Thursday, October 20, 2016

Halloween Monsters: Frankenstein's Monster

Frakenstein's monster. Of all the Halloween-related monsters, this one is perhaps my favorite. Sounds crazy, right? Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and now even zombies have become sexy. Though how you make rotting flesh and eating brains sexy is a question for another day. 

These days monsters are written into paranormal romance novels and movies as the romantic heroes. But not Frankenstein's monster. Poor guy. And I have to wonder why not?!? (I mean if zombies can make the list...)

Frankenstein, to a certain extent, is the grand-daddy of today's traditional Halloween monsters. The character was conceived by a woman--which is awesome. Mary Shelley wrote the book and published it anonymously in 1818. It was written as a bet between herself, her eventual husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori. The bet was to see who could come up with the most terrifying story. And, for originality, I would say Mary won it hands down.

In 1819, Polidori wrote The Vampyre - what is considered to be the literary precursor to all vampire books, including Bram Stoker's Dracula which wasn't published until 1879. But Polidori's book was still based on local folklore. Shelley's was purely from her own imagination. And what makes Shelley's book terrifying is the reality of the situation. While vampires are scary in their other-worldly powers, Frankenstein's monster is a tragic figure, born of modern science.

The real monster is Dr. Viktor Frankenstein himself. The "monster" created at the hands of Dr. Frankenstein, and then rejected outright by that man, is, in my opinion, someone to be pitied, helped, and loved. Granted, in the end the monster murders several people, but those acts are direct response to the life of cruelty he must endure alone. And the murders are acts of revenge against his creator.

While Mary Shelley does describe the monster--who is never given a name--as hideous, it wasn't until Boris Karlof's portrayal in the 1931 move Frankenstein, that the green skinned, flat headed monster with the bolts in his neck became the popular and iconic image. In my opinion, this image is part of why this monster hasn't transitioned in literature and movies the way his peers have.

Personally, I feel there is great potential here for this monster to find his place among the contemporary romantic heroes like vampires and werewolves. If you go back to the basic concept, this person is actually just a bunch of body parts from many different people, sewn together and then stimulated to bring it to life. The scars would be very much a part of who he is. But the original monster only wanted to be loved and accepted. He even asked for a female counterpart to be made so that he wouldn't be lonely.

So next time you think about writing a paranormal romance, consider taking on Frankenstein's monster - and give the poor man a name while you're at it. Even monsters need love.

“...once I falsely hoped to meet the beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of unfolding.” - Frankenstein's monster

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Creatures, Crawlers, and Shapeshifters by C.J. Burright

Halloween is my favorite holiday because it gives me a valid excuse to dress up and scare people, no judgment. Add in copious amounts of chocolate, and it’s a win-win. But along with all the personal fun, Halloween also draws people to the scary and supernatural. Maybe it has something to do with the time change, less daylight, and the rumored thinning of the veil between worlds. Whatever the reason, it’s a great time to explore some paranormal, and one of my favorite creepy creatures are the shapeshifters in all their various forms.

Shapeshifting mythology has roots in many different countries, and most of the stories link shapeshifters with trickery and deceit, hunting and killing weak humans. Sure, werewolves and vampires are common knowledge, but there are more variations than a fanged dead dude who transforms into a bat or a sexy beast of a man who becomes a slathering wolf at the full moon. Here are a few of my favorite, lesser known shapeshifters.

Leshy – Slavic. Hang out in forests and usually appear as tall men, but can change into plant or animal form, from moss to the mightiest oak. If you see a peasant with glowing green eyes, watch out! He might tickle you…to death.

Kitsune – A Japanese fox that can take human form, usually a beautiful woman, girl or grandpa. Not only can they clone your appearance, the can manifest in dreams. Worse, they have the ability to weave an illusion so real, their victims believe the alternate reality, sometimes going mad. Have a pet dog? Take it with you. Kitsunes hate the puppies.

