amazon.com/authors/laurengilley

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Links and Such


It's me, your epically boring author, checking in to say I'm still writing. Big surprise. I'm so sorry for the long wait - we're getting there, we really are! Imagine my disappointment when I think back on this time last year, when I had TWO books out already. The self-loathing, it's real.

Reminders and links for the wait:

- If you didn't catch it at the time, I wrote some Dartmoor Christmas fluff at the end of last year.

- The teaser above is from my Instagram. Mostly farm and book stuff, including links to the talented candle maker who crafted my Mercy-themed candle (I'll be ordering more for a release day giveaway!)

- There's new Dartmoor merch up at Redbubble.

- If it's reading you're after, don't forget that there's Dartmoor cameos, and plenty of Southern vigilante justice in the Russell Series, which I'm currently reformatting for Kobo.

- Don't forget about December's standalone release, Walking Wounded, part love story, part historical fiction, and my favorite project.

- My ongoing romance Dear Heart is available to read for free on Wattpad.

- I'm currently reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Thank you, everyone, for your patience while I work on Hellhound. Here's hoping it's worth the wait.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 4/6/17


Since last week I talked about my favorite project ever, I thought it only fair to talk about my not-so-favorite this week. I shouldn't admit to having a least favorite - that's probably some bad writer etiquette. But it isn't that I mean to say anything bad about the book - it just is what it is, a least favorite of the bunch. It's Tastes Like Candy.

The book does, however, explore Walsh's half-siblings in more detail than in any other book, and that was my favorite part of writing TLC. The Brood is a personal favorite, almost a guilty pleasure. Everybody likes Candy because he's big and bold, but I have a soft spot for Walsh's kin because they're interesting.

I especially love Albie and Fox, who had some fun scenes in this one:

Paul took a breath, hesitated.
            Albie pressed until the first pearls of blood welled up against the knife’s edge.
            “Sixteen,” Paul said on a deep exhale. “But you know she was never mentally sixteen–”
            “Next question: Did you break her heart?”
            “I broke things off with her.”
            “That’s not what I asked.”
            “I don’t think so, no. She never loved me.”
            “What did you think would happen if I ever found out?”
            Paul’s eyes closed, and when he swallowed, the knife jumped in Albie’s hand. “This. I knew this would happen.” Tears beaded beneath his lashes, shiny in the glare of the overhead light.
            Albie pulled the knife away and gave a hard yank on Paul’s hair, throwing him down flat on his back on the concrete floor. He was shaking, he realized, as he reached for a cloth to wipe the knife. “Fuck you,” he whispered. “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.”

For me, these guys are the dark horses, the threats no one ever sees coming. One of these days, probably later this year, I'll actually start writing their books.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Cover Reveal: American Hellhound

In case you missed it yesterday on social media, here's the cover for American Hellhound, book six in The Dartmoor Series.


All my initial design ideas involved black backdrops and flashing fangs, red eyes. I thought it ought to look scary and minimalistic. But as with everything I do, when it came down to it, I went in a completely different direction, and this ended up being my favorite cover so far. It has that faded, sepia-toned look of old English photos you might find in dusty, leather-bound volumes in forgotten libraries, which I think definitely works toward establishing a sense of Lean Dog mythology, their roots being English. I also love that I had the chance to use a photo of my dearly departed Riddick, who was just the best dog ever. In casting a hellhound, a Doberman is a pretty good fit. And unlike my current Doberman, Viktor, Riddick was slim and trim and athletic, and altogether "Lean."

I think this might be the longest I've gone without having a cover ready. Usually, I get the cover together early in the writing process, and it helps me stay focused. The cover, for me, has to say don't you want to know more? Something symbolic. Something that piques your interest, but doesn't give anything away. The simpler the better, in my mind. And I intentionally never use humans because that taints the imagination of the audience, I think.

Long story short, I'm pleased, I hope you guys like it. I hope by some miracle I can have this thing finished by May 6th, because right now, that seems like WAY too much writing in too short a time.

