New Year's Resolution....Or Not....

Happy New Year, everyone!
Let's face it. This is how it pans out every year:

So that being said, sometimes we all need a little help to stick with it:

As Promised....A Cupcake Recipe To Rival All Others From Carmela POP

As promised, and I always make my promises on mountains of frosting and sprinkles, here is a cupcake recipe that will melt even the iciest of hearts. Just in time for Christmas, I came across Ana, the miracle worker of all things pastry-like and lip-smackin’ good. She runs an absolute delish site called Caramela POP where she showcases her mouth-watering creations. She was gracious enough to share her recipe with me for these:

Oh yes.
You're seeing this right, my friends.
Peanut Butter Cupcakes and yes, each word deserves to be capitalized because they are that good. And did I mention they were from scratch? Well, they are which is part of the reason why they are so tasty. I not only made these cakes of cups for myself but also for my work Christmas party. Now go ahead. Ask me. Ask if there were any left.
"Melissa, were there any left?"
Not a-one.
My co-workers were walking away with a balanced meal--a cupcake in each hand and on this, comrades, I do not lie. To be honest, I never made cupcakes from scratch before and natural I was a bit hesitant. I thought to myself,
           "Self, why deviate? Why make things complicated? Simply get a box of ol' Betty Crocker or trusty Duncan Hines and be done with it."
           But I wanted something different. Something that didn't have that pre-made taste. And these cupcakes are anything but. Fluffy, golden deliciousness, light and airy, yet dense and moist and topped with creamy peanut butter frosting that was peanut buttery enough to send you straight to the stars.
          And if these delicious little snacks aren't enough, check out what else Ana is baking up at
Happy Holidays, everyone! 


Cogling: A Steampunk Fairy Tale Cover Reveal!

A Steampunk Fairy Tale for Young Adults who love a little Romance in their Adventures

When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother's neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags' swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors. 

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.

Praises for COGLING:
COGLING has already gained advanced praise from NY Times Bestselling author Maria V. Snyder!
“This is a fun YA Steampunk novel. It's very different than many other Steampunk stories I've read. Basic plot is Edna's brother is kidnapped by hags and replaced with a "cogling" and she's on a mission to find and rescue her brother. The world is a Victorian-era with a strict class system for the humans and for those with magic. The woman with magic are called hags and the men with magic are orges and they're not nice and are planning to change the system. I really enjoyed learning about the world and the characters are well drawn and engaging.”
Check out COGLING on GoodReads and Curiosity Quills.
Meet the author – Jordan Elizabeth Mierek lives in a dream world.  Sometimes she comes out to do her day job, but most of the time she is writing about her favorite people – her characters!  COGLING is her fourth book.  Her previous steampunk series, the Treasure Chronicles, include TREASURE DARKLY and BORN OF TREASURE.  Her debut novel, ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, is a young adult fantasy-horror.  You can find her short stories in numerous anthologies.  Check out her website,, for contests and bonus stories!

Win a steampunk necklace!

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Coming Soon....A Cupcake Recipe....

Ladies and gents....
Coming soon, in the midst of making merry and throwing holiday glitter, you will find a cupcake recipe here on this blog.
First reaction: What kind?
Second reaction: Well?
Third reaction: Are you going to make me WAIT?!
And the answer will be, "YES."
Soon, my little cupcake eaters. Soon.

Blistering Hot New Read by Elle Wright

Hey guys! I'm so happy to announce the arrival of Elle Wright's new novel, His All Night. It's book 2 in her hotter-than-hot series, An Edge of Scandal. Here's a little background on this juicy tidbit of a book:

In relationships, Calisa Harper has clear rules: no expectations, no commitments, no one gets hurt. She doesn't need a diamond ring to bring her happiness. She just needs Jared. Fine, fit, and ferocious in bed, Jared is Calisa's ideal combination of friend and lover. But the no-strings status they've shared for years is about to get very tangled.

