You might have guessed by the title what this post is about. Yes, that’s right. Let’s talk about squirrels, baby. Real squirrels, weresquirrels, and the squirrely attributes of authors.
Because we’re all a little nuts.
In Nuts About You, we meet a weresquirrel named Nathan, who works—where else?—at a Bulk Mart. The perfect job for a squirrel, since you would expect them to be rather experts on the qualities and relative merits of various nuts and seeds. (Keeping them out of the bins might be an issue, but this is fiction—my Nathan is a well-behaved weresquirrel)
We also meet Vince, Nathan’s love interest. Vince has a lot of bird feeders around his house, which necessitates regular trips to the Bulk Mart for food. And they provide the perfect vantage point for Nathan to spy through his windows…
Real squirrels aren’t nearly as nice as they are cute. They’re adorable, furry, just-wanna-hug-them little balls of fluff and viciousness, with a destructive streak and a strong tendency to move into places you don’t want them, your century-old farmhouse. With Einstein-like capabilities for problem-solving , they can be difficult to convince to move elsewhere, especially once they’ve figure out how to raid your baking supplies and stock themselves up for the winter. The only success I’ve ever had evicting a squirrel from its new condo in the walls of my kitchen was leaving the radio on all the time—radio stations with the word ‘Hot’ in their name seem particularly effective at removing the little buggers.
Weresquirrels (in my world, anyway) are considerably nicer. Sure, they raid your feeders, and they panic easily, and are easily distracted (bribed) with food—hazelnuts in particular—but they tend to have their own apartments in which to store the baking supplies they stole from your cupboard. They also don’t bite—unless you ask them to…
Writers can be a bit squirrely, too. We tend to be easily distracted by the presence of plotbunnies, or interesting looking people, or bizarre facts, or food or–well, just about anything. We like snacks and baking supplies (baked or not). And we tend to store things away for future use—pictures, lines, ideas, whole plots—as if we were squirrels with nuts. Talk to any writer and they’ll tell you that their ideas file is bigger than some of their books. The ideas are scavenged from anywhere: conversations, websites, TV shows, cloud formations, documentaries, other books, dreams. Rather like squirrels scavenge seeds.
Sometimes, we can’t even say where the idea came from. Nathan was like that. I had read the description of the call months earlier and never thought anything of it. But, I was stuck in the middle of another manuscript, and we both needed some distance from each other before someone got hurt. In a fit of frustration (and a little bit of desperation), I roamed open calls until I stumbled over the Forgotten Menagerie one again. And, as I read it once more, a double image popped into my head—a slightly soft-about-the-waist young man with sandy hair standing in a bulk store, and a squirrel on a feeder. (There’s more to the story than that, but I’m running out of words and I want to show you a bit of Nathan and Vince.) The rest of the story wrote itself in no time.
I have to wonder if it wasn’t a nut that I’d squirreled away somewhere, and it was finally ready to be pulled out and ‘eaten’.
Title: Forgotten Menagerie Anthology edited by Amanda Ching
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Genre: Paranormal (shifters), Erotic, Romance, M/M
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. Forgotten Menagerie reminds us that not all shifters are werewolves or werecats, despite the preponderance of them in fiction. The stories in this anthology focus on shifters with animal forms other than canine and feline, building their own mythos for these non-traditional species.
Adult Excerpt (so please make sure you are of legal age in your country before reading)
(Nathan’s a bit of a voyeur, and Vince is in the shower):
The best part was coming next. Nathan took an absentminded bite of the sunflower seed in his paw and hung a little further out from the feeder to get a better view. Because now, the body wash was coming out. Vince’s hand stretched past Nathan’s field of vision, returning with what looked like the Natural Sea Sponge Vince had bought at Bulk Mart a month ago. He flicked open the cap on the almond-scented body wash and spread it on the sponge. Though he couldn’t smell it through the window, Nathan knew that scent. It drove him wild—he stopped to sniff it every time he walked down the aisle, and he even had a bottle on his bedside table. Not to use, just to smell every night as he lay in bed, wishing it was Vince’s hand on his cock instead of his own.
There it went, the sponge traveling over all the places where Nathan would like to run his tongue. Vince started on his neck, smooth up and down movements covering his skin with a rich lather. The bubbles slid down his body, clinging in a way that made Nathan irrationally jealous of them. The sponge followed the bubbles down, making circles over the sleek chest, then crisscrossing back and forth over the flat stomach and past his bellybutton, with its narrow trail of hair leading down to—OH MY WALNUTS!
Nathan’s mouth fell open and he dropped the sunflower seed. Not that he hadn’t seen Vince naked yet, but he’d never seen this. The man was a grower! Acorns and applecores! He watched in awe and envy as the sponge circled the man’s hard-on. If only he were a were-sponge instead…
A sudden cool breeze between his legs made him jump and shiver as his own, squirrelly body reacted to the sight before him. He grabbed his tail and wrapped it around his bottom half, so the morning chill didn’t affect anything important.
Vince was stroking himself now, the sponge all but forgotten in his other hand. He grimaced and braced the hand with the sponge against the wall above the window. Nathan watched, mesmerized, as Vince trailed his hand up and down his shaft, palm caressing the length while his fingertips tapped and squeezed the head. He reached down to cup his balls and did something there that made him throw his head back, mouth open in a moan that Nathan could only imagine. He found his own furry paw heading south, as if it and his cock had minds of their own and were conspiring together. Nathan shook his head and pulled his paw back. It might be called ‘spanking the monkey’, but animal form was not the one to be doing it in. Claws, Nathan, remember the claws. Instead, he gripped his tail tightly and leaned further out to get a better view.
Which is when his paw slipped and he found himself plummeting to the ground. No! I’m going to miss the best part! He landed hard, momentarily breathless, but shook it off and dashed for the trunk of the tree again. In a desperate hurry, he scrambled along the branch and down onto the feeder again. A nearby starling squawked and laughed at him, but he only had time to give it a furry fingered salute before scampering around the side of the feeder to the end facing the house again. Oh, please don’t let him be finished…
Ms. Lowell is giving away one digital copy of the Forgotten Menagerie Anthology to one lucky commenter. To enter today’s contest:
You must Do TWO of the Following:
1. Sign up for e-mail updates (upper left corner). One email daily with the day’s posts.
2. Be or become a fan of Book Reviews & More by Kathy Facebook page
3. Follow me on Twitter (@BookReviewsMore)
4. Friend Book Reviews & More by Kathy on Goodreads
Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:
5. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.
And don’t forget to:
6. Leave a comment on this post by 5 PM Mountain Time Friday afternoon.
It’s that easy! The winner will be selected using random.org. Ms. Lowell will send the winner a copy of the Forgotten Menagerie Anthology in their preferred format. The winner will be contacted by e-mail Friday after 5 PM Mountain Time and posted HERE on Saturday.