Happy Monday, and if you live in Georgia, I hope your power has just been restored as mine has. Storms, go away! Stay safe, everyone.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Book Rec: The Goldfinch



My favorite books - the ones that get shelved in the permanent section of my mental writing library - are the ones that make me feel hopelessly, overwhelmingly like a hack. The ones that inspire me to say, "When I grow up, I want to write like this." The ones that make me want to drag everything I've ever written out into the yard and light it all on fire, lest it have a chance to offend anyone's poor eyeballs ever again.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is one such book.

Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me what we can speak to each other across time.

It was described to me as Dickensian, and that's definitely true, both in the plushness of the narration, and the tragic/poetic journey undertaken by our young protagonist. And also Boris - my favorite character of the book, our modern incarnation of Dodger from Oliver Twist.

I won't spoil any of the plot, because it deserves to unfold without preconceived ideas. But I will say that it contains all of the things I hope (in my wildest dreams) most to achieve in my own writing someday:

- A sense of being present in the narrative, grounded in the setting and all its rich trappings, caught up in the hero's thoughts, so engrossed that, no matter what's occurring on the page, you can't bear to walk away from it. I spent a considerable portion of my reading time last night with a hand over my mouth, breathing through it, gasping.

- A sense of the epic - the weight and importance of the world, revolving slowly, dragging you along on grand adventures that take time to unfold properly.

- A sense of realism, down to flop sweats and fever dreams, shaving nicks and bad pub food.

- And an attachment to the characters, for better or worse, captivated by their stories, gestures, bits of wisdom.

You can talk about "tricks of the trade" all day, but really great books have that unteachable something special. They have "it," and this book certainly does.

For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time - so too has love. Insofar as it is immortal (and it is) I have a small, bright, immutable part in that immortality. It exists; and it keeps on existing. And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost, and tried to preserve them and save them while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 3/30


When I was still actively showing horses, ribbons and high scores were two very different things for me. Some days, I'd walk away with multiple blues, but wasn't pleased with my performance, or my score. I'd won because I'd outscored the competition, but given it wasn't my best riding, it wasn't a feel-good win. Conversely, some days I wouldn't win anything, but would have had an excellent ride, the kind where all the training clicked into place, when my horse and I communicated beautifully. For me, joy existed not in winning, but in improving, in becoming a better rider.

Have you ever seen a singer interviewed, and when asked to name his or her favorite song off the album, the answer is something obscure, that never made it as a single, definitely not the most popular track on the album?

What I'm getting at is this: for me, Walking Wounded was a writing victory. It was the result of meticulous planning and attention to detail, a concerted effort to try something new, to write each chapter, each scene, each sentence with total purpose. A book that came about from sitting at the table surrounded by notebooks, and maps, and grainy black and white film footage of a war I thankfully never had to see firsthand. Hours spent silently interviewing Luke, and Hal, and Will, and Tara.

Walking Wounded is my no-ribbon, high score. Writing that book helped me become a better writer, and I love it for that - among other reasons.

On Instagram, I shared Luke's dissociative moment at Sandy's table where he recalls Sadie's funeral, and of course five minutes after that I realized what my absolute favorite moment of the book is: typical.

It's this, near the end:

Maybe a half hour passes before Luke works up the courage to clear his throat and ask, “So…Hal’s Finn, isn’t he? That’s who you think of him as.”

            Will glances over, his smile patient and kind, and Luke wonders how he ever thought this man might hate him. “No, son. You’re Finn.” He shifts a little closer in his chair. “But you get to live.”

By the end of the book, Luke realizes that his view of himself, and the people around him, is just that - his view. And that it isn't necessarily accurate. I loved teasing that Luke and Will were similar characters - and they are, for sure, they have a lot in common - but this reveal from Will forces him to look at himself, and his role in the lives of others, differently. He's always seem himself as the sidekick, the one who wasn't enough, and always assumed that Hal, a shining star in his eyes, was the vibrant, wild, violent, passionate sun of their friendship. What he sees, finally, is that he is the wild sun, and that patient, steady, dependable Hal has always been the one in orbit.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Check-In


Today's #MusicMonday pick is very Ghost and Maggie: "Believer" by Imagine Dragons. Pay attention to the lyrics on that one: spot-on.

