The LL Weekly

 

Cheers to December!
 

Oh, what's that? I skipped last week AND this one's coming at you a little late in the day?

I KNOW.

Here's my excuse:

Holiday season

 

That's the extent of my explanation. And let's be honest, it's only going to get worse. You'll be lucky to find me ANY day this month without glitter in my hair and champagne in hand.

I thought with the Weekly falling on Thanksgiving, I would for sure be able to at least get out a quick Happy Thanksgiving issue!

I had lofty goals of getting on the computer. Instead I spent the entire day with my family.

No regrets.

Because ... my parents were in town from Seattle!!! We had Starbucks holiday coffees, hit up the Macy Thanksgiving parade, had a wonderful dinner at West Bank cafe (our home away from home), and finished the evening in front of the Christmas tree with champagne.

So, no Weekly, but as you can see, it was for a good reason!

In the photos below, I present ... LL's parents! A doctor and a nurse, I'm pretty sure they're like, "Wait, we produced a romance author?!" but they're very supportive of their black sheep! And that cute blondie is my little sister, Allie!

(PS :: poor Mr. Layne doesn't have much of a presence, only because he's the best photographer of the group and was on the other side of the camera for most of these!) 

(PPS :: Yes, we're posing in front of a garbage truck in one of the photos. There's a story there ... that's for another day.)


What I'm Working On

Fact: Holiday season and deadlines always seem to go hand-in hand, so though I've been throwing myself full-tilt into champagne and Christmas songs, every spare minute's also gone into book stuff.

I turned in copyedits on Love Story on Tuesday, and oh my gosh, those of you who love second-chance romances are going to swoon over this one. Copyedits are supposed to be about me going through word-by-word checking for inaccuracies and funky phrasing, and I kept having to restart because instead I was just reading and sighing over the romance of Reece and Lucy's love story (you see what I did there?).

The second that was off to my editor, it was head-first into revisions for Walk of Shame which are due like ... now (waves nervously at editor, but avoids eye contact). 

Then it'll be back into new words, because Oxford #4's due, well ... not too far off. That's okay though because Nick Ballantine is turning out to be one crazy-hot hero, and I'm like, "No no, Ballantine, you do your alpha thing, I'll just type and swoon." 

Preorder


Come hither, fellow planner nerds!

So. One of my most frequented pages on this website? Not my book stuff (blasphemy!) Nope, there are thousands of you who've flocked to my post on The Day Designer vs. The Erin Condren Life Planner (not linking to it here, because it's old news, which leads me to ...

For a long time, I've had this date circled as the Weekly issue where I was going to do a fun unboxing/reveal for a couple fabulous NEW players on the planner scene, but ...

Based on the crazy-planner interest, I've decided to postpone that just by the tiniest bit and dedicate an entire DAY of the upcoming eLLf Christmas to planners (the schedule is still in flux, but it's looking like 12/9 will be one to watch for your planner-addicts!)

Basically, I'm finding that the topic of planners is too BIG to restrict to The Weekly, so I'm blowing it out even bigger. It warms my little heart how many messages I get asking for planner-suggestions. Fear not. I've got you covered! 

I'll have videos, reviews, screenshots, comparisons, all helping you decide your BEST 2017 planner. 

AND ... I'll be giving away FOUR planners throughout eLLf Christmas, one of each of the following, all paid for out of my own [very cute] Kate Spade wallet :) (Kitlife, Tools4Wisdom, Day Designer, and Erin Condren) so be sure you're signed up! 


The wait is (almost) over

You all have Tuesday, December 6th marked on your calendar.

Right?

Right?!

I've been waiting a long, long time to say this (as I know many of you have!), but ... Lincoln's story releases in just a couple days.

Someone Like You is ... well, most of you already know. It's special. In fact, even just typing this, I feel unexpectedly emotional, which is pretty much par for the course on this frigging book.

I love Lincoln, but also kind of hate him for making me cry. Twice. It's the most emotional thing I've ever written, but oddly some of the most fun. It can't not be with Lincoln and his affinity for pink drinks, and whipped cream on his coffee, and his purse-dog, but also the way he fills out a suit and, oh yeah, looks like this:

Hmm? What was that?

*drags eyes away*

Right. Someone Like You.

Okay, yes, I love the story so much, but *flips hair modestly* ... don't take my word for it, because: 

I'm SO EXCITED to announce that I just learned a couple hours ago that Amazon named Someone Like You a best book of the month.

That makes THREE of my books in 2016 that hit Amazon's "best of romance" lists (I Wish You Were Mine and Cuff Me were the others), and I'm just beyond flattered.

Also, while we've been mostly asking reviewers to stay a little bit quiet on this one to minimize any spoilers, Heroes & Heartbreakers released this lovely (and spoiler-free) first-look yesterday and reading it left me with a lump in my throat.

 

Now you're all thinking: what the hell, is LL just going to weep her way through December and Lincoln's release?

Maybe. PROBABLY.


Okay, friends. 

I must leave you here. I know the Weekly's a bit shorter than usual, but ... it's because my editor's very patiently waiting for me to get back to my Walk of Shame revisions.

And because I have to get together two extra newsletters for next week ... one for Someone Like You release day (playlist reveal!) plus the launch of eLLf Christmas.

Which ... really, you should sign up for. There will be daily giveaways, gift guides, interviews with your favorite authors, recipes from Mr. Layne, holiday make-up looks, Christmas romance recommendations, and an entire day devoted to Stiletto & Oxford. Oh, and a FREE Christmas short story by ... Me.

So sign-up. Right now, darlings.

The LL Weekly

Hi & Welcome!

LL here, and I don't know if it's a mood thing or what, but I'm extra excited about The Weekly today! Probably because I have so much good stuff to talk about! 

In case you need a little enticement to read on, here's the short version of what I'm talking about this week:

  • $0.99 SALE on I Wish You Were Mine!
  • First look at I Knew You Were Trouble
  • Q&A :: Achieving a "polished" makeup look
  • Highlights from last week's survey
  • Answering a tricky question I get asked a lot about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing
  • And breaking news on something sort of amazingly awesome I have up my sleeve for the holidays...

Grab your wine, lovelies, let's do this!

 
 

'Tis the season ... for a really good sale!

For a limited time, I Wish You Were Mine is on sale for only $0.99! It's the second in my Oxford series but can absolutely be read as a stadndalone!

Anyone got a thing for taboo, slightly scandalous romances? This one's for you. The hero's an ex-quarterback who's starting to have very troubling feelings about his best friend ... who also happens to be ... the sister of his ex. Ruh roh: sexual tension ahead!

Buy for only $0.99!

Also, because I've been getting lots of people just now discovering the Oxford/Stiletto world and wondering reading order and how the two series fit together, I've created a brand new page on my website! If you have an extra moment, would you please, please consider sharing on Facebook and/or Twitter! Take me there →


Polished Makeup Look

***Skip to the next section if you don't care about makeup in the least!***

 

So, you all know that I love Instagram, right? I spend way more time on it than I should, and yet somehow I completely have missed that some of you have submitted questions for The Weekly via direct message over there. So sorry!

The Question

Question: Hi Lauren! I discovered you after reading Blurred Lines, and after thoroughly stalking your Instagram feed and website, I have a random question -- how do you always look so polished without looking super made-up!? Tell me the secret, lol! XO, Steph 

 

The Answer

Hi Steph! I'm so happy you loved Blurred Lines! And as for the "secret" of looking polished, I'm glad you think so, because I most definitely try ;-) No way do I wake up like that.

I've got a few tips:

Watch beauty tutorials on YouTube. I had no idea all the things I wasn't doing and all the things I was doing wrong until I watched masters such as pixiwoo and Tanya Burr

Embrace foundation. Now, everyone calm down. I'm not saying women should wear foundation if they don't want to. If you're going for fresh-faced, all natural look, then by all means, skip foundation. But for those of you that are looking for the air-brushed polish of Kate Middleton/Kim Kardashian/Olivia Palermo it doesn't happen without foundation. Not tinted moisturizer, not BB cream, not concealer on your trouble spots ... foundation. Trust me.

But find the right foundation and learn how to apply it. The wrong foundation (or too much foundation) is just as much a detriment to the "polished" look as no foundation. You want to look like Olivia Pope, not a teen who slathered on a thick layer of the wrong color Maybelline. Ulta's a good place to start as it has both drugstore and high-end options. Have someone help you color-match, and learn how to apply it (this is where those YouTube videos come in!) 

Tightlining. I consider this pretty "key" in my look, as it defines the eye without looking like you've got a big ring of "dark" around your eyes. To learn how, definitely Google it, as I'm not equipped to teach anyone, but the short version is that it's applying eyeliner underneath your upper lash line. I never ever use an eye pencil and draw a line along the top of my lashes. To me, that just looks like a line on your eyelid. I use a pencil beneath the lashes, and use a black eyeshadow and angled brush to add a bit more color to the top of the lash line. 

I'm going to stop this here, as I know a lot of you are like, "Shut up, we're here for the books!" but for my fellow make-up junkies, I've done a step-by-step of my "every day" make-up routine and my favorite products here.


Survey Highlights

First, huge thank you to everyone who took the LL survey last week! I got nearly 500 responses, and it was wildly helpful to know where your guys' heads are at (note to self: scrap plan to cut back on those sex scenes!).

I'm not posting all the results here, because there are a ton of them, but I did pull out a couple of the key findings that I thought you guys might be interested in!

Favorite Trope

Of those of you that had a favorite type of story, Enemies-to-Lovers was the favorite, with 18% of the vote. Friends-to-Lovers was the runner up at 15%, and Second-Chance romance came in third with 6% (the percentages aren't all that high, because 27% of you said you didn't have a preference!) 

Favorite LL Book 

Irresistibly Yours and Blurred Lines tied for first place as favorite LL book, each garnering 12% of the vote. The Trouble With Love came in second place, After the Kiss was third.

You'll enjoy a Lauren Layne book if you enjoy books by ____" 

A whooping 26% of you said Julie James. 25% said "Nobody, LL is her own animal." Third highest percentage was Jill Shalvis and Emma Chase, tied at 9%.

About those sex scenes ...

20% of you said the sexy-times were your favorite part, the spicier the better. 69% declared that they weren't your favorite part, but that we authors should not even think about omitting them. 11% of you said you were sorta over them and wouldn't mind if the focus was more on the sexual tensions and less about the act itself. As for how many of you hate the sex scenes and would prefer to read a romance without them? Zero.


For Writers

(non-writers, this section may be boring, so you're welcome to scroll the next section where I have first look at Oxford #4!)  

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

I'd say close to 50% of the messages/emails I receive are from aspiring writers, and the self-pub vs. traditional pub question is a common one!

Today's question comes from Carey!

Hi Lauren! I love your books, and I've read just about everything you've ever written on writing and the business of writing and find it so helpful and encouraging. I notice one thing you don't talk much about is traditional vs. self-publishing. You obviously went the traditional path, and I've never heard you talk much about why. Any regrets? I'm trying to decide which path to pursue for my own book, and am wondering if you had any advice?

Answer

Hi Carey! Yay, I love that you're pursuing a writer career! I'm biased, but I think it's just about the best job in the world :) 

So, yeah. Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing is THE question these days--even more complicated now that more and more authors are going hybrid, doing a little of both. 

As far as why I pursued traditional -- to be honest, I never really considered self-publishing. Not because I had anything against it, but because after I finished my book, I was like, "Okay, now what ... what did my favorite authors do?"

So I researched (stalked) the authors whose careers I wanted to emulate: Kristan Higgins, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Julie James. They all had agents. They all had book deals. So I decided that I should get an agent, get a book deal. So I did that. Frankly, it just never really occurred to me to look at alternate paths.

And no, no regrets. For starters, because I find regrets kind of pointless. But also because this path has been good to me. There are bumps, of course, but both paths have them.

As far as what's best for you...it really depends! 

 

what I like about publishing with a house: 

  • You get to hand off your book after typing The End and let someone else deal with it for awhile. It's quite lovely. 
  • They have access to data/insights that I likely wouldn't have if i was a lone wolf. 
  • They take on all the business and operations stuff. Cover design, uploading ebooks, take-down orders for pirated books, technical issues, copyedits, proofreading, etc. This frees me up to what I do best: write the books. 
  • They have a built-in outreach. This can be especially crucial for a debut author, where the hardest part is simply making anyone aware of your book. 

 

You might prefer to self-publish if ..

  • You want more control. As an traditionally-published author, the corollary of getting to hand-off all the "stuff" is that you also relinquish a bit of control over that same stuff in the process. If it's important to you that you final say on price, release dates, cover, story direction, self-publishing might be a better fit.
  • If you're story's a bit off-beat (and I mean that in a good way!). Some books and some authors simply have a more niche storytelling style or plot that simply can't find a home in the more mainstream traditional model. That's the COOLEST part about self-publishing, in my opinion--it allows all stories to get told. If I ever write a book that I love that my agent can't sell, you bet I'll likely self-publish! There are stories being published today that never would have seen the light of day ten years ago--I think everyone would agree that's sort of awesome.
  • If you write books faster than your publisher can release them. I know this is why a lot of my author friends have gone hybrid (some traditionally published books, and some indie ones). Publishers can be slow. I've been lucky to find one that supports my crazy-fast writing pace, but it's pretty rare!

 

In Summary

I'm barely skimming the surface here, but you get the idea--it's fiercely personal depending on your style, your story, etc.

I don't know that the question is which one's better so much as which one's better for you. Best of luck with everything!!!


First Look

I Knew You Were Trouble

I mentioned last week that I was coming up on the end of Walk of Shame. True! I turned in that sweet, sweet baby to my editor on Tuesday and that very same night started in on I Knew You Were Trouble, which I'm already loving.

This book is SO early, so this snippet comes with even more of a warning-label than usual that this might not make it into the final book, but here's the first look at Taylor and Nick!

(also, it's a good thing so many of you mentioned liking enemies-to-lovers stories in the survey, because this is most definitely one of them!)

 

"Morning, Nemesis. What's with the streetwalker outfit?"
Taylor didn't bother to glance up. She already recognized the rough masculine voice. "Go away, Ballantine."
"I was going to tell you that I brought some homemade biscotti from the Ballantine matriarch herself. Then I remembered that your body is inherently incompatible with anything sweet." 
Nick said all this as he helped himself to the emergency dark chocolate stash she kept on her desk. 
She gave up on trying to ignore him and looked up.
"So why aren't you eating that instead of devouring my candy," Taylor snapped, trying to grab the chocolate and missing.
He grinned wickedly. "So many dirty jokes to make, so little time." 
Meet Nick Ballantine. Freelance writer, sometimes design consultant, and about as welcome in her life as a blister on the hoo-ha.
As a contractor, he wasn't actually employed by Oxford, but not for lack of trying on the part of the execs. They apparently saw some sort of creative genius in him.
As for Taylor, all she saw was dark brown hair that was perpetually a week past needing a trim, a strong jaw always two day past needing a shave, and an impressive aptitude for getting under her skin.
He might be attractive if one didn't mind the womanizer hiding behind all the guy-next-door charm.
But Taylor knew better. First hand.

 

Preorder I Knew You Were Trouble


And now, for my news ...

Okay, I'm so excited about this, and you guys, if you're not as excited as me, please, please fake it and lie to me ...

