Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Smells Like... by J.C. McKenzie || SHIFT HAPPENS #Giveaway

I'd like to welcome J.C. to the Snarkology. She's a fellow Rose AND a fellow paranormal author, so I'm excited to have her tell us about her Wild Rose novel, SHIFT HAPPENS. (And, as she notes, we've both got snark! ;-) ) 

J.C., it's great to have you here today! Thank you for sharing with my readers.

Be sure to enter J.C.'s Rafflecopter giveaway below!

First of all, I’d like to thank Melissa Snark for inviting me to be a guest on her blog today. Though we’ve never met in real life, I’ve always felt an invisible kinship to Ms. Snark and her blog—Snarkology—because of the name. My main character and I share one trait, and one trait only—we both have a lot of snark! 

Today, however, I’m not going to discuss my main character, Andy “Ms. Attitude” McNeilly. You can find out more about her in the Blurb and Excerpt below for my debut novel, Shift Happens (*shameless plug*). Today, I want to discuss my world, and more specifically, what it smells like.

In my paranormal series, every supernatural creature imaginable exists in some shape or form, including Shifters and Weres. I mention these two, firstly because my main character is a Shifter and the main love interest is a Were; and secondly, they’re tantamount to my discussion today. In my books, Shifters and Weres have heightened senses due to their dual natures; so heightened they can smell emotion. This “fact” gave me a way of “cheating” in first person POV. I could let the reader know what the other characters were feeling without technically having to be in their heads or rely solely on body language or dialogue. It gave me another avenue for expression.
At first this was awesome. I sat at my writing table, patting myself on the back, and chortling about how brilliant I was…then, I realized what a can of worms I opened! I couldn’t just write “he smelled angry” because it’s flat and involved too much telling. What did anger smell like, anyway? And crap on toast, what about the others?

I embarked on a mission to nail down what I thought the different emotions would smell like to my main character—the snarky one.

The list became so long I had to write it all down, in a five page, alphabetized “Scent Guide,” with a reverse order look up (I’m such an A-type it’s almost certifiable).

For my first book, I have thirty five emotions and people listed in my Scent Guide. It’s grown to forty one by my fourth book, which is not complete. I won’t share the entire list with you here (*snore*), but I will share with you some of my favorites.

Confusion: smells like smoke in foggy weather

Cruelty:     smells like a bag of grass, but not in a nice summery way, in a gone-bad-and-oddly-like-money way

Happiness: smells like fresh cut grass in the summer

Heartbreak: smells like the air after lightning strike

Longing: smells like burnt sugar, like the crust of tiramisu

Vampire sex: smells like mildew, and wine dregs

There are more! Thirty five more to be exact. What I like about emotional scents is they’re completely subjective to the one with the nose.

What do you think these emotions or things smell like?
Do you agree, disagree?
Would you have them smell another way if it was your world? Do tell!

Make sure you enter the contest below for a chance to win one of five kindle ebooks of Shift Happens.

Happy writing and reading!

J.C. McKenzie

Her past destroyed her heart, can she put it back together in time?

Andrea McNelly's job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire's human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can't afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.

Wick's job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.

Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.

A large black wolf trotted into the clearing to confront me. He had a white-tipped snout, white boots and mitts and would have looked cute had he not been the most intimidating Werewolf I’d ever seen. Standing tall and solid, power rolled off of his body. His eyes bore into mine. I sniffed the air. The strong Werewolf scent of rosemary swirled around me, strong and seductive, laced with sugar. A weird fuzzy sensation spread out from my chest. Whoa.
My other form growled low, demanding release, straining against my skin. The energy of the wolves built—layers upon layers of excitement and impatience. The air pulsated with anticipation. They could sense the imminent kill.
Let me out! My other form repeated, throwing her power against my built up walls, howling in defiance.
When the energy of the Werewolves surged, I finally released her. My wolf form flowed out fast, wiping out the feline in little more than a heartbeat. Smaller, weaker and the size of a natural wolf, a Shifter in this form was no match for a Werewolf, especially a dominant one. I had time to meet the eyes of the Alpha for only an instant before the pack leapt forward. My limbs shook. It went against every instinct ingrained within me, but I rolled onto my back—submissive.

Available exclusively in Kindle electronic format on March 27th, 2014
Available in print and all other electronic formats on July 16th, 2014

About the Author:
Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sounds good, I can't wait to read it!

  2. It is an amazing book, J.C....best of luck.
    And all I can say is I want to wake up next to the smell of citrus and sunshine!!

    1. LMAO Charlotte! I wonder why??? Thanks for stopping by :-)

  3. I love the sound of this book. As for what emotions smell like I agree with what you have said.

    1. Thanks lady! I had a lot of fun coming up with the smells. :-)

  4. Hi JC,
    Thank you for sharing your scent insights with my readers today! I have a similar cheat but I use auras in addition to scents (but not nearly this specific).

    As you know, I'm a huge wolf shifter fan so it's always my favorite when I have fellow PNR authors on the Snarkology. Welcome!

    1. Thanks Melissa! It's a pleasure to be here. Thanks for the opportunity. :-)

    2. And I'm glad to learn I'm not the only "cheater" :-)

  5. The book sounds great. Loved the excerpt. And what a fabulous article on how you came up with what emotions 'smell' like to your shifters and weres.

    1. Thanks Angelique! I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)

  6. Love the list you shared with us! The whole idea of emotions having a 'smell' -- defining something in an unusual way--terrific. Tweeted/shared Barb Bettis

  7. Thanks Barb. I ended up having a lot of fun making my guide. I'm thinking if PDFing it and making it available for readers. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  8. Great post
    I got stuck on mildew and wine dregs. So imaginative. Go J.C.

    1. Hehehe! Well, I think it's obvious I'm on team Shifter vs. team Vampire, but those bloodsuckers have their uses and their own allure. :-)

  9. Love my shifters I think the idea of emotions having scents is really intruiging.