Sons of the Alpha Book 3
by Addison Carmichael Genre: Paranormal Romance
To avoid a forced, loveless marriage to a man she detests, were-Cougar princess Jade Lamarche escapes to the neutral territory of Santa Barbara, California to finally live life on her own terms. But she discovers this is dangerous country where female Cats are rare and highly sought after by dozens of vicious rogues, and Jade finds herself needing the help and protection of a lone Wolf outcast from his own Pack. A Wolf Pack in a blood feud with her own family’s Cougar Pride.
After failing to prevent his friend’s suicide over an unspeakable crime, were-Wolf prince Luke Bryant breaks from the unjust and restrictive laws and constraints of his Pack and disappears into neutral territory. At last he is free from the suffocating expectations of his people and the forced control of his High Alpha father.
What Luke didn’t count on was befriending a lone female Cougar who requires his help at every turn in this deadly, untamed Wild West. Or the fact that against every natural law known to were-kind, he’s impossibly developing feelings for her. Deep, taboo feelings.
Because one thing is always certain--A Wolf never falls in love with a Cat.
“Dammit, Shea, pick up!”
Luke Bryant gripped his cellphone in his right hand, his left clenching the steering wheel of his red and black Camaro. He wasn’t one to break the law by phoning and driving at the same time, but he had a bad feeling about this. A really bad feeling.
“This is Shea Donovan. I’m unable to take your call right now, but if you would—”
Cursing, Luke clicked off and tossed the phone aside. Then he punched the gas, weaving in and out of traffic like a bat out of hell
“Trace Lamarche, I swear by all the powers if you’re sniffing around her again…”
Luke didn’t finish his threat, just kept his focus on making it to his cousin’s apartment before more trouble ensued.
Shea had been his best friend since the cradle, their mothers close cousins and throwing them together often. She was the one person who always seemed to get him, and that included his own family and peers. If it hadn’t been for her, he would’ve jumped ship, or more accurately jumped Pack, years ago. She had always had a way of talking him down off the cliff from renouncing their were-Wolf Pack and going his own way.
Now she needed his help after that mangy Cougar heir seduced her into sleeping with him when he was in their territory during diplomat negotiations with their High Alpha fathers.
Luke blamed himself for introducing them that first night Trace Lamarche arrived at the Great Lodge in the Timber Ridge community and Shea just happened to be with him.
He should have seen it, sensed it, somehow. He saw the intense interest widening Trace’s green feline eyes, but ignored it. Something he shouldn’t have done since the Cat was rumored to be a major player amongst his own kind, even venturing out of his were-Cougar world into the human realm to satisfy his overactive libido. His dark looks, high position and wealth didn’t hurt any either.
But who would have thought Lamarche would try and sleep with another were-kind species?
Who would’ve imagined that Shea as a Bryant Wolf would even fall for whatever lies he spun to get her into bed?
Besides, sex between Cat and Wolf was too disgusting to even consider. It was against all the natural and written were-laws, an unthinkable abomination right up there with cannibalism and necrophilia.
A hard shudder iced up Luke’s spine at the sick thought of it. And the reminder that his innocent cousin Shea had done such a repulsive thing.
Trace Lamarche, yes. He was a lowlife, perverted alley cat that was capable of satisfying his jollies in such twisted ways. But not Shea. Never Shea.
Hell, she refused to have sex with her college boyfriend of two years because they weren’t married. Which eventually drove him off anyhow, and good riddance.
No doubt Trace would have seen her refusal as a challenge he needed to conquer, and he wouldn’t give up until he had nailed her but good.
They were caught in his hotel room his last night there in Seattle, Washington. Worse, they were going at it hot and heavy when their Bryant enforcers barged in after some anonymous tip that Trace was being attacked.
Both were immediately arrested and brought up before the North American Were High Council based in neutral Wyoming. Being the direct heir to the Lamarche Cougar Pride, Trace’s Royal Father, Maximillian Lamarche, was able to get him off, their high priced attorneys claiming his son hadn’t initially known what species Shea Donovan was. A flat out lie, since all were-species could scent the others.
The Lamarche lawyers claimed Shea had orchestrated the whole thing. Out of his own territory and element, Trace had been innocently seduced by an ambitious female Wolf who sought to financially blackmail him. A camera with timed photos snapping every few minutes had been discovered on the counter. A receipt for the recently purchased camera had been found in Shea’s purse, and the store owner recognized her as the one who bought it, a thing she fervently denied.
