The Curse of the White Screen – Jami Gray

Guest post by Jami Gray

The Curse of the White Screen

If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve faced the horrifying reality of a blank screen.  Generally, this terror strikes when you’ve finally completed the roller coaster ride of your last work in progress.  You’re flushed with the sweet knowledge that you managed to get your characters, their world and a magnificent plot etched into electronic stone. Some writers may decide to take a small breather, a day, a week, a month, before attempting the next great journey.  Others (who are much braver than I am) give themselves a whopping hour before setting fingers to keyboard.  Regardless of when you start, everyone encounters the same picture—a white screen where words tremble on the edge of existence.

Since I can’t speak for all of us out there (and we are legion!) we’ll say the views stated below are solely mine.

Follow me back three books. After mending the rips and tears from my writing partners on my second Urban Fantasy, SHADOW’S SOUL, I sent it on to my editor so she could dissect it and throw it back.  The apparition of my third book, SHADOW’S MOON, loomed ahead like a large writer-eating slug.

Strapped to my office chair with chains of headphone cords and superglue dusting my fingertips, the urge to run was greatly dampened as I prepared to face my nemesis—a white screen.  The decision had been made that SHADOW’S MOON would follow Xander, a secondary character, so as to give our main character couple a break.  As the screen mocked me, my brain whirled. Plots and subplots flew around in a maelstrom. Faced with the fact that Xander, the heroine of my third book, was actually a fairly well adjusted, not too tormented being, I panicked.  I don’t do well-adjusted characters.  Dark and edgy are the two biggest components of character creation for me.  Granted Xander can kick butt with the best of them, but she comes from a loving family, she’s confident in herself and her abilities, she’s unique and she just happens to be involved with a not-so-well-adjusted alpha male.

Slowly, bit-by-bit I started to carve out the plot, but it was like pulling teeth—without painkillers.  I got halfway through, and felt like I just completed a 5K run in flip-flops. I sent out an SOS text to my partners in word slinging.

“Do I have to do it from her POV?”  I whine.

Their responses are instantaneous:  “Don’t be wimpy!” “Suck it up!” “YES!” and so on.

Resigned to my fate, I set Siri aside and continued on.  Years and years later, I have a plot. HOORAY!  Now to come up with the opening scene.


I reached into my emergency stash of chocolate and caffeine. I harbor a futile hope that this edible combination will save me from the bleak fate waiting on the other side of the screen.

I spent days lost in my head running through various scenarios.  It got so bad I ended up walking around my house muttering constantly, hair sticking every which way, and wearing clothes that show why stripes and plaid should never go together.  It’s horrible and my husband seriously considered contacting the local psych ward for help.

Finally, I dragged my weary, abused mind back to the computer.  Six hours later, all I had to show for my efforts were seven measly pages.  Tears of relief played havoc with my vision as I powered down the computer.  That night I’m thrilled I’ve gotten something down, and even managed to go to sleep.

Then morning came, and with it, the realization that the scene would not work—not for the opening, and probably not in this book.  My creativity threatened to implode.  Now my inner critic pipes up. Maybe two books are all you have. You’re all written out.  My creative well was empty.

I contemplated new hobbies such as…maybe….cooking, the kind that doesn’t involve a microwave, or rock collecting…a wisp of something drifted through my mind.  It teased the edges of my consciousness with subtle pokes and prods, finally it snapped me out of my self indulgent whine-fest.  That teasing temptation whispered, “What if…”, and suddenly I was tripping across the floors (it’s a super talent) and stumbling to my desk.  Fingers raced across the keyboard and the most wonderful sight ever….WORDS started to spread across the white screen.

With six books under my belt, I have complete confidence I will face the challenge of the white screen again, rather soon actually. Any writer will warn you, this situation will pop up with frightening frequency…in the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, at the end of the story.  No matter how many times you manage to beat it back, it will endure, but so will you, because that’s what writers do.  We endure and push through all those walls and blank screens so we can share the magic of our worlds and introduce readers to our wickedly cool peeps.

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


Jami Gray SmallBIO:

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 Jami at:


Black Opal Books:


Muse It Up Publishing:






Facebook Author Page








Amazon Author Page:








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


Or you can use the following:




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








Black Opal Books:



Shadow’s Edge: Bk 1 of Kyn Kronicles






Black Opal Books:










Google Play:


Shadow’s Soul:Bk 2 of the Kyn Kronicles


Black Opal Books:
















Google Play:



Shadow’s Moon: Bk 3 of the Kyn Kronicles




Barnes & Noble:


Black Opal Books:












Google Play:



Shadow’s Curse: Bk 4 of the Kyn Kronicles




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Black Opal Books:















A Little Mystery, a Little History, a Little Romance Elizabeth Meyette

A Little Mystery, a Little History, a Little Romance


After writing two historical romance novels, I wanted to tackle my other favorite genre, mystery. I couldn’t help it—the characters in my mystery fell in love. My friend and editor, H.J. remarked after rereading Middlemarch, “Every book is a romance.” Pretty much. We all seek to love and be loved, so one of the most compelling elements in a story is relationships. Romance seems especially fascinating.

