Playground of the Paranormal

This post first appeared on the blog Ravens and Books on March 24, 2020.

I’ve been writing shifter romance since 2016—a little earlier if you count some terrible books which shall never see the light of day. However, I started reading shifter romance much earlier than that, probably in the early 2000s.

Early into my reading, I found that I loved the different paranormal “worlds” almost as much as the characters themselves. They each had their own set of rules, and I was eager to figure them out with each new series I picked up.

My Fierce Mates universe has a few rules that I wanted to follow from the start.

  1. I wanted my shifters to be apex predators,
  2. clothes don’t shift with my shifters,
  3. there is no shifter virus—you’re either born a shifter or you don’t shift,
  4. shifters can sense lies and other emotions along with having heightened senses, and
  5. the “mundane” world is unaware of shifters and supernatural beings in general.

None of these rules is original in and of itself—I’m not treading new ground or anything like that.

Why have the rules to begin with? Isn’t it limiting? What if I want a hamster shifter? What if a story is just begging for a hapless heroine to be bitten by a wolf so she can become one, herself? Some might think that having the rules in place, and continuing them through several series, would be limiting. For me, however, it has been freeing. When I know the boundaries, I can play through them, stretching my universe where allowed. At times, I can subvert those rules. Shifters can sense lies…but what happens if they meet someone who can successfully lie to them? I tried that in my book Ruthless Misfit and I loved how it turned out. The hero, also a shifter, had been forced to hone dishonesty by a terrible childhood.

When I first started writing shifter romance, in my Sierra Pride series, the only paranormal beings present were shifters. But I never specifically said that vampires didn’t exist, so when I wanted to expand the universe in the Corona Pride series, I was able to do that. Recently, witches were added to the mix, and beings with different abilities, too.

Why not have these other supernatural characters from the start? To be honest, when I started in 2016, I didn’t know how far I was going to take my Fierce Mates world. I’d never published a book on my own, and if this whole independent author thing didn’t work out, I was fully prepared to walk away. But the Fierce Mates books started gathering a small, devoted audience. I needed to write more books. But I wasn’t going to be happy repeating the same stories over and over again, so I made the world bigger by introducing new groups and new supernatural creatures. Some shifters got new abilities—Matt in Ruthless Misfit can tell lies. Doug in Savage Penance can complete his shift from human to animal in half a second. Bryce in Ruthless Outlaw can walk through dreams.

This process has shown me the beauty of creativity, especially within the playground of the paranormal. As I develop a new series, Junkyard Shifters, I’m once again starting with the basics—shifters. And as the world expands, so do the possibilities.

2019 in Review

So, what book babies did I push out this year? Let’s take a look! (Seriously, as I type this, I have no freakin’ clue, so this is as much for me as it is for anyone reading, haha.)

A peek through my 2019 calendar reveals these beauties!

Liza's 2019 Releases 2

 

Ruthless Misfit

Oracle Defiant (with Keira Blackwood)

Oracle Adored (with Keira Blackwood)

Ruthless Outlaw

Dragon Ever After (with Keira Blackwood)

Ruthless Fighter

Hope Reclaimed (with Keira Blackwood) (And my first audiobook! Click here for the audiobook links!)

Orphan Entangled (with Keira Blackwood)

Spellcaster Hidden (with Keira Blackwood)

Savage Penance

Ruthless Rogue

It’s not quite as much as I’d set out to do when 2019 began, but I’m still proud of these books. I fell in love with the characters and their stories, and I’m so lucky to have had this year to write them.

Besides, one thing I learned about myself this year is that I will always plan way more than I’m capable of. The trick is learning not to beat myself up when I don’t achieve the loftier-than-lofty goals I concocted.

More important than any writing goals are the readers. Thank you so much for being a part of this year in publishing. ❤

Soundtrack for Savage Penance

Finding music for Doug and Gwyn’s book was a blast–these two had such chemistry!

Here’s a link to the playlist on YouTube, and below you’ll find the list of songs. ❤

1. “I Did Something Bad” (Taylor Swift cover), Shoshana Bean and Cynthia Erivo

2. “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo,” Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

3. “The Devil You Know,” X Ambassadors

4. “Bad Things,” Rayland Baxter

5. “I Put a Spell On You,” Creedence Clearwater Revival

6. “Bittersweet Symphony,” The Verve

Savage Penance – Out Now!

I’m so excited to announce that Savage Penance is now available through your favorite bookstores! You can snag a copy on Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, Google Play, or Amazon…or all of them, if you like switching between e-readers. 😉 Click the image below for the universal link, which will magically whisk you to your favorite retailer, or, if you haven’t set up your favorite, it’ll show you the options.

CP7 FB5

Never have a one-night-stand with a shifter.

1) They’re intense, growly lovers and they bite—hard

2) You risk them claiming you as their “fated mate” and never leaving you alone again

3) Even if you manage to get rid of the guy, you might be carrying his baby

Gwyneth knew better. She could tell right away that Doug was a shifter, but it didn’t matter. He was too hot to let go. One night of fun never hurt anybody, right?

Well, she was right about one thing—it was only one night.

As soon as Doug knew Gwyn was pregnant, he did what any douchey, malcontented, irredeemable shifter would do—he ran fast and he ran far.

But when his inner mountain lion drives him back into Gwyn’s arms, Doug learns that danger waits at every turn. Wooing his mate and learning how to be a good father are the least of his worries.

If you haven’t already purchased a copy of the previous book in the series, Savage Redemption, now would be a GREAT time for that, because it’s on sale for 99 cents for the next few days! Click here for the universal link for Savage Redemption.

Writing Savage Penance

Some books are hard to write. Just…difficult beasts, with the words fighting me the whole way.

I wouldn’t say writing Savage Penance was easy (in fact, I remember whining about Chapter 21 being a pain in the ass), but it was certainly fun. Doug’s transformation was a challenge, that’s for sure.

In the previous book in the series, Savage Redemption, Ben’s transformation was already on its way–he not only needed to change, he wanted it. Doug, however, was a lot harder to redeem. He doesn’t want redemption; in fact, his mantra in Ben’s book and in the short prequel, “Irredeemable,” is “Fuck redemption.”

So how do I take a big, potty-mouthed, unlikable guy and turn him into a hero?

With the same special sauce that drives all romance novels–love.

While Doug doesn’t recognize it immediately, he falls prey to the pitter-patterings of his deeply-buried romantic heart and starts falling in love and falling in line. There’s some growing to do, sure, for both him and Gwyn, but this is a dance heroes and heroines of romance novels have danced millions of times. It finally becomes more painful for the alphahole to walk away. The proud, snarky heroine must admit that she’s self-sufficient…but hell, she needs his love. Evil is overcome, and love wins.

Love wins, y’all.

And that’s why I keep writing these stories. They give me hope–and that’s what I want to give you, too. ❤

Savage Penance is coming out in just two weeks (you can pre-order it on your favorite retailer), and I am so excited to share it with you! While you wait, there’s a free prequel up on Apple Books. If you don’t have an Apple device, you can grab it on BookFunnel.

CP7 Twitter1