Please welcome my werewolf shapeshifting friend–wait a minute, make that: my author friend who writes about werewolf shapeshifters, Kendra Leigh Castle, also with Sourcebooks Casablanca! Be sure to comment to have a chance at winning one of her books!! And thank you, Kendra, for popping in to blog with us when you have a deadline to meet on Friday!!! Good luck!!!
Kendra Leigh Castle started out stealing her mother’s romance novels and finally progressed to writing her own. She brings her love of all things both spooky and steamy to her writing, and firmly believes that creatures of the night deserve happily ever afters too. When not curled up with her laptop and yet another cup of coffee, Kendra keeps busy in California with her husband, three children, and menagerie of high-maintenance pets. For news of upcoming novels, or just to drop her a note (she loves to hear from readers!), visit her online at www.kendraleighcastle.com.
Hi, everyone, and thanks to Terry for having me here to blog today! I’m Kendra Leigh Castle, and I write what you could call “werewolf-centric romance” for Sourcebooks Casablanca. My first book, Call of the Highland Moon, came out in May, and its sequel, Dark Highland Fire, hits the shelves in October. Both feature, you guessed it, werewolves with sexy broguesJ Since I’m up to my ears in shapeshifters most of the time I jumped at the chance to guest blog about them. However, after hemming and hawing over what exactly to say (being a writer, I do a lot of this in general), I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to interview a real expert on shapeshifters. “Real” as in “lives in my head and drives me nuts,” that is. So here, without further adieu, is werewolf Gabriel MacInnes, the hero of Dark Highland Fire; all six foot three of him, dark brown hair falling in his face as usual and a devilish look in his green-gold eyes.
K: Hi, Gabe.
G: Morning, sweetheart.
G: It’s a gift.
K: Uh-huh. You realize there isn’t a thing on earth that’s going to make me show you mercy, right?
G: *cringes* I watched what you put Gideon through. Do you think you could maybe go a bit easier on me?
K: Your brother is a happy man these days, Gabe. I don’t hear him complaining. And neither will you. Eventually.
G: Yeah, it’s getting to “eventually” that I’m worried about.
K: A little fear of your author is a healthy thing. So anyway, I didn’t bring you in to talk about your impending romantic doom. I thought you could talk a little bit about your experiences as a werewolf.
G: *grins* What sort of experiences?
K: See, this is what makes you deserve everything you’ve got coming. Just tell us about yourself. Start there, okay? And keep it G-rated, please.
G: Oh, you’re no fun today. All right. I’m Gabriel MacInnes, younger son of Duncan MacInnes, who is currently Alpha of the MacInnes Pack. My brother Gideon will take over for the old man one day when he gets tired, though I’m thinking it’ll be quite a while before that happens. Dad’s really enjoying himself since the Stone started acting up…he’s fancying himself quite the dragon slayer these days. ‘Course, if I were a dragon, I wouldn’t cross him.
K: And the Stone is…
G: Oh, sorry. The Stone of Destiny. Not the one on display in Edinburgh, either. This is the real one, which the Clan MacInnes hid away hundreds of years ago. All the kings of Scotland were traditionally crowned on it, but it’s a lot older than that. And it seems to have some interesting, ah, quirks, which we didn’t know about.
G: Let’s just say that the legends about the Stone are boring compared to what it actually does.
K: Fair enough. So what else? What do you do for a living?
G: A friend and I own a little pub in Tobermory called Wolf at the Door. All right, yeah, laugh at the name, but it’s appropriate. I have a flat right above it, which you’re not going to get a tour of because I can’t really remember the last time I cleaned it. But in general, you could say I spend my time in proper fashion for a second son of a great werewolf dynasty.
K: Drinking and chasing women?
G: Oh, come on now. Give me a bit more credit. I don’t ever have to do the chasing.
K: *rolls eyes* Yeah, I know. Don’t you think you should try and help the Pack a little more, though? I mean, there seems to be a tribe of otherworldly dragons who would like to get their claws on that Stone of yours. Seems like there should be something for even a second son to do.
G: Sure. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. But what am I supposed to do? Gideon’s the warrior hero of the family, you know, all serious and trained up to annihilate the enemy. Thank God for Carly, he’s lightened up a lot thanks to her. Me, though…I’m the entertainment committee. I wasn’t as interested in all the training, kind of went my own way. I’ve been wishing…well, I don’t know, it just seems like I should be doing more. I just don’t know what it is. Never really did, I guess. But I’m happy enough.
K: That’s convincing. I don’t think you’re all that happy, Gabe. And I can tell you’re more preoccupied than usual.
G: How’s that?
