Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking back

At the end of every year, it's customary for people to do a retrospective of the past twelve months. Ordinarily, this means laying out the hilights and great things that have happened for that past span of time.

In my case, I haven't managed a heck of  a lot to crow about. There have been changes, yes, and personal growth and revelation, but not a -lot- that would make someone not related to me and/or inside my own head feel like cheering or slapping me on the back.

The major good thing that happened for me in 2013? We bought a new house, finally, after 2+ years of looking. I know the housing market has been and continues to be grim for some, but it felt especially bad out here in California. Probably because that's where we are, so it all felt very personal. We managed, though, and we now own a larger, more up-to-date home, with a pool and a lovely backyard in a quiet neighborhood, and we're pretty danged happy here. We have a garage! That alone is cause for celebration.

Next up? Surviving fifteen years of marriage to The Engineer with only a few bumps and bruises along the way. Those of you who are married understand why this is cause for celebration. :)

And, as I have most recently been going on about, I finally decided what to do with my writing career, pushed the publish button, and launched myself into a new take on my old writing love. Where this will lead me is pretty much impossible to predict at this point, but I'm looking forward to it anyway.

And that's really it. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't seem like much. Because:

We moved. Hi there stress and distraction and time suck and stress. No, really, it deserves to be mentioned twice.

I struggled through an extremely nasty infection that lasted from Februrary to, oh, June. A second, less nasty cousin moved in in October. Mostly healed now, but blugh.

As a result I didn't really write. My fiber business has been non-existent since February. I've basically been in this odd holding pattern of surviving for most of 2013.

I'm not at the point where I'd like to kick 2013 in the teeth for myself (though for the sake of some of my friends, I will don my shit kickers and gladly stomp on the year's remains), but it wasn't particularly eventful or uplifting or, well, fun.

So I'm looking forward to 2014. I have goals and hopes and dreams.

They'll be here on Wednesday. :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

This here writing life.

This here writing life is not for the weak or the lazy, folks. That's something I've known for a while and thought I understood, but now that I've flung myself into the virtual trenches, I really, really get it.

And yes, I still want it. In case you were wondering. :)

It's been nine days since I first hit publish on Immortal Lies, sending my beloved book out into the world. It was nerve-wracking and I wasn't sure I'd done the right thing initially, but I can say now (after, yes, a whopping nine days) that I absolutely made the right choice.

Have I made a million dollars overnight? Ha! Only in my dreams. Thing is, most of the other overnight successes you hear about didn't actually do it overnight, either, so I'm okay with taking my time. The tricky part is balancing out everything else in my life with checking sales and checking stats and doing promotion and making sure everything looks right and is in the right place and...

See? Hard work. And it's not going to end any time soon.

In addition to spreading the word about my first book, I'm taking a hard look at what I want to work on next. I thought I had a plan in place, but after talking to several people, reading a lot of opinions, and rifling through what I have available and close to ready to go, I think I'm going to have to change my Big Plans up a bit.

Not complaining. I'm actually more excited about writing and this whole endeavor than I've been for a while. I am putting new words on the page. I am looking at my schedule and figuring out what's reasonable and what's a crazy woman's pipe dream. (I hope I don't have those two mixed up.)

Mostly, as 2013 drifts to a close, I'm happy to be leaving a not-so-great year behind and expecting pretty great things for 2014 and the years ahead. Now back to the writing desk, and to post that promotion and talk to that cover artist and, oh yeah, the dishes...


(BTW? My friends are awesome. Just sayin'.)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An evening present.

It's late, but I left you a present.  :)

Once upon a time, I was posting a serial here on the blog. I took a break to update you about Tybalt and then ... the serial never came back. Here is where I hang my head briefly in shame.

I honestly meant to bring the serial back. Life got wonky, things went crazy and it just didn't happen.

Until tonight. Witness a Christmas miracle! (...or something.)

I have migrated the serial webpage to a new location, cleaned up the files, and done my best to make sure that they can be read from wherever on whatever device you choose. No more funky formatting. No more traveling to random sites to catch up on your reading.

Even better? I will be continuing the series in 2014. Once a week, there will be a new installment until the story is completed. At that time, I will package the whole thing up and make it available as an ebook for anyone who'd like to read.

But that's in the future. For now, for tonight, for this particular Christmas Eve, I'm giving you the chance to catch up so you're ready to read again next Wednesday.

Words on Wednesday is back!

(click here for the serial website if you missed the link above)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

It's the day before Christmas Eve, which I guess makes it the day before the day before, but let's not get bogged down in technicalities. Soon, it will be Christmas! I hope that you're all either already surrounded by the friends and family you love, or soon to be surrounded for the next few days. Holidays can be hectic, but they should also be full of smiles and warmth and a lot of good food.

