Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New book "All Roads Lead to Terror" by Richard Shiver

Richard Shiver may not be a name familiar to children's authors. But if it does sound somewhat familiar, it's because he interviewed me a while back. His latest novel, All Roads Lead to Terror came out last week.

I was intrigued on how he came up with the cover. Here's what he had to say:

As an independent author with limited resources, what I’m able to save to put into my writing is used to have my work edited before it is released. As such I’m unable to afford the covers I would like to see on my work so for the past couple of years I’ve been designing my own, while teaching myself how to use Photoshop to create covers. I’m pretty damned proud of what I came up with for All Roads Lead to Terror. I wanted to touch the potential reader on an emotional level while at the same time showing that the story within the covers was about leaving your childhood behind as one stepped into adulthood. Of course what better way of showing innocence lost than with an abandoned teddy bear. I tried several different routes, all with little success, until I staged the photo myself.

I picked up the stuffed bear from Goodwill for a couple of bucks. When I carried him out of the store he was in pretty good shape. Once I got him home it got a little interesting, even though I look like a grumpy old man, I can be rather emotional at times. I believe a writer has to be very much in touch with their emotions in order to properly convey the feelings of their characters on the page. It was this familiarity with my own emotions that stopped me at first from doing what I knew I had to do. It’s just a stuffed bear, I kept telling myself. That might have been but before he went to live at the Goodwill it was obvious a child had taken good care of him.

In the end I quickly removed his left leg and ear. A bit of black paint and some hard rubbing gave me the look I wanted for with his fur, a matted, unwashed appearance. Adding the sling was a final touch to show that though he had been abandoned at one time he’d been cherished by a child that shared its sorrow for a world turned upside down.

He has no name, yet. But his sacrifice has earned him a place of honor in my office, he sits on the top shelf of my bookcase, watching over my shoulder as I work, occasionally he will sit in my lap as I write, to help me connect with the emotions that I strive to bring to the page. He will also appear on every subsequent cover in the series.

He serves as a constant reminder of what I hope to achieve with The Dreadland Chronicles that will focus not on the brutality of the world in which they live, but the undying hope of the young as they struggle to rebuild a shattered world that has been left to them, and make a better place for those who will follow.

All Roads Lead to Terror can be purchased at the following online retailers:


A little more about Richard and how to contact\follow him below:

Richard was born in Frostburg, Maryland, in the winter of '58' and currently lives eight miles away. A five-year stint with the military allowed him to see what he wanted of the world. Married with four grown children and eight grandchildren, he and his wife provide a home to four pets that are spoiled beyond rotten.

In addition to writing daily he works a full time job in retail, and piddles around in his wood-shop making one mess after another when time permits.


Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardSchiver

Written in Blood is Richard's personal blog where he shares his thoughts on writing, and whatever else might strike his fancy. 

He can be contacted directly at and would be delighted to hear from you.

Sign up to be notified of publishing updates and new releases as they become available. He promises to never share your contact info, nor will he swamp your inbox with unnecessary junk. He’ll also toss in a free copy of White Walker when you sign up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Susanna Leonard Hill's The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!

I'm at it again, trying to write a short story for Susanna Leonard Hill's 5th Annual Holiday Contest. The rules this time are 350 words max and the story must begin with a line in the vein of, "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop." Without further adieu, I present for your consideration, "Last Minute at the Mall"

Gregory E Bray

Last Minute at the Mall (133 words)

Walking around the mall
at five thirty
on a chilly Christmas Eve.

Looking for the perfect gift
For my mommy
On a budget of three.

The store shelves are bare
Items strewn everywhere
I fear mommy will get no gift from me.

But what do I see
The perfect gift for her from me
And exactly three.

I go up to pay
The cashier says, “That’ll be three twenty three”
A feeling of dread comes over me.

I forgot about tax.
My perfect gift gone in a flash,
As I stand slackjawed feeling glumly.

“Your tax is on me.”
The clerk said with much glee
And handed the gift to a smiling me.

As I turned to walk away
The cashier and I said in harmony,
“Merry Christmas to you and your family!”

Friday, November 13, 2015

23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

I entered Meowy Christmas in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. I didn't win. But I really appreciate the judges commentary. =)

Entry Title: Meowy Christmas
Author: Gregory E Bray
Judge Number: 5
Entry Category: Children's Picture books

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a “0” is used in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual, would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal and may therefore receive a “0”.

*If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4
Production Quality and Cover Design:  4
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*:

Cute illustrations. Provide some background color and detail for the illustrations throughout, to give them a setting and texture, and to make the action in the images stand out. That would add a more polished look to the book.

Author writes with a light, happy voice and a nice rhythm. Sentences are nicely patterned, in kid-friendly lengths, using kid-friendly wording. Watch out for some minor typos like "one and another." It looks like an edit pass miss and is not a major problem, but in a small book, these tiny errors stand out.

We get a good spelling lesson in this book for the educational aspect, and it’s such a fun concept to think about what a pet would give as a gift if he or she could select gifts for the family. It’s a look at generosity and reciprocity, as well as an eye-opener about what is of value between loved ones.

The kiss as the return present was expected, but we’re fine with it, since it’s the symbol of the greater gift being time spent together with family. Well done here.

The voices of Charley and Franklin are nicely differentiated. The author has done a good job of personalizing them, so that the reader knows who is talking. Well done. A lovely holiday book and a unique handling of the lesson on what is of highest value during gift-giving holidays.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloweensie story reults

My story didn't make the cut. That is OK. I had fun, learned a lot, and read some really great stories. Check out the top stories here and vote for your favorite.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dusting off the blog. Short Halloweensie story.

Hello all,

*cough* *cough* Phew there's a lot of dust!

It's been awhile since I have posted anything. It's hard to get on here while chasing around a 3 year old. =)

Below is my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill's The 5th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!! The story had to be 100 words or less and contain some form of the words costume, dark and haunt. It was a challenge to complete, but a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it.

Gregory E Bray

Reflections of Halloween (100 words)

Murphy sprang from his cat bed to weird noises and a strange figure in a dark hallway.

It was as if his house was suddenly haunted.

He approached the figure which mimicked his every move.

He got close enough to see it was a monster.

Scared, he flew into the air and stuck into the ceiling.

Something fell off of him and landed on the floor.

He remembered it was Halloween and he fell asleep wearing his costume.

He released himself from the ceiling, laughed at the mirror in front of him and went to see the trick-or-treaters.