Jared Williams is the kind of man most women long for: sexy, successful, and ready to settle down. He knows convincing the commitment-phobic Calisa that forever is nothing to fear won't be easy-especially when his ex turns up with a daughter she never told him about. In a heartbeat, Jared and Calisa's passion goes from fiery to fragile. He wants to hold on to the love they share but is terrified that their next night together could be their last . . .

Hubba, hubba, hubba! I had the honor and privilege of losing myself in Cali and Red's world. It didn't take me long to finish this book at all. The dialogue is quick and punchy, the relationships real and relatable and the, ahem, sex scenes, well...let me just say's twenty degrees outside right now---let me go take a walk around the block...

The world of Cali and Red is a complicated one. She of the no-strings-attached variety and he, while their relationship with no commitment used to be his thing, is no longer. Red wants more and Cali is both determined and afraid NOT to let that happen. At times, the bickering between them was enough to set my teeth on edge. I'm not sure how often two people can argue about the same thing. They were talking in circles. But eventually, the break came and a new direction was where they were headed. And by the way, Cali's best friend, Syd is hilarious!
So if you like your relationships hotter than freshly-poured macadam on an August afternoon then His All Night is just what you need. See below to enter a drawing to win a paperback copy! (that's right--a real copy, not an ebook--yay!)

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Amazon    B&N     iBooks    GooglePlay    Kobo      BAM
Want to learn more about Elle Wright? Check her out here:
About the author:
Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor,  Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance novel:  Indigo by Beverly Jenkins.  From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance.  An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).

Indiana Jones Merely a Dream???

This, people, is a very real possibility....

Another Post About Red Cups? Not Really But It's Still Pretty Funny

Sorry guys. It had to be done.
*grins like a fool*

 photo magnus_not_sorry.gif


Nasty-Looking Day? How About Some Tea?

The sky is jammed with clouds. The once-beautiful foliage is being ripped away from the branches by a bone-chilling wind. You're wrapped up in a huge sweatshirt, sweatpants and heavy socks and seriously, there is no way you're going outside. For any reason.
Let's have some tea.
My personal favorite comes from The Talking Teacup. It's a black tea called "Snowflake." Infused with bits of coconut, it smells and tastes heavenly. I know not everyone likes coconut. It's actually pretty hard to find someone who does and in this tea, the coconutty taste is not overpowering. So even if you're not a fan of coconut, I think you could get through a cup of this with no problem. And if the taste isn't coconutty enough, hell, chomp down on a Mounds bar!
What's your favorite tea on a blustery fall day?

A 30-Second Gym Conversation

            Most people don’t go to the gym to talk. They go to sweat. They go to grunt. They go to take care of that slab of triple-layer chocolate cake they ate the night before. Verbal exchanges among the weight machines, treadmills and high-octane aerobics classes are few and far between.
            But every now and then, you’ll get into a conversation with someone. Not these long-winded, meaning-of-life types of talks. But simple, slightly awkward bits of sharing that may or may not leave you scratching your head wondering, why did that complete stranger just share that with me?
            The other day, I had a man explain to me that he was a victim of a violent crime. In total surprise, I said,
            No, really, I had to ask him to repeat it because I wasn’t sure I heard right. So this is what he told me.
            “I was a victim of a violent crime. I spent six months in the hospital. The guy who attacked me with a baseball bat did six months in jail. I got out of the hospital at the same time he was released from jail and he ended up getting killed himself in a violent crime.”
            “Oh man,” was all I could say.
            “Yeah. I suffer from short-term memory loss so I won’t remember having this conversation with you. But it was nice talking to you.”
            He held out his hand and I shook it, thinking,
            I will definitely remember you though, sir.

Got a strange, funny or weirdly creepy gym story? Feel free to share in the comments below! Would love to hear from you!

What's Your Favorite Scariest Part?

