17 September 2018

JC Hay Visits Today!

Hello JC!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me...

  1)      How did you dream up the dynamics of the characters?

I actually lean heavily into something the brilliant Damon Suede has talked about in his workshops on character: each character is defined by a transitive verb. This gives a solid idea of how they behave in a given scene, and also a great way to create conflict by forcing opposing verbs together.

For Shadow of the Past (my contribution to Pets in Space 3), Rafe Penzak Grieves – he’s mourning the death of his partner-wolf, the end of his military career, and all manner of changes. I gave him a lot of conflict by pairing him up with the veterinarian Nafisi, whose defining action is Heals, the last thing Rafe wants to do.

2)      Is the book part of a series? If so, can you tell us about it?

This is a two-fold yes! The book Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 is the newest book in the Pets in Space series, collecting luminary authors from across the spectrum of Science Fiction Romance in a single volume. And my story, Shadow of the Past, is part of my TriSystems: Rangers series, and explores a side character who I wanted to see get his own shot at a happily ever after. 

3)      Can you give a fun or interesting fact about the book?

Fun and interesting, both! The Pets in Space series donates a portion of its proceeds to Hero-Dogs.org, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for veterans and first responders by raising, training, and placing service dogs and other highly skilled canines, free of charge, and providing lifetime support of those partnerships.

4)      What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? What is your weakest factor?

Eep! Rough question. I’d say my dialogue skills are probably my strongest. I’ve worked hard on creating natural dialogue that defines each character. I’ve also been putting a lot of effort into planning out longer series – something I’ve been bad at in the past. TriSystems: Rangers actually represents not just a series in its own right, but also a setting in which I have several other books planned, allowing me to visit the characters and places from different viewpoints.

5)      Do you try to be more original, or deliver to readers what they want?

       It’s a tightrope. I couldn’t write Science Fiction Romance if I didn’t absolutely love it, but it’s a broad category with a lot of tropes and sub-categories underneath. As a result, I write what I want to read (and what my science background allows me to suspend disbelief for), and trust that there are other folks who will like what I like.

6)      Do you plan all of your characters out before you start a story, or do they develop as you write?

I plan out the main characters in advance, often several books in advance since I have to 
introduce them and how they relate to the other characters in the book. It gives me a good starting place when I sit down to write their stories; if I know their transitive verb (how I define their personality) then I can write them consistently from the first introduction all the way through to their own happily ever after.

7)      Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

My goal is to have each book be its own story, with a main story following the protagonists to happily ever after. That said, each of the stories does build on the events that happened prior, and help to create a living, breathing setting for the books to be taken together.

8)      What are your upcoming projects?

I’ve got two more TriSystems: Rangers books (Chen and May, finishing out Fireteam Bravo) in the works right now. After that, I’ve got a sports series in the same setting, following a Formula 1-style racing team across the Three Systems, and through the course of their first season.

By JC Hay
Loss casts a shadow you can’t outrun…
Commander Rafe Penzak is tired of jockeying a desk. With only months left before his forced retirement from the rangers, he decides to bend a few rules for one last mission: follow up on intelligence that vicious criminals have found the ranch that supplies the rangers’ umbra wolves. He’s ready to confront the reminder of his wolf’s death, but nothing in the Three Systems could prepare him for the spitfire who runs the farm.
Veterinarian Nafisi Sultana has run her wolf breeding program her way since the death of her husband. The last thing she wants is another ranger taking up space, correcting her methods, or being underfoot. But she can’t miss the pain and sorrow that haunts the greying commander, and her need to heal others pulls her into his orbit despite the agonizing memories he wakes in her.
With storms, raiders, and a renegade wolf pup driving them together, Nafisi and Rafe have to set aside their damaged past, or they’ll never be able to save something they both want more—a future.

Anthology Blurb:
Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

Anthology Loglines:
The pets are back in this new, exciting collection of eleven original stories from today’s hottest Science Fiction Romance authors! Feel the action and passion!

Pets in Space™ is back with 11 original, never-before-released stories from today’s top selling Science Fiction Romance authors! Pick up your limited release copy of Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space™ 3 and help support Hero-Dogs.org!

