Unveiling the cover of Shadow’s Curse and a Newsletter Giveaway… #UF #KynKronicles #newreads

Okay, I waited as long as I could but now I’m excited to share the gorgeousness of my fourth book in the Kyn Kronicles: SHADOW’S CURSE, coming January 2015!

Now, here’s the deal–I’ve decided to do a little giveaway for the upcoming holidays starting November 1st and running until December 19th. You, my loyal readers, and my newsletter subscribers have a chance to win. Want the details? Great, then click the link below to see my latest newsletter and if you’re interested in getting sneak peeks into my upcoming books and covers, feel free to join in. The link is under the Newsletter tab above.  Don’t worry about being bombarded by newsletters, mine only come out twice a year.

NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

If you’re not into the newsletter concept, feel free to click the Rafflecopter link below to enter as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

or leave a comment with your favorite thing about the holidays below (with your email addie).

And, what pray tell, am I giving away?

Well, five lucky winners will get a digital copy of my first three Kyn Kronicles and five other lucky winners, will get a digital copy of HUNTED BY THE PAST, the first in my Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams.

It just my way of giving a little reader joy for the holidays. Winners will be announce on December 20th, so don’t forget to check back.

Shadows Curse Cover

SHADOW’S CURSE: BOOK 4 OF THE KYN KRONICLES

Beauty is a treacherous bitch, and her name is Natasha.

Death and chaos can devastate even the best-laid plans…

As the leader of the Amanusa, Natasha Bertoi thrives on chaos, but when tragedy strikes the Northwest Kyn, leaving bodies and betrayal in its wake, not even she is prepared for the fallout.  With Northwest houses in an uproar and the Wraiths hungry for blood, all her carefully laid plans are put to the test as she wards off the greedy clutches of the ruling Kyn Council. Her plans and pawns are moving along nicely, until he joins the game.

Whispers of treachery draw Darius Abazi to the Northwest in search of justice honed with vengeance.  After years of protecting the Council and its secrets he harbors no illusions on how lies can be twisted into truth. As death stalks the Northwest Kyn, he faces off with the beautiful, but manipulative Natasha to uncover the mastermind behind it all.

A dangerous attraction lures the two predators into a deadly game, where one wrong move could destroy all that Natasha holds dear.

 

COMING FROM BLACK OPAL BOOKS IN JAN. 2015

The Art of Telling It Quick #flashfiction #shortstories

I recently had the unique pleasure of reading submissions for a writing contest. The subject: adult fiction short story and adult flash fiction.

First and foremost, I must give huge credit to these brave writers. Trying to create a story within a limited word count (500 words for flash fiction/5000 for short) is a daunting challenge to begin with, yet these stalwart souls managed to do just that and do it well.

Me and short stories tend not to see eye-to-eye. I find it difficult to craft a solid story arc within a limited space. Much like Twitter limiting my pontifications to 140 characters…serious challenge.

After indulging in the entries of our mini-ink slingers, I noticed a few things that made certain stories stand out and haunt my curiosity long after I put the pages down.

1. The main character–no matter what the setting or conflict, if the main character didn’t come out of the gate with a memorable presence, the story just couldn’t hold me.  Not that you’d get every aspect of who the character was, but you got the most interesting part of their personality–and why it was so interesting.  (I’d give examples, but I don’t want any spoilers for this particular contest.)

2. Clean writing–if you consider submitting any of your writing to a contest of any length, please, please ensure you’ve ironed out the misspellings, verb agreements, and punctuation errors, just as if you were submitted to the all-holy editor/agent. Nothing pulls a reader out of a story like a misspelled word or misplaced punctuation.

3.  Simple, concise story conflict–there is limited space to explore your story with short fiction, even more microscopic space if it’s flash fiction. The story’s conflict must be diamond bright and polished–get that sucker down to a jeweled nugget–gives you more room to flesh your character and detail your setting.

4.  Don’t answer every reader question–keep a few nibbles out there, it gives us (the readers) something to ponder. Did the character mean to do/say that? What could possibly motivated them to make that decision? While the main story issues may be addressed, those little questions, those are the ones that stick with your reader and bring them back for more.

Now I turn to you, my lovely readers and followers, what makes short stories or flash fiction stick with you? What do you enjoy? What makes you want to scream in frustration if not done right?