When someone says October, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Changing leaves? Bulky sweaters? Apple cider? Pumpkin patches? Anything pumpkin-spice-flavored (from motor oil to cupcakes)? If you've said none of the above, that's okay. You're not alone because I think most people would say HALLOWEEN.
And this equates to getting the s*** scared out of you, whether it's a haunted hayride, a scary movie or a prank that your significant other just HAS to pull on you, face it, you're gonna be terrified!
But as terrified as you are, some of us just love getting scared. So pour a nice hot cup of spiced hot chocolate and share your favorite prank or scary movie! Would love to hear from you!
P.S.--Look closely at the picture above. You'll see something staring back at you.

Crimson Peak Looks Like a Good One!

Okay, given the recent sludge of movies that have unfortunately been making the rounds, I have to say I am pretty stoked about Crimson Peak. Quick sidebar: did I just date myself by using the word stoked? Anyway, headed by uber-fantasy/horror director, Guillermo del Toro, this movie brings to mind a weird combination of Rebecca and Jane Eyre with special effects that are absolutely mind-blowing. I haven’t seen a good, creepy movie in a long time so I’m really hoping that Crimson Peak lives up to the hype. Now here are five reasons why we should all go see this movie and they are as followed:

2) Jessica Chastain (who’s pretty awesome in every movie she's in)
4) Hello, it’s Guillermo del Toro (Have you seen Pan's Labyrinth?)
5) Tom Hiddleston (okay, fine, so I might be a bit partial to him but hey, Charlie Hunnam is in it—remember Sons of Anarchy?)

With Mia Wasikowska running around like a porcelain doll, mixing a perfect balance of curiosity, innocence and fear, she not only gets to suck faces with Tom Hiddleston but she gets to explore that Gothically-dark mansion that may or may not be a benefit for her health. Let me know what you think of the movie! I think we’re all in for a treat! 

Social Media--the Bane of Every Writer's Existence


Garlic: Check.
Cross: Check
Silver bullets: Check
Stake and hammer: Check
All the things you need when faced with the daunting task of social media...especially when you're a writer!!!
Okay, so maybe this is a bit overdramatic but check out Kristen Lamb's blog post about social media and author branding. In this digital day and age, a writer needs something to set herself or himself apart from all other writers. Building an online presence has never been more important.

Fairy Tales Take a Dark Turn Off the Beaten Path....

So, admit it. We all like fairy tales. The idea of happy-ever-after, the feel-good vibe you get that everything will turn out all right in the end. 
But what happens when it doesn't?
What happens when a fairy tale has a curl of darkness inside that you inevitably want to follow like that trail of bread crumbs? 
Meet author Anne Rowan:

She'll tell you all about fairy tales with a dark twist:

So, first and foremost, tell us about your fairy tales. I have a feeling they’re not so sweet and innocent. 
You’re correct. They’re not sweet and innocent in the Disney-sense, where everything is sewn up into a nice and neat happy ending. My fairy tales don’t necessarily have a happily ever after finale, with a lavish wedding and the prince and princess falling in love as I don’t write about damsels in distress. But, the ending is satisfying and fits with the arc of the stories that contain quite a bit of darkness, pushing the characters to the point that questions their morals and ethics. How far would they go and what/whom would they sacrifice in order to gain what they most desire? This drive, I think, is also true of humans, and I like to explore it in storytelling.

What made you focus your writing talent on the fairy tale genre?
The children of today. [shakes her head, sighing] I work with children and am sad to say that most don’t even know how to turn pages in a book. But put an iPad in front of them and their fingers suddenly come to life. You should see the panic in their eyes when the battery dies. [laughs] They don’t know how to problem-solve; they haven’t been introduced to scenarios that require using their social skills, communication skills, quick wit, reading others’ body language, etc. because technology is so isolating. The fairy tale genre contains everything a child should learn about people. And then there’s always magic! That’s a major bonus point because it teaches them how to imagine… “what if?” Even Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.”

