Cast of Characters

Meet the cast of characters in Wonderfully Wicked, Book 1 of the Dreamcaster Series:

dreamstimeextrasmall_9173660Kalila Montgomery – reluctant dreamcaster. Would prefer a punch in the face to being kissed, but that’s another story.  Coffee makes her  happy…and oh yeah, an eight hour snooze time without nightmares would be nice. Pftt. Like that’s ever going to happen.

Favorite song:  Music of the Night.

Favorite book:  Anything Poe.

Favorite romantic date:  Nope.

Motto:  Breathe.  Remember who you are.  Go down fighting.

Lydon FinallyLydon v’al Endrian
– the Black V’alkara. Never fails a mission. Some claim he has vanity issues, maybe a hint of arrogance. Or two. But he wasn’t raised to Black for his lack of skills. Give him any nightmare and he’ll strip it clean – even from a dreamcaster. Kalila, however, might be a problem. Not that he’ll ever admit that one aloud.

Favorite song:  Demons – Imagine Dragons.

Favorite book:  The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks.

Favorite romantic date:  Ever visited a Hell dreamscape? It’s nice and steamy. Lots of monsters. Fun times.

Motto:  Selfishness is a virtue. Really.

dreamstimeextrasmall_29366895Melanie Troyer– Kalila’s BFF.  While cute and bubbly and adored by all, Mel sees things. Like the future. Makes investing a cinch, but knowing what’s going to happen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Especially when some dude shows up in her living room and freezes her in place. Literally. So not cool.

Favorite song:  Party in the USA. Don’t hate me. It’s a good song.

Favorite book:  The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter – Maddox…sigh.

Favorite romantic date:  Beach. Moonlight. Dancing.  I like it all.

Motto:  So many men, so little–ouch! Who pinched me?

dreamstimeextrasmall_16879761Daxen v’al Solanis – V’alkara spy. Loyal only to the V’alkara brotherhood and their master. Obeys without question, feels nothing – scaring old ladies for thrills is merely a rumor spread by Black, as is sleeping on a bed made of dreamcaster bones. After all, the V’alkara don’t sleep. Ever.

Favorite song:  Broken by Seether.

Favorite book:  Pride and Prejudice – tell anyone and you die.

Favorite romantic date:  (scorching silence)

Motto:  Freedom is an illusion created by the destructive self.

dreamstimeextrasmall_16975397Gwendolyn (last name and origins unknown) – V’alkara hater/hunter extraordinaire, excellent with knives and general kicking of hiney. Black is the exception to her kill-all-V’alkara rule since she owes him one. So she might have some unresolved revenge stuff going on – understandable, all things considered. Stay on her good side and you’ll survive. Oh, and she has a weakness for colorful sparklies.

Favorite song:  Animal I Have Become – Three Days Grace

Favorite book:  Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. Realistic endings, none of that Disney mush.

Favorite romantic date: Mention whip and I’m there.

Motto:  Mention whip and I’m there. Hey, it works.


dreamstimeextrasmall_2048505Duhnle “D” Ames – Wise Master of Weirdness and Knowledge Normal People Don’t Want to Know. Rogue V’alkara nerd. Expert on dreamcaster lore, hates the V’alkara almost as much as Gwendolyn, and will do anything to remain hidden from the V’alkara brotherhood. Nothing excites him more than meeting a dreamcaster and adding more facts to his ridiculous stacks of handwritten notebooks…meeting the Black V’alkara? Not so much. Underestimating him is a bad idea.

Favorite song:  The Pink Panther theme.

Favorite book:  Duhnle’s Dreamcaster Diary – fascinating facts. Somewhere in there is the remedy to a V’alkara’s dreamlessness and a dreamcaster’s nightmares, and I’ll find it. Eventually.

Favorite romantic date:  I wish.

Motto:  My mind makes up for whatever I lack in muscle. Black has nothing on me.

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The V’alkara

Five True V’alkara Traits – according to Kalila Montgomery

photo by Tomi Tapio K

photo by Tomi Tapio K

1.  Thieves. A V’alkara mistakenly thinks it’s his right to butt into nightmares and steal stuff from people’s minds.  Like hairy spiders or demon horses. So what if I don’t really want those things in my head, haunting my dreams? They’re mine. Come on – at least ask with a pretty please first.

2.  Annoying.  A V’alkara will stalk you, sneak up on you, and scare you, smirking all the way. Lurkers in dark places, every last one of them. Oh, and they bring nightmares to life, if you offer one. I suggest you don’t.

3.  Overbearing.  Possessive, bossy, arrogant…yeah.  All that. No amount of good looks will cancel out those charming qualities. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Pains in the derriere. Especially Lydon.

