Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: Interlude Press (April 21, 2016)
Amazon: The Better To Kiss You With
Amazon Kindle: The Better To Kiss You With
Blurb: Deanna, the moderator for Wolf’s Run, an online werewolf role-playing game, wanders the local forest with her dog Arthur and daydreams about Jaime, the attractive, enigmatic woman who lives upstairs. When threats from an antagonistic player escalate, Deanna wonders if her job could be riskier than she’d ever imagined—and if her new girlfriend knows more about this community than she had realized.
“I think I know blood when I see it,” Deanna pointed out. “It was definitely blood.”
Beside her on the floor, Nathan leaned his head back against the couch and, behind the black frames of his glasses, rolled his bright blue eyes. “I’m not saying it wasn’t blood. But just, like, blood happens.”
“‘Blood happens.’ You sound like a tampon commercial.”
“Not true.” Nathan snickered over the top of his glass. “They never use the word ‘blood.’”
Deanna choked on a mouthful of wine.
“Anyway,” Nathan continued, “it was probably just a dead animal. Dogs love that stuff.”
“He wasn’t happy, though. He was scared. Something scared him. And Arthur’s brave. He doesn’t scare easily.” Deanna wiped the Pinot Gris from her chin and they both leaned forward to look at Arthur, who was sprawled artlessly on top of his dog bed and snoring loudly. Deanna smothered a giggle with the back of her hand and grabbed the bottle of wine.
“Just don’t confuse fantasy with reality. I think your job is messing you up.”
Deanna snorted. “Wolf’s Run is a just game, Nathan. I haven’t forgotten that.”
“Really? Because you’re talking about mysterious bodies torn up in the woods, and if that doesn’t sound like werewolves…”
Deanna gave Nathan a shove. “Ha, ha, very funny. I’m not like that weirdo who thinks that werewolves actually exist. It’s role-playing. Playing being the key word.”
For the most part, the players of Wolf’s Run were a good crowd—with the exception of one user who seemed to think that he actually was a werewolf. Apparently, he took offense to the game’s depictions of “his species,” considering them inaccurate and insulting. The rants had been going on for months, and the situation would have been laughable, except that in the last few weeks his posts had taken on a more threatening tone. Every time Deanna deleted his posts and blocked his username he simply created another account. The Wolf's Run team didn’t want to block his IP address because IP addresses could be shared by a large number of people, and doing so might block legitimate players from the game. Besides, it was child’s play to circumvent a block by logging in from a third-party app or web service, or just logging in from a different location. Deanna could only shut him down and hope that this time he finally gave up.
“Well, then just accept that Arthur found a bunny rabbit or something and decided it would be a good idea to roll around in its mangled corpse.”
Deanna shook her head. “You didn’t see him. It was a lot of blood.” It had taken two desperately unpleasant baths and an entire bottle of shampoo to get Arthur clean. Deanna had had to scrub her bathtub three times before she’d felt comfortable using it again.
Nathan grabbed her hand with his long, thin fingers. “Listen, you’re my best friend, and I love you, and I’m sure that it was really terrifying, but I’m also one hundred percent sure that you are blowing this way out of proportion. No more fantasy werewolf role playing nonsense for you.”
“Until my shift starts in…” Deanna tapped the screen of her phone. “Ten hours.”
“Until then,” Nathan agreed and clinked their glasses. “Now, tell me more about your hot neighbor.”
Deanna buried her head in her hands and groaned. “It’s awful. She’s gorgeous. And I can’t think around her. Or speak. I turn into a spluttering sixth grader with her first crush.”
“That’s disgusting and adorable. Tell me more. What’s her name?”
Meet the author: Michelle Osgood lives in Vancouver, BC, with her partner Elizabeth and their two cats. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and has been reading, writing and blogging in online communities for five years. She likes to read romance novels, speculative fiction and feminist pop culture critique.
"Hi, thanks for having me! I’m a writer who lives in Vancouver, BC, with my partner Elizabeth and our two black cats. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and have been fascinated with storytelling for as long as I can remember. The Better to Kiss You With is a paranormal romance about Deanna, the moderator of an online werewolf role playing game, who falls for the mysterious woman living above her."
1) How do you develop your plots and characters?
I’m a very linear writer, so most often I start developing my story from the initial scene. I usually have a very clear idea what the first chapter of something is going to look like, and the rest of the story grows from there. My first scenes rarely ever change, because they’re the foundation that the rest of my story is built on.
2) Who doesn’t love a good hero? Tell us about your protagonist. Was there a real life inspiration behind them?
Deanna is a young queer woman who works as a content moderator for an werewolf-role playing game. She lives alone with her golden retriever, Arthur, and works from home. She loves scifi, has a great sense of humour, and a huge crush on her upstairs neighbor!
This book was interesting to write because the inspiration for it came from a location—I visited the apartment of a friend, whose place I’d never seen before, and I fell head-over-heels in love with it. She lived in this old brick building, and her apartment was so tiny that she had a wardrobe in her bathroom. But she had decorated the space so beautifully, and all I could think is “I want to set a story here”. From there I had to find out what kind of character would live in that apartment, and, because I wanted to much of the story to take place inside the one room, I realized the character would have to work from home. Deanna sort of took over from there!
3) What real-life inspirations do you use when world building?
When I started to write The Better to Kiss You With, GamerGate was in full-swing, and had been for some time. Hearing women speak out about the threats, harassment, and stalking they endured, and then to have that worsen because they dared to speak out, infuriated me. I was frustrated that there seemed to be no recourse for these women, and that the perpetrators of this violence, who were primarily men, suffered few consequences for their behavior. My bad guy, crywolf, was very much inspired by witnessing what was happening. These women were experiencing very real terror, and I wanted to acknowledge that. Though crywolf is a monster, he’s not a monster because of what he is, he’s a monster because of what he does.
4) Did you learn anything from this book and what was it?
I learned that I have a really amazing, supportive group of friends! They were always happy to help me out in whichever way they could while I was writing—whether that was being a sounding board for plot stuff, distracting me from my writerly angst with a night of pub trivia, or cheering me on to the end when the finish line finally came in sight.
5) It’s your last meal on earth. What do you choose?
I choose an obscenely expensive bottle of champagne, a plate of spaghetti like my mom makes (lots of parmesan!), and finish it off with a thick slice of garlic bread.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28490267-the-better-to-kiss-you-with
Tour Dates & Stops:
21-Apr: BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Hearts on Fire, Bayou Book Junkie
22-Apr: My Fiction Nook, Kirsty Loves Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Happily Ever Chapter
25-Apr: Oh My Shelves, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Louise Lyons, A.M. Leibowitz
26-Apr: Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Havan Fellows, Open Skye Book Reviews
27-Apr: Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews, Butterfly-O-Meter, Prism Book Alliance
28-Apr: Nephy Hart, QUEERcentric Books, Emotion In Motion, Unquietly Me
29-Apr: Chris McHart, Velvet Panic, Book Reviews and More by Kathy
2-May: Charley Descoteaux, Love Bytes, Bonkers About Books
3-May: Alpha Book Club, Cathy Brockman Romances, Rednecks and Romance, MM Good Book Reviews
4-May: Dawn’s Reading Nook, Divine Magazine, Molly Lolly
Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card. 5 first prizes of e-copies of The Better to Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood.
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