Thursday, February 8, 2018

Taking a Break...

Hey Everybody,

I just wanted to let you know that I have finished "Empty Eyes," the fourth story in the mid-grade horror series. I feel pretty good about it. Right now, I'm waiting on my primary test reader to check it before I start any editing, but while I wait I'm taking a break. I've found that after completing a project it's generally a good idea to take a week or two off to kind of re-calibrate your brain for writing.

In other writing news, I actually did come up with a better idea for the fifth book of the series while I was writing the fourth. I have a rough idea of where I'm going with that and will probably write up a detailed outline of it next week. I think this idea is much better than the one I had before, mostly because the one I had before was about something seasonal, specifically associated with the Christmas season. That being the case, if I manage to get enough fans with the first five books, I might be able to release that around Christmastime.

So, here's what I've been up games. I've been playing Fire Emblem Fates Conquest for the Nintendo 3DS, and I've been playing on World of Warcraft again. (No worries, I won't let it eat my soul.) It's probably been over ten years now since I've played WOW. It's kind of hard to believe. A few of my friends started playing again and talking about it and eventually I couldn't resist, especially after I finished my book.

I basically play during odd times when I'm not taking care of the house or the children (basically the times when I would normally write). I think it'll be a nice break for another week or so and then I'll be back to writing in no time. For some reason, video games sometimes exercise my imagination in the same sort of way that playing table-top RPGs do. I find myself spacing out thinking about what the characters might be thinking or feeling especially in terms of other character interactions. (Hence, on of the reasons I love Fire Emblem games.)

Anyway, if I'm quiet for another week you'll know what I'm doing, but I'll try not to be too quiet. Things always are going on and I'll keep you posted on them. In the meantime, keep reading and writing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Artist for mid-grade Horror Series

Hey Everybody,

First of all, I'd like to say that I got a test print of Blood God and it met my approval, so if you want a print version and haven't gotten one yet, go ahead and order it. I really enjoyed the series and I'm glad that Mercy has finally seen her journey to an end. I hope you enjoy the book and enjoyed the entire series.

Now that the Blood Rain trilogy is officially complete I've started work on my mid-grade horror series again. I'm about ten pages away from being finished with the fourth book and I've come up with a new idea for the fifth which I think will be much better. The outline for the new fifth book is almost done as well.

I've officially decided that the name "Junior Investigator's Club" sounds condescending, so I'm working on a new title. It might be "Spectral Stories" or "Spectral Investigator's Club" or something along those lines. Nothing is cut in stone yet, though, so I still am going to play with some other options. In the meantime when I say "mid-grade horror series" you'll know what I'm talking about. If you have any ideas for a good name for the series, please leave a comment below.

My most exciting news is that I've entered into a contract with an artist for the cover art of the first five books of the series. I appreciate all of the work that J. M. Lee did for me for the Blood Rain series, but he's working hard on his own novels right now and I know his time has become very limited. Also, as my friend, I don't want to take advantage of his kindness to me, so I've been seeking a new illustrator for the covers of my mid-grade horror series and I'm pleased to say that I've found her.

Her name is Madalyn McLeod. Her artwork is fantastic. If you're interested in seeing her awesome art, please click the link below.

Madalyn McLeod's Art 

I think her ability to capture the feel of dark fairy tales will lend itself well to the series and I'm looking very forward to working with her. I met her at Soda City Comic Con and I was immediately interested in her depiction of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. If any of you have read the first three scary stories of my series, you'll understand why that caught my eye. (Not only because it was gorgeous, but it was just about perfect for one of the stories.) Anyway, check out her art. You won't regret it.

I guess that's about it for now. I'll keep you posted on my progress and I'll let you know when I plan to start with the publication process, etc. Right now, the plan is to start publishing the series late/early September. The first book will be "Scarecrow" and the next will probably be "The Beast of Black Pond." I'm really looking forward to it.

Keep reading and writing! I know that I'll be doing the same.

- Nancy

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Blood God is Published!

Hey Everybody,

Sorry it took me so long to write this post. I actually did make my deadline and Blood God was published by Christmas Eve. I just wanted to let you know. This has been a very busy and good holiday for me, but that isn't a good excuse for not mentioning that the final book was already out. Anyway, click on the picture for the link if you're interested.

It's available in e-book form and print on demand, but we haven't been able to get a test print yet because Amazon's printing division was closed for the holidays. According to the preview the margins should be correct and the test copy should be fine, but I wanted you to know we haven't been able to confirm that yet. We should have a copy today, and I'll let you know if there are any problems with the hard copies when we get it.

I hope everyone has had a good Christmas. It was nice spending time with family, but I have to admit, I'm ready to put up my decorations and get a good start for the new year. In terms of New Year resolutions, I've decided to start my diet again. I'm not fat, but I need to eat healthier and it couldn't hurt for me to lose about ten pounds and firm up my muscles just a little. That's a very attainable goal. Also, at the very least want to finish one book, but I'd prefer another series (I'll tell more about that in a bit.) I still am enjoying a little time off, though, so I might be quiet for about a week or two.

