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
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 IQ.com 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:
Everyone 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.
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.
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.
You can find me at:
Buy Link: www.BlackOpalBooks.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B006HU3HJI
You can find all the buy links for both books in all formats at:
Or you can use the following:
Shadow’s Edge: Bk 1 of Kyn Kronicles
Black Opal Books: http://blackopalbooks.com/blackopalstore/product/56-shadows-edge
Shadow’s Soul:Bk 2 of the Kyn Kronicles
Black Opal Books: http://blackopalbooks.com/blackopalstore/product/57-shadows-soul
Okay, Jami, now let’s both get back to pounding our keyboards!