TOUCHED BY FATE is now on shelves near you! #newrelease #pnr #romsus

Mike! MIKE! Do you know what day it is? IT’S RELEASE DAY!

(Actually, release day was Tuesday, but since life pretty much splattered like pigeon poop on a windshield, we’re doing release day today!)

That’s right! TOUCHED BY FATE, the second book in my PSY-IV Teams series is now available wherever you purchase your e-books! So if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, go (insert shooing motions with hands). Go get your copy and don’t miss Risia and Tag as they race through the less glamourous side of Vegas and espionage.

touchedbyfate_MIU

Now available in eBook format at:

MUSEIT UP / AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLEiBOOKS / KOBO / SCRIBD

TOUCHED BY FATE, PSY-IV Teams #2

Trusting him with her secrets is dangerous.

 As a specialized consultant for the Department of Defense, Risia Lacoste understands the bargaining chip of a well-kept secret. When her current assignment threatens to unearth her deeply buried skeletons, she’s forced into a high-stakes game of lies and loyalty where even her ability to foresee the future can’t predict the winner.

Trusting him with her heart could be fatal.

Darkness lies under the skin of every man, and PSY-IV Team operative and touch empath, Tag Gunderson, has the demons to prove it. Scarred by betrayal and disillusionment, he’s not Risia’s top pick for a partner in the game, but he’s all she’s got.

As the game draws them deeper into a pit of intrigue and their list of enemies grow, will Risia trust Tag with more than her secrets or will his demons destroy them both?

READ CHAPTER ONE

         Why, when you finally think you have your chosen path hammered out, Fate, the fickle bitch, always, I mean always, manages to knock you on your ass? Let’s just check out where my ass was currently. Hunched behind a mammoth RV, you know the kind, those massive houses on wheels that tend to flock southward every winter. Unfortunately, this particular one was perched in a parking lot, a stone’s throw from my lovely, air-conditioned condo in downtown Las Vegas. Not only was the baked asphalt burning said ass, but I was still struggling with watching another, very daring ass of the presumably male variety dangle off my top-floor balcony before dropping down to the one below it.

What the hell?

Maybe the July heat was playing tricks with my mind. Either that or last night’s ugly events had finally broken my tenuous hold on sanity. Yeah, let’s go with that one, because sanity and I had a very contentious relationship. One where it threatened to take a hike on a regular basis, while I tried to lure it back with lofty promises even I knew I wouldn’t keep.

Promises like I’d never question that gut-tugging sensation screaming warnings again. Because it normally meant things were about to take a very drastic downturn. Like coming home last night while riding high on the possibility of finally being done with my current assignment for Colonel Charlene Delacourt, the warning signs started their high pitched aria. I ignored them. Not smart. Nope. Instead, I walked right into my home, confident the building’s security wouldn’t allow for an ambush.

Arrogant, maybe. Careless, not usually. Distracted, definitely.

Stupid, never.

So last night, instead of being able to kick off my gorgeous lavender Jimmy Choo’s, I ended up sipping a Booker Noe neat trying to disguise my internal freak out of having been met by Lawrence Rawlings, the egomaniac behind Aether Industries and his hulking sidekick in my own (albeit rented) living room. And that wasn’t the end of it. It got better. Or worse, depending on your point of view.

Not only did Rawlings want me to endorse Aether’s upcoming contract with the Department of Defense, he wanted much more. And if he didn’t get what he wanted—namely me, and then his contract—he had no problems exploiting, what I had believed until he opened his mouth, a very well-hidden secret.

The DOD paid me good money to vet their civilian contracts, money which allowed my penchant for expensive footwear, a skyline view of the Vegas strip, and a closet full of indulgences. That same money kept my troublesome secrets six feet under. Secrets Rawlings shouldn’t have been able to unearth. But whoever he had digging up my past, dug deep.

So deep in fact, by the time Rawlings left with his smarmy smile and menacing shadow, I found myself between a rock and a hard place, wishing I had something a hell of a lot stronger than whiskey.

Mixing whiskey with nerves had triggered my desperate attempt at leveling the playing field. Which, in turn, led to my current position, crouched behind an RV watching someone spider-man his way out of my condo. It was such a death- defying stunt, even my lungs were stunned. And they didn’t remember to function until whoever that was dropped safely onto the balcony below mine. For a moment, all I could do was stare at where the whole surreal thing had happened, my very tired and battered brain trying to figure out the who and why, but coming up empty.