Eleven original Science Fiction Romances. Eleven action-filled tales that mix Pets in Space™ with their two-legged companions. Supporting a great cause – Hero-Dogs.org. Don’t miss out on Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space™ 3!

Everyone who subscribes to our newsletter will receive an exclusive, original and FREE Pets in Space™ 3 Coloring Book. This coloring book is only available with our newsletter.


Amazon https://amzn.to/2LvfDvY

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FNXKQJZ/

Amazon AU https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07FNXKQJZ/

Pets in Space™ Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PetsInSpace/

JC Hay
FB Handle: @AuthorJCHay
Twitter Handle: @j_c_hay
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.C.-Hay/e/B003N9TL0A/

16 September 2018

Blast from the Past...Spotlighting "Transcending Fire" by Casey Moss!

Hunter Macario wants one thing—a place to belong. When given an opportunity to solidify his position in the motorcycle club, Devil’s Thunder, he takes it.
Dragon’s Clan member, Safaia King, believes she’s found the man from her people’s legend and her dreams. She has one goal, even if he’s in a rival club—to make Hunter hers and keep him safe so he can fulfill their destiny.
After Hunter makes a huge mistake, he’s sent to where Safaia lives—an alternate universe called The Den. In this new world, sex, battles, and secrets abound. Hunter must survive The Den to right some wrongs or else he could lose everything he’s ever gained, including his home and Safaia’s love.

Q&A Time

1.       Did you hide any secrets or Easter Eggs?

I named one of the characters after my best friend whom I’ve known for over twenty-three years.

2.       Did you leave out anything in this book that you wished you hadn’t?

The scene in the pub/hotel room between two antagonists and a secondary character is different than I’d originally wrote it. The editor had me change it up because it was too intense and ran the borderline of acceptable and unacceptable subject matter. I wish I could have kept the original scene in the book.

3.       Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

I think it plays a part since it can catch a reader’s eye, and if the artist has done their job properly, it can enhance the blurb of the book, lending additional insight to what the book’s about.

4.       Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?

Publishing/writing wise: get serious sooner rather than later about being an author. On a personal level: heed your intuition!


A wicked glint lit her eyes, and a playful grin spread across her face. She smoothed a hand down his hard chest. “I love the definition of your muscles, Hunter, how they shudder beneath my fingers when I touch you.” Inch by inch, she continued sliding her hand down his torso. She moved her hand between his skivvies and skin. Saf circled his cock and stroked him in time with the motions of his fingers within her. Desire pulsed through his body, setting it aflame. She pressed her face against his chest and playfully bit his pectoral as she rode his hand.

Adrenaline and arousal increased his breathing rate, and a warm buzz raced through him. The pull between them seemed so intense, undeniable, as if they had to be together or perish. He felt like one of the club’s customers addicted to black chip and needing a fix before he went crazy with want. And his drug of choice?

Safaia. Always and forever Safaia.

He wanted to eat her up. “I want to taste you. Lick up your juices and have you squirm beneath my face.” Hunter yanked down her jeans and repositioned her until her ass was at the edge of the boulder.

Sinking to his knees, he placed himself between her legs. Looking forward to tasting her sweetness and feel her softness after facing the harsh realities of his life, he traced a line of gentle kisses along her inner thigh from her knee to her pussy and then fastened his mouth on the sensitive folds between her legs. When he dipped his tongue into her canal, she shifted her butt to allow him better access. He reached up and snaked his rough hands under her shirt, concerned only for a moment whether she enjoyed or loathed the coarse touch of his dry, work-worn skin. She moved the cloth and her bra out of the way.

Seems she doesn’t mind.

Pushing away all his thoughts and focusing on her—his carnal treasure—Hunter kneaded her tits while he teased her clit. He loved the taste and scent of her musky flesh and lapped up her essence as he said he would.

She grasped his head, weaving her fingers in his hair. “Oh, great Universe. This is. This is.” She panted and grappled with his locks as a low, deep moan rolled from her throat. “I think I’m going to come.”