I'm in particularly high spirits and full of energy, given the last week. Immortal Lies, as I've boasted wherever I can, has gone live. As of today, it's available in electronic format on most of the major retailers. If you get a tablet or Kindle or nook or other sort of electronic device capable of reading ebooks, I've got a great gift-for-yourself suggestion... :)

I have added a couple of free reads to the website. I may add new things in the next day or so. We'll have to see. Sometimes Christmas surprises are good things, too!

In all honesty, I'm rambling my way around to saying: Happy holidays, whichever you may celebrate!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Immortal Lies lives!

It's finally here. The day that I have worked for ... too long to confess, really. *cough* It's taken me  a while, but I edited the book, formatted it, submitted it to the appropriate places and ...

Immortal Lives is out! On the virtual bookshelf! It liiiiives! :)

I was hoping to be able to get the book out by the end of the year. Actually accomplishing that is both the end and the beginning of what has been a long journey. There have been times when I honestly wondered whether I shouldn't just give up and do something else. Not, mind you, that I'd succeed at that. Frustrating as it can be, I always come back to writing. I love my words far too much to just give up on them.

So here I am. About to start the new leg of my career. About to start a new year entirely. I'm excited!

So on to the good stuff.

Immortal Lies is available in electronic format at:

12/22: Edited to add (since this doesn't really need a post of its own):


12.23: And another edit

for now. (And really, it's available at all Amazon outlets, so if you're in Canada or Japan or Mexico or... you can still get the book.) Kobo sells EPUB files, so if you don't have a Kindle, you can get a copy there. Barnes and Noble should be releasing the nook version shortly, and there are a couple more distribution places for me to check out.

So it's out there. Go and get it. Come and tell me about it if you do! I cannot wait to hear what you think about Tybalt, Violet and the shenanigans.

And hey, while you're checking things out? Check out the website, too. There's real, live content there. It's not just a placeholder anymore. :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And so it begins.

Ladies and gentlemen, there -is- news this week!

And that news is: I have finished the edits on Tybalt's book (henceforward referred to as Immortal Lies)! I put in a final mad rush of effort and got through umpteenth reading, discovered that I quite liked the end of the book, and got started on the process of sending it out to various distribution places so you all can decide whether you like it too!

I then ate cookies because I deserved them. :)

Today I have started attempting to piece together my official website. There is nothing spectactular over there now. As a matter of fact, it's pretty kludged together, but it will get better, as these sorts of things do. When it's fit for true inspection I will, of course, announce it here. For the moment, it's a placeholder that would simply send you back here to the blog, rinse repeat.

If you're just visiting, hello! If you've been here before but have forgotten the project I've been babbling about that has me excited again, it's this one:

Can you blame me for letting go a little squeal of joy? First, I get to show off this gorgeous cover again. Secondly, it's done, it's done, it's DONE!


Happy Wednesday!

Friday, December 13, 2013

No news is ... no news.

I was hoping to have something more concrete to post about this week. Sadly, that's not the case, personally speaking.

But congratulations are due to Jen Christie, Avril Tremayne and Stephanie London for their sales from the SYTYCW contest!

 I have been madly editing away on Tybalt (see, I said it would come out, eventually, and it will). There are other books lined up behind it, in various states of readiness. It's my hope that 2014 is a productive year for yours truly. It'll be hard work, but I think it'll be worth it.

It's also my hope that you all have a great weekend. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Everyone's got a button.

I was going to update the blog a couple of days ago, but figured I would wait until the results of the SYTYCW2013 contest were in.  Well. They're now in!

Congratulations go to Tanya Wright, Andie Brock and DeeDee Elle for their wins this year! Congratulations to everyone who submitted, actually. It's no small feat, posting something you've written for public criticism. Particular congrats to the top 50, as well, who not only shared their chapters with the world, but also turned in completed manuscripts, an even bigger feat!

(I am awaiting feedback on my novel. We shall see how that goes. I'm not holding my breath at all. Nope. Not me!)

But now there's a discussion going on in the SF/F fandom world that is relevant to my particular interests, and I'm using my gefletheh* as impetus to finally post.

If you are not a fan of controversy, look away now. You've been warned.

The topic of encouraging and including more PoC -- people of color -- has been brought up in the fandom again. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Much like in movies and television shows, seeing people who look like the person in the mirror can be an amazing thing, particularly when they're not treated as the special unicorn in the room, but Just This Guy, Y'know? (Or Just This Gal, for that matter.)