So first, I need to announce:

I'm one of those holiday nuts. Forget waiting until Thanksgiving is done to start with the Christmas songs, I barely make past Halloween.

Honestly, it's pretty much a toss-up of which I'm better at, decorating my tree or building Christmas playlists, but if Christmas olympics were a thing, I'd be a serious contender.

Which is why it was probably inevitably that my writing career would end up here:

What is eLLf Christmas you ask? 

Well, no big deal, it's just a BRAND NEW SITE dedicated to all things Holidays & Romance.

This year's theme: 

12 Days of Romance

What's it mean for you?

That from Dec 5 - December 16th, you'll be getting a whole lot of the following:

- Daily Giveaways including an Erin Condren life planner, Kate Spade, Yankee Candles, and of course LOTS of books!

- See how your favorite romance authors are celebrating the holidays!

- An exclusive Christmas short story from USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne

- Gift guides, photo contests and more! 

Do you want in?!??!?!

Just enter your info below, and you'll get all the scoop, but first ...

I need your help!

Will you please, please help spread the word! If you could tell ALL your friends, all your readers, all your romance-loving-people about this, I'd be so so so grateful.

You can share this link:

ellfchristmas.com 

And they can sign up directly on that page!

YOU can sign up on that page too, or you can simply do it here ↓↓↓


eLLf Christmas sign-up

Name *
Name

The LL Weekly

Hello my lovelies!

For any of you needing a haven, welcome to a quiet space where there will be ...

Absolutely NO election talk, or a single reference to politics after this sentence :) 

So. My week. Let's discuss.

It's been a mixed bag! 

The good stuff: I do love me the end of Daylight Savings time!  As a die-hard morning person, getting that extra hour in the morning to do all the things before the sun came up was glorious.The not-so-good stuff: I've been in a ... weird mood. Not sad, not fired up about anything, more just ... introspective.

You guys ever get that way? Have this strange need to sort of curl inward, wishing you could shut out the world just a little bit, because the stuff coming in feels like a bunch of paper cuts and ego-jabs? Yeah. That.

Luckily I've been able to mostly lose myself in Walk of Shame, and the writing process of this one is joyful and the perfect remedy to writer blues! 

Now, about this issue of The Weekly. Remember last week when I mentioned that the husband is writing a cookbook, and I asked if some of you would mind feeling out a quick survey to help him out? Um, you guys went above and beyond. He got SO many responses, and we're both super grateful!

But then it got me thinking ... *mischievous face* ...

Could I talk you guys into answering another survey ... for me???

We're trying it! (it'll open in a new window!) 

It's mostly just a few questions about stuff I've been curious on. Absolutely no pressure, if you've got a few extra minutes, I'd love to hear your guys' opinions on the romance genre, your reading preferences, how you buy books, etc etc. 

Thanks in advance to everyone who takes the survey

Also, writing-pals, I've got a bit of a pep-talk below complete with Glee gifs, soooooo ....

xoxo,

 
 

Anyone #NaNoWriMo participants out there?

So, real quick for the non-writers among us: #NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month, and it’s where writers all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words in the month of November.

Strictly speaking, I’m not participating because you’re supposed to dive in with a new project, and I’d already started Walk of Shame before November rolled around, but I’ll most definitely be hitting the 50k mark with the rest of you!

To celebrate the awesomeness that is this program, I put together a video on how I set up new books in my favorite writing program, Ulysses.

Now, the video’s SUPER long, I did it more for Ulysses newbies who were curious about whether it could be used for novel-writing (YES!), but I’m so excited to announce that the people over at Ulysses actually found the video, liked it, and included it in their newsletter?!

It’s gotten all sorts of traffic and fun feedback.

Note: If you’re not a writer or have no interest in Ulysses, you’ll find this 20-minute video a snore fest, but if you’re curious about my writing process, this is it EXACTLY as it happens! 

 

What I'm Working On

Walk of Shame is due next week. And it's right on schedule, which I'm mostly happy about because there'll be no last-minute deadline freak out.

But I'm freaking out for another reason ... I don't want to be done with this one! I've had SO much fun, and it's been wonderfully easy.

Which, TRUST ME, does not happen with every book. Or even most books!

 

Excerpt:

The server comes over to take our drink order.

“Champagne, please,” I say with a smile.

“Iced tea for me,” Andrew says. No smile.

“He’ll have a glass of the champagne as well. We’re celebrating,” I say with such friendly self-assuredness that the waitress writes it down and walks away without confirming with Andrew.

He’s giving me that half-amused, half-exasperated look that I’m getting to know quite well. “What are we celebrating?”

“My victory.”

“Do I even want to know what you’re talking about?”

I lean across the table with a triumphant smile. “You thought I wouldn’t last a day in your world. I’d say I’m flourishing.”

He leans forward as well. “In case you haven’t noticed, we quit being in *my* world the second you dragged me out of my office for a boozy lunch, and gave my assistant the rest of the day off without telling me.”

I smile. “Like I said. My victory.”

The waitress reappears with two champagne flutes, and I lift one towards Andrew. “Cheers?”

He rolls his eyes.
— Walk of Shame, Coming April 18th!!!
 

The Lincoln countdown!

Speaking of books I’m smitten with, can we all have a heart attack together, because Lincoln’s book is officially less than 1 month away! 

*faints*


Ask Lauren Anything - Audiobook Availability

***note: longtime subscribers can skip this one!***

I'm cheating a bit and summarizing multiple people's questions with one answer.

And yes, it's one that many of you have seen many times before, but these questions continue to role in every single day, so just a friendly reminder that there are always lovely newcomers to the LL-world and they haven't yet gotten the scoop! 

First variation of question:

I prefer audio-books, but only some of your books are on audio, and of those, only a handful are on Audible, while the others are only on CD. Please release ALL of them on Audible!

Second variation of question: 

Please stop releasing digital-only titles, I only read paperback! 

Single answer  to both questions:

This is not up to me. I'm bummed that you're bummed, but I don't get a say.

See, while self-published authors have this sort of control over the formats of their book, we authors who publish through a New York publishing house do not. 

I promise you we authors are not sitting around thinking, "Hmm, I want THIS one in print, THIS one on Audible, THIS one digital-only!" 

It's so, SO much more complicated than that. It depends on whether or not anyone wants audio rights of a particular book, and whether or not anyone wants to print that particular book.

Trust me, if it was up to me, ALL my books would be on every shelf in every airport, and every one of my books would be available on Audible. It's just not that simple. Not for authors, not for publishers.

Nobody is is trying to rob you of any book boyfriends, I PROMISE. It's just that publishing is a business, and a quirky one at that!


Survey Time!

In case you missed the links above, here's another chance to answer a few question about authors, social media, romance, sex scenes, and your favorite LL book!

No pressure, like I said, it's just stuff that's been on my mind lately!

Note: Survey will open in a new window!


Write Tip for my Writing Peeps!

Internal vs. External Locus of Control

Yup, brace yourself, kids, we are going to GEEK.IT.UP. right now, and we're going to go to a deep place. But, I promise it's in the interest of helping all of us creative types stay sane! 

Because much as I hate to admit it, I'm starting to think the stereotype of us writers being volatile might not be entirely inaccurate. Like, sometimes I'm all living up inside my head where it's straight-up crazy town, and I'll be I'm like, "Ohhhhhh, that's why Van Gogh cut off his ear...he was having a mood!" 

Anyway. Remember at the beginning of this email when I mentioned that I've been feeling a little down the past couple days. I was a little baffled on why--I couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me, because it didn't feel like any of the usual causes.

Then, after talking with the husband, and a couple of friends, I realized why: 

I'd started relying on external validation, with an external locus of control.

Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady, I'll explain! 

An external locus of control is basically a fancy, self-help-book way of saying that one believes the outcomes in their life come from forces beyond their control.

In contrast, an internal locus of control would mean that someone believes that they are in control of their own future, that what happens to them is a result of their own action.

(You can read more about all that here, because quite honestly, I only read about this recently in Charles Duhigg's Smarter Faster Better, which, while being a fabulous and useful book, absolutely does not qualify me to talk bout the topic with any kind of expertise.)

I'm usually an internal locus of control kind of girl. Intentionally. I deliberately steer clear of having thoughts like, "It is what it is," and instead try to think, "It is what I make it."

I've also got a pretty hefty dose of self-confidence, which means when I succeed at something, I'm quick to claim it as my own victory rather than "luck." I don't really believe in luck.

But the downside of owning my successes? I also have to own my failures. I don't get to say that the good things that happen to me are my own doing, but the bad things are someone else's fault. If I own one, I've got to own the other.

And owning one's failures and learning from them isn't necessarily a bad thing ... if one's internal locus of control is based on internal sources of validation: those things we truly have 100% control.

Writerly examples:

  • Finishing the book on time.
  • Sticking to my guns and writing my story, not the one that someone else wanted me to write
  • Hitting my social-media presence weekly goal
  • Typing "The End"
  • Completing NaNoWriMo
  • Investing in my longterm career enough to have a professional website
  • Saying I'm going go write 6 books in 1 year, and then doing it.

And so on.

These are all things that I can make happen, all by myself. If they don't happen, it's all on me. The magic ingredients are hard work and time management. If they do happen, well then, pop the champagne.

Yay, right? Definitely!

But as writers, it's pretty damn common for external sources of validation to come into play:

  • Getting an agent
  • Getting an offer from a publisher
  • Getting a really good offer from a publisher
  • Making a bestseller list
  • Getting your book into Walmart or Target
  • Getting a movie deal on your book
  • Getting a starred review from Publishers Weekly

Hmm.

Trickier. Because while someone with an internal locus of control made out of tungsten still find a way to look at all of those and still think, "I still determine ALL that," it's harder.

It's harder, because like it or not, you can write the best book in you power, and not hit a single bestseller list. You can have a kick-ass query letter and get nothing but rejection if your genre is on the outs in the publishing world. You can put together an awesome proposal for a production company, but if they happened to sign a movie deal on a story just like yours, they're not going to want a second one.

You can do everything right, but sometimes it's someone else's decision that determines whether or not you achieve your personal goal.

giphy-18.gif

And that, my dears ... is dangerous. It's bad for the ego, bad for the soul.

Which tells you a little bit about why I let myself get into a dumpy place of horror the past few days (shout out to Lemmon for and my agent for talking me out of it.) 

See, I've spent the past year pep-talking myself that my career is what I make it, that I'm in the driver's seat. I cultivated my internal locus of control like a friggin boss.

And then, all of a sudden, out of NOWHERE this past week, I started hanging ALL my self-worth as a writer on someone else's criteria instead of my own. 

I didn't see it coming.

One day I was on top of the world, making USA TODAY bestseller list, writing books left and right, thinking the world was my oyster (such a creepy phrase, btw).

Then all of a sudden, the world around me shifted. I got all these little WALLOPS (some real, most probably in my head) that told me I wasn't nearly as good as I thought I was.

Chinks in armor that I thought was impenetrable.

Now some of you are thinking, "Shut the heck up LL, you whiney snatch, you're doing just fine, I'd kill to be in your shoes." 

I am doing fine, I'm doing great, but ...

Gather around closely while I bring you into the inner circle where I tell disquieting truths ...

*whispers* ...

No matter how successful you become in this business, the battle is always uphill. 

Just when you think you've made it, just when you're feeling on top of the world, that very same world will tell you otherwise in teeny-tiny little paper cut ways.

You can follow all the rules, take all the advice, and achieve exactly what everyone tells you you need to achieve. 

And then the very next day, the world's like, "News flash, your next idea's not strong enough. Your sales aren't good enough. You don't write fast enough."

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I used to think that hitting certain milestones were all it took to "have it all."

That I just needed an agent. Then I got the agent, I needed the book deal. I got the book deal, but then the second deal. Then I needed the print deal. Then it was earning back my advance. Then it was getting reviewed by X. Then it was having a certain number of Twitter followers. Then it was hitting USA Today bestseller list.

So I did all that, but now it feels a bit like, "Who cares, when are you making NYT and having dinner with EL James?" 

Maybe it's all in my head. Some of it certainly is. 

But regardless, you know what? It needs to stop! I need to stop. I need to stop listening to the stuff that does matter.

I need to look inward for my source of validation.

Which leads me to the "tip" part of this whole post ...

First, if you're a writer, set goals.

Set daily goals. Finishing that scene you're working on before you turn on the TV.

Set yearly goals. Finishing the book, or finishing three books.

And set those big, sexy STRETCH goals. Getting an agent, or making six figures from writing, or seeing your book in Barnes & Noble, seeing USA TODAY bestseller next to your name, stepping onto the red carpet at the movie premier of the the film based on your book ... whatever lights you up from the inside out.

By all means, write those down and dream HARD about them.

BUT ...

Then do me a teeny, TINY favor:

For each of those category of goals, daily, yearly, and stretch, make sure you have at least one goal that rests 100% on your shoulders, something that you can achieve by yourself, for yourself

Pick something that is precious and just for you, that nobody can take away or diminish.

Maybe it's writing the book of your heart, or quietly saving up the money you make from writing for a special purchase even if it takes years. Maybe it's pushing yourself to write a bit faster and finish two books this year instead of one. 

All that other stuff, the Big Time Author/Publishing milestones ... they feel really, really good when you hit them. Reach for them, definitely. I am not one of those fluffy types who's going to tell you to only write for the love of writing and not because you want to make a living out of it. I love money, and I really love making a living from being a writer.

 

But DO know that the satisfaction you get from achieving all those external goals will be fleeting. And that as soon as you'll achieve them, someone else will always be one step ahead of you, doing better, doing more. And you can tell yourself that it doesn't matter, but someone else will tell you it does matter, and, well ...

You've got to know yourself. You've got to know what you want, first and foremost. Write it down now so you don't get lost like I did.

And here's something: that juicy goal of you decide on that's all on you, independent from any external force? 

Sure, if you fail, you've got no one but yourself to blame.

But when you succeed, the success is yours alone, the triumph is yours to savor.

Get ready to celebrate. You're going to be a star on your terms.


Bye for now!

It's been lovely, my darlings.

But after spending all day writing these non-fiction words, my day job requires I go be fabulous and write the fictional variety now.

The LL Weekly

Hi, Hello & Welcome

Happy Friday everyone!

In case you missed my note yesterday, the Weekly’s coming a day late today because I’ve been a bit under the weather. One of those bugs that’s not quite a full-blown sickness, but just enough of something to leave me feeling like I’m in a bit of a fog.

Still not 100% today, but I went to bed early last night and slept for a solid nine hours and am feeling much improved.

Also, I woke up to the sweet news that the hubs had stayed up late finishing For Better or Worse and loved it. I mean, of course he has to say that, but it still makes me smile since that book is one of my absolute favorites.

Okay, onto the Weekly … today I’ve got a bunch more “life stuff” for you than book stuff.

Partially because that’s what’s been dominating my week, and also because while there are a LOT of you that are really only in on the Weekly for book updates, I’ve also been getting some gentle nudges that The Weekly’s been ALL books lately, not enough LL, so I’m trying to make up for it with this week’s post! 

I’ve got the scoop on my Halloween, that time I met Nora Roberts, and how I spent way too much money at ULTA.

For you book-only die hards, I've got a look at Walk of Shame and Someone Like You

xoxo,

 
 

What I’m Working On

Walk of Shame, and still loving it. Here's a look at what I wrote just this morning!

