I write paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. If you’re not interested in happily ever afters, you probably won’t care for the focus of my stories. I write about ALIENS, SHIFTERS, PSYCHICS, GODS, POLYANDRY (not true menage), & POST-APOCALYPTICS.
I have 9 books in paperback. Five are in my Celtic Time-Guardian series. Three are in my werewolf space opera. See my NEW RELEASES link to the right for available titles. I’ve recently acquired the rights back to my Time Guardian series and hope to have them available in Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords by November 1st, 2011.
I’m a Texan that believes men do look best in kilts. Unfortunately, my husband disagrees.
I blog about reference books when I feel good. But I have Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and other problems undoubtedly caused by Lyme! Not that I’m whining, I just can’t ever seem to get back to being as productive as I once was. Oy!
I hold a BS in geology. Writing lured me away from finishing my thesis in (bioarchaeology) anthropology. Aside from muscled men in fur, leather, denim, or kilts, I love cultural ecology, cultural evolution, cultural relativism, and natural processes. Big ideas. Simple concepts that manifest in world building to crazy people like me who studied anthropology and geology before turning to writing romantic fiction. My rule of thumb is to love the good, the bad, and the ugly of every culture in my tales so every aspect of my stories resonates as real as possible. And, yes, I am certifiably geek.
I’ve been a member of Romance Writers of America since 2003.
I have a child who keeps me running. My husband dotes on me. I’ve always been able to do whatever I wanted. Hence, my history of being on permanent vacation in graduate school.
I guess I should say what writers/authors always say: I wrote in junior high and high school. It’s funny how I forgot I wrote fiction back then. But when I remembered in 2001, I jumped back on the wagon and it’s California or Bust ever since. I love to write. I can write for 14 hrs 7 days a week. I forget everything and sit with a laptop. I worried I had lost my mind. But the baby took care of the worst part of the addiction.
Nathalie Gray, Jaide Fox, Laurann Dohner, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, Karen Marie Moning, and Jennifer Roberson are some of my favorite authors. I loved James Axler’s series THE DEATHLANDS.
I’m probably listening to bagpipes now… If not, I might be playing a bit of Nordic fiddle, Tuvanese, Native American flute, Gregorian Chant, anything with a middle eastern flavor, or panpipes. I tend to like anything with words I can’t understand. The voice is an incredible instrument. I find it at its best when I am clueless to the meaning of the words.
1. Can you please tell us about you?
Aside from muscled men in fur, leather, denim, or kilts, I love cultural ecology, cultural evolution, cultural relativism, and natural processes. Big ideas. Simple concepts that manifest in world building to crazy people like me who studied anthropology and geology before turning to writing romantic fiction. My rule of thumb is to love the good, the bad, and the ugly of every culture in my tales so every aspect of my stories resonates as real as possible. I do this whenever my daughter finds someone else to talk to.
2. How many books did you publish so far? Tell us a bit more about them.
I have six books available with New Concepts Publishing and three novels coming soon. They are either with my Feral series (FERAL FASCINATIONS, FERAL FLAW, FERAL FEVER, FERAL FORCE—free read, FERAL FALLOUT, & FERAL FORETASTE) or my Werescape series (COUGAR, RESURRECTING THE BEAST, & BEAUTY AND THE BRUTE). Both series deal with earthlings and aliens. There’s no better conflict than that from the clash of cultures. Extraterrestrials are perfect for such stories—in my mind! Romance and love are always in question in my books. That’s a byproduct of too many philosophical moments I experienced during 80 hours of credit I earned studying anthropology. And if you’re looking for a happily ever after beyond this reality, that’s what you’ll find with my books. Even if more than one hero comes into question. Mary can vouch for the fact everyone has a happily ever after in my multiple-hero tales.
The Feral books begin with 2012 prophecies and take earthlings off-world to join in a psychic war against an emperor out to control all sentient beings through mind control. But my Werescape series occurs on Earth about 50 years in the future. Aliens have arrived and altered the genome of a few earthlings creating werewolves who after a few generations have become Guardians to what remains of humanity. They struggle to prevent humanity’s extinction… as well as struggle to survive coexisting with “normal” humans, most of which fear the Shifters’ supernatural ability to shape shift and have decided Shifters are monsters.
I also had a fantasy romance series published with Wild Rose Press—my Time Guardians. The series deals with time-traveling Druids and Freemasons from the future who are dealing with a war among the Gods. It’s currently back in my possession. I will be rereleasing the books in e-format soon. Throw in my Greek-muse romance for Calliope, the muse of writing and epic poetry, from The Song of The Muses series and I’ll have quite a variety of stories available shortly. Yes, self-published. But they’ve already been through the publishing wringer and are ready to go. I just need a miracle to add an extra week to my calendar. Mary, do you have a magic wand? Please wave it.