One thing was clear. Going home was not an option. Dammit.

Fate was having a hell of a good time at my expense.

Let’s tally her bill, shall we? A black eye, check. Bruised ribs, check. A bullet graze stinging across my shoulder, check. Nerves strung tight on exhaustion, double damn check.

Sweat trickled down my spine, and the muscles in my legs trembled. Not just from their uncomfortable position, but because for the last fourteen hours, I’d run more than I’d ever run in my life. Being blessed with a hyperactive metabolism, running was never really a consideration. Well, not until last night. And if things didn’t change soon, I’d be doing some more mad dashes trying to stay ahead of the rolling mounds of crap hurtling toward me.

What I should do is call Colonel Delacourt. Especially since it was mainly her fault I was in this mess to begin with. My job as the colonel’s information collector allowed me to play some very exciting, sometimes dangerous games. Most of the time, I didn’t mind. The adrenaline rush was almost as good as the paycheck, but this time the rush was fraying my nerves to tiny shreds.

Neither the DOD nor Delacourt could pay me enough to repair Rawlings’s damage to my nerves and my aching body. Initially, Rawlings garnered the DOD’s attention because his communications company had managed to find and solve a newly discovered weak spot in the government’s encrypted communications program. It wasn’t an overnight sensation. It took three years of work. For three years the DOD watched Rawlings and his Boyau Project. It wasn’t until Rawlings presented his project’s results and pointed out the DOD’s little problem, all the while requesting to put Aether’s prototypes with one of the many U.S. acronymned agencies, that the DOD decided to send me in to evaluate how accurate his claims were.

Then Delacourt, mistress of manipulation and guilt trips, called.

Seemed someone managed to hack into some very delicate files in some hush-hush agency, and were now preparing to market them to the highest bidder. For reasons known only to those above my pay grade, her interest turned to Rawlings and his new, nifty toy. Since my job just happened (yes, that was sarcasm you picked up there) to put me in the perfect spot, would I mind doing some digging for her? Stir in a subtle tablespoon of “you owe me” and a dash of guilt, and I teetered. Offering two paychecks for one job? Doable. So I tumbled right over the edge and agreed.

Maybe I should’ve thought it through a bit more, because right now, two paychecks wouldn’t come close to getting me out of this mess. But Delacourt had a team, a kick-ass team with unusual talents who could. Maybe. Problem was, a favor from Delacourt would be cashed in with interest sooner or later, and I was busy avoiding one particular team member as if he carried the plague. He didn’t. In fact, I kind of wish he did so he’d get the hell out of my head at the most inopportune times. Especially since I was pretty sure my preoccupation was one- sided.

Still, skulking in a parking lot in late afternoon in Vegas with dried blood and other things I really didn’t want to think about right now decorating my black cargos and T-shirt, stuck between a rock and hard place, calling Delacourt was quickly becoming my only viable option.

Armed with a new plan, tenuous though it was, I straightened, simultaneously wincing and groaning as my shoulder woke up. The too-close call with a bullet wasn’t going quietly into that good night. A lovely parting gift from my failed attempt to level the playing field. Failed as in, it tilted it decidedly out of my favor. I looked around preparing to move out, when life reached out and slapped me upside the head, because everything leading up to this wasn’t enough to crush me. The late-afternoon sun gained strength and seared across my retinas safely ensconced behind dark lenses. The world began to white out.

“Dammit, not now, please not now.” I slammed both palms against the RV, the metal burning my skin. My plea fell on deaf ears. The world wavered. Edges too bright. Shadows dancing in strange forms. Then the whispers started. See, told you sanity and I were not friends. Frustration and maybe a smidgen of fear rose, and I refused to listen, refused to see. My forehead joined my hands. Setting my waning patience, desperation, and anger against the sense of impending doom, I shoved against what waited. It backed off. The reprieve wouldn’t last long. Never did. And when it returned, it would bring reinforcements. Fun times.

My breathing was overly loud, but the sounds of voices and footsteps managed to get my attention. Trying not to aggravate the soft pounding in my skull, I slowly raised my head. At first, it was just a moving blob, then it became a small group of people exiting the condo and heading across the parking lot. As they took shape, something—no, someone—caught my attention. It took a moment for the image to register. And when it did, I didn’t know if I should jump for joy or just sit down and bawl.

At least I now knew who had been spider-manning from my balcony, and possibly courting a death wish.

