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It’s @MonaKarel, The Best In Show for Paranormal Romance, and she has a gift for you! #giveaway #pararom

(Pushing aside mountains of unpacked moving boxes, piles of crushed wrapping paper, and carefully stepping over discarded packing tape) Excuse the mess as we finish tidying up the new Swamp Shack. You’d think I’d have things a bit more together, but when the rampaging, over-sized iguana squashed our old shack, we were hard pressed to find a suitable replacement.

(Waving a hand) Nevermind that, you’re not here to listen to my tales of moving woe. Today, we have the lovely creative genius behind the awesome MY KILLER, MY LOVE and TEACH ME TO FORGET—Mona Karel. She even brought those gorgeous Faerie Hounds of hers.

Stick around and tell us what was your first occupational aspiration was and you could win an e-copy of her MY KILLER, MY LOVE–a heart pounding story of the unearthly guardian, Mykhael and the intriguing survivor, Kendra, as they face down evil while discovering their own, beautiful connection. Might as well let someone new fall in love with Mykhael, and she thought that would be better than genuine, high desert tumble weeds… Remember, we need your email to ensure you get your copy.

For now, I give you, Lady Mona…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I absolutely knew I was going to be an Olympic equestrian, from the time I read Pat Smythe’s book Jump For Joy. Never mind that I only rode horses once a week, and no one in my family had the least idea how to support such a goal. When the high school yearbook staff asked what I planned to do with my life, I stated categorically I would ride jumping horses. Well, we can all dream, can’t we?

–I’m going to guess you also read BLACK BEAUTY and did you happen to have all the Black Stallion novels? Not that I would know anything about that or being a prize winning jockey….

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

I was such a fan of gothic romance for a while, and I wrote a full gothic novel, set in a manor house in Scotland. Complete with a white nightgown in the gallery scene. That would have to be when I was about sixteen since it was before my father did a tour of duty in Japan. All the ‘excess’ was tossed out, including my Beatles fan fiction (shaking my head in wonder) where we were in a plane crash and marooned on a desert island. My lead character, who bore a sad resemblance to me, helped save the day while the rest of the females sat around and whined. Back in civilization, Paul showed up one day to declare unremitting love. Hey, gimme a break, I think I was fifteen.

–Mmmm, Paul always was the pretty one…

The first ‘real’ novel might still have a chance at resurrection since I’ve ended up using one of the male characters in another book. The female protagonist rides jumping horses. As an aside, isn’t it more fun to call her the heroine?

Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?

Man From U.N.C.L.E. absolutely. I had it bad for Illya Kuryakin (not so much Napoleon Solo until I learned years later that Robert Vaughn had Scottish Deerhounds) That fascination carried forward when Dr. Mallard showed up on NCIS.

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

I actually did meet some of my favorite writers when I helped the Programs chair for Orange County. At that time I was pretty cool about it all, even when it was Elizabeth Lowell or Eileen Dreyer. Now I think I’d be a fluttering fool if I met Patricia Briggs or Jim Butcher. I had no problem with one of my very favorite authors I met through dogs long before I knew she had written Dun’s Lady Jess. Dogs are a great leveler.

–Then you and your hounds can come rescue me when I fall into a drooling mass at the feet of Patricia Briggs…as for Jim, he at least, didn’t mind the drool…

And now, for our favorite list–The Bullet List…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Hand Grenades or Stink Bombs

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Oh gaaa, that one’s difficult. I wasn’t a fan of happily ever after especially not after I learned the story behind the story of so many fairy tales. Like those nursery songs: “A Tisket a Tasket…Ashes Ashes All Fall Down.” Yikes. There was the modern fairy tale that canned and frozen prepared meals are every bit as good as fresh. No, wait, that’s more of a horror story. Hmmm. Probably the swan one, where the sister couldn’t speak until she’d saved her eleven brothers from a curse. Let me see…oh, never mind that one’s also pretty stupid.

But wait, there’s the Town Musicians of Bremen. No vapid virginal heroine, no evil stepmother, no waiting to be rescued by the prince. Yup, liked that one. Which reminds me of a favorite line…

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

On the Kindle actually. I’m indulging in Kodiak Unchained, one of Doranna Durgin’s Sentinel stories. What a fascinating take on shifters and unrelenting enmity, and yes she also wrote Dun’s Lady Jess. Greta Van Der Rol has asked me to do a beta read on her sequel to Morgan’s Return, great space opera and such an honor. I’d be saying Eileen Dreyer and her Drake’s Rakes except I’ve read them until I could quote them waiting for the next one.

