It’s Been Nice Knowing You!

It’s been nice knowing ya! You know, in case I die at the Maze of Terror tonight. My husband said, “Oh, guess what? We’re going to do something new and fun on date night this week.” I should have known then I was in trouble. I hate clowns. Thank you Stephen King, and from what little I saw about this place there will be clowns.

Anyway, in case you didn’t know and aren’t going to die at a Haunted House tonight, my book The Devil Within is on sale until tomorrow, October 17, 2015 for 99 cents! That’s a super deal, y’all! What’s it about? It’s not about clowns. I can promise you that. It’s about a little boy named Will who is grieving the loss of his mother and siblings. He’s left in the incapable hands of his father, who is a little too obsessed with his religion. Sad, but filled with hope, Will must overcome both internal demons and the one who manifests itself within his father.

Don’t miss this opportunity to grab it while it’s still on sale!

The Devil Within Cover

After you read it, I’d love if you could leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews help emerging authors establish themselves by reaching new readers! I’ll even thank you for your review, if I know who you are, and if I survive the Maze of Terror tonight!


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Persistence in the Face of Fear

Hey Lovely Readers! I’m fessing up as a slacker once again. With this short and busy week, I feel like I’ve been behind the 8-ball. But before I get to the point of this post, I don’t want you to slack and miss the opportunity to get The Devil Within for 99 cents! The sale ends on October 17th, so there’s not a lot of time! If you like Southern literature and coming-of-age novels with some grit then you’ll like this book.

The Devil Within Cover

Enough of my shameless plugs. Now back to slacking. Over the weekend, I started writing a new piece. Yeah, I know. I was supposed to stick to rural Alabama and Anna Kate. But I was stuck–seriously stuck. And then I wrote a short for the class I’m taking through University of Iowa (Go DUCKS!), and it begged to be expanded. And people in the class really liked it. And as a writer, I seek to serve my readers.

I also ran a lot this weekend, and when I run I think. And sometimes I overthink. As we all know from the post that’s circulating around Facebook, overthinking is a sign of being a creative genius (or so some article says, and I’d like to believe that over just thinking I’m nuts). Overthinking can also cause some issues. My thought process revolved around solving problems in both books when I ran, but pretty soon it turned into: Why am I writing? Does anyone even want to read my books? Why does it have to be so hard to land an agent? Will I ever finish editing Little Birdhouses? Can I even write a query letter? Is it worth it? And fifty thousand other rhetorical questions I could throw out of you. Rhetorical questions are a no-no in writing too, but if you know me you know I LOVE to break the rules.

Every writer questions themselves and what they’re doing and whether it matters. They want to hide behind a rock in the face of fear. Instead of facing the wolf, they’d rather curl up in their bed and be eaten. Do the brave thing and write the words, because if you don’t you’re going to be more unhappy than if you do. If you’re a writer then you have to write for sanity. If you’re a writer then you have a driving force and you need to write. If you’re a writer, I’m here to tell you DON’T GIVE UP! I have thoughts that my writing sucks and no one wants to read it. Everyone has those thoughts. Taking this online class has boosted my confidence as a writer ten-fold. I’ve received such great and positive feedback on my work. It’s nice to receive that after receiving tons of rejections for agents, because at least I know if I keep trying I will some day make it.

And what does making it even mean? It means making writing a priority in my life every day, editing my stuff, putting it out there and making a few bucks. Sure, I’d like to be rolling in the dough like Stephen King, but I know it’s not realistic. Maybe some day–we can all hope to dream. But the important thing is: Don’t give up! Don’t give into the fear. If you give into fear you’ll never know how far you can go (I even wrote a blog post about that not so long ago).

Now, if you want this same post with more colorful language go read Chuck Wendig’s post over at Terrible Minds. He knows what he’s talking about.

And I promise I’ll stop slacking (maybe). And I’ll write a blog post tomorrow morning before I succumb to fear in the Maze of Terror (that’s another story).

What do you do when you’re slacking or procrastinating (in anything, not just writing) and how do you get back to the task at hand? I play Civilization or binge watch Netflix.