There have been some logic gaffs lately, some statements made that sort of blow my mind and get my pulse kicking. A member of a mailing list, in part, made this comment regarding PoC in fandom:

"They need to know they'd probably be much more welcome here than they might be elsewhere. (After all, many of us would love to befriend extra terrestrials or anthromorphs.)"

Now. The comment was apologized for and the author probably didn't really meant to compare PoC to extra terrestrials or anthromorphs. Fair enough. It does point to a bigger problem, though.

As demonstrated by the response posted in answer to people reacting negatively to that quote, among other discussion:

"If you can cite any specific examples of a person of minority actually being discriminated against, do tell us. Aside from some hurt feelings, the above quotes damaged no one."

At which point my brain exploded.

As *I* responded (with my spelling and typos corrected):

Because we all know that the only damage done to someone is damage done in real time, real space with direct epithet-and-slur flinging. There must be documented proof that someone stood in front of a door and said, “You shall not pass!” (See what I did there? Har.)

Jesus. Really?

I’m against tokenism too. I don’t want to see PoC invited to cons just so someone can say, hey, we met our “Other” quota. I want to see fans, regardless of anything, invited to attend cons and workshops and whatnot, just like you do, Adrienne. That said, I can guarantee you that “some hurt feelings” being repeatedly “hurt” and then dismissed as no big deal? Will make PoC feel unsafe and excluded and -will- keep them away.

I sure as hell wouldn’t want to pay money to come spend a weekend with people who might insult me, intentionally or not, and then tell me to walk it off if I complain.

So that's my button. Now you know. (And knowing is half the battle...) 

What's yours?

(*gefletheh: A word I invented as a high schooler to explain a concept that -has- no adequate word in the English language and can only be conveyed with some hand-flailing and incoherent splutter.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holding patterns aren't just for airplanes.

So it's been a week plus since the results for the SYTYCW top 10 were released. Voting is still going on through the 25th.  You can vote once per 24 hours. Have you gone to read? Do you have a favorite?

I have been voting faithfully, and just as faithfully (or obsessively, but who uses that word? Seriously.) checking my email. See, the top 50 were told that "on or just after" November 12th, we should be getting feedback. And, for the past ten days or so, it's been trickling in. Some of my fellow top 50 have gotten helpful feedback in the context of a pass. Some have gotten revision letters and resubmission invitations.

And then there's a handful of us who haven't heard anything.

Does this mean good news? Bad news? As I mentioned on Twitter earlier, I'm beginning to feel like a Dr. Demento song. "Yeah yeah, patience. How long will that take?" (Points if you get the reference.)

In the meantime, I have for real and for true been doing a final edit and format on Tybalt so I can get that book out in the world. I have a couple of small ideas percolating in my brain for novella type stories, both with collaboration and not. I'm getting back in touch with cover artists and trying to decide what should go on my webpage ...

And wearing out my F5 key.

Sheesh. I'm a writer. I know a huge portion of this job is waiting, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Here's hoping I can cover up the rut paced into my carpet by the time my Thanksgiving company arrives.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The end is not the end.

It's results day for the So You Think You Can Write competition. The authors who moved on to the next round--the top 10!--have been posted and sadly my name is not there.

To tell the truth, it's not sad. A little disappointing? Sure. Don't we all want to win, deep down? I've been at this business a while now, though, and eventually you learn to take the passes with the praises, pick yourself up and move on.

In theory there will be feedback from the editors who read the book, which makes the whole competition worthwhile. Perhaps there will be a request for revisions and a second (third?) chance for this little book. Perhaps not. If not, I will find a cover artist and get it out there anyway, because really, I'm tired of having nothing out for people to read. :)

Go read the top 10 manuscripts, though, if you're a romance lover. They're complete, they're free, and one of those ten lovely ladies is going to get a publishing deal with Harlequin. I've voted, and will go back to vote every day. So can you. Doesn't cost anything. Consider it your daily good deed, if you like.

Also, as today is Tuesday, which means release day in the publishing world, go check out Chrysoula Tsavelas' Infinity Key. It's the second book in her urban fantasy series, and the publisher has put the first book on sale so you don't have to miss out on all the fun!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween!

And because I didn't meet the Tybalt deadline, this is a story I wrote some time back. It's suitably weird, I think, for Halloween, so have at!

And have a happy Halloween, blessed Samhain, and best of all, an entertaining Thursday night!

"The Girl With The Curls"
S. L. Gray

There was a little girl
And she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good
She was very, very good.
But when she was bad . . .

Monday, October 21, 2013

Met the deadline!

