Guest Author, AJ Chase with Cat and Mouse

November 13, 2009 at 5:00 am (General, Guest Bloggers, Interviews) (, , , , , , )

Hi all!  We have a very special guest today.  Someone who has stepped out of the “norm” for shapeshifters, and done something new, exciting and funny.  AJ Chase, author of Cat And Mouse is here to talk about her book, and why she chose to something so unusual to write about.  Now mind you, AJ is like thirteen months pregnant (ok, not really, but you get the gist) so our interview will be rather short.

First, let me show you this adorable cover!

Cat and Mouse Cover

For Katherine Stapleton (aka Kitty), being a shape-shifter isn’t nearly as glamorous as the novels and movies make it out to be. It isn’t all raw, animalistic sex and superhuman physical prowess. There’s also the hairballs.

Kitty has spent her entire life being a less-than-perfect were-cat. She can’t control her animal changes, so she decides to excel at matters human. After a decade of worldly successes, she’s back home for her ten-year high school reunion. Yet, she feels just as insignificant as she did back in school–except with Sam Philmore, a fellow D.C. lawyer and past classmate. And her former secret crush. In just three days Kitty gets the bad memories, the good times, the bitter truth, and a mouthful of one very sexy man who just happens to be a mouse sometimes…

Genre: Paranormal/Shapeshifter/Contemporary/Romantic Comedy
Rating: Spicy
Book Length: Novella

Price: $3.99 (Excerpt below)

Hello AJ, it’s great to have you here.  We know you are very pregnant, so no going into labor while we’re here today. Save that for tomorrow.

Ha.  tomorrow doesn’t work for me either.  So we’ll schedule that labor for next week.

What type of books do you like to write?

I like romantic suspense and YA the best but I also write romantic comedies and series mysteries.

What made you decide to write a shifter book?

Someone mentioned writing a romantic comedy that was paranormal and I thought, “That sounds fun.”  So I did lol.  Not a lot of thought went into the decision.

This is your first book, are you excited?  Tell us all about it.

I think I’d be more excited if I wasn’t so tired.  Gestating makes things a lot less exciting.  Unless it’s cake.  Cake is still pretty exciting right now.

I’ll have to remember to send you some when I make my next one. Course that would mean I’d have to bake, so it might be a while. Now folks, I’ve read this story, and it’s as cute as can be.   But, a mouse?  The hero is a mouse?  But… But… I thought readers like alpha male types!
Actually, I think Sam is pretty alpha, even if he is a mouse sometimes.  He definitely isn’t afraid to go after what he wants and he expects to get it.  But, yes.  He is a mouse.  When I decided I wanted to write a funny shifter story I didn’t know what to focus on but my daughter loves Tom and Jerry for some inexplicable reason and it was playing and i thought, that would be funny.

But I wanted to turn it on it’s ear even more by making her the cat and him the mouse.

If you could be a shifter, what would you be, and why?
I’ve always wanted to be a fox.  I would totally chose to be a fox.

Thanks AJ for dropping in with us!  Do you have any final words for us before you run off into the world of motherhood and new babies?

I wish I had some amazing advice or pearls of wisdom but I’m not much for profundity right now.  I’m barely coherent.  So I’ll just say thanks for having me!

Now, before I provide you with a tasty, tease from this cute little book, let me tell you AJ is going to give one lucky commenter a copy of Cat And Mouse.  So comment away.  Tell us about your favorite funny book, shifter or other paranormal, and why you thought it was so cute!

Excerpt:

We wandered across the courtyard, deafened by the huge artificial spray of water as we crossed under the waterfall. The pair of us found a little niche between the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and a large—probably artificial— garden. We leaned against the stucco wall.

I ran my hand over my dress again, self conscious while Sam watched me. What could I do to get him to stop staring? “Do you like living in D.C.?”

“I’ve liked it better since two weeks ago.” He sounded so matter-of-fact I had to ask.

“What happened two weeks ago?”

He played with a random curl that couldn’t be shoved back in my twist. “I saw your name on the Montgomery list.”

Oh, God. My knees went weak, and it probably wasn’t the vodka. At least not all of it.

But it was the vodka and schnapps cruising through my veins that made me stand there limp, with blood pumping hot to all the right places, and not run away. It was the alcohol that made me capable of opening my mouth under his when Sam kissed me hard.

In another moment I would have fled if someone I hadn’t seen in years tried to slip me some tongue, especially considering one of us would probably have to be removed from the Montgomery case.

But not right now.

Sam tasted like cheesecake, high school fantasies, and man. I whimpered low in my throat while his stroking tongue worked magic on mine. Tangling my fingers into his hair, I got into the kiss.

It was a bad idea. But at the moment all I knew was he kissed like he meant it, felt like my wildest dreams, and had his hand on my ass. I don’t think two minutes passed before his tie was off, and my fingers were tangled in the crisp, dark hair on his muscled chest. My black skirt fit too tight to step between, but somehow it had managed to ride all the way up my thighs. Sam stood between my legs, his erection pressing unabashedly into me as we kissed with an insane level of abandon.

