Guest Author & Giveaway: Jennifer Ashley featuring Mate Claimed

Friday, October 5

It's finally Friday, *sigh*.  I don't know about you, but it's been a very busy week and I can't wait for the weekend to get here.   I would like nothing better than to be able to sit down and totally immerse myself in a book, and get to read it from start to finish with little to no interruptions.  But that is a total fantasy and isn't gonna happen :(

But when it comes to creating fantasies that work, then New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Ashley is your girl.  No matter what type of fiction you like to read, she's pretty much got you covered.  Historical romance, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, Mystery....

Jennifer Ashley is my guest today to share with us the newest book in her Shifter Unbound series, Mate Claimed, with a special excerpt and a giveaway.  Enjoy!


Welcome to Seductive Musings Jennifer! I think I can safely say that shifter romances are my favorite type of paranormal romance, hands down (or paws in this instance, LOL).  For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story and what makes writing shifter paranormal heroes and heroines so compellingly seductive to your muse?

A great love story is a great love story, whether it’s in a historical setting, a paranormal world, or in a contemporary western town. The ingredients of the love story is what’s important—it has to be both intense and believable. Obstacles (within and without) keep the lovers from committing to each other fully, but if the obstacles are too dire, it’s not always believable if the hero/heroine overcome them too easily.

I firmly believe that romance is the most difficult genre to write. Any wavering either side of the “what keeps them apart” line, and you’ve lost it.

I love writing Shifter stories, because not only do these characters have to face what happens to most human beings, they have these animal metabolisms that keep trying to take over. The human side is in control—and then it isn’t. It’s tough on the shifters, and it’s tough especially when Shifters are paired with humans who have to learn and understand the Shifter world.

Your newest story in the Shifter Unbound series is MATE CLAMIED. Can you tell us how many books are planned for this series?  How the five previous stories are related to this one, and for someone who has not had the pleasure of reading any of them, can you give us a brief summary about each of these stories? And do they need to be read in order?

The series is open-ended at this point, but I know there will be at least four more full-length books (Mate Claimed, Tiger Magic, and two more), plus at least three more long novellas / short books, and one novella in an anthology with other writers.

Book 1: Pride Mates. Defense attorney Kim Fraser (a human) is assigned to defend a Shifter. She goes to Shiftertown to try to get help on the man’s case, and meets Liam Morrissey, the Shiftertown leader, a sexy Irishman Feline Shifter. Liam lives with his brother Sean, nephew Connor, and father Dylan, and is in the middle of some bad Shiftertown problems, which Kim walked straight into.

Book 2: Primal Bonds. Andrea Gray must accept the mate-claim of the Austin Shiftertown’s Guardian, Sean Morrissey, in order to move away from a bad situation. She finds Sean a warm, sexy man, and discovers that the mating of convenience turns into a mating in truth.

Book 2.5: Bodyguard (a short novel): Ronan, a Kodiak bear Shifter and one of Liam’s trackers, saves a young woman from being robbed at gunpoint and is arrested himself for harming the robber. When the robber’s gangster brother wants vengeance, Ronan takes Elizabeth to Shiftertown for safety. There Elizabeth learns that Ronan is a gentle giant, and has fostered several bear cubs who had nowhere to go.

Book 3: Wild Cat moves to a new Shiftertown (Las Vegas), with a new family, Eric and Cassidy Warden (brother and sister), and Eric’s son Jace. Cassidy is devastated by the death of her mate a year ago, and now the same killer is hunting her. Diego Escobar, a police detective, finds Cassidy dodging her hunter and tries to help her, getting pulled into Shiftertown problems and his growing attraction for the wild and sexy Cassidy.

Book 3.5: Hard Mated (short novel—Austin Shiftertown): Spike, another of Liam’s trackers, is astonished to discover he’s fathered a cub. The cub’s dying mother (a human woman), begs her best friend Myka to take the cub to Spike. Myka isn’t sure a six-foot-six Shifter covered in tattoos will be the best father to Jordan, and she goes to Shiftertown to make sure all is well. She discovers that Spike is a proud and protective father, but he needs Myka’s help to take care of Jordan when his job as fighter and hunter gets in the way.

Book 4: Mate Claimed (Las Vegas Shiftertown): Eric Warden knows that Iona Duncan is half human, half Shifter, but passing for human. He also knows that if he doesn’t convince her to acknowledge and accept her Shifter side, her new mating hunger will kill her.

Tell us about your hero, Eric Warden.  What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Iona, fall in love with him despite suppressing her shifter nature? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in MATE CLAIMED?

