Archive for July, 2015

Guest Post: Jami Gray on Why Critique Groups Are For Everyone

Today I’m pleased to have Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romantic Suspense author extraordinaire Jami Gray dish to us on why critique groups are for everyone.

Jami Gray Small

Critique Groups Are For Everyone 

Let me just start out by saying, I’m a HUGE advocate of critique groups.  If there was one small gem I could share with any writer it would be: Go forth and become part of a critique group.

I can hear the moans and groans now.  “I’ve already tried, but…” and the list of reasons why to avoid a critique group grows by the minute.

“…it was too big”

“…the people were strange”

“…they didn’t get my writing style”

“…I don’t have time”

“…meet new people? Really?”

and so on.

Don’t leave!  Let me tell you how I finally, after three years of critique group shopping, found my home with the 7 Evil Dwarves.  I even stayed for seven years, an eternity for any critique group.

Writing has been part of who I am for…forever.  While in college I thought being the anti-social, reclusive hermit was a pre-requisite for every aspiring writer. I wouldn’t share what I wrote unless I was submitting to publishers. I know (ducking the head slaps), if I could, I’d go back and smack myself for that alone.

Somehow as I was finishing up my first college tour, I managed to come out of my cave long enough to marry my best friend.  A few years passed, writing took a bit of a backseat as I finished an advanced tour of college, (yes, professional student did get mentioned once or twice). Writing got pushed back even further when my little family of two, went to three and eighteen months later, to four.

As you can see, insanity was bound to set in and when it finally began popping up in various forms, I knew it was time to turn back to my own self-therapy—writing.

My first problem was nerves.  I could write. That part was easy.  I could do it hiding in a closet, under a blanket with a flashlight so the little rug crawlers couldn’t find me.  I could jot a few lines in-between real work and family-raising time. Writing is a solo adventure, right? Wrong.

My very loving, and patient, hubby finally dragged me out of the house, pushed me out of the moving car and said, “Go spend some time with this Mother’s Writing group.”  He didn’t even wait for my response, as if it could’ve been heard over the squealing tires disappearing in a cloud of dust.

I stumbled to my feet and cautiously made my way into my very first writing group.  They were great—women from various walks of life, writing in a variety of genres.  This first group became the ones who made me realize how valuable a support group (aka critique group) is to a writer.

Feeling bolder, I waved good-bye to that group and began a long journey on my search for “my” critique group.  Considering I write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, it was a rocky road.

The first group was large, twenty people at a minimum, and every genre under the sun was represented.  It was heartbreaking to hear how someone thought my work was “too dark and depressing”, or another couldn’t understand “why anyone would believe magic existed in the real world”. I almost gave up, but do you know what I found?

The core of the 7 Evil Dwarves.  These were writers of Speculative Fiction, a term I hadn’t heard used before.  Soon, four or five of us decided a smaller group would be more productive.  Plus, wouldn’t it help if everyone knew what Spec Fic was?

Our group underwent a great many changes.  Anything important always does.  It took us almost five years to create a solid, steady group.  We had some great members stop and share their creations with us, and then move on.  And yes, we’ve had a few entertaining guests, which I’m under threat of death by zombies if I reveal, so I’ll leave it to your imagination. You’ll probably come up with more exciting scenarios anyway.

There were times I was scared to death to set my stuff before my group.  The whispers of my very loving and supportive critique group twisted through my mind when I wrote. It helped if I was a few (or more) chapters ahead of where they were critiquing, but when they were right behind me—I found myself overanalyzing every word I typed. I became hyperaware of small edit type things instead of getting the basic story out on paper.

See the Evil 7 were damn good. They caught everything. From how many times I used “ing” to how much I truly suck at math anything (do you know what a polyhedron is? I don’t.). They made great therapists. I mean, how many of your friends would take the time to discuss the nature of relationships between dragons and warlocks, or how manipulative a ghost can be with three young friends? Uh-huh, I thought so.

Then came the point in ever writer’s life, I out grew my group. It wasn’t an easy decision. Seven years I spent with these fantastic writers, mining every bit of advice, hoarding their critiques for more. But things changed, and so did my writing, to the extent that I felt our critiques weren’t quite the chisel they’d once been. So I bid the Evil 7 adieu with many hugs, and back out I went. This time, I found writing partners, two to three individuals I could trust to give me honest feedback, because in the end, that is what writers want and need.

