What A Wonderful World #MFRWAuthor

It’s SPRING, at least for the next few days. I generally share either the poem “In Just Spring” or the song “Might As Well Be Spring” (my favorite version)  this time of year. But I think this year I need to share THIS song

 

Anyone who has read Historical Romance will recognize the character, usually a mother or an aunt or uncle, who believe there is nothing better than where they live, generally in England. Nowhere is more appealing than their own dear home and they refuse to see beauty anywhere else.

This attitude has carried forward except now we have Mass Media and Social Media to expand our vision of what is beautiful. If we have the Bing photos on our startup, we can play ‘guess the location.’  like this:

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or thisImage result for bing images

and have the world at our fingertips. Of course I can also look outside, and see my own beautiful world: 039

Because I need to remind myself we have beauty around us even when the world seems so ugly.

 

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Staring into the Abyss #MFRWAuthor

Recently I mentioned to a favorite author how close one of her post apocalyptic series came to reality for me. Did she want to maybe expand on that? Being the brilliant young lady she is she said “Well YEAH” So here she is…JAMI GRAY

Known as The Collapse, the ravaged aftermath of Mother Nature’s fury colliding with man’s merciless need for survival has left civilization teetering on the brink of disintegration. Decades beyond the first brutal years, there are those who believe there is a possible future worth fighting for, worth dying for. Betrayed but not broken, they hold to their code, one considered outdated and useless. Loyalty to each other, shields for those without, warriors born and bred.

Staring into the Abyss…

A funny thing happened on my way to writing a book, fiction collided with reality and left me wondering if there was more than caffeine in my cup of joe the morning I started plotting out Fate’s Vultures.

Now here’s the thing, as a writer I spend my life asking, “What if (fill in the blank)?” Mainly because that’s what writers do. They occasionally surface from their word dens, indulge in some serious people/places/things watching, then disappear to make up stories using what they’ve watched.

So maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking that the circumstances leading to the fall of humanity in Fate’s Vultures is an eerie warning of what we may eventually face in truth.

Mona and I, we tend to meander down creative roads, dabbling here and there on various topics and it was her question of “Did you realize going in to your series, how close or how soon they might mirror our lives?”

To be honest, I wasn’t a happy camper when I started this series. The real world was shifting fast and mean, ripping off blinders I had willingly left on for too long. I won’t go into politics because, well…politics *shudders*, but what rose to the all too public surface was a miasma of pain and anger and frustration that’s been long in the making and with the lid off, it’s boiling over. I think for me, that has been the most heart-breaking thing to face during the last three years.  It didn’t help that trauma and grief were circling my nearest and dearests either.

But back to Mona’s question…as a series writer, I tend to play around with ideas for a long time before I start crafting a universe. Fate’s Vultures initially came into vague shape when I wanted to do something different for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Consider it a drawback of years of studying various scriptures growing up. I’ve always been fascinated by the prophecies surrounding the End Times, add in my fascination with magic and the unexplainable, it was bound to come up sooner or later.

Yet as I started to shape my world, that focus changed and I started reading papers from leading minds on the future of economics and government structure. Add in real-life situations and the world of the Vultures came into focus. Because of who and what the Vultures are, there was never a chance of a happy start to their story.

They were who they were because of what they survived, that’s the core of the characters. Living in a world consumed by chaos and loss of order, what will emerge will be those who understanding that white and black are simply shades of gray.

Yet you can’t create a grim world without adding light. We can’t live our lives without hope and that’s true whether those lives are a creation of imagination or contain a beating heart. Hope is humanity’s greatest strength and it’s that same hope that pulls us (universal us) through the darkest of times. In the Vulture’s world, that same hope is what will change the world as they know it. It gives them something to reach for, to fight for, and to believe in.

As much as I enjoy spending time in the Vultures’ world, this first arc was always meant to be only four books. Currently the first three books in the series are out, and the fourth and last book, FEAR THE REAPER, is currently sitting on my editor’s desk. I’m hoping for a late 2019 release, but it may be closer to early 2020. You’ll know as soon as I do.