HUNTED BY THE PAST joins Fall Into Fantasy Blog Hop #FIFG14 #giveaway #PNR

FIFG large

Ahhh…fall is in full swing which means it’s once again time for the Fall Into Fantasy Blog Hop (#FIFG14) from Oct. 17th-31st.

Join me and tons of great authors as we swing through the virtual world armed with great reads we’re giving away to lucky commenters. And I’m not limiting my giveaways to just one book. Oh no, first up, I’ll pick three individuals who leave us a book recommendation they found this year in the comments below (complete w/your email) a digital copy of HUNTED BY THE PAST, the first in my new paranormal romantic suspense series, PSY-IV Teams.

In case you missed our book tour last month, I give  you a small teaser, just to snag your curosity of what happens when a reluctant ex-military psychic is forced into a lethal game with the nightmare from her past and the man she just can’t forget.
Gunshot-HuntedAnd if that wasn’t enough to tempt you into this exciting hop, then maybe you’ll want to be the proud new owner of all three Kyn Kronicles (SHADOW’S EDGE, SHADOW’S SOUL, and SHADOW’S MOON) plus a plethora of fantastic swag going to one of our grand prize winners…

swag 1 funJust click here and enter the Rafflecopter giveaways and leave your book recommendation below (w/your email).

FALL INTO FANTASY BLOG HOP RAFFLECOPTERS

I’ll announce the three winners of HUNTED BY THE PAST on NOVEMBER 3rd on this post, so check back!

Nailing The Murder Scene with Sara Jayne Townsend #MIU #mystery

Today’s visitor is Sara Jayne Townsend, a mistress of suspense from MuseItUp Publishing. Her debut novel DEATH SCENE follows the adventures of actress and amateur sleuth, Shara Summers. Shara’s heart-pounding journey continues November 25th with the release of DEAD COOL

Death Scene 200x300                    Dead Cool 200x300

So what do you have to do to bring death and mayhem to life? Read on to find out…

A SENSE OF PLACE

By Sara Jayne Townsend

The crime fiction market is a crowded place indeed. It has many sub-genres, and its fans are avid and discerning readers. Which all make it rather difficult for a new author to break into this very established market. There are many, many outstanding writers in the field of crime fiction. How does an unknown find a place for herself amongst the footsteps of so many giants?

As a reader of crime myself, one of the things that always stands out for me is a strong sense of place. It’s not enough just to have a strong character, a victim, a motive, a method. None of these things are enough on their own if the location is not descriptive enough to be a background character all of its own. Many crime authors write about real-life places, with enough description to make the reader feel they know the place, even if they’ve never been there. I’ve never visited Chicago, but Sara Paretsky (my all-time favourite crime writer) brings it to life so well in her VI Warshawski series that I feel I actually know the place. Ian Rankin’s famous detective Rebus walks the streets of Edinburgh. The city of Amsterdam has been put on the map of late because of a number of Scandinavian crime writers, and even Dublin has become trendy in the world of crime fiction – with ‘Emerald Noir’ inspiring a generation of Irish detective inspectors.

Of course, if you’re going to create a convincing sense of place in your novels, you either have to do a lot of research or pick a place you’ve actually been to several times. I’m not a big fan of research but I’ve done a lot of travelling, and I decided I could use that.

My amateur sleuth Shara Summers became a Canadian in England because my own background is rooted in the two places. I am English, and live in England, but spent eight years of my life in Canada when my family emigrated there. I visit Toronto on a regular basis, and that is where Shara resides at the beginning of DEATH SCENE. New York City also has a cameo role in this novel – at the start of the story, my actress amateur sleuth is filming in Central Park. I love New York City and have visited many times. One such trip inspired me so much I went walking around Central Park drinking in the atmosphere and taking copious notes, so I could write a scene set there. The thing about Central Park is, you can do something like that and not look in the least out of place.

But most of the action in DEATH SCENE takes place in and around London, and the place where I have been living for the last twenty years. Many of the streets mentioned are real places. You can’t pinpoint any of the residences featured in the novel to an actual address, but I know where they all are. Most of the action in the second Shara Summers book, DEAD COOL, takes place in a hotel just off Tottenham Court Road. The hotel doesn’t actually exist, but I could take you into central London and point out the exact spot where that hotel stands.

