March 8, 2017
Hello, I’m Ethan Stone and today I’m talking about Wild Instincts, book two in my Seaside Shifters series. Even though it’s a sequel it can be read as a standalone.
Wild Instincts stars Tyson Dakota, a brand new police cadet, who finds himself involved in a local mystery as well as falling for a mysterious stranger.
I introduced Tyson in the first book, Wild Retaliation, as the cousin of the police chief, John Dakota. Tyson isn’t seen much in that story and I didn’t really have plans to use him as more than a supporting character in future books. In fact, my initial idea was to focus on John and his boyfriend Trevor and Trevor being pregnant.
I really wanted to write an MPREG story but as I tried to do it I just couldn’t find an original spin on the story. I also had a whiff of an idea regarding John’s friend who was in a coma at the end of the story. Frustrated at being at an impasse I sent Wild Retaliation to a friend to read. After reading it she said she wanted Tyson’s story before anyone else’s. And that got my brain working.
In book one Tyson is still a whiny teenager and book two was going to take place a year or so later so I had different options for Tyson. He could’ve continued down a bad path and become a bad boy or he could’ve taken a lesson from his cousin and started down a positive path.
Initially I wrote Tyson as sort of a bad boy with plans to go down a path to redemption but nothing I wrote felt right. Then I made Tyson more like John and things just clicked. I chose to explore the bad boy angle with Tyson’s love interest, Amante.
Tyson is a bear shifter while his boyfriend is not. Amante eventually discovers that the world is far bigger than he had any clue about. I love exploring regular people discovering the paranormal world which happens to Amante when he learns Tyson is a shifter. But that’s not the only thing he discovers because he’s involved in Trevor giving birth to cubs during a dangerous situation.
Tyson is a bear shifter but I have supporting characters as wolf shifters, cougar, bobcat, coyote, lynx and more. I’ve chosen to focus mainly on predators but I’ve always wondered if readers would like to see shifters of other breeds as well. In the comments let me know what kind of animals you’d like to see written about and enter to win a book from my backlist.
Check out Wild Instincts today!
Police cadet and bear shifter Tyson Dakota looks forward to his on-the-job training in Seaside, Oregon, working alongside his cousin, Chief of Police John Dakota. Their goal is to investigate the growing meth epidemic and identify the kingpin bringing the drugs into their community. All signs point to someone inside law enforcement working with the drug traffickers, and Tyson must find out who before the body count gets any higher.
Along the way, Tyson meets Amante, a charismatic and attractive man in town for reasons he doesn’t want to share. Tyson is drawn to Amante despite his secretive ways and is sure there could be more between them than explosive passion, if he could just get Amante to make his stay in Seaside permanent. But when Tyson’s pursuit of justice puts him at odds with Amante, they could lose more than their fledgling relationship.
They could end up losing their lives.
About Ethan Stone:
Romance on the Edge
Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.
Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.
He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.
Readers can find Ethan online.
His books: http://www.ethanjstone.com/my-books
November 24, 2016
Hello, all! Thank you for joining me here at the Dreamspinner Press blog as we continue to celebrate the release of The Soldati Prince, the first book in the Soldati Hearts series. The Soldati Prince was originally a short story published last year in the fabulous Charmed & Dangerous Anthology from JCP Books. Since then I had planned to return to the Soldati world, expand on the story, and continue the series. The second edition is more than twice as long with even more story, plot, romance, and action! I had so much fun delving back in, and the second book in the series is already with my publisher, and I can’t wait to get started on the third book. This world has been so much fun to write.
Although we start out in the human world, the majority of our story takes place in the Soldati Realm, a kingdom inhabited by different types of magical shifters, but ruled by the Soldati. Just who are the Soldati? They’re a powerful race of tiger shifter warriors who wield great magic. They possess what’s called “the Soldati soul” which manifests itself as a blinding white light when released from within. This white light has the power to vanquish dark magic, and kill demons. The Soldati have been hunting and destroying demons since the beginning. It’s what they have always done, and what they always do: protect the world, and humans from the demons out to harvest souls. It’s not a pretty job, but the Soldati take pride in what they do, and what they do is crucial to continuation of the human race, even if the human race has no idea the Soldati exist. With the help of the Soldati Eye, a mysterious orb that sees all and knows all, the Soldati use portals to enter the human world, going wherever the Eye sends them to stop the vile creatures.
The Soldati prince is more than a prince or intended mate for the Soldati king. It’s a position of power, honor, and privilege, meant to bring the king and his kingdom greatness. Which is why Khalon King is a little miffed when he discovers his prince is a human. Riley may not have been born a Soldati, but he’s about to prove that what’s in his heart is just as great.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Gay Romance, Shifters, Demons
Series: Soldati Hearts
Length: Novella, 97 pages
Published: Nov 23rd, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
One moment, Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next, he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger-shifter he would rather strangle.
Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world, where he belongs. On their journey, they might discover why the goddess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.
First Edition short story published as The Soldati Prince in Charmed & Dangerous by JCP Books LLC, 2015. Second Edition has been re-edited and extended to novella length with new content.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
Check out the Soldati Hearts inspiration board on Pinterest.
September 7, 2016
Thank for joining me on the Wild Retaliation blog tour. Today I’m going to share a little background on how the story came about.
Wild Retaliation is the first book in a series I’ve titled Seaside Shifters and features the town sheriff John Dakota who is a bear shifter. The town also has a number of different other species of shifters.