Woo hoo! It's done! The deadline to turn in my manuscript for SYTYCW 2013 was this afternoon and I made it with about 20 minutes to spare. Yep, it was a closer call than I expected it to be, but the book is edited and turned in and  now it's all about the waiting.

Ah, the dread wait. If you are at all familiar with writing for publication, you know this is most of what us writer-types do. Wait to hear from agents, wait to hear from editors, wait to hear from reviewers... but in the end it's all worth it.

So while I was attempting to make this book all prettiful, I was also working the last event of my Renaissance Faire season. And fighting a vicious little cold. Nothing like compliccating the matter, right?

But now I can reclaim at least a little bit of my brain for the other things I've fallen behind on while madly editing.

How's your Monday?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I knew I could write!

Well, most days out of the week, I'm somewhat convinced. Kind of like most of the contestants on So You Think You Can Dance are pretty sure they're at least passably talented. It's a fair comparison, since I'm talking about Harlequin's latest contest, So You Think You Can Write.

As many of you know (and if you didn't, you do now!) I've been struggling with the motivation to write. A lot of people have said if you're meant to write, you will, no matter what. That seems to be the case with yours truly. Even if I'm not actively submitting or critiquing or getting off my butt and actually releasing books I've been talking about for ages (*cough* sorry Tybalt!), I keep picking away at projects. A little here, a little there. And every once in a while,  I find something to reach for.

So when the opportunity to enter SYTYCW 2013 rolled around, I figured, why not? I've got a good book I could enter. Were it not for what I consider poor representation, it might have made it into HQN's hallowed halls already, but why dwell on that? I've given it a makeover, and it's not doing -me- any good hanging out on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust.

So, into the contest pool it went. Some of you read it. Many of you liked it. And, fortunately for me, so did the editors judging the first chapters submitted.

I am pleased to say that Of Shadow Born has been chosen to be one of the Top 50 Finalists for this year's contest!

So what does that mean for me now? It means I spend the next few days polishing the heck out of this manuscript. It means that the whole thing gets shipped off to the editors early next week. And then it means more waiting, finger-crossing, hoping and mysterious hoodoo-for-luck with the end goal of making it through the next gauntlet and onto the top 10 list.

There were 650 or so entries this year. The top 50 were pulled from 20 possible categories. I'm pretty gobsmacked that I've gotten this far, but I'm not ready to stop reaching for the stars yet.

Which brings me to the next even more important thing I have to say: DON'T GIVE UP!

Guys, S.L. Gray is me in my third incarnation. It's my second reimagining of myself. I have submitted books to, oh, most of the houses out there. The big ones, certainly, anyway. I have stacks of rejections from editors and agents alike. I've gotten so close to a yes, I've sworn I could taste it. And yes, I have had some successes. There are books out there with my (other) name(s) on them.

But this is a rough business and believe me, I know it can suck. It's perfectly understandable if you're disappointed or sad or angry if you don't get a contract or an agent or final in a contest. Heck, I'll even happily tell you you get 24 hours to eat potato chips and chocolate and cry if you want.


Because much as it might make you roll your eyes to read it again, the only thing that's going to keep you from succeeding is not trying in the first place.

So, (say it with me now) DON'T GIVE UP!

And if you want to see the chapter that got me this far, it's here: One way or another, you'll see this book.

And Tybalt. I swear, Tybalt's coming. Just... not right now.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Comic Con!

Today, I arrived in San Diego, where I will be for the next several days. Yes, for the scenery and awesome weather, but also for the people-watching.

That's right. It's Comic-Con time again!

If you, too, are in San Diego and happen to see a Zoe-wannabe walking around, it might be me. Come say hi!

Fair warning: It  might not be me. :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013


If you are here because you grabbed a bookmark at Westercon66, hi! Hello! Make yourself comfortable!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's a Hot Day in the Gray World

Hey guys! Guess what, it's me!

I know it's been a while since I updated this blog. I tend to do that, in case you haven't noticed. I have bouts of being pretty decent at keeping you all up to date on what's what, and then... not so much.

But! Since I am heading to Westercon today, I figured, why not?

Writing-wise: I'm still working on it. Remember when I said I was worried I would bog down in editing Tybalt for the umpteenth time? Well. Yes, that happened. I am still in process, and the book IS going to happen. It is. Is is is. Is! So keep your eyes peeled. I know I keep saying that. Hopefully your eyes are not naked now.

Recording-wise:  (I did mention that I'm recording audio books now, right? If not, surprise!) I've got a few projects in the works. Keep your ears-- you know what? No more peeling. I promise I will give people a heads up when there's something to be listened to.

