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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Two Weeks to Go!

These are the things that we know:

On December 30th 1916, Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin was murdered by a group of nobles led by Felix Yusupov, husband of the Tsar’s niece. His body was found a few days later in the Neva River. He’d been shot in the head at close range, according to autopsy reports.


In the wee hours of the morning on July 17th 1918, in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia, ex-Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, ex-Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children were roused from sleep and escorted by guards out of the home, across a courtyard, and into a basement. Nicholas carried his ailing son, Alexei, in his arms. In the basement, Bolsheviks read Nicholas his death sentence, and then murdered the entire family.


In 1924, after the death of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin became the leader of the Communist Party, and the Soviet Union.


June 22 1941, the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, invading the Soviet Union. The Red Army was able to hold Moscow, and the operation failed.


July 1942, the Nazis bombed the Soviet steppe city of Stalingrad, kicking off one of the longest, bloodiest battles in human history: The Battle of Stalingrad.


These are the things that we know.

We also know that amid the bloody chaos of war, individual stories of bravery, and sacrifice, and great loss are often buried amidst the stacks and stacks of battle statistics. Sometimes, in the dry recitation of wins and losses, we forget that men and women lived these wars. They fought and bled and scrapped and killed to stay alive. They saw things. Terrible things. Some more terrible than others.

This is a war story. Like all war stories, it is a story about men…and monsters.

Sometimes, the monsters come down on the side of the angels.

Tread carefully, dear reader.


White Wolf releases two weeks from today! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Vampire Stories are Human Stories

“Once again...welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring.”
Bram Stoker, Dracula

I think the reason I've always loved the paranormal genre is because it's one that is rife with possibilities. And of all the paranormal creatures, vampires have always been my favorites. Like all book and movie monsters, they serve as dark looking glasses through which to view the human psyche; a way to examine our own wants, needs, hearts' desires, and even kinks in a way that is shocking, thrilling, and, in the case of vampires, monstrous and monstrously charming. In the vampire, we have a being who is both as refined and cultured as we could hope to be - and as base and violent as we sometimes fear we might be. There's a cleverness to good vampire stories, a perfect blend of suggestion and explicit statement, the erotic and the horrifying. 

In her introduction to Dracula, Brooke Allen writes, "If there is a moral to Dracula, it might be that simple goodness is not adequate to fight evil. One must bring brains and moral strength into the arena as well." This is true, especially given the context that in Dracula, and all resultant fiction inspired by it, as well as earlier works, the vampire is not presented as a mindless, slobbering beast, but something mostly human, with the ability to reason, to lie, to seduce, and confuse. 

Though we'll meet a variety of paranormal beings in my new Sons of Rome series, I was most excited to explore vampires and vampirism, and to create my own mythos about them. So much beautiful work has been done in the genre already, and I wanted to make sure that my spin had its own flavor, while paying homage to the original legends. I wanted to write stories that, at their hearts, are saying something about human nature, and the ways longevity and experience can shape and, sometimes, warp it. 

There are several central characters in the series who are vampires (including Vlad Tepes!) but my favorite would have to be Valerian, who we get to meet for the first time in White Wolf, and who will be the focus of the third book.


"This is about one thing: power. Everyone craves it, and only a few can hold it. It’s the one lasting tenant of this world that survives century after century: the craving and pursuit of power.”
Sasha swallowed the rising lump in his throat. “You’re wrong.”
“Am I?” He arched a single brow, smile mocking.
“Why would you tell me all of that anyway?”
He shrugged and sat back. “I’ve always liked wolves, myself. Couldn’t stand the mages – crafty liars, all of them. But wolves have a certain rough honesty to them. They’re emotion, and instinct, and so rarely have machinations of their own.” He smiled up at the sky, almost wistful. Then glanced back at Sasha. “Consider it my good deed of the day.” He snorted. “Better make that decade.”
“Are you a vampire?” Sasha asked.
“Yes,” the prince answered, just as simply.
“Is [redacted] like you?”
“He’s nothing like me.”
In the silence that followed, Sasha heard his wolves approaching, their breath and heartbeats, felt their curiosity and wariness. They couldn’t smell the prince either, but could sense their alpha’s distress.
Finally, the prince got to his feet and dusted off his pristine breeches. “I better be going, then.”
“Wait!” Sasha said, and it came out a shout.
The prince gave him an amused glance.
“What’s your name?”
That earned him another fang-flashing smile. “I always tell my friends to call me Val,” he said, winked, and then was gone. Vanished into thin air, as if he’d never been there at all.

White Wolf
Copyright © 2017 by Lauren Gilley

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Fluff: The Party Part One

Everyone knew Remy L√©cuyer was in love with Lucy McCall…except for Lucy McCall. Or, he thought darkly, maybe she knew, but didn’t return his sentiments, and thought the kind thing to do was pretend she didn’t notice that he stared at her too long sometimes, and always found a way to sit next to her.  Because she was nice. She was the kind of genuinely sweet, soft spoken, thoughtful person who mailed handwritten thank you notes, who remembered shopkeeper’s names and thought to ask after their ailing relatives. Who didn’t mind pitching in even when her eyelids were flagging; who tutored children and volunteered at every single club charity event, smiling at everyone she encountered.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Whole Way Through

An unofficial, belated Workshop Wednesday post, since I've been too deep in trying to finish White Wolf to be a proper blogger. 

