Monthly Archives: November 2013

Friday With Friends–Chris Redding

This is fun. Chris is going to share some writing advice for those of us who are coming down to the NaNo wire. How’s everyone doing, by the way? Eyes glazed over yet? Wrists sore and fingers numb? Whether you make that nebulous 50,000 words are not, if you’ve framed out a new story and given it a few walls, you’re a winner.

Take it away, Chris



Today I am going to talk a little bit about setting in a story.

In Fiction for Dummies, Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy write “You are the god of the story world you create, and  you have complete control over everything that happens there. But this doesn’t mean that just anything can happen in your story world. Your story world needs to have an inner logic that drives it.”

The world you create must have scientific laws. (physics, chemistry). There must be conflict. There should be a good and evil.

Let’s examine the parts of our story world.

          There is the physical world. This world could be all water (Waterworld) or be a city as in most urban fantasy. The world will have geography and weather patterns. In Incendiary I have a hurricane hitting New Jersey. I once had someone call me out on it, but if you see how I use it, it isn’t like a hurricane in Florida. It jives with what they are when they reach us up in NJ.

          In your story world, there will be at least one cultural group. Maybe more depending on your genre and what the conflict of the story will be.

          Lastly, your story world needs a backdrop for the conflict. Is there a war going on? Think of the political climate or the religious climate. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible the Salem Witch Trials are a key component.

          As a writer you want your story world to come alive in the reader’s mind.  You want to create a sense of place. Don’t waste a single word. Active descriptions not static. I’ve said it before.

          When describing anything that description should do double duty. It should keep the story moving and, more importantly, evoke an emotion in the reader. I forget this on the first draft.

          Weaving the descriptions into the rest of the story, making it seamless is most effective. Don’t stop the flow of the story. Don’t stop the action to describe what’s around. Think about two people fleeing from bad guys chasing them. They aren’t going to stop and notice the beautiful hydrangeas at one end of the parking lot. On the other hand, if those hydrangeas make the heroine sneeze therefore giving away the characters’ positions, then those flowers are significant.

          If it isn’t pertinent to the story, don’t describe it. If it doesn’t’ move the story ahead, then the reader doesn’t need to know. Is it important that her eyes are the blue of the sky after a rainstorm when someone is trying to kill her? Not unless the killer is targeting her because of those blue eyes.

          To recap, your story world need to have physical rules to follow. You need to incorporate at least one cultural group and the setting is the backdrop for the conflict.

          Thanks for stopping by today. For one lucky winner I have a pot full of chocolate. Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.


Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two sons, one dog and three rabbits.  She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works for her local hospital Her books are filled with romance, suspense and thrills. The above blog is an excerpt from a workshop


Chris Redding Blog



Buy Link:  Along Came Pauly

          Along Came Pauly, A contemporary romance about a dog that brings two people together who don’t Along Came Pauly Front Cover - Smallwant to be. She’s a vegetarian veterinarian who needs cash for a no-kill shelter. He’s the heir to a hot dog fortune who must give away money before he gains his inheritance. Sounds like a perfect match. It isn’t.


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Friday With Friends–Making a Trailer: Ed Aymar

No, don’t look at your calendar. This is definitely NOT Friday. I set the blog up to run Friday then had to deal with the first serious 010snow of the season in New Mexico. They said 4-6″ Here’s what I found…yeah, pretty darned big. In all the excitement of dealing with much more snow than anticipated (with my large collection of snow shovels on the other side of a yard knee to waist deep in snow) I missed checking that the blog had posted as scheduled. Sigh. Sure I was mentally out on a mountainside with my NaNo people but still…

To avoid further delay, take it away, Ed Aymar

How I Made a Book Trailer

There are different thoughts when it comes to the success of book trailers, especially because a lot of readers don’t even know books have trailers nowadays. Plus a well-done trailer can be expensive, and you don’t know if you’re going to make that investment back.
Fortunately, I’m terrible at managing my money, so spending a bit on a trailer didn’t worry me.

Had You Ever Done a Trailer Before?

