Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On Schedule

I'm pleased to say that somehow, last week at least, I managed to stay on schedule.  I finished a template for my business cards and ordered five hundred.  I also finished the website and published it (http://www.nancygray.net).

I do plan to add some pictures to the website eventually, possibly some from Dragoncon.  We'll see.  In the meantime, it's mostly just written information but I think it turned out well.  What I need to do is get a better picture of myself.  It would be even better if I could get one professionally made.  Maybe when the money is there...

My last goal before Dragoncon is to finish my book.  I think I'm well on the way towards doing that.  I've written 75,000 words and have about three chapters to go.  It might be a little longer than I anticipated, but not much.  I've also started the notes for the second book.  I usually write a couple of pages worth before I go to bed.

I'm getting very excited about my fourth of July beach trip.  I can hardly wait.  It'll feel very nice to get out of town and relax, especially after achieving so many of my goals.  Sometimes, just a change of scenery can do wonders for creativity and renewed energy.  

The only thing that would make it better would be to finish the book before I leave Sunday, but I don't think that will happen.  I'm certainly not going to rush it.  Still, other than cleaning up the house, that's my last goal.  I plan to work on it this week at the very least.

I probably won't get to write to you next week since I'll be out of town from Sunday to Sunday, though I might tweet a little.  So, have a happy Independence Day!  I'm confident that mine will be very nice and I hope yours is too.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Anne McCaffrey and Me

I just remembered something from my childhood the other day, and I thought I would share it.  I started reading novels at a very young age.  I probably was ten or even younger when I read "Dragonsong," Dragonsinger," and "Dragondrums" by Anne McCaffrey.  I remember sitting on the porch at the beach and watching the fireworks around the forth of July and imagining the smoke left behind to be the detrimental silver threads that fell from the sky in the Pern universe.  That was so long ago now that I had forgotten.

Anyway, the memory made me start to think about what a big impact her novels made on me when I was young.  Her novels are part of the reason I started drawing dragons and partly why I became so interested in fantasy in the first place.  She might be part of the reason why I'm a nerd now (which is a very good thing, because being a nerd makes me very happy).  In essence, her work shaped mine a lot more than I realized, and it shaped me as a person more than I realized as well.  I'm sad that I won't get to ever meet her to tell her now.  I'm afraid there might be a lot of writers that I respect that I'll never get to meet.  And I feel bad that I honestly didn't even know that she had died until very recently when I found out that Todd McCaffrey is going to be signing at Dragoncon and that she had passed the torch to him.

Well, anyway, I hope that I can tell him this story while I'm there.  I think he would like to hear how much his Mother's books meant to so many people, and he might be interested to know that it inspired one little girl who's hoping to become a novelist one day herself.  Rest in Peace, Anne McCaffrey.  Thank you for your work and creating such a vivid world. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Almost There

Good news, everyone,

It looks like the website will be finished very soon.  It might not be done by the end of the week, but I'm down to just the finishing touches.  I think that it's turned out pretty well, and I hope that you all like it.  As soon as I finish, I'll add a link to the website on the blog and there will be a link to the blog from the website as well.

Currently, I'm working on "Blood Rain" and I've written nearly 75,000 words.  It's very close to the end.  I think I have about three or four more chapters to go.  I've got the teaser intro to the novel under writing samples in the website.  I hope you enjoy it.  When I'm done, I'll take a little break and start writing the notes for the second book in the series.  My goals are to get the book, the website, and the design of my business cards, done by the time I go to the beach in July.  (My family always goes to the beach around July 4th, kind of a little tradition that we have, and I don't want to be stressing out over anything.)

While I'm at the beach, I might do a little work.  I was thinking I could work on those notes for the second book, as well as read, read, read.  I've already read three and a half books by four different authors over the past two months or so.  I'm trying to expose myself to different writers and different writing styles.  I love Jim Butcher to death, but I do need a little variety in who I read.  For a long time, I was reading the Dresden Files and the Codex Alera, so I didn't have time to vary my authors much. 

I finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman recently.  I highly recommend it.  It is extremely dark for a children's novel and is a very interesting rewrite of The Jungle Book.  Like I said, I've been reading lots of books lately, so I can't do an in depth review of all of them right now, but I probably will in the future.  In the meantime, here are some mini-reviews. 

