Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shift into Action with Guest Blogger Amber Kallyn

Win your choice of an autographed poster, book bag, ball cap, or coffee mug! Meet paranormal author Amber Kallyn, too!

Here's what she had to say about writing shifter stories...

I love reading about shapeshifters. When authors take me to a new world (even if it’s only slightly different from our own) I feel the entire experience. Well done stories make me believe werewolves and dragons really exist.

So it only made sense to write about them.

One of the more complex and difficult things about the craft of writing fantasy, at least for me, is the world building.

Not necessarily coming up with ideas, but more the rules and consistency.

In a world with shapeshifters, readers don’t seem to expect, or even need, a breakdown of how characters can change their form into an animal. That’s just accepted as a given.

It’s the outside elements.

Do your shifters change with or without clothes?

Is it fast or slow?


Does it take a lot of energy, or can your character come out of the shift with no toll, get right up and kick bad guy ass?

When writing about shifters, I look at all these questions and so many more.

In my Dragos series, my shifters can shift with their clothes on. I got this idea from the wonderful Deborah Cooke, who explains it nicely as a power that comes with practice.

My dragons can do it with practice and age.

I wrote a tiger shifter story, and they do not shift with clothes on.

Most of my shifter can change shape quickly. It takes energy, but it’s minimal -- less with age and power, more for newbies. My characters fight both as human and animal.

The great thing about the answers to these type of questions about magic and the world is how they can become plot points.

For example, in Dragos book 1: Burned, my main character Calla doesn’t have the ability to shift with her clothes. This works well since the story is erotic romance :)

Book 2: Scorched, is about her older brother, Garreth. He has the age and the power to keep his clothes on. I wrote a scene where he’s fighting off some wild wolves. He doesn’t want to hurt them, though as a dragon, it would be easy.

After he runs them off, he shifts back to human form.

“Yips and howls rose in the air, before the group finally came to their senses and dashed away.
The cold penetrated his scales. He trudged to the porch, shifting back to his human form as he went. The frackin tight sweatpants seemed in worse shape than before, though he usually had full command of his clothing when he changed.”

Some call these elements, devices, or world building.

I just call them story.

When building a fantasy world, there are many questions an author should answer about the magicks and abilities of the characters.

The science should be understood by the author, even if it never makes it into the story. Only in this way, will the consistency be there to transport readers into a world where such things can truly exist.

A Note from the Book Boost: I love shifters too. Wrote about a mountain lion shifter in my book Soul Searcher, but I love to read about different types of shifters. Dragons are hot! No pun intended. Please tell us more about your book.


When Calla, a dragon shifter, heads to a sleepy mountain town to investigate their recent arson outbreak, she doesn't expect to come face to face with the dark dragon who killed her mother, or find her destined mate beneath the burning rays of the moon. Firefighter Scott O'Neil can't fight his attraction to her, even after he finds out what she is, and the shocking secret of his own past.


The Other was here.

Lowering the truck window, Calla Dragos sniffed the chilly afternoon. Pine trees, asphalt. All overshadowed by the distinct stench of sulfur. Her stomach lurched, vileness rising to choke her. As she drove into the blink of a town, it grew stronger, overpowering all other senses.

Drawing closer to the Jasper Fire Department, she focused on keeping her clammy hands on the wheel, her concentration on the light traffic. Keeping her foot on the gas pedal, rather than slamming the brakes and fleeing.

How could he be here?

It was bad enough her job as an arson investigator brought her to this small, mountaintop town of Jasper, Arizona. Bad enough she’d left her family behind in the midst of yet another argument about her independence. The possibility of facing Eric brought tremors to her body.

Parking her cherry red pickup in front of the station, Calla shaded her eyes from the late afternoon sun and searched the colorful wood-front buildings. The stench faded.

Eric marked her, then fled. Like a coward. And he was a coward. She needed to remember that fact. Otherwise, the fear coiling in her heart would drive her batty.

After a couple deep breaths, she calmed the nausea a little. She could do this. She would do this. And if that bastard decided to show up, she’d face him with all her strength.

