The Patient Wolf
Wicked Urban Fantasy
Karen Hodges Miller
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Can’t Put it Down Books
Date of Publication: May 2, 2016
Number of pages: 160
Word Count: 42,225
Cover Artist: Genevieve Cosdon
The small town of Rivelou is hiding secrets, and they are about to claw their way to the surface.
Ana Dugan used to enjoy her nighttime walks through her quaint college town, but all of that changes when a handsome stranger rescues her from an attack. She’s not sure who she should be more afraid of the four legged beast who attacked her or the two legged one who saved her. She narrowly escapes, but soon learns that others weren’t so lucky.
When another man enters her life claiming he’s there to protect her she’s not sure who she should trust, the wolf or the hunter.
Karen Hodges Miller’s fascination with werewolves, vampires, witches, ghosts, and all things supernatural began with the childhood classics. She gobbled up everything from The Haunting of Hill House to the Narnia series, from Dracula to Rebecca. As a writer, however, she stuck to non-fiction; working as a newspaper and magazine reporter and editor and in 2004 opening her own publishing company.
She has written several books for authors on the subject of writing and publishing. The Patient Wolf is her first fiction novel and of course, it features a very sexy werewolf.
Please welcome The Patient Wolf author Karen Hodges Miller to Diane’s Book Blog.
What is your favorite part of the story The Patient Wolf?
I think my favorite part of The Patient Wolf is the first chapter because I feel I have created just the right amount of suspense. There are several parts in the whole book where I hope the reader jumps in surprise. And the first of these is in the first chapter.
How long did it take you to write The Patient Wolf?
It took me about a year to write The Patient Wolf, but the story has been in my head for a lot longer than that. I’ve lived in a lot of small towns—and been a news reporter in small towns. The first thing you learn is that there is the life that the average person sees, and then all of the “stuff” that those in the know understand. So I invented my own small town, loosely based on a few places I have lived, where all sorts of paranormal creatures mixed with the everyday characters of the town.
What inspired you to write your first book?
While The Patient Wolf if my first fiction book, it is actually the fifth book I have published. The others were non-fiction, so I can answer the question in two ways. I’ve been a writing coach, editor, and publisher for about 20 years. After years of coaching other people on how to write a book, my friend, Lorette Pruden, convinced me that I needed to publish my “system” of how I coach writers. I enjoyed the process of writing Write Your Book that I asked Lorette, a time management expert, to write a second book with me, called Finish Your Book. So basically, my inspiration for writing my first book was to inspire other writers.
That leads me to what inspired me to write my first work of fiction, The Patient Wolf. The book had been in the back of my mind for many years, and I always put it on the back burner, telling people that “I write non-fiction. That’s my thing.” But what was really stopping me was fear. Writing is very personal. Whether fiction or non-fiction you are putting your “babies” out in public for the world to see – and judge. Finally, I just decided it was time to get over my fear and write my stories. Making my characters come to life, and discovering things about them I didn’t know when I first started writing, has been a blast.
Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
This one is easy. I was eight years old and I read Little Women. When I finished I went to my diary and wrote, “When I grow up I am going to be a writer just like Louisa May Alcott.” My career has taken twists and turns I never imagined at that age. I’ve been a reporter for a daily newspaper, an editor, owned a magazine, and in 2006 I founded my own publishing company. I think I’m incredibly lucky. I’ve been able to follow my dream and do what I love every day.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’ve got lots of favorite authors but I think right now I have to go with Diana Gabaldon. Her descriptions are so beautiful. Sometimes I stop and read a passage over because I just enjoy the way she uses words.
What is your typical day like?
As an editor and publisher my typical day is not spent writing, but editing other people’s writing. I often juggle two or three books at once. For instance, right now I am working on final changes for a non-fiction book of inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs, editing the final draft of a really exciting new fantasy book that is debuting in June, and first edits for a GBLT romance.
So when do I find time to write my own work? That’s the trick. One of my rules for the writers I coach is to pick a set time every week to work on your book. I do my own writing on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I take no phone calls and tell my husband not to interrupt me – a request which he mostly follows.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
What I great question! I’ve literally written a book on this subject, called Finish Your Book. Just like falling off a horse, if you have Writer's Block you need to get back up and try again: keep on writing. Of course, that is not as easy as it sounds. The best cure for Writer's Block that I know is a deadline. When I worked as a reporter for a daily paper I had daily deadlines I had to meet – or I’d lose my job. That’s motivation! As an author, however, you don’t have that same sword hanging over your head. So give yourself a deadline. Tell yourself that by a certain time you will have written a certain number of words. Then, even if you are not happy with those words, don't erase them. Let it go and come back to the work in a day or two. You may find that what you have written doesn't look so bad. It may just need some fine tuning to reach your usual creative standard.