It had to be the alcohol. It had to be. God, he was so hot.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you for fourteen years,” he growled, nipping on the lobe of my ear. “Fourteen years of fantasizing about that pretty little mouth of yours.”

“Fourteen—” I gasped as he sucked my bottom lip into his mouth. “I don’t believe you,” I managed after he’d abandoned my mouth and moved to my neck.

“You should. It’s true.”

Buy Cat and Mouse today!

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Beth Caudill’s Winner!

October 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm (General, Guest Bloggers, Winners) (, , )

Congratulations to Colleen who won the prize from guest author Beth Caudill!  Please email Contests@bethcaudill.net to claim your prize!

Congrats again! And thanks to Beth for joining us and giving us such a great visit!

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Guest Author, Pamela Palmer

August 25, 2009 at 5:42 am (Author Interviews, General, Guest Bloggers)

Pamela Palmer

Pamela Palmer

Edited to add the rest of Pamela’s awesome book covers!

Hello everyone!  Shout out a great big SSR welcome to our guest, Pamela Palmer, who writes for both Nocturne and Avon, as well as writes under the name Pamela Montgomerie.  Today we’re here to talk about Pamela’s exciting and heart pounding Feral Warrior series and to celebrate the release of her exciting newest book, Passion Untamed!

Thanks for having me, Teresa!

Now Pamela, I first heard of you at the RWA National conference.  I saw one of your cards in the goodie room and remember thinking “Now this is my kind of author.”  So of course the instant I got home, I hit the internet to learn more about you.  After reading your books, I thought it would be great to introduce you to our readers.  So start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I sold my first book, THE DARK GATE, to Silhouette Nocturne in May 2006 through Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest and have since sold a total of twelve books and a novella to three different publishers. I write the dark paranormal Esri series for Nocturne and the Feral Warriors shape-shifter series for Avon, both as Pamela Palmer, but I took the pseudonym Pamela Montgomerie for my time travel series for Berkley. My first four single titles hit stores this summer – SAPPHIRE DREAM from Berkley and the first three books in my Feral Warriors series, DESIRE UNTAMED, OBSESSEION UNTAMED, and PASSION UNTAMED, which hits shelves today.

Paranormal is considered a relatively new subgenre of romance, despite a history of it tucked away in many non-romance books (Dark Shadows is the ultimate paranormal romance way back when.)  Have you always been drawn toward the paranormal?

In one way or another, definitely. When I was five, my favorite book was about dinosaurs. I know that’s science rather than fiction, but you can’t get much ‘bigger-than-life’. It wasn’t much of a stretch from imagining dinosaurs roaming the earth to imagining shape-shifters, vampires, elves, etc. I started watching Star Trek re-runs when I was ten and fell in love with the idea of fascinating worlds beyond our own. These days I can’t get enough of it. LOST, True Blood, Buffy, Lord of the Rings, Terminator – you name it, I can’t get enough of it! I love seeing (and putting) ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances, then watching as they discover they’re not as ordinary as they thought they were.

Why do think this genre is so enormously popular right now?

Personally, I think it’s because it takes one of the elements I’ve always loved about historicals (that delicious imbalance of physical power between the sexes) and brings it into our world. In modern society, power comes from job title, money, military rank, etc. In ancient times, power was much more about physical strength. There’s something incredibly sexy about a physically powerful, dangerous male who finds himself unable to be anything but tender with the woman he loves. A sexy doctor is fun, sure, but given the choice, I’ll take a dangerous vampire or a powerful, bare-chested, shape-shifter any day.

I”m with you, and you do have some powerfully sexy bare-chested shapeshifters.  I had to wipe the drool from my kindle. I”m always up for some strong, sexy men who don’t seem to understand the concept of “Politically correct.”

While checking out some of your reviews, one of the reviewers commented on the violence in your books. I think the reason for the comment was not that you depict violence, for most paranormal books do, but you depict violence toward innocent humans as opposed to other paranormal creatures. Do you think this is a fair statement?

There are a lot of ways to do fantasy. My way is to create a fantastical world, then make it as real as I can. No sugar-coating. No pulling punches. If I have a shape-shifter who can’t keep his clothes on when he shifts, he’s going to be naked a lot. If I have a villain who feeds on emotions like pain and fear, and he has no conscience, logic tells me he’s going after humans. Not only are we easy prey, but the immortals are the ones trying to catch him, so his own survival demands he avoid them. My aim isn’t to make my books violent, but rather to make the stakes sky-high, not only for the immortals, but for the reader. The threat to humanity isn’t theoretical, it’s already happening right there on the page. If my heroes fail, we’re all in trouble.

So we pray those wonderfully sexy heroes never fail!  You are so right though.  The more realistic the danger, the higher the stakes for the reader.  I can guarantee I didn’t want to put either of your books down because of that danger and fear.  My heart was pounding as I shouted “NO!  Don’t let it happen.”  And for those who haven’t read her books yet, I won’t tell you what that was.  You’ll just have to read it yourself to find out.

So, Pamela, tell us about this new Feral Warrior shape-shifter series of yours!

