Jami Gray is a Star Wars fan and the fifth eldest of 37 children. She writes urban fantasy from the Southwest. Today, she’s here to talk about her latest release, Shadow’s Soul, which is Book 2 of The Kyn Kronicles. She’s also giving away a $10 Amazon eGift Card to one lucky commenter. I asked Jami to share something unique about herself. She said:
I’m so OCD my bookshelves are in alpha order by author and series. Before iTunes, so were my hundreds of CD’s. Yet, I’m a complete pantser when writing. I have a general idea of where my story is going, but my characters love taking over and turning it in all sorts of directions. Outlines tend to offend my Muse and when she gets upset, I run for cover. Therefore, outlines have been banned. We try to pass off the most basic ones as just “plot points” and so far it’s working!
Jami’s answer fascinated me because I’m the complete opposite! Before iTunes I could never find the music I wanted to listen to. CD’s were everywhere and anywhere! Yet… I plot. 🙂
Who’s The Real Monster? by Jami Gray
I have always loved the darker fairy tales, not the Disney kind they’re just too…bright and shiny. The real Brother Grimm stories, now those were exciting. Their monsters were scarier because they hid behind masks of normality, think the woodcutter’s wife in Hansel and Gretel.
When I write, I tend to develop my characters first and then their world opens up and away we go. For Raine McCord, the heroine of Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Soul, her first spark came when I was listening to a song by Nine Inch Nails titled “Right Where It Belongs”. The chorus of the song talked about the darker side in all of us and how it blurred the division between wrong and right.
This started me down the spiral of questions and answers until Raine starting haunting me from dark corners. When she finally cornered me in a rain drenched alley in Portland, I just couldn’t refuse her request and my first book, Shadow’s Edge was born.
In Urban Fantasy (UF) your hero or heroine has to be tough. Otherwise all the creatures out there prowling around (vamps, weres, zombies, demons, feral slugs, etc.) will tear them to pieces. Between the magic screwing things up and the massive amounts of supernatural creatures strolling around, their lives are never boring.
One of the most adventurous parts about writing UF is creating monsters who give your leads a run for their money. My villains tend to be the ones you least expect, because honestly, what’s more terrifying? The hunched over, crazy eyed, one tooth, half dead maniac slithering in the dark or the reassuringly normal neighbor next door who brought you chicken soup when you were sick?
In both of my books Raine begins to learn that not all monsters are easily defined.
Shadow’s Edge follows Raine down a bloody trail of bodies into the shadowy world of power plays and half-truths, while forcing her to face the monster crouched inside. Now it’s her turn to decide who’s really the monster–the one destroying the ones around them or the one who’s hunting them?
When a simple task takes a nightmarish turn, in Shadow’s Soul, Raine comes up against one of the most feared creatures of the Kyn world-a Soul Stealer. Battered in body and mind, she finds undiscovered strength in her partnership with Gavin as together they unravel the web of secrets and hidden vendettas haunting the Southwest Kyn.
I hope you enjoy both Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Soul!
More About Shadow’s Soul
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.
“Good gods, girl. Didn’t I teach you better than that?”
The sound of Cheveyo’s sharp tone jerked her head up. Scrambling to her knees, she met the disgruntled gaze of her mentor.
“Obviously not,” she snapped back.
A small grimace that might have been a strained smile appeared on his tired face. A part of her relaxed a bit at his presence, but he didn’t look good. Weariness and pain had carved deep niches around his mouth and eyes, drawing his skin tight over his high cheekbones. The normal bronze of his skin was a pale olive. Gone was the fierce, dominating Magi. In his place was a hard, battle-weary warrior.
“Cheveyo,” she started, but he waved his hand cutting her off.
“I know, we have to get me out of here, yadda yadda.” He raked a hand through his collar length hair, as he slid down some invisible wall to sit across from her. Placing his hands on his upraised knees, he just looked at her.
His assessment made her uncomfortable.
“Didn’t expect me to answer your knock?” A faint thread of humor twisted through his words.
His question threw her back to when he had first created this bond between them. Her concerns on how linked they would be had resulted in his reassurance that the only way the door would open was if she went knocking and he answered her.
“Actually we were hoping you would.”
He raised an eyebrow. “We?”
Before she could respond, the feel of nails scoring her skin set her on her feet. She spun around to face the thick barrier of fog behind her. She hissed as another scrape peeled against her magic. Cheveyo’s hand on her arm stopped her from stepping forward.
“Raine.” He turned her away from the fog. His six-foot-six frame towered over her. She didn’t let it stop her from yanking from his hold.
“What?” she snarled. Screw authority. Right now they were in deep shit and they needed to get out.
Where to buy:
More About Jami
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.
Where you can find Jami online:
So, readers, how about you? Which type of monster is scarier to you? The hunched over, crazy eyed, one toothed, half dead maniac kind? Or the ones who look like the boy next door? Leave a comment to be entered to win the $10 Amazon eGift Card that Jami is giving away. Giveaway will close at midnight EDT tomorrow. Jami, thank you for guest blogging today!