I had shot a trailer for When the Deep Purple Falls (Deep Purple Trailer) (the prequel I wrote for I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead), and I liked how it turned out. It was moody and dark and fit the tone of that story. The only bad thing was that I had to tie a friend of mine to a chair in a basement for the photo shoot. Actually, that was more awkward than bad. But it ended up being a cool photo shoot and I worked with a good video editor who shot and produced the whole thing, and didn’t charge me that much.
When it came to I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, I wanted to do something different. I had seen a couple of animated trailers and liked the look, and I thought it would work for my book. But I really suck at drawing and, even though I know some good artists, animation is a different field.

So How’d You Find an Animator?

I went on a few different sites for freelance graphic designers (eLance and Guru) and put in the project parameters – description, budget, etc. And I received a lot of responses, from designers all around the world. Some of them gave off a scent of scam, and others worked in styles that conflicted with what I had in mind. Eventually it came down to two designers, and I picked Ryan Schiewe based off a short film he had done called Sunday Corner Tap (Sunday Corner Tap). I imagined my trailer in a style similar to Frank Miller or Bill Plympton and Ryan was a fan of both artists and excited to work on the project. Plus he was a cool guy, and that was important.
If you’re going to hire an animator, make sure the person is a proven professional. Have their portfolio wow you. A lot of people will promise quick trailers at a small budget; I’d be wary of that. Find someone whose work you like, and then work out the budget. Like any business, check their references. Make sure, basically, that the designer has two qualities – he or she is good, and good to work with. Both of those are hugely important. The trailer will represent your book more than you realize. If you rush and accept substandard work from an uninterested artist, then chances are the audience will expect (and probably receive) the same from your work.

What About Music for Your Trailer?

I know a couple of musicians and reached out to Abby Mott, a singer I first came across when she lived in Baltimore (I interviewed her for my blog here: Interview). Abby sings in a lot of styles, and it wasn’t difficult to imagine her doing something that sounded like the more haunted songs from O Brother Where Art Thou or the alt-country styling of Neko Case. I broached her on the idea and she was excited, and agreed to work with me on the project. In a couple of weeks, she had written and recorded “When I’m Dead,” the soundtrack for the trailer. I loved it, sent it to Ryan and he was similarly impressed.
Of course, if you don’t know a totally awesome singer or have the money to pay for it, then let the Internet help. You can find royalty-free songs on a variety of sites. Personally, I prefer this one (Incompetech), but there are lots out there. The songs are free; generally, you just have to provide a credit.

How Long Did It Take?

Maybe a couple of months? Ryan set up a timetable and followed it without flaw (same with the budget). The only stumbling block we had was when it came to one of my characters named Diane, and that wasn’t on Ryan. That was on me. Diane is a 300-or-so pound hit woman, and the direction I gave Ryan made her more amusing than threatening. We went back and forth a couple of times, and he came up with a way to portray her that worked. Additionally, I originally had the house at the end in the country, and realized it needed to be placed in the city. I sent him a photograph of the neighborhood in Baltimore and, within a day or so, Ryan had sketched it perfectly. Again, work with good artists.

So, In the End….

Will it be successful? I dunno. I put the trailer out on the same day that my book was released – some say it’s best to have a trailer build excitement for a project, but I wanted people to be able to watch the trailer and immediately buy the book. If you hit pay dirt and touch lofty “viral video” status, then there’s no telling whether those views are going to lead to sales. Plus, think about movie trailers – how many great movies are known for their trailers? Not many, if any.
But a good trailer can’t hurt, and I don’t think anyone should turn down the chance to collaborate with, and build relationships with, good artists in other fields. Plus it’s, you know, the future. You’re reading this post online, and you can click right over to the trailer. Writers and publishers aren’t doing it yet, but it won’t be long before trailers are included in books – you download a book to your Kindle, open it and the trailer plays (actually, that’s a good idea – PATENT). When the waves come, you want to be as far ahead of them as possible.
You can view the trailer for I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead at
E.A. Aymar

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The Silence

I had a great blog started about the wonderful writer conference I attended on Saturday. But this is the day when we honor those who served to keep us safe, going back generations. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we stop for a moment of silence. Why that particular time? Because this became known as “Armistice Day,” the end of the War to End All Wars. Except it didn’t. Instead it presaged a deluge of wars beyond imagination. I thought to discuss WWI more thoroughly but found this from the the Naval Institute which says it so much more eloquently.