Greatest one liner of all time?

‘No more kitchen scraps for the widows and orphans’ Favorite villain, one of my favorite actors.

But also, from Pretty Woman: “What happens after the Prince rescues the Princess?” “She rescues him right back.” Gurrrl power!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism, all too often misunderstood, go figure.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Actually I moved the writing set up to a high counter in the large main room. It was a way to stay connected to my life: the high desert, the dogs, the wind blowing tumbleweeds into the fences. From the point of view of ‘ordinary’ people most everything would be strange. Probably the silver serving spoon that used to have a lovely ceramic dragon handle. Now it’s just a stub. I was trying to figure out the hallmarks on the back…

Favorite supernatural creature?

Obviously I love Mykhael Alastor, from My Killer My Love. And his brother Gabriel who redeems himself by helping rescue a lovely plus size woman while falling madly in love with her. But someone else’s, hmmm. It would be cheating to mention one of the writers I’ve already named, wouldn’t it?

Now, if it was Science Fiction, then Andromeda‘s captain, and also the hot guy with the dreads…Tyr Anasazi. But you’re looking for supernatural creatures, not characters. Well, of course, it would be dragons. Except they exist, we just can’t quite see them.

You want to know about the ‘real’ me or the writer me?

Mona 0513

Mona Karel is the writing alter ego of Monica Stoner, who moved around a lot with her Navy family and continued that nomadic existence for a while on her own. Her first two books: the paranormal romance My Killer My Love and contemporary romance Teach Me To Forget, are published by Black Opal Books. She’s madly typing away on her next stories, in between doing battle with rapacious tumbleweeds and playing with her herd of Salukis.

Biddy BOB FD and Me

My Killer My Love is available through the usual sources:



Teach Me To Forget as well:

TMTF Cover


Both titles available through my publisher, Black Opal Books

The Next Big Thing…

I’ve been tagged by Sandy Wright for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, where new releases and new authors get highlighted. Sandy’s SONG OF THE ANCIENTS, is a Paranormal Suspense currently making the rounds in finding a publishing home.  Feel free to check out her blog at www.writersandy.com for all the nifty details on her first book.

So since I’m it, let’s get to it!

  • What’s the title/working title of your latest book?

For those that are following, we’ll do SHADOW’S MOON, because I’m keeping my current WIP under wraps for a bit.

  • Where did the idea for the book come from?

This will be the third in the Kyn Kronicles, but this time I decided to leave Raine and Gavin alone to take advantage of some downtime.  Instead I got caught up in Xander and Warrick’s relationship. I’ve always loved the concept of magic and the supernatural existing alongside reality, so the world I created has some dark corners that you don’t want to face without a sharp, pointy object. For SHADOW’S MOON, I wanted to explore the relationship between the most dominant male wolf in the Northwest and his top female enforcer, Xander.  What happens when two strong personalities meet? Do they bend, break or create something new? SHADOW’S MOON continues the twists and turns of the Kyn universe, but also allows the readers a chance to see the world through the eyes of the Shifter House.  Plus the sparks from Xander and Warrick were a blast to maneuver through.

  • What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

  • What’s a one sentence synopsis for your book?

As the Northwest Alpha wolf, compromise isn’t in Warrick Vidis’s vocabulary, but when his reluctant mate, Xander Cade, refuses to leave off the hunt for the one threatening their pack, will he be able to bend before they both break?

  •  How long did it take to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took me about 4 1/2 to 5 months to get through the first draft.  Then another month or so to fine tune it.

  • Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

         Currently it is under consideration by a handful of publishing houses/agencies, so fingers crossed one of them picks it up.

  • What other books would you compare this book to in your genre?

Hmmm…think Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series or Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson or Alpha and Omega series. 

Since I like to share the spotlight, here are my “MUST READ” new authors! Swing on over and check them out!