There seems to be a lot of “re-telling” of the original fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Was it easy for you to break away from those molds and create your own?  
Absolutely. I’d been in love with fairy tales even before I could read, and I remember always wondering about the secondary characters and the ones who were supposed to be evil. “Why are they so bad?” I’d always question. “What made them so ruthless?” When I got a little older, I saw them as a comment on society and the reflection on how people use and abuse their status. While the classic fairy tales do inspire me, they also guide me on a different journey as I like to read between the lines and imagine what internal and external struggles do the ugly stepsister or the witch or the enchanted beast, for example, go through.

 Do you like the idea of a prince saving the day or do you prefer the princess fully capable of wearing the crown on her own?
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t write about damsels in distress. My girls don’t need a prince on a white steed to come save them from a fire-breathing dragon. In my stories, women are just as capable, if not more capable, of fighting battles as men. While they do go through a learning curve and encounter obstacles along the way, they persevere. Even if not in the form in which they initially started—but now I’m giving too much away. [chuckles]

How did you come up with the plots for your fairy tales? What were your inspirations?
Monstrosity. Most definitely monstrosity. It is something I always come back to. I even chose it as my Master’s Degree Thesis, and it is, by far, my most favorite subject to discuss. I’ll tell you a quote by Yours Truly and, hopefully, you’ll see where I’m coming from and what I mean when I plot my fairy tales, “There’s a human lurking within every MONSTER. There’s a monster lurking within every HUMAN.”

A lot of fairy tales have a kind of moral to the story. Do your tales have a strong point to drive home?
Well, yes, of course. They have several sprinkled throughout the stories; however, they are part of the plot and are intertwined within the actions and the dialogue of the characters, so the reader doesn’t feel like s/he’s being preached to. I never really try to write a moral to the story, but the characters have a mind of their own. They are the ones who want to share the lessons they’ve learned, so I oblige. Anyway, I’m merely a vessel, writing down what they tell me. Like any writer, I’d like to think I’m the boss in my storytelling. Quite the opposite is true, however.

Why do you think people find fairy tales so relatable even though they know they’re “make-believe”?
I think the answer lies in your question. The fact that they are make-believe. People have a natural tendency to believe. Faith is one of the most basic characteristics of human nature. That, and curiosity and fear (of the unknown, usually). Fairy tales masterfully address all of these ideas. It’s the perfect recipe for any story, really.

Describe a day in the writing life of Anne Rowan.
At the moment these are my weekdays:
3:15 am  Alarm sound. Kill it repeatedly until about 3:30 am. Then get up, make strong coffee, lunch for husband, see him off to work.
4:00 am turn on the computer. Procrastinate.
4:15 Procrastinate
4:30 Procrastinate
4:31 am Write, revise, write, delete, revise, write…
5:45 am Wake up kids, get ready for school, work.
6:50 am Leave house
3: 30 pm Get home, do all the mother/wife stuff, write—inside my head (plot, plan, imagine, jot down ideas for dialogue, listen to characters chatter inside my mind—although I may be Schizophrenic. That remains to be seen.)
9-ish pm Drop dead in bed

Weekends/Holidays/Non-work days:
4:00 am coffee, procrastinate, write until my fingers are numb

Do you believe in happily-ever-after? Or do you think there’s more to it?
I think each person can create a happily ever after. It sure is a lot of hard work and compromising and patience and love and …you know, all the things that make it YOUR happily ever after. So, yeah, there’s definitely more to it.

What kind of tale can we expect next from you?
I have two main characters in my head right now. They are still in the stage of bickering about whose story I should write first. As soon as one of them wins, I’ll let you know. The one sure thing, though, is that one character wants his book cover with lots of white, the other one red. Go figure. It’s either going to be a story where it’s really cold or really hot. I think I’ll leave you with that. 

Get your copy of this darkly-awesome fairy tales here now!

Want to find out more about Anne Rowan?

A small side note: 
Ms. Rowan prefers her chocolate cupcakes with banana pudding filling:

Time for a fear-filled nibble

So what comes to your mind when you look at this picture:

“Check the backyard.”
“I did.”
“What’s back there?”
“Just a couple of scarecrows.”
“Are you sure?”
“Sure about what?”
“That they’re just scarecrows.”