The first night they’d met, their lovemaking had been hot and fast, more wham bam thank you than let’s linger and relish this. This time, though, he wanted to savor her, make her feel all sorts of naughty pleasure as he took his own.

Saf bucked and tried to scooch away, but he grabbed her hips and kept her from moving away from him. Unrelenting, he tongue fucked her. She struggled and wriggled, but he continued his assault, plunging his tongue in and out of her, licking up her wetness, and nipping at her clit. Safaia pressed the back of his head and lifted her ass. Spasms racked her body. She cried out his name.

Bringing her to orgasm thrilled him, but his selfish streak came forward. He wanted to enjoy her and feel his own pleasure, so he rose, stepped back, and removed his jeans.


14 September 2018

Gwendolyn Casey Talks About her New Release!

Hello Gwendolyn!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?

Battlefield is book 2 in The Covenant Series. The stories are based on three motorcycle clubs in the American Midwest that have formed an alliance.  Like so many other MC series, the concept was inspired by the TV show Sons of Anarchy, most specifically the character Jax Teller. Motorcycle clubs (or MCs) have become popular in the romance genre in the last few years, and I absolutely love it. I had soaked up so many of the MC novels that I just had to write my own.  The men of the Covenant are dark,  dangerous and alpha to the core. There is action, drama and a ton of sex (of course).  The first novel was titled Reign Over Me which I do recommend reading before Battlefield but it is not necessary. There is also a Covenant novella in the Lawless anthology titled Hungry Eyes. I have no idea how many books the series will actually have but I have at least 3 more in the pipeline, not to mention some spin-offs for non-MC characters that are equally bad ass.    

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

Something interesting about the novel is the dedication. It is dedicated to all the people who have been waiting for the second book of the Covenant to come out. Reign Over Me came out in January of 2017 and Battlefield is being released a year and eight months later. I never wanted the wait to be so long.  But in that time, I have gotten a divorce and gone through a difficult custody battle all while maintaining a full time job and raising a toddler.  My time for writing was sparse. That is why I dedicated the book to those fans who have shown their support and gave me confidence when I really needed it.

Q) Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I would say that my writing is a mix of the two but not on purpose. The first draft of my stories are always just what I want to write. So, I am original in the sense that I am not writing to please anyone but myself. However, I think my writing just naturally has elements that appeal to a lot of readers because I am a reader of the genre and have been for years. The whole reason I started writing romance was because I was tired of being disappointed in all the stories I was reading.  I would read the back cover of a book and be so excited about the concept. Then I would read it and be bummed that it didn’t go the way I wanted. They were just missing those elements that I came to crave in my romance. I imagine a lot of readers feel that way but might not have the inclination to become an author. So I like to think that my writing appeals to readers because they are looking for all the same dirty decadence that I am. Of course, there will be people who have their judgements but if I were to try and write any other way, I wouldn’t be having any fun. And what’s the point of that?

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

My characters are definitely developed while I am writing. In order to know the character’s personality, I literally have to write them into the scene and see how they come out at the other end. The Hero and Heroine are supposed to be dynamic, meaning they are meant to change and learn as the story goes on. I can have an idea of that change will be but it won’t be fully developed until I am nearing the end of the story when I have put them (and myself) through the scenes.  


As a member of the Aces MC, nothing in the world was forbidden to Jordan Mitchell and he was not in the habit of denying himself the things he wanted. But when he meets his younger brother’s girlfriend, he finally knows the torture of wanting something he can’t have. 

Cecelia Taylor knew Jordan would be a mistake since the first time she met him. Not only was he a filthy biker but also an arrogant jerk who could never seem to keep his hands to himself. And yet, she couldn’t seem to resist those hands...or his bed. 

Their relationship is a battle from the very beginning with casualties on both sides. But when Jordan’s past comes calling, their love is put to the test and they both have to decide if what they have is worth a real fight. 

