Please welcome the amazing Ann Gimple, one of the talented authors of Sinister Seductions.
Author Topic: Weres and Other Shifters
What is it about shifters? Why do good books about them fly off the shelves (or e-shelves as the case may be)?
They’re an intriguing corner of paranormal fantasy. I think they hold universal appeal because which one of us hasn’t wished they could be something else, at least for a little while. And that something else usually has magical powers: invisibility, incredible speed, the ability to grant wishes, to name but a few.
Aletha, the protagonist in Wolf Bytes (my story in the Sinister Seductions Anthology) is a hit woman who’s also a werewolf. Well, actually, she’s a lycan. They’re sort of like werewolves, but they can shift whenever they want to, as opposed to being tied to the full moon, or nighttime. She’s overwhelmingly competent as a human: good with firearms, knows martial arts, and meets the world on her own terms, making it do her bidding.
That’s pretty much a requirement for heroes these days. They need to be larger than life; able to take on all comers and prevail. We all like to win, which is why we’re drawn to protagonists who do. There’s a still, small voice within that says to us, “They could do it. If they could, so can I. Never mind their second nature is a wolf/bear/unicorn.”
I blogged a while back about heroes. And how fickle the public is about both offering and withdrawing hero status. Well, shifters aren’t any different in that regard. They hold some of their own in high regard. Others not so much. Most of the well-known shifter series describe discrete castes. Usually, the more power you have, the more respect you command. (Big surprise. Garden variety humans are the same way.)
Circling back to Aletha, who’s trying to hide her shifter status from her employer. She has nerves of steel and kills on command without so much as a second thought. She prefers killing in wolf form, though. I tried to ask her about why that was and got a sort of garbled answer that came down to it being more satisfying to sink your incisors into yielding flesh than to point a nice, sterile gun from twenty paces and fire it. Guess wolves like it up close and personal.
There’s lots about Aletha that’s easy to relate to. She’s strong with a take no prisoners attitude. And given what she does for a living, she feels the need to be extremely careful. She’s killed enough people that she’s never sure who might be lying in wait to dust her. She’s lonely, though. Her dual nature makes it tough to go on casual dates. Besides, sometimes in the heat of passion, she has a problem: her wolf side pushes to the fore and she partially transforms. Sort of tough to explain that to the hottie she picked up in the bar.
Speaking of, ahem, hotties and shifter sex— From an author’s perspective (or at least from mine since it’s challenging to speak for anyone else), one of the fun parts of having shifters as characters in paranormal romance with erotic overtones is figuring out what sex would feel like if you were other than human. In one story I wrote, the shifters were whales who’d assumed human form so they could try to save the oceans from heavy metal contamination. One of the plusses (about the only one, actually) that the whales found about their human bodies was sex. Turns out whale sex was mostly haunting love songs with very occasional couplings. Whale pregnancies last fourteen to twenty-two months and there’s not much fiddling around when the female can’t get pregnant. Sorry, off on a tangent there. Happens a lot, actually.
Writing the lycan story was intriguing. It’s the fourth one I’ve written if you count the two with wargs as protags. I’m drawn to wolf-human shifters, maybe because of my lifelong love affair with large dogs and wolf hybrids. I’ve actually spent enough time training dogs I understand how they think, which means I can write about them and make it feel real.
Wrapping things up here, shifters represent ancient patterns of personality that are part of our shared human heritage. That’s why they’re easy to relate to and why we like to read stories featuring them. That’s actually a whole other topic: archetypes. But as they say, another blog for another day.
What are your favorite shifters? Why them and not another form? If you could be any shifter, who would it be and why?
A Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly Anthology
Edited by Roxanne Rhoads
Delightfully dark tales of paranormal desires and sinister seductions grace the pages of this CHBB anthology filled with short stories and poetry from: Raven Corinn Carluk, Amanda Browning, Ann Gimpel, Roxanne Rhoads, Adam Clark, Lisa Goldman , Nathan Squiers, Selena D. Jenkins, DJ Shaw, Livia Olteano, Joseph J. Langan, and S.J. Thomas
Werewolves, vampires, demons and more will take you on a journey of forbidden seduction luring you into lairs of devilish delights and sinister depravity.
Indulge yourself in darkness.
Table of Contents:
A Sinister Seduction
By Amanda Browning
by Raven Corinn Carluk
By Ann Gimpel, Ph.D.
