Friday, 28 October 2011

End of Another Party...

... and I have to say it was an excellent one :). I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all those werewolves and shifters and I know you did too! Many thanks to everyone who came to the party, and of course special thanks to our guests of honour, Jennifer Ashley, Ashlyn Chase, Nancy Gideon, Summer Devon, Linda Gayle and Selena Illyria.

The final party of 2011 will be the Christmas party - 28th November to 2nd December. I don't have a finalized guest list for you yet, but this party will be a little different - more prizes (after all, it's Christmas!) and on the final day, more guests! Watch this space for more news :).

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Welcome Selena Illyria!

Our final guest of honour at this week's party is the very talented and prolific Selena Illyria! Selena's going to tell us all about one of her own favourite werewolf characters from her popular Draven's Crossing series... Welcome, Selena!

Werewolf, Police Chief, Alpha of the Packs
by Selena Illyria

Right now, I’m finishing up one werewolf story and about to turn my attention to back to Draven’s Crossing and one of my favorite characters: Torger, werewolf, Chief of Police and Alpha of the Packs. As a werewolf he’s comfortable with his inner beast even though he has a horrible sense of direction and loathes his GPS. He’s more comfortable in his cabin in the woods where he can unwind, relax and if the need be, indulge his wolf’s need to run. A good steak, his favorite beer and a game on the TV is what makes him happy. He’s a simple guy with two very hard jobs to juggle.

A small tap on the window caused her to scream again.

“Drav, you in there?” Torger called out.

Hesitation stayed his hand, fearing the worst, before he hit the button to let the window down. His voice was shaky, and he felt a bit jittery. “Yes?”

“You okay? I was just asking if you could point me in the direction of the trails. You know me and directions.” Torger rubbed his neck. A bright pink stain appeared on his cheeks, neck, and across his bare chest. A glance down had Drav closing his eyes and praying for mind bleach. Torger had an erection.

“Fine, um, can you point that thing in another direction. And, um, straight until you hit the pine trees; the trail is there.” Draven prayed his friend would leave quickly and that Rose hadn’t seen any of Torger’s package.

“Ooops, sorry man, full moon. Okay, thanks. Take care and be careful, okay? Saw the way you came into the parking lot; scared the shit out of me; thought there was trouble.”

Still not looking at the other man, Draven squeezed his eyes shut. “You’re telling me. I’m fine, a bit blood drunk. Fed about thirty minutes ago. It’s still infusing into me. Went a bit uh, nuts due to outside stimuli.”

“Yeah, well be careful. Gotta go. The wolf wants to run.” The sound of Torger’s retreating footsteps was a relief. Draven didn’t open his eyes until he was sure that Torger was far away from the car.”

- A scene from Draven’s Crossing: Tempestuous Crossings.

                As Chief of Police, he gets to put away the bad guys and keep his town safe. Although, right now there’s a serial killer on the loose in his territory and people are dying. He’s got no leads and the press hounding his every step and people waiting to pounce so they can have his job and be hero for a day. He’d hand over all the headaches and interviews and comments but he doesn’t trust anyone else to do his job. Once he gives his word, he’ll keep it or die trying.

          ““Let me remind you again, do not share the marked details of this case with the public. Also, let me remind you of what’s at stake. As you know, all paranormal cities and towns answer to the Council. We’ve been in contact, and they are letting us handle this case as we see fit. For now.” He paused on that sentence and watched the words sink in. Instant anger and annoyance perfumed the air with a variety of spices and sour scents. “I have no doubt that the Council will be sending, or has already sent, a Fixer to deal with this. We all remember the Thanagian trials, where a good vampire was accused of killing over a hundred people. No evidence, no defense whatsoever, and he was put to death. It was only after the trial was over that evidence was found to contradict the claims of the witnesses. Also, don’t forget this is the same Council that slaughtered over a hundred packs in Europe without a single bit of remorse due to one rogue werewolf biting a child. They don’t need provocation, just an excuse. Let’s not give them one. Understood?” The gathered masses nodded. “Thank you. We’ll meet again once we have more to go on.””

- Police Chief Torger Sanderson, Draven’s Crossing: Tempestuous Crossings

                As Alpha of the Packs, he has to maintain the peace between werewolf and other shifters, make sure that all disputes are resolved and keep Draven, the Mayor of the Town and a vampire in the loop about the state of the shifter community. It’s a lot of balls in the air for him and somehow he manages it all without going insane. But then those werewolves are something else.

“Those damn werewolves were so nonchalant, would change right in front of the building. Scared the crap out of me one morning. I left for work early, and there right on the bottom stoop was a naked man putting on leather pants. I nearly had a heart attack and thought I was having a waking wet dream.”

-Rose, Draven’s Crossing: Tempestuous Crossings.

