Chrissy and I share a passion for shapeshifters and the supernatural, so I approached her about the Shapeshifter theme and am pleased as punch to host her for today’s Hump Day. Enjoy!
It’s a warm summer night. I’m sitting on the back porch under the awning enjoying a good cup of coffee with my laptop in front of me. I’ve completed the latest collection of the Were Chronicles series and am currently working on my 2014 submission list for my publisher.
I have outlines for a dozen books in my notebook, but the question is ‘What do I want to put out in the next year?’
A bigger question is ‘Will the Were Chronicles continue?’
I’ve talked it out with my husband. I want to write a novel-length book. Or try to anyway. As of this time my longest book was around 30,000 and is considered a novella. But when reading reviews, the number one complaint is that the reader wished the books were longer.
I can’t go back and change the Were Chronicles. As per guidelines, once a series starts all books in the series must have the same word length. I can understand this, you really don’t want short stories, novellas, and novels for one series.
So how do I write what I want and still keep my readers happy?
I’m not finished with the Were Chronicles. Even after nine books I have more to say. I at least want to get twelve books total in the series. But I also want to try my hand at expanding the characters. I received good feedback from book five in the Were Chronicles: Pack Community where our favorite wolf shifter Grayson mates with a bobcat. I really enjoyed the feline shifters. And I would like to write more about them.
I turn to my husband and ask, ‘What if I write a spinoff series? Make the books longer and write about a different species with each book.’ Hubby likes that idea.
So I get to work. I email my publisher asking about a spinoff series. And I start to outline.
The Shifter Chronicles goes through several series name changes. I couldn’t decide on what the name for the series should be. It actually took six months to finally decide on the Shifter Chronicles.
I outlined the first four books. It worked well that I had introduced three new shifters in Pack Council: Were Chronicles Book Nine. I did have to go back and tweak the scenes so that the turn over to the new series would work. I also gave the wolf shifters the credit for coming up with the idea of a shifter coalition. The connection between the wolves and other species is very important to both series.
The outline for the first four books of the Shifter Chronicles flowed pretty easily. So I committed to writing three of the books in 2014. The Were Chronicles will see the next three books submitted in 2014 as well. Those six books took up a majority of the time I have to write for the year. I still work full-time at my ‘day job’, so as much as I would like to write all the time, I have to pay the bills. That only leaves two spots of books to complete for the year. One a request from my publisher as a follow-up to a short story and another that I want to try my hand on a new genre. Although all books for this year have a shapeshifter element to them.
Funny, when you break down all of my submission plans, there is not a story that does not include some sort of shapeshifter. Huh, not sure what to think about that? Obsessed much? Lol!
I can’t help it! It’s what I love to write and read. Using a paranormal element allows me to create new worlds. Allows the lives of my characters to grow and flourish in finding their happily ever after.
That brings me to March 2014!
And the exciting days to come! Birds of Prey: Shifter Chronicles Book 1 is coming soon! Very soon!
Deciding to go with Cody Johnson as the main character of the first book of Birds of Prey I set to write was an easy decision. Cody is a Falcon shifter and I believe a good choice to introduce the readers to a brand new world. Birds of Prey is a novel-length book, over 50,000 words, and is just the start of what the shifter coalition will be involved with going forward.
And now it is about time to introduce you to this new series. I get nervous anytime I have a new release but must confess that launching a brand new series, especially a spinoff, has me very anxious. And eager!
So I am very pleased to be able to share one of the first looks at Birds of Prey: Shifter Chronicles Book 1.
Cody Johnson has returned to his hometown as the division leader of the Birds of Prey for the Shifter Coalition. After the local cast leader is killed, Cody finds himself deeply involved in an investigation he can’t find any reason for. To make things worse, he runs into Aubrey Reynolds, the woman he left behind once before… And never got over. The longer the investigation continues, the more Cody struggles to separate his professional and private life. But Aubrey refuses to stay out of his case and his thoughts.
Aubrey has lost her Cast leader—her uncle—and has just seen the man who broke her heart. Feeling her world shattering around her, she tries to gain control of anything she can. As a security expert, she is determined to find out who is responsible for Gregory’s death and make them pay. If her inquiries put her directly in Cody’s path and piss him off, well, that’s something he’ll have to deal with. She’s shocked by how he handles it and unsure how she ends up back in his arms.
With a murderer running around taking out bird shifters, Cody must solve his case fast, especially once he realizes that Aubrey may be next on the killer’s list. Now that he finds he is still in love with her, he won’t let her go again.
Birds of Prey Excerpt-
Cody Johnson disconnected the call on his cell phone and started to pace the floor of his new office area. He’d spent the last week setting up the room that would, starting today, belong to him and his team.
