Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One White Night with Guest Blogger: Jami Gray

Meet author of Urban Fantasy Jami Gray
today at the Boost!

She's here to chat about The Curse of the White Screen and here's what she had to say...

If you’re a writer chances are you have 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 manage 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.

Currently I’m polishing off my second Urban Fantasy, Shadow’s Soul, to send it lovingly packaged to my editor so she can dissect it and throw it back. I actually gave my final draft to my critique group (7 Evil Dwarves) and they returned the bloody carcass.

As I’ve stitched up the wounds, the apparition of my third book looms like a large writer eating slug. It took twice as long as I expected to set the plot. Actually I had the plot all set and then was smacked across the head that it was book four, not three, so back to the drawing board.

Strapped to my office chair with headphones chaining me down and superglue dusting my finger tips, the urge to run is greatly dampened and I face my nemesis. It is decided that book three must follow a secondary character so as to give our main character couple a break to take a breath.

As the screen mocks me, my brain is whirling. Plots and subplots fly around in a maelstrom and faced with the fact that the heroine of my third book is actually a fairly well adjusted, not too tormented being, I’m panicking. I don’t do well-adjusted characters. Dark and edgy are the two biggest components of character creation for me. Granted she 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 start to carving out the plot, but it’s like pulling teeth-without painkiller. I get halfway through and I’m feeling like I’ve just done a 5K run in flip-flops, so I send out an SOS text to the 7 Evil Dwarves.

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

The responses are instantaneous:

“Don’t be wimpy!”

“Suck it up!”

“YES!” and so on.

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


I have to reach into my emergency stash of chocolate and caffeine in hopes together they can save me from the bleak fate waiting for me.

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

Finally I drag my weary, abused mind to the computer. It takes me six hours and all I have to show for it are seven measly pages. Tears of relief play havoc with my vision as I power down the computer. That night I’m thrilled I’ve gotten something down and even manage to go to sleep.

Then morning comes and with it the realization that the scene will not work-not for the opening, and probably not in this book. My creativity threatens to implode! Maybe two books are all I have in me! I’m all written out! My creative well is empty.

As I contemplate new hobbies such as doesn’t involve a microwave or...rock collecting…

A wisp of something drifts through my mind. It teases the edges of my consciousness with subtle pokes and prods and I finally snap out of my self indulgent whine-fest. That teasing temptation whispers, “What if…”

And suddenly I’m tripping up the stairs and stumbling to my desk. Fingers race across the keyboard and the most wonderful sight ever…WORDS! They begin spreading across the white screen.

I have complete confidence that this will not be the last time I face down a blank page. They’ll 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 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.

A Note from the Book Boost: Jami, I've been there but mine is typically caused by anywhere between one and three of my children vying for my immediate attention. Every time I get back to that blinking cursor, I remember something else I'm supposed to be doing. Painful but promising. Congrats on conquering your "white night" and thanks for joining us today! Please tell us more about your latest.


It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking. Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.

When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head. Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.


They were passing two darkened buildings when the hushed sound of metal against cloth whispered through the air. It was followed by the soft sound of water squelching under a

Raine didn’t falter, and neither did Gavin. A couple of steps more and she had both wrist blades in her hands. The black coated blades blended into her own dark garments, their silver runes turned in toward her body so no light would reflect off them. She shot a look at Gavin and saw his hand down by
his thigh, a long darkened blade tucked close to his leg. She’d have to remember to ask where he kept that thing.

His free hand made a series of short motions. She gave a tiny nod to let him know she understood. At the next dark opening, they would turn a corner, and she would fade into the
shadows to wait. The plan was to let the mystery stalker turn the corner and continue to follow them before he realized one of them had disappeared. They were banking on the fact most people wouldn’t be able to see clearly in the inky darkness.

As they turned the corner, Raine made her move toward the shadows. Gavin continued forward. In just steps, both realized they weren’t alone in the alleyway. It seemed the bad guys were a bit more prepared than usual. Three more figures spread out from inside the alley. She spun around, putting her
back to Gavin’s. She was slightly miffed when she saw that instead of one person, two individuals blocked the opening.

Damn, how had she missed the second one?

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Mona Karel said...

I have SO been there. In fact (sigh) I'm there now. My excuse is having to go through second round of edits and return them before I work on something new. To forestall the 'lukis interrupting my work I've even set up the laptop in the dining room instead of working in the office. At this time the laptop is buried in mail, which fortunately keeps the dust off. If I don't get to the edits then I don't have to write anything new. BUT if I don't get to the edits, then "Teach Me To Forget" is forgotten. Oops. THANKS for the moral boost, and let's both keep writing. After I invest in some super glue for my fingers.

Jami Gray said...

I have some extra super glue, Mona! I can share =0)

Liv Rancourt said...

I know you got it in you! And, no pressure, but some of us are impatiently waiting for the story to continue. Shadow's Edge rocked!
(oh, and Mona...mail keeping the dust off the laptop...hee!)

Jami Gray said...

Okay something to tickle your tummy, I just got the first round of edits back on Shadow's Soul...see that light? It's not a train, promis!