The loss of life was staggering, whole families wiped out. The same happened when Napoleon decided he needed to conquer the world, and for that matter when Alexander wanted to prove how Great he was, or Attila got bored, or when Genghis Khan felt just too crowded in Mongolia. Closer to him, when the South and North had their disagreement. Our history overflows with people who are convinced it is their birthright to be in charge of the world. Okay, a lot of us do start out that way but at some point we do manage to grow up.

Science Fiction abounds with stories of man’s expansion into space, or interactions with alien races even more aggressive than humans. Which is a chilling thought. For some people war is no closer than the movies, or the newspapers, or some news reports. For others war is horrifically close. They either served or had someone close serving who might or might not have come home. For myself, my father was career military but for the most part I stayed separate until we lived in Japan in the late 60s. Japan was used as a military hospital stop and visiting was part of our lives. Even more direct was the skating rink in Yokosuka. I’d take the bus down to skate with sailors a couple times a week. Innocent fun. Until the day a large group of them didn’t come back to the rink since they’d  been sleeping in that section of the ship that was shelled.  And I grew up.

I keep the silence for them, and for every mother’s son lost in the greed and tragedy of war.

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Friday With Friends…Dorothy A. Bell

Hard to believe it’s Friday again, and one week of NaNo has slid past. Hope everyone is keeping up with their personal goals, whether you want to nail that special scene, clean up your ping pong point of view, or blow the rest of us out of the water with word counts. Anyone who makes it through the month writing every day is a winner, no matter how many words go into the computer. Today Dorothy Bell is visiting to talk a bit about her life, and her books (which sound extremely tempting.) That precious gold colored dog on her lap isn’t a Saluki puppy (yeah, got me going there for a minute!) but is a long haired Dachshund. What a lovely picture!

Hi, everybody, Dorothy A. Bell here. I would like to thank Mona for putting me up on her blog today. As an introduction, I thought I would give visitors a glimpse into my life so far.

I grew up in southern Iowa, moved to Oregon’s Willamette Valley at the age of eleven. I was in the sixth grade when I started school in Oregon. On my first day of school, I encountered the boy I would eventually marry. He kept pestering me, trying to kiss me. I held out until I turned sixteen, then I kind’a got the hang of the kissing thing. We’ve been married for forty-eight years, he’s still a pest, bless him.

I started out writing Regency Romances to entertain myself. I took writing courses, but I think I learned the most by submitting my work to publishers, editors and agents, and getting feedback. Laid low for nearly twenty-five years with arthritis, forced to use a battery-powered cart, I took up aquatic exercise and became an instructor. After two surgeries to replace my knees, I went to work on myself and lost eighty-five pounds, which I have kept off.

My husband and I live in Central Oregon with two West Highland White terriers, an energetic, longhaired Dachshund and one big, angora tuxedo cat. When I need a break from writing Oregon historical western romances, I work in the yard or my garden.

This year I am proud to announce the release of two Laura Creek romances “The Reprobate” and “The Cost of Revenge”, available on Amazon,

 Barnes and Noble,  Good Reads, and Freya’s Bower, as e-books.


The Reprobate

A Laura Creek Western Romance

Fiddle playing, hard drinking Royce O’Bannon believes he’s worthless like his old man, no woman should have anything to do with him.

Music teacher Cleantha Arnaud, her virtue long spent, believes her life is over; crippled and barren, no man would want her. When these two outcasts become lovers, hopes and dreams blossom within their parched souls.

Royce’s vengeful daddy begins a campaign of retaliation against his traitorous sons and the town that gave them a second chance.

Driven by a fledgling sense of responsibility, Royce follows his daddy into the dark tunnels beneath Pendleton’s streets intent on putting a stop to the old man’s vengeful crusade. With a swift crack on the head, all of Royce’s newly found hopes and dreams could be shattered like candied glass. Who would miss a reprobate, a worthless man?

$ 5.99 To purchase e-book or



The Cost of Revenge

A Laura Creek Western Romance

Quinn O’Bannon knows it’s time he settled down. He has two likely candidates, both sensible, attractive, young women. However, his fantasies keep straying to Tru McAdam, that thieving, sloe-eyed vixen with the grudge against the whole darn O’Bannon family.

Tru McAdam wants to believe the O’Bannons, all of them are rotten, heartless cheats. God help her, most of all she wants to believe the handsome, arrogant flirt Quinn O’Bannon is the worst of the lot.