                I just hope I do Torger justice once I dive deep into his story. But then again, I always enjoy wading into the shifter world and seeing what they’ll show me this time.

Do you want to learn more about Torger and Draven’s Crossing?

Check out the follow books:
Draven’s Crossing: Tempestuous Crossings by Selena Illyria
Draven’s Crossing: Mind Games by Diana De Ricci

Draven’s Crossing: Tempestuous Crossings by Selena Illyria

Welcome to Draven’s Crossing, where fantasies and nightmares walk among us…

Vampire Mayor Draven desires mortal Rose. Her rebuffs excite him. When she finally gives in to his advances, their coming together is explosive, and their passion is more than he could’ve anticipated.

But a serial killer divides his attention. Can he keep his town safe from this mysterious menace and convince Rose that they belong together despite her reservations?

As a new resident of Draven's Crossing, all Rose wants to do is her job. Draven could be a distraction she can't afford, but she can't ignore him or her arousal. 

Learn more about Draven's Crossing. the series by visiting

Buy Links:

To find out more about me go to

Hellhounds Detective Agency: Demon's Captive from Changeling Press
Beach Bums (Vol 2): Renny's Mate from Etopia Press

Today Selena is giving away a download of Draven’s Crossing: Tempestuous Crossings to one lucky reader who comments on her post. The contest will finish at midnight tonight, and the winner will be announced tomorrow morning on this thread.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Screen Weres and Shifters

We haven't talked about this yet, so let's hear about your favourite screen portrayals of werewolves and shifters.

Here are a few of mine.

I remember some from my early love affair with old horror films - such as The Wolf Man with Claude Rains and Lon Chainey. I liked the gothic element in such films, and although I haven't yet managed to see it, from the trailers I think the 2010 remake with Anthony Hopkins follows this tradition.

The next one I remember was An American Werewolf in London, which to be honest I found a bit of a gorefest!   But it's now regarded as a bit of a classic, so maybe it's time for a re-watch!

And then there was Company of Wolves, based on an Angela Carter story, and I loved this to bits! It mingles fantasy, fairy stories and folk tales with a bit of  gothic horror and romance. It can be quite hard to follow - especially after a few drinks on a Saturday night! - but it's well worth the effort for sheer atmosphere.

Digging up my memory for old tv series about werewolves, I remember  a BBC one about a young woman who used to lock herself in her flat every full moon with a large supply of raw steak and hope she never got out. There was a plot about releasing wolves into the wild in the Scottish Highlands too - anyone else remember this? No idea what it was called now, but I got very involved in it at the time!

More recently, a werewolves made their appearance in Dr. Who, when the Doctor discovered one imprisoned in the cellar of a Scottish castle, primed to kill Queen Victoria. That was fun.
And of course, we have both werewolves and shapeshifters in True Blood. Sam is the amiable bar tender who can shift into any animal from insects up the food chain, but has a preference for this equally amiable dog.  Of course, he isn't always amiable as the series goes on...

Both shifters and vampires in True Blood, appear to loathe the werewolves, although of course Sookie makes friends with what seems to be a very honourable and attractive werewolf called Alcide.

What others have I missed? Tell us your favourites!


Welcome Summer Devon and Linda Gayle!

Today we're doubly lucky to have TWO fabulous guests of honour. Talented romance writers Summer Devon and Linda Gayle got together to write a wonderful and unusual historical shifter story called Claws on Silk, and I'm delighted to have them with us today. Welcome Summer and Linda!

Shifters We've Known and Written
Summer Devon & Linda Gayle

We went back and forth with our editor about how much we wanted to describe our Varelse, which is the  Swedish word for creature or being. It turns out that Orson Scott Card uses the word in his books, but I (Summer) didn’t know about use when I was combing the Swedish dictionary for a good name.

We didn’t want a very specific description, we wanted the readers to see the cat-like animal on their own. Since the Varelse is an ancient creature, we gave it saber teeth and a dappled coat.

We intentionally set out to make our shifters slightly different from other Weres we’ve known. For instance, they love the process of shifting—it can help release sexual tension. Also they don’t have a subculture of their own. The only way our poor characters can understand their beastly nature is from reading notes written by a Swedish farmer and, maybe later, records from Anna’s family that tries to breed them as a kind of in-family weapon. The story opens with Anna tracking down the man her family has sent her to kill, and that's where she meets another of her kind, the first time she’s ever come across another with the shifting power—although some of her family members have some of the Varelse traits.
This is our only book together but it’s not our only shifter book. Summer has a fantasy, Revealing Skills, and that hero shifter could turn into anything he wanted—and the first time he shows up he’s a kind of a rat. (More like a chinchilla, but the whole story came about because someone made a joke about a sexy shapeshifting rat).  Linda has another book coming out with Siren Press called Surrender to Paradise with cursed dolphin shifters.

