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Go Inside the Insanity That is a Writer with @JamiGrayAuthor #freeread #uf #pnr

Go Inside the Insanity That is a Writer

As a writer, I belong to numerous discussion loops whose evil plans are to crash my in-box under the weighty heft of insightful discussions on the industry, craft and whether your cover should feature more or less skin. However, one day someone sweetly shared a link to a very insightful blog about being a writer. After picking myself up off the floor, I quickly forwarded it on to the other, like-minded individuals of my critique group, and then, because I’m mean, I made my hubby sit down and read it.

I sat on pins and needles (okay, so I basically stood over him with a blunt object) and waited for him to be swept away by the genius evident in the post. He laughed, which was good–nice to know the warped sense of humor I married him for all those eons ago is still there–and then he looked at me with (gasp!) pity?!!! What the hell? No, no, no, he was suppose to say, “Oh honey, now I understand why the Prankster Duo and I have to exist on unidentifiable left overs and delivery, while you sit in a dark office illuminated only by the flicker of a computer screen and why you sometimes resemble Gollum from Lord of the Rings (that’s the weird little dude who glows in the dark for you non-nerds). It all makes sense!”

Did he say that? Um, nope. Instead his response is, “It’s okay baby, I knew that when I married you and I still said ‘I do’.”

Seriously?? Did he not see the mad genius that exists in each writer’s mind? It’s a mad babble of voices that fight for supremacy while leaving minor things like groceries, doctor appointments, eating, and basic hygiene, scrambling for solid purchase in their frenzied wake? There’s a reason a writer will stare at you with a bemused smile while their eyes keep darting off to the side in the midst of your conversation. Really, they’d love to listen to you but it’s a bit hard when the characters in your head start to get pushy and demand exclusive attention. I know, it sounds a bit psychotic, but it’s not our fault. It’s why we write!

Growing up, every book or movie that caught my attention (Star Wars, Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three, Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising, and oh so many more) would end up being rewritten in my head. A new character would join the cast—the female bounty hunter that made Princess Leia look like a wimp, the female wizard that kept Taran the Wanderer from wandering, or the brand spanking new character that joined Bran and Will in overcoming the looming evil to wake the Old Ones—and the story would adjust accordingly, starring a character that eerily resembled, well, moi.

Eventually what transpired in my head made it to paper via an electric typewriter. Now days, my shiny desktop fruit helps me capture the worlds and characters in vivid detail for others to enjoy. On some level, I’m hoping to spark that same need to add and rewrite in my readers. If I’ve done my job right, it should work and I’ll have dragged another poor, unsuspecting soul into the maddening world of a writer. If not? Well, then I must try again, and again…

I once read something that clicked even though it was directed at musicians. They said to make great art, you had to expose your soul, even though some things are better left safely in the dark. Those that fear exposing such darkness are constantly tormented by the fact they can almost touch the creative beast, while those who grit their teeth and reach out may burn, but the beauty of such exposure ensnares those around them.

Much like playing or creating music, writing demands a price from its creator. Every writer uses their own experiences in some way or fashion to help put life into our characters and create believable worlds, but it’s also one of the scariest things we’ll ever do.

The next time you run across one of us, be gentle and understand, regardless of the genre (poetry, children’s books, songwriting, screen writing, mystery, romance, etc.) published or unpublished, we are writers and it’s not as simple as sitting down and typing out a string of words. We’re sharing with you something infinitely precious, so if you damage it, expect repercussions. You may find something familiar about that character we killed off in horrible ways in our next book. Yet, if you share how much you enjoyed our stories, you’ll make a writer’s week. Heck, maybe even our month.

Pick up SHADOW’S EDGE for FREE for a limited time and dive into the shadows of the Kyn…

Shadows Edge CoverEveryone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…

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.

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Come find me if you dare…

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Jami GrayJami 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. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

 

Focus #MFRWAuthor #Health

Stay healthy? Here’s hoping! As we’ve been evaluating our purpose and focusing our writing and marketing energies after our three month break, we recognized that our highest value, what we prize most in life, is health. It undergirds everything else. Without it, none of the things we value and enjoy are possible.

We work hard to stay healthy. We eat a balanced diet, use fresh foods, and avoid excessive sugars. We spend at least ten to fifteen hours a week in some form of exercise, including core strengthening, weights and aerobics. We exercise our brains through staying curious, studying new things that interest us, traveling, learning new dances, working puzzles and playing brain games. No matter how hard we’re working, we take breaks, relax, get out and enjoy nature, and just chill. And yes, having hot sex is on that list.

When we were younger, I think we were more likely to take health for granted. Well into the second half of our lives, we know it’s a precious resource. We’re passionate about this, and we’ll be sharing more about this passion in future blog posts. Stay tuned.

A sample of what we love about staying healthy: Hiking at Bell Rock, Sedona, last January.

Adriana Sedona Hike 2015

 

Jennifer Young On Tour #MFRWAuthor

Sources of inspiration: Looking For Charlotte

Looking For Charlotte by Jennifer YoungInspiration comes from the strangest places. For me it usually is places (though that’s probably a whole different blog post) but in the case of Looking For Charlotte it came not so much out of the blue but out of the pages of The Daily Telegraph.