“Georgiana—“
I shake my head and bend to pick up my bag. “Have fun at the gym, Mulroney. I hope you choke on your wheatgrass.”
I’m still blinking back tears, but at least I manage to walk away with my head held high. 
He catches up with me before I can make it to the elevator, his fingers wrapping firmly around my bicep and pulling me back around. “Georgiana.” 
“What?” I snap, turning around. “What can you possibly say that you haven’t said a million times already with every scowl, with every eye roll, with every *you’re ridiculous*. You think I’m stupid and worthless, I *get* it.”
The guy’s expression is one tangled knot of emotional constipation. “That’s not what I think.”

That Time I Met Nora Roberts


I mentioned last week that I was headed to Boonsboro to Turn the Page bookstore to do a signing alongside Nora Roberts.

I was very excited.  And …

It exceeded expectations.

For starters, Nora is just down-to-earth and lovely. I was kind of expecting that though, because I’ve heard how nice she is.

What I wasn’t expecting … she’s funny as hell.

I guess I should have seen that coming as her books have all sorts of sharp wit in them. But I just … I don’t know, I really enjoyed her. I enjoyed the whole day, really!

The book store and town are charming, the staff of the store and Nora’s “people” are the kind of people I’d love to grab a glass of wine with. 

At the signing table I was alongside Carla Neggers, Hank Phillippi Ryan, who I enjoyed so much, and I finally got to meet Tiffany Snow who was my champagne and pizza buddy (everyone needs one of those). 

And then, of course, there was Nora. I managed to play it cool for the first part of the signing. I chatted with her husband, casually met her with a breezy, “So nice to meet you!”

Then the signing was over and I quietly made my move. I roamed the shelves of the store (which seem to hold every Nora book ever) until I found The Reef, which is the first romance novel I ever read after I picked it out of my mom’s Costco haul when I was 14, thinking it was a mystery. It was a mystery, but it was a romance too, and I remember thinking, “Oh this is sooooooooo much better than Sweet Valley High.” 

Anyway, so I took The Reef and asked Nora’s assistant if she thought Nora would sign it. Five seconds later, I was chatting with Nora, getting the book signed AND getting a picture.

I don’t mean to get weepy, but guys, this was a real moment here. Not only did I get to meet a legend as a reader, I got to sit alongside her as an author. In all my early writing days, daydreaming of what it would be like when I “made it” I don’t think I even dreamt that big! 

And with that, I really have to say such a huge thank you to my assistant Lisa who made this happen. I didn’t even know it was a possibility, and one day I got this email that was like, “By the way, you’re doing a signing at Nora Roberts bookstore.” No prob, Lisa. Just excuse me while I faint.

Anyway, here are some pics of the signing! 

(BTW, Nora was dressed up as Black Widow for Halloween, although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she dressed up this bad-ass every day)


A quick favor

So, here’s some fun news on the personal front …

My husband is writing a cookbook! 

Now, this might be the point where some of you longtime LL-fans are like, “Wait a sec … isn’t he a recruiter? And a web designer? And didn’t he just recently take up stand-up comedy? Now he’s a cookbook author?” 

Yes, to all. Well, not so much on the recruiting front anymore. But Mr. Layne has been described as a “modern Renaissance man,” and it’s pretty much true. This guy does everything, and when he discovers a hobby he enjoys, he doesn’t dabble, he goes all in. 

He’s been a kitchen whiz for years (honestly, my average breakfast is usually a fried egg with brown butter sauce, sautéed sweet potatoes and braised spinach with pistachios and feta, like it’s no big deal).

And then we saw that Jessica Lemmon’s husband John (pretty much the nicest guy ever) wrote a fun beer-centric cookbook (Beer Makes Everything Better), and we were like, “We want to be them, so …”

Anyway, Anth’s cookbook won’t have anything to do with beer (although you’ll definitely find some cocktail recipes in there), but he’s still shaping exactly what the focus would be and would love some input! 

Here’s a SUPER quick survey … it’ll take you under 2 minutes, and would help him out a ton! 

PS: If you’re an author/blogger in need of a website, he and I have a web design company called Last Word Designs. We specialize in author-sites, but lately have been taking on more and more “other” projects! Email us at contact@lastworddesigns.com if you’re interested (our website’s under construction, which is why I’m not sending you there) 


Judith McNaught e-books

The other day I was on iBooks, checking out the top 100 romances (I buy Kindle books, but I browse for my TBR on iBooks because I find it easier to “shop”), and did a double-take at what I was seeing there:

The Judith McNaught’s books were all over the freaking place. 

A surprise, because,

a) many of these books are 15+ years old and

b) last I knew, most of them weren’t available in e-book.

But it was a pleasant surprise, because Judith McNaught books dominate my top 10 list of favorite romances of all time.

Simply put, there’s nobody quite like her. Her books are the most emotional I’ve ever read. Like, this woman is the QUEEN of making you have a belly-flip at the “dark moment.”

Some quick research told me that all of her books have recently been given new covers and released in digital, and … well, let’s just say I quickly bought every single one for my Kindle. No joke. 

If you’ve never read her, you should. Admittedly it’s a different style than the current books out there, but I’m not sure “dated” is the right word — they’re just rich, emotional treats. I really love them all, but gun to my head, if I had to choose my favorites:

Perfect (contemporary — or at least it was contemporary when it was first published ;-) My #1 Romance of ALL TIME.) 

A Kingdom of Dreams (medieval, and an emotional roller coaster. Brace yourself) 

Once and Always (Regency - say goodbye to your heart) 

Now, again … I warn you, these books were written years ago, and the style’s quite different than what’s popular today, but I promise if you just go with it, you’ll have ALL the feels.


My Halloween

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Remember last week when I told you that I’m pretty “whatever” on Halloween, most years letting the holiday come and go without doing a damn thing?

This year I actually did something.

I may not be a Halloween fan, but I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and what better excuse to celebrate Harry Potter than Halloween?!

Mind you, not a big blow-out or anything. I wasn’t THAT into the holiday.

But we did have my sister over for a marathon (and by marathon, I mean that we made it through the first movie, and Allie and Anthony fell asleep).

But it was for a good cause that we didn’t get started until late to watch the movie, because we were doing pictures with costumes, and HP themed-snacks and cocktails!

I was a Ravenclaw (later informed by sister and husband that I was Cho Chang, which is pretty much the only brunette female in Harry Potter?!).

My sister pulled off a mean Hermione.

Anth was HP himself.

Bailey was Malfoy. Her favorite character is Hedwig, but we simply couldn’t find an appropriate owl costume for dogs, so we settled for slicking her head fur back and putting on a Slytherin scarf.

There are LOTS of pictures and recipes, so I put them all on a separate page!


Ulta Make-Up Haul

(warning, if you don’t care about makeup or beauty products, skip this section, I’ve got a look at LINCOLN below!) 

When we headed to Boonsboro last Friday for the Nora Roberts signing, I casually prepped the hubs for the fact that I needed to stop a Ulta (there are none in NYC) so that I could get some orange nail polish for my Halloween look. This was the truth, but only part of the truth.

There were MANY other things I intended to get at Ulta, and I managed to walk out the door spending way too much money (he and Bailey had an extended date in the neighboring PetSmart which I found adorable).

BUT … bonus, I’m telling you guys my impressions of my haul in case any of you are similarly on the verge of a make-up spending spree!

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics

Like so many make-up junkies, I’ve long been impressed/obsessed with Urban Decay’s “Naked” eye-shadow palettes — they’re the ultimate in neutral “every day” eyeshadows. But eventually I decided not to replace Naked 2. I loved the colors, but finally had to embrace that I was more of a “matte” eyeshadow kind of girl, and the Naked palettes have mostly shimmery colors. Instead I opted to repurchase a single of my favorites (Tease, a light gray-taupe for all over the lid, and Blackout to use at the lash line).

Then I heard that they were releasing a new Naked palette with all mattes. I was so excited! My dream come true!

It’s one of the main reasons I went into Ulta, but ultimately I was disappointed.

For starters, when I opened the palette, it was sort of a mess. One of the colors had cracked and gotten all over the others. I should have returned it, but this was the day of my signing and I needed some eyeshadow pronto.

Plus, the one that cracked was a brick red color I’d never EVER wear (to give you some idea, I used it to create Anth’s “Harry Potter” scar on Halloween) so it’s not like I was going to miss it.

Anyway, while the quality of the shadows are up to Urban Decay’s usual standards, the colors were just … not workable for me. Generally speaking, they’re way too warm for my coloring, almost everything looks yellow/orange/red on me, which is not flattering around the eye area.

I was hoping for more cool-colors (like Tease, from Naked 2) and there are only a couple of those and I don't LOVE them.

There are two purple colors, which I know are supposed to work nicely with brown eyes, and they’re nice enough, but not the neutral smoky look I usually go for.

If you like warm mattes, you’ll love this, but if you want an every day palette that you “can’t go wrong with,” this is not it.

LL Rating: C

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Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Snappy Sorbet

This bright color was perfect for the Halloween-look I was going for, although I don’t know that I’d recommend the shade unless you’re a huge fan of orange. That said...

I was pretty impressed with the formula!

I bought it more for the color than the “Insta-Dri” feature, but it did dry very quickly. I expected to pay for this feature in other areas … dingy finish, quick-to-chip, but all-in-all I found this to be a pretty good nail polish!

Even without a top coat, I got 3 days before the first chip and it went on smoothly.

LL Rating: A-
 

It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara

I rarely change up my mascara routine—I’m pretty loyal to Maybelline and Lancome, depending how spendy I want to be. But Rachel Van Dyken was adamant I try It Cosmetics, so I gave it a shot.

RVD did not steer me wrong. This mascara is AMAZING. One coat goes on super smooth and gives you falsie-looking lashes!

Mind you, this is not for those of you who like the “natural” look, as this is pretty dramatic. But with all my big black hair, I like my mascara to match, and this does the trick.

LL Rating: A

 

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighting Duo Pencil

Anastasia is best known for being THE eyebrow whiz in make-up land, but I’ve been intrigued to see them expanding beyond the brow in recent years! I’ve been using their brow powder for years (nothing else compares), so I decided to give this highlighter a try.

I went with the Camille Sands color (sort of a pinkish champagne color, as opposed to the other option which is more gold). I love it.

One side is a little bit shimmery (but not glittery) for the inner corner of the eye and highlighting the brow bone. The other is more matte and perfect adding a sophisticated highlight to the cheekbone without sparkle.

LL Rating: A- 
 

Why the A- instead of the A? It's REALLY good, but I'm not entirely sure I couldn't find something similar for cheaper.

 

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Pencil

I know, I know, it looks just like the one above, and I’m sure my husband is like, “Jesus, how much of the exact same product did she buy?!”

But NOT the same product. This one can also be a highlighter, but it’s more a more neutral/skin-tone shade. I use it to outline my eyebrows (a great way to define and clean up your brow area without getting the “drawn on” look that we all dread.

The real magic though comes from it’s concealing power! 

I’ve been a longtime sufferer of occasional cystic acne on my chin (yep, we’re getting REAL here), and though I’ve learned to handle the zits pretty readily, they still leave little dark pigmentation marks that take forever to fade and are IMPOSSIBLE to cover up without using loads of makeup that looks fake.

This pencil is magic. Just a quick swipe covers up the dark marks completely and blends perfectly so you can’t even tell there’s makeup there. Best of all, you can throw it in your purse and reapplication throughout the day takes about 2-seconds, mess free. 

(I bought Base 1, which is the lighter of their two shades, but if it was summer time and I even a tiny bit tan, I’d definitely need Base 2)

LL Rating: A+

 

Two strike outs for Urban Decay for me, which is a bummer, because I usually love them! 

I was looking for a new lipstick for fall—I’m a neutral lip girl all the way, and was looking for something MLBB (my lips but better) but a little less light pink than what I was wearing in the summer (Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Kiss Me). 

Naked is one of the hallmark colors of Urban Decay’s new lipstick line, and the picture they had on the model was exactly what I wanted — a sort of rosey neutral that wasn’t too bright.

Normally I’d have tried it on in the store, but I’d already tried on 5 other colors and was starting to get that scary clown look. So I trusted the swatch on my hand, the color in the tube, and the picture of the model.

Mistake. I’m taking this one back. The formula’s fine, but the color’s really bad on me. It looks way too light and orangey. Honestly, it’s SO different on the tube versus once it goes on my lips. I wish I would have repurchased Rapture from their “Sheer” line which stays more true to its description of “dusty rose.” 

LL Rating: B-

 

Cover Your Gray 2-in-1 root cover up

I bought this on a whim — the Nora Roberts signing fell just 2 days before my hair appointment (poor planning on my part) and my grays were definitely … present. I figured for one day I could “cheat” and cover up the grays with something.

This product seemed exactly what I needed.

It was totally worthless. I tried both sides, and neither covered a single thing. I’d have been better off using my friggin mascara.
Junk

LL Rating: F


Sneak Peek: Someone Like You

Anyone still with me? Here’s a reward for those of you who are only on the Weekly for the book stuff:

A look at Lincoln who’s only a month away!!!!

“About crashing and burning with us North Carolina girls. You’re afraid you’re New York charm won’t translate.”
“I *know* it won’t translate,” he said, meeting her eyes in the mirror.
“How’s that?” 
He watched as she stood and walked towards him. He turned to face her. “Because not counting Whitney, who I don’t know well enough yet, I know two North Carolina women, who look an awful lot alike, neither interested in the legendary Mathis charm. The first never even saw me, too wrapped up in my boss. The other …”
She lifted her eyebrows. “The other?”
“The other had me friend-zoned the moment she saw me.”
“Which is lucky for both of us,” Daisy said, not bothering to deny it. “Seeing as you’re unavailable.” 
*You’re unavailable.*
She hadn’t said he was unavailable, *past* tense. He supposed he should be relieved. He *was* unavailable. But he couldn’t deny the fissure of displeasure that rippled through him at her early dismissal.
But then she stepped towards him and before he could register her intentions, had looped the tie around his neck, moving even closer as her quick, adept fingers pulling the tie into a tidy half-Windsor knot.
Then she froze, and he realized she was every bit as surprised as her gesture as he was. 
“I’m so sorry,” she said, her gaze locked on the tie. “I just … habit. Gary, I used to—“
Lincoln’s hands came up, resting gently on her elbows, wanting to settle her. “No complaints here, Wallflower. You did it better than I could do myself.”

Until Next Week

Thanks for your patience with my tardiness on the Weekly. See you all next week! 

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The LL Weekly

Hey there!

So, as I was entering the date in the subject for this Weekly, it occurred to me that it’s the last weekend in October. And I’m part, “How the heck did that happen?” and part, “Yay!”

Because the end of October means it’s nearly November, which means … holiday season is right around the corner! (Yeah, I’m totally one of those people who really struggles to make it to Thanksgiving before listening to Christmas music).

But, first things first … Halloween! It’s not usually a holiday I get into. In fact, a few years ago I gave up on even pretending that I was going to make an effort. This year though … I’ve got something up my sleeve!

Mind you, I won’t actually be leaving my house on Halloween—I’m not that into it. But let’s just say that our quiet Halloween will be … themed! 
That’s all I’m telling you until I have pictures in next week’s issue!

xoxo,

 
 

Book Signing This Weekend!

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Today’s packing day, because I’m headed to Maryland for … a book signing with Nora Roberts!