The story was originally going to be co-written with another author and good friend of mine—Lynley Wayne. While the co-writing didn’t work out because of our different schedules I held onto a few of the characters I’d created as well as a few of the ideas we’d come up with.
I’d wanted to write a character whose basic description would fit for both his human and animal form. In John’s case it was ginger bear. In his shifted form he’s a cinnamon bear while in his human form he’s a bear (in the gay male term) with red hair. Lynley’s character was going to be a silver fox in both forms. Our plot revolved around a rogue shifter and I’d come up with a past for John that had to do with a series of murders.
The setting of Seaside, Oregon, a real town, came about because I wanted to set the story somewhere small. With a population of around six thousand people Seaside is relatively small but is a large tourist community. The tourism is what led me to think of the town as a place not just for regular people to visit but also for shifters. In my series Seaside is a haven for shifters to either live or visit in piece.
After Lynley and I chose not to work together the ideas we’d worked on stuck around in my head. Basically, Sheriff Dakota would not leave me alone. I knew I had to write his story or I’d never have peace. And as time went on the plot began to form in my head. The rogue shifter was still a part of the plot but not in the way she and I had intended.
What are your favorite kind of shifter stories? Is there a type of animal that you think would make a good shifter story?
Check out Wild Retaliation today!
Chief of Police John Dakota is in a world of trouble. His peaceful town of Seaside, Oregon, has been rocked by a wave of unsolved murders. The bloody deaths are eerily reminiscent of ones that occurred in Seaside years ago. Back then John worked hard to make sure the truth about the killer was never revealed. Now he’s afraid the past is coming back to haunt him.
Trevor English, the nosy reporter who occasionally shares John’s bed, is demanding information about the crimes. He also wants more of John’s affections. But John can’t afford to give in to either demand without risking the revelation of Seaside’s biggest secret: the town is a haven for shifters, and John is one of them.
To solve the crime—and prevent more victims—John must delve into the past. Many members of Seaside’s shifter community are involved, but it’s becoming harder and harder to tell which residents can be trusted. Even John’s family isn’t above suspicion. The body count is rising, and it looks like John is the killer’s next target.
About Ethan Stone:
Ethan Stone is an out-and-proud gay man. Which is fairly new in his life—the out part, not the gay part. He’s been queer his whole life, though he tried to deny it for years with a wonderful woman. The years in denial weren’t all bad as he has two amazing kids out of it. His son is a teenager and his daughter has made him a grandfather three times over. A way-too-young grandfather.
Ethan recently returned to Oregon after almost a decade in Nevada. He no longer has a day job and is doing his best to make a living at this writing thing. If he can’t make a living, he at least wants to support his Mountain Dew and beef jerky addictions.
February 24, 2016
Hi! – my name is Rory Ni Coileain, and today is release day for Wolf, Becoming, my very Russian shape-shifter story.
I’ve been invited to tell you all a little bit about myself and my writing. Which is surprisingly hard! I write what I call “mythic and legendary fantasy” – my logo (shout out to A.J. Corza!) is a blend of urban fantasy on the left, which his piercings and tattoos, and more “traditional” fantasy on the right. And if you’ve ever seen my banner at a convention, you’ve seen my tag line – “The end of the myth is where the story begins.”
I grew up reading mostly fantasy and science fiction. But even before I found Doctor Doolittle (fourth grade) and Dune (eighth grade), my very first love was mythology. The first book I checked out of my school library in kindergarten (after I convinced the librarian that I’d already read everything in the kiddie section, by reading aloud from a book on meteorology and pronouncing “cumulonimbus” correctly) was Gods and Heroes of the Greeks. I loved Norse mythology, too, and by the time I was seven The Egyptian Book of the Dead was on my birthday list. (I was kind of precocious…) And I’ve been reading them ever since. Devouring them. Chinese, Travelling People, Irish, Native American, Russian. I really need an English translation of those 500 German fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth…
Myths and legends are an incredibly powerful tool for the storyteller. They’re shortcuts into the subconscious, both collective and individual. If you’re telling a story and a character drops a glass slipper, your reader is instantly going to conjure a whole subtext, atmosphere, perspective. Your story is right there, in that simple phrase.
And then you get to mess with that story. Which is more fun than kittens. (“Well, almost,” she added in response to a glare from Captain Jack Harkness, her one-eyed polydactyl kitten.) You get to say “Why can’t Cinderella be a boy?” or “Maybe the dragon is only using the princess as bait to attract himself a handsome knight!” or “How can it be fair if the only ‘happily ever after’ your society is prepared to allow this character isn’t ‘happy’ at all?”
When you rewrite a myth, or a legend, you’re playing with the archetypes that form the foundation of a society, and of a mind. Which is how real change happens: you get right down to the root and change the primal stories we tell each other and build our culture on. Subversive as hell, really.
(If this sort of thing interests you, I highly recommend the work, both fictional and scholarly, of Jane Yolen. She is, as far as I’m concerned, the Grand Master of my self-defined subgenre. Her Sister Light, Sister Dark is a story told from three perspectives: What Really Happened, a very long time ago; the legend that grew out of what really happened; and the myth that grew out of the legend. And the whole thing is bracketed by the dyspeptic rantings of a “modern-day” academic, complaining that one of his colleagues, who is so ignorant that he actually believes there was a truth underlying the myths, is getting all the popular and academic attention, and people are ignoring his own carefully crafted (and, of course, totally wrong) interpretations. Hysterically funny and well worth a read. I also highly recommend Briar Rose. Highly. And Tam Lin. And…well, just Google Jane Yolen.)
