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!

Surviving November #holidayprep #survivingNANO

For those who are interested, I did survive November. Not just the adjustment to a new job-that-pays-the-bills, but the whole stuffed-bird-family-invasion aspect and, because I didn’t have enough stress, the carnage of NANO. Which reminds me, huge congrats to all who participated and managed to carve out words this past month. Whether you won or not, YOU FRICKIN’ ROCK!

computer-winner1

Yep, although I started out vehemently against doing NANO this year, I was sucked in with big puppy dog eyes (that would be my RWA chapter intent on word domination) and wanting to make one of my editors very, VERY happy. We finished the challenge at just over 56K. Since the third installment of the PSY-IV Teams began November as a toddler, it will graduate with honors in December. In fact, if all goes as planned this weekend, it will be wearing the crown of “FINISHED” by Sunday night. Then I shall proceed to add a bit of shiny and nudge it along to the welcoming hands of my editor.

Only then shall I be able to sit back, take a deep breath, wrap some gifts, plan a few get togethers, catch up on recorded shows, devour as many TBR titles as possible until I threaten to “pop” (per image below), and basically wallow in the season of holiday cheer.

MP

Once I surface from that, I’ll began a new project that I’ve been oh-so-anxious to do, and hopefully I’ll manage to stay submerged for the next five to six months. Never fear, I’m not leaving you all hanging. I’m hoping to get a release date for PSY-IV Teams #2, aka TOUCHED BY FATE, and a cover to share. If I’m a really good girl, maybe my editor may give me a discreet head nod to get PSY-IV Teams #3, aka MARKED BY OBSESSION, a late 2016 release date.

So I’m curious, my lovely followers, what are you doing, who are you seeing, where are you going, or what are your plans as you burrow in for the holidays?

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!

When Characters Have Had Enough #writing #storyarc #writingtips

Between a rock and a hard place.

I’m finishing up TOUCHED BY FATE before sending it off to be polished and prettied for consumption, and as this is my sixth book, you would think I’d know better than to try to force my characters to do what I want, right?

*sigh* Okay, so I’m a slow learner.

I’ve mentioned I’m not much of an outliner, which is mostly true. I use signposts, big, obvious ones that state “They shall walk in on a bloody corpse here” or “They must be ambushed here”. So what happens when my characters don’t agree with my signposts? When they decide to redesign it in their own, personal graffiti?

Stubborn writer meet even more pig headed characters. *sound of boulders colliding*

I had the last third of the story figured, main points at least. I even started this book saying the seer will see her death at the hands of her lover. I shall never again presume to know what my characters will or will not see/do/say.  Risia took issue with this, and when I didn’t listen, she decided to make me listen.

First, the story kept stalling. The scenes weren’t working. It was too stilted, too contrived, and I was getting downright pissed. I finally had time to dedicate to pounding out some serious word count and THE WORDS WOULDN’T COME. What the hell is up with that? Then, she kept twisting things around until I was sure she’d see her death at my hands.

I slammed around, throwing things at both Risia and Tag, determined to get them where I needed them to be. Risia smirked, and Tag kept ducking while muttering, “WTF?”  When my temper tantrum died down, I realized a new player had hit the pages, with his own agenda, and his own way of ensuring he got what he wanted.

And my idea of one of the bigger stumbling blocks for Tag and Risia, shifted under all of our feet, turning over to show a different outcome. Funny thing, suddenly the remaining path of our story readjusted into a clear road, and I’m able to gun the gas without puttering to a stop.

So what happened? Somewhere along the writing line I forgot to stay true to letting my characters tell the story, versus making them fit the story. Our job as the writer, is to ensure we throw our characters into situations where they will either rise and shine, or go down in a flaming ball of glory, because their evolution is vital to our story. There is no getting around that. If your characters don’t evolve, if they don’t take chances or risks, they can’t fail, can’t triumph, can’t learn, can’t grow. Which means they might as well be Flat Stanley’s.

For Tag and Risia’s story, I needed to put Risia in an unenviable position, you know the one, the fabled Rock and Hard Place. By doing this in a natural way that rises from her current situation versus creating an artificial one, she ends up dragging Tag into his own Rock and Hard Place. Now, they have to figure out their escape routes–whether individually or in tandem, that’s where your story gets interesting. Which is why you really should let your character led. They know what it will take to push them over the edge or drop them into the deepest pit, and they know what they need to do, to become who they must.