I had a very productive weekend, writing-wise. I surpassed my word count goal both days and made some important story decisions that will take me through to the end of the book, so I'm thrilled about that. At this point, the deadline seems scary-close, but I know what I need to write - it's a matter of putting the work in at this point.

Right now, I'm in full writing lockdown mode, which means I'm only on the web long enough to post things, and I'm unfortunately behind on responding to messages and emails. I promise I'm not ignoring you! I'll get caught up. But I make the best progress when I pretend the Internet doesn't exist.

There are more character-centric teasers on the way, on FB and Instagram (@hppress). This book, like Fearless, has parts for everyone to play, the whole giant family chiming in, so I'll try to share  spoiler-free tidbits as we go along.

I'm back to work, just wanted to check in and say that writing's going great! Happy Monday, everyone.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 3/23


Because Loverboy was full of so many difficult moments, it made the good moments twice as special. The scene with Tango and Ian sitting on the Jag, watching the sun come up, is probably my favorite of the entire story:

In a small, vulnerable voice, Ian said, “Do you think it will be better now? Since she’s gone?”

            “I hope so.”

            Ian sat up, and leaned against Tango’s shoulder, the warm pressure a comfort. It felt like apology and gratitude. Like friendship. Like letting one another go.

            They watched the sun come up.

It was a scene that was sketched very early in the process, a note off to the side: must include this scene. Even when I wasn't sure exactly how the plot would shake out, I knew I wanted a moment of quiet closure between these two, just them being messed-up boys trying to let go of the bad things. We always see Ian so polished and manipulative, and I wanted him to have a reflective, human moment.

A note on Ian: he's one of my absolute favorites. Total indulgence on my part; I thought "how can I incorporate a dandified English gentleman in this series?" Tango's backstory evolved early on, while I was writing Fearless, and Ian took shape along the way. Then it was a matter of hoping everyone loved him like I did.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The (Badass) Couple Aesthetic

These posts are fun. The thing about Ghost and Maggie is, while they're both tough in their own rights, and important as individuals, where they really shine is together. This is my first time writing an entire book focused on a couple that we already know is together, and it's been more of a challenge than first anticipated. We're getting closer every day! And no worries - none of the teasers will truly spoil anything about the book for you. Lots of twists and turns ahead!




“Whatever happens tonight, just hold onto me and you’ll be okay,” he said.
She wanted to believe him, she’d told him so already, so she did





Monday, March 20, 2017

The Young Maggie Aesthetic

A queen's got to start somewhere.


She was blonde, and had a sweet face. Red lipstick. A too-big leather jacket, white tank top that clung to her breasts, tight-tight jeans. Her boots looked old and beat-up. She was smoking; he caught a glimpse of red nail polish as she lifted her cig and took a drag. In a physical sense, she was just like the groupies at the clubhouse. It was something else, something intangible, some aura she projected that raised the fine hairs on his arms – that was why he slowed down and really looked at her.



Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Young Ghost Aesthetic

“Oh,” she said, and unzipped her jacket. Even though he looked angry, his eyes followed the path of the zipper. “I’ve got your whiskey.” The bottle caught the glow of candle flames as she withdrew it, trapped them in the glass.
        
“You’ve got my whiskey,” he said back, without inflection.


“Are you hungry? Let’s blow this hole and go grab pancakes.”


Thursday, March 16, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 3/16

New blog series! I've been searching through the previous manuscripts to fact check myself as I work on Hellhound, and it's reminded me how much I enjoyed writing them. I thought it would be fun to share my reminiscing with you guys, each Thursday, with a look back at some of my favorite scenes from the older books, and provide a little "DVD Extra" content to go along with it. If anyone has a scene you'd like me to talk about specifically, please don't hesitate to drop me a line and I'd be happy to discuss it here.