New Romance by Elle Wright!

I am so pumped to feature Elle Wright's new romance novel, "The Forbidden Man"! There's whip-smart dialogue, steamy kissing...and more and of course, Elle's talent simply makes these characters leap off the page. Read on for a snippet of the H-O-T:

Excerpt (crank up the air conditioning, folks!)

     “Are you still feeling cold?” he asked, adjusting the heater and finishing off the contents of his flask.
     “Actually, I’m feeling pretty hot.” She jumped when he started coughing. “Are you okay?”
He wiped his mouth. “I’m straight.”
     “You sure?” Syd studied his face as she smoothed her hand over his back.
     “Yeah.” He closed the flask and tucked it back into his pocket. “It’s the liquor.”
     “The bourbon.” He patted his pocket. “It’s making you hot.”
     “Somehow I doubt that,” she mumbled.
     “What?” he asked, leaning in closer.
I doubt it’s the liquor. “Forget it. I’m cold again.” She burrowed into him.
     “You want me to make you hot?” he asked.
Her eyes flashed to his and her lips parted.
     “I meant . . .” He cleared his throat and shifted in his seat.
“Uh, I can turn the heat up.”
“No.” She forced a smile and lowered her gaze. “It’s fine.”
When his hand caressed her cheek, her eyes closed of their own volition. Time seemed to stand still. She felt his warm breath on her skin above her lips. “I think—”
     She dug her nails into his knee. “Maybe you should call Kent again. See where he is."
     He slid his thumb down the side of her neck.
     She exhaled. So this is what Terry McMillan meant when she waited to exhale?  “Because this isn’t going anywhere good. You’re acting like you want to kiss me and I know that’s not true,” she joked.
     He clenched her hair in his hands and tugged gently.
     "How do you know that?”
     She searched his eyes. “Do you? I mean—do you want to?”
     “I do—and so many other things.”
     She let out a nervous giggle. “I think you’re feeling the effects of that gasoline you’re drinking, Morgan.”
     His gaze dropped to her mouth as his hand crept up her thigh and rested on her hip. She jumped in surprise when he squeezed. “Actually, I don’t believe I’m drunk enough,” he said.      “At this point, I know exactly what I’m doing, which means I’d be held responsible for my actions.”
     Syd placed her hands on his stomach and felt his taut muscles tighten in response. “Den would kill you. So would Red.”
     Morgan traced her lips with his thumb. “It may be worth it. Let me . . .” Then, his mouth was on hers, drawing a low moan from her mouth. The simple touch of his lips to hers set off a fire in Syd that seemed to burn brighter and hotter with every second.
     She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck as he continued to assault her senses with his kisses. He slid his tongue across her bottom lip, demanding entrance, which she happily granted. She gripped a fistful of his hair as he pulled her onto his lap. He rocked into her, introducing her to his rock hard erection. She braced her other hand against the window as she grinded into him. He trailed hot, wet kisses down her throat and cupped her breasts in his hands. As his thumbs traced her nipples, she cried out and he captured her cry with his hot mouth.

     Reluctantly, she tried to pull away, but he latched onto her bottom lip with his teeth and sucked. He obviously wasn’t ready for this to end . . . neither was she.

Whoa! Okay, give me a minute, guys. There are Melissa-shaped puddles all over the place!
Hot enough for you? Enter the raffle below for a chance to win a free copy of this scorcher, The Forbidden Man!

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Amazon Author Page

Follow this cupcake on its short, short journey....

This is no end to the exhaustive travels of the Lemon Cupcake. Its crumbs are weary. Its icing is sagging. It takes a moment upon the napkin to catch its breath, all the while keeping a sharp eye on its surroundings. Hands can come from anywhere...eager, hungry hands...
The Lemon Cupcake knows its days (minutes?) are numbered. It knows that if it stays for too long in one place, the outcome will not be bright. It must gather its strength, moist and delicious, and carry on.
Suddenly, there are footsteps...

