make sense. But, the water's back on, things have settled, and away we go again!
Michael Fassbender; not my photo obvs.

Dog Days of Summer


In societies, there are those who decide verdicts, and those who deliver them. The decision-makers, and the decision-enforcers. Michael is such an enforcer. He isn’t the sort of man used to having his own voice; he takes the dirty jobs; does what needs to be done. Not for reward, not for glory, but because someone has to do those things, and he has the stomach for it. In the miniature nation of the MC, Michael is the executioner, and the peacekeeper, and he’ll do what it takes to keep his club up and running.


The Archangel

Even if you aren’t Christian, the story of Michael is still just plain interesting – I think. Michael was the angel who threw Satan from Paradise. Not the brain, but the sword. And this was my inspiration for our Michael McCall. I wanted him to be the perfect warrior – which means he doesn’t question authority, doesn’t seek the limelight, and only wants to serve. It’s a fact of life that violent men do dark things in the name of protection, and Michael’s story is the twisted MC riff on that theme.

All Kinds of Kinds

A club like this couldn’t survive if it was full of clones. Michael isn’t the same as his brothers, and in his line of work, that’s a good thing. He’s a little like Mercy (though he’s loath to think it) in that he has no designs on leadership, and is happy to follow orders. He knows he has a strong constitution, and that he’s capable of doing the dirty work – unlike Mercy, he doesn’t get any sick enjoyment from it, but he feels responsible for taking care of the jobs that he can. A “somebody has to do it” attitude toward the violence.

The club is a brotherhood, but I don’t personally think that means there is equal love and loyalty shared between all the brothers. Like with any collection of individuals, there are rivalries, grudges, and chafing personalities. With Michael, I wanted to explore the idea of being an outcast among the outlaws. He doesn’t do anything wrong – he pays his dues, does his job, contributes, samples a groupie here and there – but he doesn’t fit. He’s a member, but not comfortable in his status; he doesn’t trust that his brothers care about him beyond his Sgt. At Arms abilities. Part of this is the nature of cliques. Part of it is Michael’s awkwardness, doubt, and uneasiness. I liked the idea that just because he was strong and capable, it didn’t mean he didn’t have social anxiety, or that he felt sure of his interactions with others. Again, it’s a multi-faceted situation: the trauma of losing his mother in a violent way, his quiet upbringing among animals, and his very genetic and unmodifiable bashfulness. That’s where Holly comes in.

Kindred Spirit

I really don’t think anyone without anxiety could have understood Michael. Holly, for all her naiveté, has learned that it isn’t safe to listen to someone’s words; she reads energy and behavior, looks for physical tells. As someone who is terribly anxious herself, she reads the anxiety coming off Michael in waves, and finds it a comfort. A point of connection.

Michael is someone who isn’t ever going to explain himself well. He could never have opened himself up to a woman who needed him to explain the inner workings of his head. He knows Holly doesn’t need all the social landmarks from him; she doesn’t need him to pretend to be “normal.” There’s a part of him, yes, who sees his murdered mother in her – the brain and heart don’t get to choose all the complicated ways in which they feel love – and a part of him that sees her as a second chance, a way to correct his cowardice of the past. But mostly, she’s nothing but peace for him. It’s a layered, intricate relationship that I always find hard to explain in simple terms. Their love is something better seen than heard; I’d always rather set a small domestic scene for you to read than try to write an essay on them, but here we are.

Strong Silent Type

I don’t care what anyone says, the quiet ones are always the most intimidating.  A wolf doesn’t cuss at you before he rips your throat out – he just rips.

I love the challenge of writing a quiet character who feels deeply, conveying emotion and intent without a lot of dialogue. I’m a very visual person, so I could always “see” Michael, his worried glances and determined scowls, and I had a really good time (hopefully) bringing him to life on paper. He isn’t the sort of guy you shoot the shit with down at the bar over hot wings and beer. He isn’t for everyone – but he’s perfect for Holly, and I’m obsessed with that, the idea of people fitting in a way that makes sense to them, even if the rest of the world doesn’t see it.


  1. I love Michael and Holly. How boring would it be if everyone was the same? Timing is perfect; just rereading Price of Angels in anticipation of Loverboy.

  2. I loved Michael and Holly too. There is not cookie cutter in any of Lauren's characters. I'm rereading Second Hand Smoke and checking the Internet daily waiting for Loverboy.

  3. I've read Michael and Holly's story numerous times. It's one of my favorite books ever. And I read a lot. I've always been drawn to damaged characters and they are two of my favorites.

  4. Ha! I just checked for Loverboy, too. :)

  5. Michael and Holly are my two favorite characters. I have reread their story so many times and each time I discover something new about them. I reviewed their story on Amazon and tried to convey their depths as I saw them, but I could talk about their story forever. Two damaged people who connect on so many levels, I just love these two together and look forward to reading about them in all your future Lean Dog books! Waiting impatiently for Loverboy!!