Thursday, October 31, 2013

Winner of the Snarkology's Giveaway

The winner of the Snarkology's Giveaway for a paperback copy is Hunger Moon is...

<<drum roll>>

 Shelly Hammond!

Shelly, I've sent you a message via Google+. Please contact me with your mailing address.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Snarkology Paranormal Blog Hop || Werewolves: Man or Monster?

Hop wide grand prize is a $60 Amazon gift card.

Leave a comment on this post  for a chance to win a paperback of HUNGER MOON by Melissa Snark!

(Shipping to the Continental U.S.)

For as long as man has had conscious thought there has been a fascination with the supernatural. Vampires, fairies, witches, sprites and werewolves are just a few of the creatures that populate stories dating back to our oral tradition. What many people fail to realize is the fact that people were tried and executed around the world for lycanthropy, (being a werewolf) in much the same manner as witches and in some places vampires.

Since stories of the werewolf are so widespread and begin before written records were kept it is impossible to pinpoint the exact time or story that started it all. However, you can get a sense of where and why such stories may exist in the first place.

Wolf Connection

Throughout the world, there are stories of creatures able to transform into animal forms. If you look at the myths and legends, you will find areas a huge range of stories about humans changing into hyenas (Africa), tigers (China) and foxes (Japan).

Early civilizations were primitive and did not afford the protections we enjoy today, which means if wolves were present people lived in constant danger. In some areas, it has been said villagers commonly awoke to find the fields strewn with body parts of neighbors and friends. Grizzly scenes such as this were likely fodder for the imagination and resulted in a variety of werewolf story beginnings.

Man’s Base Nature

It has been hypothesized by some that the idea of the werewolf came about to explain the baser nature of humanity. In fact, in the 16th century teenagers who wandered around breaking curfew and getting into trouble on the island of Guernsey (off the coast of France) were referred to as werewolves. The fact that some would disguise themselves as animals to travel to different communities likely fueled the stories of real werewolves, and it is probably no coincidence that we are talking about adolescence.

Think about the transformation that takes place during puberty. Young men and women experience both physical and psychological transformations, over which they have no control. Is the myth of the werewolf simply a way to understand the human struggle to come to terms with and overcome a more primitive nature? One other interesting tidbit is the lunar shifting. It is commonly held that a female truly begins her journey to womanhood with the onset of menstruation, a monthly occurrence. Is it significant that many times in folklore the werewolf transformation occurs on a full moon, which occurs monthly?

Side Note: The moon has a 29.75-day cycle, which means occasionally there are two full moons in one month. The second full moon in one calendar month is a Blue Moon.

Historical Cases

You would be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of the witch trials, but very few are aware of similar trials conducted for werewolves during the same time period. (16th century) It is estimated that between 1520 and 1630 AD some 30,000 people were accused or admitted to being a werewolf. A common practice during these trials was to cut the suspect and peel back the skin to determine if fur were concealed. It was believed that werewolves changed from wolf to human and vice versa by turning their skin inside out.

We may never know the names of every person executed for lycanthropy but there are a few cases that were prominent enough to make it into the written record:

  • Werewolf of Dole- Guiles Garnier: In 1574, Garnier was burned at the stake for being a werewolf. He was a hermit living in the area where a number of children had been attacked and devoured. As many as 50 villagers testified at his trial to his various crimes as a wolf and after subsequent torture on the rack, he confessed to all and was sentenced to death.
  • Werewolf of Bedberg- Peter Stubb: Germany in 1589 gave us the case of Peter Stubb (multiple spellings of the last name) a man accused of killing for over 25 years in the form of a wolf. There is precious little left save a sensational pamphlet that accuses him of lycanthropy and incest. Once put to the rack Peter admitted to a string of gruesome murders, including that of an infant he fathered with his daughter and that he had made a pact with the devil who gave him a belt allowing him to transform. Peter’s subsequent death sentence was as ghastly as the accusations against him. First he was lashed to a wheel, flesh torn from his body, arms and legs broken and finally beheading.
  • Hans the Werewolf-Hans 1651: Around Estonia, there were numerous witch and werewolf trials, most of which included tortured confessions. Not so, with Hans the werewolf an 18 year old who readily confessed and claimed the condition was transferred to him via a bite from a man in black.

