GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Guest Post: Tara Fox Hall "The Allure of Shifters" + Giveaway! | I Smell Sheep

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Guest Post: Tara Fox Hall "The Allure of Shifters" + Giveaway!

Got something special today. PNR author Tara Fox Hall is part of a charity anthology called Shifters from Hazardous Press. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the American Humane Association's Red Star Rescue Team, which provides disaster response services for pets and domestic animals.

Devlin Dalcon is the main vampire character of the Promise Me and Lash series, and appears in all the books for both series. He agreed to write this post as practice for his upcoming Immortal Confessions debut novel, as he has near 200 years experience with shifters and had counted them among his best friends for the better half of a century.

By: Devlin Dalcon

(Author Note: in preparation for my own upcoming memoir release, I generously offered my services to promote this charity work, for all Ms. Hall has done for me and my kind—Dev)

What is it about shifters as a species that humans find so alluring? In this modern time, they rate as high as we vampires do in paranormal fiction, with whole series devoted to exploring their troubles, as well as their ravenous appetite for life. The old cursed and dangerous werewolf of gypsy legend has grown and expanded to include everything from fiery weredragons to soaring werehawks to dare I say my favorite, the sinuous weresnakes. What has caused this burgeoning interest?

First off, readers are able to empathize with these creatures, even if they themselves have never undergone their own physical transformation to beast. There are very human attributes about the best shifter characters, yet their animal half is always predominant, an integral part of them that is always in evidence. That fine line between creature and human is a difficult one to walk…and also what I believe captivates a reader’s attention.

Any werecreature is truly half-human and half animal, in my long experience. There is much more involved than just the physical changing of bodily attributes. The simple notion of a human who changes shape to an animal yet always remains a human in actions/feelings, or a human that somehow becomes an animal and loses all his reason/logic completely until he’s a human again has—to my relief—for the most part been discarded. Today’s werecreature is more truly a being of two minds in one body; the animal side is always present along with the human side. These two halves of the same whole must learn to coexist in the same body, AND have all of their respective desires met. Thus arrived the most compelling new genre of the modern era: shifter romance and erotica, where the handsome shifter hero of the tale finds not only happiness with his lady love in the end, but also complete primeval satisfaction.

I don’t mean to insinuate that all shifters have become tame. Not at all. There are still many tales of dark creatures driven to bloodlust, mayhem, or all too human revenge in today’s shifter stories. The beast is still there, peering out of the shadows, considering his—or her—best plan of attack. Remember that while simple animals don’t usually do anything without a reason that makes sense to them, they usually have no morality at all. Think of your beloved family pet with its favorite toy, which it usually treats as its prey, for a comparison. If a shifter’s human side does not temper their animal impulses, shifters can easily become the horrific creatures of legend. Yet even the most dangerous can also use their power for good, if properly motivated. So be warned and keep your wits about you. A shifter—like a vampire—is never a person to take for granted.

Without further ado, I present to you a collection of shifter stories, most aptly called Shifters. Ranging from erotic to horror to suspense, these captivating tales comprise one short story from my own world, “Spiritwalker,” a tale of relentless pursuit of the werewolf Morwen and her motley pack of hunters by an unknown foe who leaves carnage in its wake. 
All proceeds from this anthology benefit the American Humane Association's Red Star Rescue Team, which provides disaster response services for pets and domestic animals. Try a taste. It’s for a good cause.

Reimagined fairy tales, western skinwalker legends come to life, scorching erotica, and of course, werewolves!

39 stories by David Wellington, Jay Wilburn, Aaron Gudmunson, Dane Hatchell, D. Alexander Ward, Mandy DeGeit, Doug Murano, Kris Freestone, Adam Millard, Brent Nichols, Cameron Suey, Tara Fox Hall, Christian A. Larsen, Rose Blackthorn, Terry Alexander, Steve Voelker, Max Booth III, Matthew Wilson, Beryl Knight, Lisamarie Lamb, Chantal Boudreau, Dana Wright, Lori Michelle, Rie Sheridan Rose, Dawn Napier, Jen White, Cameron Johnston, E.L. Kemper, Amanda Pillar, Jonah Buck, Emma Whitehall, Christine Morgan, Susannah Carlson, Robin Deffendall, Tracie McBride, and Erzabet Bishop.

