Thank you for stopping by!

I'm excited to announce that my debut novel The Mountain's Shadow was released by Samhain Publishing on October 1, 2013. To read the first chapter, click here. For a different excerpt or to buy it directly from the publisher in .pdf or any ebook format, click on the cover image below. It's also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook retailers.

If you're not getting enough randomness from me here, please feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or like my Facebook page.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

This is about how organized I feel sometimes.

First, a huge thanks to Isabella Norse at http://isabellanorse.com/ for inviting me to be part of this blog tour!

Here are the four questions:

1. What am I working on?

Currently I'm writing furiously to finish the first draft for the third Lycanthropy Files book, Blood's Shadow so I can set it aside for the week and have the rest of the month to revise it before my April 30 deadline. Beyond that, I'm pondering steampunk. I just sold a short story, and I have an idea for a trilogy.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I write urban fantasy mysteries with a scientific twist. The first Lycanthropy Files book The Mountain's Shadow was called a "werewolf mystery/medical thriller" by one reviewer. The second one Long Shadows, which just came out on Tuesday, continues with the mystery/suspense theme. The third one pushes the boundaries of the genre by asking the question of what would happen if there was a cure for lycanthropy, or werewolf-ism? As you can probably imagine, not everyone is happy about the possibility.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I've always been fascinated by legends and tales of fantastic creatures, and so I'm thrilled that the genre has taken off. Also, from a psychological perspective, it's fun to play with power and identity in a different sense. I actually blogged about the psychological reasons behind why I write paranormal at the Fresh Fiction site in December, and most recently at Suzanne Johnson's blog.

4. How does my writing process work?

I try so very hard to be an outliner, I really do. I recognize how it would make life easier for me and spare me those "what now?" moments that every writer dreads. But outlining is really not me - knowing what happens kills the fun of writing the story. I've been lucky in that my fabulous Samhain editor will accept proposals from me with five to ten chapters and a synopsis. The synopsis is more of a general storyline with the major plot points for the mystery and romance in place, but the rest is fair game. The last fourth of Long Shadows, although generally what was in the proposal synopsis, took an interesting turn that made sense in the context of hints my mind had dropped in the story earlier.

That's the main reason I can't do detailed outlines. I sit down and write and go, and my brain will drop little hints or descriptions into the story that end up being really important later without my planning for them. One of my favorite writing quotes is Ray Bradbury's "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." I sometimes have to remind myself to do that, to just shut up the inner editor and go where my intuition or inspiration takes me.

So this is where I would tell you what writers to visit next week... I apologize, but that part of the hop slipped my mind through a combination of weird life factors like a cat having a major neurological event while I was out of town, which caused Hubby and me to have to rush back from Memphis and MidSouthCon, a stomach virus, a book release, and having to schedule surgery, which will be happening on Wednesday. Argh. So, I encourage you to go to Isabella's blog and follow the hop through one of her other chosen authors.

Thank you so much for stopping by!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Author Appearance: Heading to MidSouthCon


I enjoyed my panels on Friday night, and it was great to meet fellow spec fic authors, writers, and fans.

Sadly, I had to return to Atlanta on Saturday. Our diabetic cat, who's been beautifully stable, had a major crash on Friday night. The pet sitter rushed her to the emergency vet, and back we came in case it was time to say goodbye. The cat is still at the vet and slowly improving, but we don't know what, if any, lasting damage she sustained during her period of very low blood sugar.

I'm upset to miss my signing opportunity, but I'm sure that my fellow animal lovers, of whom there are a lot in the writing and fantasy/sci-fi communities, understand.

Thank you to the staff and volunteers at MidSouthCon - y'all are great, and I very much enjoyed the part of the Con I was able to attend!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Long Shadows Excerpt

Here's an excerpt from Long Shadows, the second Lycanthropy Files book, and if you want to preorder it, it's currently reduced at $3.85 at the Samhain Publishing store. It's available in all ebook formats from there. You can also preorder it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else ebooks are sold.



Spoiler alert:  if you haven't read The Mountain's Shadow, the content below contains spoilers.

Chapter One:

People say I’m beautiful, but they don’t see the monster inside.