Skinwalkers – Navajos call them yee naaldlooshii (don’t ask me to pronounce it). They are a variety of witch who can not only take the forms of wild animals, but also steal your face. If you lock gazes with them, they’ll go all bodysnatcher on you. And they might decide just to murder you…with poison powder made from corpse dust, ground infant bones, to be exact.

Rakshasa – nasty Hindu creatures who eat human flesh. If you’re a Supernatural fan, you might remember the episode with the Rakshasa who changed into a clown, followed children home from the circus, and until the Winchesters showed up, let’s just say there weren’t any fun balloon animals. Clowns are scary. Don’t trust them. Period.

V’alkara – from my Dreamcaster world. Not only do these guys feed off nightmares, they can change into the very creatures in their victim’s dream, from fanged, fuzzy bunnies to fire-breathing demon horses. They aren’t afraid to kill if someone gets in their way, and some of them have a serious sweet tooth, so fair warning. Don’t steal any candy from something that looks like it belongs in a nightmare.
 Wonderfully Wicked

With trick-or-treating adventures around the corner, shorter days, and magic seeping through from other realms, you never know what might be behind the masks, human appearance or not.

What’s your favorite type of shifter?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Creature Feature-Jinn by Author Elizabeth Alsobrooks

The Jinn have always fascinated me, from a very young age. Aladdin’s Lamp is probably the first contact most American children have with a “genie”. It seemed so dark and mysterious to me. In my era, we also had “I Dream of Jeannie,” with Barbara Eden, a sit-comedy. Then, Disney came out with an animated version of Aladdin’s Lamp and it was a romance in the style of Cinderella and the westernization was complete.
The reason that I mention westernization is that the Jinn are understood to be much more than a children’s tale by much of the world. The word Jinn itself comes from the Arabic al-jinn, Romanized as djinn, or anglicized as genies--most common among Americans. [The plural is actually Jinn, as in the Jinn species, and the singular is jinni.]

Islamic belief divides conscious beings into three species: the angels (malayka), the hidden ones (jinn), and humankind (nas, or banu adam). Both the Quran and Hermetic texts speak about Jinn, describing their creation, their abilities and their purpose.  Angels were created first, from light, and, “Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud.  And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire.” (Quran 15:26-27) Angels are not considered to possess free will, which is why in Islamic thought Satan is a jinn because an angel could not have chosen to be evil or to turn against the Almighty. Jinn have many other characteristics besides free will in common with humankind. They eat and drink and though it is frowned upon and forbidden have been known to have sex with and even marry humans and have children.

That’s where the similarities end. Jinn are tricksters, even those who chose to be good are often interfering and considered less than trustworthy. They are incredibly strong and fast and live for hundreds or even thousands of years (it’s unclear exactly how long). One explained to King Solomon that they could carry a heavy object a great distance in the twinkling of an eye.  Jinn can fly and become invisible. They are also magical shape shifters, able to take on whatever form they want, or even possess an object or person, as in demon possession. Scary creatures indeed!
There are a variety of jinn, varying from place to place and region to region. In Egypt, there are female jinn who inhabit the canals and tributaries of the Nile and lure men to their deaths, like the sirens from western cultures, but these legends don’t appear elsewhere in the Arab world.  
There are generally 5 types of Jinn. Marid are the classic genies of folklore, big barrel-chested with booming voices. They are often associated with water. Effrit are intelligent and cunning and thought to live in societies similar to humans, in caves and underground dwellings. Those of you who were True Blood fans, may remember that there was an Effrit during the last season. They are generally demonic, and this is the type of jinn over which King Solomon is said in the Quran to have had power. I drew from this particular legend to write, “The Opal Ring,” in my newest release, and the jinni in my story is the same one once enslaved by King Solomon with an opal ring.
There are also Ghouls. These have traveled north and west to become common in English language terms as undead monsters. Ghouls are thought to be zombie-like jinn who haunt graveyards and prey on human flesh. They are incapable of goodness and have low intelligence. The Sila are a talented shape shifter form of jinn. They are more tolerant of humans and are usually portrayed as females. They are rarely seen, but are thought to be similar to seelie, from the Middle English word for “good faerie.”  Finally, there are the Vetala, the original vampires, semi-malevolent spirits from ancient Indian (as opposed to Native American) folklore. They can possess human corpses and prevent them from decaying, to trick humans into believing the Vetala is an ordinary person. They are thought to have psychic powers and be able to foresee the future and the past.