My plan with the Shara series when I first conceived it was to take Shara all over the world in her adventures. I’ve travelled to many wonderful places, and I’d like to share them with readers through Shara. In fact, I might run out of murder victims before I run out of locations.

But more immediately, I do have plans to take Shara back to New York City in a future book. This is such an amazing place I feel I’m not done with it yet.

Much thanks to Sara Jayne for taking time to visit with us. Intrigued? Then go forth and pick up your copies of DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL today!

Sara Townsend (25a)

Sara-Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.

The first book in her amateur sleuth series about Canadian actress Shara Summers, DEATH SCENE, is now available, with the sequel, DEAD COOL, released on 25 November and available for pre-order. Visit the MuseItUp Publishing book store to buy both: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/70-our-authors/authors-t/420-sara-jayne-townsend

You can learn more about Sara and her writing at her website at http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com or her blog at http://sayssara.wordpress.com.

What makes a romance? #writing #romance

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Awww…the stars in the eyes, the melty feeling around your heart, the spontaneous smile…blooming like a rose, it’s romance.

But what is romance?

Is it the innocence of young love or the down and dirty hook up at the club?

Can it be both?

Probably. It all depends what you’re in the mood for, or more importantly, what fits your characters.

In my first book, Shadow’s Edge, there are no sex scenes, but there is romance.   My second book, Shadow’s Soul, contains scenes (and nope, won’t share page numbers, you’ll just have to read it).

One of the hardest decisions I made was to keep Shadow’s Edge sex free. It wasn’t an easy decision, every damn rejection I got made some mention of the fact that there WASN’T any sex.

Umm, yeah, it’s Urban Fantasy, sex isn’t a diehard requirement in UF. But that’s what editors/publishers were looking for at the time. Erotica was just pulling back the boudoir door at the time, so the sexual elements in books were becoming very, very hot. And Raine and Gavin were not (great, now I’m channeling Dr. Seuss). At least not then.

It wasn’t until after Shadow’s Soul came out, that my mom responded to some soap box I had tripped upon and said something that has stuck with me and my stories.

“I like your sex scenes, sweetheart, because they mean something.  When your characters make it to the bedroom (hallway, forest, whateves–yes that’s me, not my mom) it’s because that’s where their relationship naturally evolves to. There’s nothing fake or forced about it, instead it’s an emotional moment that changes everything.”

I love my mom. I don’t care that I’m in my 40’s, err adulthood, she’s da bomb.

That one conversation helped me to see how I view romance when it comes to my stories. I’ll share my opinion, then I’m asking for yours–what makes romance?

For me–romance is an emotional tie between characters. It’s what develops as they learn who each individual is, what their strengths, weaknesses, and silly spots are. It isn’t seeing someone through rose-colored glasses, but with crystalline 20/20 vision and knowing that not only do they make you a better person, but somehow, someway you make them a better person.

Shadow’s Soul and Shadow’s Moon both have rather explicit scenes. Whereas Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Curse (coming Fall 2014) don’t. Raine and Gavin were tiptoeing around each other in Shadow’s Edge and there was a lot to tiptoe around. By Shadow’s Soul, Gavin and Raine had found something worth taking a risk for, and where the mind and heart go, the body will follow.  But before you do that most intimate of dances, you better have a solid platform of trust to work from, or it can all go horribly wrong. (Which may make a really great story…hmmmm).

Shadow’s Curse is Natasha Bertoi’s story, and trust and intimacy are not part of her repertoire, so when Darius Abazi hits the scene, we see the beginnings of something truly powerful in the making. But the ultimate culmination of that beginning, isn’t in these 300+ pages.

Now for my PSY-IV Teams, well that’s a different bag altogether. I planned this series to be a Paranormal Romantic Suspense, and each book will focus on one couple. So yes, because one of the arcs is the emerging relationship, you get some hot and steamy scenes. And they fit.

I’ve read books where the main couple hook up first, then do the relationship, and it can work. In all honesty, the later scenes are much stronger because of the relationship choices.  But that’s me.

So for you, my savvy readers/writers, what makes a romance?

Writing to Trends and death knells… #writing #trends

Recently I took part in a very interesting discussion with some fellow writers: the topic of writing to trends.

Ok, don’t flinch, you know what I’m talking about. They’re out there, authors who manage to pump out their stories based upon the hottest genre of the moment. Somehow, they’re like trend ninjas–able to sneak aboard the trendy bullet train speeding through the latest hot vista of genres.

