Lamar Giles
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Shhhh…(kinda top secret)

Hey gang, just doing my usual drive-by posting. News and updates are going to be coming faster and furious(er?) since FAKE ID debuts in LESS THAN A YEAR!!! It’s been such a long journey that it’s hard to believe we’re so close now. HOWEVER, this post is not about my current project. It’s about my NEXT project.

Can’t give you details yet because it’s still in the classified phase (black bars and all), but here’s a glimpse at how things are progressing.

BTW – Everything’s not blacked out.

New Project_small

More soon…



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Memoirs of a Drowning Man

Hey Gang. Yep, it’s really been 7 months since my last update. SIGH…


I gotta be honest with you. It’s been a crazy year, and, unfortunately, my site maintenance fell by the wayside. Since my last update, I was:

Like I said, CRAZY!


Going Forward: As soon as I get an idea of what the FAKE ID cover will look like, I’m going to hire a designer to redo EVERYTHING! Obviously, there will be announcements when these changes are in the works.

I want you to keep coming to the site, but I don’t want to make empty promises about how often you’re going to see updates here. I’m struggling to keep up right now. I can guarantee you’ll see big changes on the site this year. In the meantime, if you haven’t LIKED my FB Fan Page, or followed me on Twitter, I kindly ask that you do so.

I provide a lot of micro-updates through those social media sites because it’s easy for me to send a short message from my phone, as I’m much more mobile these days.

So, I apologize (again) for the neglect, and if you’ve enjoyed my work in the prior years, I ask that you stick with me a little longer. Big things are in the works, but big things aren’t always fast things. Your patience and support is always appreciated. I wouldn’t be here without you.

Soon, gang. Soon.



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Readers, why I haven’t been very good to you…

Hey, there. I know it’s been awhile. But look, I bought you flowers.

Now, listen. I know I haven’t been around much,  I understand if you don’t want to take my gift, and you’re tired of my disappearing acts. Just…just give me a chance to explain.

See, first, the good news: I’ve been in my cave, producing a bunch of new stuff. Now, the bad news: I can’t really show you any of it yet.

Here’s the sitch: I used to be an independent author. Solely. That meant I could write as fast as possible, publish just as fast, and, generally, keep $*&# moving. That was fun, and kept me in close contact with you. But, the downside involved me being a one-man band. Writer/Cover Designer/Marketer/Editor (well, editorial isn’t necessarily a strong suit, so I did farm that out when I could, but I had to make corrections based on feedback myself, which has resulted in the thing all indie authors fear the most…typos).

As you know, I signed a publishing contract with HarperCollins, one of the largest publishers in America, last August. Harpers will publish my debut YA mystery novel sometime soon (the dates aren’t nailed down). This is something I’ve been working for my whole life, and I’m looking forward to being in bookstores all over the country. BUT, seeing this lifelong dream fulfilled doesn’t come without hiccups.

Harpers is huge, and I’m not even a small cog in their machine. I’m more like lubricant (slosh that around in your head for a minute). I’ll have to work my butt off to be even a low priority there. I’m not complaining, I just want to explain why you, the loyal readers who have supported LIVE AGAIN, THE DARKNESS KEPT, and THE SHADOWS GALLERY, haven’t seen a new book from me in over a year.

There are new books. I’ve finished drafts of 2 novels that aren’t contracted to Harpers. And, though not in their final states, the books are kick-ass. My band has expanded, though. I now have really good beta-readers (for those unfamiliar with the lingo, these are people who aren’t necessarily editors, but who give pro-level critiques) to help make the books better than I ever could on my own. I’ve got two agents (lit and film) who want to see clean versions of the books before anyone else. Then, finally, I’ve got my editor at Harpers, who took a chance on me, and deserves first dibs on these books if she decides they’d fit her list. Bottom line: for those books, I no longer have the ability to hand them directly to you, to be read on your Kindles or Nooks the way I used to. I’m sorry about that.

I don’t mean to neglect you. I should never have neglected you. I’ve come up with something that might help.

I just released a new suspense story, “When Scary People Know Your Name“, to Kindle (A Nook version is coming in a few days). It’s only .99 cents and I think you’ll like it.

I’ll continue to release short, inexpensive stories. Maybe as often as once a month. For you.

Also, since my representatives are focused on my Young Adult work, I’m going to brainstorm something outside of that realm–something longer than a short story–that will please you, too.

See, I haven’t forgotten you, or where I came from.

Please forgive me. Take the flowers. Check out the new story. And be on the lookout for other gifts, coming soon.

