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N.J. Walters: Ideas are Everywhere — The Origin of HADES’ CARNIVAL
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Where do ideas for books come from? That’s a question most authors are asked at one point or another. Truthfully, ideas come from anywhere and everywhere—TV, movies, magazines, nonfiction books, overheard snippets of conversations, dreams, or random thoughts. In the case of the Hades’ Carnival series, it started with an online quiz.

This was back in the days of the Yahoo Groups—long before Facebook and Instagram. Someone posted one of those fun quizzes—What carnival ride would you be? I took the quiz and wasn’t surprised when it came up as a carousel. I’m not very adventurous, but who says a carousel has to be tame? My mind started working. What if the animals on the carousel were really shapeshifting immortal warriors trapped in their animal forms? The idea for the series spun out from there and the HADES’S CARNIVAL was born.

Hades’ Carnival

Welcome to Hades’ Carnival, where a group of immortal shapeshifting warriors are imprisoned in their animal forms on a carousel.

Cursed by the very goddess they served—The Lady of the Beasts—in order to keep them out of Hell, now the warriors are being offered a chance at freedom and redemption. And it will take a very special woman to free each warrior.

Once free, they must stay alive for 24 hours if they want to save themselves from Hades once and for all.

SERIES: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0742KNX25

NIGHT OF THE TIGER

When graphic novel illustrator Aimee Horner visits a traveling carnival, she’s drawn to an abandoned carousel and its carved white tiger. One touch of her skin against the massive beast, and Aimee’s world is changed forever.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSB6Z8

MARK OF THE BEAR

Kellsie Morris knows her career as a Hollywood scream queen won’t last forever. Luckily, she’s just landed a big role in a movie about an immortal, shape-shifting warrior trapped in a carnival run by the Devil’s minions. When the carousel bear on set shifts into a flesh and bone bear of a man, Kellsie starts to question reality.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TS79RK/

PRIDE OF THE LION

When Araminta Davidson is invited to participate in a readers’ appreciation weekend, she feels like she’s arrived as an author. But what starts out as a fun weekend quickly turns surreal and deadly when she accidentally releases a shape-shifting immortal warrior from a five-thousand-year-old curse.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSMST9/

HOWL OF THE WOLF

Artist and tarot reader Sabrina can’t resist buying and bringing home the old carousel wolf she finds in an antique shop. She never imagined the wooden animal could come to life in her living room and shift into a dark, sexy man.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSQ84M/

HEART OF THE SERPENT

After being trapped in his animal form for centuries by a curse, freedom is new and almost uncomfortable for shape-shifting warrior Mordecai. He knows Hades can’t get to him physically, but although he might try to deny it, he knows he has a weak spot—Jessica. Worried that Hades could hurt her to get to him, Mordecai’s tried to keep his distance, but there’s no stopping this kind of connection.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TST8PT/

FLAME OF THE PHOENIX

Phoenix is afraid—a first for the immortal warrior. Beautiful, forthright Tilly Ledet fires his mind and body. She’s been helping Phoenix and his shape-shifting comrades in their battle against Hades, and now she is in danger and doesn’t think she needs his protection.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSF7KT/

LURE OF THE JAGUAR

With the ancient curse broken, the warriors serving the Lady of Beasts are free. Stavros, the only unmated warrior, retreats to the solitude of the Louisiana bayou, but he’s not alone there. The minute he sees the woman stalking wildlife with her camera, he realizes her for who she is—his mate.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TS717B/

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit her at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

N.J. Walters: A Book is a Book is a Book
Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

When my first book was released back in October of 2004, the big debate among those in the romance publishing community was whether an e-book could be considered a real book and if the people who wrote them were real writers. It seems absurd now, but e-books were relatively new and exclusively sold on the websites of those companies that published them. That’s right, Amazon wasn’t selling them back in those days, and the traditional publishers were skeptical.

The e-book business allowed some incredibly talented authors to get a foothold in an industry where it wasn’t easy to break in. These online publishers eagerly sought out new talent, willing to take a chance on an unknown writer. And the gamble paid off as sales skyrocketed. E-books were less constrained by traditional subject matter and expanded the romance genre as a whole.

Then, a funny thing happened. Traditional publishers took note, and they not only began to publish e-books but also signed many of the same writers they’d previously snubbed.