Ah, so glad you asked. : ) The premise behind the Feral Warriors is that eons ago, before the rise of human civilization, two immortal races battled the Daemons for control of the earth — the Mage, or magic ones, and the Therians, the mighty shape-shifters. Though traditional enemies, the Mage and Therians banded together to overcome the High Daemon, Satanan, ending his reign of terror and destroying his armies. But to win that ultimate battle, both races were forced to mortgage nearly all their power. Only one Therian among each of the ancient lines of shape-shifters was left with the power of his animal. Nine remain. They’re called the Feral Warriors. But dark forces are gathering, determined to raise Satanan and his horde once more, and the nine are the only ones who stand between us and destruction.

These books are romances, each featuring a different couple in the lead roles, but they’re also high-action, high-adventure paranormal thrillers, each book another chapter of the greater story.

In book 3, PASSION UNTAMED, Paenther is faced with his worst nightmare when he falls for the seduction of a passionuntamedmmcsweet beauty and finds himself chained in a Mage lair, the captive of the witch and her evil companions.

Though the Mage witch Skye has a gentle heart, demonic forces have enslaved her, forcing her to kidnap Paenther, a powerful and dangerous Feral Warrior. Even chained and naked, Paenther is a cunning prisoner who seduces her, body and soul, turning captive into captor. Paenther’s pride demands revenge against the enchantress who emerged from the deep woods like a sensual vision and enthralled him, even as she makes his body burn with passion. Despite his fury over her treachery, Skye’s gentle beauty calls to his soul, calming the wild chaos within him, and stealing his heart. But when evil threatens, Paenther and Skye’s only chance at survival is to trust in one another…and the power of love.

Passion Untamed is Book 3 in the Feral Warriors series.

Excerpt:

His muscles corded as he fought the chains with every ounce of strength he possessed until his skin was damp with sweat. But the chains didn’t budge. He was pinned fast, his arms trapped above his head, his legs spread and tethered.

Ah, goddess. If only you’d stopped me. There was no fate worse. He’d have sold his soul to have escaped this.

Heaven help him. His soul was probably the very thing the witch wanted. To finish what the Mage had started all those years ago – tearing him loose from his animal once and for all.

He caught her scent, that delicate, damning smell of violets. She stepped into the doorway, the ethereal beauty who’d shown him heaven between her thighs then captured him in her net of bewitchment. Lust slammed into him all over again.

Even as hatred seared its way through his blood, his gaze drank in the sight of her. She was slender, with few curves revealing themselves beneath the soft, shapeless blue dress. But her short hair accentuated a long, graceful neck and features that were too fine, too delicate for a cold-hearted witch.

Mage or not, she stole his breath.

She watched him, her eyes wary, as she gently stroked the rabbit in her arms. At her side, a doe pressed her head against the witch’s hip while several excited squirrels chased one another around her ankles.

He’d thought she was human.

Closing his eyes against the sight of her, he prayed that grave error didn’t turn out to be the last mistake he ever made.

It’s wonderful visiting with the Shapeshifter Romance Blog group!

Pamela also is available at the following sites:

http://www.facebook.com/PamelaPalmer

http://pamelapalmer.net/index.htm

Obsession Untamed

Obsession Untamed

Now that we’ve teased you, Pamela has offered to give away ONE copy of Passion Untamed!  This is a time I wish I was eligible for it, cause hubby has stolen my Kindle and doesn’t wanna give it back.  The brat.  Guess I’ll have to wait to read Passion Untamed this weekend.  So, one person who comments between now and next Tuesday will win a copy of Passion Untamed.  Ask your questions and have a little fun.  While you’re at it, why not tell us, if you have read one of Pamela’s previous books, which has your favorite character?  For me, I’m really looking forward to Paenther, the teaser in Obsession Untamed was enough to really peak my curiosity!

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Guest Author – Lisa Hendrix of the Immortal Brotherhood Series

January 8, 2009 at 6:44 am (General, Guest Bloggers) (, , , , , , , )

I hope you’ll all join with me in welcoming Lisa Hendrix, author of the Immortal Brothershood series.  I first met Lisa on Facebook.  We chatted about book covers and very kewl music videos, and so I put her on my “to read” list.  I am so glad we met! What an awesome book.  If you love romance with a historical twist, if you love the doomed, tortured shapeshifters, and if you love a heroine who can take both of those and tie their hero’s into knots, then this is the series for you.

So without further ado, (hanging head in shame for stealing her guest’s thunder) I  introduce Lisa Hendrix and The Immortal Brotherhood!

Well, foo.

I was going to write about brainstorming/where we author-types get our ideas, but Teresa beat me to it. Bad hostess. Bad. No cookie. 😉

So…hmm. ‘Scuse me while I //ahem// brainstorm a moment.

Ah. I know. I can talk about the other place some of us get ideas. The Idea Store. You know, the one where you go in, browse the section on— immwarlarge-186x3001What’s that? You don’t know the place? Well, it’s on the corner of Third and— Huh? What do you mean you don’t believe me. I am highly offended. Taking umbrage, even [Aside: Doesn’t taking umbrage sound like something you do at the cloak rack in dark restaurant? “I got confused and took his umbrage instead of my own.”] I’ll have you know, I’ve spent good coin at the Idea Store and…

Still not fooling you, eh.

