Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Urban Fantasy…So Is That Like Lord of the Rings?

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   14 Comments | Posted in author · Romance Writers of America · RWA

Greetings, Buttercup! I have a special treat for you today. While I’m off attending the RWA (Romance Writers of America) national conference in New York, author Jami Gray has graciously agreed to handle the telling of the Naked Truth here at Writing in the Buff. As Jami’s website says, she writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Suspense…with a killing edge. To give you a small taste of where Jami’s mind brings her stories and her readers, here’s a smidge of info straight from her website:

“My females can be intimidating but the men love them, even if they are a pain in the ass.  Besides, who has time to wait for some guy to save you, when it’s faster to do it yourself?  Magic, in all its strange and twisted forms, exists.  Which means all those fantastical creatures we thought were only fairy tales, they’re real too, complete with fangs, fur and claws.  Too bad it’s hard to tell who’s the real monster.”

Way cool, yes? Just like Jami herself. After you enjoy her guest post, please pay close attention, because she’s giving away a freebie to one and all!

I’ll be out of town workshopping and drinking wine at the bar chatting with other Romance writers, but I’ll do my best to pop in here and say hello at some point. You’ll have plenty of time to leave comments and questions for Jami, because Friday’s Observations From the Tub and next week’s Pawsitive Pondering will be a “no go” due to my trip. But I’ll be back here next Wednesday with the Naked Truth about my experiences at RWA15-NY.

Without further ado, here’s Jami!

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.


Jami Gray Small

Adopted at the age of 14, I became the fifth eldest of 37 children while growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border. Heading off to college, I finally graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater.  Shortly after marrying my techie geek hubby (who moonlighted as my best friend in high school) I completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon as bills needed to be paid.  Now, years later, I’m back in the Southwest where  I evened out the gender numbers in my home by adding two female labs to two Star Wars obsessed boys and one Star Wars obsessed husband. Delving into the wild paranormal worlds where romance collides with suspense and Urban Fantasy is queen, manages to salvage my sanity. At least that’s what the voices in my head say…


Guest post by Jami Gray

Urban Fantasy…so is that like Lord of the Rings?

As one who writes in Urban Fantasy, you would not believe how many times I’ve actually been asked this question.  Every single time, I try not to heave a huge sigh or roll my eyes, because that’s just mean. My answer…”No, it’s fantasy in a modern, urban setting.”

Sounds good, right? I thought so, hence the reason it’s my go-to answer. However, I still caught hints of confusion or a quick shake of the head leading to a subject change.

So, to be able to give a more informative answer to those seeking knowledge, perhaps I should pose it to those who understand it best…readers.  What do you consider Urban Fantasy?

Is it the wizard stalking the rain-drenched streets on dark nights hunting ghouls and witches like some long ago western lawman? Is it the kick-ass female rocking the leather attire like ain’t nobody’s business? Is it the terrifyingly, anti-social protagonist walking the thin line of insanity, that we somehow fall in love with between the pages, but in real life would cross the street to avoid? Or is it the unlikely shifter/witch/vampire/hunter of any thing unnatural that suddenly finds himself or herself the one person who holds the ability to change the world around them?

Like many writers, I’m an avid reader. I started out with Fantasy. Yep, like Tolkien,  Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, or Katherine Kurtz.  As I grew, so did my reading tastes and I found myself drawn more and more to settings where magic and the real world collided.  Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality was one of my favorite series. How cool was it that normal, everyday people somehow managed to find themselves suddenly becoming the incarnation of Death, War, Time , Nature, Fate, Evil, Good, and all that those jobs entailed.  Think about it, what would you do if you suddenly found yourself in charge of Death. Would you be able to take a soul away, witness the grief left behind, because you knew down the road, a much darker, deeper agony lay in wait?

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties, early thirties that I noticed more and more books were coming out that didn’t focus on a romantic relationship, but on the strong development of the female protagonist (generally). The books, like GUILTY PLEASURES by Laurell Hamilton where Necromancer Anita Blake takes us inside a not-so-hidden world of the unusual, or BITTEN by Kelley Armstrong where Elena showed us how a normal woman handles suddenly growing fur and claws, sucked me in and made me fall in love, all because the main character was an independent, strong female not looking for someone to come save her. Granted, she still had some issues, but damn, these women, they were frickin’ awesome.  And, as I went on a hunt for more, I found them: ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY by Lori Handeland where we meet Elizabeth Phoenix, a psychic cop in the Phoenix Chronicles, Patricia Briggs’ skin walker, mechanic Mercy Thompson in MOON CALLED, the first in her Mercy Thompson series, Ilona Andrews’ sword mistress, Kate Daniels in a magic ravaged Atlanta from MAGIC BITES, the awesome intro to her Kate Daniels series, Jim Butcher’s STORM FRONT, where we meet the dorky and dangerous (yes, dorky, not dark) Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files and C.E. Murphy’s cop, Joanne Walker of the Walker Papers, in URBAN SHAMAN. I could go much longer, promise (C.J. Adams, E.E. Knight, Terry Brooks…) All of these were the beginnings of some great series, series where magic was set against the backdrop of the modern world, complete with modern problems.  They appealed because it blurred the line of reality, suspended my belief, and rekindled my faith in magic.  Reading this genre (and writing in it) is my way of sharing that wonder with others.

