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:
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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! 
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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:
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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
@laurenegreene

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.
--John

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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.
--Katrina

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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)


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Break From Reality

Last week, Hubby and I had a break from reality. It was much needed, and even more than I needed it to be. Despite the timing of The Devil Withinonce we were away we let everything go. In my writing journey, over the last few years, I've become a social media guru. You pretty much have to in this day and age (yeah--I sound like a grandparent). I use twitter, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, etc. to promote myself as an author and promote my work. The nicest part of the vacation was our decision not to use technology while we were there, except to Facetime or message the kids. 
Our eldest told us he wouldn't miss us. Because he's ten and all. But he did. He tried to Facetime me a lot and then if I mentioned him missing us he'd say, "No, not really." When we pulled into our garage a week later, he was the first one through the garage door and he flung himself into my arms. It's nice to be missed. 
I recommend a get away like this for anyone who hasn't done it. I came back refreshed and ready to write again. Now I'm focusing on editing Little Birdhouses and promoting The Devil Within. Fairly soon, I'll have some swag to give to you. It's getting real, y'all! 
And don't forget. If you sign up for my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP you'll automatically be entered for a chance to win a free signed copy of The Devil WithinThe winner will be announced in the July 31st edition of the newsletter. 
Here are some photos from our trip, just because I think everyone should go to Punta Cana. The Dominican Republic is the sixth largest exporter of cocoa in the world. And their chocolate is wonderful, and their people are amazing, and if you haven't been to a third world country and left the resort you should. It's an eye opener, and it makes you grateful for everything you have. 
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Where Have I Been?

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Excuse the cellphone quality photo. I haven't quite downloaded the camera photos yet. When you come back from Paradise, where you lived for six days without children, it's hard to get back into the swing of things. We stayed at Paradisus Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and my hubby and I had some much needed alone time. Rekindling, if you will? We also met some great people who seemed more like characters in a book, but as we all know "Characters are only works of fiction, any resemblance to someone in real life is purely coincidental." 
Originally, when we planned this trip I thought The Devil Within would already be out. I anticipated having it published in April or May, but we all know how seldom things go as planned. That's the fun of life. I was pleasantly surprised to know the paperback came out the day before we left, and guess what? Now the kindle edition is out. For some reason they're two different links and the Kindle link is hard to find. I'm hoping Amazon gets that sorted out. I'm sure they will.
Click the book below for the link to the Kindle edition:
The Devil Within Cover
So let me tell you, the absolute best way to make a book a raging success is to fly to the Dominican Republic for a week the day it comes out. No, I'm kidding. I really wanted to bomb the market with this book. I wanted it to have a fantastic first day out, because I feel like this book is special. And I don't know if thousands of authors say that. Oh, look at me, I wrote a book. But I didn't think I would ever publish this book. I wrote it more for myself, the inspiration plucked from the sky somewhere. Writing it took me on an emotional journey through the doorways of youth, religion, hate and love. In this book, William experiences suffering that no small child should feel, but the truth is every day in the "real world" children are coping with the harsh realities of what William's fictional life: being hurt by the person who is supposed to care for them the most. 
When you are young, the world seems so big. Sometimes it seems magical. And other times it's terrifying. As I wrote The Devil Within I felt horrified for William. My heart tugged for him, and I longed to help him escape. I longed to give him a chance. And so, this book is personal to me because it tells a tale of survival and that's what we're all trying to do in this amazing unrelenting world of ours. 
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Again?