Wolf, Becoming is taken from several Russian folk tale archetypes. Russian tales often involve a third son of a king or a rich merchant, usually named Ivan (I used Ilya as an homage to Illya Kuryakin, from Man from U.N.C.L.E., my first crush); the third son is usually portrayed as “simple,” but is usually just less ruthless than his older brothers. In my story, that’s a good description of Ilya, but Ilya is also gay – which, in modern Russian society, is all too often a very dangerous thing to be. This is an archetype just begging to be messed with…
And in Russian folk tales, there’s a tradition of shapeshifters, but it’s quite different from the Western tradition. In Russian legends, shapeshifters are animals, first and foremost; they only become human for a limited time, under very restrictive conditions. It was interesting writing a romance under those restrictions – challenging, to make the characters real as wolves, yet human enough for their romance to be believable.
I’d like to give away a copy of Wolf, Becoming – if you’d like a chance to win, comment below with a favorite folk or fairy tale. And if you have some ideas about how you’d like to see it changed, feel free to include that in the comment, too!
Check out Wolf, Becoming today!
Volyk learns very young that he has to hide what he is—oboroten’, shape-shifter—after his father is killed and skinned by a hunter, and the pack that takes in his pregnant mother is hostile to his kind. When Volyk is ordered to fight the pack’s beta to prove his fitness, but instead obeys his hormones and tries to mount him, he’s declared an abomination and forced to flee.
Ilya, too, hides a secret. Being young and gay in modern Russia is dangerous, and he knows it. But the truth eventually gets out, and his brothers lure him into the forest to kill him. They’re stopped by Volyk, who hides the mortally wounded Ilya in his den. The only way to heal the human is to turn him into an oboroten’.
Unfortunately, Ilya’s gentle nature is ill-suited to the life of a wolf. But when Volyk’s old pack returns, seeking to take away Volyk’s magickal den, Ilya will have to embrace—truly become—the wolf Volyk made him to save both his mate’s life and his own.
Rory Ni Coileain:
January 14, 2016
Hi everyone! My name is M.D. Grimm and I am the proud author of “The Shifters” series, of which “Predator and Prey” is the latest book. I plan to run “The Shifters” into the 20s before coming to that epic battle that will conclude everything. Hopefully, at that point, all loose threads will be tied up neatly and we can all leave this strange world I created satisfied.
But until then….
“Predator and Prey” is book #9 in the series and the last of the “historicals” for a while. Yes, I know the 1970s are hardly “historical” in the usual sense, but they aren’t current times, so I just lumped this story in with “Hunted Guardian” (#7) and “The Serpent and the Angel” (#8). I have two more historical stories in the series to write, but those are for later.
First the blurb:
Vietnam War vet turned deep-sea treasure hunter Digger Sullivan scratches out a living, and this new commission is just another job—albeit an exciting one off the Florida coast in 1977. But while exploring the area, Digger and his crew encounter a lot more sharks than they expected.
Reef and his shark shifter clan are charged with protecting a vital, magical secret—two of four scrolls that, when brought together, could annihilate shifters across the world. But Reef can’t keep his head in the game around this intriguing diver, and it’s not long before Digger takes one of the scrolls topside. Reef now has two missions: seduce Digger and recapture the scroll. Despite his attraction to Digger, Reef’s priority must be reclaiming the scroll.
But when Reef’s true identity is exposed, Digger is scared and appalled, and rejects him. Yet Digger might change his mind when his crew is captured by the very person who commissioned them, and Reef and his shark clan are the only things standing between them and death.
Are you all intrigued yet??
Now, for what you’ve all come for: the dirty deats on “Predator and Prey.” First of all, it came about because I really wanted to write a story about a shark shape-shifter. I have a particular fondness for sharks and hope to swim with them one day. What can I say? I’m a little odd. The biggest challenge this presented, however, was trying to reconcile the inherent “alieness” of a shark’s emotion with the more familiar one of a human. It was a similar challenge that “The Serpent and the Angel” offered, since Tobias was a snake. But sharks are even more alien and practically emotionless. But I needed Reef to be relatable, so that was a delicate balance I had to keep. I decided that the best way to approach the situation was to pick a few key features of the shark I wanted to emphasis and stick with them, giving them as much play as possible. Reef is practical, territorially protective, and isn’t ashamed by what he wants. He just goes and gets it. He’s refreshingly free of human idiosyncrasies… at least at the beginning of the story. He was a fun character to play with, and I liked him more and more as the story progressed.
Digger, however, I knew right off: ex-soldier looking for freedom on the ocean, living by no one’s rules but his own, and befriending those society didn’t want. Yeah, I liked him a lot. I have a soft place in my heart for those who serve, and I wanted to try my hand at bringing one to life. It was intriguing to put Reef and Digger together, and even I couldn’t have guessed how well they would click! They “get” each other on a level that most could only dream about.
