LL Weekly :: July 28, 2016
A Note from LL
Hello from Newport, Rhode Island!
Mr. Layne and I are on the second part of our summer getaway, part of it planned, part of it spontaneous. The Newport Jazz Festival has been on our calendar for awhile, but we decided at the last minute to kick off our getaway earlier than planned.
On Monday we loaded up the rental car and headed to Providence, RI, where we spent a couple days writing, having long leisurely lunches, and scouring local Barnes and Nobles for To Have and to Hold, which came out this past Tuesday!
See, much as I adore NYC, Manhattan in the summer is a bit well, the phrase I'd use is hot garbage. I've been longing for a getaway for awhile now, and so far it's been lovely to step away from my routine and let myself be creative for a little while!
Hope everyone is having a great week!
Release Week Reminder!
In case you're behind on LL emails, To Have and to Hold is new this week! The e-book is only $2.99 (at least as I write this, not sure how long that will let!) and the paperback version should be available in your local bookstores, as well as a few Walmarts!
Thanks so much to everyone who's bought and reviewed To Have and to Hold so far, I've loved finally getting to truly introduce everyone to the Belles!
Lincoln Date Change
I just learned this past week that the release date for Lincoln's book (Someone Like You) has been moved!
But before panic settles in, rest easy because it's actually now coming a week earlier than planned.
Instead of December 13th, Lincoln and Daisy will be finding their way to your Kindle on December 6th.
The reasons are: something, something, publishing business, something, who cares because it's coming early!
PS :: All the retailers have been updated, but as I'm always happing about, GoodReads tends to be out of date. I'll try to get to it soon to update, but another reminder not to believe everything you read on GR ;-)
Come Meet LL in NYC!
Anyone in New York next week? On Monday (August 1st), I'll be reading an excerpt from To Have and to Hold at Lady Jane Salon in NYC!
The shindig starts at 7pm, and involves other great authors! Full details here, as well as other LL in-person events.
What I'm Reading
I mentioned last week that I was reading To Have and to Hold by Serena Bell, and I've since finished it, and you guys, it was so good. SO GOOD. I always love her writing, but this is above and beyond my favorite of all her books. The kind of book where I was like, MY HEART KEEPS SQUEEZING AND I CAN'T HANLDE AL THESE FEELS. It doesn't hurt that I've always been a sucker for the old trope-y amnesia stories, and this one is brought into modern times with serious SKILL.
Anyway. So good. Read it.
I've since moved on to Appealed by Emma Chase (I know, I'm late to the game), and I've lucked out reading two great books in a row, because Emma's voice is so smart and snarky and right up my alley. Absolutely loving it so far, reading with a huge smile on my face!
As mentioned, the hubs and I are in Rhode Island this week, and though some of these are repeats for those already following me on Instagram, here's a little glimpse of what we've been up to!
top left: LL in the Warwick RI B&N, super excited to find To Have and to Hold on the shelves.
top right: Mr. Layne in our hotel room eating Chipotle, which was totally our dinner last night along with some white wine. We fancy.
bottom left: Bailey just daring her petsitter to touch her creepy hedgehog toy.
bottom right: Perfect afternoon in the park after leisurely lunch (Providence).
Ask Lauren Anything
I have a question that you can hopefully answer in the next Weekly. How do you make sure your male characters are different from each other? I mean, after so many books, how do you still come up with heroes who are swoon-worthy in their unique ways?
Hey Darlyn, thanks for the question! So, that's actually something that I'd always imagined would be really hard about writing -- ensuring that each character/book is unique from each other. Before I started writing seriously, I always imagined that I had like, maybe two hot heroes in my imagination, and then I was going to have to strain to come up with unique characters.
But with twenty-or-so books under my belt, I can honestly say that I never consciously worry about making my heroes (or any of my characters for that matter) different from each other. Are there similarities? Probably. I don't even really know, because the second I start writing, these guys are pretty much "people" to me.
They're so much more than a list of characteristics.
For example, both Ethan (Isn't She Lovely) and Ben (Blurred Lines), are pretty-much self-assured, easy-going charmers. They're both quippy and charming and have great shoulders. But with neither character did I sit down and think, "I'm going to write a character with THESE qualities." They were simply sort of born that way. Same goes for characters like Noah (Good Girl) and Paul (Broken). They're opposite from Ben and Ethan in that they're broody and moody and often an asshole. But once again, they just sort of were born on the page that way, separate from each other, even though I suppose their descriptions would sound the same own paper.