Luke was the only person who believed her denial and tried to get his own High Alpha father, Rob Bryant, to advocate for her, but there was little he could do. The evidence was too strong, the crime too abhorrent for him to get fully involved.
Their lawyers negotiated probation for Lamarche to stifle the news and clear his reputation around the were-world.
So Shea caught the brunt of it. Four years in prison for premeditated cross-species sex and eight more for extortion. Her reputation, her entire family’s name, was dragged through the mud. The elders forced his father to expel her from the Pack and exile her once she was released from prison. Already she was becoming a whispered byword.
She was being allowed one last weekend with her family under monitored house arrest before the High Were Council soldiers would take her to serve her sentence at an undisclosed location.
And that’s where Luke thought she had been all Sunday morning. Until he drove over to her family’s house in Edmonds to say his own goodbye and she wasn’t there, hadn’t been there all night by the undisturbed bed in her own room. Along with the unlocked and deactivated ankle monitor that had been affixed right after her sentencing.
He had to get to her.
Now, before she got herself into even bigger trouble.
The Camaro squealed to a stop along the city street curb in the no-parking zone in front of Shea’s apartment building. Luke jumped out and dashed up the stairs, not waiting for the slow-moving elevator. Eight flights up, he then raced down the hallway at lightning speed to the end apartment and banged on the door with his fist.
“Shea! Shea, open up, it’s Luke!”
He tried the knob. Locked.
He banged again. “Shea!”
With a shove, the bolted door broke open, and Luke burst inside.
It was the sharp, salty, familiar smell that he caught first. Blood.
“Oh God, Shea! Where are you?” he called, searching the immediate living area, the kitchen nook, then jaunted to the only other room.
He pushed open the half-closed door, then halted at the horrific sight of his gentle cousin, his best friend, laying face up across the bed, eyes open, glassy and unblinking, thick blood gushing from the gaping wound across her neck and down her blouse. Multiple bloody stab wounds in her lower belly.
Luke ran over to press his hands against the drenched, gory neck wound. If he was in time, her were-skin would close quickly…
He saw it then, smelled the metal—the bloody, silver knife on the floor directly under her outstretched red soaked right hand. “Oh, no, Shea, no. God, no.”
Because silver was the one natural element lethal to all werewolves. One they could never come back from.
Sons of the Alpha Book 2
It’s bad enough Nicole Gabrielle is a low-ranking Sigma Wolf--she also harbors a taboo secret that would expel her from the Bryant Wolf pack there in the Pacific Northwest.
Nicki is half were-Coyote born from the notorious Juarez Coyote Pack.
But Nicki has bigger problems. Were-Bear gangsters blackmailed her family, and the only way to pay them off is to doctor her Pack records and disguise herself in order to hire on at the exclusive Timber Ridge community. No matter how hard she tries to fly under everyone’s radar, however, the hot and charming Jake Bryant pursues her with a royal vengeance, risking exposure to her deadly secret.
As the High Alpha’s heir apparent, Jake Bryant must abide by one specific Wolf law--he can never marry anyone below his Alpha rank. Unfortunately, his forced-upon fiancée Eva LeBlanc only loves his half-brother Neil.
If only he could locate his mystery “Sheila” who rescued him from Arcan Hunters one night twelve years ago. She is the only person who has been able to help him make sense of his chaotic life, and the only woman he’s ever truly desired.
With the exception of this intriguing new employee in the Pack organization…who seems strangely familiar.
Hot, healthy, sweet human blood.
It was nothing she ever smelled before, not like this.
Her eyes enflamed, triggering something deep and primal, igniting the natural bloodlust scorching through her like a blowtorch on dry tinder, tempting her to drink from their spurting arteries until she was gorged.
It was the whine from the injured wolf that distracted her focus, cooling her eyes and the black desire welling up inside of her. It took great strength, but she forced herself to turn from the blood-soaked bodies, lift her muzzle to breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Back in control now, Nicki darted for the wolf, nudging its muzzle with hers. It barely opened its eyes to thin slits before shutting again.
