Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This Means No Fear Cavalier

Reinventing yourself is a difficult, monumental task. It is not unlike rebuilding a boat in which you are adrift. Every piece you remove responds with a torrent of water and a resounding rebuke from the overall structure. It takes twice as much energy to replace what you've removed, and in the end undoing what you did seems easier. One step forward... two steps back.

In this ridiculous battle of repetition and loss, you are your own enemy. You know your foe's weaknesses, but, of course, your enemy knows yours as well. Two perfectly matched opponents with equal will, one to remain unchanged, the other to evolve. Nothing shy of the 'end of the world as you know it', makes it easier to gain the upper hand.

This is my New-Year's aspiration: to evolve into a better creature. The battle has been underway for a decade, reaching a staggering high these past few months. I know in the center of me that simply 'knows', that I must succeed in this or I will never reach my lofty goals. My very dreams are at stake, that which has kept me strong and striving. Another year is too long. No more "Next Year…". If I don't change, I do not think I could accept another 365 days of disappointment.

I strike at the heart of my enemy with voracity and desperation. I will be victorious. Kimber of Old, put up your best defenses, but I will overwrite you.

It is the end of the world as I know it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jumping the Gun

Somehow, it is always a surprise to me when I discover I have created a work of art or fiction that strikes me as 'good'. Twice in the past three months, I have done just that.

Some of you may have followed my excited ramblings about the International 3-Day Novel Contest, an annual contest where writers all over the world challenge themselves to write a novel over the long weekend of Labor Day. It is an endurance marathon that challenges not just your resolve and endurance, but your ability to maintain coherent thought after three days of sleep deprivation and caffeine overload. Anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel, take a weekend and do this! Even if you don't pay the fee (which you should, 'cause it is a great incentive to NOT waste the entry money), participate. There is a forum every year with supportive authors enduring the same exhaustive trial. If you ever listen to me: Do it.

I think we should all give ourselves the opportunity from time to time to surprise ourselves. The reward is most assuredly in what we take from the experience over what we win in the long run. This contest was one of the few in which I've participated where the event really was all about the participant. You are who you do this for. The prize is a golden finish line to shoot for, but in the end it is you that you're running for.

I was so motivated by this contest that I decided once a year was not often enough to push my limits. I liked throwing myself and my muse into a tight box for three days, I thrived on it. I found it so rewarding, that I promised myself I would not let only one long weekend a year be dedicated to the sole purpose of pouring myself onto parchment. So, I created a small blog and forum for what I titled The Quarterly 3-Day Novel Challenge. I decided once every three months, I would take a long weekend to write a novel in the same spirit as the International 3-Day Novel Contest. The only differences: No entry fee, no manuscript readers, no word counters, no prize. The only incentive for the first weekend of December, March, and June were the personal accomplishment and a manuscript at the end of the ordeal. Rules were lax, and the only one holding you responsible was yourself.

Last weekend, I held my first Quarterly 3-Day Novel Challenge, and I stood alone. I had strummed up some support early after the International 3-Day Novel Contest, and gotten an encouraging number of respondents to the challenge, but when the date rolled around, the idea had lost steam and support. I thought about not doing it (and was supported in this choice by those with whom I have obligations). I had work to do on the house, for Paradice, for our livelihood, for family. The list goes on and on. I had a thousand reasons to say, "Hey, it was a neat idea, but I'm just too busy". I shudder to think how I would have spent that weekend and what I would have lost had I given in to the temptation and pressure to relent.

I told myself, and those who thought my time would be better spent, that every three months I promised myself three days to dedicate to writing. Three days. Such a small sum of time comparatively. One weekend. So I did it. I stood alone, holed up in my little study, and wrote my crazy brains out. And what do I have to show for it? The second book of the Divine Guardian Chronicles. If I had not persisted, I would not have a 48,272 word first draft. Thank God I did not give in. It's good. It's very good, and I wrote it.

