Saturday, June 14, 2008

Should an avian shifter have a strong sense of smell?

The Forbidden Chamber, my gothic paranormal manuscript--previously known as Bluebeard's Hunger, is a story with Raven shapeshifters. Even though shifters aren't real, an understanding of birds and Ravens in particular adds an authentic layer to the story. For instance, if I had my avian shifters breathing under water, it might throw the reader out of the story. Right?

Of note, Ravens are monogamous, as much as any animal, and mate for life. They are incredibly intelligent and use "tools". They have complex societal structures with various responsibilities within the flock. A flock of Ravens used to be called an unkindness, but that term is no longer common.

There is debate on whether birds have sense of smell, but research has found that some homing pigeons do have a heightened sense of smell, though they do not rely on it for "homing". I have a hunt scene, and since I do have a fantasy creature, I have decided that in this gothic tale, the heightened sense of smell works well with a strong shifter race.

Since there is debate on the extent of bird olfactory senses, during the scene, I spend some time reinforcing how scenting works. I think it adds to the idea of homing to a life mate. It's a strong concept that helps create a bond between the hero and heroine.

Isn't research fun?

Some of my resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvus_%28genus%29
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/printable/raven.html
http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Avian_Sense.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_8_168/ai_n15393211

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bluebeard's Hunger

Bluebeard's Hunger, now titled The Forbidden Chamber, is a finalist in two contests:
* Finalist, 2008 Royal Ascot (Hot and Wild Regency)
The Beau Monde
* Finalist, 2008 12th Annual Dixie First Chapter Contest (Paranormal)
The Magnolia State Romance Writers


This manuscript has also placed in two other contests. Let me just say that I'm honored, and this gives me confidence that one day, with more hard work, this manuscript will find a home. I greatly appreciate all of the efforts of judges in RWA chapter contests. The feedback I've gotten has been invaluable. I get out my shaker of salt when I look at the comments (after all, I do get diametrically opposed suggestions), but every time I take a critical eye and beat this work with a sledge hammer, it gets better.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen

Unique!
This is a superbly built paranormal world with real characters. The love vs. the end of the world crisis is believable and heart wrenching. Excellent read.

The Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen
(Novels of the Final Prophecy, Book 1)
The exciting debut of a new paranormal romance series

As a Miami narcotics detective, Leah Daniels never knows how her day will turn out. But she certainly never expected to be strapped to a stone altar, the human sacrifice in an ancient Mayan ritual meant to coax up a demon from the underworld. Or that she’d be saved by a handsome warrior-priest king who claims to recognize her from his visions...

Jaguar Strike wishes he hadn’t made the mistake of reuniting his fellow warrior priests, or broken the law by saving their chosen human sacrifice. Now, he has no choice but to join forces with Leah and invoke dangerous magic in a death-defying race against the end of time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Teach Me Tonight: IASPR and JPRS: Call for PEOPLE

A peer reviewed journal is being put together for the academic study of the Romance genre. This is something to watch, and I hope they have great success:
Teach Me Tonight: IASPR and JPRS: Call for PEOPLE