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.

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 30, 2012

Speak English Please! Or Is It Greek?

Some years back, I took a medical terminology course that opened my eyeballs to a fact that I’m not sure many people know, or realize.  Those of you that do, I apologize profusely.

Our English language (one of the most widely used languages in the world) originates mainly from Greek and Latin words.  It consists of prefixes, root words and suffixes, to make one word with meaning.

Take the following words for example:

abduction

introduction

production

reduction

deduction

All these words have the Latin root word duc in common, which means to lead. We all know what they mean, but the neat thing is when broken down, we can see the formation of separate meanings.

Ab: means away

Intro: means within

Pro: means before or for

Re: means again or back

De: means away, down or removing

And then, we can’t forget our little suffix: tion, which means, the process of.

They all have the root word in common, but all have different meanings using a prefix. I think it’s absolutely stellar (Latin root word meaning star, and suffix meaning pertains to).

Constellation: Con: with or together   stell: star  and of course, let’s not forget tion: process of.  The process of stars together. The Latins and Greeks made it sound so simple, but the process of putting parts of words together to make different words and meanings is so cool, I find. I may sound like a weirdo, but this is fun for me. It’s never-ending how many words can be made.

Now, I’m going to make up a word, hopefully no one has seen before using a prefix, root word and a suffix. Those of you who write fantasy, comics or gamers may appreciate this. My word is: Maximacrochelanolysis

Break down please:

Maxim: greatest

Acro: pungent or sharp

Chelan: turtle

Lysis: to dissolve

So now, I’ve created a great big dissolving pungent turtle! The possibilities are endless to create fantasy characters, and monsters. Give it a try. Let’s see what you can come up with!

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 9, 2012

4 Ways To Battle Writer’s Block

In the process of writing The Veil (which has nothing to do with weddings) I ran into my first experience of writer’s block. I had heard of it happening to other writers quite often, but thought that this will never happen to me! I had written the beginning with ease, scribbled down an outline, which changed daily, and knew the direction I wanted to go with the story concept.

Then out of the blue…nothing. I let the story sit for a week.  I wrote the climactic ending of the story, and got that out the way hoping that it would spark something in my brain that had seemed to go on vacation without me.

My husband asks me occasionally, “How’s my Baby?” I said to him, “I’m stuck.” I explained my dilemma and he hashed it out with me for about ten minutes and then I was able to plunk myself back in the writer’s seat and continue with a renewed passion.

Steps you can take to unlock your creativity:

  1. Brainstorm with someone who understands the problem: Talking it out helps to get your thoughts organized and be able come up with fresh ideas.
  2. If the outline isn’t working, rewrite it: There’s no law saying you have to follow it to the letter.
  3. Go backwards with your outline: Write the ending, then go step by step in reverse order.
  4. Let your story simmer for a while: You may be getting bogged down too much with the bigger picture. Especially, if you’re putting a time limit on yourself to finish the story. Stress and pressure with seize up your creativity.

Unorthodox perhaps. But, whatever methods you can use to unleash the creative beast within you is never a bad thing. If you have had writer’s block and found a way to overcome it, please feel free to share your story.

 

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 26, 2012

My Biological Clock

I often wonder if other people feel the pressure of time as I do. No, I’m not talking about how many eggs I have left (not many, I don’t think. I hope not anyway) but, the pressure of how many hours in a day to get something accomplished, before the day dies off. Then, ultimately how many days I have left before the batteries of my life expire.

I believe that I push myself way too hard. If I don’t, who will? As an independent author, I am pressured to get as many books out as I can before that clock stops. And in the race, I hope I am not sacrificing quality for quantity. I think the  revolution of independent authorship has changed exponentially over the course of the last ten years. Mostly, for the good.

  • How many books can I get out in a year?
  • How many words have I written today?
  • How many blog posts can I squeeze in this week?
  • How many people can I connect with in a day?
  • Did I feed my dog today? Oops, sorry Little Pug…here’s some bits of steak for my guilt!

I love writing. I’ve loved it since I was a young girl. There were no pressures in those days feeling like you’re going to live forever. The time has passed far too quickly for my tastes, and now that I’m nearing the downhill race, my OCD tendencies are getting the better of me. I had to give myself a little pep talk to look at the big picture. If I look at it through a microscope, it seems small and menial, that I haven’t accomplished anything thus far. If I can look at it through the mirror (my husband always tells me to mirror-image myself) it makes me feel accomplished. I said accomplished! Not satisfied!

More than likely, I won’t feel satisfied…ever. That aspect doesn’t need a pep talk. It needs a slap in the head!

The last few weeks, I’ve been working feverishly on The Veil, pressuring myself to a goal of finishing it by the end of fall on top of writing a sequel to Harbinger. The pep talk I gave myself was that even though I have put this goal in front of me, I can’t let the structure of the story suffer because of the time constraint. If I don’t have it finished, edited, covered, and published by the beginning of winter, am I to fire myself? Come on! Ease up, Jeez!

I was going through some old books I had bought over ten years ago, about Book Marketing. The rule of thumb back then was one book per year. It’s changed since the evolution of e-books, and independent publishing, and sometimes alarming to see how fast paced we have become in the last ten years. That’s me looking at the big picture. Now, it’s two, three or four books per year, just to get them out there! Unless, you have an arsenal of books already written, of course, which many independent authors have had, as did I.

This is my point. It took me anywhere from eight months to a year to write the books I have out now. Now, I am pressuring myself to a few months on The Veil? So, after my pep talk, I have decided to go for the quality aspect, and slow my pace on this endeavor. You cannot rush a thriller. So, I’m taking the batteries out of my biological clock.

Thanks for listening. I feel better now…tick-tick, tick tock

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?

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