A warm welcome to author J.Leigh Bailey joining us today to talk about her new release “Chasing Thunderbird”. J.Leigh shares some of her favorite paranormal romances, shares an exclusive excerpt and brought a wonderful giveaway!
Welcome J.Leigh 🙂
I’d like to start with a big “Thank you!” to Dani at Love Bytes for having me here today to celebrate the upcoming release of Chasing Thunderbird, the second book in my Shifter U paranormal series.
I’ve always been a huge fan of paranormal romance, no matter what the paranormal affiliation of the characters. Vampires? Love ‘em. Angels, demons, and fairies? Bring ‘em on. Mythological creatures? Can’t get enough of ‘em. While I dig a dark and dangerous world full of brooding alpha supernatural creatures, I have a soft spot for the light-hearted and fun. So in honor of the release of Chasing Thunderbird—the second book in my quirky paranormal series—I’m going to share some of my all-time favorite quirky paranormal romances.
- No one does quirky, over-the-top paranormal romance and urban fantasy like Darynda Jones. Her Charley Davidson series is laugh-out-loud funny, with a heroine who is both irreverent and crazy, but still has a depth of character that is admirable. Jones manages to straddle the edge of slap-stick funny while at the same time introducing traumatic and angsty issues. Charley, the main character, is a grim reaper (and a little more, but I don’t want to say more without spoiling some of the later books) who falls in love with the son of Satan. The books include a lovable cast of characters who are just quirky and lovable in their own way, but who provide the perfect foil for Charley. The first book in the series is FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT and I highly encourage people who like a dash of romantic comedy with their paranormal to give it a shot.
- I can’t talk about fun/funny paranormal romance, especially in the M/M genre, without showcasing Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series. Like Jones, Cochet manages the perfect mix of ridiculousness and seriousness. The not-quite-human characters are shifters (which I adore) but they are unlike any shifters I’ve read before. With an origin story and world-building based on experimentation with biological warfare during the Viet Nam War era, this series is unique. Throw in a dash of action/adventure and a pinch of suspense, and you’ve got a series to die for. I’ll admit, when someone first recommended it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then I read the first book—HELL & HIGH WATER—and immediately binged on the next four books. Now I wait impatiently with the rest of the THIRDS Nerds for each new release.
- Depending on your definition of “paranormal,” an argument could be made that my next favorite isn’t paranormal, but more akin to fantasy, but with talking unicorns, sexually aggressive dragons, and magic, it seems pretty “para” to me. I fell in love with T.J. Klune’s THE LIGHTNING-STRUCK HEART within the first paragraph. No, actually, I fell in love at the title of the first chapter: “The Villain Monologues.” The voice is awe-inspiring, the world-building is fantastic, and the characters are exciting, vibrant pieces of a colorful, epic tale. I admire the way Klune manages to break your heart and make you cry, even as he charms you and makes you laugh out loud. I am (almost literally) holding my breath for the fourth book to come out.
- You can’t throw around phrases like “quirky paranormal romance books” without mentioning Molly Harper. No paranormal creature is safe, between her Jane Jameson series, her Naked Werewolf series, and her Half-Moon Hollow series we meet vampires, werewolves, witches and more. These books are ridiculously charming, entertaining, and sexy.
- Eli Easton is another author who doesn’t rely on the supernatural canon that exists. Her Howl at the Moon series flips the typical shifter trope on its head. Instead of humans who can shift into dogs, her Quickened are dogs who have gained the ability to become human. I love how Easton incorporates the traits of specific dog breeds into the characters to make them believable but not absurd. The second book in the series—HOW TO WALK LIKE A MAN—is my favorite. I fell in love with Roman and the way he tried to come to terms with what it means to be human, especially while dealing with his new life’s purpose and his grief over the death of his human handler from his military days.
This list is in no way all-inclusive. There are so many great quirky paranormal authors (Charlaine Harris, Lynsay Sands, Mary Janice Davidson, Thea Harrison, R. Cooper, etc.). And there are tons of authors who excel at the dark, deep, angsty paranormals that keep me up at night. I love those too. 🙂
**GIVEAWAY** I will gift someone an ebook copy of any book by one of the five authors I’ve listed above to a random winner who comments (winner’s choice). But you have to tell me—What do you look for in a paranormal romance? A particular tone or trope? A certain supernatural “creature”? Who’s your go-to paranormal author favorites? Giveaway will close on 2/17.