Today: Price of Angels

As of now, this is still my favorite of the series. I was so pleased with the writing and I feel like I said exactly what I wanted to say, which sometimes can be difficult. One of my favorite moments is the beginning of chapter two, which begins:

Matches. Michael kept innumerable packets of the things in his gun safe at home, all lined up in rows in a shoebox. Matches from restaurants and liquor stores, saved up over the years. Matches were the trick to this whole operation. He collected them like rare stamps. Because without them, he’d just be putting a body in a hole, and that was too crude and negligent to serve his purpose.
           
It always started with the digging...

The whole sequence, Michael burying the body, was something I was really eager to include, one of my non-negotiables. I love the matter-of-fact, complete detachment of the moment. That macabre stillness. Michael, though he's been called boring, I guess because he isn't wild and doesn't say much, is my favorite kind of character. The self-contained, efficient, skilled, powder keg kind of guy. I could write essays on those characters for days. In a way, the entire book is my (insufficient) love letter to the charmless antiheros of the (fictional) world. I find them pretty charming, to be honest.

He's one of those characters who, if filmed, would be a study in body language. Not so much expressionless, but still. I've had this conversation, more than once, about actors and actresses who aren't merely attractive, but interesting to watch. Some indefinable quality that makes them fascinating, whether they're in the midst of a dramatic monologue, or sorting mail. They've got It. Anyone can be blank-faced and brutish, but in my mind, Michael is a character who has It, who is so watchable, who moves in a deliberate, focused way. You can see the life behind the mask. Trying to convey that, that sense of visual interest, was one of my major writing goals with that book, and I can only hope I succeeded. In my head I've planned all the angles and close-ups of that burial scene dozens of times.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Longhand


A list of things I've discovered I really like about writing in longhand the past few weeks:

  1. It's easier on my back
  2. It's easier on my back
  3. It's easier on my back (it needed to be said three times, yes)
  4. No internet to distract me
  5. I get most of my deliberation done on paper, and when I get on the computer, it's typing and tweaking
  6. Writing the scene twice - by hand, then typing - starts the revising process early, within the first draft
  7. I'm managing my time much better - possibly this has to do with not being on the internet
  8. Notebooks are fun
  9. I've written 40k words in about a month, so that's progress

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New Faces


A bit misleading because I don't want to share any casting picks just yet. I don't want to put an image in anyone's head before they've had a chance to "meet" some of the new players in American Hellhound. And there are several.

Just like I always seem to end up with books that are longer than anticipated, I can't stop adding new characters. It's a problem. I think? In this case, Ghost and Maggie's origin story, if you will, couldn't be told without adding to the cast.

Uncle Duane
As a writer, I love teasing a character for a while before he or she ever actually graces the pages of the story. In this case, we know that Ghost's dad was an ass who drank himself to an early grave, that his mother and little brother (Cal, for whom Ava and Mercy's Cal is named) died in a car accident - leading to said dad's downward spiral. And we know that his uncle, Duane, was once the president of the Lean Dogs and a big influence on Ghost as a young man. So I've had two years to figure out who Duane really is, separate from the brief mentions we've seen in Ghost's POV thus far.

Turns out, Real Life Duane is delightful to write, and by that I mean that he's a monster.

There's a spectrum when it comes to bike clubs, from weekend road warriors to the biggest and the baddest. The Lean Dogs are an intentional amalgamation of some of the largest, most notorious clubs, tempered with lighter notes. I wanted, at the end of the day, to have some creative flexibility. To throw in some Hollywood levels of violence and melodrama. The club of Ghost's youth, however, is a darker, meaner, more rigid organization. Smaller, edgier, and less interested in legitimate means of making money. With Duane at the helm, it doesn't feel like a family.

