Monday, May 31, 2010

Sick Days

By Pat Cuynningham

Having just spent a week battling bronchitis and coughing liquid out of my lungs every 15 seconds, I got to wondering about what diseases might affect our shifters. Are they immune or susceptible to human maladies like cancer and STDS? Do their youngsters get distemper as a childhood disease instead of the mumps? Do they visit a doctor or a vet, or have they developed their own specialized healer caste?

This idea can go both ways. The comedy possibilities are endless. Of course shifters are vulnerable to the common cold. EVERYONE is vulnerable to the common cold. There’s nothing worse than a mighty lion or sleek virile tiger with a drippy nose. And where do you keep a hanky? Jaguars become stricken with “leopard pox” which causes rosettes to appear on their human skin. Or a virus disrupts the shifting process, causing a shapechange to stop at the halfway point, or leaving the human form with fuzzy ears, a tail, and fur in embarrassing places. Picture a tough alpha wolf who shifts into something that looks more like a poodle. Or a literal “swine flu” which makes people randomly and involuntarily shapeshift into pigs. Try explaining those symptoms on your insurance form.

For the serious suspense writer we have the desperate alpha leader whose clan is dying of a shifter pandemic, who kidnaps the lovely research scientist and now must a) convince her shapeshifters actually exist and b) persuade her to help them. Or some wacko creates a pathogen specifically designed to eradicate shifters, who are seen as abominations against God. Or maybe the wacko wants to turn all people into shapeshifters because he thinks they’re neat. If you could turn yourself into a sultry tigress, would you even want to be cured?

I don’t know yet where shifters stand on national health care reform. Maybe some tiger’s a state rep or something. Right now I need to go out and buy more juice and Nyquil. Stay healthy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tigress Shapeshifter... I am never sweet...

Pic from ~ ~

Yowsa, powsa, clawsa... SHE’S BACK... my Tigress Shapeshifter. She pounced on my writerly imagination very early Sunday morning as I fought off a painful infection... yeah, I’m much better. Since I’m allergic to all antibiotics, and have been for the past thirty plus years, I rely on supplements, and the Divine. However, using herbal/natural supplements takes a dedicated approach if you want results, which meant staying awake to make certain I took enough of them to be effective.

This1,000 word Flash Scene takes place prior to my Tigress Shapeshifter’s Earth mission while she is still on her homeworld. Kytaira is telling her side of the story about her bad boy hero, the black tiger, Zurroc.

~~~ x-rated language ~~~

Tigress Shapeshifter... I am never sweet...

I’m tired down to my bones from my last mission. Still, my muscles remain stalking-tense and I enter a nightclub in the Palace City known for its mellow jazz, it’s silky illumined interior and drinks that soothe the soul.

Like most of the other night prowlers, I choose to be both feline and human in appearance. Before selecting a place to lounge, I flick my tigress tail to the sassy roll of the music and saunter toward the libations cove, a subtly glistening affair that invites a liberation of mood.

“Cinvoness,” I say to the bartender, whom I well recognize from previous visits. Names are considered in bad taste, so I greet him with a wide smile, then lean toward him on my elbow. “Heavy on the chocolate...”

“And the cream,” he finishes. Giving me a lazy wink, he turns to fix my drink. His long striped tail sways to the soft swinging tempo, yet within the confines of his smallish area.


At the sound of my name coming from his lips, I freeze as if dunked in a vat of liquid nitrogen. In the following seconds, I swelter as if I’ve just bounded miles through the jungle at the sun’s height. ‘Go away!’ I scream at him in my mind.

“I thought you were still on assignment.” Casually, I address him, only slightly angling my posture toward him when he moves beside me. Why the fricking full moon, did he have to smell potent enough to satisfy every carnal pleasure I’d ever fantasized about? “You know,” I continue, “on Armappo.”

That threw him, the black tiger. I wasn’t supposed to know ‘where’ he’d been sent on mission. From the corner of my eye, I watch his gaze slit and his eyes flame to yellow-gold before he settles against the bar as if I already belong to him.

“I’m told your results were excellent. One less would-be king on Nholycc to torment the populace.”

He seduces me with that slow-spreading grin of his that doesn’t quite ever become a smile. Even worse, his tail tip barely brushes mine, sending unwanted quivers of pleasure through me. I frown at the knowing glitter in eyes. I can’t help it. I’m too weary to play his fuck-me games.

“You win,” I snarl with my own brand of sarcasm. “Your intel is superior to my own.”

“There’s only one win I care about, sweet tigress.”

“I am never sweet.” I draw out each word, and flatten my ears for emphasis.

“Your curves are a sweetness to be slowly licked and savored.”

Plucking my drink out of the bartender’s grip the black tiger presents it to me. I snatch it from him in a pique of temper, and wish I could claw the glittering possessiveness out of his gaze.

Never mind that I actually like it. That alone scares the hide off me. Zurroc, the black tiger, has most likely lust-mated with every woman I know. Too often, I’ve been privy to their dreamy-eyed stories of every passion satiated. One thing the great lover, Zurroc, doesn’t know, his ability to pleasure me, then douse me with his breed’s ‘walk-away’ spray won’t work. My breed is immune. It’s a secret we keep so that an unwanted mate cannot lure any of us into a permanent mating with mere sex.