K: Your shirt’s buttoned wrong.
G: Ah, damn…
K: Don’t you like being a werewolf?
G: Oh, sure, love it. It’s very freeing, you know, being able to shift into a wolf whenever you get the urge. We don’t get a choice when the moon is full, but the rest of the time it’s up to us. Hard during the day, though. Any moon at all is always helpful. My family’s estate, Iargail, was the perfect place for a kid with supernatural inclinations to grow up, too. We’ve got miles of forest on the grounds, lots of room to run, and nobody bothers us. Most of the Pack is scattered around the UK, but we all get together at the estate and have a good time a couple of times a year. It’s great fun, which as you know is my specialty.
K: Yep, it’s one of your defining characteristics. But I think you’re about to discover a few more, if that makes you feel any better. Anyway, that’s about all the time we’ve got, but thanks for stopping in to chat, Gabriel.
G: Oh, anything for you, beautiful.
K: The sucking up is nice, but you’re still done for.
Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Gabe and I will be around all day if anyone would like ask a question or just say hello, and I’ll be choosing one random commenter (using the time-honored method of eenie-meenie-minie-moe) to receive a copy of the first book in my Highland werewolf series, Call of the Highland Moon. The winner will be announced on Monday. And please, watch for Gabriel’s story, Dark Highland Fire, in October. He has no idea what’s about to hit him!
A short musing brought you by AJ Hampton, who at times may appear to be crazy.
The term werewolf describes it all, doesn’t it? It is recognized as the grisly (yet in fiction and movies sometimes romantic) transformation from man to wolf. Were, meaning man, leaves little room for us women. Hell, MS Word spell check doesn’t even bat an eye at it.
I find myself wondering if there is room for anything else. Weretiger, werepanther… yes, using the prefix tells the reader what they need to know. This person (man or woman!) transforms into a beautiful creature at the rise of the full moon.
It goes beyond that. The paranormal genre is changing, morphing into a new breed much like the shape shifters of the world.
The more I delve into this paranormal arc, I find myself using the term shape shifter instead of were. If even gone so far as to incorporate this into my Cassidy Keller, shape shifting novels I’m writing. In a world filled with a variety of different shifters, using the term were is a nasty, hateful racial slur.
How do you feel about the term were and how it relates to the breeds of shifters that don’t turn into a wolf? Is the werewolf idolized so much there just isn’t room for any other werecreatures?
On a side note, I apologize in advance for the shortness of my post. Someone didn’t (totally meaning me, by the way) pick up Twilight, the first Stephenie Meyer book and stay up into 3 am in the morning absorbing in every single word! It’s a vampire book, so, I won’t gush about it to the shape shifting fans!
To make up for up grin I’ve got two Bending to Break (from my vampire novel) magnets to give away. They are about the size of a post card. Two random commenter’s will win. I’ll be at work today, so any comments will be addressed around 3 pm! I’d hate to explain https://shapeshifterromance.wordpress.com to my bosses. LOL.
I’ve seen this question asked a lot lately. Everyone from agents to editors to authors are coming out with their own versions. And I’ve been asked this a lot by students and others. So this is my version:
When I first started writing vampires, the tag urban fantasy didn’t exist, so I used “paranormal.” But paranormal to me, is really ghosts, psychics, that kind of otherworldly phenomenon. And it can be in present day, or the past, as long as it’s not fantasy. Fantasy, anything goes, because it’s fantasy and exists in a world that is not our own.
So what is urban fantasy? To me, it is mythical, fantastical creatures living in our contemporary times. Have a demon romance? It’s urban fantasy. It can be urban fantasy horror, or urban fantasy romance. But it’s urban fantasy. The fantastical element in modern times.
Think of the hero, werewolf extraordinaire, working on his computer. It’s urban fantasy. He can be sitting in the country estate, or living in the city. But it’s still urban fantasy.
Think of the gargoyle that protects your apartment complex at night, and talks to the heroine during the day. Urban Fantasy.
Now, what is being said–urban fantasy is first person. Why? I’ve read tons of third person POV urban fantasy werewolf stories, for one. And they were urban fantasies by virtue of the fact werewolves live among us. Whether they’re in the closet or have come out, it doesn’t matter. It’s a fantasy world within the normal structure of our world.
Some say that urban fantasies are not romances. Why? Are paranormals not romances? Some are, some aren’t. Some historical fictions have romances and some don’t. I know, because I review them and ask for only the ones that have romances. So sometimes we try to limit ourselves into some narrow defined category because some write like this and all of a sudden we’re all supposed to write that to fit the category, and again I ask why?
