Gina Lawless Books

November 2, 2012

How You Can Help Out Indie Authors

I am in the process of forming an Independent Author review page in my own tiny corner of this self-publishing world to entice, generate, coerce folks to read, review (an important aspect of any author’s writing career) and otherwise support these hard-working authors. Being one myself, I understand the difficulty of getting people to read your stuff. An author can spend more time marketing (easily) his/her books than actually writing them.

I am guilty of reading books from the best seller’s list exclusively and only began reading indie authors this year. I’m amazed at how many really good writers there are.

So with that splattered out there, many of these authors have free, or cheaply priced works available to the public simply to get their name out. Some have their books listed for free to hook a reader into further purchases, which I have found to be an excellent tactic. I have been hooked this way myself.

In my attempt to support my fellow authors, I command you…okay, not command…ask politely that you check out Smashwords home page, click on the “free” tab and scroll through the many books available. If you are a voracious reader like me, you’ll a find a plethora of marvelously good reads that will keep you entertained for eons. Plus, you’ll be doing a great service to independent authors.

Happy reading!

But, don’t forget to give them a review (good, bad or indifferent) because it only helps their process.

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October 21, 2012

The Creation of Creator

Are you ever in the process of writing your book, and need to stop and think: How will people receive this type of story? What will they think of me?

I struggled with this question when I wrote Creator. My thoughts ranged from, people are going to be angry and outraged, to insisting that I need to be saved.

I seriously had to set aside those questions, and forge ahead with my ideas for the book regardless of what people might think. I was raised by a religious mother, and an atheistic father, but neither influenced my thoughts one way or the other.

I am Agnostic through and through. Spending most of my teen years trying to find a religion (never did) that supported what I was searching for, and didn’t point the finger at another religion insisting that they were wrong, came at a high price. It only made me loath religion on the whole. I don’t think that our Creator meant for it to happen this way.

Back to the book. I was afraid to release it out into the world based on the wide range of religious beliefs throughout my family, and the public. I needed to set aside the fear factor, and realize that if I stifle my writing for fear of what people will think of me, then I don’t need to be writing.

It is a fictional novel, however some folks don’t absorb that word “fiction” when watching a movie, or reading a book.

Here is your challenge: I would like to give the first three people who comment to this post, a coupon for a free copy of the eBook, Creator. 

And then, will you have the guts to tell me what you think?

October 20, 2012

Scary, But True

Bare with me here, because this thought leads to the basis of this post. A friend of mine asked me a few months back when I showed him my ebooks on my eReader (something he will never possess, he said). He asked me, “How do you write?”  The question confused me somewhat. What do you mean, how do I write? I put my fingers on the keyboard and tap away. “No,” he said. “How do you come up with these stories? Who taught you how to write?”

I had to think about it for a few seconds. I mean aside from my first grade teacher giving me the ability to be able to scrawl my first name on a piece of paper in the manner of pencil in fist as if carving something in stone. And my English teachers teaching me the fine art of the English language and its usage (something that still confounds me). I said to him, “No one taught me how to come up with characters and bring them to life. You either can, or you can’t.”

This friend I speak of can take a chunk of myrtlewood, and carve a beautiful piece of furniture out of it. So I returned the question to him. “How do you take a hunk of old wood, and create something so spectacular out of it?”

I can’t do it. I’ve tried, but it comes out looking like a dead headless fish after the birds have gotten to it.

He looked at me and understood and just nodded with a smile.

I believe we are all creative in one way or another. I am so envious of someone who can paint a gorgeous picture, or someone who can take a breathtaking photograph, or someone who can create lyrics and music. I suppose we can’t be creative at everything, but having at least one creative purpose that drives our hands and minds is the best that we can ask for.

And this got me to thinking about my sister and what follows.