And since I’m always looking for new voices to discover, if you have recommendations, feel free to offer them up!

Jami Gray
Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romantic Suspense with a killing edge!

You can find me at: 
Black Opal Books:
Muse It Up Publishing:
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page:
You'll find all the buy links for both The Kyn Kronicles and PSY-IV Teams, in all formats at:  


Pick up SHADOW’S EDGE for FREE for a limited time (see above links) and dive into the shadows of the Kyn…


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


Thanks to Jami for guest posting today. I don’t know about y’all, but my reading list just got longer.

Thank you for visiting Writing in the Buff! See you next Wednesday, when I’ll have tales from RWA and a cover reveal on book #2 of the Fireflies series, Love to Believe. Have a good one!


P.S. I figured out my wacky hair! Turns out straightening goop and a little Redken Rough Paste are all it takes to do the job. Here’s a candid photo my daughter took while we were out to dinner the other night. I look a little like a hungry velociraptor, but otherwise, not so bad, right?


Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last in eBook or print, go to AmazonBarnes & NobleBlack Opal BooksKobo, or AllRomance.

14 Responses to "Urban Fantasy…So Is That Like Lord of the Rings?"

  1. Comment by Rob
    July 22, 2015 at 10:33 am  

    We used some stuff called Red Hand at the shipyard–it was red. I’m so glad to know what urban fantasy is now. Good post. Good lead in for the uninitiated.

    • Comment by Jami Gray
      July 22, 2015 at 12:53 pm  

      Morning Rob, thank you for coming by! I hoped it helps define the two genres. I think one of the earliest authors I discovered in Urban Fantasy (before it was called UF) was Andre Norton’s Incarnations of Immortality. So long as the story is compelling, I’m good calling genres whatever they want to be called.

  2. Comment by Jami Gray
    July 22, 2015 at 12:54 pm  

    Much thanks to Lisa (who’s busy taking part in RWA’s get together, I’m a little green) for letting me come by and steal her readers for the day. Happy Wednesday, all!

  3. Comment by Tammy
    July 23, 2015 at 10:12 am  

    Well, The List just gets longer and longer. That’s okay – these books sound hard to put down. I could relate to the line about being soothed with coffee and chocolate!

    • Comment by Jami Gray
      July 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm  

      LOL! We’ll go take over a coffee shop with pastries, Tammy! Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    July 24, 2015 at 11:51 pm  

    The Psy-IV Teams books sound good. Thanks for filling in for Lisa.

    • Comment by Jami Gray
      July 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm  

      Aw, thanks! I had fun filling in, but not as much fun as Lisa did at RWA, I bet!

  5. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    July 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm  

    Thanks so much for the great post, Jami! Your books sound fascinating, so I’m going to go click on those links and check them out. As for reading suggestions, have you read The Traveler series by John Twelve Hawks? Based on your definition, it’s what I would call quasi-Urban Fantasy with a little philosophy thrown in on the side. It came out several years ago, and I loved it. Oh, these reading lists we keep 🙂 Thanks again!

    And Lisa, sounds like RWA was a blast. So glad you had fun. Can’t wait to read your wrap-up!

    • Comment by Jami Gray
      July 27, 2015 at 5:05 pm  

      Hey Theresa,
      I haven’t (scribbling on my very, very long list), got it down! Thank you!

  6. Comment by Karen Lange
    July 27, 2015 at 10:08 pm  

    It’s nice to hear from Jami! Hope you had a good trip!:)

    • Comment by Jami Gray
      July 28, 2015 at 11:47 am  

      Thanks, Karen! I’m so glad you stopped by!

  7. Comment by Pat
    July 28, 2015 at 6:29 pm  

    Thanks for this glimpse into the world of fantasy. Will definitely be adding to my reading list.

    • Comment by Jami Gray
      July 29, 2015 at 12:19 pm  

      Thank you for stopping by, Pat!

  8. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    August 2, 2015 at 5:53 pm  

    Thanks to everyone who commented, and thanks again to Jami Gray for standing in for me! I appreciate all of you. 🙂

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