Ooooh, I got a really good werewolf short story for you today!!! You know I just LOVE the werewolves 😉 It’s a good one too 🙂 Lemme show ya!
Out of the Shadows
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Release Date March 4
Relegated to a shadowy existence of half-truths, Gwendolyn lives in fear her wolf side will be discovered. She leaves the Old Country with Hunters nipping at her heels, but things in the Americas aren’t any better. Eighteenth-century society is just not kindly disposed to either shifters or witches.
Mikhail, the love of her life—except the relationship always felt pretty one-sided—has been missing for a hundred years. When he shows up after escaping imprisonment from an Abbey in Austria, Gwendolyn is ecstatic to see him. But she’s afraid nothing’s really changed. Victimized by superstition and running for her life, she’s sure she’ll never be able to emerge from the shadows.
The full moon rode low in the sky, clinging to the horizon far longer than it should have. A blood-red cast made it eerie and threatening somehow. Gwendolyn threw back her head and howled along with all the other wolves in her shifter pack, but something about the moon was so ominous that hackles rose along her back.
High, wailing shrieks, shrill as banshee cries, split the night. Her nostrils flared, scenting the air. Humans. Humans had found them. Not humans, Hunters. Humans wouldn’t interfere with a wolf pack as large as hers. They’d be torn to bits reloading their muskets, and they knew it. Before she was even done thinking, Gwendolyn put her head down and ran, keeping to the shadows of a thick Austrian forest.
Shots rang out, lending her speed she hadn’t realized she was capable of. Howls, growls, and snarls faded as she put distance between herself and the ambush. Her breath left white plumes in the cold night air. She kept running. It was what they were supposed to do. She’Lara, the One Wolf and their leader, had said it often enough. “Do not let yourselves be captured. Hunters will bind you with iron and interrogate you. When they are done, they will kill you. Better to die free.”
She didn’t know how long she ran. Her wolf side wasn’t any good at judging things like that. She stumbled and knew how tired she was. Her flanks heaved as she willed herself to keep going. The scent and sound of rushing water filled her senses. She realized it had been there for a while, but she’d been so focused on possible pursuers she hadn’t been paying attention. Without warning, the earth before her fell away. She stuck out both forelegs to break her fall, skidding on her haunches. It didn’t help. She tumbled down a steep embankment right into the muddy Danube.
Her thick wolf’s coat shielded her from the water’s chill as she let the river carry her downstream. If anyone was looking for escapees from her pack, a few more miles between her and the Hunters wouldn’t hurt.
Gwendolyn clawed at the bank and pulled herself out of the water. The sky was lightening in the east. Shifting in broad daylight was risky. It upped the odds of discovery. Given the surprise attack, staying in wolf form didn’t feel any too safe, either. She shook herself from head to tail tip and then did it again. Clothes would be a problem. She’d left hers near where her shifter pack had gathered—miles from her present location.
She looked at the sky again and made her decision. She did not want to ride out the coming daylight hours as a wolf. Smoke stung her sensitive nostrils. That meant people lived nearby. Melting into the deeper darkness between two gnarled oaks, she gave her body the command to shift. The first thing she noticed was how cold she was. And a sharp thorn under one of her feet. Human bodies were fragile. Because her wolf self had been wet, her human form was too, which meant her long, copper-colored hair clung to her head and shivering body.
Good. Maybe I can tell whoever I find that I fell into the river and nearly drowned.
Yes, but that won’t explain why I’m naked.
Sitting still would be a death sentence. She’d freeze. It was late autumn. Even if the sun did come out around mid-morning, it wouldn’t carry much warmth. Gwendolyn took off at a trot, cursing as rocks and brambles cut into her feet. Nostrils twitching, she scented the air for the smoke she’d smelled as a wolf, but couldn’t find it. She shut her eyes. What direction had it come from? Where there was smoke, there were bound to be people.
“Lady!” A man dressed in tanned deer hide breeches and jacket stepped noiselessly out of a thicket. His dark eyes were wide and shocked. Blond hair hung down his shoulders and an unkempt blond beard obscured the bottom half of his face. “What has happened to you?”
