Gina Penn, unabridged.

Archive for October, 2011

Advantages to Going Indie

I’ve been holding out on writing this post for quite a while.

Part of me said to write it would be a mistake; I’ve still not stuck my entire foot in the water of the indie pool, only my toe. Scared, I suppose would be the reason for that, because I don’t like branding myself “indie” or “traditional”. If an agent offered to rep me I wouldn’t say no-I think a lot of indies feel the same-and yet sometimes I feel that I would hesitate before saying yes. The writing world is changing, after all, and not for the betterment of agents. Unfortunately, the problem with agents and publishers, is that they tend to back what’s safe instead of what’s good. Money makes the world go round, don’t you know.

There are advantages to both sides of the coin (traditional & indie). When I stop and think of the advantages of being traditional, it sounds very appealing. No stigma, placement in bookstores, professionals backing and believing in your work and talents, etc…  And yet I can still remember the very moment I first learned about independent publishing. At a Writer’s Digest thing a few years ago, this had been. It was a magic feeling of…possibility?

I guess I’m writing this to remind myself that being an independent isn’t as bad or lowbrow as people think, particularly the writers that are vehement about going down the traditional trail.

1.) Rebel – Going indie appeals to my rebellious nature. I don’t immediately dismiss good advice or things that are “popular” just because, however, I do tend to think and consider a little longer than most. I move slower than normal, which annoys the crap out of a lot of people, and I always arrive in my own time. My mother, who was in labor with me for well over a day, will testify to that.

2.) Freedom – Not much needs to be explained here and no matter what side of the fence you’re on, you understand this. There is so much more freedom in being an indie and I’m not just talking about the choices you make for your bookcovers. Your career is yours to cultivate as you wish, like an exotic breed of rose in your own private garden. I don’t have to worry mightily about how something might look to the public. If someone says something I don’t like, I don’t necessarily have to bite my tongue (although sometimes I do, I will admit). I’m allowed to write what I want, say what I want, do what I want. There’s no publicist, agent, publisher, or anyone else there to slap my wrist over a public faux pas. I realize the flip side to this as well, of course I do, but the feeling of not only having wings but being allowed to use them is priceless.

3.) Community – There is a sense of community in the indie world that you just aren’t going to get in the Hollyweird world of traditional publishing. I imagine it’s the same for those who toil under the indie flag in the movie-making world and also the indie music world as well. We’re all in this together. I can recall not so long ago that a traditional author insulted an indie writer and the indie community put the smack down so hard that the traditional author had to issue an apology. Yeah. I kind of like that. Don’t fuck with us. Cause we fuck back.

4.) Trust – It always surprises me how authors are willing to hand over a manuscript that they’ve worked, sweated, cried, and shed blood for rather easily to an almost complete stranger with the “agent” or “publisher” title, and yet we revere our phone numbers and our weight the way KFC locks up the recipe for their tasty fried chicken. Even more perplexing when you consider how many times we’ve never received a formal rejection for a submission, which means our hard work is floating around in the universe of the Internet, for anyone to steal.

5.) No Contract – There is nothing legal binding me or the brilliance in my brain to any particular person or publishing entity for any amount of time. I know we have to click “agree” before uploading our work to Amazon but I think most people know what I mean. I can pretty much quit writing if I so choose-not that I want to-but I like the option of the ability to stop should I go Hemingway and slip a few cogs.

I’d love to hear some thoughts on this. Hope you read to the end. Thx.

The CoffinHop

I’m participating in the CoffinHop and here are the prizes for my blog:

This week anyone who comments on any given blog on my website, will be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card, whichever you prefer.

Second Prize is $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N, again, whichever.

More comments, more entries, so comment often!

Please remember to include some way for me to get ahold of you in case you’ve won.

Winners will be contacted by Nov 1st.

Good luck.


I want to pause a moment and reflect on the tragedy in Zanesville. As a fellow Ohioan from the Cincinnati area and writer, I simply cannot help but say a few words about this event.

