I’m often asked which genre is my favorite to write and my answer is paranormal. Like many of you, I love werewolves. The shifter genre has come a long way since the 1941 classic film, The Wolfman. My werewolves aren’t cursed figures that transform and stalk innocent villagers while the moon is full. My werewolves are productive citizens like cops, soldiers, reporters and pack leaders. They live in a world ruled by pack law as well as human law.
I love werewolf stories and I write books about werewolves living in contemporary times. I was fascinated by the issues of falling in love and finding the perfect alpha mate while dealing with the structure of pack law, clan life and mating rules. My stories are romances that deal with the complexities of those laws. The pack is ruled by the elders and their decisions have the impact of a supreme court. Any werewolves defying the elders and pack law must suffer the consequences of their actions.
My Claiming Moon heroine, Grace has a decision to make. She can accept the wolf her parents have approved and the elders have sanctioned as her future mate, or she can follow her heart. Grace is in love with another wolf and defies her parents and the elders, but her decision has serious ramifications. She in persona non grata with her pack and she must live in the human world.
My stories also deal with the issues of a romance between a human and a werewolf. These mixed relationships have a special set of issues. Just think about living with a shifter. As a human you can love them, but you’ll never be one of them. If the pack doesn’t approve of you, your significant other must make a difficult choice and be willing to live apart from the pack.
Take that human/wolf issue and add the problem of an inappropriate relationship between a military officer and a werewolf subordinate. In Holiday Moon that’s the dilemma for Calix, the human commander of black-ops unit of werewolves. When Sezri goes MIA, Calix must decide between the she-wolf he loves and his career.
Pack law, clan life and mating rules make for interesting twists to werewolf romances. The plots and the problems are fascinating and writing about the change from human to fur and fangs is a challenge. As a writer I must let my imagination fly and bring the wolf shifter to life. One day I hope to see a wolf in the wild. I’m sure the sighting will inspire a character and another wolf tale.
If you love werewolves, I write them. Moonlust will be released on March 22nd by Changeling Press.
Swamp People, a reality television show is extremely popular in Louisiana. The Landry family is located in the Atchafalaya Basin in southern Louisiana. Their claim to fame is hunting alligators, or as the Cajun people say, “Al-a-ma-ga-tor.”
I have my own in-house al-a-ma-gator hunter. Oh, yes. Every year it is the thrill of winning the ‘tags’…you must have a license to hunt the beasts, and you must put in your name for the ‘lottery.’ For some reason the dh has been winning tags for several years in a row. Either he’s lucky or there are fewer and fewer hunters in our central Louisiana location.
This year he won five tags, so off he went with his line and chicken from Wal-Mart. Hunting for alligators is extremely skillful. All you need is a pond with an alligator, a line with a chicken hooked to it, and a pistol. Throw that chicken in the pond, tie the line to an anchor and come back the next day to see if he took the bait. The dh did that.
The next day, he tugged on the line, and sure enough, there was a hungry alligator attached to it. Only thing was, the al-a-ma-ga-tor was huge. So, he called his two sons. They were at work, but could leave early to give their dad a hand. So, they showed up in their work clothes. Since one is a Nursing Home Administrator and the other is an Attorney, we’re not talking sneakers and jeans. They were in dress clothes.
Fearless as they are, they held onto the line with the alligator and dragged him to the water’s edge. One of them took the pistol and at his father’s command to “Choot ’em” (a phrase that comes from the reality show) — shot the alligator in the only place you can safely shoot, the top of the head, where there is small hole in the skull located right behind the eyes.
The alligator took offense to that bullet and did what an alligator does. He started to roll. Remember the two sons are holding onto the line, and as the alligator rolls, they are being pulled closer and closer into the water. The dh is yelling to “let go of the line,” as they are being dragged forward, tangled in the line at this point, when the alligator stops and the kid with the pistol gives him two more taps in the head.
Mission accomplished. Sort of.
They needed to get the alligator out of the water, so they tied a chain to him and drug him out with a truck. Since he was so huge, they got a front end loader and picked him up and put him in the back of the truck.
Here’s a picture of their catch.
This beauty is approximately forty years old, 11′-9″ and weighs in at approximately 600#.
Honestly, would you want this swimming in your pond?
The property is on what we call our ‘camp’ and small kids are not free to roam the property, as you can see, it can be dangerous. But the smiles on the hunters face is worth it.
The kid in the picture is six foot three, to give you an idea of how huge that alligator is. He changed his clothes after he was dragged into the water.
As far as I know, I am the only woman who has to have an alligator skull as part of her living room decor. It doesn’t look too bad with a bow on it’s head. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Pepper Phillips http://pepperphillips.com
“The Devil Has Dimples”
Southern sass with a touch of heart…
As usual, I have tons to catch you up on today. There’s some fun stuff in here along with the dry boring report, but you can’t appreciate sweet without sour, right? ~DD
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On Friday, rather than being a good author, I headed to Hot Springs with my daughter and SIL to hunt for things for her new house. If you haven’t heard me mention it before, we bought a fix-er-upper house across the street from mine and have basically begun gutting the thing. Anyway, Friday, we went to buy a sink and knobs for the new kitchen cabinets. On our way back, we stopped at a flea market. The Red-Headed Hellion and I love to hunt for treasure. See what we found?
