One Shade: An Interview with Mr. Gray

It's no secret if you've come here at all at least one time that I am a writer. The quality of my writing is, of course, subjective. And soon to be a topic of international debate, if I have my way.

What is NOT  a topic for debate is that I have some amazingly talented friends. And being the awesome friend that I am, I do my best to help them when I can, if I can. That's part of what an artist-any artist-should do. They should lift each other up. It's all about the concept that a rising tide lifts all ships in the harbor, not just yours.

Todd, what the holy hell does that have to do with Mr. Gray? Are you going to give us some multiple shades of gray bullshit??

No. No I am not.

What I am going to give you is some insight and some information on a book I could not put down.

First off, let me tell you this.

This blog post is part of a blog blitz that I joined to help promote this book.  There are some cool things that can happen as a result. Namely three. You can win stuff. My friend gets book sales and new readers. And I get to help a friend and fellow author get more of her work out in to the world. It's  win-win-win all the way around! It's like a threesome of win!

The book is One Shade of Gray. The author is Monica Corwin.  I was fortunate enough to be one of the advance readers for this book and I could not put it down. OK, technically, I wasn't holding it as it was an electronic copy, but I could not turn away from the screen. For four hours I was transfixed.

Not only do I rarely ever do that with books (mainly free time and my undiagnosed ADD are to blame), but I rarely read them as fast as I did. 4 hours. That was the time. I found the time to read it because I didn't really sleep that night. I read. This book.

Before I go to much farther, though, I'd like to do something that I have never done on this blog.
I would like to turn it over to a guest author, at least for a bit.

I've asked Mr. Dorian Gray, one of the stars of this book if he wouldn't mind popping on over to ye olde bloggy blog and giving us a top ten. I at first asked for top ten pickup lines. I didn't hear from him. Thankfully Monica intervened and suggested I ask Dorian to give us something a little more refined.

Here, my friends, is Dorian Gray's list of Top Ten Books and why he adores them so.

Why anyone would want to know my taste in books I certainly have no idea but, I’m happy to oblige. Here are my top ten favorite books.
  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas I’m also partial to The Three Musketeers as well. You can’t go wrong with an 800-page tome on vengeance, retribution, or atonement.
  2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman In my day, people were shunned for books like this. It was called Blasphemy. Which is why I find the book so amazing. This author’s mind astounds even me.
  3. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling Another amazing fantasy epic that makes me forget how long I’ve been alive while I gallivant around as a teenage boy. 
  4. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe A classic horror/suspense story set in one of my favorite cities…They call Edgar Allan Poe one of the founders of mystery fiction and Auguste Dupin never disappoints me. I wish we could have seen more of him in Poe’s time. (And no I never met the man)
  5. Dracula by Bram Stoker A classic “monster” book back when monsters were de rigueur and I love how this monster always stays a monster. In today’s society when vampires sparkle this book reminds me that some creatures aren’t worth saving.
  6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury Whenever I think about this book one particular quote comes to mind: “Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds.“ This reminded me of my youth but with far less vigor and more empathy. This book reminds me to live while still caring for the rest of the living. 
  7. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster What is not to love about this classic tale? It makes me warm, happy, and let’s me be outside myself in the same way Harry Potter does for me.
  8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – This book is one I could have used in my younger years. I adore the short tale. Another book that reminds me to treat others with kindness and respect. After 150 years it can sometimes be difficult. I often see myself and everyone else as “them.”
  9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig A classic story of travel that makes me want to venture around the world (no matter how many times I’ve been).
  10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain This is another author I could have met that I failed to. Mark Twain takes a classic “fish out of water” story and elevates it to something much more fun. I enjoy this book when I’m feeling out of my element in the modern world.
I hope this list has given you something to read, or a new author to embrace, perhaps. I have  multiple copies of each of these in my own library and wish the same on every other person in the world.   -D.G.

That was awesome. I have read all of those books. I am nowhere near on the level of Dorian as far as sophistication, but at least our libraries have some of the same books. That's kind of cool.

You know what else is cool? Giveaways. And as another first on this blog, I'm giving you a chance to win stuff.

You can enter for a chance to win one of the following:

  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • One of three signed copies of One Shade of Gray for your very only library.

All you have to do is click HERE.  The link will take you to the RaffleCopter site to enter.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't give you some high level details of the book. I am not going to post any spoilers so don't ask, but here are the relevant details.

One Shade of Gra
by Monica Corwin 
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance


My name is Dorian Gray. You might think you know my story? Please. That was just the beginning. Not the end. I’ve lived over 100 years. I don’t know why. I’ve sinned, deeply, but haven’t we all?
Now Sybil is back. Her name is Izzy and she looks the same. Smells the same. Walks the same…but everything else about her is different. Stronger. Bolder. I want her more than ever.
I should keep her safe, and keep my hands to myself. But those dark parts of my soul still linger. I won’t lose her again.