I’ve manage to catch a glimpse of some of them because they are the quietest, sneakiest bastards out there.  I think they own crystal balls specifically tuned into what readers are hungry for. Part of me wonders where one can get one of those suckers.

Is that a green eyed monster breathing over my shoulder?

Nope.

Here’s why:

The worlds and characters in my head have been there a loooonnnnngggg time. I began writing my first Urban Fantasy before Urban Fantasy was even a genre. Of course my crafting skills were crap and needed much honing before Shadow’s Edge manage to snag the attention of a publisher, but I knew what kind of stories I wanted to write. And even now, when I know a metric crap ton of the writing world more than I did when I first started writing, I’m still enraptured with Urban Fantasy and lately, Paranormal Suspense.  Yep, I weave romance into both, but my main story arcs are UF and PNS.

Yet, even I am sometimes tempted to attempt the writing to trend.  Maybe it’s because you hear all sorts of things out in the writing universe. And the overriding topic of conversations tends to center around sales and dying genres. Lately it’s been the grim pronouncements, “Paranormal/Urban Fantasy is dead.”

pffftttthhh… “I blow my nose at you.” (Yep, I’m quoting Monty Python)

Romance has been dying for decades, yet it’s still the hottest genre out there. Of course, it’s taken a sharp curve because romance has stepped it up and allowed readers a more “up close and personal” view of the sexual escapades of the story, treading into erotic arenas.

But, it ain’t dying folks.

And neither is UF or Paranormal.

Now this may upset a few, and I’m going to apologize ahead of time, because that’s not my intention.

Like many readers, I enjoy a good erotica story. And my Knight has made the comment, “If it’s selling, why not give it a shot?”

Because–see above–I’m a UF/PNS kind of gal. I could go out and write an erotic story (yep, I could) but I won’t. Yes, my scenes are pretty intense, but erotica, that’s not my writing cup o’ tea. My hat’s off to those that do (Kallypso Masters, Jennifer Lyon, Cherise Sinclair) and do it well. It’s not an easy style to do justice to.

But I won’t write erotica. I can’t write to trends (yes, I can hear you now–“it’s not a trend!”)–to what’s selling the best. I have to stay true to what my creative mind wants to indulge in.  If those stories resonant with readers–all the better, if they don’t, they don’t.

See, that’s the beauty of being a writer. Your audience is vast. They don’t read just one genre, they go out and try a bit here, try a bit there, maybe stay a little longer at the table with this story type, and hoard this type over here.

As a reader, I’ve found I’ll cross genre lines if the story and characters become real in my mind. If a writer has done their job well, they’ve hooked me. If not, well, I’ll browse the buffet line for other options.

So writing to trends, or chasing the perfect genre wave, it’s not for me. I’m the snail baby, I’m leaving my glittery trail behind me one book at a time. Because at some point in this journey, I’m going to cross enough paths to have my own following.

And it won’t be the genre that makes them stick, it’s the writing.

Readers/writers–chime in, do you think writing to the hottest trend works and why? Or why did you/didn’t you choose that path?

 

 

@AshleyLadd is bringing her sexy trio of HER MEN to visit…#giveaway #erotic #romance

Today we are being visited by the lovely Ashley Ladd, mistress of steamy romance, where her heroine doesn’t have to settle for just one hunky hero. Not only is sharing a peek of HER MEN, her latest title from Totally Bound, but she’ll give one lucky commenter a pdf or epub copy! (Remember, we can’t reach you, if you don’t leave your email!)

Her Men–a contemporary erotic novella by Ashley Ladd

Forty-four year old Julie Weston has loved Timmy and James since her college days twenty something years ago. She’s fantasized about both all these long years, never able to choose between them.

Hoping Tim and James will attend, she attends their college marching band reunion. When both men show up her dreams are answered. They’re sexier than she imagined and she hopes they won’t be disappointed by her older self.

