Lamar Giles
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Interview – The Reading Lists: Lamar Giles

My new friend Phil reached out about doing this wonderfully in depth interview on his site The Reading Lists.

We discuss many things, but have a look for yourself here.


The Reading Lists: Scariest Books Ever Written

Was honored to be asked to contribute to the awesome selections on horrific fiction this past Halloween. Check out the full article here.


Story Starters: Leonardo U., 6th Grade

Hey there Dear Readers! Yet again, I had the privilege of attending the Virginia Children’s Book Festival at Longwood University, and play Story Starters with many awesome young writers. As is Story Starter tradition, when a writer finishes a version of the story we started, I publish here.

This year we have a very nice piece from Leonard U., 6th Grade, of Prince Edward County Middle School. Submitted for your approval…

The Story Of Myself, Brady And The Pursuing Executioners  by Leonardo U.

My name is Brady and i am running from the wicked executioners. They are hunting me because i accidentally pushed someone off of a cliff. I was captured but i managed to escape the prison. Now i must run towards the dock to sail to Las Vegas to escape the executioners. I am now on the boat hiding from potential executioners. Thankfully there are none of them on the boat. However, right before i get there, an iceberg hits the boat and it sinks. I frantically swim to the shore for my life. Eventually, i reach the coast of Las Vegas. I run to the nearest hotel and get a room. I decide that i should stay at the hotel for today. I do not know what i will do after today. However, i have finally escaped the executioners. For now that is the end of this story, goodbye.

Let’s give this Story Starter a hand, folks. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more from him soon!

Until next time!


Story Starter: Elena M.

vcbflogoLast week, I had the honor of working with a group of 5th graders from Cumberland County Public Schools, VA during the Virginia Children’s Book Festival. Together, we all started a bunch of stories. This Story Starter finished! With permission from Elena and her mother, I present….

The Alien Dentist, by Elena M. 

My name is Jackson and I’m running from a alien dentist. He’s not far behind. He might catch up to me and pull all my teeth out. I’m so scared and out of breathe but I have to keep running so he can’t catch me.I found an abandoned house. I went in.

The monster couldn’t find me. When suddenly I heard a growl. Then a creak. ! Boom! the monster was right there behind me!

So I ran as fast as I could. He caught me. The alien took me to his lair. He tried to pull one of my teeth out.He couldn’t because I grabbed his arm and I ninja kicked him  in the stomach.

I went to the town my mom was in. I knocked on the door. She let me in. I told her to lock the door. The alien was close behind me. My mom asked “What is going on?”

I said “There is an alien chasing me”.  She said that I was crazy and I had lost my mind. I told her that this was not crazy that there was an actual alien dentist trying to pull all my teeth. She said maybe I needed to go to the dentist and see that the dentist is a good person. I told her “ NO!” and to look out the window.

My mom looked out the the window and saw an alien. She said that I wasn’t losing my mind and we started to run out the back door. The alien didn’t see us until we knocked over one of my moms plants. As soon as he saw us he ran in our direction. We screamed and ran away. He caught us but my mom and I karate chopped him and got away.

The End

Elena…thank you for the awesome story. I look forward to the day when you’re signing a book for me. Write on!

Story Starters: Scott DuBar, Illustrator

“Alice never wants to hurt anyone again, but the robots won’t end the experiment.” ~ By Scott DuBar, from the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Region “Ink to Inspiration” event at Richmond Public Library, 06/20/2015

Original Illustration by Scott DuBar

Story Starter | Alice never wants to hurt anyone again, but the robots won’t end the experiment.

Story Starter color

This past weekend I participated in the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Region’s Ink to Inspiration event at Richmond Public Library, and had the opportunity to lead the group in yet another rendition of Story Starters, my Mad Libs styled activity where me and the writers/illustrators create a unique opening line by committee.

Once the line’s created, the writers/illustrators have 15 minutes to write or sketch whatever that line inspires. It’s meant to be an exercise in flexibility (you never know what the line’s going to be) and a demonstration that ideas are simply what YOU make them.

Part of the deal with Story Starters is anyone who decides to write a complete story, or finish an illustration, based on our sentence, gets a spotlight here and on my social media.

Behold Illustrator Scott DuBar’s submission which. Is. AWESOME!!!

Scott’s one to watch, and I’m excited to share his work with you. I’m going out on a limb to say this won’t be the last we see of him. Thanks Scott!

Find out more about Scott at, on his Facebook page, or purchase his art here.

Story Starters: Jasmine J.

Lamar Signing at Kelly Miller Middle School, Washington, DC

Lamar Signing at Kelly Miller Middle School, Washington, DC

I recently had the privilege of visiting Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington, DC (before we in Virginia got slammed with snow and I got slammed with the flu) as part of An Open Book Foundation’s and We Need Diverse Books’ WNDB in the Classroom initiative. I met about 75 great kids and during our time together, they each participated in an activity that I call “Story Starters”. As a group, we came up with a couple of story prompts, and the kids then ran with the concept creating their own unique short story. I’m happy to debut one of those stories right here. This one is from Jasmine J., a promising writer/poet.