He appreciated the call from his contact with the Wolf Shifter Council, Kurt Moore, to wish him luck in his new position.
For several months he’d waited while arrangements were made so he could begin work. He was anxious to finally get started.
He breathed deeply. His office and his team’s workplace were exactly as he’d wanted.
Four large desks were pushed into the middle of the room, all facing one another. Laptops and other devices, waiting to be used, sat atop the surfaces.
Wide windows covered the north wall of the building and let in plenty of natural light. Every part of him approved of the open view. Inside himself, the falcon part of him loved the fact that he was surrounded by lots of room and space.
Just left of the windows hung several monitors. Any team member would be able to connect with a screen and share its data.
Across from that, on the other end of the room, Cody had a state-of-the-art break area. The best appliances and provisions were available for late nights and early mornings.
The remaining wall on the south side of the room was covered with white boards and bulletin boards. The double doors to enter were thick and solid.
It had taken time and a lot of money to set up the local branch of the Shifter Coalition, but it had been worth it. The need for the alliance and a branch of law enforcement for shifters had pushed for everyone to move quickly in setting up the brand new Coalition.
The Lake Worth division was located in an old brick building, set in the middle of town and twenty minutes from the lake shore.
The tall structure was three stories and consisted of a reception area, gym, interview rooms and holding cells on the bottom level. The second floor was where Cody’s area was, along with several other shifter species teams. The top story was reserved for the highest officials and conference rooms for meetings and guests.
The Coalition was organized and motivated.
Nine months after the first of the shifters had announced their presence to the world, the Coalition would now serve to protect and police all shifters. Thanks to the Alpha Wolf Council who’d first come up with the idea of a combined alliance, the Coalition had been born.
Cody was pleased to have been asked to be involved. He’d served ten years with the elite Army Rangers before he’d become a homicide detective in Phoenix for the last seven years.
But it wasn’t his military record or his place on the force that had gained him the attention of the Council. No, he had been involved in the rescue of a friend that had landed him in the path of the wolf shifter who had first come up with the vision of an alliance.
Kurt Moore had helped hand-pick some of the division leaders. Cody, Zak and Jamie had all been offered contracts with the Coalition. All three men had accepted.
The added bonus of the Coalition setting up in his home town of Lake Worth, Arizona, had been too good to pass up. He was home. After too many years away, it was good to be back.
He’d gladly accepted his new position—team leader of the Birds of Prey division.
As a falcon shifter, Cody used his changing ability as often as he could. He loved to transform, but that wasn’t the only reason. Bird shifters had sharper eyesight in and out of their animal form.
Each shifter species had enhanced senses, although not all enhancement was the same. While wolves possessed heightened scent, birds relied a lot on their vision.
Before the shifters had become public, Cody hadn’t had the same freedom to shift as he did now.
Shifters were larger and stronger than their natural bird cousins. If anyone had seen Cody in his other form, the chance of someone finding out what he truly was would have been worrisome. There was no way that anyone would have believed that shifter birds were natural. As his animal, he was more than twice the size, very strong and hard to injure.
Bird shifters weren’t the only team that were a part of the Coalition, though. There were wolves, felines, bears, coyotes, and so many more shifters in the world.
Already he’d met several other team leaders and found them to be just as dedicated to the security goals as he.
Dossiers on his team members had been provided, and judging from the extensive reports he’d been reviewing, he was impressed.
While he still hadn’t met any of his squad, that situation would change shortly. He’d only spoken to each one on the phone as the final preparations had been made for their unit to begin work.
He strolled across the room to pour a cup of coffee from the pot he’d started earlier. He was keyed up to begin working and had to call on all his training to remain calm. Even with the years of experience, it was difficult.
I hope you enjoyed that little sneak peek, and don’t worry, your chance to pick up Birds of Prey is coming soon! Actually we are only two days away from the early download release of Birds of Prey!
That’s right! Two days! Woo Hoo!
If you check out Totally Bound’s page, you will find Birds of Prey and me waiting for you! Or HERE is the direct link.
Thank you all so much for spending time with me! I hope you enjoyed my take on shapeshifters and how I went about writing a spinoff series. I would also like to invite you to take advantage of my current celebration contests over at my Facebook page! It’s my birthday month and I am giving away gift cards, free ebooks, and two grand prizes of some swag and a free signed print book!
So come see me HERE for your chance to win. I’d love to spend more time with you all.
You can also find me at my two websites.
Crissy Smith ~ Paranormal Romance on the ‘WILD’ side…
Thank you so much, Crissy, for coming by! It was a pleasure to host you, and good luck on your new series! Love the colors of the cover, and certainly sounds interesting. -A