Saturday, December 18, 2010


Article submitted for Winter 2010 edition of Impact Times Magazine
Never would I have considered the word insanity, in any shape, form or fashion pertained to me or anyone I knew. I pictured straight-jackets and padded-walls. However, I’ve discovered insanity runs amuck. Having heard the infamous quote from Albert Einstein about the definition of insanity meaning doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results, it’s only recently I received the revelation of that fundamental truth.

While watching an episode of Wipe Out with my family, I remarked how ‘insane’ these people must be to put themselves, their bodies and their sanity through such a daunting obstacle course. But, in the middle of that statement, I realized these contestants were not insane at all. They embarked on an exciting and dangerous, yet new-fangled adventure. That doesn’t fit in any circumstance under the definition of insanity. It may fit under the guise of extreme, crazy or even stupid behavior, but not insane.

Since receiving this revelation, I’ve noticed just how insane the world really behaves. I see insanity at work, insanity at church, insanity on the radio, television and big screen. I’ve run into insanity in my family, friends and with people whom I fellowship. I’ve even met some insane writers, and how it that possible? Before I received the revelation of the meaning of insanity, I thought all writers were a bit insane, but now I understand that creating an original work of art is anything but insane. However, the pattern of behavior many people perform, hinges on the line of insanity in many of the decisions they make every day. Here are a few examples to show what I’m talking about.

I have a friend who is a terrible flirt. She flirts with all men, no matter their status or success. Being the center of attention takes the highest priority in a social atmosphere. This is habitual for her, yet it never ceases to surprise her that she is inappropriately propositioned by men or finds herself in trouble. The insanity of the situation is that without a shift or change in her behavior, she continually expects a different outcome from the men.

In the political arena, we ‘the people’ are insane. We watch our political leaders do something year after year (they have voting records), all the while promising what our itching ears want to hear, yet we EXPECT them to act and vote differently than they have been all along, just because they said they would. Who’s the truly insane – the politician or the people expecting them to do something they’ve never done before? We forget… if it acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck… IT’S A DUCK! Yet, we expect our ducks to magically turn into swans, and make excuses when it’s pointed out our swans are really ducks. Who says magic is make-believe and miracles don’t exist?

With this new revelation of insanity, I’ve gained a sense of liberty; freedom from false expectations. I used to get disappointed in people because they didn’t live up to my level of standards, or I didn’t live up to someone else’s level of expectations for me. Now, I measure a person by their own rulers. If they have short rulers, that’s not my responsibility. I’d be ‘insane’ to expect them to behave to the standards of my own ruler. Some have bigger rulers than me, filled with more responsibilities and capabilities. Some have smaller rulers, smaller expectations; smaller life goals. I’m happier. I might be crazy, but at least I’m not insane.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Book-Savvy: WINNER of The Blood of Cain by T.L. Gray

Book-Savvy: WINNER of The Blood of Cain by T.L. Gray: "<img src='' width='35' height='35' class='photo'..."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lest We Forget

Do you know what bothers me most sometimes with myself and with other people?  When I tend to forget my mistakes, wrongs decisions and errors and start running foward with all my might.  I fully expect to win the race I'm running, without difficulty, without obstacle, without consequence.

You might ask, "Why is this dangerous?"  It's dangerous because I've completely ignored the pitfalls, road blocks and holes I've tripped over, fell into and became ensnared with in the past.  If I learn nothing from my past mistakes, I'll never stop making the same mistakes again and again. 

You tell me which is better to run?  Recklessly and without adandon, or carefully with precaution?

Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not popular or desirable to follow the latter. It's slower, harder and comes with a bad, bad case of self denial and responsibility.  We all want to run without abandon, and when we fall on our face, we NEVER blame ourselves.  It's always the rock's fault, the hole's fault or the obstacle in our way keeping us from reaching our destination in one piece. 

If you're honest with yourself, you know this is the truth.  However, I've come to learn that many of us are not honest with ourselves or anyone else.  We lie all the time, convincing we're justified in our actions, anger, bitterness and resentment.  We have short-term memory problems, but does God?  Usually when all hell breaks loose in our life, we contribute it to either something we are currently doing or not doing.  We forget what we've already done, thinking and convincing ourselves that we've dealt with that past offense and no longer face the consequences of our actions.  My friend, that's wishful thinking.  Having a mindset like that is like running recklessly and without abandon. 

God does forgive, but in His perfect LOVE, He corrects, He purges, He rebukes, He trains and He chastises us in order to permanently remove our weaknesses, blemishes, blunders and immoral character.  It hurts.  It isn't easy.  But, without carrying the weight of those things that easily entangles us, we can run a wise race.  It doesn't matter that its full of entrapments and snares, because through experience, through trials, through facing the consequences, and learning from our mistakes, we can now trust Him as HE guides us through until we reach the finish line.  

There are things we sometimes do that are 'religious', because it's what we've been told to do.
Instead of balking about the 'religion' of the ritual, consider it's original purpose.  Because beneath the 'religion' of everything, you'll find reason and purpose. 

I.e. The Levitical Law to abstain from pork.  At first you avoid eating pork just because religion dictates you don't eat pork.  If you only follow the religion, then eventually you'll eat pork just to rebel against the religion. You'll cling to every thought and excuse you can conjure to 'justify' eating pork. But, if you consider the reason behind the religious rule, you'll discover a warning to protect your health. 

I.e. The New Testament commandment not to forsake assembling together with your brother's and sisters - attending church.  If you go to church because the Christian religion dictates your attendance, eventually you'll quit going in rebellion to the religion.  You'll cling to any and every reason to justify not going. That's the natural thing to do.  But, if you consider the spiritual purpose of gathering together, you'll discover it is for your own personal growth, accountablility and responsibility that you attend. 

Bottom line though... does God ever change?  Does He ever waiver?  Does He allow or overlook the breaking of ANY of His commandments without consequence?  Not according to the Word.  Whatever you sow, you'll reap.  For every sin there's a blood price to be paid.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, a consequence. 

So, while I tend to 'forget' my past trespasses, God will bring every one of my deeds into judgment, even the ones I convienently don't remember.  Thank God for His Grace and His Mercy. By them both, I have a chance to face/deal with my actions BEFORE its too late.  I quit making excuses for myself or anyone else who's lying to themselves.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review - Episode 7 Final Season

Smallville Episode 7 Final Season Review

Here we go again for another episode of Smallville. Each week, I can literally feel my heart getting heavier and heavier. It’s almost like knowing one of your children are about to leave home to go away to college, leaving their childhood behind and entering into the never-ending era of adulthood and responsibility. We all know that once they leave home, that’s the last morsel of childhood left. I’m already feeling the loss, and they’re still with me. Okay… enough reflection.

BTW – if you want to read an awesome reflection of self-revelation, visit Allison Mack’s blog and read what she wrote about leaving Smallville behind.

Okay, now to the review at hand. We start off this week’s episode with a couple creepy dudes riding in the back of a van headed toward Smallville; wonder who they’re looking for? The Kent Farm… why does that not surprise me. Speaking of the Kent farm… ooh, la, la. Lois comes trapsing down the stairs behind Clark in his high school football jersey. Needless to say anything else, the smiles on both their faces say it all. We all heard that strawberry loud and clear too. LOL… love the playfulness, and I have a feeling there won’t be any porch swing left when they’re through. Well, maybe there will be. LOL! Nothing like an uptight dad to spoil the moment. Good paced and entertaining opening segment. The whole Lois and Clark relationship doesn’t make me cringe like the Lana & Clark lovefest had.

Okay, my first rant of the night. I don’t like strong women turn into groveling wimps, even if it is because they have an over-bearing and militaristic father. The General hates superheroes huh? That’s usually not the sentiment of military personnel, being they themselves are superheroes; unless it’s a resentment thing with the all the ‘super-powered’ super heroes, and he’s a little bitter they have abilities he’d never be able to train, learn or obtain by natural means. Love Michael Ironside, all the way back when he was battling the Greatest American Hero in the early 80’s.

Love the general’s assessment – “You live in your mother’s house and you work in a basement.” Is that a “Honey Do” list ole Pops gave Clark? Don’t do it, Clark. Stand your ground or you won’t earn the respect of dear ole dad. Uh-Oh, looks like Clark and the General are on opposite sides of this Anti-Vigilante act. Yep, I was right. Sounds like a little bit of bitterness there against the super-powered. But, I have to agree with the General. If Superman decided to wear black instead of red, white and yellow; he’d be a real threat, and what could our armed forces do to stand up to someone like him – other than have green, red, blue, black Kryptonite, Lana Lang, Lois Lane or a bout of low self-esteem? Clark’s only looking at the positive, which is admirable. Regardless, they’re both wrong on some points. They sound like Republicans and Democrats bickering.

Uh-oh… Lois didn’t back up her man, yet she didn’t support her father either. I think it was a smart move. Clark of course is spewing sour grapes.

Oliver/Green Arrow – someone I always like to see, literally. Seems he’s got a little bit of the resentment bug too… with Tess moving in on what he considers Chloe’s territory. I like Tess, but I don’t blame him. That’s right, boy. She’s seen it all before, and so have the rest of us. Eeww… the Suicide Squad’s put their mark on my green guy. Rick Flagg… oohh, he’s one of the guys who’s got Chloe, isn’t he? You’ve been tagged, Oliver. I’m assuming he’s alluding to Clark being tagged too.

Clark left Lois holding the bag. LOL. The fire is out, thanks to the Blur. There you go, Pops! But, that chip on his shoulder seems to only see everything negative. But, he’s still bright – catching Lois in her lie. Who’s calling Clark? Uh-oh, Clark… you’re carelessness has put the General on your trail.

Well, that segment wasn’t as good as the first one; full of too much bitterness from everyone. The guys headed to Smallville, the General, Lois, Clark and Oliver. I’ve got my own bitterness because of Chloe’s extended absence and no one is out looking for her. If something don’t happen quick, I’m going to go ballistic.

So, Clark’s been tag. How did someone 1. Know about blue K and 2. Be able to put it on Clark without him knowing. Oliver jumping out the window was priceless.

So, Lucy is back. The last time her stupidity got her mixed up with Lex. I’m wondering what stupid thing she’s going to do this time. Clark needs to put his stuff up with strangers in the place. Oh, no… come on. He isn’t going to fall for that pathetic ploy. Yep – he did. I’m actually very proud of how Lois handled that situation. She jumped on the right person. But, it looks like Clark’s not being so smart, using his powers at all while others are around. I don’t think he’s upset because of what happened with Lucy. “Still, you can put out a burning building, but you can’t control your hot lips.” Excellent point, Lois. Ah, the real reason for his frustration finally comes out… her not backing him in the kitchen. However, she’s wrong too… bending her values to deal with family. I know millions of people do it every day, but it’s a strong pet peeve of mine.