Eyeing him as if I only tolerate his presence, I take a long and languid sip of my drink, a perfect mixture of ingredients. “Aren’t you leaving now?” I ask, once I’ve licked my lips clean of cream and cocoa.

His eyes glint with assessment and amusement. “Are you ready to leave, my ferocious tigress?” The handsome bastard holds my gaze until he lifts a finger for service.

Despite my resolve, I notice the virile gleam of his ebony-furred ears as he turns his head, speaking with the bartender. Being a black tiger, his coat is the color of deepest night while his thin striping is russet and pale gold. I know. We’ve been on three assignments together and I’ve seen him as full tiger.

“I have no interest in entertaining your cock tonight, Zurroc. Didn’t your intel source tell you I’ve been ordered to recuperate?”

His gaze returns to me, fast. “No. Are you unwell?”

Somewhat stunned by the stark concern on his face, I merely stare at him and remain mute. That is, until I’ve indulged in another long sip. “Not unwell. I am damn exhausted.” I pause. “Now that you know...”

“Now that I know,” he interrupts, “I’ll massage every sweet inch of you and watch you enter slumber.”

I blink several times in astonishment. I’m certain I appear ridiculous. “And after slumber?” I grab another swallow of my drink as my own nerves sizzle down to my toes. Or, is it pure unadulterated desire crackling through my body like a laser stun weapon?

“We twine tails and mate with the fierce passion you want from me, my Kytaira.”

If I blinked before, now my eyes widen also...huger with each blink. “Arrogance is too small of a word for you, black tiger. A songbird beside the mountain-flying eagle.” I turn and face the bar, dismissing him.

My carnal flesh hasn’t dismissed him, though. I am fire for him, my thighs slick with the primitive need to roll in ecstatic passion. Only with him. Yep, and roar, I’d bet a week’s fresh meat he knows that. Unless he can’t scent.

I feel his movement as he bends close. He snuffles the nape of my neck so gently, I don’t whirl and claw. “Kytaira, beautiful woman, only my hands, my paws touching you, I promise.”

I don’t move, but I explode with ‘want’. Still, my pride prevails and I refuse to flip my ear when he growls, a low primal sound that makes everything inside me molten as flaming lava.

“No.” I clench my eyelids.

His hand flattens on the small of my back. His palm smooths up my spine, his fingers boldly massaging.

The Kougar’s news and mews ~

If you’d like sneak peak of my cover art for BRANDED BY THE TEXANS, come on by the Title Magic blog ~ ~


Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~

All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
Black Cat Beauty
Her Insatiable Dark Heroes ~ In Print
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~ In Print
Branded by the Texans ~ Coming in August 2010 from Siren-BookStrand

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Humble Beginnings

by Pat Cunningham

My mind’s a blank this week, so I’m resorting to flash fiction to fill up the space. This was intended for a SF/fantasy anthology about, ahem, “professional” ladies and was inspired by a show about brothels I saw on the History Channel. Fortunately a better idea hit, but here’s the beginning of this one. I have no idea where it’s going. Is it horror? Is it a romance? Is it a horrible romance? Suggestions are always welcome.
“My wife’s a real dog,” the drunk on top of the brothel’s bar told his audience of disinterested hookers. “She’s a pointer-setter. You pointer at the bedroom and setter on her ass. But Siriusly, folks – "
Rob shook his head. “I don’t get it.”
“Werewolf humor.” Sanders took a sip of his rum and Coke. “Or what passes for humor with them. What do you want? They’re not human.”
Rob glanced nervously at the bored women lounging by the bar. They looked human enough. No hairier than the average prostitute, no tails, and they didn’t growl when they talked to you. Then you started noticing the little details. The hum of energy that seemed to leak off them in spite of their leisurely poses. The slitted yellow eyes that raked the room like a predator’s checking for meat. The lack of makeup and jewelry. It went with the loose, billowy clothing. All the better to change shape, m’dear. If one believed the rumors, of course.
He tried to make a joke of it. “C’mon. They’re not really werewolves, are they?”
“They’re supposed to be. Well, except for Letterman there up on the bar. I think he’s a coyote.”
Rob gulped his drink without tasting it. When Sanders suggested they try out a shifter bar, he’d gone along on the theory his buddy was pulling his leg. Sure, the Lupanara had a rep. What good whorehouse didn’t? But now that he was actually inside self-preservation and not his dick had chosen to rear its head. Rob liked an exotic fuck as much as the next dude, but the next dude was generally human. Watching these women with their athletic bodies and quick animal movements, his second thoughts progressed to thirds and fourths.
Lupanara. House of the She-Wolves.
“We shouldn’t be here,” he muttered.
“You kidding?” Sanders polished off his drink. “Wolf sex, buddy. Ain’t nothing like it. If you can’t run with the big dogs, get your puppy ass back to the car.”
“Hey,” one of the girls yelled at the comedian. “You gonna buy something or you just gonna yap all night?”
“Might as well buy.” The alleged coyote shrugged. “I’m wasting my best material on you hounds. No sense of humor, that’s what’s wrong with you.” He did an eeny, meeny, miney and moe’d the girl who’d jeered him. She shrugged in turn and sashayed away from the bar. The pair left the lounge with the girl in the lead and the coyote at her back, bent slightly forward.