 

And Tag and Risia, well, they may not like me right now, but I know the destination will be worth the ride.

Would Any Other Name Really Smell As Sweet? #titles #writers

Red-Rose-03

Good ol’ Billy Shakespeare lamented, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Yeah, Billy Boy, I have to disagree. Names are important, like REALLY important when you’re a writer.  Even more so, when you’re about to name your prodigy in printed form.

Writers will generally agree on some of their most dispised aspects of story crafting:

The synopsis

The blurb

The 25 word tag (or 125 or anything less than the 300+ pages they’ve already written)

The outline

But coming up with that perfect title? Does it just arrive in a chorus of angelic “ahhhs” surrounded by a soft, beautiful light so blinding in its brillance?

Can’t speak for the rest of you out there, but for me–I so wish.

Only once did a title come before I started a book, Shadow’s Soul. Not sure why, it just snapped into place. The rest? Yeah, they haven’t come quietly.

I’m in the midst of PSY-IV book 2 which follows Tag and Risia. I’ve known they’d be the second story since the first time Cyn snickered at Tag about his reaction to Risia in HUNTED BY THE PAST, but its title? Well, I think it was touring the rain forests of Borneo.

Titles are important. You don’t want it to get lost among all the others. You want it to stand out and lure innocent readers into exploring its pages. You don’t want to get confused with another story with the same name. If its part of a series, there’s a naming convention to follow so the series is easily recognizable. And you have to ensure it’s attraction level stays high without boring-so no long worded titles, you have, what? .3 seconds to snag a reader? If you’re title’s too long, you’ve lost them and they’re moving to the next book on the shelf.

So many things go into such a small part of your story. It can make a writer cry.

I’m not sure what other writers do in this situation but I will sit down and try to juggle one word descriptors about the main story concepts like I’m trying to crack a safe. I make lists of possibly titles, let it stew, go out and see how many hits each combination will pull up in bookstores.  That list will grow, get abused and battered, and simmer for weeks.  Then, for no apparent reason whatsoever, the title will finally step forward (probably because the others, tired of being punished for its reticence have pushed it forward). And, viola, I have a title.

I’ve been down this road many times, so PSY-IV book 2’s title has been simmering for months…like before I sent HUNTED BY THE PAST off for edits. And just recently it finally clicked–the key concepts of the story, the naming convention for the series, into a title. And because I’ve survived another bout with titling, I give you the second installment of the PSY-IV Teams: Touched By Fate.

 

Need new read? It’s HERE! HUNTED BY THE PAST has arrived! #newread #PNR

The first in an exciting new Paranormal Romantic Suspense series-HUNTED BY THE PAST is now available from Muse It Up Publishing

When facing danger, some situations require a unique skill set. Come meet the men and women of the Psy-IV Teams…

huntedbythepast

HUNTED BY THE PAST: PSY-IV Teams book 1

Sometimes death is the only way to out run the past… 

A reluctant psychic who can relive the past, a man well versed in keeping secrets, and a psychopathic killer enter a deadly game where the past determines the future.

Changing the past is an impossibility ex-Marine, Cynthia “Cyn” Arden, understands all too well. Struggling in the aftermath of a botched mission, which cost her two teammates, her military career, and a fledging relationship, she’s brought home by a panicked phone call. The psychic killer behind her nightmares has escaped military custody to hunt down the remaining teammates, one by one. Next on his murderous list–Cyn. Her only chance at survival is to master the psychic ability she’s spent years denying.

The killer’s game brings her face to face with the one person guaranteed to throw her off kilter—the unsettling and distracting man she left behind, Kayden Shaw. Once she believed he’d stand by her side, until he chose his job and his secrets over her. A choice that’s left the scars of the past etched deep on her mind and heart.

To survive this twisted game, Cyn must risk trusting her heart and accepting who and what she is, or lose not only her life, but the man she loves.

Available at:  MUSEITUP Publishing  in all digital formats!

READ AN EXCERPT

Since I didn’t want to touch him, much, I poked a finger against his chest, ignoring the unexpected zap of awareness. “I don’t know how you found me or why, but right now I have other, more important things to do. So, why don’t–”

The ringing of the phone interrupted my tirade.

I shot a look at the phone sitting on the counter to our left, and then narrowed my gaze at Kayden.

He quirked an eyebrow.

The phone rang again.

“You going to answer it?” he drawled.

Stepping back, I plucked the receiver off the cradle. “Hello?”