Teaser Excerpt:

 Jordan turned me in his arms, but I kept my head down, not wanting to meet his gaze. He gripped my chin and lifted my face to his, forcing me to look into his warm brown eyes. I knew what he wanted; I could see it there. He wanted more than just sex from me.
 But it was too frightening to even consider. I stepped back from him. “I’m sorry, Jordan. I can’t.”
 Jordan's eyes narrowed, and his mouth turned hard. He walked toward me, making me back up until I hit the concrete wall of the pavilion. He came into my space, towering over me. I could see that the gentle lover act was over and now the dominant mad man stood before me.  
 “You're not sorry. You're scared,” he said. “And if you were any other woman, I'd be walking away by now.” His left hand came up and cupped my jaw while the other gripped my waist. “But this battle isn’t over.” His thumb brushed my lips, and I felt the answering slickness between my legs. His determination was frightening, but it made me feel giddy at the same time. 
 “Jesus. I'm not playing hard to get, asshole. I don't want you.” 
 Jordan smirked. Then I felt his right hand move to my belly right before it plunged into my pants and into my underwear. I grabbed his wrist, but he was too strong to stop. I gasped as I felt his hand cup my mound and his two middle fingers slipped into my wetness.
His hand gripped my hair and tugged it gently, so I was looking up at him. “Never lie to me again, especially about this,” he said as he shoved those two fingers deep inside me. I moaned and closed my eyes, knowing that there was no point in fighting him. He could feel the wetness, and he knew I wanted him. And he was enough of a villain to use it against me. 
His fingers fucked me in a steady rhythm.  “You want to pretend you don’t belong to me, but we both know the truth,” he growled.
His words came through the blissful sensations, and I tried to push him away. But my efforts were weak, and he ground his palm against my clit, silencing any protest with waves of pleasure.  
“You are a psycho.” I tried to scream, but it came out as a silky groan.  
He laughed like the devil. “That's right. You remember that when it comes to you, I am a fucking psycho.”
His mouth came down on mine, his tongue plunging inside. He kissed me like he owned me, deep and rough, and his fingers followed suit, making me writhe. As the feelings consumed me, I couldn't help but want more. I wanted Jordan's thick cock instead of his fingers. I imagined being stretched by his length again. I kissed him back, making my tongue as aggressive as his.
Jordan suddenly broke the kiss and he slowed his pumping fingers. “You want me inside, don't you?” 
I didn’t answer, not wanting to say it.  
“I can feel your cunt gripping my fingers. It wants something more. Say it,” he demanded. 
I groaned as his fingers teased me, keeping me on the edge of bliss.
“Yes,” I whimpered.
He growled and kissed me again. I wrapped my arms around him, ready to give him everything again. 
But he pulled his mouth away with a curse. He gritted his teeth as if he was fighting an inner demon. He looked down at me, the brown of his eyes like molten fire. “As much as I would love to spin you around and fuck you against this wall, we have some issues to resolve.” 
I blinked up at him. Issues? What the fuck? Is he trying to be a decent guy right now? I dropped my head to his chest, ready to cry in frustration. I didn’t want the decent guy. I wanted him to fuck me just like he described.
He gave me a half smirk, knowing my problem. “But don’t worry, babe,” he said, and I felt his fingers begin to move again. “I will never leave you wanting.” 
He tilted my head back again and watched my face, while he gave me deep, thorough strokes, all while grinding against my clit. The pleasure that had been simmering returned to a boil, and I moaned into the night. I pulled his head down to mine, needing his mouth on mine. He gave it willingly, feeding my wanton body. It was only moments before I let out a cry, coming around him. I gripped his cut as he held his digits deep and put pressure on my clit as it spasmed.   
Still shaking from the pleasure, I leaned back to steady myself on my own feet. He removed his hand from my pants, and I watched as he brought his fingers to his mouth, sucking each one like he was eating barbeque. Then he pulled me to him and kissed me again. It was vicious in its intensity. I could practically taste his need on my tongue. 
He broke away with a curse and stepped back from me. Without his body so close I felt cold suddenly. He turned his back on me, but I could see his fists tighten and release at his sides, like he was struggling to get himself back under control.
I smiled to myself, loving how I drove him crazy. It made me feel feminine and tempting. I indulged in the feeling for a moment, knowing it probably wouldn’t last. 
After a moment, he turned back to me, looking frustrated but calm. He reached for my hand.  “Come on. I'll drive you home.”  
I let Jordan pull me to his bike, my body languid while my mind tried to absorb what just happened. I came here to break things off, right? What happened? I would have to analyze it tomorrow because right now I wanted nothing more than to be close to him.
I climbed on his bike and wrapped my arms around him as he started it. The rumble of the motor was almost soothing after the storm I just survived. When we pulled up to my house I got off the bike slowly, my limbs still loose from my orgasm. He helped me off and then his arm slipped around my waist, pulling me against him. He kissed me gently, without tongue.  
“Goodnight,” I managed as I stepped away.
“See you tomorrow.” 
I simply nodded and turned to go inside. I tried not to look back, but as I was closing the door, I peeked out to see him still there, still watching me. I shut the door quickly and turned the deadbolt.Only then did I hear him pull away. 
I took a deep breath and leaned back against the door.  
Seriously, what just happened?