My werewolves, as well as many others, are sexy. They are romances. They are third person, and they are urban fantasy. They’re not fantasy, which would be set in a different world. They are not paranormal, dealing with psychic or ghostly entities. They are urban fantasies.
Why get hung up on a tag? Because people who are writing them want to define this for query letters to agents and editors. And also because readers and devout fans of urban fantasies need to see the tags. Some readers might not like hot, sexy urban fantasies. That’s okay. They can read the reviews and see if it’s something they want to read. Some want hot, sexy reads. The same thing.
So what is urban fantasy? Mythical creatures living in present day society, whether they’re vampires, werewolves, mermaids, gargoyles, other shapeshifters, fairies, pixiex, ghouls, or other kinds of creatures that we normally don’t see joining the exercise clubs or dancing in our dance clubs–that’s urban fantasy, 3rd person point of view, 1st person point of view, romance, no romance, doesn’t matter.
So what is your take on urban fantasy?
Heart of the Wolf, Don’t Cry Wolf
The Vampire…In My Dreams, coming Aug 26 to bookstores!
Deadly Liaisons, coming November! (vampire adult romantic suspense–urban fantasy 🙂 )
By Lori Devoti and Meagan Hatfield
Lori feet up on Meagan’s desk a lollipop in her mouth (because her son assures her all the “cool guys” eat them).
Meagan sitting innocently behind her desk, eyes bright with first NY sale excitement, completely unaware that as she speaks tentacles are sprouting from her computer twisting around her feet, tying her to the keyboard, and possibly sucking all her new author enthusiasm out for other, less bushy-tailed, authors to feed upon…
“So, Meagan, you just sold a new dragon-shifter series to Nocturne. What made you pick shifters? And why dragons?” Lori clicks her lollipop against the back of her teeth, wishing she’d bought something other than root beer—anything other than root beer.
“Well.” Meagan swallows and nervously kicks at the…is that a tentacle?…attempting to coil around her ankle. “I have always been a huge fan of shifter romances. Although I’d dabbled into the genre some with a short story a couple years ago, I’d never stretched my legs and ran with it for a novel and was itching to give it a try.
Honestly, using anything other than dragons never came to mind. Other writers have done wolves so well; I didn’t want to attempt and tackle them. Besides, what’s not to love about a dragon? They are magical, powerful and majestic is their animal form. Big, brooding and hot (pun intended) in human form. Not to mention, they have those very handy tails.” *wriggles her brows*
“You mean to say…” Lori places her feet on the floor with a thud. “…shape-shifters were NOT your first love?” Mumbles to self and stares at lollipop head, still large and round after ten minutes in her mouth. She wipes a bit of spittle from the corner of her lips and turns back. “Fine, I guess everyone has to start somewhere. So, you say dragons were your first choice. What kind of world do these dragons live in?”
“What the…?” Meagan picks up her water bottle. Thwack. Thwack. Feeler slithers back under her desk. “Oh, sorry…” She puts the water bottle back on the coaster. “What were you saying again?” Taps chin. “Ooo, dragons.” She sit’s up eagerly. “Well, in DRAGON FIRE, the dragon flock’s lair is located inside a remote mountaintop. They live in modern times and stay at higher elevations to avoid interaction with humans…oh, and their mortal enemies, the vampire horde. You see, ever since a prophecy was discovered about a crystal with the power to rule one or destroy all, their centuries old war has kicked it up a notch. It’s getting absolutely bloodthirsty, as both sides will do anything to get it.”
Lori tilts her head to peer under the desk. Then, her gaze still on Meagan, twirls her index finger in a circular motion. The tentacles slither forward and lift up, waiting. Lori flicks her finger back toward their newest target. With a quick bow of obedience, they bob off to finish their work.
“So, who has the crystal? And is there a romance in there somewhere? Some sweet little day hiker get separated from her group…wander a little higher than she intended…? Or maybe an over eager vampire queen hellbent on getting herself a little piece of that legendary dragon tail…”
“A dragon, with the Queen? Never. That would be dirty and wrong on so many levels.” Meagan leans over the desk and snatches the lollipop from Lori’s hand, ignoring the look of mute horror on Lori’s face.
“The flock would be in an uproar, especially after all the dragons she’s been blamed for brutally torturing and murdering.” After a brief inspective look, Meagan pops the lolly in her mouth, hording it in one cheek like a chipmunk. “The new dragon king and hero of the book, Declan, vows to find the crystal.” Twirls stick between her fingers. “Even if it means going into the hordes catacomb hell to get it.” Slurrrrrpppp. “When he gets captured, he expects anything and everything to go down…but he’s wholly unprepared for vampire warrior, Alexia.”