Cover art by Glenn Chadbourne, back cover art by Diana Whiley, interior illustrations by Kris Freestone and Leia Napier.

Buy links: Kindle |Paperback

Excerpt from Tara Fox Hall's short story “Spiritwalker”
(this story takes place during the events of Lash #4 set to release this fall)

On the drive into town, Pete briefed us about the mark. It was indeed a demon, but that was all he knew. We were going to meet with the buyer near a movie theater, where we’d get the rest of the details.
“What about payment?” Jay asked brashly. “This sounds like a setup.”
“Already paid in full, actually,” Pete replied. “We’re beginning to get a reputation, since stopping that goblin couple that were killing and skinning werecreatures for black market pelts last summer.”
“Before you joined up,” Jay said smugly to Apex, who glared at him.
“The vampire that we found a month ago helped, too,” Killy said stubbornly in her little girl’s voice. “He’d killed over 10 people in his spree.” Darwin seconded her.
“Everyone is essential, or you wouldn’t be here,” Pete said firmly, taking turn resting his gaze on each of us in his rearview mirror. “It’s time to go to work.”
He parked the van, and we got out, standing across the street from the theater. Dressed as we were—myself possibly the most auspicious, with my long brown hair in many small braids—we got a few looks from the homeowners nearest us. After a few moments, they went back to their Saturday afternoon barbeques and stopped watching.
“Are they late?” Jay asked, irritated.
“No,” Pete replied. “We were a little early. But the man should be here any moment—”
There was a crash as a piece of lawn furniture fell over. We turned uneasily, but it was only the wind. Humans were already running in nearby yards, herding their young and pets alike inside closed doors.
“Storm must be coming,” Apex said, pulling his trench coat tight around himself. “Everyone get in the car. We need to drive to—”
A sudden howling filled the air. Then a stink like rotten eggs was everywhere, drowning my senses in foulness.
“What is it!” Darwin shrieked, holding his head. “Make it stop!”
Killy shifted to wolf form, snapping and snarling. We closed ranks, drawing out weapons. Nothing materialized. The noonday sun was gone, and the sky was black as night. Still the wind got stronger, more objects crashing and flying around us.
“Apex, what the hell is it?” Orn shouted. “You’re the fucking sorcerer! Do something!”
Jay turned to Apex. “Is it the demon? It stinks like one.”
A white tendril of smoke formed in the sky, not the expected signature black of demon. It went right for Darwin and Killy.
“Get them out of here!” Apex shouted to me. He turned back to the smoke, already murmuring spells as energy crackled from his fingers. “Run!”
Orn threw off his weapons, shifting to wolf. “Run, Morwen!”
Pete drew his blessed dagger. “What is it?”
“Spiritwalker!” Apex shouted. “Get the empaths out of here!”
Orn scrabbled at the pavement with his claws, still shifting. I raced to Darwin and Killy, and picked them both up. Darwin’s wolf form was convulsing. Killy’s breath also came in spastic heaves.
A scream sounded from behind me. Pete.
I raced toward the street, both arms laden. A white van barreled past, then screeched to a stop at the wildly swinging traffic light. I ran to it, set Killy down, and ripped open the passenger door.
“Hey!” The human exclaimed as he shrunk back. “Get out of here—”
“Get in there,” I yelled, trying to push Darwin in. He moved his arms and legs weakly, trying to crawl across the seat.
The human floored the van’s accelerator. I grabbed Killy by her scruff and latched onto the door as it shot forward. Two cars squealed tires as they slammed together behind us.

 The stench resurfaced, the white smoke winding fast after us. The cloud reached the van and dug in, denting the metal as it shaped itself into a skull and grinned at me with glowing eyes. Abruptly it bit into the rear door with a shriek of twisting metal.

Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers - Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first full-length action-adventure novel, Lash, published in April 2012. Her vampire series begins in June 2012, with the 1st novel Promise Me. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Connect with Tara Fox Hall


First place winner:

- Print copy of Shifters: A Charity Anthology from Hazardous Press
- Lash tote bag
-"weresnakes are hot" bumper sticker
-Set of 2 pens (one each of Lash #1 cover and Lash #2 cover)
2 Second place winners:
- Set of 2 pens (one each of Lash #1 cover and Lash #2 cover)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'd be cool being a shifter but if not I think I'd enjoy meeting one.