It'll be interesting to see the reaction to the old club, and to Duane's leadership. Ghost may not be the ideal president, but it's a miracle he turned out as well as he did given the example his uncle set. Growth is relative, after all, and it's fun to showcase just how much Ghost has grown since he was an angry young man.

Roman
I love story parallels, history repeating itself. Just like Aidan isn't a model officer-in-training, neither was Ghost - at least not an officer in Duane's club. That honor fell to Roman. He and Ghost were enemies, and antagonistic, grudging allies at times. Roman is charismatic where Ghost is a charmless grump; and deceitful: you never really know where you stand with him. *Something* happened in the past and Roman's  been gone for almost 25 years. Now he's back in town stirring everything up. Sometimes the people you knew when you were young and still figuring out who you are have ways of finding your weak spots, and that's exactly the case with Roman.

Reese
I'm not going to say too much about him. Just that I'm pretty excited about this character, and I hope I manage to pull it off. It's a kind of character I've never written before, and that's always an adventure.

**

I remember saying of Loverboy that it felt unwieldy and too big to hold on to, that I would be glad to write Ghost and Maggie because that would be straightforward and easy. Ha. Ha ha. Yeah right. I think maybe each subsequent book will feel more like a challenge than the last, and maybe that's a good thing.

American Hellhound, May 6th, 2017.



Monday, March 13, 2017

American Hellhound: A Synopsis


American Hellhound
A Synopsis

Recommended Listening:


Black dogs. Demons. Hellhounds. Damned souls that haunt crossroads, taking the forms of hulking dogs with glowing red eyes. Legends of the Old World, but just stories meant to scare lonely wanderers.

Mostly.

Knoxville, Tennessee boasts black dogs of its own: the mother chapter of the Lean Dogs Motorcycle Club. And like all legends, the Lean Dogs draw challengers from every corner of the underworld. War’s brewing in Tennessee, and the Dogs’ first family is about to face its biggest challenge yet: the past.

Ghost Teague has spent the last twenty-five years transforming a once-rough club into an empire with his queen by his side, the fearless girl who turned his life around when he needed her most. This new threat is a personal one, aimed at him, at Maggie, and it’s calling into question all the decisions they’ve made thus far. With a rival club in town, and an old nemesis preying on their doubts, they’ll have to save the city, the club, and their family. And there’s only one way to do it: together.

With past and present storylines, the sixth installment of the Dartmoor Series explores the king and queen like never before, an epic tale of rising, and ruling, and leaning on one another.

American Hellhound, coming May 6th, 2017.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Questionably Lovable


I realized today that I haven't blogged since Valentine's Day. Sheesh. A bad blogger am I. And even then it was just a chunk of the book, so that probably doesn't even count as blogging.

Anyway.


This past weekend, I had the chance to present my books to a local audience at an author luncheon. And you know long-winded me: rattling off that elevator spiel in five-minute intervals isn’t always my strong suit. The event went really well, though, and it turns out dusting off the spiel was personally helpful. One of my marketing points was this: I like to write the kinds of characters you probably shouldn’t like, but whom you can’t help but love.

I’ve been thinking about that line in particular the last few days, and it’s true not only of my writing, but of my reading as well. I tend to become attached to the sorts of characters who have some explaining to do. Who don’t slot neatly into the win or lose column. When I write, I like to dig into the minds of characters with hang-ups, phobias, dark pasts, or problematic viewpoints. Whether it’s Luke, or Sly, or Mercy, my favorite part of writing is diving into the heads of characters you can’t imagine befriending…and asking readers to love them anyway.

For me, holding hands with that character makes the journey worth taking.

I’ve also been thinking about my new series. The one I intend to start this fall/winter. And I’ve been wondering how I can talk you all into taking the journey with me. I realized I’ve gotten the approach all wrong. I was looking at the journey…and not the most important part. That hand reaching out. Because it doesn’t matter if we travel through history and see impossible and dazzling things, if you don’t want to take hold of that hand, then it’s all for naught.

