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!

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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 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.