My daughter found this buried on a shelf. When she held it up, I think she actually expected for me to let her keep it. LOL! Jeannie’s miiinnne! Doesn’t King Kong look like he’s spying on her from over the top of my crystal ball?
I still have a major girl crush on Xena! And now I have the doll to prove it. I sooooo want to break her out of her box. Think I’ll have to so she can play with Thor—she’ll break him like a twig!
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The Promo Ho Contest continues! Check the Contest page for details about how you can win one of TWO $25.00 gift certificates! And on Tuesday, I will have a brand new contest with a fun or strange (haven’t made up my mind yet which—but definitely not Jeannie!) prize for you to win. So, you see, you HAVE to stop by to check out my blog. May as well make me your daily habit, because you’ll forget to be here on Tuesday.
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Sunday Report Card
Not ball-of-fire production this week, but not too shabby either.
1) I worked on the opening scenes of CITBE—after I did a ton of research on St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans and voodoo loas. The story’s starting to gel, so going is slow as I feel my way through it.
2) I completed copyedits on My Sweet Succubus and it’s on it’s way to publication in March. Woot!
3) And I started a new short story for another call for submissions from Cleis.
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This Week’s Guests
This week, I’ll have the following ladies blogging here:
Feb 29—BJ McCall
Mar 2—Eliza Gayle
Be sure to drop by to say hello to them. You might just find another author you have to read!
I thought I’d post an excerpt from an upcoming book. This is a scene that takes place in the distant past although the rest of the book is firmly planted in the here and now. Enjoy a glimpse into Dragon’s Desire!
An ancient dragon sends a loyal knight on a quest to find a virgin to ease his curse. Who knew a virgin would be so hard to find?
Ragged wisps of clouds crawled across the face of the full moon, lightening then darkening the barren precipice. The villagers called it The Dragon’s Atoll. The bürgermeister had given him directions, told him when to begin the climb, warning him that the atoll existed only for an hour at midnight before it disappeared.
The knight had climbed the rocky precipice and now hid behind a stone pillar, sword drawn. He listened to the soft sobs of the girl the villagers had chained to the pillar according to rules handed down for a millennium, or so the elders had said. She was their sacrifice, their gift to the winged demon to pacify its hunger and spare them its wrath.
The knight had scoffed silently at their fear. He didn’t believe in dragons or demons. At least not mythical beasts. He’d seen enough in his travels to Palestine and back to know evil existed, but true evil resided in the hearts of greedy, bloodthirsty men.
Still, the purse filled with gold that the villagers offered him to slay the dragon and rid them of their curse convinced him to remain where he was.
“I shall die,” the girl whispered, “savaged by the beast.”
“You won’t die,” he whispered. “’Tis only a story.”
“You weren’t raised on tales of the horror. Do you think they are only stories told to frighten children?” she said, her voice rising toward the end.
She was comely thing with golden hair and gentle curves. He’d fought shock and disgust when the old men had cut her clothing from her body to leave her nude. The night was chilly and the sound of her teeth clacking as her body shivered had him reaching for his cape. If they were bound to wait together, she needn’t freeze.
Come morning, he’d lead her from the mountain and deliver her to her father, the bürgermeister who’d hired him, safe and sound.
He stepped around the pillar and began to slip the cloak around her, but she shook her head. “You mustn’t.”
“You are cold.”
“I’ll not be the reason my village suffers.”
He sighed and dropped the cloak, trying not to let his gaze slide down her naked frame but failing. Her nipples were ruched, the tips drawn into tight buds on her round, firm mounds.
“How were you so unlucky to be chosen?” he asked quietly, leaning his back against the gray granite rock so that he looked out across the atoll rather than at her.
“There is a lottery of maidens. All our names are entered.”
His lips twitched and he shot her glance. “And how do the villagers know you are truly virgin?”
A frown drew her pretty brows together. “The midwife examines all the women.”
“If you knew you risked this fate, why did you not lie with a man to render yourself unfit?”
“Because as awful as this fate is, ‘tis worse to cheat the dragon. Every family guards the virtue of their daughters to spare the village a terrible fate.” Her eyes closed for a moment. When she opened them again, tears filled them. “You shouldn’t be here. My father was wrong to try to end the curse.”
“You would sacrifice yourself willingly?”
“I have a younger brother, cousins, friends. I wouldn’t want to see them harmed.”
“What exactly happens when this beast appears?”
She swallowed hard. “He devours the virgin.”
The knight grunted. “It’s likely only feral pigs or wolves you should fear.”
“No wolf or pig would devour a woman whole.”
“How do you know this?”
Her breath shook. “There is never bone or blood, hair or flesh remaining. The creature opens his mouth and swallows his offering in a single gulp.”
He grasped her cold hand. “I will protect you, whether from dragon or pig. No harm shall come to you.”
Her eyelids drifted closed. “I wish I could believe you.”
