Thanksgiving is over. I’ve been cooking and cleaning for days. But now I’m coming to you from deep in the back country of Pennsylvania. Along the Clarion River, to be exact. Where the fishing is good, and you can find secluded campsites, deep woods scenery and excellent canoeing.
Well, not really. I’m sitting in my sun room, with rain drumming on the roof. And my werewolf, Talon Marshall, is taking a group of five men on a canoe trip down the Clarion. His occupation is leading wilderness trips–an excellent job for a werewolf. It’s a profession he loves, but tonight he’s feeling stressed. He’s afraid he’s bonded with his lifemate, but she’s a woman he can’t trust. He thought that making love with her would make her open up with him, but she’s still keeping secrets, and he’s angry and disappointed that she doesn’t trust him enough to come clean with him.
This trip was a chance to put some distance between them, but now that he’s off leading the expedition, he’s too restless to sit still. His clients have settled down for the night, and he wants to tramp off into the woods, change to wolf form, and run out his frustrations. But he knows he can’t leave the men who have put their welfare into his hands. So he’s got to see the trip through–then rush home to work out his relationship with Kenna.
Talon and Kenna are the hero and heroine of my Berkley book, DRAGON MOON., which will be out next November. Yeah, there’s a dragon in the middle of the action. Two of them, in fact.
I love writing stories with plenty of suspense and tension. In fact, when Talon arrives home, he’s going to find Kenna in the middle of a terrifying scene with a man who’s been stalking my hero. But the emotions and motivations of the characters are always the focus of my interest when I write.
What draws you to a story? The plot or the characters? Or are you looking for a certain mixture of the two?
“As to another matter,” Darien said, “I want to have a Thanksgiving feast for the pack.”
She figured the feast was a tradition they’d always carried out like so many people did across the States until she saw the questioning glances on his brothers’ faces. “Why?” she asked, because Jake and Tom wouldn’t and she assumed something more was up.
“A feast to give thanks that I have a mate. Is that not reason enough?” Darien’s expression was lighthearted, but the façade didn’t hide the darkness brewing beneath the surface.
She offered a smile. “I’m sure everyone will enjoy a feast, no matter the reason. Free food always puts everyone in good spirits.”
“Where did you want to have this feast?” Jake asked, his voice shadowed. “The civic auditorium? School gym? The tavern, perhaps?”
“Here.” Darien lifted his cup to his lips.
Lelandi suspected the worse. Darien knew who killed her sister and he needed the majority of the pack together. The feast was the battleground. Or at least the beginning. The battle would take place in the woods, secluded from town, perfect for a fight between wolves.
So the feast is a celebration, to give thanks, after ridding themselves of the evil that lurked within. In the latest work, Plight of the Wolf, the Christmas season is upon them. 🙂 But that’s another story.
Enjoy the holidays if you celebrate them, but even if you don’t, may your lives be filled with thanks! We’re thankful my mother is well enough to celebrate Thanksgiving with us after she’s been so ill for the last 8 weeks.
We’re playing Chicken Foot Dominoes after the feast, and the next day, we set up our Christmas decorations, as always. We usually have a couple of displaced college students eating with us, and this Thanksgiving will be no exception.
Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions you’d like to share?
Thanksgiving is a holiday that, to be honest, I never liked growing up. I think it’s because they were such a horrible family get-together. My dad’s side of the family is so stiff and formal, and my mom would be grumpy…it was all just stressful.
But since I got married and started a family of my own, Thanksgivings have become a favorite holiday. I don’t like to have to go anywhere on Thanksgiving day — I like to stay home with family and just enjoy the day. We’ve made our own traditions over the years, which include, nicely, the fact that my husband does most of the cooking! *g* And he always makes homemade cranberry sauce. Yum!
I always make a dessert that contains no pumpkin. I detest pumpkin pie. Anything chocolate will do nicely, though.
And because I’m a vegetarian and big-time animal lover, I always make a donation to a turkey rescue on Thanksgiving. I give to FarmSanctuary and its Adopt-A-Turkey program. It’s been a tradition of mine for years, because the rest of my family are carnivores, so we still have a turkey — this is just my way of helping out.
What kinds of traditions do you have? And happy Thanksgiving!
Mary, please email me your snail mail address at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I got nothin’ today. Spent the weekend at a writer’s retreat with friends, plotting out each others books. Then yesterday I got a kitty, and we basically have slept zero hours here in the Hauf household as the critter explores and tears a dash through everything. Such joy, to have a new cat. Here’s hoping the old one will accept him some time this century.
