Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Writing Relationships

Yesterday was a great writing day.  With every intention, I planned to do some editing and re-writes for my previously released novel, The Blood of Cain, which is soon scheduled to be released as a second edition, followed closely by the second book in the Arcainian Series, but my mind and heart kept drifting back to a story I had started late last summer called Hunter & Chase.  It's like a summer fling I couldn't seem to get out of my mind.  The whole time I was writing, my adrenaline was flowing, my heart was palpitating a bit faster than normal, and I wore a constant smile on my face.  I was literally bouncing in my office chair, and I don't think the three cups of coffee had anything to do with it.  I'm just so 'in love' with this story.

I'm not saying I no longer love my other novels, because I deeply love them all.  I just think the chemistry, the flow, the pacing, the structure, and the excitement is just a little different with this one.  The others feel more like my children, whom I cherish, but to bring them into this world was a great labor of love.  This novel is like a flaming lover (though so far there isn't a love-scene anywhere in the manuscript - I don't write romance; I'm an adventure kind of gal) that has swooped in and swept me off my feet.  If I was reader, I'd be head-over-heels for this story. We met my happenstance, not deliberately.  We flirted over the summer, but previous obligations pulled me away.  Yet, I can't get it out my mind.  Every day I'm tugged a little bit more back toward my responsibilities, but my heart yearns for this adventurous escape.

So, what does a girl do?  Does she let her hair down and allow herself to get lost in what could be one of the greatest adventures of her life, or does she buckle down, deny herself and do what is expected?  If you know me, you already know the answer to that question.  When you see the beaming glow on my face over the next few months, you'll know what it's all about.  My question is:  What about you?  Are there any great flings in your future?  If not - perhaps you should re-evaluate some things.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, February 17, 2012

Author Interview & Give-A-Way

This is the following Author Interview & Give-A-Way posted today by Inspired Kathy at "I'm a Reader, Not a Writer" blog. 


Check it out~


Friday, February 17, 2012

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Milledgeville Misfit by T.L. Gray

Welcome back to Author T.L. Gray

Remember how late night ghost stories had you jumping at every shadow and sent you diving under the covers with every bump, scratch and screech in the night? Or how about those legends that took you away on a magical adventure where you overcame unimaginable obstacles to save the day?

More than likely, it was someone like author T.L Gray who told you the tales that got your imagination so stirred. The only difference, this spinner of tales has decided to write those stories down so everyone else can share in the experience.
Blog: http://www.tlgray.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTLGray
Website: http://www.tlgray.net/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/authortlgray

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 
I’d choose the past. I don’t like knowing what the future holds, because I like to experience each new day and forge my own path. I’d love to visit the past, mostly to see how much our historians and storytellers got it right or wrong.

What is one book everyone should read? 
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – everyone should at least once in their lifetime read a good love story.

If you were a superhero what would your name be? 
T.L. Storyteller – I’d be like the old bards and tell the grand adventures, instilling the idea of heroism and bravery.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose? 
The ability to increase the imagination. This world would be extremely bland without a good, healthy imagination. THEN, nothing is impossible.

Night owl, or early bird? 
Early Bird – First I get my body moving and my blood pumping through exercise, while at the same time reading the latest adventure on my Kindle. These two in conjunction with each other get my brain and creative ideas flowing – making what I can get written or accomplished in the day ahead of me more than possible.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? 
A world without a great adventure seemed unbearable, and I seemed to have a knack at story-telling. Writing just came natural to me, like breathing.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Read, read, read and keep reading. It’s the greatest teaching tool for every writer. Never give up. Keep chasing that dream as if you were dying of thirst and it’s the only thing that will quench it.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? 
A part of me is buried deep in all of them.

What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Love yourself, you’re precious.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy? 
I would start my own publishing company.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? 

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is.... 
Harry Potter series. I’d love to have been Harry’s mother. I see myself as a mother to all my characters and stories, and that one I am so proud to have been just a glimpse. J.K. is surely very proud of her children.

