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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pack Dynamics

We've had a shift in our dog yard this month.

For those who don't know, I breed Siberian Huskies, which are considered a primitive breed. By that, we mean that physically, the Siberian hasn't evolved far from it's early wild dog origins. The Siberian is similar in appearance and behavior to their wild cousins, the wolves. No, they are not wolves, there are some distinct differences. For example, a wolf would never, ever pull a dogsled. They are xenophobic, meaning they are afraid of that which is strange or different. But the Siberian Husky's social behavior is so similar to wolf packs, that I do use them as reference when I write shifter books. Belle Starr, Toxic, and LCE: Siberian Husky were all based on the behaviors and personalities of my dogs. (Someday I'll post photos of the dogs and run a contest on what dog influenced what character!)

On December 22, my 4 girls slipped out of the yard when a visiting handyman left the gate open. When Siberians get loose, their number 1 priority is to run fast, run hard, and wreak as much havoc as possible along the way. Thankfully, Missy and Pai Mei were located the next morning. They are retired show dogs and unafraid of friendly humans. The problem was with River and Poppy.

River and Poppy are from imported bloodlines. Their father is a well-known lead dog, he's run the Iditarod several times. Unlike my show dogs, these two are very shy and fearful of strangers, plus they can run like the wind. After 6 days, River found her way home. Now we're on day 11 with no sign of Poppy. Given the efforts we've made, it doesn't look good for her.

Like a wolf pack, our dogs have a clear social structure. Levi is my male alpha, and Missy is the female alpha. I have only two boys, so there isn't a lot of conflict there, but among the 4 girls, they square off all the time. Missy and her daughter Pai Mei stand against River and her sister Poppy. And it must be noted that Poppy was our omega girl, the very bottom dog.

You wouldn't think that the loss of an omega would impact things greatly, but since Poppy's been gone, River has gracefully submitted to Missy, and there is peace among the three girls. There is no more pre-dawn barking and the spontaneous group howling has stopped. Meal time is almost easy now. Levi is continually anxious, wandering around searching for the lost girl, and River is extremely needy. She wants to be in the house all the time. There have been other changes, some good and some bad. So far, a new omega hasn't emerged, but I imagine it will be River.

I suppose that the lesson I've taken from this is that the most insignificant-seeming member of society has a role to play. Poppy was the clown, the pleaser, and oddly enough, the instigator. I don't think she meant to keep things stirred up, but that's what she did. And while I appreciate the relative peace that's come with her absence, I do miss her. She is a bright little girl who has a heart of gold.

My love in writing is strong heroines, and in her way, Poppy is a strong personality. This gives me a new way of looking at my characters. Since I'm doing a lot of shape-shifter stories, I'll be looking closer at the lesser members of the pack, rather than just the alpha and betas. And in some way, River and Poppy will put their imprint on the characters...even if they do it by stepping on the keyboard when I'm writing...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cover Art goodness! (plus a brag)

This lovely cover is by PL Nunn, and just blew my socks off when I saw it! An Uncommon Whore will release at Loose Id January 26, 2010.
And for the brag...I found out that Sex and Chocolate: Toxic was nominated for a CAPA award! And I was nominated in the "Favorite Author" category! What a buzz! LOL!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Review for Leather!

I must confess, I was a little worried about my first review for Leather, but L.T. Blue really seemed to pick up on what I was aiming for with this book. Generally when I write, my heroine is the central character; I develop her first, and create a hero to fit her. In the case of Leather, I started with Pierce. He's a completely unconventional hero; a porn star with major questions about his personal sexual preferences. He's rapidly approaching middle age, and just isn't sure what he wants out of life.

His personal history is a vital part of the story, and some of it came directly from real life. When I was a runaway teen, I encountered some of the dangerous and evil people who scour the bus depots in Los Angeles, looking for young, vulnerable people to take advantage of. I always wonder what would have happened to me if I'd said 'yes' to one of those people. Thankfully, I never wanted to be a star, so I never walked that path.

Pierce turned out to be an amazing hero, and is still active in my imagination. He'll undoubtely show up again in a future book. I look forward to it!

Title: Leather
Author: Belinda McBride
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Reviewer: L.T. Blue
Rating: 5 Stars
Heat Level: H

Pierce Wilder isn't a Dom, he just plays one on screen. As a well known porn star Pierce is ready to leave the life behind. Pierce is looking for the woman who will love him and not just his dick; he wants the house and children and more importantly the happily ever after. When Pierce catches the eye of the sexy woman in the resturant, he begins to wonder who she is and tries to get the nerve up to speak with her. Celeste decided that enough was enough. She was going to take a chance and introduce herself. Pierce wants to be honest with Celeste about his profession and his dreams. He just hopes it doesn't push her away. Celeste will have to make some tough choices, as a cop falling in love with a porn star is difficult. When she discovers someone is plotting something evil against Pierce, it will take all of her love to get him back.

Leather isn't your typical BDSM erotic romance. I fell in love with Piere and began to wish great things for him. As a porn star Pierce is really good, taking his role of Dom with ease, it is amazing that he doesn't feel that he is a Dom in real life, yet he continues to act as one. The sexual chemistry between Pierce and Celeste is instant, and you feel the heat with each page. With the amazing plot and suspense the lovemaking between Pierce and Celeste has an heat that makes you yearn for your partner or toys, whichever is closer. All of the secondary characters in this story were needed to get the plot moving while adding to the intensity of the story. There are some scenes of kidnapping, canning, starvation, and other evil things that some readers may be offended by. Ms. McBride delivered an awesome story with Leather, and I can't wait to read more from her.

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