Quickly, she shifted to human form and threw on one of the men’s camo jackets, then hurried back over to check the animal.
Silver liquid oozed from several different bloody wounds. Lethal for were or beast. She would have to haul it back to her hothouse where she was growing herbs that might help the poor thing.
Nicki tried to pick the wolf up in her arms, but it was incredibly huge and heavy. Forcing herself to ignore the nauseating gore around her, she pulled off another one of the dead men’s jackets and scooted it underneath the animal.
Inch by inch, she dragged it up the rocky incline and across the field, and finally into the shack.
She quickly donned her shorts and tee-shirt, then gathered the herbs needed from the potted plants. Her friend Ian had once studied and taught her about many of the natural elements that both hurt and healed various were-kind species. Normal wild animals too. She only hoped now she learned enough to keep the poor wolf alive.
After grinding the herbs, she used honey to bind it together, then applied the sticky mixture into each dripping, bloody wound after digging out the bullet casings. The wolf bared its teeth at her and snapped a couple of times, once even painfully catching her arm. But she continued to push and prod the mixture into each puncture with her fingers.
The wolf finally weakened to the point of limply submitting to her ministrations. It flinched and whined, its narrowed eyes pleading with her to stop her agonizing poking as she stuffed more and more into each gaping hole.
“I’m so sorry,” she said to it as she continued her applications. “But this will help you, honest. There, all done now.”
With nothing more she could do, Nicki sat back and waited for the medicine to do its work. Or not. The wolf weakly inched over to rest its head in her lap, then sniffed and licked her hand before it lost consciousness.
Nicki leaned back against the cabinet with the wolf in her lap, watching the herbs ooze the poison out of its pelt drop by drop. She took a cloth and wiped the bloody silver away each time. The wolf never even moved. If it wasn’t for her were-hearing detecting the faint heartbeat, she would have believed it was dead.
It was a long process, maybe too long and grueling for the animal to live through. If it didn’t survive this though, she planned to bury it right outside the shack next to the cedar tree to give it some dignity. Maybe even a name and a wooden marker.
“Jacob,” she whispered, smoothing back the thick, silky fur between its ears.
That’s what she’ll name him. He had the same clear blue eyes as the man in the portrait. It was fitting.
“Don’t die on me. Okay, Jacob? It would be really nice to have a friend here on the Ridge. I could shift, and we could go running across the field sometime and catch mice or rabbits. So do your best and fight the poison, okay? Don’t let those nasty hunters win. Not that they’ll be bothering any other wolf ever again.”
Nicki continued to stroke the animal’s fur, encouraging it to continue fighting for its life, until she eventually dozed off as well.
When she jolted awake, she saw that it was completely dark inside the hothouse now. The digital clock read that it was after seven o’clock. She had been asleep three long hours!
“Darn it all!” she gasped, knowing her stepfather Frank Braken would be furious at her for not being home to make dinner and take care of her baby sister Sara.
He was going to be late for work now, and she was going to get totally reamed! Oh, God! She was in sooo much trouble!
Nicki started to scramble to her feet, then gasped and froze at the unconscious man lying there. It was none other than Jacob Bryant, the eldest son of their High Alpha, Robert Bryant.
And in all of his utterly gorgeous, and now naked, perfection!
Oh, God. Oh, God!
She flushed at the sight, as well as the feel of him resting his blond head in her lap. When he sleepily nuzzled her belly and his arms reached around her hips and gripped them, a thousand unfamiliar sparks shot through her body. He snuggled deeper and held her like a feather pillow, which no doubt he thought he was holding, not helping her now racing blood.
This was innocent really. The man was seriously injured and had no idea was he was doing right now.
Or with whom.
Nicki tried to slip from his grasp, but he only tightened his hold on her.
At least he was alive and looked much better. Holy cow, did he look better.
Now was the tricky part.
She leaned over and grabbed a blanket and threw it over his lower body. But it was small and only covered the most essential and vulnerable parts below his belly down to his mid-thigh.
Bracing herself, Nicki lightly shook his shoulder. “You should wake up, Mr. Bryant.”
He moaned in complaint as she shook him again, trying to snuggle deeper into her, shooting more sparkling sensations around her lower midsection.
“Five more minutes,” he mumbled.
Sons of the Alpha Book 1
Alexia Raine has a major problem.
