Yes, yes, this newsletter is a day late, coming at you on Friday instead of Thursday. My excuse this month? I got 80% of the newsletter done yesterday, and then meant to finish it up last night. But then I made the mistake of picking up my Kindle. Two hours later, I had the option of stopping to get some work done, or … to keep reading. I chose reading 😉
The book? Bossypants by Tina Fey. I know, I know, I’m late to the party. I’ve had it on my Kindle forever, I’ve even started it before (and probably mentioned it here), and then got distracted before I finished.
But last night, after trying (and failing) to get into five different romances (I'm in a reading rut!), I hit up my nonfiction collection. It was the right move. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at a book. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of light-hearted memoirs.
The three secrets of great skin are moisturize, stay out of the sun, and be Italian.
As the wife of an Italian (Mr. Layne’s skin is ridiculous wrinkle-free, always-golden nonsense), I can tell you that advice is pure gold.
Anyway, the newsletter is pretty packed with good stuff today, plus an update on my book release schedule, so thanks for joining me!
What I’m Up To
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you already know that this Monthly’s coming at you from … Arizona! The Layne pack took a week long road-trip from New York to the Phoenix area.
Why a road-trip instead of flying? We love road trips.
We’ve found that some of our most productive stages and our most creative thoughts come from long drives. There’s something about being locked in a car on a flat freeway with nothing but your thoughts to let your brain sort itself out.
As far as why Arizona? My parents have a home here, and I was needing some family time! So far it’s been HOT, but an absolute blast.
Also, I realized that four out of five of my monthly newsletters this year have been written from a location other than NYC?! Sort of odd for a gal who loves her routine and hates to travel!
June’s newsletter will be coming at you from my home turf. Probably 😉
Also :: I’ve been getting a lot of questions on whether or not I’m at RT this year. As you can see from the above, I’m in Arizona, not Atlanta. I’ll likely attend next year, but conferences are exhausting, and after having an odd, anxiety-filled Q1, I made the hard decision to pull out of RT this year and get some R&R with family. I’ll be at RWA in Orlando though (July)!
You guys know how I’m not a huge Facebook fan? Still true. But after much agonizing, I’ve accepted that the majority of romance readers (or at least LL fans) are on Facebook more than they are email/Instagram/my website. In the interest of connecting, I’ve converted the former LL readers’ group to a “fan club” of sorts where I try to have a (mostly) daily presence. The best place to get the REAL Lauren Layne is still this newsletter, but I can no longer deny that I’m in the minority of not being a Facebook fan, so … I’m there! I’m trying! Come join!
PS: If you send me a Facebook friend request and I don’t accept it, please don’t be offended. I’m not using Facebook on a personal level and am not really doing the Facebook friend thing since I don’t ever post anything for my friends to see. Neither do I even so much as glance at my feed (outside the group). The best way to get LL updates on Facebook is either the new group or through my official page (where I still post interviews, announcements, sales, etc).
Special Offer from Sarah Robinson
One of my author-friends has a treat for you! Sarah Robinson and I share an agent and a publisher, and she's got an awesome offer for the LL Monthly subscribers!
In celebration of her upcoming book Nudes (which I just loaned onto my Kindle, because … that cover! The LL in me loovvvvvvvvves that sexy black background) she’s giving away a free copy of Not a Hero.
And, it has the first two chapters of Nudes (out May 22nd!)
Walk of Shame is my sparkly “new thing.” It came out on April 18th, and I’m so excited to announce that it made the USA TODAY bestseller list!
Also, major shoutout to all the people who’ve written a review on this one, and there are a lot of you! I mentioned in the Facebook group (mentioned above) that my publisher had been nudging me about lack of reviews on some of my books. I put a plea out there, and you guys rose to the occasion and then some. You totally saved my butt, and I really appreciate it!
It’s hard to believe, but the release of I Knew You Were Trouble is right around the corner!!!
This is a “spin-off” in my Oxford series. I say it’s a spin-off because while it takes place at the Oxford office, it’s centered mostly around the Oxford marketing/sales group, and not the editorial group as with my other Oxford guys. There are plenty of cameos by familiar names/faces, but this also introduces a whole other cast of characters. Fresh blood, if you will 😉
This book's it's own thing going on, and I simply love it--it was fun to stretch my wings a bit, especially on the heels of writing the fun, fluffy Walk of Shame (which you guys know I love!). But I love I Knew You Were Trouble for entirely different reasons--the characters were crazy complicated, which made their HEA (and the grovel-scene at the end) so rewarding.
Here’s what I mean:
In Walk of Shame, I put Georgie on Andrew on two opposite sides of a light-filled room with complimentary champagne, handed them both a stuffed animal, and told them to meet in the middle, without touching a single butterfly or rainbow. It was a fun love story, but it was also an easy love story (and I mean that in the best way possible, you guys know I love that book!)
By comparison, in I Knew You Were Trouble, I put Taylor and Nick on opposite sides of the planet, strapped 2-tons of luggage to their back, punched out the sun, and then handed them an egg and a popsicle stick while telling them to somehow find each other, in the dark, with all their baggage, all the while balancing the egg on the popsicle stick. Oh, and the egg is filled with dynamite.
Also, in this book … *insert nervous author laughter* … I did something with this book that I never thought I’d do. I shocked myself a little, to be honest, and I kept thinking, “Really?!” All the way up until I got page proofs, I was like, “Am I really going to … ?! ” Yep. I did it. After much soul-searching, it was simply the right thing for this story. I’m sure there’ll be all sort of fist-shaking in my direction, because it's not a typical LL move but … bring it 😉 And now you guys are like, “WHAT IS IT! TELL US!” Nope. It’s a definite spoiler!