As far as being swoon-worthy, I try not to stress about that too much. I write what I think is swoony, and though I always hope readers feel the same, I just don't let myself think that way. I've learned that you can't please everyone. Some people hated Noah, others think he's my best hero yet. Some think Jake's the hottest guy I've ever written, others are like "meh."
At the end of the day, I just write the story and characters as they are in my head and remind myself that either people can get on board, or not.
Either way, it's cool :-)
Warning: This post is intended for my fellow authors and the brave, creative people who have put a form of art out there in the world. Intense LL Snakiness Ahead.
Hello my fellow writers! It's been awhile since I've included a write tip in the weekly, but here's something that's been on my mind quite a bit lately:
It's okay to ignore "advice" and to defend yourself.
It took me awhile to learn this.
In my early days, I felt so darn grateful just to have finished a book, even more grateful to get it published, that I thought accepting criticism was just part of the deal.
One piece of advice we writers hear over and over in early days is that you have to develop thick skin, and while I suppose that doesn't hurt, I think it also gives writers this sense that listening to criticism, or as the turds like to phrase it, "feedback," is somehow our due.
Now, when it comes to your editor(s), yes, that's true. Your editor will have feedback for you, not all of it will be LOVE THIS! and, yes, you should listen to the criticism, knowing that it's not personal, it's just them trying to make your book better. That's their job, pay attention and don't be a baby.
But when it comes to other people telling you what they think about your book after it's been published, about why they didn't like this book as well as your last book, or how they didn't like X character, or how they found 5.6 errors, and how they thought one of your previous books was funnier ...
These people annoy me.
And because we authors have been taught to simply EXPECT this, my reaction has always been to bite my tongue to keep from responding:
- What the HELL am I supposed to do with that information?
- What is WRONG with you?
- Do I come to your work place and point out how you could have streamlined that Excel spreadsheet, or how the colors on your marketing presentation could have been more complementary, or how you should really use organic baby shampoo on your newborn, or how you missed a spot cleaning the grout? I do not.
I don't even know where to start with all my thoughts on this.
For starters, feedback on books that are already published is utterly, 100% useless. The book is out there. You can't change anything based on their feedback, even if you wanted to.
And here's the important part:
You shouldn't want to.
You wrote your best book. I don't know a single author, ever, who put a book out there thinking, "I could have done better." We wouldn't have put it out there if we didn't think it was as good as it could have been, amIright, creators?!
Are there things you might change with the benefit of hindsight? Sure. Sure! But you put your absolute best effort forward, you put your heart out there. Other people stepping on in the name of "feedback" is frankly, lame. They're lame. YEAH I SAID IT.
I'm not saying people can't have an opinion on your book. Of course they have opinions. They absolutely should have opinions!
I have opinions on every single book I read, both favorable and "eh, did NOT like."
But lately I've been of the mindset that telling a writer what you didn't like about their book is self-indulgent. Some of these people will swear up and down that it's well-meaning, that it's "constructive criticism" (unless the feedback is requested, "constructive criticism" is a bullshit phrase, often delivered by assholes, btw), but that's crap.
They are not doing anybody any good.
So here we go.
Instructions for non-writers:
If you feel the need to voice your negative (even "well meaning" negative) input on someone else's book, here's what you do:
- Become an editor where it's your job to provide input on a work-in-progress when that input can actually be of some use to a writer. Also: know that being an editor is freaking hard, involves more than spouting off your personal opinion, and very few people are good at it.
- Take your opinion to Amazon or GR reviews where it belongs, and vent your little heart out about how you didn't feel the magic, or they mentioned the wrong character's name on page 47.
- Best option yet: pause for a second, and contemplate WHY you feel the need to critique. Is this a bit of information/opinion that you could keep to yourself?
Instructions for writers who have a book in the world:
- Pour a cocktail.
- Inform the wannabe book critics that their input at this stage in the book's life cycle serves little purpose but to hurt your feelings and rain on your parade, because damn it, you wrote a BOOK!
- Cut off those self-important friends/family members who fancy themselves a critic if they persist on running their mouth even after your gentle nudging.
What other people think of you is none of your business.
You're an artist. If other people have thoughts about what they think should have been done differently, they can by all means, go write their own friggin book.
Bye until next week, LOVE YOU GUYS!!!