May 12 2016 is the release day for "How to Wish Upon a Star", the third book in my "Howl at the Moon" series of paranormal romances featuring... dog shifters! Yes, dog shifters. And God, I love them to death! I can't imagine ever not wanting to return to Mad Creek and see what's going on with the pack there.
Here's the blurb for "How to Wish Upon a Star":
Dr. Jason Kunik is working on the most earth-shattering genetics project ever, DNA mapping of a new species, the quickened—dogs who can shift into human form. The problem is, no one knows the quickened exist and Jason can’t betray them by publishing his studies. When he moves to Mad Creek to continue his research in a town full of quickened, all he wants is peace, quiet, and to be allowed to bury himself in his work. Perhaps if he figures how out the mutation is activated, he can silence his own inner dog forever.
Milo is a hospice comfort dog who has bonded with, and lost, many beloved patients in his life. He intuitively understands sickness and pain on a spiritual level most can’t see. When he gains the ability to become a man, he thinks he finally has everything he ever wanted. But being a man isn’t the same thing as being loved, and taking shelter in Mad Creek isn’t the same thing as finding a home.
When a mysterious illness hits Mad Creek and threatens all the quickened in town, it’s up to the scientist and the comfort dog to figure out what it is and how to stop it. Along the way they might discover that true love is possible—if you wish upon a star.
OK, so let's get down to this book's desktop, shall we?
Here are the image that inspired me while I was writing the book. [Note, these image are off the web--I don't own them, nor were they used in the actual book.]
Milo -- Milo only recently gained the ability to change from a dog into a man, so he is very much new to this whole human business. As a dog, Milo was a comfort dog in a hospice. He spent time with, and gave unconditional love to, the dying patients and their families. Milo is a labradoodle. Here he is in his dog and human form. I imagine that in his human form he looks something like model Anthon Wellsjo.
Milo was inspired by real life therapy dogs like Baxter (from this book) and JJ (JJ's facebook page). Here are a couple of photos of them doing their amazing jobs.
Dr. Jason Kunik -- Jason was born a quickened descended from Alaskan Malamutes. Incredibly intelligent, he got his PhD and is now a geneticist fascinated by this 'new species' the quickened or, as he calls them, canis sapiens. His description in the book says that he doesn't look like any one human 'race'. His skin, hair and eye shape look Asian, but his irises are pale blue (like the ones on the dog photo below), and he has a heavier, Slavic build.
So first, here's Jason as a dog. The dark parts of his fur would be fully back, but I love the shot of this dog and he so reminds me of Jason.
Now for his human form--I think he might look something like actor Daniel Henney but with pale blue eyes and a bit beefier in the chest and arms.
Tim and Lance (from "How to Howl at the Moon") and Roman and Matt (from "How to Walk Like a Man"), all appear in "How to Wish Upon a Star". Here they are from previous desktop posts.
Tim Weston aka Tim Beaufort
Sheriff Lance Beaufort
Human and dog form of Roman, our ex-military service dog and now town deputy.
Matt, Roman's partner, is ex-SWAT and ex-military, current forest ranger, and forever class clown.
Baby Molly Beaufort
Molly is a brand new addition to Mad Creek. With tons of black hair and vivid blue eyes, Molly looks just like a baby quickened (which is good, because she is one)!
Here are some pictures I shared in the past as inspirations for Mad Creek, the town where the "Howl at the Moon" series is set. I lived for several years in Oakhurst, CA, which is up in the mountains from Fresno and on the way to Yosemite. Mad Creek is hypothetically much "farther up" in the mountains, but the town size, and general setting, was based on Oakhurst.
This is actually SARS below, but it inspired the look of the CASP-1 virus.
The founder of the Hold My Paw dog shelter, where our intrepid heroes from Mad Creek visit.
Hold My Paw Shelter in Arizona
In the book, Jason, Milo, Tim, and Matt travel to Arizona to visit a non-profit animal shelter (for plotty reasons). The pictures below inspired the setting. This is actually a shelter called Desert Haven and it's in New Mexico.
While in Arizona, Milo does some tracking in the desert. He come across an old mining operation like the one below.
That's it for this desktop. I hope you enjoy the new story. You can read an excerpt and find purchase links on my page for How to Wish Upon a Star.