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Archive for March 2nd, 2011

When half-Fae, half-Shifter Andrea Gray flees an abusive would-be mate, the only way she is allowed to relocate to the Austin Shiftertown is if a Shifter there claims her as mate.

Sean Morrissey, the Guardian of his clan and all of Shiftertown, is mateless, lonely, and has a tough job–to send the souls of deceased Shifters into the afterworld. He volunteers to claim her, sight unseen, but doesn’t realize that one look at the gray-eyed, dark-haired Andrea will stir the mating frenzy in him. Even though the mate-claim isn’t finalized, official, or yet blessed, Sean will do anything to get Andrea into his life and keep her there, forever.

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I have a new book out: Primal Bonds, Sean’s story in the Shifters Unbound series. It hit the shelves officially on March 1.

The hero is a Feline Shifter, which means he shifts into a big cat (the Lupines shift into wolves, the bears into bears . . .you get the idea).

The Feline Shifters in my world aren’t a specific species—they were created by the Fae millennia ago using the best of different species of wildcats: lion, leopard, cheetah, panther, and so forth. A bit of magic went into this breeding, of course.

Each Feline clan leans toward one cat species, though they retain traits of them all. Sean’s family, the Morrisseys, have a lot of lion in them; Eric, who you’ll meet in Primal Bonds, has a lot of snow leopard.

The heroine of Primal Bonds, Andrea, is a Lupine—Lupines were likewise were bred from different varieties of wolf. Bears Shifters (Ursines), breed closest to specific species, so some are black bears, some Kodiaks, some grizzlies. (No pandas so far, though.) Ronan, a Kodiak bear, is introduced in Primal Bonds, and you’ll meet Shane, a grizzly, in Wild Cat.

Readers sometimes ask me what my favorite Shifter is, and I’m torn. I made Felines and Lupines and Bears (oh my!) because I like them all. Beautiful predators that turn into hot men—what’s not to like?

But I do have a fondness for the Felines, probably because I have two felines of my own at home. They’re brothers (litter mates), and they come in handy when I need to describe some of the behavior of my wildcat Shifters.

Cats, contrary to popular belief, are not standoffish, haughty creatures (I laugh whenever I hear this). Most cats are very social creatures, and they love tactile contact.

My two cats need their space, but they also love to be together. Here’s one of their daily rituals: every morning about ten, they meet up in the sunbeam inside our patio door (almost every day is sunny where I live). They start grooming each other, licking faces, nuzzling, one’s paw on the other’s forehead—oh, can anything be so sweet and cute?

And then, just when I think they can’t get any cuter, one . . . goes for the other’s throat. An extended wrestling match ensues. They grapple, kick, swat, and take down, throat grab and tumble.

They don’t hurt each other; this is entirely play. It’s interesting to watch their strategies, what part of the body they go for, how they defend and how they attack.

Sometimes they’ll eyeball each other while each tries to get his head lower than the other’s. The attacker is trying to get where he can come up underneath and close his jaw on the defender’s throat. The defender is trying to make sure the attacker can’t get his head low enough.

When the attacker strikes, the defender often goes over on his back, grabs attacker with front paws, and double kicks with back feet (for disemboweling, according to cat books). If you’ve ever had a cat do the grab/kick to your hand or arm, you know this is a great technique! (For them. Ow.)

Another one they try is the spine snap—one cat rises up over the other’s back and tries to bite just behind the head or right on the back. Because my cats are playing, they fake the bite, closing their jaws early, sometimes grabbing hair (and then they sit back trying to spit out the fur).

The cats trade off who is attacker and defender, and neither really wins the fight. When one gets bored, he rolls over and runs off, the other one right behind him.

Then the chase is on. They tear around the house, white chasing orange. On the next pass, orange is chasing white. And around again, with orange in the lead.

When they get that out of their system, they meet up at the food bowl, munch a little, drink some water, and then find a place to flop and sleep. They don’t always curl up together, but they usually pass out close to each other, maybe on adjacent pieces of furniture.

This need for touch, the need for play, and the instinctive fighting ability are also in my Shifters. Big cats fight much the same way as my little cats, except they probably would do much more damage to my living room.

My Shifters, when they are human, retain much of the cat in their behavior. They’re very tactile people—they touch and hug to calm themselves and others in their families or clans. They think nothing of holding each other to soothe and show affection, the men will nuzzle each other without embarrassment. They’re wild, raw, and loving.

Shifters aren’t exactly like my housecats, of course, but the parallels are there. Plus it’s so much fun to watch my cats!

I know all of us have (or had) pets that did wacky things to make us laugh. How about you? Any crazy cats or dogs out there? We should keep it brief to not overload the blog, but I’d love to hear about them! (Or just say hi if you’re not a pet lover.)

Any comment gives you a chance to win a backlist book! Winner’s choice from my backlist, which is here: http://www.jennifersromances.com/NewSite/seriesorder.html

And don’t forget, Primal Bonds (sorta inspired by my cats), is out now! In print at stores near you. Also in ebook! (Blurbs, excerpts, and the “Humans Guide to Shifters” can be found here: http://www.jennifersromances.com/NewSite/shifters/SU_main.html

Best,

Jennifer Ashley

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A big thank-you to Jennifer for visiting with us today!

Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a book from Jennifer’s backlist. Good luck! 😀

 

 

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