Colonial Stafford enticing the dim-whitted Lucy. She makes decision of someone raised by an Army General, as if she was raised by a beach bum. Didn’t daddy teach her protocol, especially placing tracking devises on her own father? I know the writers want to drive the point that Lucy’s low self-esteem makes her desperate to do something to make her father proud and to perhaps top her sister in some way, but this is ridiculous.

“Come, on… Chloe would have this finished like yesterday.” Way to drive it in, Oliver. I’m so glad to hear him being so open and honest. I like that Tess stands up to him and doesn’t let him run all over her. I like her more and more all the time.

Clark finished the General’s list. I knew that was a bad idea. I think the General is so used to being able to do what he wants, say what he wants, and everybody around him bow down to him. If Clark knows what’s good for him, he’ll stand up to the General. Especially since he’s talking about Mama Kent. Oooh, I’m starting to see a little ‘steel’ in that spine. Uh-oh, now the General is going after his cousin. YES… the boy has a spine. He might just be worth her, after all.

Doesn’t Lois see right through Lucy? Or is her fear of her father bigger than her common sense? She’s going to let her father just say what he wants, when she knows he’s dead wrong? Looks like it. Oh, Lois… I’m so disappointed in you.

Okay, this mysterious Suicide Squad seems to know all about Clark, but how and why? I know I’ve watched every episode, but I seem to be missing something, somewhere. Has my brain just been filtering out all the information from this group or what? I’m disconnected from them. They just pop up here and there and somehow I’ve not connected all the dots.

So, now Lois goes to defend Clark. Where was her spine a few minutes ago? Anyway, glad to see a resemblance of the Lois I’ve come to know and love. I can live with the little bit of submissive, low-esteemed glimpses I’ve been getting so far all episode, as an extent of her past relationship, but only if she rises above it. Also, where does Lucy come off going all shop talk now? It makes me think of a kid using big words out of context because they don’t know what they mean; they just want to sound smart. Uh-oh, I think I’m prejudiced against Lucy. Don’t know if it’s from past actions, the kiss in the barn or the double-spy acceptance at the gas station. Either way, I’m not a fan. You go, girl! “I’m staying with Clark, and if you love me, you’ll respect that.” Daddy just got TOLD!

Okay, what’s the pen for that was left behind? Flag… was that a play on the name Flagg? What’s up with Clark’s new hairdo? I like it, but it’s just weird. So, Flagg is an extremist after General Lane? AWESOME graphics when Clark saved Lois! Take that, General Lane; your daughter was just saved by one of them vigilantes you’re so hard against. However, he’s still right… because it was some bad vigilantes that were trying to kill him in the first place. However, Flagg also has a point too, he’s just gone too far, like General Lane; like Lex Luthor. Is this going to be part of Lex’s future army? Is Lex behind Flagg?

Way to go Lois for telling Lucy like it is. Good job being the big sister. It is exhausting… Can’t believe no one’s received this revelation until now. Makes me think how much of it will they retain for the next dinner?

Aww… Oliver is trying to make peace with Tess. I really think this episode has been filled with so many extremes; it’s nice to see things being brought back to the middle with Lois and Lucy, Oliver and Tess, Clark and the General. I’d like to peek in your window, Oliver. At least someone, other than Tess, is showing a bit of common sense. But, this feels too much close to ‘good-bye’ and I don’t like it.

See, Clark. Standing up to the General is what garners respect, now cowering. Way to go. Again, we see two polar extremes coming back to the middle. I can see how Clark, after he becomes Superman, could use a man like General Lane for a moral, strategic and courageous leader to look to for advice and direction. It’s a passing of the torch. (Makes me sad to think of another Torch.)

I KNEW IT, that list was a test… but it was for Lois not Clark. Brilliant spin. Love it. Love the dinner. Love the music, love the mood, love the example that shows with a little wisdom, middle ground can always be reached. Then the last scene brings the extremism back. Eeehh.

That’s been this week’s review of Smallville’s final season. Stay tuned next week for another episode of what I think is the best show on television.

Till next time, Crazy4Smallville

Monday, November 01, 2010

Interview & Give-A-Way

Don't forget to register to win an autographed copy of The Blood of Cain by entering into the 500 follower give-a-way hosted by Inspired Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer blog.  You can also read a 7-question interview I gave.  The contest ends November 18, so register today! Just click on the link below and leave a comment.

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review Episode 6 Final Season

Smallville Episode 6 Final Season Review

It being right before Halloween, I’m expecting something ‘corny’, and from the previews it looks like we’re going to get something that appears to be the offspring of Children of the Corn or something out of a M. Night Shaymalan movie.

Okay… we’re off. Lois and Clark are sharing. I’m assuming they’re in Lois’ car since Clark drives a big red pick-up. Although he looks nice in that convertible. It’d look even better if it was a Mustang, but that’s my own personal preference. LOL, Clark fixing the flat tire! Typical Superman moment. Where did the little Amish girl come from? Why is no one wondering why she just showed up out of nowhere? They are reporters, aren’t they? Can’t tell it.

For Christ’ sake, he’s Superman. Why didn’t he just zoom off with that tire and get back in like 2 seconds? Well, then I suppose Lois couldn’t get lost or kidnapped if he had, huh? I hope the episode gets better. That opening segment was a little too slow paced for me.

We’re back. Okay, Clark cuts his hand? What’s up with that? “How bad was your little argument?” So far the best line in the show. It’s still early. So, now he’s pretending to be an investigative reporter. What’s up with this cop? Why doesn’t Clark just speed off, use his super hearing, his x-ray vision? If they’re not working, shouldn’t he discover that?

Harvest festival in a backward village… what a surprise! Why is Lois even there? She’s obviously not kidnapped, which means she went by choice, but why? Why leave Clark out in the middle of nowhere? What’s she after? To get back to the story Clark distracted her from? Doesn’t she know that Clark can beat her anywhere? Even if she did get back, he’d be there, waiting for her. She’s not using that brain of hers, is she? Ooooo, sweet little Susie-Q is showing her evil side. What are they up to?

Alexander’s birthday party? It’s strange to see him being portrayed as a normal kid, but where did all these friends come from? Did they raid the local boys’ home? If Alexander is aging as fast as they say he is (4 years in 3 weeks), then he already KNOWS he’s different, and unlike any normal child. Having him around normal kids will only make him seem even MORE different. Way to go, Tess, for making him feel like a freak. From his little episode of free-association writing, obsessively etching out the mark of the Blur, tells me the Lex Luthor we’ve all grown to love to hate is somewhere lurking inside of sweet Alexander. Hmmm… there may be hope left for this episode, after all.

Clark leading Sheriff Mayberry into the woods (the same one’s he’s probably grown up around his whole life). I don’t understand why he keeps putting up with this guy. Just go already, then do your explainin’ like you always do, Clark. Okay, Blue Kryptonite, that explains the power loss, but it still doesn’t explain why Clark hadn’t already come to that conclusion and had been prepared. Is he that unprepared as a regular human? Doesn’t surprise me that the sheriff got the drop on him.

I love these scenes with Alexander and Tess. So, he’s been hiding drawings. The ‘bad man’ in his dreams… wouldn’t that be Lex. Ooooo.. there’s that Lex attitude I’ve been waiting to see. Lex thought Clark was the bad man, dangerous and a threat to the world. He never saw himself that way. Hmmm, more evidence that the real Lex is lurking just beneath the surface. Looks like Tess let down her guard by turning her back to Alexander. You’d think she’d learn something after dealing with Lex and Zod. Guess not.

Why doesn’t Lois just get up and leave? She knows if she just started walking back the way she came, she just have to whisper Clark’s name and he’d come rescue her (even though right now he doesn’t have super powers – but she doesn’t know that.)? No, she sits there, knowing there’s something terribly wrong, sadistic and evil about her dinner pals, but does nothing. Is she that desperate to ‘teach Clark a lesson’? Come on… I really like this Lois. Don’t make me not like her with a bunch of mindless head games.

The day they were shown the lord’s sign? Let me guess… the meteor shower? Yep, and now poor Esther’s death has led a mindless group looking for ‘signs and wonders’ to go astray. Who’d a thunk it? Okay, it’s officially crossed over into the Children of the Corn territory. That little girl was pure evil. Boy, the children that grow up in those corn fields. I’m with Lois… ‘what’s wrong with you people’?

LOL, Lois dressed up like Kelly McGillis in Witness, too funny! Oh, Lois – you saved my life – moment. EVERY superhero always need saving. So, now it’s up to Lois to save the day. It’s already been proven, Clark can’t think like a superhero without his super powers – at least so far in this episode. Mmm..mmm –I agree Lois. Wait, I have to pause and back that up for a second glance.

Alexander in the barn loft, remember Lex’s memories. Priceless. Their friendship is the thing of legend. Well, being in a new body doesn’t change psychosis. That’s right Tess, Lex is the bad man. Oooh, I love this scene. The Lex I love to hate always manipulated people by using their weaknesses against them. I love it! This little boy is doing a great job of being ‘Lex’. “Don’t call me that, my name is Lex!” Best line in the show so far.

Okay, we’re back in the cornfield with the crazy people. Clark looks good in that hat. Wonder why he never wore one on the farm? Flowers for the celebration… what for? Oops, that red fingernail polish gave the hussy away. Okay, now it’s officially moved over into the land of the freak with the ScareCrow,Sleepy-Hallow, KKK and Jeeper’s Creeper throw back. The slicing of Clark’s midsection with the Death-sickle even better.

So, Lois thinks Clark is dead? I suppose she’s running off adrenaline and holding her breath not allowing the free flow of oxygen to her brain. How many times has she seen Clark come back from the ‘dead’? At least once in the past few weeks. Lex seems to be the only person on this show that doesn’t suffer from short or long term memory loss. However, I do have to say… I’m liking the episode even if it is a far cry from the Smallville I’m accustomed. These religious cults drive me crazy. Don’t they try out any of their theories by testing them? What about trying “not” to sacrifice a girl and see if their crops still grow? Nope… no one can think independently. This isn’t about crops, but about control. Isn’t Lois someone’s daughter?

Okay, how did Clark purge the blue kryptonite with yellow by being buried in the ground? Somehow I missed that reasoning. I can’t believe Lois is just going to stand there.

I have to say, I love seeing Clark with that shotgun and taking the ‘heat’ like a regular joe. Oooo… it’s a sign! You get them Lois. Feed them some of their own medicine! Shove their own craziness back down their throats. But, why on earth does she have to speak in King James version? Clark’s “A-men” was hilarious.

While I found that last scene, inspiring and even a bit hilarious, there’s a part of me that doesn’t like the innuendo and stab at the religious and people of faith. While on many parts I agree with this assessment, especially of the religious occults, but there’s another part of me that feels the truly faithful get lopped into this fanatical group. I do love how Lois and Clark handled the situation. I don’t feel like the show intentionally made fun of people of faith, perhaps even defending them against the occultic innuendo, but I’d rather they stick to the science-fiction and leave religion alone… even the religious nut jobs. But, either way… it was a good scene.