It turns out both men came just to see her again and neither is happy about the other’s presence. They fight over her, confusing her more than ever. It takes a hot ménage…or two…for her heart to decide which one she’s in love with.hermen_800

Fair warning…things might get a bit hot if you dare to read on…

“I’m so hungry—for you.” Tim twisted her hair in his fingers and pressed his lips to her forehead. “And I’m so hot, if you know what I mean.”
“Me too.” She was glad for her buzz, for the courage it provided. She longed to kiss him, wondered why he hadn’t kissed her yet.
“Let’s ditch dinner and…”
A shadow fell between them and James grabbed her away from Tim. “I’m breaking in. You’ve monopolized her all night.”
“But you don’t dance. You don’t like disco,” she blurted, surprised but thrilled.
“I do now. If it’s the only way I get my turn to see you, I’ll dance all night. I’m tired of waiting for you at the table.” James tugged her into his arms, ignoring Tim’s deathly glare.
“One dance, then I’m coming back.” Tim stalked away and grabbed a drink, which he downed in one gulp.
James’ warmth replaced Tim’s.
“Thank you.” She wiggled beside James hoping she could make him as hot as she’d made Tim.
“For rescuing you from Tim? You didn’t look as though you wanted rescuing.” James held her close but his nostrils flared and his eyes narrowed to mere slits.
“Not for tonight. For all those years ago you told him off for abandoning me. I wish I’d known. I also wish I’d done this.” Before she could lose her nerve, she pressed her lips to his.
He pulled back and gazed into her eyes, suspicion in his. “Are you drunk?”
Hurt and embarrassed she held up one finger. “I only had one drink. And I kissed you because I’ve wanted to do so for many years and I don’t want to let you go again without you knowing that, without knowing what it feels like.”
A low growl rumbled from James. Desire lit his eyes. Purpose firmed his lips. Without another word, he lowered his head and kissed her deeply, thoroughly.
He tasted so good, like steak and Cabernet and she couldn’t get enough. Her legs rubbery, about to give out on her, she clung to him. Her heart seemed to swell to triple its normal size. James’ was robust and passionate and full of pent-up longing.
“You wanted to kiss me too, all those years ago,” she muttered, touching his lips. It wasn’t a question. He tasted too good, was too mesmerizing to move away from.
“Yes.” The answer was long, drawn out and breathy. Full of emotion.
“Why didn’t we?”

Shall I bring you a cold cup of water? No? You sure? Then if you’re ready, come meet the mind behind the heat–Ashley Ladd…

If you were to hold a dinner party for six, who would you invite and share at least one question you would have for each? 

John Lennon—What was it like in the early days to be a Beatle, when you were just becoming famous? What attracted you to Yoko?

Elizabeth Bennett—What was your life like after the honeymoon was over with Mr. Darcy? Or did the honeymoon ever end?

Mulan—Did you marry Shang Li? Did you go back to war?

Spock—Did you ever marry or have children?

Captain Kirk—How many women did you date? Do you like older women?

–((giggle)) I don’t think he’d turn you down…

Luke Skywalker—Did you find and train more Jedi Knights after you saved your father? Or did the Jedi die out after you?

–from what I’ve heard, Luke did more than train more Knights, but that’s another universe, far, far, away…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to be an astronaut and travel the galaxy with Spock and Captain Kirk. I wanted to discover new worlds and new civilizations – to go where no man has gone before.

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

A frustrated, disabled vet who was turned down by the FBI to be an agent because of her hearing loss. Instead she lives vicariously through her stories with kick ass heroes and heroines, some who are military, some who aren’t, and all who make her happy in one way or another.

She adores her kids and grandkids, human and furry. She wants to be a crazy cat lady and would be more of one if only her family would permit it. They say four cats are two two many.

She loves the Beatles, moldy oldies, American Idol finalists, Star Trek, and watching movies on the big screen.

Ashley wanted to share Bobby with us, just to point out that crazy cat lady status is not something to be feared…Ashley Ladd with Bobby for Hat Interview

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I’m like you, shy and introverted.

I admire Stephen King, Sherryl Woods, Tina Wainscott, Holly Jacobs.

–I know this short, little guy who travels with a Raven who’d love to be with you when you hook up with Mr. King..

I would get a frog in my throat and would have trouble spitting out mywords if I could even think of anything intelligent to say. My knees would shake and my stomach would be tied up in knots.

Actually, I know Holly from online when she still went by Holly Fuhrman and I’ve met her in person. She’s extremely nice.