Life-wise: It's hot, to start with. We're caught up in what will hopefully be our only hell week this summer, with multiple back-to-back days of 100+ degree weather. Bluh. It's not much fun.

I have baby snakes! (Did I mention I own snakes? If not, surprise!) And more coming, so that's been an experience.

We are doing a looot of traveling this summer. Our next major trip will be to Comic Con in a couple of weeks. Yep, we're going back, because we had fun last year. If you're going to be there, sing out! No guarantees that we can find you in the mini-city that Comic Con becomes, but we can give it a shot. I am, yes, going to attempt to do some cosplay this year--which reminds me that I need to get on finding those few pieces I need. If I can pull it off, expect to see pictures. Eventually.

Annnd, that's the update. Happy 4th to all my American buddies! Happy Thursday to everyone else!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Once More With Feeling, not the Buffy musical ep. (Though it is amazing and if you haven't seen it, you must. Go find it. Really.)

This past weekend, I went to my chapter's writing retreat. We visited a new location (Stanford Sierra Conference Center) which was gorgeous if a little chilly. The food was excellent, the staff were very friendly and helpful and the scenery was stunning. Even the thunderstorm that rolled through was impressive. Coming from an admitted thunder-chicken, that's saying something.

It was my second workshop with Margie Lawson. The first time around, I'm not sure I was quite ready to take in everything that she has to teach. This time, I got it. I really and truly got it. I had some brain-jolting epiphanies, rewrote a couple of passages on the Songmaker book (which I have not talked about much here, but think immortal Irish bards pretending to be a rock band while they save the world) and realized that, you guessed it, I still have some work to do on Tybalt's book.

And I thought I was done with him. I want to put an amazing book out there, though, guys, especially since I'm going the indie route with him, so if he takes me a little longer than I promised, I apologize. You want to read that story when it's the best it can be, not when there are still rough edges to be sanded off. Right? Right.

So I've been Margie-izing the heck out of the book and boggling at my missed opportunities and generally, being in pretty good headspace. All good things!

In health news, still dealing with the infection in my shoulder. Still not painful, still healing, slowly but surely. As I told a friend, it's going to leave a gnarly scar. Then again, cat scratches leave scars on me for years, so, something this major? Yeah, it's going to leave a mark. But it's healing. I'm quite tired of creams and antibiotics and sterile gauze pads, but it's healing.

But the writing! Did I mention how cool the workshop was? Want to see?

Here's the old opening of Immortal Lies:
     Hunting Night.

     It's one of those things everyone recognizes and most people can't name. Ordinary folk step outside after sundown and the hairs on their arms stand on end. They check over their shoulders like a nervous tic and shy away from dark doorways on deserted streets. Little things -- everything -- makes them jump. Smart people listen to that tinny inner voice, stay inside and lock their doors.
     There are a lot of not-smart people in the world ignoring their lizard brains.

 Here's the new one:

      If you know anything about vampires--or think you do, at least--you've probably got a plan for what to do when you meet one.
     That is, of course, if you believe. 
     Here's the thing about believing: it's not a two-way street. They don't need your buy-in to smell supper beneath your skin. Deny all you want. Ignore the itch of warching at the back of your brain. 
     Just don't get caught alone on Hunting Night. 
     Hunting Night is one of those things most people know by instinct and most don't give a name. Step outside after sundown and the hair on your arms stands on end. You check over your shoulder like a nervous tic and shy away from doorways on deserted streets. Little things--everything--makes you jump. Smart people listen to that tinny inner voice. 
     There are a lot of not-smart people in the world ignoring their lizard brains.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The habits of the magpie.

Do not introduce a magpie to new, shiny things. That way lies...ooh, whassat?

Ahem. Hello again! My apologies for the radio silence as it were. I found a shiny (it's a game, I freely admit it) and I have been consumed by it for the past few days. I have lifted my head now and looked around and remembered there's a world out there. Phew! So that's what civilization looks like!

(To be fair to myself, it's not actually that bad. Yes, it's eaten my time, but I have actually, you know, gone outside. And socialized, and everything.)

I will be headed for a writing workshop/retreat/party-of-sorts at the end of this week. It's my local RWA chapter's semi-annual writing retreat, and we are fortunate enough to have the amazing Margie Lawson back with us again. I will get to catch up with people I've not seen much since taking a bit of a wander from writing. I will meet new people, I'm sure. I will get to see a new conference center and have some fun.

Oh, and I have another new shiny: a brand new laptop to take with me for writing purposes. I've named it Cherokee (we have a tribal naming thing going on in the chez) and it is a Dell Inspiron with a light-up keyboard (the magpie is pleased) and Windows 8. pleased with Windows 8, but I'm on the learning curve, so we'll see.