When destiny shuffles the cards, strange pairs show up in the hand. Who can fight destiny, not the handsome, flirtatious Quinn O’Bannon, not the thieving, sloe-eyed vixen, Tru McAdam.


$5.99 to purchase e-book or




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A Christmas Whimsy

Here’s an early Christmas present. When the call came out for short shorts from Black Opal Books, for an anthology, I had nothing. Then this came along a couple weeks past the deadline. Figures! I want to thank everyone who did a beta read and let me know what made no sense. There are a large number of inside jokes, see how many you can find! And you might recognize some of the characters. Gwen was in the Floogle, and Kat…oh, wait, I’m working on Kat’s story. Enjoy!


“Scrooge was right,” A woman’s voice declared from around the corner of the grooming area, accompanied by various thumps and clangs.  “All he ever asked for was an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay…”

The sharply dressed blond handler rolled her eyes while wrapping up her Afghan Hound’s side coat. “Here she goes again. Every Christmas.”

“Well she manages to be nice the rest of the year,” the Poodle handler said while doing the same protective wrapping to the long hair

on her dog’s ears. “It’s not like Christmas isn’t stressful even when we’re not dashing through the dog show circuit.”

Gwen smiled but went around the corner to see an obviously harassed woman surrounded by large crates, Borzoi, and supplies. She was attaching an arm to a large, low grooming table. Full figured and usually displaying a calm demeanor, Kat looked upset far beyond the tone of her voice.

“What’s up?”

“My so called help decided they needed to be with their families over Christmas instead of helping me out.”

“Family is important to some people”

“I understand that,”.Her expression said not really. “If they had just told me before I was on the road.”

“Were they supposed to come with you?”

“One of them said she wanted to, for more ring experience. Then said she’d meet me here.  The other one was supposed to cover for me at home. Then both of them decided they needed to spend holiday time together, with their families. NEVER let your help date, it messes up everything. If they’re not arguing and breaking up and sulking, they’re snogging in the corners and wanting time off to meet each other’s families”


“Sucking face. It’s a great word–haven’t you read Harry Potter?”

“When the books came out years ago. I don’t remember every word.”

“I have the series on audio books. Helps me drive long distances by myself.” She leaned over to encourage a large dark brindle Borzoi out of the crate and onto the grooming table. In spite of her angry words she was patient with the young dog. “I’d hoped hiring two girls would avoid the dating problem.”

“You know that’s no guarantee. I’m done with everything for this show, and I’m not due back at work until after the holidays. Can I help?”

Kat’s face appeared from around the dog’s heavy white neck ruff, eyebrows raised.


“I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t mean it. Mind you I’m not the best conformation handler in the world and I only know how to brush, not trim.”

“I can deal with the dogs here, and pick up handling help ringside. But I had to call my neighbor to take care of the homebody ‘zois. She’s a dear but she’s not been feeling well, and I left more dogs home than usual since I thought I’d have someone there. Otherwise I would have brought more with me.”

“That would be great, I always like visiting your place. Just give me instructions and be around to answer your cell if I have any questions. As long as Wimsey can come along.” Gwen indicated the Irish Setter sitting alertly at her side

“Bless you. Of course Lord Peter Wimsey is always welcome.” Kat smiled when the red dog politely waved his tail. “There’s an instruction sheet on the side of the refrigerator; you know my cell. Oh, and keep an eye on the water tank, the well’s been acting up.”

Kat’s home was isolated but the set up was great for dogs, with large fields and simply furnished, easy to keep clean, rooms. Wimsey ran alongside the Borzoi yards while Kat relaxed the way she liked best: playing with the dogs, brushing them in the outside grooming area and tossing a myriad of items for them to chase. All in all a much better time than what she’d had planned, which was not much of anything. It was nearly a vacation, except for the water issue.

‘Keep an eye on the water,’ Kat had mentioned.. Gwen stared at the nearly empty holding tank and, sighed. A search revealed someone had left a hose running and the Well Manager was close to run dry, with not much water coming from the well itself. Looked like she’d be hauling water. Fortunately she’d done this when visiting before, and  had a trailer hitch on her van, though one of the tires on the water trailer looked a little suspicious.

