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

Crazy Busy = Upcoming MIA Blog Posts

(in best speaksey voice, complete with wiggly eyebrows) Regarding those upcoming blog posts, yeah? Wells, here’s the scoop.

I have this great day job with a local provider of higher education and this is the time of year when multiple graduations devour students and their time. As one of those administrative persons who assist said students, it is also that time of the year when my time is gobbled up by panicked students facing various final projects. As I am there to help talk them off the ledge, my next couple of weeks will be dedicated to their graduation success, therefore blog posts and personal writing time will be set aside.

This is not all bad. In fact, next week will see Chapter 4 of Conjuring Misery, the joint endeavor of myself, Camille Douglass, and Dave Benneman. So be sure to tune in next Thursday for that delicious indulgence of magical fantasy.

And then there are the following exciting upcoming events

  • The highly anticipated release of TOUCHED BY FATE, the second PSY-IV Teams book on 5/24/16 (go forth, pre-order your copy!).
  • Hang on because I’ve finally gone for it—jamigray.com will be getting a make-over. Yes, indeedy, we are sprucing up the place and adding a little polish. I’ll try to give you a date when I get one. This time, it’s not me behind the changes, but the talented staff of Hot Damn Designs and their fearless leader, Kim Killion, who are coming to my rescue.
  • I’ve joined forces with Goodreads and set up a giveaway of 3 autographed print copies of HUNTED BY THE PAST, to celebrate TOUCHED’s release! Go forth and throw your name in the hat!

So while I may miss a post here and there to the everyday chaos, I do promise things are happening!

TOUCHED BY FATE is hitting shelves soon! #PNR #newrelease

Coming MAY 24th from MuseIt Up Publishing…TOUCHED BY FATE, the second installment of the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series of the PSY-IV Teams. Pre-order your copy for $2.99 while it’s hot!
touchedbyfate_mid

Trusting him with her secrets is dangerous.  Trusting him with her heart could be fatal.

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.

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 grows, will Risia trust Tag with more than her secrets or will his demons destroy them both?

Available for pre-order at:  MUSEITUP Publishing

READ AN EXCERPT

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.

Now available for pre-order at: MUSEITUP Publishing

 

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. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

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

 

Herding Cats #planning #writergoals

Did you enjoy Conjuring Misery? Don’t miss out on Chapter 2 when in rides into town on a weary steed next week. Until then, time for an update and reasons why I’ve been quiet and shall continue to be quiet this year. Let’s be honest, juggling the writing, family and work things takes concentration.

herding-cats

I’m still scribbling away on the newest project in a mad attempt to be ready to offer my humble writings to agents and editors in summer.

The cover art request is off to the cover artist for Touched by Fate, the second installment of PSY-IV Teams. I promise to share once it’s done. Hopefully this means a release date is imminent as well.

The next item on my To-Do list is revamp my website. I’m excited about this, but I don’t have a set month when this will happen because, well, life seems to eschew schedules lately.

I’ll be roaming the halls of the Romance Writers of America’s convention in San Diego in July. I hope to see some of you there!

Continual installments every two weeks of Conjuring Misery, as the trio of contributors have committed to keeping to the timeline on threat of painful torture involving peanut butter and a wild pack of Labrador Retrievers. (Don’t let the big puppy eyes fool you, they are vicious lick monsters!)

Once I return home I’ll begin the next writing project, which will be… (drum roll, please!) the fifth Kyn book tentatively titled, Shadow’s Dreams. Remember, tentatively means I get to change my mind any time prior to publication. For those curious minds, I will confirm that this is Cheveyo’s story. He’s gotten quite impatient with me, so before he turns me into a gila monster, I must acquiesce to his demands. This gives those of you who may be behind in reading the series a chance to catch up. I’m aiming for an early 2017 release date, but that all depends on a whole metric ton of other factors, as we found out with the delay of Touched’s release.

So stay tuned for Touched by Fate’s cover and hopefully release date. I’m thinking of doing a Goodreads giveaway of the print version on Hunted by the Past to help spread the word once Touched by Fate is ready to go. If the writing fates smile upon us, we may yet get PSY-IV Teams third title, Marked by Obsession, out by end of year as well. Fingers crossed!