Walking out the front doors, standing above the crowd of casually dressed businessmen was the last person I wanted to see, no matter how much he invaded my thoughts.

Thomas Anderson Gunderson. Tag.

Oh. My. God. Life really had a hard-on for me.

Have I scratched your interest enough to tempt you to get a copy? Good. Then go forth and get yours!

touchedbyfate_MIU

Now available in eBook format at:

MUSEIT UP / AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLEiBOOKS / KOBO / SCRIBD

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When Plans Go Awry… #writing #planning

My Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor is a wise man. Most of the time. One of the reasons he and I are who we are together is because we share opposite personality traits. I am a planner. He rides the waves. He’s very good at it. Right now, I wish I could emulate him and his ability to go with the flow, so I wouldn’t be clawing my way out of a hole of frustration.

An off-road traffic sign post over a clear blue sky showing an alternative direction - a clipping path is included to separate sign from sky.

Here’s the deal–I have…err…had a plan for my writing, one that is currently not happening the way I anticipated. This plan has nothing to do with sales or name recognition. This was a simple plan of production. I would get two books out per year. I’m not sure that will happen this year. In fact, my frustration with my plan veering off course has left me questioning some decisions. But that is not the true point of this post.

The actual point is: it doesn’t matter how good your plans are because the only thing you can do is your part, the rest isn’t up to you.

Are you clutching your stomach or hair right now? Yep, so am I.

I managed to get the second and third PSY-IV Team books in to my lovely publisher by my self-imposed deadline to ensure I maintained a 2 book per year release schedule. However, due to things outside of my control and ever chaotic world of publishing, that’s not happening. It’s heartbreaking and stressful, to the extent there’s been this little gray cloud hovering over me for months, and dammit, I’m tired of carrying an umbrella. So I’ve come to the painful decision to step back and let things happen as they will. It isn’t easy for me, because as I mentioned earlier, I HAVE A PLAN DAMMIT. Unfortunately my plan is obviously not what Someone Else has in store for me.

Instead I have chosen to focus on the newest project and keep moving forward. This includes the upcoming serial venture with my fellow word warriors, Camille Douglass and Dave Bennemen, for CONJURING MISERY in April, completing the newest book so it may go forth into the wild world of agents and editors, and then it will be on to Cheveyo’s story for the fifth installment of the Kyn, which is still penciled in for a 2017 release. The two PSY-IV Teams will be coming, just not as soon as I had hoped. However, I will keep you posted on release dates as they are determined.

If you’re struggling with plans gone awry, I feel your pain, but unlike my Knight who can glide through the rough waters with ease, I can only offer my deepest empathy and this: you can only do what you can do, the rest will come as it will. Have faith!

What Do You See in the Ruins? #writerinspiration #photography #ruins

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a very visual person. So much so, in fact, that my previous writing group, lovingly pointed out that I tended to ignore the other senses available to my characters. To this day, it’s something that lingers in the back of my mind as I’m furiously writing my scenes.

Every writer goes about inspiration differently, but I have two major art forms that I use–music and images. Don’t believe me? Check out my Pinterest stuff. I’ve got images and music for almost every major player in my series. Both form resonate with me, always have and probably always will. I could offer a bunch of reasons (I grew up playing five different instruments, my first college degree was in photo-journalism and hiding behind a lens means you don’t have to adult and talk to people) but what it boils down to is that either form will bring my imagination to life.

Music is the easier one for me to fine most times. Granted the music doubles as a muffler while the males in my household dominate the electronic gaming arenas, but it also serves as a soundtrack to over-riding emotions of whatever scene I’m in.  Fight scenes get fast tempos, heavy base, and sharp notes. Emotional scenes rely on melodic chords of strings. And the sex scenes–well depending on what’s happening you can get anything from driving club music to intense orchestral soundtrack type montages, if you dare to sneak a peek. My writing play lists can go from light and happy to disturbingly dark, much like my writing.

But images, those are harder. When I write I tend to visualize an entire scene and replay it, frame by frame. When something causes my fingers to stumble, I’ll rewind, adjust, and hit replay. Again and again until it’s right–in my head and on the page. But it’s when I delve into research that images really come in to play.

Ancient ruins

Let’s take the current book I’m working on. It’s set after the world has gone to hell and humanity is barely hanging on, civilization as we currently know it, is a glorious history. Besides the in-depth research on economic impacts on society, climate changes wreaking havoc on the familiar, how fast viral diseases can sweep through a dense population leaving devastation in its wake, the emotional impact of surviving to live, what happens when the lifeblood behind our electronics is severely limited, I found myself on the hunt for what the world would look like. The buildings, the cities, the outlying areas, everything we take for granted now.