We decided to make a weekend of it! We head to Maryland tomorrow (Friday), which is a mostly new-to-us state. We’ll probably do a little exploring, and in all honesty, I have lame plans to make an overdue stop at a post office, because the post offices in Manhattan are *extra* miserable.

Then on Saturday (10/29)  it’s … the signing! If you’re in the Maryland area, I’d absolutely LOVE to meet you! The event’s at Turn the Page bookstore in Boonsboro from 12-2pm.
Here’s the store website, and there’s also a Facebook event for the signing.

I’ll be signing alongside Heidi Hormel, Carla Neggers, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Tiffany Snow, Grace Burrowes & Michael T. Myers, and of course … Nora Roberts / J.D. Robb!

After the signing, we’ll be making our weekend adventure complete by heading to Virginia to visit some very dear friends from college (and their new bay-bay!), before heading home to spend Halloween in NYC!!!


I HAVE NEWS!

I found out yesterday afternoon that To Love and to Cherish hit the USA TODAY bestseller list at #67 — extra exciting, because this was my best spot on the list ever!

I can’t take much credit though—the list is all about sales, and sales are all about … YOU GUYS. Huge thank you to everyone who bought To Love and to Cherish and told your friends/family about it! 


What I’m Working On

Still drafting Walk of Shame, which I think I fall in love with a little more each day.

I’m trying something a bit different this one (not saying what yet, in case I change my mind), but it feels very new and fresh, and just … fun!

 

Snippet

Andrew closes his eyes for a moment. “You really are ridiculous, Georgiana.”
“So does that mean you’ll stay for dinner?”
“What?! No. I swear, the lack of logic in your thought progression never fails to astound—“

I reach out and snatch the briefcase from his hand and take a step back.

His face is menacing. “Georgiana.”

I hold it up. “I’m holding it hostage. Until after dinner.” 
He takes a step closer. “Stop acting like a child.”
“Stop acting like an asshole,” I fire back. “Have a drink. Eat some food. Make some friends.”

I’m ... in Love

I’m very happily married.

BUT ...

If Michael Buble ever proposed, well … *hurls wedding ring over shoulder* 

(It's okay, Mr. Layne knows this about me. We have an understanding.)

I’ve never been the type to get celebrity-obsessed. I mean, I remember having a passing crush on JTT back in the day, was sort of in love with Max from Roswell, but I’ve never been the type to have New Kids on the Block posters on my wall (I feel like I’m really aging myself here), or Pinterest boards dedicated to Henry Cavill.

But I have a longtime obsession with Michael Buble. Generally speaking, I don’t really enjoy live music, I find concerts completely obnoxious, but I’ve seen Buble live four times, and next time he comes to NYC, I’ll be making it five.

You get the idea.

So it goes without saying that I was ALL OVER the release of his newest album last week. If there are any other Buble fans out there, you can listen to the new album on Spotify!!!

 

Ask Lauren Anything

Question

The Wedding Belles series isn’t really over … is it?

 

Who asked it

Pretty much everyone.

 

Answer ...

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Sadly, guys, yes, To Love and to Cherish was the end of the lovely Belles. I know some of you have been wondering about Jessie, and though I love the friendly Belles’ receptionist as a secondary character, I don’t have any plans to write her story at this time. 


FINE, then what is next?

Someone Like You is next on the Lauren Layne release schedule!

Snippet

“By all means, get a cat or a dog, but you deserve more than that,” he said quietly as he walked towards her. “Give this guy a chance. Promise me.”
She laughed nervously as he came nearer. “Didn’t I already say that what I was going to do?”
“I heard what you said. I need you to mean it. For my own peace of mind.”
She looked into his eyes and read the subtext of what he wasn’t saying. *Give yourself a chance with this guy, because you don’t have one with me. Don’t wait for me.*
To ward of the stab of pain, she glanced at the clock on the nightstand. “Oh my gosh, is that the time!” She turned towards her closet. “I need shoes. Lipstick. Do you think red, or pink, I can’t decide—“
Lincoln reached for her, strong fingers wrapping around her elbow, and she stilled heart in her throat, and started to turn back towards him.
His fingers tightened, preventing her from turning, even as he stepped closer. “Your zipper.” 
“Oh,” she said, a little breathless. “Right. One of the perils of single life. It can be done, you just have to like, stretch first, and—“
“I’ve got it.” 
Daisy’s eyes closed as she felt brush of his fingers at the base of her spine. He stepped even closer as he slowly dragged the tab upward. 

 


Things I’m Loving


Navy Nails

I have no idea if dark blue nails are “in” or not, but I’ve been loving this shade from L’Oreal’s Gel line: Elegance is Innate.

It’s sort of muted dark blue, somewhere in between navy and denim. Using a gel top-coat, I got a solid week with no chips!

 

PattyBoutik tops 

I stumbled across this line when I was looking for comfy, inexpensive sweaters. Usually I stick with H&M, Target, Old Navy, but I wasn’t loving what I was seeing, and on a whim I checked Amazon (because really, what CAN’T you get on Amazon?!).

What started out with one skeptical purchase of a PattyBoutik sweater has now turned into … five purchases.

I haven’t put any through the wash-test yet, but so far the material feels thick, the fit flattering and best of all, NONE of them have been more than $40.

A note on fit: I recommend sizing up. A few reviews mentioned that the line runs small, so I hesitantly ordered a medium, when I usually wear a small/4 and I’m SO glad I did. The medium is fitted without being clingy.

Another note on fit: one of the things I like most about these is the length. Nothing annoys me more than constantly tugging at a shirt that feels too short (both in the torso and the sleeves). This shirt is WONDERFULLY long, and the first top in a forever that feels like it properly fits my 5’7 self. BUT … if you’re on the shorter side, I could maybe see these being too long? Maybe. You’ve been warned. 
 

 

Day Designer - 2017 Edition

I haven’t yet decided on my 2017 planner (I keep hoping that someone will come out with one that DOESN’T have split-weekend days sharing a page), but I’m leaning towards sticking with the Day Designer, which I switched to in 2016 after years of Erin Condren use and LOVE. They recently released their 2017 designs, but they’re selling out fast! 


2017 Release Schedule

A couple of you have noticed that usually by late October I’ve released my entire release schedule for the upcoming year. But so far I haven’t mentioned anything past June 2017, and you guys are wondering if I have a lighter release schedule next year ...

Nope! 

I will most definitely have some books coming out in the latter half of 2017, I just haven’t announced them yet! My agent and I are working on it daily, I promise!

In the mean time, don’t forget that you can pre-order the ones I HAVE announced ...
 


LL Weekly Archives

I’m not sure why the heck it’s taken me so long to get my act together, but for those of you who are new to the Weekly and are looking for past issues, I’ve finally gotten around to posting them on my website in an easy-to-find place!


What I’m Reading

I actually haven’t started either of these yet (I just finished re-reading Julie Ann Long’s What I Did for a Duke for the fourth time!) but these two are next up on my TBR pile:


For Writers - NaNoWriMo

It’s nearly November which means … NaNoWriMo!

Now, if you’re plugged into the writing world at all, chances are you probably already know that November is National Novel Writing Month.

But because we’re all new at some point, and because we all have to hear about it somewhere, for any of you that have wanted to write a book but don’t know where to start …

This is it.

The idea being that you commit to writing 50k words in November (which is a either passable first draft, or at least a VERY decent start on a novel). 

Now, if you’re thinking, “Whatever, I could write a book any old month, and November’s busy.” I get it.

But the cool thing about NaNoWriMo is the support—you sign up, and get emails/prompts/progress tracker, and community support. It can make a big difference, especially if you’re a newish writer! 

(Also: there’s no such thing as a “good time” to start writing a novel. There is no one more skilled at procrastination as the aspiring writer, and the BEST advice I can give you is to not allow yourself a single excuse. You MUST simply dive in and start writing. Might as well be in November!) 
 


Until Next Week!

Where there may or may not be pictures of LL in costume ...

 

The LL Weekly

Hello friends! 

We’re doing a special edition of the Weekly today, called …

All About Those Books

Here’s why.

My brain is sort of coming down off the high of the release of To Love and to Cherish, plus I’ve been on an absolute writing bender, my fingers unable to keep up with the stories!

But then I finally paused to take a break for the Weekly, annnnnd ....

I blanked!

I spent all morning stressing because I literally couldn’t think of a single thing to say (rare, right? Usually my Weeklies, I'm always trying to figure out what I can cut so I don't lose your interest!) 

Anyway, in desperation for something to talk about, I hopped on over to my foul nemesis (Facebook, hisssssssssssss) to ask what you guys wanted to hear about.

Lots of good stuff, and I made note all of it for coming weeks, but the overwhelming request had to do with info about ... my upcoming releases!

You guys want more excerpts, more details on what's next.

So today’s going to be ALL about my upcoming releases (as well as a couple tidbits from the backlist, because I know there are some new-to-LL subscribers on this list who might not know about LL classics ;-) 

But before we begin … happy birthday to my lovely mom! As far as mothers go, she’s one of the absolute BEST! Everyone now, shall we sing to Mama Layne ...?!

xoxo,

 
 

The New Release

In case you missed my Tuesday email, I just had a book come out two days ago! It’s called To Love and to Cherish, the third in my Wedding Belles series.

It’s an unrequited-love story about a British accountant and the stubborn, clueless, frustrating (yes, guys, I know Alexis was frustrating—let’s face it, sometimes women are CRAZY frustrating, and they’re no less deserving of love!) woman who holds his heart.

I won’t go on too much about it because I talked about it constantly all day on Thursday, but if you want to know more, you can read my release day newsletter here.

Teaser:

In all her fantasies—and there may have been a few, against her better judgment—Logan Harris hadn’t looked like this.
To think for eight years she’d been drinking coffee every Monday and Thursday with Clark Kent when she should have been sharing a hotel room with Superman.

The OG 

Whenever people ask about my first book, I stumble a little. Technically, it’s Only With You. It’s my first completed novel. It’s the book that landed me my agent, the book that got me my first book deal. But it’s not the first book that was published (because publishing is weird). That honor goes to After the Kiss

So I have TWO Original LLs, I think of both as my “firsts," and I love them both FIERCELY.

 

Teaser from Only With You

Gray shoved his hands into his suit pocket and came to stand beside her as they stared out at the Seattle skyline. It was a clear night, and the city felt both peaceful and alive. “This is one of my favorite times in the office,” he said. “I do my best thinking up here after everyone’s gone.”
Sophie gave a rueful smile. “And here I’ve gone disturbing your peace. As usual.”
“As usual,” he agreed.
Sophie couldn’t help the wince. At what point would his rejection stop stinging?
She turned to go, leaving him to his dark solitude, but he grabbed her hand. “Don’t.”
He stared down at their joined hands for several moments before very slowly lacing his fingers with hers. It was one of the sweeter and strangely most erotic sensations of her life. Holding hands wasn’t supposed to be sexy.
But holding hands with Gray was.
She didn’t know how long they stood there, two mismatched souls holding hands in the moonlight, but she didn’t want it to end.
 

Teaser from After the Kiss

“Oh, for God’s sake,” she muttered when she saw Mitchell jogging toward her. He looked obnoxiously sporty, fit, and awake.
“What the hell are you wearing?” she asked as he stopped in front of the bench where she’d been sulking. Julie’s own workout gear was put together and color-coordinated. It was important to look put together to combat the inevitable sweat. But Mitchell’s running gear was on a totally different level.
Everything looked slightly more high-tech than what she was wearing. His silver shoes had all sorts of reflective stripes that caught the sun. His shirt looked like that expensive, high-tech material that could like whisk your sweat away from your body and throw it into the nearest garbage can. The shorts, at least, were normal.
“What’s wrong with my clothes?” he asked, glancing down.
“I guess I just wasn’t aware that NASA made workout gear.”
“You’re grumpy,” he said, pulling her ponytail.
“Oh, yay, it’s playful Mitchell,” she muttered. “Remind me again why we’re doing this.”
“Ah, Ms. Greene. Don’t tell me you’ve never run in Central Park.”
“Er, no. I’m more of an elliptical-in-the-air-conditioning kind of girl.”
He shook his head in dismay. “You’re in for a real treat.”
“Sure,” she said, gazing up at the blazing sun. “If by treat you mean blisters, heat stroke, and shin splints.”

Upcoming: Love Story

In which 2 childhood sweethearts-turned-enemies have to ride across the country in a station wagon named Horny

Love Story is DONE (minus copyedits, but that’s just making it shiny), and I’m sort of in love with this second-chance/childhood sweethearts/road trip story. Yup, that’s right, three delicious tropes in one story, and I’M NOT EVEN SORRY. 

This one’s not out until February 14, 2017 (no better way to spend Valentine’s day, I’m just saying), but in the mean time …

 

Teaser:

He doesn’t move. “Do you know how to change a flat?” 
I purse my lips. “Um.” 
Reece uses his free hand to shove the sunglasses on top of his head, fixing me with an icy blue stare. “You should learn.”
“Why? I have AAA. I may not know how to change a tire, but I’m super good at making phone calls.”
I give him what I know to be my prettiest smile, but he only snorts and uses a finger to flick his glasses back onto his nose. “Come on. I’ll show you.” 
“I hope by show you, you mean do it yourself,” I mutter.
Still, he has a point. I’m hardly a tomboy, but neither do I want to be labeled as one of those princess scared of breaking a nail. 
(Real truth: if I’d had a manicure in the past two weeks, my stance right now would be different.) But as it is, my nails are bare and cut short as a nod to the casual road-trip vibe, so … why the hell not?)
I drop the bag I’m holding onto the ground along with the others, and wrap both hands around the spare tire, and tug.
It moves, but only a little. I struggle with it, Reece isn’t known for patience, and after about forty-five seconds he reaches down and hoists it out easily with one arm, giving me a waft of that hideously wonderful cologne in the process.
Crap. Now I’m distracted. 
I’m also really sweating now, and pluck at my blouse where it sticks to my back.
Reece, for his part, looks only a little bit shiny, and the look is really good on him.
I want to lick.
He stares at me. “Grab it, Lucy.” 
“Grab what?”
My eyes are locked somewhere in the vicinity of his crotch, and I hear him grunt, before he points towards the front of the car. “Roll the damn tire up there. I’ll bring the jack.” 
I giggle, because the word jack combined with the fact that I was just thinking about his …
I clear my throat. Anyway.

Friends-to Lovers, LL style - Blurred Lines

You knew I was going to mention Blurred Lines, right? Whenever I meet someone new who asks me which of my books they should start with, I always blurt this one out without thinking. Why? It’s my precious.

I sometimes feel like it’s the story I was most meant to tell (although Walk of Shame may be giving it a run for its money!) because it more or less wrote itself, in under two weeks.

A must read for fans of friends-to-lovers stories. Just saying. 