I consider this story my most ambitious yet. I had zero knowledge of scuba diving, treasure hunting, boats/ships, the Florida coast and waters. For that matter, I had to research the 1970s and be grateful my story was set mostly in isolation on a boat. College work had nothing on the massive research project I dumped on myself. Jeez. But it was all worth it. I am very proud of the end product and though some of my research didn’t end up in the story, that wasn’t the point. I needed to know all those tedious details if I was going to make everything seem real. If it wasn’t real for me, how could I make it real for anyone else?
Most of my story ideas come from the question “what if?” I’m a big fan of asking “what if?” and letting it lead me down winding paths filled with plot bunnies. This has served me well for “The Shifters” series since I wanted to distance myself from the classic wolf shape-shifter stories and experiment with other animals. Don’t get me wrong, I love wolves, but there are so many interesting, beautiful creatures out there, and I didn’t want to limit myself. This strange world I created is full of life, various and magical, and yet connected and fragile. That’s one of the themes I work with through most of the stories—the idea of connectedness. We are all connected to each other, and if one of us fails, it’s a loss to everyone. In my series, the world essentially has three sorts of players: shape-shifters, magical people/fae descendants (the Knights and the Agency), and mundane humans who are oblivious to the war waging. It’s a massive, dysfunctional family, and there aren’t many who know how the war all began.
“Predator and Prey” answers some of those questions. The main villain in the story has an intimate connection with Arcas, the main villain of my series. Also, for those who’ve read “Hunted Guardian” and “The Serpent and the Angel,” I’m sure you’ve guessed the connection between the villains in those stories and Arcas.
Arcas is more than he appears. But more on that at a later date.
“Predator and Prey” also continues the storyline of the four ancient scrolls that act as keys to unlock a weapon that can annihilate shape-shifters. The scrolls will feature heavily for the next three books, then a new facet of the war will emerge. To keep things organized for myself, I split the books up into parts (of which there are five) and kept to specific themes and connected events.
Part 1 has all been published and includes: Psychic Moon, Love is a Whirlwind, Blind Devotion, Hunter and Hunted, Healing Minds, and Master’s Blood.
Part 2 is what I’m working on now: Hunted Guardian, The Serpent and the Angel, and Predator and Prey. There will be three other stories in Part 2. Happily, Shifting Moon has been accepted by Dreamspinner and due out in April/May 2016. Shifting Moon will be based in current times and chronologically follows Master’s Blood. It also includes Derek and Brian from Psychic Moon. I was very happy to meet up with them again! I missed them.
Because I’m super excited with the progress of the series, I’m going to reveal the titles of the next two books… drum roll please… Feather and Scroll (#11) and Kindred Truths (#12). While Feather and Scroll introduces new characters, Kindred Truths will revisit some fan favorites… *cough* Poe and Nordik *cough*
As you can see, I’m moving right along and hope to have Feather and Scroll done perhaps by the end of 2016. But no promises! You know how life can happen.
Since I’m sure you’re done with my rambling, here’s an excerpt!
That’s when they all heard something smack hard against the starboard side, causing the boat to rock slightly. Everyone jumped up from the table, and for some reason Digger decided to race to his bedroom and thrust the tube inside before following the rest on deck. He’d learned long ago not to question his impulses, and it had saved his life more than once.
“The lights!” Digger said.
Kevin and Felipe flicked on the large spotlights and scanned the waters. It wasn’t long before the light flickered on something pale in the water.
“Put it back.” Digger pointed. “Put it back over there.”
Felipe followed orders and swung the light back around. What it illuminated made everyone freeze in shock. A pale, naked man was floating facedown in the water.
“How—” Hook started but then he let off with a cry when Digger dove into the water. The sudden motion jerked everyone into action. More lights were turned on and directed at the motionless man and their captain, who swam straight and sure through the dark night waters. Jewel dashed below to grab blankets while Angie threw a rescue donut attached to a rope into the water. Kevin and Felipe kept the lights trained on their captain.
Digger quickly reached the man and flipped him over, slipping an arm under his chin. He turned back to the boat, thankful it was summer and he was at the surface. The temperature was mild but carting the dead weight of the man through the water taxed him. How long had the man been in the water? And why the hell was he naked? Digger gripped the donut and watched Angie and Felipe pull on the rope, reeling them both in. He hadn’t thought before he dove into the water. One minute he’d been on the deck and the next the sensation of swimming in inky black water with the unknown lurking beneath made him grimace in agitation. He gritted his teeth, trying not to dwell on the fact that the man in his arms wasn’t breathing.
Digger’s entire crew helped drag him and the naked man onto the boat. He shivered as a wind rose up and accepted the blanket Jewel draped over his shoulders. Angie wrapped the rest around the man before she bent to give him CPR. She managed to give him only one breath before his eyes popped open and he began coughing and gagging. Angie rolled him onto his side as he sucked in air, and Digger closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Thank God.
Soaking wet and shivering slightly, Digger pulled the blanket tighter around his shoulders and could only ride the wave of relief that flooded inside him. It had been a while since he’d saved anyone’s life, and this hadn’t even been in a war. Just an odd, random occurrence.
“Sarge?” Hook gripped his shoulder.
Digger grunted before opening his eyes. He considered the man who was now sitting up, wrapped tightly in several blankets. Jewel and Angie each had a shoulder and were rubbing his back and arms. The man wasn’t very old, if Digger was any judge. He couldn’t have been past his midtwenties, and Digger remembered his body had been slender, his skin cold. And where the hell had he come from?