If you had 24 hours alone how would you spend it?
With my husband and children – just doing something ordinary together.

What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day?
Curled up with a blanket, sipping on a large cup of coffee, and lost within a great adventure.

Milledgeville Misfits
Fourteen-year old Juniper "Junebug" Summerville loses her parents and her ability to talk in a car accident. Against her silent protests, she is sent to live in a remote swampland infamous for its ghosts, federal prison and insane asylum.

As Junebug struggles with her emotional scars, she begins to heal with help from six other orphans at Dearborn, a once famous Milledgeville Plantation. Just as she begins to enjoy the peace she’s long desired, she finds herself in a fight for her sanity when she stumbles upon a tear in the fabric that separates the possible from the impossible, and she must choose which to believe.

Milledgeville Misfit is a young adult novel that deals with grief and healing, and has an ending that leaves the reader with the choice of what to believe.

Writing Integrity

I had a very interesting conversation yesterday with a fellow writer about author vs. character integrity.  I have to say my eyes really opened to some aspects of my writing that I never considered before.  If I'm at least 1/10th of a gifted story-teller, hopefully I'll be able to correctly share the wonderful revelation I learned. 

When asked if my characters had integrity, I assumed the questioner was asking in reference to the quality of writing, the faithfulness to the English language or the adherence and obedience to the rules of grammar and punctuation, but I was wrong.  (After reading this blog post containing those last four words - delete it and burn any printed copies containing such an omission.  This is just something that should never be said, much less repeated.)  That was not the intent of the question.  They wanted to know if my characters had personal integrity to their characteristics, their ideals, their morals, their thoughts, or their reactions?  I didn't really understand the question or the reasoning behind it, and wondered what it had to do with the craft of writing.  You're probably wondering the same thing at this moment.  If so ... you know exactly how I felt.  For all those other "mature" writers out there who've already learned this wisdom, I'm sure you're smiling at my level of naivety.  For those who are totally lost ... I don't know any solution to your problem. 

Well, on with the story.

"What does the level of integrity of my fictional characters have to do with my writing?" I asked.

"The level?  Nothing.  The presence and application?  Everything, " Questioner responded.

Feeling lost, I acquiesced the temptation to say anything else (that was a miracle in itself), and patiently waited for them to continue.  Here is the answer (to the best of my understanding and recollection) I received:

The words that flow from a writer are understandings, morals, thoughts, ideas and solutions that are already hidden inside the very being of the author.  These 'strings' are what weave their stories together and move plots forward, creates conflict, and brings about their resolutions.  While we (authors) think we are separate from the characters we form from our imaginations, we're not.  Just as our dreams subconsciously work out solutions to our everyday problems (even in fantastical ways), the same is true for our writing imagination.  Who we are individually as a writer, will determine how our characters resolve their issues.  How they see the world (no matter how many different personalities we create) is how we see the world or how we think others view it.  Even our protagonists carry our the characteristics of our deepest fears or ideas.

If we examine all our works as a whole, we will be able to identify our deepest fears and our greatest hopes, and that theme, no matter how varied our stories, carries over, in one variation or another, in all our stories.  We can tell different stories, but they all come from the same foundation; they just might be packaged in different colored boxes and tied with different colored strings.

I've always thought: If you want to get to know someone, read something they've written, because it always holds a part of who they are.  I know I pour everything I am into everything I write - how much more is it true for others?  However, I also know that sometimes the picture painted isn't always the whole picture. Not what everybody says or think is what they really mean.  But if an artist paints several pictures, you'll start to recognize them.  How many can pick out a Van Gough?  Though he's painted many different scenes, HIS signature of style is clearly recognizable.  The same goes for writers. 