Teaser (fact, I cracked up at this excerpt, just in the process of copying/pasting it and remembering this book all over again):

 
“You don’t help Lance do his laundry?”
I’d meant it as an off-the-cuff comment, but her fingers falter a little, and I wonder if I inadvertently struck a nerve. Maybe I should ask if everything’s okay with them.
But she recovers.
“Nah,” she says, with an easy smile. “He’s almost as good a folder as me. It’s part of why I love him.”
I fan myself. “What, he’s a fantastic folder? Shit, you better put a ring on it, Parks!”
She makes a face and flings the last T-shirt at me. “That one should go. It has holes.”
“It’s comfortable,” I say, glancing down at the faded Boston Red Sox shirt. I can’t even remember where I got it; I’m a Chicago White Sox guy.
“It’s a rag,” she says, snatching it out of my hands and tossing it into a bucket under the sink where we keep the cleaning stuff.
“Do I get to do that it’s a rag routine with your underwear next time you do laundry?” I ask. “Because I’ve seen some of your panties. You may as well stitch death to boner across the front.”
She takes a sip of her water. “New house rule: No talking about Parker’s panties. Actually, no using the word panties at all.”
I’m actually pretty sure that’s not a new house rule. It sounds familiar, but I’m not about to remind her of this.
“Oh, come on,” I argue. “You help my color-blind self pick out shirts, so why not let me return the favor by telling you which panties are going to depress the hell out of Lance.”
“Pass.”
I tell her anyway. “Those big bunchy ones that are light brown.”
“Those are my PMS panties. They stay.”
I point a finger at her. “House rule infraction. We’re not allowed to say panties.”

Lincoln. LINCOLN. LINCOLN. LINCOLN. LINCOLN.

Also known as Someone Like You. Also known as my most-anticipated book ‘eva, because … Lincoln.

It’ll be out on December 6th after years of waiting and … I thought I’d be nervous about this one. There’s SO much hype/excitement, and I’m like, “What if I let them all dowwwwwwn …”

Then I realized that I love this story so much, it doesn't matter. I'm a big believer that the best stories come when an author writes for herself, not other people. Because if you write with the specific intent of hoping someone else might like it, you're chasing your tail. Everyone likes something different!

Anyway, this book is everything to me. It’s the only thing I’ve written that made me cry in the writing process. TWICE.

So if I’m going to be totally honest (when am I not), I’m sort of like “It’s cool if nobody likes it, they can GET OFF MY LAWN, and I’ll have Lincoln all to myself.”

(Seriously though, you will like it).

And yes, we authors are super mentally stable, why do you ask?

 

 

Teaser:

“Here’s my thinking,” Cassidy said, his gaze coming back to Lincoln. “You do damn good stuff with your section, but if we don’t watch it, Oxford’s going to pigeon-hole itself into a city-man’s magazine. We want to be urbane, yes, but we also want to be universal.”
“Meaning? “
“Meaning, that while we’re damn good about telling man how to seduce a woman in SoHo, the fact is that dating and wooing in Manhattan is its own animal.”
“Wooing?” Lincoln repeated under his breath.
“I was thinking a fish-out-of-water piece. You know, New York playboy uses big-city courting techniques on small-town girls and crashes and burns …”
“First of all, I wouldn’t crash and burn, second of all, you know by now that I was never a playboy, only playing the part. And third … dude, Cassidy … are you sending me to a farm?”
“Yes, Lincoln. I’m sending you to a farm. Thought you and Kiki—“
“Kiwi.”
“Kiwi could sleep in a barn with the pigs. Jesus. I was thinking something more intermediate.”
Lincoln only narrowed his eyes and waited.
“Something more medium town, with a touch of Southern to keep things interesting.” 
It took Lincoln all of thirty seconds to get where Cassidy was going with this. “Charlotte. You want to send me to North Carolina.”
“Strictly optional. If there’s another city you’d prefer, I’m open to it so long as it gets you away from the Northeast and bad memories. But I’ll throw it out there that Daisy’s big old mansion has a fully furnished guest house, fancy kitchen, private— “
Lincoln tilted his head back and laughed, although there was very little joy in it. “You’re either trying to set me up, or you’re trying to assign me a baby sitter. I’m not sure which is worse.” 
“It’s neither,” Cassidy said calmly.
Lincoln’s laughter died as he realized his boss was serious.
“Look, I’d never think to play matchmaker so soon after your loss. Neither would Emma. Even if I did, it wouldn’t be Daisy.”
“Why not?” he asked, before he could stop himself.
“Because she’s just as damaged as you are,” Cassidy said quietly.

Donuts. Or Cuff Me, whatever.

Usually I think of books in terms of the story as a whole, rather than specific scenes, but there’s one scene that goes down in my all-time-favorite things I’ve ever written. I love it especially hard, because it wasn’t even in the initial draft, it was a late-stage addition during copyedits. 

The scene? Any guess?

The donut scene from Cuff Me. Cuff Me, quite honestly was a hard book to get right. It was a little bit unrequited love, a little bit forbidden love, a little friends-to-lovers, a little enemies-to-lovers, a little workplace romance, a LOT epic, and most of the time I was like, “Jill and Vin, you’re killing me here, you're so friggin' in love and complicated.”

Then. THEN! This scene happened ... My gruff, irritable hero had a vulnerable side so sweet, so endearing, I could barely cope.

(this snippet it makes more sense within the context of the rest of the chapter, but just … go with me).

 

Teaser:

Anth cleared his throat before socking Vincent in the shoulder.
It was as much warning as Vin had before a small, warm body collided against his.
Jill.
He’d been picturing this moment in his head for weeks now, and the joy, he’d expected.
The pain…not so much.
Jill was getting married.
Her arms were around his neck, and he very slowly wrapped one arm around her back before letting his face find the crook of her neck.
He told himself it was just a natural position, but there was nothing natural about the way he wanted to linger. Or the way his lips accidentally brushed her neck, or the way he wanted to kiss her there. To…
Jill was getting married.
She pulled back slightly before putting her hands on either side of his face and giving his head a little shake. “Would you believe that I’ve missed your ugly face?” 
Her smile was all warmth and friendliness and familiarity, and he resisted the urge to rub his chest, which physically ached.
Tell her you’ve missed her too. Tell her that you…
Vin thrust the now completely crumpled bag at her. “Here.”
She blinked in surprise, looking completely puzzled as she hooked a finger into the opening of the white bag.
He felt the curious gaze of his family as everyone gathered around, but he ignored them. Only Jill mattered, and…
Damn it, man, a doughnut?! 
She had a hard time pulling the bag apart, probably because he’d smushed the contents to death, and it was just…
Good God, it was like he was fucking Shrek.
He was about to rip the bag out of her hand and make some lame excuse about having to be somewhere…anywhere, when Jill’s startled blue eyes snapped up at his.
She looked stunned. And…happy? She liked it.
Please let her be happy.
“How’d you know?” she asked, tilting her head.
He blinked. “What?”
“How’d you know that a maple bar was all I could think about when I was in Florida? Would you believe they can’t make a decent one?”
“No such thing as a decent maple bar,” he said gruffly. “They’re disgusting.”
She ignored him as she pulled the completely flattened doughnut out of the bag and took an enormous bite, smiling happily as she chewed. “Perfect.”
Indeed.

Walk of Shame

Ahhhhh, my work in progress!! I’m nowhere near done with this one, but I was just telling a friend today that I think I'm already intentionally slowing down on this book, because I'm loving writing it so much and I’m already fearing the moment when I get to The End and I have no more to tell.

I haven’t talked about this one much yet, but the premise came to me out of the blue and hit me HARD. It’s about an uptight lawyer who leaves his apartment every morning at 5AM to go to the gym/office, just as his party-girl neighbor comes in from a night out in the town. They bicker like nobody’s business, each in denial that those early morning encounters are the highlight of their entire day …

 

Excerpt: 

“Miss me?” I ask, licking sugar off my finger.
“Don’t look too pleased with yourself, Georgiana,” he says in a bored voice. “They’ve been the most peaceful mornings I’ve had in months.” 
“You know what I think?”
“Breathless with wondering.” 
“I think you’ve had too much peaceful in your life. I think that peaceful has become synonymous with boring.”
His face is unreadable. “Are you sure we’re talking about my life, Georgiana?” 
I withhold a flinch. Barely. The man’s barb hits closer to home than I care to let him see. “You’re the one who stole Dorothy’s slippers.”
“Of the two of us, you’re the one that dresses for attention.” His eyes flick downwards, just slightly, lingering on the expanse of bare legs that modest by nightclub standards, but admittedly a little short by Grace Kelly’s elegance standards.
I pop another piece of donut in my mouth and smile. “It’s fine. I won’t tell a soul you checked me out.” 
“I wasn’t—“ he clears his throat. “Forget it. You’re ridiculous.” 
I’m grinning outright now, because that’s two you’re ridiculousness this morning, and when he takes to repeating himself, I know I’ve successfully gotten under his skin. 
Georgie: One
Andrew Mulroney, Esquire: Zero

Uncharted waters - I Wish You Were Mine

Confession: I’ve never been so terrified as when I released I Wish You Were Mine into the wild. For starters, it’s different for me. And the difference was extra magnified because it was the second book in the Oxford series, and the first book in the series (Irresistibly Yours) was just about as different a story as it’s possible to get.

Book 1 was the ultimate romantic comedy—perhaps the lightest and flirtiest of all my books (and Crushed!), with a charming, quick-witted hero, a spunky tomboy heroine.

Book 2? Um, different. It was a forbidden love story, and it involves a grumpy hero who finds himself falling for the worst possible woman for him: his ex wife’s little sister.

Tricky. With every word, I was like, “I’m gonna get in so much trouble.” 

But, guys. Sometimes love is complicated and messy, and sometimes LL love stories are too!

I needn’t have worried though. While this book wasn’t for everyone, it was for a LOT of people, and still holds the record for being my top-selling release week EVER. (Am I allowed to say that? I don’t know, hopefully my publishers don’t read this far and I won’t get in All The Trouble).

If you love a forbidden, can’t-have-her kind of story, this one’s for you. If you’re like, “NO NO NO NO,” It’s okay! Read Irresistibly Yours instead, there’s something for everyone in LL land! 

throws glitter

(just kidding, hate glitter. pours wine instead)

 

Excerpt - 

“People make mistakes,” Mollie said gently. “Madison knows she made some: going public with your problems, divorcing you when she did.”
“Those aren’t little mistakes. Those are the rip-a-man’s-heart-out-and-pour-salt-in-the-gaping-hole-in-his-chest type of mistakes.”
Something flickered across her face. “So her leaving—it ripped your heart out?”
He groaned and reached for a piece of bread.
“Oh, come on,” she pleaded. “Drop the macho act for thirty seconds, then you can go back to dragging your knuckles.”
He shook his head and dunked the bread in oil. Jackson had never really understood the appeal of Italian food, but he had to admit the Italians did know their way around bread.
“You know, most women like the macho thing,” he said, chewing his bread.
“Yeah, in bed,” Mollie said. “But dinner at a nice place? Well, let’s just say we don’t mind a little beta.”
“Beta?”
“Jackson Burke, are you intentionally trying to avoid answering questions about my sister?”
He wiped his mouth with his napkin. “Fine. You want to do this? Sure. Yes, she ripped my heart out. Yes, she left me when I needed her the most, and it fucking hurt. Okay? Even though things were awful between us long before that, when I was in the hospital . . . well, it would have been nice if she could have waited. Now, are we good, or should we stop on the way home and get me a diary and a soft pink blanket to snuggle?”


Oxford lives on! - I Knew You Were Trouble

Some of you wanted news on I Knew You Were Trouble, which is out in June 2017 and is the next book in my Oxford series. The one I surprised you with when I was like, “Oh it’s a 3-book series, JUST KIDDING, HERE'S #4.”

But. I have to hold you in suspense. I’m not saying another word about this book.

Partially because I need to save something for next time, and partially because …

I haven’t written much of it yet. It's too early for me to feel comfortable sharing an excerpt.

Soon though, guys! Soon. And you can still pre-order!!!


Until we meet again

Okay guys, that’s all I’ve got this week! I’ll be back next week with a “regular” Weekly, complete with Q&A, author tips, the navy nail polish I’m obsessed with, an update on the super random self-videos the hubby and I make (not those kind, perv), and … well I don’t know what else! We’ll see. We'll see.

The LL Weekly

Hey guys, Lauren Layne here, EXTRA excited for this Weekly because I have ... a COVER REVEAL!

Keep reading for your first glimpse of Walk of Shame!

Also, we only have a couple more days until To Love and to Cherish, and I'm in that weird point of anguish where I'm so excited for you guys to finally get Alexis and Logan's story, but also feeling that "oh noes" feeling of knowing that the series is coming to an end?!

I'm in denial.

But to get everyone excited, I've got a fun new excerpt below! Get ready to swoon over my first-ever (but hopefully not last!) British hero.

xoxo,

 
 

What I'm Working On

Available Feb 14, 2017

Available Feb 14, 2017

If this Weekly's just a touch shorter than usual, it's because I have revisions due for Love Story on the 15th! I know, I know, I just turned this one in, but my editor is crazy fast and on top of things, so it's back in my court again, and I'm LOVING making a few tweaks to make the story even more swoon-worthy!

Sneak Peek: 

“You’re fidgeting,” Reece says in an irritable voice. 
He’s always irritable. Have you noticed?
“My skirt keeps riding up,” I mutter, shifting to tug it down.
“Maybe if you wore something bigger than piece of masking tape wrapped around your ass …”
I smirk a little that he’s noticed. Not that I needed the verbal confirmation that Reece noticed my outfit today.
Few moments in my life have been as gratifying as coming out of my Savannah motel room to find him leaning against the side of the car, looking bored.
Bored until he’d seen me in a flared coral miniskirt and a silky black halter top. The high-heeled sandals hadn’t hurt.
He’d blinked and tensed, and for a second there, I’d had to remind myself that I’d dressed for Oscar. Not Reece.
If I repeat it often enough, maybe it’ll become true.

What I'm Obsessed With

You know how some women love shoes? Others love purses?

Yeah, I love both those things. Intensely.

But my true passion, the one thing I can resist?

Coats.

Trench coats, pea-coats, even rain jackets. I love them all, and have way more than I need.

Which is why I totally shouldn't even be looking at new ones, and yet ... OMG, right?! 

I can't quite justify the splurge, but in case any of you are looking to treat yo'self, this pretty is $220 from White House Black Market (my favorite store, about 80% of my wardrobe is from there). 


What I'm Reading 

Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole

My friend Kristi turned me on to this YA series. From the description, I thought it wouldn't be my usual jam, but I devoured the first book like I've never devoured a book before. It's about Tarot cards, and is kinda paranormal, kinda fantasy, kinda dystopian, plenty of romance ... And yeah, okay, I know I'm not selling it well AT ALL, but you have to trust me, this is one of the best series I've EVER read. 

Note: I'm reading Book 3. If you're new to this series, you'll definitely want to start with Book One (Poison Princess), as this is a series that I HIGHLY recommend reading in order.


Next Release

To Love and to Cherish

Just a few more days till Alexis and Logan! Who's ready for Tuesday?!?!?

 

Sneak Peek

“My life is fine.”
Logan tilted his head back and prayed for patience. This woman . . .
He took a deep breath and looked back at her. “You deserve better than fine, Alexis.”
She lifted an eyebrow. “And you think you’re the key to that?”
“I think you should give us the chance to find out.”
“Logan—”
“Just let me be here for you. As your friend. I won’t make a move, I’ll sleep in the bathtub, and I won’t kiss you until you ask me to.”
“Until I ask you to? You seem pretty confident that it’s an inevitability. And don’t hold your breath, not after last time.”
He gave her a cocky grin and slowly slid his hands from around her waist before holding one out to her. “Show me our room?”
She rolled her eyes. “I’m so going to regret this.”
But then she put her hand in his, let him lead her back into the hotel.
Logan smiled in quiet triumph. The seduction of Alexis Morgan had begun, and she didn’t have a clue.


