Sunday, April 28, 2013
Guest Blog: Kate Douglas
Hi all, and Danny, thanks so much for the invite to blog. Danny’s probably much too nice to say anything, but somehow I missed getting this date on my calendar (the joy of getting older—people sort of EXPECT that from me now!) and her reminder this morning gave me the chance to sit down and write something before I missed the blog entirely.
So, first of all, if you’ve heard of me at all, it’s probably in conjunction with the long running series I wrote for Kensington Publishing—Wolf Tales. Loved writing those books—they were such fun and I feel as if I really connected with the characters. There were a lot of them—first and foremost, Anton Cheval, the über-alpha of the pack, and his mate Keisha Rialto. Stefan Aragat, mate Xandi Olanet, and so many others. All of them smart and sexy—and all Chanku shapeshifters ruled by a powerful libido.
Sex is a major part of their lives, their motivation, what holds the pack together. BUT, with all that sex, you get babies. Babies that grow up and have sex lives of their own.
Sheesh...but they’re little kids, right? And sex? Not going there. When I left the pack at the end of Wolf Tales 12, I think there were 56 children either already born or expected. Some of them had deep friendships, like Lily Cheval, the precocious first child of Anton and Keisha, and Alex Aragat, the bundle of hell-raising energy born to Stefan and Xandi. But I ended the series when they were still little, and I wondered what became of those two, and all the other children who were born fully Chanku, raised with the nutrients that empowered their shapeshifting abilities, growing up in a world that knows the Chanku exist.
And that’s where my new series, Spirit Wild comes in. The first book, Dark Wolf, releases April 30, and it’s Lily’s story. Lily was such a powerful character as a child, I wondered who she’d be as an adult. It turns out, she grew up amazingly well. She’s the best of both her parents—Anton’s brilliant mind and powerful magic, her mother’s beauty and compassion, common sense, and the ability to find the good in everyone.
Alex is very much like his father—intelligent, strong, funny, caring, and kind, and nowhere near the powerful alpha Lily needs in a mate. She and Alex love each other, are, in fact, best friends with benefits, but Lily wonders if she’ll ever meet a man who will challenge her the way her father challenges her mother. Will she find a shapeshifter among such a small population who doesn’t see her as a princess, but rather as a desirable woman, one who is too strong-willed to bow before a stronger male, but one willing to love enough to share the leadership role?
And that’s where Sebastian Xenakis comes in. He’s a shapeshifter, but he shifts by magical means. His power as a wizard is equal to Lily’s—in many ways even stronger. He’s handsome, he’s intelligent, and he makes Lily laugh. He also frightens her when his name is linked to a series of gruesome attacks on young women, and the evidence continues to mount against him.
And Alex? He’s willing to step aside because he knows Sebastian is what Lily needs in a man, but only if he can be proved innocent. And that’s not easy, especially when one of the Montana packmates is publicly assaulted, though that rescue leads Alex in a direction he’s never even imagined.
Here’s a snippet, one I haven’t shared with anyone yet—it’s a bit of a spoiler but it shows you a new side of Alex as a grown man and a compassionate, caring adult—and it’s how he meets a woman who is absolutely perfect for him:
“Leave me alone.”
“What’s the matter, sweet thing? You think you’re too good for us?”
“I didn’t say that. I merely told you jerks to leave me alone. Get out of my way.”
“Jerks? Now honey, you don’t mean that, do you?”
Alex tilted his head. Whoever those idiots were hassling was obviously outnumbered. “Jenn, stay here.”
She grabbed his arm. “Stay out of it, Alex. I know those guys. They won’t hurt her. They’re just teasing, but they’ll beat the crap out of you if you get in their way.”
“They’re scaring her. Wait here.”
Jenn hung on, but the sharp sound of a slap had him tearing free and racing around the building. Three huge men had a small, dark woman trapped against the side of the building. Her blouse was torn but her eyes glittered. A palm print marred her left cheek. The sense of Chanku was strong, and from the fear in her amber eyes, he knew she was right on the edge of shifting.
Alex had to reach up to grab the closest man by the collar, and he hoped he wasn’t making the biggest mistake in his life. This idiot was massive. Jerking him back, Alex planted a fist in the guy’s face and he went down with blood spurting from his nose. The two others spun away from the girl with fists raised. Cursing, they both flew at Alex. He caught the larger of the two with a quick chop to the throat with his right hand and came up with his left fist to plant a solid punch in the second one’s belly. Both men folded, but then the one Alex had punched in the nose tried to stand. The girl he’d been hassling kicked him in the head and he fell back, groaning.
Alex flashed her a grin, but he kept his eye on the three men. As big as they were, if they came after him together, he was toast, but instead, as soon as they rallied enough to get to their feet, they slunk around the back of the building. Alex watched them leave to make sure they were definitely gone before he turned his attention to the young woman.
“Thank you, Alex.” She pulled her torn blouse up to better cover herself, shivered and wrapped her hands around her waist.
Frowning, Alex stared at her a moment before recognition finally dawned. “Annie? Annie McClintock? Damn. I didn’t even recognize you. You’ve cut off all your hair. You look totally different with it short.” Stepping closer, he said, “I like it.”
Now, for those of you who’ve read Wolf Tales, try to imagine what it would be like for the young man who falls in love with Tinker McClintock’s only daughter. And yes, he’s even worse than Anton Cheval, who has to watch his eldest daughter as she navigates the stages of love and the potential for great loss.
I didn’t think I would be able to write the children of my original Chanku, but when I realized that they were all combinations of their parents’ personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, I knew this would be more than a challenge—in fact, it was an amazing experience for me as their stories unfolded. After Dark Wolf, the next book is Dark Moon. Remember Igmutaka? Yep, the guy with the Louisville Slugger finally catches up with the woman who was promised to him at her birth—Mikaela Star Fuentes, daughter of Mik and Tala. Ig’s been waiting, but Star’s not going to make it easy for the big guy.
I hope you enjoy Dark Wolf, and please let me know what you think. And thanks, Danny, for the reminder. I really, REALLY need set more alerts on my calendar!!!
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Dark Wolf Video
Coming April 30, 2013: Spirit Wild Book 1: Dark Wolf
all 9 Chanku Novellas now available as single-title ebooks