So, back to the original question:  Do my characters have integrity?  My answer:  As much as I do - no more or no less. 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Milledgeville Misfit Give-A-Way

Only 11 more days to enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of Milledgeville Misfit.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Milledgeville Misfit by T.L. Gray



          Milledgeville Misfit


          by T.L. Gray


            Giveaway ends February 29, 2012.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




      Enter to win

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Success Recess

I've surrounded myself with writers, authors, poets, and other people in the literary field.  It's my passion.  I'm determined to succeed in what I feel I was created and called to do - but I'm not naive.  I don't expect to wake up every morning and just find that every door opens easily for me and they're lined up around the corner just waiting for me choose which ones to walk through.  Not that that couldn't happen - all things are possible - but it's not probable.  I believe anything worth while requires sacrifice, determination, and commitment.

Being surrounded by writers, I'm sometimes flabbergasted at some of the things I hear from my fellow artists. One of the most unbelievable - thinking that success in this business is just going to fall in their lap.  It can happen that way, but rarely. Bookstores don't follow us around begging us to come for signings, publishers don't pursue us with zest, books don't sell themselves, reviewers don't seek us out, and we don't search for other writers to give encouragement and inspiration.  We, as authors, must put ourselves out there.  We have to believe in ourselves, our work and one another.  It's hard work, but it doesn't have to be boring.

Work your butts off, but remember to have fun doing it!!!

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blog Tour - First Stop

Check out the write-up on the following blog by author Ardyth DeBruyn featuring Milledgeville Misfit.
Make sure you leave a comment for Ardyth - and let her know you appreciate the post.

Ardyth is one of the first people I met on CritiqueCircle.com who ripped me to shreds, taught me a thing or two, and solidified our friendship with her honesty and integrity.  She is also the author of the following publications:


Check out the feature here: Ardyth DeBruyn Blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Impatience - a Writer's Worse Nightmare

The worst trait a writer can have is impatience.  This 'emotion' is the basis for almost all of the bad decisions made by a writer.  I am well acquainted with impatience; we're old friends. Impatience leads to over-sight, over-stepping and over-indulgence.  Those of us infected with this trait, often send out a story long before it's ready, and spends a lot of time wincing at the things that might have been. 

I'd go into more detail about the cause and effect of impatience, but then you'd miss the point.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Monday, February 13, 2012

Writing Vs. Reading

Why does there have to be war between the two, when you can't have one without the other.  It's sort of like the battle of the sexes, while both are different, they complement one another. What good is a book if there is no writer?  What good is a writer if there is no one to read? 

 Some people are excellent readers.  They can skim through a book, retain all the rich detail, broaden their understanding of the world created for them on the page, and then leave the experience of the adventure in a special place in their hearts and minds.  Then there are poor readers.  These are the people who struggle with color with their abstract minds.  The story before them doesn't fit their idealistic molds, therefore leaving them confused, languid, and empty.  Then, after frustration, rarely venture to pick up another book - often thinking them trivial, abase.  But what of these same types of readers pursue to write - will it make much a difference?

Absolutely!  Within two or three paragraphs of a book, regardless if its fiction or non-fiction, I can tell the type of reader.  It's like knowing if a kiss comes from someone who loves or loathes you - there's a distinct difference.

Not everybody can write, regardless of how much they read.  The gift of a writer is essentially that - a gift.  It's not earned or learned, and it's given without consent before the taking of the first breath.  While some may learn the rules, characteristics and anesthetics of the craft - they can't manufacture the gift - no matter how much they try, wish or pray for it.  As for those who have the 'gift', the differences lay in how much they practice, hone and apply their understanding to their talent.  There are many LAZY writers who never practice, nor apply themselves to learn, shape and sharpen their gift - therefore frustrating it and becoming bad stewards of what they were freely granted.  One of the best sharping tools a writer can have is READING.

Reading is equal to a student learning from the teachers who have gone before them, giving reverence and honor to those who've blazed the trails. There are lessons learned in reading that can't be taught in a classroom, with a guide or reference book.  Reading is more than grammar, punctuation and tense.  Its voice, pacing, structure, weaving, plot, passion and adventure; it is silent instruction by example.  It's like love - it must be experienced to receive, not taught or explained.  You know it and become aware of it, because it becomes part of who you are. 

