Monday, July 9, 2012

#MeetTheAuthor of Honor the Pack, Kaycee Looney

A fantasy novella
by Kaycee Looney
4.5 Stars
Honor the pack without question. It is the only life Eshla has ever known, but her wolf pack is starving and a single hope remains. One of them must leave the forest and bring back easy prey—human prey. Chosen by the pack elders to shed her wolf form, Eshla sets out for the nearest human settlement to walk among them and gain their trust.

Yet when Eshla meets Connell, she can’t decide if she’d rather run from him or be near him. As she struggles to comprehend her feelings, she begins to question her ability to fulfill her duty to the pack. Then Connell reveals that he is the son of an adopted aunt she never knew existed, and everything Eshla thought she knew about her transformation, and honor, dissolves into chaos.

My Review:

A twist on the werewolf story, this comes from the wolf's perspective. Eshla, the MC, must become a human in order to save her pack. She learns the human ways and in doing so becomes attached to them. A choice must be made, and she is forced to put loved ones lives in jeopardy.

Yummies:  While too short IMO, this story is full of emotion - obstacles that made my heart ache for Eshla. The setting descriptions set a slightly dark tone, perfectly fitting the life-threatening choice she must make.

Yuckies:  It was too short. Any novella that nabs me like this one did is always yucky in this way.

Recommend:  Absolutely! A quickie read, you'll be left wanting more.

Let's meet the uber-super-crazy busy Kaycee Looney

Thanks so much to Kaycee for taking time out of her busy schedule to share with us! Be sure to check out Honor the Pack on Goodreads HERE!
I’d like to preface this interview by saying thank you so much (Terri) for the opportunity to be a part of your blog. You were one of the people who helped shape “Honor the Pack” into a publish-worthy piece of writing. I can’t thank you enough for your support over the years we’ve been “cyber friends.”  I wish you much well-deserved success with your upcoming anthology publication – and many more publications to follow!
But of course! Now, on to my picking-of-your-brain!! HtP is totally different from the normal werewolf / changeling stories of today, focusing on the wolf rather than the human aspect. Where did your inspiration come from? 

I was driving home through the mountains from my nephew’s birthday party and when I crested a hill the full moon loomed over the road. It was enormous. My brain immediately went into “what if” mode. I thought, “What would it be like if a wolf turned human during the full moon? How would she react to human customs and emotions?” And in matter of minutes, Eshla was born.

We’ve been ‘cyber friends’ for a bit of time now, so I know how busy your life is right now with school. As writers, we’re dreamers, but know the bills must get paid. You’ve chosen the law route. How do you juggle law school and your love of writing?
It has been tough juggling my first year of law school with my creative writing. I certainly haven’t had as much time to write as often, or as much, as I’d like. One thing that has helped keep me on track is the weekly Word Wars on the Writer’s Digest Forums. It makes me accountable for an hour of uninterrupted writing each week. Some weeks (okay, most weeks), it is the only creative writing time I have but it’s just the break from reality that I need. Writing has always been my way to escape – and I really need an escape these days.
Where is your ideal place to write? That spot you dream of spending hours on end putting to paper (computer) what those voices in your head tell you?

An interesting question, Terri. Since I am a currently victim of apartment living and quiet is in short supply, I’d have to say that my ideal place to write would have to be in a secluded cabin. When I really feel the itch to write for long, uninterrupted periods of time I miss my little hometown in Southeast Alaska. It was never very difficult to find a place where I could be alone with my story ideas growing up. 
You’re currently working on 2 historical fiction stories—don’t ask me HOW. If you could go back in time, where and when would you go? Any special people you’d like to meet?
Do I have to pick just one time period? I’d have to say I’d love to visit the Ancient Roman Empire during the first century. It would be amazing to see the reality of what I’m imagining. I’d just like to meet and talk to everyday people while I was there to see what their lives were like.
If I could travel back to the 17th Century Caribbean, the setting for my other WIP, I’d love to meet Anne Bonny herself since she is the inspiration for that project. It would be incredible to sail on a pirate vessel for a few weeks.
Of course, all of the fun involved in these journeys greatly hinges on my knowledge that I could come back home again whenever I wished. I don’t think I’d want to stay in either of those time periods for long. I’m too spoiled by my 21st century independence, which women in those times did not enjoy.
Can you give us a smidge to whet our appetite for these WIPs?
Of course! Keep in mind, however, that both of these are still in rough draft form. And they are both, as of yet, untitled. J The first excerpt is from my historical fiction set in the 1st Century A.D. Roman Empire. It begins in Greece with Calliope living with her family. She is then sold as a slave by her cousin after she rejects his offer of marriage. The novel ends in Rome, with Calli finding love and learning to accept the new life she was thrust into.
Greece; June A.D. 62

