OS: Welcome to j leigh bailey here to talk about her new book!
I’d like to start with a big “Thank you!” to Morgan for having me here today to celebrate the upcoming release of Chasing Thunderbird, the second book in my Shifter U paranormal series. Shifter U is what the local paranormal population in Cody, Wyoming call Cody College because of the large number of, well, shifters. I’ve always loved a good paranormal romance, and shapeshifters have always been my favorite. When I decided to write a shifter story, I had to think hard about what kind of shapeshifter world I was going to create. Were my books going to be dark and dangerous (like J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, but with fur)? And what type of shifters did I want to write about? There are a lot of apex predator shifter books—like werewolves, and bears, and wild cates. I won’t use the term overused, since I adore a good alpha predator shapeshifter and don’t think there can be too many! But I did want my stories to stand out. Did I want to go for cutesy animals? I’ve read several shifter romances where the characters shift into hedgehogs and bunny rabbits and mice (and they’re tons of fun too!). There were so many choices!
In the end, I chose to write about characters who turn into slightly unique (but maybe not completely cutesy) animals. In the first Shifter U book—Stalking Buffalo Bill—I went with a coyote and a buffalo, since Donnie always felt very hyper and puppy-like, and I wanted to pair him with his complete opposite. In Chasing Thunderbird, I wanted to build upon the shifters at Shifter U. I knew from the beginning of Stalking Buffalo Bill that Ford was going to get his own book. Even before I wrote his character in book 1, I knew he’d be a thunderbird. Why? I blame it on Thea Harrison—her book Storm’s Heart featured the sexiest man/creature I’d ever read, in Tiago the Thunderbird.
With each new Shifter U book (The Night Owl and the Insomniac will be out this summer!) I introduce more of the rules and origins of my shifters, and I’m having so much fun doing it! There may even be some of those apex predator shifters that are so sexy to read about.
I always figured if I were a shapeshifter, I would totally be a bear. I’d like to nap my way through the colder weather, and have a good excuse to pack on the pre-hibernation fat in the fall. I also like sweets and occasionally lumber through the woods.
So, just for fun, if you were a shifter, what would you shift into?
**GIVEAWAY** I’ll be giving away a digital copy of Stalking Buffalo Bill to a random commenter who shares with me, if you could be a shapeshifter, what kind would you be (and why!). Giveaway will close on 2/17.
A Shifter U Tale
A legendary love.
Ornithology professor Simon Coleman’s reputation is at risk, and the only way to save his name is to prove thunderbirds are more than creatures of Native American myth. Grad student and part-time barista Ford Whitney has a lot on his plate, but it’s also his duty to make sure the resident bird nerd doesn’t discover shape-shifters—like himself—live on campus.
When a series of incidents related to Simon’s search put him in harm’s way, Ford’s instincts kick in, and they become closer than is strictly proper for student and teacher. Ford is forced to reveal his secrets to Simon, and their relationship is put to the test—Simon must choose between salvaging his reputation and protecting the man who protected him….
Things were not all they seemed at Cody College. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what didn’t fit, but it took less than a week into the new semester before I reached that inescapable conclusion. Maybe it was the scraps of torn clothing I found next to a tree in the green space between the parking lot and the sciences building on Monday. Or the discarded jeans I found on Wednesday.
Or maybe it was the fox chilling on a boulder by the dining hall, casually watching people go in and out on Thursday. Students streamed past me, clearly oblivious to the wildlife hanging out on campus. The fox wasn’t very concerned about my attention. An ear twitched as it met my eyes. A couple of kids holding hands crossed the space between the wild animal and me, not taken aback in the least about the fox on a rock.
Was it tame? Maybe someone’s pet? A mascot? But, no, the college’s mascot was a buffalo. I inched closer, checking to see if there was a collar amid the orange fur.
The fox’s tongue lolled out in a canine grin. Okay, seriously? The fox was laughing at me?
A guy in a Cody College hoodie stopped and shook his head at the fox. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one to see it. Hoodie guy laughed. “Dude, you’ve got balls, man. If Dean Thomas finds out, you’ll be screwed.”
I turned to demand an explanation since the comment was completely out of left field, but he wasn’t looking at me. Was he talking to the fox?
“I should probably call animal control,” I said, deciding to ignore the guy who spoke to foxes.
Hoodie Guy burst into laughter. The fox rolled its eyes—it rolled its fricking eyes—and hopped off his perch and sauntered—sauntered!—away from the dining hall.
I thought Hoodie Guy was going to hyperventilate, he laughed so hard.
Nope. Things were definitely a little odd at Cody College.
j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.
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