During this exploration I ran across a stunning collection of 24-year old photographer from Ohio, Johnny Joo (pronounced ‘Yo’ per his website). I spent a few years behind a lens, not anywhere near what a true photo-journalist or photographer has dedicated to the art, but enough to appreciate the talent these individuals have. Johnny specializes in what’s called urban exploration–basically he’s the Indiana Jones for urban decay. You can read all about him at his awesome blog at Architectural Afterlife.

The reason I mention Johnny is because I’ve been on the hunt for images that will breath life into my setting, and in his photos I’ve found it. When I stumbled across his blog, I spent hours (literally) going through his galleries, taking in the juxtaposition of clinging vines twisting through the remains of hospital, or the eerie living room that looks as if its owner stepped out for groceries in 1970 and just hasn’t come back. While his architectural photos were just what my writer’s mind needed, his nature portfolio was just as stunning. Not only is his talent obvious, but there is a heart there too. If you love sunflowers, you need to check out his Nature gallery under Summer, and if you decide to take some sunflowers home, know that he donates the proceeds to a beautiful cause that he details in his gallery.

I would love to share his pictures here, but I think it’s better experienced on his blog, so go there: Architectural Afterlife.

By the way, I found out this fascination with abandoned places is called Ruin Porn. The term made me giggle, but it’s fairly accurate. There is something compelling about these images of the familiar left abandoned. It’s as you can see the history and the future in one perfect moment. All the intents of the initial creation are there in the original bones, yet the truth of what lies ahead holds you in morbid fascination, leaving you unable to look away or not wonder on the what ifs. Ruin porn is a good way to describe it.

Johnny’s not the only one who documents such sites, there’s also Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre who have a fabulous series on Detroit and abandoned theaters. Well worth checking out.

Step into the Shadows with Print combo of #KynKronicles #uf #pnr

For those bibliophiles who need to conserve shelf space, I present:

THE KYN KRONICLES: BOOKS 1-4 

Now available in PRINT only!

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 “… a well written, realistic story which made me forget that I wasn’t reading a classic thriller or spy novel. Suspense and plot twists saturate every page.” –Carole Avila, author of Eve’s Amulet, Goodreads review (4/5 stars)

…fantastic paranormal action novel is quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year. I could not put it down, and had to exercise serious self-control to keep from staying up all night to finish it.” –Victoria Lane, Reviewer for The Romance Reviews (5/5 stars)

…a great work of the Paranormal Romance genre. Jami Gray has no trouble weaving an enticing cast of characters and a whole different world.” –Chrissie, Amazon Reviewer (4/5 stars)

…so incredibly well-written that the world and the characters seem to come to life before your very eyes.” –Crystal, Amazon Reviewer (4/5 stars)

Shadow’s Moon is an excellent addition to the Kyn Kronicles series. Gray is really coming into her own…I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. It held my interest from beginning to end.” – Taylor Jones, Black Opal Reviewer

“Shadow’s Moon is riveting. I was caught up in it from the very first word, and I simply could not put it down. I read right through to the end, finishing at 4 in the morning. I can’t wait for the next one in the series. Gray has turned into a first class author of paranormal thrillers.” – Regan Murphy, Black Opal Reviewer

THE KYN KRONICLES: BOOKS 1-4

Available in Print only!

SHADOW’S EDGE, Book 1

When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.

As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.

SHADOW’S SOUL, Book 2

A simple assignment turns into a nightmare when Raine McCord follows Cheveyo to the Southwest on a consulting gig. When the most feared beings of the Kyn kidnaps Cheveyo and leaves Raine for dead, her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand.  

Unraveling the Southwest Kyn’s web of secrets and hidden vendettas will either bring them together or tear them apart forever.

SHADOW’S MOON, Book 3

Tracker, Xander Cade, confronts an enraged Shifter in a crowded human nightclub, fraying the thin secrecy shielding the supernatural community from public scrutiny. Danger stalks the pack and she must protect her alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis, even if he doesn’t want it.

If they don’t find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond they risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.

SHADOW’S CURSE, Book 4

After tragedy strikes the Northwest Kyn, leaving the houses in chaos and the Wraiths hungry for blood, the fallout threatens Natasha Bertoi’s carefully laid plans. When the Council sends Darius Abazi, the one man guaranteed to skew the odds, she faces her toughest opponent yet.