Monday always seems to come too quickly, and my to-do list from the weekend is not finished! A heads up, over the next week or so there will be two guests posts on this blog. I'm taking a little vacation, but don't worry, in the words of the Terminator "I'll be back!" 
Yesterday The Devil Within was sent off for publishing. I'm not sure how long it takes from this point to come out on Amazon, but I'll keep you all informed as now my second release date has come and gone. I'm sure you read my blog post entitled Things Don't Always Go As Planned. This week is take two on that blog post. Apparently pinning down a date when a book will be out is nearly impossible. Next time, I'll put a date out about a month after the anticipated publication date, and then I'll upgrade it if necessary. 
All I can say is the publication process has taught me a couple of things: a) patience and b) everyone in the world procrastinates. I do know that many of the people working on my book at Booktrope are slammed with other processes. I don't hold that against them. Plus, the layout took exactly 4 weeks, and then there are items to be finalized. Patience is not a skill I'm adept at exercising, but I'm getting better at it. I always tell my kids, if you can't change the outcome then what good does getting mad do? A complete waste of energy. 
Anyway! In other news, my first newsletter The Greene Pen is coming out tomorrow. I've worked on it all weekend and I'm finalizing it tonight so it can be in your inboxes like a Christmas present tomorrow! Subscribe by clicking this link (http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP) and entering your information, and you could receive a signed copy of The Devil Within. 
In the meantime, enjoy your week! 
Have you seen my first book on Amazon? Check out No Turning Back today. 
Check out my other blog at laurengreenewrites.com.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Not Easy As Pie

You know the saying, "Easy as pie." Cliche and all that. But I don't think anything in life is easy as pie. I love writing. I mean, love it with a passion. But I hate all the crap that comes with it. I hate marketing. I don't feel like I'm good at it, or I don't know where to start, or everyone currently wants to read a BDSM book about a kid's step-brother's dragon, and I don't write books in any comparable category to what's HOT. But even people who write what the public wants still have to throw themselves out there--into the fire. And sometimes I wonder why I do it, because writing is like a scoop of pain mixed with pleasure (like love). Then I remember I love it and without writing there'd be too much pain or too many characters talking in my head with nowhere to go.
My love of writing came from my childhood. As a kid I used to disappear to my room and play with paper dolls for hours. Some of them I cut out of the Sears catalog. I named them, created families, dialogues, and elaborate stories for my paper dolls. I created apartments out of my bookcases for my Barbie dolls. I wrote stories down, never finished them, but the stories still came to me. I loved to read and write, but I never made As in English. I always made Bs. I struggled with thoughts of my writing not being good enough (I still struggle with this). I wanted to be perfect (I still sometimes do). I still have to tell myself perfection doesn't exist. The authors who have made it did so because they're bulldogs like JK Rowling who worked their asses off and didn't take no for an answer. They didn't let rejection get them down or the 20th pushed back deadline or the fact that procrastination seems to flow through their blood (I don't know if Rowling procrastinates, but I do--way too much).
My book is supposed to be out on the 29th. I'm hoping it will at least hit Amazon by then so I can direct you all to the link. Writing and publishing a book can be frustrating in so many ways. I've had to depend on other people to edit, proofread, and market my book. I've had to wait for layout, for the cover, but in the end I know it will be worth it. I've worked with some great people over at Booktrope on The Devil Within: Nikki Lutz, JC Wing, Sheri Williams, Greg Simanson, and not to mention the layout team and Jesse James. These people know what they're doing as I stumble my way blindly in the dark trying to figure it out for the first time. Publishing a book is the equivalent to waiting for a big bowl of ice cream after you finish your food; you know it's going to taste so good but first you have to eat your Brussels sprouts (I do love Brussels though, so maybe this isn't the best analogy)
All of this to say, I'm still hoping The Devil Within will be out by June 29th. Stay tuned to this site to see if it is. And don't forget to sign up for my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenegreene

Monday, June 22, 2015

Introducing Tommy from The Devil Within

It's 5 AM, and my dog is outside barking at the world. It might be time for a bark collar. 
Today I'm going to introduce you to Tommy from The Devil Within. Tommy is one of my favorite characters, because he's multi-dimensional. Tommy is William's cousin, in his twenties, who takes on the role of an older brother or father figure for William. Tommy grew up in a fairly charmed life with his mother Mimi and his Dad, also named Tom. He went off to college then dropped out, came home and knocked a girl up then married her. Tommy struggles with being an adult while feeling a lot like a kid. But Tommy has a soft side, and he turns into a savior for William in many ways. Without Tommy in the picture, William would have been lost. 
When I wrote about Tommy, I wanted his character to be complicated. In the book, William struggles with thoughts of guilt and sin, and Tommy is perhaps the most sinful character in the book, but he's also the most loving, caring, and kind. He's the character who knows right from wrong even though his choices might not always reflect that. 
After finishing this book, Tommy's character has stuck with me. I keep thinking about him. I've thought about expanding his story, or maybe writing shorts about him. Through the writing process, he became my favorite character in the book. I wonder if you'll feel the same way. 
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Devil Within is on Goodreads