Needless to say, there is romance in The Cavanaugh House. Jesse Graham is reeling after her fiancé, Robert’s, betrayal; her trust factor is at an all-time low, her defenses at an all-time high. Enter Joe Riley with his easy smile and laid-back charm, and Jesse feels her resolve eroding with each encounter.

I set The Cavanaugh House in 1968—a quirky time period that can’t be nailed down as historical and certainly isn’t contemporary—for a couple of reasons. First, the lack of instant communication devices such as cell phones. When Jesse is faced with danger, she can’t dial 911 or text someone. She has to deal with the threat on her own using her brains and calling on her courage. Some readers will have trouble relating to “one telephone in the downstairs hall” or no phone available in the car. But I liked the challenge that inconvenience presented to Jesse.

The second reason is because romantic relationships didn’t advance to intimacy quite as quickly back in the day. Jesse and Joe’s romance would be considered “sweet” or “behind closed doors” in today’s market. Don’t get me wrong—things heat up—but they don’t jump into bed at the drop of a hat…or pants… Plus, Jesse is in the midst of the Women’s Liberation Movement at its peak. Betrayed by a fiancé? You bet she supports Women’s Lib. She is strong, independent, and plucky which means she is not ready to surrender her autonomy to another man who might be unfaithful.

The premise of a woman who needs to fight off danger, deal with a deserted, dilapidated and haunted house, plus decide if she’s willing to trust again is a recipe for mystery with a little history and a little romance.

THC BookCoverPreview (2)

Excerpt from The Cavanaugh House:

Jesse turned slowly, surveying the room.

“Wow,” she said. “Wow, wow, wow.”

Her thoughts traveled to Robert’s apartment with its white leather furniture, glass and chrome accent tables, and carpeting so thick it was like walking on moss. It was as though she was on a “Rat Pack” set when she was there; everything was sleek and modern, tasteful and expensive. She had lived in that world for the past two years. And like its furnishings, that world had turned out to be less ideal than it appeared. A world more than just miles away from this dilapidated house.

Mustering her courage, she pulled the fabric off the sofa. She shrieked as a flurry of grey shapes scattered in all directions—one straight toward her. She panicked as paws scurried across her sandaled foot. Mice! Goosebumps prickled her skin and adrenalin shot though her body. Heart pounding, she ran out the front door, off the porch and bolted to her car. Her knees gave out and she collapsed, trembling.

“Are you okay?”

Grabbing the door handle, she pulled herself up and looked around for the voice’s owner.

“I’m over here,” he said.

She looked toward the road and saw a blue pickup truck at the end of the driveway. Leaning out the driver’s-side window was a man about her age, with tousled red hair. Humor lit up his mouth and softened his strong jawline and rugged face.

“Are you okay?” he repeated as he climbed out of his truck and started toward her.

Jesse brushed herself off and ran her fingers through her hair.

“Oh, yes, I’m fine,” she said.

She saw his hazel eyes twinkle with amusement.

“I can see that. In a hurry to get somewhere? I noticed your quick exit.”

She looked at her watch and gasped.  It was after 2 p.m. If she were going to get any utilities started, she needed to get to town.

“I need to get my utilities started.”

Oh, that sounded intelligent. She was a little off balance, and not just because of the mice encounter; this man’s gaze was warm and unsettling. He chuckled.

“Well, I would never want to keep a woman from that.”

“What I mean is…”

He held out his hand.

“Joe Riley.”

She shook his hand and smiled.

“Jesse Graham.”

“Nice to meet you, Jessica,” he said.

“Not Jessica, just Jesse. The nickname for Jessica is J-E-S-S-I-E. I’m J-E-S-S-E. Pronounced the same, spelled differently.”

“Oh, like Jesse James,” he said.

“Yeah, I’ve never heard that one before,” she tossed back.

“Sorry. Wow—I’m making a great first impression,” Joe said as he scanned the property, avoiding her eyes. “So you bought the old Cavanaugh House, ‘Just Jesse.’” It was a statement more than a question. His eyes studied the place, traveling over the roofline, down to the foundation and back to the outbuildings. “Mighty brave.”

“I didn’t buy it; I inherited it from my Aunt Helen.”

He raised his eyebrows and nodded but didn’t say anything.

“I just met the current residents—all one million of them, I think—when I pulled the drop cloth off the sofa. The mice took me by surprise. I panicked and ran.”

He laughed and looked back at the house.

“If there were a million, I’d probably do the same.”

“Okay, maybe a thousand. At least a couple hundred.” Jesse laughed, feeling at ease with him. “I think a call to an exterminator is also in order. I’d better head into town and get things started.”

“Can I help?” His face was earnest, his smile genuine.

“No, thank you. I can handle things myself,” she said.

“Well, you can’t stay here tonight with a million mice living in there. You’d be welcome to stay at my place.”

She lifted her chin and looked at him sideways. “Right. Your place.”

“No, no, no. You don’t understand. I live with my mother less than a mile from here.” His face was the color of summer tomatoes. “It’s all legit. Mom would be a proper chaperone, and we have a spare room. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply…”

Jesse was touched by his sincerity.  He was falling all over his words.