I’m still a firm believer in critique groups. While I struggled to build my worlds into cohesive realities, breathe life into my characters, and untangle the twists and turns of my plots, I knew there was this great group who had my back. The Evil 7 might have driven me to screaming when they pointed out how much my new character is channeled my previous one, or questioned the depth of trust between characters who’d been to hell and back, but you know what? Even though the holes they pointed out scared me, I was ever so grateful, because when it was all done and I clicked save for the last time, I had a story that was stronger than what I started with. That’s why I loved my critique group, even when they scared me.

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

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THE KYN KRONICLES (Urban Fantasy series w/Black Opal Books)

 

WRAPPED IN SHADOWS, Kyn Kronicles .5

(Things That Go Bump For The Holidays Anthology)

The magic of the holidays can be hell…

Celebrations abound during the holidays, but this Christmas an engagement celebration goes horrifically wrong.  What appears to be a simple murder/suicide hides a vicious surprise. The type of gift Raine and Gavin, elite member of the Kyn, didn’t want humans to unwrap, because revealing the monsters in the shadows isn’t the way to spread holiday cheer.

 

SHADOW’S EDGE, Kyn Kronicles #1

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.

 

SHADOW’S SOUL, Kyn Kronicles #2

Some nightmares are born of love…

A simple assignment turns into a nightmare when Raine McCord follows Cheveyo to the Southwest on a consulting gig. When the most feared beings of the Kyn kidnaps Cheveyo and leaves Raine for dead, her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand.

Unraveling the Southwest Kyn’s web of secrets and hidden vendettas will either bring them together or tear them apart forever.

 

SHADOW’S MOON, Kyn Kronicles #3

Even wild hearts can be broken…

Tracker, Xander Cade, confronts an enraged Shifter in a crowded human nightclub, fraying the thin secrecy shielding the supernatural community from public scrutiny. Danger stalks the pack and she must protect her alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis, even if he doesn’t want it.

If they don’t find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond they risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.

 

SHADOW’S CURSE, Kyn Kronicles #4

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

After tragedy strikes the Northwest Kyn, leaving the houses in chaos and the Wraiths hungry for blood, the fallout threatens Natasha Bertoi’s carefully laid plans. When the Council sends Darius Abazi, the one man guaranteed to skew the odds, she faces her toughest opponent yet.

As death stalks the Northwest Kyn, can Natasha trust Darius, a man well versed in subterfuge, to uncover the truth before treachery destroys them all?

 

Coming Fall 2015:


A collection of Kyn shorts, including WRAPPED IN SHADOWS

 

 

PSY-IV Teams (Paranormal Romantic Suspense series w/MuseIt Up Publishing)

 

HUNTED BY THE PAST, PSY-IV Teams #1

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

Changing the past is impossible, a fact ex-marine, Cynthia Arden, understands all too well. Struggling with the aftermath of a botched mission, a panicked phone call brings her home to face a killer’s game. Unfortunately, the distracting Kayden Shaw returns as well, the one man she thought would stand by her, until he chose his job over her.

To survive, will Cyn risk her heart or lose the man she loves and her life?

 

Coming Spring 2016:


TOUCHED BY FATE, PSY-IV Teams #2

Trusting him with her secrets is dangerous. Trusting him with her heart could be fatal.

As a specialized consultant for the Department of Defense, Risia Lacoste understands the bargaining chip of a well-kept secret. When her current assignment threatens to unearth her deeply buried skeletons, she’s forced into a high-stakes game of lies and loyalty where even her ability to foresee the future can’t predict the winner.

Darkness lies under the skin of every man, and PSY-IV Team operative and touch empath, Tag Gunderson, has the demons to prove it. Scarred by betrayal and disillusionment, he’s not Risia’s top pick for a partner in the game, but he’s all she’s got.

As the game draws them deeper into a pit of intrigue and their list of enemies grow, will Risia trust Tag with more than her secrets or will his demons destroy them both?

 

BIO:

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.

