Thursday, September 28, 2017

Guest Blog - Waxing Moon by Sarah E. Stevens

I have a scar on my shoulder from the inception of my series Calling the Moon. 

Should I just stop right there and let you imagine the rest?

No? You want to hear the story? 

Okay. When my son was four months old, he bit me on the shoulder so hard that I still bear the scar years later. My very first thought--after a bunch of swear words--was, "Well, at least he's not a Werewolf." Then I thought, "Wait a minute... What if he WERE a Werewolf? Why would he be a Werewolf? That would mean everything we think we know about Werewolves is wrong..." My mind started spinning out characters and plot points. 

From that, my protagonist Julie and her Werewolf baby Carson were born. In Dark Moon Wolf, Julie discovers her son is a Werewolf by finding a wolf cub in his crib. Like any of us--after deciding she hasn't gone crazy--she wonders, "How did my son become a Werewolf?" and sets out to find answers. 

One of the things I like best about this series is how different my Werewolves are from traditional Weres. I wanted to create Weres that wouldn't rely JUST on brute strength and the stereotypical alpha male. Instead, I thought a lot about the moon. What kind of powers are connected with the moon? What type of legends and cultural associations does the moon have? These are the ideas that shaped my Werewolves, introduced in the first book, Dark Moon Wolf.

In the second book, Waxing Moon, just released in August, I introduce yet another paranormal species: Salamanders. 'Manders are the yang to the Werewolf yin, if you will. They're linked to the sun, light, heat, and flames--and they don't get along with the wolves.  Waxing Moon begins with Julie's house burning down in the middle of the night. Arson. Salamanders want to kill both her and her baby--and then Julie learns a mysterious Were is hunting her, too. As far as I know, Salamanders are my original creation, a unique paranormal race. I can't wait to see if you love them as much as I do! Will you be on Team Wolf or Team Salmander?

I love the world-building and the paranormal races in my books, but do you know what's most important to me? I want to create strong female characters with strong friendships who live in a diverse and magical world. Julie wouldn't be able to handle all the murder, mayhem, and mystery she encounters if it weren't for her good friends Eliza and Sheila. I also wanted to show the central importance of motherhood in Julie's life. Lots of paranormal fiction centers upon young women in their 20s...but what about people like me? What about mothers? Can't we have some paranormal adventures, too? I'm a mom and I still daydream about turning a corner and finding a unicorn, a book of magic lore, a Werewolf. 

I wrote Dark Moon Wolf and Waxing Moon because they're the books I wanted to read and imagine myself in. 

Waxing Moon
Calling the Moon
Book Two
Sarah E. Stevens

Genre: Paranormal

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: 8/18/2017

ISBN: 978-1-5092-1586-7
ISBN: 978-1-5092-1587-4 Digital

Number of pages: paperback 308,
Word Count:  ~76k

Cover Artist: Deborah Turner

Tagline:  Paranormal arson, rogue wolves, and torn loyalties. How can a mere human mother protect her Werewolf baby?

Book Description:

Julie Hall thinks she has the hang of mothering her Werewolf baby Carson, until the night she wakes to frantic barking and finds her house on fire. Arson. Paranormal fire creatures want to kill Carson—and an unknown Were may be helping them.

As if fire-spawning Salamanders and a mysterious Werewolf aren't dangerous enough, Julie soon faces even closer threats. Her trusted friend Eliza harbors a secret and Julie’s new understanding of Werewolves threatens to tear apart her team. Meanwhile, her relentless enemies will burn everything in their path, if they can’t get to Carson.

Will Julie’s efforts to protect Carson do more harm than good?