Yesterday, while visiting my sister in the hospital, I mentioned my completion of the Q3DNC, the I3DNC, and how proud I was of both manuscripts. I said I would start editing the second book now, since I didn't have to wait for a ruling in January like I did with the first novel. I mentioned how desperate I was to edit the first book and the improvements I would make. That was when an epiphany struck me. Why was I waiting? It would be awesome if I won first place in the contest and earned publication, but I would ever worry about an inferior manuscript being published when it could have been so much more after a few more drafts. If I took the time to hone the manuscript and add what I felt it needed (which would change the genre from Young Adult Fantasy to Paranormal Romance), I could begin sending queries out to agents and publishers.

What was the worst that could happen? Nothing. I could get no responses and be out of luck with my queries. Or I could win the contest before I got a response and have to turn down any offers that came. What was the best that could happen? I could receive a response from an agent or publisher interested in my book, and open a door to genre I have always wanted to author in. I might have to turn down first place (publication) in the contest if I won... but let's be realistic. It is far more likely that I won't win then that I will. Prudent money would be on preparing the manuscript for the almost inevitable non-win. There is literally NO reason I shouldn't go for it now and not wait until the ruling comes back in the end of January for the I3DNC.

So my current project is to polish books I and II of the Divine Guardian Chronicles and pimp my work to any agent and publisher who might take the time to read a query letter about Paranormal Romance.

What's the worst that could happen?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fire on the Sky

Fall has come at long last, breaking the heat of Summer with its persistent veil of change. Leaves burst into brilliant flame and scatter like falling ash to blanket the world in crimson and gold. Great flurries of mist laden winds gully in every hollow, carrying the silk of young spiders and tiny red beetles to their new homes. Maple, ginger, and cinnamon aromas fill cozy homes with an inviting warmth while sweaters are aired from their months of storage and fluffy woolen blankets are unfolded for the first time in a season.

Though the world is filled with the dying of a lush season, all around me the air is filled with rejoicing and excitement. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are suddenly so near. Hope is born on the falling leaves, and home is redefined in the cluster of family rituals to come.

It is not hard to understand why Fall might be my favorite season. The culmination of all I find beautiful in nature comes together for a few awe inspiring weeks, and I want to trap the memories of this marvelous waning season forever in time. But this year is different from last, and from every one before. This year, I feel more myself that I ever have. This season, I feel as though I am seeing the wonders all around me from fresh, virgin eyes.

Hardships are past and present in my life, and I have been no stranger to disappointment and failure on so many fronts. In my heart, though I see more hope and promise in my days to come than I ever have, I know that the world has not changed. I have. I am just now waking up, and it is ever so much more amazing that it should be during these treasured weeks that the change should occur.

I will always remember this year as the first Fall that I nearly wept every day from the relief and joy I felt with every waking moment. A burden of darkness and hopelessness has been lifted and replaced with life itself. The self-induced coma I've been swimming through can be conquered, and I can dive through the murky surface toward a new life. There is hope. There is a future. And it begins with me.

Thank you Sarah Ban Breathnach, and God Bless Simple Abundance.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Turn the Page

I took a vacation.

For a month I wasn't me. I didn't do what I do, I didn't love what I love, I didn't vent how I vent, and I didn't allow myself to create. For a month, I took a vacation from myself. This world is full of trials, and I am no maiden free of fret. I had reached the deadlands, and I was too thirsty to look for water. So I closed my books, turned off my computer, snuffed the candle, and went to bed.

I would like to say that this long vacation was a voluntary one, a quest to search for my wandering self, but it was a trial of necessity. Luckily, in the darkest times, it is easier to see the soft glow of a dying candle. I accepted a gift that changed my mind about everything, and I mean that in the deepest sense of the phrase. When I opened my eyes after the long sleep, the world was fresh and new and I could finally see it.