As death stalks the Northwest Kyn, can Natasha trust Darius, a man well versed in subterfuge, to uncover the truth before treachery destroys them all? 

If that’s not enough to keep you snared in the shadows, don’t miss out on TANGLED IN SHADOWS, a Kyn Kronicles short-story collection 

Tangled In Shadows

Now available in ebook/Print at:  AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLE / KOBO / SMASHWORDS / iBOOKS

 

Jami Gray Small

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. Her latest release, SHADOW’S MOON  was a Golden Claddaugh Finalist, and the first in her newest series, HUNTED BY THE PAST, hits shelves in July 2014. She is surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and a male lab, who masquerades as a floor rug as she plays with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads  /  Google+  /  Amazon

 

Getting Out of My Own Way–Sabotaging Your Creativity #writing #creating

Sabatoge

A couple weeks back as I began to really work on my newest book project, I found myself struggling to get the story on the page. It’s not a new challenge, hell, it’s not even unexpected. Every time I start a new book, I spend the first few weeks stumbling around, bouncing off of weak character motivations, lame plot devices, boring world setting, or any number of things. It’s gotten to a point I expect a rough start to any book. The problem this time? I honestly thought I’d bypass all this gut-wrenching, stress-inducing madness since I actually plotted the series and the world. (See previous post at end of January)

But nope, all that planning was great. For the series arc. For the actual first book? Not so much. In the end, do you know what I realized? While the series has a fascinating, comprehensive plot arc, filled with all my twisty turny things I like to do, the first book was lacking a….

PLOT.

*hanging head* I know, I know. How on earth does this happen, you ask? My answer: I was too focused on the big picture to realize the first book was too general, more of a hastily sketched picture versus a detailed collection of lines. And this realization didn’t hit me until after I spent days struggling with the following:

  • My Hero had no reason to give a damn about anything happening around him. There was nothing for him to be vested in.
  • My Heroine needed a reason to be in the picture at the same time as our Hero, so they can do what they do best and takes us for a heart-pounding journey.
  • My world was leaning too far into the weeds of details. Details readers don’t really want, but as the author I needed, just not in my actual pages going before readers.
  • My world details were so precise they were becoming bigger than the story, which meant I was getting frustrated because I could barely get my characters across a scene without wanting to scream.

Frustrated, heart-broken, and worried I’d made a huge mistake taking this story idea on, I whined to sought out my fellow writer and bestie for help. In fact, I was so inside my head, I came up with a completely different story idea and got all excited about it, claiming it would be my next project.

And like the true friend and writer she is, after kicking my ass around, she (with all the love in her heart) told me, “This new idea? Yeah, no, change the names, change the setting, and it’s just like your other series. Stop being a scaredy-cat and get back to your project.”

Oh the agony, and the resulting shame because she was spot on. Seems when I’m cornered creatively I revert back to what I consider “safe”, and that’s a big no-no for me. With every book, every series I create, I try to stretch my skills, try things that scare the ever-living crap out of me. This new series is no different. There is no paranormal or magic to fall back on and the world is harsh and brutal, but exactly what the story must have to be.

I swallowed back a couple of whimpers, then pulled up my big girl panties and went back to work. Strangely, as if her reality slap had knocked my creative problem solving out of the rut and I got out of my own way, the first book’s plot came together and my initial excitement for the series returned with it.

So my lesson for the week: When fear and self-doubts start to shove you around, step back and out of your own way. Don’t worry about trying something new and failing, because that tumble will show what not to do next time. Get back up, knock the dust and mud off, and look around. You might discover a new path or two to take. You never know what’s waiting down the road.

 

Taking a Chance is Worth it, right? #amwriting #newproject

*brushing off the cracker crumbs and washing out the wine glass* Now that I’ve finished with my pity party, time to get to work. As I wait for official release dates from my publisher for the PSY-IV Team’s TOUCHED BY FATE and MARKED BY OBSESSION, I prepare to embark upon a new project and take a chance on something new.

Risk-taking-quotes

Funny thing about writers, we have TONS of stories floating around in our heads. Now some of us are completely enthralled by one, overwhelming world and can craft book after book in our universe. Others tend to juggle multiple realities, twining their readers into whichever realm they love best. Whether we write stand alone titles, single series, or multiple series, stories are continually luring us astray with their siren songs of inspiration.