Seriously, reading the synopsis makes me want to read the book again. I've got it on my Kindle, iBooks, and a printed copy is on the way. 

I think I have teased you enough, I'm sorry about that. But if you know me at all, you know I do enjoy a good tease. But I wouldn't leave you hanging for too long.  Here are the links so you can get your own copy of One Shade of Gray by Monica Corwin.

I'm going to sign off now, my dear readers and friends. I think I've given you enough to think about. I would love to hear how right I was about the book. Or, tell me how full of crap I am. Either way, go read the book. Love it or hate it, but read it either way!

And if you want to get to know Monica a little better and get in on some of her other amazing books, you can do so by catching up on any of the standard social media avenues.

Until we meet again, have an awesomesauce day!



In the Raw

*Note: This will make more sense after you read the guest post on the Books By Violet Blog.

Hang tight until then my regular readers. 
For those of you here because of the post on the Books By Violet blog, here's the raw, unedited version of the post that let you here.  -TS

Think of the best sentence in your favorite book. The sentence that made you stop and re-read. That didn’t make you-it commanded you to stop and re-read it. To appreciate its brilliance. Do you have the sentence in your mind?


Now imagine the book without that sentence.

Would it be the same? Probably not.
Would there be some other sentence that would grab you the same way? Not likely. Is there something about that sentence, a word, a phrase, a hook that if it were modified would make the sentence something you skimmed right over?

The reality is, all of the above probably happened.

Hello there, loyal readers of the awesome Books by Violet blog. I am *not* Violet, but I’m assuming you already knew that based on the fact that there is not actually a book being reviewed on these pages at present.

Once again, I’m here to share some insight that might not cross your mind as you’re reading your favorite or next favorite book.
The thing is, books are written by people. More importantly, a book is written by *readers*. And there you have the tie-in.

Back to the opening. Do you still have that sentence in your mind? Good.

Again, what if I told you that the sentence probably wasn’t in the first draft of your favorite book?

So, how does a writer make a great idea into a great book? The simple answer is, they write it, duh.

But just writing it isn’t good enough, my dear readers. Once the author gets the words out of their head into some sort of workable draft, then the *real* work begins.

The real work is not so simple. Once a draft of a book or story is written, they *keep* writing it. They write. And they then read. And they edit. And they write. And they read. And when, as V.E. Schwab so eloquently stated in her 10-minute writer workshop, when they read the story as a *reader*, then it’s done.

I’m speaking (well typing) of course of the dreaded re-write and editing process. If you want to see a writer weep, ask them what kind of relationship they have with their editors.

No. Don’t do that. Nobody likes to see a writer cry. Trust me on this, it’s not pretty.

The editing process is pretty fresh in my mind because I recently finished a short but intense tete a tete with a professional editor. It was a first for me. She was, however, a bit more experienced. Thankfully she guided me gently along in the process.

In these days of the self-pubbed phenoms, it’s easy for someone to think they can get by and publish without any kind of editing.  I can see both sides.

My first book was published without an editor. This short story that I just finished was done so with the help of a professional editor.

The difference? I am sitting here, in a coffee shop just off of a major interstate thinking about those two pieces. While I am insanely proud of my first published novella, I know beyond a doubt that the short story (which is as yet unpublished) is stronger. It’s a tighter story.

I know many writers and mileage definitely varies in the editor vs. non-editor camps, but I think for me personally if I am to feel comfortable that I’m giving you the best story I can, I will be working with editors.  

Here is the irony. As I’m writing this piece, there is a mish-mash of ideas. I have things I want to say and at this point, I’m just doing best to get the words out. The form that you are reading right now, the piece that Violet posted, isn’t actually what I started out with. I can assure you of that. To prove it, I’m going to do something that I never do. I am going to transfer this file from the NEO2 (basically my idea pad) and post it over on my blog, and you can read it as I wrote it in the first draft.

I can assure you, that it will be nowhere as tight as the version you read on Violet’s blog.

And that kind of is the point. As an author, I feel that I owe it to you, the reader, to deliver the best story I can.

Sure, I have a lot of time invested in writing the story. But here’s the thing, I’m going to write anyway. Sure-it’s easier on the days where the words feel like they are stuck in peanut butter and maple syrup to write knowing that there is someone out there looking forward to reading them, but if you didn’t read them, I’d still write.

That means that the real time committment is on your end. You, as the reader have a massive choice to make. What book are you going to give your time to? I want it to be mine. And because of that, I’m going to do what it takes to give you the best return on your investment.

And if you’re looking for suggestions on what to read, you’re in the right place. I promise you won’t see me TOO often, mostly will be the awesome book recommendations by Violet.

Until next time, my friends, it’s your friendly-neighborhood Writer-Man signing off.


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