I carved a hole in my home for a study. With no funding and only a smattering of odd pieces of fancy collected over the last decade, I have begun the labor of love that is creating a daily escape devoted solely to the nurturing of my inner muse. I made a bouquet from donated flowers, assembled odd pieces of electronics to make a decent sound system and T.V., dug out my book-signing table for a temporary desk, and brought forth my grand collection of scented candles. One tiny accent and addition at a time, I have been building my shelter within my home. A reed diffuser... a cleverly placed tealight tree... a discretely tucked hanging folder box. One by one, I am adding the pieces of peace and security that will make my study a tuning fork for my withered soul in the long nights of winter.

Every time I walk past The Fallen Shadow, laying in pieces on my desk in the dining room, I think "Soon. Soon, my dear friend, we will become as close as we once were."

I see labeled folders slid into open file boxes, each holding color-coded 3x5 cards, outlines, and character portraits. I see neatly organized supplies, easy to reach and of the necessary quality and whimsy to inspire. I see research materials for my latest project(s) tagged and collated into nested inbox shelves. And most importantly, I see me, surrounded by the soft glow of candles, tapping away at the light keys of the compact keyboard of a humming laptop as soft tones of carefully selected tracks and albums fill the air with energy. It is not there yet, but the study of my dreams is not the massive, oak-rich den with a blazing mantle and imposing bookshelves. It's me, surrounded by the things I love, working with the things I am blessed to have, and thanking God for every moment I can burn my candles late into the night chasing my aspirations.

I awoke and I found myself in a world changed but the same, with a heart honed but softened, and a mind full to bursting with openness and naked virtue.

Thank you God for Becky and for her gift of Simple Abundance, that could not have found me in a darker hour and that effortlessly led me into the healing sunrise of hope once more.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Last Stop

The world is a strange, frightening, exhilarating place. It is a wild rollercoaster, the sole ride in the amusement park of life. There are great wonders, deep sorrows, amazing discoveries, and wrenching consignments, all interlaced with intermittent contentment or indifference.

This week someone I loved but didn't know well passed away. That's the politically-correct phrase: "passed away". Just a few months ago I saw him laughing, talking about the future, speaking of his interests. The day after tomorrow, I will be attending his funeral where I will stand over the still vessel that was his for more than fifty years. It's eerie and romantic at the same time, knowing that a body can never move on its own, but can be filled with such life and intelligence for such a long time. How can one not believe that what made that body move, speak, breath, and feel would live on in another form? And how can one not be confronted with the awesome wonder that is emotion and intellect when facing what follows mortality?

I learned a long time ago that when I shed tears for a lost loved one, that I am moved by the sorrow of those who survive them or by my own selfish need of them. I never really cry for those who've moved on. I don't know where they go. I don't know how they get there or if they keep a piece of this life with them. I only know they're gone, and we are left here without them. I mourn the separation, the finality of the cosmic decision. I can't bring myself to mourn death beyond the rending of bonds and ending of journeys. My heart accepted long ago that this is only one stop on the journey of a spirit, and everything dies.

I will break down, as I always do in the face of my dearest family's tears. I will weep, hold them near, think about the man that left so many loving souls behind, and try to be strong. I will fail... for a day. But when I come home, my eyes will be dry and I will still know in my heart that he lives on. Not only in the memories and hearts of those he's touched, not only in the legacies he's left behind, but in a mysterious and undeniable continuation of his spirit into the next phase of his journey.

I don't know if I am callous, or enlightened. But I do know that I loved him, will miss him, and will lament with my family, sharing in their pain.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

1 Month Prep, 3 Days Surrender

I waited far too long to write a reflection of my experience with the International 3-Day Novel Contest. This year was my first attempt at the staggering goal of writing a novel in just 72 hours, and I have to say it was nigh on life-changing. I discovered the I3DNC when leafing through my shiny new copy of the Writer's Market, given to me by my loving and supportive mother as a very early birthday present, and toyed with the idea for a few days. The more I thought about the event, the more excited I became to try it. Think of it: give myself over and obsess entirely on a single piece of fiction for three days and nights?

