Conjuring Misery Chapter 1

Welcome one and all to the arrival of our serial. We will post a chapter every two weeks, and if you happen to fall behind, feel free to check out the entire collection under CONJURING MISERY.  If you manage to miss it here, you can also view it at the blog spots of Camille Douglass and Dave Benneman.

For now, may I present…CONJURING MISERY

Chapter 1

Sam

Slow footsteps echoed off the boards until they reached the door of Tillie’s Saloon and Emporium. At the rickety poker table the dealer stopped mid shuffle. My hand hovered over my winnings as my gaze lifted to the swinging doors. The snick and hiss of a match flaring cut through the sudden quiet and smoke floated over the doors. The saloon held its breath, waiting for those dusty snakeskin boots to push through. With squeal, the doors parted.

The stranger strode in through a cloud of smoke, hat pulled down low over a hard stare. I followed the lean figure that seemed to be carrying the weight of the world. The polished ironwood handles of her matched shooting irons were the only things that weren’t dusty. I tipped my straw hat to the stranger and gave Charlie a signal.

“Whiskey,” the stranger said.

Charlie wiped out a glass and poured. “Compliments of the gentleman.” He pointed me out.

She held her glass up in a toast with a gloved hand, cigarillo safely tucked between fingers, and tossed the contents down her throat. The rotgut Charlie served seemed to give her pause until she banged the glass down on the bar. “Again.”

Charlie poured.

I looked to the dealer who had yet to deal the next hand. “I’m cashing out.”

“You can’t just up and quit,” said the man to my left.

“I just did.”

“Maybe you did and you didn’t.” The cowpuncher to my right slipped a hand off the table.

From the bar the stranger said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” One of her six shooters was pointed right at the cowboy. The other fanned the rest of the crowd in Tillie’s, her still burning cigarillo resting on the scarred bar-top next to her glass.

I gathered my money and walked to the bar where my benefactor stood watching the crowd. “They’ll be all right. Mostly bark, no bite.” I could see she was uneasy. My timepiece clicked open. “They’ll be high tailing back to the ranch soon.” The watch, slipped back into my vest pocket and I adjusted the chain. “Charlie, another glass please and leave the bottle.”

“Name’s Samuel Connor.” I extended my hand. “Call me Sam.”

She held my gaze as she shook my hand, hers remained gloved. “Snake.”

“Interesting. Snake what?”

“Just Snake.”

Snake

Letting Sam’s hand go, I did a quick scan of the crowd before slipping Ruby into her holster and reclaiming my half smoked cigarillo from the bar. No telling who’d be dumb enough to make the first move. Not that it mattered, I’d make the last move, because, well, that’s just smart business. And I was all about business.

One more cold glare at the watching crowd, a few more dropped gazes, and I was good with tucking Pearl back in her well-worn home, leaving a gentling hand on her, just in case. I leaned back against the heavy wood, taking time to enjoy another inhale of the spicy tobacco and waited. Not that I had long to wait.

The bartender set a half full bottle and empty glass between me and my newest friend on the scarred bar. Reaching for the bottle of whiskey, I splashed a bit more into my glass, then did the same for Sam’s, before nudging it his way in silent invitation.

I twisted the cigarillo’s tip against the hard wood surface before tucking it safely away, and studied Sam. He had all the accouterments of a dapper gent, but something didn’t ring true. Tailored jacket and matching vest was relatively clean as was the tan duster cradled on his arm, but he wore a vivid scarlet scarf in place of the typical tie you found in these parts. Among the sweat-encrusted crowd gathered around us, Sam stood out.

He picked up his drink, brought it to his lips, paused, and tilted his head. Light glinted off his spectacles, hiding his eyes behind a disquieting glimmer. “So, Snake, passing through?”

“Not sure yet.” I threw back the second shot, refusing to shudder as warmth chased away the chill embedded in my bones. My eyes burned. Not from the whiskey, but from the lack of sleep. Three days with no sleep was just one too damn many, but I didn’t dare close my eyes. Not yet. Wasn’t quite ready to face what would come out of that darkness.