People wonder if the whole shifter theme is getting used up but we don’t think that’s possible. The potential for shifters in romance is as big as your imagination.

Hey, listen up. If you commented any time during this week of shifters and the people who love them, we’ll automatically put you in the running for our shifter e-book. But you get extra entries for commenting on this post!

Excerpt from Claws on Silk by Summer Devon and Linda Gayle

Isak Arnesen caught the salty-sweet odor before he saw her, and his body knew before his mind understood -- a full-blood Varelse lurked near him. A female? He hadn’t known they could be women.

He kept books, lists of facts about Varelse. If he survived this encounter, he’d add this new bit of knowledge to his store of information. The smell of her obviously woke his own weakened version of the creature. The excitement of discovery didn’t help soothe the dratted sensation coursing through him. He’d seen only one other being in the flesh, and that had been an old, old man -- his great-great-uncle.

The woman hidden behind the copse of trees didn’t move. She’d frozen still as a statue, so she must know he was aware of her.

He didn’t know what he could do, other than draw her attention away from the fool sprawled on the ground. If Isak ran, she’d follow, and perhaps he’d even outpace her, although, hell, that heady overlay of ozone to her scent told him she had a great deal more healthy Varelse blood than he did. It smelled like desire, and his belly lurched as he remembered the joy of that freedom, the release.

What had his uncle’s notes said about encountering others? Would they fight for dominance? He could recall nothing. His thoughts vanished as his body grew too ensnared in her presence.

He shifted from one foot to the other slowly, standing, then moving to put himself between the unconscious man and the Varelse. He clutched his revolver, a second later realizing drawing it had been a stupid thing to do. She might consider it aggression. He certainly would.

He wanted to call out to her, to chirrup invitingly and speak to her as one would a nervous animal, but he had no idea if that would draw her attack faster. When his own Varelse rose inside him, he found the sound of a person’s voice more irritating than soothing.

If he didn’t do this correctly, one or more of them would end up dead. He suspected that he and the drunkard who’d wandered onto his land would be the dead ones.

Then he recalled something his great-great-uncle had had him write down years earlier. Advice for any human encountering a Varelse: go to him. Don’t wait for him to hunt you down. You must be entirely unafraid, approach in a submissive position -- and you might survive.

As his great-great-uncle had pointed out, the trouble lay with the “unafraid” part. No sane person could manage that. And the submission -- that must not be taken too far, or the creature would interpret it as weakness. To know the difference meant life or death. Or so his great-great-uncle had said. Most people couldn’t feel that difference. But after all, Isak wasn’t entirely a person himself. For once he found comfort in that.

As the thoughts buzzed through his head, he forced himself to stand almost as motionless as she. He had to force himself to approach her instead of running the hell away. Obviously the Varelse didn’t want to attack, or he would be dead or in a fight for his life by now. Why didn’t she?

Was she hurt or sick?

Now a wave of concern for the woman washed through him. That was good, because it pushed off the fear but not the strange excitement. That old, almost forgotten, anticipation. The hunt.

Years ago, before the famine, before constant hunger and thirst had weakened the Varelse in him, he’d craved that itch to change and to hunt.

Now, everything around him gleamed with the brilliance and clarity of the old days. His heart beat as quickly. Ah, but therein lay the difference. For the first time in his life, he was potential prey. A new version of the longing filled him.

He felt alive.

He moved slowly toward the trees and the Varelse, the gun loose at his side. The fear wasn’t going to vanish entirely, but he’d ignore it and concentrate on the life coursing through him. Tilting his head, he exposed his throat.

Silence, except for his harsh breathing. She would hear his panting fear. To cover it, he began to sing an old drinking song another of his long-dead uncles, a sailor, had taught him, and he slowly strolled toward the trees where danger waited.

He glimpsed a flash of orange and yellow fur wrapped in the remains of a white blouse and blue skirt, and she sprang. The transformed woman. The full Varelse, sleekly feline, primitive yet elegant. And utterly lethal. He had to look, which helped him fight the instinct to protect himself by curling into a ball. Good, because anything defensive would draw her fangs to his throat.

She drove him to the ground. Stones bit into his back, and the sun haloed the outline of her predatory muzzle and glistening fangs, but he forced himself to stay as still as possible.

The sleek hide pressed against him. In his state of hyperawareness, he could see every detail of her lithe body, the catlike curves, the fluid muscles beneath the quivering flank, even the stitching in the tatters of the clothing still clinging to her. The heat of her breath washed against his bare throat, the knife-edge of her claws dug into his arms as she forced him to drop the gun.

He breathed. His throat remained unripped.