These are but a few stories of real life people who were summarily executed for the crime of lycanthropy or being a werewolf.

King Lycaon

Zeus turning Lycaon into a wolf, engraving by Hendrik Goltzius.
The most popular stories about werewolves are those derived from myths, legends and stories from around the globe. It is through these the common characteristics of the werewolf begins to grow and evolve.

Perhaps the first written story about werewolves is The Metamorphoses by Ovid. This ancient Roman myth was penned in 1 AD and tells the tale of King Lycaon who was transformed into a wolf as a punishment from the gods. According to the fable, Jupiter had heard the cry about the evils of mankind and had descended from heaven to determine the truth for himself. During his journeys, he comes to the realm of King Lycaon, where the people are quick to offer adoration. Apparently this did not sit well with the violent king so he devised a scheme to prove whether the visitor was indeed a god or merely human. Lycaon killed and cooked a hostage hoping to bring about the downfall of Jupiter. For his crimes against divinity, Lycaon was transformed into wolf form where he could continue his violent proclivities in a form where such behavior was acceptable.

This ancient myth may be one of the oldest recorded stories, but it is nowhere near the only one:
  • Native American- Wisakachek was a spirit god who lived in the woods and shifted regularly to wolf form. He gave the gift of the wolf to two Fox Indian boys who had graciously shared a meal with him. 
  • Underworld- One very popular modern story is found in the Underworld series of movies. In this depiction, vampires and werewolves share a common ancestor. Alexander Corvinus was the lone survivor of a deadly plague, but the virus imbedded in his genetic code. He passed the dormant virus on to his three sons, of which two were bitten one by a bat and the other by a wolf. Hence the creation of the two immortal lines.
  • Faeries, Witches and Shifters- modern fiction has suggested that werewolves are the a type of fairy (Lost Girl TV series), witches or simply shifters. 

Werewolf Trivia:

The facts about werewolves will vary depending on the originating myth, but here are a few of the most popular beliefs:
  • Transmitted via a bite from a werewolf.
  • Can be a curse for bad deeds or reward for good.
  • Silver may kill or merely impair a werewolf.
Wolfsbane AKA Aconitum
  • Wolfsbane is an irritant to werewolves that may repel them. Long ago, toxins were extracted from the plant and used to kill wolves.
  • Werewolves are born via a mating including at least one werewolf parent.
  • Deals with the devil can garner a belt which allows shifting to wolf form.
  • Supernaturally strong
  • Uncontrollable rage when in wolf form



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark
A Victoria Storm novel
#2 Loki's Wolves series
Genre:  Paranormal/urban fantasy
Published April 25, 2013
ISBN-10: 1492107581
ISBN-13: 978-1492107583
Amazon ASBN B00CJ1D1BI

Victoria Storm faces seemingly insurmountable odds to keep her dwindling pack of werewolves alive and together. She fights hunters- including the brother and father of her deceased lover-and the pack takes another devastating loss. When they seek sanctuary in a small town near Lake Tahoe, high in the secluded Sierra Nevada Mountains, Victoria discovers they are infringing on the territory of a vastly more powerful Alpha wolf. To save her pack, she uses her feminine wiles to seduce the Alpha. Nothing comes easily for Victoria. Her plans are complicated by the Alpha's erratic son, a ghostly wife, and a vengeful witch. Not even her status as a Valkyrie or the favor of the Goddess Freya can change the course of destiny for Victoria or her packmates.

Excerpt :

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."
Buy links:
Author BIO
Melissa Snark is a paranormal and romance author with a particular interest in werewolf and Norse mythology. Her Loki's Wolves series combines elements of both in a contemporary fantasy setting. She lives in Northern California with her husband, three children and glaring of cats.

Where to find Melissa on the Internet:
Email:  melissasnark at gmail dot com
Twitter: @MelissaSnark

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a paperback of HUNGER MOON by Melissa Snark! 

(Shipping to the Continental U.S.)

April Bostic's THE HOWLING HEART Book Blast

Publisher: Eternal Press
Publication Date: August 1, 2013

Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn't get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.

Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv---wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.

Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.