Eric is hot. :-) He acts laidback and casual, but underneath, he’s primed to spring at any moment, and he’s very, very protective. As the leader, he’s a dominant, but he’d also gentle and loving, especially to his son Jace.

When Iona meets him (in a scene in Wild Cat), she’s instantly attracted, though she tries to fight it. She fears Eric will expose her for being Shifter, and fears that her mother will be punished for helping to hide Iona. But she comes to see that Eric only wants to protect her, not only from the humans, but from herself.

What's your favorite scene or moment from MATE CLAIMED, and why? Can you describe it for us without giving too much away?

I have a couple: My favorite humorous scene is when Iona’s mating hunger makes her want to eat everything in sight. She can’t figure out why she ever bought low-calorie frozen dinners. She orders three delivery pizzas, changes into her panther form (once the delivery guy is gone), gulps down all three pizzas in one go, then sits down, burps, and cleans her whiskers.

My favorite sexy scene: Iona holds a bachelorette party for her half-sister, which includes a male stripper dressed as a fireman. Iona dances with the stripper, even though she finds that his attractions pale in comparison to Eric’s. Unknown to her, Eric has slipped into her house (he’s been keeping an eye on her, worried about her). When the dancing drives Iona’s mating frenzy skyward, and she has to flee the room, her skin hot, and every part of her wanting Eric, Eric steps to her in the back hall. Her hunger is so high that she and Eric can’t keep their hands off each other, even though they have to be very quiet.

A tough scene to write, but I enjoyed it.

Another is the introduction of the hero of Tiger Magic toward the end of the book. When I met Tiger, I knew I had to write a book about him!

What are five fun facts about this book and its characters that readers would love to know?

  1. Area 51 can be seen pretty closely from satellite photos on Google maps (or are those photos real . .  ?).
  2. The chocolates that Eric feeds Iona in Wild Cat (another sexy scene) and they discuss in Mate Claimed are based on the decadent truffles made by Vosges. Tough research there.
  3. There are three kinds of Shifters (only three): Feline, Lupine, and Ursine (bears). Feline Shifters were bred centuries ago from many different cats, so most have all traits, but families tend toward one big cat or the other (Eric’s family are snow leopards; Liam’s lions). Lupines likewise were bred from the best of the wolves. Bears tend to stay closest to the wild species (black, brown, grizzly, polar, etc)
  4. The Shifters have a Celtic-like religion: they believe in a Father God and Mother Goddess (sun and moon), and believe Shifters enter the Summerland when they die. The Guardian’s sword, stuck through the dying or dead Shifter, renders the body dust and releases the soul to the Summerland.
  5. Another research hardship was going to Las Vegas to check the locale. :-) I lived in Las Vegas at one time, but of course I have to return from time to time to see what’s changed.
I found it interesting that the books in this series are a mixture of traditionally published books and self published novellas.  Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?

I started self-pubbing the novellas because I wanted readers to have something to read between longer books, and this way I can write about more Shifters. I will also move back and forth between the Austin and Las Vegas Shiftertowns. Coming up will be novellas about Ellison (tentative title, Wolf Pack), Nell (“Perfect Mate” in the Unbound antho coming out in March from Berkley), Tiger Magic (full length book, June), and then stories and books about Jace, Shane, Brody, Connor, and others.

I'm sure fans of this series, and your books in general will be super excited to hear that!!!   For now we can satisfy our Shifter cravings with MATE CLAIMED, which Musings reviewer ElaineReads loved!

Collared and controlled, Shifters are outcast from humanity, forced to live in Shiftertowns. But waiting within are passions that no Collar can contain…

As a wildcat Shifter and leader of his Shiftertown, Eric Warden knows his own kind. When he sees Iona Duncan, he realizes that although she appears human she is a half-Shifter wildcat living without a Collar—and that if she doesn’t acknowledge her true nature and her mating hunger, it may kill her…

Iona finds the mysterious and powerful Eric alluring, even though she has vowed never to reveal her Shifter side, lest her mother pay the price for hiding her all these years. But her mating hunger is rising, and with Eric so close, she may not be able to resist…and her desire may lead to the very doom they are fighting to deny…

 Enjoy a Dear Reader letter from Jennifer Ashley & read an excerpt.  And as a special treat please enjoy this special excerpt for Musings readers in the flipbook below:

or read it in a Google document here

Congrats Jennifer, and thank you so much for being my guest today!!!  I think Shifters are incredibly sexy :)  Maybe it's the animal instincts, or that they tend to be more alpha...whatever it is, it works for me, LOL.

If you'd like to learn more about Jennifer Ashley (aka Allyson James & Ashley Gardner) you can find her at her website, her blog, as well as at FacebookTwitter, Goodreads, & Pinterest (with the most amazing pins to miniature doll house rooms and furniture I've ever seen!)