A Shifter U Tale
A legendary love.
Ornithology professor Simon Coleman’s reputation is at risk, and the only way to save his name is to prove thunderbirds are more than creatures of Native American myth. Grad student and part-time barista Ford Whitney has a lot on his plate, but it’s also his duty to make sure the resident bird nerd doesn’t discover shape-shifters—like himself—live on campus.
When a series of incidents related to Simon’s search put him in harm’s way, Ford’s instincts kick in, and they become closer than is strictly proper for student and teacher. Ford is forced to reveal his secrets to Simon, and their relationship is put to the test—Simon must choose between salvaging his reputation and protecting the man who protected him….
“I look like a kid playing dress-up in his daddy’s suit.” I spoke the words aloud as I stared at my image in the mirror. I was too skinny, the suit too boxy. I hadn’t planned to don the suits until classes started next week, but today I had to do damage control. The suit was step one. It was overkill, absolutely. A lot of professors didn’t wear suits, and they especially didn’t wear suits on nonschool days when their only responsibility was to set up their offices.
But after the fiasco of an interview with the student magazine, I desperately needed to make up some lost ground.
They told me it was going to be a “meet-the-faculty” article, a chance to introduce the newest professor in the biology department. It turned into an exposé about the geeky child-genius who believed in myths and magic.
Admittedly, I was a bit of a geek.
And sure, I’d earned my PhD by the time I turned twenty.
But I absolutely did not believe in myths and magic.
I glanced at my phone, where the display showcased Cody College’s e-magazine with the banner headline “Chasing Thunderbird: New Professor, Dr. Simon Coleman, Seeks to Prove Existence of Mythical Creature.”
Thunderbirds, I told myself, were not a myth. I ran water over my comb, then tried to flatten the pale blond spikes of my hair in an attempt to look a little older, a little more professional.
Technically thunderbirds were cryptids, which were entirely different than fictitious beasts. Just because scientific evidence did not yet exist to support the existence of the massive birds didn’t mean they weren’t real. There was plenty of anecdotal evidence, some of which came from my own family, to suggest otherwise. It was hard enough to be taken seriously as a scientist when I didn’t look old enough to vote without adding “believes in fairy tales” to the mix. Cryptozoology was a personal interest of mine, but enough people considered it at best a pseudoscience, and at worst drug-induced imaginings, that I’d intended to keep my research and my family history private.
But that poor excuse for a journalist managed to dig up my family’s sadly overpublicized quest. I could state unequivocally that I was never going to be a fan of the reporter—a sophomore journalism major named David Sherman.
Which all led to me wearing an unflattering suit in a dingy bathroom on the third floor of the science building, trying to find a way to salvage my reputation.
I dropped the comb into the sink, straightening my shoulders. I smoothed my hands down the lapels of the starchy gray fabric. I could do this. Impressing college faculty was something I’d been doing for the last decade.
My closet-sized office was shoved into the farthest corner of the third floor of the Reynolds Sciences building, surrounded by abandoned storage areas, as far from the stairway as possible. Not convenient. Not welcoming. In fact, it was very cupboard-under-the-stairs, a la Harry Potter.
I wonder if that makes Dr. Tierney Uncle Vernon?
My phone pinged, the alarm I’d set to make sure I made it to my meeting with Dr. Tierney, the biology department chair, on time. Wouldn’t want to be late to my ass-chewing.
I escaped the rust- and mildew-decorated bathroom and made my way down the dim hallway. Did I mention the flickering lights that almost illuminated the dingy hallway?
I ignored the elevator, dashing down the stairs to the well-lit second level, where the rest of the faculty offices were located. My shoes squeaked on the polished tile flooring. I glanced down and cringed. Damn it. I’d worn my red Converse high-tops. I’d been so busy fuming about that stupid article, I hadn’t paid any attention to which shoes I put on. Needless to say, red Converse high-tops did not convey the professional, responsible, grown-up image I’d been shooting for.
J. Leigh Bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter at https://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.
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