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.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Progress in General

Hey Everyone,

I have some very good news. I have officially broken 70,000 words in Blood God and I'm closing in on the final chapters of the main story. It should be around 90,000 words or more. Last week I hit a personal best of 5,000 words in one day (at least, a personal best since the children have been born). I think, barring family emergencies or other issues, I'll be making that July 4th deadline. Even if the editing isn't finished, the first draft will be. It feels very good to be inspired to write again.

In other news, I've also started exercising and eating a little better. I'm not heavy, but I do want to feel healthier. I realized recently that my lifestyle has become very sedentary with the exception of playing with the kids in the yard. I get out of breath more easily than I used to and that can't be healthy. Basically, I might still look decent, but I have very little muscle. (Technically, my kids get more exercise playing outside than I do, but keeping up with them in this summer heat is a challenge...) Anyway, so I've started to exercise and read while doing so.

I was reading "Goblin Secrets" but I just can't get into it. So, I'm reading a little non-fiction that I feel is more fulfilling. Don't worry, though. I intend to read Goblin Secrets at a later date. I think I just got bogged down in the descriptions at the beginning and didn't really care for the main character as much as I should. I might've just not been "feeling it." I still owe you a review of the Jungle Book as well. I'll try to get to that soon.

I've also joined a fantasy group on reddit. I want to be more involved in the internet community, it's just never been something that I've been very good at. Still, I realize now that I just haven't been trying hard enough to reach out to other people that enjoy the same sort of genres that I like to write and like to read. So, I'm going to make a concentrated effort to do that. It never hurts to make new friends, or to ask advice from people with the same interests. Anyway, should be fun. At least, I hope so.

Well, I'm off to do some more work. Wish me luck. I have some edits to do on a few previous chapters before I start

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Making Progress

Good news everyone, Blood God is coming along nicely. I'm officially at over 65,000 words with only about a quarter of the book left to go. I feel good about the exciting chapters I wrote today, and also I feel like that goal of having it finished by the fourth of July is very possible. Still, we'll have to see. It mostly depends on how long editing takes and if there are any major changes I need to make. Either way, I'm feeling inspired and that is always a good thing.

For those following this blog, yes I finally did read The Jungle Book and eventually I will write a review of it. I'll just go ahead and say it was awesome. It also included several other short stories which I didn't know were written by Kipling. I agree with Neil Gaiman, read The Jungle Book to your children. It so much surpasses the Disney version in every way that it makes watching it sickening.

In other news, I plan to do a podcast with Trial By Stone in June. Looking forward to it and I'll update the blog when it is published. Sadly, I missed one recently because I wasn't feeling like myself, a bit depressed and a little sick, but I'm back to my old self and ready to review Joey's book again. Beware, my friend. ;-)  [Seriously, though, I love Shadows of the Dark Crystal. I can't wait to read the new book!]

Also, just for fun, on Thursday nights I'm running a Dark Crystal role-playing game using the PDQ system. It's been a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to the second session tomorrow. The plot is taking place during Joey's story and the plot of what my story would've been. I can't wait to see the conclusion of the stories created by my players.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on my progress and hopefully I'll have more good writing news in the near future. Looking forward to talking with you again!

Sincerely,

Nancy Gray

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Tour and Progress

Well a lot has happened in the last few weeks.  I've turned thirty-five, one of my daughters turned four, and I've managed to reach fifty thousand words in Blood God.  That's over halfway finished.  Even though I really wanted to be done by now, I think that the book is already going better because I decided to focus on it at a slow and steady pace.

The Blood Rain book tour is over now.  I enjoyed the experience.  I really enjoyed answering all of the questions provided for me.  It made me really think about my inspiration and what I was experiencing at the time I wrote the first novel.  It's interesting to think back about where your ideas come from.  Sometimes it even teaches you a little bit about yourself.

Currently, while I'm working on Blood God, I'm also getting ready for the blog tour of the second book of the series Blood Moon.  Hopefully, by the end of the second blog tour I should be almost finished with Blood God and can start the marketing campaign and begin the tour for it as well.  One thing at a time, though.  I'm hoping at the latest that Blood God will be done by the end of summer.

