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!

IMG_0118

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:

11235289_10153453057973427_2772248986450221451_o

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.


Follow Lauren Greene:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/laurenegreene

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/laurengreenewrites

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP (If you sign up before July 31st you’ll be automatically entered to win a free signed copy of The Devil Within)

Google+:https://plus.google.com/u/0/109867402293227201728/posts

Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/laurengreenewrites

The Devil Within is Available in Paperback!

Short and sweet and to the point! The Devil Within is now available on Amazon in paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Within-Lauren-Greene/dp/1513700200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435691170&sr=8-1&keywords=the+devil+within+by+lauren+greene.

The Devil Within CoverHopefully the ebook will be up soon! Grab it to read over July 4th! If you have PRIME, you can have it by the 2nd. Enjoy, and I’ll see you all after my vacation.

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP

–Lauren

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.

Check me out:

google+ — http://bit.ly/1DgXK9i

twitter — https://twitter.com/laurenegreene

FB — http://bit.ly/1CKGGue

blog1 — http://laurengreenewrites.com

blog2 — http://www.lululandadventures.blogspot.com/

mailchimp newsletter — http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP

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:

The Devil Within Cover

Don’t forget to click my newsletter link and sign up–>http://eepurl.com/bo4ILP. You’ll receive a newsletter about once a month. The first one is in production now!

Introducing Lulu from The Devil Within

Okay–just so you know, I will be experimenting with the theme on this blog over the next couple of weeks. Mainly, I need a theme that will allow me to have plug-ins or put a form so you all can sign up for my newsletter. And speaking of newsletters, if you’re interested, you can sign up over at my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/laurengreenewrites) or send me a message through the Contact Form on the “About Page,” with your name and email address.

I went to the beach this weekend, and I didn’t do any prep for this blog. Yesterday, when we got home I was exhausted and didn’t write at all. I’ve been writing a lot lately, and I think it’s because I need to be editing. Writing is the lesser of two evils. (Ha–actually I love writing but editing is akin to cleaning up my room, which everyone knows I hate to do).

I decided to introduce you to Lulu today. Lulu is William’s cousin in The Devil Within. She and William are the same age. They attend the same school, and they’re best friends. Lulu also has alopecia universalis (hair loss over the entire body). When I wrote Lulu, I didn’t intentionally make her bald. I’m not one of these people who has to put myself into a book, but when Lulu was created she had alopecia. She’s a nine year old child who knows what it’s like to be different. She’s protective of William and loves him fiercely. She also knows William is being abused, but can’t fix that problem.

As a nine year old child, I was different from Lulu. I did not feel at home in my skin. I had patchy alopecia, meaning I had random bald spots on my head (now I have alopecia universalis). I was in the 4th grade at a public school in Alabama, and being bullied by a boy who was a lot stronger and bigger than me. He said mean things to me, verbally and physical abused me, and was generally a horrible person to me. I had a lot of hate for that kid, but his hate turned into a lack of confidence in myself. It meant I was afraid to talk about alopecia. It meant I thought little of myself. Basically, the bully got what he wanted: power. I didn’t want anyone to know I had it, and so a few years later when I went to camp for five weeks, I kept my hair in a ponytail for five weeks and didn’t wash it to keep people from finding out I had bald spots. It took me a long time to get over the unkind words of my bully, Rondre. It took me a long time to realize I’m beautiful for who I am, not for what I look like on the outside. It took me a long time to realize that just because someone chooses to hurt you with their words doesn’t mean those words are true. And it took me a long time to accept myself.

But Lulu is not like that. She accepts herself for who she is. She is a strong child who doesn’t let other people tear her down. She brings out the child in William. She lets us see who William could be if his world wasn’t falling apart. She is his advocate and his friend, and she is self-assured and strong, partially because she has to deal with having alopecia herself.

At this point in my life, I’ve forgiven my bully. I don’t know what was going on in his life when he decided to pick on me, but he must have been suffering too. I wish I had the confidence Lulu had in my book when I was growing up. But I didn’t then. Now I do. Accepting and loving yourself is important. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

What Is Writing?

