Best in Show
Solitary mystery writer Julian Wilkes doesn’t want a pet, but his sister persuades him to visit Lingwood Animal Rescue, where he is immediately taken with a large ginger tabby cat. Before he can settle into the joys of cat ownership, however, he discovers something very unusual about his new companion.
Macavity Birch is cursed. By day he is a large tabby cat. At night he can be himself—a human male with ginger hair and oddly yellow eyes. He didn’t mean to end up in the animal rescue, but he never meant any harm when playing the prank that resulted in his curse, either. Happily, Julian adopts him. But while exploring his host’s home, he discovers the diary of a long-dead relative.
Unfortunately, not all of Mac’s ancestors are dead and buried. His great-great-great-grandmother is very much alive, and she’s a powerful witch who doesn’t take kindly to the sharing of family secrets. When Mac reveals himself to Julian in order to save him from bigger trouble, he achieves just the opposite, plunging Julian deeper into a magical mystery with him.
This was so freaking adorable! Julien is a lonely writer in a serious rut. He hasn’t written a thing in three years after a break up leaves everything inside him stale. His sister pushes him to adopt a dog, he ends up adopting a cat and that’s where the magic begins… literally!
This love story has a twist. In this world witches are absolutely real and living next door. Mac isn’t your normal house cat and the irony that he and Julien become paired is awesome.
Fate, magic and love. Three things this sweet novella has that work brilliantly together. Kelly Jensen has written an angst free, exciting and fun story that you’ll absolutely fall in love with! Who doesn't love a big dose of magic and fantasy with their reality? Bravo!!
(Best in Show) Behind the Book
I haven’t written a paranormal story before, but I have plotted a few. They usually include aliens. I’ve written a lot of stories about aliens. For this one, though, I wanted to remain earthbound and explore a different take on the relationship between cats and witches. So I married a kitty cat shifter to a witch and then sat down to write a story about one of the kids, Macavity Birch.
From there, I posed the question writers have been asking for centuries: What if?
For this story in particular, I asked: What would happen if Macavity (stuck in cat form) finds himself locked away in an animal shelter?
This of course raises a bunch of other questions, and answering those is how I usually write my first synopsis, which is a couple of paragraphs of story idea. Why is Mac in the animal shelter? Why can’t he change into a human while he’s there? Does he get adopted? By whom? What happens next?
What happens next is that mystery writer Julian Wilkes finds himself a cat he doesn’t really want, a story he really does want to write, and the guy he’s been waiting two years to meet.
I wanted this to be a fun story. I don’t read a lot of paranormal, but most of what I have read is decidedly dark. Fangs and blood rites and people dying. So I decided to take a sort of contemporary approach. Best in Show has a lot of paranormal elements—cat shifters and curses—but if you take that away, it’s about two guys who are stuck in place.
After catching his previous boyfriend in bed with another man, Julian’s a little bruised. He can admit he ignored some vital clues regarding his faltering relationship for a while, but he’s yet to forgive and forget. He hasn’t moved on. As a result, he’s making a mess of his career. He hasn’t written a book in two years.
Mac is a practical joker. He’s a classic example of the overlooked middle child. On the one hand, he’s crying out for attention, on the other, he’s hoping no one looks too closely, because he hasn’t figured out what he wants to do with his life yet. He is sick of his family telling him to grow up, though. When his latest prank backfires and he ends up cursed to remain in cat form while the sun is up, he gets in a lot of thinking time.
Then he meets Julian.
These guys are so meant to be. In a way, their meeting is predestined, which is a wonderful paranormal trope. But once they meet and attraction is confirmed, it’s up to them to figure out what to do with it. Julian needs some fun in his life. Mac needs some stability. They both also desperately need something and someone to fight for, to make them shake off their complacency and get on with it.
Really, the magical mystery part of this story is just a bonus. But I had a ton of fun with it and I can’t wait to expand upon this world while continuing Julian and Mac’s love story.
You can read an excerpt of Best in Show here. Follow the tour for more excerpts, my take on shifter lore, Julian’s favourite recipe and a magical playlist—and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win copies of my previous novellas with Dreamspinner Press and a $25 credit at the Dreamspinner Press store.
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. A lot of what she writes is speculative in nature, but sometimes it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
Prize: A copy of When Was the Last Time and Out in the Blue plus a $25 credit at the Dreamspinner Press store.
Terms: Rafflecopter runs from 12:00 AM EST 7/23/2016 to 12:00 AM EST 8/3/2016. Giveaway is open internationally. Gift card value is US dollars. Winner will be contacted via email.
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