If you are still having problems, go to step two: do some research. Sometimes the problem is that you don't have enough information. You may be missing a small piece of information, or you may need to do more research before you write. This goes for fiction as well as nonfiction. Good fiction is based on knowledge. Your "research" may just take a different form. You may need to think more about your characters, fleshing them out in your head, or find out more about a setting, or spend some time outlining your plot. I found this with The Patient Wolf. I spent a couple of months spending my weekend mornings staring at my work, polishing the chapters that were already finished. Finally, over Christmas I had a breakthrough. I figured out a surprising new fact about my main character, Ana, and it changed the whole direction of the book. I can’t say more about what this fact was. When you read the story, maybe you will figure it out.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I thought when I finished The Patient Wolf that I’d sit back and relax, but I the idea for the second book in my series was so strong that I sat down the next weekend and started to work on it. It is called The Artificial Witch. Here’s part of the first chapter. You’re the first to see it. I’ve edited it a bit to make sure it has no spoilers for The Patient Wolf.
The Artificial Witch
… Shannon’s thoughts were interrupted by her partner. Dave looked pale. Obviously he hadn’t been prepared to see a dead body this morning. Dave was a nice guy and a pleasure to look at. Tall, well over six feet, and lean, with muscles that showed he spent a good bit of his free time in the gym. When he wasn’t racing around town on his fancy motorcycle, that is.
“Got some water?” he asked.
“Yeah, right here,” she said, taking a small water bottle out of her pocket. “You’re looking a little green.”
“It was bad. I haven’t seen too many bodies cut up like that.”
Shannon nodded at Alicia Myers had been joined by a couple of other reporters, two men and a woman, and they were all straining to hear the low-voiced conversation between the two partners. “Be careful what you say. It ends up on the news today, your ass is grass.”
“Yeah, thanks. You’re right,” Dave said. He took another swig then took off his hat and just poured the rest of it over his head and running his hand through his hair. If Shannon had done that, she’d have looked like drowned rat, she thought. How come when Dave did, his tousled, wet hair just looked sexy?
Shannon noticed with irritation that Alicia and the other female reporter had noticed, too.
“That feels better,” Dave said, putting his cap back on, seemingly oblivious to the stir he had just caused. “C’mon. We can get out of here now.”
Once in the car, with Shannon in the driver’s seat, she asked, “Well, are you going to tell me about it?”
Dave closed his eyes. “You know you are really lucky you didn’t have to see it. I’ve never seen a body that torn up.”
“Humph,” Shannon snorted. She’d seen a few bodies. She could handle it. She had handled it. Dave’s reaction just proved that she should have been the officer they pulled in for a consultation, not her partner. She pulled out of the parking lot faster than she should have, kicking up gravel and sending the reporters scattering. Good. She couldn’t hold back her temper any longer.
“What’s so special about you that you got to consult with the coroner and the detective? Just because you’re the hometown golden boy doesn’t mean…”
“I know you don’t think I know anything, Shannon.” Dave ran his hand through his hair again. This time in obvious frustration. “You make that perfectly clear every chance you get.” His voice was a little bitter now, and Shannon suddenly felt guilty. She hadn’t realized her feelings toward Dave had been so obvious.
“I do have some areas of expertise that you do not,” he continued.
“Oh yeah?” She tried to soften her tone, wasn’t sure if it was working. “So what’s your expertise?”
“The body had some marks on it. They wanted to know if I’d seen anything like them.”
Now she was intrigued. “What kind of marks?”
“You’re a tattoo expert?” She was definitely surprised. And intrigued. Dave, the clean-cut boy next door was a tattoo expert?
“I’ve got a couple.”
“Hmm.” Shannon was intrigued. It was a small department. There was only one locker room. That meant she had seen a good bit of Dave’s very good-looking flesh, but she’d never noticed any tattoos.
He grinned. He had finally gotten the attention of Officer I Know Everything Because I’m From Chicago Kelly. “Want to see?” he asked. His hand sliding suggestively to his belt buckle.
She put her hand up. “No way!” she chuckled appreciatively; Dave had managed to dispel her bad mood. “But seriously,” she added, as she continued the drive back downtown to City Hall and police headquarters, “Tell me the rest of it. What was it about this body? I know I sometimes act like I think you’re a rookie, but I do know you’ve seen stuff before. Why did this one affect you so much? You really looked like you were about to puke back there.”
“It was bad Shannon. He was cut from stem to stern. It looked like some kind of ritual killing. But it wasn’t anything like I’d seen before.”
“What do you mean? Why would you have seen something like that before?
“It was staged to look like a Wiccan ceremony. But it wasn’t; Wiccans don’t kill. It was artificial. As if someone had read all the books but didn’t really have any experience; didn’t really know what they were doing.”
“What makes you say that? How would you know if it were a real Wiccan ceremony?”
“Shannon. C’mon. You’ve been my partner for months, now. You must have heard some of the other guys talking about me.”
“No. Remember. I’m the new cop from Chicago. Your Rivelou pals don’t gossip about you to me. So what are talking about?”
“I’m a witch.”