Hi and thanks for stopping by Reader Girls. We have some great tours today. We host I Kissed A Dog Blog Tour presented by Bewitching Book Tours. There's an excerpt from the book, an interview we did with the author and then there is a tour wide giveaway.
I Kissed a Dog (The Werewolves of the West Series Book One)
by Carol Van Atta
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy*paperback & ebook, 446 pages
Publisher: Cambridge Press US under the umbrella of Charles River Press (CRP)
Chloe Carpenter isn't like other women. She can communicate with animals. A gift she unwrapped following one of her frequent dances with death.
In her otherwise wacky life, she's finally found a semblance of sanity working at the Plum Beach Wildlife Park, where her unique talents can make life or death differences for the animals in her care. That semblance is shattered when a new veterinarian roars into the park in his spiffed up sports car and sets his golden gaze on her. If she had her way, he'd roar right back out.
Problem: He's her new coworker and he's saved her life twice - in the past twenty-four hours.
Zane Marshall, Enforcer for the Pacific Pack of purebred werewolves, has a job to do - figure out who or what is mutilating the young men of Plum Beach.
With orders to find the woman who talks to animals, he accepts a position working alongside the fiery Chloe Carpenter, a female who ignites his interest far more than he ever expected. Remarkably, she's the one elusive female with potential to bring meaning and passion to his empty existence.
Problem: She despises him.
Together, they're forced to unravel a mystery of supernatural proportions, a murderous mystery with eternal implications for everyone. In the process, they discover opposites really do attract.
Major Problem: Zane is pledged to another woman, and she'll do anything to keep him from Chloe.
We pulled into Will’s gravel driveway about thirty minutes later. I could see his treasured quads parked off to the side of the garage. He’d been a great driver, somewhat of a daredevil, but good enough to convince me into taking a long thrill ride on the dunes last summer. It was almost impossible for me to accept that he was dead — killed — and would never ride again.
The police team, swarming over his property like flies on a corpse, was what convinced me.
“This way,” Officer Tate directed.
Several colleagues acknowledged him but gave me cautious looks. I wondered if they knew the reason for my presence. If so, they weren’t sold on my special skills. I recognized the FBI agent from the news. He glanced our way without any official acknowledgment.
My arm hairs stood at full attention when his eyes met mine. He gave me what my mom referred to as the major heebie jeebies. I decided right then I didn’t like or trust Agent Green. Zane wasn’t the only one with good instincts.
“You ready?” Before I realized what he was doing, Zane rested his hand on my arm. The electricity remained, but this time it felt less intense, yet no less pleasurable. His touch provided a calm and confident feeling I was grateful for.
You are a good woman echoed through my tumultuous thoughts. As much as I’d like to believe otherwise, Zane was the reassuring presence I was desperate for right now.
Remembering why I was here, I nodded at Officer Tate. “Take me to talk with the animals.” I hoped I sounded halfway pleasant — anything to slice through the gloom that hung over the crime scene. My earlier morning cheer had been replaced by a grim sense of duty.
Exiting Will’s house, a woman approached. “You must be Chloe Carpenter. I’m Detective Davis. You are?” She looked at Zane with open approval.
“Dr. Marshall. I’m the new wildlife vet down at the park.” He extended his hand.
She disregarded it and jotted something in her flip pad; the evidence of her approval gone like it’d never existed, replaced with suspicion. “I may want to talk with you later, Dr. Marshall.”
I attempted to swallow my surprise. So, not all women were automatically under his spell. Even more unexpected, though, was my intense desire to protect him from her probing eyes. As if aware of my intentions, she gave a curt nod and strode away.
Inside the house, everything appeared undisturbed. A man was dusting for prints and other law enforcement personnel were removing plastic bags of evidence.
I couldn’t begin to imagine how I’d feel right now had we been lovers. Once again, my commitment to maintaining my virginity had saved me from additional heartache.
“Here’s Junior. The cat took off.” Another officer led a young pit bull into the room.
I confirmed the puppy’s leash was secure. I’d never forgotten or forgiven the pit bull that had escaped with my favorite shoe.
“Hey, little guy.” I had to admit he was adorable. His stubbed-tail wiggled and he yipped, excited by the attention. “You sure are cute.” He squirmed and pranced around us more like a pony than a pit. I realized I’d have to hold him and get him settled down if I was going to retrieve any information other than: Pet me! Pet me! I like you! Pet me!
After some reassuring whispers and gentle strokes, Junior calmed; his round puppy-eyes melting into mine. For a brief scary second, I couldn’t see or hear anything. Then the memories roared into my mind like a tornado. Woman. Sex. She smelled like a dog. The pictures were beyond my wildest and most horrifying nightmares.
A redheaded woman was clinging to Will like a rider on a bucking bronco, her head thrown back in ecstasy. Following their vigorous coupling, everything blurred. She changed into something I couldn’t explain. Either that or she’d let a wolf the size of a grizzly into the bedroom.
All I knew for certain was that Will hadn’t been stabbed.
He’d been ripped to shreds.
Much of I Kissed a Dog takes place on the Oregon Coast, in the fictional town of Plum Beach. However, Florence, where Chloe lives, is an actual coastal town known for its sand dunes, making it an ideal place for Will to ride his quads. Check out the photos showcasing the dunes in Florence, Oregon.
About the Author:
Carol Van Atta
Like most authors, Carol Van Atta is no stranger to the written word. She penned a short novel at age 12 (somewhat frightening illustrations included, and lots of bunnies were involved), and had a creative writing piece published in her high school newspaper (about David Bowie's Diamond Dogs LP). Yes, she's an ex-80's chick.