Lori leans back, her arms crossed over her chest. “So, any idea when this sure to be best-seller is going to hit the shelves?” She taps her toe, signaling the tentacles to hurry their pace.
“Best seller,” Meagan snorts, taking another lick of the lollipop. “Well, I haven’t been given a release date yet. But I’m…” Something bursts up from beneath the desk, snatching the lollipop out of her hand. “Hey! I wasn’t done with that yet.” Meagan bends to retrieve the stolen sucker, when a pack of tentacles shoot toward her.
Within seconds they are coiled tight around her ankles, wrists and mouth, effectively pinning her to the desk chair. Meagan struggles in vain against the slimy appendages and looks over at Lori with wide, terrified eyes. “Hmlphph Memph!”
Lori rises from her chair and with a satisfied curl to her lips, fondly pats the tentacles. “Good job. Now let’s get going. I heard five Golden Heart finalists just got requests for fulls…”
I took advantage of Netflix to get a Discovery Channel program that I missed–on Dragons, since they’re my current obsession. One thing I learned from the program is that dragon myths are found all over the world. Whoever wrote the program’s script assumed that was because people found dinosaur bones and decided they were from dragons. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, they still use powdered “dragon” bones. The narrator said that these were dinosaur bones–which were probably not good for you because they were now mostly silica, after having been in the ground for years.
I also learned that there are some differences in dragons around the world. European dragons tend to be fierce, dangerous creatures who breathe fire and kill people. Chinese dragons breathe cool mist instead of fire. They are more likely to be benevolent and protective and bring wealth and good fortune. By at least the 2nd century BC, dragon images were painted on tomb walls to ward off evil spirits.
Dragons are also found in Latin American cultures. And with their sharp teeth, claws, scales, and wings, they are thought to portray a mixture of the three main predators of that region–eagles, snakes and jaguars.
The program had all sorts of rational and scientific explanations for dragons. I prefer to think that there are dragon myths all over the world because these creatures existed. Really, how could they be so pervasive in mythology if they are totally made up? Dinosaur bones are one thing. But would people all over the world make an intuitive leap from bones to an actual beast diving down from the sky, breathing fire–or mist? Or am I living in a fantasy world?
So what about dragons as shifters? Do they figure into the mythology, too? Or is that a modern invention of the authors who love writing about shifters and want to experiment with a new and dangerous kind of alpha hero?
You’ll be pleased to know that when I Googled the subject, the first reference was to THIS very blog.
But I soon came to some other references. And I found that–hot damn–for centuries Asian dragons have also been considered shapeshifters who can take human form and mate with humans. How about that? Our lusty modern ideas aren’t so new, after all.
By Teresa D’Amario
It’s funny that Michelle and I chose similar topics for Friday and Monday. I’ve had mine written a while, ready to go and chuckled a bit when I saw hers. But I’m going to bring up a new idea about shifting, her new idea not withstanding. I think we’re both looking at shifters from a wider perspective now that we are here on this blog. That can only mean good things for you the reader.
It seems to me, shapeshifting is normally (Michelle’s blog not withstanding) considered an animalistic trait, something where creatures resembling humans shift into creatures resembling animals, either fictional (such as dragons) or non fictional (such as wolves or tigers). But is that all there is to shapeshifting?
Enter the Demon. Recently, by chance, I read two demon books in a row. First, Larissa Ione’s Pleasure Unbound, for which I give Five golden stars, and Kresley Cole’s Dark Desires After Dusk, which also earned five golden stars.
In each of these books there were creatures who shifted from one shape to another. The cause of the shift depended on the book, but most often was brought on by intense emotion, the same way many of our own, more traditional, shifters are.
In Larissa’s book, the demon shifts into the something he finds in the thoughts inside the mate’s head – though it may or may not be something she finds sexually attractive. In Kresley’s book, there are multiple shifting creatures. The Valkyrie who’s high emotions cause her eyes to change color and her fingers to meld into claws. A frightening prospect if you are her mate, I’m sure. The demon – well, let’s just leave that as a surprise for all of you who haven’t read it, since this is Kreseley’s second demon story. (Yes, I’m behind the times and somehow missed the first one – got some catching up to do I guess.)
In both of these fantastic series, there are other shifting creatures – including one of our favorites, the werewolves. Once I had the notion we were looking at a fox shifter in Kresley’s, but no additional mention was made – must have been my imagination searching for shifters everywhere.