She shielded her body as best she could with her hands. “I fell in the river a long ways upstream. I-I must have hit my head and passed out. When I finally pulled myself from the Danube, it was just back there.” She jerked her head over one shoulder, not wanting to move her hands.
“Where are your clothes?”
She felt color rise from chest to face. “If you must know, my husband took them. He was angry because I did not make supper last night.”
The man’s blond brows drew together. “And did he perchance help you into the river?”
Gwen hung her head and nodded. This was going even better than she’d hoped.
“Here.” He tugged his leather top over his head. “Put this on. It should cover your, ah, woman’s parts.”
“Thank you.” She pulled it on. It smelled of sweat and poor tanning, but at least it was warm.
“I have a place not far from here. My wife will find clothes for you.”
“Thank you again.”
* * * *
Gwendolyn dug in the dirt next to her front door and came up with a key. She shoved it in the lock and let herself inside. Her feet were cut and bruised, but the rest of her seemed none the worse for wear. It had taken her the better part of two days to walk home. She would have made better time if she’d shifted, but didn’t know if she could risk it.
Herbert, the man who’d rescued her, and his wife, Isolde, had been more than kind. She’d stayed with them for a few days, working off the debt she would incur once she left with an item or two from Isolde’s meager wardrobe. Like many country dwellers, Isolde had only a single pair of shoes. She’d offered them, but Gwendolyn had refused. It was bad enough she’d taken one of the woman’s two dresses.
She lit a fire in the stove and then went outside to pump water from the well. She needed to bathe; she could smell herself. As she worked, she realized how lucky she’d been. She hadn’t been raped or set upon by highwaymen. And she was still alive. She wondered how many of her shifter pack had survived.
Nostalgia washed over her. She thought back to when she’d been truly young. Shifters were free to be themselves then. No one persecuted them. They could take their animal form without fear. She’d been born in 1263. It was now the year of our Lord, 1621. “Not my Lord,” she muttered, annoyed with herself for using the phrase even in her thoughts. Gwendolyn wasn’t young anymore, but she expected to live another several hundred years. Shifters had long lives—unless they spent too much time in their animal form.
YAY!!! Ok, so when you read this short story, I hope you cheer as much as I did. And you know, it’s not terribly short, it’s just not a huge novel either. However, I will say this, it’s felt like reading a true novel. There’s plenty in it to keep you busy and a ton of things happening 🙂 But I won’t have a huge review, because then I would just spoil things for you!
Gwendolyn is very cool with being a female werewolf. However, she is very not cool with all the crazy hunters killing her kind. And when some serious trouble hits home, not only is she terrified but she’s in trouble. She is separated from her pack and a lot of them are missing or killed and she must move, run, go, just to stay alive! And worse, the love of her life has been missing for a while now.
This is quite the interesting twist on fairy tales and werewolves, and even shifters in general. First, they don’t have alphas, they have “the one” which has a special name, but due to spoilerish things, I will say ‘the one” LOL and then, they are also not crazy strong or really fast in their human forms, though they do get some sight and smell amplifications. And there’s rules about mating that I wasn’t used to… WAY TO BE DIFFERENT!!! 🙂 You guys know I love differentness!
I will say there’s definitely some suspense, and some romance, and some paranormal, but mostly it’s written beautifully. I am also not usually a historical type fan. But, I loved this story! It’s got the perfect story outline, and it was a quick read. With a very happy ending, at least for me 🙂 You should all read it! LOL 5 WOLFISH PAWS!!! hehehehehe wolfish, get it!? 😉
I just want to thank you again so much for taking the time to answer questions for my blog!
Thank you for hosting me. I really appreciate it and I’m honored to be on your blog.
WELCOME!!! First, tell me a little about your book :)….
It’s a historical paranormal romance set in 1700’s Salem. Here’s the blurb.