About the Author:

Gwendolyn Casey was born to romance like a fish to water. Just ask her mother who had to play Cinderella every day from the age two to five. Of course, she eventually moved on to more respectable films like Grease, Cry Baby, and Dirty Dancing. But it wasn't until she read a Nora Roberts paperback that she discovered the pure joy of the romance novel. Gwendolyn has been writing romance ever since. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa and currently lives in central Iowa with her young son, who provides her with motivation and an excuse to watch Cinderella again. Sign up for Gwendolyn Casey's mailing list at gwendolyncasey.com.

13 September 2018

Q & A with January Bain!

Hello January!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. 

And me with you! Thanks so much for the invite to visit with you and your readers today!

So tell me…

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?

I start by creating a backstory. 90% of which I won’t use! But the better I know them, the more I can flesh their personalities out in my stories. And then, after I create the plot outline, I leave room for these 3-D characters to grow and take over! And yes, they surprise me too sometimes. Usually for the better! 😊

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?

All my books seem to turn into series! And yes, Chasing Lacey is part of the Brass Ringers Sorority series for Totally Bound Publishing. Book number 2. The third one, Romancing Rebecca, is also finished and will be released February 18, 2019.

The series is about a group of 8 women who met in University and hooked up. They made a pack to support each other for life, and to make one of each woman’s wishes come true. Each book deals with one of the sorority sisters, and her adventures on making her fondest dreams come true! Usually with a lot of hilarity and high stakes.

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

I like to think it’s kind of neat that my books are set in my home country of Canada, at the university I also attended, and that my beloved Ringers get to travel the world!

Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? …what is your weakest factor as a writer?

My willingness to realize that the craft of writing takes a long time to learn. That study and dedication is essential. My weakness loving to do research to the extent it sometimes consumes me for hours before I get to using the tidbits in the story. But I like to think it also brings an authority and authenticity to my storytelling. Only readers can tell me if it works!

Q) Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Both.  I never want my readers to be disappointed or feel let down. They are who I write for, but I think todays’ reader is more discerning than ever before, and expects twists and turns to the plot that bring originality to modern storytelling.

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Again, both. No matter how much you plan, there is an organic growth to writing. Things feed off each other, even events and emotions going on in my life feeds into it.

Q) Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I want each book to stand on its own merit, but I want to build a body of work for each series that demonstrates connections. My series are of different genres, so the connections might be less clear, though I do hold some universal truths about life and living that I hope resonate with readers.

Q) What are your upcoming projects?

I’ve begun a brand-new series, a cozy supernatural mystery series, Manitoba Tea & Tarot Mysteries The first book is titled: Marijuana, Magic & Mayhem. And it’s because <ahem> marijuana will be legal in Canada come October 17th. The café in Snowy Lake I write about, is needing to find a way to bring in more cash, and this seemed like the right time! I am having a blast writing it!!! The antics of this crew would test a saint 😉

Thanks so much for having me visit with y’all today! Any questions about my work, please ask. I’m on facebook most days:    https://www.facebook.com/january.bain

Buy Links:

Blurb for Chasing Lacey:

Lacey Cameron, private investigator and treasure hunter, takes being headstrong and passionate to a whole new level. It takes exactly one morning in a school teaching young minds for her and her identical twin sister to break the whiteboard pointer in half, throw their keys on the teacher’s desk, and heed the seductive call of wide open spaces and awesome adventures.