“Cyn?” What do you know, it was Thomas Anderson Gunderson, A.K.A. Tag.

I stared at the man standing across from me. “Yeah.”

“Where have you been? And why the hell won’t you answer my calls?” Despite his questions, there was a thread of relief in my friend’s voice. Ex-friend, I reminded myself.

“Why would I?” I gave my answer absently, watching Kayden make his way over to the other side of the counter and take a seat on a barstool.

In my ear, Tag cursed. “Dammit, Cyn. I don’t have time to explain shit now— ”

“Why are you calling me?” I cut him off, ice coating every word.

“Why are you in Sedona?” he shot back, his voice hard.

“I’m more concerned with how you got this number and why everyone seems determined to turn my cabin in to Grand Central Station.”

Momentary silence filled the line. “Shaw’s there?”

“Got it in one.”

“Thank God,” Tag muttered. “Be as bitchy as you want, Cyn, but tell me you’re okay. You ran away—”

“I didn’t run from shit, Tag, I was kicked to the fucking curb as soon as you and everyone else got what you wanted.”

“That’s not what happened.”

“Really? Because from where I stood, it sure as hell looked like it.” Silence answered. Turning away from Kayden’s too avid gaze, I tried to regain control so I could kick both of these men back out of my life. “I’m fine, but I’m little busy dealing with my own situation.”

“What kind of situation?” It actually sounded as if he gave a damn.

Closing my eyes, I tried to shove aside the urge to bang my head against a wall at the single minded intensity of the male gender. “My sister is AWOL. Now, can we just focus on why you’re bothering me and Kayden has decided to pursue a career in B&E?”

“How long has Kelsey been missing?”

The urgent note underlying Tag’s question reignited my earlier sense of unease, as if there was something bigger at play here. Worry about Kelsey trumped hurt feelings, so I answered. “Not sure, a couple hours maybe. Her car is here.”

The string of oaths spewing over the line from Tag proved no one could swear like a Marine. “Son of mangy bitch,” he muttered, then he took a deep breath. “The cabin’s an hour and half outside of Phoenix?” He didn’t wait for my answer. “I’ll meet you up there. Stay with Kayden.”

“Tag,” his name came out as a warning of my waning patience. My fingers tightened around the phone, and it took an amazing amount of will-power to not share my own colorful vocabulary. “You need to tell me what’s going on. Right. Now.” The last two words emerged around gritted teeth.

“It’s about Flash. His killer is out.” His unexpected answer stabbed deep, drawing blood under my skin. Brutal memories boiled up and I almost missed his, “Stay with Kayden, Cyn.”

The drone of a dial tone filled my ear. My world spun. I concentrated on setting the phone back in the cradle. My legs were doing a great impression of spaghetti noodles, so I let them fold under me and sat on the cool tile. Six months, I’d run as hard, as fast and as far as I could, but in a matter of minutes I was right back where I started, trapped in a never-ending nightmare.

You have to wonder which fickle fate decided to dump everything on me at once. If I ever got my hands on her, I’d beat her to a pulp. Damn, damn, and triple damn!

The past surged, breaking through to rise in a swamping wave of ghostly screams and the stench of burnt flesh. I dug my fingers deep into my thigh muscles in a desperate attempt to stave it off. No such luck. Greedy memories sucked me down.

My kitchen disappeared, replaced by a fetid alley behind a dive in Where-the-fuckistan. Sprawled on the ground, my head spinning with dizzying sickness and my leg screaming with agony, all I could do was watch and listen. Watch the spreading pool of blood and brains seep from Ortega, his sightless eyes staring past me. Listen to the snap and crackle of a raging fire hissed through the night while the smell of burning flesh wrapped around me. Behind me, someone screamed, his wail high-pitched and full of hopeless agony.

I knew that broken voice.

Even as excruciating pain beat inside my skull, I turned my head, recognizing the figure in the midst of the hellish scene. Searing loss, rage, and fear rose to a scream. My mouth opened and the stench coiled down my throat, blocking the air in my chest. No, no, no!

The shocking feel of hands against my face snapped my paralysis, bringing a touch of the present into the past. Desperate to escape, ignoring the pain radiating down my leg and through my head. I struck out, my hand connecting with flesh. “Don’t touch me!”

Harsh breathing filled the air around me. It took a few seconds to realize it was coming from me. A few more before the low soothing voice penetrated the layers of the past. “Come on back, Cyn. You’re safe.”

 

Now available 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. 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:

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