Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest author Jami Gray & Giveaway

Please welcome urban fantasy author Jami Gray to the blog today : )

The path not taken...

As a writer you are constantly bombarded with advice on how to improve your writing skills.  There is so much out there that sometimes it sweeps across your radar with only a soft ping buried among all the other great ideas pinging their little hearts out.  Yet every now and again that little noise turns into a blaring teeth jarring alarm.  I had one of those a few weeks ago.
My current work in progress (WIP) is Shadow’s Moon, is the third installment of the Kyn Kronicles.  Unlike my first two books where we tag along with Raine McCord and Gavin Durand, this time we’re leaving those two alone for a little bonding time and sticking with Xander Cade and Warrick Vidis.  I did not expect this particular couple to be such tough customers.  I’ve spent enough time with Raine and Gavin to understand they can be downright brutal, but quirky Xander and quietly dangerous Warrick are turning out to be as frustrating as a Rubik’s Cube. (Yes, I know how dated that makes me!)
A few weeks ago I was stuck on a scene.  For those who write, it was one of those scenes which appeared great on paper, but just wasn’t …right.  I walked away from my computer screen, drank some coffee, cleaned out a file cabinet, drank more coffee, helped my youngest create another world dominating weapon from duct tape, came back and stared at the screen some more.  Nothing.  I was stuck.  So being the diligent writer I am I headed out to the writer chat loops where others could kick my butt back in action.
Wandering about, I stumbled upon a conversation about being true to your characters and their world. Opinions were expressed, advice dispensed, an examples of all kinds were held up for evisceration.  When I finally managed to find my way back, my mind was busy whirling away and sliding all those pings into their proper places. 
It wasn’t until the next day when I was once again in front of my screen that I realized why my scene wasn’t working.  Let me share my simplistic eureka moment.
Let me set the scene:  A rogue werewolf heads into a human nightclub to confront his human ex-girlfriend while our heroine, Xander, is tracking his furry butt down to make sure he doesn’t clue in the humans that the wild and furry exist.  Rogue boy looks up, sees Xander and…
This was our initial continuation of the scene:  Rogue boy bolts for the exit door leading to the alley. Xander follows him out, blocks the door to make sure no one drops in unannounced to their little “discussion”.  A fight ensues, no humans involved.
Umm…yeah…let’s be honest here.  If you have a ticked off werewolf in a human club, I think the last thing he’s going to do is politely hold open the exit door and do the “Shall we take this outside?” routine.
All those pings from my little foray into the chat rooms came to brain piercing attention.  My Muse whapped me across the head and informed me, “That no damn werewolf would ever be that polite. Stop being a wuss and write it right!”
I don’t argue with my Muse, not if I want to keep breathing.  I bent to my task and violá, the new and improved scene: Rogue boy sees Xander and proceeds to throw a temper tantrum, littering the club with various body parts of the security guards before Xander can push through the now screaming, hysterical mob of the club.  Plus by the time the fight’s over with, the cops are on their way and that thin veil of secrecy hiding the monsters in our midst…yeah, it’s in shreds. 
However, the best part of this whole experience was discovering the twists and turns with my characters. As scary as it can be as a writer, you have to stay true to your world and characters. Every decision, every action causes another link in your story to appear.  So next time a scene just isn’t clicking, be real with your characters and make sure their decisions and actions are what would really happen, regardless of how many tangles they’ll make of your story.  You might be surprised at what you find once you untangle those lines.
Shadow’s Edge: Book 1 of the Kyn Kronicles and Shadow’s Soul: Book 2 of the Kyn Kronicles are available now in paperback and ebook format.

Shadow’s Edge: Bk 1 of Kyn Kronicles
Black Opal Books      Amazon     Nook     ARe
Shadow’s Soul:Bk 2 of the Kyn Kronicles
Black Opal Books      Amazon     Nook     ARe
Blurb for Shadow’s Soul:
Some nightmares are born of love…
Raine McCord has no problem taking down the monsters of the world, it’s one of the reasons she’s so good at her job.  So playing bodyguard to Cheveyo, head Magi of the Northwest, as he consults with the Southwest Kyn should be an easy assignment. Unfortunately, simple task turns into a nightmare when Cheveyo is kidnapped and Raine is left for dead by one of the Kyn’s most feared beings, a Soul Stealer.
The Stealer’s attack leaves lasting wounds, undermining Raine’s confidence as a warrior and damaging her unruly magic. Her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand.  Compelled to face the emotions raging between them, they must embrace not only their stormy relationship but their evolving magic to escape the twisted threads of murder and betrayal to find Cheveyo.
As Raine and Gavin come together and begin to unravel the complex web of secrets and hidden vendettas haunting the Southwest Kyn, they discover unsettling new truths that threaten their very existence.

Growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater.  Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where  she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab.  Writing is what saves her sanity.


The Prize: a $10 Amazon gift card, to be chosen by next Sunday!

In the comments, please say hi, and tell us what your favorite supernatural creature is.
Don't forget to leave your email address so you can be contacted if you win :)


  1. Please say that Angels count as Supernatural creatures. I find them absolutely fascinating.


  2. Morning, Marybelle! They so do, I figure anyone with wings gets an automatic "in" for the paranormal community.

    Huge thanks to the absolutely fabulous Amber Kallyn for hosting me today!

    Question for all: what's the most memorable "let's stretch our reader's believability boundaries" situation you've come across?

  3. I still love me a Werewolf best (but he only just pips Vampires to the post). Mind you, like Marybelle, I do admire an Angel or Demon 'cos of the wings :D

  4. Welcome Jami,
    Thanks for stopping by :)

    I could never choose my top favorite, Angels, demons, vamps or shifters. I love them all ;)

  5. I have multiple favs...werewolves or wereleopards top the list, then on to demons,and anything Fey!

  6. Hiya Jami :)

    i love Vampires above all..

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  7. Vampires are my favorite paranormal creatures. I like the funny ones, the scary ones, all of them! Though shapeshifters are also interesting. There are so many kinds.