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California here I come…

I will be in LA for the rest of the week attending the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 40th Anniversary Summer Conference. It’s my first trip to the West Coast and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ll be posting pictures throughout the weekend to my Facebook Fan Page. “Like” me and tell your friends to “Like” me, too. You can see what sort of silliness I get into over the next few days.

Also, follow me on Twitter (@LRGiles) and keep an eye on the official conference hashtag for a lot of cool stuff from the numerous writers in attendance: #LA11SCBWI

I may blog a bit while I’m there, otherwise I’ll catch you when I’m back in my timezone…


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What book are you chasing?

First, I’m not going to give you suggestions on the best ways to follow a shot of top-shelf whiskey. For those who feel mislead, I’m sorry to disappoint. Moving on…

The title of this post is actually a reference to the 1997 film Chasing Amy written and directed by Kevin Smith. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a pretty funny indie film currently available through Netflix Instant Streaming. And you might want to view it before I reveal this little tidbit that explains the origin of the title when no one in the film is named Amy.

*spoiler alert*

Towards the end of the movie the Silent Bob character, who is played by the director himself, gives a poignant monologue about how he messed up a good relationship with a woman named Amy over something that, in the scheme of things, was stupid. Now, he spends his days trying to find the same level of fulfillment he experienced with her. He’s constantly “Chasing Amy”.

I can’t relate to Silent Bob’s relationship woes because I’m happily married, but I’m a bit of a book whore. It occurred to me that I spend a lot of time trying to find a book that gives me the same level of fulfillment as certain other titles I’ve read over the years. I’m not the only one, and publishers know this, which is why when a book or series is successful, you immediately see a thousand clones (painfully obvious in YA right now with every other book aiming to be this week’s Hunger Games). Thing is, the clones almost never live up to the original*, so, sadly, the longing is never fulfilled.

That’s neither here nor there. See, for me personally, I think there is ONE  book (MAYBE two) that moved me so much that I’m always trying to find a book that gives me the same level of enjoyment and satisfaction while disappointing me because I know it has to end. For me, it’s NIGHTWORLD by F. Paul Wilson (BLOOD BROTHERS by Steven Barnes is a close runner-up).

I read both books when I was 19 years old, and they CHANGED me, influencing my reading and writing habits ever since. Now, I spend everyday chasing Nightworld.

What about you? Any particular book that you can’t seem to get out of your system, no matter how many books you read? Please, let me know in the comments.

*If you know of a book that was an obvious clone of another, but somehow surpassed the original, please share. I’d be interested to check them out.

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By popular demand: PAPERBACKS

You asked and I provided…

Due to the popularity of my eBooks and numerous requests from those who don’t utilize eReader technology, I’ve made two of my books, LIVE AGAIN and THE SHADOWS GALLERY, available as trade paperbacks. As of today, you can click on the links below or on the links available throughout the site to purchase your copy. Be sure to spread the word. Happy Reading.

LIVE AGAIN in paperback


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Is a perfect Ten good enough for Hollywood?

I just finished From Cape Town with Love by Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, the third book in their incredible Tennyson Hardwick series, and my review at the end of this post can also be found on the book’s Amazon page where it’s currently enjoying a 5-star rating (fyi~ that means its really good, y’all, so buy it). But, there’s something else I want to discuss here. Particularly, another Amazon reviewer’s mysticism over Actor Blair Underwood’s involvement with the novel.

I’ve been a huge fan of all three principles involved in this book for years (incidentally, Underwood is a local celebrity where I grew up…he’s from Petersburg, VA, neighbor and sports rival to my own home town of Hopewell, VA), so I’ve made a point to follow the history and development of this series. I’ll give a brief recap of Tennyson’s evolution (this is strictly as I understand it, if I get any part of this wrong, someone please feel free to correct me), then discuss why such a team-up is important.

From what I’ve pieced together, Underwood, Due, and Barnes all played a hand in creating the current version of Tennyson Hardwick, meaning everyone had input, but when it came to actually putting pen to paper, Due and Barnes did the heavy lifting (though Underwood was never out of the loop). The first novel in the series, Casanegra, debuted in 2007, with the second, In the Night of the Heat, coming a year later.

Tennyson (or “Ten”…a couple of reasons for this nickname which I won’t get into here) is a former male “escort”, sometime actor, and all-time trouble magnet. He lives in L. A. navigating the Hollywood landscape that we all love to gossip about while caring for his elderly father, and avoiding a black belt in martial arts though he’s more than skilled enough to acquire one. The first novel has him investigating the murder of a female rapper/former lover, in the second it’s the death of an NFL player who’d been accused of killing his wife, and the third has him involved in a high-profile kidnapping case. Weighty stuff for an oft-unemployed black actor, right?