I've decided to focus on my Junior Investigator's Club series, mostly because I might actually have an illustrator for the front covers of the first five books. (Again, I plan to come up with a better title for the series soon. "Junior" sounds kind of condescending to me...) Either way, I want to finish the last two so that I can have concrete ideas for her to work with. I really hope this works out. I'll let you know who I'm working with when I sign the contract. I'm very excited about this series. I still have plenty of good ideas to work with, but I'm going to start with the first five books to see if I get a decent number of readers to pursue more. I hope I'll have a little better luck since this market is a niche market and I have a passion for writing in the genre.

Anyway, that's what's going on right now in terms of writing. In other news, I saw the new Star Wars movie and really enjoyed it. There were a few things I felt could've been better, but overall I was impressed. I think it deserves another viewing so I can think more about it from the perspective of someone who knows the plot. I'm glad I went into it with a neutral attitude. I tried purposefully not to look at any opinions or reviews and if you haven't seen it, I think you should do the same. You'll probably enjoy it more for it. I will say this, it didn't follow the formula of Empire, which I think is why I liked it so much. There were quite a few things that surprised me.

Well, I'd better go. Lots of un-decorating and cleaning await...yay. Wish me luck on finishing my chores today. It's going to be another busy one, but at least if I finish the cleaning my house so desperately needs I should be able to rest and write for the remainder of the week. That is my current goal. Take care, and have a great holiday! 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Blood God coming soon!

Hey Everybody,

I just wanted to let you know that I'm finished editing, and the e-book of Blood God will be finished in time for Christmas! Also, I'll be doing everything in my power to make sure the print edition is ready shortly thereafter. (Inevitably, there will be some issues with the first test prints, so I'm not promising the print edition will be done by Christmas, but there is a possibility. We'll see. I'll be sure to keep you posted for when it's ready as well.)

I'm really excited about seeing the final book in print. Joey did a wonderful job with the cover and it will be great to see it in person. Also, I did the best I could to wrap up the series in a satisfying way, and I think if you followed the other two you'll like it. It feels very good to have finished a full trilogy, especially when I practically had to rewrite the first book. It was very worth it. I'm glad Mercy got to see her journey all the way through. 

If you're wondering what you'll be seeing from me in the future, I've started negotiations for covers for my Junior Investigators Club series. I think that's going well, but I'll tell you more about that once I know for sure. Either way, I intend to publish these in the near future. I'm guessing sometime around the middle of next year, but who knows, maybe even a little sooner. I don't have many edits to do, so once I have the covers I should be able to produce them pretty quickly. Even though the first books start technically around Halloween, I figure they can be read at any time and still be enjoyable. I probably will go ahead and publish them and do a marketing campaign around Halloween. I think that would work pretty well.  

I mentioned in my last blog I wasn't sure what to write next. I think at this point I'll work a little more on the Junior Investigator's Club when I have time. (Before the illustrator needs to add the title, I might try and think of a better name for the series too...) I still have two novellas to finish, though the fourth is well on the way and the fifth is completely outlined and started. Thankfully, these don't take me very long because I feel a certain passion for writing them. When I'm done with the first five, I'll see how well received they are. If I develop a decent fan base for the stories, I'll make more. I have plenty of ideas. 

While I'm waiting to see how Junior Investigator's club does, I'll probably work on something a little different. I intend to make some changes on my Steampunk love story, "The Guildsmen," but I think I could use a change of pace for the new year. I'll have to think on it. Wish me luck.

Keep Reading and Writing,


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

News on Blood God

Hey Everyone.

It's been a long time since I said anything. Sorry about that. Things have been busy, and they always are around the holidays. I'll try to blog more often, especially when I have more news about the publication of book 3, "Blood God" the final book of the "Blood Rain" trilogy.

First of all, I wanted to give you a status update since it's been so long since I've blogged. I'm pleased to announce that the final artwork for the book cover is finished and it looks amazing. Joey really outdid himself on this one as well. I hate that I was a bit pickier than usual this time, but I had issues finalizing which idea I was going to go with. I really think this was the best one. It was very nice of him to work with me.

Secondly, I am on the final edits of the manuscript. There aren't that many, so I should be done very soon. As soon as this round of edits is complete, I intend to publish the book. I'm not going to give myself a hard deadline, but I can tell you it will be soon. I'm more than ready to get this off the ground, but I wanted to make it as polished and as good as you and the characters deserve. I'm pleased to say that my test readers really liked it and think it was at least on par with book two, possibly better. I haven't decided if there will be a blog tour for this book. That might push the publication date a little further back, but it might make the whole reveal a bit more fun for me and those waiting for the final book to be released. We'll see.