Cover Reveal

Walk of Shame

As promised, I have the cover of Walk of Shame, and ... can we all just GASP together? How fun and fresh is this?

I'm obsessed with this cover -- perhaps more obsessed than I've ever been with any cover, because it's so wonderfully different from anything else I'm seeing out there, and I'm THRILLED to be able to try something a little new. Not that I can't take even a tiny bit of credit, this was 100% my publisher, all I did was say APPROVE APPROVE APPROVE.

Tell me this cover doesn't SCREAM Lauren Layne?! Excuse me while I stop and stare. Again.

This one's not out until April 18th, and I'm pretty sure I'll die waiting right alongside the rest of you, so ... how about a "first look." Note, this book is still in super early stages, so this excerpt is by no means final, I'm still playing around.

 

First Look

5:03AM.
“Ramon, you owe me,” I say as I push through the revolving door of my building. “The donut shop guy forgot his key, so he opened up a few minutes late, but I love you so I waited, and—“
I break off as I see Ramon’s not alone as he usually is when I come bearing donuts.
*This* is what I get for being three minutes late.
The back of Andrew Mulroney, Esquire.
True to form, the guy doesn’t even turn his head to watch me approach which is really his loss, because the light pink dress is a super cute color on me, and the matching Manalo Blahnik stilettos are completely on point. 
“Ms. Watkins, good morning,” the concierge says.
I heave a sigh. “Oh Ramon, no. You have your deferential face on, I hate that.” 
“Do you even know what deferential means?” Andrew asks, not looking up from where he writes something on an envelope in anal, pretentious little letters.
“Oh, you’re talking to me now?” I say with a fake-start of surprise.
“I always speak with you, Georgiana. Someone has to tell you when you’re being ridiculous.” 
"Which is always?" I guess snidely.
Andrew finally glances up. Looks me over. "Are you wearing glitter?"
 

Where my fellow writers at?!

I just learned that the writing program I use to draft all my books is doing an extended trial-version in honor of NaNoWriMo. If you've got a Mac, Ulyssess is worth looking into.

Who might like it: Organized (anal!) writers like me who think of their books with very precise structure, as a collection of scenes that can easily moved around.

Who might not like it: More free-form pansters who like to see their WIP as one flowing, comprehensive document. 

Here's an overview of their features and some screenshots to see if it might be a good fit for you!


Until next week!

The LL Weekly

October 6th, huh? Really, 2016, we’re doing this? Creeping up towards the end of the year like it’s no big deal? *scrambles to buy pumpkins*

Okay, so it’s been a weird week for me. 

For starters, I broke up with Facebook. Gangbusters style. More on that below.

In happier news, I got my roots done, and there’s nothing like covering up those grays to make one feel like a new (younger) woman, am I right, ladies? I like to preach about aging with grace right up until the minute I see about a 1/4-inch of white grow-out, and then it's all, HEADS WILL ROLL, OUTTA MY WAY!

In even better news, I finished up Love Story, and there is nothing like that moment of writing “The End” and giving it to your poor editor who’s been waiting for it for weeks. To be honest, book releases can be a little anti-climactic (because, All. The. Sales. Pressure), but finishing books … never ever gets old, and I can’t stop smiling! It’s still got a bit of work in edits, but the big pieces are in place, and I’m loving it.

Lastly, in book news, I’m so SO excited to be able to announce another of my 2017 releases below.

It’s called Walk of Shame, and you can read all about it below.

(And to address the inevitable questions about the gifs in this week’s episode. Kurt Hummel is my favorite, and I just felt like it).
xoxo,
LL


Giveaway!

I’m a huge fan of Mimi Jean Pamfiloff’s writing (even if I do have to look up the spelling of her last name EVERY time), and there’s a giveaway of one of her books in the LL Reader Group!

(To be super clear, this is an “unofficial fan group.” I’m not a member myself, but I’m always happy to pass on good stuff happening in there!)


Ask Lauren Anything


As I mentioned last week, the queue of LL questions is pretty much empty, so unless we get anything new sent to contact@laurenlayne.com, this will be the last one for awhile!

As a send-off for this Q&A section, I’m going to do a lightening-round “repeat questions” session. 

There are a few questions that I’ve answered in the past, but they continue to come in from new subscribers who didn’t have the chance to see the answer first time around. 

Long-time LL subscribers, you can probably skip this section, although there are a couple newish updates!

 

I loved New York’s Finest! When will we find out what happens to the other Moretti siblings?

*nervous face.* You probably won’t. I know many of you are discovering the Morettis for the first time, and I’m thrilled, but I haven’t visited them in more than a year and a half since I turned in Cuff Me. That series isn’t feeling as fresh in my head as I need it to be to do best by those characters. I’m not saying never. I’ve actually sort of chewed on the idea of telling Elena and Marc’s respective stories as a spin-off bodyguard series, but I tend to hear crickets when I throw that idea out there. What do YOU guys think?! Am I nuts to consider it? Are bodyguards blah?

What about Finn and Vaughn from Good Girl?! 

Another nervous face. I really thought I was going to tell their stories. I even strongly hinted at it once. Which is why I feel bad saying that after much soul searching, I don’t really see that happening. I love those guys, but because I wrote Good Girl as a deliberate standalone, Finn and Vaughn never quite were able to make the jump from secondary to primary characters in my head the way I need them to in order to tell a GREAT romance.

You’re killing me here LL, what about Liam McKenna from Stiletto?

Okay, now him, I’m holding out hope on, although I’ve got noting official for you, so don’t get too excited.

Where/when can I get Stiletto/Oxford/Blurred Lines/Good Girl/ Redemption in paperback?

*avoids eye contact and braces for outrage* You can’t. All of the above books were published with a digital-only publisher. No plans to release paperback versions. Fun fact, this is my MOST frequently asked question, and I've contemplated putting it in my email signature but feel like that might be weird? Yeah. Weird. 

Why are only some of your books on audio?

Audio rights are generally sold separately from digital/print rights. Some of my books get interest from an audio publisher, others don’t. However, often times my audio rights don’t sell until after the digital version’s been out awhile, so even if one of your favorites isn’t available on audio right now, it doesn’t mean it’ll never be!

Any of your books being made into film/TV?

Nope. Lots of nibbles, but nothing locked down (yet). 

Why are release dates/book descriptions different on GoodReads than on Amazon or your website?

I don’t know, GoodReads is weird. It’s a lot more reader-friendly than it is author-friendly, and if I’m being 100% honest, I get really frustrated with the damn thing and don’t log-on to fight with it as often as I probably should. But if there is a discrepancy, figure that it’s GoodReads that’s out-of-date and stick with what you see on Amazon.

How long does it take you to write a book?

About a month.

Do you outline your books before writing?

Almost always, but every now and then I just dive in and wing it.

Do you use special software to write your books?

Yes, I draft all of my books in Ulysses. You can get it on the Mac app store--I don't believe it's available on Windows. I polish my books in Pages (also Mac only, sorry). I switch to Microsoft Word only at the very end of the process when my publisher makes me.

Any advice for aspiring writers? 

Track/limit how much time you spend on social media. Spend your time writing instead. The best way to sell more books is to have more books to sell. WHO SAYS I'M BAD AT MATH?! I talk more about writing/publishing tips here.

 

Okay, that answers the majority of the popular questions we keep getting! Got anything else? Email contact@laurenlayne.com


Meet LL in Person

Another reminder that I’ll be at the Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro Maryland on Saturday, October 27th from 12-2pm. If I’m not enough of a draw, Nora Roberts will be there. And I’m really not offended that you want to meet her more. Me too. Learn More.

For those of you looking ahead to 2017, I’ll be at the following: 

RT Convention  in Atlanta Georgia on May 2 - May 7, 2017

RARE in Berlin, Germany on June 17, 2017

Big Apple Author Event on October 14, 2017  (my name’s not on their website yet as an attending author, but I’m all signed up!) 
 


Brand.New.Book.Announcement.

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was SO excited to announce that the Oxford series would be continuing in 2017 with I Knew You Were Trouble.

I also mentioned that while, at the time, Amazon had the release date listed as April, that book’s release date would likely be moving to June.

I spoke truth. I Knew You Were Trouble has been moved to June.

Here’s why:

I have another book coming out in April of 2017, a sparkling, romantic-comedy standalone called Walk of Shame that I am so so so so SO excited about. 

The idea for this one came to me out of the blue while I was chatting with my friend Jessica Lemmon. We were babbling about ideas, as authors often do, and she said, “I think I want to write a story about ______.” (Not mine to tell, sorry)

And then I said, out of NOWHERE:

“I want to write a story about two Manhattanites who live in the same fancy apartment building. They HATE each other, but their paths cross every morning when he (workaholic) leaves by 5AM for the gym/office, just as she (party girl) is coming in from a night out on the town.” (bars in NYC close at 4AM, fyi)

Wait, what? Where did that even come from?

I had never thought about telling that story until that moment. And, it should be noted that Lemmon and I are doing this all the time. Throwing out ideas, most of which never see it past the “idea” stage.

This one was different. The second I mentioned this story idea to Lemmon (this is what I call Jessica Lemmon, as in, "Who’s Jessica?! Oh, you mean...LEMMON?!"), I knew that I had to write it. 

I immediately sent an email to my agent that was something along the lines, of, “OMG OMG, can you sell this, if you can’t, then I’ll write it on toilet paper with crayon and sell it myself on the street corner.”

Luckily, Penguin Random House (Loveswept) was all over it, and they’ve given it a cover that is a gazillion times better than what I was prepared to create with my Crayolas and Charmin.

I can’t share the cover just yet, as we’re making final tweaks. Next week, hopefully!

But I do have a description and a release date!

Walk of Shame

April 18th, 2017

Pre-Order:

Amazon |  B&N

(sorry, don't have iBooks and other links yet!) 

Description

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.


LL's Updated Release Dates 

Because I know I’ve been stingy with my release information and because I’ve moved things all around on you, I’ve outlined all my confirmed, upcoming releases below, all pretty for you.

 

October 18, 2016

To Love and to Cherish

The third Wedding Belles book about Alexis and Logan. (If you haven’t read the other Wedding Belles books yet, this one can still be read by itself — also, the hero is British, soooo ….)


December 6, 2016

Someone Like You

The third in my Oxford series, in which Lincoln Mathis, the king of one-liners and secret pain meets the maid-of-honor to his best-man that turns his carefully-protected life upside down ...


February 14, 2017

Love Story

A standalone, first person-alternating POV. It’s about two estranged childhood sweethearts who end up taking a 2-week road trip together and are forced to fix their issues while fighting over the radio and sharing motel rooms.


April 18, 2017

Walk of Shame

Another standalone, and this one is “all in” on the romantic comedy front with snappy banter, super-alpha hero, unspeakable sexual tension and happily-ever-after. Obv.


June 13, 2017

I Knew You Were Trouble

The fourth in the Oxford series, a spin-off from the original featuring a hero that’s part bartender/part Oxford freelancer, and Oxford’s feisty new advertising executive.

 


About my Facebook fiasco

Sigh. I’m only going to mention this briefly, because to be honest, it’s eaten up way too much of my time and soul over the past week, but some of you already know that I had a major Facebook drama.

Short version: someone created a Facebook account under the name “Layne Ann,” and then stole several of my photos, pretending that MY face was their own.

Bad, right? What was worse was the way Facebook handled it. Or didn’t handle it. I reported the account as an imposter account. I filed copyright infringement. Dozens and dozens of other people did the same. We were all informed that the account “didn’t violate Facebook community standards.”

Gross.

Only after SO MANY amazing readers stepped in, as well as my publisher and all their POWER stepped in, did the issue get resolved. And while I’m relieved that the imposter account was deactivated, I still say, “Not good enough, Facebook.” 

You can read about the whole thing here if you’ve got the time/interest, but the upshot is that I’ll be backing off my Facebook presence for a long time. I’m really bothered that they don’t have better resolution options for people whose identity has been stolen.


How to keep up to date on your favorite authors

If you’re still with me (I know, this Weekly is a long, wordy one, you're doing great!!!), I have one other related topic to touch on after my nasty Facebook experience.

The first thing I did after learning that a) someone had stolen my face and b) Facebook's methods for addressing such issues were crap, was to email my author friends giving them a heads up about their Facebook pictures/identity MAYBE not being safe.

Almost all wrote me back, and every single one was supportive and wonderful.

That, I expected. The author-community 100% has each other's backs.

But there was also an interesting undercurrent that surprised me:

The Facebook love is not strong in the author community right now.

The once-darling of author/reader communication is very close to going up in flames.

See, one topic of frequent conversation in author circles is how to best keep readers updated on our releases and going-ons. 

We want to connect with you guys. And pretty much everyone knows that romance readers prefer Facebook.

The numbers/studies/surveys tell us this. I think most of it have learned it from personal experience as well. Instagram just hasn't caught on the way it has in the YA community, Twitter's generally known for being more of an "industry" hangout than a reader hangout, and SnapChat ... I don't even know. Nonfiction readers like LinkedIn, but generally speaking, readers are still all about the OG.

Now here’s the part where I nervously have to tell you guys something ...

truth.gif

Facebook is making us authors pull our effing hair out.

I'm not saying we don't like it (well okay, I don't). But plenty of authors love Facebook on a personal level--as a way for staying in touch with friends/family/news updates, etc.

But making Facebook work as an author? Damn hard these days. Borderline impossible.

I'm sure there are a few authors out there who half-wizard and are still using Facebook like a boss, but I promise you, the majority of us are struggling and ... panicking. We feel you guys slipping away with each post, with each book release, not because either side is letting go, but because Facebook is running interference in a bad way.

Here’s the problem: 

We authors can't use Facebook the way the rest of you can. We can't just log on, post an update, read others' updates, see what friends are up to. Be happy and informed. 

It's not that simple. We authors are supposed to use “Pages” rather than personal profiles. 

(The difference between a Page and a Profile is that you “like” a page and “friend” a profile. Some authors do use a profile, but technically you're not supposed to. If you use a pen name, you're really not supposed to.)

Facebook Pages used to be fine and dandy, almost the same as a regular profile.

That’s no longer the case. 

Why? Because if you have a Page, Facebook no longer shows all of yours posts to the people that like your page.

Sometimes 87 out of 5,000 people are shown the post. Other times it’s 201. Sometimes it may get as high as 1,000. 

Sometimes it’s as low as 20 people seeing something I post. No. Joke. Sometimes TWENTY of you see my Facebook post. Out of 5,000 people who like my page.

It's happening to ALL of us, not just me.

Why is Facebook doing this? Well, it wants us authors (and other business with “pages”) to pay for people to see our updates. 

Every single time I post something on Facebook, Facebook asks if I want to “boost” the post which is FB’s way of asking if I want to spend money to show the post to more people.

Now, lest you think I’m a cheap bastard, I actually do understand this. While I think it’s sort of lame that I have to pay to show a post to someone who’s already indicated they want my updates, I get it. Facebook is a business. They need to make money. 

But here’s the crap part…sometimes I have my credit card all ready to go, willing to give Facebook $50 so that 300 people will see my cover reveal instead of 60 people …

And quite often, my efforts are rejected because I have “too much text” in my post.