And now that we’ve finished our tough questions, time for Ashley to dodge a few bullets…

  • Blades, guns, fists or feet?    Guns (I used to shoot trap with my dad – but I also like feet as I was a brown belt in Taekwondo too)
  • Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?      Mulan!
  • Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?    Geeky disdain (I’m a HUGE Big Bang Theory fan)
  • Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?    My husband’s mini fridge is sitting on the side of my computer desk!
  • Favorite supernatural creature?    Pegasus

 

Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.She’s been told she has a wicked sense of humor and often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.Ashley Ladd bio

How you can contact Ashley:
chinara@aol.com
http://www.ashleyladd.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/ashleyladdauthor
http://www.twitter.com/ashleyladd
https://www.goodreads.com/AshleyLadd
http://www.shelfari.com/search/books?Keywords=Ashley%20Ladd
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ashley%20ladd&sprefix=ashle%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aashley%20ladd

BUY LINK:
https://www.totallybound.com/her-men

It’s Getting a Little Tense In Here… #writing tips #conflict #tension

Quotation-Ian-Mcewan-information-Meetville-Quotes-165022

What’s a story without tension? Hell, life’s all about tension, right? Do you do this? Or this? Should you take this path? Or that one? What if that path takes you straight into the mouth of danger? What if it doesn’t?

Conflict is the heart of the story, and tension is what conflict creates. As a writer, your job is to take believable characters, throw them into impossible situations and watch what happens.

This can’t be done, if you, as the almighty author, try to set things up. Which you’re bound to do, if your characters aren’t real.

Here’s what I mean:

John P and Suzy Q use to be friends, then Suzy found out John slept with her sister. Friendship went the way of the do-do. Suddenly Suzy’s sister, Floozy, turns up dead in a ditch after sneaking out to go to a party.  Fingers are pointed and John P is on the other end. Suspicions abound, but Suzy knows Floozy wasn’t all that picky when it came to hook-ups and John has never seemed the type.

That’s your plot. Go you, it’s great, filled with all sorts of branching paths of tension.

John and Suzy’s relationship

Suzy and Floozy’s relationship

Floozy’s murder

Now, if your characters are fleshed out enough to walk off the pages, you’re going to find a whole ‘nother mess under that level.  If they aren’t, you’re going to start throwing in your own contrived tension makers.

If you can’t get below this level, go back and delve a bit more into John, Suzy and Floozy. You know, all that info you didn’t share with your readers at the get-go. It’s that information you reveal in bits and pieces through the pages that bring it all together. Because, from here you should be able to drill down to this:

Suzy’s always been in love with John, and just when she was going to bare more than her heart, she finds him in bed with sister. Heartbroken, Suzy cuts John out of her life and give her sister the cold shoulder. If she’s insecure enough, she’ll never tell John why she’s so hurt, but she will continually cut her sister down as it’s her passive/aggressive way in dealing with the anger of Floozy taking yet another man from her.

John made the mistake of mixing cold meds with allergy meds, and he heads over to Suzy’s place because they were going to do some studying. He’s been trying not make any aggressive moves on the lovely Suzy because he doesn’t want to scare her off. But when he arrives, dizzy and sick, it’s Floozy who answers the door. But things get hazing and suddenly Floozy is Suzy. She coaxes him into lying down and the next thing he know, a feverish daydream of Suzy is taking on a decidedly erotic twist.

Floozy’s always resented her goody-two shoe sister, Suzy. No matter what, everything Suzy touches comes up roses. While Floozy is stuck with the loser. Like the last boyfriend, who just won’t take no for an answer. When John knocks on the door, acting a little buzzed, Floozy perks up. She’s always like John, and even though that tiny voice in her head is warning her off, she’s going to show Suzy how not everything is perfect in this life.

If you let your characters off their chain here, you got yourself an incredibly tension filled story spilling across the pages.

Now you can dive into:
Can Suzy look beyond her guilt and prejudices to see the truth before she loses her chance at something precious?

Can John get over his anger and resentment at Floozy and Suzy to discover who the real killer is before it’s too late?
And the psychological games are off. This depth of character motivation is key to creating tension, and tension is conflict and conflict is story.

Other than withholding information, what other writing tools create great tension?

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Writers…

Change has come to stalk the Wicked household, or more specifically, for Wicked herself. It’s a good thing she has three books out this year, because getting two more out next year is going to test her time management skills.  And here’s why…after many, many, many (add thirteen more) years of being blessed with a telecommuting position, Wicked has decided to take a newly opened path of gainful employment. Not that she strayed far from her original path, just laddered up to the parent employer and new challenges. Including the one where she has to dress like an adult and leave the house to pursue said challenges.

