Manic Monday

First and foremost, the important news:

The Devil Within ebook is available to purchase for free from November 9 – November 13th! Get it while it’s hot!

The Devil Within Cover

Who doesn’t like to curl up with a good book and read on a cold, rainy day. It’s cold and rainy here today. Yesterday was cold and rainy too. Instead of reading I binge-watched New Girl on Netflix and laughed my ass off. I got absolutely no writing done, because my hand was hurting. (Thanks rain) Also, because I attended an adult pajama party until 1 AM on Friday night and then my son had a spend-the-night party on Saturday night. Six eleven year old boys can be awfully loud, especially when their game of choice is Black Ops. Maybe by the time they’re 12 they’ll settle down and talk about girls? Or is that something that only girls do at spend-the-night parties–talk about boys?

Today, I have marketing to do and then I need to catch up by about 6,000 on NaNoWriMo. I’m figuring when I get my splint off my hand I’ll be able to make up for those words I missed, unless I have a productive Veteran’s Day. I’m not sure we have other plans this week besides the normal crazy shuffling around of three kids to various activities.

How was your weekend?

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Smithsonian Mug

I’m sitting in my blue chair listening to Johnny Cash cover One (originally by U2). Look it up if you haven’t heard his rendition. It’s fantastic. It’s Monday, and that means a Monday Blog. I thought today I’d share the first of three pieces I wrote for the online class I’m taking: How Writers Write Fiction.

The first week of the online class was Welcome Week, and there were three assignments to get the creative juices flowing. In the first assignment bringing an everyday object to life. I chose the Smithsonian Mug. I chose this mostly because I love coffee, and I drink out of this mug almost every day. It’s my favorite (sort of like my snowman pajamas).

Smithsonian Mug

I sit on the center of the shelf. All the others surround me. I am the prized possession. The one she always reaches for first in the morning. I sit up tall, proudly displaying the words We Can Do It! of a suffragette woman from long ago. She calls me the Smithsonian mug, named after the place I was born, where other mugs like me lined the shelves, my sisters and brothers in ceramic. The images printed on my body proudly display historical images of this land where we live. My grandfather, faded from too many cycles, has been pushed to the dank, dark, back of the cabinet. I can see the crack of light seeping through the seam in the cabinet door like a ray of light, but is he left behind to languish in disuse.

Every time the doors open and she reaches her hand in, I stand up a little taller, hoping to be picked. I am like a child calling out pick me, pick me to the captain of the team during P.E. I am the popular one, and my fellow mugs are the ones who are always picked last.

My print is fresh and unspoiled. I look back at Grandpa mug, hanging his head low, hoping to be put out of his misery, transferred into a brown box and sent off somewhere as others have gone before. We simply call it going to the box. No one knows where you go after you leave this place, this house, the world directly beyond the cabinet.

Red Tall Mug said The Man took him in a car one time. But she, The Woman, only drinks from me in the morning while sitting in the blue recliner, typing away at keys on a black box. Red Tall Mug says the world is vast and more beautiful than we could imagine. But I am content, being filled with coffee and a splash of milk, and sitting cradled in the palm of her soft hands as she continues to pick me to provide her with the kind of creature comfort only I can provide.

Did you know The Devil Within ebook is on sale until October 17th! Pick up your copy on Amazon:

The Devil Within Cover

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Wind of Change

Today, because I’m still not ready to review my current Southern Fiction book, Cold Sassy Tree, I’m putting up a piece of flash fiction I wrote for Alissa Leonard’s Blog the other day. I took Special Challenge winner on this piece (a prediction had to be included). And I had a lot of fun playing with voice in this story. Enjoy!

Wind of Change
499 words
Special Challenge accepted

The seller of marmalade arrived just after the tornado. In fact, Grandpa’s house had been smashed to bits and poor Lily Blue’s body weren’t even found yet. But don’t worry your pretty little head about her. She was just a cat.

Grandpa had predicted it would be a big ‘un, and he was right.

“Right as rain,” he said, stroking his whiskers.

I rolled my eyes, because everyone knows rain can’t be right.

