Hunger Moon is now available on Amazon, and Smashwords. I'm waiting for Barnes & Noble to finish processing the file. This is my second official work as an Indie author, but it's the first novel. I've poured my heart and soul into this story for the last three years, so forgive me for gushing. :)
I spent over a solid week wrestling with the various requirements and vagrancy of three different publishing platforms. Amazon's Kindle was the most familiar and also the easiest. Smashwords proved to be relatively simple also. After a few hours, I managed to format and upload my document, and had gained approval for their premium catalog within an hour or so. Nit-picky B&N required me to remove every page break and replace them with section breaks. *Grumbles*
Hunger Moon is different from my romance novels in the sense that the focus of the story is on the heroine's journey instead of the romantic relationships. It's a series and it will be many more novels before the story is through.
Naming my series was tough. Ultimately, I called it "Norse Werewolves Urban Fantasy" for lack of more creative inspiration. Original, eh? The story title "hunger moon" was easier and comes from a Native America term for the month of February.
Victoria Storm is a Valkyrie, a priestess of Freya, a nurse and also the Alpha wolf of her werewolf pack. When I created Victoria, I wanted to explore new territory and it seems like Alpha female leaders are a possibility that hasn't been widely covered.
Creating a complicated character with goals and motivations led to a number of interesting developments. My heroine is nurturing and emotionally aware. In combat, she kicks ass and takes names, but she isn't more macho than the guys she stands toe-to-toe with. Victoria is short—less than five feet—and she knows she's short. She's got something of a Napoleon complex about it and nothing pisses her off faster than being teased about her height. She also carries a great burden of guilt due to tragic events in her past, and while she longs for freedom, the burden of duty weighs her down.
My werewolves are all descended from the great Norse wolf, Fenris, who is a child of the god, Loki. Eight hundred years ago, the wolves were driven out of the Norselands and came to North America. As a result, they have strong ties with Native American culture and heritage. The story is also set in the modern era, so I couldn't cling to too many vestiges of an ancient way of life.
One thing that really stuck, though, was the Viking warrior culture. I kept the old Norse gods, so their interest in achieving a glorious and honorable death in battle—in order to be able to enter their version of paradise—really became a dominant theme in my stories. Living to die well, if you will. Or as Klingons would say: It's a good day to die.*
*And Crazy Horse before Worf.
When honor is important, saving face becomes imperative. Victoria attempts to maintain her bravado throughout the story, and it leads to some dramatic, and some funny, moments. The following excerpt is an example:
Victoria felt him before she saw him. His power washed over her with the force of an incoming tide, as dark, mysterious and unstoppable as the ocean. Her wolf rose to answer his in instinctive response, defiant and determined. She challenged his power and altered the irresistible flow so it passed around rather than over her. Before she reached the office entrance, the male werewolf responded to her presence and surged to his feet. He rounded the desk, demonstrating extraordinary grace and strength, and she braced for a physical confrontation. He dwarfed her in both height and weight.
As soon as their gazes met, they locked in a dominance contest. His narrowed eyes pierced hers; the light-pigmented brown irises were the color of honey and eclipsed the whites and round black pupils. Wolf eyes.
Victoria did not approach with her head low or avert her gaze. Instead, she challenged him outright, radiating defiance, posture stiff and erect. While they faced off, she regretted the tactical error, but it was too late to rescind. Her stubborn pride permitted no retreat, and it went against her nature to submit.
"Let's take this outside where there are no humans to bear witness," he said in a deep, resonant voice she found appealing.
Aroused, her wolf took an immediate interest in him as a fine, fit male animal. For the first time, Victoria noticed his physical appearance, and her wolf found him more than acceptable. She estimated his age as being in his late thirties. He in no way suffered for the smattering of silver hairs that peppered his dark head. He was a perfect specimen of a man.
Distracted, Victoria broke eye contact, but not to submit. She ran her gaze over his body with blatant approval, lingering on his broad shoulders and chest, muscular arms and legs. He wore a tailored navy suit with a light shirt and dark blue tie. From the way his clothing fit, there was not an ounce of spare fat anywhere on him.
His features possessed splendid symmetry, though a silver scar on his right cheek marred his perfection. The shape of his brow, nose, and lower face hinted at a distant Roman heritage. High cheekbones alluded to his Nordic blood. He cleared his throat, and Victoria scented both his arousal and amusement.
"Did you come to challenge me, or do you have something else in mind?"
His devilish smile hinted at a sense of humor, and Victoria seized on the opening. A ballsy gamble carried inherent risk, but her initial inept blundering had left her with no other graceful out. Her eyes rose to meet his once again.
"I am Victoria, daughter of Adair and Katherine, High Priestess of Freya, Lady Valkyrie, shaman, and healer," she said, making her boast. "I am also the Alpha of my pack, and I am seeking a mate. I have come to assess whether you would make an acceptable suitor."
"You're kidding." He registered surprise and disbelief.
Victoria arched her brow. "I am not."
Hunger Moon is available at the following locations:
To celebrate the release, I'm offering the following promo. Anyone who purchases a copy of Hunger Moon and leaves me an honest review somewhere, anywhere (Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, your personal blog, etc.), I'll email you a complimentary PDF version of The Child Thief and mail you a wolf themed bookmark. I'll need an email address for the PDF and a mailing address for the bookmark.
Contact me at melissasnark at gmail dot com.