Gay Book Reviews would like to give a warm welcome to Kelly Jensen, here to talk about her first paranormal book Best in Show.
My First Paranormal
One of the fun parts about writing paranormal is deciding how all the paranormal stuff is going to work.
At the beginning of Best in Show, Mac is locked away at the Lingwood Animal shelter. He’s been there for five days. The confines of the crate he is tucked away into every night mean he’s been stuck in his second skin—that of a rather large ginger tabby—for five days. He’s adopted by mystery writer Julian Wilkes and taken home. After his new “owner” goes to bed, Mac stretches out behind the couch and changes back into his first skin for the first time in five days.
This is where I got to write my first ever transformation scene and I had a lot of fun with it! For the bare bones, I tried to imagine what it would feel like to stretch out from cat to man. I figured that on the surface, after five days of being compressed, it’d feel pretty good. Given that bones are lengthening, along with tendons, muscles and so on, I also figured it would hurt. Because this is a lighthearted and fun story, I didn’t dwell on the pain. It’s acknowledged and it has an effect on the plot later, but for this first transition, Mac makes do with a couple of pain killers and a good meal.
What about clothes? Does he “magic on” a set of duds, or is he nude? Because I’m evil, he’s totally bare-arsed. Actually, I based my decision here on a couple of factors. One, shifters in my world aren’t necessarily magic. Mac does have some aptitude with spells and the like, but that’s only because his mother is a witch. Without that, the only magic thing he could do is sprout fur and claws. Two, I’m writing a romance here. Every time Mac is naked, Julian is going to notice what a nice body he has. ?
My idea for the terms first skin and second skin is based upon the fact Mac is born in an ordinary way—as a human baby to a human woman. Therefore, he is human first, kitty cat second. He gets the shifting ability from his father, by the way, and experiences his first change right around puberty. Because puberty sucks. So why not toss a completely unreal experience into the mix?
When shifting back into a cat, it’s recommended that you get naked again first. Mac mentions why when he’s telling Julian all about what it’s like to be thirteen and awkward. For the actual shifting part, I pretty much wave a magic wand and say “it happens”. Because, honestly, how else are you going to explain how all that man gets squished down into a fifteen pound tabby cat? It should be impossible. And that’s pretty much how paranormal stories roll.
I do think it’s great when an author gets all scientific and can pretty much explain the how behind the why. For this story, I don’t progress much beyond these few points. I wanted to keep it light and fun. There is some back story regarding the witch side of Mac’s family, but none about the shifters. That’s because I plan to introduce some new shifters in the next adventure, and keep expanding my lore from there.
Also, Mac is still fairly young. He may not have discovered every trick in the book yet, magical and otherwise. He definitely hasn’t finished uncovering family secrets. It’s a good thing he’ll have the more level headed Julian along for the next chapter!
You can. Follow the tour for Julian’s side of the story, “behind the book”, and a magical playlist, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win copies of my previous novellas with Dreamspinner Press and a $25 credit at the Dreamspinner Press store.
Title: Best in Show
Author: Kelly Jensen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 27th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 87
Reviewed by: Belen
Solitary mystery writer Julian Wilkes doesn’t want a pet, but his sister persuades him to visit Lingwood Animal Rescue, where he is immediately taken with a large ginger tabby cat. Before he can settle into the joys of cat ownership, however, he discovers something very unusual about his new companion.
Macavity Birch is cursed. By day he is a large tabby cat. At night he can be himself—a human male with ginger hair and oddly yellow eyes. He didn’t mean to end up in the animal rescue, but he never meant any harm when playing the prank that resulted in his curse, either. Happily, Julian adopts him. But while exploring his host’s home, he discovers the diary of a long-dead relative.
Unfortunately, not all of Mac’s ancestors are dead and buried. His great-great-great-grandmother is very much alive, and she’s a powerful witch who doesn’t take kindly to the sharing of family secrets. When Mac reveals himself to Julian in order to save him from bigger trouble, he achieves just the opposite, plunging Julian deeper into a magical mystery with him.
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If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. At lot of what she writes is speculative in nature, but sometimes it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.