My sister has no artistic creativity AT ALL. But, she has a gift for connecting with people. She had been a Registered Nurse for years, then went on to Director of Nurses. Her soothing personality has given her the ability to do her job impeccably. Something I didn’t inherit. On the most part, I can’t stand being around people, and was envious of her ability to connect with her ailing and aging patients. The smile that crossed their faces when she spoke to them softly often made me cry.

Which leads me to the Scary, But True topic:

I often wonder if my mother was to blame for my inherent loathing of being around ailing people. At the tender age of eleven, she took me to her place of work (she was a nurse as well) to Clovis Sanitarium, which is now Wolfe Manor and has been aired on Ghost Adventures, and Ghost Hunters, and touted as being one of the most haunted places in California. Anyway, she took me to work with her because it was a patient’s birthday, and she thought I’d have fun, and it would be fun for the patients to have a young person there for the celebration.

The moment I stepped into that horrifying place, I was mauled by crazy people. No, this was not an old folks home. It was an insane asylum. They tore at my hair, pulled on my arms, yelling and screaming for me to take them away.

Needless to say, I was horrified and ran out the building vowing never to return…and never to become a nurse. Bless those that can do it. Back then I didn’t know the history of that building. It was bad enough as it was, to see these people in such deplorable living conditions, shitting all over the floor where they stood, unkempt and filthy. Some walking around with no clothing on at all, some trying desperately to escape. No one wanted to work there, so the ratio of nurse to patient was minimal at best.

It wasn’t only the patients that scared the crap out of me. There was something about that building that put such a terrifying feeling in my gut. It was as if something black and evil was crawling inside the walls waiting to reach out and grab you. I kid you not!

My mother would come home from work and tell stories about things happening there that no one could explain. Before I went, I would think the stories were entertaining and enjoyed listening to them. Now, I sometimes wonder if whatever it was that was crawling in the walls somehow got into the minds of some of those patients. They were tormented by their own mental state, but what else?

This is my October horror story. Scary, but true. Oh, and yeah! Thanks Mom for damaging my brain for life!

October 14, 2012

Summer’s Over. Now Get Your Damn E-Readers Working.

No more laying on the beach in your tiny bikinis, and worrying if your bikini line has been shaved properly! Unless, of course you have a hot date tonight. In that case: wax on!

Now is the time to load up your e-readers with some good reads and cozy up with your favorite blankie. This is one reason I love the cooler months. I can read without feeling guilty that I should be outside doing something constructive with my yard. I have no idea why I would feel guilty when I have no garden to tend. I gave up on that last summer when my topsy-turvy tomatoes turned black on one end looking like some grotesque monster eyeball. I did get to use the tomatoes for target practice though. So, I said to hell with this mess. I’ll buy my tomatoes from Mexico and pretend they taste like the home-grown sort. Right.

I’m digressing again! E-readers! My books are uploaded through Smashwords, and distributed to Nook, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Barnes and Noble. My question to all of my lovely readers is this: What e-reader do you use?

The reason I ask, is because I’m considering going through Amazon for my next book to see how it works. All I hear is Kindle this, and Kindle that. I personally own a Nook Color, which I absolutely adore, and anything that is sold through Amazon is sold through B&N. I’m don’t feel like I’m getting jipped in that respect. However, when it comes to book sales of my own, I sometimes feel like a fart in the wind.

Or are you one of the romantic few who still must have a book made of trees? I still read those old-fashioned kind of books, of course. But, the really weird part is this. I bought and am reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is an excellent book, by the way if you haven’t read it yet. Anyway, I’m physically holding this book and struggling to hold the book open. Did you get that? I’m struggling to hold the book open!!! Yesterday morning, I awoke to find my left thumb was a bit sore. I’m asking myself what I did to cause this. Ahhh! It dawned on my this morning. I was reading a paperback book! Strange, but true.

Pipe up and give me some feedback on your thoughts about e-readers and perhaps your experience with Amazon.