I’ve been itching to start sharing teasers the last few Teaser Tuesdays, but that would be really premature. So I wanted to tease without teasing. And maybe reassure.

First off, never fear, the Lean Dogs aren’t going anywhere. I have some Legacy books I promised (Fox, Albie), and Hellhound is spawning more stories. So Dartmoor is going to continue going forward. The new series won’t replace it; they’ll run along at the same time. So think of it as gaining something new without losing anything. I really hope everyone will give it a chance. It’s a new genre, yes, but it’s going to be a wild ride.

Speaking of. This new series (currently titled the Sons of Rome Series) is full of those questionably loveable characters I mentioned before. It has a big and varied cast. Intrigue, action, romance, steam, heartbreak, friendship, angst, history, flashbacks. Bad boys, and tough girls, and lots of pushing the envelope. It’s a series I’ve toyed with, scribbled notes for, and wanted to bring to life for a long time now. It’s got everything you guys love about Dartmoor, and the potential to continue book-after-book.

Originally, I thought it might be best to publish it under a pen name, to create some separation between the two series. But, in thinking it over, that’s a flawed idea. Sometimes, stupidly, I allow the publishing business’s preoccupation with genre-adherence to bother me, and that’s a mistake. I’m only a one-trick pony if I allow people to label me as one. And I’m not. Or maybe I am – but the trick is in the characters, and not the setting.

On that note, I can’t wait to start sharing teasers when it gets closer to time. And a title, and the cover, and all the requisite goodies. It’s going to be a busy next few years, guys, and I for one can’t wait.

Happy Wednesday.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#TeaserTuesday w/ AH


Happy Valentine's Day! My gift to you: an extended look at one of the flashback sequences in American Hellhound.


From American Hellhound
copyright ©2017 by Lauren Gilley

Ghost stepped out of the pharmacy with three different kinds of children’s fever reducer. Plus some Pepto-Bismol in case the stomach trouble persisted. At the register, he’d added a package of Skittles, because Aidan loved Skittles, and candy always made everything better. He stood on the sidewalk, plastic bag in one hand, head tipped back so he could feel the sun on his face. It wasn’t warm enough to fight the nip in the air, but he liked the way the light burned against his eyelids. Maybe, if he stood there long enough, his problems would melt away into the soothing whiteness that slowly filled his head.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Planning



Currently listening to: "Way Down We Go" by Kaleo

It's Monday, and it's a work day! Baby steps, still, baby steps.

Being as sick as I have the past month has reinforced the necessity of something I've been thinking - but not doing - for a while now. It's time to get more organized. My book-publishing MO tends to be "work as fast you can" and "decide where you're going when you get there." This is partly because I'm really impatient, just in general. Partly because I have too many projects I want to wok on. And partly because I don't want to disappoint my readers by making them wait. But as I've realized, while I've had much too much time to reflect on things while I recover at a snail's pace, this way of doing things actually makes the process much more difficult and stressful than it needs to be.

Organization is important.

Specifically, for me, organizing projects and planning release dates far enough in advance. It's time for me to face facts: I have too much to do these days to get away with "when it's done" anymore.

This weekend, I looked through my projects folder and my calendar, and opened myself up to the idea of scheduling work time for projects I don't plan to release until fall of 2018. I laid out release dates for several big works I want to incorporate into my schedule, and the best part was, planning that far ahead, I felt relieved rather than stressed. I've been frustrated lately, thinking there are books I want to write but don't have time for. Putting them on the schedule helped with that stress. It was really freeing to think of the next two years, rather than worry about trying to get everything done at once.

My new strategy is to save "brainstorm" files on my computer for my future projects. When inspiration strikes, I go type up the notes, and then make myself step back. Priorities! And then when it's time to really dig into the meat and potatoes of writing those stories, I'll get to it.

