Monthly Archives: January 2017

In the Land of Plenty #MFRWAuthor

A quick sharing today since the sun is shining and we’re up to a whopping 28F!! Plus I’m polishing that Atrahasis novella. It’s time to get back to writing about protecting our world and the people in it. It took me a while to find this song…I think it has gone way out of style, but the message persists.


This weekend I’m planning another Squealy Fan Girl post. I’m very excited about this one. Enjoy your weekend


ooooh…footsteps in the shadows


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Be The Change…#MFRWAuthor


It snowed last night and this morning. Not big, beautiful, picture perfect flakes, just tiny dots of frozen ice, covering the ground, the fences, the trees, the bushes. One tiny bit after another, piling up to turn my land into a frozen wonderland. Well, as long as the insulation and propane combine to keep the ‘lukis and I cozy. Which they do.


I’ve admitted several times I am a child of the sixties, being born in 1950 (which makes the math so easy to do…yeah I’ll be 67 this year, whudda thunk it? I pretty much grew up on Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, and a host of other musical poets. This song has echoed in my head lately, do you remember One Man’s Hands? Here’s a version new to me but it seems most appropriate.

People often quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” and attribute those important words to Mahatma Ghandi. His actual words were far more profound:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“We need not wait to see what others do.”

Check out Joseph Ranseth for even more inspiration. And let’s all do what we can to be that change.



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Squealy Fan Girl Reveal JAMI GRAY #MFRWAuthor

Cue the audience cheers!

Jami Gray started with Black Opal Books shortly after I did. Due to her amazing talent and super work ethic, she now has a series with them, and a series with Muse It Up. Both series feature flawed characters, including strong women who might not NEED a man but they don’t mind having one around. And the MEN…grab your fans and an iced drink!

I conjami-grayvinced Jami to take a break from her day job, here writing, her home life, and come visit my enchanted high plains share her latest release (TODAY)


Huge thank you to Mona for letting me drop in with my latest release, MARKED BY OBSESSION.

So why this book?

Such a simple question with a convoluted answer. As writers, we tend to be drawn to genres for specific personal reasons. I love the unexplained, be it magic or psychic abilities, or whatever unusual ability you can think of, I’m there.  I can trace the roots of the fascination back to my childhood. My biological mom (and we’ll get to the part behind that distinction soon) read me bedtime stories, tales of magic and heroism and fantastical creatures, good and bad, all intertwined as they fought their way through a quest. When I was five, my biological parents got a divorce. It was loud and it was messy and it left a mark. I went from a kid with parents to just my mom and I, who eventually moved in with my now single and separated grandmother. Then I lost my mom when I was six and found myself shipped off to my biological father and his new wife. (Yeah, I know shades of Snow White and all that.)  Then I went from only child to oldest and all of these rather abrupt changes left me floundering so I turned to books to find my footing.  The stories that grounded me the most were the ones of magic and undiscovered planets, journeys where the lead faced each challenge and came out (a bit bruised and sporting alien acid-spit in some cases) triumphant, still in charge of their own destiny.

My real life changes didn’t end there, because when I was twelve I ended up with my soon-to-be adopted family, and become one of many (think horde size). An introvert by nature and bookworm by calling, all that socializing was difficult to process, and I dove deeper into my fictional worlds. So deep, I found myself writing my own worlds, my own heroines, my own quests, and so it began.

As I grew up, so did my stories, and yes, writing is a form of therapy, because as I began to recognize my inability to stomach the “victim” type mentality, not only did I become stronger, so did my characters, until it was obvious there were no such things as princesses in distress, more like Xenas on Harleys ready to take down every freakin’ flying monkey that dared to approach. This seeped drenched my writing and is really obvious in my first Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles. The women in those books would make anyone turn tail and run.

But as in everything, time winds on and people change. So do writers. When it came to the PSY-IV Teams (pronounced cipher because secret psychic operatives=cool ass spies) my leads were no less strong, but instead of being so hard-assed nothing could penetrate their emotional body armor, there were spaces where softer, but just as life-altering, emotions could exist. Things like bravery in the face of fear, faith illuminating the darkness, and compassion being stronger than any weapon. Emotionally, my characters matured into the multi-dimensional people they were always meant to be. Don’t get me wrong, they can kick ass with the best of them without flinching, but now they’ll also go hang with you at a bar, crack a joke, or if you’re lucky, sweep you off your feet.

I’ve always been fascinated by the arena of psychic abilities, plus I may have a teeny-tiny bit of a conspiracy theorist residing in a small dark corner. I read a great deal outside of fiction, and one particular book, THE SEARCH FOR THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE by John D. Marks, which follows the history of behavioral science and the CIA, helped sparked the idea. After finishing that book, I moved on to THE PSYCHOPATH NEXT DOOR and a few others (which now that I’m reading this I’ll refrain from listing since…um, yeah, my research library of non-fiction titles would be scary to an outsider). Since I found I couldn’t give up my “magical” aspects on writing, I decided to combine my love of the unusual with my second love, Romantic Suspense. Voilà! PSY-IV Teams was born.

I’m a character driven writer, so my characters tend to mold the plot, and when I sat down to begin MARKED BY OBSESSION, I gave myself two challenges: an everyday heroine withMarked by Obsession: PSY-IV Teams by [Gray, Jami] no psychic abilities who could be strong without being a warrior, and she couldn’t cuss. Want to know which one was harder to channel? Coming up with curses that aren’t cuss words is much more difficult than you think.