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Thoughts Before Reading Go Set A Watchman

Perhaps one of the greatest books of all times in Southern Literature is To Kill A Mockingbird. Thus, I’ve been hesitant to read Go Set A Watchman, especially after having read this New York Time’s review. Growing up in the South, Atticus Finch was one of my childhood heroes. Although, I didn’t grow up in the same time as Scout, Jem and Atticus Finch, racism still ran rampant in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1980’s. Racism is still prevalent today in much of the country–not just the South. Although we have come a long way as a country.

When I attended the Midwest Writer’s Workshop last week, Ashley Ford an amazingly put-together 28 year old woman said, “There are no heroes and villains,” and she’s right. It’s all about perception. As a child, I perceived my parents as super human. They were my heroes. I remember as a teenager having the startling realization of my parents as people in a relationship, and it made me see them differently.

If we are to believe Go Set A Watchman is the first draft to To Kill A Mockingbird, then in the mind of Harper Lee, Atticus Finch started out as a racist and then evolved into something else. As a child, Scout sees her father as an amazing man, ahead of his time, defending a black man at trial. As a grown up, her perception has changed and she sees he is a racist like most of the other white men in Alabama at that time. “That doesn’t make him bad,” my friend Julie said last night at dinner. Atticus Finch is simply a product of his time.

Now, I haven’t read Go Set A Watchman yet. (I’m on page 20). I’m interested to see how my assessment will change as I read through it. I’ll report back afterward!

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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:

bbster

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.

Where Have I Been?

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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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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!
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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.

Faith and Religion in the South

When I started writing The Devil Within, I knew religion would be a huge part of the book. Religion, for anyone who is from the South or has lived in the South, is such a huge part of Southern culture. I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging about religion, but my views on religion are not standard—especially for a southerner. I’ve worried about alienating readers with this post, but I have to be true to myself and my beliefs.

The truth is, religion is a private matter between a person and their God (or their lack of God as may be the case), but in the South religion permeates all aspects of public life too.

I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. I went to an Episcopal Church where I was baptized and confirmed. For fun, I’d go with my friends to their youth groups. My youth group called EYC was a second home to me and we did tons of fun things, which in the end should have kept me out of trouble but didn’t. But through it all I never felt a close kinship to God or Jesus. I have always been a questioner. I love to question things I can’t explain (how did we get here? Is God real? If God’s real then why are so many wars fought in her name?)

When I moved away for college, I stopped going to church. I had a boyfriend in college who was church-going and I went to the Methodist church with him a couple of times but eventually turned my back on organized religion. I had grown up thinking liberally in a conservative place and the hypocrisy of religion bothered me. Everyone is hypocritical—I get that, but I hate the idea of people being judged on their lifestyle because “God” said to do so. Isn’t God supposed to be loving?

And now I’m going to tell you the most hypocritical thing of all. I go to church. I work in the nursery there. When we moved back to the South, I wanted my children raised in the Episcopal Church. Why, you might ask, would I want that if I’m a questioner, an infidel, a heathen? Because in the South religion is a way of life. In the South, the first question out of someone’s mouth when they meet you is, “What church do you go to?” In the South, friendships are not made from cradle to the grave but from the baptismal font to heaven. Simply put, I wanted my children to fit into the society in which they were being raised.

I instill questions into my children’s head. I ask them if they believe in God. I ask them to prove it to me. I don’t want them blindly following. If they’re going to believe, then I want them to have a true belief, a belief I wish I had but never did. All my children believe in God, and I find comfort in that, because there is something comforting in believing in a higher power who can take all the pain away. There is something comforting in knowing you’re not alone in this world. There is something comforting in knowing that despite your sins, in the end you will be forgiven. I often think how much easier life would be if I had that kind of faith and believed in it wholeheartedly.

The Devil Within explores the intricacies of religion. William is wracked by guilt for sinning against his God. He blames himself for the deaths of his mother and siblings, because he believes he was being punished for his sins. He believes the devil has led him into temptation. But in the end, religion is such a huge part of his life, his world, and his culture that he still finds solace in it despite the fact that it almost destroyed him. How wonderful would it be to have that kind of faith?

Go to Church or The Devil Will Get You

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

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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!