It was like a fairy tale: a big, beautiful house, a plucky heroine, an evil wizard… But the best friend never fares well, and I didn’t. The heroine got cursed too, but she found true love in the end. I got a lifestyle change that wasn’t a choice and came with no warning. The worst part? I couldn’t even remember the specifics of my first change— only that it was traumatic, so my mind had even less to make sense of.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m a werewolf. Please hold your applause. It will only make me cry. Big girls don’t cry, and when you’re a predator, you don’t show signs of weakness.

My part of the story started one rainy February morning. I’d just gotten into the office, a satellite site for the Arkansas Department of Family and Child Services, and snarled at the pile of cases on my desk when the phone rang.

”Marconi!” my boss Paul barked. “Get in here!”

I nearly jumped out of my skin. Literally. I had a wicked aconite hangover. No, I didn’t use it recreationally. I used it to “spirit-walk,” or create a spiritual doppelganger so I could roam as a spirit-wolf rather than a physical one. I almost kicked my spirit out of my body again when Paul startled me, but I took a few deep breaths to get everything settled in, like spreading batter into the corners of a pan.

Evil cake, that’s me.

It’s hardest for me to control my temper mornings after hunting, and I struggled not to bare my teeth at Paul when I walked into his cluttered office. The piles of files, papers, and dirty Styrofoam cups made me want to gag into the wastebasket. My nose picked up the scent of dried-out, rancid turkey sandwich somewhere under his desk, and I noticed he wore yesterday’s shirt. With his pointy noise, prominent thin ears, and wisps of gray hair clinging to his head, he looked like a sick rodent, and I pushed away the image of shaking him until his neck broke. I had done that to a rat the night before. It had been lurking about, tearing into the garbage bags my neighbors left outside their door, which unleashed an awful mélange of scents into the breezeway and my apartment. I’d complained, but the management hadn’t done anything about either the neighbors or the rat. It was generally frowned upon to hunt down and kill one’s neighbors, so the rat had to go. Paul was my management, and he paid me, so I squashed my impulses.

”Have a seat,” he said.

”Where?” Every surface was covered with paper.

He shrugged and sat. “As you can see, we’re overworked and understaffed, but we can’t afford to keep on dead weight.”

I folded my hands in front of me and pressed my nails into my knuckles. “I’m pulling my weight, Paul.”

”Right, but where were you last night? I got a call this morning that someone saw you at a club ‘shaking your booty’ and ‘getting shitfaced drunk.’” His air quotes almost made it comical.

”Not that what I do on my own time is any of your business, but I can assure you it wasn’t me.”

”Can someone give you an alibi?” he asked and leaned forward, a look of concern on his rodent face. “I don’t want to cut you from my staff, but the higher ups are after me to get rid of whoever I can. You know we have a code of conduct here and strict policies when it comes to dual relationships with clients.”

I nodded. “I’m aware of them. I was at home watching television, and I turned in early.” Into a spirit-werewolf, I added in my head to make it not technically a lie.

”They said they talked to you, and you recognized them.”

My eyebrows shot up my forehead.

”Come on, Marconi,” he said and gestured to my face. “You say you turned in early, but you’ve got dark circles under your eyes, and you keep stifling yawns.”

”I haven’t been feeling well. Look, Paul, I swear to you I wasn’t at any club last night.”

”That will do for now,” he said and wrote my statement of innocence on a piece of paper. “You didn’t happen to talk to anyone on the phone or anything like that while you were at home, did you?”

”Nope. I’m just a boring girl, Paul. Did the mysterious caller say I had mentioned their case or even who they were?”

”No. Fine. Get back to work.” He frowned at me once more. “But be aware I’m watching you.” He dismissed me with a wave of his hand and looked down at the open file on his desk. I took advantage of the moment he looked away to bare my teeth, then turn before he could see me. No man dismisses me.

I frowned all the way back to my office and sat to review cases, but my mind wouldn’t focus. Who was the woman at the club? Who looked that much like me? And who called Paul? Probably an unhappy parent. That part didn’t concern me as much—when you work for the Department of Family and Child Services, you make enemies, especially if you take kids out of abusive homes. That a parent was at a club didn’t shock me. That someone pretended to be me did.

