Last day to enter to win a copy!


rafflecopterIt’s your last chance to enter to win a copy of Kat Kruger’s The Night has Claws, and it couldn’t be easier: either comment below OR enter the Rafflecopter giveaway ———————>

(Yes the link takes you to Rafflecopter, but it’s a WordPress glitch – it still enters you as many times as you engage!)

And if you comment below you are ALSO entered to win by the way.

You can read my Review of The Night has Claws + my Q&A with the author here.



Things that go ‘bump’ in the night Blog Tour


We have a special furry treat for the blog today – I’m the next stop on Kat Kruger’s blog tour for Book two in her Magdeburg Trilogy: The Night has Claws. The books are available on Kat’s website!


Up until recently, my favourite werewolf stories were a very short list: Oz from Buffy, Michael J. Fox’s Teen Wolf and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

Kat Kruger
It’s Kat Kruger!    photo credit: Edmund Lewis


That was until I read Kat Kruger’s Magdeburg Trilogy.

Please scroll down to read the Q&A with the author AND enter the rafflecopter draw for an e-copy of The Night has Claws.

Where the first book in the series The Night has Teeth spent a lot of time introducing us to the main characters and setting up the concept of modern-day werewolves in Paris, this second book throws us into a scene of death and intrigue in the first few lines.

Everything you thought you knew and every person you thought you had identified as being on one side or the other of our awesome protagonist Connor has been thrown out the window. Relationships that were as solid as stone fracture apart and we, along with Connor, have no idea who we can trust.

There is a combination of science and theology fighting for our attention as readers and for the loyalty of the werewolves in the trilogy that reminds me a little of Robert Langdon’s adventures as written by Dan Brown. Blood is key and blood will drive this story all the way to the end I think.

I love the development of the characters we’ve been following since book one, especially that of Connor, Maddy and Arden. I find Arden’s struggle to adjust to being a normal human so well-written and his pain sizzles off the page like a raw nerve ending. Maddy, who I will admit, I didn’t like very much in book one, is growing on me as more of her history is drawn out and she too seems to mature over the course of the book. Then there is Connor who is so conflicted by these shifting loyalties but still managing to grow into the hero I anticipate he will need to be before this trilogy culminates. Actually, my only complaint is that I’d like to understand more of Josh’s motivations.

I don’t want to spoil anything (any more than I may have!) but the whole trial and courtroom scene is killer and sets us up for the third book that promises to be dramatic, bloody and I personally CANNOT WAIT.

Q & A

Kat was kind enough to answer my toothsome (read book one in the trilogy if you don’t get that witticism!) questions below:

AND be SURE to enter the RaffleCopter contest at the bottom of the page for your chance to win a copy of the book!

Question 1: Kat, you left off in book one of this series in such a crucial juncture. I have to ask, did you write an outline for your trilogy and then slice where you thought was appropriate for each book?
First, thanks for having me as a guest on you blog! Second, that would have been genius! Alas, no. I’m a “pantser” kind of writer (as in fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants) so things like strict outlines are a foreign concept to me. I work with a 1-2 page synopsis so I know generally what needs to happen but the “how” is a bit more organic. The second last chapter in The Night Has Teeth was actually the first piece I wrote in the series (in a much foggier sort of way). Without spoiling it, I’ll just say the original scene was of a black she-wolf standing over a grave. At the time I had no sweet clue who was in the grave and had to work toward that. Whereas the ending for The Night Has Claws didn’t come to me until I was about halfway through writing the first draft. It’s not *as* scatterbrained as it sounds. There are definite plot points laid out, goals if you will, that I have to meet in each book. And the major ideas are flagged ahead of time. I just don’t get there in a completely linear way. Each book has its own story arc with elements that need to be tied up, but they also represent a bigger story arc within the trilogy where some issues carry over into the other books.

Question 2: The werewolf mythology has been in dire need of a reboot since a certain terrible sparkly vampire movie, but you have taken the mythos in a whole new direction – can you share with us where your ideas come from?

I’ve long been a fan of the classic monsters. Give me Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula any day. To see werewolves relegated to the role of shirtless hunks is a bit … irksome. My goal was first and foremost to return lycanthropes to their more fearsome state. But I also wanted to add something new to the genre. My ideas are all steeped in scientific research. I watched a lot of TED Talks, read articles from The Leakey Foundation and National Geographic, listened to Radiolab. Sometimes ideas come from my Facebook feed from the science pages I follow. A friend recently sent me this great link where Neil Gaimen talks about the creative process. Essentially it boils down to the ability to see a confluence of ideas and ask questions like “What happens if a werewolf bites … a goldfish?” For the world of the Magdeburg werewolves I took science and mashed it up with existing mythology to create something based in reality rather than fantasy. I also blended in a bit of politics and history to give more of an illusion that this world could actually exist.

The Night has Teeth and The Night has Claws!
The Night has Teeth and The Night has Claws!
Question 3: Who are Connor and Madison based on? People in your life?

So, someone *cough*sister*cough* told me that Madison was me in my late-teens, early-twenties. Red-hair, tattoo, vanilla perfume, march-to-the-beat-of-your-own drum personality and fashion sense. I was in that phase of trying to figure out my identity as a grown-up and I was probably pretty obnoxious in testing out my limitations. I think it explains why I find writing her chapters so easy. That said, I think Connor is a bit of me and a bit of my husband. Fictional teen son maybe? I certainly identify with Connor the geeky gamer, the introvert who’s coming out of his shell in spite of being socially awkward at times. Of course, when I was writing the series at the start I didn’t really think I was drawing from people in my real life let alone from my own personality!