What I can share, without spoilers, is yes, there is light in the darkness and it doesn’t take much for that spark to turning into something that leads the way to hope. In fact, considering the unusual family the Vultures tend to gather, I’m pretty certain I’ll be back to hang with a few familiar faces. Well, right after I finish my mission with the PSY-IV Teams, and then get Gavin’s story out with the Kyn so we can move further into the shadows.

*checks calendar* Umm…okay, so it may be a bit before I return, but the Vultures will be back because this is just the beginning….

 LYING IN RUINS – Fate’s Vultures 1

In a world gone to hell, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad…

On a mission to retrieve a kidnapped child, a woman skilled in secrecy crosses paths with a nomadic vigilante bent on revenge. Despite their mutual distrust, the unlikely pair joins forces to hunt a common enemy. Together they must survive the predators picking through the desiccated remains of civilization. What will tear them apart first—their suspicions or their enemies?

BEG FOR MERCY – Fate’s Vultures 2

Choosing a side has never been so dangerous…

To trap a cunning and illusive predator, a protector forged in a blood soaked history must partner with the cynical heart of a betrayed assassin. Can the wary pair forge a bond of loyalty before suspicions and betrayals tear them apart?

CAUGHT IN THE AFTERMATH – Fate’s Vultures 3

Vengeance can leave you blind…

Blinded by vengeance, a deadly predator is forced to turn to unexpected allies, only to discover a storm of passion with the one woman who threatens his long-term plans. Caught between a looming conflict and the fallout of a brutal betrayal, will they survive vengeance’s aftermath?

BIO:

Jami Gray is the coffee addicted, music junkie, Queen Nerd of her personal Geek Squad, Alpha Mom of the Fur Minxes, and award-winning author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams, and her latest Romantic Suspense series, Fate’s Vultures. She writes to soothe the voices in her head.

 

 

 

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Easy Writing/Easy Reading #MFRWAuthor

I think it was Paul Gillette who first introduced me to the concept of “Easy Writing is

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Obligatory New Mexico Sky Photo

Hard Reading; Easy Reading is Hard Writing’ during a weekend workshop. I remember him attributing the quote to a famous writer but of course don’t remember which writer he mentioned! When I shared the quote recently I thought I’d just check out who said what, when. Well, that’s an interesting question. It seems that’s a very old quote, attributed to a plethora of writers More detail here if you’re interested in the extensive history.

This concept comes up far too often these days when we read books from some prolific authors. Not all of them, of course. Many have spent years honing their craft, and well formed sentences flow through their fingers. They have put in the hours to learn to write clear sentences and they live by the rule of BICHOK. Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard.

If you want to write books, you sit down and write. If you want to write good books, you sit down and write the very best book you can. In response to the recent plagiarisms of good writer’s books, one of our very best explained how she has written and continues to write good books How Nora Roberts Does It She says it clearly enough any of us should be able to follow her precepts even if we can’t keep up with her schedule.

I’ve been on a reading binge…okay a reading glut. Most of these books are by great authors I’ve only recently discovered. There are a lot of new authors publishing. Once in a while I will take a chance on someone new, and be delighted. Some of them need to slow down, read over their book, have someone else read over their work, and not hit that publish button quite so fast? There is so much good, but so much could also be a bit better with more polish.

Hard writing absolutely makes for easy reading. Practice might not make perfect but it does make for better. Speaking of practice, Fire Dragon and I are off to a Rally trial. I have not put in the practice to make us perfect but we’ll keep working on it.

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Rally, FD, not Agility. Let’s try for just a bit more precision

 

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I Shared a Video #MFRWAuthor

At a recent Agility class, I had our run videoed to record our progress. It was probably

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Biddy at home

the worst run Biddy has offered in a long time…the earlier ones that day were so much better. And I gotta say I don’t look all that attractive. In fact I look fat. Mainly because I am fat. No one can body shame us the way we body shame ourselves.

