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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Getting Closer

Every Tuesday heralds another #TeaserTuesday that's a step closer to Red Rooster going live. 

Have I told you I'm excited about this book?

Only about a thousand times?

If you haven't read White Wolf yet, go grab it here, or here, or here 😀

There are so many reasons why writing the second book in my Sons of Rome series has been one of the most enjoyable writing experiences ever. But what I love the most? The chance to build a world. 

I'm such an omnivore when it comes to fiction. From ultimate favorites like Tolkien, to new favorites like The Raven Cycle, and the Shades of Magic series. From comics, to anime, to cult favorite TV, I love when an author or creator develops a world full to bursting with captivating characters. I don't like limits, or boxes, or clear delineations. I want it all

Writing this series is a chance to create a world, and then play in it. To build sweeping action sequences, and then go focus on the intimate inner thoughts of a character. To delve into their love lives, and their inner demons, and follow their character development in an organic, realistic way. A chance to take characters from history who are a few grainy paintings on a book page, and try to bring them to life as humans. Or, well...mostly humans. 

I am a nerd, and this is my jam, y'all. 

If you're wondering: what can I expect from Red Rooster?

The answer is: a character-driven urban fantasy novel.

Some questions from book one are answered, but others are posed, and left unanswered until later in the series. New characters are introduced, and familiar faces start to really come into their own. This book is a coming-together of sorts; all the main players in the series bump into one another at some point, and the events of this book serve as a jumping-off point for their individual stories going forward. Here, we start to understand the threat our heroes are up against, and their reactions are a mixed bag of duty-bound obligation, and aversion. 

This is probably not a good fit for readers who want/need a lot of romance in their reads, but this is right up your alley if you don't mind a slow burn, and enjoy the action, mystery, and magic of a very character-focused UF. 

This book cements Val as my favorite character; really, this whole series is his, if it can be called anyone's in particular. I can't wait for everyone to see him in action. 

We're getting closer! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

#TeaserTuesday - P.S.

When I finish Red Rooster, I'm bound and determined to get this finished next.

Prodigal Son
Copyright © 2018 by Lauren Gilley

From Chapter Three...

Maude’s looked cozy and warm from the outside, its light soft and butter-yellow as evening draped the street. The CLOSED sign was turned out, Albie a hump-backed shape at his desk, reading glasses on his nose, pencil moving in quick strokes over a sketchpad.

Fox took a moment to watch him unobserved. Once Albie noticed him, his posture would change, his face would close up, and he’d be a different version of himself.

Every one of his brothers wore a mask around him.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Select Lines: Red Rooster

Some lines that I like.

Red Rooster
Copyright © 2018 by Lauren Gilley

The tsarevich smoked a long moment, glancing out across the yard.
“Don’t look out there; there’s no answers there,” Nikita said. “Why are you coming along? Why are you helping?”
He took a deep breath, shoulders lifting and dropping. When his gaze returned, he seemed younger somehow; the polished, charming royal veneer had vanished, and he looked now like a lost child. “It’s…it’s been lonely,” he admitted, haltingly. “No one ever…there have been times when – when turning wasn’t an accident. When I just wanted a companion. But they never stayed.” His eyes flicked up to Nikita’s, his smile small and melancholy. “Everyone I ever turned left me. I think there’s something – something in the blood. It turns people…wrong, somehow.”


He stared at her a moment, the infuriating curve of her smile, the way she was amused by all of this. “Were you this smug in the Army?” he asked, and the smile dropped off her face. “Did you drive your CO up the wall?”
“No,” she said, getting to her feet. “I was a model soldier,” she said over her shoulder as she went to the fridge, and pulled out the box of injections. Her fingers shook a little as she worked the clasp.
Jake knew that everyone on the team had received a medical discharge from the Army, but he had no idea what sorts of injuries any of them had suffered. He wanted to ask her, suddenly: what was it for you? Which part of you starts to fail when you wait too long between shots?


Jack let out a deep, tired-sounding breath. “Ah, kid.” He leaned over and patted Rooster’s forearm. “You did the best you could.”
“But that wasn’t good enough.”
Jack sent him a level look. “Most of the time it’s not. Mainly because the world is full of people who don’t try to be anything – good or otherwise.”
Rooster…couldn’t disagree with that.
“Sometimes enough isn’t possible, and all you can do is good.”


His eyes. She recognized a bit of herself in him. Or, not really. He wasn’t like her, she didn’t think, but he was different. Not altogether human.
“Are you a doctor?” she asked, voice a rough, dry scrape.
He didn’t flinch, but his mouth tightened. “No. But you’re a mage.”
“A what?”
He cupped his hand; it was empty, the gesture was unmistakable: the way she held her own hands when she called fire.
“I didn’t know that’s what it was called,” she admitted.
He took a breath, nostrils flaring, brows pinching together over his long, straight nose. “Do you know who your parents are? Were?”
“I don’t have parents.”
“Yes, you do. I can smell them in your blood.” He growled; a quiet pulse of sound, a rumble like an unhappy dog.
Yes, he was different.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


I don't know what this is. I really don't. It's not a book. Just a little thing.