It was just a really exciting fancy at first, since I lacked the funds for the submission fee. Still, I couldn't stop toying with the idea. I started imagining what I would write about, what genre I would choose. I had been trying to find a good way to combine fantasy and modern fiction without succumbing to the easy clich├ęs. It all boiled down to whether or not I could get the $50 by the deadline, and if I could come up with an idea that inspired me enough to own me for three days. By this time, I had made my decision. I wanted to compete. I wanted to

I like to make a habit of noticing when coincidences present themselves as something more. After a few weeks of vexing myself about what to write about, I had an awesome dream. It was incredibly vivid, complex, and exceptionally long. It provided the solution of what to write. In fact, in the dream, I thought to myself "I should write my 3-day novel about this". And when I woke, I knew instantly that my subconscious had delivered the answer I had been seeking for the previous two weeks. One problem solved. Mirriam, Daveth, Gerome, and Alertan were born and their story more than inspired me to fuel a month-long interest on through the contest.

Two days later, my other obstacle was solved by a kind birthday gift from my sister and brother in law. A series of happy coincidences broke down all of the road blocks preventing me from trying my newfound obsession. I immediately registered for the contest and started my planning. I spent the next three weeks making character sheets, drawing a map, and laying out the back story.

It didn't take me long to realize that what I had started was bigger than one novel. After organizing the governments of the world of Corante, I created a blog for the series The Divine Guardian Chronicles. My attempt for 2010's I3DNC would be the first book: Voices in the Dark.

I refused to create a timeline for the novel, knowing that when I was sleepless, overexerted, and highly caffeinated I would undoubtedly deviate. So, instead, I knew how it started, how it ended, and had a few 2-3 line scene concepts scribbled onto 3x5 note-cards. Armed with a very detailed world, an exciting concept, and characters I was already very attached to, I was ready to take on the marathon.

I had originally planned on spending the weekend writing at a Kroger 5min from my house, since they had a deli with Wi-Fi and 24hr espresso. I knew that it would be a very distracting location, but my house was too open and I had no other viable options. At the midnight hour, however, my sister again pulled through for me. Her study had been cluttered with boxes, books, and supplies since she'd moved in over half a year ago, but she cleaned it out and set up her desk just for me. Suddenly, I had a place to work in peace free of distractions.

The three days I spent on the I3DNC were intense and very rewarding, but that is a story for another time. I will say that from the very first night, I was very sick. I spent 4-6 hours writing just to have to sleep again for the duration of the weekend. Everyone was very supportive and I survived. Thought I'd started the weekend with a 50K-work goal, I completed a manuscript that was 35,565 words. The average submission was 100 pages, I'd produced 168. I was exhausted, ill, and so very proud. I sent in Voices in the Dark, and with it went my prayers that the world of Corante was every bit as alive for the judges as it was for me.

I will do a follow up for this entry a little later with more details on my 3-Day experience. Right now I am trying to get together a group of people to do a 3-Day challenge every quarter, and the book I'm going to write in December's first weekend is my new project.

~Kimber Grey

Monday, August 23, 2010

Admirable Mentions

How do you know if you're on the right track? When people you admire, admire you back.

I have a fairly small circle of friends because, in spite of all appearances, I am a private person. I am friendly and outgoing, but only a few are let into my 'world'. I love my friends like family, and love my family with all that I am. That is why, with all that I do, I ever seek to inspire recognition and respect from those I have drawn near to my heart. It is in my greatest moments of frustration and discouragement when I am most rewarded for my devotion and affection, something for which I am ever grateful. I have also come to realize that in times of 'peace', people are often easy to dismiss the hands that hold them up when they falter. I pray I never find myself complacent and unappreciative of my friends.

I wanted to write a few words about the kindness and support of a few people who I respect and admire in my life.

Zachary Houghton is a brilliant and genuine man with a strong and true heart. He is a wonderful GM and a devoted father and husband. I am honored to call him a friend and am always uplifted by his easy smile and energetic conversation. On any occasion he may wear the hat of commentator, judge, or writer in the vast and complex field of RPGs. His opinion is widely respected by many more wise than I. For all of these reasons, I am flattered by his mention of my appearance at GenCon on his blog and his support over the weekend.