3. Where do you think this craze for paranormal and shape-shifters comes from?
The anthropologist in me blames this trend on where the U.S. mindset is at the moment. I believe it’s an outgrowth of our Western view of the value in the individual… The individual has been a long time in the making, especially in the United States. But this last century has seen a rapid change in the individual’s value, in the USA. We have a type of individualism called “rugged individualism”—an extreme version coined by a Chinese anthropologist. This type of individualism as akin to that expressed by the character Satan in Milton’s PARADISE LOST. So, what does this have to do with vampires and werewolves?
With each passing decade in the 20th century, the resulting generations of individuals in the US slowly become so independent that they could do just about anything they wanted—where we are today. This leads to individuals rationalizing they can stretch the boundaries of almost anything except things that hurt people (theft and murder). Anything leads to detaching the individual’s self from the accepted norm and breaking tradition’s rules. (Ok, maybe not actually killing people, but you get my drift.) Remember, in Western ideology, there has been a long history of all members of society being redeemable. So, stretching rules to the extreme results in people who follow tradition being frustrated with those entrepreneurs who strike out with new ideas. Tradition then hopes for intervention to save the members of the group who have broken away from tradition. Blah. Blah. Blah. I will try to make sense out of this.
If a person pushes and pushes the elastic balloon wall they operate within, that person eventually will burst the surface. And where does the person land? In the realm of the unforgivable. The point of no return. Beyond the realm of acceptable operation. Let’s see… A person hangs out in a dangerous place at night, maybe searching for ghosts (science swears don’t exist), and winds up attacked by a strange male human with sharp teeth, bitten, then realizes that the bite causes a transformation that pushes the person to prey upon other people for blood (cannibalism). Okay, in a work of fiction! Breaking too many rules brought this person to cannibalism. Next, the person realizes he is actually dead. How do his friends, family, most especially his mother, deal with the fact he is now dead and a cannibal that preys upon the living? See how we now have a person who pushed the elastic of normal too far, popped it, and wound up dead and preying upon the living? But in fiction, this person is undead—not actually dead but trapped in limbo. Not a problem for a reader. And now the Western reader wants this undead character to be happy just like the living. Redeemable we would say. So, how do we manage redeeming the individual beyond life?
We deal with the issue of stretching the limits of tradition through fiction. We place characters in settings with plots that require the reader to contemplate the pros and cons of the behavior that landed the character in the realm of the undead. How? Well, when you’re undead, you can be redeemed through romance by finding love and turning away from evil. Or, you can do something to help someone among the living like in all those ghost or angel television shows, movies, or stories. Remember, before the big trend to redeem the (un)dead, you could only seek forgiveness before death! Now, we’ve decided to push that perk into the afterlife, even if the afterlife involves a sentence where a person or its soul is trapped unable to move on as it should. Crazy. But true. All of this is a reflection of the individual questioning reality after culture has allowed science to open the topics of thought. This trend also crept up through the acceptance of magic in television shows with a focus on the female.
I watched BEWITCHED as a little girl and a teen. Can you imagine a life where you twitched your nose and made things happen? Of course, a butterfly flapping its wings in North America is more likely to cause a typhoon in Japan. But we’re talking magic, not chaos theory. Now, do you remember the series SABRINA? Both television series show a trend in pushing for female empowerment in BEWITCHED, for the adult woman, and then later moves into the realm of the teenage girl with SABRINA. Well, I like to think it’s pushing for everyone to stop fearing black cats as well. Salem was a hoot! Anyway, the acceptance of the supernatural first appeared with female empowerment and then worked into the realm of teenage females, on to children through HARRY POTTER, and now is alive and well with those daring to satisfy their curiosity with anything supernatural—even the darkest stuff of vampires and werewolves that dine on human beings. Isn’t that a lovely thought and interesting trend to observe when watching tradition stretched as it has? Tradition as in Judeo-Christianity being forced to give way to the supernatural, i.e. how the world works. The trend in questioning reality is extremely fascinating and reveals a lot about cultural movements in general.
4. What makes you decide if your story is going to be a menage or not? What is the trigger?
Hmmm, I only wrote FERAL FEVER as a challenge to myself to write something as awesome as Kaitlyn O’Connor’s work because I was amazed at how she wrote multiple romances into one novel and had me happy with a heroine’s pack of mates by the end! I took on the challenge, discovering it only took me 5 weeks to write an epic-length work with 6 romances.