Don’t click the “Submit” button on the inserted picture. 🙂

September 15, 2012

Short Story For Free

I have set the short story The Last Year and a Half  for free. No coupon codes to enter…just free. I figure if the darn thing didn’t take me that long to write, I shouldn’t charge for it. If you do decide to give it a read though, it would be great if you could leave me a review at Smashwords. Good, bad or indifferent, I want to hear what you think. It only helps in the writing process to get feedback from you.

Warning: Explicit language!

September 13, 2012

Business Card Frenzy

I had these business cards made up quickly and cheaply at VistaPrint for only the cost of shipping.

In an effort to recoup my $10.00, I ran around my town…well…I didn’t actually run, but everyone I spoke to, I handed them a business card or two, and asked them to spread the word. The design is simple, but straightforward. It was exciting to actually speak to people face to face to promote myself, and it was exciting to see their excitement. I love these little tax deductions!

Have some made up, carry them with you everywhere you go. Supermarket, gas stations, libraries, the local tavern, the bank, work, neighbors. Whomever you can accost. You’d be surprised at how much support and encouragement you can gain this way.

September 1, 2012

Pearls of Wisdom Are Neither Here Nor There

Well, if it’s neither here, nor there, where the hell is it?

Before you start reading this post, I just need to tell you not to get your panties in a bunch and bear with me til the end.

We’re all guilty of using clichés, in our everyday speech, and in our writing. In speech, we can say it, and get away with it because it will be forgotten in short order. But, when we use it in our writing, it’s going to be there forever. You can bet your bottom dollar on that one! You don’t want to sell yourself short by interjecting too many clichés into your novel. It will ultimately reflect on you and your credibility as a serious writer, and show your true colors.

Rule if thumb, to be a truly good writer means authentic, original words coming from your authentic, original mind. Mark my words, it makes me mad as a hatter to read a book from a fabulous author, or an author I feel has very good potential, and see it splattered with clichés. Is it laziness, or have our generations become so accustomed to hearing these clichés as part of the english language? How can a person even learn the english language with all these clichés, metaphors and malaphors when the chips are down?

Throwing everything in, but the kitchen sink just to have your word count, is laziness. I can wager that a few of you are thinking that you need to go over your novel stem to stern and check for clichés, not wanting to make your name mud. Pardon my French, but you have to go balls to the wall and think for yourself to write the best novel possible without reverting to those easy verses. If that were the case, every Tom, Dick and Harry would be a writer.

Put your thinking cap on , and push the envelope, or you won’t have a pot to piss in!

Writing a good story is not a piece of cake. If anyone thinks that it’s a walk in the park, they are barking up the wrong tree!

Readers are intelligent people, and I’ve seen this happen. ( I won’t say to whom I am referring. All I will say is that I am Fifty Shades of envious, clichés or not.) An author has a good story, but it’s riddled with clichés and overused phrases that wreak havoc over the whole nine yards, so ultimately readers feel this author is blowing smoke up their ass. On the other hand, this particular author is selling books hand over fist. Is this author sly as a fox, is it the erotica content, or was it by hook or by crook, and she just got lucky and struck while the iron was hot?

Don’t bust my chops on this one. There was so much seething anger coming from many of this author’s readers, it makes me wonder if it was jealousy because she has sold so many books, or are they putting their two cents in because they feel they have egg on their face for buying it in the first place? Is this author just a flash in the pan, or will she simmer down, and just peter out eventually? She knows which side her bread is buttered on, and she has taken the bull by the horns. Whether her writing is hated or not, she is bringing home the bacon with her trilogy.

It still hurts like the Dickens to put so much thought into writing with heart and soul, and to try to cut the mustard as a serious author, only to have to feel like throwing the baby out with the bath water, and starting all over.

I mean, let’s face the music, do we want to take someone down a peg or two for their success, or do we want to fly off the handle  because we can’t feather our own nests, keeping us dirt poor?

You can take this with a grain of salt, but I’ll bet my life that you can’t tell me how many clichés I interjected into this post just to see if you’re up to snuff. After all, the proof is in the pudding!

