The Weekly is baaaaaaaaaaaaccck!
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?!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in The Weekly!)
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!
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.
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) …
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!