I had every intention of writing multiple male mates again for the next heroine after writing my Tiger Lords in FERAL FEVER. So I wrote FERAL FALLOUT that just became a fun romantic adventure with an HEA. I wanted to pit two cyborg species against each other and force them to work together to bring an end to the friction between their worlds. So why not set the story inside a political prison? And it worked having more than one man’s “hand” in the heroine’s cookie jar when cookies were flying! Okay, bad joke. So ménages are fun to write. Now, I have a ménage planned for more cyborgs, an amphibious culture, and a story set in the Werescape. But those have been planned for awhile, Mary, and I have to work through my current works in progress before I can tackle them! So, no nagging please. LOL
5. I read that your pen name is related to numerology. Can you tell us a bit more? And do you have another pen name?
Oh good grief. That’s from back when I published the Time Guardians’ series. It’s based on numerology where all the numbers from 1-9 occur in my pen name. Blah. Blah. Blah… The name is a lucky rabbit’s foot in its resonance (all numbers in the mix) and has a nice Scottish sound! Since I was writing kilts and swords, I went for the Scottish pseudonym. The numerology slant in pseudonym choice was also merely for fun because my Time Guardians travel across time and space using numerology. Why not slap a lucky rabbit’s foot on the cover?
6. If you had a place to refer to young authors to help them, where would that be? Romance Writers of America.
7. Who are your favorite authors and why?
I like smart fiction with a whole lot of sexual tension that has romantic growth and a happily ever after. So, I read Kaitlyn O’Connor, Nathalie Gray, Jaide Fox, Jade Black, and Robin L. Rotham. Laurann Dohner’s early cyborg stories are awesome as are her Raine series and Mate Set series—good romantica. Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series is incredible.
Then I love world building. My favorite worlds can be crazy erotica (not always romantica) like Morgan Hawke’s VICTORIOUS STAR. OMG, that book is insane ménage with one or two holes in the romantic growth that bothered me, but the story world is so incredible I couldn’t put the book down. Do not read it if you’re squeamish about sex. My friend kept saying she needed to go to confession after reading it, and she’s not Catholic! Jet Mykkles also has an interesting story world in The Dark Elves—that had me cringing and flinching as the whip cracked. Sorry, I’m not into pain. And finally, I also love Showalter’s world building and Jacqueline Franks’.
The best romance I’ve ever read is Desiree Gelsi’s DEADLY SUBMISSION—a werewolf story where the sexual tension, conflict, and suspense are so intense that you hang in there until finally reaching the first sex scene so far into the story… And never care you had to wait. You actually exhale, realizing you’d been holding your breath since page 1. LOL I gave it to my critique partner the next morning after waking from an all-night reading session and told her she had to take it home to read it or I’d sit back down and start it again. Too good! And I couldn’t believe the horrible review the book received on Amazon I saw months later. I showed my critique partner who almost fell out of her chair. She read the book twice in one sitting with her 5 children under 9 pestering her!!! We concluded the reviewer behind the bad review must have had a personal vendetta out for Gelsi.
The most amazing voice I’ve read is in Charlotte Stein’s THE HORIZON—futuristic with cyborgs. This book was awesome. I couldn’t stand the heroine’s voice in dialogue. It grated on my nerves. But the author’s voice is so incredible that I couldn’t stop reading. Oh the humor! Just like Jaide Fox. And the ending left me all warm and fuzzy too. It’s sci-fi romantica that’s as good as O’Conner’s but only M/F. Sorry, Mary!
And, for you, Mary, the ménages that stick out in my memory are O’Connor’s THE PORTAL, THE SPAWNING, & DARK SOLSTICE, Morgan Hawke’s FALLEN STAR (warning: scary Sith Lord hero), and Robin Rotham’s ALIEN OVERNIGHT & ENEMY OVERNIGHT. Of course, I haven’t read as many as you, m’dear!
8. What are your current projects and soon to be releases?
I’m currently working on a collection of love stories for my Werescape series… LOVE STORIES FROM THE WERESCAPE. They are all connected or overlap in time. Each story has romantic growth and a happily ever after (HEA). So far, only one is a novel. The other three are novellas. I also have another Feral novel in the works.
My coming soons are FERAL FALLOUT, FERAL FORETASTE, and BEAUTY AND THE BRUTE (Werescape book 3). FERAL FALLOUT just went to the NCP editor!!! But I still know nothing about its release date or cover.
9. If you had a message to say to your readers, what would it be?
Just thanks to everyone who has read my stories. I have many health problems and spend a lot of time writing to save my sanity. Knowing people find my tales entertaining means tons.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me, Mary! You write awesome reviews. And that means even if you must give a book of mine a low rating. Never feel bad about being honest. You word things objectively and help authors find the weaknesses in their work. ~Skhye
And thank you for this great interview! You are not only a very talented author but a wonderful person to be around. I can promise you one thing: I will be always honest. Thanks again for your kindness… Oh and about nagging… I’ll have to think about it! You know me too well: never enough ménage evarrrrr LOL