This week I was in a funk. Down in the dumps. Not writing. Woe-is-me. Then, I changed my attitude. I started writing again, and I felt a huge wave of relief run through me. I’m a writer. I’m meant to write. When I don’t write I become morose.

I read an article the other day. It was an article from the New Yorker called Is Writing Torture? A young new writer/waiter in a cafe presented his manuscript to the Philip Roth, and Roth apparently told him “I would quit while you’re ahead.” Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love was upset by this advice and said writing is a “fucking great” job.

Their different viewpoints on writing don’t surprise me. Look at Roth’s writing. It’s dark. Look at Gilbert’s. Love is magical and wonderful. Life is amazing. Some people think Roth was only kidding. Being the older mentor who threw a curve ball at this kid to see if he would flinch. And some people think Gilbert is not realistic. Writing is not great: it’s hard as fuck!

I think both contradictory views are true. Writing is torture and writing is a “fucking great” job. I need to write. It’s not a want. It’s not a hobby. It’s something deep inside of me. When I don’t write I’m unhappy. Writing’s explicit job in my life is for me to be able to verbally throw up all the shit from inside my brain onto the computer so I feel like I’ve dealt with the crap swirling around in my mind and can move on. Writing is cathartic. Writing is therapy. Writing is a way for me to deal with ideas and thoughts I can’t quite wrap my mind around.

And, no, this does not make writing easy. Nothing about writing is easy. Hey, No Turning Back, my self-published book is currently sitting at a rank of 1,000,000 on Amazon, and I have no idea how to market it to get to more readers. It’s not easy. It’s hard. It’s hard to get your name out there. It’s hard to find readers. It’s hard when you write something and you think it’s amazing, and someone else tells you it sucks. But that’s the job just like any other job and you have to roll with the punches and move on. A writer isn’t someone who is going to quit because it’s hard. A writer doesn’t really have that option, because the need to write always rears its ugly head.

The thing about writing I find most difficult is not the writing part. A writer has to wear many hats: editor, marketer, public speaker, etc. Marketing is somewhat of an enigma to me. The point is to have other people spread the word about your work, but I haven’t gotten there yet. And I think a lot of it is a time management problem. With three kids, a day job, and a busy life I simply don’t have as much time as I want to put into it. If it was up to me I’d put a huge amount of time into finding more ways to market my work. But, I’m confident one day I’ll get to the point where I can devote all my time to this job.

So is writing torture? No. It’s a way of life, and life is full of ups and downs.

Introducing William Hill

Today was one of those days where I didn’t know what to blog. Lately, I’ve been busy procrastinating. I haven’t felt well since Sunday, and on Monday I was sick and watched seven episodes of Scandal. I mean really folks, why didn’t someone tell me what I was missing? Amazing. I love this show, and now it’s all I want to do, but I have a book coming out. No rest for the weary. (I really wouldn’t have it any other way).

So, I decided to write about William. Who is William? He’s the main character in my book, The Devil Within, which is due to be released on June 22, 2015! William is a nine year old boy who is growing up in Pine Level, Alabama. He’s very much like any typical nine year old: swinging on tire swings, playing in dirt, loves comic books and super heroes, and discovering himself. William has a younger sister, Maybelle, and an older brother Roy. William shares a room with his brother Roy (and boy, do I know what that’s like–Allison!), and is always getting into his big brother’s stuff. One fateful day, before the book begins, William’s mother, sister and brother are ripped away from him in a horrible car accident while William is at home sick. He’s left to be raised by his father, Leroy, who is an alcoholic and a religious zealot who has no idea how to deal with his own grief. Over the course of a year, William grows and changes in the face of daunting circumstance and finds an ally in his grown cousin Tommy.

Interested now? On June 19th, right here, I’ll have a cover reveal on this site. And stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I introduce the characters from the book, so you can get to know them a little better!

 

Newsletter Is A’Coming!

I had a busy weekend. I told my boys I would take them to Airwalk, an indoor trampoline arena one of the first weeks of summer. This was the weekend! We went up with a friend. And, there’s no video proof, but I did a front flip! It only took me the whole time to get my nerve up but once I did I wanted to do it over and over again. We had a two hour jump, but we only lasted one and a half hours. Granted, my oldest told me he could have jumped the whole 2 hours, but my seven year old was exhausted. Then we went to the Cheesecake Factory and made a stop at the Lego store before we came home. I want to be a kid again!

