j. leigh bailey on Writing, Research, and her latest novel Chasing Thunderbird (Shifter U #2) (author interview and giveaway)


Chasing Thunderbird (Shifter U #2) by j. leigh bailey
Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Beyond
Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links |  Dreamspinner Press


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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have j.leigh bailey here today on her tour for Chasing Thunderbird. Welcome!



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with j.leigh bailey

I’d like to start with a big “Thank you!” to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me here today to celebrate the upcoming release of Chasing Thunderbird, the second book in my Shifter U paranormal series.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? Why do you write?

I write for the same reason I read: ESCAPE. Honestly, sometimes the real world sucks—you just have to turn on the news or review your Twitter feed to see this—but books, especially romance novels, provide an escape like no other. As a reader, I love knowing that no matter what happens to my characters, no matter what challenges they face, or how bad the bad guy is, there will be a Happy Ever After. As a writer, it’s very much the same. One of the frustrating parts of watching the news or seeing people be hateful to and about each other, is how helpless it can make you feel. There’s only so much a person can do, and sometimes it feels like it’s not enough. As a writer, I take back some of that control. Sure. I can make the world my characters live in tough, but then, with a few strokes of my fingers, I can make it all right again. I add a little heart ache and a dash of angst, but then I turn around and create love. There’s nothing more rewarding than creating a world of love and hope, even if it’s fiction. Sometimes, especially because it’s fiction. As a writer, I can create that same escape mechanism that I’ve relied on as a reader. Now, hopefully other can escape reality for a while in a world of my choosing, in a world where love and hope really can conquer all.

  • Have you ever had an issue in real life and worked through it by writing it out in a story?

I’ve been struggling with depression since I was a teenager. For years, I used romance novels to avoid dealing with the negative thoughts and emotions in my head. Novels were an escape, for sure, but they also became a crutch—and not necessarily a healthy one—for me. Eventually I learned better coping mechanisms (counseling, antidepressants, exercise, etc). One of the things that works really well for me is writing. I’m a huge believer in using writing—whether it’s journaling, poetry, short stories, novels, etc.—as a way to help cope with depression and anxiety. What it does for me—and others—is allow us to process different situations, thoughts, and scenarios with some emotional distance. I can take some of the negative emotions inside myself, give them to another character, and let them deal with it for a while. This distances enables me to stop internalizing things and to apply logic to an emotional situation. I discovered one of my emotional triggers almost by accident when writing one of my books. And as soon as I realized what I’d written, and what my characters were doing, I had a better understanding of myself. And with that distance, I learned to recognize my own triggers before I had too much time to get sucked into the downward spiral. It’s not a cure-all by any means, but writing has given me the means to process things in a healthier way.

  • Does research play a role in choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Writing paranormal creatures (like shapeshifters) in a contemporary is the best of both worlds. It allows me to get sucked into research and to get lost in my imagination. The best part of paranormal romance is getting to make stuff up. If you want a man to transform into a buffalo, it can totally happen. If you want to make up crazy snake-worshipping cults seeking immortality? Why not.  On the other hand, writing shapeshifters can start to get a little tricky, depending on how realistic (natural) you want your characters to be in their animal form. Which means research. I sometimes giggle at the random animal-related factoids I’ve had to research. For example, which is faster? A buffalo or a coyote? Answer: they both top out at about 40 miles an hour. Or, how many crows would you need to roughly equal the weight of an average sized man? Answer: the average crow weighs between .7 and 1.4 pounds. So if we average that to say 1 pound per bird, and if we figure the average human male is about 175 pounds, then it would take 175 (give or take) crows to equal the weight of an average-sized man. THIS is the kind of research I enjoy. In CHASING THUNDERBIRD I was also able to dig into many of the different Native American stories of thunderbirds and the great horned serpents to help create the origin story of Ford’s thunderbird and the bad guys. So, yeah, I love that my series gives me to best of both.

  • What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

The wildest scene I ever pictured did, in fact, end up in one of my books. In fact, it ended up in STALKING BUFFALO BILL. At the end of the book there’s a scene where a number of members of the local shifter populations (coyotes, eagles, wolves, bob cats, bears, and a ticked-off thunderbird) band together to defeat the bad guys. Though it’s not quite as zany, I got the idea for some of the shenanigans from a memory of the Dr. Doolittle 2 movie with Eddie Murphy. When I first imagined the scene, I snorted because I thought it just might be a little over the top. In the end, it turned out to be one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever written.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

The third book in my Shifter U series will be coming out from Dreamspun Beyond this summer. It’s called THE NIGHT OWL AND THE INSOMNIAC. One of the characters, Owen, is briefly introduced in CHASING THUNDERBIRD. Here’s the blurb:

Long nights lead to intrigue… and infatuation.

Chronically ill with a mysterious condition, Yusuf “Joey” Franke escapes his smothering family and doctors by moving halfway across the country to enroll in Cody College. Not long after arriving on campus, some of his symptoms disappear, only to be replaced by debilitating insomnia. Joey spends his nights wandering the halls of his dormitory and hanging out with gregarious and affable Owen, who works the night shift.