Afternoon sunlight lay butter-yellow across the manicured grass of the practice field. The varsity team was fanned across the grass in basketball shorts and sweat-soaked t-shirts, doing burpees. A red-faced strength coach screamed encouragements, and water boys stood at the ready, cups all lined up on the long table that held the Gatorade cooler.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

#RedRooster Sneak Peek: Chapter Two

Happy Valentine's Day! I have a little treat for y'all: a special sneak peek at all of chapter two of Red Rooster, Sons of Rome book two! Please be warned that this has NOT been edited AT ALL. So forgive typos and flubs; this is nothing but raw text. And also be aware that this contains MAJOR spoilers for the end of White Wolf

With that in mind, please enjoy diving back into the mess with the gang. ❤

Red Rooster
Copyright © 2018 by Lauren Gilley


Manhattan, New York
Present Day

A phone was ringing. The gentle chiming of the iPhone’s alert was far preferable to the shrill call of the landline it had replaced, but it was still an unwanted disturbance at – Nikita cracked his eyes open a crusty millimeter and read the dial on the bedside clock – four-thirty in the morning. As Sasha would say: ugh.
Speaking of Sasha.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Writing 2100: Intro to Storytelling

Writing 2100: Intro to Storytelling

Welcome to the 2000 level courses in the seminar! In the past few weeks, we’ve talked about the fundamentals of all effective writing: sentence structure, punctuation, and diction. As we go forward and begin talking about storytelling in earnest, I, your humble author, must confess that discussions from here on out will begin to sound more biased. Each author has had his or her own unique experiences when it comes to writing and publishing, and thus our advice will always be slanted – we’re going to talk about what works for us, and what we enjoy reading in the media we consume. No two writers approach the craft the same way, so just bear that in mind as we proceed. I will, though, try to speak as universally as possible.

What’s in a Story?

A story is, at its core, a piece of writing that is about something. There are characters and there is a plot – though plot is an element left to writer interpretation. There’s a quote from Sylvia Plath that I love:

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

Some stories are tautly-crafted and action-packed, while others are gentle and meandering. There’s an audience for every kind of story – perhaps a small one, for certain stories, but it’s there. As an author, you tend to gravitate toward certain storytelling techniques and styles, I know I certainly have, and that’s what we’ll talk about for the next few weeks.

First, let’s talk about the difference between plot-driven and character-driven storytelling.


In a plot-driven story, the external action is the most important element, or the driving force, of the story itself. Authors like Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton employed this brand of storytelling: thrilling adventures full of intrigue and action in which the characters are quickly-sketched vehicles through whose eyes the audience can witness the plot unfold. The emphasis is placed on what happens, when it happens, and how it happens, but you aren’t necessarily given an intimate, personal look at the characters.  


By contrast, a character-driven story is all about the internal journey of the main character(s). A person’s growth, their emotional journey, are the focus, with the plot supporting this through events that test and change them. If a plot-driven story is about a disaster, a character-driven story is about the ways a disaster affects the people who live through it. Most literary fiction is character-driven, providing insight into the human condition.

A Little Bit of Both

Most books are a combination of both storytelling approaches. For instance, I like to think of my own books as character-driven, because for me, it begins and ends with the characters. Who they are, how they grow, how they affect the world around them – that’s my focus as an author. But I also like to include plenty of drama and action in the plot. I’m selfish that way: why can’t I do both? It’s something I discovered about myself a few years ago, when I began to seriously pursue writing as a career. For me, aesthetic, emotional nuance, and realism are key, and those are earmarks of character-driven stories. But I want the plot to have a little panache, too, which is a more plot-driven kind of storytelling.

While it’s common to see either/or in certain genres, there’s no hard-line rule to that effect.

Your homework: think about your very favorite books, and ask yourself which category they fall into: is the focus on the character’s journey? Or on the overall plot? Understanding what you love can help you understand what you want to write.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Ava/Mercy Valentine's Day Short

In a perfect world, I would write a little snippet for each couple. Assume the rest of the Dartmoor crew had similar evenings. 😄

“What’s in the bag?” Aidan asked, gesturing to it with his sandwich. He had a mouthful of meatball sub, though, so that’s at least what it sounded like he asked. He sprayed crumbs down into his lap and a dab of marinara sauce dripped out, unnoticed, onto the knee of his jeans. Because he was a fucking slob who wouldn’t appreciate what Mercy had in the bag at all