Louis Lamp is the owner and orchestrator of Paradice Games Inc., based in Portland. He is ever patient and always full of ideas, energy, and whimsy. He's an example, steadfast and true to his dreams and beliefs. I have been happy to work with him for this past year, and have found his encouragement and tolerance inspiring in so many ways. I appreciate his recognition on Paradice's page.

J.W.Braun was an intriguing and intelligent author that I had the pleasure of meeting at GenCon a few weeks ago. I found his conversation refreshing and animated, and his accomplishments commendable. Though I have not known him long, I look forward to following his progress and hope to see him at future functions. He is an accomplished author and a kind man who flattered me with his recent praise of my book in his blog.

To so many unnamed others: thank you. I hope in time to put a face to everyone who has been there for me in all times of my life.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Energy and Enthusiasm

As appears in the Divine Guardian Chronicles Blog.)

I think my friends and family are growing weary of my obsession with the upcoming 3-day Novel Contest. I brought a folder of magazine clippings to work that had photos of people I thought looked like the characters I was outlining, and showed them to everyone. I pulled out my 3x5 cards that had the characters and their physical descriptions on them. I also showed them the 3x5 cards with world concepts and general knowledge listed on them. I have a 'coupon organizer' with these cards and other random informative and inspirational information neatly organized. Every conversation eventually directs back to the world I'm working on, the story I'm detailing, and the contest in which I'm immensely eager to compete.

Becoming super-excited about a new project is by far not new to me. I tend to obsess and burn out with just about everything I do. I only hope this fire burns steady for the next few weeks and caries me through the marathon weekend. That being said, I wanted to share some thoughts I posted on the 3-day novel forum about the upcoming event.

My biggest concern is how distracting my location of choice will be, but I have no better options unless my sister manages to get air conditioning upstairs within the next few weeks. The problem: she would have to rearrange the furniture upstairs and find an air conditioner that would fit in their tiny, weird windows.

I keep thinking that come September 7th, I could be the 'newb' who spent a ton of time preparing and planning only to end up with 2000 words. I hope that's not the case. I type fast and have had little difficulty staying up all night before to reach a writing goal. I hope that my past experiences of writing draft#1 of "Quietus" in two months and draft #1 of "The Fallen Shadow" in 3.5 will help me. I went by an outline on those, though.

This is writing blind and seeing where it goes. I may not even reach the ending I imagine, but wind up somewhere completely different. I've never really done anything like this before. Usually I know where I'm going and have a mostly clear idea of how to get there. The story evolves on it's own, but there is a guideline I stick to. Here, I have a very clear starting point, characters I want to introduce along the way, and a vague idea of where they're going... but with no real plan to stick to that if it deviates.

Three days straight of writing WHATEVER comes to mind WHEN it comes to mind. It's an interesting and inspiring concept. I suppose that's why I'm looking forward to this so much... I'm breaking out of my mold a little.

My level of enthusiasm toward this contest is impossible to describe. I am giddy and hyper, talking incessantly about my plans to anyone who will listen. I hope fervently that I do not let myself down and fall short of my marathon goal.

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Falling to Earth

I attended GenCon Indy for the first time this year as a vendor with my lovely and talented friend Nica serving as my booth-babe and Midia expert. We were located in Authors' Avenue, in the very back of a massive Dealers' Hall. Though my placement was poor due to reserving the last available table, I felt a decent number of people passed by my booth within reach of my often-too-chipper greetings and comments. I met a lot of very interesting people, saw some spectacular costumes, and had several very rewarding conversations with other authors on a similar level as myself.