I read Laurell K. Hamilton's "Guilty Pleasures" and really enjoyed it.  It's an urban fantasy story about Anita Blake, someone who raises the dead and hunts vampires.  I enjoyed the personality of the main character immensely, and the book was a very fast read.  I was extremely sad when one of my favorite characters died in the book, but I'm not telling you who it was.  Spoilers aren't fun for anyone.  I'm hoping to read another of the Anita Blake series while I'm at the beach.

As a change of pace, I also read a romance by Sherrilyn Kenyon, the first of the "Dark Hunter" series.  I don't read romance very often, so I might not be the best person to ask to review it, but I did enjoy the book.  The universe that it is set in is very interesting.  The characters remind me of the White Wolf game "Scion."  The male love interest was an immortal man working for the Greek goddess Artemis to kill the corrupted sons and daughters of Apollo.  The only way to get his soul back from Artemis was to put his trust in the love of a woman, something that had burned him before.

Currently, I'm reading "Mistborn" by Brandon Sanderson.  It took me a little time to get into it, but I really like the way magic works in his universe.  I'll probably be reading more by him in the future as well.  I might write a review when I'm finished.

Well, sorry I talked your ear off again.  I need to get back to work on my writing.  Wish me luck on meeting my personal deadlines, for once.  ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The New Bedlam Project - Going to Print

For anyone who likes horror, insomniac writers, and a small town named "New Bedlam," please make a donation to this cause.  There are lots of good stories in these anthologies and a certain author named "Nancy Gray" appears in Volume 2 for the story "Sleep Like the Dead."  I know her personally and she would appreciate the support.  ;-)  It sure would be nice to see these stories in print... 


Website Under Construction

Hello everyone,

Well, I'm pleased to say that the writing website is coming along nicely.  I hope to have it finished by the end of next week, but we'll see.  Right now, I've got the domain "NancyGray.net," reserved for my use.  I'll let you know when it's ready.  Right now, all it will say is "Under Construction," but please know that I'm working on it as quickly and thoroughly as I can.  I don't intend to publish until I'm sure that I'm satisfied with each section and the website feels finished and polished.  Still, if I keep working hard on it, my goal of finishing it within the next few weeks should definitely be attainable.

Currently, I'm looking for short story writing samples and excerpts from my finished novels to include on the website.  I'm planning to put a free short story or two on it as a writing sample as well, so please enjoy.  Even though these are good short stories, I've never found homes for them, and I probably won't be concentrating on publishing short stories again for a long time.  The well has far from run dry, and I can write more stories if I decide to concentrate on that again.  In the meantime, I want these to be read and to act as an example of my ability.  Who knows, maybe an agent will read them and like them.  (Yeah riiight.  In your dreams, Nancy.  Still, I suppose if a writer can do anything, it's dream...)

I was going to save it as a surprise, but I think you deserve a sneak peak since I've been so bad about keeping you updated lately.  The stories will probably be "Waterspouts" and "Scavenger."  Both stories are very different from one another and should show the different ranges of my writing style.  "Waterspouts" is written in a similar fashion to a work of Lovecraft, and "Scavenger" is a mixture of cyberpunk and Gothic horror focusing on a shape-shifter.  In fact, I believe that I have excerpts from these stories on here already, but the full story will be available on the website. 

Also, I plan to put the first few intro pages from my books and a simple blurb about the plot under the sample work category.  The plot blurb will be very similar to a teaser in a query letter.  Sorry, but no free novels, just the introduction.  After all, I'm still trying to pitch those to an agent and I'm not going to give away an excerpt that would spoil anything from the book.  Still, I don't think including the introductory pages will really hurt anything.  So, if you're interested, that will be there as well.

By the time I'm finished, I'm hoping to have a way for you to contact me by e-mail, the blog linked to the website, samples of my writing, and ::gasp:: I might even start using Twitter and link it to the website as well.  I never really understood twitter, but apparently it's very addictive.  If I do start to "tweet" be prepared for randomness, because that's how I roll.

Keep reading and writing.  I'll try to stay focused and do the same.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nancy Gray's Writing Logo

Hello all.