When he suddenly shifts from a sick college kid to a massive Asiatic lion, Joey discovers another side to Cody College—it’s a haven for shifters like himself… and like Owen, a part-time great horned owl. And being a shifter is hereditary, which means his parents have some explaining to do.

When Joey and Owen investigate, they discover more than they bargained for—a family deception, a dangerous enemy with international connections, and a love that might be too new to survive the backlash.


So, something I’ve been asking people, just for fun, if you were a shifter, what would you shift into?


**GIVEAWAY** I’ll be giving away a digital copy of Stalking Buffalo Bill to a random commenter who shares with me, if you could be a shapeshifter, what kind would you be (and why!). Giveaway will close on 2/17.


A Shifter U Tale

A legendary love.

Ornithology professor Simon Coleman’s reputation is at risk, and the only way to save his name is to prove thunderbirds are more than creatures of Native American myth. Grad student and part-time barista Ford Whitney has a lot on his plate, but it’s also his duty to make sure the resident bird nerd doesn’t discover shape-shifters—like himself—live on campus.

When a series of incidents related to Simon’s search put him in harm’s way, Ford’s instincts kick in, and they become closer than is strictly proper for student and teacher. Ford is forced to reveal his secrets to Simon, and their relationship is put to the test—Simon must choose between salvaging his reputation and protecting the man who protected him….


Things were not all they seemed at Cody College. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what didn’t fit, but it took less than a week into the new semester before I reached that inescapable conclusion. Maybe it was the scraps of torn clothing I found next to a tree in the green space between the parking lot and the sciences building on Monday. Or the discarded jeans I found on Wednesday.

Or maybe it was the fox chilling on a boulder by the dining hall, casually watching people go in and out on Thursday. Students streamed past me, clearly oblivious to the wildlife hanging out on campus. The fox wasn’t very concerned about my attention. An ear twitched as it met my eyes. A couple of kids holding hands crossed the space between the wild animal and me, not taken aback in the least about the fox on a rock.

Was it tame? Maybe someone’s pet? A mascot? But, no, the college’s mascot was a buffalo. I inched closer, checking to see if there was a collar amid the orange fur.

The fox’s tongue lolled out in a canine grin. Okay, seriously? The fox was laughing at me?

A guy in a Cody College hoodie stopped and shook his head at the fox. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one to see it. Hoodie guy laughed. “Dude, you’ve got balls, man. If Dean Thomas finds out, you’ll be screwed.”

I turned to demand an explanation since the comment was completely out of left field, but he wasn’t looking at me. Was he talking to the fox?

“I should probably call animal control,” I said, deciding to ignore the guy who spoke to foxes.

Hoodie Guy burst into laughter. The fox rolled its eyes—it rolled its fricking eyes—and hopped off his perch and sauntered—sauntered!—away from the dining hall.

I thought Hoodie Guy was going to hyperventilate, he laughed so hard.

Nope. Things were definitely a little odd at Cody College.

About the Author

  1. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter athttps://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.



Social Media Links

Twitter @JenniWrites 
Facebook @JLeighBailey
Instagram @j.leigh.bailey_author



Jenn Burke on Writing, Fantasy and her story The Gryphon’s King’s Consort


The Gryphon King’s Consort by Jenn Burke
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art by Aaron Anderson

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jenn Burke today on her tour for The Gryphon King’s Consort. Welcome, Jenn.


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words – Interview with Jenn Burke

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think all writers put something of themselves into their characters. I tend to take one of my traits—usually a flaw—and give it to my MC. For example, Luca’s unbending stubbornness in The Gryphon King’s Consort is all me.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Although I like to make up my own worlds and cultures, that doesn’t mean there’s no research involved. I strongly believe that science fiction or paranormal elements need something of a root in reality in order to be consistent and relatable. But there’s such a thing as too much research, too—especially if you’re constantly getting stuck in a research rabbit hole and not actually writing.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Absolutely yes. I didn’t discover science fiction until I was in my pre-teens, but I devoured stories by Madeleine L’Engle, Monica Hughes, Jane Yolen, Anne McCaffery and others, and they definitely influenced what I love to write. As I got older, I graduated to paranormal and urban fantasy stories, and some of my favourite authors include Tanya Huff, Mercedes Lackey, Charles de Lint, Kelley Armstrong, and more.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Definitely. I didn’t really get into romances until I was an older teen, but I loved the old Silhouette Shadows paranormal category romances. I do like contemporary romances, but my true love is romances with a speculative side to them—science fiction romance, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, etc.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

If it’s a romance, it has to have a HFN or HEA. Full stop. But I don’t prefer one of those types of endings over the other—it all depends on what fits with the story. Sometimes a HFN is what makes the most sense, especially for a short story, novella, or a multi-book series. But I think a standalone novel or the final book of a series needs to have a strong HEA—that’s the payoff for your reader.

  • Do you have a favourite among your own stories? And why?