Okay, I admit it. There is no idea store. But that is an answer I’ve used when a particular annoying sort of “wanna-be-but-doesn’t-want-to-be-bothered-with-the-work” writer starts pestering me. You know, the one who has “this great idea” and wants you to write it so s/he can collect half the royalties.

Usually, I kindly redirect them. If I’m slightly grumpy, I tell them to sit down and write it all out in detail and then we’ll talk—knowing, of course, that they never will, because it they wanted to write it they wouldn’t be soliciting strangers to do it for them.

If I’m utterly out of patience, however, I’ve been known to say something like, “No, I’m sorry. I have an exclusive subscription with the Idea Store, and I’m not allowed to accept ideas from anywhere else.” Then I step back and wait for the wheels to start turning. You can see them: “Idea Store? Maybe I can just sell the idea to them and they’ll find someone who wants to write about Great Aunt Ethel’s encounter with the ghost of Charles Dickens’ bear012secretary and I’ll still make a million dollars.” Then reality hits. “Oh.” And then I’m like, “Excuse me, I have to go pick up my dog at the groomer,” and I’m out of there. (A secret: I don’t have a dog.)

But that’s only when I’m utterly out of patience. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Getting a little more serious, most of my ideas get worked out in exactly the sort of brainstorming Teresa was talking about. You have a kernel of something—a news clipping, a song title that you think could be turned into a good story, a specter of a scene stuck to the inside of your skull like the scum in an old coffee cup—and you start trying to turn it into something bigger and more useful.

But that’s still begging the question, because what people really want to know when they ask where you get your ideas, is: where does that first kernel come from?

The answer: Anywhere. Everywhere. People who don’t write, especially those who don’t write fiction, think there’s something magic about the idea gathering process. Nope. In reality, they have the ideas, too. They just don’t recognize them as such. They hear that same song title, and may even imagine two lovers dancing to the music. But then they drop it, a passing thought lost forever.


A writer’s mind, however, grabs onto those dancing lovers and twiddles with them. How did they end up dancing? Did she ask him or did he ask her? Who are they? Rewind tape. Ah, I see: she’s older and a bit plain, and she’s surprised that such a young, hunky fox would even talk to her, much less dance with her. How did he learn to dance so well, anyway? Something fishy about that, for sure. And why is that other man watching them so intently. Is he her husband? Her ex? A government agent who thinks she’s about to be assassinated by the dancing hunk? What happens next? And then? And then? A writer scribbles it on paper or mumbles it into a digital voice recorder or texts themselves with the thought, and then keeps churning it over.

IMMORTAL OUTLAW MECH-1


Literally, we can’t leave the kernel alone, sometimes playing the idea out in our heads over and over until it has to come out on paper. (I’ve asked other writers about this and found almost unanimous recognition of the problem/gift.) Undoubtedly, if a shrink ever got hold of us not knowing we were writers, we’d be labelled obsessive. A note in our files would say “Subject suffers from uncontrolled fantasy life, hears voices, and imagines she’s going to make a living from them.”

The idea for The Immortal Brotherhood series landed in my mind as a dream. Now, I’ve long been one to lay in bed half-awake, thinking things through, but this was a case of waking up from a sound sleep with a crystal clear image in my head: a huge, blond man in formal evening wear. I knew only two things about him: he was a bear during daylight hours. And he was a thousand years old. (Those of you who’ve read IMMORTAL WARRIOR will recognize Brand, except for the clothing.) Naturally, my brain couldn’t turn loose of something that juicy, so over the next days and weeks, my imagination ran with questions: How had he gotten turned into a bear? (cursed by a witch) Why was he immortal? (same, part of the curse, so the torture would go on and on) Was he alone? (No. He had this raven on his shoulder, who had once been his best friend) Were there others besides those two?

The answer to that last was a resounding YES, and thus the brotherhood was born. Then I had to work out who all these guys were (Vikings), how many there were (nine—a number goldeneaglesignificant to the Norse gods), and what animals they were (ever try coming up with nine animals that Vikings would have known about in 850 AD that are sexy enough to be romance heroes? I mean, really, a were-boar? Eew.) I had to figure out who’d cursed them and why, and how the curse would play out, and something to make each story different, and an over-arching story that would carry through all nine books, and…

Somewhere in the middle of this, I realized that to get to the guy in evening clothes, the full story would have to cover the thousand-plus years he’d been under the curse. That the other men’s stories would each play out in a different century. That the captain of the crew (my dream guy) would be the last of the warriors to break the curse, and that his friend would stick with him the whole time, even if they never saw each other in human form all those thousands years.

Well, thank goodness for critique partners, the internet, a husband who’s willing to listen to me ramble through scenes aloud even when he has no clue what I’m talking about and who’s also pretty good at asking the kind of question that makes me come up with answers.

And that’s why we (mostly) don’t end up in front of that shrink, because we take that obsessive and uncontrolled fantasy life to a critique partner and talk about it and realizes there’s a whole story, not in the hero and villain, but in the hero’s horndog sidekick and the woman who sets out to seduce him.

Just like Teresa said. (Good hostess. You can have your cookie now.)

Every time I hear this song now, I think Of Lisa’s books ~ Teresa, who is happily eating her cookie now!