    1. I agree, Victoria :) I'd like to be a shifter myself.

  2. I'd love to be a shifter. I could be anonymous whenever I wanted!

  3. I would love to be a shifter! I'd shift into a bird so I could fly all over the place.

    1. That would be awesome :) It would be so cool to spread your own wings, and fly....

  4. Both would be cool, though the pain of shifting wouldn't be fun. I guess it would be most fun BEING a shifter. I'd like to have the extra strength, the powers, the awareness, that comes with being part animal. I'd also like to feel more comfortable in my own skin and heal faster. I could go on for hours naming the benefits of being a shifter, but I'm sure you get the picture. Thanks again for the chance to win.

    1. You're welcome, Michelle...and you raise and interesting point. In the werewolf movies, where a guy gets bitten, there is pain when he shifts form to wolf. The idea is that its an unnatural occurrence, reforming bone and tissue that was never supposed to be anything but human. My own weres--made and born--don't have pain when they shift, as its natural...but maybe I need to delve more deeply into that aspect. Thanks for this! :)

  5. Think it would be cool to be a shifter. I would love to have POWERS. I am a Gemini, so being two "things" would fit right in with my personality. LOL

    1. I would like to have powers, too! :) Thanks for commenting!

  6. I've always thought it would be nice to be a wolf shifter but I would love to meet either a wolf or a dragon shifter for real :D

    1. I'd like to meet a dragon, period, but one that was also a handsome man would be so very very nice...:)

  7. I would love to meet Shifter and if it is the right shifter I would most likely let him change me. So, I guess both.

    1. Very romantic...I'd think to a shifter, it would be the highest kind of compliment!

  8. I would like to meet and be a shifter. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

  9. I would love to be one! That would be really awesome and could be lots of fun!

  10. my dreams of being a shifter and WITH my book boyfriend Lash cannot be displayed in public. im sure most of it is illegal and would have me out in jail with just one swype of the keyboard ;) but I would want to meet Lash in person and I would want to BE a weresnake. YEAH!!

    1. LMAO, Jessica! If you ever find him, please let me know :)

  11. taken by one.........errrrrrrrrrrrrr ummmmmm it is all your fault, Sharon!

  12. I would totally be a shifter, I think that would be awesome. I'm not sure what type of shifter I would be though. :)

    1. werehawk? werebear? weresnake? werewolf? werepig? wereswan? weremouse? werecricket? :)

  13. Hmmmm my Shifter Dreams! Do I want to be one or just meet one? Well I have a definte Shifter Fantasy ;) about meeting “Alcide Herveaux” (Joe Manganiello) from True Blood; that Ohhhhh Sooooo Ruggedly Handsome, Tall, Dark & GORGEOUS, Drool-Worthy, Panty-Melting, Well-(Ummmm) Muscled LOL, Ripped Alpha Werewolf Shifter, Mmmmm He's a WHOLE lotta Man!!!!....& Ohhhh Myyyy what I wouldn't give to find out. ;) LOL I know, I’m sooooo Bad!!!! WoooHooo!!!!
    Take Care & Stay Naughty,
    PaParanormalFan (Renee)
    paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com

    1. Yes...Alcide can sleep on my bed anytime, too! LOL!

  14. I would like to be a shifter with the one caveat that it not be mandatory once a month, shudders. I would love to be able to change and have the heightened senses and run with increased strength and stamina - what joy. I don't think even nibbling on Bambi would be that bad, of course I might need to bring Jake along to roast him up a bit :)

    1. The picture this brings to mind had me rolling! Thanks Denise! :)

  15. I think I'd like to meet a really hot shifter and let him change me!!

  16. Wonderful post and giveaway!

  17. Just like to meet one. Most series have them living a little longer which would be nice, but I'd stay human.

  18. I think it would be cool to be a shifter.

  19. I think it would be so cool to be a shifter. Not sure if I would be able to deal with all that come with it and keeping that a secret from so many people that I love, unless they were also shifters. If I were a shifter though, I'd love to be some type of bird or cat.

  20. I would love to meet a shifter, they are super cool and sexy! I would also love to be a shifter like a jaguar or puma. It would be awesome to have the extra strength, speed, enhanced senses, etc....
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Crystal Guidroz

  21. I would want to be one and meet them! It would be so epic!