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
@laurenegreene
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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New Beginnings

I like to look at the new school year as a time for new beginnings. New shoes, new clothes, new books. This week has been crazy busy, with school starting. My baby even started Kindergarten this week. I can’t believe she’s old enough–just yesterday she was born (or so it seems).

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I apologize for the cellphone quality. I couldn’t find the charger for the camera, and buying a new one is next on my list.

I had another new beginning yesterday, of sorts, and I found it appropriate it fell on the first day of school. I did a book signing at a friend’s book club event for The Devil Within. I was so nervous when I arrived, but the people were nice, and when my time came to speak the words just flowed. I guess that’s what happens when you’re talking about something you love. Unfortunately, there are no photos of me signing book, but this napkin wrap around the stem of my wine gave me quite a laugh:

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Here’s to the new school year (2015-2016) and more new beginnings to come!


Don’t forget to grab your copy of No Turning Back for $1.99! Only one week left on this sale!  

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Available at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1TAOxjl

And Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1EWHdJe


Enter to win a free copy of my newest book, The Devil Within

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Devil Within by Lauren Greene

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by Lauren Greene

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Book In Review: Go Set A Watchman

This morning, amidst my second cup of coffee and a snuggly five-year-old, I finished Go Set A Watchman (GSAW). I’m aware of the never-ending controversy this book stirs in so many people, because it’s not the great piece of Southern fiction that To Kill A Mockingbird is. Only today, I read this article on The Guardian about people wanting refunds.

GSAWAnd I get that. Not because I think they should get a refund (I don’t—they both bought and read this book), but because there is controversy behind the publishing of GSAW. Nelle Harper Lee didn’t want this book published according to her friends, because it was a rejected draft of TKAM and in her old age she’s being exploited. As a writer, I know I wouldn’t want unedited manuscripts to see the light of day. I know I would want control of what is published and what is not. For those of us who see it from that point of view, it’s sad that an elderly person is being exploited for the sole reason of making money. That’s not why a writer writes. A writer writes to send a message, for catharsis, and to share their love of words and ideas with others.

But I started this post to review GSAW since I read this book (did not buy it—I actually read most of my parents’ book and then was gifted my current version). And I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. As I said in my pre-review post, Atticus as a racist doesn’t bother me. Why? Because he’s a product of his time, place, and circumstance. GSAW starts right after a big Supreme Court decision, which one can only assume since we are never told, is Brown vs. Board of Education. The talk in Maycomb surrounds the evils of the NAACP and desegregation.

At the beginning of GSAW, Scout comes home to visit her family from New York, where she’s been living for some time. If you know anything about  Nelle Harper Lee (who prefers to be called Nelle—Harper is her pen name), then you know she lived in New York for some time. Many aspects of this book seem autobiographical, and they probably have to do with how she grappled with her upbringing and her thoughts on racial issues, which differed from so many people who she had grown up with and known her whole life. When Scout comes home, she’s greeted by Hank, her intended fiancé and she’s whisked away to a house her father built after she had grown and left home. Atticus enters the scene unchanged from the Atticus we all knew and loved in To Kill A Mockingbird (TKAM). And Scout still looks at him like a hero. She still holds him up on a pedestal, because he’s her daddy, the person she feels most akin to.

We quickly learn that some of our beloved characters from TKAM are no longer players in this book. I won’t put many spoilers in this blog for you, in case you’re still interested in reading the book. We also learn that Scout is still a tom-boy and sees fit to wear pants all over town (oh, the horrors), and she’s still assertive and fiercely independent.

She finds out that her father and Hank are not who she has always thought they were and much of the book is her having to cope with those thoughts and feelings. Haven’t you felt that way? Learning someone is different than your perceived notions. I think this happens a lot as you transition from a child to an adult, and this is the point Nelle Harper Lee intended to make in this book (draft really). Even the title of the book, GSAW, comes from a Bible verse referencing a “moral guide.” Each person has his/her own conscience and has to follow it the way they see fit.