Today I approved the layout for my book, The Devil Within. So exciting. I looked through the book, and it looks like an actual, real-live book now. I'm so impressed and excited, but I know the job is not over. Now the key is to find people to read the book!
And speaking of the book, I thought you all might like to hear the official blurb:
When nine-year old William loses most of his family in a car accident, he is left alone with a religious zealot of a father. As a result of his father's abuse, William blames himself for his family's death and becomes convinced the devil is leading him astray. The backdrop of life in a rural Alabama town in the 1960's sets the tumultuous scene as William struggles to cope in a world no child should have to face on his own. Will William be saved or will he succumb to the devil within?
 
I went ahead and added it to Goodreads with an expected publication date of June 29th, because that's when I'm hoping it will come out. Click the image below to add it to your to read list!
 
The Devil Within Cover
 
I'm madly working on my newsletter, and I hope to have one out by the end of the month. You can still sign up any time, and you may be lucky and receive a free copy of one of my books!
Signup here for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP.

Lots of exciting news coming! Plus, in my newsletter I'll have sections on books I've recently read and other up and coming authors you may like! Stay tuned for that.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Things Don't Always Go As Planned

Today is cover reveal day for The Devil Within! YIPPEE!!! I promise at the end of this blog post you'll see the cover. But first you have to listen to my mad ramblings a little bit.
When I wrote The Devil Within, I had only written one full book before, No Turning BackAs I wrote about William and the suffering he went through at the hands' of his father, I couldn't help but wonder why this idea had come to me and why I had to write it. I have a charmed life. When I was little, my parents used to say, "You're so lucky you're born in the U.S. It's the greatest place on earth." I genuinely believed it--still do, on most days. I wasn't abused. I went to church, but never felt scared of the devil. (The devil is not someone often mentioned in Episcopal church--just the word temptation.) 
When William's story came to the brink of my mind and then the tips of my fingers I could barely stop typing to rest. I had to get his story out. I needed to write him down to end his suffering. And I thought, what I've always thought, that things rarely go as planned. I had intended to write another women's fiction novel after No Turning Backbut as a writer you cave to the cravings of the mind. Even when that mind gives you an idea that you know will be painful to write down. 
And speaking of things not going as planned. I planned to type this last night, and instead I relaxed and played the Sims 3. I mean of all the useless things you can do in the world, playing house when you have a house to run on your own. Alas, everyone needs down time.
And the release date for The Devil Within was pushed back. At least a week, but the week following I'm out of town. I will spread the word when the book is out, and so will my lovely marketing manager, Sheri Williams, but I wanted to let you know since I know you're all waiting on baited breath to buy my book! 
Now here it is! The lovely Greg Simanson designed my book cover:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ode to Technology

Oh technology, how I love thee.
How I hate thee.
Let me count the ways.
 
You probably noticed I haven't posted for months on this blogspot site. When I left, I said I'd continue to post blogs about my family. Well time proved too hard for that. So now instead, I'm going to share my blogs on both sites. 
 
Stupid me should have read a little bit more about web-hosting before I made my wordpress website. Apparently if you have a wordpress.org site hosted by someone like Bluehost then you can add a plugin. But if you are using a site hosted by wordpress.com then you can’t (you can only use the plug-ins they allow). I wasted money buying a domain name, and at some point in the future will have to move this site. Not now. I like this site, and I have too many irons in the fire (cliché) to go all willy nilly and work on exporting my site to a new one. I may never change it. It depends on how motivated I am.
The only reason I wanted to change it in the first place was to be able to place a mailchimp sign-up form on the site. I’d like you all to be able to sign up for my newsletter, so here’s how you can do it.
Click this link to signup for my newsletter The Greene Penhttp://eepurl.com/bo4ILP
My wordpress site if you haven't been there is:  www.laurengreenewrites.com. Occasionally, I plan to have different content on both sites, so please follow me on both!
So technology, I hate you for being so complicating. I love you for letting me spread the word about my newsletter and my new book, The Devil Within, due to come out June 22ndish.
And speaking of The Devil Within…Guess what Friday is? It’s cover reveal day!  Join me and a dozen of my friends as I show you the amazing cover Greg Simanson made for my book!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Life Lessons Exists Through Experience

2015 is about positive change.