Calla stepped from the truck on shaky legs, smoothed her navy skirt and slipped on the matching jacket. Reaching across the seat, she grabbed her oversized black bag, which held a notebook, pens and her kit. After another soothing breath, filling her lungs with the crisp mountain air, she headed around the corner to the firemen’s entrance.

Giggles drew her attention to a group of teenage girls scantily dressed. And the man they huddled near.

In nothing but low-slung jeans, the top button carelessly undone, the man gave off the rugged air of a male underwear model with a sexy, take me to your bedroom now look. His blond hair, slightly too long for a clean-cut look, dripped water, from a recent shower maybe. Or a drenching with the hose. The scruff on his chin, a shade darker than his hair, enhanced the bad boy aura.

Gods, he was just like Petey. Playboy and chick magnet, an older version of her youngest brother.

“So can we have your autograph? Please?” one of the girls begged, her voice high. The other girls giggled some more.

“Certainly, ladies.” The man’s voice was as smoky and smooth as his gray eyes.

His gaze flicked to Calla. The intensity shooting from his eyes made her tense, caught like a rabbit in the headlights. His lips twitched. A flush spread up her cheeks. Calla stared at her feet, hurrying along the flower-bordered sidewalk. Before she reached the door, the teen girls filed past, happily waving calendars with mostly naked men.

Figured. A playboy, just like Petey. Which month was he?

Bare feet filled her view. She took in the long, jean-clad legs, the scruff of hair above the gaping waistband. A blond trail led up a golden, ripped abdomen and chest, to dark eyes. This close, flecks of green and blue mixing with the gray were visible.

His scent, suntan lotion and hay, punched into her, dissipating the last remains of the sulfur.

Her libido woke and started clamoring. She gritted her teeth. Not why she was here. And besides, she had no business being attracted to this man. This human.

“Howdy, ma’am.” He tipped an imaginary hat, a lusty smile twitching at his lips.

“Excuse me,” she replied, her voice steady and cool, the payoff from years of practice working around other untouchable hunks. “I need to see the fire chief.”

Something unreadable flashed in his gaze and the smirk disappeared. “What would a beautiful woman like you want with him?”

“Frankly, it’s none of your business.” Knowing the best way to turn him off, she put a hand to her hip, jutted her chin and raked her gaze over his long, lean form. Unfortunately, her normal barriers weren’t working. The only thing she wanted to do was reach out and touch his glistening tanned skin. Instead, she added in a sharp tone, “Let me guess. Mr. October.”

His face hardened, all amusement fleeing. The playboy took a step back as if she’d actually offended him. Then, his grin came back, along with a devil-may-care shrug. “Actually,” he drawled, “I’m December. I wanted a Santa hat on my lap, not a pumpkin.” Leaning closer, his minty breath a whisper on her cheek, he added, “Why? You need a calendar?”

Want More Amber?

Visit her website here: www.AmberKallyn.com
Or her blog here: http://amberkallyn.wordpress.com/

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here!

Contest time:

Leave a question or comment for Amber to be entered to win your choice of prizes. Choose from the following: Autographed poster (11x13) of the Dragos: Burned cover, book bag, ball cap or coffee mug. International winners will receive an emailed gift. Winner selected in about a week and posted in the Recent Winners box on the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize.


*yadkny* said...

Hi Amber!
I love reading about shapeshifters too! I can see where it would be a tedious process when world building because there are so many things that need to be considered and even the most minute detail could be important.

Dragos sounds like a great read! Awesome sexually charged tension filled excerpt:)


TheWaldos said...


I have a question. Why did you decide to use a dragon in your shifter books? What other animals/creatures have you used?

Thanks for a great post!


Amber Kallyn said...

Hey *yadkny*,

Thanks :)

Amber Kallyn said...


I've always enjoyed stories about dragons. My idea for this series came from wondering what would happen if a dragon fell for a fireman?

I have a tiger shifter series I'm shopping around, as well as other great cats, wolves, and I have ideas for gryffons and gargoyles :)

Basically, I'm all over the place.

~ Amber