I've included a link to an awesome movie on magicians being aided by jinn (which you read about in my new release below, too!). It's a long show 2 1/2 hours, so if you find it interesting you may want to bookmark it for when you have the time, but it's really interesting. The collection and comments by David Copperfield alone were fascinating to me as I saw him live in the 70s!

So I guess, the Jinn are an entire cast of creatures until themselves. There’s plenty of fodder here for many a future tale, and if you’d like to see what I’ve done with a Jinn tale, pick up a copy of my new release! It’s an Amazon Bestselling Hot New Release Anthology! And since it’s October, I’m donating $1 to Breast Cancer research in memory of my mom for every copy I sell, and Tell-Tale Publishing is donating 1% of all their October sales of the anthology to BCR!

"The Opal Ring" Upon the death of her mother, Jasmine accompanies her distracted, grief-stricken father to her perverted uncle's hotel in Cairo, Egypt. She takes her mother's job and becomes the magician's assistant and also learns to enhance her father's magic with spells discovered from her mother's Book of Shadows. They carry on, but all is not as it seems. Behind the glitz and glamour the smiling fa├žade is a true illusion. Jasmine is in danger and needs to escape the gilded cage in which she's imprisoned. Her magic, though strong, is not powerful enough, so she plans to use a talisman she acquires from an antiquities dealer with the help of her one true friend, Ahmed, the hotel's security assistant. The legendary ring of King Solomon will enable her to control a terrifying but powerful jinni. He will boost her father's magic enough to secure a contract in Vegas so they can return to America.  But at what cost? 

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Amazing World of the Paranormal ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #ParanormalRomantics

Hi everyone ~ this is my very first blog post here at Paranormal Romantics and I’m very happy to be here. First, let me apologize for being late. I have lost a day somewhere in there and thought today was only the 16th. If you look at the blog, you can tell I added my bio and my book cover…all in anticipation of the 17th’s blog post…and here I almost missed it! Bad me!

I need to let you all know that I write everything from super hot contemporary to hard core science fiction but the worlds I love best to do are those in the paranormal realm. There is nothing more magical than building your own world then making things happen in that world. I love all sorts of things that go bump in the night and have written books about vampires, shifters, paranormal hunters and investigators and even time traveling detectives intent upon saving our world as we know it.

I love the lore and ideas that are steeped within the paranormal. It’s amazing many of our fears come from our original superstitions against things we didn’t understand. Things like werewolves and vampires and even things like wendigos can all find their basis within the history of human kind.

The idea of vampires have existed for millennia going as far back as Mesopotamia but the current phenomena as we know it has only been around since the 18th century. It comes mainly from Europe and come from the verbal traditions of the many ethnic groups of the area. They were thought evil beings who preyed on the living to get their sustenance while at the same time passing along their evil. In many areas, it became so pervasive that there were public executions of people who were thought to be these beings.

Werewolves have also been around for a long, long time. Some early sources of their existence remain in the works of the Roman Petronius (27-66) and the European Gervase of Tilbury (1150-1228).  It mainly came about as people tried to come to grips with their new Christian faith and the folklore of their area. I could write a whole paper on the specifics as there is so much documentation as to when this phenomena came to be. Unfortunately, it was lumped together with the witch-trials and there were many people who were persecuted or killed if someone in power thought they were a werewolf.

Wendigos are much more interesting as they actually arose from Algonquian folklore right here in the new world. It is associated with cannibalism, murder and insatiable greed. The monster can have characteristics of a human or a spirit who has possessed a human. This creature also has a modern medical equivalent called Wendigo psychosis that some indigenous communities see as environmental destruction and insatiable greed to get money. It is a very interesting phenomena.

