Friday, January 8, 2010

What animal would you be?

Please welcome Helen Scott Taylor back to the Lair for a return engagement as she celebrates the release of her second book, The Phoenix Charm. Here's a little taste of what awaits readers in this newest release.

He’s Pure Temptation.

Cordelia has sworn she’ll abstain from looking into Michael’s future—particularly when the image in the gilded smoke of her divination mirror shows him half naked. Yet she can’t resist watching the sexy rascal slowly running his hand down his ribs, over his abdomen, flicking open the button on his jeans with a little flourish like a magician performing a trick.

She’s Trying To Resist.

Respectable wise woman Cordelia restrains her secret water nymph sensuality with the Celtic symbols painted on her skin. But Michael’s powerful fairy glamour leaves her breathless, off balance, struggling for control. When Gwyn ap Nudd, the Welsh King of the Underworld, steals away Michael’s infant nephew, Cordelia must work with him to save the child. But how can she trust her instincts with Michael tempting her to explore the hidden elemental depths of her nature and insisting that she believe in the power of…The Phoenix Charm.

Want another little taste? Check out Helen's book trailer:

I’m a real softie where animals are concerned and I love books that contain animals as characters or where pets figure in the plot. I especially love the concept of spirit animals or familiars where the animals have a spiritual or magical connection with the characters.

I have two Shih Tzu dogs and a burmilla cat, but I have to admit that my heart belongs to my cat (the bit of my heart that doesn’t belong to my husband and kids!). I indulged myself in the second book in my Magic Knot Fairies series, The Phoenix Charm, and gave my heroine a cat inspired by my own cat. My heroine Cordelia is a pisky witch and her cat Tamsy is her familiar. She rescued Tamsy, who was an abandoned kitten, and has been bonded to her ever since. She can sense Tamsy emotionally. In stressful or frightening situations, she and her cat anchor and calm each other. She doesn’t exactly take Tamsy’s advice—they don’t communicate in words—but she can sense her cat’s reactions to people and events to help her make decisions. Cordelia can also send her consciousness into her cat’s mind and see through her eyes.

I have a villain who is bonded to a dragon and can take on some of the dragon’s characteristics: he armors his torso with dragon-like scales when fighting and gains strength from the bond. He isn’t a shape shifter, but he has internalized the dragon’s aggressive nature.

The concept that our favorite animal reveals something about us often appears in myths and folklore. For me, the peculiar wisdom of animals gives a peek into a mysterious world that exists outside of our understanding. We think we know what goes on in their world, but we see everything through the lens of our human understanding and values. The rules of nature are both harsh and pure, a conflict that is elemental, but honest in its brutal demands. I find the duality of nature fascinating: the fact that to me my cat is a sweet-natured friend while to a mouse she’s a merciless killer. This conflict has an otherworldly quality that lends itself perfectly to the paranormal romance genre.

I guess taking this to its ultimate extreme is the melding of human and animal consciousness in a shape shifter, with the innate conflict of civilized man and wild animal embodied in one being.

If I had the opportunity to choose an animal familiar or to become a shape shifter, I’d definitely choose a cat. (I think I must have been a cat in a past life!) What animal would you choose if you could become a shape shifter or have a familiar? One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of The Phoenix Charm.

To celebrate the release of The Phoenix Charm, I have a free fantasy romance short story on the Dorchester Web site called Jack’s Garden.

To read book excerpts or for more information on my work, go to


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

Have Fun

Helen said...

Well it is hot and humid here in Sydney so I think the GR and I will rest in the air con reading.

Welcome back Helen and congrats on the new release I have your first book on the TBR pile and I am going to shift it up and your new book will be on the order I am putting in later today and I am so looking forward to reading them both.

As for what animal I would like to be I think it would be a dog as much as I love cats as well I am very close to my dogs.

Thanks Trish for inviting Helen back to the lair Cordelia and Michael's story really sounds fasinating.

Have Fun

Becke Davis said...

Whoa, Helen, congrats on the GR. I can't believe I came so close!

I'm so glad I spotted this. I just finished THE PHOENIX CHARM a few days ago, and I loved it! Now I'm impatient for book three -- I don't want to wait for it!!

Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats on nabbing the bird, Helen!!Wish I had some of that heat here in the Deep South. It is 18 degrees here. BRRRR

Helen S.T. !! Hello, Pixie Sister!! I am SO excited about this book. I LOVED the first one and I just know this one is going be even hotter!!