Yes, fat body. YES fat body RUNNING. Not fast maybe but still running. Not at the place I want myself to be. Not at the place where my contemporaries who have applied themselves to intense physical training might be but way ahead of those who are going to get more exercise ‘one day’

And they will. I’m seeing more and more people checking their fitness trackers, doing their steps or stretches at airports. Maybe walking around their cars before getting in so they can meet that 250/hour goal. For them, for me, I’m sharing this reality. As long as we keep moving, we will keep winning in this game of life,

 

 

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Living in the Love #MFRWAuthor

I’ve been noodling with this blog for a while, wanting to share some silly memories…after the news from New Zealand, I thought we could all use a touch of happy

Those of us of a ‘certain age’ remember “Folk” songs. We listened to them, sang them, shared them. And sometimes we believed in them, or at least wanted to believe in them. Looking back it seems that might have been a simpler time, when we thought words sung could change the world. Kind of hard to believe that now, when words are all too often used to hurt, to tear down instead of build up.

But the memories. Oh, the memories. Sitting around a campfire, or a living room, raising our voices in harmony (or lack thereof) Singing of peace, love, and rock and roll. Oh, wait, that  might be another blog.

There were the famous folk singers, but there were also not so famous people who shared their thoughts and love. Like my girlhood crush, Leonard Nimoy, singing Paul Young’s Love of the Common People

 

Living on free food tickets
Water in the milk
From a hole in the roof
Where the rain came through
What can you do, hmmm?

Tears from your little sister
Crying because she doesn’t have
A dress without a patch
For the party to go
But you know she’ll get by

‘Cause she’s living in
The love of the common people
Smiles from the heart
Of a family man

Daddy’s gonna buy you
A dream to cling to
Mama’s gonna love you
Just as much as she can
And she can https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/paulyoung/loveofthecommonpeople.html (for the rest)

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It’s All About the Subtext #MFRWAuthor

Here I am back blogging. It’s been…wow, a while. I’ve started blogs and put them aside to finish ‘later,’ when I wasn’t distracted by sunshine or snow or Salukis or pretty much anything! Let’s see if I can do better. Way back, when I first started taking my writing seriously, a best selling author explained how to engage readers by using ‘theme’ in our books. Research defines theme as a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work, which may be stated directly or indirectly. I’ve noticed this while reading, all too often being bludgeoned by the theme of a book. Until I want to say “Okay, I get it, prom dresses are important.” I’m doubt we’d find that sort of theme in a literary work. But I don’t write Literary. I write Romance, in many varied forms. Since I write romance, generally not considered literary work, theme becomes trope, which is an overused theme or device: Hidden Baby, Rich Man and Gorgeous Poor Girl, Muscled Military Man…you know what I mean. And you know generally by reading the title, or glancing at the cover, what you’ll find in that book. Which makes for quick decisions for readers, and some very popular books. Within these tropes, or within popular sub-genres, we find on occasion subtle and often fascinating sub-plot points. Sometimes these lead to greater story or character depth but often they become a sly way for the author to interject…subtext. a hidden or less obvious meaning Subtext or undertone is any content of a creative work which is not announced explicitly by the characters or author, but is implicit or becomes something understood by the observer of the work as the production unfolds. I’ve found great examples in Anne Bishop’s “Others” series. Who wouldn’t want to be able to ‘send in the big guns’ when someone blatantly destroys the environment? Science Fiction and Space Opera are loaded with subtext, too much of which speaks to ‘the more things change the more they are the same.’ Sure we can go to the stars but that doesn’t mean we’ll be better people once we get there. As with subliminal messages (a certain tie, or hat, or color) subtext can shape our future. Gene Roddenberry was a master of subtext, with an implied promise of “We CAN be better.” It seems it will be up to us which path we choose to take.

I’ve been playing with BookBrush

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A Day in the Life #MFRWAuthor

So many writer friends share their lives with their many fans, either on Facebook or through blogs. I never saw much reason for that. For one, because I don’t think I have many readers who really want to know about my life. For two, I don’t blame them since my life is not the thing of excitement. I’m pretty much the ‘before’ in all the tales of great things happening. You know, The Shire while Frodo was growing up.