So let’s just go back through the process of how all this works for a sec …

The world loves Facebook because it puts all your information from ALL YOUR PEOPLE in one place. Friends/family/businesses/favorite authors, all in one news feed. People like this! As they should!

But here's the issue: you're not seeing all the updates from all the people.

Authors are people too, and we want to interact with our readers. We follow the Facebook rules and start a Page.

Facebook then tells our readers to “like” the Page of a celebrity/business they want to receive updates from. Readers do this.

Facebook then tells the author/celebrity/business that in order to show an update to those same people, they have to pay.

This feels like BS, but some of us do it anyway, and say, "Fine. Here’s my money.”

Facebook says, “Just kidding, that update is too wordy. We won’t take your money, and nobody will ever see your update.” 

Now, note Facebook that isn't rejecting my post because of foul language, or dirty pictures, or because I stole someone else’s photos (yup, still bitter), but simply because there are too many words. 

Which is problematic.

Because I'm a writer. I tend to communicate in words.

That means if I want to post an excerpt from my upcoming book, I can. But can I pay Facebook so that it shows that excerpt to more of you? Nope, Facebook doesn’t want my money.

Side note I’m convinced this is the sole reason that Apple created that red “angry face” emoji. 

A lot of authors don’t have $20-$100 to spend every time we want show a post to people. It's like, you wrote the great book, people loved it, they followed you ... and now you have to PAY just to tell them, "Hey, love you thank you for buying!"

Heck, even if I were to spend $300 on a post, Facebook right now estimates a reach of 1,000-2,000. Sounds like a lot. Until you realize it’s not even HALF the number of people that already have indicated that they WANT to receive my updates. 

But I'm not here to bitch about my budget.

It's a communication disconnect.  

The REAL problem here is that Readers never even KNOW that they're not seeing their favorite authors' updates.

they Don't Know that in order to get ALL the updates, they may need to go somewhere besides Facebook.

Now, I’m whining. I really am, and I don’t blame you one bit if you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “Plenty of other authors are using Facebook just fine, LL. I think you're just bitter because some Facebook troll stole your face.”

Super true. I'm way WAY anti-FB this week.

But I'm not suggesting we all boycott Facebook (just kidding, I dream about that on a daily basis). Really though, I just think readers may not know just how much they're missing out on by relying completely only on Facebook for their author/book info.

I know my last $1.99 book sale, I announced on Facebook, and according to FB data, 42 of FB saw it. Raise your hand if you know which book I'm talking about. ARE THERE CRICKETS RIGHT NOW?! Yeah. BECAUSE FACEBOOK DIDN'T TELL YOU.

I have a couple suggestions. Not for a Facebook replacement--just ... supplements.

(1) Ask your favorite author the best way to get his/her updates.

If you really adore an author, if she’s on your auto-buy list, or you’re a super fan, or you just like her jam, email or message her asking what’s her preferred method of staying in contact. Chances are that even if she's still trying desperately to keep up with Facebook's ever-changing algorithms, she may have another source she's using that provides updates more reliably -- something she has more control over. 

It may be a blog. Maybe a newsletter. Twitter. Her website. Snapchat. Her own app. Instagram. A text message notification service. YouTube. 

Ask her. Maybe she doesn't have another source. Maybe she's a die-hard Facebook-only fan. But the most business-savvy of authors are definitely discussing how Facebook is no longer cutting it as a reliable communication source. Back-up plans are popping up all over the place. TRUST ME. Get ahead of the curve. Let's be smart about this TOGETHER.

 

(2) Follow your favorite author on Amazon. 
 

This is a newer one I don’t see getting utilized nearly as often as it should.

It's foolproof for authors and readers, and so many Kindle-users don't know about it! Time to spread the word! 

Amazon has a “follow” option for every author that allows people to get notified every time that author has a book available for pre-order, every time a date changes, every time a new book is out, and so on. 

It's BRILLIANT, because authors don't have to do a single thing (more time to write books!) and readers only have to hit one button once, to ALWAYS be informed when their favorite author has a new book. 

Here’s how.

Go to Amazon.com. Search for your favorite author.

You’ll see a list of her books. Instead of clicking on her book title, click on her name in smaller letters BELOW the book link (or click the link called Amazon’s Author Name Page that shows further down on the list). 

Here’s mine. And here's a screenshot of what my page looks like ↓↓

That big yellow button on the left is what you want to look for on ALL your favorite authors' page.

You'll never miss a release from Your Favorite again. 

You're welcome.


So, was this the longest Weekly ever?

MAYBE. NO REGRETS.

Until next week.

When I'll hopefully have a cover reveal. 

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The LL Weekly

KATEMAXSTOCK-2041.jpg

Another Thursday, another Weekly! And before I forget to mention it, my site's currently under construction, so I apologize in advance if anything looks a little wonky, or if you encounter a broken link. Hopefully this week's issue of The Weekly is at least in tact! 

I'm currently writing this sitting cross legged on my bed, and I'm thrilled with the fact that it's raining outside! Maybe it's my Seattle roots, but nothing puts me in a good mood quite as well as a grey day. Even better on a day when I get to stay inside all day and write!

What am I writing, you ask? Read on, pets. Read on.

xoxo,

LL


What I'm Working On

Still Love Story! This book has been a wily one--so much fun to write, but I realized when I was about 85% done that my hero wasn't nearly as swoon-worthy as I wanted him to be.

So, I started over. I mean, not all the way over, but I more or less rewrote big old chunks of it.

I'm so excited to say that yesterday I had The Moment. The moment where I had the shakes because a) it's almost done, and b) it's so so so good.

Yes, I say that about my own writing. Always a good sign when I can give myself all the feels.

 

Excerpt:

I sit bolt upright again when I hear Reece come out of the bathroom. He's not even trying to hide the fact that he’s noticed my skirt has hiked up as I change.
I hurriedly pull it down, and he smirks..
I give him my best glare before scooting off the bed. “Done in the bathroom?”
“Yup.”
Once again, not looking at me. *Fine*.
I brush by him, ignoring that he smells like mint and soap and man. 
I hesitate only briefly before taking off my makeup, stuck between this weird place of thinking, “It’s just Reece” and “Ohmigod, it’s Reece.” Sort of like that feeling of wanting to look your best for a guy, and yet somehow knowing that you don’t have to, because he’ll like you anyway.
I put toothpaste on my brush and point it at my reflection in warning.. “Don’t. He doesn’t like you. Remember. And you don’t like him.”
“What’s happening in there, Hawkins?” he calls.
“Nothing.” I shove the toothbrush into my mouth, working up a furious foam. 
By the time I come out of the bathroom, the rum-haze is fading, my blood is cooling, my brain gaining the upper hand over my hormones.
And then it all goes to hell. He’s standing there in nothing but blue plaid boxers, and he’s absolutely a perfect specimen of man.
He was always fit courtesy of high school sports and long hours in the vineyards, but this is different. Once again, I realize that the boy I knew has been replaced by a man. 
“What are you—? Damn it, Reece, put a shirt on.”
He gives me a disgusted look before crossing the room to the close to grab the spare blanket from the top shelf. “You’ve seen it all before.”
“Yeah but that was …”
Reece grabs one of the pillows off the bed. “That was what?”
“That was before,” I say, grabbing at the pillow.
He grabs it back. “Seriously? There are like six pillows on that bed. You don’t need them all.” 
I grab it back again, only to regret it, because at least the pillow blocked some of the view of his six pack. Making matters worse, his boxers are slung low revealing far too much muscly goodness.
I’m in so much trouble.

Almost There ...

Just a little over 2 weeks until To Love and to Cherish! Can we please talk about how pretty the mood-board I created is?


Speaking of The Wedding Belles, how about a podcast?!

Last Friday I headed over to the Simon & Schuster offices (publisher of The Wedding Belles) to join the team for the XOXO podcast! 

Their episode for the week was "I (heart) NY" and I was thrill when they invited me to chat all things New York and Wedding Belles. 

 

May take a second to load!

 

What I'm Obsessed With ...

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon Perfume

I'm mostly a Chanel girl when it comes to perfume, but I surprised myself this summer by becoming smitten with Elizabeth and James Nirvana White. It's floral, and I'm not usually a floral perfume lover, but I could not seem to stop wearing it!

I was super excited to hear that they have two new scents out for Fall! One is a rose scent that the gal at Sephora told me was a bestseller, but I'm loving the Bourbon scent! Admittedly I'm not super keen on the bottle ... it's sort of a brownish amber color. But the smoky vanilla smell makes the "meh" packaging worth it.


LL Recommends ...

I just finished First Star I See Tonight by the incomparable Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Now, SEP is probably the reason I got into writing contemporary romance. When it comes to my reading preferences, I've always been partial to historical, even as I knew my voice wasn't well-suited for it. Then I discovered SEP, and thought: This. This is what I want to do.

Admittedly I've been behind on her past few releases, so it's been years since I've read her. I approached her newest release with a bit of trepidation, worried I wouldn't be as enamored as I was back then. WRONG. I don't know if it just hit me at the right time, or what, but this is easily one of the best romances I've ever read. Also, major cover-jealousy.


Ask Lauren Anything ...

So, for the longest time I had a HUGE back-log of questions to get to in the Weekly, but my list is dwindling and in a few weeks I'll have no more questions to answer! If you guys like this section of The Weekly, be sure to email your questions to contact@laurenlayne.com so I have something to talk about! ;-) 

Today's Question from Marcy

Question for you? Did you happen to write a spin off book with the character Eryn from the Blurred Lines book?

Her character just seems to captivate me and I thought if there was a book telling her story I would love to read it.

•••

LL Response

Hey Marcy! I'm so glad you loved Eryn. To be perfectly honest, I really meant for her to be the antagonist (author nerd speak for Bad Guy) of Blurred Lines. At some point though, she changed on me ... went from being Voldemort to the more complicated Snape. 

(Yeah, I Harry Pottered it up)

Anyway, as much as I love what a pleasant surprise she was at the end, she sadly does not have her own book! I wrote Blurred Lines at a time when I had "series fatigue," and the Love Unexpectedly books (Blurred Lines, Good Girl, Love Story) were all written as standalones without any plans to expand those "worlds" into other stories.

(And yes, you guys should read this as news that Finn and Vaughn from Good Girl are likely not getting their own story as I once thought they might ...) 


Annnnnnnnd ... How about some Lincoln?

Her eyes scanned until she found Lincoln in the kitchen, rinsing her coffee mug. He glanced over his shoulder when she came into the room and smiled, although she thought his smile seemed a little less wide than it usually was, his eyes a little less flirtatious.
Yeah, she’d definitely outstayed her welcome.
“I made the bed,” she said, awkwardly gesturing over her shoulder. “But if there are fresh sheets you want me to put on . . .”
“Nah, I’ll take care of it later. Maybe. There are worse things than the smell of a woman’s perfume on a pillow.”
They could have been the words of a man very accustomed to multiple women’s perfumes on his pillow, but Daisy could have sworn she heard a trace of sadness in his voice just then.
She watched as he filled a small silver bowl with dog food. Kiwi wandered over to sniff it, then gave him a disdainful look that clearly said, Make me some eggs.
Lincoln shook his head at the dog, a communication it seemed to understand because Kiwi huffed, before halfheartedly taking a bite of the dry dog food.
Cute. Very, very cute.


until next week ...

 
 

The LL Weekly

Hello and happy autumn from Lauren Layne!!!

I'm having one of those days where I have so much to talk about, and yet not quite enough time to fit it all in! 

Not only am I putting finishing touches on Love Story (out in February!), not only am I putit 2017 release schedule, but our web design company Last Word Designs has a bunch of fabulous new projects in flight.

Plus, I had dinner with one of my publishers, Mr. Layne had a comedy show, and so on. Life has been SO good, but in that dizzying, can't-keep-up kind of way!

Thanks for taking the time to catch up with all things LL!


Upcoming Book Signing

I'm a little behind in updating the "appearances" section on my website, but wanted to let you all know that I have an upcoming signing! 

On October 29th, from 12-2pm I'll be at Turn the Page bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland signing copies of The Wedding Belles! 

I mean, it's no big deal, it's just Nora Roberts' bookstore.

As in, I'll be in the same room as Nora. I have every intention of playing it cool, and every expectation that I'll fail miserably. I"ll probably forget to sign my own books because I"m too busy shoving other people out of line asking her to sign everything she's ever written for me.


What the ...

Speaking of appearances, I spoke on a romance panel at the Brooklyn Book Fair this past weekend. It was amazing, I got to meet Sarah Maclean who's one of my heroes.

The hubs came along and took some pictures. He got this gem of me "talking" while Tessa Bailey's like, "oh dear." 

I'm so delicate.

(If I remember correctly, I was a little fired up talking about the tendency for people to have different standards for heroines than they do heroes. The guys get to be dicks, and everyone's like, "oh, alpha!" Heroines ... it gets tricky.

Gotta say though, I kinda get it! I lurrrve myself an a-hole hero. *signs up for therapy*


What I'm Working On

Love Story!

As mentioned, I’m completely immersed in Love Story right now. This is another of my stand-alines in the vein of Blurred Lines and Good Girl. I haven’t talked about it much, because the spotlight’s been on Wedding Belles. Not to mention, those Oxford boys have a way of stealing a lot of attention.

But I’d hate if this one got overlooked because it’s equal parts snarky and romantic, and I’ve had plenty of author happy-sighs over this second-chance romance/road trip story.
Below is a quick snippet of my current draft as well as my character inspiration.

(apologies if the excerpt is a repeat, I always forget which I've shared!) 

— 
Excerpt from Love Story

Realizing Lucy hasn’t gotten out of the car yet, I brace a palm on the top of Horny and lean down to see what’s up.

She’s scribbling in that stupid notebook, lip drawn between her teeth as she writes.
“Dude. What are you doing?” 

She doesn’t stop writing.

“Hello? Weirdo, it’s hot. Let’s go.” 

She clicks her pen shut and reads what she’s just written. “And then, after not speaking for over three hundred miles, his first words are *dude*, and *weirdo*. I’m no longer puzzled as to why he doesn’t have a girlfriend—“

I roll my eyes and slam the driver side door on her sentence, and the passenger door opens a second later.

She stretches like I did, inhales like I did too, before a wide smile beams. “This is what I wanted.”

My eyebrows lift. “This? s in, a 1-star roadside motel with more roaches than guests?”

“Lighten up, grandpa. We’re on vacation.”

“Yeah, that’s not what this is,” I mutter, as I follow her up towards the check-in desk.


Quick Hits

It's been awhile, but I'm trying to bring back my "quick hits" ... i.e., those things I'm LOVING about life, beauty, fitness, food, or just general randomness from around the web.

 
 

LL in 3 Fictional Characters

Usually I ignore (or am unaware of) social media trends, but I confess I’ve been loving the “Describe yourself in 3 Fictional Characters” thing going around, and I’ve been thinking about it more than I should, and after much debating, here’s me (as I see myself) in 3 characters. Yes, they’re all different, but I feel it sums up my various “sides.” 

(note: Karen from Will & Grace was totally a runner-up, as was Princess Jasmine)


The Countdown is on ...

Less than a month until the third and final book in The Wedding Belles! To Love and to Cherish will be out on October 18th in paperback and digital ... here's another snippet to ease the pain of waiting ;-) 

--
“Logan!”

His head whipped around at the sound of his name. Alexis was walking toward him in her usual quick pace, her even steps and stiletto shoes paying no mind to the uneven sidewalk as she made her way to him.