The marmalade man must have thought we had a boat-load of money, because he showed up and set up a wooden stand packed with jars of jelly. Sign said: 2 for $0.10. But Grandpa’s cash was gone with the house. Grandpa said I should have said Gone With The Wind, on account of it being a tornado and all. I ain’t read that book, and I probably never will ‘cause I hear it’s for girls.

I took to standing ‘round the marmalade man as Grandpa hammered nails and tried to fix us up some shelter.

“You from these parts?” I asked.

“No. I’m from New York.”

Darn Yankee, I thought, but I had ‘nuff sense not to say it.

“Do people buy marmalade?” I asked.

“More than you think.”

“You travel ‘round the world selling this here stuff?”

“Last year I sold Bibles, but then those Gideons started giving them away for free. Imagine that.”

“I’ve lived here my whole life. Just me and Grandpa,” I said.

“Where are your parents?” the man asked.

“Up’in left when I was just a babe. Grandpa says, ‘Good riddance, never needed them nohow.’”

“You have the world in your heart, I can tell,” the seller of marmalade said.

I looked at him real funny-like, cocking my head to the side. “What’cha mean?”

“You look like a traveler. How’d you like to be my sidekick? The road gets awfully lonely.”

Grandpa done predicted that I wouldn’t stay in this here valley town my whole life. I looked over my shoulder at him, and I picked up a jar of marmalade running my finger ‘round the silvery-looking top. Grandpa was busy nailing two four-by-fours together. He wouldn’t live forever, and there weren’t much for me in the pile of wood that remained.
“I think I’d like it right fine. When we goin’?”

“Tonight. You be here by the light of the moon.”

The marmalade man packed up his table and jams quicker than you can say, ‘my dear aunt rose,’ and all but disappeared. The thought of the world filled my ‘magination as I worked beside Grandpa. By the time the sun set, we had a shelter.

“I reckon I was right and you’ll be moving on.”

“How’d you know?”

“I’m smarter than I looks,” Grandpa said. “You go on and git. Nothing here but a dead cat and a pile of bones. But never forget where you came from, you hear.”

By the light of the moon, I left. Like Grandpa always said, “Storms be bringin’ the wind of change.”

What do you think about the main character? Did I do his voice justice?

Don’t forget No Turning Back is on sale for $1.99 until August 21st! You can pick it up at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


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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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Go to Church or The Devil Will Get You

A few years ago, I had an idea about this sign:

DSC_0086-2 (3)

Photography by Amanda Willis

In case you all aren’t familiar with this sign, it sits off the interstate between Montgomery, Alabama and Birmingham, Alabama.  And the story behind the sign is innocuous and not at all like what I wrote in “The Devil Within.”

When I first thought of this book idea, I didn’t want to write it. The suffering seemed intense in the story that swam in my head. Similar to Nabokov when he wrote Lolita, after I wrote “The Devil Within” I thought no one would want to read it.  The story is, well, tragic. Luckily, I have this amazing person in my life named Sheri Williams (she’s a writer too!). Sheri encouraged me to submit “The Devil Within” to Booktrope, and I decided to listen to her advice. Imagine that, me listening to someone else’s advice! What a roller coaster it has been since. The book was accepted and since then I’ve learned the following things:

  • Having your book edited is hard.
  • I’m a major procrastinator, and when something is hard for me to cope with I procrastinate more.
  • I’m whiny and like to complain a lot when I’m just scared of the next step.
  • I still have a bad habit of putting two spaces behind the period (And I still think it looks better, even though the purpose behind that was because of typewriters).
  • I have to have goals and schedules and someone waiting on me to get things done.
  • Sheri Williams is really good at being supportive and also really good at telling me to stop sitting on my butt!

Okay–I’ve learned way more than that too.  Anyway, over the next month or so before the book comes out (Think mid to end of June), I’ll be posting about the process of writing this book, a few teasers, about the South and Alabama, and eventually I’ll be doing a Rafflecopter giveaway for a free copy of the book too.

You can check it out right here or you can follow me on:

Facebook – Lauren Greene Writer

Twitter — @laurenegreene

Now for a cup of coffee and then time to get to work! Feel free to ask me any questions you have regarding the book, my process with Booktrope, or anything else you want in the comments!