What is in the vial? The antidote to his growth spurts? To stop him from accelerated aging, to keep him alive longer? Don’t give it to him, Tess. Kill him if you know what’s good for you or the world. However, it’d be much more interesting if he lives. YES! She threw it in the fire. Alright… someone on this show actually learns something from the past. Way to go, Tess. I’m liking her more and more each episode.

The believers were able to be led down such a dark path, because their foundation was weak and messed up to start with. This is the dozenth time that ‘stepping into the light’ has been said. How many more times does Clark have to hear it? “Crispy Critter in Hellsville!?” Love it! Still wondering when she’s going to mention her lack of judgment to rush off to cover a story… against Clark’s wishes is what got her in trouble in the first place.

So, glad to see Clark being so open and upfront with Lois. Love to see them finally sharing themselves with each other, but there’s still this part of me that rolls her eyes, because in my Superman universe, he can’t share himself that way BECAUSE of his powers… yet on Smallville they’re not a issue. However, I suppose if he can drink a cup of coffee without incidence, he can have sex. Whatever… still wondering when he’s going to gain the Kiss of Forgetfulness.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE… the very last scene. Alexander shaving his head, EXCELLENT. I’ve got goosebumps running up my arms.

That’s been this week’s review of Smallville’s final season. Stay tuned next week for another episode of what I think is the best show on television.

Till next time, Crazy4Smallville

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dark Wyrm Reads...: Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway

Dark Wyrm Reads...: Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter for your chance to get an autographed copy of  "The Blood of Cain".
So, gather all your friends and get over there and sign up!!!

I can't wait to send the winner their own personalized copy!

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, October 29, 2010

Interview with "I Am A Reader, Not A Writer" blog on 10/27/2010

Interview & Giveaway: T.L. Gray - The Blood of Cain  - as posted on I Am A Reader, Not A Writer blog.

Visit the site and let them know how much you appreciated the interview.  Don't forget to sign up for the free autographed copy giveaway of The Blood of Cain.

~T.L. Gray

Welcome to author T. L. Gray.


T.L. Gray’s debut novel “The Blood of Cain” was released October 2009 from Fireside Publications. The sequel, The Arcainians, is due for release early 2011. T.L. Gray is an active member of the Carrollton Creative Writers Club, Deeper Life Christian Center, and is a contributing writer for Impact Times Magazine. The author lives in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of West Georgia. When asked as a child what she wanted to be when she grew up she replied, “A Queen”. Since that title isn’t available within a democratic republic, she has settled for the label of “Author” instead.

T.L. Gray is currently working on two non-fiction projects (Joyful Mother and the Mary Perry Hudson Memoir) with the International Arise Conference Founder, Mary Hudson of Keith Hudson Ministries.

Thanks to T.L. Gray who has agreed to a short interview and then has a book giveaway!


Night owl or early bird?

Definitely an early bird. I’m up at 6am, getting my heart pumping and my synapses firing. By 6pm… I’m no earthly good to anybody except for making dinner, playing games with the family, taking a hot bath, watching a little television or reading a good book; sometimes many of these things at the same time. Sometimes I can’t sleep because my brain won’t shut off and keeps me up at all hours in the morning. But even with that, come six o’clock I’m doing my aerobics and hitting the tread mill and by eight I’m on the computer. Adrenaline helps me focus.

What fictional character would you most like to meet?

That’s easy, Cain. Not because I’ve written about him, but because I’ve fell so deeply and passionately in love with the character I came to know. He stole my heart. He stole my compassion. He helped me see myself better and the people around me. If there’s hope for Cain, then there’s hope for anyone. I took a one-dimensional damned character and humanized him – having him become relatable, and in turn found a hope I didn’t realize I was missing. As for the Biblical Cain – I’m not sure I’d want to meet him. I’d be curious about him, but it would be hard to separate him from my fictional character.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

To fly. In my dreams I can do some amazing things like breathe under water, read minds and travel at the speed of thought. But, the most vivid of these dreams is the ability to fly. I can feel the air swirl around me, under me and through me as it lifts me from the ground. That is something I’d like to experience firsthand.

When you were 12 years old what did you want to be when you grew up?

Have you read my bio? A queen. I also remember wanting to be a journalist or an exciting archaeologist like Indiana Jones. I got to be a journalist when I worked as a newspaper reporter, and I still have a love for history and ancient artifacts which I sprinkle throughout all my books. I’m still working on the Queen thing.

What is one book everyone should read?

Oh, there are so many to choose from. However, there is one book I always turn back to and I re-read at least every other year, and that’s Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Like the Harry Potter series, Austen was able to transport me out of my current reality and plop me right into the middle of a fantastic story, helping me lose myself for a small period of time. In many events throughout my life, this book has been relevant. Though I already know the ending, my heart still feels every emotion as I progress through the pages and relate with Elizabeth Bennett. We all could use a Mr. Darcy in our lives.

If you could meet one person who has died, who would it be?

Sir Isaac Newton. The knowledge and wisdom this man’s brain projected was astounding. I love science and history… would be fascinated by his endless discoveries. I adore outcasts and heretics, so we would have been good friends. Uh-Oh, I think I’m letting my inner geek show a bit.

What inspired you to write about Cain?

Cain is one of the most intriguing characters in the Bible. He was the first born son of humanity, the first murderer, the first and only person to be directly cursed by God, the only person to have ever been ‘marked’ by God, but then not much else is said about him. The Bible is silent on the mark, the curse and even if Cain died. I went around for about a year and just asked random people what they thought about Cain, his curse, his mark and what they think happened to him? What I found is pretty much most people didn’t think much about him at all. They all acknowledged he was a bad man, but it’s like he was separate from everybody else, more heinous, more evil. We often pick characters we can relate to, especially from the Bible, drawing inspiration from their triumphs, lessons from their failures and so forth. But, with Cain I never heard anyone give or say anything relatable to him, yet I saw him a regular human being and for one moment put myself in his shoes and questioned how he was any different than me. Was I capable of doing the same thing? I realized I was, and in that realization Cain became human to me, full of emotion, full of fears, full of hopes like the rest of us. Thus, a new character was born. The basis of a new adventure had already been laid with all the mystery that surrounded this man, and from there my imagination soared. I don’t change the history or the facts as they have been given in the Bible. I don’t interfere with the religion of this character. I just tell the ‘rest of the story’ as I see it and I myself can’t believe some of the things that have evolved from it. But, I’m not going to tell you all those tidbits. You’ll have to read the book to find out about their secrets.

Visit T.L. Gray's Website

Book Blurb:Teagan Dacre loves fast cars, loud music and beautiful women, however he carries a secret that keeps him isolated from the general population; he has strange silver eyes, heals really fast and hasn’t aged in over a hundred years. The darkest secret of all – he has a blood thirst that must be satisfied by each new moon.

Believing himself unique, Teagan’s world gets turned upside down when he meets an unruly family of immortals seeking their father and maker, none other than the world’s first murderer, Cain. Everything Teagan thought he knew about himself is transformed when he learns how vampires came to be and for what purpose he was made.

For everything, there’s a price to be paid, Teagan wonders if he’ll be strong enough to pay it.

**End of interview

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting On Top of This Internet Thing...

I thought writing was sometimes exhausting, but plotting down a chapter or two on a manuscript is lightweight compared to getting 'connected' on the internet.  I thought I was up with the times because I had post a blog on Blogspot, was visible on Facebook, Twitted regularly and kept my three websites updated, along with giving a critique or two on Critique Circle, but I've learned over the past few weeks I'm just getting started.  I need to hurry up and make some substantial cash so I can hire a full-time social network engineer to keep me updated.  For those teenagers out there who are text, tweet and posting saavy, this is a great idea for a summer or part-time job.  I'm going to write that down on my ever-growing to do list.

The last several days I've been visiting different blogs, reading what reviewers have had to say about books they've reviewed, either of my friends or fellow authors.  I love the variety that's out there.  It's made me realize there's a market I haven't even began to reach because I haven't put my book out there to be reviewed 'internetically'.  I know... the word doesn't exist ye, but it will.

So, I've written to a few of these blog reviewers and requested they review my book 'The Blood of Cain'.  I now feel like I'm lagging on a caboose when all along I thought I was at least riding comfortable in a middle car.  With my book now reaching it's one year mark since release, I now feel I've missed a market going the 'traditional' route.  This really amazes me since I'm not traditional in any sense of the word. 

But, I want to thank bloggers like Marty from DarkWyrm Reads and Kathy at I'm A Reader, Not a Writer for helping me out and giving me a few tips.  If it weren't for these awesome ladies I'd still me looking at my abs not realizing my butt's gained two extra love handles. 

I've been putting it off, but I think its time I look into 'Book Trailers'.  I've ran across a few now that have blown my mind and I so want one for my book.  Do they work?  Don't know, but I guess I'm soon going to find out. 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review - Episode 5 Final Season

Smallville Episode 5 Final Season Review

From the previews, it looks like we’re in for a little cheese this week. It’s half-expected after such a great episode last week. I’ve got a few grapes and a piece of warm French bread, so bring it on. I don’t mind a good aged cheese with a solid robust taste, but I can’t stand that low-fat crap that tastes like rubber.

This week seems to be centered on the character of Isis? Isn’t that the same spirit that possessed Lana, the one she named her foundation after? Also, seems like Lois is going to get to sport another skimpy outfit. Sometimes I think the writers think some of this stuff up and look for excuses just to get Lois into an outfit. Okay, opening credits are rolling, so here goes.

Love all the ancient Egyptian things lying around. Oliver going commercial; Green Arrow Girls? Okay, the cheese is already showing spots. Tess and Oliver in a bitter love spat? Does anyone other than me think the museum curator looks a lot like Lex’s ex-wife? She just needs a lazy eye. OOOoooo.. Condemned for all of eternity in hell? Aren’t there already so many other things that can do that? Isis must not have read Romans chapter 8.

“Hey, Clark… you were blurrific.” Really?? Even for Lois this was just waaayy to lame. The cheese fell really flat on that line. I’m sorry… even I had to stop and back up the DVR because I was so distracted by Lois’ boobs. Costume did its job. It was so good it made you miss all those really lame lines.

While I’m waiting on the next segment to return, I have to say that the Remy Zero theme song for this show is an integral part of my Smallville life. It’s just as relevant to the show today as it was the first episode. I’m glad they never changed it over the years. Even though I only watched the first season of Dawson’s Creeks, when I hear the theme song… it takes me back to a particular place in time. I’m sure “Somebody Save Me” will do the same thing ten years from now.

“I saw the future recently,” Clark said. “Now THAT’s the biggest news I’ve officially heard all day,” Oliver replied. “You know you sound crazy when you talk like that, right?”

Those are officially the funniest lines. Oliver seems to get the best ones in this show. He gets to be the snarky guy, while Clark has to be all… concerned and stoic.

Umm, did Clark forget the lesson he learned last week… not letting the past or fear of the future effect his decisions? Isn’t this exactly what he’s doing? I know the boy has buns of steel, didn’t know he had metal for brains too.