A strand of hair had pulled loose of the knot at her neck, the jacket belt at her waist knotted more haphazardly than he was used to seeing.

Her eyes were wide and clear as she got closer.

Logan sighed. Ah hell. No. There was no moving on, not yet.

There was only her.


Until next week!

 

 

 

The LL Weekly

The Weekly is baaaaaaaaaaaaccck!

Me at my hometown Barnes and Noble in Lakewood, WA! 

Me at my hometown Barnes and Noble in Lakewood, WA! 

Hello there! Welcome back to the Lauren Layne Weekly! 

I was dusting off my MailChimp account, and I see that there are a ton of new subscribers—welcome!!! To bring you up to speed, the Weekly is my (mostly) weekly newsletter where I talk about All The Things every Thursday. I’m not a huge social media fan (except for Instagram, LOVE), so if you like to stay up to date on my latest releases, upcoming releases, my writing process, what I’m reading, etc, this is absolutely the place to be!

And for my longtime subscribers … thank you SO MUCH for sticking with me while I took a little break. As I mentioned in my For Better or Worse release note, I let some things get under my skin that I totally shouldn’t have, and needed to regroup.

“But wait LL, didn’t you say that you’d be back last Thursday? September 8th?” 

*awkwardly avoids eye contact, pretends not to hear question.* 

Okay, fine. I did say that. And then I … forgot.

Yep, you read that correctly. I was so out of practice with The Weekly that it wasn’t in my trusty planner, and Thursday came and went and I was like,  “Well,*insert foul word that sometimes gets me flack from readers here.*”

Anyway, I’m back now, and it feels SO GOOD. I can’t wait to chat you up, so settle in with a pumpkin latte or a glass of Proscecco (how I do Thursdays in MY house), and let’s catch up, shall we?!

xoxo,
LL


Update on For Better or Worse

 

I feel like a broken record gushing about how much I loved writing For Better or Worse (one of my funnier hero/heroine pairings, for sure), so I’m super excited to announce that it’s a USA Today bestseller! 

I found out while getting my gray roots covered like a BOSS, and Mr. Layne took me out to celebrate with crab cakes and Chardonnay for lunch on the Tacoma water front. Meant to take a picture, but was too busy eating.

Thanks so much to everyone who bought/read/shared the love on Heather and Josh!

Buy For Better or Worse 


Speaking of For Better or Worse

While we’re on the topic, let’s move right in to this week’s issue of “Ask Lauren Anything,” since it’s all about the second Wedding Belles book!

(Side note: Got a question for LL? Email contact@laurenlayne.com for a chance to be featured in The Weekly!)

Question:

Hey LL! First, let me say how much I loved FOR BETTER OR WORSE I’ve been a fan of yours since After the Kiss came out yeaaaars ago, and I thought nothing could top Mitchell/Julie, but gosh this one got close! I’m finally getting up the never to write to you, and my question … it’s actually about HOW you wrote the book. As an aspiring writer myself, I think I’ve read everything you’ve ever written about your writing process. You’ve said that you’re an outliner … Do you plan things like the fun “banana bread” thing from FOR BETTER OR WORSE? And if so, how do you work things like that into your outline? Hope that question’s not too weird, and thanks for reading this!
— Caityln 

Answer:

Hi Caityln!

First, I’m so glad you wrote, and second, no, that question is TOTALLY not weird. I actually don’t consider any questions weird, but then, perhaps that’s because I’ve been known to ask other writers some weird questions of my own. Kristan Higgins in particular, has gotten some whoppers from me, and it should be noted that she doesn’t even bat an eye, answers everything, and is so darn friendly and funny it kills me.

Anyway.

So, that banana bread thing (if you haven’t read For Better or Worse, this isn’t particularly spoilery … it’s just an inside joke between the characters) … I’ve been getting lots of questions about that one, actually! Mostly wondering if I’m as smitten with banana bread as Josh is, and the answer is: definitely not. I don’t really like bananas or baked goods (I’m more of a nacho kind of girl), so the combination of the two actually creeps me out a bit.  

As far as whether I outline things like that … Sometimes, but usually not.

My outlines these days are more or less a list of key scenes. Before I start writing, I need to make sure that I have enough “plot” to sustain a full-length novel, so I’ll go through and jot down every scene I can think of, making sure that I have all the important ones: first meeting, first kiss, first ahem, first “vulnerable moment,” first fight, dark moment, resolution, etc. Once I have those cornerstone scenes, I’ll go through and brainstorm what scenes might come on either side of those, focusing on the middle section of the book, since that’s often the hardest place for us authors to sustain momentum. 

Every now and then, as I put these scenes together, I’ll start to see some sort of pattern or thread emerge, and I’ll make a note to weave it though. Most of the time, however, my outline is very bare bones: what happens in the scene, where it happens, and whose point of view it happens from. That’s really it. Sometimes I’ll just down a snippet of dialog if something AMAZING comes to me, but usually the fun stuff doesn’t become clear in my head until I start the actual writing process.

Such was the case with the banana bread. Honestly, my response to the banana bread thing was similar to Heather’s response: “WTF is with this dude and banana bread?” 

But Josh kept bringing it up, and I kept rolling with it, not sure if it would get the cut in the editing process. But then I got to that very ending scene, and I smiled a BIG AUTHOR SMILE because I realized that my muse knew what she was doing all along, and that the banana bread finale was in fact … perfect :) 

Buy For Better or Worse 


Behind The Scenes - Road Trippin'

So, what have I been up to in this month and a half hiatus from the Weekly, you may ask (nobody asked) …

Traveling, mostly! 

Much as I love living in New York City, I feel duty-bound to report that it’s pretty yuck during August. Swampy, smelly, and a little stifling. In past years, we’ve high-tailed it out of the city by late July to spend some time in the Pacific Northwest. We did that again this year, although a bit later than usual since my college roommate got married in NYC at the end of August, so we waited until after her big day to head out.

On August 21st, Mr. Layne, Bailey and myself piled into a rented Dodge Charger and started driving west.

Why drive, you may wonder? Because we can. I LOVE road trips. I’m sure part of this is because I’m a nervous flyer, but mostly I find the long hours in the car peaceful … I’ve gotten some of my best story/dialog ideas while watching “boring” scenery whiz by. 

When boredom threatens, we turn on one of the audiobooks that we’ve stockpiled for road trips.

On the way out to Seattle, we listened to Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg (one of my favorite non-fiction writers). I’m a sucker for productivity hacks, and his are some of the best.

For the way back, we went waaaaaaay into our Audible archives and came out with Dan Brown’s Inferno. Years ago, I was on vacation with Mr. Layne’s family and we were given a copy of The Da Vinci Code. We both read Chapter One separately, got totally hooked, and rather than fight over who got to read the book first, we spent the vacation staying up late reading it out loud to each other. 

Awwwwww. Cute, right? I just now remembered that?! 

Anyway, I can’t say I’m enjoying Inferno quite as much as I did Da Vinci Code, but I will say that having someone else read it to us is better than losing my own voice reading it aloud!
All-in-all, it’s been a great trip! The drive out there resulted in us finally checking off some of the last of the 50 states we needed to visit (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota). Now the only one left is Alaska! 

Then it was two weeks in Tacoma visiting with friends and family and enjoying the perfection that is the Pacific Northwest in August/September. 

Highlights on the trip back so far include a stop over in Boise to see BFF Rachel Van Dyken and her hubby, as well as whisky tasting in Utah of all places, plus one of the best restaurants I've ever been to in Omaha (The Grey Plume

It’s 5AM in Merrillville, Indiana (the sunrise is gorgeous right now!) as I write this Weekly, and we’re on the very tail-end of our trip. We’ll get into NYC either late tonight or early tomorrow morning, depending how ambitious we’re feeling this afternoon.

I can’t wait. The older I get, the more comfortable I become with acknowledging that heading home is my absolutely favorite part of a vacation. Especially when *home* means autumn in New York.


What’s Up Next - Sneak Peek at Wedding Belles 3!

Okay, back to book stuff!!!

I forget if I’ve talked about this before, but when I initially came up with the idea for The Wedding Belles, one thing my agent and I were very insistent on as we went on submission was that the books be released close together. 

See, with my writing/release schedule, I’ve been finding it increasingly hard to build momentum with my release chatter, because I feel like I’m always: “hey guys here’s a story about cops, and now here’s a friends-to-lovers standalone, and now here comes Oxford, whoops, back to cops, oh look more Oxford, heeeeeeeey cops, oh look, country singer!, hold on Lincoln, I’m coming!!!!”

Anyway, with Wedding Belles, we specifically sought out a publisher that was open to releasing all the books back-to-back, no other LL releases in between, and Pocket Books rose to the occasion marvelously. Yes, my writing schedule was freaking NUTS as I tried to get all three books + the novella done, but I’m hoping it paid off because the entire series will be released into the wild in under six months—minimal waiting for you guys between stories! 

Last, and certainly not least in that journey is To Love and to Cherish.

Previously scheduled for an Oct 25th release, it’ll now be coming a week earlier on October 18th, and YES, this is most definitely The One You’ve Been Waiting For: Alexis & Logan.

I have a sneak peek below, but first, a word on the cover … it’s changed! The overall photo has stayed the same, but observant LL-stalkers may have noticed that the cover once had orange/red accents, and it’s been updated to teal. My publisher decided that the orange, while catchy and very autumnal, didn’t play as nice with the soft green and muted pink of the other books in the series. I’m pretty pleased with the change, since my original request for this cover was “Tiffany Blue,” so this is a bit closer :)

Excerpt from To Love and to Cherish:

“Tell me what’s wrong,” Logan said.
It wasn’t a request, his voice just a touch commanding in the way he frequently was with other clients but rarely with her. Again, her gaze flickered in surprise.
“I’m—”
“Fine, I know,” he said, impatience making his tone clipped. He’d pushed, she’d pushed back, and that was pretty much all he could take first thing on a Thursday. Logan stood and began gathering his files and placing them back in his briefcase.
“You’re leaving?” she asked in surprise, glancing at her watch.
“I am.” He clicked the snaps on his briefcase closed. It was an old-fashioned briefcase, a hand-me-down from his late grandfather that he’d asked his parents to ship over once he started working in the States. He’d always liked it. Logan had respect for the classics, for the way things had always been done.
But for some reason today, it didn’t feel classic so much as old, didn’t feel dignified so much as fuddy-duddy.
Bollocks. What was going on with him?
He pulled his briefcase off the table and turned. “I’ll see you Monday.”
“Logan.” Alexis’s voice was surprised as she pushed back her chair and stood. “Is everything okay?”
“I’m fine,” he said, deliberately mimicking her own phrase.
Her eyes narrowed. “Wait—”
Logan felt an unfamiliar surge of anger. At her and himself.
Maybe I’m done waiting.
He turned toward the door, ignoring her plea, and she moved toward him, reaching out and touching the sleeve of his suit. Even through the fabric, it felt like a brand.
Damn her. Damn her and this hold she had on him.
“What, Alexis?”
She blinked, looking momentarily stung by his sharpness. “What’s going on with you?”
He gently removed his arm from her touch and headed quietly and deliberately out the door and down the stairs.
Something was shifting. Logan trusted his instincts more than anything else in his life, and his instincts were telling him that change was on the horizon.
Coming from her? From himself? Both?
He didn’t know. All he knew was that he was far from satisfied with what Alexis Morgan was offering him. He wanted Alexis to talk to him, yes, but the real problem was that he wanted more than that.
He wanted everything.
And she wasn’t offering.

LL Recommended Reads

 

Playing With Fire by Kate Meader - ON SALE!!!

I’ve already recommended this one because the hero is one of the hottest I’ve ever read, but it’s getting another shout out today because … it’s on sale!

For a limited time, you can get the e-book version for only $1.99 (it’s usually $6.99!) and it’s too good too not buy at FULL price, much less this cheap!

 

Buy Playing with Fire

 

 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This one’s been getting a lot of buzz in author-circles, and at first I was like, “what’s the big deal?” but then I started reading and was like, “Ohhhhhhh ….” 

If you love banter, office romance, and a hero that’s awkwardly jerk-ish but in the “Mr. Darcy I secretly like her” way, then this is a must read. It feels little off-beat at first (in a fresh, good way), and I had plenty of swoons. 

Buy The Hating Game 

 


About that Oxford Novel ...

Some of you super-fans have noticed that there’s been a book up on Amazon for awhile labeled as an “Oxford novel” and I know there have been a lot of, “Is it true?! whispers. 

Yes.

There is another Oxford novel coming your way in 2017 ...

It's called I Knew You Were Trouble, and i am obsessed with the cover.

"But LL, you said that Lincoln’s story would be the last Oxford book?!"

I know. I did say that. And I meant it at the time, I really did. And in a way, Lincoln’s book sort of is the last, in that Someone Like You book is very much a feel-good finale in which I put a bow on the six books that came before it. 

So what’s with the new one?

It’s a spin-off. So much so that we debated for a long time whether to even explicitly label it as an Oxford novel. It’s also why the cover is similar, but just slightly different. While the original Stiletto/Oxford novels were all about the editorial side of the house … all the characters/plots revolved around a story assignment or writing in some way.

For the spin-off, the focus actually shifts to the advertising side of the Oxford world. Same company, new characters. 

What characters you ask? You haven’t met them yet! (anyone else hear Michael Buble’s “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet”? No? Just me?)

Anyway, you will (briefly) meet the hero/heroine in Lincoln’s book, but to everyone wondering if this will be about Liam (Riley’s brother) … no, sorry! 

I have lots more to say about this book, the background behind it, what it’s about, who it’s about, why it came to be, but well, I’m going to tease that out a bit in coming months because I’m mean like that.

For now though, what I want to apologize that so many of you found out this book by seeing it on Amazon rather than through me directly, or even on my website!

My intentions were good, I swear :) 

The reason I didn’t mention it at first was because shortly after I realized it had been posted to Amazon (usually my “ok” to announce it), I also realized that I wanted to change the title from The One That I Want to I Knew You Were Trouble.

To avoid confusion, I opted to hold off talking about the book until the title was updated so I didn’t have to go into a whole “the book formerly known as …” thing like I did with I Wish You Were Mine (originally titled Playing for Keeps).

Then the reason I didn’t mention it after the title updated was because … the date on Amazon is wrong. I think. Maybe. It’s currently listed as an April 18, 2017 release, and I want to be totally upfront with you guys: 

It’s probably not coming out on that date.

More likely it’ll be June. 

And now you’re like, “What the heck LL, don’t you know?” 

Heh. No. I really don’t. My 2017 schedule is currently … in flux. That’s all I can say for now :)

Believe me, I wish as much as you guys that I had things a bit more locked down, but I need another week or two until I can officially and “for sure” talk about dates!

For now, here’s what I know is coming out in 2017:

Love Story - Feb 14th

It’s a standalone about feuding childhood sweethearts who are forced to take a cross-country road trip together, and somewhere around Kansas realize they still have some SERIOUS unfinished business that they want to … finish.

Pre-order Love Story 

 

I Knew You Were Trouble - April OR June

The Oxford spin-off. No, I won’t be getting the whole gang back together, but I promise Cassidy and Lincoln at least make a cameo!

I Knew You Were Trouble isn’t up on my website yet, but you can pre-order it direct through: Kindle // iBooks // B&N