There have been tremendous ups and downs over the past twenty years. Amazon changed everything—on one hand, making books more widely available, while on the other, lowering the amount of money authors and e-book publishers made for each sale. The industry floundered. Some companies went under; others rose. Some authors vanished while others flourished. I’ve been fortunate enough to hold my ground, thanks to my amazing readers.

Then came the rise of self-publishing, giving those technically inclined authors another outlet for their work. I admire any author who takes this route and can make it work. I admit that’s beyond me. I’m seriously technically impaired—you have no idea how much—and I’m also horrible at promotion. I’m an incredibly private introvert in a world that is constantly demanding you put more of yourself out there.

When it comes to books, I’ve always been of the mind that it doesn’t matter whether you enjoy hardcovers, softcovers, e-books, or audiobooks, whether they’re published by a company or by the author. All that matters is that you enjoy the book the author has put their blood, sweat, and tears into creating.

I’m a dinosaur in this ever-changing industry. I do my best to keep up while slowly falling behind, but I’m still here, writing the books I love, grateful to the people who read them.

However you enjoy your books, don’t ever stop reading (or listening). I know, I won’t.

If you haven’t checked out my Lone Wolf Legacy series, the first two books in the trilogy are available.

Protecting the Gray Wolf
Lone Wolf Legacy, Book 2

If they want his immortality—they’ll have to take it

I’m used to other wolves coming for me. They want their chance to try and take out the infamous Gray Wolf. And every single one of them fails—because lone wolves aren’t like the others…we’re stronger. Harder. Meaner. Immortal.

But it also means I’m alone. No pack. No alpha. Just the three of us—white, gray, and black. Two too many, if you ask me.

But with power-hungry mages gunning for us, I don’t have the luxury of reflection. They’re in New York City, and I Will. Hunt. Them. Down.

Which is when I see her, and every cell in my body is on alert, filled with the kind of primal longing I never knew I was capable of. Luna West may be human, but there’s some kind of thread connecting us. Call it destiny, fate…or voracious animal hunger.

I know she’s bait. She’s meant to tempt me, to make me weak. But even if I could resist her, I’m not sure I want to.

Because I’ve never denied my wolf anything…especially the chance to raise some serious hell.

And I’m not about to start now.

Author Note: This book is told in third person point of view, even though the blurb is in first person.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CSXC8HTG/
Entangled Publishing: https://www.entangledpublishing.com/books/protecting-the-gray-wolf
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/protecting-the-gray-wolf-n-j-walters/1144686015
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/protecting-the-gray-wolf
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/protecting-the-gray-wolf/id6476511670

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit her at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

N.J. Walters: Spring has Sprung
Friday, March 29th, 2024

The calendar says it’s springtime, but winter hasn’t given up its icy grip in my neck of the woods. There is still snow piled around and a distinct chill in the air. I both envy and enjoy seeing pictures from my online friends featuring the flowers and trees that are starting to bloom where they are. We have weeks, if not a couple of months, before we get to that point. It’s not uncommon to have snow in May.

Spring is a time of optimism and renewal. I tend to hibernate during winter, but with the lengthening days I have more energy and feel more hopeful. Easter is also early this year, which adds to growing sense of springtime. There may not be daffodils outside, but I’ll buy a bouquet of flowers to brighten up the place.

I love the first day it’s finally warm enough to throw open the window and air out the place after months of being closed up tight. Time to chase out the dust bunnies and get to spring cleaning. Spring tends to be cold, foggy, and rainy, but it makes the sunny days all the more special. I look forward to the day when I don’t need multiple layers and about eight pounds of outerwear just to step outside the door. Nothing I enjoy more than taking a walk on a sunny day and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.

What are you looking forward to this spring?

If the weather isn’t nice where you are, maybe you can curl up and enjoy a good book. If you haven’t checked out my Lone Wolf Legacy series, the first two books in the trilogy are available.

Protecting the Gray Wolf
Lone Wolf Legacy, Book 2

I’m used to other wolves coming for me. They want their chance to try and take out the infamous Gray Wolf. And every single one of them fails—because lone wolves aren’t like the others…we’re stronger. Harder. Meaner. Immortal.

But it also means I’m alone. No pack. No alpha. Just the three of us—white, gray, and black. Two too many, if you ask me.

But with power-hungry mages gunning for us, I don’t have the luxury of reflection. They’re in New York City, and I Will. Hunt. Them. Down.

