LL Updates: March 2017
Today's Monthly's coming at you from ... Boston!
Despite Mr. Layne and I having been to 48 out of 50 states (only Vermont and Alaska left!), somehow in all of our US travels we've never made it to Boston!?
It's been on our to-do list forever, especially since we're both pretty geeky-excited about US history, so finally we decided to just do it.
As with most of our "vacations," the laptops came with, so I've been getting plenty of work done since we got into town. For some reason, I do some of my best work in hotels, no matter where they are.
That said, I'm excited to take tomorrow off entirely way from the MacBook (maybe, I always say that, and then usually end up SUPER inspired by some new story idea), do some sight-seeing, eat too much, etc.
Definitely follow on Instagram, as I'll try to post a bunch of pics of us and Bailey around the city!
What I'm Working On
I just turned in Ready to Run ... about two minutes ago.
No joke, I sent the document to my editor, then immediately dove into the newsletter, because I swear, this writing business sometimes feels like the career that never, ever sleeps!
The weird thing is, while I'm deep in the deadline zone as I've been all of the past week, I actively daydream about how amazing it will be to finish the book, and how I'm so exhausted from writing my little fingers off.
And yet the very second I turn in the manuscript, I have NO interest in relaxing, all I want to do is dive immediately into the next book. Even an hour feels too long to wait before starting the next.
It's weird. Writers are weird.
So as for what's next ... moving right along in the I Do, I Don't series, and diving into Runaway Groom! I'm extra excited for this one because the hero's a bit of a playboy, and those are always so fun to redeem, especially when I drop him into a Bachelor-esque situation where he has dozens of gorgeous women vying for his heart, but the only one he wants to is hoping to be the first one sent home!
Speaking of my Bachelor-esque series, did you guys see that ALL THREE covers of the I Do, I Don't series are officially revealed and have pre-order links available?!
I love all the covers of this series, but I especially love seeing them along side each other! The fun and flirty vibe is so perfect for the way these stories are shaping up.
Sneak Peek at Work-in-Progress
So, technically this book isn't currently in progress (as of a couple minutes ago), but here's a look at Ready to Run which I just turned in!
(note: this is from an early draft; it may change dramatically or be cut altogether from final book!)
• • •
No doubt about it. This definitely ranked in the top five dumbest things Luke had ever done.
“Any questions?” Vicky asked beaming up happily up at him after going through the checklist on her clipboard.
“Dollar in the box, kiss this ugly mug,” Charlie said, leaning on the counter of the booth and pointing at Luke’s face. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t screw it up.”
Luke scowled at his friend. “Surely you have somewhere else to be.”
“Great, then you can take my spot.”
Charlie grinned. “No can do. Deb has deemed my lips all hers.”
“Disgusting,” Luke muttered. “Does she know where they’ve been?”
Charlie ignored him. “So, Vick, love, is this a kiss on the cheek thing or a … you know.” He wiggled his eyebrows. “The good stuff?”
“It’s whatever the paying client and Luke mutually agree upon,” Vicky said, as though she were negotiating an international peace treaty and not the nuances of a kissing booth.
Charlie jerked his thumb towards the booth to their left. “Where’s the girl?”
Yeah, where’s the girl? Luke’s thoughts echoed grumpily.
Vicky checked her watch. “She’ll be here. She still has a few minutes. You guys are just early. Oh, Luke, did I mention? There’s a contest.”
“Oh good. I thought this couldn’t get worse.”
“What sort of contest?” Charlie said, rubbing his hands together.
Vicky pointed to the blue box in front of Luke, then at the pink box at what would be Jordan’s booth. “Whoever wins the most money gets one of Mrs. Mouse’s pies.”
“A pie.” Luke repeated.
“A Mrs. Mouse pie. Winner’s choice of flavor,” Vicky explained.
Charlie nodded solemnly. "Did you hear that? Winner's choice, Luke.
“I don’t like pie,” Luke said.
“Everyone likes pie,” Vicky insisted. “Not that it’ll matter if you keep up this bad attitude. Nobody wants to kiss a grumpy man.”
Or at least she had. A week ago. Now where the hell was she?
oh no big deal, Lauren Blakely liked my book ...
One thing that I was never quite prepared for when I entered the world of publishing ... the nature of securing the elusive "quote" from other authors.
On paperbacks, this often means a quote from a Big Name that goes on the front cover, declaring the title in question fabulous. For e-books, the quotes from fellow authors live mostly on websites, but they're no less tricky to procure ... or scary to ask for.