I’m just pulling your leg though. You can write however you want, and I am certainly no expert on verbage. I just thought it would be a kick in the pants to see if I could keep you on your toes. So, I’m going to mind my own bees-wax and go do some much-needed writing. I have to go check my cliché content.

August 31, 2012

Kickstarter for StoryRealms Family Adventure Game

 This is an introduction to StoryRealms Family Adventure Game by Escapade Games. This is worth taking a look for you gamers out there, and even if you’re not a gamer. They are launching their kickstarter program to get this project rolling and would appreciate your help in donating and/or helping to spread the word.

 What makes Story Realms different from any other board game or role playing game? Almost Everything! Here’s a quick look at some of the reasons Story Realms is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

  • A complete Story Realms “Chapter” plays in about an hour.
  • Story Realms is a storytelling adventure game that the whole family can enjoy together–even little kids can play Story Realms and there’s plenty there for adults to get into as well.
  • The gameplay in Story Realms rewards teamwork, creativity, and imagination, something that kids are amazingly good at.
  • Playing Story Realms is an opportunity to build a shared family experience of adventure, fun, cooperation, and creative memories that will last long after the game is over.
  • Storm Hollow, the setting for Story Realms, is a vibrant storybook world that merges the familiar with the fantastic to provide an immersive backdrop for epic adventure stories.
  • Story Realms touches on the resonant themes of light versus dark, the power of a good story, and the boundless nature of creativity.
  • Story Realms is a game about working together to accomplish great deeds, explore an amazing world, and discover your inner hero.

That’s it folks! It’s awesome and amazing what they have done. Please go check them out immediately if not sooner at StoryRealms Family Adventure Game, and if you can, help give these folks a Kickstart.

August 19, 2012

Tweets Without Blogs

One of my favorite morning rituals is going through my Twitter followers/followings with my cup of coffee, and checking out blog sites and/or websites. I don’t pick up a newspaper anymore because 1) I can read it online and 2) I can’t see anything that’s upbeat and entertaining enough that captures my attention. It’s all about who shot whom, who went to jail for drugs, who beat up whose wife.

Anyway, one of the things that I’m running into on Twitter is that many folks don’t have a blog or website that one can go check out. No place to go check out their writing or WIP. I asked myself, “Self? Can one promote one’s work accordingly just using Twitter?” I suppose you can, but for me, I like to see someone put some real effort into their profession. Anything worth doing, is worth going all out for. Don’t you agree?

I feel like I’ve sold myself short this past month because of my obligations to the job that pays the bills, and taking a bit of time off to reconnect with people. Plus, it’s difficult to stay indoors writing when it’s so gorgeous outside. However, I still have an obligation to myself as a writer to keep plugging away at it. Guilt plagues me.

So, I guess a little advice to those that Tweet: If you do have a blog or website, please include it in your profile. Show us your depth. Give us your perception. And, I know this goes for every author out there. We’re not only writers. We are readers as well. Don’t sell yourself short by just tweeting a link to where your book is being sold. It doesn’t give me a reason that makes me want to go check out your book. I am always looking for material to read. Always! Help us be able to help you. I read anywhere from four to six books at a time and I’m running out of books on my Nook!

What’s your opinion?

August 18, 2012

Another Way To Get Your Words Out

I tried this avenue several years ago and had completely forgotten about it.

You can refer back to one of my older posts  that explains what I’m talking about.

Ezine Articles is a fantastic way to help authors get the word out and also builds your presence. They do have a few rules for submitting an article, one mainly being you cannot put links into the body of your articles to sell yourself. But, you can use the resource box at the end of your article to guide readers to your sites.

You can use some of your blog posts for articles, but again, edit it so there are no links to your sites in the body of your text, otherwise they will kick it back out and ask you to fix it.

It does not cost you anything, and I think it’s well worth the few minutes to sign up and re-post some of your great ideas there.

SEO Baby!

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