I once read a historical romance that alluded to a hero who was a lynx shapeshifter, yet in the end I don’t believe he was. HUH??? Yep, it was like the author wanted to have the mystery, but didn’t want to really write that the hero was a shapeshifter or the publisher might not go for it as a historical romantic fiction.
So I felt…cheated! I wanted to know that he was, or he wasn’t. Preferably that he was. Variety in stories, of course, is what makes them fun to read. But still, if I’m sucked into thinking I’m reading a paranormal, I don’t want it to be an illusion.
In Winning the Highlander’s Heart, I have that the heroine has second sight. I love the paranormal, so I wanted to add it to a historical romantic suspense, but in a realistic way. And of course, it adds conflict, foreshadowing trouble, and it can spell doom for her if her Highlander companions believe her to be a witch.
In creating a shapeshifter world, we must show how different it is from our own, but how similar also. Do you feel cheated if the paranormal element is alluded to, but never fully explored? To me, it’s like having a witch who doesn’t use her powers and being a witch isn’t important in the scheme of the story. Then why have that’s she’s a witch? If the paranormal element can be removed and the story doesn’t change, then maybe it doesn’t belong.
To me, that’s so important with a shapeshifter story. If someone can shapeshift and it doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things, why have that the person can shapeshift? How does shapeshifting impact on his/her life and the lives around him/her? That’s what’s so important.
In that vein, it’s important to show the shapeshifting side of the characters early on and show the impact that it has on everyone else in the story. 🙂
So what do you think? Do you mind reading a shapeshifter story or other kind of paranormal that just alludes to the paranormal element? Or do you want to see the shapeshifter world and everything that it entails??
Heart of the Wolf (avail now), Don’t Cry Wolf (Coming Mar 1!!)
Betrayal of the Wolf (Fall 09), Allure of the Wolf (Spr 10), The Vampire…In My Dreams (avail now), Deadly Liaisons (vampire RS, coming Nov 15, 2008)
Other than Wolverine and Storm, one of the most interesting X-men to me is Mystic. Can you imagine what it would be like to have her powers? To have the ability to shapeshift into anyone. I know I’d prefer to be someone supernatural, but what if our only option was to shapeshift into someone who’s human? Which would you choose?
The fifty-foot woman would be fun, and yes, I consider her human. 😉 Think of all the people you could intimidate. The only problem with that is clothes. I doubt anyone would want me walking around above them with my “stuff” out in the open for the world to see.
Another option would be Gregory House. Unfortunately, I could see crazy people coming up to me looking for a diagnosis for something I can’t even pronounce. What about Fox Mulder or Dana Scully? Yeah, I can see where that would be fun. I wouldn’t mind being one of the ladies on The View or Oprah Winfrey.
With all that power, there is one type of person who would make me think twice. Dead people. I wouldn’t want to be Tim Russert or Heath Ledger. That’s like leeching off someone’s hopes and dreams. I don’t want to go there. Mother Theresa or Jesus, not gonna happen either. Too much responsiblity with those two options. The same goes for any of the past popes. Talk being feeling like a fraud.
Shifting into anyone running for office it out, too. It’s not the responsiblity that worries me. The craziness that’s been unfolding during the race to the White House would be enough to drive me insane. I certainly wouldn’t want to be any of the CEOs whose companies crashed and burned on Wall Street either. I’d have to wear a flat jacket or be ready to shift into a different person at a second’s notice.
So I guess when it comes down to it, I’m the person I was meant to be because I’m the only one qualified for the job. Although, I wouldn’t mind being a millionaire’s twin either.
How about you? Who’s your human of choice and why?
It seems to me paranormal romance, shapeshifters especially, have gotten their start due to eBook publishing. Some of my favorite shapeshifter authors started as eBook authors. (Okay, Lora Leigh’s isn’t quite a shapeshifter romance, but it’s as close as you can get without real shifting). It’s one of the reasons I didn’t shy away from eBooks with my shapeshifters. It’s only been the last couple of years shifters have made it in NY.
Today is a big milestone for me. Ok, not really. The big moment is 15 October, but the excitement started yesterday. The first time an author gets published will always be the best moment in an author’s life. To know others will be reading the story developed in your imagination is a rush that is akin to winning that gold medal at the Olympics. It’s full of excitement and joy for the author and their family. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ebook or a print book, the excitement is still the same. The next “rush” happens when you get your book cover. One author asked me after I received my SheWolf cover, if I was still petting it on the computer screen. I laughed, and said, “No, I ran to Walmart and got it blown up and printed, so I’m petting it in the frame on my wall.” Now I have a better quality printer and can print my own, so don’t have to run to Walmart anymore.