So because I am basically wordless–and currently typing with a small black paw batting at every key–I’m gonna give something away. I just got copies of my January vamp/witch romance, THE DEVIL TO PAY. This is Ivan Drake’s story. Poor guy, his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was even conceived back in KISS ME DEADLY. Quite a lot for a guy to deal with, I’m sure. And Himself is back with a little romance himself (very little, I promise).
So tell me what your plans are for Thanksgiving. Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house you go? Or everyone coming to your house while you slave over a hot stove?
by Lori Devoti
I have this tiny hang up when writing my books. Okay, I have a LOT of tiny hang ups but one I wanted to discuss today. It’s about Changing. I feel this NEED for my characters to change, and I don’t mean in the character arc kind of way. I mean Change as in Shift.
My heroes are hellhounds and garm (wolf shifters), and I have a dragon appearing next year. In human form there are characteristics they have that your normal average human male wouldn’t. But still I feel like if I’m writing a shifter book, I owe it to the reader to show my characters in their non-human form. I start to get twitchy if I realize I haven’t had them shift.
Am I the only one who feels this way?
I was reading a book recently–a good book BTW–by Caitlin Kittredge. Her protagonist (female) is a werewolf, but she doesn’t show her as a wolf. Unless I missed it, the main character didn’t change even once. Now she did FIGHT changing a lot–and other characters changed–both the love interest and a villain-type. But not the protagonist. Even without the protagonist changing, you had no doubt that she was a werewolf. A major part of the storyline was about how she became a werewolf and her battle with accepting it. So, I had zero complaint with her not changing–but it made me think about my own books, and whether I overestimate the importance of seeing the character in that other form. I’m not ready to let it go–I plan on writing in the Change as much as possible, but is it just me and some strange security blanket I’ve stitched together for my books. Or is it important to all of you?
In other news 30 Days of Vampires is still going on on my personal blog. And I have TWO new releases coming out. The first is a Holiday with a Vampire II anthology for Silhouette Nocturne. It is out in stores today! The second is a shape-shifter story for Nocturne Bites. That one won’t be available until December 1 through eharlequin. It’s a hellhound story–hero and heroine are both hellhounds, and YES they both Change. 🙂
By Teresa D’Amario
We all read the books, but who watches them on TV/Movies? What makes a shifter? Who was your first shifter or animalistic hero/heroine you ever saw? Try to limit your work to the GOOD guys for the purposes of this blog. After all, I worked hard to build my list!
For most people it’s Wolverine from X-men and I can’t say I blame you. He’s probably one of the hottest and most memorable shifters ever in the history of television and movies. Who can look into his face, or into his eyes and not see the animalistic power? Do you feel that little tremore down your spine? I sure do. While he’s not a true shifter, there’s just something about a man with a body like that, with his hair like that, and those dang BLADES that makes you wonder if perhaps he really IS a shifter in real life. (BTW, Hugh Jackman is on the tonight show tonite – don’t miss it if you’re a Jackman fan!)
Lately a new type of shifter has moved into the spot light. He’s not quite as dangerous, but I don’t think he’s any less sexy. He has this vulnerable look about him, despite what we know. He can change into any shape he’s familiar with, but he likes dogs. Not big dogs either. But border collies and beagles. The kinda cute and cuddly type.
His name? Sam Merlotte, played by Sam Trammel in the HBO Series, True Blood. Not bad eh? Charlaine Harris did us paranormal fans proud!
It was here when my mind went into overdrive. I tried to think of any shifter out there in tvland. Of course there’s Dark Shadows, where both Quentin Collins (who’s hairstyle somewhat resembles that of wolverine! wow, how did that happen?) and Chris Jennings both transform into werewolves.
The problem with the Dark shadows werewolves were they became evil during their transformation. In today’s romance and urban fantasy, that’s not usually the case. Most of our shifters remember their human selves, and while their instincts may threaten to overtake them, they rarely allow such urges to steal their inner selves completely.
Of course we can’t forget Teen Wolf, right? He was a good guy. I think this was the first time I could remember a “wolf” shifter being a good guy. I love that movie – Michael J. Fox was the perfect choice too. I mean, who didn’t love a cute, funny dude as a werewolf?
But while I was thinking of all these guys who were shifters, I remembered my first WOMAN shifter on television. I’m thinking this may be the first time I thought of a shifter as a sexy, hot person (She was considered very sexy on the show in question). This particular shifter, however, didn’t shift using the rules most present day authors assign to their worlds.
