Total Blank ~ Outside the Margins with Dorien Grey

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Dorien Grey goes Outside the Margins today.


I suspect a great number of people assume that writers have some bottomless well of inspiration from which they effortlessly draw the ideas for blogs, stories, and novels. Uh, not quite. I went to bed last night realizing I did not have a blog entry for submitting to Prism Book Alliance today. Being an equal mix of laziness and optimism, I wasn’t concerned. I’d just get up this morning, sit at the computer, and dash off yet another classic example of deathless prose. Uh-huh.

Instead, I find myself standing, in my mind, at one of those carnival machines filled halfway with cute little stuffed animals and toys of various descriptions. For 50 cents, or whatever the rate is now, you turn a little crank which is attached to a claw hanging down a few inches from the top of the. The object is to maneuver the claw over the prize you want, drop it down, and pick it up. Except that in practice, it’s nearly impossible to do. The second you drop the 3-pronged claw down and it even brushes against anything, it closes and you have grabbed nothing at all. But you can put in another 50 cents and try again.

Thus far this morning, I have spent the equivalent of about $43.50 trying to grab not a toy, but an idea for today’s topic. Zilch.

Not that there’s a dearth of things to talk about, if I could just latch onto one. But every time I think I have one, the little mental claw just won’t grab it. I’ll get about two sentences written, then get impatient that I’m not saying it the way I want to say it, and I let the claw close and reach for another. I started to write, for example, about how writing is like baking a cake, and the problems with getting all the lumps out of the batter/story. It’s a good idea, and I quite probably will do that in the near future. Just not today.

One thing I always have to take into account before beginning any writing project is wondering if anyone at all might be even the slightest bit interested in the subject I’m thinking of addressing. Writers tend to have…well, this writer has…a strong element of egocentrism, which requires pausing before starting off on a writing venture to ask whether the reader will be as interested in the subject as the writer.

This sparked the possibility of doing a blog on how very much writers enjoy hearing from people who read their work, and encouraging anyone who might think about dropping him/her/me a line to do so. I’ve noted that for some strange reason, people seem to be intimidated by writers and hesitate to contact them—the all-too-common reason for not doing so being that “I’m just a reader.” Hearing or seeing this always drives me up the wall since, yet again, reaching out to readers—to you—is why writers write. But I set that blog idea aside because it smacked just a bit of pandering and desperation.

So I’ve ended up writing this straight off the top of my head, and feeling not a little guilty for not giving you something a bit more well thought out. But since I am usually able to find some small comfort in nearly everything, I console myself with the fact that the whole purpose of writing this blog in the first place is to invite you into my world, messy and disjointed as it too often is.

Novels require a certain discipline if they are to be to any degree coherent. Blogs, not needing to be as structured, often provide the reader glimpses into the writer as a person. I rather like to think/hope that in my blogs you may find a portrait of Dorien Grey.

Clean the Slate

~Dorien Grey


About Dorien Grey

If it is possible to have a split personality without being schizophrenic, Dorien Grey qualifies. When long-time book and magazine editor Roger Margason chose the pseudonym “Dorien Grey” for his first book, it set off a chain of circumstances which has led to the comfortable division of labor and responsibility. Roger has charge of day-to-day existence, freeing Dorien—with the help of Roger’s fingers—to write. It has reached the point where Roger merely sits back and reads the stories Dorien brings forth on the computer screen.

It’s not as though Roger has not had an uninteresting life of his own. Two years into college, he left to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program. Washing out after a year, he spent the rest of his brief military career on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean at the height of the cold war. The journal he kept of his time in the military, in the form of letters home, honed his writing skills and provided him with a wealth of experiences to draw from in his future writing. These letters will be appearing in book form shortly.

Returning to Northern Illinois University after service, he graduated with a B.A. in English, and embarked on a series of jobs which worked him into the editing field. While working for a Los Angeles publishing house, he was instrumental in establishing a division exclusively for the publication of gay paperbacks and magazines, of which he became editor. He moved on to edit a leading L.A. based international gay men’s magazine.

Tiring of earthquakes, brush fires, mud slides, and riots, he returned to the Midwest, where Dorien emerged, full-blown, like Venus from the sea. They’ve been inseparable (and interchangeable) ever since.

He . . . and Dorien of course…moved back to Chicago in 2006, where they now devote full time to writing. Author of the popular Dick Hardesty Mystery series, the Elliott Smith (paranormal) Mystery, the stand-alone western/romance/adventure novel, Calico, plus the non fiction A World Ago: A Navy Man’s Letters Home, 1954-1956; Short Circuits: A Life in Blogs, and a book of poems (Dreams of a Calico Mouse), Dorien is in the process of having all his books done as audiobooks.

But for a greater insight into the “”real person”” behind Dorien Grey, the curious are invited to check out his website (, which includes the first chapter of any or all of his books for free, and his various blogs: Dorien Grey and Me ( and A Life in Photos                 ( among them.

There is nothing Dorien loves more than hearing from a reader…or potential reader. If you’d like to contact him, just drop him a note at

Facebook (several “”pages”” there):


Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

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