What this means, is now for an hour, one-way, Wicked and her brand-spanking new filly, must brave the crowded roadways, dodging carts and overdrawn carriages (no, that’s not a mis-spelling), stop at the new giver of pay’s offices, toil away for a set number of hours, re-brave the clogged travel arteries, and then kick off the torturous devices known as “heels”.  While on one hand, this is wonderful, on the other it meant re-organizing a writer’s schedule.

Most writers hold day jobs while they craft their art. It’s not easy and something always has to be sacrificed (sleep, time, chocolate, homemade dinners, handcrafted gifts).  In this case, it meant the every other week meeting of like minds of the Evil 7’s critique group. A decision not easily made, mind you. After seven years with the Evil 7, I must take a reluctant step back.

There is no magical potion to imbue when trying to balance work, family, and writing, it comes down to your personal goals/needs. While I am behind on my writing counts for the last month due to all the upheaval, my overall plan has not changed.

One book from each series each year. That won’t change because I am a writer and this is something I’m willing to sacrifice for, to keep to.

While I’m uncertain how well my plans will be carried out, I’m determined to make it work. So it’s:

Monday through Fridays, get up, get the Prankster Duo out and Knight out and running, then gallop away.

Fulfill my contractual obligations for my pot of gold at the end of working person’s rainbow.

Come home, touch base, check in, ride herd over the three males and one fur rug.

When everyone’s settled in fighting off ogres, snipers and various other individuals of coded fame, I shall plant my butt in chair and pound out words of fancy while they battle in the background.

Saturdays shall become days of Writer Biz–marketing, blogs, and various sundry items that come with being a writer.

Sundays are mine–for family or writing or both, they are all mine.

So if I seem a bit quiet, don’t worry, I’m still here, just a tad busy settling into my well laid plans, and you can keep up with me at www.jamigray.com where my personal blog is updated each Wednesday. Unfortunately my posts at www.7EvilDwarves.com may have to lapse.

I’ll keep you posted on just how well it works out though. Maybe I’ll be able to give up the 8-5 to peddle my own magic formula.

Need new read? It’s HERE! HUNTED BY THE PAST has arrived! #newread #PNR

The first in an exciting new Paranormal Romantic Suspense series-HUNTED BY THE PAST is now available from Muse It Up Publishing

When facing danger, some situations require a unique skill set. Come meet the men and women of the Psy-IV Teams…

huntedbythepast

HUNTED BY THE PAST: PSY-IV Teams book 1

Sometimes death is the only way to out run the past… 

A reluctant psychic who can relive the past, a man well versed in keeping secrets, and a psychopathic killer enter a deadly game where the past determines the future.

Changing the past is an impossibility ex-Marine, Cynthia “Cyn” Arden, understands all too well. Struggling in the aftermath of a botched mission, which cost her two teammates, her military career, and a fledging relationship, she’s brought home by a panicked phone call. The psychic killer behind her nightmares has escaped military custody to hunt down the remaining teammates, one by one. Next on his murderous list–Cyn. Her only chance at survival is to master the psychic ability she’s spent years denying.

The killer’s game brings her face to face with the one person guaranteed to throw her off kilter—the unsettling and distracting man she left behind, Kayden Shaw. Once she believed he’d stand by her side, until he chose his job and his secrets over her. A choice that’s left the scars of the past etched deep on her mind and heart.

To survive this twisted game, Cyn must risk trusting her heart and accepting who and what she is, or lose not only her life, but the man she loves.

Available at:  MUSEITUP Publishing  in all digital formats!

READ AN EXCERPT

Since I didn’t want to touch him, much, I poked a finger against his chest, ignoring the unexpected zap of awareness. “I don’t know how you found me or why, but right now I have other, more important things to do. So, why don’t–”

The ringing of the phone interrupted my tirade.

I shot a look at the phone sitting on the counter to our left, and then narrowed my gaze at Kayden.

He quirked an eyebrow.

The phone rang again.

“You going to answer it?” he drawled.

Stepping back, I plucked the receiver off the cradle. “Hello?”

“Cyn?” What do you know, it was Thomas Anderson Gunderson, A.K.A. Tag.

I stared at the man standing across from me. “Yeah.”