Recounting the full four days of activity would be tedious and would quickly become tiresome, so I'll just list some quick highlights here: A minstrel played his lute for me and my booth-babe, a rowdy pirate and a fair maiden and child shared the booth next to us, and a 'crier' peddled his wares at all unsuspecting passer-byes. I donated a book to charity, was offered to enter an anthology, was given three books by other authors, and gave a book to my friend Ed Greenwood (a prolific author and neat character). My booth-babe wore four wonderful costumes to awe and inspire our patrons, and on Sat. I also wore an outfit that may have made some wonder of my questionable moral character. I met Ruth Thompson, who's art I've adored for over a decade, and had some good times with my friends Anne, Trava, and Tim. I met a German with an awesome accent, and a 'Jew from Jersey' of whom I've heard many interesting things.

When all was said and done, I sold enough books and met enough people to consider the weekend 'not a total loss'. I had fun, got to play an 'author' for four days straight, and got to hang out with my good friend and co-author, Nica. The only sad part of my 4-day GenCon experience was that come Monday... I had to fall back to earth.

I believe that my working weekend has inspired something in me, something mostly dormant until now. I'm done nibbling at the bit. I'm finished dabbling. I am ready to dedicate my life to the writing craft and wholly throw myself at earning my keep with my pen. I want to be an 'author' every day of the week and not have to fall back to earth after a few exhilarating days of getting to be Kimber Grey.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Giving up October

(as seen in the blog for The Fallen Shadow)

It is important for me to start this message out with a very firm declaration that I in no way feel that I did not succeed with Quietus or The Fallen Shadow. I think I did very well, and I am very happy with the amazing progress I made. I wrote Quietus in just six months, produced a beautiful cover myself, and self-published in a very competitive and difficult market to break into. I finished the first draft of The Fallen Shadow in four months during a time of great tribulation and distraction in my life. This announcement is not because I feel that I have failed in some way. On the contrary, I am very proud of the work I have done, and I know that, should I have continue on the path I'm on, I would have succeeded.

The changes in my production plans are because I feel I could do so much better. I am putting aside my pride and need for instant gratification to do this right. There is no shame in self-publication, and I do believe being brave enough to venture into that field is remarkable. However, I want to reach many more people than I can with my one-man-army. As I'd said in a previous post, I'm seeking representation and traditional publication. The change from my last update is what I'm announcing today.

I am ceasing work on The Fallen Shadow for the time being. Instead, I am revisiting Quietus. I intent to add as much as a hundred pages of content to the novel and build the setting better. Quietus was a fantastic learning experience for me, and all of the feedback I got was very positive but chocked full of constructive advice. I intend to take my time and apply that advice to the part of the story that are lacking. This new novel will be given a title more appropriate to the content of the book and the continuation of the series, and will be the new first book of the Midian Saga.

What does this mean for all of my loyal followers and avid fans? I'm sorry to say, guys, that I will be depriving you of your well-deserved 10.10.10 publication of The Fallen Shadow. I will be marketing the entire series to publishers, and offering them first-publication rights. This means I can't selfishly push The Fallen Shadow through just to see it in print. Giving up this goal was a very hard decision for me, and still haunts me, but there is a grander picture here to consider.

I hope everyone understands and supports this choice, as it means you will all be able to purchase Midian Saga books for less and easier. Plus it means I will be able to dedicate more time to writing and less energy on formatting, marketing, and selling. I have the ambitious goal of writing two books a year. One for Midia, and one in another series or a stand alone. I know that with advances, representation, and a publisher, I can do this. I want to be more. I want to have more time to devote to my craft, and this is my tool to get there.

As always, thank you everyone for you support, kind words, and devotion to the Midian Saga. I wouldn't be where I am if it were not for all of you. Next time you see my name in print, it will be on a bookstore shelf. :)

~Love, Kimber Grey

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Big Announcement

(As seen on the blog for "The Fallen Shadow")

Anyone who is near to me or has heard me speak on length about my books, already knows how dear the Midian Saga is to my heart. Though I have many stand-alone books and series in the works, Midia is special and unique from them. In fact, I am so devoted to this series, that I promised myself I would never let anyone else touch them. I wanted them to be MINE, forever and completely. I was determined to be the writer, cover artist, publisher, and distributor. I even had a business plan for opening a distribution company for the series after the opening trilogy, "Faiden Reborn", was published as a box set. I was going to seek traditional publication for all of my other books and series, but this one, THIS ONE, was going to be completely mine.