Without further delay, Jasmine’s Story…

Brenaeh never wanted to fall in love again, but the new kid would not be so kind. One day in class, at wonder view middle school. In Ms Honey’s class, Brenaeh was minding her own business doing her work. But then suddenly, there was a knock on the door and coming through the door was the new kid along with the principal at his side. Ms Honey said ” attention everyone, principal Luna has someone that she would like to introduce”. Principal Luna said ” thank you for your attention, good morning students”. The class said ” good morning principal Luna”. Principal Luna said ” well, everyone this is Mason and he is your new student in your class and I want everyone to be kind to him”.

Copyright © 2015 Jasmine J.

Thank you Jasmine for such great work!

More story starters to come!


2015 Edgar Award Nominee: FAKE ID

So, this happened this morning:

2015 Edgar Award YA nominee My debut YA Thriller, FAKE ID, was nominated for a 2015 Edgar Award for Best YA Book by Mystery Writers of America.

I have no words (even though I just wrote a bunch of them and will write some more–what can I say? I’m a man of contradictions).

To put this in context, this is the Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammy’s, for mystery writers. Now I know when people say that old line about how it’s an honor to even be nominated, they’re probably telling the truth. I know I am.

Winners are announced at a big deal, black tie banquet in April, in NYC. I will keep you posted as the time draws near.

Stay tuned…


Live from the Write Cave: Writing Every (or Most) Days

Word Count It’s your buddy, Lamar. Broadcasting from my secret lair, The Write Cave. Some days the writing goes easier than others. Today was not one of those days.

I started my efforts around 8:30 this morning and slogged through, not hitting my word count until 6:30. Mind you, I took breaks to run to the post office, buy a new pair of badly needed casual shoes, get in a workout at the gym (still maintaining the 2015 goal), and grab some groceries. Yes, that’s a lot of breaks. And no, I wasn’t super-focused distraction free writer today, but I think that had a lot to do with words. Let me explain…

When I’m in a story, and I’m excited, the writing goes faster. When the writing slogs, one of two things are happening. Either it’s just one of those scenes that has to be slower to facilitate what’s coming, OR the scene is wrong. Today was the latter. I’d ventured down a path that just wasn’t leading anywhere. It felt dull, the pacing was off. What to do?

Delete, delete, delete. When in doubt…cut a bunch of stuff you already wrote. Maybe cry a little.

This is the importance of writing constantly. Write everyday (or most days) because a lot of that writing will be garbage, meant to be tossed. You write often to eventually get to the good stuff.

That’s all for now.

BTW, the blog is back!

Don’t forget, enter to win an ARC of my latest, ENDANGERED. Info Below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Endangered ARC Giveway

Endangered CoverWell, you knew it was coming, right? I’m giving someone a signed ENDANGERED galley a full month before the book hits shelves. You know the drill. Contest starts on 01/10/2015 and runs through 03/10/2015. 3 ways to enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Birthday Wish: Meet Stephen King

sk_book_tour_14This year, for my 35th birthday, I want to meet Stephen King. I need your help to do it. Bear with me.

Mr. King’s latest novel, REVIVAL, releases on November 11th, and he’ll kick off a six city tour in New York. The second stop on that tour is Washington D.C. on November 12th, two days before my birthday. I already have tickets to the event–Go Me!–but, I want to go one step further. I want to shake the man’s hand.

ONE of my SK shelves

ONE of my SK shelves

Any of you who know me, may know what his work has meant to my life and career. If you don’t know, I only mention it here, here, and here. I read IT when I was 11; it’s the book that made me want to be a writer. Then, every year since my 14th birthday, whenever a new Stephen King novel was released in the fall, it became my go to present (seriously, ask my mom, who will be attending the DC event with me).

I’m not going to drag this out. This is me turning on the Bat Signal without shame. Can any of the many publishing peeps I know help me facilitate a brief meeting–seriously, a handshake, maybe a photo; no Annie Wilkes stuff over here–with one of the greatest literary icons of all time? If you have a connection with Politics & Prose (the sponsor bookstore), The George Washington University (the host venue), the Scribner imprint at Simon and Schuster (Mr. King’s publisher), and/or Mr. King himself, would you please consider hooking a brother up?

Of course, we roll with Godfather rules here. There may come a day when you need a favor, I will gladly reciprocate.

If you can assist, feel free to contact me directly at lrgileswriter [at] gmail [dot] com, Facebook, or by Twitter PM (if we follow each other). Operation: We All Float commences now.

Thanks in advance.

Want to spread the word, here’s a ready made tweet for you:

@LRGiles has a birthday wish: meet @StephenKing. Details here> #operationweallfloat


LRGiles_Headshot_ProBoardsLamar Giles writes stories for teens and adults, and is a founding member/VP of Communications for We Need Diverse Books. His YA thriller FAKE ID is out now, and his next novel, ENDANGERED, will be published by HarperCollins in 2015.