My publisher is great about taking care of this for me--my editor always asks other authors to read LL ARCs early and quote for them if they enjoyed the book and want to put their name behind supporting it.
We authors are also invited to ask our peers for quotes, but I almost never do. It feels ... weird. And the fear of rejection is REAL.
I made an exception for Walk of Shame though, because I love this book SO HARD, and I decided it was worth the risk. I'm still waiting to hear back from a couple authors, but I nearly fainted last week when two AMAZING authors sent me emails, almost back-to-back with lovely praise of the book.
I'm obviously STILL sort of reeling from my excitement, enough that I'm sharing here ...
Lauren Blakely and A.L. Jackson like Walk of Shame!!!!
what they said:
Come see Lauren Layne in person!
So, you guys have all figured out by now that I don't tend to do a ton of signings. Not because I don't LOVE my readers, but because most of my books are digital-only, which tends to lead to a bit of disappointment at signings.
And, if I'm going to be honest, I absolutely hate to fly, so you'll never see me one of those people jumping at the chance to get on a plane (also known as a rickety tin can with floppy wings).
But a book signing in my own town? Hell yes, I'll be there!
For anyone in the New York area (or who's interested in a visit!) get out your calendars for the following event!
C.O.P.A. Authors in New York
April 1, 2017 | 12pm-4pm VIP (1pm-4pm GA)
The New York Hilton Midtown
1335 Avenue of the Americas
(53rd st and 6th ave)
New York, NY 10019
And in case that's not enough to convince you, can we please talk about the fact that there will be a COLORING BOOK for this event?! And now you're thinking, "Huh?" But it's cool, I promise. Check out the coloring page created for me, I can't stop looking at it! (it's watermarked, to get the real thing, you'll have to buy the coloring book at the signing ;-)
Lauren Layne Recommended Reads
Lately I've gotten a ton of gentle nudging on social media asking why I don't talk more about what I'm reading or recommend more books.
The short answer? I don't actually have that much time to read! The way I see it, you can either have more Lauren Layne books, or you can have Lauren Layne recommending other people's books. I vote the first one :)
The other reason I don't talk much about books is that it makes me kind of uncomfortable?! I know plenty of other authors are very public about what they're reading/liking/not loving on GoodReads, but that's just not my cup of tea. Before I became an author, I wrote reviews all the time, but for some reason that part of me just "turned off" after I wrote my first book. I don't like publicly criticizing someone else's work, so ... I don't.
But, I also don't like being disingenuous! You'll never see me pimp a book on this newsletter or social media that I don't truly recommend.
All that said, I am a picky reader. You see my dilemma?! I don't talk about books I don't love, I don't love a lot of books, thus ... I don't talk about a lot of books :)
But to everyone who wants LL recommendations, I decided to cheat and instead offer up my very exclusive "auto-buy" list ... those authors whose books I buy no matter what the price, no matter what the book description. I love their books so much that I just trust that their new release will be worth the buy/read.
LL's Auto-Buy/Never-Miss-a-Release List of Authors
Lisa Kleypas - historical & contemporary
Sarah Maclean - historical
Christina Lauren - contemporary
Julie James - contemporary
Vivienne Lorret - historical
Sandra Brown - romantic suspense
Nora Roberts - Not on the list, only because she releases so damn many books, I can't always stay up to date to auto-buy!
Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Not on the list because of a technicality -- I realized I never bought/read Heroes Are My Weakness.
Kristan Higgins - One of my favorite authors of all time, but I confess I haven't purchased her last two because she's moved in a women's fiction direction rather than straight romance. I'm sure they're still amazing, I just never get excited about WF! If she ever goes back to romance, I'll auto-buy the crap out of it.
LL Life - Planners!
I did a preview of 2017 planners back in December, but promised to revisit the topic in the new year after I'd had a chance to use them all. Here it is!
Tools4Wisdom | B+
This planner's the most affordable of the bunch, and I really, really love the tiered "to do" lists, so you can easily see what your top priorities and second priorities are. I also love that you can get it on Amazon Prime, so free 2-day shipping!
Why no A rating? It's a weekly planner (all 7 days of the week show on a 2 day spread), which as I've mentioned before, just doesn't give me enough room to write. I use my planner to track due dates, to-dos, works in progress, scenes I need to write, appointments to keep, time tracker, meal planning, etc. For my purposes, I need a daily planner--one page for each day.