This week, something changed.

I started doing daily affirmations in the morning, trying to channel my mind toward understanding and reaching my goals. A few days after beginning this 15 minute exercise, I had a strange dream. I have been told by many that my dreams are odd, since I never dream I'm myself and often dream I am an entirely different sex, race, or even just an omniscient watcher. Most of my dreams involve convoluted, epic adventures with dozens of characters. Sometimes they take place on earth, but most often take place in mystical or even sci-fi settings. Why am I saying this? Because on the exceptionally rare occasion when I dream I'm MYSELF in MY life, I try to listen. I have always felt that these were messages from my subconscious brain to pay attention to whatever it was trying to illustrate. I few days after starting my morning affirmations, I dreamt that I was myself. I was sitting in my small study (I don't own a study in real life), writing one of the books from the Midian Saga, and deliberating in my head my plans for the series from a publication standpoint. My husband came in as if I had sent for him and I looked up and told him the decision I'd come to after many hours of debate: "I have decided to seek traditional publication for the Midian Saga."

That's it. That was the dream. But since I was me, doing what I love to do in a room I plan to someday own... it caught my attention. I spent the rest of the week thinking about what it meant, though the message seemed clear enough. So I genuinely considered seeking representation for the Midian Saga for the first time since I began writing "Quietus" in early '09. What would it mean for the series? What would I have to give up if I did? What were the pros and cons? I literally wracked myself for days, trying to find the answer that my subconscious brain already had. The question: What does traditional publication have to offer that is so virtuous that I would give up my vice-like grip on Midia?

Finally, the answer came immediately after a morning affirmation. Like a flash of light, I suddenly saw what had been vexing me about my plan from day one.

I had always imagined that I would publish dozens of books with various publishers over the years, and the steadily growing Midian Saga would lend me credibility as well as gain credibility from my other works. I knew that no matter what happened, what turn my life and career took, I would continue to publish one book in the Midian Saga a year until 2030. It was a brilliant and sentimental plan, one that I was quite set on until my moment of clarity. I was looking at the books like a business woman who wanted her way or the highway, not as an artist.

What I've always wanted for the Midian Saga was what I had growing up. I wanted it to touch people, to shape their lives like the books I read in high school shaped mine. I wanted people to laugh and cry as I did when I wrote them, and confess that the Midian Saga was an unforgettable part of their lives. I wanted what I had gotten from so many great fiction authors in my adolescence. I wanted them to touch people... as many as possible. But if I kept my brilliant plan, the Midian Saga would become the good but illusive books of a successful artist that were very difficult to attain. They would become the 'other' books of Kimber Grey. I never wanted that. I didn't want these books to be hard to find. I wanted them on bookshelves, in bookstores, and translated into a dozen other languages. I wanted them to be worn from reading on a library shelf, a gem found in the bottom of a clearance box a second-hand store.

I decided it was worth giving up complete editorial control. It was worth surrendering the cover art and 'final cut'. It was worth sacrificing my pride and stubbornness... just to give Midia the chance it deserved.

So, my big decision: Starting this week I am seeking representation for myself and my beloved saga. I am ready to face the trails of seeking traditional publication. And until Midia is picked up by a publisher who will give it to the masses, I will continue to self-publish one book a year without fail.

To many of you, this will seem like a simple and reasonable choice, but to those of you who know my heart, you know what a difficult choice this has been for me. I am literally handing my baby over to a stranger and hoping they don't hurt it.

~Kimber Grey

Friday, March 19, 2010

Love and Loyalty

I woke up at 6:45 this morning after only five hours of sleep to work on the first draft of "The Fallen Shadow". As I staggered around my sister's house looking for caffeine and breakfast, it slowly occurred to me how lucky I am to have such a supportive family. I know that I often go on and on about how much I love my friends and family and how much I appreciate them, but until you've been in my world for a day, you couldn't possibly understand how much they deserve all of my appreciation.