Which is when I see her, and every cell in my body is on alert, filled with the kind of primal longing I never knew I was capable of. Luna West may be human, but there’s some kind of thread connecting us. Call it destiny, fate…or voracious animal hunger.

I know she’s bait. She’s meant to tempt me, to make me weak. But even if I could resist her, I’m not sure I want to.

Because I’ve never denied my wolf anything…especially the chance to raise some serious hell.

And I’m not about to start now.

(Author Note: This book is told in third person, even though the blurb is in first person.)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CSXC8HTG/
Entangled Publishing: https://www.entangledpublishing.com/books/protecting-the-gray-wolf
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/protecting-the-gray-wolf-n-j-walters/1144686015
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/protecting-the-gray-wolf

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit her at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Gabbi Grey: A Sexy Story (Contest) 
Friday, March 15th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!
*~*~*

Hello Delilah!  Thank you for inviting me to share my new release!

When I saw the call for femme fatale flash fiction pieces, I dropped everything and ran to my computer.

My editor was shocked when I sent her not one but two pieces. I asked for a quick turnaround time – which she generously did for me. I even got the two stories submitted early! What mostly surprised my editor was that, at the beginning of our acquaintance, I maintained I couldn’t write short. That I was only capable of writing stories over 70,000 words.  She’d send me different calls for short pieces. I even submitted one for a Delilah anthology (she didn’t pick it and that was good because it wasn’t that great).  Eventually I wrote a couple of short stories that got published. Then I wrote my first short story for a charity anthology, and I’ve done almost a dozen since.  I’ve also written more than a dozen novellas.  So yes, apparently, I can write short.  The last few submissions have been 5,000 words or less.  In this case a lot less.

One piece of flash fiction I submitted for this anthology was a BDSM short story about a Domme. That story was under my Gabbi Black pen name.  It didn’t get picked, but that was okay.  I plan to expand that story and release it myself.  Kat’s Claws, however, did get selected.

That acceptance letter put me over the moon.  Most of the anthologies I join involve me signing up and submitting the best story I possibly can.  Rarely do I submit to curated anthologies (or get personally asked to join a charity anth).  I just don’t have time.  I’m so glad I did for this one.  My flash fiction (667 words – and yes, I should’ve found one to trim…) is about a lioness shifter who interferes with her best friend’s love life. Her best friend is an owl shifter.  From the first shifter book I read about ten years ago, I wondered what kind of shifter I would write. Now, I never had any intention of writing a shifter book.  I’ve only written one other paranormal story, and it’s about a ghost.  To me, that’s just a love story, not a paranormal.  Well, apparently if ghosts are involved, it falls into the mystical sphere.

I’ve signed up for a shifter anthology in September, and I’ve written the story of the owl shifter (the lioness’s best friend) and the human woman she loves so much.  A lesbian, owl shifter, reality show, short story.  Man, I can’t wait to share that with the world. In the meantime, when I saw the femme fatale call, I knew I needed to tell Kat’s side of the story.  The prologue, as it might be. Why she did what she did and how her friend reacted.  That’s the basis for Kat’s Claws. I hope readers pick up this anthology and read all the great stories. The editor prepared sketches for each one, and I’m thrilled with what she did for me.  So yeah, the email I received telling me that I made the cut really was a great day.

I would love to give away a $5 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky commenter.  Have you tried reading or writing flash fiction? Or do you prefer longer stories?  One randomly chosen comment will win the prize.

Thanks, Delilah, for letting me visit.

Femme Fatale Flashes

Welcome to the shadowed corners of intrigue and peril. Wicked Shadow Press presents “Femme Fatale Flashes”, a captivating anthology of flash fictions, each one casting the spotlight on the elusive femme fatale, a figure at once dangerously seductive and imbued with an undeniable strength.

Dive into narratives where mystery and malice dance closely, as these women tread the fine line between morality and desire. From the straightforward journeys of beguiling yet sinister characters whose beginnings are as veiled as their intentions, to the intricate tales of those sculpted by the harshness of society, the sting of betrayal, or the tumultuous twists of love, this collection delves into the myriad hues of what it means to embody the femme fatale.

“Femme Fatale Flashes” beckons you to explore the complex realm of these mesmerising women through stories that are as concise as they are profound. Brace yourself to be captivated by the lethal allure of the femme fatale, in a collection that promises to enchant, entangle, and ultimately, redefine your perception of power, vengeance, and seduction.

