Title: Behind the Eight Ball (Fur, Fangs and Felines #2)
Author Name & Publisher: M.A. Church (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 30, 2015 – 76,000 Words
A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate—a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want—a human: business owner Lawson Dupre.
Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exists. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.
The rustling of dead leaves caught my attention, and I froze with one paw still in the air. Not moving and barely daring to breathe, I waited. My whiskers twitched as a cool October breeze disturbed the scent of decaying leaves and rich soil. The foliage trembled again as something rooted around.
I slowly lowered my paw. The disturbance wasn’t very noticeable except to my predatory gaze. The movement continued. Gradually, bit by bit, I crept forward, making sure my long fur didn’t disturb the surrounding mounds of dying leaves. It was times like these I wished my coat were short like Dolf’s. One thing was for sure—whatever was below those leaves was going to be mine shortly. All I needed was to cover a little more distance and I’d be close enough.
Heart thumping, I watched as the movement continued. My muscles tightened and my bottom started wiggling. Unable to wait, I sprang forward, claws extended. Leaves flew into the air as I landed on my target. Bugs scattered. Eyes narrowed, I searched for…. There! There was the little bugger. I growled at the big black beetle and trapped it with my paw.
Seconds passed. The bug wiggled under my paw, tickling me. Hunched down, I carefully lifted my paw and peeked. Dammit, can’t see. Unable to get a good look, I lifted my paw a little higher… and there it went, scuttling across the ground. Gleefully I slammed a paw down, trying to trap it. Slap. Slap. Slap. Arrgh! What’s the deal? I keep missing.
Looked like I’d found myself in a game of whack-a-mole, except with a beetle. And off we went. The bug scurried away with me hot on its trail. Every time I thought I had a paw on it, I ended up missing. Stupid critter was fast. I bounded along behind as it raced across the ground. Then it suddenly cut back and ran straight under me.
Surprised, I leaped in the air, all four paws coming off the ground. Whoa! Zigged when I should have zagged. I landed and nonchalantly licked a paw. Hope no one saw that. I had to give the bug credit. That was a smart move. The shrill cry of a mockingbird caught my attention. I lifted my head, searching for the little tattletale.
Up in a tree it sat, its warning cries echoing around the yard. I eyed the tree. Hmm, I could climb it, but the stupid bird will probably just take off. Still, might be fun. Maybe after I finished playing with the bug… and damn. The bug.
My attention returned to where it had been, my tail slashing. Great. Lost it. Stupid bird. I sat up and threw a glare over my shoulder at the bird. Standing, I turned my back to the little menace, tail held high. That’s what I think of you, buddy. I prowled around for a while, sniffing, enjoying the coolness of the morning.
In the early morning sunlight, the dew on the grass sparkled like diamonds. Maybe it was pretty, but the stuff was also cold and wet against my paws. I was glad for my fur. As I wandered back toward the house, my stomach growled. I was hungry and… I sniffed. Oh, was that a blue jay I smelled? Oh, oh, a blue jay. Yum.
The human side of me groaned, but the kitty part wanted to jump with joy. The noisy little shits were actually quite intelligent. Catching one was always a feat. Quick as I could, I hid in the bright fall foliage by the back porch. I stayed very, very still so the stupid bird three feet from me didn’t fly off in a panic.
I licked my lips, my whiskers twitching as I watched the little rascal across from me raise its head. Shit, shit, shit. What caught its attention? Come on already. It’s all fine, nothing to worry about here. No cat hanging around. Just go back to pecking around on the ground. Everything’s good. See? I’m not moving, not even breathing.
Crouched low, I waited while my breakfast relaxed and returned to looking for acorns. Other birds came and went, but I refused to get distracted. I knew the one I wanted. Inch by agonizing inch, I crept closer to my prey. My mouth watered and my heart thumped. The chatter of the birds around me was easy and relaxed, no distress calls sounding. That’s right. Just keep on eating. Soon I’m going to be eating you. My body tensed, back legs ready to spring me into action….
And the phone in the house rang.
1) Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
Everywhere and anywhere. LOL.
As of right now, I don’t have a defined writing space. Some days the laptop and I are on the couch in the den. That’s mostly when the hubby’s at work. I like the den, though. It’s bright and sunny, due to all the windows in there. From the couch I can see the pond. Usually Kitty is next to me while I write. When the hubby’s at home, I end up in the bedroom. I sit on the bed, with Kitty curled up at the end of the bed, lol.
2) Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
Hmm. I’d have to say the characters that tend to be a little mouthy, who don’t always think things through, are a bit submissive, are most like me. I’m pretty easy-going, but willing to fight for what I believe in… as do my characters. But if I had to pick one character, I guess it would be Dale from The Harvest. It was a very emotional time for me, and I poured my heart into that character and story. I’ve often said it kept me sane during that time.
3) If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
I’d teach Kindergarten. Of course, that was the job I had before I started this. It’s often a thankless job, but seeing a child light up when he finally understands the concept… You can’t put a monetary value on that.
4) Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
Well, I wish I’d known how encompassing it is. Frankly, in some ways, it’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. There’s just so much to do and learn. It’s ever-changing. I was just reading a thread on how to promote, and the risks associated with it. Like saturating your core audience, and how that can turn readers off.
5) Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
As of right now, no. Now, ask me that October 31, and you may get a totally different answer, LOL. I’m sure there will be something I wish I’d done differently, or said differently, or omitted. There always is!
6) How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
Oh goodness, everywhere and everything. Music, TV, taking a walk, listening to my kids, talking to friends, watching the cat acting like a cat, staring off into space, lol. I’m never short of ideas to write about. It’s a lack of *time* that’s the problem, lol. I’ve said often there needs to be two of me!
7) What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m going to try my hand at a contemporary. The first book put out with Dreamspinner, Priceless, was a contemporary. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten away from that.
8) Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live in the southern US. The grand state of Mississippi. I would definitely say being a Southern gal influences how and what I write. Several of my stories have country boys who like to fish and hunt. I’m not a hunter, but I definitely enjoy fishing. We have a large pond in our backyard, and we often fish back there.
9) What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
I hate to say it, but 90% of the books I read are paranormal. I guess if you threaten to take away the battery charger for my laptop, lol, I would say my next favorite is BDSM. The only problem I have with that is it usually isn’t portrayed realistically.
10) Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
LOL. Unfortunately two years ago I had a major health scare, which resulted in some huge lifestyle changes. I used to smoke, but I just celebrated my two year anniversary of quitting. I still drink soda, but I cut that down to three a day. So now my vices revolve more around things like shopping. It gets me up and out of the house. I guess shoes would be another vice, considering I have twenty-five pair of Yellow Box sandals, lol. And that’s just my summer shoes!
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.
She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013 and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.