Though I have my own home with a loving hubby, my sister, Becka, renovated her upstairs with help from her roomy and friend, Dawn, to accommodate my sewing. Granted, we all three use this sewing room, but there is no doubt in MY mind that a majority of the inspiration behind the design and layout was for production of the costumes I sell at conventions, design on commission, and will soon be selling on They even purchased a futon with a bunk on top that they use for storage, a shelf under for storage, and a comfortable mattress for me to sleep on when I 'crash' here.

So, I woke up in a room in my sister's house, in a room designed with my needs in mind, on a mattress chosen for my comfort. I went downstairs to wake up some, and looking around the house, I see sprinklings of my art. In the main living room, there is a laminated "Mezmer" bookmark from my first booth at Pentacon marking Becka's page in her latest read. On the end table is one of my books "Quietus" and a postcard flier for the book. In the second living room, a picture of Becka that I photo-manipulated with Corel 9.0 more than a decade ago and printed on poor quality paper is proudly displayed in a frame above her fireplace. Along side are pictures of hers and my wedding days. Attached to my sister's study door is a bad charcoal sketch I did in Jr. High. It's little more than a doodle, but it's been laminated and hung in every home she's ever lived in. Inside the study, her magnetic bulletin board supports a 2010 calendar featuring "Quietus" on the cover and eleven other works done by me over the years. Somewhere in that room, there is a stack of my artwork (some that I am quite embarrassed by) that she hangs in every home she lives. It is only a matter of time till they also don her study walls.

The fridge in the kitchen boasts a small 5" oval "Quietus" magnet on the left side. On the front, there is a large 9"x11" "Quietus" magnet, and four bookmark magnets featuring my artwork "Forest Nymph", "Mezmer", "Niyati", and "Reflection". On the narrow strip of the right hand side that is visible the moment you come in the garage door is six more bookmark sized magnets: "Mezmer", "Key to Freedom", "Phoenix", "Forest Nymph", "Reflection", and "Niyati". In the garage there is a large 11x14 matted print of "Forest Nymph", a signed print that I gave my brother-in-law the first year I had a booth at Pentacon. It has hung in all three of their homes since then, and now is prominently displayed over his work table. Here at their computer, where I type this entry, a "Quietus" mousepad is stacked on top of their previous mousepad featuring my "Forest Nymph" art.

I don't have access to her bedroom, but I know my art hangs there as well.

If this entry is any indication of the amazing love and support I receive every day from my dear sisters, mother, husband, and friends, then I've done my job here. It is their kindness, affection, and unwavering loyalty that see me through the trials of life, and I am grateful.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I love cats

At least, I love MY cat. His name is Rocky (he had that name when we got him from the Humane Society), and he's an orange short-haired tabby who grew up in the basement of a prison. We rarely call him by his name, opting to refer to him as Rock-steady, Rock-me-gently, Rockster, Rockaroonie, Rockafeller, Rockaliscious, Rock-star, Rock-man, or just Rocks (I also call him "Rockstar the Rapscallion"). He's a fairly tolerant adolescent, letting me train him to be a shoulder cat and putting up with my constant inability to keep from petting him when he's sleeping. One of the things I love most about him is his abnormally long features. He has a long face, very long legs, and a tail that is longer than the rest of his body.


Rocky's personality is unsurpassed by any other cat I've met. He's a freak, like everyone else in my household. He will run across the room, tag your leg, and run away before you realize that the orange streak in the corner of your eye was him. He will roost upon any high surface (chair backs, laundry baskets, tables & shelves), wait till you pass, then snag your clothes with a lazy claw to get your attention. He sleeps in the most bizarre positions, leading one to question how he could possibly be comfortable. But when me and my hubby are curled up on the couch watching TV, he will climb up on top of us, purr, and watch with us: another member of the family. He's cute, interesting, and has a mind of his own. He's one of us.

It should probably say a lot that my first post about my life in my blog was about my cat. :)

Follow This Blog by Email!