I spent the weekend past with my Ren Faire people in deep discussion and entertaining debate. This season seems poised to be an interesting one. More updates about that as they happen.

But you want to know about the writing, right? Well! I feel fairly confident in saying that Tybalt and the gang will be joining us in the world within the next week or so. I promise, when that happens, you will know. I will shout it from the rooftops, so you're not bound to miss it. Edits are proceeding, formatting will happen, and then, yes, there will be a book!

How exciting is that?

Oh, yes, and that excerpt I promised? Enjoy. :)


     If you want to get an impression about the people in a city, take a look at the architecture. New Yorkers like to pretend they're not interested, with their high walls and closed off spaces, too busy with their own business to care about yours, but the buildings practically lean on each other. You can bet someone's watching you from somewhere, day or night. Los Angeles sprawls, sleek and well-put together, but the pretty wrapping hides a multitude of sins. I'd trust her people about as much as a car salesman's smile.
     St. Sebastian's kind of like a starfish. We're better off working together, healthier as a whole, but we can still function if we lose an arm. The neighborhoods tend to pretty much keep to themselves, except for big events. The best and worst of the city is right at its center. That's why Diego keeps a penthouse there. That's why I avoid it as much as I can. Out here on the edge, though, it seemed like we had this particular arm all to ourselves.
     Which meant, of course, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Edits, grr argh!

Today, I am editing. I have been editing for the past ten days or so. Maybe longer. Getting this book ready to be released into the wild. I'd like to have it out there. I want to be able to stop teasing you and give you a whole book to read at once, not just bits and pieces.

Until yesterday, I'd say the edits were going well. Yesterday, however, I stumbled upon an event I'd written into the story and I realized a) that it didn't work because b) I couldn't remember what it meant when I wrote it in the first place.

Aigh. The trouble with letting a story sit idle.

I used to think it was odd when authors would say that they didn't remember the books they'd written, or how a particular storyline went. How is that possible? I'd think. All of the stories I'd come up with by then still seemed fresh in my mind. I was sure *I* would never forget a character or a plot twist or my hero's name.

And now I understand. Not happy about it, but I get it. While I still have the basic plot of the books I've written to date in my head, I am absolutely certain I've forgotten some of the twists and turns or some of the character quirks I might have tossed into the mix. There are things in those older stories that I should have delved into more deeply or taken out altogether, I'm sure. There's a reason a lot of us never want anyone to see our first manuscripts, right?

So this event wasn't working. I have to fix it. The problem has killed my editing groove and I haven't gotten it back yet, which is so frustrating I'm grinding my teeth. I will get through it, though, and I will pick up the pace again.

The nice part about my writing process is that I have this built-in roadblock, though. If I hit a snag like this, I know it has to be fixed. I must back up and figure out where the plot went wrong. Much as I hate that it happens at all, I'm grateful to my brain that I can't simply write The Wrong Thing (as determined by yours truly, of course) and toddle on blithely ignorant to what I've done.

But that doesn't make it fun.

Upside: I've written 628 words I didn't have yesterday. I will take my victories where I can get them.

No snippet today. Sorry! Just means I have to find something really tasty to share with you next time. I'll find one. Probably.


Friday, April 19, 2013

The weekend cometh!

It has been a hell of a week. There are so many people and places in need of help and healing and support that I'm not going to list them. Here in the States, there's been a lot of focus on Boston and Texas, understandably, but other parts of the world have seen unpleasantness this week as well and ... man. Sometimes it seems like we can't take anymore shit.

But as other people have pointed out, in the middle of the bad, there are always signs that there's good out there too. People who are risking their health and safety to ensure it for others. People reaching out to offer what they can even if it doesn't seem like enough.

Humanity still exists.

People do not inherently suck.

I will take the cockeyed optimist label for those beliefs. Happily.  So there. :)

And then I will point you at a happier, cool thing.

I didn't know about the Weekend of Legend until this week. Seems I've missed it a few times so far, but not this time, oh no! This time, I'm sharing it with you.

I have met or at the very least corresponded with many of the writers participating this time around. They're all extremely talented, and clever and ...well. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't be spreading the word about the weekend, if I didn't think it sounded like a lot of fun and a great way to possibly score some free stuff from writers you should really be reading.

I will not be participating as I'm still in recovery mode, and still editing rather than writing new words. Perhaps next time around.

But if you'd like a few more words from me, well, I'll leave them below.

Happy Friday! Have a good weekend. Go find some fun!