It's been so easy for me to add extra work - new spinoffs, new bonus scenes, holiday stories, promises to title books I don't have time to write. I still want to be able to provide free and bonus content - I don't do the ARC thing with bloggers; if I'm giving stuff away, I want it to go to fans and regular readers - but I have to be better about managing my writing time, and making sure I have time to work on the big projects that are important to me.

Right now it's full-steam ahead on American Hellhound. I have a feeling that when everyone reads this book, they'll ask for a follow-up about a specific character. It's a possibility, for sure, but it's got to wait its turn and find a spot in the schedule. Too many books, not enough hours in the day!



In case you missed it, I released a post-Walking Wounded Valentine's Day short story titled "Love Is..." yesterday. You can find it here on Amazon.

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Sweet On Our Readers" Luncheon - Author Appearance

I've been slow to advertise this what with all the pneumonia-having and terrible-feeling, but fingers crossed I'll be feeling much better in a month.

The best part about being an indie author is also sometimes the scariest part: that of running your own small business. When I can, I like to support local bookstores and small businesses that are kind enough to offer my books for sale. Next month, I'll be participating in a multi-author signing event, Sweet on our Readers, being hosted by Hiram Bookstore.

The event is a luncheon, held on Saturday March 4th, from 10:30am to 12:30pm. The $25 admission price includes lunch, entry to win an author prize basket which includes books and swag, and $5 toward book purchasing. I'll be giving a presentation in an intimate, table-discussion type forum (think speed dating, but with books instead of awkward personal questions). Afterward, Hiram Bookstore will be selling copies of my books, and I'll have a chance to sign them for you.

Event details can be found here.

You can register and pay here (see pic below for reference). And if you're one of my readers, please indicate that you were invited by me in the message box.


If you're a local reader, I'd love to meet you! I'll have copies of the Dartmoor/Lean Dogs books and Walking Wounded on hand, but if you'd like me to bring a copy of one of my other books, let me know and I can order one.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Paid The Cost...

...To Be the Boss. That's Ghost. In this particular dog pack, he's the one true alpha. They can take a vote, they can talk it out, but so long as he's got that president patch, his word is the final law in the kingdom of Dartmoor.


I'm back to writing the last couple of days, which means I've had a brain full of Ghost. This book belongs to him, and to Maggie, to them as a couple. But I feel like the story reinforces what we already know about Maggie, while revealing a side of Ghost that hasn't been showcased in the series so far. In a lot of ways, it's a book about the ways Maggie was able to help Ghost realize who he really was, and what kind of man and club member he wanted to be moving forward. And a book about the ways they're still encouraging and shaping one another, even at the midlife crisis point.

I don't know if Ghost is hated, per se, but I know he's got his critics, for sure. He's constantly caught between being a good brother, and being a good president, and sometimes those two things don't coincide. He was completely heartless when he was questioning Holly and Emmie's motives for cozying up to his boys, but then he can turn around and be a tender father figure for Tango when he needs it. That back and forth is one of my favorite things about writing Ghost: the way he struggles between the morally right thing, and the smart thing that will keep his club afloat. He can't afford to be idealistic; he has to make those ugly decisions no one wants to make. And at the end of the day, the fact that he's a legitimate criminal, and we're arguing the points of his morality - that's my favorite part about being an author. Digging into gray-area characters.

My hope, as an author, is that readers will walk away from Hellhound with a new understanding for Ghost - if not a new appreciation. The Lean Dogs MC of his younger life - under the leadership of his uncle Duane - is an entirely different beast, not much at all like the MC we're familiar with up to this point. Ghost accomplished a lot in the process of making his club a true brotherhood, but he's human, and fallible, and he questions everything.

I can't promise this will be the most surprising book of the series - you already know Ghost and Mags are together -  but it's really meaty, and completely character-driven. There's a few new characters to meet who bring lots of intrigue and suspicion to the club, and plenty of young Ghost and Mags and little-kid Aidan. It's alternate title could be: How To Be A Boss...And Stay One.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Walking Wounded 'Verse Short

This is a writing exercise that started as an attempt to recharge my creativity and may turn into something bigger. Spoilers for Walking Wounded. First time Tara POV.