Her suspicions bore fruit when a bit more than halfway back the tire went flat. Very flat, as in shredded rubber around a rusted rim flat. No choice but to limp the water trailer back to Kat’s place and hope she had a spare somewhere in one of the sheds.

Gwen was contemplating the long trip into town for a replacement tire when a bright flash of light behind her made her feel better about her decision to drive on the rim. Though the sky didn’t look too threatening, that flash could only be a harbinger for one of the area’s impressive thunder storms.

Then a mellifluous voice spoke from behind her

“May I assist you?”

She whirled around, barely catching herself on the water tank. Her jaw had to have dropped to somewhere near her knees in shock. Not only in the obvious: “Where in the world had he come from?” question. But also in the Oh great goddess of lonely single women WHERE in the world had he come from?

Black denim pants and a black knit Henley shirt fitted the way they were meant to fit over the kind of body she’d only seen on the cover of hot romance books. Topped off, of course, by thick dark hair with auburn highlights. Just the right length so it looked shaggy but not flowing. A face only Photoshop could make except here it was in front of her. Smiling a little boy smile on that gorgeous wide mouth, the mouth that had just used perfect English to ask a question.

“Ummm,” she tried, then gulped. “Good afternoon, I’m afraid I don’t…”

“I apologize if I startled you. You’ve had so many problems I could not let you continue to suffer.”


“To work so hard, and then have to bring water from somewhere else. A woman of your quality should not work so hard.”

“Hard work never hurt anyone,” she offered in an attempt to stand up for the right to overwork herself whenever she wished.

“True. But for one of your obvious quality, hard work should not be required.”

Gwen looked down at her ratty sweatshirt, aged jeans and well broken in hiking shoes, and frowned even though she knew she’d have more wrinkles by tomorrow.

“Maybe you need some glasses?” She suggested.

“The outer wrappings are immaterial when the inner beauty is so obvious. You attracted me the first time I saw you.”

“When was that? And where did you come from?”

He waved vaguely to a place across the fields. Sure enough she could see the angular shape of a building, sunlight glinting off the windows. She didn’t remember seeing the building before, but she had been wrapped up in the dogs.

“So…you’ve been spying on me?”

“Oh, no, not at all. But I did notice a new person was here, other than the owner.”

“How could you tell? We dress the same. Unless you’re using binoculars?”

“It is obvious without any viewing items. You do not have…” he indicated with cupped hands held away from his chest.

“Breasts? Of course I do. Everyone has breasts.”

“But not as the woman who lives here”

“Kat? Hardly anyone has breasts like Kat.” She sighed, one more victim of unequal mammary distribution.

“This is attractive”

“Big breasts? No surprise there”

“No, yours” he waved his hand in her general direction. “Your body is sleek and lean. In my world this would be very attractive.”

“Your world?” Uh-huh, just her luck. She meets a hot guy who likes flat chested women except he’s waaay out of touch with reality.

“Sorry, mister. I’m not interested in a cruise on the love boat to Fantasy Island.

“You do not understand, lovely lady.”

He moved closer, far too close for her comfort except she couldn’t move away. The heat from his sculptured body reached out to warm her as he pressed himself against her side. His magnificent lavender eyes took up her whole vision. What man had lavender eyes? Then her thoughts drifted away. She saw a world of delicate white buildings surrounded by pristine gardens. People strolled about in pastel clothing, and some in very dark clothing, all clean and pressed.

‘We would live here…’ a voice whispered in her mind while she saw a room of opulent luxury, the large bed covered with thick pillows and the kind of sheer silk comforter she had always craved but never owned since it would be so fragile around puppy toenails. ‘And here we would…’ Something touched her, delicately stroking down her arms, up her waist, opening her shirt to caress… She gasped, then let out a sigh. Oh, yessss. The strokes continued on her back, her front, her… A wave of prickling heat rushed through her body. It had been so long.

She opened eyes she didn’t realize she’d closed, to see the beauty of his aristocratic face, his eyes watching so intently, his hands fisted at his sides. His nostrils flared and she saw a sheen on his noble brow, letting her know he was not unaffected. The rod pressing against her thigh confirmed his condition.

“You would no longer need to be a slave to these inferior beings,” his deep voice murmured, the sensuous tones setting up a vibration in her nerves. Then…

“Slave?” Inferior beings???