“Is he sniffing her ass?” Rob said.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flash Me Friday...

"I'm here," Serena gasped, slithering through the mounds of her ever growing tasks. "I'm here, I think."

I love tags.  They can be fun or silly, well worked or even those which have just rolled off the tongue.  The exact same dialogue can become something totally different just by changing the tag. 

"I'm here," Serena squeaked, pushing back the sheets covering her now mouse-sized body.  "I'm here, I think."

So I got to thinking, we have some awesome writers here as well as some equally awesome readers.  Why not have a little fun this Friday and see what kind of tags we have lurking out there...

I'll give you the dialogue and you give me a silly, sassy or heartfelt tag and lets see what we get.

"I'm here," YOUR TAG HERE. "I'm here, I think."

Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Enchantment of Silky

Tuesday greetings, Shapeshifter lovers. The following scene idea popped into my head, so I figured, why not write it for today’s blog? If only to amuse myself... though, I very much hope everyone enjoys it.

SunSilk and King Tut

With her mortgage paid for one more month, Silky snuggled deeper into her comfy bedding. Settling her head more comfortably on her pillows, she loosed a long sigh. Good God, she was exhausted. At least, all those extra hours at the zoo, helping to care for a pair of orphaned lion cubs, meant she could still scrape by, and keep the banker wolves from her door.

Like a bad reality show, her day passed before her mind’s eye. Other than caring for her ‘babies’ as she called the four-week old cubs, the only notable event during her ‘ball of confusion’ day... yep, she’d heard the Temptation’s oldie goldie tune on her way home... and, even now, the lyrics looped inside the tired mush that served as her brain...

“Evolution, revolution—it really doesn’t matter what the problem is ‘cause it’s all just a ball of confusion either way. And that’s where my life is these days. Hey, hey.”

The only notable event, she mentally repeated as she saw an image of his eyes... his great golden dark eyes watching her with an intensity that should have unnerved her, but didn’t. The magnificent male lion, always seemed to know when she arrived at the zoo, even though her schedule varied, or she filled in for other employees.

An apparent loner since he’d refused any and all companionship, Joey as he was called, had his own small lair. King Tut, as she called him, was a favorite with visitors because of his all-male majestic appearance, and because he willingly showed himself off, his posturing regal, his gaze wise, even sage-like.

If King Tut liked an individual or a group, he would approach offering a friendly expression while languidly shaking his mane. Often his tail would swing back and forth in a measured, but buoyant manner, the tassel like a royal proclamation of his thoughts.

However, if he didn’t like someone, he would turn away, his attitude one of complete dismissal. Often, he would lounge in the farthest corner on his rock throne as Silky thought of it, showing only his back. On more than one occasion, ‘friends of the zoo’ given a special tour, had been treated to an unmoving view of his back. Not even the lure of fresh raw meat could budge him.

Since it had become well known Joey always responded to her presence, Silky would be summoned. Sure enough, King Tut roused himself gloriously every time. Practically strutting, he’d focus his gaze on her and saunter as close as possible. He followed her every move, either with those deepest Africa eyes of his, or by matching her movements.

Silky had been accused so often of sneaking him treats, she’d actually begun slipping him pieces of her organic turkey jerky whenever the cameras went down, and she could get by with it. She’d slide it through the safe panel and he would take it from her in a careful, gentlemanly manner. As he crunched the jerky, a matter of moments, she’d watch him though the door’s window, then wait for him to launch upwards on his hind legs, so they could gaze at each other briefly.

King Tut, I do wish I could stroke that gorgeous fur of yours. Feeling drowsy, Silky yawned, rolled on her side and burrowed into the heavenly softness of her bed. She didn’t have much, but she’d indulged in purchasing high quality bedding, sheets and blankets.

She fell to her exhaustion quickly, yet his handsome lion face remained as she dropped off to sleep. Aware she dreamed, Silky found herself inside a temple chamber that reminded her of ancient Egypt. Sun-rinsed stone surrounded her, yet she could see beautiful palm trees outside beneath an azure sky that was so deep in color it looked unreal.

SunSilk, a man’s low voice addressed her. That is what I call you.

In that strange way of dreams King Tut appeared in the temple immediately morphing into a man... a man so breathtakingly handsome she could only stare. Plus, he only wore a long white loincloth. His golden-colored arms and legs were banded with wide, gem-studded bracelets.

More amazing, he gazed at her in the same lion-intense way as he approached and spoke to her. I must perform an enchantment, most beautiful of women, to make you mine.

The last thing Silky recalled was reaching out to touch his unbelievable mane of hair.

Feeling the warmth of the sun on her face, Silky blinked open her eyes. Something felt terribly different about her body as she stretched. Before she could halt herself she rolled back and forth amid her bed covers. Damn, she felt extra limber, and so wonderfully sleek... and, almost as if she had a tail, a long tail.

What the effing hell! Silky caught sight of paws. Her paws?

Her paws! Her furred legs. Her furry belly. Oh, God!

Whipping upwards in a frenzy of motion, she leapt off the bed. Landing on four feet... four feet! she raced toward the dressing mirror in the corner of her bedroom.