Amazon         The Wild Rose Press

Dark Moon Wolf
Book One of Calling the Moon
Available on Amazon

Excerpt 2:

          “Your house was burned down by Salamanders.”
            The words didn’t match his tone.
            “What…salamanders?” I echoed.
            “No, not salamanders—Salamanders.”
            This time, I heard the capital letter, but remained bewildered.
            “What the hell are you talking about? Salamanders? Like, lizards?”
            Tim’s face registered surprise. “Sheila?”
            “I know what they are.” Sheila’s voice shook.
            “Great. So glad you’re both part of the in crowd. Since my house burned down and my life nearly ended, do you think one of you could please enlighten me?”
            “Dammit, Jules.” My sarcasm seemed to revive my best friend. “Could you drop the attitude for a while? Yes, shock and trauma and all of that, but you’re being a total jerk. Tim’s just trying to help.”
            I meant to yell back, but the frustration on her face stopped me. I tried to give her a grin, instead. It probably looked like a grimace, but I gave my best shot.
            “God, Sheila. Attitude is the only thing keeping me going right now.”
            “I know, Jules. But you’re safe here—” She stopped. “Tim, are we safe here?”
            “We should be. I’ll know if they’re around.”
            “Hey, still waiting to hear who ‘they’ are.”
            Tim said, “Salamanders are paranormal creatures, like Werewolves. They draw their strength from the sun and can call on its powers—fire, heat, light—similar to the way Weres draw on the moon to raise water, shift darkness, and such. Judging by the scents at the scene, at least three salamanders called fire at your house. Not an accident, Julie. Arson. Someone—a group of someones—wanted you and Carson dead.”
            “Why?” Sheila asked.
Me, I couldn’t even form the word. Dammit, I should have taken a shower and gone to bed and dealt with all of this later. Sheila had been right. As usual.
            “I don’t know,” said Tim. “Yet.”
“I know Salamanders are…antithetical to Weres, but I thought you mostly co-existed peacefully.”
            “We do.”
            “Well, apparently not!” said Sheila.
            “So these people turn into giant lizards? Instead of wolves?” I asked, not understanding why Sheila stifled a small laugh at my question.
            Tim said, “No, they don’t change form. Sometimes when calling the sun, Salamanders have a different cast to their eyes or their complexion—minor changes—but they remain fully human in shape.”
            “Then why are they called Salamanders? If they’re not lizards?”
            Tim frowned, then finally crossed the room to stand beside Sheila’s chair. When he rested his hands on her shoulders, tension visibly drained from his body. Sheila unconsciously leaned back against him and his thumbs traced circles on her white t-shirt. They were physically opposite in so many ways, with Sheila’s striking looks and Tim’s extra-in-a-crowd-scene appearance; Sheila’s long blonde hair and smooth tan, Tim’s closely shorn black curls and dark brown skin. Yet, there was an undeniable sense of rightness between them. I’d even stopped teasing Sheila about Tim being just another in her long line of throwaway men.
            I realized my hands still shook and I clasped them together to hide the tremors. As Tim spoke, I forced everything else out of my mind to focus.
            “You’d have to ask a Salamander for a full version of their history, but as I understand it, they believe they’re descended from a powerful sun-being, a lizard creature from the sun that came to Earth and mated with a human long ago.”
            Sheila looked up at Tim. “Really? I always thought they were called Salamanders because people used to think salamanders—the real ones—lived in fire.”
            “Why would people think salamanders lived in fire? Aren’t they amphibians?” I asked.
            “Because salamanders lived in rotten logs and crawled out when the logs were thrown into a fireplace.”
            “Well, both explanations sound equally bizarre to me,” I said.
            “I don’t care how they got their name,” said Sheila. “Why are they trying to kill Julie and Carson?”

About the Author:

Sarah's love of reading, writing, and all things fantasy started with her childhood explorations of Narnia, Middle Earth, and Pern. She's a huge enthusiast of all fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. She's a board game geek, an artist, and a dabbler in making chainmaille jewelry. She loves to write about strong women and their friendships--combined with magic and love, of course.

Sarah, her husband Gary, their three kids, and three cats live in Evansville, Indiana.

PS. None of her kids are actually Werewolves.

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