I received my rejection from the Master’s Review yesterday. SIGH. 

Curses, rejected again!


Here it is in all its glory:

Dear Lauren, 

Thank you for sending us “I Held Your Heart Once” for consideration in our Flash Fiction Contest. We really enjoyed reading your writing, and are flattered you chose to submit to us. This is one of our most popular contests, and we thank you for your patience while we read through all of the submissions. 

I am sorry to say that your submission was not selected for publication. It is clear that you are a very talented writer, and your piece stood out from the pack. Unfortunately, we had to decline some excellent stories, but we are grateful for the chance to read such high quality work. 

We wish you the best of luck with your writing and look forward to bringing you more wonderful stories. Part of our aim is to support great work from new writers and we consider every story we read an effort toward that goal. We couldn’t do this without you. We hope to read more of your fiction in the future. 

Thank you again, 
The Masters Review Team

In case you’re interested in reading my rejected piece, I’ve republished to this blog:

What a nice rejection. I mean, honestly. I’m a very talented writer. I know this. I just can’t seem to get actually published. The thing about writing is that there’s constant rejection. A rejection letter can send you for a loop. I knew that story was good. It just wasn’t what the Master’s Review was looking for. That’s their loss.

So how do you deal with the rejection of not getting published? Maybe you take a drink. Or go for a run. Then you start writing again. Or you send out that piece that maybe didn’t work for the Master’s Review to someone else and wait for the next rejection letter to roll in…or if you’re really lucky, an acceptance.

I like to think about how J.K. Rowling was rejected a billion times before she became a published writer. I also like to think about how much I enjoy writing and sharing it with others. And about how sometimes my writing is just for me. That I need to write to be fulfilled, and if I’m never officially published then I’m never officially published.

Roll with it, baby.

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Goodbye Booktrope

Today, I had intentions to write about the half-marathon (I’ll write a blog on this tomorrow) I completed over the weekend. But then I thought my time would be better spent sharing some sad news I learned on Friday night. Booktrope is ceasing business on May 31, 2016.

I have to say I’m not overly shocked. When I signed on with Booktrope in February of 2015, I felt intrigued by their model. I liked the team publishing idea, where the author works with a team and they promote the book together so they all get paid. But in reality, it didn’t work so well. I think Booktrope took on more than they could chew, opening up submissions and looking more at quantity than quality. A lot of wonderful editors, cover designers, and book managers didn’t make any money for services rendered. After the royalty breakdown, teams were receiving peanuts, and thus truly talented people began walking out the door. In several articles, revenue shortfall was cited as the reason for closure. Booktrope simply didn’t sell enough books.

I’m not blaming anyone for the demise. I’m actually looking at this as an opportunity to focus on Little Birdhouses, polish it, and begin submitting to traditional publishers. My sales of The Devil Within had been pretty good. Not wonderful, but I did make a little money on the book. And having been through this venture, I learned a whole helluva lot more than I would if I had never been published.

All of this to say, effective May 31, 2016, The Devil Within will be out of print. You have exactly 29 days if you’d like to buy the book. I don’t have any hard copies left on hand for those of you who know me in real life, so take a trip to the link above in order to purchase.

Thanks to my lovely readers! Hopefully my new book will be out soon, and I can get back to achieving my dreams!

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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 ( 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.

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:
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.

Booktrope, who are they anyway?

In my last blog, I told you I was publishing “The Devil Within” through Booktrope.  Now I’d like to tell you a little bit about Booktrope, why I chose them, and what my experience with them has been like.

In the beginning, I took the path of many other authors before me. I hemmed and hawed, and I didn’t want anyone to see my work.  If you’re an author you probably know about the anxiety of showing others your work. I have a fear of criticism (don’t most people?) and for a while I let it hold me back. Last year I had a revelation. I had been complaining for far too long that I wanted to be an author without actually doing anything an author does.  I set goals. I began to write, and then I set long term goals. My first long term goal was to self-publish a book in January 2015.  Okay—this is a fib—originally I wanted to self-publish in November 2014. We all know how I love procrastinating right? Plus November and December are crazy holiday months, and I had some important family/personal things crop up that took precedence over my writing.

I published No Turning Back in January 2015. I only published it in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. I intended (and still do) to go through Createspace to produce paper books, but then my life took a turn when Booktrope accepted The Devil Within.

Woo—this story is longer than one of my novels. Anyway.  A few months back, I became part of a group called the Writing Wenches. One of my wenches (and I mean that as sweetly as possible), encouraged me to submit to Booktrope since she is as a project/book manager for them.

I didn’t know if The Devil Within was ready. I had slowly been putting it out on Wattpad, but didn’t have a huge audience, because let’s face it, Southern Literature is not their biggest thing. I had great feedback from friends, and so I thought Heck, why not give it a shot. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever publish The Devil Within because the story is tragic and can be hard to read. I wasn’t sure there was a market for it, and after my failure of marketing No Turning Back and then reading about how Booktrope provides a book market manager, I thought it was worth a shot.

So what makes Booktrope different? First of all, they’re considered a hybrid publisher.  They do not take every book submitted to them, but they do take a lot of books because they have open submissions. They’re less concerned with taking a book of literary genius than giving talented writers out there a chance to showcase their work.  You could say they’re quantity over quality, and maybe that’s how they make the majority of their money, but they do produce quality work, and they have talented writers.  Plus, they give an author a chance to have their book published when their queries aren’t turning agents’ heads, or when they’ve been rejected for the million-cajillionith time, or when they think they’ve written something good or great but they’re unsure of what agent to query because maybe it doesn’t fit in a nice, tidy genre box.  Booktrope is not a vanity press.  Booktrope gives authors the opportunity to pick a team, to work with that team to make their book as good as possible, and then each team member gets a cut of the royalties.  Nothing is spent upfront, unless you want to do some specialized marketing, i.e. a blog tour. That said, even though there’s a marketing manager, the author is still responsible for a shit ton of marketing. Shortly, I will be producing a newsletter, calling newspapers, and promoting my work. This is the same in almost every publisher of today.

Overall, I’ve been happy with my Booktrope experience. When I first signed on, I was a little lost in their system because it’s a learning curve. I do feel there should be some formal training for authors so they don’t have to figure it all out themselves. There are some documents on their homepage for authors, but it would be nice if Booktrope would set expectations for authors and book managers together, so they know what to expect from one another. I found all the people I worked with to be courteous and professional. I also had the opportunity to meet other authors and help promote their work, which I’m always glad to do for fellow fledglings.

Will I use Booktrope again? That has yet to be determined. I’ll see how this release goes. I’ll figure out if they address some kinks in the system that really need to be addressed, and I’ll make the decision at a later time.

Until then, stay tuned for more news on how The Devil Within came to be!