I loved writing Inversion Point (book four of the Chaos Station series) for a number of reasons. Zed and Felix’s relationship crisis was finally resolved in book three, and this was the first book where they really had a chance to start looking at the future. Zed faces his first challenge in his new role as the emissary for the omnipotent Guardians. Felix has to face the creatures who’d held him as a prisoner of war for four years. There’s a new alien race that gets introduced to the galaxy. And there’s intrigue, adventure, and lots of romance. It was just such a fun book.

That said, I absolutely love the interpersonal conflict I’ve written between Luca and Eirian in The Gryphon King’s Consort. It’s the best sort, where neither side is wrong and both sides are right—depending on your perspective. It was really satisfying to be able to bring these two characters with such different philosophies together to form a strong, loving partnership.

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

It would be in a cottage on the lovely and pastoral Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritimes. Somewhere with a screened-in porch to protect me from the mosquitoes while still allowing me to enjoy the ocean-fed breeze and admire the red sand beaches. PEI has such a wonderfully sedate pace of life, too. The entire place is just so relaxing.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m attempting to write my first full-length contemporary novel, featuring a couple of head-butting stepbrothers—one who’s a spoiled rich brat used to getting his way and the other who’s a Brazilian-American ex-cop—who are forced to work together to complete the stipulations of their manipulative father’s will. It’s an ambitious project, but I’m hopeful!

I also plan to make my self-pub debut early in 2018 with a sexy contemporary short story. Stay tuned!

The Gryphon King’s Consort

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble


 About Jenn Burke

Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of The Gryphon King’s Consort from Dreamspinner Press and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press. She’s also the author of Her Sexy Sentinel, a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thank you so much for joining me on The Gryphon King’s Consort blog tour. Enter for your chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press!
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MA Church on Research, Characters and her latest story ‘Dragon’s Hoard’ (Dreamspinner Dreamspun Beyond Tour)


Dragon’s Hoard by M.A. Church
Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Beyond

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Expected publication: October 1st 2017
Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have M.A. Church here today on her Dragon’s Hoard tour.  Welcome, M.A., please tell us a little something about your latest release.



Hey everyone! I’m M. A. Church, and I’m here to talk about my latest release, Dragon’s Hoard from the Dreamspun Beyond line at Dreamspinner Press. When I first heard Dreamspinner was opening a new house line featuring paranormal themes, I was beyond excited, lol. I’ve wanted to write a dragon story for a long time, and this seemed like a sign!

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

Every character has some personality trait of mine. It may be the one-liners, or the snarky attitude, but there’s always some part of me there.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I always research my books, but I end up doing more for certain ones. Most of my stories tend to take place in present-day, so there’s that contemporary edge to the stories that needs to make sense to the reader. When I’m doing paranormal, I research folklore/myths, plus how an animal responds in its natural setting. Even if I’m writing sci-fi, I’m researching things. But I do also love making up worlds and cultures.

  •  Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?

That would be The Harvest series. It was started right after my mom died, and I credit it with helping me get through one of the hardest times in my life.


To be loved by a dragon is to be treasured.

A hundred years ago, werewolf Alpha Montgomery took a risk driven by desperation—he borrowed money from the ancient dragon Warwick Ehecatl, putting up the pack lands as collateral. Now the debt is due, and dragons don’t forget—or forgive. Warwick demands Montgomery’s son, Avery, and three businesses as compensation. As an Omega, Avery knows he is basically useless to his pack, so he might as well agree. He soon has second thoughts, though. Warwick is fearsome, and he’s free to do as he likes with Avery.

Warwick knows his race’s reputation, and he even admits some of it is deserved. But he’d rather cut off his tail than let his innocent mate’s light go out. It won’t be easy, but buried deep, there’s something between them worth safeguarding.

House Line Dreamspun Beyond | #5

Genres: Urban Fantasy / Werewolves/Shapeshifters


Warwick grabbed the reins on the runaway dragon inside of him, desperately trying to control the thrashing creature. Ye gods! His dragon wanted the Omega, badly, which was shocking. His kind usually paired up long enough to procreate, and if the female became pregnant, she went off on her own to have the egg. She raised the offspring, and once the fledgling reached adolescence, they were on their own.

Sometimes dragons had sex with each other for fun, but relationships never lasted long. Their kind tended to get on one another’s nerves, which led to fights. It was why they didn’t often mate with dragons or other paranormals, but there were a few who managed to make it work.

Warwick preferred short-term connections where it was understood there were no commitments. He’d never been interested in mating. But now suddenly his dragon was interested in that Omega… and wanted to claim him as his own.

Warwick was stunned. But the hazel-eyed Omega standing outside almost accomplished what rarely happened with dragons. The wolf hadn’t even been trying—and that was the frightening thing.

He jerked his gaze away from the young wolf. The last thing he needed was to betray his sudden interest. Never would he give an opponent that kind of knowledge, even if his dragon was all but wagging its tail in excitement. With a mental thrust, he tried to settle the vexing creature. He certainly didn’t need this right now, and especially not here.

About the Author

M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full-time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or watching HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.

She is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Contact M.A.: