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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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)

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. 
DSC00310 DSC00314 DSC00319 DSC00323 DSC00339 DSC00340 DSC00343

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Where Have I Been?

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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