What the freaking fucking fricking... I look like a cat. Only she didn’t look like just a domestic cat with a tawny golden coat. She didn’t look like a full lioness, either. No, she’d been trapped somewhere between the two. Though, she did sport a lovely elegant tail.


The Kougar’s news and mews ~

If you’d like sneak peak of my cover art for BRANDED BY THE TEXANS, come on by the Title Magic blog ~ ~


Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~

All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
Black Cat Beauty
Her Insatiable Dark Heroes ~ In Print
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~ In Print
Branded by the Texans ~ Coming in August 2010 from Siren-BookStrand

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Holy **** Moment

By Pat Cunningham

You know what I’m talking about. You’re reading a book, or watching TV or a movie, when suddenly there’s an incident or a plot twist that widens your eyes and makes your fist fly up to your mouth and you go, “Oh my god, they did not just do that.” And you sit there stunned, wondering what the characters are going to do about this.

A comic book writer referred to this as the Holy **** Moment. It’s meant to surprise the reader/viewer, add punch to the scene or story, and generally ramp up the excitement. It can also spice up a flagging plot, but since we’re all such great writers here we know we don’t need to do that.

I recall, way back in the 70s when the “new” X-Men really were new, the first time Wolverine popped his claws out of his hands. It’s old hat now, but back then it came as a shock. They weren’t part of his costume? They were part of his skeletal system? Holy ****!

Think of the shower scene in Psycho. Or JR Ewing and the sound of gunshots on the season ender of Dallas. Or Darth Vader revealing the results of his paternity test in The Empire Strikes Back. Or (30 years later, and I still remember the shock I experienced at this one) Radar entering the operating theater and shakily announcing the fate of Col. Henry Blake on MASH. Holy ****s, one and all.

Here’s a goodie from Heroes: Peter and Noah go after a rogue talent. The kid has a gun. Fortunately, Peter has borrowed Hiro’s time-and-space warping powers. The kid shoots. Peter stops time. He looks down at the bullet, frozen harmlessly in the air … amid a spray of blood from the exit wound in his spine.

Cut to commercial.

I’m trying to think of some from books. All that comes to mind right now is Gandalf’s alleged death in The Fellowship of the Ring. A powerful main character gets offed in the middle of the book? Now what are they gonna do? Stephen King pulled one in 'Salem's Lot when he killed the hero's girlfriend and turned her into a vampire. You never kill the hero's girlfriend! How can you have a happy ending if you kill the hero's girlfriend? Holy ****, Steve!

I’m trying to craft one of my own. I’ve got my Main Character and the Boyfriend. I’ve scattered clues here and there that suggest Boyfriend may have an unsavory past. About halfway through the story somebody relates a tale that indirectly touches on those clues. There’s a big revelation scene later on, but at that particular point I’m hoping the reader puts it together and goes, “OMG, Boyfriend could be -----, and MC doesn’t know it! What’s MC going to do when they find out? Holy ****!”

How about you guys? Can you think of any moments like these in books you’ve read, so I can see how other writers set it up? Or have you written some yourself, and how did you handle it? Inquiring minds want to know. Happy ****ing!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rainy Day Shifters

It's getting ready to storm for the next couple of days...again. Which means my computer time will be very short and I won't have any excuse not to clean my office or make something edible for dinner. Just my luck.

I'd love to be able to get lost in one of the books I listed yesterday but the truth is, I've started four books in as many days and can't remain interested in any of them. They're all good books but I know when it's time to write, so it will be me and a yellow pad as soon as I can manage. And since my brain has finally kicked into writing mode once again, I'm also wondering what rainy day activity my jaguar shifters from ASSASSIN'S KISS, would enjoy.

Now Diego, my simple tracker wouldn't have any trouble tracking because he wouldn't focus on the muddy ground, he'd be looking for bent leaves, bits of fur or dropped objects. Diego has a one-track mind but he also doesn't care for water (I think someone may have tried to drown him when he was a cub). He'd rather slurp some hot chocolate and observe everyone's habits...just in case he had to track them one day. I think I'm getting a scene here. Where's that yellow pad?

Edward, Sebastian's father is probably in his study trying to figure out whether or not the Brotherhood is onto the existence of the Jaguar People, and if there's going to be a war. Book, everyone's "go to" guy when a tough job needs to be done is probably checking equipment for the next mission. Who will they send him after, next?

And Sebastian and Kira? The lovers are definitely enjoying a tryst, accompanied by thunder and lightening while they listen to the rain beat at the windows--in of all places, a bed. After being on the run through an entire book, a bed might seem ordinary to some but to them it is quite a novelty. But then so is the shower with plenty of hot water, the carpeted floor...a sturdy settee. They haven't entirely lost their sense of adventure.

What about your shifters or vamps or gargoyles? How would they spend a rainy day? C'mon, you know how nosy I am;-)


Adventurous erotic romance
Head Over Heels-Ellora’s Cave
5 Hearts The Romance Studio
5 Angels-Fallen Angel Reviews
Assassin’s Kiss-Ellora’s Cave
5 Stars Just Erotic Romance Reviews
5 Blue Ribbons Romance Junkies
4 Stars Romantic Times
IOU-A Carnal Reunions Tale-Resplendence Publishing
5 Cups from Coffee Time Romance & More
Ellora’s Cave Titles:
Resplendence Titles:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Five - Random Books and Rainy Days

Good Friday Morning!