The next rush is different depending on if the book is an ebook or a print. For Print folks, the next step in the level of joy comes when they get their print copy. For the Ebook folks, it’s the day it shows up ready to be purchased.
So the change from eBook to print still has it’s joys – as now I’ll have that paperback book in my hand to get all excited about. I should have one in my hot little hand in the next week.
But why would a reader purchase both the eBook and the print copy? I promise there are great reasons besides making this author extra happy. Course you could do it for that reason too. But the nice thing about eBook to print for the same novel is the author gets a second chance to do one last edit on the book and make any changes. And change I did. I don’t want to share what the changes are, but I will tell you the “Date” error has been corrected.
So head on over to Amazon.com and order your copy today.
Firstly, thanks to the ladies at Shape Shifter Romance for inviting me to guest blog today. My name is Shelley Munro and I write paranormal titles for Ellora’s Cave and contemporary for Samhain Publishing. Today I’m talking about alien cats.
What is an alien cat you ask? It’s actually large feline, such as a leopard or cougar, sighted in an area or country where it’s not indigenous. Many countries have sightings of alien cats including my home country of New Zealand, Britain, Australia, Finland, Denmark and Hawaii.
It was an article in the newspaper about sightings of a black panther in the South Island of New Zealand that first snared my attention a few years ago. Since the 1990s, witnesses have seen the big cat on several occasions, yet a search by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry found no physical evidence to support the sightings.
And yet the alien sightings continue.
A big cat could certainly live happily in the area of Ashburton. The climate is suitable and food is abundant, ranging from birds and rabbits to deer and domestic livestock. As in the case of all alien cats (no matter what part of the world they’re sighted) skeptics want to know how they got there. They also want proof such as a carcass bearing bite or claw marks. Most sightings, they say, are of domestic cats or other animals.
Supporters of the alien cat stories state that big cats are secretive by nature. Sightings aren’t common in countries where they are native and many big cats are nocturnal, reducing the chances of eyewitness sightings.
Documented reports of alien cats in New Zealand are too numerous to ignore. One eyewitness said he and his wife looked down onto the river flat and saw the cat. It was a very large black cat, similar in size to his Golden Lab/Mastif cross with a long tail. Once it got wind of them, the cat disappeared smartly. Before he was skeptical, but seeing something with your own eyes is very definite.
Last year two film makers completed a documentary about the black panther sightings in New Zealand. Here’s a video of the trailer for the documentary.
Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but personally, I like to believe in alien cats. It’s certainly an interesting topic to debate, and the story about the black panthers stirred my imagination. I collect ideas and combined the panther story with one about a small New Zealand town called Middlemarch. The town has a severe shortage of women of marriageable age and they organized a dance to entice more young women to the area. My paranormal series called Middlemarch Mates was born and book five in my feline shapeshifter series releases from Ellora’s Cave on 1 October, 2008.
I’m giving away a download of one of the books in my Middlemarch Mates series (the winner can choose which one they’d like). All you need to do to enter is comment on this post. Tell me what you think about alien cats. Is it possible for alien cats to exist? Have you ever seen an alien cat? What proof would make you believe?
Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand with her husband and a small, bossy dog. If you’d like to learn more about her feline shapeshifter series visit her website at www.shelleymunro.com
Thanks, Shelley, for being with us here today and sharing your Alien Cat story!! Shelley will be giving away her book in a couple of days to allow for comments! 🙂 Thanks again! Terry Spear, www.terryspear.com Heart of the Wolf, Don’t Cry Wolf (coming Mar 1!!)
It’s called DRAGON MOON, and it won’t be published until October next year. I wanted to tell you all about it, but I felt like I couldn’t say anything until I got the official word. That’s the superstitious part of me talking. If I told you about it, maybe Cindy Hwang would say, “No.” Even though I talked to her about it at RWA, and she liked what I described. But I still had to put together the proposal.
The dragons enter my world through my Moon books. My heroine’s enslaved to a dragon/vampire in the alternate universe I first created in NEW MOON. And she’s sent here as a spy. So there’s a dragon bad guy. But also a dragon good guy–who lives in this universe.
I’m excited about starting this story, but I don’t want to talk too much about the plot of a book that won’t be published for over a year.
It’s funny how ideas swirl in the air. For seven books, I’ve been writing about werewolf shifters. Now I get to do two dragons. But it’s not just me. I see a bunch of other people also got turned on by dragons.
I got to do some great dragon research in China. They’re all over the place in that country. And basically they’re different from western dragons. Ours breathe fire and lay waste to the land. Chinese dragons are benevolent guardians. Lots of old-style houses and palaces have dragons and their children on the corners of the roof–as good luck charms. But my dragons will be fierce.
So why are dragons “in”? What do you like about dragon shifters? What would you want to see in a dragon shifter–if you got a chance to have some input into his persona and his powers?