But who hates me enough to try to get me fired? I wanted to know who she was and how she knew who I worked with.

I kept my Private Investigator license current to pick up some extra work on the side. Sometimes it came in handy for the job, so they didn’t say anything. It looked like I was going to be doing some extra work on my own time.

Oh, I had my suspicions. Apparently the events of the previous summer hadn’t resolved yet, and there was only one person I could think of who resembled me enough to impersonate me. I needed to know why Kyra Ellison, former alpha female of the Crystal Pines pack and fellow tall brunette, had come out of the mountains and into Little Rock, and even more, why she was posing as me. I also wondered if it was even her. We shared certain characteristics, but no one thought we were similar once they’d interacted with us.

“You two don’t look anything alike,” Joanie, former best friend of a certain social worker werewolf, had told me. “One glance is all you need to see how she’s mean and spiteful, and you’re not.”

Yet my spite had ended our friendship.

At the end of the day, Paul caught up to me in the parking deck.

“Going out tonight?” he asked and curled his thin lips into a shape between a sneer and a leer. “I can’t imagine a girl like you spends too many nights in.”

“No,” I told him. “At least not to a club. Again, not that it’s any of your business.”

“Budget cuts,” he said in an ominous tone and tapped his nose. He walked to his ancient hatchback, which had rust spots starting to show through the beige paint. I chose to ignore the pheromones he exuded and the insinuation he was doing me a favor. Men had that response to me now that I had a true animal side, and I hoped he wouldn’t cross the line into sexual harassment. Yes, the thought of his attentions repulsed me, but I also liked him as a supervisor because he mostly left me alone, and I would hate for him to get fired over it.
Or for me to. His warning about our department’s financial situation played back in my mind.

I shook my head, not blaming him for nibbling at the drama like a rat gnawing on chicken bones for a pitiful bit of marrow. It was amazing how these government jobs, especially the ones where we supposedly take care of others, sucked the life and soul out of people. On his desk, Paul kept a picture taken during fishing trip he’d been on just after starting here. It showed he had been straight-shouldered and with a full head of wavy brown hair. Now he was stooped and graying, and the rest of his life seemed to have stopped on that day. Even more reason for him to want to create a little drama with the social worker who seemed to be falling down on her job. And who doesn’t seem to be withering in it. It’s not my fault my family ages well.

I drove my similarly ancient but in much better shape green Jeep Cherokee back to my apartment off Chenal Parkway, but when I got home, I sensed something was not right. At first glance, the building looked the same—a two-story, four-unit brick building with lit stairwell between the units on each floor. Dusk was falling, and the lights had just started flickering on, but there was something wrong with the shadows. I squinted and flared my nostrils. An unfamiliar tropical scent rode the top of the breeze. It threaded through the layers of stale cigarette and the bruise-like decay of takeout containers in the bag of trash by my neighbors’ door. Lazy asses. The new scent, if it had a color, would be fuchsia over the grays and browns of ordinary life, and a shiver tiptoed down my spine. Whether it was of fear or excitement, I didn’t know.

One by one, the lights in the stairwells buzzed, popped, and flickered out. That could only mean one thing—a wizard—and my previous encounter with one had left me with this little werewolf problem.

Okay, fear it is. Whatever you do, don’t show it. Just get into the apartment.

Sure they had seen me, I played nonchalant and grabbed my purse off the passenger seat. I left the files I’d been planning to work on once Giancarlo passed out after his second bottle of wine. He was due over in half an hour and I needed to make sure he wasn’t in danger. Sure, he was an alcoholic, but he was a cute one, and his problems worked for me on a practical level, although my constantly wondering if I was enabling him didn’t work for me on an ethical one. I was going to get help for him eventually, but he didn’t want it at the moment, so there was no point. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

The internal twisting and folding inward sensations told me the aconite hadn’t quite worked out of my system from the night before, although the swill that passed for office coffee had kept my frontal lobes jazzed enough during the day to fight the effects.

“No, we’re not going to change now.” Sometimes sternly addressing my animal side worked, like I had to constantly reinforce I was the alpha of my own mind, especially with the aconite hangover. That was a different kind of fear—it seemed the aconite was taking longer and longer to wear off each time. The animal part of my brain scrabbled in my skull, wanting me to change and hunt down whatever the threat was.