Question 4: What are your favourite werewolf stories?

Hands down when it comes to books my faves are Bitten by Kelley Armstrong and the Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater (Sinner is coming out this summer!!!). I also have to give a hat tip to the “Wolf of Magdeburg” story which inspired my own series. In terms of movies, you can’t really beat An American Werewolf in London, but I also loved Dog Soldiers. In writing this down I just realized that for books I lean toward werewolves who turn into wolves and for movies I prefer the half-beast, half-man monsters. Weird. Oh, but for TV the best has been Being Human (both BBC and SyFy).

rafflecopterQuestion 5: How did you do such an incredible job of transporting us (the readers) to Paris? I was amazed by the detail.

Aw, thanks for saying so. I adore Paris. When writing the trilogy there was no question that it would take place in that city. It’s kind of my love l
etter to Paris (if love letters can include lycanthropes). Part of the details came from personal experience. I took one “research” trip just to sit around at cafés and visit specific sites. The rest came from Google Maps street view and other virtual tours. For example, Père Lachaise Cemetery has a great website for exploring the grounds. For the scenes that took place underground or in restricted areas, I left that to the urban spelunkers who blog about their explorations. Because the series takes place in a real city I felt it was important to adequately research the locations in order to bring them to life for the reader.

Question 6: What can we expect from the final <sniff> book in the trilogy (or what can you tell us ; )   ?

As the trilogy has progressed, the stakes have kept getting higher so by the final book you’re going to see a fair bit more danger. Connor returns to New York to track down the American pack and seek out their help. Madison gets tangled up with the Hounds again. I’ve got snipers, a mo
torcycle chase, a robot inspired by Big Dog, wolf parkour, and guerilla warfare in an abandoned outskirt of Paris. There’s also a lot of closure. That gave me the sads, knowing that I’m saying goodbye to all these characters who have been with me for so many years. All in all, I hope it’s both an epic yet satisfying end to the series.

BONUS QUESTION: Who would play Connor in the movie version of this trilogy?
He’s a few years older than Connor now but my first pick would be Logan Lerman. I think Liam James would be a great choice also.

Thanks for the awesome questions!

Writing YA Romance: how NOT to suck

The Precious: Still a better love story than Twilight.

EDIT: Since publishing this, it has appeared on the NY Editor’s post about how to market your YA book!

Ha! Ok, maybe I’m the only one who got that slightly Fang-y dig at Ms. Stephanie Meyer whom I know has sold more books than I ever will. You thought I had all the answers to this didn’t you? Well, I have put a good deal of thought into it, but like any well-thought out argument, I researched my butt off.

Here are some links to posts I read to come to an intelligent conclusion on this topic:

The truth is that YA romance sits in that uncomfortable area we all lived through that is defined as first base – there’s lots of flirting, lots of day dreaming, but the culmination of these feelings (at least on the page) are the kiss, or as Harry describes his first kiss with Ginny: “After several long moments – or it might have been a half an hour – or possibly several sunlit days – they broke apart.”

How much you actually describe on the page differs from one end of the YA spectrum to the other, but at the point at which you’d feel uncomfortable reading it aloud to your 13-year-old son seems to be a good standard.

I treat writing about romance the way I treat how I dress, I leave something to the imagination. Maybe that makes me old-fashioned, but I think it makes my books readable for any age, including the 50-year-old mom who also has a Shades of Grey side.

Romance should develop over time, closer to real time than many media force us to move. Less Jack and Rose and more Darcy and Elizabeth. And what I read over and over again in my research (and which I swear I will remember as I write these scenes) is to put yourself in your own teenage body – remember the awkwardness, the weird feelings, the ridiculous jealousies, the over-analysis of tiny little details. That is a key element of teenage romance, and really, romance into your early twenties as my Portia is discovering.

Avoiding cliche is something we should all do in every scene we write, but avoiding the cliche in romantic scenes is also something I pulled from the research as high priority for me. Patricia actually described it perfectly so I’m quoting her directly: “It should not consist of the so-called love interest being cute/hot/mysterious and some weird reaction of the main character’s body.” Amen sister.

What I discovered in my own writing is that the attraction between my two main characters was TOO subtle. My editors actually suggested I raise the heat a bit, and I did, with more one-on-one scenes, and awkward moments.

I hope I managed to write some decent romance, but I guess you guys will tell me (be gentle!) when you read Jewel. Let me know your thoughts on writing romance (in all genres) in the comments below!

Also, I love this meme, so here are a few more… (SORRY Ms. Meyer!!):


Book Cover Reveal!

Courtesy of Emma Dolan
Courtesy of Emma Dolan

For those of you who already pre-ordered Jewel of the Thames, you got an email update about this, but for everyone else… here is the gorgeous book cover for the first book in the series, designed by Emma Dolan!

She did an amazing job and you should go check out some of her other work, cause this lady has SKILLS.

We’re working on the spine design now, so if you have any suggestions for series spines you really like (I for example love the spines for the latest Star Wars series), let me know?

AND tell me what you think of THIS beauty in the comments below!

Please share liberally, we’re still in Pre-Sale mode!