As much as I love both my Kyn world and my PSY-IV Team world, there is a third cast of characters persistently trying to gain my attention (and, if I’m completely honest, a fourth, but I digress). I’ve managed to put it off for the last couple of years, determined to meet the demands of Raine and company or Delacourt’s team, but now I find myself needing the challenge of creating a third series.

I can hear you asking me why would I do this to myself?

Well, because…

Because, as a writer, my goal is to tell the best story ever. To do that, I have to continually challenge myself and my skills. Can’t break new ground if I don’t explore, right? This is part of exploring–my abilities and my imagination.

The Kyn Kronicles were born because I wanted to write, and I had a great idea for a kick-ass heroine and world full of magic. Viola-SHADOW’S EDGE and SHADOW’S SOUL were written. Yet, when I sat down to write SHADOW’S MOON, I knew it was time to kick things up a notch, so I decided to change which character the book focused on. Mainly because Xander and Warrick’s story was vital to the overall arc, and because Raine and Gavin deserved some semi-stress free happy alone time. It was heavier on the romance than the first two, but it needed to be. SHADOW’S CURSE sank vicious talons into my psyche and refused to let go. It caused a great amount of arguments because writing Natasha’s story wasn’t easy. She was a character readers loved to hate, but our Demon Queen was much more than a manipulative beauty–there were reasons to her madness. Even more shocking was how intertwined Mulcahy’s story was with hers, and where things went.

The PSY-IV Teams came together because of my love of Romantic Suspense and the paranormal. Oh, and the fact I wanted to give writing in first person point of view a shot. I nixed the concept of magic and replaced it with paranormal abilities. Stir in the personality types that step up to protect others and you find yourself immersed in some serious character motivation and conflict. This cast, from Cyn and Kayden, to Tag and Risia, and Wolf and Meli, they have no qualms dragging me over hell and back, touching on uncomfortable realities, and emerging on the other side, scarred and strong.

I’ve spent five years weaving magic, mystery, suspense, paranormal, and romance. I’ve loved every single minute of it, but like everything, change is inevitable. Hence the desire to take on a new project. This time my challenge is a bit different, there’s still intrigue, blood, love, emotional upheaval, political machinations, murder, betrayal, and love, but it’s all set in a very different reality than what I’ve explored so far, and there is no magic or paranormal abilities to be found.

For the next few months, I’ll craft this story, hone it, and hopefully, come early summer, begin to peddle it out to agents and publishers. A scary endeavor, but a necessary one for any writer because every new project we do, is like stepping off the edge of the Grand Canyon–frightening, heart-pounding, and damn near fatally exciting. We may crash and burn, or light up the sky in a brilliant display, either way, we tried!

 

The Reality of Starving for your Art #writing #survivablewage

i-never-wrote-for-money-warren-adler-

You want to be a writer, and you want to earn a living, so you’re going to spend the next year or so creating your pièce de résistance and set it loose on the world. After many hues and cries at the marvelous beauty of your work, you shall then move to Paris (or insert your country of choice) to a lovely little artist studio and begin your life as an Artiste. For this is your dream.

Ready for a reality check? If not, stop reading now, because this is going to hurt.

First, huge congrats on getting a single book completed and out, regardless of publishing route you’ve chosen. Not everyone can claim such accomplishments.

Second, before you dash off on your trans-continental journey, you may want to start the second book, and perhaps make plans for your third title as well.

Third, whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP YOUR DAY JOB. Not yet, and (brace yourself) probably not for many, many years to come.

Short of being a miraculous outlier, your first, and most likely, fifth and maybe sixth book are NOT going to earn you enough to keep both a roof over your head and food on the table. They might keep you in coffee, though.

Yes, there are those who’ve managed to snag their brilliant star and be dragged in the glorious trail of rocketing to the top from the get-go, but they are very, very, very, very few and far between.

Let me share a couple of statistics, because as much as my relationship with numbers is “complicated”, those digits are hard to argue with…

There’s an article by Author Earnings that did an in-depth study from Feb. 2014 – Sept. 2015 regarding author earnings (CLICK HERE) that provides some interesting insight. They started their study with 200,000 authors and close to a million different titles and their data collection program was only able to capture between 35% – 50% of all ebook sales at the time of the snapshot. (Bare with me, I just want to put this perspective.) In order to maintain an accurate study on long-term sales, they pulled out what they called “one-hit wonders” or “i.e. authors whose author earnings from Amazon-bestseller-listed Kindle ebooks were not above a $10,000/year run rate in at least 2 different quarterly snapshots out of our 7.” Do you know what that 200,000 author number dropped to?