What animal would I be? That's a tough one. I LOVE my dogs. Everyone knows that. And I LOVE my cats too in spite of the fact that all four of them treat me like the housekeeper/cook/butler/maid of all work!

I've always loved horses too. Don't own one at present, but I had one for over 25 years. He always seemed to be such an old soul. I often wondered if he wasn't a wizard in a former life.

But I think it is a toss up between a dog and a Harris hawk. I handled a Harris hawk when I volunteered at the local zoo and he was absolutely amazing. And I would really love to be able to fly!

mariska said...

will the phoenix fly to indonesia ? :)

Hi Helen S.T :)
i'm so jealous to everyone that had read your books, coz i haven't read any of them *g*

My choose will be A CAT. A house cat. that can be pampered all day long :)

Another Helen, Congrats for taking the GR with you. I have a very Hot weather here too.

Virginia said...

Congrats Helen, on nabbing the rooster! I am sure he is worn out today! I worked him pretty hard!

Hi Helen, great post! Your book sounds fabulous! I think I would like to be a cat because they are so light on there feet and can move around and no one can hear them.

Donna MacMeans said...

I think it's only apropos that Helen in Australia win the GR on British Helen's post (grin).

Heck, I'd like to bum a ride with the bird as it's snowy and cold here. Louisa - would you believe that tomorrow 18 is supposed to be our high! England is getting hit with this snow as well. Let's all go to Australia!

Helen - loved the trailer. You've created such an interesting, intriguing world. Not sure what animal I'd choose for a familiar. I love both cats and dogs but this isn't about having a pet, is it? Have to think more about it. Heading up to bed now.

Donna MacMeans said...

Ouch! The GR just pecked me on the leg. Guess he's telling me that my familiar would be the Golden Rooster!

Mitzi H. said...

What animal would I be??? I would choose a cat....that long rough tongue that excites everything it touches and also likes everything it tastes....well, you get the picture.

I would not choose bats....I have a thing about them after watching vampire movies in when I was a kid (in the 60-70s) and I'm so/so with wolfs.

Conrats on the new release and I'm looking forward to reading it soon!!! Pick Me!!!

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

Pam P said...

Oh my, I don't blame Cordelia at all for being a peeping Thomasina!
Now I have to hurry up and read your first book so I can get right into this new one, Helen. Two friends just told me on our group that I must read your first book asap.

Hmm, a familiar, I don't know, maybe a cat, but from a wilder species, extra ferocious when it comes to protecting, lol.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Thank you Trish for inviting me back to guest today. It's a pleasure to be here.

Helen, I think the GR was in Australia last time I guested. It must like the hot weather, and I don't blame it!

Thank you for the release congrats.

Becke, I'm delighted you enjoyed The Phoenix Charm. I'm just finishing up with Nightshade's story now. He had a lot of fun in Scotland.

Louisa, lovely to see you here my pixie pal.I agree that birds of prey are fascinating. The Scottish Unseelie King in my third book is a shape-shifting fairy who becomes a golden eagle. Must be great to fly out of trouble.

Mariska, welcome from one cat person to another. Sounds as though you're in Indonesia. I bet it's warm there.

Virginia, so glad you enjoyed the post my fellow cat lover.

Donna, I'm very pleased with my book trailer. The folks who made it did a great job. I wondered when someone would choose the GR as their animal.

Mitzi H, do you have a cat tongue fetish LOL. I love their fur. Both make for interesting shape-shifters. I agree bats don't immediately spring to mind as the ideal animal familiar. But they might be good for a villian. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Pam P, the guy the production people used in my video for Micheal is exactly how I saw him in my head. A big cat familiar would be great for protection as well as companionship.

Off to have some breakfast (rather late), back later.


Julie said...

I would most definitely be some sort of feline...the only trouble is, which one?

I've always liked snow leopards and clouded leopards. :3

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Hi Helen, I think I would go with a cat, just a common (no feline is common but you know what I mean) house cat, nothing exotic, just think of how a cat can get in and out of places and no one knows they are there. That would make for a good mystery don't you think?

I have the Magic Knot but have not gotten to read it yet. (I know, I know, bad Bandita BB, read faster!)

Davina said...

