Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest Post: Stallion-Shifters, Horror, and "Dark Menagerie" by Lor Rose

Up until now all of my anthology releases have related back to some series of mine... except this one. "The Four of Us", my short for Storm Moon Press' Dark Menagerie, was my first release unrelated to any series I currently have. Well, that's a lie... "The Four of Us" was the first installment of a four part mini-series-thing. The next installment doesn't come out until February (more on that one later).

"The Four of Us" is more mythical than paranormal. I took the legend of the Mares of Diomedes, the Eighth Labour of Hercules, legend and spun it a bit. Stallions of Diomedes sounded much better. Plus, I've seen a hard stallion, and it's like wow. Anyway...

Stallions are more my thing genderly (is that a word?) speaking. You know, 'cause of the penis aspect. It doesn't hurt that I know quite a bit about horses. So why not mix my knowledge of penises and horses? It sounded logically to me.

The story just came to me. At first, I wasn't completely in love it (the outline sucked) but as I wrote, the story got better and better. There was a twist in there I wasn't aware of, and that twist ended up really making the story for me.

"The Four of Us" has a tint of horror. A beta reader of mine said it was straight up horror, and I was completely surprised, since I've never attempted horror before in my life. It might be the 'flesh eating thing' or the 'murder thing', who knows. ;)

I sent off my little flesh eating horses into the Storm Moon Press submissions slush pile (I like to think the slush pile is a snowy happy place where manuscripts go to play and have fun; not a fiery inferno) and waited to hear the verdict. Obviously, I was successful!

This story, along with its counterpart (the one releasing in February), is one of my favorites. I love the concept of taking such beautiful creatures and turning them into equal parts beautiful and horrifying, flesh-eating monsters. Sometimes, juxtaposing the two opposing forces can really bring out the best in both, and I hope that comes across in my story!

My challenge with "The Four of Us" was to create characters the reader could love. Build them up and give them depth... and at the last moment, make them characters readers would hate (in a good way). It wasn't something I set out to do, but I found it happening almost as if my keyboard had been hijacked whenever I blinked. It was scary! But I think I managed the balance well enough. I hope I did. Why don't you guys be the judge? :D

Thank you to Darien and Pants Off Reviews for hosting me today! You guys can read more about the Dark Menagerie anthology below. Check it out!

A shifter leads two lives: one as a human, and one as an animal. Sometimes these lives are intertwined, and sometimes they are not, but always the shifter has to find a way to reconcile one with the other. Dark Menagerie follows characters as they explore the darker side of what it means to have one foot in the animal world and one foot in the human world. Some struggle to keep the animal starkly separate from their lives as a human being, but for others, their shifting leads them to a darker corner of the mind where human and animal are nearly indistinguishable.

First, in Dominant, Kade has left everything he valued in his life behind; his family, his fiancée, his entire future. He tries to make peace with what he has become by running away to a small town, but fails. Then, a monster in a suit walks into his life, a monster just like him. Then, the four in The Four of Us devised a game: pick two humans, lure them in, and hunt them down. The game, the shared thrill of the hunt, was what brought them together, but also what threatens to tear them apart.

Justin, of Horsefeathers, had one job—to get a new Mustang for his boss' ranch. But at the holding pens, he can't look away from a stunning stallion. He isn't at all what the boss wants, but Justin can't say no. He soon learns that he's brought back much more than simply a beautiful horse, and that there are some legends that he wished weren't based in truth. Finally, Breathe concerns a young dolphin shapeshifter who has to deal with his own hateful feelings about himself, a deadly dull partner, and the presence of a new shifter in town. And a hurricane bearing down on their home in Key West, of course.

Dark Menagerie - Now Available from Storm Moon Press for $4.99 (ebook) or $9.99 (print)!

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