Jesus Weeps

Take a good look.
After you’ve looked once, look again.
Who are we? What have we become?
Those poor creatures are never getting up. They’re never going to smell fresh air again, never eat again, never fall asleep in the sunshine again.
Was this really and truly the only way to handle this? You mean to tell me we can put a man on the moon and make a guitar the size of a human blood cell but we can’t find a better, more humane way to contain an animal outbreak?
If this is the case, I weep for humanity.
The man running this “preserve” was a nutcase. And the authorities warned him numerous times.
Why was nothing done?
I mean, really, is there so much to do in Zanesville that the local police were willing to overlook this dire situation dozens of times? Over a number of years?
Someone in Zanesville needs to stand up, take charge, and accept responsibility and due punishment for the gross oversight he/she allowed to continue that caused the slaughter of those animals.
This is unacceptable.
Do you know how many tigers are left in the world? Less than 1400. And thanks to Zanesville, now there are even fewer.
I certainly hope the citizens don’t lie back and accept this. To do so would be an atrocity.
“It has become appaulingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” ~Albert Einstein
 “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” ~~ Horace Mann
“The more humanity advances, the more it is degraded.” ~~ Gustave Flaubert
“We owe to the Middle Ages the two worst inventions of humanity-romantic love and gunpowder.” ~~Andre Marois
“Part of our essential humanity is paying respect to what God gave us and what will be here a long time after we’re gone. ” ~William J. Clinton
Brutality to an animal is cruelty to mankind-the only difference is the victim.” ~~Alphonse de Lamartine

“Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.”
– Mark Twain  “The Lowest Animal”

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” ~~Mark Twain

“There are no wild animals until man makes them so.” ~~Mark Twain

I’m Kind of a Big Deal…

Not really but I thought it would be a hilarious title to the blog.

I'm Ron Burgundy?

I was recently interviewed by Jason Darrick of Fear In Words fame. You can read the interview here.


Between the 24-31 of October, I will be participating in the Coffin Hop. There are a lot of great writers involved in this who are offering some amazing prizes, so you should check out their blogs. The links can be found here

For the coffinhop, as well as the release of my new book, I will be having a giveaway but I haven’t decided what to give away just yet. So, keep your ears on!


Don’t Buy My Books

If you say: “I can’t read scary books!”

Here’s my response: Fine, then don’t buy my books.

Yes, you read me correctly.

Don’t buy my books. I don’t want you to. If you can’t handle reading outside your comfort zone, or trying something different, then I’d rather you didn’t buy my books. If the words on the page are going to scare you that badly, then don’t buy or read my books.

I’m totally cool with that and I won’t hate you if you don’t read them. We can still be friends.

There are a lot of authors out there that will feed on that type of resistance. Those authors will pressure you, argue with you, try to sell you.

That’s not me.

I see how some authors are. They tweet endlessly about their books. “All ___ books are now only .99!” “Try the sequel to ___!” “Need a good #paranormal read? Try ___!”

That’s not me.

I’m not speaking disparingly about authors I follow on Twitter. They’re marketing and that’s cool. I’ve done it and and will probably do it again when The Dark Layer is released. But the ones I do speak disparingly about are the ones who only use Twitter as a marketing tool. No one wants to follow a used car salesman. And that’s what you sound like.

I’m not going to beg you to buy my book. To me, that’s demeaning and desperate and unattractive. If you follow me on Twitter, I’m going to assume you do so because we’ve clicked in some way and/or we’ve chatted each other up once or twice. Maybe you followed me for a short while to see if you get a follow back because you feel having a high follower number makes you look popular. If so, you probably unfollowed me in a hurry.

I don’t auto follow back. If you choose to follow me, I’ll read your tweets to make sure there’s some substance there and then, if I see something I like, I’ll follow you back. Sometimes right away, sometimes after a little time.

I’m not your typical indie author. I have an agent in mind that I would love to represent me. If she doesn’t, that’s cool, we can still be friends. But mainly, I write books that I would like to read. I write because it’s what I was meant to do. I write to entertain myself and hopefully a few others. What I don’t want, is for a bunch of people who enjoy YA paranormal romance to buy my book because I’ve practically begged them to do it and then hate it.

Unless, of course, those fans also enjoy adult contemporary horror.

If you don’t like horror, then don’t buy my book. It’s a waste of your time and mine as well.