Erin Condren | C- (A for product, F for customer service)
Oh the EC Life Planner. We were once in love, then we drifted, then I started to come back, and now I want a divorce. The Erin Condren Life Planner was my first every paper planner, and I really did love it. But, as mentioned above, it started to get a bit small for me (it's a weekly planner, not daily), and I had a few quality issues. I switched to The Day Designer.
Earlier this year, I realized that though the EC planner wasn't a great fit for my regular planning, it was perfect for my "word count" tracking and my writing diary. I bought one, loved it even more than before, especially now that they've released a "neutral" color option rather than the rainbow mess of before that drove me crazy.
Hence, A rating for the product. But then this happened ... I was so happy with the planner, I ordered another one as a gift. As with all EC orders, after you place the order, you get an email with an "estimated delivery date rage." As always, it was a long wait, but I'm used to that with Erin Condren. The first day of the "delivery range" came and went, and I started thinking, "Hmm, I never got a shipping notice, it must be arriving on the latter half of the date-range. No problem. Then I get an email ... not a shipping notification ... an email that says: We have received a notification from the designer working on your luxe letterpress - LifePlanner is currently out of stock, which may not be back for 30 days. We can happily provide a refund or store credit for the item.
Um, what? I have no issues with things going out of stock--it happens. But the fact that they didn't know (or notify me) that it was out of stock until 5 days after the expected ship date?!
And like I said, it was a gift, which meant I was S.O.L. on having enough time to reorder a replacement option.
I mean, whatever. Maybe I'm overreacting, acting like a cranky old lady, but you'll never see me order from them again. It shouldn't take a week and a half to realize something's out of stock. I was expecting to receive the item on the very day they informed me that production had never even started. FAIL.
KitLife Planner | A-
I really love this one! It reminds me a lot of the DayDesigner, which I used all of 2016. It's a daily planner, which means I have all that glorious room to write All The Things. It does make the weekend days share a page, which I HATE, but Day Designer does this too. Where does it outshine the DayDesigner? Two things: portability and paper quality. It's a bit smaller than the Day Designer and makes for easier "toss in the bag" functionality. The paper's also GLORIOUS to write on. Whereas Day Designer paper feels a bit flimsy, KitLife has a really nice feel to it.
Day Designer | A-
As I said above, this is pretty similar to the KitLife Planner. I used it all of 2016 and loved it enough to buy another. It's got plenty of room to write EVERYTHING, and it really keeps me sane. As with KitLife there's room to track hourly appointment, your "top 3" to do items, other to-dos, etc. And as I mentioned, while the paper is a bit thin and the form a bit bulky, there are 3 things I like better about Day Designer. (1) The pages are all black/white, where as KitLife has very colorful pages. I don't like my planner pages colorful, because then I can't add my own color. If I have a due date, I want to write that in red and have it stand out, not have it in red and be over shadowed by the hot pink font already printed on the page. (2) The DayDesigner hourly-anointment schedule starts at 5am (KitLife starts at 6). For an early riser, this is key (3) I like that they have a special box for "Due" -- we authors need such things :)
You can't go wrong with KitLife or DayDesigner. Go with KitLife if you want portable and pretty, go with DayDesigner if you want full-featured and neutral (also, both currently have their 2017 planners on sale right now?! GO!)
Hey fellow writers! You didn't think I'd forgotten you, did I?!
I'm excited that I have an ANNOUNCEMENT for you guys!
You guys know how I'm a planner, right? I outline (almost) all of my books, and I tend to be pretty organized about my process (in case you couldn't tell by how hard I just geeked about planners above).
Well, for years now, I've been carefully creating and tweaking my "tools." I have several different templates I use for all of my books, everything from character worksheets, scene lists, hero-journey maps specific to romance, worksheets for individual scenes ... even a storyboard, which I accidentally posted on an Instagram story last week and generated a firestorm of questions!
My plan has always been to release some of those tools into the wild--some as free downloads, others as premium products, and even a writer's workbook, complete with everything you need to plan/organize your novel.
I'm not quite ready to release the products just yet, but I'm close! In the mean time you can enter your email below to be on my notification list. Subscribers will be the first to know when the products go live, get discount codes, etc!
Until next month ...
Okay, I'm of to have a celebratory glass of champagne for finishing that book, start the next book, and enjoy Boston!
See you all in April!