Posts Tagged ‘Shifters’

Sign Ups are Live for A Study in Shifters Cover Reveal

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Calling all bloggers! Want to participate in the cover reveal for the first book in the Adventures of Marisol Holmes series, A Study in Shifters?

Click here to sign up for the cover reveal.

The cover reveal takes place on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES: A STUDY IN SHIFTERS

Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart.

After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?

Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.

It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.

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The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: All About Spiders

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

In this week’s post, I’m going to talk to you about one type of shifter species in The Adventures of Marisol Holmes series that we haven’t discussed yet. Spiders. In the books, the mortician / coroner is a spider named Mormont.

Spiders are arthropods, meaning they have eight legs. They also have fangs that inject venom. There are at least 45,700 spider species and 113 spider families. That’s a lot of species! On top of that, spiders are found worldwide on every continent except Antarctica (so for those of you who have arachnophobia, like I do, let’s head to Antarctica!).

Male spiders have complex mating rituals to avoid being eaten by the females of the species. Males usually survive a few mating rituals in their life. Females weave silk eggcases after mating, each of which may contain hundreds of eggs. Females will often carry their young around or share food with them.

Social behavior among spiders is often complex. Some spiders such as the widow spiders are solitary creatures, but other spider species hunt co-operatively, or even share food.

Some spider species have venom dangerous to humans but most venom is harmless. Spiders use it to hunt their prey (not, contrary to popular belief, to hunt down human beings at least a hundred times their size). Spiders capture their prey by creating sticky webs, which they then manipulate to capture prey. When a prey is captured in their web, they inject the prey with venom, paralyzing the fly / bug / whatever else insect they captured.

 

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The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: All About Foxes

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

As you know, The Adventures of Marisol Holmes features a school of shifters, and one of the shifters who appears in the story is a fox shifter. Foxes are small-to-medium-sized, and “fox” is actually a group name given to twelve distinct species of “vulpes”. On top of that, there are also 25 current or extinct species often called foxes.

The red fox is the most common subspecies of foxes, and currently has 47 recognized subspecies.

Foxes are smaller than wovles, jackals and even than domestic dogs. Foxes typically live in small family groups, but some foxes, in particular the Arctic fox, are known to be solitary.

Foxes are omnivores. They often eat insects, reptiles and birds, but can also eat eggs and plants. A female fox is called a “vixen”. Unfortunately, fox hunting was a popular sport since the 16th century in particular in the United Kingdom. While it’s now banned to hunt with dogs, hunting without dogs is still permitted.

In Asian culture, foxes are depicted as familiar spirits. They have magical powers, and are seen as mischievous tricksters. These spirits are called “kitsune”. Kitsune can take on a human form, and can duplicate the appearance of a specific person, in particular beautiful women. While the fox shifters in The Adventures of Marisol Holmes are also quite mischievous, they don’t have additional magical abilities like the Japanese kitsune.

 

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A Study in Scarlet vs A Study in Shifters

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: A Study in Shifters is completely different from Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet”, but the title is based on it. “A Study in Scarlet” was published in 1887 and marks the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Since the Marisol Holmes series features a heroine who is the great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, and who has the same intelligent, sharp mind as her ancestor does, it made a lot of sense to base the title of the first book in the series on the title of the first Sherlock Holmes book. And admit it, “A Study in Shifters” sounds pretty cool either way.

In “A Study in Scarlet”, Dr. Watson (the narrator) meets Sherlock Holmes, who reveals he’s a consulting detective. They first meet in a laboratory where Holmes is experimenting and explains to Watson the importance of bloodstains as evidence in criminal trials. In A Study of Shifters, Marisol too explains the importance of bloodstains in crime scenes.

Watson is amazed by how perceptive Holmes is, considering the consulting detective notices right away that Watson served in Afghanistan, without the doctor telling him.

Holmes is asked to consult on a murder case, but he’s reluctant to do so. Watson urges him to reconsider, and then Holmes invites Watson along. While Watson is on the sidelines, more a spectator than an active participant in solving the crime, and most of the credit goes to Holmes, he does offer some helpful suggestions that help Holmes along the way.