She’s being stalked by very dangerous men for some unknown reason, but one that will turn her entire world on its axis.
Neil Duran has five major problems.
Just when he’s closing in on a vicious werewolf hunter that is kidnapping, torturing and killing their people, he’s pulled from the case by his High Alpha, Rob Bryant, to locate and return the daughter of their most valuable and gifted shifter. If he doesn’t, their entire Wolf Pack in the Pacific Northwest might collapse and lose all hard-won territory, shifting the balance of powers and throwing the entire were-kind species into a world war. Problem one—Alexia Raine never knew her real father. Problem two—She doesn’t even know that shifters or were-kind exist. Problem three—Their rival Pack wants her and will stop at nothing to acquire her for several unspeakable reasons. Problem four—She’s the most aggravating, infuriating, intoxicating woman he’s had the displeasure to rescue. And he may very well be falling in love with her. Problem five—A wolf always finds and protects his mate.
Alexia Raine stood frozen from fear or shock or disbelief, unable to move or scream as she stared down at the bloody heap that was her fellow surgical intern and boyfriend. For all of her training, she couldn’t even reach down to feel for a pulse. She only gaped at his eyes staring back—fixed, dilated, glassy.
“Out of my way, kid.”
The disturbance jolted her out of that horrific memory and back to the present. She might’ve even thanked the obnoxious Cretan cutting in front of her in the Starbucks line for it, except the bulky, smelly man nudged in front of a teenager as well.
“Hey, you can’t cut in line!” the boy protested.
“I was here just a minute ago.”
It was the end of a grueling week medical assisting for her uncle who had a general practice in the outskirts of San Diego. She was just grabbing a vanilla latte before heading to her apartment a few blocks away. Now she wished she hadn’t even stopped at the coffeehouse.
“No, you weren’t,” the kid.
“I was, and now I’m back. Get over it.”
Alexia might’ve let it pass like everyone else in line. Until the boy nudged his way ahead of the man who then physically shoved him aside.
“Hey, jerk face, leave the kid alone and go to the end of the line,” she yelled at him.
The man snarled back at her. “Shut up and mind your own business, girl.”
Her eyebrows shot up. “Look, Bad Grandpa, if you don’t step back, I’ll give you a shove in the right direction myself.”
“Just keep your godda—Arrh!”
His arms shot out as steaming coffee splashed down his polo shirt as a four-pack of Grande drips was dumped onto him.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” the lady who lost her load raced out, frantically dabbing his shirt with a bundle of napkins. “Really, I don’t know—!”
“Just get off me!” he shot back, pushing her away.
Alexia should have felt bad for him, but the guy really deserved it. The look on his face was priceless too, making her snicker.
He splashed her with a rough shake of his arms. “What, you think this is funny, bitch?”
One of her worst traits—she didn’t take insults well. And no one called her the B-word who didn’t want to pick his dentures out of the glass entrance door.
Fury prickled her eyes and ears as heat flooded her face and radiated all the way through her veins and down to her fists now clenched at her sides.
“Have a nice fall on your way out,” she stated hard and deadly through gritted teeth.
Instantly the old man was airborne.
There was a thud and airy “oof” as he landed flat on his back in a puddle of coffee. Two seconds later he was yelling bloody-murder.
The baristas went into action, two picking up phones as the others circled around the counter. He thrashed about in his liquid mess like an overturned turtle while threatening legal action as a few do-gooders tried to help.
Panicking, Alexia shoved through the crowd as fast as she could, then locked herself in the restroom. Within seconds she vomited everything but her socks, the dry heaves leaving her flushed and sweaty.
Slightly better, she splashed icy water on her face, rinsed the sour bile from her mouth, then breathed deeply several times as she gripped the edge of the porcelain sink.
“Just a coincidence, Alexia. Not your fault,” she whispered.
Not that it alleviated her guilt any. Not that she had even touched the guy. So, of course, it wasn’t her fault. Of course not.
Just because she wanted to humiliate the old man for being such an obnoxious, entitled jerk and hot coffee happened to dump all over him at that very moment, it didn’t mean anything.
And okay, she also wished that he would fall on his butt after that nasty crack, and he did, hard, it didn’t mean…He probably just slipped on the wet floor. Just a coincidence, that’s all.
