“It’s All About Ceremony”
Among my romance titles are two interconnected series about werewolves. My Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series from MLR Press is male/male and focuses on Kyle Slidell, the world’s only vegan werewolf as far as he and the other characters know, and his mate Tobias Rogan, Alpha of the smallest pack in the United States. The related series, Beta, from MLR’s sister imprint Passion in Print Press, is heterosexual romance and focuses on the City Pack, neighbors to Kyle and Tobias’s Boston North Pack.
In my werewolf universe, there is a lot of regulation, government, and ceremony. I’ve had readers argue with that on the basis that wolves are wild creatures, but in my universe, the regulation is necessary. Werewolves co-exist with humans who are unaware of their existence, and it’s vital to keep the humans from finding out too much.
Some of the ceremony is also magical. In the world I’ve created, there is a certain amount of magic involved in being a shifter, and the ceremonial phrases the werewolves use help focus that magic. Stating “May my pack and I bring no trouble to you” isn’t only expressing a desire to be a good guest; it’s also focusing power to keep trouble away and promising that if trouble does come, it’s the responsibility of the speaker to deal with it or lose his rank.
Sometimes the ceremonial phrases and actions that have developed over centuries just don’t cover a situation that my characters encounter, and that’s when things can get dangerous. Or can change the entire werewolf world.
That’s the case in the latest Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat novel, Try the Tofu, which released August 1. To save his pack and the entire Northeast Region from someone who wants to destroy them, Tobias Rogan must change the protocols and ceremonies established over decades. Otherwise his friends and allies might die—at each other’s hands.
Try the Tofu is available from MLR Press, and third-party e-tailers. To find out more about me and my books, please visit my website, friend me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @KarennaColcroft.
I’m also hanging out this week at The Romance Studio’s 10th Anniversary Party; you can check me out along with many other amazing authors.
One commenter on this post will win a PDF copy of Try the Tofu. Leave a comment and I’ll draw a winner on September 21.
As he and his mate Kyle Slidell prepare to travel to Pennsylvania for the twice-yearly regional Alpha gathering, Tobias Rogan knows something will go wrong. His fears are proven correct when a visiting werewolf from another region challenges Arkhon Zane Wolfskin for leadership of the Northeast--and wins.
Tobias and his allies learn the challenge was part of a larger plan to destroy their region, and Tobias will not allow it to happen. But can he defeat the new Arkhon and take charge of the region himself?
EXCERPT:“Hello, Arkhon.” Zane gave me a reassuring smile as I approached the group. “You did the right thing.”
“Thanks.” I hesitated as an idea came to me, but now wasn’t the time to voice it. I would have to speak with Zane privately a bit later.
“I didn’t think you would actually do it.” Devin shook his head. “I agree with Zane. You did the right thing, but I didn’t know if you would go through with it.”
“I couldn’t let the Northeast Region fall the way your pack did.” I held out my hand. Looking surprised, he shook it. “Devin Chambers, you are ruling your pack better than you believe, and you are making positive changes. Some will always question you or blame you for not challenging Saul. Don’t let their opinions affect you. Since you took over that pack, many things have improved, and you will continue to make those improvements as long as you believe in yourself.”
I had no clue where all that came from. It sounded like something Kyle would say in one of his random info-dump moments. But as soon as I said it, I sensed how badly Devin had needed to hear it. He had been thrown into the rank of Alpha of Erie Pack when Zane had stripped Saul of the rank. Although he had done as much as he could for his pack as their Beta, he didn’t believe he had done enough, and neither did some of his pack members. But he had done a huge amount then and even more since he’d taken charge of the pack. Those who had survived the worst of Saul’s abuse had been given access to counseling and other help, and Devin and his Beta had worked hard to rebuild trust.
But Devin questioned himself and felt guilty for not providing help sooner. If I could do anything to change that, even if it was only speaking encouragement to him, I would.
“Thank you, Arkhon,” he said softly.
“You’re welcome, and thank you for everything you’ve done for your pack.” I looked at Justin. “Old friend, if you get all formal and shit on me, I’ll scream.”
He laughed. “Only when required, Tobias. Damn, Boston isn’t going to be the same without you, you know.”
“I’m not going to be the same without Boston.” I would miss the city that had become my home shortly before my eighteenth birthday, but I couldn’t change what I’d done. And I could visit. Zane had spent his share of time there over the past several months, even though it had mostly been to put out the fires started by Saul Hughes. I would have chances to go back once in a while to see my friends and check in with my former pack.
“I’ll do everything I can to help Boston North adjust,” Justin said. “You know that.”
“I know. I just don’t know about the changes in rank.” Kirk wasn’t suited to lead. Harriet had been very vocal about not wanting to ever become Beta, and she would be the only female Beta in the Northeast Region, which might be problematic for her and for the pack as a whole.
I couldn’t make every single decision right then, but part of my mind went off percolating possible solutions to those problems.
“I’m staying with you,” Kyle said. “You aren’t getting rid of me just because you’re the Grand Poobah Wolfie Dude.”
I laughed. “I was hoping you’d say that. You’ll have to petition Kirk for permission to leave the pack, you know. I won’t overrule him.” Even though I had that power, I wanted the alphas to know they still had the right to run their packs as they saw fit. I might not agree with what they did, but I would support them in doing it. I doubted Kirk would have any issues with Kyle leaving Boston North anyway, but I couldn’t make the assumption.
“Yeah, I know.” He grinned. “I think I’m too much of a brat for Kirk.”
“Entirely possible.” I gave him a stern look that was almost entirely fake. “Don’t be disrespectful to your Alpha. Or your Arkhon.”
“Sorry, Arkhon.” His eyes twinkled as he looked down.