With all my good intentions, I often find myself falling short of what I want to achieve both in books and life. That unfortunately includes blogging. I, ahem, will confess to the world and apologize to my fellow bloggers that I didn’t remember it was my responsibility to blog until….like 3AM. My own personal blog, which I promise myself repeatedly that I am going to make happen, hasn’t seen a post since July likely. I am behind in everything from household chores, to family obligations, to even picking up the phone and touching base with beloved friends. Why is my life is such a sorry state you ask? Am I a bon-bon eating couch potato? A slacker who just doesn’t care what needs to be done? No, I think it is because I’ve set myself and my life on this quest of writing and often times, as most quests do, it consumes me.
I recently guest blogged about a writer’s health, an aspect of a writer’s life that the harried, unstable, irrationality of the wild publishing world turns into an oxymoron–there is no true health for a writer for the creative quest to put story upon the page is an insane process that doesn’t leave a writer alone day or night until the quest has been won.
Anyway as I was saying, I guest blogged and wanted to share with all of you a portion of that blog. It is a song I love, but had forgotten, and so well describes the quest of a writer and in many ways what makes heros and heroines come alive on the page for readers around the world, maybe even more so in the world of shapeshifting romance. Where the quest has so many more obstacles to overcome.
Can you guess the song that Joe Darion’s words brought ispiration to the world?
Hint. Man of La Muncha
Hint. Don Quixote.
To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …
This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …
And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …
Currently, I feel as if I, my hero, and my heroine in Bride of the Wolf are on a impossible quest. I have managed, just this week, to get my Blind hero who was chained in the dungeon and a my intrepid heroine who was in the clutches of a vampire bent on tearing apart her soul free–for the moment–but now they face the grueling task of falling in love and defeating the evil before it destroys them and everyone they love. Easy you might say, but when you have a werewolf warrior who cannot accept his blindness and a woman bent on saving herself and him the road to bliss can get pretty darn bumpy.
So, this morning I leave all of you with the world of Impossible Dream as I go flying down my bumpy road at ninety miles an hour, hoping and praying I will reach the end by my deadline and that my editor will love the story and I can begin this crazy quest all over again because there are already characters in my head screaming to be put onto the page.
Happy Questing and Shapeshifting
Jennifer St. Giles
Kiss of Darkess 4/09
Bride of the Wolf 5/09
Touch a Dark Wolf
Lure of the Wolf
By Lori Devoti
Times they are a changing. We all know that right? If you have any doubts of that give this article a gander. It lays it all out nice and pretty. Now this isn’t as disturbing to me as it may be to some other authors because I have a background in newspapers. Can we all say DINOSAURS?
Fifteen years ago dino….sorry…NEWSPAPERS were yelling and screaming about changing times and how we had to keep up or die. Buggy whips were mentioned a lot. The fact that to survive in changing times businesses have to rethink what they actually are was mentioned a lot. Newspapers, for example, are in the business of delivering news.
Not rocket science, I know, but still an apparently very tough concept for many newspaper industry leaders to get. Because, here’s the thing, newspapers get/got all wrapped up in the delivery method. They defined themselves by that very expensive, very hard to manage dinosaur of delivery–paper. Sure, they started web sites. But have you gone to most small newspaper web sites? What is wrong with them? Why don’t we use them? Because they are built like newspapers! Instead of looking at the problem from the user’s end, and thinking about why people would use the Internet, they slapped their same old format onto the Net, then went around congratulating themselves.
As you can tell, I was not impressed.
So, now here we are in publishing. People are screaming that books of the paper and ink variety are too expensive and the whole distribution system is just, well, hosed. But then there are others scrambling as fast and as hard as they can to hold onto what they have…never mind that customers are moving on, that their lifestyles are changing. We can’t, and if we don’t well, then they can’t either.
Wrong. Customers will change. They always do, and if the people who provide them with the base service (news for example rather than newspapapers) don’t change with them, they will move on to someone who will. Because someone will step in and fill that void–someone not weighted down with all the “but this is how we do it” baggage.
So, book publishing has to shape-shift, to figure out what their real role is and deliver it in a way that fills their customers needs while still turning a profit. And all of us get to wait and watch, and maybe do a little shifting of our own if we want to survive.
Are you ready? Are you excited or scared? Do you think it is even possible for the current issues in publishing (massive returns) to be solved and publishing houses as we know them to still exist? Will writers still exist? I mean I KNOW some writers will exist, but what about the great mid-list? Is the death knell near?
This post has been brought to you by AJ Hampton (who has recently contracted TWO new shapeshifter novellas!)
I was laying in bed, trying to sleep and all I could think about was what happened if some of our favorite heroes and heroines threw down?