Here’s some videos of the kids getting their jump on:

I’ve been goal oriented lately, but with our day trip and then my niece and nephew being here yesterday, I didn’t achieve my goal of getting my newsletter set up this weekend. There never seems to be enough time in the day. Plus, now I’m ill and feel so tired from hacking up a lung. But I’m just going to move that goal over to this week and make sure it gets done.

Tell me more about this newsletter, you say? In the next few days, I’ll have a sign-up sheet over at my Facebook Author Page:https://www.facebook.com/laurengreenewrites. I’ll send a newsletter out once a month or so with important news about my books. I’ll also feature some authors I love who are up and coming, just like me. I’ll have a personal section, a section on writing, and probably a section on what I’m currently reading. This is still in the works! So make sure to be on the lookout for the sign-up sheet that’s coming soon!

The Writing Process

Yesterday, I posted about the inspiration behind The Devil Within. So what happens after inspiration hits? I think the question I get the most as an author is: where do your ideas come from? And honestly, objects, things, sayings all inspire the ideas, but when I sit down to write it’s like magic. Here’s where the magic happens, in my writing space:

FullSizeRender (2)

I write in a La-Z-Boy recliner in the middle of our living room (excuse the mess on the floor). The chair I sit in was handed down from my Gipop after Gigi passed away. I remember when I was little and would go over to their house, my grandfather would sit in this chair and read all the time. I have an emotional attachment to this chair, because it reminds me of him.

The kids are often running around, talking to me, or watching TV while I write away. I like being in the center of it all instead of locked in a room away from everyone. When I start writing, I put on my pink headphones, hit shuffle on Pandora, and then my fingers start walking across the keyboard. I’m a pantser (write from the seat of my pants), but I do research and I make character sketches. Not so much a written sketch, as I put descriptions, personality quirks, etc. into an excel spreadsheet. This is specifically useful if you have a lot of characters or if halfway through the book you mention blonde hair on your protagonist when she really has brown.

Earlier I mentioned magic, and I do believe that’s what writing is. There’s no way to describe what it’s like when I’m in the zone. It’s a feeling of being only semi-present. The music falls into the background, and I don’t even really hear it. The words come out and sometimes I’m surprised by the similes and metaphors that appear on the page. Most writers I know have had this experience of being bodily present but their mind being in a higher realm. I’m not a religious person, but there is something spiritual about the writing process.

Stay tuned for more about the writing of The Devil Within. 

The Cross Garden

I know I’ve told you all the inspiration for The Devil Within came from the Go to Church or the Devil Will You Get You sign. But growing up in the South I was surrounded by a lot of folklore and crazy roadside attractions.

One day when my sister was in college, she brought her then-boyfriend, now-husband down to visit. We told my parents we were going to go buy fro-yo, but instead Kelsey took us toward Prattville. She had heard about this man who lived out in the country who had covered is whole yard with crosses and signs. People flocked from all over to see these crosses.

We drove north from Montgomery for about thirty minutes until we found The Cross Garden. Not only did this man have crosses littering his yard, the hills across from his house, but he also had signs proclaiming things like Hell is Hot Hot Hot.

The story we had been told was that this man had a dream and Jesus came to him and told him to repent or something terrible would happen to his family. He laughed it off. A few weeks later, his wife and children were killed in a car wreck on the interstate. Amidst the handmade crosses in his yard was a wrecked car. Supposedly he had the wrecking company bring the car there so he could always be reminded of his mistake. He made his yard and surrounding land a tribute to Jesus and the hell that awaits sinners on judgement day.

I often thought about The Cross Garden and how horrible it would be to lose your family. It’s funny, because thanks to the power of Google I now know the car accident never really happened. The owner of the Cross Garden wanted people to see the power of God and to be saved before they burned for eternity in Hell. Don’t you just love the South?

Read more about the Cross Garden and the owner, the late W.C. Rice.