Back during my show days, my trainer, who was wonderful, had two last-minute things she would say before every dressage test. "You really gotta get in there." And "Ride the whole test."

One of the more popular, and hilarious misconceptions I've encountered about riding has been that new riders think that once you ask a horse to do something, it keeps doing it until you tell it to stop. Kick once for trot, and the horse keeps trotting until you whoa. They quickly learn that this is not the case at all. Horses don't have buttons to push; they're highly sensitive, and intelligent, and to ride a horse is to be in constant, subtle and kind communication with them. 

A dressage test is a collection of cavalry movements performed in a particular pattern, and to ride the whole test means that you don't just execute one movement, and rush to the next, with sloppy in-between moments. It means you approach each transition with the same care and attention to detail. No slacking off, no sitting like a sack of potatoes. Constant communication and correction. 

I love my riding/writing metaphors, and I've always been struck by the ways "ride the whole test" applies to writing a novel. Some scenes are more exciting than others, more enjoyable for the author to write, but in order to pull off a book that is enjoyable throughout for the reader, the writer must approach each chapter, each page, each scene, each line with the same care and thoughtfulness. You aren't writing a few scenes linked together with filler; you're writing the whole book, moment to moment. Make each sentence count. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

White Wolf - Official Summary

I shared this in the Sons of Rome readers group a few weeks ago, and now, with just a month left to go, here's the official back cover blurb for White Wolf, Sons of Rome Book One. 

NYPD homicide detective Trina Baskin is having nightmares. Vivid ones. Full of blood, and snow, dead wolves…and a young man with pale hair who howls like an animal. She chalks them up to stress and an overactive imagination, too many Old Country stories from her Russian father who, when he’s had too much vodka, starts to rave about dark forces and things that look like men…but aren’t.

But then a case hits her desk that can’t be explained. A young man found outside a club with a nasty bite mark on his neck – and not a drop of blood left in his body. With no leads, no theories that bear exploring, too little sleep, and a partner who seems to be willfully throwing his career down the toilet, the last thing Trina needs is a full-on out of body experience…in which her family’s past is revealed to her, and everything starts making a whole lot of terrifying sense.

In 1942, Trina’s great-grandfather, Nikita, is a captain of the Cheka, the Soviet political police – or so it seems. He and his men are sent to Siberia to retrieve a “volunteer,” the boy who’s going to win the war against the Nazis – and potentially unleash hell on earth.

The world’s immortal population has been living quietly, secretly, hiding from the wars of men, hoping the past can stay buried. But what happens on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1942 will change everything.

In 2017, Trina is about to come face-to-face with her own past in a way she never thought possible. It turns out monsters are real – and they might be the only hope for survival.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ghost and Ash

Have some surprise Friday fluff! Spoilers for American Hellhound


“You’re not scrawny.” That’s what Ava always said, rolling her eyes as she did so. Exactly like a sister was supposed to. Then she’d say, “Finish your breakfast, sweetie, or you’ll be late.” Or, “Did you finish your homework?” Or some other totally mom thing to say.

Monday, September 18, 2017


I love to hear from readers, and invite everyone to email me ( or message me on Facebook ( Gilley - Author). But I thought it might be helpful to consolidate some of my frequently asked questions so everyone can benefit from the answers. These are the things I get asked most often, and my answers:

When is the next Dartmoor book coming out?
Sometime next year, most likely. I don't keep to hard deadlines - because I don't have to, yay! and also because farm life and my poor immune system sometime throw a wrench in the works. The next Dartmoor book will be Fox's, titled Prodigal Son, and so far I have about 8k words of it written. White Wolf has been the sort of complex, research-intensive book that requires all of my attention, so we won't see Fox until the spring. 

When does White Wolf release?
I'm shooting for a Halloween release. It's not up for preorder, so be sure to follow my pages, or follow me on Amazon, so you can be notified when it goes live. 

Can I have an ARC?
I'm sorry, but I've elected not to give out digital advance review copies. I've had some bad luck in doing so in the past - The Skeleton King was released on all the pirate sites several weeks ahead of its release. Which. Yikes. Fool me once, and all that. Also, I've realized ARCs are counterproductive for me. The moment a book is polished and ready for release, I like to turn it over to my readers. ARCs would slow that process, and also play favorites and risk spoilers. I am always happy to donate copies to a giveaway, and host release week giveaways on my own, so be sure to email me if you'd like to host a giveaway. 

Will your books be available for audio?
This is the answer that has made some readers, to my puzzlement, spitting mad. And the answer is no, not anytime soon. Why? While I appreciate the fact that some readers benefit greatly from audio books, and want to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to making my work available to all audiences, at the moment, as an indie author, the audio process is both extremely time consuming and extremely expensive, and it doesn't make sense for me as a businesswoman. I'm an artist who loves to share her art, yes, but I'm also a single gal doing it on her own who is a small business owner, and I have to do what makes sense for my business so that I can continue to write books for everyone. 

Can I buy signed books?
Yes, you can! Email me at with your order, and I can invoice you via Paypal. Prices are same as on Amazon, plus shipping. I will ship internationally, but be warned that the shipping will be anywhere between $15 to $60, depending on destination. I ship domestically via media mail to keep costs down, so it can take up to a week to reach you. Priority mail available upon request. I usually have Dartmoor books in stock, but may have to order other books, so please allow an extra week for delivery. 

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