—-

Lisa Hendrix is the author of IMMORTAL WARRIOR and the upcoming IMMORTAL OUTLAW (June ’09, Available for Preorder at Amazon and other online sellers), the wife of a patient man, the mother of two impatient children, and a long-time patron of the Idea Store. You can find out more about were-bears, were-ravens, were-eagles, and the other beasts of the Immortal Brotherhood at her website, where her January Jumpstart contest is also live right now.

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Playing it Safe – Guest Author Kelley Armstrong

November 5, 2008 at 5:45 am (Guest Bloggers) (, )

Hi everyone –
Please welcome my guest today, author Kelley Armstrong.
Deborah Cooke

Living with the Dead

Living with the Dead

The 9th book in my Otherworld series came out last week. For it, I deviated from my usual 1st person narration and wrote it in 3rd with multiple viewpoints because that’s how this particular story needed to be told.

I know I will have some readers who read it and say “What the hell was she thinking?” I know I’ll have some readers who are disappointed. And the thing is, I knew that before I started the book, and I wrote it anyway.

That decision didn’t come easy for me. Whenever I change things in my series—the narrator, the tone, the narrative format—there’s a part of me that throws up screaming red stop signs. That part tells me to play it safe, don’t make waves, just give the readers what I know they want and save myself from angry Amazon reviewers. This time, that part was telling me to write a Cassandra or Savannah book—you know readers are waiting for that, Kelley. Or an Elena book—can’t go wrong with Elena, Kelley. So what if I don’t have a good plot idea for those narrators. Make something up. Who cares if it sucks and I’m embarrassed by it. Readers will buy it!

The problem is that, when I decided to turn Bitten into a series, I made myself promise one thing—that I would never let it devolve into “churning out crappy books because I know loyal readers will buy them.” I decided I would never play it safe, and started down that road with book 3, by changing the narrator.

What readers want is important to me. Who am I writing for if not my readers? But keeping readers happy also means keeping the series alive and fresh, and sometimes, to do that, I need to take a risk.

In their review of this latest book, Booklist said “Rarely is the ninth book in a series as fresh and entertaining as the first, but this Women of the Otherworld volume defies the odds.” And that is exactly what I want to hear.

I know, however, that not every reader will echo Booklist’s sentiments. And that’s why, when I went to a convention in Alaska last year and thought of a great idea for an Elena book, I jumped on it for book #10. Because I do want to please readers. Sometimes, though, doing that in the long-term, by keeping a series healthy, means doing something riskier in the short term. But the alternative is to play it safe, and that’s something I don’t ever want to do.

Kelley Armstrong

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Guest Blogger – Beth Caudill and a PRIZE

October 9, 2008 at 1:00 am (Guest Bloggers, Marcia Colette)

by Beth Caudill

I had the fun chance to interview the lovely Beth Caudill who writes for Wild Rose Press.  Her first foray into the shapeshifting world begins with Informally Yours.  Not only is she a writer, but she’s one of the hardest working moms in the business.  Oh, I forgot.  Motherhood isn’t a business.  It if were, there would be a lot of millionaires running around right now. 

~Marcia Colette

**********

First I’d like to thank Marcia and the other authors at ShapeShifter Romance for having me here today. I’m Beth Caudill and I write short paranormal and fantasy stories.

MC:  Tell us about Informally Yours. And doggone it, why is that excerpt so short on your website? I want more!

BC:  The idea for Informally Yours came from a writing challenge on Kelley Armstrong’s Online Writing Group. We were given the picture of a haunted house and in 1500 to 2000 words had to write a story staring the house. I saw more in my head then just the short house scene.

IY was rejected the first time I submitted it. But I was asked to rework it and The Wild Rose Press accepted it on my second submission. Here is the blurb:

Everyday Melinda Jenson goes to work at Formally Yours, a high-end formal wear store, unaware the customers and owner are members of the local supernatural community.  On Halloween night, Melinda’s boss asks her to make a simple delivery. Unwilling to disappoint her niece and nephew, she arrives late and has an unexpected encounter with a wolf. Now she’s chasing cute, furry forest creatures, and mated to a man she barely knows. “May you live in interesting times,” just took on a whole new meaning.

MC: Knowing that you have some werewolf lovers on this blog, we want to know what drew you to one of our favorite subjects, werewolves.

BC:  Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, and The Boy Who Cried Wolf are but a few of the tales children read/hear in which the wolf is portrayed as an evil character. I love the image of a wolf howling particularly against a snow covered forest background. I think wolves are beautiful and intelligent creatures we should respect not fear.  

 MC: We also like offspring…or at least, I do.  🙂  Any chance on Informally Yours producing any offspring (a.k.a series)?

BC:  Not at this time. None of the other characters from IY have come begging me to write about them.  I have 10 files of started stories plus a few more in notes jotted down.  So if the characters don’t jump up and scream at me I don’t work on their story. 

I am working on another wolf shifter story set in a new world. (I always wanted to visit another planet so I made one up.) This one will spawn some offspring.  I have ideas for three separate stories and a possible fourth. They won’t all be wolves but I’m starting there.