“Down,” I told it. “Maybe the rat I killed last night has a vengeful family?”

“No, whatever it is, it’s bigger than a rat and is watching you.”

I shivered and cursed under my breath. “Thanks, really. No showing weakness, remember?”

“So change.”

Sometimes these conversations I had with myself were useful. Most often, not, and I was left wondering whether I was insane, and maybe all the werewolf stuff was a wicked psychosis.

I held my keys in my right hand and my pepper spray in my left. My inner wolf scoffed at my puny defenses, inferior to fangs and claws. Each light I walked under flickered back to life, and a warm breeze followed me. Again, the scent of fuchsia, both the color and the flower, came to me.

Someone’s toying with me. They know I’m aware of them. Why don’t they show themselves?

I reached my apartment and looked around before I stuck my key in my lock. Again, nothing visible, but something was out there watching me. I ducked into the apartment and closed the door behind me, breathing a sigh of relief when my lights switched on without flickering or flashing. I put my purse on the counter next to the postcard reminding me that it was time for my physical and I was scheduled for blood work the next morning. My phone buzzed with a voicemail. The call hadn’t rung, although it should have. I touched the little icon and listened to Giancarlo’s lilting tones. His cheerful voice sounded odd in the context of my strange experiences.

“Lonna, Bellissima, I am so sorry, but something’s come up at the restaurant, and I cannot make it. Know you will be in my heart tonight.”

“Along with your Chianti.” I simultaneously exhaled with relief and disappointment at Giancarlo’s cancellation. I certainly didn’t want to put him in any danger, but I also needed to blow off some steam. The day after the full moon was the worst for wanting to explore other animal impulses once the desire to hunt was satisfied.

Yet another thing they didn’t tell me.

I went to bed after an uneventful evening with no more electrical strangeness. By the time I ventured out to the Jeep to get the files I needed to catch up on, the odd odor had disappeared. That night I dreamed of a tropical beach with a turquoise ocean at my feet and large-leafed flora all around. Huge fuchsia plants dripped the scent of their purple and pink flowers on the breeze. I leaned back in my beach chair, cold drink in hand, and soaked up the sun, happy I wouldn’t have to renew my membership to the tanning salon. Yes, I knew it was bad for me, but it was my one indulgence. Never mind that I had on the skimpiest bikini I’d ever worn and had to keep sipping my drink so I wouldn’t open my mouth and spill all my secrets to the strange man who sat beside me, but whose face I couldn’t quite make out.

Wait a second, whose dream is this?

A buzz startled me awake, and the radio hissed on. I fiddled with the knob. It settled into its regular morning show alarm just as the DJ announced the rain and current temperature with unwarranted perkiness. Something about it reminded me of the flickering lights the night before and how my phone hadn’t rung when Giancarlo called. I shivered again, but I attributed it to the damp and current temperature near forty.

My inner wolf laughed at my dismay. “Those conditions would be nothing for fur… or spirit fur. Change! We’re being stalked.”

“Tonight. I can’t take the aconite too much. It’s poison in a normal human body.”

A snort, then, “Change for real.”

“Can’t. Too hard to manage doors, and I can’t escape tight situations in an instant by returning to my body.”

No response, but I sensed her sulking. I knew “she” or “spirit wolf-Lonna” was a manifestation of the animal part of my brain, or maybe even some sort of spiritual part of me, but sometimes she seemed oddly separate, like when we had these conversations. Whatever she was, it put me in a bad mood for my blood work that morning. I would have canceled, but if I did, I’d have to move my physical, which had been scheduled for a year, and I needed to make sure my new weird lifestyle wasn’t having any strange effects on my body. Somehow I suspected being an apex predator wouldn’t grant me an exception for having to wait forever for a new doctor’s appointment.

I arrived at the doctor’s office and took a seat just before my appointment time. It was crowded with people with the ends of that winter’s illnesses, and although they had been given masks to cover up their coughs and sneezes, I touched as few surfaces as possible. It had been a rough year, and I groaned inwardly—stressful job plus powerful viruses equaled lots of people out at the office, which meant more work for me. That was another mixed side benefit of my lycanthropy: a heightened immune system.

