Gina Lawless Books

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!

Advertisements

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 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 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!

August 2, 2012

Instincts Part 1

My husband and I took a trip though eastern Idaho into Montana wanting to go north from there via the Bitterroot Mountain Range. Beautiful and rough terrain with raging rivers, rocky landscapes and canyons. It’s August, so naturally, it’s hot and dry. We’re following the meandering river north of Salmon, Idaho on Highway 93, the Lewis and Clark Trail, and that water is looking, oh-so-good. I’m so hot, I just want to dip my tired feet in the water for a few minutes, so we can continue in some comfort. We have been stopping to read the historical land markers along the way, something we have always wanted to do, if time allowed.

Bless my husband, he stops so I can take a quick dip. I’m wearing shorts and flimsy sandals, so my descent is a bit uneasy and I need to watch my footing. I do not want a broken ankle. My eyes are on the prize! That water looks cool and welcoming, but as I finally get down there, the bank is extremely muddy and rocky, with reeds all around. Critters! Eww! So, I decide against the idea, and turn to start back up the rocky terrain to our vehicle, pouting the entire way. My husband is still up on the road having finished marking his territory and starts toward me, but he’s still about 50 yards away.

Suddenly, I am frozen in my tracks. Total and encompassing fear has wrapped its steely hand around my heart making it accelerate to approximately 130 beats per minute. The only thing I’m thinking at this point is: Stay completely still-or-run like a bat straight out of hell. Then my brain starts thinking about rational scenarios. If I bolt, I easily could trip with these ridiculously flimsy sandals and I could be dead. I might not be fast enough, and I could be dead.

The familiar rattling sound is astonishingly close, and I turn my head slowly to the left and slightly behind me. Only a foot away, are a few of the most venomous snakes in the US of A. Two Western Rattle Snakes are intertwined and I have interrupted their baby snake making fest. They are unraveling themselves and becoming poised to strike at me if I move. And, maybe still if I don’t move. They are looking right at me! I’m thinking about my bare calf and having their fangs sink in. It’s going to hurt, and then how fast can my husband get me to a hospital? Where the hell are we anyway? Out in the middle of no where.

There is nowhere for me to lunge safely without rocks in my way. Damn stupid sandals. I realize I’m holding my breath and I can see my husband walking in extreme slow motion towards me in my peripheral vision, totally unaware of my situation. So, I holler, “SNAKES!!!!”, trying to keep my eye on the snakes.

He yells at me to keep perfectly still as he turns and runs back to the vehicle. In actuality, he said something to the effect of, “Stay the f**k still! Don’t f**king move!” He’s throwing F-Bombs right and left as I remain stock still and he‘s rifling through the truck, but my legs are beginning to ache as if I’ve been standing there for hours, which has been only but a few seconds.

I know he’s looking for a weapon. My hero husband bounds down to me like Superman, and puts himself between the snakes and my body and commences trying to pound them with a shovel. And, what do I say? “Don’t kill them!” He looks at me as if I’m crazy. “The f**k I won’t,” he says in frustration.

They slither apart and hide themselves under tree roots and rocks unharmed. He is unharmed as am I.

My question is this: I know we still possess instincts that warn us of impending doom.

But, if I had never heard of, or seen a rattle snake, or was unfamiliar with the sound of their alarming rattle, would instinctive fear still have gripped me?

July 28, 2012

Battling With My Demons

I know all of you missed me out there (snicker-snicker) as you wondered, where did she go? I needed to take a much-needed mini vaca with my husband to re-charge my batteries. And his. He insisted we go to the coast for a three-day weekend to get away from our life. I went…kicking and screaming…but so glad we did. This place we went to has no phone, and no internet, so I was forced to try to make my brain  maintain calmness that it isn’t used to. I didn’t have any choice in the matter, so I had to submit.  Of course, I took my laptop knowing that while we were there, I could at least do some writing. I didn’t even do that! This place is nestled by the coastline and amid pines and rolling hills. How can anyone disclaim this natural beauty, ignore it, or take it for granted? I realized this question as I looked out from our friend’s back patio overlooking the green hills covered with Douglas Fir and Myrtlewood trees, and down into a pasture that held a herd of grazing Palomino horses. The sun behind me casting those long romantic shadows across the meadow.

If I’m looking down all of the time, how can I acknowledge this spectacular vision before me? How can I write about it accurately? How can I write about it at all? After all, I didn’t create this landscape. Then and there, I knew I would never be able to escape from writing. Never. Instead of just enjoying the view, here I am staring at a vision and trying to describe it in my head. Trying to make poetry out of this tangible sight, and trying to describe the colors, the smells and the feeling it gives me. I am cursed with this as was my father’s family before me. I simply can’t enjoy the breathtaking view that nature has created. I must make it into words that can convey what is burning into my retina.