William James Thornton Ш, a renaissance man and warrior poet who defended his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, knows he’s got his hands full trying to get Lacey to see him as more than just a friend. He’s ready to settle down, marry the woman of his dreams, and make his mother a happy grandmother. Hell, he’s got enough treasure in his bank account for two lifetimes.

And then things go from normal craziness to extremely dangerous in a heartbeat as hired killers are sent after Will and Lacey to prevent them from discovering the truth. They stumble on such an unexpected twist to the story that no one in their right mind would believe it  or have suspected. If Will can get them out of this mess, he vows to lay all his cards on the table with Lacey. Get her to recognize what they can share as a couple. Passion. Love. And a commitment to blending her wild nature with his own—the perfect spicy blend. Even if it looks like it might just be the death of him.

Part madcap caper, part serious treasure hunting, the Brass Ringers never fail to entertain or get their way!

Bio for January Bain and links:

January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.

If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanuaryBain

10 September 2018

Lauren Alder Visits Talking about "The Codex of Desire"!

Hello Lauren!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?

The original premise for “The Codex of Desire” was inspired by a non-fiction book: “Ninja: 1000 Years of the Shadow Warrior” by John Man. In that premise, a warrior from the Samurai culture was captured by the Ninja culture and fell in love with a Ninja singer -- and all the characters were intelligent talking feathered dinosaurs.

Alas, the main dynamic that was there at the beginning (a “tale of star-cross’d lovers”, each from the opposite side of a centuries-long conflict) didn’t survive contact with the actual process of writing the book. It sometimes happens that way, and in writing “Codex” I saw:

-- the brave captive warrior Hero become the Damsel in Distress;

-- the ruler of the “Ninjas” become a ruthless female Chieftess whose primary goal was to coerce the warrior into her harem so that his fresh new seed could stimulate her flagging fertility;

-- the female Singer become a virtual mute with no agency of her own; and

-- the female slave, who had originally warranted a single line in the project outline, become the real Hero of the story.

Nobody could have been more surprised than me to realize, after finishing the first draft, that my character dynamics had shifted so dramatically. But I put a lot of trust in the subconscious Writing Machine ™ inside my head, and in this case the Writing Machine was fully in charge.

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?

This book MAY be part of a series, if I can get “Codex” itself off the ground. In the next novel, Raoul Deguchi (the human paleontologist who helplessly witnessed the tragic intersection of five dinosaur lives 67 million years in the past), is alive and active in the year 2030, and on a quest to find the alien tech Source-Forge which was central to the Culture of the Word. He is also Patient Zero for the spread of the Codex, an alien virus which retro-engineers its victims for superior intelligence as well as other unusual abilities, and there is a massive world-wide debate in progress about whether the Codex should be stopped -- or if it even CAN be stopped.

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

The whole novel is a secret tribute to British author Richard Adams, whose classic animal fantasy novel “Watership Down” has been a major inspiration to me during my entire writing life. I re-read it at least once a year and if Mr. Adams was still alive, I like to think that he would have approved of “Codex”.

Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? …what is your weakest factor as a writer?

Strongest asset? According to my readers, that’s my ability to drum up drama and grab them by the heart. One of my beta readers recently pulled me aside at a convention and sat me down for fifteen minutes to tell me, with great feeling, how she had to keep putting “Codex” down because the emotional impact was just too intense… but then she had to go back and pick it up again, because she simply HAD to know what happened hext!

Weakest factor? I think that’s difficult for any writer to spot, but in my case it’s a tendency to be too wordy. A lot of that gets cut or tightened in the editing phase, but I know it’s there and I try to keep it under control..