Unfortunately, Alexia Raine didn’t believe in coincidences.
And this hadn’t been the first time.
She squeezed her eyes shut for a long moment, then reopened them to look up at her reflection in the dim mirror, gasping at the swirling kaleidoscope of color in her irises—blue, green, gray, lavender, pink. She blinked hard and pinched her eyes until the weird prickly sensation calmed down. When she checked them again, they were light gray as normal. Okay, what the Sam frigging Hill was that?
An optical illusion maybe?
Probably. Of course.
Brought on by stress mixed with bad fluorescent lighting and the dark walls all Starbucks stores insist on painting themselves to appear trendy.
Alexia leaned closer to the mirror for a better look when spotting another dark, silvery streak of hair, this one framing her right cheek. Added to all the recent others, it looked like she had highlighted her shoulder length blond hair.
The first one appeared six months ago, but the others started a few weeks back after her twenty-fifth birthday. Too minor an issue to ask her uncle about. Too weird to completely ignore though.
Her fingers touched the antique silver rose locket hanging on a thin tarnished chain around her neck, a family heirloom given by her mother on her eighteenth birthday.
“Always wear it against your heart,” Rebecca Raine told her when she opened the gift box. “Use it as a talisman, your protection from the blues.”
Her mom was always saying sentimental, Hallmark channel type of things like that. The locket was so old the two halves were fused together and wouldn’t even open. Still, it was kind of pretty, and it did give her a sense of security. She usually wore it underneath her clothing hidden from view, her secret armor against the monsters of this world.
Alexia stayed in the restroom a few more minutes until she heard the paramedics rush into the building. When she walked out and saw the man sitting upright on the ground, she almost felt bad for him. Until he angrily batted at the female paramedic, demanding only to be aided by her male partner.
Misogynistic old coot. Hope he broke his ass-bone.
The earlier crowd had thinned out now, the only reason Alexia considered still buying a latte before heading home. That’s when she spotted them—two very large, rough looking men, one redhead and the other with curly brown hair and a thick moustache. They were hovering at the furthest end of the store near the pickup counter.
She wouldn’t have cared much, but they were way out of place in their black leather jackets, black shirts, black jeans and biker boots. All they needed were the dark sunglasses to be classic Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminators. Sunny San Diego natives wore light, loose clothing, even in mid-April. Not that there weren’t tourists who soon reversed their error after sweating their family jewels off.
Somehow, though, they didn’t seem to be the typical Southern California visitors on a fun family vacay.
The two men continued to scan the crowd, their duplicate expressions serious, robotic. It was the redhead who froze when locking eyes with Alexia’s, and her stomach did an anxious backflip. He elbowed his partner, jutting his chin in her direction, and the other guy narrowed his dark eyes when honing in on her. Just my imagination, Alexia told herself.
She looked over her shoulder, expecting to see someone waving them over to confirm her paranoia, but no one was there. She turned back to them. Both now had their bodies shifted away while carrying on a conversation.
Okay, fine. Maybe she had just imagined things. Wouldn’t have been the first time.
Her need for a latte vanished now. All she wanted then was to be home in her apartment a few long blocks away.
Quickly Alexia pushed out the front entrance, venturing a last look behind her shoulder. The two men didn’t move from their spot, both still talking, and she exhaled heavily, everything within her relaxing.
Good. She had enough drama for one night.
Quickly she headed down the twilight darkened street lined with various interconnected shops and cafés. Sometimes she walked to work as a way to force a little exercise on herself. Now she wished she had taken her car this morning, just wanting to be home. Behind a locked and bolted door. With a chair jammed against the knob.
She was only a few hundred yards away from the Starbucks when Alexia ventured a quick look behind. Her stomach dropped when both men exited and turned in her direction.
Swallowing hard, she faced forward again, picking up her pace.
Okay, no big deal. This wasn’t some cheesy action flick. They had every right to leave the building like everyone else. Even walk in the same direction. There were several pedestrians between them in any case, so no worries.
Still, her fingers lightly felt for the cellphone in her blue scrub shirt pocket, ready to call her Uncle Paul who was still at the office. She could casually double-time it back to the Starbucks and have him pick her up…
No. No, she really didn’t want to pull him away from the mound of paperwork he was rifling through before she left.