Mona Karel

Liv Rancourt

Amber Kallyn

Lynn Rush

Sneak Peek Sunday #SPeekSunday @JamiGrayAuthor

Sneak Peek Sunday Banner

So my wonderful bud, Mona Karel, turned me on to the following cool blog…Sneak Peak Sunday. Now, I’m going to invite all of you writers out there that swing over to visit, published or not, to join in and share six paragraphs from your current work in progress (WIP).  I want to see what you all are working on.

I’ll go first, this from my current WIP which is a whole new series not related to Raine and her buds…

A shadow wavered across the glass block window.  I froze, dropping my gaze to the doorknob.  Unlocked.


The knob turned and it was a question of seconds before the door began to open.  Slamming my mental walls back in place sent a ferocious ache behind my eyes, but I needed to know what was live and what wasn’t.  The door began to creep open.

Carefully, hoping my shadow wouldn’t been seen in the glass column and give my movements away to whoever was outside, I shifted over until I was hidden behind the door itself.  My view was blocked by the door which continued to open.  Which meant whoever was coming in wouldn’t be able to see me either.

There was only one chance.  Not stopping to think, I rushed the door, using the knob and my shoulder to slam it forward. A muffled grunt confirmed the presence of a real, live body.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for the freaking battering ram that sent me stumbling back.

Stuck between the door and the wall was not an ideal choice.  Twisting, I stumbled into the hall, putting distance between me and whoever was coming through my door.  There were two options—the open living room or the bedrooms.  Remembering my staff propped by Kelsey’s door made my decision easy. I turned to run.

Come play and share your little jewels and spread the word!

Don’t forget, next week our Swamp visitor is the one and only Lynn Rush. Shuffle those appointments around and join us!


Mona’s Challenge Accepted, meet new writers…

Tis the season for chain blogs, similar creatures to those ancient fossils known as “letters” that arrived via the US Postal Service.  These letters would claim that if you sent something to the name at the top of  the list, added your name to the bottom of the list, you would, in a whopping 90 days, be inundated with recipes/poems/dollar bills.  Remember those? Uh-huh.  Yeah, so this is the blog form of that–but no moola, just the chance to discover some truly awesome new writers!

The lovely and talented writer of heart pounding romance, Mona Karel, tagged me in a blog challenge. The idea is to find the first instance of the word ‘look’ in your current WIP and post the surrounding paragraphs.  She has an excerpt from her new book, an awesome description piece.  My favorite part?  “Willow Springs was a city on the downhill slide.”  LOVED IT! 

Since we all know how “orbitally fixated” I can be, this shouldn’t be hard.  So let’s see where  “LOOK” pops up for me in Shadow’s Moon…

Xander tapped the earpiece nestled in her right ear.  “Ryuu, you copy?”

There was a brief crackle of static, then a growling, “Yeah, what’s up Xander?”

“Found a body in the Gardens. ” She turned the body over, the surrounding water making a soft sucking sound as it released its victim.  She pushed damp hair off the ghostly pale face.

“Tell me it’s not the ex-girlfriend.” Faint street noises leached around the demand.

“Nope, it’s a male.” She leaned down and inhaled.  The water diluted the coppery stench of blood, leaving behind the familiar odor of raw meat.  “Human.”

A low string of curses dance in her ear.  “Damn it! Wounds?”

She dug into the inside pocket of her jacket and pulled out a small pen light, playing it over the victim.  “Heavy bruising, no claw or teeth marks. LOOKs like Neal bashed the poor guy’s head in against the stones.”

“I guess we should be grateful for small miracles.”

On to the fun part, I get to tag a few victims of my own, so you have an opportunity to meet some exciting new writers!

Eric Henson

Empi Baryeh

Liv Rancourt

Christopher Allen Poe

Bev Irwin

Challenged Accepted…

Yes, that’s right I have been challenged by lovely and talented Liv Rancourt who’s nominated me for One Lovely Blog award. This time around the object of the game is to list seven things about yourself, then nominate other bloggers for the award.  Liv’s list of 7 was her 7 all-time favorite vamp novels (which if you know her, is not a surprise).

Now that it’s my turn, I have to admit that deciding which list of 7 to post was tough.  There are so many to choose from–Urban Fantasy series, All-Time Fav Music, my Fav movies that make you think, you see how long the list can be?  Since October is coming and for some odd reason Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor has been obsessed with firearms, I decided to go with My Top Seven Weapon Choices for the Impending Zombie Apocalypse!