Lydon Finally4.  Psycho.  No dreams=major mental issues. V’alkara don’t dream because they don’t sleep, which can be a bummer when trying to ditch them. I never knew how important dreams are to a mind, but believe me – be glad you dream, even if it’s only nightmares like me. Talk about messed up. 


5.  Untrustworthy.  No matter what they might tell you, what heroic act they perform on your behalf, their loyalty belongs to the V’alkara brotherhood. Ha. Probably because they rely on their master to keep them sane through some sort of freaky connection. Sounds more like coercion to me, but whatever. I’m pretty sure the definition of V’alkara in Webster’s is “ulterior motives.”

dreamstimeextrasmall_9173660My best advice to you:  hope you never meet a V’alkara, especially if you’re a dreamcaster. Lucky me.         

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The Final Spark – Excerpt

The Final Spark – Excerpt

Tonight is my—our—last chance to escape.

A bead of moisture slid down the back of Cala’s neck in an icy finger.  She blended into the shadows and pressed her back against the stone wall.  The Queen’s patrol marched by without slowing.  So many guards tonight, even in the catacombs, almost as if Diana suspected.

She shook off the notion.  No, if Diana had caught even a hint of her doings, she’d be dead.  Tortured first, but still dead.  And Thorne…

His fate rested in her hands.   

The hollow echo of footsteps faded in the distance, and the silence of the dead descended.  Cala darted from her hiding spot, slipping through the darkness.  Ebony skirts swirled about her ankles, quiet as a rat scampering across stone.  The smoky-sweet scent of magic pulsed through the air, almost palpable in its strength.  The raven-blood moon didn’t limit its range to the open air or the most powerful spell-casters.  Its gift soaked into the earth, oozing through the cracks to reach even those creatures cringing in the deepest, darkest corners.  Her mouth quirked.  Even to her.

But tonight wasn’t for cowards, and she couldn’t afford to fail.  Not again.

Beneath her boots, smooth tile changed to scattered stone.  Cala picked a path across the ancient, unkempt section of catacombs.  Unimportant ancestors—names long lost to the living—rested here in dust and decay, abandoned and forgotten.  She, however, knew them all.  They had nurtured and concealed when the above world, her own family, had forsaken her.

She dragged fingertips over chipped and flaking stone, tears stinging her eyes.  She’d never forget, no matter the distance.  Their legacies would go with her.    

If she succeeded.

Cala clenched her jaw.  If wasn’t an option.  Victory or death.

Rubble replaced neglected tunnels and decrepit tombs, and Cala reached the end of the catacombs.  Stale air swept across her face, smelling of mold and dead mice.  She squeezed into the broken opening of the final tomb.

Slithering on her belly, she flinched at the dull clack of disturbed bones.  An invisible hand caressed her cheek, an encouraging, accepting touch.

“Thank you for understanding, Henry,” she whispered.  “This is the last time, I promise you.”

Phantom fingers pinched her bottom, and she squeaked.  “Pervert!”

Faint laughter brushed at her ear then faded away.

“Infuriating spirits,” she muttered, trying to sound sour and failing.  Apparently, the raven-blood moon empowered the dead too.

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Welcome to my Weird World

Welcome to my weird world – come on in, it’s only a little on the dark side. No cookies, sorry, but stick around. There are other treats!

I write stories with brooding, damaged heroes in need of redemption and the women who learn to love them – strong-willed protagonists who aren’t afraid to fight for what’s right, even if doing so is the hardest path to take and success might seem hopeless. My tales blend paranormal and/or fantasy with adventure and romance, always edged with darkness and spiced with humor. It’s my goal to sweep the reader up into my universe until the outside world doesn’t exist. Love is hard-won. Challenges must be faced and personal demons conquered. Sure, you’ll get a HEA, but the road is a rocky one…and worth every bump and broken wheel.

I love to hear from you, whether it’s on my Facebook author page – or hey, send me a friend request on Facebook. I’m on Twitter sometimes. I spend most my time on Pinterest. Follow me on Bookbub and make my day. Sign up for my newsletter for a free novella, special notices, and contests geared only to my ever-so-fabulous newsletter peeps. Send me an email at or at Goodreads. I’ll always answer. Promise.







The Final Spark – Spells: Ten Tales of Magic


Ten fantasy stories by ten authors:

Will Ambrose betray his magic system just to save an idiot prince?

2. OBSESSION by Pamela Turner
Some questions are best left unasked.

3. LADY BARD by Cherie Reich
A love song may be the only cure for a cursed prince.

4. THE FINAL SPARK by CJ Burright
She couldn’t afford to fail again.

5. ST JAKE OF THE FUNHOUSE by Douglas Kolacki
For Edward, the ‘saint’ part was the scariest.

6. BARNABAS by Jeff Hargett
Sixty years, Barnabas has searched for his magic. Will he finally find it in Matilda’s Magic Shop?