Hope everyone is gearing up for the summer and has reloaded their To Be Read (TBR) lists!

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.

A Life Truly Lived #teacher #writer #friend

I’m veering into the personal with today’s post. Earlier this week I found out that a dear friend passed away unexpectedly, and while my heart breaks for his family, I’m still reeling from the news. Death is not a stranger, I wish I could say it was, but it has dropped by with uncomfortable regularity in the last few years. This time, when it departed, it took with it a life well lived.

Bob

Bob Hamm had two unending passions: his wife and three girls, and education.

If you knew him, you were left in no doubt of his love for his wife of 37 years and his three beautiful girls. He was a beaming poppa every time his girls conquered another challenge or captured a goal. He was an unending well of optimism and quick to share a laugh. He was someone I could talk endlessly with about story structure and English grammar, and not ever worry that his attention would wander. I did have to keep my use of exclamation marks in check, and was always careful to double, and triple, check comma placement or verify the correct verb tense usage.

The man was the epitome of a teacher. Not just because he taught high school English in such a way that it left lasting impressions (we’re talking years and years later impressions) on the minds under his tutelage, but because he believed in forever being a student of the world we live in. He traveled the globe, he picked up pieces of art that spoke to him and lovingly collected maps that told our history in lines and wiggles (at least to my untrained eye). He recently shared that love in his book, “Becoming Oregon”. In his downtime he played in the earth, intent on nurturing Mother Nature’s leafy children, was an avid environmentalist, and remained an untiring champion of education.

While Bob and I met through work, it wasn’t long before I counted him as a friend. Even though my heart breaks at his departure, I treasure the example he unknowingly set of living a life well lived, and loving every minute of it. While it is always difficult to say good-bye to those who leave such lasting impressions, it is our responsibility to share their legacy.

Our loss is heaven’s gain.

Until the next journey, Bob.

–Jami

Cutting the Cord #budgeting #writerslife #tv

I can remember the joy of watching a TV that weighed as much as a Mini-Cooper with a screen the size of a normal Amazon box while chowing down on my fried chicken TV dinner nestled in a foil tray (because microwaves didn’t exist in every kitchen). Changing the channel required leaving your cross-legged stance on the floor, walking five or six steps, clicking the actual channel knob (no remotes!), until everyone agreed to a show, then resuming your spot. At home stereo sound wasn’t even an option unless one of your parents figured out how to jerry-rig their hi-fi speakers from the turntable. Hi-def pictures wasn’t even a sparkle in someone’s eye (I think), and 3-D was only available if you were lucky enough to be part of Star Trek and their holo-deck.

Yeah, I’m that old peeps.

tv

So, when in the process of stream-lining our familial budget, we began to pinpoint areas where we could cut back, imagine our surprise when we realized that one of our higher bills was our DirectTV.  There was a time, years removed from the TV dinners and rabbit ears, when I considered a cell phone an exorbitant luxury, because I had to pay my rent (which included basic cable) and landline phone bills. Oh have the times changed, because I no longer have a landline, my cell bill is arrogantly sitting in the number one spot on our “to-be-budgeted” list, and right under it, wearing a gleeful smile, is our cable bill.  Both of those little buggers are about to have a come to Jami moment.

Always work from the bottom up, and when Knight and I began to re-evaluate our expenditures, we noticed something new. We don’t watch live TV any more, not really. Granted, I’m a news junkie so yeah, in the mornings before I brave the Mad Max freeways, I’ll get my hit on the morning news reports, but other than that, nope, we were watching shows we recorded earlier. Not only were we watching recorded show that are easily accessed via such helpful things like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Fire, which we already have, our teenagers were consistently enthralled with their phones. In fact, they tend to watch those inanimate objects as if they’ll disappear the minute they looked away. When asked what has them so captivated, it was no shocker to hear “videos of our shows”.

Right then, so why shell out money if no one in the house is paying any damn attention?  Our DirectTV is a silent leech attached to our house, chuckling to itself at our expense. It makes decision to cut the cord much easier. So, we’re in the process of replacing the mini-satellite dish with a good, old-fashion over the air antenna (yep, they still exist).

