Lamar Giles
Facebook Twitter Goodreads Tumblr Pinterest Instagram RSS feed
Bring Lamar to Your School/Event

Indie Spotlight: COVENANT

Back again, folks. I’ve been super busy with promotion for my eBooks and new writing, but I realized I’ve neglected the blog for too long. So, in my constant effort to find a sustainable angle that lets me get info out to you all in a timely manner, I’ve decided to feature some of the great books I stumble upon as I go deeper into the Indie Publishing Rabbit Hole.

First up, COVENANT by Brandon Massey. Available in the following formats: Paperback | Kindle | Nook

DISCLAIMER: If you know me, then you realize Brandon’s work isn’t something I just discovered. I’m a long-time fan, and he’s a friend. He is also an Indie Author, so COVENANT does fit the criteria here.

DESCRIPTION: On a golden summer morning, fifteen-year-old Anthony Thorne is on a fishing boat with his father, rods cast into the lake, when the crack of a rifle shatters the silence. His father slumps forward, blood leaking from his chest. Horrified, Anthony spins in the direction of the gunfire, and sees a shadowy figure race away from the shore and vanish in the cover of the trees–a vision that will haunt him for years to come . . .

Anthony pulls his dad into his arms, but he is beyond help. He dies in Anthony’s embrace, Anthony’s scream of anguish echoing across the still waters.

Fifteen years later, a happily married Marine veteran and author of a bestselling series of crime novels, Anthony has achieved a measure of success. But the past still haunts him-—in spite of his eyewitness testimony, his father’s murder was declared a hunting accident, and no one was ever brought to justice.

On the anniversary of his father’s death, a mysterious message arrives from an unknown sender that promises to lead Anthony to the truth. But is Anthony’s helper the angel he’d been waiting for–or a devil in disguise?

Determined to find answers, Anthony and his wife soon find themselves hunted by a team of assassins dispatched by a powerful organization with frightening technological resources. The killers pursuing them are as fanatical in their beliefs as they are well-equipped–loyal followers of a charismatic leader who might be the most dangerous man in America . . .

My Take: Massey cranks up the thrills with a fast paced combination of chases, gunplay, and mega conspiracy that is sure to please fans of the Harlan Coben style novel. Thorne is a natural action hero who I’d like to see more of in the future. I don’t know if there are plans to make him a series character, but I’d certainly enjoy another outing with Thorne.

If you like thrillers and reasonable prices, do yourself a favor and check out Covenant.

My eVolution

Been awhile, folks. Happy New Year (he says, three weeks late).

As always, I apologize for the M.I.A act, but I’ve been gone for a good reason…well, I hope you think it’s a good reason.

Of course I’ve been writing, and also been prepping for the next (immediate) step in my writing career. Indie Publishing.

As of yesterday, you can purchase two of my novels for your Kindle, Nook, or other compatible eReader device.

For the record, this isn’t an ad for either book. If you care to download a free sample or purchase either book, you can utilize this link, or any of the links in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

This is more like the first journal entry in a year long experiment. You see, I don’t know how to market things, and I don’t know if people will like what I’m offering, but I gotta start somewhere. I expect there to be a lot of trial and error as I attempt to strike a balance between my natural inclination to not annoy folks with the necessary assertiveness it takes to make people aware that I have a product they may want to take a look at.

As always, I’m an open book (no pun intended). I’ll post about my efforts, the results, and any hurdles I hit along the way. So far I’ve sold 3 books total. Not bad for the first couple of days. I’ve heard of much slower starts. Time will tell if this first 3 was the start of a movement or the peak.

More to come folks…

The Mockingbirds: A must read

When you’re an adult that enjoys YA a curious thing happens from time to time…you find that the reading is a bit like time traveling. Not so much in the time frames and settings that you read about, but in the emotions and memories. Quite often, I can read work by my peers and vividly recall the best and worst experiences of my high school days. I’m most attracted to books that lend to stronger recall. I want to read books about me.

Admittedly, I didn’t know if I’d get such an experience when I purchased The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney.

DISCLAIMER: Daisy is a friend. I will read and support her work no matter what. Not that she needed my help. The book had been building buzz for some time, and since its debut less than two months ago, has appeared on several ‘best of’ lists for 2010. The Mockingbirds did not require a charity read.

So I didn’t feel bad going into it with an I’ll-give-it-a-shot attitude. I know Daisy is good at what she does, and the whole “Secret Society doling out justice at a boarding school” angle sounded really cool. My apprehension came from the other part…

*(hardly a) Spoiler Alert*

…the date rape.