Surely, they’re not going to confess right there in the bull pen? Oh, goody. Chatty Kathy is back. Come on… Lois Lane feels intimidated by little ole’ milk maid? I don’t think so. Seriously? I have to give Kat credit, she at least likes to aim high – Lois’ job… Lois’ man. Clark’s sexiest moment… ‘roof, five’. However, I have a sinking feeling that he’s never going to get to ‘tell her’ because something stupid is going to happen and she’s going to be Isis.

Yep, man that was so predictable. She even already had the outfit to boot. Eeww, I don’t like Isis’ voice. “That is of no importance to me.” Loved it! It’s about the only thing that saved the scene.

I bet Clark is thinking, “What… she gets to fly before me!” Okay… major gripe coming. Why does every supernatural freak that appears on this show all of a sudden possess the ability to take to the skies, and Clark who’s been here his whole life has only so far managed a giant leap, a quiver of a hover? Come on… Isis is from ancient Egypt… they didn’t fly back then. Granted she’s supposed to be a ‘goddess’, but the Egyptian people didn’t worship the ‘flying goddess’. Either way… it doesn’t really affect the storyline, but this whole scene was one bit piece of moldy blue cheese.

Still can’t figure out why Clark hasn’t been out looking for Chloe. I bet Chatty Kathy will think twice about picking on Lois after seeing her rip open that door, toss those guards, etc. Well, guess I was wrong on that account. The twit confronts her instead? LOVE the flash scene of her ending up in the coffee shop instead of snatching a picture of Lois, but it looks like he might have been caught on camera – or what that just Isis vision?

Tess and Alexander. Okay, now this story I’ve been really interested in finding out more. I love the little Alexander. Knowing how much Tess loved Lex, I have a feeling she’s transferring that love to little Alexander.

Oh, no… Chatty Kathy isn’t about to pitch the idea to Tess that Lois is the Blur? Oh, yes she did. I feel the same as Tess. That was funny. I’m surprised Tess didn’t fire her, but then how else will they get some laughs or perspective without her?

“Just another Friday night in Metropolis, who’s ready for the weekend?” Great line. Way to go, Tess! She seems to still be a glutton for punishment, and Oliver isn’t giving her any slack. It’s not like she doesn’t deserve the hospitality, but Tess has always done what she thought was right, she just hasn’t always been right. She was wrong first with Lex, then with the Zod, but now…who knows. That story hasn’t unfolded yet.

How does Isis know how modern technology or even the current thought process work? Does she retain all of Lois’ knowledge and memories? What did Isis expect; Osiris’ body fully intact sans the heart? I mean… she figured out where to find his body, where to find his heart, how to navigate a metropolitan city, yet… didn’t think he’d be a bowl of ashes? That part of her brain must not yet be working. What happened? Did the writers spend everything they had on the last episode?

Are those ropes made of Kryptonite? How do they hold Clark down? This superman seems to have a long line of weaknesses.

Chatty Kathy to the rescue. Love that Green Arrow put her in the sarcophagus. “I may be lonely, but I’m still going to kick your Egyptian ass.” Again, Oliver get’s all the best line.

“We’re in the dead of night, where will you find the light of sun?” Well, that answers the question that she didn’t gain modern day knowledge or have understanding on what the Blur can do. I can’t wait till he shed’s that name. Never liked it, and can’t wait for Superman to appear.

I have to admit, those were some awesome moves by both Oliver and Clark. Of course, Lois doesn’t remember anything, typical… expected. Love the line, “I love you Clark, but sometimes you are such a nerd.” Yes, he is and that’s what I love most about him.

Tess and Oliver are going to sign the peace treaty? Welcome to the team? Do they trust her? Are those tears real? I’ve always like Tess. Resented her because she took Lex’s place when I wanted Lex, but she’s done the best she could in his absence. She’s grown on me. Wonder what will become of this new Lex? Begs to question… Is evil genius in the nurture or nature?

Oh, no she didn’t? Farm House Barbie stabs Lois in the hand. “This is Metropolis… weird things happen all the time. Get used to it!” Duh, where’s she been lately? Poor Chatty Kathy. While I understand what the writers are trying to portray with this character, don’t they realize they’re mocking the majority of their viewers? Just because you’re from a small town and have traditional or conservative values, doesn’t make you a knee-jerk bigot. Remember, Clark and Chloe are from Smallville too.

Is he going to do it? Is something going to interrupt this time? Is it going to really happen? YEAH… It’s about time!!! Love the gold falling confetti. LOL… yeah, she already knew, you knub-skull.

Cheesy episode, mediocre writing, but what a great ending; I really enjoyed it although it’s left me with this overwhelming desire to see Chloe and Lex.

Well, that’s it for this week’s episode. Stayed tuned next week for my next review of Smallville in it’s final season.

Till next time, Crazy4Smallville

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review - 200th Episode Final Season

Smallville Episode 4 Final Season 200th Episode

How many shows out there today can boast about having their 200th Episode? How many have lasted for more than a decade? I get sad every time I think about this being the end. I can’t imagine how the actors, producers, directors, lighting, sound and technical guys feel, having been gainfully employed by the same company, working at the same location for such a long period of time. It’s like the majority of the rest of the world that works the average 9-5. I haven’t worked a steady 9-5 in a while, being an artist and entrepreneur. Most of my hours go from doing nothing, making nothing – to working 12 & 16 hour days without rest, back to uncertainty again. That comes with being an artist. Still, having a decade of consistency now stand against the rest of a life full of uncertainty has got to be scary.

Okay… of my soapbox and back to the episode.

Homecoming – what an appropriate title. I’m looking for lots of nostalgia. They’ve got ten years to work from, so I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

Super Girl, Green Arrow, and Super Man magazine covers… NICE! Just has me thinking… where’s the rest – Aqua Man, Cyborg, Flash, etc.

Oh, God. Clark is still questioning whether he’s a hero or not? I’m beginning to think that Kryptonite and women isn’t his only weakness… low self esteem plays a huge part. Come on… how long are we going to suffer the self humiliation? Where is the Man of Steel?

Why does Clark just allow Kara to do what she wants, like take his key to the Fortress? She’s not his boss… he needs to stop being a doormat and listening to everybody else and start making up his own mind.

Lois and Clark in the barn, okay. Doesn’t Clark have the whole house now? Good for you, Lois. Now, Clark must be blind, because he could sure learn a thing or two from Lois. She knows what she wants, and she’s got a mind of her own. She believes what she believes, not what everybody else tells her.

“Depends on the cheerleader.” LOVE IT! Whoever wrote that line… kudos to you. Wow, I forgot Lois actually attended Smallville High. Oh, please don’t tell me Lana’s going to be there. On second thought… it would be kind of nice to see her. But, knowing that Clark is now allergic to her and her ‘kryptonian injection’, it’s probably best she doesn’t show.

Familiar faces? Could we see some old friends like Pete, meteor freaks, etc?

Awww… look at the little Clark doll. I want one!

Brainiac!!! I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!

Great first segment. A little slow on the uptake there… but nice ending.

OMG… Clark looked so young, so innocent, so…. Nerdy. I don’t mind Lana in a flashback, but it’s got me thinking… what triggered it? The woman – who’s now infected with Brainiac, or the dropping of books, or both? Ah, the first time ‘Superman’ was mentioned. Will that title now stick in Clark’s brain? I don’t know if I’d like that… because I’ve always loved the fact that it was LOIS who named Superman, and this is giving that privilege to Lana.

Bug Boy is back and looks meaner than ever! LOL! Not even the nerds remember Lois.

“What happened to the bumbling nerd?” My sentiments exactly. Although, I do have a soft spot for nerds.

Chloe! I still can’t figure out why Clark hasn’t went looking for her. Come on… she’s been his best friend since 6th grade, she was his first kiss, and he knows her better than any other person, and knows she wouldn’t just ‘take off’. He’s not thinking right. He should also know… she wouldn’t miss her reunion.

The Torch, the Wall of Weird. I MISS THEM. I miss SMALLVILLE. I loved the big hero in the small town.

See… even her ‘fans’ know more than Clark. Wow, someone who knows Lois… but it’s because she dated Oliver. LOL! What a dent to that Lois ego. “We carry the torch with us everyday”. Great writing, guys.

The Blur theory – being born and raised in Smallville? Wow, Chloe’s not the only one with a brain… and it isn’t Clark. However, who is Lois calling “kids”. Aren’t they part of the reunion too?

I understand Clark being “king”, but why is Lois sitting in the ‘queens’ seat? Shouldn’t that be Lana’s spot, or someone else’s?

I love James Marsters. Loved him as Spike and love him even more as Brainiac. “This is the moment your life changes forever…” I really hope so, but dread it at the same time.

Brainiac cured? Is that true… or a ploy? What darkness? Jonathan’s funeral. I loved the graphics of that scene. So solomn, so sad. ABOUT TIME, someone weeds out that ‘it’s my fault’ mentality. I like this Brainiac. It’s like he’s reading my mind; picking up on my brainwaves. So, Brainiac is the ghost of Christmas past, present and future? I LOVE IT. Yeah, you big dummy. All your friends need you… Oliver, Chloe, and even Lois.

Uh-oh.. they’re playing Clark and Lana’s song. Lois can’t dance to that song. Lois and Clark need their own song, not hijack one from somebody else. You can tell Lois ‘ain’t from around these parts’. LOL!

“I always thought he and Chloe were meant for each other…” Oh, I can’t go back there again. But, I do appreciate the writers letting us know… they heard us, even if they did ignore us. “So, you’re the moth… not the flame.” What did they do… hire a bunch of new writers or “spike” their coffee. Excellent work so far.

Clark never learns! That impulse of his… lack of self control. “Superman Saves The Day” headline… AWESOME! So, it’s the future he zoomed off into. Another great end to another great segment.

Future Lois looks hot. Honey? Finally, the glasses make a return. Awesome. That nerdiness is back. Perry White. Who’s the Jimmy Olson look-a-like? 2017… so they’re 7 years in the future.

So, the future Lois still knows Clark’s secret. He hasn’t yet gained the ‘kiss of forgetfulness’ yet. Anniversary… they’re married? Oh, the secret revealing anniversary. So, it’s not going to happen this week. Blue, red, green… black kryptonite?

Two Clarks! Love the new Clark. OMG… that segment wasn’t long enough. I’m actually pretty speechless. It was a huge tease, just one big long tease. Heck, this whole show has been nothing but ten long years of foreplay. I’ll end up having to watch it again later, to pick up everything I missed.

“How did I become so uptight and nerdy?” HILARIOUS! However, he’s got it all wrong. The ‘blue’ Clark is the one uptight. The ‘older’ Clark seems more laid back and sure of himself.

AAhh… did I see a cape fly by? YEP… there’s that speed flying he’s so famous for.

Lois in a helicopter going over the side of a high rise? HMMMM… where have I see that before? Love the elbow to the pilot. Boy, that woman would do anything to protect her ‘hero’… just like she said earlier in the episode.