MC: We’re incredibly nosy people.  Give us the scoop on your other works available through The Wild Rose Press.

BC:  My first release, Garden Magic, first appeared in the Rose Petals Volume 2 anthology. TWRP rereleased it as a standalone short story earlier this year.

Melinda Conley was the last of three magical sisters to marry. After failing to find a mate in the supernatural community, she falls for a mortal. So what happens when her magic garden says he’s not her one true love?


Dragon’s Mate

My second release is very short and inspired by a friend who told me there weren’t enough dragon romances, my love of reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books, and hearing the theme to Dragon Tales on PBS one too many times. 

Lady Karee Wilmore is about to be married. To a Prince no less. Yet she is unhappy, all her life she has dreamed of being a Dragon’s Mate. She is resigned with her match to the Prince until circumstances land her kidnapped by an Air Dragon.  Will all her dreams come true on the cusp of her wedding?

In celebration of October being Paranormal month at The Wild Rose Press, all Black (Vampire/Shapeshifter) and Faery (Fantasy/Futuristic) stories are on sale.

MC: If you were a shapeshifter, what kind would you be and why? If you say a turnip, I’m sending you valium.

BC: Nope, no turnips here.  I’d be a wolf, a dragon, or an owl.  I’ve always wanted to fly and wolves are just cool.  🙂

**********

Thanks for stopping by Beth!  Informally Yours is available today, so don’t forget to get your copy.  And check out her website at www.bethcaudill.net.

Anyone who comments is entered to win a $5 gift certificate from Wild Rose Press! 

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Winner of Lauren Dane’s book!

August 28, 2008 at 10:09 am (Guest Bloggers)

Hey folks. Sorry to take so long to get with this – Please beat me with the wet noodle now.

Ok, that’s better. I’m chastised now. Phew.

The winner of Lauren Dane’s book is….

Drumroll please.

CIARA, who finds werewolves YUMMY!

Congrats! Email me at desertpetiri@aol.com with your email address and choice of books: Do you want Ascension, or Enforcer?

I’m sure you’ll love whichever you choose.

And thanks again Lauren, for joining us at our blog!

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ShapeShifter Romance Welcomes Lauren Dane

August 21, 2008 at 5:00 am (Contests, General, Guest Bloggers) (, , , , )

Every time I turn around someone asks me “have you read Lauren Dane? she writes great shapeshifting books”. Then there are the ones who read my books then say “have you read Lauren Dane? You remind me of her.” Well dang, I can’t fight words like that, now can I? So, when it came time to find myself a great guestblogger for today, who did I visit? Lauren Dane, of course.

By way of introduction, I’m Lauren Dane and I’ve been writing professionally since 2004. I write for Samhain, Berkley, Harlequin Spice and Black Lace. My first book, Triad, came out from Ellora’s Cave in May of 2005 and I’ve been happily writing away ever since. I write across several genres and heat levels from my contemporary small town romance series the Chase Brothers to futuristic erotic romance such as Undercover and Relentless.

One of my favorite tropes/storylines to write about are werewolves. Mmmm. My most recent release with Samhain, Cascadia Wolves: Fated, continues the story of the Warden family, the wolves who run the Cascadia Pack and the National Pack.

With this series I’ve been able to combine two of my greatest loves – stories involving large, loving families and paranormal worldbuilding.

Luckily, this has turned out to be one of my most popular series and I often get asked how I came to write this Pack.

Gosh, what seems like forever ago but was really only 2005, I’d just started writing with Ellora’s Cave and they put out a call for an anthology. I can’t even remember the title but the theme was men with dangerous jobs.

So I noodled around and came up with an idea for a werewolf cop of sorts, an Enforcer. I wrote the proposal and subbed it but they didn’t choose it. My editor wrote me and said she really loved the idea and she thought I should write it as a full length novel.

So it sat a while, because I had a dozen other things to do and by the time I’d gotten back to it, Lex had softened a bit and the original heroine had changed into Nina Reyes and some key elements had shifted. Pretty much, without my editor’s urging, I’m not sure I would have written it at all!

But I did and Cascadia Wolves: Enforcer was my first book in the Cascadia Wolves series. In the beginning, I’d really only considered it to be a standalone book but when I started Tri Mates, the story got really big and Warren Pellini was back so at that point I sketched out the idea for the werewolf mafia story arc to be told over a few more books.

I think for me, this series taught me a lot about letting the story have its way with you. Sometimes you have to rein yourself in as an author, keep your cast down to a manageable number, keep the story within the lines or it’s just too big and confusing. But other times, if you let yourself go a bit, you find things you hadn’t imagined at first.

Earlier this year the four book story arc with Pellini and the werewolf mafia ended with Standoff. I saved him for last for a few reasons, firstly the story arc needed to end with him risking his life to save his people and I felt like it would be more meaningful if he did it with his mate at his side. Also, he’s the patriarch of the series so there was an important element of saving the best for last.

So the story arc was over but there were other characters poking at me, werewolves can do that you know. And I got letters about them all the time so I decided to tell Megan’s story with Fated. It was fun to pick up a year and a half later and to start a new story without all the baggage of large multi-book storyline.