The spotlights glared off pale skin that had a strange, almost translucent quality, and Digger gave a start when he realized the man’s hair was silver. Not blond, not gray, but freaking silver. How was that even possible?
Then the man opened his eyes and a sharp black gaze met Digger’s. A zing of familiarity pinged inside Digger before quickly fading. There was no reason for it; he’d never seen this man in his life. He wasn’t a forgettable one. The man continued to stare at Digger though, breathing heavily, shivering now and then. Digger couldn’t read what was in those black eyes but he was intrigued despite himself.
“Can you tell us your name?” Jewel asked.
The man jerked slightly at her voice and glanced at her. Digger looked away, realizing his gaze had been held captive. Mentally cursing himself an old fool, Digger struggled to his feet. Hook grabbed his arm to steady him.
The man turned back to watch him, a puzzled expression on his face.
“My name is Reef.” His smooth voice was pleasant to hear.
Digger raised an eyebrow.
“Reef?” Angie scoffed. “What sort of pansy name is that?”
“Angie!” Jewel scolded.
“Calls them like I sees them.” She stood and walked below decks.
Reef watched her go and Digger thought he looked amused rather than insulted.
“I’m sorry, Reef,” Jewel said, continuing to rub his back. “She’s a foul person on her best days.”
Reef shrugged. “It’s my name and I like it. No one else has to.”
Digger smiled. “Good sentiment for most things in life.”
Reef returned his attention to Digger, and Digger realized he wanted it to stay there. Old fool. What would a young buck want with you? You’re twice his age!
“Where’s your boat, kid?” Hook demanded. “Your clothes? One would think you’d just bubbled up from the depths.”
For a moment a look of panic seemed to cross Reef’s face but then it was gone, and his expression was smooth and unaffected. Digger wondered if he’d imagined it.
“Give it a rest, Hook,” Jewel said as she started to help Reef to his feet. “Hasn’t he been through enough? Are you hungry, Reef? Thirsty?”
“I’m fine. I just—” He suddenly gripped his head and wobbled. Digger found himself by Reef’s side, supporting him as Jewel was doing. His own blanket fluttered to the deck as his focus centered entirely on Reef.
“Sarge, don’t you think we deserve some answers?”
“In the morning is early enough, Hook.”
Hook scowled and part of Digger was surprised by his sudden defense of a stranger. But when Reef began to lean against him and his unique scent filled Digger’s nose, an urge to protect overcame him. The feeling intensified when he realized Reef couldn’t be taller than five feet and that, added to his slender form, made him appear fragile. Then another feeling rose up, one he hadn’t felt in years. He almost welcomed it, relieved the war hadn’t taken away his sexual drive, as it had some men’s. But most of him was wary of it as it caused him to forget his control and lower his guard.
But then Reef looked up at him, gaze steady and direct, and smiled. It wasn’t a smile of puppy dogs and kittens, but one that a shark might give potential prey. A challenging, hungry smile, and it shot a bolt of lust straight to Digger’s gut. He reassessed his initial thought that Reef was fragile. There was steel in that gaze. Unconsciously, his grip on Reef’s arm tightened, and Reef’s smile became knowing even as he looked away. With help from Jewel, they managed to get Reef below decks.
And that’s it for now!
Who is your favorite couple in my series? Or, if you haven’t read any books yet, what’s your favorite shifting animal? Or shifter series? I’m always on the lookout for new books and series to dive into!
May dragons guard your dreams,
You can find me at:
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/md-grimm
October 21, 2015
To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.
Big Bad Wolf (A Portland Pack Chronicles Flash Fic)
It wasn’t often Avery and Jaden’s schedules allowed them time to shift and play together, but on Halloween, they got a rare opportunity to run and pounce in Forest Park.
As Avery stripped, shivering at the blustery wind, he took a moment to admire Jaden’s animal form. Simply put, Jaden was beautiful. Where Dylan, Avery’s mate, was a powerhouse of a wolf, large and heavily muscled, Jaden was compact, built more for speed than brute strength. Shades of cream and russet accented his shiny auburn coat. He lifted his rear, tail wagging, and yipped encouragingly, his amber eyes gleaming with mischief.
Avery smiled and stepped out of his briefs, letting the change overtake him. The trees swirled as he shrank into his hedgehog form, his spines bursting forth with the familiar flash of pain. When it was over, he sneezed at the overwhelming scents of loamy soil, moss, and decaying leaves.
A wet tongue dragged over his snout and then Jaden nuzzled at him gently. Hedgehogs weren’t tactile creatures like wolves, but Avery nuzzled back, drawing in Jaden’s sweet, musky smell.
For a while they romped through the trees, Avery scurrying on his tiny paws, and Jaden loping ahead before circling back to keep pace with him. With a wolf as his companion, any predators that might have eyed Avery for a snack kept their distance.
Eventually they returned to where they’d left their clothing. Avery shifted to his human form and sat to reorient himself until the cold compelled him to start yanking on his clothes.
“That was fun,” Jaden said once they were dressed. “I need a shower before we go out, though.”
Avery nodded. “Me too. I have a surprise for Dylan tonight.”
Jaden arched his eyebrows. “You didn’t mention any surprises.”
“Wait and see.”
“Is he meeting you at Wolfhound?”
“Yeah. He had to go look at Miss Betty’s car. She’s helping me by making him stay for dinner.”