Any guesses?

Yep, 5,643 authors were left, a bare 2.8% of the original pool of candidates. These are the success stories because they earn at least $10,000 per year. No, I didn’t leave out any zeros. That’s $833.33 per month, $192.30 per week, $27.40 per day.

Granted, this is barely scratching the surface of author earnings, because this just looked at Kindle and Amazon, not across the board (iBooks, Smashwords, etc.), but if you’re hoping to make writing commercial fiction your “day job” or what most of my writer friends call, “the job that pays the bills”, you’re in for a challenging journey. I wish you all the luck.

And that’s not the only challenge you’ll face. A recent article (The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead) from The New York Times, tried to paint an even more grim picture on ebooks. Let me tell you a secret, they’re a bit lost, since they’re looking at traditionally published authors who are charging $14 for an ebook. (I know, stop laughing so hard, no one can hear over your guffaws.) What this article can provide, is insight into the highly competitive world you’re about to dive into, and maybe serve as a warning to figure out how you’ll rise above the tide of incoming writers. You need to set yourself apart–have a unique, strong voice, compelling characters, and create a compelling world readers crave to visit.

Even more of an eye-opener, I can think of at least five NY Times best-selling writers that still have a day-job because (gasp) their fabulous books don’t make enough to keep their families. Advances or royalties, it will take a lot of shiny to keep you in the life you’d like to be accustomed to.

For those who follow my posts, you know earlier this year I was laid-off my 18 year “job that pays the bills”. For the last eight months, I’ve focused (when not submitting resumes for “day jobs”) on my writing. It has been both rewarding and discouraging, and I can attest the journey is daunting. There is no doubt, if you decide to publish any piece by yourself, your job just gained teeth. After putting out my collection of short stories independently, I’ve got the bite marks to prove it.

Thankfully, I recently accepted a new “job that pays the bills”, so my writing can continue to be a way to feed my artistic soul, and not carry the extra burden of supplying shelter and nourishment. Still, I wouldn’t change the past months for anything. While it allowed me a chance to see if I could make my writing take the place of my “day job”, it also taught me that yes, with a lot (we’re talking a couple of years) of dedicated work, it probably could. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of years, months was pushing it. It did cement my leaning to stay a hybrid author, to split my writings between small publishers, myself, and eventually larger publishers. Whatever avenue works, I’ll be trudging alongside my project.

I haven’t shared this information to discourage you, but to help shine the light of reality on your dream. That glitter you see on the edges, those are yours to gain, but it’s going to take, and work. LOTS and LOTS of work. If you’re in this for cash, babe, you’re in the wrong art. If you’re in it to share those voice in your head, welcome to the word-filled battlefield, we can always use another warrior.

Fight on!

What’s the Plan Stan–Cover Reveal of Upcoming release and news #newreleases #UF

Hey my loyal followers, I have a new release coming September 22nd, a collection of Kyn short stories called TANGLED IN SHADOWS and it’s available for PRE ORDER. Even better? It’s only 99 cents! It contains three new stories, plus the previously release WRAPPED IN SHADOWS that was part of the THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS anthology. Curious? Good, may I present:

TANGLED IN SHADOWS

Tangled In Shadows

In a world of intrigue and shadows, tangling with the monsters can leave its mark…

Step into the world of Jami Gray’s Kyn with this collection of short stories, and discover why readers are disappearing into this exciting, Urban Fantasy series.

Wrapped In Shadows, .5 (previously published in Things That Go Bump For The Holidays)

The magic of the holiday season can be hell…

Elite Kyn, Gavin Durand and Raine McCord, are called in to investigate the aftermath of a Christmas engagement party gone horrifically wrong, only to face an unexpected gift.

Submerged in Shadows, 1.5

Treasures from the deep come in all shapes and sizes…

Forced on an unwanted vacation, Raine soon discovers that boredom is the least of her worries when danger washes ashore, bringing unexpected complications. 

Masked by Shadows, 2.5

Nothing is ever easy…

For Gavin and Raine the job is simple, deliver a package to an interested party in New Orleans. Yet even the easiest job can mask unexpected challenges.

Ensnared by Shadows, 3.5

Deception leaves a tangled web…

Ryuu Kern, Motoki Pack’s Second, is no stranger to sticky situations, but when delectable Division Agent, Iliana Krychek, comes to him for help, it will take more than claws and teeth to untangle a deadly web of deceit.