This anthology features 56 stories, penned by 49 authors from around the world.

FEATURED IN THIS COLLECTION: Albert Tucher, Angela Tang, Anna McHugh, Armand Rosamilia, Arun Hariharan, Barlow Crassmont, Bissme S, Chad Anctil, Christopher Ryan, Crystal Red, D.A. Cairns, Dale Parnell, Daniel DiQuinzio, David Rae, Dawn DeBraal, Destiny Eve Pifer, Emmanuel Maduabuchi Titus, Gabbi Grey, Grant Tracey, Hannah Marchildon, Ian Gielen, Ivy Wilde, James Dorr, JB Wocoski, Jeremy Gadd, Joshua Vise, Kevin Hopson, Kris Blackburn, Kylie Doyle, LaVern Spencer McCarthy, Linda M. Crate, Madhu Mehrotra, Nelly Shulman, Olivia Arieti, R.W. Hartshorn, Rachel Loertscher, Rina Palumbo, Robb T. White, Sarah Das Gupta, Sarah Mayo, Sharon Frame Gay, Shayde O. Brown, Sheldon Woodbury, Soter Lucio, Susan Temple, TC Phillips, Toshiya Kamei, Val Roberts, Warren Benedetto

Links:
eBook link: https://www.lulu.com/shop/parth-sarathi-chakraborty/femme-fatale-flashes/ebook/product-579e6jr.html
Paperback Link: https://www.lulu.com/shop/parth-sarathi-chakraborty/femme-fatale-flashes/paperback/product-579e6yr.html
Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/209492846-femme-fatale-flashes

 

Kat’s Claws by Gabbi Grey

I am a temptress, a seducer, and a lioness shifter.  When my best friend, an owl shifter, is about to make a terrible mistake, I use my prowess to bring her relationship with a human to an end. That might make me a bitch, but I did it for the right reason. Or so I believe…

About the Gabbi Grey

USA Today Bestselling author Gabbi Grey lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black and Gabbi Powell.

N.J. Walters: Protecting the Gray Wolf
Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

PROTECTING THE GRAY WOLF, the second book in the Lone Wolf Legacy trilogy, is finally here!

Who are the lone wolves?

Since the rise of the werewolf, there has always existed a single lone wolf—with pure white, gray, or black fur and eyes that match—who answers to no alpha, belongs to no pack. Merciless and deadly, he wanders the world, both judge and executioner of rogue wolves who senselessly kill, endangering all their kind.

When one dies, another takes its place, awakening to his purpose the first time he shifts to his wolf form. Known by the sign of the lone wolf—a sickle over the heart—the short-handled, circular blade remains as a tattoo on the man and as a mark on the wolf. A lethal combination of intelligence, brutal strength, and keen instinct, he walks a lonely path, shunned by pack, always alone.

For the first time, there are three in the world—white, gray, and black—who all bear the mark on their chests. No one knows why, least of all them…

Protecting the Gray Wolf
Lone Wolf Legacy, Book 2

I’m used to other wolves coming for me. They want their chance to try and take out the infamous Gray Wolf. And every single one of them fails—because lone wolves aren’t like the others…we’re stronger. Harder. Meaner. Immortal.

But it also means I’m alone. No pack. No alpha. Just the three of us—white, gray, and black. Two too many, if you ask me.

But with power-hungry mages gunning for us, I don’t have the luxury of reflection. They’re in New York City, and I Will. Hunt. Them. Down.

Which is when I see her, and every cell in my body is on alert, filled with the kind of primal longing I never knew I was capable of. Luna West may be human, but there’s some kind of thread connecting us. Call it destiny, fate…or voracious animal hunger.

I know she’s bait. She’s meant to tempt me, to make me weak. But even if I could resist her, I’m not sure I want to.

Because I’ve never denied my wolf anything…especially the chance to raise some serious hell.

And I’m not about to start now.

(Author Note: This book is told in third person, even though the blurb is in first person.)

TEASER:

The air stirred behind him. Goose bumps rose on his skin. Kade’s head snapped around, searching for what had disturbed him. The woman was almost six feet tall, even wearing flats. The dress she wore was a pale gray that matched her eyes. It was loose but gave the impression of generous curves beneath. Curly brown hair tumbled around her shoulders. Streaks of gray ran through the front part so the strands framed her face. And what a face it was. Her lips were full, her chin slightly rounded. High cheekbones brought his gaze back to her eyes, which widened beneath thick, dark lashes.