One of the reasons I want to finish Blood God before fall is both because I want to finish it as soon as possible for those waiting on it.  The second reason, though, is that I've made a very important decision.  I've decided to self publish my mid-grade horror series.  I haven't had much luck finding an agent, and now that I know that I can sell the e-books and sell print copies, I think I might be more successful doing it on my own.  (That, and the fact that my target audience all have ipods for school and might enjoy having an e-book copy.) I think it would be nice to publish the first one around Halloween, and barring a cover design, it's ready.

I also know now that the more novels I get out there, the more exposure I will get and eventually something will catch on.  For those of you who are fans of my series, or of my writing in general, and want to help I would really appreciate it if you would write a review on amazon after you read the book.  The more reviews I have, the better.  Even one sentence and a star count is enough.

Well, I guess that's about it for now.  I'll keep you posted on the Blood Moon blog tour progress and my current word count in Blood God.  Well, back to the writing.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blog Tour and Chimera Hangout

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that the blog tour for Blood Rain has officially started.  I'm very excited about it.  Here is the schedule.  The first post is a blurb about what the novel is about.  If you haven't read the novel yet, please check it out, or pass it along to your friends.

March 15th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

March 16th: Book Excerpt @ Literary Musings

March 17th: Book Excerpt @ Two Heart Beats

March 19th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

March 20th: Promo Post @ Book Journal

March 22nd: Book Review @ Reading for the Stars and Moon

March 22nd: Book Excerpt @ The Bookworm Lodge

March 23rd: Book Excerpt @ Just Books

March 25th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

March 27th: Author Interview @ Books, Dreams, Life

March 30th: Book Review @ The Resistance

April 1st: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

April 3rd: Promo Post @ 50 Book Challenge

April 6th: Book Review and Book Excerpt @ Adventures Thru Wonderland

April 7th: Book Excerpt @ Bookworm for Kids

April 9th: Character Interview @ The Book Daily

April 10th: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

April 12th: Book Excerpt @ Indy Book Fairy

April 15th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

This is going to be a very busy day for me.  Around nine o'clock tonight I'm attending a hangout on the google + group "Chimera Readers."  I'm looking very forward to it.  There should be some interesting questions and discussion about Blood Rain.

I don't mean to seem arrogant, but I love talking about my novels.  I guess that's probably because its something I feel passionate about.  It'll be the first time I've done anything like this for my books. The Dark Crystal podcast is similar, but this time I"ll be discussing my work instead of someone else's.  Wish me luck.

Chimera readers is a good group of people that have a common interest, good books.  If you like reading, they would be a good group to join.

Well, I'm off to do some writing.  Have a great day!  I'll keep you posted on the progress of the tour.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Author Meet and Greet

Hey Everyone,

Well, the Author Meet and Greet went pretty well.  It was my very first author signing.  While the turnout wasn't very high, it was a great opportunity to meet other authors and get better acquainted with those that write specifically in SC. I did manage to sell a few copies of Blood Rain and Blood Moon, and I have ideas for the copies that are left.  I'm planning to donate one copy of each to the Lexington County library, assuming they accept them.  Many thanks to the Lexington County Library for giving me the opportunity.  I appreciate it and it was a good experience.

Now that the Meet and Greet is over, I'm turning my focus to the blog tour. I have the questions I need to answer, so I'll be spending most of this week answering them to the best of my ability.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  I might even do a little more writing on Blood God if time allows. As I said, I'm not going to rush myself so that it is the best book it can be. Rest assured, however, that I'm not putting it off either. I'll finish it as soon as I can.

Well, that's all for now.  I'll keep you posted on anything new. Keep reading and writing!

Friday, March 3, 2017

My First Book Signing!

Hey Everyone,

Well, I have some good news. My first book signing is tomorrow at the Irmo Branch Public Library during the local author meet and greet event from 2:00pm until 5:00pm.  I'm very excited about it and I hope you can be there.  I'll be selling and signing books, and I'll also be giving out free bookmarks and business cards.  This is a big step for me.  For once I'll be one of the people behind the table.

Sorry for the long week of silence.  The bad news is that I'm just now getting over a really nasty case of bronchitis.  I guess I've had it worse before, but the cold that gave it to me drained me of all of my energy for a full week.  All I felt like doing was sleeping, and that's practically all I did.  I should be able to start doing more writing work next week, but I seriously doubt I'll have Blood God written by my birthday.  I think the end of April is more likely, but that's partially due to more good news.