“I have watched you carry their food, clean up their waste. I have seen them force you to brush their hair and throw objects for their enjoyment.”

“Wait a minute. You’re telling me you don’t have DOGS in your world?”

“No longer. We had them at one time but eliminated them when our society became more advanced. These animals demand too much attention.”

“No dogs? No dog shows? No Agility Trials or Herding Tests or Lure Coursing?”

“I not know of these activities but if they are for the pleasure of these animals then no.” He looked out on the paddocks where Borzoi romped, cheered on by a dark red setter, and his lip curled in what was obviously scorn.

“How can you say…How can you not…” She wrenched away, ignoring the whining in certain deep feminine places. Whimsy stopped teasing the Borzoi, stiffened as if on point, then charged toward them. The man stepped away from her, then further back when Whimsy wound himself around her legs.

“How can you allow this being to touch your magnificent body?”

“Watch this.” She clicked her tongue softly, giving permission, and Whimsy lifted his large dirty paws to her shoulders, nudging her

Teagan, MACH 3 Twinhearts Teagans Honor UDX photo by Carole Lynn Evans

Teagan, MACH 3 Twinhearts Teagans Honor UDX photo by Carole Lynn Evans

cheek, then slurping his tongue across her face. She heard gagging in the background, then was momentarily blinded by a flash of light. When she could see again, the man was gone. “Huh, wonder if it was something I said?” she crooned to her dog, then sighed. “Guess it was just too good to be true.”


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Friday With Friends: Jami Gray…”You Write WHAT?”

It’s Nov 1, when all obsessed writers are pounding at their keyboards to make word count. I’ll be doing the same but first I want to take a moment to introduce Jami Gray, who writes some amazing books. Then I’ll grab another mug of coffee and get back to the story.

You Write What? by Jami Gray

Urban fantasy…hmm…cover art with women (and men) I wouldn’t want to run across in a dark alley…leather EVERYWHERE… and

Jami Gray

Jami Gray

weapons!  Oh the weapons are just beautiful!

However, not everyone is so enamored of sharp pointy things as I am, and when people find out I am a writer and what I write, I am inevitably asked two questions: What is Urban Fantasy and why choose to write it?

Let’s take the first question, shall we?  So what is Urban Fantasy?  Easiest explanation: the existence of magic in the real world.  But one of my many rejection letters had me out searching for a better answer.  The very nice editor stated “…the idea of secret warriors keeping the world safe from paranormal entities isn’t as original as it used to be, unfortunately.”

After some head scratching and re-reading this comment in hopes of discovering a secret message I just wasn’t getting, I had to think about it.  Not only do I write UF but I read a great deal of the books out there in the same genre, and I agree this concept may not  be an original concept.  Nope, from what I can tell, it’s the basic framework of about 70% (could be higher, but I estimate on the low side to be safe) of the Urban Fantasy books sitting out on the shelves.

So I went out on the Mecca of all disinformation or information (depending on the sites you visit and/or believe) known as the Internet.  I asked “Define Urban Fantasy”.  Here’s what I got.

Wikipedia called it   “a subset of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times or contain supernatural elements.

Wiki then went on with, “Many urban fantasy novels geared toward adults are told via a first-person narrative, and often feature mythological beings, paranormal romance, and various female protagonists who are involved in law enforcement or vigilantism.”  Then proceeded to list several titles, of which I own and enjoy a great deal.

Word defined Urban Fantasy as “a subgenre of fantasy, also known as contemporary urban fantasy, modern-day fantasy, or indigenous fantasy. These terms are used to describe stories set in the putative real world (often referred to as consensus reality) in contemporary times, in which, it is revealed, magic and magical creatures exist, either living in the interstices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It thus has much in common with, and sometimes overlaps with secret histories.”

If I wanted to go on until the dead horse was glue, I could.  There are tons of discussions and definitions of Urban Fantasy out there.  Everyone has an opinion; readers, writers, editors, agents.  It’s most intimidating.

So if my story revolves around a paranormal female protagonist who is involved in vigilantism over paranormal entities who threaten both mundane and non-mundane beings set in modern times, I guess I’m not that original, just another wanna-be Urban Fantasy writer.