It's been gray and dreary week here with rain, rain and more rain.  You would think that would make for some great writing weather, but for me its pretty much not.  I find that I need the sun shining through my windows in order for that touchy muse of mine to be at her best.

So here we are at Friday and my word count for the week is, ehrm, in the toilet, but I've been satisfying the diva muse with reading, farming and treasure seeking(my facebook follies). 

Even my blogging has suffered due to my inattentive muse.  ~sigh~

So no deep thoughts or interesting tidbits from me today, just a random Friday Five and the hope for some sunshine in the upcoming week!  ;)

Friday Five - Five random books from my bookshelf that can be read on a rainy day.

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyers
2. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
3. Black Jack by Lora Leigh
4. Winter Kiss by Deborah Cooke
5. Shock Wave by Clive Cussler

Okay everyone, I've shared five random reads from my shelf, but what about you?  What are five random books from your shelves?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dominance and submission

Many of us write about shapeshifters that become animals with clear cut hierarchical dominance structures...wolves, cats, and even horses.

Usually though it's the male who is the dominant. He leads the pack or the herd. With my wolf shifters, I followed this "natural" dominance structure...mostly. In my world, though, females can be pack leaders. They can be alphas over males, but it's a tricky line to walk without emasculating the male character or making him appear weak.

This fine line can be handled well though. I haven't really read a lot of shapeshifter characters where the female is the dominant of the pair but I've read some awesome BDSM stories where the female dominant is strong (without being a bitch) and the male retains his strength. My favorite author for this is Joey Hill. I read Natural Law and was bowled over by her characters and how even though the male was the submissive, he wasn't weak or wimpy in any way.

Another author I've read recently who handles this well is Michelle Polaris. I read her m/m/f menage story Bound Odyssey and it blew me away. Mira is a strong dominant woman with believable flaws. The men, Roman and Jace were all strong and interesting. I loved all three characters and the complex relationship between them.

Do you enjoy stories that feature female dominants or do you prefer your males alpha and in charge? Do have have any favorite BDSM stories? Please share them with us!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the subject of ... (and a peek at my cover)

I just received a cover for my November release at Lyrical Press. I wondered what I’d get with this cover. Finding good couples for interracial covers is tough. John Black Feather is a Navajo half breed and Penny Thompson is a fair skinned redhead. I thought it would be almost impossible to get a good “couples” cover for this without simply slotting two images together. But this sexy clinch is a fantastic depiction of my characters.

Lyrical Press is a fairly small publisher, and when talking to a writer friend at my chapter meeting this week, the subject of “author mills” came up. There’s a lot of talk about how the larger epublishers are viewed by some as author mills. I listened to the opinions of the writers around me (all of them published with large epubs, New York print publishers, or both) and finally spoke up to say, “I don’t believe such a thing really exists.” In relation to legitimate, royalty paying publishing houses, that is.

According to Writer Beware, an author mill is a firm whose business model is based on author volume (selling a limited number of books from as many authors as possible) whereas commercial or trade publisher’s business model is based on book volume (selling as many books as possible from a limited number of authors).

I don’t believe it’s accurate to claim that a royalty paying publisher is an author mill based on the number of authors it currently lists in its “stable.” The list may be large when you look at a publisher like Jasmine Jade, but take a look at a house like Harlequin, or St. Martin’s Press. If you actually listed out all the authors who have ever written for either of these two houses, it would look like Santa’s nice list. And whether you're talking about epresses or NY houses, it's safe to say authors move around.

I think what an author or potential author must ask themselves, or ask others who can answer the question, is “how is the author treated at this firm?” At the four publishing houses I’m with, I’ve never had an email go unanswered. I’ve never been treated like an inconvenience. I’ve never been ignored, or ostracized. No employee of any of my houses has ever been too busy to answer my question, or take an extra step for me when I have a problem. So please, don’t call any of my publishers an author mill.

I’m sure there are lots of opinions out there, so let’s hear ‘em!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tigress Shapeshifter... Death is my business, my only business...

Picture from ~ ~

Shapeshifter lovers, ever wish you could take on the evil bad guys and gals? Put a stop to their hideous unspeakable crimes, the ones they too often get away with in our current world?
Warning ~~~ X-rated language, gratuitous violence ~~~

Kytaira ~ Death is My Business

Once I enter the dungeon-like tunnel, the odor of frightened human children overwhelms my nose. I pause to steady myself, to halt my too-quick breaths. I must focus.

“Kytaira, love, are you okay?” He whispers in my ear as his strong beautiful hands take hold of my shoulders.

I won’t say it, but I need his presence on this mission. Zurroc is my perfect counter-part. His instincts remain impeccable and, so far, he always knows how to back me up, to rescue me if I need it.

“Yes. Their innocence rips at me, terrible claws I can’t fight.”

“Let’s go save them. The teams are in position.”

