I have another guest--guests--please welcome Vivi Andrews, Robie Madison and Kinsey Holley, authors featured in Samhain's recent anthology, Shifting Dreams.
In the Beginning…
What do a seedy pick-up joint, a Welsh pub, and a Houston nightclub have in common?
The answer: Three intriguing first chapters in which an alpha hero meets his match in a spunky heroine.
Read on to learn why authors Vivi Andrews, Robie Madison, and Kinsey Holley were inspired to set the opening scenes of their Shifting Dreams novellas in a bar.
When my shape-shifting heroine Ava Minor walks into the Bar Nothing in the opening of Serengeti Heat, she sets off a chain reaction that burns through the entire story. For months, she’s lived in the same pride of lion-shifters with (and harbored a secret lust for) Alpha Landon King, but he couldn’t even remember her name. Something had to happen to shake them out of the status quo and set them on a collision course.
A pick-up bar seemed the perfect place for Ava to finally get her hero’s attention. Ava doesn’t show up looking for Landon – any man will satisfy her need for rebellion – but when Landon sees her there, he sees her in a way he never has before. She isn’t the small, shy, invisible little sister of his best lieutenants. She’s a force to be reckoned with, intoxicating and sensuous.
A seedy honky-tonk meat-market was just what this couple needed—for Landon to realize Ava exists and for Ava to realize she doesn’t have to always play by the rules to get what she wants.
Buy Serengeti Heat
The Sheep’s Tail
“You can get a decently priced dinner at the pub in town when you’re ready to venture out.”
I was faced with an intriguing challenge when I went to write the first chapter of The Man of Her Dreams. The heroine and hero already knew each other—but only in Megan’s dreams.
How, then, to bring them together in real life after Megan discovers Owain’s portrait in a Victorian heirloom locket?
Since the story is set in Wales—Megan’s destination in search of answers about her dream lover—I, fortunately, had a ready made answer—a pub. It’s the traditional place for people to congregate in the evening for a pint and perhaps a game of darts. Pub meals are also famous, so I simply had the landlady of the B&B where Megan stays make the suggestion and let the inevitable happen.
But I added an element of fun while plotting Megan’s surprise. Trefriw, the village where the story is set, is very real and quite famous for its woolen mill and an old Roman spa. I’m certain there’s a pub or two in the vicinity, but I invented one for the purposes of putting Owain in Megan’s path and gave it a cute name. Hey, there are A LOT of sheep in Wales!
Although Owain and Megan don’t spend very long in the pub, there was another good reason for choosing it as a place for them to meet. Within walking distance from the B&B, The Sheep’s Tail is set back from the road and is surrounded by a forest, which proves very convenient and, ah, quite private for a dalliance. Enough said.
Buy The Man of Her Dreams
I wrote Kiss and Kin on purpose, for the Samhain anthology. I’d gotten stalled in my full-length WIP, set in the same world, and when I saw the submission call for the shifter anthology, I decided to try something new and short to loosen me up.
I kept thinking of a girl, a bar, and a bunch of bad wolves. In my world, shifters and fae have been out for sixty years, and they’re pretty well assimilated into American society. And some human women have a thing for werewolves or other shifters—fur chasers, shifter humpers, etc. And I thought—a girl, with her ditzy friend, goes into this werewolf biker bar, and she knows it’s dangerous, and the girlfriend gets kidnapped or something, and one of Nick Wargman’s wolves is there keeping an eye on the bad wolves, and he jumps in and saves the girl and they roar off on his motorcycle, and they have to hide out, and….I got stuck. Wasn’t working.
And the more I thought about it, the more I thought—ok, it’s not a biker bar, it’s a club. And Nick’s wolf is a cop, and he already knows the girl, and he doesn’t want her there, and then…Lark and Taran just started forming in my head.
So the second scene is in the bar. Lark doesn’t really want to be there, she just went because her selfish, ditzy friend begged her to go out. She’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and if Taran hadn’t been there, she’d have disappeared just like the other women. It’s her being in that bar—and Taran realizing that he nearly lost her, she nearly got snatched from just a few feet away from him—that starts bringing them together. If she hadn’t come so close to getting snatched from Le Monde, she and Taran might never have found a reason, or an excuse, to get close.
I’m still gonna write a scene in werewolf bar. It’s not a biker bar, it’s a pool bar —Cowgirls and Werewolves. It’s mentioned briefly in Kiss and Kin. I think TJ and Nick are gonna have a big old fight in Cowgirls, and Nick’s going to act like a jerk, and TJ’s gonna tell the bouncer to kick him out, and the bouncer’s gonna say… “um, Teej, he’s the Alpha, and besides, he owns a stake in the place…” That’s about all I’ve got on Nick and TJ yet. If anyone has ideas for a plot, email me.
Buy Kiss and Kin