Q) Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

To be original, definitely. If my book is well-written and interesting, it will find its audience -- and there are already plenty of writers out there who are “writing to the market”. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that (the romance novel industry runs on the “writing to the market” principle and there are fine books in that genre), but it’s just not something I’ve ever been interested in. I trust the Writing Machine ™ to take me where my story needs to go.

Of course, the big disadvantage of being original is that original often equals high-concept, and high-concept is notoriously hard to sell. But I’d rather be true to my own creative vision and have only a few dedicated readers, than write to a formula and get higher sales numbers.

Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

I sketch out their rough roles in the plot outline, but I’m definitely a gardener rather than an architect when it comes to characters: there’s a seed, but what comes out of that seed or which way the vines grow often comes as a surprise to me. (Remember the female slave who became the hero?)

Q) Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

At the moment I’m writing stand-along books exclusively (although as noted above, “Codex” does have the potential for a sequel). But no, I’m not looking to build a universe where all my books tie together at the substratum layer.

Q) What are your upcoming projects?

For National Novel Writing Month 2018 (if any readers don’t know what that is, I strongly advise them to look it up), I’ll be taking my third kick at the can with a novel called “Where Darkness Falls”.

“WDF” is set in Chicago in the year 2038, so there are definitely sci-fi elements, but the plot focuses on two secret US government agents who are tasked with solving the mystery of a series of gory ritual murders. The agents of this particular agency are Manifesters, humans who possess supernatural abilities based on their particular religious/spiritual beliefs, and who as a hidden subculture go all the way back to the time of Hammurabi. The two MCs of “WDF” loathe each other on sight -- one is a Southern Baptist, the other is a Wiccan, and they’re both extremely bigoted against each other’s religious path -- but somehow they must overcome their mutual antipathy in order to avert Armageddon.

About the Book….

Lauren Alder wrote "The Codex of Desire" because a science fiction time-travel novel about intelligent feathered dinosaurs in tragic love triangles had never been written before — and she knew that she was just the one to accomplish it. 

"I set out to tell stories that provide readers with plenty to think about after the last page has been turned," Lauren says, "and I enjoy creating narratives that challenge my audience to look at reality in new and deeply engaging ways."

"The Codex of Desire" is the tale of a human paleontologist who touches an alien-forged metal band wrapped around the forearm of a small theropod dinosaur fossil, and is mentally transported back in time to experience the tragic intersection of five dinosaur lives.

"If you want an adult story brimming with love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayal — and featuring talking dinosaurs in the starring roles — then this is the novel for you," Lauren concludes.

Love and violence, war and lust, lies and betrayal — even intelligent feathered dinosaurs fell prey to such savage impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

When Raoul Deguchi, a human paleontologist, touches the alien-forged metal band wrapped around the forearm of a small theropod dinosaur fossil, he is mentally transported back in time to experience the tragic intersection of five dinosaur lives.

Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive female slave, falls in love with Tir'at~Esk, a dashing military prisoner — and will do anything in her meagre power to win his freedom. But Girn'ash's queen is determined to coerce the handsome warrior into her harem, and when so many ferocious desires collide it might doom an entire civilization to nuclear extinction.

About the Author….

Lauren Alder was born and raised in Winnipeg, where she currently lives with her husband. She is a freelance commercial artist, a past Eisner Award nominee, and a lifelong science nerd with an enduring interest in dinosaurs, history, and the sociology of food. "Codex" is her first novel, but will certainly not be her last.

Where to buy….