A nurse brought me back to the phlebotomy station, and I caught a glimpse of a new doctor. He ran his hand through wavy reddish-gold hair as he talked to a young mother holding a baby, and his green-blue eyes the color of the ocean in my dream sparkled. He had a tan, too dark to have been hanging around Little Rock recently, and in his words, I heard hints of the islands. The faint smell of fuchsia made my heartbeat accelerate.

“Your blood pressure’s up, Miss Marconi,” the young nurse said with concern in her tone.

“Rough morning,” I said. “It’s what happens when I don’t get my coffee.”

She smiled, her teeth bright white against her dark skin. “I understand that. We’ll get this done quickly so you can get you some.” She tied the rubber strap around my arm and poked around for a vein. I looked away so I’d only feel what she was doing, not see it.

“Thank you. New doctor?”

She followed my gaze. “That’s Doctor Fortuna,” she said with a dreamy little sigh. “He’s filling in for Doctor Kasdon while she’s on temporary bed rest. They went to school together.”

“Where is he from?”

“Somewhere in the Caribbean.” She wrinkled her nose. “I know he’s told me, but I can’t remember exactly where. He did his schooling here in the States, though, so don’t worry, when you see him next week, he’ll know what he’s doing. Now,” she said, and gave me a stern look, “your chart says you haven’t had the flu shot. It’s still going around, so it’s not too late.”

“I’ll pass,” I told her, a little shot of adrenaline making my heart skip. Although the current vaccines wouldn’t be contaminated, I’d never trust them again. Not that they could do anything to me that hadn’t already been done by other means, but it was an instinctive response.

“Are you sure?” She put a cotton ball over the hole in my arm and taped it in place. “Keep that there for a little while.”

“Positive. I’ll talk to Doctor Fortuna about it next week.”

That dreamy expression returned. “He’s a good doctor,” she said and packed up her kit.

Her spacey confidence didn’t make me feel any better, and my inner wolf wanted to run around him and sniff him and figure him out. I was relieved to get back to my car and then to my windowless office, where the files I had taken home to catch up on had been replaced by a whole new set. I looked through them and was listing phone calls I’d have to make when Paul walked by and gave me a wave, a grin on his rat face. When he had just passed my door, he turned around and poked his head in.

“Are you free for lunch today?”

I arched an eyebrow. “I believe the correct greeting in our culture is ‘good morning.’”

“Good morning, then.” He stood, hands in his pockets. “Now aren’t you supposed to reply?”

“Touché, and good morning. What’s got you in such a good mood?”

He shrugged. “There’s just something in the air these days. Haven’t you felt it? Spring is my favorite season.”

He had something between his teeth, but I elected not to point it out to him. Honestly, his cheerfulness freaked me out. “It’s not spring yet. And no, I’m not free for lunch.” I gestured to the pile of files and list of phone calls I needed to make.

“I hope you’re not saying that because of our conversation yesterday.” His false concern made me want to strangle him.

“No, I always put my work first, whether you believe it or not. Guess what I was doing last night?”

The look on his face made me immediately regret the question. “Clubbing?” Dear gods, he sounded hopeful.

“No, my boyfriend canceled out on me, so I stayed home and caught up on some reports.”

He sniffed. “Keeping everything secure, I hope?”

“Yes, Paul.” Mostly. “Unless they changed the rules on us again.”

He laughed, and it came out with a wheeze. “You never know, do you?” He continued chuckling as he walked around the corner. “You really never know.”

“Okay…” I shook my head. Maybe he finally lost it.

A file that should have gone somewhere else caught my attention, and I jumped up to catch up with Paul. He had disappeared, so I went to his office. I paused just outside the door, hearing his voice. His words chilled me.

“Are you sure?” He spoke with the phone cradled to his ear. “She seems so normal. No, I couldn’t get her to come out for lunch. Yes, she leaves at around five o’clock, and she’s always parked near me. Uh huh, a green Jeep Cherokee, license plate…”

So, what would your ideal birthday present be?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Day Blog Hop: What Paranormal Creature Would Be Your Perfect Valentine?