Finally, I wanted to thank everyone that made this project a reality. I really enjoyed my work on the "Blood Rain" series, and I'm glad my characters have finally reached their destination. Thank you Joey, for the artwork. Thank you Kevin for pushing me to finish the first and second book when I first came up with the idea. Thank you Lizz for your honest critiques and all of your help with my final edits. Thank you very much to my mother-in-law Connie for editing and helping so much in the second book. Thank you to my family for all the love and support they've given me, specifically to my mother for proofing the first book and being so encouraging. And, of course, many thanks to my husband Joel for his honesty, and being such a big part of this dream becoming a reality. And, above all, thank you to all of my readers for seeing Mercy through, hopefully, to the end of her journey.

If you're curious about what my next project will be, so am I. To tell you the truth, I have a lot of ideas and am having trouble deciding what to do next. I have my mid-grade horror series that is an ongoing project. I plan to have a few published by next Halloween. I'm looking into a cover artist and I have someone in mind. I hope she can help me bring those to life. I also was thinking of serializing my steampunk western series, but I'm not sure where I want to go with it so it might have to wait a little longer. Honestly, I think my next project might be a rewrite of my steampunk love/adventure story "The Guildsmen."

Basically, I'll let you know when I do. Right now, my current project is "Blood God" and it will be until it is right at your fingertips. Please, see Mercy through to the end. Thank you again.

- Nancy Gray

Monday, August 14, 2017

Blood God is Finished!

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to announce that officially the rough draft of Blood God is finally complete. It took me longer than I would've liked, but I feel good about it. The final word count is 110,163. That is substantially longer than the other two books, but there was a lot to wrap up in this one. It feels really, really good to complete a series.

The next step is editing. While I wanted everything finished by September, I'm thinking the final release date will probably be around October. We'll see, though. First, this week, I'm going to do my final read-through before passing it off to my test readers. After that, there are test reader edits, then this final story is going to get passed off to an editor we will hire for the job. Somewhere in here, probably after the test read, we'll hire our artist, J. M. Lee to do the final cover art for the series.

It's hard to believe it's over, but it's been quite a journey. Thank you for following Mercy through her trials and I hope you like the conclusion.

Now that I'm finished with writing Blood God, I intend to take a short break from writing for editing purposes and then I'll pick up where I left off in the young reader horror stories probably around the beginning of September or October. (I'm also awaiting a response from another agent query about those particular books, so wish me luck. If I'm still waiting, maybe I'll try something new.)

Well, that's about it. I hope you enjoy Blood God as soon as I can release it. I'll keep you posted about release dates and the blog tour. Keep reading and writing!  

Monday, July 10, 2017

New things, new routines, more writing...

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to give you another progress report on Blood God. If you recall, my dream was to have it finished by July 4th. I'm sorry to say my progress was delayed, but I promise it was for very good reasons.

For one thing, we got new furniture for the house. (No worries, it wasn't really "inherited," the furniture was given to us by family since they were moving into a smaller space.) I'm still in the process of unpacking and reorganizing pretty much the entire house. I love the new furniture and we've wanted new furniture for a long time, but there are still boxes of things to sort through and I was unable to write for a few weeks. Was it worth it...absolutely! Real life comes before writing and settling in and reorganizing after a big change like that is very important and honestly kind of fun.

Next came the beach trip. Directly after we got the furniture and almost got all of the unpacking finished, we went for a week and a half to Garden City Beach. Most of my time was spent going to the beach with my children and then taking them to see aquariums, alligators, and basically giving them something new to do each day. I exercised more than I have in a very long time and was very busy throughout most of my days there, to the point that I actually physically needed a nap almost everyday. However, that doesn't mean I didn't write at all.

Apparently my muse lives at the beach. While I didn't finish writing by July 4th, I finished the outline for the rest of the book. I also wrote 10,000 words and the word count is now at 82,000. I know I said I thought the book would be around 90,000 words, but after completing the outline, I think it will be closer to 100,000 so I'm going to have to spend a bit more time on it. I'm sorry, but I think the results will be well worth it. This is the last book, and I refuse to rush it.

Basically, at this point, we're looking at the end of the summer at the earliest. I need to proof read it for content, then give it over to my husband to proof for content and any grammatical mistakes he sees, then I'll send it to the editor. I also still need to also contact Joey about the artwork for the cover, but I'm trying to wait until the book is entirely finished so I can pick an appropriate scene.  I was sincerely hoping to be working on my young reader horror novels by the beginning of fall, but I'm not sure if I'll still be editing this novel or doing the blog tour for it, so we'll have to see. I think it depends on when I finish with the writing and how long the edits take. Either way, I'll be writing as often as I can.

In other news, my husband has a new job! I'm ecstatic. We didn't have to move away and for once it sounds like we don't have to worry too much about money.We should be able to afford pre-school for the little one next year. It sounds like our oldest will have to go to pre-school full time coming up. I'm a little concerned about that, but I think it will be okay. It seems like an awfully long day for someone who is only just now four. However, upon seeing the results of her speech therapy, it will definitely be worthwhile. This will be just as hard an adjustment for me, though. I'll miss her terribly while she's at school, but I'm sure the youngest will keep me occupied.

Well, I'd better go. This was longer than I expected and I still have more writing to do. I'll keep you posted on the progress.