Part of him hadn’t believed the white wolf, or hadn’t wanted to, but there was no denying the vision before him. The gray streaks in her hair matched the color of his hair and her eyes were a mirror image of his. Their eyes met and she came to an abrupt stop. Every muscle in his body tensed, poised to give chase if she ran. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. It was as if a switch had been flipped inside him. Lust warred with surge of possessiveness and the unexpected urge to protect. When she licked her lips, his jeans grew tighter. He clamped down on his emotions, exerting iron control over his wayward body. Last thing he needed was a hard-on in the middle of an art opening.

*~*~*

Want to read more of Luna and Kade’s story? Check out the links below.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CSXC8HTG/
Entangled Publishing: https://www.entangledpublishing.com/books/protecting-the-gray-wolf
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/protecting-the-gray-wolf-n-j-walters/1144686015
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/protecting-the-gray-wolf

If you’re not familiar with the series, be sure to check out TAMING THE WHITE WOLF, book one of the series. Find out more at: Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/books/taming-the-white-wolf

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit her at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Flashback: Bad Moon Rising (Contest)
Thursday, February 8th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Mary McCoy!
*~*~*

I’m wrapping up work today on Malcolm! So, this will be a quick post. I have to do a final read-through, format it, and upload the story to Amazon. And then I can take tomorrow off! Guess what I’ll be doing? Yes! Playing with my Gelli plates with my daughter. Can’t wait! But work first!

I have a ton of books that I’ve published over the years. You may be most familiar with my bounty hunters and the few Brotherhood Protectors stories I’ve written. I have several series you could binge on if you like, but I also have a ton of standalone stories. Here’s one of them. I kinda wrote myself into this story…

Bad Moon Rising

Bad Moon Rising

On a whim, romance author DiDi Devereaux decides to travel to remote Louisiana bayou country to take possession of a house she inherited from a reclusive relative. But before she reaches her destination, she drives her car into a ditch to avoid a large animal that leaps into her path. Rescue comes in the form of a sexy sheriff, whose gruff demeanor seems to hide a feral attraction. As DiDi settles into her new home she finds herself torn between her attraction to the sheriff and the raw, handsome bad boy whose offer to help her renovate her home is a little too convenient and tempting.

Nothing in Bayou Noir is what it seems. When strange things begin to happen, her natural curiosity leads her into danger…

Note: This is a standalone story. No cliff-hangers. Just lovely, shapeshifting Cajuns in the bayou…

Read an excerpt here!

Contest

Yes, it’s a panther-shifter story! And it was so fun to write. Read the excerpt; you won’t be sorry! The heroine is me—if I was younger and beautiful and if panther-shifters actually existed… LOL

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, let me know whether you still love shifters. I haven’t written one in a while, but I’ve been looking for something that feels fresh. Tell me what you’d love to see!

Ava Cuvay: To Be or Not To Be… a Strong Female Character (Excerpt)
Monday, January 29th, 2024

I’m out of my element here.

My new release, What a Dragon Desires, has a Strong Female Character. Actually, strong isn’t an accurate descriptor because I’ve written strong characters before. Strong as in resilient, fearless, supportive, capable… but Eydís Helvig, the heroine in my third dragon shifter story is more than merely strong. She’s assertive, aggressive, and combative.

And I’m sooooo not.

Which begs the question: how much of me goes into my characters? I used to think there was at least a glimmer of Ava in each of my characters. I could relate in some way to their goals, their strengths, their hurts, etc. Or, at least, my author’s mind could step outside of itself and relate. Yet, for some reason, I really struggled with Eydís’s personality. Almost as if I couldn’t find anything relatable about her (and if the creator can’t relate, what does that say about both the creator and the character?). Yet Eydís isn’t some throw-away, one-dimensional, heartless harridan sort of character.

She was a challenge to write, partially because I was concerned about overstepping the fine line between strong and bitchy. Yes, the term “bitch” is so often (too often) used as a demeaning description for any confident, knowledgeable, vocal woman. I’m using the term to describe a female character who stiff-arms readers into not caring about her or her arc. When the reader isn’t engaged with a character—when they see no relatable or redeeming characteristics—they just don’t care. And their enjoyment of a story plummets, as does the possibility they’ll finish reading the book.