“No offense taken.  And that is a sweet offer. It’s just that…well…I need to take care of things myself. It’s important to me.”

“Oh, got it.” He took a step back and looked around the yard. “Well, then, I’d best be leaving.”

She saw his discomfort and rethought her words.

“No, Joe, it was very kind of you to offer, and truly, I take no offense. I’m just at a place where I need to depend on myself right now.” She smiled at him, and he nodded and turned to leave.

“Wait, there is something you could help with.”

He turned back to her.

“I do need a place to stay, but I have a friend in town who may have room for me. May I use your phone to call her?”

“Sure, follow me.” He hopped into his truck as she locked the house and then backed her Beetle out to follow him.  Looking back at the house, she was filled with ambivalence. On the one hand the house scared her, on the other, she already felt like she belonged there.


Elizabeth-Meyette-150x150Visit Elizabeth at:


Meyette’s Musings:


Twitter: @efmeyette


The Cavanaugh House is available at:


Barnes & Noble (paperback only at this time)


Y is for Yasmin Galenorn

Y is for Yasmin Galenorn

Browsing a used bookstore, I stumbled upon two of Yasmin’s novels. I haven’t stopped reading her since. I love all her series, but the Indigo Court is my favorite


Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Now, in a final push, Myst returns with a vengeance to bring the Golden Wood forever under the rule of the Indigo Court.

Newly crowned Fae Queens Cicely and Rhiannon have embraced their destinies and claimed their thrones. But Myst is rising once more, and now, at the helm of her armies, she begins her final assault on the Golden Wood. As Fae, vampires, and magic-born alike fall under the tide of blood, Cicely and her friends must discover a way to destroy the spidery queen before they—and their people—face total annihilation.


About Yasmine:

New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn writes the Otherworld Series (urban fantasy), the upcoming Fly By Night Series (a spinoff of Otherworld), and the upcoming Whisper Hollow Series (paranormal romance/suspense). She’s also written the Indigo Court Series (urban fantasy), a paranormal mystery series (the Chintz ‘n China Series) for Berkley Prime Crime, a short-lived mystery series (the Bath & Body Series) under the name of India Ink, again for Berkley Prime Crime, and eight metaphysical nonfiction books (Llewellyn Publications and Crossing Press).

Yasmine lives in the Seattle WA area with her husband and is the mother of four cats.




V is for Virtue’s Lady by Jessica Cale

Virtue’s Lady by Jessica Cale

From toiling for pennies to bare-knuckle boxing, a lady is prepared for every eventuality.


Lady Jane Ramsey is young, beautiful, and ruined.

After being rescued from her kidnapping by a handsome highwayman, she returns home only to find her marriage prospects drastically reduced. Her father expects her to marry the repulsive Lord Lewes, but Jane has other plans. All she can think about is her highwayman, and she is determined to find him again.

Mark Virtue is trying to go straight. After years of robbing coaches and surviving on his wits, he knows it’s time to hang up his pistol and become the carpenter he was trained to be. He busies himself with finding work for his neighbors and improving his corner of Southwark as he tries to forget the girl who haunts his dreams. As a carpenter struggling to stay in work in the aftermath of The Fire, he knows Jane is unfathomably far beyond his reach, and there’s no use wishing for the impossible.

When Jane turns up in Southwark, Mark is furious. She has no way of understanding just how much danger she has put them in by running away. In spite of his growing feelings for her, he knows that Southwark is no place for a lady. Jane must set aside her lessons to learn a new set of rules if she is to make a life for herself in the crime-ridden slum. She will fight for her freedom and her life if that’s what it takes to prove to Mark—and to herself—that there’s more to her than meets the eye.


Every nerve in his body wanted to go after her. He wanted to take her in his arms and give her a proper welcome. She had kissed him, and for a moment, it hadn’t mattered that she was a lady and he was nothing at all. It hadn’t mattered that she was probably playing with him and would inevitably smash his heart like she’d smashed that door. Everything else faded behind her kiss and the breathless relief he had in knowing that she hadn’t forgotten him after all.

He wondered if she had dreamt of him, too.

Mark shook his head, trying to rid himself of the thought. It changed nothing. Still, she had bothered to come all the way out here to find him, and he’d turned her away like a cad.

He told himself it was for the best. He hadn’t lied to her; it was an impossible dream. Much as he wanted to throw caution to the wind and shut her in his bedroom for his own greedy consumption, he had spent every day they’d been apart imagining the things her father could do to hurt him in graphic detail to deter himself from trying to see her. It was a terrible idea, the worst idea, and yet he couldn’t think of a single thing he wanted more than to go after her and kiss her senseless.


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Other Books in This Series

untitledTyburn (The Southwark Saga, Book 1): Notorious harlot Sally Green fights for survival in Restoration London. When a brutal attack throws them together, Sally is torn between the tutor who saves her and the highwayman who keeps her up at night; between new love and an old need for revenge. Finalist for the Southern Magic Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence 2015.

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61KnTyhOh3L__UX250_Author Bio

Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at

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