He tells me what I know. It’s still good to hear. I nod slightly, then prowl forward on silent feet. He follows like a shadow. I hear his heartbeat, the even strength of his breathing. Then, I hear some of the children mewing whimpers. Mostly, I hear their resigned silence, their terror, a living thing inside them that never leaves.

As we near the first cell filled with twenty little ones, I paste a friendly smile on my face. It won’t do to scare them even more.

“Hi,” I say in English, although there are many who speak other languages. I kneel down and slowly slip my hand behind the lock, releasing the mechanism.

A few of the braver children venture close. “Who are you?” a girl asks. I know she is the oldest by her scent.

“I am a real friend.” I meet the little blonde girl’s gaze fully. If I can gain her trust, the others will follow. “There isn’t much time,” I say in a hushed tone. “What I need all of you to do is follow my friend out of the tunnel. There are good people waiting to take care of you, to rescue you.”

“Food, is there food? I’m hungry,” a little boy pipes up.

“Lots of food. I promise.” There is food ready for them. I’m not lying.

“Anything is better than this,” the blonde girl mutters. A speck of her natural spirit surfaces.

“I’m opening the door now.” Slowly I swing it outward and stand up at the same time. “Remember, follow my friend. He will make certain you reach safety.”

Zurroc smiles and gestures as if they are all going on a fun day trip. Striding slowly, his posture indicates he simply expects them to follow and one-by-one the children leave their cage walking behind him.

I expel a relieved breath and move to the next cell. “We want out...we want out.” The little ones’ whispered chant allows me to work faster. And, in no time, they are filing outward, joining the group ahead of them.

By the time I reach the fourth and last cage, the children are almost clamoring to be set free. “Shhhh...” I put my fingers to my lips. “Not too loud. Not until you reach those waiting to care for you.”

Obediently, they nod, and rush out as I swing open the door. For just an instant I watch them join the pathetic, but wonderful parade. It took Zurroc and me months to set up this rescue. Now, I savor our success for precious seconds.

Hearing the low whir of the surveillance system we disabled, engage once again, I whirl and charge toward the tunnel that leads to my prey. As I run I rip off my paper-fabric garments...yeah, yeah, I’m a paper tigress.

Shifting to full raging tigress, I sprint for the door sliding shut like a guillotine. I whip my tail against my side, slow my pace, then scrunch beneath the heavy steel. On the other side I roll. Immediately, I smell the guards’ approach. Ten, by the sound of their running steps.

Gaining my paws, I stalk toward them. Menace on my furry mug, I display my fangs and smartly raise my force field. Stunned by seeing a tiger in their rarified, over-opulent world, the guards hesitate.

Still, they’re highly trained and they aim their x-file classified weapons. I snarl ferociously for affect...for tigress grins. They fire their gleaming guns, their execution perfect. However, the killer pulses skid like a flurry of sparks along the outline of my force field.

As the pulses fly off, they strike and destroy many of the ancient art pieces their masters have hoarded. I grin in gruesome tiger fashion. Once I’m close enough, I launch like the beast I am, taking down the lead guard.

Clamping my jaws around his neck, I crunch brutally. It takes mere moments to tear his head off, to taste his spurting blood. Purring inside with satisfaction, I stand over his body and lick my chops with exaggerated pleasure. I catch the horrified stares of the other guards before they back away and run like scared hares.

Knowing time is short to complete my mission, I gallop toward the door that looks like it belongs in an emperor’s palace. I leap toward it, phasing through. Simultaneously, I transform to woman. Bloody and naked, I stand inside the pedophile’s incense-laden domain. Around me, is every mark and corruption of wealth.

“I’ve been expecting you.” The white-haired decrepit old man sits in a king’s gold-gilt chair. His gaze razors over me before he stands and changes into what he truly is, a damn good-looking, golden-haired, human-shaped demon. A demon who feeds on innocence.

“Is that so?” I stroll toward him. “Then, you know why I’m here.”

“You have freed my sustenance.” He smiles engagingly while perching on the corner of his Italian-renaissance desk.

“You won’t be needing any ‘sustenance’.”

I give him one chance to go poof, to descend! Vanish in a sulphurous haze back to his realm. Instead, his eyes supernaturally glow, the red of his true pedigree emerging as he prepares to attack.

“You have no power over my kind." I watch his lips twist into a sneer.

“True.” Why argue with a demon? It’s a pure waste of time, unless it’s for enjoyment, a mind-fuck game that gets your mental rocks off.

“I’m curious, shapeshifter. Why is your kind here? Why interfere in the supernatural affairs of Earth?”

“Why?” I blink like an innocent at him, even as I inch closer. “Why not interfere with evil?”

Here’s some info, humans. Never tell a demon anything that can be held against you in their courts. Yes, they do have courts of law. Once in a while a human actually prevails, if they can prove their case...that said demon failed to follow hell’s strict rules.

“Why interfere and earn your death at my scorching hands, tigress?”

He smiles with a wicked charm that should have had me begging to be his next fuck. That is, before he kills me. In my mind’s eyes I witness his plan for me. He laughs as he tortures every last breath from my severely mangled body.

I smile, then pretend I’m succumbing to his fatal charm. “Tell me,” I breathlessly croon. “How delicious was the fear of that last innocent? How succulent was he as you violated his small helpless you choked the life out of him?”