            My first time at the Market also meant my first time being seen there. I didn't know whether to be flattered or worried that heads swiveled, fingers pointed and eyes widened on all sides as I followed Vi. People leaned their heads together and whispered, all the while watching me. It felt almost like being famous must, I imagined, with strangers thinking they know you at a glance. In some cases here, though, I wouldn't have been surprised to learn that the gawkers actually could learn my secrets just by studying me. There were real gypsies at the Gypsy Market, and they had ways of knowing things.

     I didn't imagine the crowded street opening up before us, though. Vi kept on and people got out of her way. Maybe they were just avoiding me. Maybe they feared crossing in front of a the faerie On A Mission. Hard to tell. I saw one big man, dark tattoos drawn over his cheekbones and gold dripping from several holes on both ears, step past the awning of his tent, expression thunderous and angry. The woman beside him, every bit as exotic but far less threatening, stopped him by lifting her hand, knuckles bouncing off his chest in a painless thump. He stopped but glared. She gave me a slight nod. A shiver chased all the way down my spine.
     And then I nearly collided with Vi, who'd stopped abruptly. I looked at her, then beyond her. I fought to keep my mouth from falling open again.
     Fanned out before me were the biggest tents yet. They lined the back wall of an angled cul-de-sac, the end of this particular pathway through the marketplace. The tent flaps were all open, revealing dark and lush decorations inside. Some of them were, yes, typically gypsy, if there was such a thing. Ornately patterned rugs, crystal balls, dim lighting reflected in the occasional glint of dozens of crystals. Candle light flickered over an earring here, a mirror there. And none of them looked at me, at us. No one stirred or looked surprised and yet I knew for certain that every single one of them knew we'd arrived.
     "What is this, Vi?" I pitched my voice low. I didn't know what exactly we'd wandered into, but I knew it demanded caution and respect. "Where are we?"
     She smiled up at me over her shoulder.  "Don't know," she answered, "but isn't it great?"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The promised Thing (tm)

Hey guys!

Apologies for the silence over here. As I have tweeted about a few times, I came down with a pretty nasty skin infection and got laid low for a while. At the same time, one of our household computers decided to do some belching and, well. The combination made for quiet, quiet days.

Happily, I am staying mostly away from the codeine these days and am improving. I hope to be fully recovered in another week or two. While sitting up is not yet a joy, I did actually manage to get back to editing this week, which means we're  moving closer to an actual book, finally.

I had plans for last weekend that sadly had to be canceled due to illness. One of them was to attend the San Jose Fantasy Faire and do some pre-release author promotion. To that end, I made up some promotional stuff.

And it sits, waiting for release day. Typical, right? But that doesn't mean I can't share it with you. So without further ado, the Immortal Lies bookmark!

How's it look? Piqued your curiosity? I'd be lying if I didn't confess that I hope the answer is yes.

If you head over to the website, you'll notice there's nothing there yet. That will be coming as well. Another thing held up by the frailty of the human body.

But enough about that. How about another peek at some pages, hm?


I feel compelled to point out here that, despite being old, I'm not a Luddite. I am comfortable with a remote in my hand and I don't fear the microwave. I have a cellphone and I can make it do what I want nine times out of ten. I have programmed a VCR. Technology neither bores nor excites me. It's simply a fact of life these days.
It doesn't make me particularly proud, then, to admit that a wolf howl at high volume made me flinch. Logically, I knew there couldn't be a wolf in the room. The door hadn't opened, we were far above the bottom floor and even the werewolves in the neighborhood couldn't have found a way in with that sort of silent speed.
The sound still triggered a primal reaction, something that came with the transformation from living to undead. The hairs at the back of my neck stood on end. The room seemed to lighten as my pupils splashed wide and I made fists while the muscles in my back tensed. I managed to resist the urge to drop into a crouch. It was a dead man's version of fight or flight.
It made Zach glance up, look back at his screen, and then tap a button several times until the volume dropped. "It's just a sound file. Happens every time I load this page. Sorry, I should have warned you. I'm used to it by now."
I forced my shoulders down to their normal place and uncurled my fingers slowly. "It's all right," I told him and managed a smile. "Just wrapped a little tightly. It's fine. We're fine." A glance at Violet proved she nodded along with me, though her eyes were a little too wide as well. I winked, she beamed and all was right with the world. All right, not everything, but it made me feel less like a fool, at least.
"So," I said, attention back on the laptop screen. "What's the howling page about?"
Zach brightened. I'd given him an opening and true to form, he charged right through. "It's a forum. For all kinds of supernatural things. People post ghost stories, pictures of what they think are spirits trapped on film. It's like a hub for all the people trying to prove that you guys are real."
"Does it work?"
Zach snorted quietly. "Depends on your definition of work. Most of these people are hacks and liars, making stuff up to get attention. But every now and then, you find the real deal."
There went the hairs on the back of my neck again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Write about myself? Why me?