Yesterday, the whole family was in the car. The kids were supposed to go to a parent's night out, but unbeknownst to us, the gym had cancelled (someone didn't do their job and call us). We were driving to my mom's house to drop them off, and Number One said, "I wish I had an iPod." and Number Two chimed in, "I wish I had a Ninjago," and Darling Daughter said, "I wish I had all the makeup in the world (seriously, is this really my kid?)."

I said, "I don't really want anything. I've decided experiences are the way to go."

Everyone laughed, and I said, "Okay, or maybe I need my book to edit myself. That's my wish. My book should edit itself, or I should have a magical pen that just makes everything come out perfectly with no need to edit. But I don't really wish for any material things."

Then we had a hysterical conversation about how dogs lick their butts and then people's faces, and I made up a new word "poop-lick," which elicited tons of giggles from the kids, and Rob and I laughed about it all night long. This is a little tangent, and if it was in a book it would be deleted as not necessary.

And speaking of Rob. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. And it's no secret things aren't perfect between us. We have a lot of ups and downs. We always have. I think a lot of you already know that. And just being honest, we've told people we were throwing in the towel and giving up. But things change, and I realized there are people who depend on me who wouldn't be able to cope with the change. It's funny how a crisis can sometimes bring two people closer together, and can sometimes drive people further apart. But more importantly I realized I can't find happiness in other people--only in myself. But I can find happiness in experiences. I can also find happiness by dropping my unrealistic expectations of other people. And this is something I'm learning to do. Give without expectation. Be a friend to be a friend, not to expect others to do for you. I do think it's not a coincidence that as my writing becomes more of a priority in my life, my marriage has gotten better. It's infinitely easier to give back to someone else when I feel fulfilled.  Still, Rob and I are very different people. We communicate differently, we look at situations differently, we react differently. There will always be work in our marriage, it will never be perfect (because nothing is-I haven't found the magic pen for that either).  I will have been with this man for fourteen years on St. Patrick's Day of this year, and there's something sort of amazing about that in our throw-away, give-up society.

So this year, we're going for experiences.  Experiences help you enjoy each other. They also stay with you and help you build memories. They make you feel more fulfilled and happier. Whereas objects comes and go, break and bend, and can easily be replaced. Memories tie you together. I'm hoping to find some inspiration in places. Life isn't easy, but no one ever said it was. But the longer I live, the more I enjoy the ups and downs as teachers of enlightenment and the more I realize the power I have to make myself a better person, every single day.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Depression Hurts



I've been writing a lot, but I haven't been writing a lot on this blog. I've been concentrated my writing on my writing blog, and as a consequence I feel like my baby blogger has been neglected. I've been updating this blog for over three years now.

I came to blogger in a dark time, that I didn't realize was dark. I had people telling me they thought I was depressed. I had people telling me they would be depressed too if they had lost all of their hair. I didn't believe them even as the swirling vortex of depression was sweeping me away.

Looking back on that time, years ago. I realize I came back into writing for cathartic purposes. At first, I didn't have a goal. I had a lot of boredom. I spent much of my time reading, escaping into a book, and pushing family away. I made some great friends, and that was what I needed at that time-- outside influences.  It's funny how we can't see what is happening to us until we take a step back. For me that step back was three years later: NOW. I look back at that time of my life, and I see someone who was suffering and didn't know where to turn. I was having trouble in my marriage, my hair fell out, my kids were all little bitty and depended on me for so much, my oldest son was having emotional problems of his own, and for me the easiest thing to do was escape.

I did escape in a productive way. I started taking Tae Kwon Do. I made friends through Tae Kwon Do, who told me I was beautiful even if I was bald. Some of those friends even encouraged my writing, and I have them to thank for how far I've come since then. I learned discipline, and I realized how much exercise helped me to relax and to find a direction for the hopeless boredom I felt on the inside. Because for me that's what depression does. It makes me feel bored and unsettled. It makes me flit from one thing to another like a toddler. When I'm depressed, satisfaction is elusive, like that vague term happiness.  

