With: Katherine McIntyre
When I was sitting down to write Forged Alliances, one of the most pivotal decisions in writing about a wolf pack was whether or not to make them werewolves or shifters. What’s the difference? Well, given the vast amount of stories and lore out there, certain key elements tend to stick out no matter the variant.
Werewolves have limited changing cycles—most often forcibly at the full moon, but there are plenty of alternate rules I’ve read about. Meanwhile shifters aren’t just wolves and can change at will. While werewolves have an immense history of lore to tap into, given the old school monsters like Wolfman plus a plethora of angst to play with given the forced transformation, there’s a reason shifters seem to be dominating the paranormal scene. Because with shifters, you can make almost ANY sort of animal shapeshift, and the flexibility makes it more easy to incorporate into every day life, which helps when you’re writing a romance series.
When diving into shifters though, they’ve become so widely popular that you’ve got to work hard to establish your own variety. Some people do this by branching into different types of shifters—I’ve been seeing a lot of dragon shifter romances lately. However, I chose to do it through worldbuilding, by creating a world where shifters were caused by the shamans, who attached the spirits of these animals to human tethers. Thus the first shifters were born. And while the humans are aware of them, they mostly live in their regions with individual packs. With werewolves, my focus might’ve been on their curse and their burden, but shifters revel in their differences from mankind.
So, while both werewolves and shifters have their merits, I chose shifters in the end, because I love how those characters have a pulse on the animals they shift into. If you’re looking for a fun new take on shifter romance set in central Pennsylvania, Forged Alliances, book one of the Tribal Spirits series is out!
Sierra Kanoska fought hard for her position as wolf alpha of the Red Rock pack, and intruders in her territory receive the full brunt of what her claws, fangs, and smarts can accomplish. So when Dax Williams, de facto alpha of the Silver Springs pack, pays an unwelcome visit, Sierra’s ready to toss him out. However, the man’s in a tough spot. The pack elders sabotaged his fight for alpha against his brother, driving him from his lands. Sierra hates underhanded moves like that, so she agrees on an alliance.
As they work together, she witnesses an alpha who wants to do right by his pack, not just the cocky wiseass she first met. Their growing attraction blazes hot, but the moment she and Dax lock lips, a mating bond emerges. Sierra sure as hell isn’t ready to share that intimate connection with a stranger, and the thought of forever sends Dax running.
Before they can talk, the Tribe commanding the East Coast shifters arrives to settle the dispute. Dax and his brother’s punishment for their pack’s civil war is a free-for-all on their lands. Not only does he have to defeat his brother, but any challenger in the region. Despite Dax and Sierra’s initial resistance, his wily charm relaxes her control-freak tendencies while her steadfast support bolsters his strength. Yet every new opponent places their newfound relationship under siege–one misstep, one wrong blow in the ring, and Dax could leave in a bodybag.
Tonight Sierra was spoiling for a fight.
She slammed into the Beaver Tavern’s door shoulder first, amber light spilling on her and the scent of tobacco threading through the air as she entered. Wooden planks creaked under her boots from her tread as she quick-stepped to the oaken bar on the opposite side. Three things lit her match without fail—abusive assholes, idiots who didn’t use their turn signals, and unannounced shifters moving in on her territory.
Inside, her beast snapped at its confines, begging her to shift, to take to the woods and keep running, never turning back. Except leaving wasn’t an option, not since she’d become alpha of the Red Rock pack years back. Sounds of the bar in full swing washed over her, from the shouts and laughs to the clunks of heavy pint glasses hitting the tables.
“Sierra, what’s up your ass?” Jeremiah called over from a table as a lazy smile reached his hazel eyes. Her Red Rock pack filled the whole bar, since humans kept their distance from predominantly shifter areas, and in this part of Pennsylvania few would come strolling in.
She flipped him the middle finger. “Shut it, Streaky,” she called back, garnering a couple of smirks and laughs from the pack. After Jer had gotten caught buck-ass naked, stumbling out of at least three different tents at the last Fourth of July party, the nickname had stuck. Sierra made a beeline to where Raven manned the taps, dispensing dew to this loud and crazy lot. Sierra’s body brimmed with unspent tension. Fight, fight, fight pounded through her, an untamable urge, and her wolf prowled inside her, restless. As alpha, her rank heightened her tether to the beast, already one step away from primal.