 

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The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: All About Otters

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

One of the main characters in The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: A Study in Shifters, Wyatt Johnson, is an otter shifter. Now, otters look adorable, but they’re much more to otters than meets the eye–and the same counts for Wyatt. Let’s learn a bit more about our otter friends.

Otters have long, slim bodies and short limbs. They have powerful webbed feet which they use to swim, and seal-like abilities which permit them to hold their breath underwater. They have sharp claws on their feet and long, muscular tails. There are actually thirteen species of otters.

For most otters, fish is the number one item on their menu. Sometimes they also add in frogs, crayfish and crabs. Otters are active hunters, chasing prey in the water or searching the beds of rivers and lakes. Otters require a lot of food: European otters must eat 15% of their body weight each day. Sea otters need even more, 20-25%, depending on the temperature of the water. Most species hunt for three to five hours each day, and nursing mothers even hunt for eight hours each day.

Did you know an otter’s den is actually called a holt or couch? I had no idea!

Otters are popular animals in Japanese folklore. In Japanse folklore, otters fool humans the same way foxes do (think of the kitsune). They can apparently, according to the stories, shapeshift into beautiful women. They will answer questions in a crytical way. However, there’s also a story of an otter shifting into a beautiful woman, and luring males to their deaths by eating them. Yikes! Turns out these cute animals are quite dangerous after all, at least in folklore.

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The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: All About Leopards

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

In The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: A Study in Shifters, two of the characters, Elise Fell and Reyna Fell, are leopard shifters. Leopards are closely related to jaguars, from the way they look to the way they hunt, but despite the resemblances, there are some stark differences between the two species.

Just like the jaguar, the leopard is one of the five big cats in the genus Panthera. It has relatively short legs, but a long body and large skull. It’s smaller and lighter than a jaguar. There are 9 subspecies of leopards recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), namely the African leopard, Indian leopard, Arabian leopard, Persian leopard (also known as Central Asian leopar or Caucasian leopard), North Chinese leopard, Amur leopard, Indochinese leopard, Javan leopard and Sri Lankan leopard. As you can see, most of the species are divided based on their hunting grounds and where they’ve been found.

All these subspecies have small morphological differences from one another. On top of that, the texture and colour of a leopard’s fur often varies too by climate and geography; leopards in forests are darker than those in deserts.

The leopards primarily occur in Africa, and eastern and southeast Asia. They’re very adaptable, and can thrive in forests as well as in savannas. They can climb on trees and are often resting on tree branches during the day. They even drag their kills up trees and hang them there. Leopards are solitary predators.

Leopards often appeared in mythology. Egyptian priests wore the skin of a leopard, in particular the skin of black panthers, which they saw as a symbol for the spirit of Set.

 

 

 

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The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: All About Jaguars

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

In The Adventures of Marisol Homes: A Study in Shifters, our main character, Marisol, is a half-human / half-jaguar shifter. Her mother is a full blood jaguar shifter. Of course, I couldn’t write about jaguar shifters without doing some research into jaguars.

Turns out, jaguars are actually pretty amazing. They’re the third-largest big cat, after the tiger and lion, and the largest in the Americas. It’s genus is Panthera, which it shares with the leopard, tiger, lion, cheetah, and the other big cats.

The jaguar’s current hunting grounds range from Southwestern United States and Mexico, across much of Central America, even to Paraguay and northern Argentina.

Physically, the jaguar is closest related to the leopard, but it has a larger, sturdier build. The jaguar doesn’t live in packs, it’s a solitary predator at the top of the food chain in the regions it occupies.

The jaguar has the most powerful bite of all the big cats. When a jaguar wants to kill its prey, it bites between the ears and bites directly through the skull, into the brain–usually, a fatal bite.