Calliope and her younger sister, Echo, linked arms and hurried down the hall to the dining room. Hunger wasn’t what made them rush, but the fear of being late. Their father ignored his daughters as a habit, but was quick to discipline them.
Theodorus sat at the head of the table. He once had thick, flaxen curls. Now only a small fringe encircled his head, drawing more attention to his ice blue eyes. Deep wrinkles creased his brow and drew lines from the sides of his upturned nose to his full mouth. Calliope touched her own golden curls, wishing she didn’t resemble him so much. 
Calli’s mother and two elder sisters, Melaina and Zoe were already seated in their usual places. Releasing Echo’s arm, Calli took her own seat, avoiding her father’s glare as he said the nightly blessing over their supper.
“Demeter, goddess of the harvest and growing things, I ask your blessing on this meal and on my family.” Theodorus reached out and grabbed the nearest dish, filled with couscous and vegetables, and piled some onto his plate to signal the beginning of the meal.
They ate without speaking. It was improper for a woman to address a man unless he spoke first, and her father was a man of very few words.
“Calliope.” He sprayed pita crumbs and hummus across the table.
She jumped at the sound of his voice. Punishment for being late was certain to follow this direct address. “Yes, Father?”
“How old are you?”
“Fifteen in five weeks time, Father.”
Theodorus rubbed his graying beard. “Already?” He looked at her sisters and then back at her. “Then it appears, I now have three daughters eating my food who should be in the care of a husband with children of their own.”
She looked at her plate and said nothing.
“It is time that you were all matched. I cannot afford to keep you here indefinitely. Melaina and Zoe must be married first. But I will have the three of you out of my house before the end of growing season.”
Calli exchanged a shocked look with her older sisters. The growing season ended in less than four months! Calli looked to her mother for some sign of help, but Mother averted her eyes and piled more food onto her plate.
Calli’s stomach roiled. She slapped a hand over her mouth, got up from the table and ran.
She made it as far as the hall before her supper heaved itself from her stomach.

This second excerpt is from my YA Alternate History set in the 17th Century Caribbean. The main character is the child rumored to have been born in Cuba to Anne Bonny approximately a year before she was captured and tried for piracy. The historical record is unclear on what happened to Anne herself after she was imprisoned, but I like to think she escaped, changed her name, and sailed the seas as a pirate for many more years. J
Cuba, 1736
Shielding my eyes from the sun’s glare, I looked out to sea. The trade ships anchored in the harbor bobbed like birds on the waves. The flags flying from their masts were reduced to colorful ribbons at this distance. I could make out Spain’s white flag with its red and gold crest on many of them.
Evarado was on one of those ships. He was coming home today – my seventeenth birthday. His return was the best present I could have asked for. My elder brother and I were very similar in many ways. It led to a lot of bickering during our younger years. But now that we were grown, well almost grown in my case, our bond was strong. He was my best friend and I had not seen him in two years. I bounced on my toes in anticipation as I saw a longboat being lowered from one of the nearest ships. Evarado could be aboard it. And I prayed that he had been able to find the information I’d asked him to seek out during his travels.
Letters would never do to pass it along if he had. Mamí read everything that came into the house. So I’d kept the secret and counted the days until my brother’s return. How much longer was I expected to wait?
The longboat drew nearer and one of the sailors leapt to his feet, waving his arms like a wild man. I wanted to believe it was him, but he was still too far away to see clearly. Then he shouted something. I tilted my head, straining to make out the words.
There may have been another Clara in the crowd, perhaps three or four. But none of them stood out like I did with my sunset red hair, and I knew it was Evarado even though his voice sounded deeper and more raspy than I recalled it.
“Evarado!” I didn’t care that all the women lining the shore were staring at me as I returned his wave, jumping up and down on the sand. “‘Rado, you’re home!”
I couldn’t wait for the boat to land on the beach and ran into the surf as they neared the shore. My brother, now wearing a beard that covered his dimples, leaped out to meet me smelling of salt and fresh air, not like tobacco and earth as he used to. He picked me up and we nearly tumbled into the ocean as he tried to swing me in a circle. I didn’t care. I was laughing so hard that tears spilled down my cheeks. When at last we sloshed out of the water, he put me down.
 “What has Mamí been feeding you, hermanita? You are as tall as I am.”
I ducked my head to avoid his surprised stare. My height was just one more thing which made me different. I punched his shoulder to disguise my discomfort.  “Obviously better food than the ship’s cook has been giving you, hermano.”
Laughing, Evarado squeezed me into another long hug. “I do not doubt that, ‘Nita. I can’t wait to get home and have some real food.”
 “Well then, hurry up. Mamí’s been watching the harbor for the past five days and cooking for ten.” 

Let me know when you're done with these two puppies - I'd love to beta read! Lastly, what or who has influenced your writing the most? Your reading?
When I was 13, I read “The Masque of the Red Death” for English class and I was hooked. I wanted to be able to write something that would stir people’s emotions like that story did for me. I wrote a lot of horror during my early days as an aspiring author. Since then, I’ve branched out into various genres and found I have a special love for historical fiction and fantasy (including alternate history). My current influences would have to be; Tamora Pierce, Melissa Marr, and Cassandra Clare.
My reading habits have been very much influenced by other aspiring writers who give me recommendations for new authors. I’ve recently become interested in the Steampunk genre and am a big fan of Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’ Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series.



  1. I like the premise. I'm sure the story is worth the read. :-)

  2. I love the taste of both stories-in-progress. I haven't gotten to Honor the Pack yet, but I just found my B&N card that I'd bought several months ago to pick it up, so I should be getting to it sometime this week. Yay!

  3. Consider yourself officially on the beta reader list, Terri. Now I just have to figure out a way to perfect this Time-Space Distorter I've been working on so I can give myself more hours in the day to get them finished. ;-)

    Thanks again for having me on your blog.

  4. awesome interview you guys! I loved Honor the Pack, so nice to see it getting more attention :D

    and wow, nice excerpts, I'm looking forward to your upcoming WiP's, Kaycee 8-)