Sam made a quiet humming sound, laid his duster on the stool between us, took a polite sip, and settled an elbow as he watched me. “An ambiguous answer. You must be here on business then.” His jacket fell open, revealing an intricate scabbard lying along his hip, the dull gleam of a polished hilt flashing before the material resettled. Curious to find a swordsman this far outside of town.

My lips quirked at his polite fishing expedition. “Of a sort.” I considered another shot of whiskey, and decided it might not be in my best interest just yet. I let my gaze wander over the room. Now that a gunfight was no longer imminent the patrons had turned back to their endeavors and the low rumble of voices had returned.

Next to me, Sam continued to watch me with a small smile. It wasn’t his perusal or his grin that worried me, it was that niggling sense of something being just a tad bit off about my new acquaintance that kept me on edge. Still, as I was in need of some information, perhaps it was time to cast my own bait. “You seem rather comfortable here, been around long?”

He tipped his glass towards me, the small smile growing under the neatly trimmed beard. “Long enough to be entertained by local stories and enjoy meeting the characters sharing in them.”

Good enough. “I’m looking for someone.”

He gave a soft chuckle. “Aren’t we all?” He took another sip, set the glass aside, and hitched a hip on a stool. “Your someone have a name?”

“The Traveler.” Truth be told, she had quite a few names, but I gave the one I figured she’d be using here.

Even in the dusky light of the bar, I could see Sam pale and his jaw clench just before he nabbed his glass and downed the remaining contents.

My lips curled back in a feral grin. Yep. The Traveler was here.

Smoke aka Traveler

When I stepped into the worn down saloon a stillness blanketed the room. Looking to my left, one of the gentleman callers who dared to pay me a late night visit shortly after my arrival, was studiously staring at the floor while cradling his broken arm in a haphazard sling. Normally when I worked, I preferred a low profile but the only thing the people of this godforsaken town seemed to respect was a theatrical nature or a willingness to follow through on a threat. The night I arrived, wearing all black, which matched my hair and equally dark eyes, I took the room at the top of the rickety stairs, where I was forced to follow through on the threat my appearance made. Hence the idiot currently cradling his arm.

It was a shame that a town like this was too rough for most of the lily livered weaklings practicing the trade. Blood wouldn’t be the issue, that was the butter for their biscuits. Issues arose when the occasional visitor held you at gunpoint insisting you stitch up their stab wound for free. I shrugged, it’s not like I ever needed doctoring. While I had been pondering the lack of medical assistance in this little piece of hell people called a town, I missed the tiny feeling of knowing. A grin twisted the corners of my mouth before I could stop myself. A glass dropped. The yahoos apparently weren’t expecting anything other than the hard ambivalent look I always regarded them with, but I didn’t care. My sister was here.

I strode quickly to where she was straddling a barstool, sharing a drink with a man that I hadn’t laid eyes on before. Normally, I’d have paid more attention to a stranger, but if Snake thought he was okay, then I needn’t worry. Appearances needing to be maintained; I stopped myself from enveloping her in a hug.

She winked at me before leaning in to whisper in my ear, “Hey Smoke.”

I gave her a quick grin.

She held up her hand to catch the barkeep’s attention and then gestured to her glass, indicating he should bring another so I could have a drink of whatever putrid concoction they had poured in the bottle and mislabeled as whiskey.

While the barkeep hurried over with my glass, Snake turned back to her companion. “Sam this is The Traveler, Traveler this is Sam.”

I nodded, and took the offered hand. When I grasped it, a gripping pain coursed through my body. I simultaneously wanted to vomit and black out. I managed to lock my knees and keep myself upright, all the while gritting my teeth and urging the pin pricks of light to exit my vision.

            The pain left as soon as he let go of my hand. It felt like ages but must, in fact, have only been seconds, because the look in Snake’s eyes was one of mild concern and not the murderous rage that would have been there if she’d realized what happened. Sam eyes held only a twinkle of amusement. What game was he playing?

Chapter 2 riding in on April 21st!

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?

The Wild Wierdness is Coming #roundrobin #UF #western

Every now and again I like to mix things up on my website. I spent a year and half hosting various authors and peppering them with thought provoking questions (well, thought provoking to me) and sharing them with you, my readers.  Early in the blog’s creation I touched on the various concepts I learned under the sharp eyed tutelage of editors. Bits and pieces of my family life find their way into posts, and get mixed in with cover reveals, blog hops, and excerpt shares.