Finding direction is hard, and now I see my son suffering the same symptoms, although he suffers in a different way than me. He has this crazy energy, and he has this need to direct it. Unfortunately when you have so much energy, so much drive, and a mind that won't stop turning, the dark cloud sometimes threatens to rain on you. You sometimes feel like nothing works for you and nothing will fill up that empty place inside.

I have felt like that so much. I still feel like that some days. So my heart aches so much for my son, when I see that he has so many of these same symptoms. My heart aches for him when he struggles with his frustration and anger. I hope he finds his purpose, and I hope his friends understand his struggles--at least a little bit. And until then, Hubby and I are going to help him through.

People who are mentally ill, don't always know when they are spiraling downward until they have landed at the bottom or even until they are climbing out.  Our mental health system in the U.S. is broken. Just ask me. I have to shell out tons of money every year, because my insurance (a reputable agency) will only support ONE psychiatrist (and they just went out of business) in my city of 250k people. ONE. So for people who are suffering or who have children suffering, like me, they often have to dole out dollars they can't afford to part with, but must for their own good or for the sake of their children.

We need to break this stigma. We need to get people the help they need. And more than that, we don't need to be afraid to talk about. Because when we're afraid to talk about it the people who are suffering or who have loved ones who are suffering feel more isolated and more alone.  People need to realize there is no normal.  We are all flawed and broken creatures, but there is help out there.

 I've found my purpose, and having goals and pushing myself every day to achieve has given me more of a sense of who I am and it helps to keep the restless boredom from claiming my life.

You can read more about mental illness here and the different types of disorders that affect 1 in 4 Americans :  http://www.thekimfoundation.org/html/about_mental_ill/statistics.html.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Science Night

Last night, the kids had science night at their school. They go to an awesome school where science and math are emphasized. In the fall, we had a math night.

I took Number Two and Darling Daughter to their activities. We did fun things like make snow, play with magic sand, learned about magnets, and also about conductors and insulators. Did you know a magnet doesn't pick up a key? Or a coin? Even I learned something last night.

We met up with Hubby and Number One in the hallway on the way out, and Number One couldn't stop talking.

"Guess what, Mom? I got to eat liquid nitrogen. You know in the movies, where they have smoke, that's what they use. Isn't that cool? And we made robots. It was so awesome."

It was exciting to see my normally brooding ten year old tween so excited about learning. Isn't that what we all want? For our kids to have a love of learning? Well, his school succeeds in creating that in kids.

Here's a video of him eating the liquid nitrogen. Too cool!

video

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Information Post

Hey folks! If you've been following my writing journey on blogspot, then first, thank you. Secondly, I'm going to start dedicating this blogspot blog more to just personal things. If you love my kids as much as I do, then stay right where you are.

If you want to mostly follow my writing journey, find out about new releases, listen to me rant and rave and go and on and on about writing, read my flash fiction entries, then head on over to http://laurengreenewrites.com and follow me there! Ideally, I'd like it if you followed both pages, because that'd be cool and all.

Secondly, and the last piece of "writing" related work I'm posting on blogspot is this. I'm judging a flash fiction contest today over on http://alissaleonard.blogspot.com/2015/02/finish-that-thought-2-33.html.  Go enter so I have someone to judge!

This weekend was full of gymnastics. Number One had his first meet since he injured his shoulder. He did well, but he didn't place in the top three overall (crazy from where we were last year). His best score was on pommels/mushroom with a 10.0, which was 2nd place. I'll leave you with this little video, so you can bask in his success as much as I do.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cold Blood Part 2

Last week, I started a four part story to be finished by another author. This is a Terrible Minds challenge. This week, I was able to pick the first part of a story and add the second.

I chose Cold Blood by Pavowski.  You can read the first part of the story here:
https://pavorisms.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/cold-blood/

And here is the second part, my contribution:

She shivered, frozen to the spot, and looked around at the stand of trees surrounding the camping site. She couldn’t see who it was, and she thought they must be hiding out there. Lem tiptoed back over to the fire and sat down on the rock, as the figure came out of the woods. Her heart pounded against her ribcage, trying to break free of its confines. She could see the outline of the backpack, and a wave of relief washed over her when she saw the dreads on his head—just a backpacker.