I’ve read my fair share of “strong female characters” who are merely insensitive harpies lashing out blindly at the world (for no understandable or redeemable reason). I hope Eydís doesn’t also fall into that category. After all, she’s a dragon shifter without a dragon. Which means she has an emptiness deep inside that can’t be filled or eliminated and therefore can’t regulate her apex predator tendencies. As a result, she’s aggressive, in-your-face, and combative. Her job involves navigating mostly-male meetings in a mostly-male industry. She has to be confident, knowledgeable, and vocal.

Part of her arc is to smooth those prickly edges. Shocker: the love of a good man helps 😉 A man who accepts her as she is. So much so that he calls her lítill fura… Old Norse for little pine.

While Eydís is allowed to be combative, she can’t be a bitch. Because I need the readers to like her. Which means I’ve kinda written myself into a corner, trying to make her prickly, but not too prickly. And because I am a peacekeeping, non-combative type of person myself (which means, I personally relate more with my hero in this book), I’m possibly more conservative with where that fine line between strong and bitchy actually is.

Uh-oh. Maybe I haven’t made her aggressive enough. 😳

All that angst aside, I’m celebrating a new release! And I’m giving away three kindle versions to random winners. Let me know about your favorite (or least favorite?) strong female character.

What a Dragon Desires

“What a Dragon Desires” is available at your favorite online retailer:
Kindle – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BZGWQTN3?tag=avacuvay-20
Nook – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-dragon-desires-ava-cuvay/1143253255
Apple Books – http://books.apple.com/us/book/id6446715988
Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=ASLdEAAAQBAJ

Ulrik Drekison serves comfortably at the right hand of his oldest brother. As a Wood Dragon shifter, he is the peacekeeper, serene as the forests surrounding his Minnesota home. When a deadly pest invasion threatens the future of his family’s logging company and the entire state’s economy, he’s primed to battle the infestation but ill-equipped to combat his attraction to the voluptuous woman sent by an opposing company. Unaffected by his Viking good looks and his innate dragon sensuality, she trashes his calm at every turn. Yet, as antagonistic as she is, he can’t seem to walk away from her.

Eydís Helvig was born a dragon shifter… without a dragon. As an apex predator with no beast to back up her brazen attitude, her own clan rejects her and humans barely tolerate her. When she’s tasked to diffuse a small family logging company’s outcry about a bug crisis, she is inexorably drawn by the Drekison’s innate power and integrity, especially the hostile yet passionate brother, Ulrik. She yearns to set down roots she’s never had. But like everyone else, Ulrik and his family won’t want her, especially after her employer’s secret is exposed.

Excerpt:

He nodded once, then palmed her elbow to usher her to his truck. Eydís recoiled from his possessive move. She didn’t tolerate chivalry from men; she was perfectly capable of opening her own doors and shit, and allowing a man to do it for her undermined their ability to see her as an equal. She’d struggled too long and too hard to prove herself in a man’s world. There was no way she’s allow one little action to undo it and plant her into the weak-and-helpless category.

She yanked on the door handle, realizing too late it was still locked, and looked back at him expectantly. He was going to make her wait, wasn’t he? He was going to make her wait until he sauntered over and unlocked his truck, his expression patronizing and looking at her like she was a dumbass for trying to do anything herself.

But he didn’t make her wait.

He clicked his fob and she heard the unmistakable sound of unlocking. “Give the running boards a sec to deploy,” he cautioned when she flung the door open.

She paused and watched the power-deployed boards swing from under the truck, thankful for the boost they offered. Ulrik’s trucks wasn’t one of those cringy overcompensating-for-something behemoths—he didn’t need one; she’d seen his dick—but she was too short to gracefully climb into his cab without the running board.

He was at her side by that point, and held the door while she hoisted herself in. Was she hearing things, or had he caught his breath when she’d leaned forward as she maneuvered into the truck cab? And why did the thought of Ulrik appreciating her womanly assets please her in a far more personal way than it should?

About Ava

Ava Cuvay is an award-winning bestselling author of out of this world Sci-fi and Paranormal Romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, adventure… and the word “moist”.

She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and teen kiddos who think her “Rizz” is “cringe” but she “passes the vibe check” and her books “hit different.” No cap.

She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.