What I wanted to do was take the idea of the fated mate and turn it upside down. What if your mate was a werewolf who was raised outside a Pack? What if he hated what he was, feared it even? What if you’re happy living as a human and your mate is one of the highest ranking werewolves there is? How do you reconcile that? Because love and chemistry isn’t enough.

The book was a challenge but I’m thrilled with how it turned out and I hope readers are as well!

Thanks for having me today! If you’d like to read an excerpt or two from my books, you can head on over to my website (www.laurendane.com) to check them out.

Not sure what WordPress did to my post but it appears to have posted an older, temporary save of this post – so now adding back all the wonderful covers Lauren has, as well as letting you guys know, Lauren will be giving away one ebook – winner’s choice of Ascension or Enforcer. Just leave a comment- winner will be selected next Thursday!

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Guest Blogger – Virginia Kantra

July 24, 2008 at 1:00 am (Author Interviews, Guest Bloggers, Marcia Colette)

I’m so thrilled to have the amazing USA Today Bestselling author and six-time Rita Award finalist Virginia Kantra as our guest blogger today. She has a string of other credit to her name, but I’m trying to get you to hit up her website for the details. Anyway, she takes the seas by storm with her first full-length venture into paranormal romance with Sea Witch. Come August, she’ll churn up hurricane force winds with book two in her Children of the Sea Series, Sea Fever. This is my first interview (because I’ve always wanted to do one), so give a warm welcome to the lovely Ms. Kantra.

*Applause*

1. I’ve read Sea Crossing from the Shifter anthology and loved the story between Emma and Griffith. How does that story tie into the rest of your Children of the Sea Series?

“Sea Crossing” is a prequel-sort of Anne of Green Gables sails on the Titanic, but with hot sex. There are some cross-over characters-one of the advantages of dealing with immortals!-but the stories are standalone. I can’t say more because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers.

2. Margred and Caleb are the couple of hour in Sea Witch. Will we see them again or get a short glimpse into their lives with Sea Fever (book 2)?

Oh, absolutely you’ll see them again. Caleb and Dylan are brothers, after all, and Margred wouldn’t let herself be left out of anything. But Sea Fever belongs to Dylan and Regina.

3. I know you get this a lot, but why seals? Why not a jellyfish or a sea urchin?

Yeah, yeah, I know. Other writers are doing alpha wolves, sleek black panthers, sexy beasts prowling through the jungle at night, and I’m deep in . . . Sea World.

But that’s our limited modern mind set. The tales of the selkie-mythical creatures who shed their seal skins and come ashore as beautiful men and women-come from a more mythic place and a more basic time. In the old tales, you can feel the characters’longing: the lonely sailor, the woman who loses her love to the sea, the farmer searching for a wife beyond the local girls he knows, the unmarried village girl who can’t or won’t name the father of her baby. There’s a palpable, poignant conflict between their day-to-day experience and their yearning for something more.

It was that juxtaposition, that tension between land and sea, between the contemporary, pragmatic, police procedural world of my hero and the timeless, sensual, magical world of my heroine, that totally hooked me into the first story and into the series.

4. You put a lot of research into Sea Witch, though I didn’t realize how much you put into Caleb’s character to make his time in Iraq so real. Tell us the lengths you went to, including the very cool discoveries you made along the way. Don’t leave anything out, including that rumor I heard about you streaking across the beach in an attempt to get a feel for Margred.

Hey, if I went skinny dipping, I’m not telling you. She’s lying. I’ve got pictures to prove it. Just let me get my iStock photos together. 😉

On a more serious note . . . I knew it would take quite a man to capture Margred’s attention. Caleb is a true hero. I wanted to do justice to his character, his sacrifice, and the service of our troops in the Guard. I was fortunate enough to become friends with First Lieutenant Sarah Frantz of the North Carolina National Guard at a Suz Brockmann reader event in Atlanta two years ago. I read a lot of journals and letters by soldiers serving in Iraq. The attack on Caleb is actually based on video I found on-line.

5. There’s not much on your website about Sea Lord, but I’ll survive. Can you give us a tiny glimpse into that book or is it still in the plotting, hammering, beat-to-a-freakin’-pulp stage?

Hmmm… How’s this?

Conn ap Llyr walked the broken shore of the crescent island, just out of reach of the seductive curl of the water, ignoring the siren call of the waves and the lap of the surge like the tempo of his blood. Pervasive. Tantalizing. Addictive. He needed the sea like he needed a woman.

But he could control his needs. He must. Let his father, Llyr, wallow in the pleasures of the land beneath the waves. Conn seldom gave himself up to the sea’s embrace anymore.

Yet sometimes in the evening, he left his tower to walk with his hound along the rocks and tide pools at the water’s edge. To refresh his mind, renew his gift and cool the hot impatience of his body.
Which is why the vision burning in the tide pool at his feet almost tripped him up.

-Sea Lord, Berkley Sensation, May 2009

6. How many books are in your series? Inquiring–desperate–minds want to know because if we have to petition someone to get more books in this series, count me in.

This trilogy (Sea Witch, Sea Fever, and Sea Lord) is tied together by the three Hunter siblings, Caleb, Dylan, and Lucy. But the world has grown in the writing, and there are definitely other people and situations I’d be interested in exploring. My writing process is pretty organic, so I have to build everything off the characters.