“Where have you been? And why the hell won’t you answer my calls?” Despite his questions, there was a thread of relief in my friend’s voice. Ex-friend, I reminded myself.

“Why would I?” I gave my answer absently, watching Kayden make his way over to the other side of the counter and take a seat on a barstool.

In my ear, Tag cursed. “Dammit, Cyn. I don’t have time to explain shit now— ”

“Why are you calling me?” I cut him off, ice coating every word.

“Why are you in Sedona?” he shot back, his voice hard.

“I’m more concerned with how you got this number and why everyone seems determined to turn my cabin in to Grand Central Station.”

Momentary silence filled the line. “Shaw’s there?”

“Got it in one.”

“Thank God,” Tag muttered. “Be as bitchy as you want, Cyn, but tell me you’re okay. You ran away—”

“I didn’t run from shit, Tag, I was kicked to the fucking curb as soon as you and everyone else got what you wanted.”

“That’s not what happened.”

“Really? Because from where I stood, it sure as hell looked like it.” Silence answered. Turning away from Kayden’s too avid gaze, I tried to regain control so I could kick both of these men back out of my life. “I’m fine, but I’m little busy dealing with my own situation.”

“What kind of situation?” It actually sounded as if he gave a damn.

Closing my eyes, I tried to shove aside the urge to bang my head against a wall at the single minded intensity of the male gender. “My sister is AWOL. Now, can we just focus on why you’re bothering me and Kayden has decided to pursue a career in B&E?”

“How long has Kelsey been missing?”

The urgent note underlying Tag’s question reignited my earlier sense of unease, as if there was something bigger at play here. Worry about Kelsey trumped hurt feelings, so I answered. “Not sure, a couple hours maybe. Her car is here.”

The string of oaths spewing over the line from Tag proved no one could swear like a Marine. “Son of mangy bitch,” he muttered, then he took a deep breath. “The cabin’s an hour and half outside of Phoenix?” He didn’t wait for my answer. “I’ll meet you up there. Stay with Kayden.”

“Tag,” his name came out as a warning of my waning patience. My fingers tightened around the phone, and it took an amazing amount of will-power to not share my own colorful vocabulary. “You need to tell me what’s going on. Right. Now.” The last two words emerged around gritted teeth.

“It’s about Flash. His killer is out.” His unexpected answer stabbed deep, drawing blood under my skin. Brutal memories boiled up and I almost missed his, “Stay with Kayden, Cyn.”

The drone of a dial tone filled my ear. My world spun. I concentrated on setting the phone back in the cradle. My legs were doing a great impression of spaghetti noodles, so I let them fold under me and sat on the cool tile. Six months, I’d run as hard, as fast and as far as I could, but in a matter of minutes I was right back where I started, trapped in a never-ending nightmare.

You have to wonder which fickle fate decided to dump everything on me at once. If I ever got my hands on her, I’d beat her to a pulp. Damn, damn, and triple damn!

The past surged, breaking through to rise in a swamping wave of ghostly screams and the stench of burnt flesh. I dug my fingers deep into my thigh muscles in a desperate attempt to stave it off. No such luck. Greedy memories sucked me down.

My kitchen disappeared, replaced by a fetid alley behind a dive in Where-the-fuckistan. Sprawled on the ground, my head spinning with dizzying sickness and my leg screaming with agony, all I could do was watch and listen. Watch the spreading pool of blood and brains seep from Ortega, his sightless eyes staring past me. Listen to the snap and crackle of a raging fire hissed through the night while the smell of burning flesh wrapped around me. Behind me, someone screamed, his wail high-pitched and full of hopeless agony.

I knew that broken voice.

Even as excruciating pain beat inside my skull, I turned my head, recognizing the figure in the midst of the hellish scene. Searing loss, rage, and fear rose to a scream. My mouth opened and the stench coiled down my throat, blocking the air in my chest. No, no, no!

The shocking feel of hands against my face snapped my paralysis, bringing a touch of the present into the past. Desperate to escape, ignoring the pain radiating down my leg and through my head. I struck out, my hand connecting with flesh. “Don’t touch me!”

Harsh breathing filled the air around me. It took a few seconds to realize it was coming from me. A few more before the low soothing voice penetrated the layers of the past. “Come on back, Cyn. You’re safe.”

 

Now available at: MUSEITUP Publishing

 

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