But if you read the description and think it sounds interesting, give it a try. If you’ve read my blogs and see that I write relatively well and you enjoy my voice and style, give it a try. You never know, maybe you’ve just stumbled upon something. That’s why sampling was invented.

If you say you can’t read scary stories, when in truth you are judging all horror based on the two you’ve read, then you should probably rethink your stance. That doesn’t sound like a book lover to me and you’re not the type of fan I want.

I don’t judge all YA based on Twilight and YA writers should be grateful.

I’m in this for the long-haul. I want fans that are in for the long-haul with me. If you enjoy cold spots in houses, heavy footsteps coming down stairs, supernatural experiences, and fun, then come along for the ride.

If you would rather put your eye out with a hot poker than read a scary tale, then don’t buy my book.

See how easy that was?

October Horror

I was popping around the interwebz reading some blogs, looking for some cool posts about October and all the scary fun that comes along with it, when I stumbled upon Amanda Hocking’s Zombiepalooza blog posts. I don’t ordinarily read her blog but it’s interesting to keep up with all the hoopla surrounding her and her work and keep tabs on what’s happening in the industry.

She offered a guest post by Robert Duperre and it was called “Top Ten Horror Movies of All Time”. I started reading this list and initially, was pretty impressed. The list began with “Hellbound” one of the greatest horror movies ever by one of the greatest horror authors ever (Clive Barker), and even though it was a great way to start off the list, I didn’t really feel it deserved to be number ten. Especially when I began reading further down the list.

I got partway down the list and saw Alien, American Werewolf in London, and Rosemary’s Baby and was still happy. But then I reached number six: Videodrome? Really? This movie beat out Alien, Hellbound, and Rosemary’s Baby? Really? Yikes. Now, I will admit that I’ve never seen this movie but even if it’s really good, I somehow doubt it’s better than the previous films mentioned.

Then it got worse: Frailty? This one I have seen and it’s definitely not better than the previous films. Except maybe Videodrome (which I will watch and if I like it I will be happy to edit this blog).

The number one was Dawn of the Dead and while it’s not a bad choice for number one, I argue whether or not it’s really the “The Greatest…”. No disrespect to Romero fans-I am a Romero fan and love this movie-but number one? Of all time? Not sure about that.

This list really missed out on some great movies. She began the blog by assuring us that there are no “slasher” flicks in the list, and there weren’t, but the tone of that statement struck a chord with me. Why not? What’s wrong with slasher flicks? Slasher flicks, while they might not be believable or fantastically done movies, are still the backbone of the horror movie industry. Look at Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s a hugely popular and successful franchise. The 2010 remake actually wasn’t bad and starred Jackie Earle Haley as the main shredder and he is an extremely fine actor. It also starred Rooney Mara of The Social Network fame and also the highly anticipated upcoming Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. My point is good actors, decent movie.

My First Love

And we can’t forget the Friday the 13th franchise. Nothing can kill Jason Vorhees, not even Batman and Chuck Norris together with the A-Bomb. I grew up watching this man slice and dice his way through all the camp’s sluts and fell in love with the sounds of “chhh, hahahaha” whenever Jason was near. Gave me chills then and still does to this day. Jason is the king of slasher fright and no one can claim to look at a hockey mask and not think of him. He not only rules horror but has permanently branded every hockey goalie in his image. That’s pretty powerful stuff and deserves respect.

I’m not saying that every franchise is good (anyone remember I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? We can effectively thank Brandi for screwing that up) or every slasher deserves respect (no matter how many people he kills, I’ll never respect Leprechaun). But the ones that stand the test of time say something about the fact that even though these movies aren’t smart horror, they still deliver and resonate with us. And if you’re in the mood for a thrill, they never disappoint. Slashers are simple minded in their pursuit to do the one thing they want to do: kill a bunch of people. If you’re a true fan of the genre, you have to admit a little piece of you loves slasher flicks. 

I can at least bet that they’re more fun to watch than Videodrome. Sheesh.

For the month of October I’m going to blog about some of my favorite horror. I’m going to include film, books, and t.v. There’s some great content out there right now as well, with Dexter back on the prowl, the upcoming American Horror Story, and The Walking Dead soon to air.

Why are you screaming when I haven’t even cut you yet? ~~Freddy