Chapter 4: Tir'at

The shrill cry in the Inflection Low pierced Tir'at's cloak of warm slumber, stabbing him to the heart with a scythe-claw of ice-hot adrenaline.
"Awake!" The voice of a male Greatest — not the Captain — shrieked again in the darkness, only to be cut short in a wordless scream. "The Tribes! The Tri — AAAAAAAAAIEK!"
Tir'at's eyes shot open, wide amber in the gloom under the fallen tree's roots. His view was upside down — his muzzle was still half-tucked under his wing — but he could see movement in the moonlit clearing beyond their refuge: many bodies, all Greatest, all big — and all leaping towards him —
— no, not towards him: towards the main body of the Captain's unit, bunched together closer to the centre of the fallen tree's root-arch. Tir'at lay off to one side, separated from them by a full three body-lengths, and consequently he didn't appear to be a target — yet.
He whipped his head up to take in the scene at a glance — a scene of violence and horror. A horde of Greatest females, more than two-fours, distinguishable from males by their larger size and more prominent red-tinged chest-ruffs, charged out of the forest and pounced upon the Culture's Warriors, their wings flaring savagely and their scythe-claws flashing forward to gouge into vulnerable flesh. The Warriors screamed and thrashed, trying to mount a defence, but there were so many Fighters of the Tribes swarming over them, clawing and biting with flashing teeth already black with blood in the moonlight —
Sprays of red blood, so black in the moonlight, pattering to ground soaked from the earlier rain and rapidly trampled under gouging clawed feet.
The moon waxed toward half-full, and was lowering into the west: it was close to midnight, although Tir'at realized with cold clarity that he would probably not live to see the dawn. Could he flee through these woods, in the dark, without knowing the way and without breaking his bones in a tumble down an unexpected ravine? More importantly, could he escape the rapacious female Tribal Fighters, who doubtless knew this terrain so well?
It was his duty. He had to get word of this massacre back to the Culture's Settlement — and he had to be stealthy.
Moving slowly, as if he were a leaf idly drifting in the wind (what a strange image, how unconscionably Primitive!), he levered himself to his feet and started edging past the curve of the tree-root, keeping his silhouette as small as possible and his body as low to the ground as he could, crest flattened and wings tucked in tight. The female Fighters were engrossed in killing their screaming prey — if he retreated skilfully, perhaps they would not notice him until he was slipping into the shelter of the forest —
One of the Fighters, raising her long-muzzled head with a gobbet of still-living flesh clenched in her jaws, jerked her neck erect and looked directly into Tir'at's eyes.
Before she could cry the alarm, he leaped fully to his feet and plunged away into the forest, into the shadows so deep that he might as well have been stricken blind.
He ran as he had never run before — he, who was the swiftest runner any of his teachers had every seen. Everybody said so, and now he could only pray —
— no, males of the Culture did not pray, females of the Tribes prayed — the Culture knew that scientific rationality was the only path to tread!
Well, then — he trusted that his teachers had been correct, and that he would prove faster than any of his enemies. He ran, trusting instinct to guide his racing feet, to evade with an animal's sure senses any obstacle in his path —
His instincts were not enough. Had the Codex not taught that animals, and those who behaved as animals, were doomed to certain failure?
He never knew afterwards what he hit — a branch across the path, most likely, at exactly the right level to intersect his forehead as he bolted full-out, his spine as level as a spear in flight. The shock of impact exploded behind his eyes in a burst of blinding radiance, an all-consuming flare of pain — and then —
— then he was on the ground, in the blackness, his wings an undignified sprawl in the mud around him, his hind legs already scrabbling for purchase, to push himself back onto his feet. He had barely managed to raise his head, feeling the hot trickle of blood running over his left temple and into the short feathers of his cheek, before a clawed foot descended on his neck behind his jaw and slammed him back to the earth, setting off another sickening wave of pain in his skull.
"What have we here?" a female voice sang above him in a hideously melodic Inflection Low
[[[chirps, squeals, liquid burblings, trills, clacks of jaw, clicking of tongue... shamelessly musical... luxuriously richer in texture than the bare-bones spoken language of the Culture of the Word...]]]
each deep-pitched word seeking its next song: "A flyer, a seeker, a curse of white sky-stone? A sweet little male, bereft and alone! He wears the Word on his arm, in his flight — but shall he find only death this night?"
Tir'at tried to open his mouth, to say Kill me if you like, I will tell you nothing! But the female's foot crushed his throat, her scythe-claw pricking a fresh wound into his neck close to his spine, and no words would come. His last awareness was of many more heavy footfalls drawing swiftly nearer, and thought-consuming blackness even deeper than the night rushing in like a storm...