“You scared me,” she said.

“I was separated from my group about an hour ago.”

Lem looked up to the sky and realized the sun hadn’t even been up for an hour. Unease crept into her, but she plastered a smile on her face as she looked at him.

“Did you see a man on the trail? About six feet? Beard, probably unkempt hair?”

The backpacker shook his head. She sat on the rock warming her hands by the fire, and she motioned for him to take a seat.

“I’m Ian,” he said.

She grasped his hand, noticing his knuckles were split around the edges, like he’d been hitting something. He followed her eyes, and she stared up at him, darkness staring back at her. She shuddered and pulled her hand back too abruptly.

“I practice taekwondo. Split my knuckles on the punching bag. Your name?”

She nodded, but she didn’t believe him—the same feeling of unease from this morning creeping back to her as she wondered where Mark could be and whether the blood on the rock was his.

“Lem.”

“Unsual.”

“Belonging to God.”

“Huh?”

“It’s what the name means. It was my mother’s maiden name and was stuck onto me like a fungus. Imagine being a girl and growing up with a name like Lem.”

She didn’t know why she was telling him this, nervous talk, because when she looked at him the feeling of dread seeped under her skin. She wished Mark was here, or that she even knew where Mark was, but more than that she wished the gun in the tent was in her hands. She thought about breaking away from the campfire, going into the tent and pushing it into the space between the elasticity of her pants and her skin.  But, she thought, if Ian was dangerous then she would be trapped. Coming out of the tent, he could easily accost her and she didn’t want that. She thought about the split skin on his hands, the blood seemed newly dried and this thought turned her stomach as she thought about the little pool of blood on the ice. It could only be Mark’s.

“Would you like some bacon?” she asked, pointing towards the pan she had left cooling by the fire.

Her breath was still coming out in vapor, but the world seemed to be warming up now that the sun was peeking up from behind the trees. 

“Yeah, that’d be fucking great,” Ian said, and he leaned forward to help himself to two pieces.

“So how does one get lost from their group so early in the morning?”

He glared at her, and she felt an icy prickle, like a hand, trail through her body alerting her to the danger this man seemed to possess. 

“Maybe you should be asking yourself that about—what’s his name?”

“Mark.” When the name came from her lips, she knew Mark was past tense. She wanted to crawl out into the woods and look for his body, but right now she had to protect herself from the monster sitting right next to her. 

“This bacon’s great.” The words from his mouth dripped like acid, despite the benign nature of them.

She nodded, pulling her knees to her chest and rocking back and forth, trying to warm herself up in a childlike pose meant to protect her from things unknown.

“I think I’m just going to go to the tent, put another layer on. You’re welcome to another piece of bacon.”

She set her feet into the dirt, and as she started to push herself up from the rock his hand clamped on her wrist, a pair of handcuffs meaning to trap her to this place. His fingernails dug into her skin, a grip so tight she knew there was no escaping.

“I think you should stay here,” he said through clenched teeth.

Her heart was beating so fast, a thousand tons sitting on her chest, as the reality of the situation started sinking in. Sweat broke out on her forehead, despite the coldness that seemed to drag itself into every pore of her body.  She wanted it to be a nightmare. She wanted to wake up and roll over, feel Mark’s warm skin next to hers and warm herself up with a morning coital.

The daydream faded as she realized Ian wasn’t going to let go. Her eyes moved from his hands, split knuckles, dirt under the fingernails, to his chest.  When she saw it, she gasped.

He had the necklace hanging around his neck—a token from a kill? The Joshua Tree imprinted on the metal, the frayed edges of the shoelace material laying along Ian’s neck, instead of Mark’s where it belonged. She had bought it for Mark at Joshua Tree National Park about a month after they started dating. He hadn’t taken it off since.

And she knew what this man was here to do.

He maintained his grasp on her wrist. With his other hand he trailed his fingers against the exposed skin on her neck. She started screaming, and as expected he clamped his hand over her mouth, the smell of dirt and moisture filling her nostrils.


Lem tried to break away from his grasp, and was surprised when the searing pain clouded her field of vision, and suddenly her world went completely black. This is it for me, she thought. 

                                                                             ****
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