Plus, Aunt Carla would be majorly miffed at him for coming home even later than normal if he was forced to make a pitstop by her place. Alexia knew she was already a prime source of contention in their stormy marriage—his kid brother’s flaky kid he bailed out of jail and hired a lawyer for six months ago.
Things were better now that Alexia had moved from their place into her own apartment, but not by much. So she refused to inconvenience her uncle and possibly ignite another marital battle just to soothe her ridiculous imaginings.
Poor, sweet Uncle Paul. Alexia tried convincing him that he wasn’t responsible for her after her parents’ fatal car accident two years ago, but he took up the paternal mantle anyhow. Which is why after being forced to leave the intern program because of that horrific incident at the hospital, he took her in and offered her a medical assistant position that bored her to tears. Still, she didn’t look a gift job in the paycheck.
Alexia ventured another glance back.
Drat, those men were still behind her. Not far, in fact. Fewer pedestrians between them now as well.
Beauty and Her Beast
Prequel to Sons of the Alpha – Knight
A tale as old as time--with a Paranormal twist!
Rebecca Hartford hates Valentine's Day. That is, until the mysterious, attractive Erik Leonid bursts into the café where she sits eating alone that afternoon. Then her entire world, and all of her preconceptions, turns upside-down and will never be the same. That means learning to love someone from the inside-out regardless of her fears and those seeking to harm them both for their forbidden relationship.
She only hopes it will be enough.
Addison Carmichael has been a storyteller since she was a young girl. Even then every tale she imagined had a romantic element that grabbed front and center. She is absolutely in love with love—giving it, receiving it, then sending it back out into the world. She believes there is something miraculous and supernatural about true love in every form, and incorporates this magical element into all of her stories.
Besides reading and writing (blissful addictions), Addison loves the mountains and ocean, and enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding and star gazing. She also bakes, knits and sews, which she never has enough time for. She attempted mastering several musical instruments, singing, painting, photography, dancing and archery, but always returned to writing and storytelling as the “one true love” of her life.
Addison was born and raised in Southern California and has lived and traveled all over the west coast (and the world), now living happily-ever-after with her family in the Pacific Northwest in Snohomish, Washington.
Where were you born/grew up?
I was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California, then moved to Orange County, California. Then I lived in various places and states all over the west, finally landing in western Washington State where my husband Michael is originally from. I love it here, so this is it for me.
Who are your favorite book heroes?
Male: Aslan, Peeta Malark, Gale Hawthorne, Mr. Darcy, Edward Cullen, Aragorn, Frodo Baggins
Female: Anne Shirley, Elizabeth Bennett, Lucy Pevansie, Catniss Everdeen
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Reading, writing, or watching a movie with a great story are my everyday mental diffusing tools. When time and opportunity allows, I love listening to music while sipping sweet tea or raspberry lemonade from a frosted Ball jar while rocking in a porch swing on a warm afternoon. Or walking along an ocean beach at sunset with the waves crashing over my bare feet and the gulls crying overhead. Or hiking in the woods and breathing in the scent of pine and wood smoke that I swear smell just like barbequed steaks.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Dreamer, Introspective, Adventurer, Lover, Storyteller
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Although I consider myself a storyteller first and began creating stories with all of my stuffed animals in the backyard as a little girl (with character backstories and plot lines!), I first started actually writing them down in high school—secretly, of course. I continued to write as a way to escape the pressures of school, career, and being a working wife and mother. It was my husband who actually pushed me to pursue my passion and submit my work to publishers. Within three years I had published 13 short stories to different national magazines, then started expanding my stories into novel length.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I’m a major movie addict, so it’s really hard to pinpoint just one, so I’ll list just a few different favs:
The Terminator, Chronicles of Narnia, Pride & Prejudice (with Keira Knightly), Star Wars, Lord of Rings, Tombstone, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, Dances with Wolves, Ever After, While You Were Sleeping, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Wizard of Oz, Shrek, Die Hard, ET, Gone With the Wind.
Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?