“I wanted you to see that your darkness lies not only is dwelling on the past but in fearing the future.” Again, another awesome line.

Aha… Bug Boy. “I kind of got caught up in my web of deception, and he set me straight.” Again, awesome line. I really love that this was the first ‘meteor freak’, and now serves as a final resolution.

Yes, thank goodness the lights came up. That wasn’t their song.

Love the red leather jacket and the new hair cut. Welling is lookin’ mighty, mighty super.

“Hold on to Smallville…” We all will hold onto Smallville, forever. I can’t say ‘good-bye’… not yet, but I know I will have to… soon. But, I’m not going to like it.

I’m so glad that Clark stepped up to be the ‘friend’ he’s supposed to be.

“You damn right I’m a hero!” You tell her Oliver!!!!

The Superman music playing in the background didn‘t escape my attention… when Chloe texted, “Glad to see you’re carrying my torch!”

Yes… Clark and Lois’ dance and song. Beautiful, if Lois would just shut up.

I think this is the point where Clark found his ‘happy thought’ and now that he’s a real boy, he can now fly. I’m seriously about ready to cry.

What else can I say? Excellent episode. It had it all… past, present and future, filled with wisdom, knowledge and revelations. Till next time, Crazy4Smallville

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review - Episode 3 Final Season

Smallville Episode 3 Final Season Review

I attended the MeccaFest 2010 in Carrollton this past weekend, where I sold out of my book, “The Blood of Cain” really quickly, but it’s caused me to have to wait to see and review the latest episode of Smallville. Well, long at last I’m here. I’ve got my feet up, my laptop on my lap (cushioned by a pillow so I don’t get lap-burn) and my fingers massaged and ready to go.

This episode is called “Super Girl”. I can only hope that we actually get a glimpse of the real Super Girl and not just the illusion. It seems like Smallville has stolen the black smoke from Lost, but for those of us who’ve been die-hard Smallville fans know that this smoke looks awfully familiar to the smoke demons from the Phantom Zone. Does that mean Braniac will make a re-appearance.

Lois and Clark. I do have to admit that I love how this relationship was a gradual romance and not the instant love at first sight obsession. I see that Chatty Kathy is conveniently gone. Thank Goodness… I don’t think I could take too many spoonfuls of her sugary goodness. However, she forgot to take her Godfrey with her when she left. Love the red cape over the sign. But, absolutely LOVE the real Super Girl showing up. What a great scene. I was getting a bit lost with all the Anti-Hero Vigilante speech, but it was well worth the wait. I’m all giddy and excited to see the outfit… however I noticed it’s missing the “EL” symbol “S” across the chest. Good scene.

Maiden of Might?? Nah, it’ll never work. I can’t believe Clark didn’t think about making an excuse for Kara’s super conversion, yet Lois had to suggest it – to make an excuse to cover Clark’s secret. “Uger-Girl”? Keep working at it Lois.

Kara doing a photo shoot? That was unexpected. Ha, ha… super-powered pin-up girl? How does Kara communicate with Jor-El? I’m still not convinced the voice in the Fortress of Solitude is really Jor-El. Just like last week… the advice that is supposed to come from Jor-El doesn’t sound like anything that Jor-El would say. Why does Clark so easily believe? Does he think Jor-El’s whole personality just changed, or do the writers think we’d accept a drastic change without question?

Lois Lane in church? Now that’s hilarious!!! Although, her being there is much more believable than I realize. Blonde bimbo??? Sexist much? Boy, this guy is a huge douche-bag. How does he know about Oliver being the Green Arrow? Who is this guy? Where did he come from? I’m assuming he’s the guy Chatty Kathy was going all Lady Gaga over last week. But, where does he come from, what’s possessed him and what is he after? Does any of this have something to do with Brainiac?

Uh-Mmmm-mm. That is one hot super hero. Wait… I have to back up that whole conversation. I wasn’t paying much attention. Is it Kara’s inspiration that is giving Oliver the idea to come out of the super hero closet, or the fact that Chloe is missing and he thinks he has something to do with her knowing and being involved with superheroes?

Godfrey sounds like your everyday Serpent in the Garden. His publicist or editor sounds a little ditzy. Did he say “Club Zod?”

Oooh.. Kara got him good. I’ve been saying that same thing for almost ten years now. I never understood why Clark couldn’t fly, yet every freak who took his powers, every Kryptonian who happened to show up could do everything in an instant… but Clark who’s lived on earth most his life… can’t. Granted it took him till puberty to start gaining most of his powers, but what is it that makes him different? Is it his state of mind? THEY think like Kryptonian, but he thinks like a human?

Kara’s gonna show Clark how to fly? Could this be it? It doesn’t feel like the moment… but then again…it could be. The graphics are awesome. Uh-oh… he took off… Up…up…AND… he’s down! LOL! That look on his face was priceless.

How do we know this darkness hasn’t crept into Kara?

Oliver praying to his parents – how sweet and very touching. What does Oliver think happened to Chloe? He can’t have other people risking his life for him? What does he think he does every time he puts on that green suit – He risks himself for other people. Isn’t that the same thing?

I guess since us ladies got our eye candy earlier with Oliver, it’s the guy’s turn now with Lois all dressed in tight black leather. My husband wants me to back up this scene, but I don’t think that’s necessary. I caught everything that was said this time. Okay, that’s enough leather, lace and chains. I’m ready to get to some action. Although I can’t figure out how that mask hidden any identity. Besides, he’s not a normal man. Isn’t he some sort of ‘spirit’ and tempts their weaknesses?

Okay, now this is more like it – the demonic voice, black eyes and sadistic look – made me think of the demon-possessed on Supernatural.

Love those supernatural computer skills. Looks like Lois is caught in a web. Makes me think of that poem, “Welcome to my parlor said the spider to the fly.”

Clark’s true Kryptonite – women.

Love the new Godfrey. The graphics are awesome… the black & white w/splashes of red. Is this another creature from the Phantom Zone or is a legion of creatures. Again with the red cape; it seems to be making quite an appearance here lately?

Best line of the night so far… “Even heroes need someone to come home to.” I change my mind, “The Blur… He’s my hero,” takes the prize. Love the dark hair and oversized glasses. I think that’s the best I’ve seen Kara. Is she going to change her name to Linda?

Oh, that lack of self-confidence is wearing me thin. Humility is a great attribute, but after a while it just get’s… humiliating.

Uh-Oh, what’s Oliver up to? I’ve been wondering why no one has been looking for Chloe. Oh, is he going to have an “Ironman” moment??? YEP. AWESOME!!!

Till next time, Crazy4Smallville

Crazy4Smallville weekly review... Coming soon.

I haven't forgotten to review the latest episode of Smallville.  I've been extremely busy this past weekend, but I"m hoping that in a few hours from now I'll be able to sit down in front of the television and actually watch something.  I hope to have the review complete by this evening.

The Necromancer Summary

I was asked to write a short one-sentence summary of my young adult fiction series called "The Necromancers". This is what I came up with:

The Princess Bride meets Harry Potter in a Never-Ending Story.

I Am A Writer

 I pour a bit of my soul into every character, every line and every scene I write. What I pour into me -my thoughts, my experiences and my hopes - comes out of every pore including my mind. I am my best friend and my worst enemy, the greatest hero and most vilest villan. I am a writer!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Tap Water Girl in a Bottled Water World – Book Review by T.L. Gray

Author: Dr. Shirley Garrett

Published: ©2002 – The Speaker Group

From Dippity Do Da to Tree Houses and Tomato Sandwiches, I was hooked. Though I’ve only recently met Shirley Garrett, her writing brought back so many of those forgotten childhood memories, but especially for me… that childhood fantasy of what I wanted in a family.

I didn’t have the loving, caring family that Shirley had and portrayed in this book, but it was exactly the family I dreamed about having, the one I’d lay out in the grass, stare up into the clouds and fantasized about , and while I read this lovely memoir… I got to visit those fantasies once more.

Growing up all over the Deep South, from Georgia to Texas, Shirley reminded me of many of my favorite things like tomato sandwiches, youthful energy, tree houses, bicycles, empty lots and cereal box prizes. Shirley’s recount of saving Blue Horse coupons to get a bicycle brought back memories of my own quest. I once saved Coke caps and sent them in to get a ‘director’s chair’. The joy of collecting, saving, counting, sending it in and waiting on the prize to arrive in the mail brought a smile to my face.

While reading A Tap Water Girl in a Bottled Water World, I didn’t get to just know the heart of Dr. Shirley Garrett… I got reminded of my own heart. Though not an orphan, but having an orphan complex, Shirley’s thoughts on being separated from her brothers and adopted touched me deeply. I felt I could relate.

I think this book has something for everyone, both young and old. I loved the style in which it was written, each chapter being able to stand alone, yet had a single heart-thread sewn throughout the whole piece. It’s touched me so much, and given me so many ideas for the memoir I’m currently working on; she’ll perhaps never know how much it’s affected me.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this book in one sitting. I’d advise that you take it one chapter at a time. Let each one soak into your spirit and touch your heart the way it’s touched mine.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Friday, October 01, 2010

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review - Episode 2 - Final Season

Last week got me excited like I haven’t been in a long time for Smallville. This week, I’m hoping some of that excitement will remain.

Here we go…

Africa looks hot and dry. Star-crossed lovers? Ooooh, Hawkman. Don’t tell me there’s going to be another love triangle. Isn’t the Clark, Lois and Superman (or currently known as The Blur) enough.

Look at Chatty Kathy – or Katherine… fresh off the farm. Can someone say, “Chloe-clone wannabe?” Clark’s new partner??? LOL! Clark wanted a challenge… well, it looks like he got one – a cute, fresh-faced, mindless-can’t-think-for-herself and hides that judgmental dagger behind pale pink lipstick kind of challenge. Her perfectly lined pearly whites didn’t distract me from missing the plea for Clark to come out in the open. Let’s hope he does soon – but not just to shut up Chatty Kathy and her precious Godfrey.

Why does Oliver doubt that email is from Chloe? I can’t image what deal she had to make, and to whom? She had Superman at her side… there’s no reason for her to give in to some other threat. To do so, is giving this ‘unknown’ threat more power than Clark. I’m hoping this ‘unknown’ plan is something great in the end.

Who is Hawkman texting - Clark, Justice League or Chloe? Lois, don’t drink it. I’ve learned in the land of television, never drink anything. Clark as the ancient sun god Ra? Makes sense to me. LOL! Was there something in that tea to quiet the ever incessant Lois, but not strong enough that warrants pulling out the liquor? Oops, Hawkman messed up, he mentioned Clark – when Lois never had. That tells Lois that he knows something he’s not telling.

Awesome! Those graphics were so cool, but I want to know who the Gunslinger was that shot the bullet. How is Clark going to explain that save? For a few minutes I thought we were going to be free of our new ace reporter, but alas… now I must continue to speculate whether or not she’s a mole sent to expose these ‘masked heroes’ for the villains she thinks they are.