I never heard about that sort of thing when I was growing up. That didn’t happen where I was from. Was I going to get anything out of a book so far removed from what I knew about life as a teenager?

Silly, silly me.

Like I said, it’s all about the recall. The skilled writer can take a reader to a place of relevancy, a time when their experiences link to those of the character’s like adjoining puzzle pieces. And, I as I read about Alex, a girl who had too much to drink and was violated in the worst way, I recalled some things.

I recalled overheard conversations in the boys locker room that I wouldn’t repeat in polite company. I recalled once vibrant girls disappearing from the social landscape as if they never were. I recalled the meanness, the taking sides, the believing things that were wrong were really right because such notions were simply cooler.

I recalled that in my high school there was no real justice. Just endurance. A secret society of do-gooders would’ve been welcome.

The Mockingbirds is as good as (and possibly more important than) the hot dystopian thriller, or cute girly-girl dramedy. If this book can make me–a guy 15 years removed from his last day in a high school hallway–recall the hidden atrocities children endure, what can it do for those still in the midst of class changes and cafeteria drama?

Buy this book if you’re a teen. If you’re not a teen, buy 2 copies. One for yourself, and one for a teen you know.

Books like this have the ability to transcend from the “great story” category to “modern day parable”. They teach. And, once something is learned, it can’t be unlearned. The lesson here: Silence isn’t golden.

I wish I could recall learning it then instead of now.

Writer Secret #4,282: It’s never NOT hard

You ever see one of those masked magician shows? You know, where the guy tells you how magic tricks really work at the risk of being blackballed by other magicians across the globe (sidenote: being blackballed by these guys would seem much scarier if they were more like Voldemort and less like Penn and Teller…anyhow). Today, that’s me. I’m going to dispel some of the myths and murmurs I’ve heard over the years relating to what writing is and what writers do. Without a mask. Because I’m fearless.

In this edition, I want to talk about the idea that it’s just easy for (some) writers to knock off story after story like they’re a print factory (Cough-STEPHEN KING-Cough). Obviously, when it comes to personal experience I can only speak for myself, but I know enough writers, and have read enough about writers by writers to infer that what I’m about to share with you is pretty universal.

If there is a such thing as a muse, she’s a lazy $&#^*. She’s the equivalent of those people who find out you’re a writer and say stuff like, “I’ve got this great idea. [they tell you their idea and it isn’t great at all]. You can write it, then WE can sell it and get rich. Just promise not to steal it.”

Oh, I promise, and my word is ironclad.

Anyway, the idea may come in a flash. In its skeletal form it might be the right mix of suspense, and comedy, and have a dog in it. That’s the fun part, the dreaming it up.

Getting it on paper legibly, with the words in the right order is another story all together.

You have to do the work (I’m in the midst of an anxiety filled revision at this very moment), and there will be times where it’s tempting to just do something less strenuous. But, the sense of fulfillment when you finish…the knowledge that someone may read what you slaved over and enjoy it…dulls the birthing pains.

It’s never NOT hard, folks. But it is worth it.

My M.I.A Act

I know I’ve been missing in action, and I do apologize, but it’s been a hectic month. I turned 31 last week, and I’m also going through the most intense time in my writing career thus far.

I can’t talk details at this moment, but I hope to be able to share some of the things that have been happening sometime in the future. In the meantime, I want you to know that I’m still here and I plan to resume the writing advice immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday (Let’s be real, you don’t really care about any of it prior to the holiday…all you’re thinking about is Turkey…me too).

So don’t eat too much (or do…it’s all good). Travel safely (for those of you who are going to get felt up at security checkpoints because of the new TSA regulations, just go to your happy place). We’ll chat again in December.

The morning after

I usually try to veer away from politics, particularly here. It’s a no-win argument. However, now that the mid-term elections have passed, I’ve heard–more like read on Facebook–several friends make statements like, “This is crazy…I’m moving to Canada” because they didn’t like the outcome.(Apparently, one of the parties is more powerful than the other…imagine that.) What strikes me most odd is that 2 years ago, after the presidential election, about an equal number of friends made similar statements about leaving the country.

News flash: nobody’s left yet.

These morning-after tantrums are similar to Post-Superbowl/NBA Finals/World series bitch fests about unfair referees, blown leads, and steriod use. The party system has become more about what team you root for, how much the other team sucks, and personal investments in being right (not politically right, but It-pains-me-to-ever-be-wrong right).

And, it’s all just noise.