But I love things a little more closer to home. One of my current works-in-progress is about a psychic paranormal investigator with the touch, meaning psychometry, who is pushed into the world of paranormal. Serenity Donovan is without the training her mother would have given had she lived. But since she doesn’t, she has to learn for herself. In wanting to know the character, I’ve been writing her diaries and short stories from the time she was left alone until the first novel occurs. She has a sexy ghost for a side-kick and I can’t wait to introduce everyone to this character. The first month of her diary and short story will be available November 1 on my series blog, The JR Chronicles. Here’s a little sneak peak of both:

January 2009

1 ~ Mom always said I should take notes and I guess today’s the day I start. I miss her. I miss her telling me what to do, how to handle JR and…well…just everything. Not much of a way to start a new business, is it?

2 ~ Second day and the phone hasn’t made a sound. Did Mom have to wait this long?

3 ~ I’m telling you. I’m going crazy. I mean who wouldn’t in my position. I have been studying for this since I can remember. And that’s not all I can remember. The number one thing on that list…meeting Jasper Ryan or JR for short depending on my mood…I mean, it’s not every day a girl meets a ghost and then gets told he will always be her partner. Geez…I was only nine when I first saw him…glad I never told my Mom then. I’m sure she’d be smacking me on my head for thinking he’s hot now. Actually more than hot. How about incredible?

4 ~ Other than drooling over JR again, da nada. How many ways can one say nothing?

Spring’s Pesky Imp

I’m sure you think this is about the season. It isn’t. It’s all about the imp who was terrorizing those who waited for the Vegas bus in the town square of Spring, Nevada.
Spring should have been a ghost town by now but with its proximity to Sin City and the mountains still loaded with silver, it had managed somehow to limp into the 21st century. Today, strewn amongst the historic homes, there were tract houses along with the inevitable mansions of the wealthy, none of whom were famous beyond the borders of Nevada. Many casino execs didn’t want their families in the city and came to Spring to live their idyllic dream in a small town.
But today isn’t even about the imp. It’s about my ability to make it go away, leave the fair people of my hometown to their own devices and therefore, none the wiser, for the supernatural event happening in their midst.

And finally, here’s the logline for the first novel in this series called Angels and Demons ~

A mystery, a ghost and me…how much fun can one girl have?

What do you all think? I’d be happy to hear from you, so don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be thrown into my monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. See you next month!


Sunday, October 16, 2016


I believe in monsters. Real monsters. They live among us. We read about them in the news.  They are difficult to contemplate because they are human, and we shudder to think that our race, much less our co-workers or neighbors, can sink to such depths of depravity.  

That's why I write about creatures. I take a human, one with psychopathic tendencies, and then make him supernatural. Probably not all paranormal or horror writers do this, but it seems a natural progression for me to start with the human characteristics and then twist them.

In the first book of my paranormal series, Song of the Ancients, the creature is witch-gone-to-the-dark Nuin Ash. He's trying to open a portal in a Sedona vortex sealed for centuries, release his demon Lord from the Underworld, and loan the demon his human form.

How does Nuin make himself strong enough to withstand demonic possession? By stealing power from other witches. Since a witch's power resides in the blood, he is killing the most powerful witches he can find and eating their flesh.

There's a name for a monster like Nuin: Wendigo.

Legends of this creature date back centuries, and are almost always associated with the act of cannibalism. In fact, one persistent tale details the Wendigo's origin as a human who was forced to resort to consuming his fellow travelers in an unfortunate Donner Party-esque situation in order to survive a particularly brutal winter.

Nuin's plan, however, is intentional. And once he delves into such dark magic, it consumes him. The man becomes the monster, in mind and corporeal form, driven to hunt without remorse. The classic definition of a psychopath driven to the extreme.

I think the most memorable killers in fiction are sociopaths, able to mask the monster within, at least initially.