Grant? That bullet was meant for Kat. Was it meant to get rid of her or test Clark for super abilities? The lady doeth protest too much. Who is Godfrey? Who’d want to kill her? I could think of a few people. However, I tend to think that she wasn’t the real target, just the mouse for the trap.

You know what isn’t fair? I’ve watched this show for ten years… and for ten years I’ve waited to see her happy. At the point she get’s happy, something happens to remove the object of that happiness. What does Oliver want with Kat? Why is he investigating her? How did he even hear about her? Who is Kat Grant? She’s a witness to what event with this Deadshot?

Ha, ha, ha… like a bullet can hurt Clark!!! Shows what he knows.

Hmmm? Changed her name? Her son, Adam? Usually a name for a first born, but this makes me wonder the first born of what or who?

Does Lois ever shut up? She over-thinks everything. I understand (I am a guilty over-thinker)… but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I love that line… “For every great relationship that comes with a great burden, is also comes with a great strength to carry it.”

LOL… I saw that slap coming from a mile away. Well, darn it… looks like we’re going to have another love triangle.

“Hello Kitty”? I liked Chatty Kathy better as a blonde too. Seems our little intrepid reporter’s got a few skills. There’s that ‘people need to be inspired by someone who stands in the light’ again.

Okay… what were the bullets and the water laced with? Who is Commando and Deadshot? Who do they work for? For those of us who haven’t perhaps read a comic book… we find ourselves in the dark. Is Mama Kent behind this as the Red Queen? It’s not the Kandorians and Checkmate was destroyed. Lex is somewhat back… is this perhaps some new evil gang of his? Whoever it is… they know about Clark, Hawkman, Oliver, etc. Crimefighters?

Chloe faked her own death? You tell him, Oliver. You do have to forge your own fate… and come out of the shadows. Evil lurks in the shadows while goodness stands in the light.

Are the CrimeFighters Level 33.3 left overs?

Love all the philosophy… and especially…. SUPERMAN! It’s about time that name popped-up.

Okay… goose-bump moment; Red leather jacket… American Flag waving in the background… Oh, what a tease! You’d think after a decade, I’d be immune. This has been one heck of a courtship.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review - Episode 1 - Final Season

You will not believe the response I received when I posted I was going to start up my weekly Smallville review. 

Wow, what a start.  They even threw in a few flashbacks from the first episode, the pivotal point scene of him hanging on the scarecrow cross.  The music really sets the mood, filling my heart full of excitement and giving me just a tiny morsel of goodness in one flash after the next.  Lex Luthor standing in the open field in his white suit?  Anyone remember Cassandra's prophecy?  Oh, man... I already know I'm going to cry at the end of this season.  This has been a decade full of being obsessively teased and never getting any farther than simple foreplay.  Now after nine long seasons... it's the wedding night and looks to be one heck-of-a honeymoon (especially since it's followed up by Supernatural.)

Chloe - what can I say about her?  I fell in love with this character from episode one.  Her charm, whit and intuiton always had me standing in her corner.  I can't help but notice her 'green' outfit.  Is this a hint.. hint.. that perhaps The Green Arrow/Oliver is finally the one made for her?  She deserves to be loved.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the banter between Lois and Clark.  I love that she knows, but doesn't tell him.  I love that he doesn't know she knows and still tries to hide it.  Still wonder when he'll get his 'kiss of forgetfullness'. 

UUUUHhhhhh. What on earth is Chloe thinking putting on that helmet?  Come on, she's too intellegent to do something so stupid.  I don't want to hear some excuse about stepping off the ledge to save the one you love bologne either.  With the resources she has at her fingertips, not to mention a SUPERMAN at her side... surely she could find Oliver.  I know she will have to 'decrease' this season in order for the real hero to 'increase', but that doesn't mean I'm going to have to like it.  Chloe's been my hero for nine seasons now.  Please, please.... I'm begging... don't let her go the Lana Lang way.  Don't let Oliver be her Kryptonite. 

Have I told anyone lately how hot Oliver is?  Well, let me tell you... he's volcanic. Who is this guy who's got the Green Arrow, chained up and torturing? Love that sarastic sense of humor Oliver has always had.  I have to give kudos to the writers and the actor for keeping consistency into this character.  Oooch... that looks like it hurt!

Will this woman never die?  Oh, and let me guess.. she won't have any residual scars either.  Yep... This character has grown on me, but I still miss Lex. Michael Rosenbaum needs his butt kicked and he needs to get back to what he does best.  LX4?  Is that clone failure number 4?  Uh-oh.. Little Lex on the scene.  Is this how they're going to bring the character of Lex back, without Rosenbaum?  I hope not.  I suppose this is the literal split personalities of Lex Luthor.  They could have at least got some hot looking bald dudes.  It's been my experience that the better they look on the outside, the uglier they are on the inside.  The method that works is making us "hate to love" and "love to hate".  They always make the best characters. 

Bye Clark?  Bye Clark?  I'm not even going to think about what that means.

The Kent barn.  I used to hate that barn, while Lana invaded it.  I really don't mind Lois being there.  Seeing that suit.... OMG.  Is that the same suit from the last Superman movie?

UGH... I HATE this Lex Luthor.  I want Rosenbaum.  These better just be clone rejects, and in the end (I can wait till the end of the season - I've waited ten years to see a man fly in a red, yellow & blue tights) see the real Lex. No offense to the new actor, but it just isn't the same.

Lois tied to Clark's cross, great symbolism.  My husband says, "Hey, her shirt's supposed to be off!"  I have to concur.  If Lex wanted to truly re-create the moment... Lois needed to be shirtless and also have a green necklace.  But, coming back to earth - I loved how Lois replaced Lana's meteorite necklace, being Clark's true Kryptonite.  Great bit of writing there.  Kudos... to whoever thought of that.

Lex, even if he is just one part, giving a lecture on someone else' sin?  Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?  Nevermind.  I remember now... Lois Lane or even Kryptonite isn't Clark's greatest weakness... humanity is. 

Is he going to fly??  Is he going to fly? Or was that still just leaping a tall building?  Oh yea... THE SUIT!!!!  What happened?  The suit transported him to the Fortress of Solitude.  For a second, he thought he was flying?  The greatest enemy - pride. That's not Jor-El.  That's Braniac!!!  Jor-El would never say that.

Okay, the sad music is working too well. Chloe giving herself up for Oliver. Lois giving up Clark so he can save the world. Tess giving up her own quest to help little Alexander.

Johnathan Kent. Oh, my God. What a sight for sore eyes. I’m almost in tears. Now these are the words from a real father. This makes me think… has Jor-El all along just been Clark’s own conscious? Is Jonathan real, or just as Clark would remember, saying what he would say? To be a hero, Clark must first see himself as a hero. We are as we think we are. Victorious, failures, or over-comers… it’s up to us. Clark battles within him the nature of man and the spirit of Superman.

My heart nearly palpitated to a sudden stop thinking that Clark was in the suit, in the crystal chamber. I CAN’T WAIT. Ten years have been long enough. Okay… I’ve got to calm down now and find out how Dean is going to rescue Sam out of hell. It’s been so nostalgic writing this review. I’ve really enjoyed it. See you next week.

Till next time,


(Author T.L. Gray)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Rain

I love the sound of a gently falling summer rain.
I love the smell of green grass and damp wood as the rain falls.
I love the way everything is cast in a green-gray hue, blurred and smudged.
I love the feel of the cool drops as they drizzle down the side of my face.
I love how the summer rain makes me feel, renewed, refreshed and clean.

Most of all, I love rocking in a porch swing with my eyes closed letting the rhythmic beat of the summer rain take me into dreamland. I've had some of the best adventures during a nice summer rain.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy Bee... Buzzing By

Thought I'd pop by and give an update on what's been happening in my life lately.
First of all... I'm busy.  If you couldn't tell from the title... something wrong's with your brain. 
So, here goes:

I'm currently ghost-writing on a non-fiction Christian book called Joyful Mother by Mary Hudson for Destiny Image. It's a great book about a mother's trial and determination to remain joyful in the middle of extenuating and trying circumstances, in order to ensure she has spiritual children.  The premise of the book is taken from the scripture: Psalms 113:9 – “He makes the barren woman to be a homemaker and a joyful mother of [spiritual] children. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)”(AMP)

I'm also working on a non-fiction autobiographical memoir of Mary Perry Hudson.  This is one exciting lady who's had some awesome experiences in her life.  Just to give a few tid-bits (don't want to give away too much... you'll have to buy the book to get more):
  • Of course many of you know she's the mother to pop star Katy Perry and soon-to-be Mother-in-law to British comedian Russell Brand.
  • Her brother is Oscar nominated director Frank Perry, who worked on films such as David and Lisa and Mommie Dearest.
  • Her father was the captain of Erol Flynn's yacht.
  • Her mother was a model for publications such as Vogue and Harper's Bizaar.
  • She danced with Jimi Hendrix and caught the interest of Pablo Piccaso.
  • She went to school with characters such as Abigale Folger and Patty Hearst.
All of that is just some of the exciting things you'll learn in the first couple chapters, not to mention discovering her Arise Women's Conferences she holds all over the world and the thirty-year ministry life with her husband Keith Hudson.  The more I write in this memoir, the more I admire this great woman of God.

I've recently become a contributing writer for Impact Times Magazine.  I'm soon to publish my first article with them, so look for me soon to show up on their bio page and keep an eye out for and upcoming article.

In September, I'll be at the Temple Founder's Day Celebration, signing and selling books.

In October, I'm scheduled to read at Mecca Fest. Those in Georgia, drop by and check it out.

I'm also currently working on The Arcainians, sequel to The Blood of Cain.  I've completed the first draft, and as time permits, I'll begin the editing process.


I'm the Senior Editor of the Deeper Life News Report - where I write 5-8 articles a week.  You can see a copy of it at their website.

I'm working on a Non-Fiction for Pastor Daniel Patrick called, "As For Me & My House".

I've been asked by a few other people to write or ghost-write for a few publications they have in mind. At the moment they have to take a number, but I look forward to it.

My book, The Blood of Cain and the first book of my young adult series, The Necromancers is currently, by request, being read by a movie producer.

Having just closed my business a month ago, I somewhat worried I wouldn't have enough work to keep me busy.  Guess I was wrong on that point.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Arcainians - Chapter One

Arcainian Island – Present Day

The crisp morning air coursed through Teagan’s lungs much like a refreshing Alpine winter as he pushed himself faster and harder along the trail through the dense jungle of Arcainian Island. Dew trickled down his face like sweat and soaked his favorite band tee. He liked the feel of the moisture against his skin, because one of the first things he learned after his transformation into an immortal over a century ago, Arcainian vampires don’t sweat like regular humans. They’re not dead like in most vampire tales, but living humans with bodies constantly regenerating causing them to heal quickly and live forever. Sweating is something the body does to cool its self and purge impurities. But with Arcainian vampires, it usually only happens when they’re under intense mental pressure. This “condition” isn’t the result of a science experiment or magical spell, but from their father and maker eating a piece of fruit taken from the Tree of Life out of the Garden of Eden.

