Gina Penn, unabridged.

Archive for September, 2011


I got some thinking to do.

For the past few days I’ve been in Virginia Beach attending the Hampton Roads Conference. While there, I met up with some very great people and attended some useful panel discussions about writing and the publishing industry. Never did I think this would be the conference that would make me seriously think about my career and ponder it in a way that could affect my place in the writing world.

When I first started writing, I wanted to traditionally publish. I wrote The Storm, then rewrote it, then submitted it out to a few agents for consideration. One I never heard back from, one denied, and one is still considering. The bad thing about The Storm is that it was written over two years ago and when I look at it now, I just see a big pile of crap. I’m a better writer now than I was then and I’ll be a better writer two years from now than I am right now. I don’t want to reach a point with my writing that I’m not always improving…but I don’t want to write inferior work either. I’ll be damned if I put some worthless piece of junk out there with my name on it. But my definition of a worthless piece of junk is different than all those who read The Storm.

Immediately after I wrote The Storm, I put it aside and began working on The Dark Layer. The Dark Layer took almost two full years to write and is still considered a work in progress, but it’s the one I consider the most finished. It’s an exciting book with an interesting concept and I worked really hard on it. It has problems but what book doesn’t? No one submits perfection and even after books are published, you can still find issues. Good writing is subjective, just as good stories and good characters are. And the problems it has aren’t terminal-they’re totally fixable and I’m capable of fixing them.

While waiting for The Dark Layer’s draft to mellow, I began outlining/writing a new sci-fi/horror possible trilogy. I’m very excited about this project because every day I get new ideas for scenes. I also have a pretty awesome idea of how it might end. Actually, it’s more than awesome; it’s biblical.

*I’m upset because WP did not save the rest of my draft. It sucks because it was really good too.*

When nothing began to pan out for The Storm, I decided I was going to self-publish The Dark Layer. The cover was done by a professional, it was proofread, beta-read, edited, all of the above. And over this past weekend, something changed. I decided that The Dark Layer isn’t quite finished yet.

I’m not sure what to do. I think The Dark Layer may go on indefinite hiatus. The Storm as well because it needs a really good thorough rewrite. Unfortunately I’m hesitant about tackling these jobs without having a professional to work with. I don’t want to devote hours and hours and hours to something and then post it without having a professional to tell me where the real problems are. Yet I also don’t like the idea of sitting on my hands and waiting for an agent and publishing deal to fall out of the sky and into my lap. It’s hard to tell what to do, what the right decisions are, where my best interests lie. I’m famous for making bad decisions and when it comes to my career, I definitely don’t want to fuck this up.

To be continued…?

The Dark Layer Cover Sneak Peek

I’ve been busy doing a lot of editing and because of this, I haven’t had much time to blog. I clearly suck at blogging but that’s simply because I’ve been too busy working. My friends and family will concur this statement. If you mention my name, they’ll probably say, “Oh yeah, I seem to remember seeing her around.”

Without further ado, here is the cover for The Dark Layer, designed by the brilliant Dustin Ashe:

Isnt’ it gorgeous? The colors are amazing. Dustin Ashe did a great job.

When the betas come back to me with their thoughts/edits/complaints  suggestions, I will comb through this book yet a fourth fifth time before the release. Late October is the tentative date for release but that may change depending on how much more work has to go into this piece. ARCs will go to all my favorite book reviewers, of course, and hopefully they will all love it as much as I do.

That’s it! Tell me what you think.


Attention Whore

I read a fantastic blog post today from my World Fantasy Convention friend Livia Blackburne about self-promotion. If you’re a writer, then I suggest you take five minutes out of your day and read her blog post, which you can find here.

If you’re a smart writer, then you’ll subscribe to her blog and read her posts religiously.

Anyhow, this blog got me thinking. I HATE self-promotion. Hate. Hate. I hate it more than the average person. Attention has never been something I’ve been comfortable with, however, I do fake it rather well. The wall-flower child, that’s me. I’m passive and quiet by nature, so whenever someone asks me about my writing, my muscles clench all the way down to my inner eye. I almost lost a job because I refused to pimp the company’s products. It’s not me. When the book of Gina was being written, the chapter on extrovertedness ended up in the editor’s trash can.

This isn’t the way it works in the book world. I can write books all day long. I can bend your ear until it breaks off with a terrific yarn, leaving you satisfied yet wanting more. I love every process of writing books; some I favor more than others but I wouldn’t trade any of my experiences for all the quid in England. Yet, when it comes to this one part, this one, tiny, itty-bitty, teeny, miniscule piece, I cower like a nerd who has offended the school bully. “Please, officer, I’ll tell you anything you want to know, anything at all, but please don’t make me tell you about my book!”

Any agent reading this post has now clicked away.

One of the main reasons why I hate promoting my work is because I’m filled with self-doubt. I’m very fortunate and unfortunate to have a slew of extremely talented friends that are writers and when you’re surrounded by that much talent all the time, you feel like Forrest Gump at an M.I.T. party. Stephen King could tell me my writing is great and I still wouldn’t believe him. This self-doubt isn’t singular to me and I know it-lots of writers have this crippling anxiety-but it keeps me from getting my work out there and getting noticed by potential readers.

Part of me is okay with this. I’m not about the money. I don’t live extravagantly and I don’t aspire to. Sure, the money is a nice side-effect but it’s not the goal. I just want to have fun.

But the other part, after reading Livia’s blog, now feels a little bad about this. Personally, I would be a little upset if a great book was out there and I didn’t know about it simply because the writer was too chickenshit to tell me about it.  I know that I should get out there and scream about my books on the tallest building on the highest mountain in Colorado but I like the Bartleby defense: I prefer not to (shame on you if you don’t get the reference, especially if you’re a writer). In my perfect world, those who would enjoy my work would stumble upon it purely by accident, or by word of mouth, or accidental word of mouth. But it’s not a perfect world and a lot of people could be missing out. That I can’t have.

I am going to work on supporting the stuff that is baked fresh from my brain and onto the page. I am going to try to be more confident, even when green-eyed lurkers in my life have nothing better to do than post fake reviews about me. I won’t tweet about them 24/7, I absolutely abhor people who do that but I will make a point to talk about them more often.

Now, go to the links at the top and buy my books, dammit!

Dark Layer release

The Dark Layer, my champagne supernova, is set to be released on October 31st. 

Just for anyone who is interested in knowing.