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this sort of snow

But recently a friend asked me something about how I was dealing with living alone, with the death of my husband (in 2012 but you never really get over it do you?) I hadn’t thought before how much my experiences might help someone else ‘of a certain age’ in the same circumstances. Maybe not only ‘of an age’ but feeling a bit out of touch with the world around us.  I’ve learned recently that many of us are dealing with what life throws in our paths. Like a you’ve got to be kidding snow storm…The Town of Edgewood had 39.75″ of snow. What to do? 

You just do. Before the storm you make sure you’ll have enough food for people and pets, enough water (I haul my own) snow shovels at every entrance. My neighbor plows the road past my house, and I shovel out enough to keep my back porch clear plus help create paths for the dogs, plus clean up from the car to the lane. You stay in touch with neighbors and friends so you have a safety net.

It’s high plains, a combination of wind and cold and not enough moisture. So we take a deep breath and deal, because we need however much water we can have gifted to us.

Then the very talented Zoe York shared the following on her Facebook page :

“Nobody talks about how ugly taking care of yourself can be.
Yes, sometimes it’s taking a warm bath and texting memes to friends and keeping an aesthetically pretty journal.
Sometimes it’s crying silently on your couch at 3am, hugging yourself and reminding yourself that you’re a good person.
Self care is not always ‘aesthetic’ and cute… and that’s ok. Don’t be embarrassed, just do what you need to do.”
—pocketbucky #ThingsToNeverForget: I found the source here

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Sometimes I let the world around me help

Oops it’s past our bedtime, the wind is wicked out there and we’re either going to have slight rain showers tomorrow or another short round of WEATHER.

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Here for the Holidays…The Kyn Kronicles #MFRWAuthor

Jami Gray The lovely Jami Gray noticed I wasn’t blogging. To get me back into the swing of things, she sent me this WONDERFUL announcement:

The Kyn Kronicles are back just in time for the holidays!

After recently receiving my rights back on my first series the Kyn Kronicles, it was time to do some decorating. In fact, the entire series got a stunning make-over and the first four books now include the Kyn short stories. If you haven’t slipped into the shadows and picked up this Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series, now’s your chance!

“…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.”
–The Romance Reviews (5/5 stars)

“Fans of Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series will enjoy the introduction to the paranormal world created by Jami Gray.”
–Mary Waible, Goodreads Review

All five books have joined the Kindle Unlimited family, so if you’re a KU reader, you can dive into the shadows with Raine, Gavin, Xander and all the rest. With all the changes, they’ll be releasing rapidly one after another, so if you haven’t had a chance to check this series out, now’s the time! Shadow’s Edge is already out in the world, but you can pick up the rest of the series at special pre-order prices, so click away!

Shadow’s EdgeOUT NOW!

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.

Includes Kyn short: Submerged in Shadows, 1.5

Treasures from the deep come in all shapes and sizes…

Forced on an unwanted vacation, Raine soon discovers that boredom is the least of her worries when danger washes ashore, bringing unexpected complications.

 

Shadow’s SoulArrives 11/28/18

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.

Includes Kyn short: Masked by Shadows, 2.5

Nothing is ever easy…

For Gavin and Raine the job is simple, deliver a package to an interested party in New Orleans. Yet even the easiest job can mask unforeseen challenges.

 

Shadow’s MoonArrives 12/5/18

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.

Includes Kyn short: Ensnared by Shadows, 3.5

Deception leaves a tangled web…

Ryuu Kern, Motoki Pack’s Second, is no stranger to sticky situations, but when delectable Division Agent, Iliana Krychek, comes to him for help, it will take more than claws and teeth to untangle a deadly web of deceit.

 

Shadow’s CurseArrives 12/18/18

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?

Includes Kyn pre-quel short: Wrapped in Shadows, .5

The magic of the holiday season can be hell…

Elite Kyn, Gavin Durand and Raine McCord, are called in to investigate the aftermath of a Christmas engagement party gone horrifically wrong, only to face an unexpected gift.

 

Shadow’s DreamArrives 1/7/19

When the Kyn’s Northwest Magi Cheveyo is sent to broker an alliance with their Southwest counterparts, he seizes the opportunity to rectify an old regret—reclaiming Tala Whiteriver’s heart. The challenge proves daunting when he discovers she’s caught in the middle of a treacherous plot designed to fracture the Kyn.