A low, dense fog slithered across the earthen floor as Teagan jumped over a dilapidated log and scaled the high rock face with little to no effort. His feet knew where to step and jump long before his mind comprehended or planned his next step. He’d run this trail a thousand times already since he came to the island three months ago with the remaining members of his dysfunctional immortal family. Rounding the bend, he approached a wide creek. As his trainers landed on the large rock by the bank, he pushed off and cool wind whipped across his face as he soared through the air. He flung his arms out in front of him like a superhero. Just as he approached the opposite bank he tucked and rolled into a frontward flip, landing softly on the smooth rocks with such light force he barely made a sound.

“I’d like to see Carpus, that overstuffed windbag, do better than that,” Teagan huffed as he pushed through the narrow trail.

Without pausing, he ran around the south bend of the island. A mountainous castle came into view as he jogged along the cliff edge. The monstrous mansion stood magnanimous with its tall spirals and stained-glassed windows. The rising sun caused bright colorful sparkles to dance across the windowpanes. No matter how many times Teagan ran this trail and saw this exact view, it took his breath away.

Teagan slowed as memories of the past three months flooded his mind. He shivered. Without thinking and by automatic reflex, his hand flew to his chest. His heart pounded against his breast bone with loud, rhythmic thumps.

He’d always heard vampires didn’t have heartbeats because they were the walking dead, but he soon learned that everything he thought he knew about the supernatural was wrong. If fact, his brother Carpus started most of the occulted myths and legends in order to weed out the psychopaths in his hunt to find other true immortals.

Now walking at a brisk pace instead of a jog, Teagan closed his eyes and concentrated on controlling his breathing. For a long time, Teagan didn’t know what he was. He knew he wasn’t like anything he’d ever seen or heard before, and until the night he met Tatiana in an airplane hangar in Atlanta he thought he was unique in the world. Now, within the walls of that glorious mountainous castle, four other immortals waited his return, training him and conditioning his mind and body to live fully as an immortal, taking advantage of all its gifts and fulfilling the demands of its curse. Teagan wrinkled his nose as he thought of the monthly blood requirement his perfect, healthy, supernatural body demanded; one of the few downsides to being a vampire.

The dense fog recoiled as the sun moved higher into the morning sky, splashing the surface of the Atlantic Ocean with brilliant sparkles. Teagan let the warm beams wash over his body with their glorious golden rays. That was another myth gone wrong about vampires. Arcainians, while their skin is much like a baby and burns easily against the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun, they can withstand direct contact. They don’t tan, because tanning is the result of sun-damaged skin, but like humans they do absorb the rich vitamin D from moderate exposure. Their skin is unblemished and smooth.

As he stood with his arms wide open and his eyes closed, worshipping the smell of nature all around him, Teagan’s thoughts drifted to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he saw his father Cain kill his sister Chloe. He knew his maker didn’t take her life in anger or hate, but in compassion, yet his mind refused to reconcile between what had to be and what needed to be done.

There had to be another way.

He winced at the memory of his sister’s burning body being lifted into the air of that hotel room and then becoming incased in a big ball of blue light, exploding into a billion tiny pieces. Cain incinerated her right before his eyes and in front of her mate, Bartemaeus. Barty escaped, of course. Now the remaining five immortals are desperate to find him before he tries to kill Cain and use his gifts of immortality to dominate the rest of the world.

Teagan opened his eyes.

“How did I get myself in the middle of this war?” He looked down at his large, pale hands. “If I do find Barty, I don’t know if I could kill him.” He looked out over the waves as they crashed into the cliffs, their spray splashing high into the air, filling it with the scent and taste of salt.

He’s my brother. How can a man take his own brother’s life?

“Very easily, I’m afraid.”

Teagan jerked his head around and saw Cain sitting casually on a rock behind him. A few strands of black curls hung down into his angelic face, falling just above his bright silver eyes. He sat with his back straight, exposing his wide, massive, muscular chest.

“I didn’t hear your approach. Either you’re really good at stealth or my hearing needs to improve.” Teagan approached Cain and leaned against the rock.

Cain smiled, revealing a set of opalescent teeth.

“Your hearing’s fine. I’ve had nearly ten thousand years to perfect my stealth. Had you heard me, I’d be ashamed at my lack of skill.”

“How can you hear my thoughts when the others can’t?” Teagan asked.

Cain shrugged. “I’ve had more practice.”

Running his gaze over his father, Teagan still found it hard to believe that the man standing before him is the same man he’d heard about all his life in the little country church. Cain was the son of Adam and Eve, the first heir of humanity who walked and breathed upon the face of the earth. Teagan’s only dealt with his immortality for a century, but Cain has watched humanity evolve since its birth. He is the father of all immortals, though he is father of no ordinary human, his lineage disappearing from the face of the earth after the Great Flood. Six immortals now walk the earth amongst six billion humans.

Teagan stared at Cain, whose brows furrowed above his silver eyes – the mark placed on him by God when he murdered his brother Abel.

Squinting from the sun, Cain asked “Why do you torture yourself over this decision? When the time comes to act, I’m sure by then you’ll have settled this in your heart.”

Teagan had asked Cain why he had been chosen and changed, and Cain told him it was to take his life so that he could finally rest. “Killing doesn’t come easy to me. I still have nightmares about accidentally killing my first girlfriend. How could I ever come to grips with killing somebody by choice?” Teagan rubbed the back of his neck.

Cain looked back toward the castle. “Because you’ll look into the faces of the ones whose lives you’ve saved and know it was the right thing to do.”

Teagan looked down at his feet and nudged a loose stone and mumbled. “Do you think about your brother, Abel?”

Looking back at Teagan, Cain stared for a long while and then answered in low, mellow tone. “Every day.”

“Then why would you want me to carry that same burden on my own shoulders?” Teagan picked up the loose stone and threw it out over the water.

“It’s not the same, Teagan.” Cain balled his fist. “In my pain, I lashed out at the person l loved most in this world and it’s because of that I carry this curse.” He took a deep breath and exhaled. “What I’m asking you to do is not murder, but mercy.”

Teagan huffed. “Well, my mind doesn’t see it that way.”

“I know,” Cain responded. “That’s why we wait.”

Both men sat in silence for a long while, watching the sun rise higher in the sky. Teagan’s face began to turn a light pink by the time they both stirred.

Cain slipped off the rock and stretched. He then slapped Teagan across the back. “How about we race back to the castle—the loser cooks breakfast?”

Teagan smiled. He loved the challenge, though he knew he didn’t stand a chance against Cain. Without answering, Teagan sprinted down the coastline along the trail. He ran a quarter of a mile before he heard Cain’s approach.

Teagan pushed his body as fast as it could go, the foliage whipped by him in streaks of green. His muscles burned, his chest ached and his head felt like it was going to explode from the pressure of his heart beating as fast as it did. As the iron door to the castle garage came into view, Teagan felt a sharp pain in his arm as a blue blur flew past him. He stumbled forward then screeched to a halt. He looked down and saw a large gash on his forearm. When he looked up, Cain stood leaning against the garage door, whittling a piece of bamboo.

“Thought I’d mark the occasion,” Cain said as he nodded toward Teagan’s open wound with the tip of the sharpened bamboo.

Furrowing his brows, Teagan looked back at Cain. “What didja do that for? It won’t leave a mark.”

Cain raised his arm and wiped the edge of his mouth with his sleeve. “I didn’t make it with the bamboo. The mark of this wound will stay for a long time.” He winked at Teagan. “Maybe by the time it fades, you’ll be faster than me.”

Teagan arched his brows. “It won’t take that long, old man.” He looked at the gash on his arm. As the acknowledgement of pain tried to bombard the front of his brain, he closed his eyes and concentrated on the nerve ending, numbing the pain with his mind as Cain had taught him.

He found it hard to concentrate since this wound was made with vampire teeth, which were venomous and took much longer to heal. He looked back up at Cain. “When I win, I plan to leave my own mark.”

Cain laughed.

“Good luck with that.” He turned to the path that led to the large stone steps of the castle entrance. “Oh, and I expect breakfast to be ready by the end of my shower.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When the Bottom Falls Out the Ceiling Crashes

I haven't wrote any poetry in awhile, but I feel inspired this morning.

When the Bottom Falls Out the Ceiling Crashes

The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach,
it won't leave, won't ease.
I toss and turn, dream in and out,
no rest, no pause, no release.
I can't get it back, the moment's passed.

As I engorge myself in mindless distractions,
I'm interrupted, disconnected.
I groan and tense, shout in and out,
no calm, no cool, no collected.
I can't find the peace, the anger's present.

The responsibilities pile up and fall down,
they're multiplied, divided.
I shovel and heave, cry in and out,
no relief, no help, no end.
I can't take the pressure, the hope's expecting.

When the bottom falls out the ceiling crashes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Arcainians - Chapter Four

Happy Valentines Day! Here's a sneak peek at the upcoming sequel to The Blood of Cain.

The Marriott Marquis – Atlanta, GA

Cain paced in front of the large glass window of his hotel room, looking out over the city silhouette. A single strand of his dark curly hair fell over his brow, resting at the corner of his right eye. Out of the periphery of his left he saw a shadow move and quickly whipped his head around. Nothing else moved. The room buzzed with the hum of the muted television and the occasional, almost silent, bend of steel as the skyscraper swayed with the wind. The familiar sounds of honking horns and distant sirens bounced off the walls. He closed his eyes and slowed the rhythm of his heart, meditating on the intake and outflow of his breath. Tension left his massive muscles as he relaxed. When he opened his eyes, the silhouette of a man sat in one of the patio chairs on the balcony.

The stranger turned his head and smiled at Cain. “It’s been a while, my friend. What’s made you bring me back this time?”

“Chloe,” Cain whispered.

The two ancient friends sat in silence for a long moment.

Abital finally stirred. He got to his feet and laid his hand on his friend’s back. “You did what you thought you had to do.”

“But was it the right choice?” Cain said between gritted teeth.

“You can’t go there, Cain. You know nothing good comes from living in the land of What If and Second Guesses. Their only purpose is to torment and confuse the mind.”

Abital walked over to the balcony’s ledge and looked down at the busy streets below. “You and your guilt have been closer than brothers. When are you going to learn he’s a shitty friend?”

Shaking his head, Cain answered, “You speak as if it’s a person.”
Spinning around, Abital winked at Cain. “He’s as real as I am. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you’ll get on with your life.”

Cain chuckled. “Get on with my life? What do you think I’ve been doing these past eight thousand years? If I’ve done anything in this world, it’s get on with my life.” He ran his calloused fingers through his long hair and leaned back in the chair, looking up at Abital. “I’d like to come to the end of it.”