My 'good guy', Nicholas Orenda, is hunting Nuin because the monster is killing off his family. But embedded in both of these characters is the theme of becoming the thing you most fear. The Wendigo was once a hunter, a human warrior who gave into his own selfish temptations for power and became the monster he once hunted. For Nicholas, the hunt itself has released his own darkness. He wants revenge and personal vengeance more than anything else. Left unchecked, his obsession could turn him into the kind of person he most despises.

Here's a book excerpt where Nicholas gets his first clue that Nuin has abandoned his humanity:

Why would someone sneak into a cemetery and bury a body? He could think of a number of mundane reasons, but why would a witch do so? Unless he defiled the body and didn't want anyone to know. His hole grew deeper and his unease increased.

Only three feet down his shovel hit something firmer than the soft soil, connecting with a muffled thud. Digging carefully down one side, he cleared a space to stand beside the box. He removed the crowbar from his sack and pried the coffin nails from one side, muttering softly, "Coffin nail, familiars of maggots and unsavory creatures of the kind. Do my bidding, my evil works, when I so command." Blowing on the nails, he pocketed them and opened the lid.

He held his breath and shone the flashlight on the body, a young woman, barely past her teens. Her hands had been folded on her chest. He ran the flashlight further down, illuminating several places on her right arm where jagged chunks of flesh were missing.

Burning bile rose in his throat, making him gag and cough. "Something chewed on this girl. Oh, Goddess, tell me she died first."

Yes, there's a demon in the story. But I think Nuin is the scarier creature of the two. He's a handsome, flirtatious, functioning human going through the mundane motions of everyday life.

Until he's not.
Much like the people we read about in the news headlines.

Sandy Wright moved to Arizona 17 years ago and fell in love with the southwest desert, including its Native American influences. After a trip to Sedona, the germ of a novel was born.
“I love to take ordinary characters and put them in extraordinary situations that change their view of the world.”
Her first novel, Song of the Ancients, introduces witchcraft and shamanism seen through the eyes of an ordinary woman.  Readers interested in witchcraft—or just a dark, eerie tale—will enjoy this paranormal suspense, written by a real-life Wiccan High Priestess.

Song of the Ancients is available on Amazon in print and ebook.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Vampires Anyone?


The word vampire conjures images from Bela Lugosi, the most famous Dracula, to Tom Cruise as the Vampire Lestat or the monstrous Nosferatu of the silent film era.  The vampire legend exists in most cultures around the world.

Everyone knows that vampires fear the cross, cannot abide garlic (too much and I can't either), do not have reflections in mirrors, turn into bats or steam and sleep in coffins.  Of course, they must be invited in.  Anne Rice's novels revolutionized the traditional vampire, opening the door for authors to create their own vampire mythos.  In my books, vampires are mutations.  A blood-borne pathogen transforms mortals into immortals with superhuman strength and arcane powers.

Below is the first part of a free read on my website.  If you enjoy the sample, please visit for the continuing vampire story.  Now, without further ado, I introduce Morgan, the hero of Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody, now available from The Wild Rose Press.
I am Morgan Gabriel D’Arcy, an English lord, a concert pianist…and a vampire

I studied my reflection in a golden mirror.  Long hair, blond.  Eyes blue. A handsome countenance, I’d been told.