Here’s a game, folks: Name the changes and constants of the last decade (or two, three, four decades). You must do it without tossing blame over the wall. In other words, make your observations without naming a single politician or pointing a finger at an opposing party. If this is hard for you to do, well, you have to ask yourself if you’re concerned with the problems, or just rooting for your team?

I watched a movie on television this weekend, and was jarred by some of the quotes:

The steel mills were laying people off left and right. They finally went under. We gave the steel companies a break when they needed it. You know what they gave themselves? Raises.

I worked there for ten years and things just seemed to dry up. They lost fourteen banks in one week.

The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are non-existent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices.

I deliver a hard day’s work for my money. I just want the chance. It’ll come. I believe in America. I follow the rules. Everybody’s got their own hard times these days.

[A subliminal message on a dollar bill]THIS is your God.”

The film was John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE.  Yes, I realize this is a science-fiction film, but it was meant to paint a broad picture of the socio-economic climate of the day. The film was released in 1988. Twenty-two years ago. Draw your own conclusions.

I did vote yesterday. Not that I have any particular faith in the system, but because people fought and died for me to do so (long after some other people fought and died for a more privileged group to have the same right…another story for another time). In an effort to not dishonor the sacrifices of my ancestors, I picked the team colors I could tolerate, grabbed a pom-pom, and screamed for my preferred team captain already knowing the outcome would be more significant in record books than in my everyday life.

You know the old saying, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. It’s an old saying for a reason.

First day of the month…

Rabbit, rabbit… 🙂

The best writing advice ever

Hey, gang. Sorry for the MIA act over the last week and a half. Didn’t mean to leave you hanging, but life gets in the way sometimes. I know you come here to talk about The Job, and I’ll give you an update on how that’s going momentarily. Before I do, I wanted to impart some wisdom upon you.

Writing can be a number of things. Therapeutic, fun, relaxing, exciting…you get my point. But, it can also be something else that doesn’t sound so pleasant. Writing can become all consuming.

Each time you hit a goal it’s like a shot of some drug. Trust me, the first time I walked into a bookstore and picked up something that contained MY WORDS, I didn’t sleep for two days. It felt that good. Anyone who’s ever had too much caffeine will tell you that when you crash, you crash hard, and the type of jovial high I experienced was no different. As great as it is to see your words in print, the feeling doesn’t last.

You want to do it again. Each rejection you receive is like being denied that drug you want so badly, and if you don’t control you jones your mood can change, you can become despondent, other things in life begin to matter less. This is a bad place to be.

Here comes the best writing advice ever…

Live your life, don’t write your life.

I’ve been all over the emotional spectrum when it comes to putting words on paper, but what I’ve come to realize is reaching the next goal isn’t the same as reaching happiness. Things don’t always go your way in this business (in fact, they rarely do) but if you start hinging your emotional well-being, your needs, on how this industry reacts to you then you’ll soon be generating your own misery.

Thus, my hiatus from blogging this past week. I was living my life, and I may write about some of what I did one day. Probably not though. Some things you use to mine material, some things you use just to keep yourself sane. Know the difference, and know which is most important.

Now, The Job. As you know, I’m out on submission. And, I’m waiting. That’s all. Not the most exciting update, but there’s a lot of waiting in this business. I expect good news soon, though. When I hear something you all will be the first to know.

In the meantime my current novel is about 35% complete. This one’s been rough to write. Not for any emotional reasons, the words just feel thick in my brain. They’re coming out slow, like squeezing molasses through a pinhole. I will press on.

Next time folks, I’m going to talk to you about the various #litchat conversations happening over on Twitter. Good stuff that might be worth your time.

In the meantime, get away from the computer, take a walk, kiss your spouse. Live. If you can learn to get your high from the everyday stuff, then maybe you don’t ever have to come down.

My Winning Query

Quick post today. My new friend Aimee L. Salter does a really neat thing on her blog where she posts query letters that actually snagged agents or publishers. The query for my YA Mystery WHISPERTOWN is currently featured. Check it out here: Aimee’s Blog.

For more winning queries be sure to add Aimee’s blog to your RSS feed or some other preferred reader. Follow her on Twitter, too.

Whose villain are you?

We all like to believe ourselves the hero of our own life story. But, we’re less eager to consider that we are the villain in someone else’s…

However, if we can take a moment to think back on the less-than-savory exploits of our own past, we might find story telling gold.

It’s not an easy thing to do, to look in the mirror and see things as they really are, not as we wish they were. I don’t know if anyone ever does it successfully, but it’s the ugly moments that are most real, and if you can wring them for all they’re worth you can create real characters.

Real heroes (based on you).

Real villains (based on you).

Think about it. I’ll discuss this in a bit more detail next post…