The title Go Set A Watchman comes from the Bible verse, Isaiah 21:6, and is mentioned in the book on several occasions. The verse simply says, “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” A watchman is a prophet who can serve as the moral compass for the town. And in this book, the watchman is Scout. She has the power to be the one who can make ethical changes in the town of Maycomb. She can show her comunity that everyone should be treated equally and that segregation is not a horrible evil, but instead a chance to elevate and equalize a race that had been beaten down for so many years. Despite the fact that Scout knows and loves Maycomb and that no matter how long she’s in the North, it still feels like home (any Southerner will tell you this!), she also sees herself different and apart from the community because of her views on equality and rights for all people…not just whites. To me, this is the takeaway from of this book, and it simply would not have worked if Atticus’ characters wasn’t as complex. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Now, do I think this book should have been published? No. The read was okay. The majority of the book is third person and in the point of view of Scout, but there is one chapter told from Atticus’ point of view. There are also some scenes with too many ellipses (I hate these. I prefer em dashes) and where Nelle Harper Lee delves into the first person or second person without warning. This does work in some books, but in GSAW, not so much.

Overall, I gave it 3 stars because it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t TKAM either. It was never intended to be. It was never intended to see the light of the day, so if you can go into it looking at it that way then you won’t be disappointed.

Next Up On The To Read List: Cold Sassy Tree.


Don’t forget to click below to enter to win 1 of 2 copies of The Devil Within in my Goodreads giveaway ending August 31st.

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The Devil Within by Lauren Greene

The Devil Within

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Giveaway ends August 31, 2015.

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Write What You Want

Today, I had the pleasure of reading What We Most Want by William Kenower. It seemed like a sign for me to have stumbled upon this article, because I had no idea what I wanted to write this morning. And until a few weeks ago, I didn’t know I wanted to write Southern Literature either.

I dabbled in many genres. I wrote No Turning Back, a woman’s fiction, love triangle, with an unexpected ending. After writing that book, I wrote The Devil Within in about two weeks. After finishing The Devil Within, I felt like I couldn’t finish anything else. I wrote a Southern psychological thriller or coming-of-age or who-knows-what-genre-it-falls-into-because-I-hate-classification called Little Birdhouses. Then I toyed around with a story about swingers (I’ve since shelved this–thank God!). I started several nondescript manuscripts, but I couldn’t put myself into any of them and I didn’t know why.

About a week before I attended Midwest Writer’s, Anna Kate’s voice invaded my head and told me to write her story–the one I’ve been holding on to for fifteen years and is set in rural Alabama in the 1920’s. I finally felt ready to do her story justice–even though it’s truly a labor of love, with tons of research, because let’s face it: I’ve never been a tenant farmer’s daughter. At Midwest Writer’s, someone asked me what I wrote, and I had a sudden realization it was Southern Literature or Southern fiction, or whatever you want to call it. And it makes sense. Because it’s who I am and it’s what I want to write. We all know I love to write tragic stories and what better fodder for stories than the tumultuous South! I started writing what I wanted, and the words started flowing. Writing Southern fiction makes me happy and it made me LOVE my work, just like William Kenower said in his article. Be true to yourself.

About once a week, with my Writing Wenches, someone brings up that we should all just write about falling in love with your stepbrother, because these books do well. It’s tongue-in-cheek, because none of us are ready to sell out. The point being, you might make a ton of money doing that (doubtful, because writing to trend when you don’t love what you’re doing can make you burn out quickly), but you wouldn’t be happy. If you don’t write what you love then the words are just symbols on a page with no meaning. Your reader can pick up on your enthusiasm in your writing from the feeling and emotion that the words tend to take when you’re writing something you love. If you love writing step-brother romances then I say go for it!

As for me, I’ll take the inspiration I received from reading The Sound and the Fury, Cold Sassy Tree, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, and To Kill A Mockingbird (among thousands of other Southern novels I read), and I’ll write what I love. 

What do you think? Do you write what you love? When you read a book, can you tell if the author was truly inspired and loved what he/she was doing?


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Devil Within by Lauren Greene

The Devil Within

by Lauren Greene

Giveaway ends August 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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