Did you know a black panther isn’t actually a seperate species? A black panther is either a jaguar or a leopard with color morphism, into a near-black, melanistic form. Jaguars with melanism appear entirely black. Extremely rare are albino jaguars, also called white panthers.

Jaguars are often present in Aztec mythology. The Aztecs used the image of the jaguar as the representative of the ruler, and as a warrior. The Aztecs even had an elite warrior clans, known as the Jaguar Knights. How awesome is that?

 

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The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: Paris Catacombs

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

A Study in Shifters is set in two primary locations: the first one is Waynard Academy, a boarding school in England, and the second location is Paris.

Now, luckily, I’ve visited Paris a few times before, three times to be exact. This helped me get a feel of the place before I wrote about it. I know all the tourist attractions, the landmarks, some of the street names. I’ve seen the Notre Dame twice so I can describe how it looks like, what feelings overwhelm tourists as they head inside.

But the one place I haven’t visited yet in Paris, is the catacombs.

Now, I’ve been in catacombs before, particularly the ones in Rome, and you get more or less the same claustrophic, slightly eerie vibe as you head into that underground labyrinth. For the Paris catacombs, I had to do some reseach though, considering I’d never been there.

Turns out the Catacombs of Paris aren’t really all that old. They were founded in the eighteenth century, two millennia later than the ones founded in Rome. The officials of Paris were struggling with two problems in the eighteenth century: cave-ins and overdlowing cemeteries. During the night, they transferred remains from the cemeteries to reinforced tunnels underneath the ground. More than six million people are now buried in the catacombs of Paris.

Nowadays, Parisians refer to the tunnels under Paris as the “catacombs” – not just to the smaller network of catacomb tunnels themselves, but to all underground tunnels.

A fun anecdote about the Paris catacombs, in 2004, police discovered a fully equipped movie theater in one of the caverns, equipped with a giant cinema screen, audience seats, and a complete restaurant.

If they could hide all that in one of those underground caverns… Think about what else could be hidden deep inside those catacombs.

The pictures used in this post are actually pretty amazing. They’ve been taken by Felix Nadar in 1861, and show case the very first use of the illumination technique with artificial light. The pictures are from Wikimedia Commons, and to see the fulll collection, go here.

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The Adventures of Marisol Holmes: Pinterest Boards

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

A picture speaks a thousand words, right?

Well, as I was drafting the first book in The Adventures of Marisol Holmes series, A Study in Shifters, I often took to Pinterest for inspiration for everything from character appearances to inspiring artwork.

Here are the boards that inspired me while writing:

Marisol Holmes

Marisol is the protagonist in The Adventures of Marisol Holmes series. She’s a member The Conclave of Shadows, a super-secret underground organization that solves supernatural crimes and meets in the catacombs of Paris. As the great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes himself, Marisol has quite the reputation to live up to. Luckily, she has inherited her ancestor’s sharp wit and intellect, because she’ll need it for the troubles awaiting her.

Marisol is also a halfblood jaguar shifter from her mother’s side, a position that often puts her in harm’s way too.

Wyatt Johnson

Wyatt is an otter shifter who attends Waynard Academy, the site of a recent murder Marisol has been sent to investigate. Wyatt is a huge mystery fan, and Sherlock Holmes is one of his idols, so he jumps at the chance to meet the great-great granddaughter of the man he admired so much.

Wyatt looks like your typical boy-next-door, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye.

Duchesse

Marisol’s mother, leader of the jaguar clan, finds herself in an ever weakening political position. With her only heir being only half-shifter (and half-human), the other shifters are eager to take any potential weakness of hers and turn it against her. The murder Marisol has been sent to solve doesn’t really help matters either.

Beautiful but lethal, Duchesse is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her daughter, and her clan.

Mannix

A wolf shifter with an intellect matching Marisol’s, Mannix is bad news. Yet, he’s the kind of bad news you don’t mind hooking up with in dark corners. Hot and dangerous, a combination Marisol often finds hard to resist…

 

Click on the names to visit the Pinterest boards.

Follow me on Pinterest here to get the latest updates to my boards.

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