Isak tilted his head up to look directly into her orange eyes that glowed less than two feet above him. Savage, cold, lion’s eyes, yet like no lion that had ever walked beside man. A unique creation of a cruel god, the lean Varelse outweighed the pumas that roamed the mountains, and her canines curved slightly past her lower jaw like ivory scimitars. Gold stripes spangled her glossy pelt, and four-inch claws pricked his skin. A living nightmare from the dawn of time, growling softly on his chest. English -- all language -- deserted him. He whimpered, but more than fear pushed that noise from his throat. Beautiful.

He had to transform and have her. The Varelse he’d thought had died in him slid along his veins, making his mouth water, his skin itch.

Isak forced it back. Later, later, he promised the Varelse that flooded his body and his cock with heady, unfamiliar desire. Now he must control the lust and fear.

Today, Summer and Linda are giving away a download of Claws on Silk to one lucky winner who comments on their post (double entry!) or who's already commented on previous Shifter Party Posts (single entry!). Their contest will close at midnight tonight and their winner will be announced tomorrow morning on this thread.

Weird and Wonderful Shapeshifters

Sorry I'm a bit late with my first post of the day! Normally I post it before I get up in the morning, but this morning I suddenly discovered it was half an hour later than I thought it was and I had to leap out of bed and begin  my mad hour and a half shouting at the kids and shovelling everyone out the door in time for work, school etc. Plus the added complications of one sick son, and two extra kids for breakfast as a favour for a friend.

Anyway the house is calm once more, and I can concentrate again on the main business of the day - shifters!

So... What's the most unusual shapeshifter you've ever encountered? (I mean in books, of course, but if you've met any in real life, I'm even more interested :))

We've been talking this week mainly about animal shifters, whether wolves, dragons, big cats, bears, birds etc. And legends and folk tales with this kind of change go back a long way, often involving sorcerers, chases, punishments etc. But one we haven't talked about is gender shifting, where a man changes into a woman or vice versa. For example in Greek mythology, a man comes across two copulating snakes, pokes them with a stick and is turned into a woman. In this form, he actually marries and has children and a few years later comes across the same snakes again and is turned back. Zeus asks him who enjoys sex more, men or women and when he answers that it's women, Hera blinds him for revealing women's greatest secret :).

I can't recall ever reading a romance with the gender-shifting premise, but let me know if you have!

I'm a bit of a sucker for unusual shifters, and let's face it, this is a genre where your imagination is the limit! And who says the shifting always has to be to animal shapes? Tree shifting isn't unheard of in folk tales, and I was privileged to write such a story - Willow the Wisp - as part of a tree-shifting series at Changeling Press called Big, Blooming and Wild! I've also written about a water shifter- Cool Pool.

Stone shifters are not uncommon either - gargoyles etc - another legend with an ancient pedigree.

What others can you come up with, and are there any you've never seen in a story but would love to?


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Welcome Nancy Gideon!

I'm thrilled to welcome today's award-winning guest of honour, Nancy Gideon, author of the acclaimed By Moonlight shifter series. Welcome, Nancy!

Werewolf vs Shape-shifter:  It’s more than just Fangs and Fur
By Nancy Gideon

            To some, it’s just semantics, but for me, it’s a matter of perception.

            When I think of werewolves, I instantly have preconceived ideas:  infected by bite or curse, change brought on by full moon, out of control when in beast form, waking with no memory of actions.  I imagine huge, slobbering, brutish creatures driven totally by instinct, not rational thought. When I think shape-shifter, the impression is one of purposeful cunning and stealth.  They are creatures who control their change, form, and actions. They offer infinitely more creative opportunities. Both are dangerous.  Both can be sexy.

            When I began populating my By Moonlight dark paranormal world, I wanted a bit of both:  the fierce power of the werewolf with the intellect and sleekness of the shape-shifter. They roam the streets of New Orleans, able to blend, but preferring to stick to their own kind, always afraid of being exposed for what they are. I built a hierarchy for them:  The Chosen, who are elegant, mentally superior, able to manipulate the mind, but not change form, and the Shifters, base, physical beings who are powerful, but leashed by Chosen control. Within the Shifter clans, they also have their own caste system, with Pure Bloods being the top, then status and power lessening as generations mingled with humankind.

And then I mixed the two together to create Max, the hero in the first four books, a Shifter who was MORE.  While he struggled to discover who and what he was, my By Moonlight world expanded in delightfully complex ways.

            HUNTER OF SHADOWS (Pocket/11-29-11), introduces a new complication, another side to Chosen/Shifter coin to make it into an interesting trifecta that’s explored through the relationship between Silas MacCreedy, a Shifter NOPD detective and Nica Fraser, an assassin for the Chosen. Here’s a sneak peek:

The secrets he knows about her could get him killed.
Transferring to the New Orleans Police Department, Detective Silas MacCreedy has a hidden agenda: to secure his clan’s place once again in the Shifter hierarchy.  What he didn’t count on was stumbling upon a sexy assassin who could shred his best intentions and lead him into a dangerous dance that threatens to engage his heart.