But, each book is amazingly well-written, with layering that makes the odd mix of skills and events described above not only plausible, but tragic. Tennyson goes on an almost yearly tour of Hell, not much different than a Jack Bauer, or a Buffy Summers, or a Bruce Wayne. I make these pop culture references for a specific reason. I’m sure that someone reading my brief description of Tennyson Hardwick above might’ve thought, “Wow, how far-fetched is that?”

More so than a super agent who’s pulled a gun on the president, a teenaged girl with super-strength and collection of wooden stakes, or a billionaire who dresses up like a bat and fights the Joker?

Okay, there’s a lot of wild characters in pop culture, what’s your point, Lamar?

My point is this: it’s been no secret from the beginning of the series that Underwood, Due, and Barnes have had visions of Tennyson on the big screen (maybe the small screen…some screen, somewhere). Underwood IS Tennyson, his public face and publicist. As an accomplished black actor he brings visibility to the series that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Unlike books that garner studio interest before even being released, the extremely strong concept of the Tennyson Hardwick series HAS to go on the campaign trail. There have to be correlations drawn, like those word problems on the SAT:

IF Blair Underwood has been successful in TV and Film, AND Blair Underwood is Tennyson Hardwick, THEN Tennyson Hardwick *MIGHT be successful in TV and Film.

*I use ‘might’ because I’d love to see Ten on the big screen. The problem is when it comes to media images–the characters you see in movies, TV, commercials, and in magazines–we still live in a world that is highly exclusionary of People of Color. This is nothing new. Steven Barnes, one of Tennyson’s creators, comments on this very issue often. And, if anyone takes the time to notice (and most people don’t want to), you don’t really have to dig that deep to see it for yourself. In recent films, at that.

So, Mr. Reviewer who was put off by Blair Underwood’s involvement, please understand that it’s necessary.  It’s an attempt to get whoever makes the decisions in movie land to see the absurdity of how things are done. In a place where government agents can save the world in a mere 24 hours on 8 separate occasions, a girl can kill vampires and still make it to class on time, and a rich guy can fly a custom made Bat-plane off his property with no one noticing, a handsome black man who solves crimes SHOULD NOT be the most unrealistic pitch of the day.

And now, my review of From Cape Town with Love:

Hardwick. Tennyson Hardwick…the under worked actor turned bodyguard turned P.I. steps into the world of international intrigue in this third installment of the fan favorite series. And he does not disappoint. When the adopted South African daughter of Oscar-winning actress Sofia Maitlin is kidnapped on Tennyson’s watch, he’ll raze the earth to bring the child home. But, there is more going on than meets the eye. To say much more would spoil some wonderful surprises, but I will posit that there is something here to suit all tastes. Wonderful martial arts and gun play, romance, sex, fast cars, beautiful women, and more fun twists and turns than a water slide. Do yourself a favor, accompany Tennyson on his latest mission…just be sure to keep you head down, and do as he says because no one does this better than him. (5 stars)

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Gaining traction in ePublishing

This week, I’m debuting two of my novels, LIVE AGAIN and THE DARKNESS KEPT, in Amazon’s Kindle Store and on Anyone following the recent trends in the business know that ePublishing to digital platforms like Kindle, Nook, iPad, and so on are making many authors small fortunes while potentially redefining (or destroying, if you let some tell it) the traditional publishing model. I can’t say seeing some of that ‘small fortune’ money wouldn’t be nice, but I have other motivations in taking this route.

I’ve spent years trying to break into publishing with some minor to moderate success. Ultimately, I want to sell a novel (what writer doesn’t?) but have been met with the same heartaches and frustrations that most writers encounter. I’ve had numerous form rejections, as well as ‘rave rejections’ (meaning agents really liked what I was doing, thought I was fresh and original, but couldn’t commit due to a soft marketplace). I’ve spent years in front of my computer pecking out words only to amass a number of manuscripts that would never see the light of day…until now.

I’ll be the first to admit that everything I’ve written is not publishable. But, I’ve got some things I’m really proud of, and I’m kind of tired of waiting for a stranger in New York to shuffle through their slushpile and recognize that I’m more than a 1 page query letter. So, I’ll attempt this difficult task of self-publishing and promoting my older work while still producing new material to shop traditionally.

Does anyone out there feel the same way? Have you already taken the leap into ePublishing? If so, comment. Talk to me about what you’re doing. What works, and what doesn’t? I’ll be happy to keep you posted on my efforts as well.

Until next time…

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