It is the nature of being a writer attempting to sell oneself and one's work that eventually, you will have to write about yourself. Or hire/bribe/convince other people to write brilliant things about you, but that's a different matter entirely.

Bios are hard. Why, I'm not exactly sure. It's been suggested that it's because we're not used to writing about ourselves in that manner. Third person, objective, trying to communicate necessaries with our own particular style or sense of humor or ... it's just hard.

But I think I've got it, or something that will work for now. I'm going with this:

What's in a pseudonym? A writer by any other name called would make words as sweet. So S. L. Gray would, were she not S. L. Gray called.

But then how would you find her books?

S. L. Gray is a fantasy author (urban, epic and otherwise) transplanted from many places to the not-so-wilds of northern California. A storyteller for as long as she can remember, she's tamed her magpie-like attention span, somewhat, and dedicated herself to writing stories other people might enjoy as much as she does.

She is also, as you might have guessed, a huge fan of Shakespeare. She has done theatre on both coasts. She makes beaded boxes and jewelry and is a fiber artist. She loves words in all sorts of languages, knows her way around a computer and was once an EMT.

She did mention those magpie interests were *mostly* tamed, right?

She can be found on her blog, Words of Gray (, on Twitter at wordsofgray or on Facebook as S.L. Gray.

And, because I've gotten through tweaking Chapter 10, here's another snippet for you.


     Twelve city blocks passed in a blur, mostly because I tried to keep busy by not counting the sidewalk lines we stepped over. Ah, superstition, rearing its head again. I was also determinedly not listening to the mental clock ticking down the seconds of a very short future. Twenty-four hours gone already and no way to get them back.

     I studied faces as we walked, making brief eye contact with everyone we passed. I kept a running tally of who looked away first. Who blushed and smiled like they thought I might be flirting. Which ones looked like they might have it in them to hook a blood magic curse under my skin.
     Violet tugged my hand. "This is it." She wrapped her arms  around herself. "Can't see it anymore," she said, "but I can still feel it."
     I could feel it too, though I couldn't have pointed out the source of my dis-ease or named the exact emotion it stirred. I wanted to run as much as I felt like I had to stay. No, not stay. I wanted to get off the sidewalk and into the street. My feet moved without my permission and I stepped off the curb.
     Vi got in my way. Hands on my chest, feet in the soggy gutter, eyes so wide I could fall into them. Half a second later, a bus thundered by, the driver's hand heavy on the horn. Vi's hair sprang up in a whirlwind dance around her shoulders. The thin end of a curl tickled my cheek.   
     "Don't," she said. "Don't walk away from me." She frowned, bit her lip, and fiddled with the collar of my coat before looking up again. "It's not safe."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When you really want to share...

Perhaps you should. Or I should. Yes?

Yes, I say. Yes!

So, as advertised, I am chugging through edits on Immortal Lies for the last time, and I keep coming across parts I want to share. I'm calling that a good sign.

I really do like this book, regardless of how many times I've read it. Obviously I'm biased about how entertaining and witty it is, because a) it came out of my head and b) I keep coming back to work on it, but I think it's pretty entertaining and witty in places. I'm trying to do a last fix on the bits where it's not.

This is as far as I've gotten today, as I am now going to take a break and watch some mind-numbing television. The Engineer is home and that makes it tough to work for a while. It's the whole transitioning from having the house to myself and it being as quiet or noisy as I want it, and adjusting to someone else's commotion.



"You could kill him." Zach came back, another tray in his hands, new teacups and a fresh plate of cookies all neatly in place.  He put it down on the couch beside Granny and straightened, hands on his hips. He looked from face to face and his eyebrows rose. "What?"
     "Kill him?" I asked.
     Violet weighed in. "No killing."
     Zach made the circuit of face gazing again, then laughed, the sound abrupt and sharp. "You're kidding me, right? A vampire who won't kill? That's like a werewolf who's afraid of the dark." He chuckled another moment or two until he realized no one else had joined in. He cleared his throat. "If someone's got a tether on you, and Gran can't shake it loose, you're kind of stuck with doing things the ugly way, T. If you kill the guy who's hooked you, the hook goes away."
     He had a point. Not one I wanted to acknowledge just yet, but Zach was right. When all else failed, rely on the simple answer, no matter how messy. I sank back against the chair. Vi put her head against my knee.
     Zach picked up a teacup and brought it over. "All you have to do is find this guy."
     "Not a problem," I muttered into the steam. "He'll find me."