Well, so far so good on the writing this week.  I'm up to 67,000 words in "Blood Rain" and I think I'll be able to hit 80,000 by the end.  I might have more to say later in the week, but for now, I wanted to show you my new writing logo.  I'm going to have it up on the website, once I'm done with it, and on the business cards that I'll be passing out at DragonCon.  I hope that you like it.  "RavenQuill" sounds be a good tag line for something since it's kind of what the logo is, though I probably won't use it.  After all, it looks like it's already close to the name of a publishing company and I don't want to step on anyone's toes.  Still, I think this logo itself is a pretty good representative for me and my work.  I came up with the idea because a raven is often associated with dark themes and creativity, and since most of my books have dark themes, I think this logo works.  Here it is.

  Me Gusta.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Half a Year of Hard Knocks...It Got Better.

Sorry it's been so long since I've written, but a lot has happened in a short amount of time. My life became complicated and depressing and I wasn't blogging. In fact, I wasn't even thinking about it. I also wasn't writing and got into a boring routine. I guess I'll start with the bad things that happened so that I can end on the good.

I mentioned that  my Grandmom died a few posts ago, but I didn't mention that a few months after my she died, I got pregnant. I was very excited, but it wasn't meant to be because I miscarried about a month later. I basically had just enough time to start feeling an attachment only to have it just sort of go away. From what the doctors said, it probably wouldn't have been a healthy baby since the pregnancy didn't take. I think that everything happens for a reason, so I have to know that it was probably for the best, but I still was depressed for several months. Incidentally, I haven't given up on having a baby one day, but I need to get on medication to do so. (On a side note, during this time my salamander that had lived fourteen years also died, so it just sort of felt like icing on the cake.)

At the beginning of this year, my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Still, I'm very proud of how well she handled it. She was very brave and did what she needed to do to get better. Thankfully, my prayers were also answered. She had a lumpectomy and they were able to treat the cancer with radiation and without chemo. There were no complications and she didn't react baldy to the radiation. So, she was very lucky and she's better now. This cause has become important to me now that it touched me in a personal way, and I'm going to try to keep all those suffering from breast cancer in my prayers.

So, long story short, as you can see, things have been special the last part of last year and the first part of this year. But, things have gotten much better as they always do. Always remember to hang on during difficult times because there's always hope and always a reason to persevere. Now to count the blessings.

First of all, my husband and I are on an aggressive program to get out of debt, and it's working. We've started listening to the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace University" program and it actually works. I'm not being paid to say this, I'm being serious when I tell you that we've managed to get an emergency fund saved up which has saved us from car trouble, a hole being blown in the house during a storm, and other disasters that happened (that weren't listed above) during this time. Also, if we continue to stick to our budget, we'll have all of our debt paid off by next year. For those drowning in debt, I highly recommend this program. Just paying off bills really makes a person have a better outlook on life.

Also, I've become inspired to write again. I've got a fantasy novel nearly completed that I'm going to post a sample from very soon. This is the first book in a trilogy and I have a very good feeling about it. I also recently went to a publishing class at the SC Book Festival and I'm buckling down and becoming serious about getting my novels published. I've created a logo for myself and am working on a website this weekend. I'll post a link once it's finished.

I'm also going to Dragoncon in August. It'll be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to meet other writers who have been successful in the genres that I prefer. The goal is to have business cards ready by then to hand out. I also hope to attend the writer's workshop. It'll be a great time to network and to get to talk to many writers that I respect. I'm going to take lots of pictures. I might post one or two of those as well.

And, finally, this might be a small thing, but I'm starting to take better care of myself. I'm eating better and have gotten back on my exercise routine and have already lost seven pounds. I had a birthday recently and turned thirty years old, and I've determined I like the age thirty. I'm looking at this birthday as a new start in life, and I'm excited about the future. My goals for the coming year are to get an agent, to move into a bigger house (with our debt paid off, we can actually do that), have a baby, and keep reading and getting in shape. There's a lot to look forward to, and this time I'm keeping up the blog to keep you posted. Sorry for so many months of silence and solitude, but I needed it.

 To new beginnings. Cheers.