 

You can find me at:


Black Opal Books:    www.BlackOpalBooks.com

Muse It Up Publishing:  http://museituppublishing.com

Website:     www.JamiGray.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/jamigray.author

Facebook Author Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/JamiGrayAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/JamiGray

Google+:  https://google.com/+JamiGray

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B006HU3HJI

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/LvoZn

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jamigrayauthor/

 

 

BUY LINKS:

You can find all the buy links for both The Kyn Kronicles and PSY-IV Teams, in all formats at:

 

http://jamigray.com/kynkronicles/

http://jamigray.com/psyivteams/ 

 

 

Or you can use the following:

 

THE KYN KRONICLES:

 

THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Wrapped in Shadows .5 Kyn Kronicles)

Amazon:  http://amzn.com/1626940908

Nook:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/things-that-go-bump-for-the-holidays-black-opal-books/1117680975?ean=2940148940685

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/387518

Black Opal Books:  http://www.blackopalbooks.com/anthology/things-that-go-bump

  

 

Shadow’s Edge: Bk 1 of Kyn Kronicles

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0061CAXJ4

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shadow039sedgethekynkroniclesbook1-625433-139.html

Black Opal Books: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/shop-our-store/authors/jami-gray

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/101023

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shadows-edge-kyn-kronicles/id482595056?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shadow-s-edge-the-kyn-kronicles-book-1

Scribd.: https://www.scribd.com/book/235371403/Shadow-s-Edge-The-Kyn-Kronicles-Book-1

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jami_Gray_Shadow_s_Edge?id=ubxyAgAAQBAJ

 

Shadow’s Soul:Bk 2 of the Kyn Kronicles

Black Opal Books: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/shop-our-store/authors/jami-gray

Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B008DIZ9OI

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shadow039ssoulthekynkroniclesbook2-848561-139.html

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-soul-the-kyn-kronicles-book-2-jami-gray/1111742135?ean=2940014698955

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/174291

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shadows-soul-kyn-kronicles/id541827836?mt=11

Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shadow-s-soul-the-kyn-kronicles-book-2-1

Scribd.: https://www.scribd.com/book/235371430/Shadow-s-Soul-the-Kyn-Kronicles-Book-2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jami_Gray_Shadow_s_Soul?id=nb9yAgAAQBAJ

 

Shadow’s Moon: Bk 3 of the Kyn Kronicles

Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B00K8AZZES

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-moon-the-kyn-kronicles-book-3-jami-gray/1119462166?ean=2940149437719

Black Opal Books: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/shop-our-store/authors/jami-gray

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/435674

ARe:  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shadow039smoonthekynkroniclesbook3-1507186-140.html

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shadows-moon-kyn-kronicles/id875444016?mt=11

Kobohttp://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shadow-s-moon

Scribd.: https://www.scribd.com/book/233279819/Shadow-s-Moon-The-Kyn-Kronicles-Book-3

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jami_Gray_Shadow_s_Moon?id=npODAwAAQBAJ

 

Shadow’s Curse: Bk 4 of the Kyn Kronicles

Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B00RLE3PZU

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-curse-jami-gray/1121072005?ean=9781626942202

Black Opal Books:  http://www.blackopalbooks.com/shop-our-store/authors/jami-gray

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shadows-curse-kyn-kronicles/id954894551?mt=11

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/505822

KOBO: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shadow-s-curse-the-kyn-kronicles-book-4

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shadow039sedgethekynkroniclesbook1-625433-140.html

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/253090806/Shadow-s-Curse-The-Kyn-Kronicles-Book-4

 

 

THE PSY-IV TEAMS:

 

Hunted by the Past: Bk 1 of PSY-IV Teams

MuseItUp Publishing:  https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/57-our-authors/authors-g/445-jami-gray

Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B00M289FTA

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/449240

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1119776913?ean=9781771275538&itm=1&usri=9781771275538

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id890554328

ARe: https://www.omnilit.com/product-huntedbythepast-1553419-143.html

Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/Hunted-by-the-Past/PsOHi6QaXUSjCDITW_cZ-A?MixID=PsOHi6QaXUSjCDITW_cZ-A&PageNumber=1&MixID=PsOHi6QaXUSjCDITW_cZ-A&PageNumber=1

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jami_Gray_Hunted_by_the_Past?id=u1nOBAAAQBAJ

 

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2 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Matthew Peters - July 14, 2015 at 5:23 am

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