The demon’s memory of his insatiable pleasure surfaces faster than he can stop it. To his horror, he reverts back to the flaccid old man. Trapped by the shell of flesh he inhabits, he turns to escape.

My front claws tunnel into his soft shoulder muscles before I fully shift to tigress. With the frenzy of pure enjoyment I shred his lavish cardinal-red robe. His life blood seeps and sprays out of him as I fillet his flesh, an art I would perfect.

Fresh red blood soaks into the red fabric of his robe. As I back away from my kill, I notice the splatter of his blood can hardly be seen on the expensive wool carpet, the color of bright crimson. Yes, as tigress I see colors.

Seconds later, I observe the smoky spiraling demise of the demon. Until death finally claims him, I hear his faint screams of agony as he is censured for his failure by his over-masters.

Satisfied with the hamburger-meat mess I’ve made, I morph to woman and smile...not nicely. I am not nice. I am a tigress.

“Why am I here, demon?” I answer his question as I am obligated to do by the codes of my world. Okay, he’s dead. His demon kind can’t hear me since they’ve sealed their portal to prevent my use of it. Still, I answer.

“Death is my business, my only, on Earth.”

On cue, Zurroc appears behind me. He wraps my black trenchcoat around my shoulders. “A most excellent kill, my love.”



Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~

All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
Black Cat Beauty
Her Insatiable Dark Heroes ~ In Print
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~ In Print
Branded by the Texans ~ Coming in August 2010 from Siren-BookStrand

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Who's Your Mama?

By Pat Cunningham

Since I’m posting this on Mother’s Day it’s only appropriate to talk about those who gave birth to (or in some cases whelped or foaled) our shifter characters. In a romance the emphasis naturally falls on the gal and the guy with other characters, especially the parents, getting short shrift. Still, shifters have to have mothers, right? One day a year we ought to get to see them.
I’ve only written about two shifter moms so far. She-wolf Bernadette Chase has her picture next to “uberbitch” in the dictionary. Her sister Letty Meadows is much nicer and epitomizes a mom, as her five well-adjusted pups (including one Philadelphia cop) can attest. I’ll have to come up with a story that includes a coyote mom. They’d definitely need to stay on their toes to keep ahead of their kids, and vice versa.
How about you folks? Any jaguar matriarchs out there, whose strength and devotion to her clan were passed on to your heroes and heroines? Where are the mares who taught future stallions how to outwit the enemies they couldn’t outrun? Canines are notoriously family-oriented. Do mothers get to stay with the pack when their alpha offspring take over? What is the shifter retirement plan, anyway?
Let’s all thank our moms for their patience and understanding. They had to live with a writer. If you’re a mom, I salute you. This is your day. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Writing For The Market...

I just returned from RT last week and as usual many were wondering about the market trends. What's new, what should they be writing? Urban Fantasy is hot, especially with kick ass heroines. Young Adult is extremely hot right now as is mixing the genres--action and adventure with paranormal, suspense with romance, anything with romance...

Romance writers have always done this. You only have to look at what's been out there for the past thirty or so years. I have always loved action and adventure and for me it seemed natural to mix it with my erotic paranormal romance, ASSASSIN'S KISS. It was a good fit but I didn't consciously decide to hook up with the current trend. I have to admit that I wasn't paying attention to trends at the time. I was writing the story I'd always wanted to write.

It just happened to be on target. Trust me, I didn't plan it that way and that brings me to a very interesting question that gets asked frequently on the loops. Do you write to market trends or follow your heart and write the stories you love?

Adventurous erotic romance
Head Over Heels-Ellora’s Cave
5 Hearts The Romance Studio
5 Angels-Fallen Angel Reviews
Assassin’s Kiss-Ellora’s Cave
5 Stars Just Erotic Romance Reviews
5 Blue Ribbons Romance Junkies
4 Stars Romantic Times
IOU-A Carnal Reunions Tale-Resplendence Publishing
5 Cups from Coffee Time Romance & More
Ellora’s Cave Titles:
Resplendence Titles:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Fantasy

Good Friday morning, my friends. It's rainy here today, the perfect kind of day to just let your dreams run wild... So in that spirit, I have a question for you.

If you could live your wildest, most unrealistic fantasy, what would it be?

Would you fly off into space helping those who couldn't help themselves? Would you live on a island filled with sexy men or women there only to make your life pleasant? Or maybe you would find your favorite TV show or Movie and become a part of the show?

For me, it would be to actually be able to insert myself as a part in my most favorite stories. I could be Mary in J.R. Wards, Lover Eternal with a sexy vamp and his hidden dragon to love an protect me...mmm, just think of it, I wonder if I'd ever come back? ;)

I could Raise The Titanic as Dirk Pitt, I could band together with my childhood friends and take down a freaky, evil spider. I could try to find my own way when confronted with the realities of life as a greaser or as a socs.

The possibilities are endless in the stories I could live in more than just my mind. ;)

Psst...Here's a second silly question, just for the fun of it.  If you could open a book and physically jump right in, which would be your number one pick?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Redhead Shapeshifters

“Redheads have a fiery temperament. I love that sense of danger, not knowing whether the woman is going to smash a vase in a fit of wild anger or tear my clothes off in a fit of animal lust. That fire and passion will hold my interest over the long haul, no question.”