’od’s Teeth, I’m pale as a vampire.”
As I shrugged into a black sweater and jeans, a quiet knock at the door announced my manservant. I pulled on black boots of soft Italian leather. “Come.”
Always the perfect gentleman in his black suit and bow tie, Avery stepped into the treasure chest of art and antiques that was my bedroom. “Good evening, Sir.”
“Good evening, Avery. I’m going out.”
Last week on the telly, a talk show, Vampires Among Us, had peaked my curiosity. Five attractive young mortals circled the show host and claimed to be vampires. These real vampires plunged hypodermic needles into their veins, extracted a thimble of blood and squirted cardinal sin into their mouths directly from the syringe. Not my idea of pleasure.
“Imagine, instead,” I wanted to inform them, “pressing your lips to the throat. Open your mouth, run your tongue along the throbbing artery. Sink your teeth into that river of sheer delight. Your whole body vibrates with satisfaction more acute than sex. That’s what it means to be a vampire.”
The very prospect of telling these vampire children chased away the Hounds of Hell named Boredom nipping at my heels.
“Excellent. I hope you’re going hunting.” He folded his hands in front of him. “Sir, you should have waited for my assistance.”
I laughed. “Avery, at three hundred plus years, I think I’m old enough to dress myself.”
It had been an easy matter to run the little coven to ground. The five TV vampires shared a three-room flat in Maida Vale near an Underground station. Several evenings, I’d stalked the children at play. Among them was a flower of a girl—wild auburn curls free as the spirit that flashed in her blue eyes. Her long legs drew my gaze each time she pranced out of the flat in very short skirts. I imagined those legs in all sorts of erotic postures. Jaime was tonight’s entertainment.
Avery interrupted a vision of sinking my fangs and another part of my anatomy into Jaime. “Shall I fetch your coat, Milord? It’s another rainy night in London Town.”
I smiled at the old gentleman who’d served me for over twenty years. “Yes, I’m off on my vampire hunt. Don’t wait up.”
“Vampire hunt?” He chuckled. “Shouldn’t you wear a cross?”

My fingers in a cross, I bared my fangs, hissing like a horror flick fiend.
This is my initial post.  I hope you enjoyed Morgan's snippet.  Have a Fab Friday and a Wonderful Weekend. And an early Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Love Aliens? By Diane Burton

Since I write science fiction romance (usually lumped in with paranormal romance), I don’t do ghosts, dragons, or vampires. My creatures are aliens. Not creepy ones, mind you. I’m not into scary. (I still haven’t watched Alien). Still, I love the costumes kids wear on Halloween. I wonder how many Reys, Kylo Rens, or Stormtroopers we’ll see this year.
Kylo Ren


The main characters in my SFR stories are human. Some of the secondary or tertiary characters aren’t. Characters can have purple skin and curly, indigo hair or resembling a Tasmanian Devil, like the ones in Switched. What about reptilians?  Think T-Rex with longer, stronger arms. That’s how I see some of the henchmen in The Pilot (An Outer Rim Novel: Book 1).

One of my favorite TV shows last year was Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge where creature designers created puppets and animatronic characters competing to win a place with J.H.’s Creature Shop. That’s the place where designers created the aliens for Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and—my favorite—Farscape.

Farscape had such amazing aliens I can’t imagine trying to describe them for a story. It would take pages to accurately describe Ka D’Argo or Pilot. The adage of a picture being worth a thousand words is certainly true here.

Ka D'Argo


In my stories, I can’t use a whole page to describe a creature. Readers will skim or close the book. Instead, the reader gets a brief comment or two, enough to imagine the character. A couple of weeks ago, at the Alpena (MI) Book Festival, I met the most amazing graphic artists. Not only do they write great science fiction, they illustrate the stories, too. I stand in awe of those who can draw. Painting a picture with words seems pale in comparison.

While building the worlds in my Switched and Outer Rim series, I made a conscious decision that the inhabitants of the various planets would look different. Even the human ones. Keeping all of them straight necessitated detailed notes. Not only did they look different, they had different religions, expressions, and mannerisms. Did this enhance the stories? I hope so. Our own world is diverse. Surely those who lived on different planets would also be. Do all the aliens celebrate diversity? That would be amazing…and probably impossible. Racism, ignorance, fear, suspicion. We know them well. Why would the future be any different? We can hope our main characters, at least, would not only be tolerant but embrace the diversity of others.

Switched: Kidnapped by aliens? By mistake?

When wise-cracking Jessie Wyndom is beamed from her farmhouse in Ann Arbor, MI aboard an Alliance starship, she meets a regular Mr. Spock. Captain Marcus Viator's well-organized life is turned upside down by a free-spirited Terran. Fate brings them together. Treachery tears them apart.