Wolf is my hardened solider, solid and sure of himself and his place, and just happens to be a telepath. He deserved someone who could keep him grounded, someone who couldn’t be manipulated. Enter Meli, who is quite happy curling up with a book and avoiding arguments, or anything she doesn’t want to deal with. Wolf fascinates her, but she’s lost her only family, her brother, and his death leaves her floundering while her normally staid world tilts on it axis. It also means she’s hesitant to reach out for the one man who tempts her dream big. It doesn’t help that she’s managed to become the focus of deranged stalker, who wants not just Meli, but revenge, and is willing to go through Wolf to get it.

Want to find out what happens? *nudge, nudge* Go ahead and pick it up, I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Muse It Up

Barnes and Noble

and of course JAMI GRAY


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I Can’t Write 50,000 Words #MFRWAuthor


Good Morning!

I just know I can’t. Which is probably silly since I have four books out, plus two written and


Boo says come on, it’s a pretty day

stashed, and two more near completion. But the idea of sitting down to another 50,000 or more words just turns me into a gibbering idiot. Not such a drastic change, but still.

I also can not walk 10,000 steps a day. Especially on the non Agility days. Come on, that’s five freaking miles of around the house, around the yard, around the grocery story. My  feet will fall off for sure, not to mention the dizziness from going around and around.


just follow the steps








And around. But…

I’ve somehow added word after word to a novella that intruded when I had planned to edit the next Stormhaven. I think I’ve mentioned this novella. It’s about two mature Atrahasis agents, including a woman who is strong and independent and deeply in love. I’m calling it Memories of the Future. It won’t hit 50,000 words but 20,000 are a distinct possibility, when I use that fifteen minute timer that has worked for me in the past. As the prolific and highly talented Greta van der Rol reminded me, 500 words per day gives me 5,000 words in ten days. Suddenly 15,000 is not such an impossible dream.

Still, those 10,000 steps EVERY DAY? Yikes. Especially during the snowy days like we’re having now. Can not do it. But I can do the 250 per hour Fitbit challenge and why not add enough more to take me to the next obvious level (500 or 1,000)? I found out setting the microwave to defrost for ten minutes brings me close to 1,000 steps without having to think much about it. If I’m indoors I can read while I step and outdoors it’s just so darned crisp and pretty.  The yard is 200+ steps around, and the driveway is about that to the gate and back. Once I’m already out, it’s not so difficult to do one more round, is it.

Winning the game.

Step by step.

By step.



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About Those Recipes…Low Carb Comfort Food #MFRWAuthor


South Mountain 1/1/2017

I made up some loaded cauliflower to take over for NYE with friends. Since I did not want to be driving on Amateur Drunk Driver night, it was more New Year’s Evening but any time spent with friends is a good time. When asked for a recipe, I realized I had strayed far from what I originally found, which was similar to this one:

Generally I make mine with frozen cauliflower florets since they’re always available and the same basic price. I steam the cauli, either on the stove or in the microwave., then add the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, a splash of heavy cream, some grated cheese, and crumbled bacon. I cook that for a while until the everything has melted together, then stir to distribute and add more cheese. This I put back in the oven until the top cheese is melted and a bit brown. On occasion I’ll add sliced mushrooms or green chiles. The chives make a nice finish if I remember them!


Yummy cheesy

This time, at my friend’s suggestion, I used Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream and heavy cream, without noticing much difference. Since yogurt is higher in carbs it’s not a substitution I’d automatically make but it ended up pretty darned good. The end result was a bit crispier than I usually make it, but still delicious. It keeps well in the fridge or freezer if you can avoid eating the whole bowlful at once.

That would be two bags of cauliflower, 12 ounces each; about 1/3 of a standard block of cream cheese; half a cup or so of the Chobani Greek yogurt; maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup cooked crumbled bacon; “some” butter; a scant cup of grated cheese blend (this was a Mexican cheese). The fun is how much you can change the ingredients, using a very sharp cheddar or something a bit more out of the ordinary. I went light on the cheese in case my friends weren’t as cheese crazy as I am but they assured me with cheese the more the merrier!

For the shortbread, this started out as a low carb Pecan Sandies recipe, with 1 cup butter; 1 cup artificial powdered sweetener; 2 cups almond meal; 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 cup pecan pieces. Cream butter, add sweetener, then add the other ingredients one at a time. Form into a roll, chill, slice off 1/2 inch for cookies (350F for 8-12 minutes) The cookies were always a bit too delicate for me, way too sweet but still very buttery yummy but a pain to deal with and they burned so easily. The fact that I might wander off during cooking had nothing to do with the burning.

I opted for a pan cookie, increased the almond flour and pecans, reduced the sweetener to a scant 1/2 cup. This time I used organic Stevia, with Erythritol.

Three cups of finely ground almond meal; scant half cup sweetener; one cup butter; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream; pecans. Since I used salted butter I didn’t add salt.

I melted the butter about half way, used a hand mixer to cream then added everything else. I kept the mixer going when I added the pecan pieces since it helped to break them up even more. The first time I tried this recipe change I added a handful of sugar free chocolate chips…it’s better without. Better without chocolate? Yup, surprised me too

012I used an 8 x 8 square pan. I’ll be looking for a small jelly roll pan so I can spread even thinner. You can chill before cooking if you want but in the pan I didn’t need to. Bake at about 325F until done. Since I use a countertop convection oven my times won’t help you much. I like it extra crispy so I’m likely to risk almost too long. I’m hoping a larger more shallow pan will help. I chill to help it set and also to get it out of my sight! As you can see I did a bit of taste testing before I managed to get this one into the refrigerator

And here’s a picture from late last December. What a difference a year makes!



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