Jaden smiled and shook himself, sending a dried leaf flying from his ginger hair. “Well, I’ll see you there. Eight o’clock?”
“Yep. But I might be fashionably late.”
Jaden snorted. “When aren’t you?”
Avery grinned cheekily. “Just have your camera ready.”
Two hours later, he hesitated in front of Wolfhound. Two men stood smoking to the left of the entrance and they eyed him with open fascination as Avery adjusted his skimpy costume.
Here goes nothing.
Chin raised, he swept into Wolfhound. As usual, hair metal greeted him. Avery ignored the screeching guitars, eager to see Dylan after spending the day apart.
Sensing his mate’s presence on the other side of the bar near the pool tables, Avery hurried his steps. He ignored the side glances and comments from the other patrons. He wasn’t the only one in costume, but he stood out for several reasons.
Jaden and Sawyer saw him first. Quiet, implacable Sawyer choked on his mouthful of beer while Jaden let out a bark of a laugh that drew everyone’s attention.
When Dylan spotted Avery, his eyes bugged. Avery approached him and slowly spun around so Dylan had a view of the back of his costume. He shook his ass, swinging the fake bushy tail suspended from the broad belt above his hips.
“What. The hell. Are you wearing?” Dylan sounded constipated.
Avery shot him a coy look over his shoulder—which Dylan missed, as he was staring at Avery’s tail in horror.
“I’m the big bad wolf.” Avery turned to face his mate. “Sort of.”
The costume was a loose interpretation. It consisted of a skintight gray romper with a low-cut halter top that left most of Avery’s chest bare. Furry leg warmers made up his hind paws and a hood with big ears and tassels completed the outfit. Avery hadn’t bothered tucking, and the material hid nothing. Both his bulge and lower asscheeks were on full display. Any other time, he wouldn’t have been caught dead in something so tacky, but it was Halloween. If there was ever time for a trashy costume, it was now.
“I brought you something too.” Avery dug into his messenger bag and pulled out the sweater, nose, and ears he’d purchased for Dylan. The sweater had fake spines and padding on the back, meant to mimic the look of a rounded hedgehog.
Dylan snapped his jaw shut. “Fuck no.”
Around him, their friends watched with open amusement. Too bad Lucas wasn’t there. He would’ve at least leered at Avery a little.
Avery pouted. “Come on. Don’t be a spoilsport.”
“Nope.” Dylan turned away.
Avery narrowed his eyes at his back. Dylan could play hard to get if he wanted, but Avery would wear him down.
He started his attack with a lot of bending—over the pool table to line up a shot, down to the floor when he “accidentally” dropped his cue stick. He felt eyes on his ass every time, and once or twice, he might have wiggled his hips a little just to set the tail swinging.
Finally, Dylan growled and snatched the bag off the table where Avery had set it.
“Fine,” he snapped. “I’ll wear the damn costume if you stop flashing your ass! I don’t want anyone else seeing what’s mine.”
Avery widened his eyes and amped up his Southern twang. “Me? Flashing? I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean.”
Dylan glared. “Shut it.”
Avery watched as Dylan pulled on the sweater and then set the ears on top of his head. The nose came last, and it made Dylan look absolutely ridiculous. Avery smiled gleefully and pounced on his mate. He kissed Dylan, not caring that Wolfhound wasn’t a gay bar. No one in their group would mind, and Avery didn’t care about anyone else.
Dylan growled again and dragged him close. “Such a brat,” Dylan whispered against his mouth. “I oughta put you over my knee.”
Light flashed and a shutter clicked as someone nearby took a picture.
Avery laughed and nipped at Dylan’s lower lip. “Maybe later. And if you’re a good boy, I’ll keep the tail on.”
Meet Dylan and Avery in Prickly Business, now available from Dreamspinner Press.
And look for the sequel, Prickly By Nature, on November 19th!
Piper Vaughn Bio
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life… even if it’s only in a book.
Visit Piper at:
October 2, 2015
Hello everyone, I’m L. J. LaBarthe and I’m here to talk about my new release, “A Candle in the Sun.”
This book is the final book in my series, “The Archangel Chronicles.” It’s a little bittersweet for me, because it is the last book and it’s the end of working with these characters who have occupied much of my time and my brain. I have loved every moment of working on this series and I hope that readers have enjoyed it as much as I have.
“A Candle in the Sun” was conceived along with the previous two books just prior to my moving house. I wrote the book while I was in the middle of packing boxes and let me tell you, there’s nothing more exhausting than packing all the things you own when you want to get back to a book! I had the first draft down when I moved, and then when I was in my new home, I discovered something horrifying, nay, terrifying and beyond any disaster I can describe.
I had no internet.
This was the case for about six weeks and it was because I live in a valley and our cable/fiber network here in Australia isn’t that great. My ISP had to put an antenna on the roof of the place, and of course they couldn’t do that while it was raining and wet. And what happened in the first six weeks of writing? If you guessed that it rained and wet, you are spot on. It was incredibly frustrating because I needed to check things, and I had edits to do and it was just one of those times you want to bang your head on the wall and scream. Thankfully, once the internet was connected, I could get back into things but not having the internet right there at my fingertips made me realize just how much I relied on it for research.
The characters in the book rely on the internet as well—Max, the hacker character, provides a lot of information to lovers Gabriel and Michael and to their allies. Archangels they might be, but the two of them are not well versed in the ways of the internet, and their frustration was quite easy to relate to once I had no internet myself!