But here's a non spoiler-y teaser:
Taylor sniffled against his collarbone. “Sorry.”
He resisted the urge to shake his head in resignation. It was typical of this prickly woman to see the most honest of emotions as a weakness.
Nick turned his face slightly, letting his lips brush against her dark hair. “You okay?”
Her answer was automatic and defensive, and he pressed his palm more firmly to her back, letting her know she didn’t have to be.
Nick waited, and finally she relented ...
What I’m Working On
My Christmas book!
I know, I know … writing a holiday book in May?! I knew it would be weird, but … it’s even weirder than I thought. It took me a few days of writers’ block, but I finally figured out that listening to music is a must for this book. Christmas music.😉
I’ve talked a bit about this one before, but not much. Long story short, I’ve always wanted to write a Christmas story, but anthologies/novellas are way more common, and I don’t really love those. Luckily after years of listening to me fuss, my agent/Random House team were like, “okay, okay, let her write it already!”
It’s a friends-to-lovers story, made especially fun, not only by the Christmas setting, but because the heroine’s a little bit superstitious, as the story kicks off with a psychic telling her she’s already met her “one true love.” She decides this must mean one of her exes is “the one that gets away” and spends her holiday break (she’s a teacher) tracking them down and figuring out the love of her life. Meanwhile, her longtime best friend (a hot guy) is watching this all go down, even as he’s the one who helps her carry her Christmas tree, is her date to holiday parties, who gets dragged ice skating in Central Park … you see where this is going, right ;-)
Summer Makeup Recommendation
*** skip this section if you’re a guy, or only here for the book stuff ***
Above I mentioned that we’ve been on a road trip, followed by a prolonged stay in Arizona. Lots of sunshine, lots of wine, lots of laughter. All good things. Except for my makeup.
I don’t know how I manage to forget every year that different seasons have different makeup needs, but I do. My makeup routine is perfect for winter days when I’m battling dry skin, but in the heat, it was literally melting off. Mascara all over the place, and I don’t even know what happened to my foundation … it like, evaporated.
Enter: Sephora/CVS haul for waterproof/oil free makeup! I’m pleased with it all, but a couple of the items have been wowwing me!
IT Cosmetic CC Cream: A+
I have no idea what a BB-cream is, and I didn’t know what the heck a CC-cream is either (still don’t), but I’ve been seeing this hyped up around the beauty-fanatics, and it looked like an easy thing to smear on my face to even out my completely NOT even complexion. Um, it’s magical. Truly magical. You need just the tiniest bit (I used a caper-sized dollop the first time around and it was way too much for my whole face), and it has great coverage without feeling like you’re wearing anything. Seriously! Magic. (I got the Medium shade and it’s perfect).
Lancome Teinte Idole Ultra (Longwear) Foundation: A
It’s no surprise that I love this, since Lancome Teinte Idole “Lit-from-Within” is my fall/winter foundation of choice. The Longwear version isn’t quite as dewy, so it’s perfect for the sweaty summer days 😃 You don’t need this AND the CC cream above (I bought both because the CC cream was an experiment), but if you’re a fan of classic foundation, this is the perfect choice for natural/buildable coverage, albeit very pricy. (I wear Bisque 330 N)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Concealer: A+
Another one with a bunch of hype, but I’ve been hesitant because I’ve never been impressed with a concealer. I’ve tried them all, expecting to see the magic zit/undereye circle coverage other people rave about, but usually I end up skipping concealer altogether. This one though … game changer. It comes in a pot and is super thick, so it was a little weird at first, but the second I dabbed it on a big chin-zit and the redness on the side of my nose, I was like “ohhhhhhhhh ….” This plus the CC cream = perfect face, and I totally don’t even look like I’m wearing makeup?! For shades, I coudln't decide between 3 and 3.5 — I went with 3.5 because I figure I’m likely to get a bit more tan in the coming months, but the have a great range! (tip: use the TINIEST amount. Way less than you think.)
Clique Chubby Sticks (Moisturizing version): A-
I’d forgotten how much I love these lip products! They’re somewhere between a balm/gloss/lipstick, and are perfect for adding a moisturizing bit of color. In fall/winter, I prefer a more sophisticated true lipstick (think: Kate Middleton look), but for summer I like something that’s easy with a bit more easy/casual shine. The only reason it’s not getting an A is because the color doesn’t last long, but that’s not a bad thing, because it fades really naturally and is easy to reapply without a mirror. My color of choice is Super Strawberry, which is sort of “My lips but better” on me, but it can look a lot brighter on other people, so if your fair and want something more neutral, Mighty Mimosa is a good choice! Bountiful Blush is also a flattering nude.
Maybelline waterproof mascara/eyeliner: B+
I’ve decided not to bother with eyeshadow during the summer. Instead I’ve been doing just a quick swipe of pencil eyeliner on upper eyelashes to thicken the lash line (I apply it UNDER the top eyelash line to look more natural). I know from experience that fancy/expensive waterproof eye makeup doesn’t impress me. I actually don’t really care for waterproof eye-makeup (it’s hard to work with), but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. If you want something that simply “Doesn’t budge” the drugstore stuff works just as well as the super pricy Sephora stuff. I just grabbed whatever Maybelline waterproof mascara/pencil eyeliner were on sale and have been happy enough with them. I always buy blackest blacky blackness in eyeliner/mascara to match my black hair, but adjust accordingly 😉
New Release Schedule
I’ve saved this bit for last, because it’s a long story, and I’ve put it on a separate post.
The short version is that I’ve changed the release dates of some of my books.
Not in the way that some of you LL-fanatics might want :-/
But it's all for the best, I promise. I explain it all here (warning, it's LONG), but you can see my new dates below.