The Pilot: There’s no place like home . . . and he just confiscated hers. 

Life on the frontier of space is hard enough so when pirates stole Celara d'Enfaden's cargo, she vowed not to be tricked again. Determined to make an example out of indie pilots who disobey orders, Coalition Administrator Trevarr Jovano impounds Celara’s starship and cargo. If he backs down, he’ll lose respect. If she can’t deliver her cargo, she’ll default on her loan and lose her only home—her ship. More important than her ship, though, is her brother. To rescue him from a galactic gangster, she’ll even work with Jovano who is bent on avenging his wife’s murder.

Both Switched and The Pilot are on sale for 99 cents. See my Amazon author page

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Temptation of Dragons

I never thought I’d be writing about dragons. Don’t get me wrong; dragons are cool. They were just never my “thing.” They seemed so overused in fantasy (the genre I thought I’d be writing in forever) that I always steered clear of them. I didn’t want to write what everyone else was writing, and everyone else seemed to be heavily influenced by Tolkien. The Hobbit’s Smaug (and to be honest, Tolkien in general) never really grabbed my interest, though I’ve always had a soft spot for Eustace Scrubb in Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Scrubb’s transformative moment of waking up as a dragon because of his own greed and discovering how lonely he was in his self-centered bitterness was one of the more touching storylines in the Chronicles of Narnia.

When I shifted my writing focus from fantasy to paranormal romance, I figured dragons were permanently out of the picture. After all, they aren’t so much paranormal creatures as fantastical ones. But when I started writing a series set in the Arizona Desert Southwest—the last place I would have expected it to happen—I somehow stumbled into writing a world of dragon shifters.

In the first book in the series, the hero is a scion of Quetzalcoatl. I hadn’t thought of the Aztec god as a dragon. Technically, he’s a feathered serpent. But as I read about Quetzalcoatl, it dawned on me that a serpent with wings was pretty much a dragon, and the more I looked into dragon lore around the world, the more the idea of dragons grew on me. Still, I stuck with Quetzalcoatl because he was so different from traditional dragon lore—and he was a god, which was all the better. But then I started on Book 2, and found myself with a bonafide traditional-fantasy-style dragon in the middle of my heroine’s living room.

Dragons can be found in the mythologies of just about every region of the world, from snake-like beings with stubby legs that slither close to the ground to fire-breathing reptiles with webbed wings that hoard gold and speak the language of humans. It kind of makes you wonder if a few remnants of the dinosaur age may have lasted into early hominid times, sticking around in the collective unconscious and passed down through oral storytelling as human language developed.

The dragon myth can also be found in the Judeo-Christian creation story, with the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempting Eve—the concept of the Christian nemesis in serpentine form repeated in the tale of St. George defeating the dragon, and eventually to return as the seven-headed beast heralding the end of the world.

It’s the Eden story that influenced the idea of temptation in my series, Sisters in Sin, in which a group of sisters are fated to fall in love with dragon shifters. Book 1, Waking the Serpent, due out in December from Harlequin Nocturne, is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Millionaire's Redemption… 

When Sedona's most eligible bachelor is accused of murdering a local psychic, medium Phoebe Carlisle finds herself drawn into the danger that surrounds him—by the meddling of the shades she channels and by his irresistible charms. A public defender and a gifted medium, Phoebe is devoted to justice—and not just for the living. Proving Rafe Diamante's innocence means conjuring up two shades who were former lovers and now ignite the chemistry between their hosts.

Rafe can't afford to lose control and act on his feelings for Phoebe. His unfulfilled sexual tension begins to stir something inside him—the legacy of Quetzalcoatl. But as these newfound abilities awaken a dormant power in Rafe, can he stop the real murderer in time to claim his true destiny?