I’d love to see the SONS OF THE ALPHA series in movie version or television series! Because I’m such a movie fanatic, I always envision my stories in movie format anyhow. Of course, I’d have to help write the script, and then watching the production itself would be fun. I grew up in LA where I’ve known many behind the scenes people in the movie industry, and every bit of it from the initial writing and storyboards to the final film editing always fascinated me. I’m a creator of different worlds, so I’d love to see them pulled from my mind and the story page into real (well, make believe) life.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I’ve lived and traveled all over the US west coast, in and out of major metropolises and tiny ghost towns, and during every trip I absorb the essence of the place and its people where I develop new inspiration for stories and characters. I’ve also traveled to Hawaii, the US East, Midwest and South, and England, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, where I’ve been able to walk in the places of stories I’ve read and where writers I admire have lived.
I was so excited to visit London and see C.S. Lewis’ house and his pub, the Eagle & Child, where he met with J.R.R. Tolkien and other writers of their “Inklings” writing group. Then I went to Kensington Park where James Barrie had the inspiration to write “Peter Pan”. Statues of the fluted pan are all over the park. Then I toured Kensington Palace where a real live princess and queen once lived (I bought pink pearl earrings there that are still my favorites). From there, I went to the Tower of London, and of course visited the British Museum, reliving all of my historical novel fantasies. I ended my fast and furious days with high tea in the atrium of my hotel. That was a sort of writer’s pilgrimage for me.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always been a big fan of Paranormal Romance (shifters), and the Sons of the Alpha series has been a blast to write. Still, as an English Literature fanatic, I also love to use classic themes. KNIGHT is based on the Camelot theme, HEIR is a Cinderella retelling, and REBEL is a classic Romeo and Juliet. (HUNTER will be based on Red Riding Hood).
Can you tell us a little bit about the protagonist in REBEL?
Luke Bryant is the youngest Wolf of the four brothers and sons of the High Alpha. As such, he often fights the constraints placed on him by his family and Pack, causing him to rebel.
Jade Lamarche is also the youngest of her Royal Alpha father and rebels against the antiquated laws and rules placed on her by her own Cougar Pride.
Both Luke and Jade are fire and ice in species, personalities and lifestyles. Yet, they learn they are more alike than they first believe.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love you, I love you, I love you! Thanks so much for spending time to go on this adventure with me!
Are your love-interest heroes based off real people, or did they all come from your imagination?
Hmm, that’s kissing and telling! Well actually, mostly from my own imagination, where men are exactly who we females want them to be and do exactly what we want and need them to do. Not always realistic, of course. Although there was this one guy…
Did your characters hijack the story, or did you have full reigns of the story?
Absolutely they all hijacked the story, as it should be! A good writer knows when to stand out of the way and let the story tell itself. Outlining is fine as an initial guidepost and a way to get the juices flowing. But you have to be willing to throw everything out the window when the story gains momentum, then just sit back and enjoy Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! That’s the best part anyhow. I love it when I write something, then sit back and say, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!”
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I write solely to entertain and expect that readers want the same thing. My goal has always been to make you laugh, cry, gasp, shiver, fall in love, get pissed off, boo the villain, cheer for the hero, rocket up to the stars, then float peacefully back down to earth at the end with a contented sigh. If you can close my book and say as Peter Pan did, “That was a great adventure,” then I’ve done my job, and that brings me joy and bliss.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Next year (2020), I will be releasing another 4-part paranormal romance (shifters) series – BLACK SKY DRAGONS. Book 1 (HUNTED BY THE DRAGON) will be released February 2020. Then I’m debating on which direction I want to go in 2021, because I have a few different ideas.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Peter Pan (JM Barrie), Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis), Hobbit/Lord of Rings (JRR Tolkien), Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austin), Twilight (Stephanie Meyers), Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery), Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare), Hunt for the Red October (Tom Clancy), The Witness (Sandra Brown)
How long have you been writing?
I believe authentic writers are born, not made. I was born a storyteller, but started putting my stories down on paper around the age of 15.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time, or do some of them come to you as you write?
I allow the characters to tell their own stories and try and stay out of their way. If I do, the magic happens, then new characters feel free to come out of hiding and show themselves. One character I fully intended to be a walk-on part shoved me aside and became the protag’s second love interest, insisting on front billing on my next book in that series.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Most times I already have a great idea of the where, what, & whom details of the story before I write it. There have been times I’ve actually traveled to a specific location I’m not familiar with, but want very much to use. I was a frequent library haunter, until the internet revolution where I could do detailed research while sipping cocoa in my p.j.s. Still have my library card though.