“Boys are stupid,” Luke has told her more than once. “Nothing good comes from boys, just stay away from them.”

Monday, January 23, 2017

Update


Good morning and good Monday, y'all. It's been a while, so I thought I'd check in with an official update. The good news is that I'm feeling better. The bad news is that it takes a long time to get over pneumonia, so I'm still exhausted, and still resting, and this is officially annoying. This is the first time I've booted up the computer in a week, so that's progress!

A few things:

  • I still haven't managed to get to the post office, which makes me really angry with myself, the situation, what have you. I promise I'll mail giveaway (and sale) books as soon as I'm able. I have a really terrible immune system, and I tend to relapse if I'm not careful. I'll be sure to let everyone know the moment I've got everything mailed.
  • Remember how I said Hellhound would be out by March 20-something? Stand by. That might have to be pushed back. Hopefully not by much - thus far, the writing has gone really quickly.
  • I've decided to publish the Secret Project I've been teasing under a pen name. I considered using one during the early planning stages of Walking Wounded, and now wish that I'd followed through with the idea. The Secret Project is very different from Dartmoor, and I think it best to set some clear distance between the two series. So I won't be sharing much in the way of teasers here on out; just know that when things are quiet on the Dartmoor front, I'll be working away on the other.
  • Speaking of Walking Wounded, it's still my favorite project ever...You should totally read it if you haven't...
  • One last quick thing...the Falcons are going to the Super Bowl!!!
Hopefully I'll be back to work soon. If nothing else, I can research from the couch.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Rec: The Captive Prince Trilogy


Writing as much as I do, I don't get nearly the reading time I'd like to have. So I tend to be a really picky reader. Book club selections and research materials for my own work dominate my reading list, but every once in a while I get to completely lose myself in something indulgent...that also happens to be really worthwhile. I have yet another cold (keeping score, I've been sick for a month and a half with various colds/flus/etc.) so I spent much of the weekend devouring the Captive Prince Trilogy by C.S. Pacat.

I've seen this trilogy recc'd for a while in the comic fandom, and I've read some really smart commentary about it. Turns out, it was all well-deserved.

An easily-defined, tightly-boxed tale it is not. Here are my favorite aspects:

The Plot
The main storyline centers on the rightful heirs of two fictional kingdoms. There's been war between the nations before, and the uneasy truce is threatened my the machinations of two wannabe kings trying to outmaneuver one another and get rid of their respective princes: Laurent and Damen.

A love story, yes - and an emotional, complex, delicately-balanced one at that - but there is so much going on in this trilogy. From political intrigue, to sword fighting, to cross-country adventure. The author plays with big themes in a layered, effortless way: family, inheritance, brotherly love, legitimate vs. illegitimate heirs, forgiveness, honor, loyalty. All the relationships are complicated, the conflict multi-faceted. Truly a never-a-dull-moment kind of book, with a pleasing symmetry between the lives of the two main characters.

Dialogue
I LOVE the way the author uses dialogue. The way, as in real life, it's subtle, uncluttered, and usually hiding the character's true feelings. The language used by the characters manages to be eloquent without being pretentious. I love that the precise word choice delivers a deep emotional punch. The dance of tension and relaxation - but mostly tension. Really top notch.

The Characters
You know me; the characters make or break a story for me, and everyone in this trilogy is richly-drawn. Flawed, insecure Laurent hiding behind his cool arrogance and wicked tongue, and faithful, strong Damen struggling through his circumstances with more grace than any of us could lend to the situation. Supporting them is a cast of three-dimensional secondary heroes and villains, fleshing out a fantasy world that feels tangible.

World Building
There's no info-dumping here. The author paints us a portrait of her world through organic story-telling, rich with details, but never bogging down in unimportant minutiae.

The best books are the ones that seem to end too soon, and that's definitely true here. Highly recommended.