On March the 15th I'll be doing a skype interview with Chimera Books, an awesome reading club on Google +.  Check it out. They're a very cool group of people.  Also, that is the first day of my blog tour, with Enchanted Book Promotions, for my first novel Blood Rain. I'll be answering lots of questions and hopefully news about the book will spread more quickly.  Wish me luck.  I might not have as much time to devote to Blood God, but if I can devote all of my undivided attention to it during a different month, I think in the end it will be a better book for it.

Anyway, that's all for now.  I'll give you my review of Clockwork Princess soon.  Keep reading and writing!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Clockwork Prince

I would like to start off saying that out of this trilogy, Clockwork Prince is my favorite book.  This might end up being a fairly short blog because I really don't have very much bad to say about it at all, but I'll at the very least try to explain why it is a better book and why I like it so much..  I'll also try not to spoil anything for those interested in reading the series.

The problems I had with the previous book, Clockwork Angel, were not problems in this book.  Even though I'm not a fan of books that switch perspectives from one character to the next, it wasn't jarring in Clockwork Prince.  I think this is because most of the chapters stopped in a good place instead of stopping in the middle or beginning of the action.  So, basically, when there was a lull in the action of one chapter another would start. Also, the plot itself was more interesting, so when the perspective was switched to another character in another place it was just as interesting as following the adventure of the main character.

The love story really heats up in this book.  I knew there would be a love triangle, but there was much less focus on it in Clockwork Angel.  Clockwork Angel did a good job of setting up the characters and the world, but this book is where things really take off.  One of the lead characters of this book (he is on the cover) is also my favorite character in the series so that didn't hurt.  The love triangle is a bit much in terms of angst, but I have to admit that I liked it.  Though love triangles are guilty pleasures, this one was pretty good.  

All of the characters were equally endearing in this book.  There were several characters in Clockwork Angel that I didn't really like at the time.  To be honest the "love interest" in the first book seemed pretty repellent at the time, but when you find out his reasoning in this book, he becomes likable.  Therefore, you can't help but be cheering for both of the men in Tessa's life.  (Of course, I have a preference, but I'm purposely keeping this vague so that I don't spoil anything for the reader.)

There was action, intrigue, great characters and character development, and the main character became a lot more interesting than she was in the previous book.  So, long story short, I loved this book and couldn't put it down.  I finished it in about a week, possibly less, reading at odd times because I wanted to know what happened next.  I recommend it to anyone who likes steampunk, urban fantasy, and love stories.  I love all of these things, so this book was the perfect storm for my adult tastes as well as my inner teenager.  (I guess this blog didn't turn out to be short after all...)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My books are in print!



Hey Everyone,

I just thought that I would update you on the status of my novels. Both Blood Rain and Blood Moon are print to order on Amazon!  Hooray!  I have to admit that it's a nice feeling to be physically holding them. Even though I'm not opposed to e-books, I like the feeling of a book in my hand. Also, seeing my novels in print is kind of surreal.

Many thanks again to J.M. Lee for his awesome cover art. We tried to pick the right type of cover to do the pictures justice. At first we went with matte finish, but we ended up choosing glossy because the colors are more pronounced. We also did some work on the margins and we think we're pretty satisfied now. Many thanks also to my husband, Joel, for handling the format changes.

Long story short, both books are available print to order if you would prefer a print copy over an e-book. The e-books have also been updated to include any important changes. (Mostly, I fixed the grammatical issues that my editors found, and I added a few days here and there to travel times. This doesn't change the story, but it makes the world a bit more realistic and it satisfies my perfectionist tendencies.)

I probably won't make my goal of finishing book three by March 22nd, but we'll have to see. Progress is slow, but I feel like the story is going pretty well.  I'm going to take as much time as I need to make sure that the last book is as good as it can be.  I'll keep you updated on the status of Blood God as I write it. Currently, we're at 35,000 words. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Blood Rain and Blood Moon on e-book or in print, whichever you prefer.  Thank you for your time and for reading my rambling. I hope you enjoy the novels!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clockwork Angel of The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

As promised, here is my book review for Clockwork Angel in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. (Sorry this took me so long. Better late than never. I'm currently reading the second novel of the series Clockwork Prince and will try to get the review of it finished in a more timely fashion.)

First of all, I'd like to say I really like the setting. I've always had a soft spot for steampunk, especially set in London. I'm also very impressed with the author's knowledge of Victorian literature and culture. Specifically, the author has a verse from a Victorian story or poem at the beginning of every chapter and it's clear that she knows the geography of London as though she lives there.