7. Does this mean you’ll be doing paranormal romance from now on or will you continue to peck romantic suspense on the keyboard, too? Careful with your answer. Remember what blog you’re on. Not that I have anything against romantic suspense, of course.

You know, I originally thought Sea Witch was another straightforward contemporary romantic suspense: police chief on a remote island off the coast of Maine discovers a naked woman who’s been attacked on the beach.

Then I thought . . . What if she wasn’t human?

You couldn’t take the paranormal elements out of the books without the storyline falling apart. But you couldn’t take the suspense out, either. They’re both there to test the characters, and the characters have to live in both worlds. So I’m hoping I’ll continue to write about both worlds.

8. What are you working on now? And it had better be Sea Lord or I’m coming to your house to change your mind.

Definitely Sea Lord! I’m very excited to be writing Lucy’s story. This is a girl abandoned by her mother and raised by her alcoholic father and ten-year-old brother. The series logo, the triskelion, is not only a sign of the domains of earth, sea, and sky, but a symbol of the triple goddess (maiden, matron, and wise woman). You could say Margred, the sea witch, is my wise woman. Regina, the single mom in Sea Fever, is the matron. And motherless Lucy is the girl/woman just coming into her strength and knowledge.

Of course, Lucy not only has to contend with the ongoing threat of the children of fire, she also has to deal with Conn ap Llyr, the selkie prince. So she has to find her feet fast!

Thank you, Virginia, for putting up with me. It wasn’t like you had a choice since I’m holding the Kantra family pet hostage. But I thought I’d throw it out there. 😉 Check out her website at www.virginiakantra.net. Better yet, just go buy the book!

~Marcia Colette

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Guest Author Cathy Clamp

June 26, 2008 at 6:08 am (Deborah Cooke, Guest Bloggers) (, , , )

Hi everyone! Deborah Cooke here again. Please welcome today’s guest, Cathy Clamp. Cathy is one half of the successful author team of C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp. In addition to her post today, Cathy is sharing some beautiful new covers with us. The first four Sazi books written by this talented pair are being re-released with new covers AND they have a new pseudonym for a new stand-alone book. Here’s the cover for that February 2009 release!

Magic\'s Design

And, here’s CATHY!

Hunter\'s MoonIncorporating animalistic traits into your characters

There are tons of shapeshifter romances out there nowadays, but the ones I like the best are those that are like the ones we write (which is probably why we write them that way. Heh… ) The traits that make a shapeshifter most appealing are those of the animal. Animals are both complex and simplistic. When they’re hungry, they eat. When they’re tired, they sleep. When the urge strikes them, they have sex. No worries about the mortgage, or whether the car needs repairs or if there will be enough money in the bank account for your kid’s next college payment.

Simple. Eat, sleep, love.

But animals have other traits too, and there are lots of quizzes that show up on the web or at places like Quizzilla about “what kind of animalCaptive Moon would you be?” Because there are traits that are very distinct to certain species, and people who raise show dogs know that certain breeds act certain ways. Lap dogs are often more territorial than bigger dogs. Greyhounds MUST run or they’re depressed. Bulldogs are stubborn and can be a challenge to train.

And what about the other species? House cats are aloof and will destroy things when annoyed, as will their wild cousins. Bears are often grouchy and easily angered. Snakes lash out at anything that looks like a threat (or food.) In our “Tales of the Sazi” shapeshifter series, we went one step further to let the characters knowingly deal with their animal traits. The hero in one book, CAPTIVE MOON, is a cougar/lion cross in his animal form. Antoine has a bad habit of breaking furniture when he’s Moon\'s Webangry—which is often. He comes prepared to meetings with lots of cash to replace items he knows he’s going to break. But he tries not to. He does recognize it’s wrong, but it’s tough to have the human mind win when put to the test. His cat nature makes him lash out.

And let’s face it, the animal is what a shapeshifter is all about in romance. It’s what makes them attractive and sexy. It’s the loss of control that makes love edgy and dangerous.

The Sazi have a council that has one member to represent all the shifting groups—wolves, cats, snakes, raptors and bears. (Except that there are two cats on the council, but that’s a long story if you haven’t read theHowling Moon series. Oh, and spiders now too. Yet another long story.) They’re all territorial, and they often squabble. The snake representative, Ahmad (a werecobra) takes his frustrations out on the staff of wherever the meeting is being held. He’s snide and sarcastic. He kills innocents without reason or regret, to the frustration of the other council members. He’s hateful and nasty and there’s always a question which side he’s on. And oddly, he’s the single most requested character to have his own love story (and he’s going to be . . . in this next book!)

Now, there are plenty of snide, nasty-tempered, sarcastic humans out there. But few women find them sexy. Most often, they’re described as “jerks.” Why then is the animal counterpart different? Is it that we excuse in a shapeshifter that which he/she can’t control? Often, in books, we pair that person with someone to temper those instincts, to hold them in check and make them somehow closer to humanity. But would that really happen in the animal world?

Let’s hear your thoughts.

Psssssst – visit Cathy and Cie’s website HERE!

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