Dressed in a pair of dark brown corduroy pants, a thin striped tee-shirt and a long scarf, Abital shoved his hands into his pockets as a cool breeze blew his wildly-cropped blond hair. He looked like he stepped right out of a late 70’s David Bowie poster. “So, you’re on another suicide mission?”

Cain sat silently for a while and then answered, “No, this is much worse. I’ve come full circle… I’m back to murder.”

“What you did in Jackson Hole was not murder.” Abital crossed his legs and leaned back against the balcony, resting his elbow on the ledge. “What you’re going to have to do when you find Barty won’t be murder either. There’s no malice in your intent, they’re both a necessary…”

“Evil?” Cain interrupted.

“No, I was going to say… a necessary burden. But in your case I think it would fit better if I said they are necessary resolutions.”

Cain scrunched his brows together. “Resolutions to what?”

Abital let out a laugh and cocked his eyebrows. “That, my friend, is for you to discover on your own.”

Standing to his feet, Cain rubbed the back of his neck. He could feel all the tension and stress of the past few weeks knot themselves in the muscles along his shoulder blades.

“If you don’t have any simple answers for me, what are you doing here?”

Abital winked at Cain and then looked out over the night lights of the city. “Only you can answer that question. I have one for you.”

“Really?” Cain chuckled. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?”

Abital spun back around and faced Cain, his bright blue eyes staring right at him. “Why haven’t you told them about me?”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Author T.L. Gray Meets Cast of The Vampire Diaries

On Thursday, January 21st after watching the recent episode of The Vampire Diaries on the CW at 8pm I saw an announcement the cast would be making an appearance Saturday, January 23rd at Town Center at Cobb. I thought to myself how awesome it would be to meet at least one of the three main characters and give them a copy of my book, The Blood of Cain. I then quickly dismissed the idea thinking there was no way this nearly 40-year old was going to fight through hundreds of screaming and crazed teenage girls with only the slightest of hopes of get audience with a cast member. Fearing for my personal safety and partial sanity, I put the idea out of my mind.

The next day, I was driving through Cobb county on my way to Gwinnett, when I got the idea to stop by the mall and ask the clerk at Hot Topic how the event was to ‘go down’ to give credence to my hesitant decision. When I approached the store, I saw a line extending out the door. A very pretty woman with black and silver spiked hair and narrow square glasses approached me and stuffed a clipboard in my hand, asking me to fill out the membership form for the HT+1 card in order to be able to buy my The Vampire Diaries 2010 Cast Tour shirt before I could receive a wrist-band to meet the cast. Only those lucky enough, who planned early enough and got a jump start on the event acquired such coveted wristbands. I was told I was one of the last to receive a pair, and to use caution as I left the mall against over- zealous fans who’d do just about anything to get them. Of course, while standing in line, I met two more clerks and talked to them about my book, The Blood of Cain. I gave a copy to the clerk who declared they loved to read the most, and promised to bring back another copy the next day to the other clerk, Kat, who seemed eager and excited to read my story. I have to admit, I left the mall a bit dazed, because I hadn’t quite understood what happened. I had no intentions of leaving that mall with golden passes, I didn’t even know such things were needed. By the time I made it home, it dawned on me that I was actually going to meet face to face with one of the actors from the show. I was going to have the opportunity to share my book with at least one actor from a very popular vampire series my own book about vampires. While I’m not star struck I’m opportunity driven, and I saw this was going to be a great opportunity.

So, I placed the announcement on my website, FaceBook, MySpace and Twitter and began to rearrange my schedule to accommodate what I knew would be an all-day event. I initially wanted my fifteen-year old daughter Kelly to go with me, but she’s a lot like her mother where the only stars in her eyes are her own. So, I called my good and enthusiastic friend, Tina Griffin, who also serves a part of my entourage as my personal body guard (or so she thinks anyway) when I go to book signings and asked her if she wanted to meet the cast of The Vampire Diaries with me the next day. She’d never heard of the show or the actors, but when I told her about my plan to give one a copy of my book, she said to count on her. She’d also agreed to be my photographer, which was really funny seeing as how she loves to be in front of the camera much more than behind it.

I woke up Saturday morning and put on my coveted tee-shirt and wristband and headed to church because it was the fourth Saturday of the month, which meant it was Food Ministry day where my church, Deeper Life Christian Center, feeds the hungry. I’ve been serving as a volunteer for that ministry for almost twelve years and wasn’t about to miss another opportunity to help those less fortunate in order to meet a few celebrities. Besides, I didn’t need to be at the mall till noon, so I had plenty of time to fulfill my charitable duties. After the last person received their bag of groceries, I said my good-bye’s, stopped by to pick up my bodyguard Tina and my daughter Kelly (who decided a day at the mall was what she needed).

The ride to the mall was filled with laughter, country music (which I don’t listen to, but my bodyguard is prone to belt out). I looked back into my rear-view mirror as the singer crooned “That’s what cowboys do”, to see my daughters eyes roll around. Her idea of good music is a mix between techno pop and scream-o rock. Don’t ask me to explain…. Because I just can’t. After eating a Krystal burger and sippin’ on a chocolate shake (it was cheat day on my diet), we made jokes about my being lactose intolerant and possibly getting sick when I met the cast, perhaps gagging as I extend my hand to meet them. “Hello… (gag), I’m Author T.L. (gag) Gray and I’d like (gag) to give you a copy of my book (gag), The Blood of Cain.” Even now that’s still a funny thought. Needless to say, the gag didn’t make an appearance.

Upon arriving at the mall, I got out my car, and loaded my arms down with a bag full of autographed books, flyers, bookmarks, camera, water, and peppermint sticks to eliminate my coffee & chocolate breath. I looked around to mark my location and headed into the mall entrance, not paying attention to which stores it was located between. Once we entered the mall, we immediately saw a long, long, line. We found the front where the girls standing there with a smirk on their face quickly pointed out the back. I put my patient face on, because I knew I was going to have to remind myself several times that day, ‘You were young once upon a time and remember what it was like. Be patient and overlook their actions today… it’s the craziness talkin’” My daughter departed our company headed to the nearest store while me and my bodyguard stepped up to the back of the snaky line. A few seconds later, we turn around and met our new friends, Brooke Payne and Amanda Hall.

Over the next three hours, we got to know a lot about each other. My bodyguard and assistant spent much of her time taking flyers and handing them out to many of the vampire lovers in line, talking up my book and hopefully leading to a lot of new readers. However, I think had she actually read the book, she could have described it more accurately to the fans, but all that was really needed to be said was the word “vampire”.

After several laughs, great stories, a bathroom break and a slow tour of the mall as our line moved, we found ourselves at the front. I felt the excited energy from my two new friends spill over and I actually felt a single butterfly in my stomach. Told by the Hot Topic clerks we were going to not just meet the three main characters of the show, but all ten cast members – Ian Somerhalder (Damon); Paul Wesley (Stefan); Nina Dobrev (Elena), Steven McQueen (Jeremy); Katerina Graham (Bonnie); Candice Accola (Caroline); Zach Roerig (Matt); Matthew Davis (Alaric); Michael Trevino (Tyler) & Sara Canning (Jenna), I had to smile. I checked my bag and had exactly eleven books left, one each for the ten-cast members and one for Kat, the Hot Topic clerk I had promised a copy the previous day. Sure enough, as soon as I pulled out the books, Kat walked up really excited to see me and I gave her the book. She held it to her chest like a treasured item, and that touched my heart. Should I have left then, the whole day would have been worth it.

Next we were counted off, me being in front, and then ushered into the Hot Topic. As the group ahead of us went through the long table, we entered the store. A burly, bald and bad-lookin’ (in the Vin Diesel kind of way) body guard flirted shamelessly as we waited to be cattle-called to the table. First, I shook hands with Stephen McQueen (Yes… he’s related to the famed Steve McQueen) who plays Jeremy and introduced myself as Author T.L. Gray. Most everyone looked up from the table to greet me. Matthew Davis gave me a big smile and asked, “So you wrote the book – that’s so cool!” Paul Wesley looked up and said, “It’s nice to meet you. Don’t know if I’ve met an author before.” Matthew Davis asked, “What’s it about?” I smiled and said, “Vampires – of course.” They all sniggered. I told them I had a copy for each one of them to make sure they didn’t leave without them. Matthew thought that was “Awesome,” and then came the lesson on the correct pronunciation of “Georgia”.

As I stood in front of Ian Somerholder, he looked up and said, “Cool hat.” “You too,” I replied, and nodded toward the white hat that sat upon his head. “You got good taste, but you could use a little help with your pronunciation of Georgia. It sounded funny in the episode last night.” All the heads of the actors looked up and everyone started asking each other and those fans standing in front of them. “How are you supposed to say it?” Ian said, ‘How did I say it wrong? I’m sure I said it right, I’m from Louisiana.” My bodyguard Tina, in her thick Georgia drawl, gave an example. Soon the whole table was shouting their own version of “Georgia”. Finally, Ian swiveled his head in a cute swagger and roared out the name, “Geeooowwwjjja”. Everyone laughed.

Those few seconds went by quickly. They moved you down the table like a heard of sheep on slaughter day, and soon I was headed for the exit. Someone from behind shouted, “Good luck with your book.”

But, that’s not the end of the story. The Q&A was scheduled next. Me, my bodyguard and my two new friends, made our way through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, mostly filled with those who didn’t get a wristband and a chance to meet the cast face to face. By this time, my feet were killing me. While my shoulders felt much lighter due to the release of the load of books, I was hungry, tired and exhausted. The adrenaline in the place kept me standing in the crowd for several more minutes, but my age finally caught up with me and I turned to Tina and said, “I think it’s time to go.” She agreed, we said our good-byes to Amanda and Brooke and shuffled our way to the back of the crowd, to find the way cornered off and blocked by security. We had to turn around and make our way back through the crowd to the other side of the food court and then into the hallway. Now, we were lost.

We met up with my daughter after a few text messages and wandering around and exited through where we thought we came in. The temperature had dropped at least 10-15 degrees since our arrival and the sun was going down. We immediately knew this was not the parking lot we entered the mall through, so we re-entered the mall, walked down to the next exit and again, didn’t recognize the parking lot. By the third exit, we saw a line of trees that looked like the parking lot we parked in and braved the frigid wind and walked all the way to the end of the row, to discover my car was missing. I was too cold, too tired and too old to deal with a stolen car. We marched directly back into the mall and walked down to Customer Service Center and told a security guard my car was missing.

I discovered a new service at the mall I hadn’t known existed before. If you ever go to the mall and as you prepare to leave find it cold, dark and miserable… just let security know that you’ve misplaced your car and you’ll get picked up at the nearest entrance, driven around in a heated security vehicle and dropped off at your new-found and obviously disobedient car that moved itself to a different parking lot. It’s a cool service and I suggest everyone to at least try it once.

Needless to say, I made it home in one piece, with an autographed poster, a few out- of- focus pictures, sore feet, aching back and a huge smile across my face knowing that ten cast members from the CW’s The Vampires Diaries has a copy of my book, The Blood of Cain.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray