Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I'm A Winner!

Last week I wrote Xs and Os for Mid-Week Blues Buster 3.07, and I found out today I won. For those of you who write flash fiction, you should try your hand at MWBB. They use a song prompt, and it always makes my mind spin a story. 3.08 is going on right now! I was super excited to win, since this was the first flash piece I'd written in some time. I've been so busy this month.

Here's the cool badge I won:
Not only have I gone on a semi-second Honeymoon with my husband in Punta Cana (you have to go there), but I published a book, The Devil Within. My mother-in-law came in town, and we took the kids to Stone Mountain. And this coming week I'm going to the Midwest Writer's Conference. So much going on!

And today, I'm celebrating another accomplishment. I went for a run and did 2 miles in 11 minutes 44 seconds. This has taken me forever to accomplish. And now I can work on increasing my mileage over the next few weeks and speed. I'm intending to do a 5K sometime later in the year (because you know, I don't have enough on my plate). I mostly run because it helps keep the weight off and I've struggled with weight for some time. I also do it so I can organize the thoughts in my head. Running is great for planning and plotting out works-in-progress. Today, I worked on figuring out the next steps in the new Southern Lit novel I'm working on. More details on that later, when I'm at a point where I feel like I can share.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Why Choose Fear?

My whole life I've been afraid of heights. I've been actively working to rid myself of this fear. This summer, I went to Punta Cana and did the zipline, then I went up a skylift at Stone Mountain, and did the Skyhike (a high ropes course). On the Skyhike, as I climbed to the second level I felt my heart steady and I concentrated on the task, and I wasn't scared. I can't say the same about the skylift--it shook when it went through the tower and I screamed! 
Caden and me on the bottom level of the Skyhike ropes course.
Even with writing, I've had fears. For years, I didn't let anyone read my writing. I doubted myself. Finally, I overcame that fear and with it I created the goal that, not only would I let people read it, but I would go above and beyond and publish my work. I would literally put myself out there for other people to read my work. People I don't know. People I'm not related to who might leave scathing reviews of my art. How much fear did that insight within me? A ton. But I did it. Because I think in life, the way to succeed is to overcome your fears. If you live your life in fear then you're paralyzed. If I hadn't ridden to skylift to the top of Stone Mountain on Saturday, then I might not ever have this rare photo of my whole family together:
I might not have realized that it wasn't so scary at the top. I wouldn't have been able to see the Atlanta skyline shrouded in haze from the heat. And I wouldn't have been able to walk down the mountain with my three billy-goats by my side. 
Pushing aside my fear has allowed me to accomplish things I never thought I could. I wrote a book. I published it. I had people read and review my book. Fear holds you back like a tether, but overcoming that fear allows you to climb to new heights. 

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Xs and Os

I haven't shared my flash fiction in awhile, because I haven't been writing it as much. Between promoting The Devil Within, editing Little Birdhouses, and writing my no-name work-in-progress I haven't had time. But this week, I decided to write for Mid-week Blues-Buster.
The song this week is Little Blue One by Cowboy Mouth, which is an upbeat song about a sad subjectWhen I heard this song, after not having listened to Cowboy Mouth for years it took me back to a crowded concert venue in Atlanta in the late 90's or early 00's, where I'd gone to visit my childhood friend, Stacy, at college. I hadn't heard them before I attended the concert with Stacy and Andrea and a few other friends, and I immediately liked their music.
Fair warning: the subject matter is about divorce or the end of a relationship. 
Here's the song if you'd like to have a listen: 

So here's the Dear Jane letter...

Xs and Os
554 words

Dear Jane,
The dream again. Your face. But when I wake up you’re not beside me in the ocean swell of what-used-to-be our king sized bed. The room wreaks of your ghost. I pretend not to think of you. I tell my repetitive thoughts to still the image of you in my mind as I pour two cups of coffee instead of one for the third time this week. Without thought, I pour the second one down the drain. I think about picking up the extra cup and smashing it against the wall, but instead I set it in the sink and think about how you would have told me to “just put it in the dishwasher.”
The photos of you and me in the Caymans eating turtle soup. The smile on your face is eternal. You don’t live here anymore with me, but every waking moment I have to tell myself you’re gone. Today, I’ll take the photos down. It’s been six months, and I know you’re not coming back. I’ll put them in boxes, and I’ll wrap them up, and it will be like our life together never existed. That’s what you wanted.
When your text pinged my cell at 2 AM, I had to stumble from the couch where I’d fallen asleep watching Geraldo. I knocked the half empty bottle of wine onto the rug. You remember that rug, don’t you? We spent four hours debating on whether to get blue wool or the checkered cotton at Pottery Barn. I, like the sales clerk, wanted to gouge out my eyes with knives before you’d make up your mind. Back and forth. Wishy washy. That was always your way. Maniacal laughter erupted from my lips when I thought how ironic it was that this rug, your baby, your precious, had been left in my incapable hands. It’s in the green trashcan waiting for pickup on the curb now. So long sucker.
The laughter turned to tears when I read your text. “I want an annulment.” The words stung. Married for six years and just like that you wanted to pretend we didn’t exist. Well maybe you didn’t exist, but I did. I waited for you, lost in your blue world of depression as you were. I stuck with you when no one did. I made sure they pumped your stomach. I made sure you didn’t die on the pink title floor of our bathroom by sticking my finger down your throat. Covered in your puke and half-digested pills, I helped get you to the hospital. I saved your life…literally. And I helped you find your way. Even if that way was away from me.
So, my little blue one, now that you’ve found your way you want to pretend that none of it ever happened? Move on, put me behind you and that period of your life when you couldn’t control yourself. You couldn’t control your emotions.
The answer is no. I’ll grant you a divorce, but not an annulment. Because not every day was filled with vomit and fights over rugs. I walked on the beach with you. I kissed you under a gazebo. I imagined our life together, complete with babies, and I thought I’d be with you forever. I can’t pretend that never existed.
Xs and Os, the answer is no.

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Thought of a Day: The best way to help a newbie author like me is to read, review, and recommend their book!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Here's What People Are Saying About The Devil Within

The Devil Within Cover

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Sniff Sniff
Sometimes the best books are the worst books. We wish this sort of thing didn't happen in the world but it does. This book follows the life of young William who loses his mom and siblings in a car wreck. He is left to be raised by his father who you could say is God fearing to the extreme. In his attempts to shape up William he actually breaks God's laws himself. The writing is strong, emotional and brilliant. I wanted to reach into the book and cuddle that boy, bitch slap his dad and steal him away and feed him pancakes and love. I can't recommend this book enough, it is gripping from beginning to end.
 -- Susan J.

The Devil Within was a heart wrenching page turner. Written through the eyes of a young boy dealing with a loss that no child should endure; the story takes the reader through his journey of self realization, acceptance and love. I read the book in one night! I didn't mean to but I just couldn't put it down.
-- Shanna

Couldn't put it down
I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book. I was impressed with the subject matter and how well it was written. My heart ached for William and all that he went through. By the end I was in tears. Great book and very well written.

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You can find The Devil Within in paperbook or ebook at the following websites (click the word for link):

iTunes (Search The Devil Within by Lauren Greene in the iTunes Store)

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