So don your Kevlar, add your war paint, it’s time to get down to business of putting those Zombies in their place (or places as the case may be!)

First up, since I’m a blade woman is the updated version of a katana, the Apokatana found at Zombie Tools. This tactical version of a tried and true blade has a stronger spine than the traditional katana.  With a lethal 28 inches you can be sure to keep those corpse shamblers at arm’s length while taking their heads off!

My second blade of choice would be the Machete.  I don’t care which one you grab, just make it a good one.  This is a great weapon for those who didn’t have the time to study martial arts before the dead rose.  Not only good for carving your way through the moaning hoards of cannibals stumbling towards you, it can also help you slash your way through heavy foliage to help speed your getaway.

Now on to my third weapon of choice.  This one Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor highly recommends and has even offered to pick it up for our anniversary. The Benelli M4.  This gas-operated shotgun is great for us smaller peeps who don’t want to find ourselves sitting on our butts after firing. This way we can keep our feet and take out as many Zombies as possible.

Now, if you have the Apokatana and the Benelli you may find yourself unable to take on any more weapons, but I disagree.  Now my choice for weapon number four is certain dependant on individual preferences but no matter what you choose a small firearm is needed for those tighter situations where you just don’t have time to pull out the big guns.  We’re a Sig Sauer type family, so we’d lean towards the Sig Sauer P226, not just because SEALs tend to like this gun, but come on, it’s dependable no matter the environment.  When the apocalypse hits, there will be more than the environment to worry about!

Choice number five is not only practical but looks totally cool! This is Cold Steel’s Trench Hawk.  It’s a great weapon for tight spaces, plus you can also chop up downed power poles and abandoned houses for firewood!

Up in sixth place are those items you can use that you already own.  Most of us just don’t have the time to stock up on a plethora of firearms, so if the Zombies are knocking, just look around your kitchen.  A butcher knife, a rolling-pin, a solid candlestick, that cast iron skillet, even that hammer you shoved in the junk drawer.  They’ll all work and don’t require years of training to use effectively.  A little messy, but when you’re in the kitchen, messes happen!

And last but not least because no matter the quality of your accessories you must look good while taking out the undead.  Some will prefer the camo look, others leathers, and still others will cross styles. Now if you’re in the hotter climes leather may be out. It can get sticky, but if you haven’t been able to round-up some Kevlar, you really need to make sure your clothing can take a beating, weather the blood and brains they’ll encounter each day, and may even double as weapons.  I’d mention stiletto heels, but everyone knows you can’t run in those things.

I’m sure I’ve missed some, but what would you put up for your list of favorite 7’s?

And because I like to share the love, here are seven bloggers who I’m tagging for the next round of the One Lovely Blog award:

  1. Amber Kallyn
  2. Mona Karel
  3. Rachel Firasek
  4. Michelle Miles
  5. Adriana Ryan
  6. Empi Baryeh
  7. Ciara Knight

Share the love and give them a moment by checking out their blogs!

Time for a Change…and a Tour!

So as  you can see I’ve decided to update my blog site over at jamigray.wordpress.com.  It wasn’t because I was bored, but mainly because it was time to update for a rather busy month just around the corner.

That’s right, I’m popping up all over the web starting on March 28th with a Q&A Session with The Romance Review at their Annivesary Party.  So I added a tab with all the sites and dates listed.  Feel free to pop over when you can and join in the fun.  But in case you want all the information in one nifty spot, here you go…mark you calendars because I’ll need peeps to talk with.  It’s so boring talking to myself!

MARCH 2012

3/28/12       Q&A with The Romance Review Anniversary Party

APRIL 2012

Black Opal Author Blog Tour!

4/5/12         Guest Post with Mona Karel

4/7/12         Guest Post with Nanny Berry

Rescheduled for 4/20/12!         Guest Post with Bri Clarkc at The Belle of Boise

4/14/12 Guest Post with Lindsay Jones at Just Another Book Addict

4/17/12       Guest Post with Michelle Miles at her blog!

4/19/12       Guest Post with Stacey Donaldson at The Write Way To Make A Living

4/21/12       Guest Post with BK Walker at The Immortyl Cafe

4/24/12      Guest Post with Denise Alicea at The Pen Muse

4/25/12      Guest post with Sarah Merchant at Work Aday Reads


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