Horror Bites Challenge #19

So a good writing friend of mine (ahem, Debbie Frisenda Christiana ) told me about this Horror Bites Challenge and being of like-minded horror-ness, I took part in said challenge. I can't thank you enough, Debster. You're constantly shoving plot bunnies at me and I just can't say no!
Anyway, based on the picture below, what kind of horror can you generate that's between 250-300 words? It doesn't have be blood, guts and galore all over the place but just something that makes you look twice at that pool of shadow standing in the corner of your bedroom....
See below:

            This place was supposed to be empty! his brain screamed unhelpfully as he leapt down the steps.
            The staircase creaked and groaned beneath his pounding feet. It spiraled into total darkness. He’d dropped his flashlight somewhere upstairs—where the hell had that woman come from—and he blindly descended at a breakneck pace.
            Around and around he went, feeling along the wall, his breath hissing through his teeth.
            Above his head, at the top of the tower, a door banged open.
He stopped. With sweaty palms, he gripped the railing and leaned over. He looked up.  
            Faint light shone above his head.
            A shadow moved In front of it. The staircase trembled as whoever—whatever—it was, began to descend.
            He never made it to the bottom.


Take a Leap into the World of Paranormal Fantasy Author Jami Gray!

Jami Gray is here! Jami Gray is here! Wait...did I mention Jami Gray was here? I am so stoked to have this amazing author visiting my neck of the woods!
*knock knock*
Oh my God, there she is, at the door!
*swings open door*

Jami! How are you? Thank you so much for joining us today! Here, have some cookies *passes plate* and perhaps a nice, hot beverage? *passes cup of coffee* I hope you’re doing well. It’s so awesome that you’ve stopped by. So let’s get right to it, shall we? Tell us….

Please give us a synopsis about Shadow’s Edge.
Hey, Melissa, thanks for letting me come over and visit. I managed to escape the testosterone for a little bit of me time. *sitting back and getting comfortable, sipping coffee* Well, SHADOW’S EDGE is the first in my Kyn Kronicles series, and is free for a limited time. In it you get to meet Raine. She comes across as a hardened warrior who’s courted death intimately. Yet her thick veneer of lethality hides the scars of a survivor. She’s part of the Kyn, the combined races of all those creatures humans scare each other with over campfires—witches, wizards, Fey, shifters, and demons. Yet, even as one of them, she stands apart—always. While she’d do whatever it takes to protect her people, she doesn’t really believe anyone would do the same for her. Due to traumas she suffered as a young teen, she has a difficult time accepting herself. Which in turn, makes her feel unworthy of anyone’s acceptance. At her core, Raine is no different than any of us—we want to be loved and accepted, even as we love and accept those around us. Hard to do when you’re struggling to love yourself.


When did you first decide to sit down and write?
I hit on writing after being adopted at the age of fourteen. My state mandated therapist suggested I keep a journal. Funny thing, it got boring, so instead I started creating stories and characters that were much more interesting than reality at the time. I started writing fiction in earnest as a freshman in high school. Back in the dark ages, typing on an actual typewriter was a required class. My parents had invested in an electric typewriter so the six of us in high school could practice our typing skills. Needless to say, I would hover over siblings until they finished then I would commandeer the typewriter for my own nefarious purposes. By the time I began to pack for college at eighteen, I had almost 200 pages of YA fantasy novel done. And no, it will never, ever, see the light of day again. After that, writing was something I had to do.

Do you have any inspirations?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I started young, so some of my very first were Terry Brooks, Lloyd Alexander, Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey. When I realized that the stories I was creating fell into the Urban Fantasy genre, that’s when I started paying attention to who I was reading. Laurell Hamilton was the first one I read that switched my creative light bulb to ultra violet settings. After that, I found Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, and Elizabeth Hand. Now, my shelves and Kindle are overflowing with fantastic talents.

Do you like to write with noise? No noise?
Most of the time I’ll write with music playing. Depending on the story/scene it may or may not have vocals. When it’s a really tricky scene, I’ll go to a white noise recording I found (18+ hours of that sucker).