I'd have to say cat as well. I'd love to say lion or tiger, but, well, I like my home comforts too much!

Good luck with the release, Helen! Can't wait to read it :)

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Helen! Long time, no see. LOL

I love animals--I have 2 dogs and 2 cats. I've always been fascinated by wolves, so that would definitely be my pick!

Congrats on the GR, Helen. At least he's warm in Oz. It is 5 degrees here right now with a windchill of -14! That's farenheit--not sure what that would be in celcius. Suffice it to say, it's "freeze your butt off" (FYOB) cold!

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Julie, snow leapard is an interesting choice. Makes me think of a white wolf as well. A little bit different.

Dianna, I have so many books on my tbr pile they fill a whole bookcase, so I know what you mean. Too many books too little time.

Davina, I imagine living with a lion or tiger could be troublesome. The furniture wouldn't last long.

Gannon, fancy seeing you here :) I am fascinated by wolves. They are close enough to dogs to have that 'almost pet' appeal, but totally wild as well.


Deb said...

Good morning to all! No school again today; love the snow days, not crazy about the make-up days later.

I am not much of an animal lover even though we have a Yorkie named Bear. Although, I find myself calling him D*mn Dog quite frequently.

I think I would be a songbird, perhaps a wren. I'm not a flashy peron and I love to sing.

PJ said...

Helen in Oz, congrats on nabbing the GR!

Helen S.T., welcome to the lair! I loved The Magic Knot, and am eagerly anticipating reading The Phoenix Charm but I can...not...wait for Nightshade's story! Do you have a release date for him yet?

I'd have to choose a dog as my familiar. My dogs are my heart and I can't imagine my life without one.

Kirsten said...

I would turn into a rabbit. A big white fluffy one. I always loved Alice in Wonderland and I imagine myself as that white rabbit. Too fast to follow. Not sure I would want to be late, or end up in a childrens story. But I would have great adventures!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Helen, odd to think someone somewhere needs air conditioning today as I sit in my office and look at the snow on my street.

Hey, Becke, so glad you came by and gave your ringing endorsement for The Phoenix Charm.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Louisa, interesting about the hawk. I've never heard of a Harris hawk.

Mariska, LOL on choosing a cat so you can be pampered all day long. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Virginia, another cat person. Seems to be lots of those here.

Donna, I love the idea of us all going to Australia. Bandita Air! Just knock me out and wake me when we get there. Just call me Mr. T. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Mitzi, bats creep me out too. Not because of the movies, just because they're creepy. Although they do eat mosquitoes, which is good in my book.

Donna, I wondered how long it would be before someone picked the GR as their familiar. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Pam, I was wondering about wild cats too. A tiger or a panther, maybe.

I can't decide what my familiar would be, though I have to say I'm a dog person. Maybe I'd be a puppy and make people smile. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Helen, I'm having breakfast late myself. Hubby's office opened late today because of the snow and freezing last night, so the alarm didn't go off when it normally does and I slept in. Nice to stay snuggled under the covers when it's so blasted cold.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Julie, snow leopards are pretty as well as powerful. Good choice.

Dianna, it's hard to keep up with all the great books coming out, isn't it? My TBR pile became a TBR mountain and then a TBR mountain range akin to the Alps.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Davina, someone else giving the house cat some love.

LOL, Gannon, on the FYBO cold. I hear you! At 10 a.m. here, it's 17 with a wind chill of 4. But you're at a higher elevation than me. The only time I'm going out of the house today is to go to the mailbox.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Oh, and I'm fascinated by wolves too, Gannon. When Yellowstone National Park released wolves back into the park to form packs several years ago, I read about them all the time.

Deb, I love that you have a Yorkie named Bear. :) I'm typically a large dog person (Golden retrievers, labs, huskies, etc.), but I do think Yorkies are cute as well as Bichons.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

PJ, fellow dog person, mwah! I miss having animals, but we just have schedules and travel too much to have animals right now. I'd constantly be toting them back and forth to the kennel, and going broke in the process.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Kirsten, how fun that you picked white rabbit. Have you seen the previews for the new Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp? -- Pretty sure Tawny has. :) -- It's another of those movies that looks like it's going to be a feast for the eyes, and in 3-D.

tetewa said...

I love the water and dolphins are my favoite animals so I would go with a dolphin!

JAD said...

