Salt on Our Skin


“In these days of verbal inflation, when words fall out of fashion as fast as our clothes, we have only grubby obscenities rendered meaningless by constant repetition.” Benoite Groult “Salt on Our Skin”


When I hear the language of casual conversation spoken today, I think about this passage from Benoite Groult’s novel, “Salt on Our Skin,” published in 1988. It seems to me that obscenities that mean nothing have become the norm for filling out everyday conversation.

Artificial intelligence no match for human intelligence

Machines are stripping away humanity in much the same way social media and texting have stripped away our personal communication skills. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against technology. I just believe that it should be used as a tool we control instead of it dictating our lives.

Used to be life was simple but hard. Now it’s complicated and easy. Used to be we lived in a real world where real people worked out real problems. Now we live in an empty, artificial programmable world where nothing is real nor honest anymore.

Let’s face it: We’re dumbed down and turned lazy by technology that supposedly makes life easier for us. It controls our homes, runs our cars, monitors our health. Our problems have been turned over to machine to fix. We have apps that perform every conceivable function for us, virtual assistants—Siri and Alexa—that give us advice.

Now with the advances in artificial intelligence, science fiction has become real life.

Artificial intelligence is defined as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. In other words, it’s intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals.

Yes, we’re turning the world over to machines, and we’re turning jobs over to them, too. But not all jobs.

A recent TopTenz post identifies 10 jobs artificial intelligence can’t take away from humans. They are:

  • Authors
  • Fashion designers and tailors
  • Psychologists
  • Doctors
  • Musicians
  • Police officers
  • Judges
  • Art teachers
  • Pro athletes
  • Clergy

The jobs listed here have a few common traits that indeed separate humans from machines. They are:

  • Creativity—the ability to use our human imagination to develop new and original ideas or things.
  • Empathy—the ability to identify with and understand another person’s feelings.
  • Sympathy—the ability to share another person’s feelings.
  • Judgment—the ability to determine right from wrong.
  • Passion—the ability to show emotions.

We must remember that artificial intelligence is not natural. It’s contrived, simulated, and will never replace human intelligence, no matter how cool it might seem.

We must remember the great things humans have created and remember today’s machines were created by humans.

We must remember that we are humans and machines are tools. We must remember that we control our lives, and we must regain control of our lives or we risk creating a world gone astray.

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

What’s a good story?

What makes a good story? Ever wondered why a story pulls you in and keeps you engaged until the end? Roz Morris identifies five qualities of a brilliant story.

I write a lot of posts about problems with book drafts. But isn’t it just as important to look at the positive? If we listed the qualities of a brilliant read, what would they be? (Plus, I think we need a feelgood post.) So, as I sit here on Sunday morning in London with an hour […]

via 5 qualities of a brilliant story — Nail Your Novel

Free Books Waiting For You

I just logged into my Amazon account to see how many books I haven’t sold. Looks good.

Since so many folks are snowed in these days, I decided to run a promotion on my books. Between January 12-16, you can grab any of my books on Amazon (Kindle) for free. I only ask that you consider reading them and let me know what you think. If you want to do a review on Amazon or Goodreads, that’s OK. I would appreciate it, but no obligation.


“Things I Remember”

“Finding What’s Lost”

“The Reality of Being Lovers”

For one-stop shopping, go to my Amazon author page at www.amazon.com/author/gailwinfree. You can download all three books here.Reality Cover 2 3057869_Cover Final Cover

Good reading and stay safe this winter.

A six-word story inspired by Hemingway

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway won a $10 bet with friends by writing the six-word story, “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” Nobody can verify whether this event took place or not, but I like to believe it did and was inspired to write my own six-word story:

For Sale: One Typewriter. Never used.

For more on Hemingway’s six-word story mystery, go to Hemingway’s Six-Word Story .

EH 6-Word Story.

Illuminate the Beautiful


“…Josh had developed an eye for seeing art in everyday things. In his life, he had seen both beauty and ugliness and he had documented both very well, and he learned to see the beauty in ugliness and the ugliness in beauty.” (from The Reality of Being Lovers by Gail L. Winfree)

Art and beauty surround us, existing in the most insignificant places and ways. They are our interpretations of the world.

Live to Write - Write to Live

On the multiple roles of The Artist …

My Instagram feed @suddenlyjamieI have made no secret of the fact that my worldview has been irreparably changed by bearing witness to the recent U.S. election and the ensuing fallout. As someone who has spent most of her life avoiding political discussions because it “wasn’t my thing,” I am now engaged in a self-guided crash course in civics so that I may speak and act responsibly and proactively in the days ahead.