Who would win and why? Answer as many as you like, feel free to come up with some of your own!
Drake Vireo in the Aisling Grey, Guardian series by Katie MacAlister
Quinn Tyrrell in book#1 of the Dragonfire Kiss of Fire by SSR’s own Deborah Cooke
AJ’s Pick – I think Quinn would tear Drake Up. Why? Quinn is a scrappe. I think Drake is too much of a pretty boy.
Elena Michaels in Books#1 &2 of the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong
Riley Jenson in the Riley Jenson Guardian series by Keri Arthur
AJ’s Pick – I’m going to have to go with Riley on this one because she’s got the half vampire thing working for her.
The Hulk created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Wolverine created by Len Wein
AJ’s Pick – The Wolverine, he’s got the healing ability and The Hulk… isn’t big and green all the time.
Richard Zeeman in the Anita Blake Series by Laurell Hamilton
Micah Callahan in the Anita Blake Series by Laurell Hamilton
(The winner assumes that Anita Blake will not run in wielding a gun to save her sweetie.)
AJ’s Pick – Man. I wish these two characters would just off themselves… that wasn’t nice was it? Sorry. I’ve got issues. Although Micah is tough he is way to pretty boy. Richard (if he can pull his head out of his ass) would eat Micah for breakfast.
Dracula by Bram Stoker (I hope I have that right!)
Michael Corvin in the Underworld Series
AJ’s Pick – Although Dracula has been around for eons (and can shift into a bat!) I’d have to go with Michael on this one. Again, being half werewolf and half vampire – seems like an advantage.
So, let me know who you think would win! And, come up with a few of your own for everyone at SSR to debate!
This is what I want to know: do you prefer your shapeshifter/paranormal heroes to accept their nature/condition, or try to move beyond it and become human?
Some shifter heroes (and I’m including vampires in the bunch) spend all their lives trying to get away from the way their were either born or made. They hate that they are a creature unlike mortals, and desire only to become human. They associate morality with humanity. The creature that is inside them, or that they are is not acceptable. Usually by the end of their story they have achieved humanity, or have learned to accept what they are, most often with the help of an understanding woman.
Other shifter heroes are perfectly fine with what they are. They were born this way, that’s the way they’ll die. If they shift into creature form, they embrace the animal part of themselves and often ensure they are safely away from humans so as to protect them. Vampires drink real blood from human necks and don’t have to keep a stock of bagged blood in their fridges. They are proud of what they are, and they want a woman who can accept them for what they are.
I love the latter of the two. The hero who accepts what he is. I don’t need a brooder, unless it’s just a part of his exterior appeal.
What about you? Acceptance or struggle? Which appeals most to you in your shapeshifter/vampire heroes?
I’m asking this, not just because FALLEN which comes out at the end of this month features a hero who is a fallen angel, but because I can’t decide. I hadn’t thought of this series as having anything to do with shape shifters, then my husband said “well, why not?”
You know how it is with those questions tossed across the dinner table. Sometimes they make you stop and think. If nothing else, they make you doubt your assumptions.
First, let me tell you a bit about this new world of mine. It setting is the late 21st century, the world has survived a number of nuclear attacks, and spontaneous mutations are common among humans. Mutated humans, though, are called shades – because they have failed the criteria outlined in the Sub Human Atomic Deviancy Evaluation – and essentially enslaved to do manual labour. The shades are out of sight and essentially out of mind for many. There is a group of scientists called the Society of Nuclear Darwinists who do ongoing investigations of the effects of radiation upon humans – their shade hunters also “harvest” shades that they discover, and send them either to the Society’s research labs or surrender them to the federal government.
It’s not a nice world, but you probably picked that up already.
But it’s also a world on the cusp of the Apocalypse, and the angels are intervening to save humanity from ourselves. Angels, in this scenario, volunteer to take flesh. As angels, they are beings of light and energy, who can choose to reveal themselves to humans or not. They are above and beyond sensation and sensory detail. But those volunteers have their wings removed, sacrificing their angelic status to become human. They become mortal, and are indistinguishable from “norms” — except for the two diagonal scars on their backs (which would condemn them as shades, if revealed.) Each takes a mission, and once that mission is complete, regains his wings and his angelic status.
(It’s not a spoiler to tell you that so far, I’m two-for-two on fallen angel heroes who choose to stay on earth, for the love of the good woman they’ve found. These are romances, after all!)
But you see, there is a transformation, from a being of light to a mortal man. And I guess that could be considered shape shifting. I didn’t think of that before because for me, shape shifting is a more back-and-forth thing, changing at the full moon or at will, or on some more regular basis than, um, ONCE.
What do you think? Is this shape shifting? Or not?