To celebrate the release of Mate Claimed, Jennifer & her publisher Berkley Sensation would like to giveaway either a print copy of Mate Claimed, or a backlist title from the Shifters Unbound series to one lucky Musings follower.  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below, and don't forget to leave an answer to the giveaway question in the comments! (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Anonymous,  October 5, 2012 at 1:14 AM  

I love this series.

Never been to Vegas and probably never will, but I imagine it is very busy and pretty.

mammy4423 AT

biochemguy October 5, 2012 at 1:40 AM  

I know for me personally it is just an added element of something normal humans can't experience. By adding that bit of mystery to it we understand that only the author can explain to us what it would be like to be these characters. :)

*yadkny* October 5, 2012 at 1:50 AM  

I think it's that animalistic behavior mixed with human behavior that gets me.

Yvette October 5, 2012 at 5:31 AM  

I think that people are drawn to shifter stories because they are completely possessive with a large does of tenderness.

Danni T October 5, 2012 at 7:33 AM  

I have know clue. I know I love them. I love paranormal romance books. I would love to be able to shift into an animal. And there's just something about those Alpha males.

Anne October 5, 2012 at 8:38 AM  

I think it's the touch of otherness and that shifters (heroes)tend tobe portrayed as strong, smart, sexy and emotionally and physically warm that make them appealing.

Just finished Wild Cat so I am really ready for mate claimed.

gamistress66 October 5, 2012 at 8:41 AM  

I think its the combination of magic/mystery and the bit of wildness that goes with shifter stories, that unpredictableness of the animal nature & instinct that is brought to char/story. the fact the heroes are often super hot heroes also adds to the appeal ;)

books4me October 5, 2012 at 9:06 AM  

shifters are dangerous as animals yet they are loving and protective with their mates and othes.

I love this series!

erin October 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM  

thanks for a great post and congrats to Ashley on the newest release! I think that I like PNR b/c it something that dangerous and so very different from real life!

Hope October 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM  

I think it's because we all want to be special in some way and being able to experience it through good books bring it to life in our own lives just a bit. :-)

vadeluna07 October 5, 2012 at 2:01 PM  

I think it's because we get to read about characters doing things everyone only dreams about. I guess you could say we try to live through the characters in a book.

Cassandra October 5, 2012 at 4:03 PM  

I think it's the pure animalistic quality of the books. I love the alpha characteristics personally :)

Ashley Applebee October 5, 2012 at 4:04 PM  

I love, love, LOVE this series and can not WAIT ot read about Eric and Iona!! I think shifter books are so popular because everyone at some point wanted to be an animal, and in shifter stories we get that chance through the characters!
Ashley A

Queen of Books Sue October 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM  

I would like to read this book.
The cover is sexy and hot.

Joanne October 5, 2012 at 5:34 PM  

I think it's the fact that anything can happen and usually does and shifters are very protective of their mates.


Leni October 5, 2012 at 5:57 PM  

These type of stories are fun to read because they instantly force you to use your imagination and follow along with the action of the story.

kazza16 October 5, 2012 at 6:36 PM  

I love this series and your thoughtfulness by providing readers with novellas in between the full length novels to keep us going.
The stories are always gripping and I, like many others, hope the series goes on for a long time to come!
I enjoyed the interview immensely! Keep doing what you do so well Jennifer, we love your work!

June M. October 5, 2012 at 7:58 PM  

Some of what makes me love shifter romances are the fact that they are dependable, protective, faithful, and that they are still dangerous.

Mina October 5, 2012 at 8:55 PM  

I love shapeshifters, especially werewolves. They are warm furry, and they follow their instincts, all qualities I like in a man.

Barbara E. October 6, 2012 at 12:20 AM  

I think it's the idea that a person can change their appearance and become something with the abilities of a strong, fierce animal. It just seems like such a cool thing to be able to do.

Texas Book Lover October 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM  

I'm not sure about others but I love shifters because they are dangerous and protective and all sexy alpha!

jmcgaugh October 6, 2012 at 1:38 AM  

I think we like shifters because it appeals to us that a powerful and dangerous man can be tender and protective toward those he loves.

latishajean October 6, 2012 at 1:30 PM  

I love shifters because they are dangerous and also very protective!
Thank you for the great giveaway!

Tore October 6, 2012 at 6:17 PM  

I love paranormal books. I love shape shifters. I think we like reading about shape shifters romances is because they are so different from normal romances. They are dangerous but they can be caring and protective. Please enter me in contest.

donnas October 6, 2012 at 9:17 PM  

I think its the uniqueness of the shifter characters. They are like nothing we see in RL

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