Available for PRE ORDER at all of the following:

AMAZON    SMASHWORDS    BARNES AND NOBLE     KOBO     iBOOKS      GOOGLE PLAY

Plus, just in time for the holidays, the first four Kyn novels will be available in one volume. Yep, all four books in one. Promise to share cover and info once it’s all finalized.

However, this isn’t the end of my news. For those who love my PSY-IV Teams, the second book, TOUCHED BY FATE is currently in midst of edits and should hit shelves in early 2016. I’m currently in the midst of the third book. MARKED BY OBSESSION and hope to hand my precious bundle over to my editors near the beginning of the year. Fingers crossed we get a late 2016 release date. So 2015 will be the year of the Kyn and 2016 year of the PSY-IV Teams.

I must give a huge shout out to all the fabulous authors who came and kept my blog site from collecting cobwebs over the summer. If you missed any of the posts, feel free to go back and check them all out. We had some really great books come through our humble abode.

All right, my Muse is flicking her whip impatiently, so I must return to wordsmithing. Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Need an Editor? Need Two? Check Out Wicked Dragon Solutions #editing #editors #WickedDragon

If you’ve been following me for the last month, you’ll remember how my corporate road came to an abrupt end last month. While it may not sound like something to celebrate, it did provide me an opportunity to strike on and blaze my own professional trail. I’m not one to sit around, so I partnered up with my co-conspirator, Amber Kallyn, and we began planning our latest adventure.

On April 1st (no, not an April Fool’s joke), we will be opening our virtual doors to our writer friends and ushering them inside Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions, where you can get two editing beasts for one smoking price! 
WD JPEG

 

Between Amber and I, we have 13 hard-won years of word crafting experience, not just in published work, but in editing for other authors. While we’ve been doing this without gathering our fees, we decided it was time to put our pens to work for us. We know how vital editors are to Creators of the Written Word, and what’s better than one editor? How about two editors putting their eyes to the jewlers loop to examine your precious treasure, and you’ll only be out the gold for the price of one. Think of it as an Editorial BOGO (buy-one-get-one-free).

Feel free to come on over and check us over at Wicked Dragon Writer Solutions (www.wickeddragonsolutions.com)! Doors officially open April 1st, but if you’re anxious to start your epic journey, feel free to reach out to wickeddragonsolutions@gmail.com and we’ll get you set for your editing adventure.

 

What’s your Pink Elephant? #writing #writingtells

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Are you scratching your head yet? Good. In a recent discuss with my fellow writing geeks, it was brought to my attention that I have a unique tell in my writing. If I submitted a story, so long as this was part of it, they would go, “Ah-ha! This is Jami’s piece.”  Further ribbing discussion revealed I wasn’t the only one with this little habit. Oh no, we managed to pinpoint a unique fingerprint in each story. I have decided to name this phenomena, the Pink Elephant.

The Pink Elephant can be a person, place or thing, or even phrase. (Yes, I realize this is not a game of Charades). Mine can be traced back to my obsession with HGTV and the Property Brothers. You see, in every book, someone, somewhere owns a *drumroll please* Flat screen TV. Not some measly little thirty two inch either. Oh no, we go for the gusto. It’s always a “large” flat screen TV. Because being able to see the on screen action from any room is a must.

When this was first pointed out, I came back with, “No I don’t.” because my inner five year old just couldn’t believe it. Sure enough, it was proven time and time again. And because the competitive curious spirit moved me, I  discovered my fellow word slinger tended to express his love of all things related to the big, shiny, red apple, in his stories by peppering  i this and i that with flagrant abandon.

Hmmm, coincidence? Perhaps but let’s move on to our next contestant…why lookie here, her love of all things plush has created Pink Elephants of overstuffed couches. No room is complete without the luxury of being able to sink into a couch cushion. Her characters tooshies must be supported by many layers of fluffiness. Uh…

And our find contender, what was her Pink Elephant? It wasn’t hard to identify, not at all. Right before her heroine headed off to face down the big baddies of the world, she’d ensure to fuel up first with a nice homemade meal. Feeling a little discouraged you couldn’t fight off that soul sucking demon without losing a sidekick? Have a nice cupcake, it’ll make you feel better. Still hungry? There’s a nice hand tossed salad in the fridge, help yourself while I get rid of this pesky ghost.

Now that you, too, can identify Pink Elephants, what’s yours?