So, if you dream of being a writer - my biggest advice is first be an excellent reader. Besides, you might actually enjoy some great adventures along the way.  For those who do become writers, never stop reading.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Friday, February 03, 2012

Pom-Pom Parade

It's not hard to promote, talk about, create a buzz or cheer for something you love and fully believe. In fact, it's hardly any work at all. The praise comes naturally due to your personal admiration. But, how would you feel if you had to promote and support something you didn't necessarily love or particularly believe? It's no walk in the part, let me tell you. There's nothing more depressing than a dull "Rah!" I had to do it for over a year, and I wouldn't ever choose to do it again. It's left a really bad taste in my mouth, and wrinkle in my cute little cheerleader outfit.

I could never do something if my whole heart wasn't fully invested, not any more. I don't believe in cheering - for cheering sake. If I did, I think I'm a pretty good cheerleader, and I'd be rolling in victory with an over-abundance of associates and acquaintances. However, I've turned a point in my life where I no longer have an ignorance of the game being played behind me, but an inward purpose and a load of self-respect, and a pom-pom full of true Spirit.

What I mean by that is this: If I support you, it's because I believe in you. I don't even have to like you to respect your work, what your doing or what you want to accomplish in this world. On the other hand, I might just like you as a person, but not quite support your work. I try to find something in each person that I can love and support, so that my cheers are genuine. I really have developed a high intolerance for false appreciation and false modesty, as well as developed a high appreciation for people being real, open and honest. Believe me, I KNOW when someone sends me false accolades.

I won't always share your opinions, your likes, your dislikes, your taste, or your vision; but what I can share is respect. As long as you are honest and speak the truth - whether I agree or disagree - you'll have my respect. With my respect, you'll have my support and praise. Maybe not always for all your opinions and issues, but I'll find some common ground and a way to inspire you. This might not lead to world peace, but it has created a peaceful world within me.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Milledgeville Misfit - Give-A-Way

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Milledgeville Misfit by T.L. Gray

Milledgeville Misfit

by T.L. Gray

Giveaway ends February 29, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Milledgeville Misfit - RELEASED!

Milledgeville Misfit is now LIVE!

I've done my job.  I've conceived her, nurtured her, gave birth to her, corrected her, dressed her, and presented her in the best light possible - now it's time for her to SHINE.  While she explores the world, I'll do my part of being a proud parent (author) and support her, rave about her progress, and brag about her as much as I can. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Milledgeville Misfit Give-A-Way - Hop

I will be giving away a free copy of my latest young-adult novel "Milledgeville Misfit" as part of the Give-A-Way Hop hosted February 24th - 28th.

Check back here for more details closer to the HOP start date.

CCWC January 2012 Newsletter

Precious Time

One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve run across these past few years is that:  people who don’t punch the clock from 9 to 5 have what is known as “free time”.  The truth of the matter - those that work from home are usually time-pressed. They are go-getters, creators, inventors, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and world changers. Their day doesn't end at five o'clock, their on 24 – 7.

For me, when I made the decision to put writing as my top priority, my time devoted to my craft became precious; something to guard, something to treasure. There are all kinds of things, including “good” things, that want to steal that time. I have to protect it or else it'll get away from me. There is always a noble cause to support around every corner, but I'm only one person and can't do everything. There is only 24 hours in a day for me, just as it is for everyone else. I must prioritize those things that are most important to me and what I feel is the path laid down before me by God. If not, I can be busy doing "good" things, and miss what I was meant to do.

Working from home requires a lot of discipline. You can be easily distracted and lose your focus. It takes a disciplined person to wake up every morning and focus their attention on their destined target. It also takes a disciplined person to not allow their feelings to lead them, because feelings can waiver and get you off the path.

I exercise my body first thing in the morning. The first 15 min. is really more of a struggle between my body and my mind than anything else. If I only exercise when it felt good, I would never step on the treadmill. Yet I keep my target of good health and a balanced weight before me and push through my feelings. I must apply the same principles to my life as a writer, or it'll get lost by the wayside. The world as a whole doesn't understand this concept, because writing often doesn't produce the financial fruit of a 9 to 5, but it can. Thank God I don't have to please the world, because I'm at the point that I could never imagine doing anything else.