I’d always intended this book to be the end of this “chapter” if you will for the couples in the series. Michael and Gabriel are together, as are Raziel and Uriel, Adramelek and Lucifer, Baxter and Liam, and many others. They go through many ups and downs, some supernatural and paranormal, some not. Baxter has paranoias that Liam may not love him; Michael wonders why Gabriel stays with him when Michael thinks he himself is not that desirable; Adramelek can’t believe his luck that Lucifer wants him; Raziel fears that Uriel may get bored with him. And in between all of this is a conspiracy to destroy all non-Earth life—angels, demons, shifters, monsters—by a group of fearful, greedy humans.
Love and fear are two great motivators. The main characters are motivated by both—the love they have for each other in their romantic relationships, and for their nearest and dearest and the fear they have that they will be forever banished from the place that they’ve called home or treated as home for as long as they can remember. None of them want to give that up, and none of them want to lose the simple things that I think all of us want: freedom to live in peace, freedom to love and freedom to live without fear.
I’m doing a giveaway of “A Candle in the Sun.” To win a copy, leave a comment answering the following question: Name one of the couples listed above and what their relationship fears or worries are.
A lot of the action takes place in country Montana, which, the internet tells me, is absolutely beautiful. If you had to pick a place that was picturesque and good for a battle between the forces of good and evil, where would you choose?
There are a lot of characters in this book as in the preceding eight, but there is also a dramatis personae and I hope that I’ve done them all as much justice as they deserve. This series has been a labor of love for the last several years, now is time for me to move on. I’m making notes for a planned vampire detective quartet, and have a little book of many notes for other novels that I’m sure will end up being written. (I hope!)
Thanks for joining me today, and once again, please join in the conversation and giveaway.
Cheerio from Australia,
L. J. LaBarthe.
July 16, 2015
Hello Internet! It’s time to play ball as we celebrate this month’s #Dreamer Theme the American Dream!
Today, I’m joined by the red-blooded all American Dream Boy, aisa King Sevon Maraté. It’ll be our secret the gender-fluid king totally shirked his monarch duties to “research human culture” at a baseball game.
Of course, one must have appropriate human attire! Wearing elaborate gowns look terribly out of place.
With careful consideration (and prodding by this fan), Sevon elected to wear Red Sox attire in homage to a god called “The Bambino.” Come on now. Of course Babe Ruth is a god!
Well… he kind of blends in right? Sevon, this is not a runway. You’re trying to be an ordinary guy at a baseball game. You’re just… um…way prettier than all the other guys. As much as I tried, Sevon couldn’t grasp the difference between being a “proper gentleman” and being a “dude-bro.”
He’s clearly winning hearts and minds. Doesn’t look out of place at all.
Play ball! Sevon wondered if it was some kind of war game. Perhaps a spectacle? Does this Babe Ruth god require ritual sacrifice by beating in the skulls of his enemies with a bat?
You can see it’s going to be a very long day. *sigh*
Sevon sought council with the players to further educate himself on the concept of “baseball.” They were more than willing to chat. More than willing, if you know what I mean. Sevon might have found himself a new suitor. Or three.
He does have that affect on gentlemen overcome by his beauty!
As the night wore on, and Sevon was certain no one was getting sacrificed to this Babe Ruth, he decided baseball was delightful! All aisa must learn how to play! Sevon will be ready and waiting in the outfield for the first pitch.
Thank you for joining Sevon and I on this little field trip. On behalf of the human hospitality, he’s offering a token of appreciation.
Sevon wants to know what is your favorite summer past time? Tell him all about it! The most educating comment will win a $10 USD Dreamspinner Gift Certificate!
Till then, follow Sevon’s journey in Chasing Sunrise as he struggles to break free from lies and betrayal to rise through the chaos of war.
Join me next month as we’re going on a cruise. Bon voyage!
Special Thanks to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Pensacola Maritime Park.
Photography and Styling: Lex Chase | Sevon Cosplay: Mae Wynn Talley
March 27, 2015
Find “The Serpent and the Angel” here! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201
Remember, while this might be Book 8 of my series, it is also book 2 of my Part 2 of the series. I have 5 parts planned and while the entire series should be seen as a cohesive whole, to make my life easier, I split the books into parts to make sure I stayed on track and told the story that needed to be told.
It’s certainly a struggle to balance the romance with furthering the overall plot, but I welcome the challenge. I feel that with every book I grow stronger in my writing skills (and research skills), and I really enjoying seeing my series unfold and reveal itself. Every single book offers me at least one surprising moment.
That is the struggle with these later books since the dominoes need to start falling as the series unfolds. Part one (Psychic Moon through Master’s Blood) was more of the introduction to my universe, and the characters and the groups I will be dealing with for the rest of the series. Now the rest of the parts will be focused on the various romances (of course) but also the workings of the villain Arcas and his allies. But the core of the series is still love and how each couple tries to save the day and prevent Arcas from reaching his goals.
The snake slowly slid out of the small hole it had been coiled in. Flicking its tongue, sensing no danger, it slithered and scraped over rocks and boulders, easily finding a path out of the rubble. It was hungry, but it didn’t smell any prey, which caused it to focus on finding an exit out of the tunnel. For some reason it didn’t want to hide and wait for prey, it wanted to find open air. Always going with instinct, the snake never questioned or doubted its senses. The long serpent easily made its way down the open tunnel, seeming to glide over the uneven ground and disjointed tracks. It wound around the mine carts, past the fallen pickaxes, constantly flicking its tongue.