But the ones he doesn’t know . . .
Monica Fraser knows just how to make a man beg—for his life.  But she has no clue how to fight her attraction to the fiercely intense detective who seems determined to get in her way, both professionally and intimately.

. . . could kill them both.
When emotional attachments to the past and an unexpected glimpse of a different future have her questioning her deadly purpose, Nica must discover the truth about her secret abilities in order to free herself from the forces that control her.  But that freedom comes with a price—trusting those she’s been ordered to eliminate.

“Gideon introduces complex new characters. Sparks fly immediately. Vivid writing, intriguing plot twists, and a satisfying ending will keep readers coming back to Gideon’s magical NOLA.”
 –Publishers Weekly

Enjoy an Excerpt from HUNTER OF SHADOWS available 11-29-11:

Nica’s feet and shoulders ached from the busy night at Cheveux du Chien, and she was looking forward to a long, steamy shower. Then she saw Silas MacCreedy waiting at her door and her priorities changed.

He sat on the cold air register against the wall of windows that overlook the central courtyard below. He was wearing jeans, tennis shoes and an olive green  T-shirt that temptingly accentuated his powerful chest and arms. The need to run her palms over that masculine terrain had her greeting rather breathless.

“MacCreedy.  This is a surprise.”

He rose smoothly to his feet as her hungry gaze followed. She was wondering how long it would take to get him undressed and horizontal, until she focused on his expression.  He was unsmiling, his mouth and eyes narrowed.  No trace of her fiery lover from the night before warmed his posture or tone when he said, “Let’s talk inside.”

She ran her key card across the lock, a wary caution building. She was very aware of him, big and bold and potentially trouble at her back.  He clearly wasn’t here for let’s-get-better-acquainted sex. Too bad for them both.

“I had to close out for Amber.  Her little girl was sick,” she chatted as she moved down the hall in front of him, all of her muscles tight and her senses alert. “I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”

“No. Not long.”

Something in his voice had her nerves taut and tingling.

Don’t start something I’ll have to finish, MacCreedy. I really like you.

She placed her backpack on the coffee table and pulled off the white shirt she wore over a snug black tank top. “Can I get you something? I think I have more of that wine--“

“No. This isn’t a social visit.”

             “So, why are you here?” She gestured toward the couch, hoping to maneuver him from his squared and readied stance.

“I think I’ll stand.”

So, that’s how it’s going to be. What a waste. She sighed. “What’s on your mind, MacCreedy?”

“I found those two men.”

Her attention targeted like a gun site. “Where?”

“I have them on ice. They’re part of my ongoing investigation.”

Investigation?  It came together with an unpleasant click, like a well-hidden trap.

MacCreedy hadn’t been in that alley by chance.  He hadn’t stepped in with no ulterior motives just to save her life.  His plan all along was to save the two who could destroy her.

“I don’t care about your investigation,” she told him. His cop business wasn’t a blip on her radar, unlike their personal business had been. Few moments had passed throughout the day where intimate thoughts of him hadn’t hovered.

And he’d been using her. How very...disappointing.

“I don’t suspect you do,” he continued. “But I have to keep those two alive long enough to give statements.”

How much did he know about her?  How much had he guessed? Why was he here, alone, to confront her?

Nica stepped closer, her movements deceivingly relaxed, until they were toe-to-toe. She placed her palm on his chest. His heartbeat was strong and steady. If he knew anything, he had nerves of wrought iron to stand there so cool and composed.

“What have they told you?” Her gaze held his while her hand eased upward to distractedly stroke his neck and the side of his face. Not a muscle moved beneath her light touch.

“All sorts of interesting things.” His tongue grazed her fingertips as they glided over his mouth, but his stare remained unblinking.

She stretched up to nuzzle his warm throat, to breathe in his scent and taste the heat of his skin with her lips. As she rubbed her cheek against his, she whispered, “What sort of things, lover?” She glanced up to find his stropped steel gaze upon her.

“Impossible things,” he replied as his hands settled lightly at her waist. “Things I never would have believed if you hadn’t left your fang prints behind.”

“You know Shifter females can’t change shape,” she reasoned quietly.  Her pulse pounded wildly.  He knew. She couldn’t let him leave this room with that knowledge, couldn’t let him tell anyone what he’d discovered. Everything she worked for, every sacrifice she’d made would be for nothing.

Primal self-preservation kicked in, and she backed away.

“So,” Silas asked, watching her closely, “if you’re not one of our females, what does that make you?”