So the next time you ask me to do something and I turn you down, don't take it personally. It's not that I don't deem your cause worthy, I just deem my time more precious.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Author Appearances

February 2012

Neva Lomason Public Library
710 Rome Street
Carrollton, GA  30117
Friday, February 10, 2012 
6:30pm - 8:00pm


Dog River Library
6100 Hwy 5
Douglasville, GA  30135
Saturday, February 25, 2012 
11:00am - 1:00pm

March 2012

Horton's Books
410 Adamson Square
Carrollton, GA 30117
Saturday, March 24. 2012 
12:00pm - 2:00pm

May 2012

Underground Books
102 Alabama Street
Carrollton, GA  30117
Saturday, May 5, 2012
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Don't Be Hatin'

One of the things I can't quite understand when it comes to authors is why there is sometimes jealousy and animosity between writers.  We're not in competition with one another.  There are plenty of books to go around.  Stories have been told long before we arrived, and will continue long after we're gone.  If anything, we should support one another.  

What benefit could there possibly be for me to know or associate with a failed writer?  I can't think of anything.  However, there are endless possibilities of knowing and associating with a successful one.  Not only out of the goodness of my heart should I encourage, inspire and support my fellow authors, but it's in MY best interest to do so.  I don't have to LOVE them, actually, I don't even have to LIKE them on a personal level, to support and wish them the best in their endeavors. 

Still, from time to time, I come across that beleaguered and jealous writer who not only wishes for my failure, but will go out of their way to help support it.  They’ll spread slander, malice and pray to the gods of destruction to place every obstacle and roadblock in my way.  I feel sorry for them.  They’ve already lost, and are already defeated, regardless of their book sales.  This defeat may not reflect in their book sales (even a snake could sell a book) – but as a decent human being. 

I choose to separate myself from those who only have negative thoughts, actions and intentions. Instead, I choose to surround myself with dreamers, artists and people who desire to share their gifts and talents with the world.   I may, or may not, hit the New York Times Best-Seller list, but I’m already a success , because I’ve surrounded myself with successful people.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Monday, January 23, 2012

Please Yourself

Have you ever tried to do something, yet everyone around you didn't understand your actions or motives? While many people express their support, their actions don't necessarily live up to their confession? What do you say in those circumstances? What do you do? One thing you can't do - is give up.

Sometimes I find myself pulled between two worlds. I love each side equally, that neither fully. Don't get me wrong, I'm not straddling the fence. I find the place I inhabit, is a place of my own choosing; not theirs. Let me try to explain this more plainly - I am a writer, a scribe, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a Christian, a deacon, a leader, a friend, a business partner, a marketer, a dreamer, and yet I must strive to find a balance between all of those positions. Often times some of the expectations of these positions oppose others, not that they have to. 

We are complex people, living in a complex world. Each of us is an individual with their own ideals, beliefs, and expectations. But I have learned over the past few years, I can't change or manipulate my actions to satisfy someone else’s expectations. Not everybody is going to like my choices. Not everybody is going to support my decisions. Not everybody is going to think I'm making the right judgments for myself. But the bottom line is: these are my choices, decisions, and ideals. The only person I must please - is me.

I’d love to make everybody happy. But I'm not fool enough to believe I can. However there is one person I can strive every day to please – myself. Just as I have discovered truths about love, I'm learning the same thing applies to peace and happiness. I have to first be filled with peace and happiness, before I can share it with the world.  If I'm truly happy with myself, then I can be happy for you. If I can walk in peace, then I can offer peace. We can only share what is in the overflow. If we have nothing, we have nothing to give.

So today I encourage you, do what makes you happy.  But remember: though everything is permissible not everything is beneficial. Sometimes we deceive ourselves into thinking something or someone will make us happy, when happiness is truly a simple decision. It’s not found in a gift, an object, another person, or a possession; it’s a state of mind.

Till next time,
T. L. Gray