Thanks, Delilah, for letting me visit today and talk about my new book, Cougar’s Courage (Duals and Donovans: the Different, Book 3).
I love world-building. Long before I fell in love with romance novels, I was a fantasy reader, and I loved escaping my little central New York hometown by immersing myself in the lush, vivid exotic worlds of Middle Earth, Pern, Narnia, and more. And of course, since then I’ve become engrossed in many other imaginary worlds. In creating the paranormal Duals and Donovans: the Different series, I looked for inspiration not to the complex mythological realms of Tolkien and other epic fantasy but to the nearly real worlds of urban fantasy authors such as Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs, worlds that might pass for ours…for a few pages, before the weirdness hits again.
I didn’t steal their worlds. But I did shamelessly adopt the notion that little touches of reality highlight the oddity of a dangerous world where magic is part of life and beings out of mythology might just end up either eating dinner with you or eating you for dinner.
Thus Cara, my heroine in Cougar’s Courage, starts out in the very real city of Toronto. She has a smart phone and isn’t thrilled when it doesn’t work in Couguar-Caché, the mysterious village where she ends up. (Turns out her cell phone coverage stops when she left this dimension. Important safety tip: check your contracts for this detail if you’re planning to plane-hop!) Jack is a shape-shifting cougar Dual who’s also a shaman—not exactly the guy next-door— but he attended Queens University, a very real place where my college roommate did her graduate work. The characters miss Tim Horton’s coffee because they can’t get it easily where they are. Cara’s grandfather is a magical powerhouse…who loves old school Saturday morning cartoons and flannel shirts.
But the real-life details, in the long run, don’t matter as much as real-life emotions. Cara and Jack may have powers most of us lack, and may spend a lot of time in an alternate dimension. But they’re people, if not exactly humans. The most important challenge was to keep their path from uneasy allies to a couple looking forward to Happily (and Crazily) Ever After believable.
I think I succeeded. I hope I also succeeded in making even the most bizarre residents of Couguar-Caché emotionally accessible. Even an ancient nature spirit can mourn a lost lover and regret a disastrous relationship with an evil ex. In this case the evil is on a scale beyond “ran up your credit cards and slept with your best friend” or even “beat you up.” More like “wants to destroy everything you hold dear including the land and has the power to do it.” But the pain of loss is universal, as is anger at being duped and regret for bad decisions that come back to haunt you years (or in this case centuries) later.
Let me know if I succeeded in making the bizarre believable!
Series blurb: Welcome to an America where the non-human Different and magically gifted humans live among ordinary people. Witches are both feared and honored, but shape-shifting Duals are treated as second-class citizens. The Agency, a government agency that’s supposed to monitor illegal uses of magic and Different abilities, has developed its own dangerous agenda. But when Duals and witches join forces, the Agency and other bad guys aren’t going to know what hit them.
And neither are the witches and Duals. Witch magic grows from the positive energy of love and sex–and the only thing better than one Dual is two of them! And then there are shamans, who work their chaotic magic to comfort the afflicted and shake up the comfortable. Once shamans get involved, everything gets weirder…and sexier.
Blurb: Toronto cop Cara Many-Winters Mackenzie is still reeling from her fiancé’s murder when her orderly life takes a turn toward the weird, complete with voices in her head and phantom bleeding wounds.
This violent awakening is the rise of her Different gift—a chaotic, Bugs-Bunny-on-crack magic that she must learn to control before it destroys her. There’s only one place to get help: her mother’s ancestral village, and a mentor who seems to have stepped straight out of the smoke of her erotic dreams.
Cougar Dual Jack Long-Claw reluctantly agrees to take Cara under his wing, though he’d much rather take the beautiful city girl into his bed. As he guides her through a crash course in shamanic magic, sparks fly—some sexy, some snarky. But when an ancient enemy attacks the village, they must work together to hone a magical weapon against certain destruction.
Common sense tells them it’s a terrible time to fall in love. Their spirit guides have other ideas. And shamans who don’t listen to their spirit guides are dead shamans…
Warning: Hot shape-shifting feline hero. Strong but shell-shocked heroine. Snarky, meddling spirit guides. And lots and lots of sex: angry sex, crazy sex, magical sex, and just plain sexy sex.
Like the sound of this? I’m running a contest on my own website for a chance to win this book and the first book in the series, Lions’ Pride. Commenting here or at my site enters you. Comment here and there, get two entries.