If I could choose an animal to shape shift into it would be a fox, or a raven. Of course foxes because they're cuddly and soft, and of course, cunning. Ravens because they're smart, and of course, can fly. :) So those would be my choices. Thanks for a wonderful article. Can't wait to read the book!

Becke Davis said...

Helen 0 I think you mentioned awhile ago that Nightshade would be up next. I'm good with that but I am soooo waiting for Troy to get his turn!

catslady said...

No question it would be a cat!! I have 6 inside cats at the moment and take care of 3 permanent outside cats - all ferals but one is 14 and 2 are 12. Then there's the ones that come and go. I have had two dogs that I loved dearly but there's just something about cats lol.

MsHellion said...

I'd be a horse. I always wanted to be one as a kid. *LOL* Beautiful, strong, fast, intelligent, brave (see: Comanche, from Custer's Last Stand), loyal, and fun-loving. Likes nothing more than some oats and a nice roll in the grass.

Louisa Cornell said...

MsHellion - one of the first horse books my Mom ever gave me was Comanche of the Seventh. I LOVE the story of that brave and loyal horse.

Trish, a Harris hawk is one of the most beautiful hawks you will ever see. Bigger than the average hawk and extremely intelligent. Jesse, the bird I worked with at the zoo was entirely too smart for his own good. If he saw someone he liked (me) he would pick the lock to his cage and fly out to meet me.

Minna said...

Definitely a wolf.


Enigma: Beyond The Invisible

Kirsten said...

@ Trish - Yes I did see it. I'm SO gonna watch that movie. One of my all time fav stories & (delicious-) Johnny put together by Tim Burton. I think it's going to be surreal. Can't wait!

PJ said...

Wolves are fascinating. I had the opportunity to get "up close and personal" with some at the Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, Tennessee. What an incredible experience!

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Deb, for the first time in about twenty years we've had schools closed because of the snow and ice here. A songbird is an interesting choice.

PJ, I'm not sure if I get more doggy people or more cat people. They are both so popular. Nightshade's story is scheduled for Dec 28th 2010, so a bit of a wait, I'm afraid. I've finished the first draft but I need to polish it now.

Kirsten, we had a lovely white rabbit years ago when my kids were small. They're such cute creatures.

Tetewa, dolphins are an interesting choice, because you'd have to spend a lot of time in the water. Haven't scientists just proclaimed that they are so intelligent they should be treated as human?

JAD, I'd say both foxes and ravens are intelligent and wily. Maybe you can have them both!


Helen Scott Taylor said...

Becke, you're right, Nightshade is next and his book in nearly done. After that is Devin followed by Troy last. I love watching Troy develop with each story. I learned a lot of new things about him in The Ruby Kiss, which I'm writing now. He's my fav as well--it's the long blond hair I think! (Nordic heritage.) I know received wisdom is that romance heroes should be dark haired, but I love blonds as well.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Catslady, the name says it all! I love both dogs and cats but my cat has my heart.

MsHellion, I was horse mad when I was young. I had a number of ponies and horses until I went to college.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Minna, I watched a documentary the other night about white wolves and how they are outcast from the pack. Very interesting.

Becke Davis said...

It's not the blond hair for me, it's the darn tortured hero.

Becke Davis said...

I forgot to list my choice of a familiar -- hmmm, I think I'd go for a jaguar/black panther (not sure of the difference). Wouldn't that be cool? Might be a little tricky in day-to-day life, but if I was (were?) a witch, I'd make it work.

Pat Cochran said...

Difficult choice for me to make!
Horses, tigers, golden eagles, and
wolves would be at the top of my
list. Hmmm, add huskies to that
list. As to a choice, I'd have to
think long and hard before I would
make a selection!

Pat Cochran

Lady_Graeye said...

Hello Helen!
Congrats on your new release. I am totally an animal lover. It's in my genes. We raised show dogs, show horses an every kind of animal possible but cats. I'm highly allergic to cats.

If I could be a shapeshifter I would become a falcon. To soar across the sky; freely and wild. It would be amazing.

Enid Wilson said...

Congratulations Helen! I was born in the Year of the Dragon so I'd love to be a dragon. But in RL, I like cats more than dogs. I love their character and independence.

Really Angelic

Beth said...