Excerpt from Waking the Serpent:

Rafe Diamante wasn’t at all what she’d expected. Waiting for him in an interrogation room, Phoebe had been picturing a man in his sixties with a beer belly and a receding hairline. Apparently she was thinking of his father. This Rafe Diamante was perhaps thirty, tall, hard and lean—a fact accentuated by the white T-shirt hugging his abs—his skin a deep coppery brown, as though he worked the construction sites himself. Far from a receding hairline, he had a rich, dark head of hair with a wavy curl to it, tied back in a short ponytail, while penetrating brown eyes glowered at Phoebe from under some serious eyebrows. Damn. He could excavate at her place any time.
When he spoke, the illusion of hotness was shattered. “You’re Phoebe Carlisle? Un-fucking-believable.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You’re a goddamn Girl Scout.”
Dropping the hand she’d extended when he was escorted in, Phoebe sat across from him, taking her tablet out of her bag and flipping the cover open before making a point of tugging her bouncy ponytail tighter behind her head. “I made Cadette, actually. But the uniform doesn’t really fit anymore and I got stuck on the goddamn deportment badge.”
Diamante wasn’t amused. “Do you even have a law degree?”
“Mr. Diamante, I’m an assistant public defender. You don’t get that position without having a law degree and having passed the bar. But I’m quite certain you’re aware of that. You’re the one who called me, if you remember.”
He folded his arms—such an impressive display of his biceps she almost expected him to beat his chest—and deepened his glower. “You were recommended to me.”
“So you said. I have to confess, Mr. Diamante, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t already have a lawyer who represents your family and your business—someone who I’m sure has the requisite gray hair to satisfy your age requirement. And a penis.”
The corner of his mouth twitched and his glower warmed as if he would have smiled if he wasn’t concentrating so hard on being on the offensive—a tiny sign he might not be a complete douche. “I can’t use my family’s lawyer. It’s complicated. But I can certainly afford exceptional legal counsel. Your recommendation, however, involved a specific unique skill.”
It was Phoebe’s turn to stifle a mouth twitch. “What skill would that be?”
“I was told you’re…” Diamante paused and the tips of his ears turned an adorable pink. “A step-in.”
Her amusement at his boyish blush dissipated instantly. Phoebe flipped the cover back onto her tablet as she rose. She remembered now why his name seemed familiar. It wasn’t just the construction signs. The outline of his pendant was visible under the shirt—she’d been thinking it was some kind of saint medallion. It was a pentacle. He belonged to her sister’s coven.
“A step-in, Mr. Diamante, as you well know, is an unanchored shade. Not the vehicle. That’s an offensive term for someone who does what I do, and I won’t sit here and put up with your bigoted insults just because you’ve gotten yourself into some kind of metaphysical bind and can’t use Daddy’s money to get you out of it.”
Phoebe turned on her heel and headed for the door, anger at Ione making the blood pound in her ears. Ione had never had any respect for her younger sister, imagining herself morally superior because she had the backing of a group of twelve equally uptight jerks behind her. And now she had the gall to tell this rich-boy witch Phoebe could defend him because he’d murdered a psychic?
“Wait. Ms. Carlisle.” Diamante rose and came around the table, grasping for her arm before she could open the door.
Phoebe moved out of his reach with a smooth sidestep and turned the handle, facing him as she did a quick twist to go through the door. “I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding another lawyer with your charming personality.” The multilayered insult was probably lost on him.
“Not one who can talk to the people I’m trying to help.”
Phoebe paused. “What people?”
“The shades.”
He was full of crap. “Exactly how would someone of your affiliation be helping shades? I think you’re confusing ‘help’ with ‘persecute.’”
“I don’t share the majority opinion of the Covent.”
The name always annoyed her. They couldn’t just use “coven” like normal people. They had to be snooty about it.
Diamante was unconsciously rubbing the pentacle through his shirt—an unfortunately sexy quirk. “If you’d come back in and close the door, I’ll be more candid. And I apologize. I didn’t realize that was an offensive term.” He looked annoyed, as though he’d never needed to apologize before. Which strained credulity.
Phoebe stepped back inside and shut the door, leaning against it with her briefcase in front of her as if to ward off any underhanded spell-casting. “All right. I’m listening.”