Thank you to all who stopped by and commented, and especially to those who also liked my Facebook page as part of the blog hop! The winner of this blog's drawing is Louisa Cornell. Louisa,  I've tried to get in touch with you through your website, but if you didn't get my communication, please email me at cecilia at ceciliadominic dot com

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

I'm participating in the Valentine's Day Blog Hop sponsored by J.A. Garland. First, the fun details:

For a list of participating authors, click here or see below. To enter the grand prize drawing, click on one of the graphics above or here.

I couldn't help but notice that there have been a plethora of quizzes appearing on Facebook, and it's been a time of great discovery for me. First, I found out I'm an ambivert, which is somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert. Then I discovered that instead of Atlanta, Georgia, I need to live in Paris, France. Most recently, a quiz told me the profession I'm most suited for is that of a writer. Hmmm... But so far, no one's told me which paranormal creature would be best suited for me. Assuming, of course, I wasn't married.

Without further ado, here are some questions to figure out which creature would be your perfect mate. I tried to find a widget to automatically score it for you, but sadly, I couldn't, so be sure to keep track of your answers.

1.  Pick a color:
a. Red
b. Silver
c. Green
d. I find this question offensive to those who are color blind. 

2. Pick an ideal first date:
a. Dancing with a lot of neck nibbles.
b. I don't care as long as it's magical.
c. Long walk or hike in the woods.
d. Picnic and gazing at the full moon.

Photo by Lachlan Donald from Melbourne, Australia
I bet he's of Scottish heritage with that name. 
3. What fashion accessory needs to come back in style?
a. Capes
b. Wands
c. Nature colored clothing.
d. I don't care as long as you can chew on it.

4. Pick a hashtag:
a. #biteme
b. #lifeismagic
c. #vnotf
d. #arooo

5. In a relationship, the most important characteristic for compatibility is:
a. Understanding of night owl tendencies.
b. Being okay with your significant other bringing work - and any strange consequences that ensue - home with them.
c. Being okay becoming part of a large family whether they approve of you or not.
d. Letting your significant other have a late night with his "pack" every so often.

6. You've just had a crappy day. How do you deal with it?
a. Write it out in a journal that I'll hide later.
b. Whipping up something interesting in the lab or kitchen.
c. Long walk in the woods.
d. Venting. Howling works nicely, but I can complain to my close friends, too, if I'm feeling verbal.

French Quarter building at night (photo by Falkue at de.wikipedia)
7. What city would you like to live in?
a. New York, New Orleans... Anywhere they're up all night and don't look at you funny if you're a little strange.
b. London, Paris... Somewhere with a strong history of legend and magic.
c. Atlanta, Seattle... Someplace with a lot of trees. Too much concrete makes me feel suffocated.
d. Someplace smaller where I can sneak away easily for long runs.

If you chose mostly a's... Go on and interview that vampire.

You like a man or woman of mystery, someone dark and controlled with moments of passion. The promise of romance draws you in, and the danger keeps you coming back for more. Emotional intimacy may be a little cold, but that's okay, you like the thrill of the chase, and the physical moments more than make up for feeling pushed away and the fact he/she will never return your calls during the day. Plus, no one rocks a cape like a vampire, who scoffs at superhero rules.

If you chose mostly b's... You'd totally sign up for that "I wish I'd gone to Hogwarts" dating site and find your own wizard.

You see the potential for magic in everything, and your ideal mate feels the same. Magic is not only being, but doing, and wizards will come up with that "your friends won't believe this" gesture. The downside:  they're always thinking about ten things at once, and you might not be the priority if they're puzzling over some tricky problem or spell. On the other hand, when that intense attention is on you and making you happy, there's no comparison to the normal mortal's version of romance. Just watch out if they want to make a commitment - your mother-in-law might literally be a witch.

Eileen Donan Castle in Scotland (© Guillaume Piolle / CC-BY-3.0)
Tell me this doesn't look like a romantic wizard getaway.
If you chose mostly c's... You're getting back to nature with a little elven love.

Sure, they might hate the holidays because of the undignified portrayal of their cousins, and you'll never find them in the midst of the concrete jungle, but when it comes to revealing the secrets of the forest and wild places -- and bringing their own magic to your wild places -- nothing compares to the elves. Elves' long lives make commitment a little tricky, so enjoy their presence in your life while you can. You'll gain a whole new appreciation for the term au naturel.