I remember the moment well. It was December, some years ago now, and I was in a cafe waiting for some friends to join me for a pre-Christmas lunch. I was early so I picked a copy of the Telegraph from the rack and flicked through it.

It was in the World News section — a grim story but one which ended with hope. Somewhere in America a drug-addict father had confessed to police that he had murdered his two children and buried their bodies but he couldn’t remember where. Somewhere along an Interstate in Pennsylvania; he knew that much. And there was a plastic pipe nearby. And then, dear reader, in a life twist no plotter would make up, he died.

So far, so soul-destroying. It got worse when the police, having failed to find the bodies, gave up on the search. But out of darkness came light in the shape of a supermarket worker, a total stranger to all those involved. Determined to bring the children’s mother closure, she set out to find the bodies. Every evening after work, every day off, for six months, she drove up and down searching for the bodies — and found them.

I still have the original cutting, or I think I do (I can’t quite put my hand on the folder but I know I put it somewhere safe). The important thing is that I was so moved by this story that I bought a copy of the Telegraph on the way home, tore the story out and kept it. I knew then that there was a story in it for me; and that story is Looking For Charlotte.

I changed a lot of it. Instead of America it’s set in Scotland; instead of teenagers there’s a toddler called Charlotte; the child’s mother struggles with a new relationship just as our heroine struggles with the emotional loss of her own children; and as for the ending…I changed that many times, too. In the first draft, Flora, our heroine, discovered the body, as in the story. Then I decided that that was too good to be true and in the second she didn’t, but discovered something else instead. Then I changed it back to the first and then I had a better idea and then…

No, no spoilers. I won’t give away the ending except that there’s a resolution. But Looking For Charlotte is, for me at least, that rare thing — a story that had to be told.

Excerpt

They parted just beyond the bridge across the Ness, Grace heading up the pedestrian streets and Flora cutting across to the library, fronted by the long line of cars full of Saturday shoppers manoeuvering towards the car parks. She wasn’t a regular library user, but once the idea had taken her she remembered that there was something she wanted to check.

In the reference section, she stood for a moment before selecting the Ordnance Survey map that covered the area south of Ullapool. She knew it quite well. When the children were young they’d gone walking there regularly, able to reach the open spaces without pushing the slowest (usually Amelia, though Beth was the youngest) too hard. They’d graduated to more difficult walks, then stopped walking altogether. Eventually she had developed a fondness for the slightly less bleak terrain to the south of Inverness, where she went occasionally with Philip and his brother, or with a colleague from work. She hadn’t been out all year, not since before Christmas, in fact, and even then they’d been rained off not very far in and driven back to the comfort of a tea shop in Grantown-on-Spey.

A nostalgic yearning for a good long walk swept over her as she unfolded the map and smoothed it out across one of the desks. She and Danny used to look at maps together plotting their routes. His stubby forefinger, with its bitten nails, had traced the most challenging route to start, sliding along the steep and craggy ridges until he remembered the children and reluctantly redrew, shorter, safer.

She thought she knew the place where Alastair Anderson had left his car, and found it easily enough. Under her fingers the map was a flat web of never-parallel lines, of ugly pock-marking that told of steep, loose rocks and inhospitable terrain, just the type of place they used to walk. Somewhere up here, Charlotte Anderson was buried. Carried there, already dead? Or walked there and then killed? Surely neither was realistic; surely they would have found her, with their dogs and their mountain rescue helicopters scouring the ground for new scars, and all the rest of the equipment they had at their disposal.

Looking at the map had been a mistake. It was obvious now. Besides, she couldn’t see it any more; all she could see was the image of Suzanne Beauchamp, that beautiful face with the cold façade, like a wax death mask from Madame Tussauds. More poignant, of course, since it must hide a struggle, a struggle to conceal or to suppress a deadly mixture of grief and guilt.

‘Go away!’ she said softly to this mirage of a grieving woman, a little afraid of its power. ‘Go away!’ And then, in the only defence left to her, she began to fold the map away.

Blurb

Divorced and lonely, Flora Wilson is distraught when she hears news of the death of little Charlotte Anderson. Charlotte’s father killed her and then himself, and although he left a letter with clues to her grave, his two-year-old daughter still hasn’t been found. Convinced that she failed her own children, now grown up and seldom at home, Flora embarks on a quest to find Charlotte’s body to give the child’s mother closure, believing that by doing so she can somehow atone for her own failings.

As she hunts in winter through the remote moors of the Scottish Highlands, her obsession comes to challenge the very fabric of her life — her job, her friendship with her colleague Philip Metcalfe, and her relationships with her three children.

Buy Links

Tirgearr Publishing

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Young_Jennifer/looking-for-charlotte.htm

Amazon UK

http://amzn.to/1D7pNY6

Amazon US

http://amzn.to/1JmAwBR

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/526032?ref=cw1985

Author bio

I live in Edinburgh and I write romance and contemporary women’s fiction. I’ve been writing all my life and my first book was published in February 2014, though I’ve had short stories published before then. The thing that runs through all my writing is an interest in the world around me. I love travel and geography and the locations of my stories is always important to me. And of course I love reading — anything and everything.

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/jenniferyoungauthor

Twitter

@JYnovelist

Website

http://www.jenniferyoungauthor.com/

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here, http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/jennifer-young-2/, or you can click on the tour button to travel:

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