Friday, October 18, 2013

Mariposa Cruz's HOWL || Author Interview || Excerpt || Book Review

Please tell us about yourself and your writing.

In addition to my romance writing, I’ve written articles and music reviews for the local independent paper. I love interviewing people and learning about their creative processes.

What does your writing space look like?

Due to limited space in my condo, I do most of my writing while sprawled on my bed with a mug of tea at my elbow and my cat, Bacardi, napping at the foot of my bed.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been scribbling stories in notebooks since childhood, but my first paid article was published shortly before I started my first paralegal job—so my writing and legal career have grown up together.

What inspired your current book?

I started writing Howl shortly after we moved to Reno from Northern California. I longed for my own pack of family and friends back in California and that sense of isolation was reflected in Kate and Jack.

Please tell us about your current work in progress.

My current WIP is a contemporary romance that features a couple in their forties. The backdrop is the Reno Salsa scene (another one of my passions!) I hope to release it next year.

Do you write with music going in the background? What are some of your favorite types/bands?

Even though I prefer it to be quiet during my writing time, each of my stories has its own soundtrack. Certain music fuels my imagination during my off-keyboard writing time driving in the car or working out at the gym.  Naked by Avril Lavigne with its brooding intro would be Kate’s theme.  The rest of Howl’s soundtrack would be rounded out with tracks from Def Leppard.

Personally I like all kinds of music from Queen to Sinatra, but I’m drawn toward dark, edgy rock for writing paranormal.

Has anyone in particular been an influence on your writing?

One of my college professors who was also a well-respected poet, D.L. Emblen, taught me to view writing as a craft.  He stressed the fact that images are as tangible and malleable as clay.

Is there anything else you'd really like our readers to know?

I love classic fright flicks, so I also feature Classic Horror Movie reviews on my blog. I’ve had fun watching and researching the classics!

Quick quiz:
Favorite food?    Any type of pasta.
Favorite color?   Green
Favorite animal?  Sea otter
Biggest pet peeve?  Rudeness—so unnecessary.
Dream car?   My current car (Jeep Compass) red with a sun roof.

 Book Blurb:

As if Kate Owens doesn't have enough problems as a struggling single mom and paralegal, a brutal animal attack outside her office plunges her into turmoil. At work, she is attracted to her rescuer, Jack Walker, an attorney wary of commitment. Every morning after the attack she awakes drenched in blood beside the body of a mangled stray. Kate's days become a battle to maintain control while her nights are a disturbing blur of dreams. Will Kate's nightly madness harm her young daughter? Lone wolf attorney, Jack Walker understands the reason for his paralegal's exhaustion and haunted demeanor. Jack has pursued the beast since law school graduation and he knows the creature's relentless thirst for revenge. Can Jack save Kate from her attacker and her own savage nature?


“Pierce called me this morning. He’s here. He left cigarette butts near your window. I spent all day tracking him.”

Kate hugged her knees trying to shake a sudden chill.

“When I think about what he did to you…”
“I’m all right. I want to be with you in any way, shape, or form.” Kate put her arms around him. His shoulders were rigid with tension. Kate turned his face toward hers and kissed him slowly, her free hand stroking his beard.

“I never realized you could be such a tease,” Jack murmured into her ear.

“I never knew you could be such a beast,” Kate replied and kissed him again.

He returned her kiss, pulling her onto his lap. His hands slid up her shirt caressing her bare back while she snuggled closer and wrapped her legs around him.

The first howl startled them.

“Damn,” Jack muttered.

Kate sighed. “We can’t be late for dinner?” she murmured.

“No. I’m not going to rush this time. We’ll continue this later in bed. I’ll wait for you outside.” His fingers traced the curve of her bare thigh when he released her. He kissed her hard on the mouth then turned and left her to change alone. If he lingered much longer, they would miss dinner.

Jack paced outside while he waited for Kate to join him. Changing in the chilled, night air cooled his ardor. He heard the others in the distance and his stomach growled. Searching the forest for Pierce all day, he hadn’t slowed to eat. What was taking her so long? It wasn’t as if she needed to freshen up her make up or curl her hair. Finally, after several long minutes, a small, silver wolf joined him. She nipped at him playfully as they raced to meet the others.