If you chose mostly d's... Let your wild side loose with a lycanthrope.

The fact that they have a fancy name along with the everyday term werewolf indicates that these creatures are more complex than just full moons and howling. Want an alpha hero in your life? How about a literal one who's nice to run your hands over and likes to cuddle. Perhaps you're the alpha and need a caring beta -- fear not, your lycanthrope lover has had plenty of practice and is eager to please. The downside - love them, love their pack because even a lone wolf will find one eventually. But if you need a lover to fetch your heart, look no further. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

So, which paranormal lover did you end up with? Is it a good fit for you? Tell me in the comments, and you'll be entered to win one of the following - your choice:

1. An electronic copy of The Mountain's Shadow - so many werewolf men, so little time! Which one will Joanie choose as she investigates the mysteries behind her own career's end and her family legacy?

First it was ADD. Then pediatric bipolar. Now the hot behavioral disorder in children is CLS, or Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome. Public health researcher Joanie Fisher was closing in on the cause in hopes of finding a treatment until a lab fire and an affair with her boss left her without a job.

When her grandfather leaves her his multimillion-dollar estate in the Ozarks, though, she figures her luck is turning around. Except her inheritance comes with complications: town children who disappear during full moons, an irresistible butler, and a pack of werewolves who can’t seem to decide whether to frighten her or flirt with her.

Joanie’s research is the key to unraveling the mysteries of Wolfsbane Manor.  However, resuming her work means facing painful truths about her childhood, which could result in the loss of love, friendship, and the only true family she has left.

Warning: Some sexy scenes, although nothing explicit, and adult language. Also alcohol consumption and food descriptions that may wreck your diet.


2. An electronic copy of Long Shadows, the sequel to The Mountain's Shadow, which will be released on March 25.

By day, Lonna Marconi’s busy career keeps her mind off the fact she was turned werewolf against her will. By night, a dose of wolfsbane lets her inner wolf out to play while her physical body stays safe at home.

When an overheard phone call at work warns her a trap is about to be sprung, she turns from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye.

She finds refuge with the Ozarks pack she never claimed as her own. Upon discovering a family secret that explains why she’s unique among her own kind, Lonna finds heat in the arms of Max, who’s the one thing she cannot trust—a wizard.

Another kidnapping attempt sends her navigating the treacherous metaphysical borders of a centuries-old war, pursued by rogue sorcerers, a band of ghostly wolves, and repressed memories that prevent her from reclaiming her heritage. All the while, trusting her back to a wizard who demands the price of her heart…who may not have the luxury of giving his in return.

Warning: Some sexy scenes, adult language, and alcohol consumption. Also descriptions of Italian food that might offend carbophobes.


3. A Mountain's Shadow t-shirt. These shirts are made of a wonderfully soft fabric that hangs beautifully on feminine and masculine shapes alike. Feathered gray with an image of a wolf and the tagline "Some mistakes can literally come back to bite you" on the front and the book title on the back, this shirt will show you're a lycanthrope lover through and through. Available sizes: L-XXL
The winner of this blog's drawing will be announced next Monday, February 17.

Disclaimer:  this quiz has absolutely no psychometric properties. None. It also doesn't really indicate anything meaningful about those taking it. It's just for fun. According to Facebook, I'm Captain Picard, so you know you can trust me on this.

Participating blog hop authors with posts and giveaways:

Pippa Jay
Mimi Sebastian
Jude Johnson
Isabella Norse
Dani Harper  
Rita Bay
Allison Knight
Joyce Proell
Holly Hunt
Ceci Giltenan
Ute Carbone
Cassiel Knight
Audra Middleton
Angela Kay Austin
Morgan Wyatt
Liz Crowe
Susan Frances
January Bain
Linda Rettstatt
Dani Collins
Kelly Martin
Pauline Creeden

Note:  I will do my best to keep up with responding to comments, but please be aware that due to the impending ice apocalypse with frozen flakes of doom, I might lose power and be unable to. I will respond to comments when I am able, possibly once spring arrives.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cover and Blurb Reveal - Long Shadows

Oh, wow, we're within two months of the release of Long Shadows, the second Lycanthropy Files book.  Here's the blurb:

Being unique isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

By day, Lonna Marconi’s busy career keeps her mind off the fact she was turned werewolf against her will.