Then again, based on the concept “Every story that’s ever been or ever will be told, has already been done” I’m guessing what sets apart various UF stories are the strengths and individualities of their characters and the challenges they face. That and the author’s ability to find that elusive editor/agent who likes them.

I think my original answer still works.

So—why Urban Fantasy?

Creating worlds where magic is part and parcel of who you are, what you do and where you live has always intrigued me.  Even at a young age, happy ever after left me asking, “But, why? What happen to the wicked witch/evil stepmother/monster under the bed?”

In UF characters walk a thin line between what’s considered right, and what’s considered wrong.  They live in a gray world, much like the real world, except they have handy-dandy tools like being able to shift into something more feral and beautiful, work magic that leaves you gasping for breath, or handle weapons until they’re poetry in motion to help solve their dilemmas.

I’ve always loved the idea of being part of the world but being apart from the world and traversing that thin, blurry line.  Give me twisty plots with strong, flawed characters who make difficult choices for the greater good–even when those choices may be completely wrong and I’m yours.  Being unique, whether you’re the only human in a room full of monsters, or the only monster in a room full of humans, is key to Urban Fantasy.  Otherwise, why would any of us want to read the stuff?

Indeed, Jami, why would we? (interjection from Mona) For more about Jami’s books, and how to find her:



Growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater.  Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab.  Writing is what saves her sanity.

Blurb for Shadow’s Edge:

Shadows Edge CoverEveryone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters… 

It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking.  Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.

When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head.  Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.



Shadows Soul CoverBlurb for Shadow’s Soul:

Some nightmares are born of love… 

Raine McCord has no problem taking down the monsters of the world, it’s one of the reasons she’s so good at her job.  So playing bodyguard to Cheveyo, head Magi of the Northwest, as he consults with the Southwest Kyn should be an easy assignment. Unfortunately, simple task turns into a nightmare when Cheveyo is kidnapped and Raine is left for dead by one of the Kyn’s most feared beings, a Soul Stealer.

The Stealer’s attack leaves lasting wounds, undermining Raine’s confidence as a warrior and damaging her unruly magic. Her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand.  Compelled to face the emotions raging between them, they must embrace not only their stormy relationship but their evolving magic to escape the twisted threads of murder and betrayal to find Cheveyo.

As Raine and Gavin come together and begin to unravel the complex web of secrets and hidden vendettas haunting the Southwest Kyn, they discover unsettling new truths that threaten their very existence.

Blurb for Shadow’s Moon:

As the Northwest Alpha wolf, compromise isn’t in Warrick Vidis’s vocabulary, but when his reluctant mate, Xander Cade, refuses to leave off the hunt for the one threatening their pack, will he be able to bend before they both break?

A blonde, a brunette and a monster walk into a bar and all hell breaks loose.

It should have been the start of a bad joke, but days from a full moon Xander Cade, Tracker for the Northwest Motoki Pack, finds nothing funny about confronting an enraged Shifter in a crowded Portland nightclub filled with unsuspecting humans. The resulting carnage begins to fray the thin veil of secrecy shielding the supernatural Kyn community from public scrutiny. It also ensures there is no escaping the one man she’s been determined to avoid, her Alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis.  Dominating, protective and compelling, Warrick threatens her individuality like no other.

Warrick Vidis has no qualms using whoever or whatever necessary to protect his Pack, or his very reluctant mate. A series of unusual deaths involving lone wolves and anonymous threats against him and his Pack jeopardizes his normal steely control. Add in Xander’s continual reluctance to fully accept their Soul bond, and the line between intellect and instinct begins to blur leaving him wondering if one woman’s love and acceptance will be enough to save both man and wolf.

As the danger escalates, threatening not just their Pack but those closest to them, Warrick and Xander must find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond or risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.

 Available Now:

Shadow’s Edge: Book 1 of the Kyn Kronicles

2102 Shooting Star winner, Shadow’s Soul: Book 2 of the Kyn Kronicles

 Coming from Black Opal Books in April 2014:

Shadow’s Moon: Book 3 of the Kyn Kronicles, 2013 Golden Claddagh Finalist 

And Fall 2014 brings Shadow’s Curse: Book 4 of the Kyn Kronicles.

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Okay, Jami, now let’s both get back to pounding our keyboards!


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