Devouring books from numerous genres, Carol developed a deep thirst/hunger for more reading material, and could almost always be found with her nose in a book.
She has contributed to several popular inspirational anthologies and devotional books, and lives in the rainy wetland of Oregon with a terrifying teen (another in college) and a small zoo of animals. She is taking an undetermined hiatus away from inspirational writing to delve into her darker side. (Though you can check out her latest spiritual suspense novel, Soul Defenders). It is rumored that this genre-jumping occurred after Carol discovered too suspicious red marks on her neck, and experienced an unquenchable urge to howl at the moon.
When did you want to be a writer?
I think always. My love for reading started at such a young age that wanting to write was the natural next step. I have journals of my earlier writing in boxes packed away in the garage. My mom still has the very first “book” I wrote and illustrated when I was seven or eight. Hopefully it remains hidden!
Can you share with with our readers what you mean when you describe yourself as “genre-confused”?
My writing career started in the inspirational markets. My first full length novel was a spiritual warfare, suspense thriller written for the Christian Market, but with crossover appeal to mainstream audiences. I also contributed to a number of magazines, devotional books, and anthologies that inspired women’s spiritual growth. While loving inspirational writing and reading, I’ve always read other genres, in particular, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, young adult, and mainstream fiction. I guess you could say that I love to read multiple genres, leading to my desire to write in those genres as well. I’m even working on a young adult book. If you could see my bookshelf or what is on my Kindle, you’d know just how varied my reading taste is. Writing is an extension of my multiple interests. Thus the whole “genre confused” label. I just can’t stick to one genre! I suspect I’m not the only “genre confused” reader or writer. Simply stated: I’m diverse with varied tastes in what I read and write.
Since this is your first paranormal how did you go about your worldbuilding? Why werewolves?
World building is a blast. You can allow your imagination to run wild with ideas. I tend to write with a very general outline in mind, and while actually writing, the story develops and starts writing itself. I know some authors storyboard, outline, and utilize a number of specialized techniques to develop their worlds and characters. For me, the ideas show up in my mind while I’m driving, before I fall asleep, and at other random and often inconvenient times. I write and everything develops and expands during the process.
As for werewolves … I love those furry fiends with unparalleled passion. Well, okay, I gotta be honest, vampires and other supernatural creatures are running a very close second. But what I like about werewolves is the fact they’re two-natured. Gorgeous wolf meets desirable man. You can run your hands through thick fur or lock lips with a man whose wildness hums just below the surface. I think I’m back to the whole diverse thing. It’s a two in one package. Not to mention, I love the whole protective nature of werewolves, their fiery passion, and the fact that they’re warm and cozy. Most vampires are cold. I like heat!
How did Chloe’s story come about?
I’ve always wanted to talk to animals. It’s a childhood dream that followed me right into adulthood and now middle age. Imagine if you could understand what your goldfish, kitten, dog, or elephant was thinking. I look into my American Eskimo, Stryder’s eyes, and am certain I detect deep intelligence in his adorable expressions. I’ve commanded him to shift into a man several times with no luck! But, seriously, it would be a fun talent to possess. That’s the thinking behind Chloe Carpenter. I wanted to create a character that had a talent that provided her with an edge when it came to identifying werewolves. Werewolves, being part animal, would be “readable” for Chloe, making for a unique, fun story and an interesting heroine.
Since this is a series, can you give us a peek into what readers can find in future installments?
More adventure, action, romance, and mystery. In the second installment, readers can expect answers to questions brought up in the first book, and they will get a chance to see how Chloe and Zane’s relationship develops while meeting a new female lead that shares the spotlight with Chloe. Her story intertwines with Chloe’s and makes for a number of interesting twists and turns. I don’t want to give away too much! Each book will expand on the original characters’ lives while introducing new characters, romances, and adventures.
What are you working on now?
I’m focused on completing book two in the Werewolves of the West Series, She Kissed a Vampire (title may change). In addition, I’m working on book two in the Soul Defenders series, and starting a young adult novel titled The Esther Experiment.
Any thoughts on the state of publishing today?
It’s a great time to be a writer. There are so many publishing options. My Werewolves of the West series is under contract with a smaller publisher that has some fantastic books in its catalogue. My Soul Defenders series is self-published via Createspace and is featured on Smashwords. I’d love to sign with a big house someday, but it is no longer taboo to be an indie or self-published author. Some of the best books I’ve read have been author published on an e-reader platform. I know the ebook has changed the industry in profound ways, and I’m really excited to see what the future has in store for both readers and writers. If you want to share your writing with the world, this is an ideal time to do so.
Do you have any writing tips for aspiring writers?
Write. That’s right! Keep writing. Don’t give up. And this is important, finish what you’ve started. I often hear from aspiring writers who start a writing project only to give up before it’s complete. This leads to discouragement. There is something so satisfying about completing a project. Whether it’s a poem, essay, article, novella, or full length book, it feels great to finish and helps with confidence building. We can also get so caught up in getting ready to write that we never get around to writing. We make time for what we want to do.
So if you want to write, you will carve time out of your schedule to write. Writing conferences, critique groups, and workshops are all important pieces to the process as well. We may write alone, but we need support, encouragement, and honest feedback if we want to publish our work. There are so many great sites out there for writers, but once again, getting to the actual writing is what really matters most.
Next stops on the tour:
December 6: Roxanne’s Realm
December 6: Books, Books, and More Books
December 7: Vividumas
Tour Wide Giveaway
3 ecopies of I Kissed a Dog by Carol Van Atta
& 1 print copy of I Kissed a Dog US Shipping Onlya Rafflecopter giveaway