A sound came from above them. At first, he thought it must be the wings of a large owl, but the closer the flapping came, his heartbeat slowed and grew louder, a steady thumping to match the beat of the large wings stirring the air.
“Hide!” she whispered.
He ducked behind the pillar, tightened his grip on his sword, and searched the air above them, but the clouds masked the moon again, sending everything into pitch darkness.
A deep, resonant thud shook the ground as a large shadow settled onto the atoll.
The girl whimpered. “No, no.”
The knight sprang from around the rock to stand in front of her, sword raised.
A loud, angry roar pierced the silence, hot breath gusting in the knight’s face. The clouds cleared, moonlight shone on a large elongated head, silvered the scales covering the creature he faced—a dragon indeed—with a wingspan that eclipsed the width of the atoll. Those wings flapped, producing gusts of wind so strong he was pushed back against the girl whose body leaned into his as she sobbed.
Another roar rent the air, and the knight recovered from his shock and struck out with his sword arm, stabbing toward the creature’s chest. However, a tree-trunk thick arm batted it way, and then another, fisted, slammed against his chest, toppling him to the side.
He landed on his back, but before he could regain his breath and think to roll away, a heavy foot pressed against his belly, holding him to the ground.
With the knight helplessly restrained, the dragon turned his head to the girl. He sniffed the air around her. Its tongue flickered out and licked her breast, her belly, then flickered out again to stroke between her legs before retracting between jaws filled with ragged, gnashing teeth.
The girl screamed and flattened herself against the pillar, but to no avail. The creature moved closer and lowered its head.
When I was a teenager, I had a bumper sticker that said, “Forget Love…Go For Lust.” I never put it on the car, of course. My mother would have had a cow…and she might have started paying attention to my love life. But that bumper sticker adorned my locker, my college dorm room and it’s still sticking in my head.
Although I learned from a Judith Krantz in “I’ll Take Manhattan,” that T-shirts are “pure aggression,” I have one that says “Plays well with others.” I also bought the “Runs with scissors,” and gave it to a friend. I wear my “What I really need are minions,” shirt when I’m trying to meet a deadline. And that “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel,” T-shirt always makes me smile, but I don’t own it. Why warn them, lol?!
Words stick with me. I love Nike ads, the J. Peterman catalog, the Zingerman’s catalog and Anne Taintor, Flavia and S.A.R.K. I joy in a greeting card so chock full of meaning, I actually spend $4.99 on it. I love it when someone paints a vivid picture in my head and I’m transported somewhere wild and new. I’m a sucker for provocative irony, too. When I was in high school, this manifested as a thing for buttons. All that angst, all that lust and clueless passion combined with egocentrism, inspired more than one flirty button purchase. I actually wore that “Come near me and I’ll kill you” button out on a date with a guy I knew was going to dump me…any…minute. *Sigh* He just wasn’t that into me, but I’m ever so grateful for our eye-opening interlude. He was wild and weird and a crazy-good kisser. I love that button because it reminds me of me, fifteen, dangerous and full of passion.
Do you have an inspiring phrase? Some compelling collection of words that reminds you of someone…or someone you used to be? Please share them in the comments. One lucky commenter will win a bar of Lush brand Lust soap and Romance Trading Cards for my erotic romance novellas SoloPlay and Bottoms Up. The Lust soap smells like jasmine, long believed to be an aromatic aphrodisiac. Unlike my teenage self, I don’t think you should forget love…but lust never goes out of style! Thanks for having me, Delilah!
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About Miranda Baker
It makes me chuckle to think about all the romantic short stories I wrote in my rather too literary creative writing classes in college. If only one of my professors had steered me toward popular fiction! On the other hand, if I had discovered my calling back then, I wouldn’t have gone to culinary school, I wouldn’t have met my husband, we wouldn’t have had three children and I wouldn’t have turned to erotic romance to get my mojo back during all this hair-raising kid raising.
“…Lone Heart is the delicious follow up to Delilah Devlin’s previous book about the Wyatt brothers, True Heart. The characters are well crafted and the world is a realistic depiction of country life found on ranches throughout the west… I love where Ms Devlin took this story, away from the predictable course… Ms. Devlin has written a luscious love story, filled with new beginnings and passions reawakened…”
I’m always thrilled when someone says something nice about a story I’ve put effort into. It might seem like writing’s easy. I work in my jammies or sweats. Words tumble effortlessly from my fingertips—NOT! Well, the jammie part is true.
But writing ain’t easy. Ideas for stories come pretty easy, but actually getting a story on the screen takes work. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job. Every day I roll out of bed, I’m at my keyboard, first thing. It’s 7-days-a-week, pretty much. And the writing is only part of the job.
But before I bore you with the “Poor me, I’m a slave to my muse,” I will tell you that I love my job. Pure and simple. I get to meet the most interesting people—those in my head and my online friends. I get to travel and count it off my taxes because its research. LIFE is research. One day, I will write a story about a writer living in a house with crazy relatives. (Did I mention my aunt shaved her head because grandma took her keys?)
Um, I don’t have an end for this post, so I’ll wind down now and get to work. 5 Stars for Lone Heart! Yay me! Woot!