Can they move beyond their painful past and trust their hearts to forge new dreams before the impending nightmare sweeps them apart forever?

 

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What Have We Become? #MFRWAuthor

I’ve thought about this for a while, and haven’t been able to bring myself to blogging until I shared my concerns. This started with a meme showing up on my FaceBook feed, comparing the Melania and I think Ivanka Trump to two woman, much more casually presented. I had to dig a bit to find out these other two women were Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

Comments followed. Ugly, ignorant, misogynistic comments based on a cleverly presented set of photos. Of course no one addressed anything beyond surface appearance. Why bother considering intelligence or moral value for any of the four women? And it got uglier.

Okay, so I can sort of understand the driving need to criticize Hillary Clinton. She’s been a favorite target for a while now, for any number of reasons. But to attack her daughter, who has pretty much just gotten on with her life? Why? And if these people, many of whom are FaceBook ‘Friends’ were so vicious with these images, what would they have to say about the pictures I post of me with my dogs? I’m certainly not in the same stratosphere as any of these women, either in shape or presentation. Nor are most of us.

So I was in a butt hurt frame of mind. Until eleven people were killed in a synagogue. Two more shot in a grocery store, because the gunman couldn’t get into the local church. A journalist was brutally murdered in Turkey. And so on.

And…WHY? Okay, yeah brutality through the ages etc etc etc. But we should hope by the time we go into space and discover and create we could maybe, I dunno, be BETTER people? Maybe evolve a bit?

I pretty much forgot my original concerns and instead thought about the ongoing, increasing level of, well, nastiness in our world. Petty, snipey, self serving, bullying, misogynistic…the list is endless, isn’t it? Sure it’s been around forever. I get that. I don’t have to like it but I understand.

But then, I hear about people who have become better. About the Muslims who reached out to help the Jewish synagogue. About the people who have reached out, helped, embraced and shared support. I see a turtle picked up from the road and taken to a safer place. I see motorcycle riders blocking traffic to allow an elderly woman to cross the road. Random and not so random acts of kindness, people going about their lives looking out for others.

What have we become? We’re the same complex, simple, wise, foolish, kind, angry, sweet, confusing people we have always been. It’s up to us to choose which direction we want to take, and encourage those around us to follow that positive road.

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Don’t forget to call someone you haven’t talked to for a while. Hold the door open, tell a stranger that life IS good.

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Project Goldilocks: A Question of Trust #MFRWAuthor

When I first sent A Question of Trust to Black Opal, I included what I thought might makefront cover interesting scenes for the front of the book. They went with something more relevant to the story, featuring Lana. This was my favorite of what I sent, probably because it was a light moment before the intense drama.

At Stormhaven:

“All right then,” Roz said, rubbing her hands together. “Let’s get this party started. First of all, we need a name for this caper.”

“We do not involve ourselves in capers,” Powers intoned.

“Project? Assignment?”

Powers sighed. “Is she ever quiet?”

“Nope.” Ty grinned. “Pretty much not.”

‘I’m thinking Project Goldilocks. That sound good to you?” Roz looked around at the puzzled faces. “Simple. The way I see it, I’m absurdly tall. No, Ty, I am. I always have been, and I’d be silly to think otherwise. Sydney is adorably small.”

“Hey!”

“She’s right, babe,” Devin agreed.

“That would make Lana—”

“Just right,” Adam said in a deadpan voice.

Roz nodded. “Therefore: Goldilocks.”

Lana shook her head, wondering where all this energy, all this manic support, was coming from. Powers merely heaved another sigh.

***

Yes, Rosalind and Ty are a part of this book. While Lana and Adam pretty much resolve their relationship, the other couple still hesitate on the brink of commitment. Now that I’ve resolved WHY Lana acted the way she did (A Question of Honor) I have to ask WHY in the world aren’t Roz and Ty married. Hmmm. That’s for a future story.

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Yes the skies can really be this pretty

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