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.
I wanted my shifters to be apex predators,
clothes don’t shift with my shifters,
there is no shifter virus—you’re either born a shifter or you don’t shift,
shifters can sense lies and other emotions along with having heightened senses, and
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 Misfitand 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.
We’ve finally reached the last book of the Sierra Pride series, and not gonna lie, I’m feeling a little emotional. This series started as an experiment and transformed into a project of love–the thing I did on the side in my free moments away from work. Those evenings when I had to tell my husband, “Just ONE episode of Jessica Jones–I’ve got a book to write!” and we watched two episodes anyway and then I stayed up late. I loved working on these books, though, and getting to know the characters and watching them battle their demons to reach their happily-ever-afters.
This novelette is the final installment of the Sierra Pride series!
Starla Fournier never thought she’d see her loved ones again, and that included Rourke Mackenzie, her childhood friend. Plagued by guilt and shame from the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, she’s finally reunited with her family. The reunion is tainted by the knowledge that her adoptive pride is anxious for her return. Worst of all, seeing Rourke after all these years will make her question arrangements that have already been set in motion—arrangements that will interfere with their chance to be together.
A wolf shifter, Rourke Mackenzie has spent the last eighteen years trying to forget Starla. He finds absolution in the flames he battles as a firefighter, in the bottom of a bottle, and in the arms of a long string of one-night-stands. When he finally sees Starla again, the wolf inside of him wants nothing more than to claim her as his, but his human side can’t ignore the betrayal of her disappearance. Just when he thinks they’ll be able to resolve their differences, a dangerous shifter steps forward to claim her. Rourke will have to act fast in order to protect his mate.
Due to be released on December 7th, Fierce Lover is available for pre-order now at Amazon and AmazonSmile.