The differences in the two subgenre’s are what you might call minimal. Ok, it’s true. We love our animalistic, hot, sensuality of the animal shifter. We love the power, the strength, and raw nature. Their instincts, so unencumbered by society remind us of our own protectiveness for those we love, and we are fascinated with their ability to stand up for what’s right, or what’s theirs.
Are the demons so different from our own shifters? Ok, so the authors don’t necessarily have raw animal power to draw from, but they definitely have some super uber alpha aggressiveness to work with. Never would I think horns were sexy until I read Kresley’s. Ok, still not sure about the horns, but the rest was kewl.
But if you thought creating a book trailer for a wolf shifter or tiger shifter was tough, imagine working with demons and valkyrie. That’s gotta bite. (In more ways than one). In neither case could I find a book trailer for their series. At least none that I could find. Now I don’t blame them one bit, because if you can’t get a trailer to do your book justice, why do one at all? I did find this awesome and fun video that you may also enjoy which stars Kresley Cole.
About a year ago I heard demons and shifters were the new vampire – the new little black dress, so to speak. It’s what people wanted. I’ve had friends say they wouldn’t read a romance with demons in it, because demons are real. It’s an important view to have, and I can understand the concept, but in our minds, demons are not something we have a full understanding of what is, or what isn’t. Few of us truly believe in a completely developed demon culture hidden right before our eyes. That’s what, for me, makes these pure fiction, and makes them exciting. It’s a great “what if…” question.
So have you tried the “New Black” lately? Have you tried the traditional shapeshifters, or even the new shifters, the demons? Shout it out to the SSR, tell us what you think!
Shameless promotion – don’t forget to check out Tigress by the Tail, available now at http://AllRomanceebooks.com
Also – I’m guestblogging today at Writeminded, so come on out and join us! We’re going to have alot of fun!
The hero of my current WIP is a shapeshifter, but he doesn’t change to an animal form. Two and a half centuries ago, a demon moved through him, leaving behind its shadow. So now my hero can shift to a shadow form. He can be a solid shadow, or very insubstantial as he glides along the walls in shadow shape. While he’s in shadow form, he can walk into people’s dreams, and vicariously experience their most erotic fantasies or even their hideous nightmares.
We’ve mostly discussed animal shifters here, so today I want to hear about the non-animal forms. What other kinds of shifters are there out there? Ever read a hero who can shift into an inanimate object? A chair? A car? What about natural elements, such as water, wind or fire? What are the pros and cons of some of these shifts? If in fire form, would water defeat him?
Tell me about these different types of shifters you’ve either read or written!
I’d like o invite everyone over to my ongoing Release party at http://teresadamario.com/blog where the contests are open until Friday at midnite! Win your own tiger! Really – Go check it out. Her name is Sherikan! And Win a copy of Tigress by the Tail, by Teresa D’Amario (Oh wait, that’s me).
There’s lots of fun and games, so come on over, and join in with us, so you can win your own tiger! (Thank heaven she stays in Florida).
One thing that has always bugged me about paranormal romances is once the couple gets together, their story is over. Usually, I’ve invested so much time in these characters that I can’t wait for their second book. However, given that this is paranormal romance, there’s a good chance that it won’t happen. Is it possible to have a paranormal romance sequel with the same loving characters and still call it a romance?
Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of my all-time faaaaavorite paranormal romance authors. She keeps her Dark Hunter series going because she’s developed a fantastic world where the dark hunters have to find their true love in order to be set free from Artemis, the bitch goddess, as Simi calls her. Anyway, I like her series because we get glimpses of what’s going on with the other established couples while trying to get two new lovebirds together. They’re having babies while still fighting off the daimons and worrying about the world in which they’re raising their children.
So there in lies the problem. I want to know about these couples after the fact and I want to know if their kids are normal or crazed little monsters who need a some valium sprinkled on top of their Rice Krispies. I want a book that explores the lives of our beloved characters to see if the family life is for them or not. However, to do this wouldn’t necessarily mean the story is a romance anymore. It would be more like an paranormal with romantic elements. No more romance at the core of the story because it’s already been established at this point. Would this be a deal breaker for you?
IMHO, I don’t think so. If it’s a good book and the writer did a fantastic job with me falling in love with the lovers falling in love, then I am so there. While I expect my romance to have a happy ending, if they’ve already reached their happy ending when the next story starts, I’m fine with that. It’s just that I have such a hard time letting go of a couple I love and I want to know more about their “aftermath” story. Sure, it would have romance in it, but I doubt it would fall into the definition of a romance. Think about it. What would you do for book three? Break them up again? Heck, by book four they’ll need marriage counseling to put them back together. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to stay away from the soap opera gimmicks.
What do you think? Would you have a problem if the sequel isn’t a paranormal romance?