Are you a paper-and-pen type of gal or strictly on the computer?
Majority of the time, I’m clicking away at the keyboard of my Mac in Scrivener, but when I’m struggling with world crafting or a particular scene, I’ll go back to pen and paper. Sometimes the change in medium finally trips whatever hang-up I was encountering.

Do you need an outline to write your stories or do you wing it?
I can generally pass myself off as a “pantser”, writing by the seat of my pants with a bit of outliner thrown in. I know…I’m a type-A personality so you would expect detailed outlines, character sheets and PowerPoint graphs, but nope, I start with an overall idea, some appealing characters and an intriguing problem and let it go. So long as I have the big sign posts (big bad guy hits here, heroine reacts here, dead bodies here), I can let my characters go and follow along for the ride. It’s a frightening way to write, but I’ve found it works best for me. The more I outlined a plot, the farther away from it I tend to get.

What’s your favorite snack to munch on while you let the creative juices flow?
It varies; currently we are on either a pretzel crackers with red bell pepper hummus or celery and peanut butter.

Do you have one of those nagging little voices in the back of your head, telling you that you can’t do it? If so, how do you shut it up?
All the frickin’ time. Every time I sit down to a new book. Every time I hit the mid-point of a book. Every time I finish a book. Writing is not easy, it takes a toll on a writer—emotionally and physically. I find if I give myself a challenge with each new project, I can forge my way through. For example, SHADOW’S MOON was my response to my writing group’s challenge to “write a romance”, while SHADOW’S CURSE was my answer to a personal challenge to take an unlikable character, and make her relatable to my readers. Even my Paranormal Romance series, PSY-IV Teams, was to write in first person POV. The challenge I set for myself for my current project—write a series without magic. *catching Melissa's wince, and nodding* Yeah, I know, I’m not sure if I’ll make it out of that one in one piece.

Does your story come from personal experience or have you had to do some major research?
A combination of both. Some things I can pull from my own repertoire, but I’m a research fiend, which makes being a writer fun. I could go on and on until you all walk away and leave me talking to myself. I enjoy taking what I learn in my research and ask, “what if?”. When I first sat down to write the Kyn Kronicles, my research focused on mythology, namely European mythology. Fascinating cast of characters over yonder. You think our modern day soap operas get convoluted? Try following family lines of the Greek, Romans, or Irish. Not to mention the Nordic folks who make genealogy a hot mess. Yet it’s a great place to start when you’re building a modern day world filled with the fantastical. Creating believable worlds for readers requires me to understand where our stories come from and why. For SHADOW’S MOON, the third book in my series, which focuses on the wolf shifters of the Northwest, I dug into the psychological reasons behind the stories of werewolves. I found how historical man tried to explain away more “primal” instincts by giving his more frightening desires a physical presence—a slathering, maddened predator who hunts by the light of the moon. I took this little gem and added it to my character motivation for my hero, Warrick Vidis, who just happens to be the top dog of the Northwest. When you’re able to meld the whys into a what if, you can create a character with depths to ponder. In Warrick’s case, as the Alpha, having a mate equaled giving your enemies an opening to take you down, so on a primal level, the equation became: Mate=Weakness, Weakness=Dead.

What kind of books do you like to read? E-books or the real thing?
I have a HUGE library, both in print and electronic format. Most of my most loved series I have in print, but since the males in my family started complaining about how much space my bookcases take up, I’ve started hoarding on my Kindle.

What’s the one thing you can’t write without?
The Synonym Finder by J.L. Rodale, it’s a great prompt when you’re stuck searching for the right words to paint the picture you want to get across.  

Jami's SHADOW'S EDGE, the first in her award-winning Kyn Kronicles, is FREE for a limited time. Pick up your copy today to avoid the summer heat and play in the shadows...


Everyone 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.

You can find Jami and her books at the following: Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads Google+ 

Jami Gray

Amazon Author Page 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. 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.