Do you see writing as a career?
I see it as a calling and necessity. I write stories, because if I don’t, they tend to bloat my head and heart and life, and I become a very cranky person my kids and dog run from. They prefer I write.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
Times have changed from traditional houses with printing presses and shipping hardbacks to neighborhood bookstores, to the new independent writers and online publishers and retailers. It has given voice to some really great authors and stories that would have otherwise been kept hidden, because they didn’t possess “The Golden Ticket” of a big PH contract given to a select popular few. I’ve read many Indie books that are so awesome it was terrible they were rejected by some agent (the key master) or PH (the gate keeper), because it didn’t fit their “current” marketing needs (their loss). Also, books no longer receive a sad six-week shelf life before other, newer novels push them out of the store and back to the publisher to go into storage. There is now no time limit for a book to find its audience, which in itself takes time. Honestly, I see all this change in a very positive light.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I always have several books, outlines and character profiles going on at one time, although I do try to primarily focus on one main novel until it’s finished. But I’m a Scheherazade, and as soon as I’m in the middle of one story, three more pop up that beg to be brought to life and put on paper.
Advice you would give new authors?
I know this is common wisdom, but always, always write for yourself, no one else. Not even an agent or publishing house that promises you the moon and stars if you compromise your (fill in the blank) and do things their way. Maybe they could even deliver, but the journey would always be a sad one, and you’d never have any fun. And that always, always translates back to the reader who is and should always be your main audience.
Describe your writing style.
One college instructor (bless him) who read my earliest works said I had a “musical” style. A few years back, one of my writing critique partners told me my stories are an unusual blend of being both character and plot driven at the same time (it’s usually one or the other). I don’t know. I just return back to that old saying that anyone can be a great writer—all you have to do is sit down at the computer and open up a vein. Then I do it and see what comes out.
What makes a good story?
A good story. Period.
It’s like falling in love. You can’t plan for it. Can’t force it. It’s magic and it’s rare. You know it when it hits you smack dab in the face, and then you’re one of the lucky ones.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
To think that they’ll ever “arrive”. When they don’t achieve instant mega success, they want to give up (trust me—been there, felt that tons of times). Writing is a lifelong marathon, not a quick rewarding sprint. Do it because you have to, not because you’re looking for fame or fortune. Yes, there are plenty of one-and-done’s who have made millions off their single title, never to write again. But in my opinion, they’re not real writers, and most of the time they gained their success with the help of big business pushing a product. It wasn’t who they were as a person, deep inside at the core of their soul where it really counts. If so, they couldn’t stop until the next 20 books flowed from their heads.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It varies, of course, but I’m a very fast writer depending on the availability of time. I can easily pump out a decent first draft in a couple of months (as long as I don’t start side-writing other things). But I was always taught that the best writer is a re-writer, so I’m always going back and layering in things and polishing things up. Then I let it sit a while and season while my Beta reader is evaluating it. Then I go back and re-read it myself, then finish it off. Although every author can attest that it’s difficult to ever stop a project completely, so you just have to force yourself to say “enough” and move onto the next project.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
For me, no. Never experienced it. I have way too many stories bubbling around in my noggin. However, I do get stuck at some points when I’m writing. That’s when I either jump ahead to the next scene and go back later, or set the entire novel aside, then pick up one of my other stories and write something else. Usually that gives me inspiration for the previous story, and I pick it back up and soldier onward.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Interruptions. Particularly when the writing muse is sitting on my shoulder and I can’t type fast enough. But that’s life as a full time working wife and mother whose son just informed me that he has a science project due tomorrow, and I need to run to the store for art supplies (right as I was getting to the good part too!). Then after finishing, sit back down to my computer, get the writing juices flowing again, and my husband kindly asks me to review the presentation for his staff meeting tomorrow (pretty please with sugar on top). Then the baby cries out that brother said he was a poopy face, just as the dog whines at the door to be walked. Love them all, I really, really do. Sigh.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Write, and don’t stop writing, no matter what. Even when no one wants to buy it, or will read it, or wants to read it, or when you can’t even bribe any of your family members to read it. The stories are worth living out, even if just in your head.
And don’t measure your success against someone else’s. You’re not them, and you don’t want to be.
Wow, I need to put this up on my refrigerator to keep reminding myself of this!
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