“More dangerous than you could ever imagine. Tell me where they are, MacCreedy. I’d rather take you back into the bedroom for a nice long tumble than scoop your remains into a plastic bag.”

Silas laughed. “Having sex with you is about the last thing on my mind.” Not exactly true. “Don’t get out the plastic yet. You need me alive to find them.”

Nica laughed, too, a low throaty sound completely without amusement. “You’re wrong, hero. I can scent out those cowards without your help.  So I guess that makes you . . . unnecessary.”

She sprang.

Even ready for her, Silas hadn’t anticipated her speed. She was on him before he could blink, and he was barely able to keep her snapping teeth from his neck.

She was everything he feared . . . and more.

            There’s nothing more fun than taking an established legend and twisting it into something familiar, yet totally new.  Start with a slathering beast, take away the control of the moon, add the ability to choose and manipulate at will, then throw in a little something extra, a little lagniappe, as they say in New Orleans, to cook up a sexy, powerful hero that’s far MORE than just fur and fangs.  Look for him in my By Moonlight world with HUNTER OF SHADOWS on November 29, 2011.

For more on HUNTER OF SHADOWS and my other By Moonlight books, visit or Also, join the fun at my virtual Haunted Open House, now open from October 24th until October 28th, for fun, games, drinks (I’m the designated driver!), special guest chatter, a costume contest, and lots of prizes! Stop by for a spooktacular time at:

Award-winning bestseller, Nancy Gideon is the author of over 50 novels, from historicals and contemporary suspense to paranormal and now, non-fiction how-tos on PR and Social Media for writers.  She’s also co-written the screenplays for two Indie horror films now available on DVD! Her By Moonlight dark paranormal series for Pocket Books and Getting It Out There: PR and Social Media for Writers series through Wise Words Publishing are both ongoing and currently available.  Nancy works full time as a legal assistant and is an admitted Netflix addict.
For a nice treat to celebrate Halloween, I’m offering one commenter chosen at random an advance copy of HUNTER OF SHADOWS!  USA and Canada only, please.  Comment below for a chance to win!

Werewolf or Shifter?  Which is your favorite and why? What element of werewolf of Shifter lore most intrigues you?

Happy Halloween!

To enter Nancy's contest for an ARC of Hunter of Shadows, answer her question above: Werewolf or Shifter?  Which is your favorite and why? What element of werewolf of Shifter lore most intrigues you? Or comment on her post in some other way. The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Clothing Difficulty

As a writer, one of the annoying continuity issues I often have with werewolf and shifter stories, is what to do about clothes. Your shifter changes, either exploding out of his clothes, or removing them prior to the change. Which is fine until he changes back. If your shifters live in a wider society, he just can't run about in the scud. So do you bring him back to the place he left his pants when he changed? Do you have him carry a little bag in his wicked jaws as he runs amok? Or have him shift back next to a handy rack of clothing, cleverly introduced to the story beforehand?

Or do you have him arrested for indecent exposure?

It was playing around with those knotty problems that brought the idea for the Wolf Hunt stories into my head. Because it struck me that in ordinary society, a naked person is not just perceived as a threat, but must feel extraordinarily vulnerable among his clothed fellows. If you add the panic of not being able to remember why you're naked, or how you got to where you are, or even what your own name is, then how would even the most capable hero cope?

So the opening scene of Urban Wolf was born, and led to a trilogy of futuristic novellas and a short story, now all together in one ebook collection from Changeling Press. Here's that naked snippet :)

WOLF HUNT - E-book collection
Available Now from Changeling Press

Only sex can restore the damaged wolves. Will love destroy their vital mission, or save the world?

Who’s hunting whom?

A man wakes up naked and alone in a city doorway -- with no memory of how he got there or who he is. For journalist Rose Winter, a wolf story begins to converge with the sexy naked man she’s trying to help. And a chain of events is set in motion that may change Earth’s future…

Human-wolf hybrids, created by a top secret government project, have been released into the world to find and destroy alien infiltrators. But once these soldiers begin to think for themselves, their missions are complicated by attraction, sex and divided loyalties.

This collection contains the previously released novellas Urban Wolf, Forest Wolf, Cry for the Moon, and Galactic Wolf.


"Hey, what's going on?"

The female voice seemed to cut through his skin. Clear, brisk, curious, with a warm pitch that spoke straight to his cock. Or would have, had that organ not been so shrivelled with rain and cold. A ripple moved through the hostile crowd. Voices muttered and he had to strain to catch the words.

"I know her. I'm sure I do."

"Who is she?"

"She's that girl on the newscreens. Shit, she's probably got a camera. I'm off..."

Threatening arms in the crowd lowered. Stones dropped casually on the ground with a scattering of dull thuds and several people drifted away.