By night, a dose of wolfsbane lets her inner wolf out to play while her physical body stays safe at home.
When an overheard phone call at work warns her a trap is about to be sprung, she turns from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye.

She finds refuge with the Ozarks pack she never claimed as her own. Upon discovering a family secret that explains why she’s unique among her own kind, Lonna finds heat in the arms of Max, who’s the one thing she cannot trust—a wizard.

Another kidnapping attempt sends her navigating the treacherous metaphysical borders of a centuries-old war, pursued by rogue sorcerers, a band of ghostly wolves, and repressed memories that prevent her from reclaiming her heritage. All the while, trusting her back to a wizard who demands the price of her heart…and who may not have the luxury of giving his in return.

Warning: Some sexy scenes, adult language, and alcohol consumption. Also descriptions of Italian food that might offend carbophobes.

And here's the cover, another gorgeous piece by artist Kanaxa:


Facebook followers got to see the cover in December. If you'd like to get news and covers earlier, please like my Facebook page.

Long Shadows is now available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, the Samhain website, and anywhere ebooks are sold.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Guest posts: An Interview and Novel Resolutions

Happy new year, fellow authors and readers!

December ended up being sort of a bust for me with regard to writing thanks to a nasty cold that knocked me on my rear end for a week, but I did reach 23K on the third Lycanthropy Files book, and I wrote and submitted a short story to an anthology. I guess that's not so bad.

Mid-December, author Nancy Lee Badger interviewed me on her blog. She asked some fun questions including three things people don't know about me (the answers may surprise you), when I started writing toward publication, and what's been rewarding about it. You can read the full interview here.

Today I'm pleased to be guest posting on RWA's Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal chapter blog on a novel way to approach writing resolutions. I talk about how we can apply Mindfulness principles to our process to minimize stress and keep us motivated.

So one of your New Year’s resolutions is to write a novel?
Congratulations! I wholeheartedly support choosing to do something that brings you joy and won’t require you to give up favorite foods or otherwise deprive yourself of something you love. Let’s talk about how you canmindfully support yourself as you embark on this journey of discovery into your own mind and life.

According to the definition of Mindfulness on Psychology Today (link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness), “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

I teach this principle to my patients, and research has demonstrated its effectiveness with insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders. Since it’s generally accepted that we writers are a little nuts, this is a good thing. Okay, I’m kidding (mostly).

Here are some Mindfulness skills that I’ve tried to apply to my own writing life:

To read the rest, click here. Even if you're not a writer, you may find some tips that are helpful for you. 

I hope 2014 brings you peace, love, and good surprises!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Guest Post on Fresh Fiction: Why I write -- and read -- Urban Fantasy

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Southern Magic Readers' Luncheon in my home town of Birmingham, Alabama, where I met one of the editors for the Fresh Fiction website. As they say down here, we got to talking, and I pitched my writing/psychology blog posts as a possible guest spot for them. She was interested, and so today, I am very excited to say I have a guest post on the Fresh Fiction site.


In a recent blog interview, someone asked me why I write fantasy. My answer was that I always wanted the world to be more interesting than it really is. For example, one autumn morning when I was a child, I looked out to see a leaf that looked like a little fairy perched on a wind-tossed tree branch. I imagined it was a tiny gnome hanging on for a wild ride. When I got older and discovered the genre of urban fantasy, where magical elements are part of ordinary life, I was hooked.


As a psychologist, I can't help but ponder the question of why I and others like fantasy, and especially urban fantasy, from a psychological perspective. There's definitely the aspect of wanting more magic in life, but I believe it goes deeper. A lot of the problems people come to me with end up boiling down to how they handle real or perceived power imbalances, both externally and within themselves. Urban fantasy is a great way to explore power and how it works – and could work – in our world.


So, with that in mind, here are some reasons I write and read urban fantasy: 

To read the rest, click here.

Another reason to check it out? Comment at the Fresh Fiction site for a chance to win an electronic copy of The Mountain's Shadow.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by, and have a great weekend!