It began to feel cool air over its scales and hesitated. Slithering to the side of the tunnel, the snake eyed the opening, flicking its tongue, again sensing no danger. It moved slower now, wary of the open air, the lack of protection. But something inside it urged it out, into the open; something seemed to push it forward. Keeping close to the side of the tunnel, it peeked out of the opening, into the dark. The moon was high, the stars shining, but the snake paid it no mind. All it saw was the wide expanse of land, and all it thought about was food and shelter.
But even as it was about to move across the darkened land, it sensed movement just outside the tunnel. Coiling into itself, the snake lifted its tail and lowered its face. Sound followed the movement, and the cause of that sound formed a shadow across the land. The snake flicked its tongue out, tasting the air, oddly familiar with the scent upon it. It wasn’t prey. It wasn’t predator. What was it?
A creature walked into sight. Again, there was an odd sense of familiarity. The known scent grew stronger as the creature seemed to notice the snake. The snake coiled tighter, muscles trembling. Its rattle shook louder.
“Never seen a rattlesnake as big as you before,” the creature said.
The snake didn’t understand. But Tobias did. It felt as though he surged upward, as if he was rising out of water toward the surface, straining for air. He saw through his snake’s eyes, smelled Angel’s scent. The snake fought, of course it fought, but Tobias knew he’d win. The snake wasn’t stronger than he was. It had never been stronger.
The snake shuddered as if in pain, and the rattle stopped moving.
Angel knelt in front of the snake, at a safe distance from a potential strike. Tobias stared into Angel’s face, using it as an anchor. He knew that face. He liked that face. When he’d changed, he’d been too scared, nearly panicked with the thought of death, that he hadn’t fully prepared himself mentally for the change. This caused his snake to take over fully, for him to lose who he was, his memories, his purpose, his personality. But now he fought, and he knew he would win. But he couldn’t allow Angel to see him change back. He couldn’t even allow himself to consider the outcome of that travesty.
Tobias took full control of his snake and struck out at Angel, never intending to bite, but trying to scare Angel away. Angel jerked back in shock with a yelp. Then Tobias turned and shot down the tunnel, into the dark. But even as he did, and as Angel’s scent faded, his snake began to fight back. Tobias held onto Angel’s face, his voice, his scent, and kept control. But he couldn’t hold the snake’s form as he kept remembering what it was like to be a human. He could only move past the first corner of the mine before the air shimmered. His skin rippled violently, and he fell to the ground, a human once more.
Gasping, shaking, Tobias’s skin flashed hot then cold. He was going to be ill; he knew he was, just like the first time. He curled into himself, his throat dry, his lungs heavy. He must have made enough noise to draw attention, because he suddenly heard someone running down the tunnel. It wasn’t long before Angel ran around the corner and skidded to a stop. They stared at each other for a long, humming moment before Angel dropped to his knees and yanked off his own coat, wrapping it around Tobias.
Then, to Tobias’s great shock, Angel pulled him into his arms and hugged him hard.
“Oh, thank the spirits. I knew it, I knew you had survived.” Angel’s voice was thick with tears as he rocked them both, his arms in an unbreakable hold.
Tobias didn’t know what to say. He still felt ill and was becoming more so by the minute. But right then, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to indulge for a moment. He took a deep breath, coughed, but still relished the scent of his deputy. Angel was so warm, the kind of warmth Tobias’s skin had never exuded. He curled into his deputy, remembering acutely the reunion with his parents so many years ago. It had been so different from this. He’d been slapped by his mother, yelled at by his father. His arm had been grabbed, and he’d been dragged to their carriage and berated the entire way home. There’d been no tears, no words of relief or joy.
He didn’t know what to make of Angel’s obvious affection or how to handle it.
Angel suddenly pulled back, and their eyes met again. Tobias’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could see his deputy’s face well enough to see something in his eyes that sent a spike of fear down Tobias’s spine.
“It was you,” Angel whispered. “You were the rattlesnake.”
Want to learn more? My website is here: www.mdgrimmwrites.com
Do you like long series (20+ books) or would you rather a short one (under 10?) or do you prefer trilogies?
March 27, 2015
Hi there! Still promoting my story “The Serpent and the Angel” book 8 of my Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201
As I stated in my first post, “The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the scrolls and their guardians. But I also wanted to mention that it also furthers the story of the main villain of my series: in present days, he’s known as Arcas, but he’s had many names over many centuries. Some of my readers might have guessed it already and that’s great, I really don’t want it to be a secret, but I also wanted a little intrigue and mystery surrounding my villain.
There’s a reason I spent some time describing Arcas’s sapphire blue eyes and his beauty. Lady Anne Blackthorn (Hunted Guardian) had sapphire blue eyes and was a great beauty. Another character will appear in “The Serpent and the Angel” that has the same eyes and similar beauty. Try and spot him! (yes, it’s a man).
My villain is just as important as my heroes, perhaps even more so. He works behind the scenes as well as occasionally stepping to the front. He has a goal/plan and nothing will stop him from executing it. I really love to hate that guy.
What are your thoughts on villains? Do you love to hate them? Just plain hate them? Or would you rather see more of them in a story?