The hunt seemed to take longer than usual while they chased their prey deep into the forest. No longer overwhelmed by sounds and scents of the forest, Kate appeared exhilarated by the hunt. Several hours later, slightly winded from their pursuit, they slipped into Jack’s room. He had changed and waited for her in bed when Kate crawled through the side door and burrowed under the covers. A faint cry came from beneath the blankets while her limbs shifted and reformed. Breathlessly, Kate emerged beside him, her blonde hair tousled. With an exasperated groan, she held up her arms, the silver wolf’s paws still splayed from her wrists.


"Howl" is a paranormal romance novel set in a contemporary Northern California setting. At fifty-one pages, this novella is a fast, entertaining read. It is ideal for the reader looking for something to fill up a few free hours. Werewolves are far and away my favorite shifter, and Mariposa Cruz weaves a wolfy tale full of intrigue, action, and suspense.

Kate Owens is a dedicated single mom who must deal with her sleazy ex-husband and the challenges of catty co-workers. A month before the story begins, she  suffered a brutal attack by a wild animal that almost ended her life. Her savior, the handsome Jack Walker, also happens to be a lawyer at her place of work. As the story begins, the hero and heroine are already friends and share good charisma.

Kate's circumstances are pretty grim. Her insolvent finances result in constant instability for her little family. She skips meals in order to keep her child fed. Unfortunately, Kate's wolf takes matters into her own paws and sneaks out at night to eat neighboring pets and stray cats. Quite understandably, the heroine worries that she's going nuts, not having come to the realization yet that she was bitten by a werewolf. Her predicament falls in the vein of dark humor, leaving the reader both cringing and yet grimly amused.

Jack is already a werewolf with an attack story of his own, and an enemy to go along with it. He explains Kate's true nature to her and introduces her to his pack. The scenes portraying the shift to wolves and time spent in canine form add an interesting element to the story, lending well to the primal theme. Likewise, love scenes are sensual and bring a wonderful aspect to Jack and Kate's romance.

Supporting characters are three dimensional. The author spends a lot of time developing the personalities of the pack, maybe too much for such a short story. I'm not opposed to complex supporting cast but it came at the cost of word count that could have been invested in creating a more compelling bond between the hero and heroine.I wanted to see more of the heroine's daughter and know about her relationship with Jack.

The story ended too soon and left many things unresolved. I had questions and felt this read more like the first half of a full length novel than a novella. I hope the author accepts it as a compliment because I really wanted to read more of her story and was disappointed when it ended so soon.

This is a great quick and easy read for readers looking for an intriguing paranormal romance.

I received an ARC of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

HOWL is available for purchase:
The Wild Rose Press

Author Bio:
Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. As a writer she has interviewed a variety of characters from cowboy crooners to rock divas. Her articles have appeared in local magazines and indie newspapers. She currently resides with her own pack in Reno, Nevada.


  1. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for having me here today! I'm off to the day job, but will check in around lunchtime.

    1. Good morning, Mariposa. Thanks for much for being my guest today. I guess we'll have to chat later. When you return, be sure to tell us about your current work in progress.Werewolf/shifter books are my favorite so I'd love to learn if there's a sequel to Howl. :)

  2. Mariposa, I enjoyed your interview and excerpt. Best wishes on a successful release, and I look forward to hearing more on your contemporary with older protagonists!

  3. Hi Melissa,
    I'm about midway through the first draft my current WIP, Package Deal. While I love writing Paranormal, I thought it would be fun to write about another passion of mine, Salsa dancing. As a writer, there's nothing like watching all those stories unfold on the dance floor. And yes, there is a sequel to Howl called Roar--if you enjoyed the characters from Howl (and love bears as I do), you'll want to check it out.

    I also like romances with more "mature" characters since I've hit my forties. I see all ages on the dance floor from college-age to retirement--you're really never too old to dance. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Mariposa, a Salsa dancing romance sounds awesome! I loved dance movies when I was a teen. Dirty Dancing, Strictly Ballroom, Footloose. *G*