So, I take a deep breath in, then exhale. Trying again to let go of the gnawing angst of molding thoughts, sensations, and visions into words. I take a drink of my crappy cup of coffee which has turned cold. The chill reaches the back of my neck and grips me hard, even shakes me a little. You will never be rid of me. I will ride with you until the day you die, little one!  This voice scares me sometimes because it seems more like a demon than something good and creative. Realizing this, I cry a little right then. I am alone, watching a herd of horses, one of them rolling in the grass like a dog, scratching his back, and the demon is scratching my cervical column with its sharp fingernail. That spot right at the base of my skull. If I tell it to leave me be for a time, it laughs hideously and mocks me.

Who is in control here? Certainly not me, I realize.  This curse makes me feel like an outcast among these Oregonians whom I have come to love and respect. I came here from California, where everyone pretty much lived in their own preformed cocoon.

Here, in the Pacific Northwest, people are kind and giving. They are thoughtful in ways I was not accustomed to. They come from a very long line of hardworking families whose hands bled forging this countryside. The landscape is dotted with homes that have been here for one hundred plus years, but still the beauty of this place remains untouched. There are still, to this day, trails that the native Indians formed and used, then the white man came and claimed them making roads for wagon trails. Living here is like stepping back in time. The people who were born and raised here are not naive in any way. Saying that they are “down-to-earth” is putting it mildly. They hunt, they fish, they love to shoot guns, they drink lots of beer and they love to laugh. The men are truly men.

Even though they don’t give themselves away too easily, the thoughts they maintain about living here are so bred within them, they don’t have the need to speak about it. I don’t think they understand me very well because of my lineage and upbringing, but they accept me. I am as curious about them as they are of me, I think. The friend who we were staying with asked me, “Gina, where did your learn to write like that?” His small library is full of books about the history of Oregon, families that settled here, logging, timber species, and even a handbook for Boy Scouts that was old and worn. My answer was, “I don’t know.” I don’t know if it’s a learned thing, or a genetic thing, or both. These people are not into meditation. If you live here, one can’t help but be in a reverent state of mind. They are not into religion, but they believe in God. This magical splendor is their church. Simply looking around is their history, their heritage and their story.

I can’t explain to them about this demon. I don’t want them thinking I’m crazy. So, I only give away bits and pieces of myself when asked. This place that I have chosen as my permanent home is so magical, and chocked full with stories, it’s hard not to write about it.

I am blessed with these people, and this place. And I am cursed with the demon that won’t let my subconscious sleep peacefully. I must learn to integrate the two hemispheres to coincide and insist that they learn to get along together in such a way that it gives me peace.

When it came time to go home, I didn’t want to leave.

July 8, 2012

Writing From the Gut

There is so much information out there in the blogosphere on how to become self-published the proper way. So much of it is good, sound information. And if anyone is getting into the business of writing, it should be read, top to bottomuss. Any information you need is out there for the reading. Such as:

  • The importance of editing your work before it’s published.
  • The proper book cover design.
  • Marketing and advertising.
  • Using social media.

All of which should be studied profusely in today’s writing markets. Way back in the stone ages (when I was in school) my teachers would pound it into our heads, grammar, spelling, and punctuation! But, the really good teachers would tell us to reach into our gut for our stories. Pull out that piece of you which no one else knows about and write about it. Spill your emotions onto the paper and grab the reader’s attention. Let it ooze out of you like puss from an opened wound. (Directly from Mr. Neihoff, in heavy german accent) What a great teacher he was.

At that age, I was not tuned into my inner turmoil. Even if I had been, I dare not share it with anyone else! I seriously don’t think that I was mature enough to let it ooze until I had lived enough of a life, that I couldn’t hold the ooze any longer. By then, it wasn’t an ooze, but more of a gusher.

I wrote the short story, The Last Year and a Half  in a span of four days, altogether probably eight hours. I had no idea at the time where that story came from, except for the fact that cancer made me  angry. I have known twenty people in my life that have had it, or have died from it, my mother being the first in a long series of family and friends, my dear sister included. Yes, it made me furious!

When I wrote the story, I cried. I cried me a river. I still had no idea why. I wrote it in the first person POV as if I were experiencing this myself. When I was finished with it, I felt such an emotional regurgitation. What I had done was combine my sister and I into this one character. My sister’s battle with cancer, and my inept communication skills and unwillingness to let people in too far. Perhaps, that came from being weary of losing so many people in my life to this wicked disease, that I found it simpler and emotionally safer to keep the door closed tightly.

I think that’s what Mr. Neihoff was talking about. So, this is in honor of those that have lost the battle, and to those that have fought it hard and won. Thanks to this story, I have been able to reopen that door.

Go grab a copy for free at Smashwords, using this coupon code.   HB46F

Love and Peace.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: