Gina Penn, unabridged.


The Dark Layer is HERE

I was told I needed to do it like this, so here I go:


I’m actually very excited about this book but I’m very reserved by nature so lots of times people think I’m not excited when really I am. If I won the lottery, I’d probably be like, “Oh, really? That’s cool-one less thing.”

Don’t take my reservation as unenthusiastic-I believe in this book and think it’s pretty darn good. And it too can be yours for the low, low price of $2.99. Whatta deal. You get all my ass-busting at clearance prices.

And, it’s way different than anything else floating around out there in IndieLand. It’s not about vampires, zombies, or the apocalypse. Those things are cool but my story is different. So, if you enjoy a cool horror read that’s more psychological (although the blood runs freely) and character-driven, sample it and see if you might enjoy passing an evening or two with Annemarie, Thomas, Jackson, and the rest of the cast.

I worked very hard on this book. I hired a proofreader and worked with a pro book cover designer. There is hard work and quality in this project. So, for those who have reservations about supporting the indie community, I hope to put those fears to rest. Indies are no different than regular authors; some are hack jobs and some aren’t. Of course, I’m not perfect but nothing is.

This book is clean.

I’m thinking of running a contest with this book. I’m thinking a gift card reward might be good since it seems to motivate folks. I’ll post the details later.

Anyway, check the book out and I hope you enjoy it. If not, well, I’m sorry. You can beat me up, I guess.

Watch the face; that's how I make my livings.

Links are under the “Books” tab from the top or in the post about Carmody. I’m also still running the ASPCA deal through the end of the week, so there are still a few days left to donate to a good cause.

Take care, y’all.



CoffinHop Winners

This is a delayed response…

The winners of the CoffinHop contest on are…(drumroll)

Erik Gustafson & Cheryl Bradshaw!

I hope you both are enjoying your Amazon Gift Cards.

Thank you both for participating in the hop.


For Carmody, My Best Friend

So, The Dark Layer is here.

I uploaded the book to Smashwords and it’s available only there. (EDIT: it’s available on B&N and Amazon now as well; see the Books dropdown above for direct links.) I’m working on getting it uploaded to the other places as well to appease everyone’s tastes.

Hopefully lots of people will check it out and enjoy it (including my old frenemy, “Dave Watson”).

Also, because I love money so much, I’m donating all the money from this week’s sales to the ASPCA. Every single cent. So, if you love animals, love reading, both, or neither, buy the book to support a good cause.

Sunday through this Saturday. Every sale. Every cent. Helping the critters.

Please help so they’ll stop airing those damned Sarah McLachlan commercials. I cry on cue every time.

To relieve you of some serious cash, here’s a picture of my beautiful niece with a stray kitten they rescued.

The Passion of the Story

I’ve been in editing mode for the past couple of months, trying to get The Dark Layer ready for release (many apologies to those wanting to read it-I can’t have it being inferior in any way, which is why it’s late). Finding bad commas, missing words, continuity errors, plot holes, etc… My eyes were crossing but I was getting work done, dammit!

And then, out of the blue, a brand new, bloody fantastic story idea hit me square in the head.

I wasn’t prepared for this story at all. I was content to be in editing mode. At the time, I didn’t even particularly want a new story. I’d been working with my older story for a while and had reached a sort of modus vivendi with it. But this new one made the old one look like a tree sloth taking a nap. It was so perfect! The plot flowed seamlessly. I began to sketch characters in my mind, I saw spectacular scenes in my head, lines of engrossing dialogue. Never, ever before had a story grabbed me so completely or so wholly. I began thinking about this new story all the time, its perfect image burned into my mind and everything started forming so well. The story made sense, everything about it felt parallel to me, as though I was born to tell it, even a possible sequel had been entertained. I jumped into the idea with temerity, my brain an anoesis, that I literally had to take long walks just to pull myself together. For me to be this excited about a story was so unlike my usual self. The feeling was so ferly to me. I couldn’t wait to write it.

But then the story abandoned me.

tout ce qui sera, sera

Literally overnight, the music stopped. My quarter was used and the ride was over. I begged for another go but the stingy old whoremaster that runs the merry-go-round told me to get the fuck off. She even had the intrepidity to pop the happy ballon that had been so carefully tied to my wrist. I walked away, dragging the string along beside me, listening as the story cajoled until I could no longer hear its song.

 I’m upset about this story. It deserved the chance to be told. Instead, it was ripped from the ground like a dandelion. But I’m happy it came to me because it taught me a painful lesson about passion. Passion is mandatory to be a writer. Without it, nothing would ever be finished. There was real passion for me when it came to this story but for some reason it burned out before the muse and I had a chance to really dig our teeth in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this story will ever be told but that’s okay. Stories come and go. I still have the notes to remind me it was there and also to remind me that this story just didn’t have passion. And since I’m a writer and not a bloodless IRS agent, I can only tell stories with passion.
There are always going to be stories that get away from us. Some we’ll be excited for and some not. Apparently I had more passion for the story than it did for me but if the story doesn’t have passion, maybe it isn’t worth telling. I was a fool rushing in, just like that stupid old song says, but I don’t care. If I’m a fool, then I’m a fool. I love my craft, even when it lets me down. I would rather be a hopeless romantic than a lonely old miser. And romance is never hopeless; it is the essence of hope.
Keep writing everyone. And remember to have passion. No pain, no gain.

Dark Delay (again)

Sorry to the folks that have been asking where The Dark Layer is. Unfortunately, I’m having issues with the cover image so I’m trying to figure out what to do with that before I can continue. It should be up very soon. I’ll be sure to blog when it’s there. 

Waiting sucks!


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!