Granted, I won’t be able to watch the latest episodes of the shows I love, but really, I wasn’t doing that already. Besides anticipation does a body good, right? There’s also the side benefit here that by removing the temptation to veg out in front of the idiot tube perhaps other things will happen, say more writing getting done, or perhaps we might regularly interact as a family, complete with actual conversations and everything!  Oh, imagine!

(Tossing away the cut cable cord and dusting off my hands) Now that I can cross that one off our list, what’s next? (Gives evil grin to cell carrier) Oh yes, this shall be fun….

When Your Imagination Kicks Into Overdrive #family #writerslife #parenting

I ran across this little article some time in the last week that took a brief ride through a mom’s mind as she tried to sleep one night from one of my favorite blogs, Scary Mommy. While it was completely relatable if you’re a mom, if you are a mom AND a writer, that trek turns into a journey of epic proportions.

Brain

I did my best to find a meme that captures this whole concept, but I kept getting swept into the torrent of memes. It’s a madhouse out there. If anyone finds it, holler at me. It’s the one that shows an unlocked door with the caption: What a normal person sees….gee, I left the door unlocked.  What I see…oh my god, did a serial killer sneak in while I was parking the car?

I’m not sure how many other parents who double as writers go through this, but my imagination can be a twisted, unhelpful demon of panic if I’m not careful. Let’s take an example from a few months ago.

Prankster Duo #1 ends up staying after school to complete whatever project/paper/assignment he has missed due to teenage brain fart, over-scheduled activity interference, or whatever that week’s excuse was.

Okay, not a problem, however since the parental units have command performances at other, distant locations with individuals who supply the funds necessary for keeping the bill collectors at bay, Prankster Duo #1’s ride options are limited to a specific timeframe.

What is a teenage boy to do with the free two hours this gives him when he has no access to a motorized vehicle? That’s the beauty of having a public library attached to the high school. Go forth to the hallowed book-lined halls and do that pesky thing called homework or (gasp) read something.

So I take my bow and exit day-job stage left, and begin my journey to gather up Prankster Duo #1. In preparation, I send a text. “I’m heading your way, should be there in 45 minutes. Love you, mom.”

I’m cruising (okay, doing the stop-n-go that’s the norm for any freeway around here) my way down to my son. My phone stays strangely silent. Not even a “K” comes back. The paranoid writer-mama mind begins to perk up. I beat it back while playing frogger on the freeway.

As I pull into the school parking lot, the familiar messy mop of hair complete with headphones is no where to be found. Panic knocks on the door.

Now, I know that a white panel van doesn’t cruise around the block near the high school. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain our neighborhood is fairly safe, which is why we moved there. But even though the logical half of my brain reminds me of all the reasons why we choose this area, there is another part that dwells in the wicked world of what-ifs and it isn’t playing nice.

As a matter of fact, as the minutes tick by and pile on to one another and my texts go unanswered, it’s getting down right mean. Scenarios of all the things that could happen to my precious teenager start to play in my mind, totally ignoring my attempts to shut it down. In the meantime, I’ve reached out to his younger brother to make sure he didn’t end up going home. Nope, Prankster Duo #2 is home doing homework, his only company the Fur Minxes. I check with my Knight in case of possible updates. Nada.

Locking down my trusty motorized steed, I began to hike into the library, and as I step up to the doors, the familiar tangle of curls and headphones appear, and the tauntingly cruel grip of “what-ifs” disappears. The explanation: the cell battery is dead, sorry! Once my heart resumes normal speed, we’re back to our regular programming sans commercial interuptions. Yet, that nasty bugger Panic sticks around, making sure to leave an impression before completely abandoning the scene.

This is what it’s like for me. Maybe because I have the dual whammy of being a parent who writes in darker genres, but man alive, sometimes it’s a real stress inducer having an over-active imagination.

Still, I figure if I can survive the teenage years, the remaining won’t be quite so bad.

Right?

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!

JamiGray_TheKynKronicles1400
 “… 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