This year, I’m slapping on a cowboy hat, strapping on a pair of six-irons, and plopping my butt in the creative saddle as I meander through a uniquely magical version of the old west with two very talented writers, Dave Benneman and Camille Douglass. Now before you shake your head and wander off, our motley trio has never shied away from the wild and strange. This collective serial we plan to share will be no different. Tentatively titled: CONJURING MISERY, so far we have a mysteriously grim gunslinger, a master swordsman-slash-card shark, and a mysterious femme fatale of the sorcery bent in search of a talisman.

We’re still nailing down the operational aspect, but we do plan on pulling back the curtain on our story in March, so gather round the campfire and plan on making routine trips to follow along!

Red Dead Redemption Comic

(I picked this image because it rocks, but it’s courtesy of: Cowboy Assassin by ~AzraelLaVolpe on deviantART)

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

 

Heat Up Your Valentine’s Day: New Erotic PNR Release THE WATCHMAN by Arla Dahl #newrelease #erotic #pnr

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The Watchman - Cover Reveal

“The Watchman (Immoral Virtue Book 3)”

by Arla Dahl

Published: November 20, 2015

Genre: Historical Erotica

Blurb:

Evil is found when evil is sought.

“For when those in authority neglect to reprove sin, then very often the good are punished with the wicked.” – Heinrick Kramer, 1486, The Malleus Maleficarum

For yielding to the proud tears of an accused witch, The Watchman’s soul may have been blackened by evil. To prove himself unmarked, his body free of the witch’s branding, he must stand naked before all and submit to the governor’s thorough and shameful examination.

Though Giles Scott would resist the governor’s practiced and patient touch, only complete abandon might prove his innocence. And since the witch cannot feel, only Giles’ arousal can spare his neck from the noose. And so, he surrenders.

Yet screams from another chamber – perhaps pained, perhaps pleasured – awaken memories from Giles’ dark, torturous past, and the governor’s touch no longer teases but stings…much like the punishing bite of a whip against the flesh of THE WATCHMAN.

From the Author:

THE WATCHMAN, Book 3 in the Immoral Virtue Trilogy is a dark erotic twist of an already twisted period in American History, the Salem witch trials. Due to its explicit sexual nature, with forced consent, M/m, M/f/f and other BDSM concepts, THE WATCHMAN is intended for audiences 18 and over.

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What readers are saying…

“Fifty Shades-meets-Shakespeare in this eloquent, erotic tale.” – Debra Druzy, Contemporary Romance Author

“A well-crafted, wickedly erotic romp through witch trial hysteria. Arla Dahl will whet your appetite for more.” –- Candy Caine, author of contemporary interracial erotica

“The Watchman was so hot and satisfying, the perfect conclusion to this trilogy.” – Chloe and Sabine’s Smart Mouth Smut

“Erotic and immensely satisfying.” — D.B.Shuster, author of the Neurotica Series

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Come help celebrate multi-published, bestselling author Arla Dahl’s latest addition to her “Immoral Virtue” series, “Watchman” Thursday, February 4th, 7-9 PM EST. Prizes, games, chats, the unveiling of secrets, and various and sundry shenanigans await!!

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Don’t miss out on books 1 and 2 of this sizzling series!

 

Mark

“The Mark (Immoral Virtue)”

Blurb:

Be this a witch?

In 1600’s New England, it was decreed thus:
“Whoever lies with the beast will bear a mark that is insensible and in their most secret parts, and may be located only through diligent and careful search.”

Accused of witchcraft, Abigail Prescott must strip for the masses and submit to the Governor’s inspection. She is ill-prepared for this shameful, grueling probe as it permits him to see and test her every inch and every hollow.

Governor Jameson Foster has examined many before, but Abigail enchants him like no other. Before he succumbs to her sweet charms, he must uncover the dark truth of this bewitching.

Should she feel his prodding and respond to his touch, her innocence will be proven. And this night he will claim her. Should she resist, fail to cry out in pain or in pleasure, then all will know she is a witch who bears The Mark.