A young woman emerged from the dispersing crowd, pushing down a rain hood to reveal luxuriant long hair of a bright and rare shade of amber, falling around a face that he supposed was beautiful. Certainly, her bone structure was exquisite, her lips full and tempting, her eyes large and brown...

But it wasn't her beauty or her melting eyes that truly caught his attention. It was her smell. Frowning, he tried to place it. Did he know her? Surely that scent was familiar... Something about it filled his mind with visions of naked, sweating bodies, mainly his own and hers.

She came to an abrupt halt and stared at him. Oh yes, she was highly fuckable, and yet, stronger than his upsurge of unexpected and inconvenient lust was the desire to put his hands around her elegant, swan-like neck and strangle her.

He flexed his fingers.

The older woman was explaining. "Art found him asleep in his doorway when he came home from night shift. Must be a drunk or a down-and-out, some kind of pervert too. Look at him!"

After her first flickering glance, the newcomer seemed to be rather determinedly focusing on his face. "He must be freezing," she said unexpectedly. In an instant, she'd stripped off her raincoat, revealing an orange bodysuit that seemed to match her hair, and bright, chunky beads around her throat. She advanced upon him.

He fell back, giving ground before her as he hadn't before the stone-throwing mob.

She paused. "I won't hurt you. What's your name?"

His throat closed up. Panic threatened to resurface. Her eyes searched his. Every hair on his body stood up in alarm. Though he'd no idea who she was, either, his every instinct was against trusting her.

"Where does he live?" she flung over her shoulder.

Silence and a few shrugs. "Why's he scared of her?" someone muttered.

Scared? Was he? Forcing himself, he stayed still when she took another step nearer to him. Maybe. But it felt like a powerful tug of lust. Mixed with an equally strong urge to exterminate her.

"He's not scared of her," answered another voice with a definite snigger. "He likes her."

She heard them. He could see it in the color soaring into her neck and face. He even admired the way she deliberately didn't so much as glance at his growing erection. And yet it didn't embarrass him. Perhaps he was an exhibitionist after all.

:) Marie

Welcome Ashlyn Chase!

Today's guest is the very wonderful Ashlyn Chase, who delights readers with her light, humorous brand of paranormal romance, such as her Strange Neighbours series. Welcome, Ash!

Shapeshifters with a Difference 
Ashlyn Chase

I was asked what makes my shapeshifters different from others in the paranormal genre. Well, for one thing, mine are lovable, charming and humorous. I don’t write dark paranormals. I write light.

I also like to make my shifters as unique as we humans are. I may borrow bits from collective mythology, but I want each character to stand out—to be an individual. I let them be flawed, put them through hell, and then watch them rise to their challenges.

My werewolf Konrad is “too nice.” He was kicked out of his pack when a competing Alpha showed up and won the challenge by cheating. Konrad was hurt that his pack would believe the new Alpha’s lies and turn their backs on him, but he never stopped looking out for them, even though it was from afar. Konrad is protective of those he loves and he loves thoroughly.

Often in Vampire vs. Werewolf lore, the vampires are more cerebral and the shifters are more animalistic. Konrad is extremely intelligent and has a sensitive side. He was the dean of a private school for boys until he was replaced as Alpha and dean and run out of town.

His apartment is lined from floor to ceiling with books, and there’s a rolling ladder to reach the top shelves that he doesn’t need since he’s 6 feet, 5 inches tall. 
He has an identical twin brother who’s a Boston police officer. They share a strong bond despite being very different as people. Later in the story, their shared DNA becomes integral to the story.

I like to tie everything in—or to paraphrase Alfred Hitchcock, “If there’s a gun on the wall in the first scene, it damn well better go off later.”

I also make sure all loose ends are tied up by the end of the story. I couldn’t solve the crime that Konrad was accused of, because it’s a real art museum heist that happened in the nineties. The Boston police haven’t solved it, so neither did I. I did, however, go through the whole courtroom trial and have Konrad plead innocent based upon solid evidence.

I won’t tell you the outcome, although this is a romance and it’s probably fairly obvious what needs to happen to arrive at a happy ending.

Title: Strange Neighbors
Digital List Price: $6.99
Category: Romance
Print ISBN: 9781402236617
PDF ISBN: 9781402236648
EPUB ISBN: 9781402254277

Strange Neighbors is available as an ebook for 99 cents between 10/28 and 11/3 at Amazon, B&N, Sony and all major on-line outlets.

The first in a series of funny, light, and sexy paranormal romances.
Light paranormal romance in the vein of Linda Wisdom and Mary Janice Davidson, with a mixture of paranormals and humans and a very funny premise.
Paranormal romance is still at the top of the category, with light paranormal selling well.
Author is e-pub bestseller, is building her readership, and garnering rave reviews.