From ~ ~

Yes, I am a redhead and I love redheads. Since I’m a sun-sign Aries that should probably be no big surprise.

Actually, I’m in love with all colors, or I’m a confessed color-aholic, but that’s a blog for another time.

There’s always been this extra zing of excitement over the color red, though, as in tresses, and the coat color of animals... every shade and hue! Wahoo! I adore looking at them all, admiring their gorgeous redness.

Just a few hours ago, as I write this post, I saw one of our male cardinals, a deep bright red, swoop and alight next to a purple verbena. May I assume synchronicity since I’d been researching ‘long red hair’ pics and found this amazing site ~ ~ a true wealth of information and, also, a fabulous inspiration for all of us redheads, or as we’re called by some, gingers. Personally, I grew up with Red and Carrot Top. Since my own shade is not what was considered to be carrot top, I got called ‘red’ at times.

Okay, I spent way too much time doing ‘redhead’ research. Still, it was there for the taking and will find its way into my future stories.

Referring back to the opening quote, it strikes me as perfect for a shapeshifter heroine. Of course, my heroines, Sun Rocket and Sable, are redheads. Sun Rocket has a flame-red human mane of hair and her fur is the same shade. Sable has dark auburn waves of hair that cascade past her derriere.

Yes, I can’t leave my heroes out. Nope, they don’t escape my passion for red. Prince Zio has a dark mahogany mane of hair and as a stallion he is a deep chestnut color. While Trail has dark almost black hair with traces of red, and as his stallion self he is on the edge of black with that burnt shading that’s seen especially in the bright sunlight.

Now, Duke, my black wolf shifter, in my current WIP ~ THE BLACK WOLF’S PROPHETESS ~ yes, I had to sneak a bit of paprika red in his coloring. Even my hellhound twins, Zol and Zin, besides having red glowing demonic eyes the size of car headlights ~ as humans they retain some hellfire hues in their hair.

So, what color(s) are your shapeshifters? And why? Any redheads? What about your favorite shapeshifters?



Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~

All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
Black Cat Beauty
Her Insatiable Dark Heroes ~ In Print
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~ In Print
Branded by the Texans ~ Coming in August 2010 from Siren-BookStrand

Monday, May 3, 2010

Do You Like To Win Free Books?

Well who doesn't?

For the second time I'm participating in the Get Hooked On A Series contest organized by Moira Rogers. Moira's one of my new BFFs. It's almost like she times this contest just for me when the first book in my new series comes out. Thanks Moira!

This is a great contest to enter, because one entry makes you eligible for thirty books! The odds of winning are great, and if you love series, this is a great place to learn about new ones. My book, Claiming Lady Marianne, is one of the first books in my Ladies in Peril series.

Here are the rules:

  • All books are being offered as digital copies. If you don't read ebooks, please don't enter--no author will be expected to provide a print copy.
  • The option to opt-in to receive updates from authors is just that: an option. It has no effect on your chances of winning. You will not be spammed! Having said that, please do not opt in if you do not want e-mail.
  • Winners will be chosen on May 15th, 2010, by random drawing. Each book will have one winner picked at random from everyone who indicated an interest in winning that particular title.
  • To enter, fill out the form and check the box next to every book you're interested in. You only have to fill out the form once to enter to win multiple books, just check as many boxes as you like. In fact, if you fill out the form more than once (whether by mistake, or by using 7 different email addresses) I'll discard all but your first entry.
  • If you have questions or problems, contact bree AT moirarogers DOT com

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Plugging Away: The Follow-Up

By Pat Cunningham
Last week I wrote about efforts to market my book, A London Werewolf in America, by posting ads on grocery store bulletin boards. So how did it work out?
Um … ever seen that footage of the Hindenburg?
I posted the ads on a Saturday. I had full cooperation from the store managers. Once up, though, they didn’t stay there. At one store I went back the next day and somebody had covered up my ad with another, even though there was room on the board for both. I separated the ads and gave both prominent places. When I went back on Tuesday mine was gone altogether. I returned to another store on Thursday and my ad was gone from that board too, even though it had been date stamped and should have been left up there for a month. Since management was cool with it, I can only assume some customer complained or took them down themselves.
I should have been forewarned. Ephrata, Pennsylvania isn’t exactly the most progressive town on the map. Here in Amish Country we go beyond Bible Belt; we’re Bible Three-Piece Suit and Tie with a Top Hat. I suppose an image of a fully-clad man and woman about to kiss was too racy for some sensitive shoppers. More likely it was the word “werewolf” in the title. Did I mention one of our school districts banned Harry Potter?
I still believe it’s a sound idea, just not for this book in this area. The market I’m trying to reach doesn’t live around here. I’ll bet I’d have better luck in Harrisburg. Definitely in Philadelphia, where the story’s set. I may try again at a later date. If any of you want to give it a whirl in your areas, let me know how it turns out.
On a lighter note, drop by the Title Magic blog,, and see what I’ve done to the Western. I started this for a Samhain anthology before I got distracted by guy-on-guy vampires. It’s Jack and Jill by way of Louis L’Amour, with bad puns thrown in for a larf. Enjoy.