“I defy you not to squirm and moan right along with Abigail as you read The Mark. Rejoice, erotic-fiction fans. Arla Dahl has arrived!” –best-selling author, Pam McKenna

From the Author:
THE MARK, Book 1 in the Immoral Virtue Trilogy is a highly erotic, non-romantic tale of sexual awakening and abandon, of the duty to submit vs. the desire to resist. Due to its explicit sexual nature, with elements of BDSM and dubious consent, THE MARK is intended for audiences 18 and over.

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Accused

“The Accused (Immoral Virtue Book 2)”

Blurb:

There is no shame in pleasure.

“Wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their lusts (women) consort even with devils.” -Heinrich Kramer, 1486 “Malleus Maleficarum” (The Hammer of Witches)

To clear their names and save their souls the accused are stripped and bound before all as they await their governor’s examination.

At the governor’s direction, Abigail Prescott, herself accused as a witch a mere hour past, will help test the women’s responses, for a witch marked by the devil cannot feel, no matter how gently caressed, no matter how deeply probed. Under the governor’s scrutiny Abigail is to thoroughly examine their naked flesh for the black mark of the beast.

But the prideful Elizabeth Hobbs withdraws consent. And her fate is sealed. Taken deep into the forest by the watchman, she will remain naked and open to the elements to await her punishment.

Stirred by her proud tears, the watchman touches her. Soothes her. But when a man succumbs to a witch’s charms, he too stands among THE ACCUSED.

“Explosively erotic with unexpected twists and surprises that keep the pages turning.” – 2013 RITA Finalist, Pamela Hearon

From the Author:
THE ACCUSED, Book 2 in the Immoral Virtue Trilogy continues the highly erotic, non-romantic, tale of resistance and of submission. Due to its explicit sexual nature, with elements of BDSM and dubious consent, THE ACCUSED is intended for audiences 18 and over.

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About the Author

Arla Dahl is a lover and avid reader of all things sexy and suspenseful. She gets her inspiration from daily headlines, and is often surprised by how today’s issues mirror those from the distant past. When Arla’s muse goes stealth, she spends her time trying recipes from exotic locales, with rich flavors and provocative scents that tempt and tease and satisfy.

A New Yorker, born and bred, Arla is forever fascinated by the varied cultures of her city. Beyond the rich diversity, the close and heady feel of a moody late night jazz club is her favorite part of living in the Big Apple.

In her current work, the Immoral Virtue trilogy, which is set during the witch hysteria of the 17th Century, Arla twists an already twisted history into a daring erotic work of passion and pleasure.

Follow Arla around the ‘Net!

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“The Watchman” (Immoral Virtue series) by Arla Dahl

Tour schedule

Feb. 1 – Nesie’s Placehttps://nesiesplace.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/book-blitz-the-watchman-immoral-virtue-book-3/

Feb. 2 – Dark Paranormal Romance Serieshttp://darkparanormalromanceseries.com/?p=425

Feb. 3 – Ocean 2 Ocean Book Promotionshttp://o2obookpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/02/new-release-party-and-book-tour.html

Feb. 4 – Facebook Partyhttps://www.facebook.com/events/1623365141261190/

Feb. 5 – Tory Richardshttp://www.toryrichards.com

Feb. 6 – Jacklynn Loves Readinghttp://www.jacklynnlovesreading.blogspot.com

Feb. 7 – Pam Ace Eve’s Book Bloghttps://pamaceeve.wordpress.com/

Feb. 8 – Romanceaholicshttp://www.romanceaholicblog.com

Feb. 9 – Musings Of An Independent Artisthttp://www.pendarielraye.blogspot.com

Feb. 10 – The Fine Print Book Bloghttps://thefineprintsr.wordpress.com/

Feb. 11 – Paranormal Magic and Mischiefhttps://dabeko77.wordpress.com/

Feb. 12 – Nadene’s Totally Addicted To Readinghttp://totallyaddictedtoreading.blogspot.com/p/reviews.html

Tricia Schneiderhttp://www.triciaschneider.com

Feb. 13 – A Writer’s Mindhttp://www.skypuringtonwrites.blogspot.com/

Feb. 14 –Jami Grayhttps://jamigray.com/

Ocean 2 Ocean Book Promotionshttp://www.o2obookpromotions.blogspot.com

 

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

Sabatoge

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

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

PLOT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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