Author Bio:
April Bostic is a New Jersey-based, Adult Romance author who enjoys unleashing her creativity and letting her imagination run wild. Her love of romance books inspired her to become not just a reader, but also a writer. In December 2008, she self-published her first novel, a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist entitled "A Rose to the Fallen".

Her first short story, "Right Here, Right Now", released in January 2012, is an erotic romance with a dash of S&M. The following year, she released two more short stories: a romantic urban fantasy inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche entitled "Eros, My Love", and a sexy romantic comedy entitled "Love Addiction".

After five years, she released her second novel, "The Howling Heart" in August 2013, a paranormal romance that delves into the mystical world of werewolves and Norse gods. To end her busiest year in publishing, April will release her fourth and final short story in December, a historical vampire romance entitled "A Dark Scandal".

Author contact links:

April Is giving away a $20 Amazon or B&N gift card, and an eBook copy of The Howling Heart to one lucky winner.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Life's Writing Lessons by Sarah Bella || 14 DAYS OF "OHS!"

One of the things I love most about being a writer is the writing lessons I learn from life and the writing lessons I can apply to life. I love going to a class, or reading a craft book and figuring out not only where I can apply it to my WIP, but also where I can apply it to real life.

1.  One of the first things I learned when I got a real live beta reader is if your reader doesn't understand what you're trying to get across, the problem lies with what you've written, not with the reader. I find that in life, when someone doesn't understand what I'm saying, the same is true. It's usually because I'm not clear. 
2.  You people watch everywhere you go, sometimes consciously, others not, you notice the woman with the pink hair, the man walking the puppy – but you don't know their names. If you take the time to learn a name, learn a person, it usually means you intend to get to know them, that they're important enough to pay attention to. In writing, your characters will notice other people too. Naming that new person tells your reader to pay attention, that they're important. Drop a story line with a named character and readers will notice, whether you intended the character to be important or not.

3.  I love to listen to people talk - few people speak formally. They use contractions, they drop endings to words – they create new words entirely. Written dialogue is stilted when you write out each contraction, or never use a 'wanna' or a 'gonna'. Obviously different genres have different rules – in historicals, you're going to find more formal dialogue. (There are always a dozen exceptions for every rule.)

4.  In writing we learn that each word has weight. You cut the extraneous ones, tighten every sentence. I carry that with me every day. Each word I say is important. There's no delete button for life ;) (Though, God, some days I wish there was.)

5.  A last life lesson. This is something I've talked about before; take a look at your group of friends. I'm betting you've got a Mike, a Matt, a Susan, or a Liz (or some variation thereof) but I bet you don't have a Zendaya, a Falcon and a Rock. Point being, make sure you don't populate your contemporary romance with futuristic or far out names. Sure you can have unique names – they're more memorable for sure, but if the character names are so incredible the reader can't remember them, you have a problem.

So there's my take on lessons learned. Have any life vs. writing lessons you'd add to me list? Share them in the comments. As a thank you to The Snarkology for hosting me here, I'll pick a winner from the commenters below to receive a $5 gift card to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble or my personal favorite, Star Bucks. 

* * * * *

Their love led to two weeks of "Ohs!" Some were good, some were bad, and some were all about the sex.

Three years ago, Grace Stevens packed up, left home and hasn’t looked back since. Now she gives snorkeling tours at an exclusive resort on a private island in the Caribbean, filling her days with fun and sun and her bed with the occasional nameless stranger. 

Logan Shayde could use a healthy dose of losing himself and the Azul Isle is just the place to do it. Grace seems like a nice distraction until, after one explosive argument, she kicks Logan out of her cabana. Logan’s a man who’s used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Grace. Now he’ll do anything for one more night with her.

Every moment leads to another surprise, to another discovery, to another wonder, to another disappointment, and the most unexpected thing of all: the "Oh!" of two lovers' eyes meeting - and then their bodies.

Author Bio:

Sarah is a small town Minnesota girl who calls pop by its proper name – pop.  She is a multi-published author of romance and erotica who writes both novels and short stories in the romance, mystery/suspense, paranormal and erotica genres.

She loves traveling anywhere south of the equator and finds that a nice dark microbrew can help get the creative juices flowing.  When she’s not writing or traveling, you can find Sarah with her nose buried in a book.

Sarah lives in the small town she grew up in with her husband, three children, her cat and her dog.

Where to find me: