I had a thought.

Hullo, LJ. It's been a long time since I posted here, I know.

And now I'm back to rant (I call it a thought. It's a sort of a rant, I guess. Or an observation. Or complete bullshit, but you know...).

It's about the current societal mood, as I see it. It was touched off by thinking about Ferguson and NY and Stuff.

If you've had your fill of that, don't read.

If you're interested at all in my unsolicited opinion, Collapse )

You can comment if you like. You don't have to, but if you do, try to be civil. I don't mind if you disagree. Heck, tell me I'm wrong. Show me examples of how wrong I am.

If you're just out to be rude, though, please don't bother.

It's a book!

I know I've been silent over here for a while. Cross-posting things without an automatic way to do it is one of those things that often falls off my to-do list. It's not that I don't love the people over here on LJ. It's just one more thing for my poor magpie-brain to keep up with.

But today? Today I remembered because today, in the wee-hours, Tybalt's book went live on Amazon.

That's right, IMMORTAL LIES is available on Amazon. You can click on that link and go directly there, or go to the front page of your Amazon website and type the title in and it will magically appear.

I am thrilled and terrified and excited and nervous and all those things that happen when there's a new book and people will read it and possibly say things about it.

I am also working on building a "real" website for S.L. Gray. I thought I was going to have more time between submitting the book for release and it actually, you know, happening. Ah well. Life! I can cope. There's a BOOK!

I knew I could write!

(Crossposted from Words of Gray)

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: http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts-sytycw-2013/of-shadow-born/. One way or another, you'll see this book.

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

It's a writing thing!

So, in the first writing news that anyone has heard from me for a while...

I entered Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest, this year, because, well. I do.

If you are curious and feel like peeping at a chapter of the revised Of Shadow Born, head on over this way!

Feel free to comment, like it, and spread the word. I have no idea how much any of that influences who makes it to the next round, but it can't hoit!

(I feel like I'm back in Project Greenlight, or the Avon contest, or... )

A Hot Day in the Gray World

(Cross-posted from Words of Gray)

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!

As twitterfied. Tweeted. Posted on that thing.

"It has been decided. Rather than waiting for the right boat or train or (insert the writing metaphor of your choice here), those who are feeling like slotting into an established/expired/"overbought-and-oversold" writing genre are invited to board the Assault-Of-Fiction amphibious vehicle. This way, when when there's no water (or track) we can go off-roading."

It's late. My grammar sucks and there are words missing.

Point is: Let's write what we damn well want and let publishing catch up to us, for once.

...and now I'm going to bed.

<3 :)

Once More With Feeling

(Cross-posted from Words of Gray)

...no, 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.

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The habits of the magpie.

(Cross-posted at Words of Gray)

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. Not...so 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. :)

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Doot doot dink

...should I go back to cross-posting blog stuff here? It seems sort of silly and yet, I know there are people who are happy to read LJ and nothing else.


In other news, I am almost sleeping and moving around like a normal human being. The shoulder is less gross. Yay for less gross.


So. I have cellulitis in my left shoulder.

(Avoid looking it up and looking at pictures. Really. You've been warned, and mine is not as bad as 95% of them anyway.)

Why am I posting this here when I recently said I don't really post here? Because it hurts, and I'm whining.

I have described the pain as being like getting punched -really- hard in the shoulder. You know that bone-deep throbby ache, I have also said it feels like the world's longest lasting muscle spasm. Yesterday I could barely talk, it hurt so bad.

I have antibiotics and Norco. Norco lets me sleep bout two hours, be upright for half an hour, then its time to sleep again.

It does not really stop the pain.

Longly short version: Send me cute animals and funny things to look a. If you talk to me on AIM, forgive my lack of thereness.

There will also be no writing until this is over. Yesterday I dreamed the neighbor's house got raised. By SWAT. Helicopters and guys in body armor and lots of shouting.

Except that never happened.

So the writing will keep.