That said, I am and always will be a writer – an artist – at heart. While I feel an urgent responsibility to actively engage in standing up against tyranny in all its forms, I do not want that battle to consume my every thought, or indeed, my ability to appreciate all the beauty and magic the world has to offer.

Earlier today, a friend of mine posted on Facebook inviting friends to…

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All Hallows’ Eve 2016 – Dysfunctional notes from my journal

“If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – Frankenstein

 Gail Vampire

Monsters are as real as you and me,

lurking in the darkest corners of humanity.





I live in a tower overlooking a lake on the edge of a village not far from nowhere. From my tower, I ponder the possibilities of human nature, the universe, life and death, life after death, love eternal, redemption denied.

Then a plan. Some say a dream, but indeed a plan.

I will create a creature in my own image and he will be the thing I’m not. I will name him Gogad, after the great nomadic Gogadian warrior. I will make him a rock star with tacky tattoos and a Fender Stratocaster swung across his body. I will teach him Russian so that he can know the language of deceit and revenge. I will deny him certain pleasures to justify his rage. I will make him neither human nor beast, but something resembling both in the worse ways. That’s how creation works.

And when the time is right, I will release him upon my enemies and therefore destroy all who have wronged me. And though he may call me Papa, he will loathe me for what I have done to him. And when he finds the time right, he will one day return to the tower and destroy me as I have created him, and the villagers will mourn my death and call me a great man, a visionary whose only sin was being a man with a vision.

And this is how the story goes. As destiny unfolds, so is destiny foretold. And more is evermore.

But before I am destroyed, I will create a wife for Gogad so that he may know the difference between love and hate. I will call her Gogoishe. She will be big, beautiful and brash—created from the remains of graves of castle lords—with the mind of a rock star groupie lifted from an asylum basement. I will also teach her Russian so that she can understand and fulfill the desires of her mate. In her creation, I will fail to give her the joy of music, and she will never understand the joy of life.

And as Gogad has destroyed me, so will Gogoishe destroy him.

And as I write this, I see that the monster hiding in the closet is wearing my clothes, telling me to sleep with the lights on.

Is your writing a hobby, an art, a business, a vocation, a profession? Let’s discuss

After I published my first book, an ex-friend felt she had to explain the perils of publishing to me. I’ve heard it before. She went on about all the books being published today and that most of them never sell and so on and so on. Doom and gloom. You’ve heard it before, too. She was trying to make a point that I’ve never make any money writing books. Then she asked me how I ever expected to sell my books in such a competitive market?

First of all, I told her, I don’t sell books, I write them. Maybe my books will sell, maybe they won’t. I hope they do. I hope I can make money writing books. But if I don’t, I can feel good about creating something that will outlive me and perhaps make a difference in someone’s life a hundred years from now.

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

When I’m writing, I feel good. When I’m writing good, I’m lost in a wild dream where the story, the words, and I travel freely across the universe on cloud 9. And sometimes, I’m so lost in my writing, I lose control of the words I’m writing. They laugh, sing, dance on the page, play hide and seek, musical chairs, ring around the rosy, somersault over sentences and across paragraphs, leaving me exhausted and exuberant and that’s when I know I’m doing my best writing.

“Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world.”
— Tom Clancy

Authors ultimately measure their success in book sales. But I agree with Mr. Clancy. Just completing a book is a success. I’ve done a lot of things in my life just to say I can do this. I believe one of the reasons I started writing books was to prove to myself I could do it.

I’m not a best selling author. I’m not an award winning writer (though early in my career, I did win a few journalism awards). People aren’t clamoring to buy my books. Did you know that the great Bruce Lee never won a martial arts competition? He never held a belt. He didn’t compete. He was too busy improving his art and developing his own style of martial arts and becoming one of the greatest innovators the martial arts world has known. So I may never be an award winning, best selling author, but I will continue to write and improve on my writing and do my best to be an innovator of my own writing style.

Nail Your Novel

van_gogh_-_starry_night_-_google_art_projectThis question was raised in a Facebook group this week: if you’re not earning much from writing, does that make it a hobby rather than a serious pursuit? My gut reaction was ‘no’, and I’d like to examine why. What follows will be a few attempts at definitions, a few assumptions – and I want this to be the start of a discussion rather than the last word. So do let me have your thoughts at the end.

Here goes.

A hobby?

First, let me state that when I use the term ‘hobby’, I’m not suggesting a pastime that isn’t serious. I have hobbies that matter greatly to my enjoyment of life. I ride horses and I attend dance classes at Pineapple Studios in London. My weekly schedule is constructed to accommodate these activities. They are essential outlets in a cerebral, sedentary life and they ensure my general wellbeing. I…

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