Just popping out of the writing cave to say, Welcome back to the lair, Helen! Congrats on your newest release! The Phoenix Charm sounds fantastic *g*

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Becke, I torture poor Troy some more in The Ruby Kiss--actually he really suffers, poor guy.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Becke, meant to say that jaguars/black panthers are my favorite shifters. One day I shall write one. It just hasn't fitted in to a book yet.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Pat, husky is an unusual choice. My mind always jumps to the environment in which they live as well. Husky shifters would make an interesting story.

Pissenlit said...

Tough question. I'm tempted to pick a cat. I think they're great and they kind of blend in to every day life...however, I'm extremely allergic to them(I don't think I'd like to be allergic to my other self or my familiar...ha!) so...I think I'll go with a raven.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Lady Graeye, I used to show horses when I was young, then dalmation guinea pigs (don't laugh) then more recently cats. Now I just write about animals.

Enid, dragons are a good one. I think you're the first to mention them.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Beth, thank you for the warm welcome and the congratulations!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome back to the Lair, Helen! The Phoenix Charm sounds like pure temptaion, too! Alas, I can see my TBR pile growing and it's only the first of the year.

As for shape shifting animals? I think I'd like to be a wolf. They mate for life and travel in packs. After being a Romance Bandit for almost 3 years, I find I like traveling in packs.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, clearly the grandkids didn't frighten him away last time. Or maybe he just wants some more Tim Tams! Congratulations!

Stinking hot here in Queensland today too. With scuddy showers followed by blue baking skies.

Helen (not GR snatcher!), welcome back to the lair. I love your premise - I must say I love animals in books too. Just finished Barbara O'Neal's The Secret of Everything which included assorted dogs and cats and each was an individual.

If I was a shapeshifter, I think I'd like to be a heron. We've got a pair that live around the lake at the bottom of my garden and the idea of being that skinny...uh, that graceful is amazing. Not to mention being able to fly. I think that would be fantastic! And I always like men with long noses - a male heron would definitely suit that! So I could quite happily flirt with the talent if I was a heron!

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, what an amazing story about the hawk. I must say I originally thought an eagle for my shapeshifter choice. A golden eagle who lives in the Hebrides!

Louisa Cornell said...

Here is a link to some great photos of the Harris hawk.

I need to go through my photos because I know I have several of myself with Jesse.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Suzanne, I do like the idea that wolves mate for life. I hadn't thought of that. Better than the naughty tom cat!

Joan said...

Hi Helen! Welcome back to the Lair!

The Phoenix Charm sounds fantastic!

I have a Borders gift card and I'm not afraid to use it!!!!

As to a familiar...a cougar or a black panther. I love the tawny color of the cougar but black with glittering green eyes is so...dangerous...

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Anna, thank you for the warm welcome. I wish I could share some of your warm weather. We have had blue sky but sub-zero temps. A heron is a unique idea. I've certainly not heard of a heron shape shifter.

Anna Campbell said...

Ha ha! You'd have to like fish, though, Helen! And swimming. Seriously, these birds are absolutely gorgeous. A beautiful blue gray and so graceful.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Joan, thank you for the warm welcome back. I love the idea of black hair and glittering green eyes--works well for a man as well as a cat.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

I shall have to love you and leave you now. It's gone midnight here and I need my beauty sleep. I'll be back in the morning to catch up on any comments I miss.

Once again, thank you so much for having me as a guest again. May 2010 be your best year ever!


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

tetewa, what an excellent choice with the dolphins. We saw some while on vacation at the beach last month.

PJ, I once did an article on Bays Mountain for the magazine I worked for. Pretty up there.

Barbara Monajem said...

Hmmm... I'm a bit late to the party, but I'd be... a crow or a raven in the daytime, and shapeshift to a bat at night. It also might be fun to be some kind of bug for a while... A honeybee, say, or a water-strider.
Or maybe a spider! But I'd only want to be an insect or spider for a short while, because of the danger of being swatted or eaten or stepped on and squished.

My daughter's reading The Phoenix Charm now, and I get it next.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Barbara, I think the idea of someone being able to shift into a number of different animal forms rather than just one is interesting. I've used this in the third book in my series.

I hope your daughter enjoys The Phoenix Charm!


traveler said...

Congratulations and all the best on this new release. I enjoyed your post and the animal I would be is a dog, but a Maltese.

HessMara said...

I am a total wolf person- your books sound interesting- will have to check them out soon!