7. BY YOUR OWN FREE WILL by Rayne Hall
What price would you pay to get your heart’s desire?

8. A MAGICAL MELODY by Ciara Ballintyne
In a world where magic is in the music, Avram must settle the score before it’s too late.

9. BRAINS, SEX OR MONEY? by Tara Maya
What would you choose?

10. THE WHITE RAVEN’S FEATHER by David D. Levine
Ibude is a warm-weather wizard held hostage in a frozen land, but his troubles can still get worse.

Some of these stories have been previously published in books, magazines and ezines.

Available at Amazon, Goodreads, and Smashwords.

See a short trailer here.

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The Dreamcaster Series

Beauty brunette swinging in night heaven

While the Dreamcaster Series may be best enjoyed in sequence, each book may be read as a stand alone. Each full-length story radiates with razor sharp tension, humor, banter, action and adventure, fated mates with hard-earned love, quirky goodness, beauty and hope in the darkness, shapeshifters with a nightmare twist, and a fresh and exciting take on the paranormal genre. If you like strong heroines who won’t stop until they’ve saved their hot but tortured heroes, you’ll love these magical romances. Discover the Dreamcaster world today!

Wonderfully Wicked – #1 (Lydon and Kalila’s journey)

Beautifully Burned – #2 (Daxen and Ella’s journey)

Dangerously Dark – #3 (Zaire and Quinn’s journey)

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About CJ

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As I’m so far from normal, I didn’t want a normal “all about me” page. I write…if you’re here, you’ve probably figured that one out.  I do have a few addictions:  Skillet (the band, not the pan), Assassin’s Creed, reading (duh), the Seattle Mariners (if I’m a fan long enough, they’ll get to the World Series and win, I just know it), my morning mocha and working out. God doesn’t count in that category: He’s a necessity, not an addiction.

Seattle MarinersAssassin's CreedSkillet

Talk to me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Goodreads!

A few amazing stops along my writing journey so far (blog posts, interviews, fun times, etc.):  Suzanne van Rooyen’s blogJuliette Cross’ Books, Baubles and Bad Boys, Savvy Authors, Christiney Reads, The Otherworld Diner, Paranormal Unbound, Cindy Woolf’s blog, Rebekah Ganiere’s VampWereZombie blog, Cherie Colyer’s blogMeradeth Houston’s Write Stuff, Cassandra Page, Melissa Petreshock’s Dragon Blog, A Bookish Escape, Curling Up With a Good Book, Supernatural Snark, Krista’s Dust Jacket, Parajunkee, Bibliolatry Me, Seeing Night Book Reviews, Mother, Gamer, Writer, Her Book Thoughts, The Book Swarm, Bewitched Bookworms, A Dream Within a Dream, A Thousand Words a Million Books, Alison Can Read, and What’s Beyond Forks?

If you’d like to ask me a random question, fire me an email at Maybe I’ll answer. Or not. I asked a few random people to ask me random questions. Here they are.

Karissa B:  What is the sexiest letter of the alphabet?

CJ:  Could you come up with something a little more random, please? Initially, I though S, but changed my name to Z because it’s a backward S with a bad attitude.

Cynthia T:  If you could be any character of any book (other than yours—dang it!) which one would it be and why?

CJ:  I have a dual answer because I couldn’t choose. Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin because she’s tough, knows what she wants and will do whatever it takes to get it, and she refuses to be someone she’s not. OR Lucivar Yaslana from Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series. He’s bad. He’s powerful. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, even if it just might get him killed. I love him. Plus, he has wings.

Twila M:  What was the best book anyone ever gave you?

CJ:  My dad gave me the Blue Adept series by Piers Anthony when I was probably too young to read them, but he also gave me the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (probably at a more appropriate age) and I loved those too. I’ve received a lot of books over the years (and have appreciated all of them), but my dad was a huge influence on my reading, giving me a love for fantasy books. Still my favorite kind, especially if there’s a bit of romance in there somewhere.

Jack B: Could not come up with an appropriate question. They remain unanswered.

Chrystee H:  If you could learn any ballroom dance, what would it be?

CJ:  Ooh…the tango. With Gilles Marini.

Jack B Second Attempt:  If you could be any kind of dog, what would you  be?

CJ:  A cat. Oh, and Jack? You’re amazing. Awesome. Incredible. My life would be emptiness without you. Happy now?

Cody L:  If you could breed two animals against the laws of nature, which would you choose?

CJ:  Thinking…

More randomness coming in the future…

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