Relegated to a shadowy existence of half-truths, Gwendolyn lives in fear her wolf side will be discovered. She leaves the Old Country with Hunters nipping at her heels, but things in the Americas aren’t any better. Eighteenth-century society is just not kindly disposed to either shifters or witches. Mikhail, the love of her life—except the relationship always felt pretty one-sided—has been missing for a hundred years. When he shows up after escaping imprisonment from an Abbey in Austria, Gwendolyn is ecstatic to see him. But she’s afraid nothing’s really changed. Victimized by superstition and running for her life, she’s sure she’ll never be able to emerge from the shadows.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I’ve written one thing or another all my life, starting with poetry when I was in high school and writing for the school paper. Writing fiction began years later and has turned into a “retirement” career for me. I’ve always loved stories, though, so it’s felt like a good “fit” for me—at least so far.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
My first book, Echo of Hope, was set in a dystopian near future. Like many of my stories, it had environmental underpinnings. It never went anywhere for lots of very good reasons. I recently rewrote it, chopped the word count by about fifty percent, and sold it to Desert Breeze Publishing. It will be out as a “new adult” fantasy novel, Fortune’s Scion, this coming July.
Stories run around in my head while I backpack and climb. They’re the inspiration for what I write. Sometimes they have to do with the mountains, sometimes not.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of the experiences in my books come from my own life or from the lives of those near and dear to me. While the Internet has made it very easy to research things, I prefer to write about what I can picture in my mind. Because I was a practicing psychologist for many years, I’ve heard quite a variety of stories. That background has helped me develop realistic characters with motivations that hold true.
How do you choose when/which characters die in your books?
Ah, excellent question. Since I’m a total failure at plotting out my books, I often don’t discover a character is on his/her way out until it happens. When I started writing, it was tough for me to even injure my characters. That I managed to kill some blew me away. I won’t tell who or which book(s), though, as it would be quite the plot spoiler.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are some “new to me” authors I’ve fallen in love with. Kate MacAlister, Nalini Singh, and Karen Marie Moning come to mind.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
Gulp. Almost all of them! It’s a tough business. The reading public has fickle tastes. I’m always humbly grateful whenever I sell a book. Whoever bought it could have spent their money on many other books, yet they picked mine.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Well, of course, I’d like to know what happens next. Out of the Shadows ends at a certain point. Some plot threads are resolved, but others are still up in the air. That’s one of the challenges with writing novellas. They’re short, so I don’t get quite the opportunities for plot development and progression I’d get in a full length work.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Characters have always come easy to me. It’s plot and pacing I struggle with. I have a list of “no-no” words and I always go through my manuscripts culling them out. That’s not my favorite part of writing, but it’s really important.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I’m reading Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. It’s a paranormal romance featuring a wonderfully hot alpha leopard shifter. Before that, I read You Slay Me by Kate MacAlister. That’s another paranormal romance with a dragon shifter.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
Liquid Silver Books has a number of cover artists. Lynn Perkins did this one. I’m quite fond of it. Lynn paints her covers, rather than using stock art. It gives her the ability to create moods really well.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
Oh my, if I listed everything I’ve learned from writing, you’d never want to post this interview. The short list is I’ve learned grace, humility and persistence. The publishing world is brutal. It helps to have a strong ego and a good sense of self before tossing your literary children out into the world. The next most important lesson has been teamwork. “Pay it forward” is ever so important. I’ll do whatever I can to help other writers. They may not repay me in a quid pro quo, but I believe in karma. Someone will!
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
I’d be Lara McInnis in my Transformation Series. She’s a psychologist just like me, but she’s also psychic. It shouldn’t come as a surprise I built a character that had something I’ve always wanted!
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
We all have such different tastes, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. My husband reads military history and science fiction. I enjoy scifi myself and just about all fantasy genres, though I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I also love romance. When I grew up, they gave us lots of books in literature classes that were “good for us.” I liked some better than others. What we like to read is a reflection of our personalities and life experiences. One size does not fit all which is probably a good thing given the enormous numbers and kinds of books that are available.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’d like to thank them for stopping by your blog to read this interview. I’d welcome an opportunity to get to know them better. My website, www.anngimpel.com/ has a contact tab. Another way to reach me is through my blog. http://anngimpel.blogspot.com
About the Author
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)
Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers her solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.
Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.
In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.
I sure hope you guys check this author out, she has written lots, as I know I will be reading more from her now! 🙂 And I also hope you enjoyed today 🙂 Happy Reading everyone and Later gators!