Kate Does Not Work Well With Others**


The letter was from an editor who did not like seeing it on my blog. The correspondence can only be quoted with permission. I didn't have permission. I did take out the name of the editor and publisher beforehand, but I got an angry note about it--which I won't quote because I can be taught.

The fact is that I'm not good at remaining silent about subjects, even when I should be. . . I used to apologise for it, but I think I'll stop saying sorry because it's not going to change. I'm 5'5", have brown hair, and am not as diplomatic as I'd like to be, but that's part of the package. People don't apologise when they are uncoordinated or have a limp. Hell, yah, if I step on your foot with my particular limp, I'll apologise for the pain, and I'll try to be more careful next time, but that's as far as it goes. It's genetic. I blame my mother who also just came right out and said what she thought, too often. Usually, it's not a problem because I like people and my intentions are almost always good. (bless her heart, she means well...)

All that aside, allllll of it (although I imagine I'll be obsessing about it for much of the day) . . .I do think the point that male shapeshifters in erotic fantasy have to be slightly dangerous animals (and not the plague carrying kind of danger) is interesting. The only reason mermen can function is that they're half men. I don't see a romantic hero being a full fish or whale.

And giraffes? Right out. No beavers, for obvious reasons. Bears might work. One of my very favorite romances of all time has a horse shape-shifter, but he was a wild stallion. *** A tame saddle-horse? I don't think so.

I suppose stags can work because they have wicked sharp horns. Although at this point, I'd love someone to write about a giraffe shapeshifter, just to see if it could be done. Not me; I'm still stuck with a rat.

Seals? Any male shapeshifters who are selkies or are they all women?

I wonder where the boundaries can be stretched. I'm not talking animorph books. I mean for a romance fantasy shapeshifter type book. What have you seen that's stretched but not broken the limit for you? It's all in the telling, I guess. . . .I'd think undead creatures that drink blood would be beyond it, but then vampires got something going on for them.

** from an often quoted report card in the fourth grade. But honestly, that teacher didn't work well with kids. And she put me at a table with ALL BOYS. What on earth was she thinking?

*** Grey Horse by R A MacAvoy. Wow, that book was great.


  1. Anne Stuart wrote a short story (or was it a category romance? Curse my non-existent memory!) about male selkies.

    C'mon, look at this magnificent creature. Don't you get all warm and sticky just imagining that magnificent head snuffling between your thighs? That nostril pouch is totally where it's at, bay-bee.

    And really, this is excellent fodder for discussion on gender roles YET AGAIN, because seriously? If you'd made your HEROINE a mouse or a rat, I bet that totally wouldn't have excited any comment at all.

    I wrote something fairly recently (not on SB, 'cause I searched--must've been a comment on somebody's blog) about how shapeshifters have to be romantic and somewhat dangerous, and that applies double for heroes. Predators like wolves, leopards (any kind of cat, actually), big, sturdy horses and wild ungulates like deer, etc. are good. You'll probably never find a hero whose only shapeshifting form is a gopher, goat, sheep, chicken, miniature pony, aardvark, gecko, frog (yeah, there's the fairy tale, but it wasn't voluntary on the prince's part), pig, alpaca, donkey, rabbit, manatee, sugar glider, wallaby, squid, jellyfish, mussel, oyster, clam, etc. The smaller, fuzzier animals like rabbit, mouse, rat, etc. are unconventional for a heroine shapeshifter, but I bet you that there'd be much less objection.

  2. Oh, I so wish I hadn't clicked on that photo. Ewww. EWWWWW.

  3. Oh, Christ, after cudgelling my brains all day, I finally remember where I wrote that shapeshifter thing now: it was on Monica Jackson's blog, when she was complaining about how historicals are full of the same-old, same-old, and I tried to point out that prety much all genre romances are full of the same-old, same-old.

    Glad you enjoyed the picture, Kate. Watching that pouch being inflated on a nature documentary is ten times freakier than that photo. Can't imagine what it'd be like to be up close and seeing it for real.

  4. *snicker*
    okay, this is good:

    "werewolves and were-leopards are good, were-geckos and were-Canadian Geese, not so much"

    Well, see, now girls can be transformed into big birds ("Hi, Elmo!") a la Swan Lake. were-swans.

    I have a selkie book on my pile and I'm going to have to move it down until that seal image fades from my brain.

  5. I read that Anne Stuart, too, and actually was struck by the fact that he wasn't totally compellingly sexy in his alter ego. So I think I'm solidly with the mainstream here: predatory animals, large, no scavengers or rodents allowed. Maybe a hawk or an eagle, a bit off the big feline trail...it's funny the most dangerous animals include the wolverine and the hippo. Neither really seem that dangerous, but they are. It's all a matter of perception, I guess.

  6. A were-hippo! Aaahahahahaha. That would rule. "Hungry hungry hippo..."

    Yeah, they look all cuddly and benign, but they kill more people than crocodiles.

  7. Also: "Male Nile hippos square off at territorial boundaries and perform a messy ritual: They turn backside to backside and shower each other in urine and feces—broadcasted with the help of their paddling tails—before walking away from each other."

    Hey, look! A built-in scat fetish! Whee!

    Excerpt taken from this cool page about hippos.

  8. I have a male selkie in a short story. And now you speak about erotica and shapeshifters, I'm tempted to rewrite that one into something more ... juicy ...

    Could give that average story I never even bothered to submit some spices. :-)


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