Another interesting thing about this series is the fact that it's an urban fantasy story. There are elements of gothic horror and mystery. I really like the combination of steampunk and gothic horror which is something I would like to explore in the future as well.  As with most young adult literature, there is a love story brewing throughout the book. I won't give any spoilers, but I will say that the love story itself is a strange one and it keeps you guessing..

The theme in this story is a secret organization of "shadowhunters" with angelic bloodlines hunting demons and keeping "mundanes" safe from the things that go bump in the night. While this theme has been done before, I think the author did a good job making the organization feel real with it's inner politics and the strange almost family-like dynamic created by the individuals within the institute.

The main character "Tessa" is a girl that has the power to use an object to transform into the owner of the object and view their memories. While she is a powerful female lead, there's a certain vulnerability to her that I find endearing. Her power makes her useful, but she is rescued by the other members of the institute frequently. While some might frown upon that sort of thing, I think it makes her transformation into a stronger character more important and being set in Victorian London (even though the character is from America) it makes more sense.

The only real criticism I have for this book is I really don't like changing perspectives. This might be a personal pet peeve of mine, but I've read other books that change perspective such as Stephen King's IT and it didn't bother me. Let me explain why I found it particularly irritating in this book.

I'm pretty sure Tessa is supposed to be the main character, but the book shifts between almost every member of the institute's point of view at least once. This means, that you look through another character's eyes at least seven times throughout the book and Tessa isn't in every scene. There are times that I wonder if Tessa is the main character or if Will and Jem are supposed to be the focus.I think Tessa is supposed to be the character the reader associates the most with, but with all the wavering back and forth it's hard to tell.

Also this shift usually happens during a cliffhanger scene when Tessa was in danger. When the character I care most about is in danger, I don't really care about Charlotte discussing institute politics with one of her contacts, I want to know what happened. It has a way of derailing the action and, about the time I get into the scene with the political discussion, I'm suddenly back to where I left off from the chapter before, or in a different scene entirely. It made the story feel disjointed and it kind of gave me spoilers about what the other characters were thinking.

Despite that one issue, this was a very good book. There is enough intrigue and mystery to keep you guessing at what the antagonist wants, though even at the end you don't really know. The ending seems to tie a few things up, but leaves other elements unsolved to explore in the second book. While that is an issue with some people, I don't think of that as a problem. I'm actually about halfway through Clockwork Prince right now, so clearly it left enough of a hook for me to want to buy the series. I suggest you do too. (Though there is only a hint of a love triangle in the first book, that is played up much more in the second.)

Well, I'm off to read more Clockwork Prince. I hope you find this review helpful, and if you like steampunk, gothic horror, hunters, secret organizations, or romance, Clockwork Angel is probably for you.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Blood Moon is here!

Hey Everyone,

I have some good news. I know I said I would have to push the date back, but my editor was nice enough to work through her illness and finished editing Blood Moon.  Despite illnesses in my household as well (including the flu), I've finished making the changes and Blood Moon is available for purchase on Amazon.  Here's the link if you're interested.  I'm very exited about it.

Blood Moon (book 2 of the Blood Rain trilogy

Also, the edits for Blood Rain should be finished within a few weeks and it should be available print to order as soon as the changes are made.  (Again, I assure you than nothing about the content has been changed with the exception of travel times and grammatical issues.) Blood Moon should also be ready for print to order around the same time.  It will be a few weeks as well, mostly because we have to approve formatting, etc. But it will be much sooner than I said in the previous blog entry.

Things are coming along on Blood God.  I'm thirty thousand words into it (about ninety-four pages) which is probably about a third of the way to the end.  So far, I feel pretty good about my progress and hope to have that done sometime in March or before.  It would be a nice present for me to have the completed trilogy published and ready for print and e-book purchase by my birthday, but we'll have to see. I'm working hard and as long as I keep it up, I should be able to make that goal.

After this trilogy is over, I might make a few more of my novels available on amazon. I'm not sure about which ones yet.  There are a few more homeless books that might end up as e-books, but I need to seriously edit them and finish the endings first, including a steampunk romance that I wrote several years ago. I think it has potential. The next project I'm planning is to work on, though, is finishing the first five stories in my young reader horror series and continuing my search for an agent to represent them.  Then, I might just try my hand at steampunk urban fantasy.  I have a few ideas.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Blood Moon as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Take care!  Keep reading and writing!