I’ve never done this before, written a blog post I mean. The extent of my social networking skills is a Twitter account, where I mostly talk about what I’ve read and the insanity of my pet rats. I also have a Facebook page I barely use. To say I’m awkward when it comes to public speaking, even through the filter of the Internet, is a gross understatement, so please, bear with me.
When I was asked by the lovely people at Storm Moon Press to write a blog post to promote my story “Dominant” in the Dark Menagerie anthology, I admit I completely panicked. There might even have been undignified flailing involved. What would I write about? Would I do a good job? What if I messed it up? Would anybody even want to read what I wrote? (I hope the answer to the last question is a resounding yes. Otherwise, I’m going to have a hella short writing career.
After a while—during which I really wondered why I don’t drink—my heart rate finally calmed down, and I had an idea.
The main character in “Dominant” is Kade Walker, a man who struggles to live after his life is ripped apart by a werewolf attack. Now, like the monster that left him for dead, Kade has become a bitter and lonely man who believes that his life is effectively over. Afraid of what he is, Kade has abandoned his family and friends and walked away from his future. He simply exists, struggling to control the animal that lives inside him. Then, into his world walks Jonas Forbeck, another werewolf who offers Kade something he never even knew existed or that he needed: a pack.
To a werewolf—at least my werewolves—pack is a family. Essentially, they are a home, a place to belong. The need, the search, for such acceptance is an idea that crops up a lot in my writing, probably because, for a lot of reasons, I never really had that growing up. It wasn’t until I became an adult and had a family of my own that I finally felt like I was comfortable enough to be completely myself.
It’s been on mind a lot lately, what with the controversy of the plague of misogynistic internet troll attacks and Russia’s heinous attitude towards their LGBT community. Acceptance seems to be in such short supply, and for no good reason that I—or I daresay, any sane person—can see. It is criminal that such backwards opinions born of a willful hate are allowed to fester in the world, a crime against the very spirit of that which makes us human.
In “Dominant”, the only person that persecutes Kade is himself, because he cannot see anything good in his new nature. Like any bigot or misogynist, all he can see are differences and not the similarities. In his case, all he sees is what he is and what he once was. He cannot see the man for the monster he perceives himself to be. Luckily, he has Jonas to show him the way. In the real world, I can only hope that those who persist in intolerance be shown a better way, and I shall do my part by being kind to those who are different, to accept people as they are. I hope someone else does the same for me.
I sound preachy, I know, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of things that we as individuals might take for granted. To make up for it here is the beginning of “Dominant”. I hope everyone enjoys my story and the rest of the works in the Dark Menagerie anthology!
As soon as he walked into the bar, I knew what he was. Even over the sour smells of stale alcohol, cigarette smoke, assorted body odors and the heavy reek of greasy food, I could smell him. The freshness of the wind, the sweet astringency of evergreen, a hint of warm fur, all of it threaded together with the neck-ruffling musk of a wild thing. Familiar, even though I had never seen him before in my life. The burger fell from my nerveless hands, bouncing and falling apart on my plate.
Deep inside me, in the place I let no one ever see, the wolf pricked up its ears and growled.
The man’s face swung toward me, his eyes clashing with mine.
The shock of it reverberated through me, a blow that made every hair on the back of my neck lift in primal warning. Even across the dimly lit room, I could see the flash of fire that danced across the surface of his eyes. A flash I knew mirrored the one captured in my own gaze.
Whoever he was, he was like me and since the only werewolf I had ever encountered was the monster that had tried to kill me, that wasn’t good.
If you want to find out what happens next, go buy the Dark Menagerie anthology, and if you like my story (or even this blog post) come follow me on Twitter @Katya_Harris. I do say some funny things every now and again.
Thank you for having me on The Novel Approach! I hope it wasn’t too bad for my first time!