Enjoy book 1 in the Strange Neighbors series. It’s about shapeshifter and professional baseball pitcher Jason Falco and nurse Merry MacKenzie.

Enjoy book 2 in the Strange Neighbors series…The Werewolf Upstairs. It’s about Konrad and his attorney girlfriend, Roz Wells. I hope you eat up their unique love story. 

Enjoy book 3 in the Strange Neighbors series…The Vampire Next Door. It’s about vampire Sylvestro Flores and his witch Morgaine Marlowe.

Excerpt from The Vampire Next Door:

Carrying his one cardboard box tucked under his arm, Sly unlocked and opened the door to his apartment. He took one step and halted. This was his apartment, right? He glanced back at the door and saw 1B proudly displayed in brass.

All he’d expected to find in his place was possibly Merry’s bedroom set, but a worn leather couch, an old trunk, and an antique-looking chair were grouped around his fireplace. A braided rug covered the floor beneath the welcoming scene. Artwork, candles, vases, books… every comfort of home graced the walls and bookshelves.

As he stood in his living room, confused, he heard snickers coming from the back of the apartment.

“Surprise!” his friends yelled as they jumped into view.

Merry, Morgaine, Gwyneth, Konrad, and Roz stood there grinning and laughing.

Just then, Nathan strolled in behind him, carrying an old bird perch. At least that’s what Sly thought it was. It looked like the tall metal T-bar that a parrot would sit on.

“Did I miss the big surprise?” Nathan asked.

Sly smiled. “Apparently.”

“Good. I hate those things. Here.” Nathan extended the item in his hand and set it on the floor next to him. 
“It’s my old perch. You can use it for a coat rack—or something.” Then he looked over toward the rest of the group. “Is there cake?”

Merry held up a bottle of champagne. “No, only this. Sly doesn’t eat.”

Nathan sighed. “Well, I’ll be going then. Welcome to the neighborhood, Sly.” He extended his free hand and Sly shook it.

“Jesus, man. I’ll never get over how cold you are. Go drink a rat or something.”

Gwyneth folded her arms. “Nathan Nourie, y’all git back here. Not only was that uncalled for, but this here’s a party and we’re all celebratin’.”

“I know. That’s why I’m going.” He left and closed the door behind him.

Gwyneth rolled her eyes. “I do declare, I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy. You’d think we was making him stand in front of a firin’ squad.”

“That’s just the way he is, Gwyneth,” Morgaine said. “I don’t think we can change him.”

“I suppose not. Ain’t no point in beatin’ a dead horse… ’course, it can’t hurt none either.”

Sly grinned and wandered closer to his friends.

“I guess you gave me some of your old things?”

“Well,” Roz answered, “Merry told us that someone was too proud to let her furnish the place with new stuff, so everything here is used.”

“We figured y’all wouldn’t mind a few little cast-offs since it didn’t cost us nothin’.”

“Thank you.” He scanned the cozy-looking living room, and a lump formed in his throat. “I’m truly touched.”

He wandered over to the eclectic furniture grouping. His amplified sense of smell told him exactly who’d previously owned each piece.

The antique chair was from Roz. The couch was Merry’s. He ran his hand over the back of it. The beat-up old brown leather only made it softer and more comfortable.

The trunk was Morgaine’s, and a bookshelf held the scent of Konrad’s wolf hair.

“We put a few items in the kitchen too,” Gwyneth said.

He strolled past the dining area furnished with a tiny round table and two chairs, again with Merry’s scent, and stepped into the galley kitchen.

Gwyneth opened the cabinets and showed off a five-gallon bucket and a couple of large copper pots. “These will come in handy later on when we set up the—”

Morgaine cleared her throat and sent her a quick head shake. “There’s plenty of time for him to look around and see what’s here.”

Gwyneth looked over at Merry and must have realized she had almost spilled the beans about the still in front of the landlady.

“Of course. Silly me. What was I thinkin’?”

“And Sly,” Merry added as she set the champagne on the counter, “if you need anything else, please ask. Okay?”

“I can only think of one thing I really need, and that’s a way of darkening my bedroom during the day. Did you bring any blankets?”

“I didn’t have to,” Merry said. “Morgaine suggested room-darkening shades. It’s the only thing I bought, Sly. I promise.”

Sly looked over at Morgaine. She blushed slightly and dropped her gaze to the floor. Why was she embarrassed? She had thought of his needs and suggested the perfect way to meet them. He wanted to hug her, but not in front of an audience.

“I really can’t thank you enough—everyone.” Were those tears threatening to form in his eyes? No way was he going to let people see the big, scary vampire cry—especially gross, bloody tears.

Today, Ashlyn is giving away one paranormal title from her backlist - winner's choice. To enter the drawing, tell us the funniest werewolf situation you can think of - or comment on Ashlyn's post in some other way. This contest will end at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.