Underneath the Fangs
By Roxanne Rhoads
Drain the Blood
By Adam Clark
Detonating the Bomb
By Lisa Goldman
A Howl at the Moon
By Nathan Squiers
A Magikal Match
By Selena D. Jenkins
Devilish Delights and Rancid Offerings
By DJ Shaw
By Roxanne Rhoads
by Livia Olteano
Sin With Me
By Amanda Browning
By Joseph J. Langan
By S.J. Thomas
By Roxanne Rhoads
Excerpt from Dragon’s Den
by Raven Corinn Carluk
The Dragon’s Den was a contemptible nest of scruff and depravity, but it was where my bounty had led me. One little demoness was going to earn me a load of cash, so I wasn’t going to let the sex club scare me off. As one of the top bounty hunters in three dimensions, I had certainly been in worse places, and would be again.
Staring at the white marble facade wasn’t going to get me paid. Checking my weapons, I strode past the bouncer. His gaze was heavy on my breasts, but the big orc said nothing. The Dragon’s Den resided at a nexus of dimensions, they saw weirder things than a mixed-blood bounty hunter like me. I bumped into him as I passed, giving him a bribe; the rest of the bouncers would now leave me alone to do what I needed.
Stepping past the ornate double doors, I realized I was over-dressed for the place. The servers wore harnesses of latex, barely enough synthetic fabric to be called an uniform. Some patrons wore outfits so tight as to leave nothing to the imagination, and others wore nothing at all. Everything was meant to tantalize and taunt, to appeal to sexuality and hunger.
I looked downright prudish in my wyvern leather armor and battle harness. The sapphire and onyx scales normally looked exotic, tight enough to reveal my figure and not get in the way in a battle, leaving only my pale hands and face exposed. Amongst this pool of deviants, not even the eight knives sheathed around my body were anything special.
Touching my blue hair trapped in its topknot, I wished I’d hunted in this club before; it was nice to not stand out.
Not that the freakiest of freaks would stand out here. Magic and technology combined in an unique atmosphere. Music blared and lights flashed while faeries sparkled and elves summoned colorful illusions. More than a dozen races were present, most of them revealing large portions of their anatomy.
Even though I stood in the middle of the entryway, no one said anything to me. Not surprising; most denizens of the crossworlds knew Brygny was a fearsome bounty hunter, and that I wasn’t above a little collateral damage to get my way. I’d yet to meet anyone who didn’t tremble slightly at my name.
Not bad for a genetic hybrid. Instead of being scoffed at and shunned, I used my mixed abilities to carve a name in the multiverse. I was one of those rare cases of mutation where I wasn’t just a bundle of flaws. And with no one people to call my own, no one got special treatment from me.
Of course, with everyone so lost in hedonism, I’d have to play especially rough if someone got in my way.
The demoness I hunted was here, on one of the top floors. Three stories of depraved sex and violence between me and her. Sniffing deep the drug-laden air, I told myself I’d be able to handle it. As much as the blood and lust enticed me, it would take more than this weak crowd to draw me from my job.
I mounted the stairs, letting my senses roam through the Den-goers. I had the hunting abilities of dragon, vampire, weretiger, and a few other species, meaning I could quickly sort through potential prey in a heartbeat. With three decades of collecting bounties under my belt, labeling enemy and non-combatant and potential antagonist was a subconscious job now.
The majority of this group was too intoxicated to be any form of threat. Even the demons and orcs were deep in their addled fantasies, so far gone they wouldn’t know if I attacked them. So long as no one pulled me into one of their little games, I should have no problems getting in and out with my target.
I ascended to the first story, and the club revealed its true nature. The ground floor was all dancing and getting to know one another. This floor was candle-lit booths and diners, with a mingling crowd exploring their bodies. Sex and drugs and decadence were only a front for dark dealings, though. Assassins were given orders, slaves were traded, loot was sold to people who asked no questions.
Not that any of it was out in the open. None of the patrons flaunted what they did, or tried to call attention to themselves. A casual observer would only see club-goers watching the displays of flesh and talking to each other. Even the body guards looked like just other deviants.
But I wasn’t a casual observer. I sensed who was high, who was hungry, who was angry, who was desirous, who was armed. The currents in the air brought me tastes of the emotive cloud, let me know who was watching me. Not many had eyes for me on this level, and I moved quickly through them.
Story strumpet, tome loving tart, eccentric night owl…these words describe book publicist and erotic romance author Roxanne Rhoads.
When not fulfilling one the many roles being a wife and mother of three require, Roxanne’s world revolves around words…reading them, writing them, editing them, and talking about them. In addition to writing her own stories she loves to read, promote and review what others write.
Roxanne is the owner of Bewitching Book Tours and operates Fang-tastic Books, a book blog dedicated to paranormal and urban fantasy books.
When not reading, writing, or promoting Roxanne loves to hang out with her family, craft, garden and search for unique vintage finds.
Visit her online:
Author blog www.roxannesrealm.blogspot.com
Book Blog www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com
Bewitching Book Tours www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com,