She didn’t live the animal instincts after shifting because she didn’t always become an animal. Sometimes she became aliens, sometimes she became bugs, and sometimes she became birds. I remember once she became another human. She didn’t shift only into hot, animalistic and sensual creatures. She did it all! But she did have her limitations. Because she was humanoid by nature, she could only hold her other shapes for an hour (I think it was an hour?) and then she would be forced back into human shape. Now that doesn’t sound that scary, unless she’s a small bird captured and put in a bird cage and has to become human! What if that cage is strong? She is squished in the process of transformation and can die!
So who is this illustrious shifter? Her real name is Katherine Schell, but she played Maya on the science fiction tv series – Space, 1999. This wasn’t a paranormal story – it was science fiction. Yet Maya did everything our shifters did and more. 🙂 I remember very little about this series, but I shall always remember Maya. She was the epitome of a strong woman in my mind – able to become who and what she wanted just by picturing it in her head. The series is old, and has less special effects than even Dark Shadows sometimes, but it’s nice to see paranormal and science fiction coming together, even back then.
There are shadows of Maya hidden beneath the surface of one of my supporting characters in Tigress by the Tail too. One of Lance’s brothers has a wizarding ability of metamorphism, or shapeshifting. He’s not the same. I remember when I created him, I didn’t want anyone to think I was stealing Maya and making her a man. LOL
And imagine my surprise when I found a composite video on youtube, that I’ll leave you with (thanks to Companionn for the wonderful video)- The many Transformations of Maya, from Space 1999, my most memorable experience with a shifter from the Boob Tube!
One lucky poster will get a copy of MY first shapeshifter book, SheWolf, finalist in 2008 PRISM awards. SheWolf is an ebook, so make sure you post your email address to enter.
While procrastinating instead of writing, I came across a post on IMDB that said Moonlight was coming to Sci-Fi Channel on January 23 and they would air all sixteen episodes. Another poster on Amazon said the same thing. I’ve been to Sci-Fi Channel’s website, but the search feature wasn’t working so I couldn’t confirm.
Has anyone else heard anything? Are my eyes deceiving me? Did I miss a post from my co-bloggers due to my day job cracking down on internet usage? Did Christmas come in November? Holy crap!! Too bad there isn’t an emoticon for gitty. 😆
I love “The Call” stories. In fact, they’re pretty much an addiction at this point. Every Friday, I tune into Dear Author’s My First Sale stories because I like to read about the successes. There is enough doom and gloom on the road to publication, so it’s nice to see that someone has made it.
So, I’ve decided to do my own take on “The Call”, only this is one where everyone can participate, both readers and authors alike. I want to know when you received your call to the paranormal. What made you sit up and say, “Wow! Is there more of this stuff out there?”
My paranormal “call” came when my mother took me and my brother to see Dracula with Frank Langella. And before you ask, I was probably too young to see an R-rated movie, although there’s a huge difference between the R-rated ones now and back then. Besides, Mom couldn’t afford a babysitter and she had her heart set on seeing this movie. 😉
Anyway, I can’t really recall if I loved the movie or not because I think I spent most of the time with my hands covering my eyes. However, I saw enough to awaken my fascination with the supernatural. I thought that Frank guy was okay, while my mother and aunt pretty much salivated over his accent and delicious charms. I thought it was rather cool with how much he loved that fragile woman enough to bring her back from the dead. Although, she sure could have used a tan because her skin was little too pasty and sickly for me. 😉 Oh, and I had a crush on the courageous and gorgeous Jonathan Harker, played by Trevor Eve. Now, he was a man who sneaked a blush or giggle out of toddler me.
It took me a few years to realize Dracula was a vampire. I didn’t know what to called him other than the Caped Man Who Liked to Eat People’s Necks. Still, that movie opened up a new world for me. Granted, it was horror, but it was one that fueled my excitement for the paranormal. It also taught me the lengths people will go through for their loved ones when their lives are in danger. Even as a kid, I was enraptured by the romance and understood the importance of that in adult lives.
So how about you? What was the first movie or book that called you to the paranormal and why?
As you might know, I have this thing about “reality” in my fiction. Recently I discussed how my demon shifters had breeding rules when it came to size, because in the real world, size matters. *g*
So when I write my shifters, I generally have it be painful…or, at least, uncomfortable…for a shift to take place. Because, in following the “reality rules,” it makes sense to me that, even if there isn’t a big size change, skin is stretching in places. Bones are expanding or compressing. Joints are popping. Organs are trading places. That’s gotta hurt, right?
Maybe when certain creatures shift shape, their natural ability comes with a sort of anesthetic effect?
I don’t know. I assume pain comes with the shift, which makes many of my shifters dread going through it.
What do you think? Do shifters feel a sting, or do they sail right through it?