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message 1: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Apr 16, 2010 09:11AM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
Here's my bio:
My love for storytelling began when I created my first fictional characters in kindergarten, convincing my family and friends that Red Henry and Green Henry were identical twin brothers in my school. They were mischievous, rarely did their homework, and even had girlfriends! Years later, I started to write, completing my first manuscript in middle school. I confess the heroine was a cross between a contemporary Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew, who’d been dating one of the Hardy Boys, but when I wrote “the end” I’d known I had more stories to tell. Of course, life intervened, but whether I was in high school, working as a Veterinary Technician, earning a degree in history and secondary education, or teaching, I was always writing and reading romances.

Finally, I met and married my hero and moved to New England. Shortly after, I joined RWA and the New England Chapter and have been writing faithfully ever since. Now I am proud to be an author with Ellora’s Cave Publishing. I invite you to come and meet the Panthera, explore my website, read the reviews, excerpts and more at Or email me at I love to hear from readers!

As for my books: I have a continuing series of sensual Historical Paranormal Romances, predominately set in England and Europe, during my favorite eras in history. Here are direct links to the books, which include blurbs, excerpts and information about my publisher, Ellora's Cave Publishing/Cerridwen press.

Currently, I'm working on a new book, unrelated to the Panthera series, but I plan to write more in the series soon. I would love to interact with readers, after all, I LOVE books. I know that's a big, all capitals word, but it's true. Without reading, I wouldn't be the writer/author I am today. I am also a member of RWA National and my regional chapter, NECRWA, located in New England.

Frances Stockton
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Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
How did you comeup with thename Panthera ?

message 3: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments Hello everyone! Thank you to Rick for inviting me here. And thank you for the question.

To answer, I chose the Latin form of panther, as it felt older and my stories are set way back in history, namely my favorite eras such as Medieval, Renaissance, Golden Age of Pirecy.

To find out more, check out my website. The links are great right from the site. The url is:

Happy Friday everyone!

message 4: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments I'm posting an excerpt from Sea Captain's Ghost. Read and enjoy, and comment!

message 5: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments An Excerpt From: SEA CAPTAIN’S GHOST

Copyright © FRANCES STOCKTON, 2009

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Chapter One

21 May 1715—El Leon De Mar—Atlantic Ocean

In lion form, Adriano stared down at the twin pools of blood dripping from his front paws. Retracting his long, dagger sharp claws caused the wetness to seep between his toes, revealing the extent of his desperation. He had hunted, stalked and ultimately killed to save the life of his son. Though he’d been too late to save his mother, guilt ripped his heart, making him want to roar at the choices he’d made in his life.

The lion blinked, caught on the realization of who lay beneath his hulking body, reminding him of his humanity and his cruelty. Lifting his head, he roared, warning away any and all who intended to venture too close. His father carried his injured, bloodied son, withdrawing into the shadows as Adriano hung his head in shame. Closing his eyes against his actions, he welcomed the temporary blindness that kept him from seeing Jacinta’s face as he changed back into his human half.

When he was able, he forced himself to look at the woman who’d been his wife.

“I failed you. I failed you by being unable to see what my arrogance and absences have driven you to, Jacinta,” he confessed to her in Spanish. Her face was unscathed, almost peaceful in death, yet he knew the wrongness of this night would follow him for the rest of his life. “Never again will I use the lion to kill another. I vow it just as I will search for the man who turned you against our son and my mother. Perhaps then I will earn your forgiveness.”

Adriano stared at the beautiful, lifeless woman who’d been his wife and mother to his son. Still ashamed, he sought to pray, fearing God would not hear him. Perhaps an angel would hear him instead.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name… An angel’s silken voice eased the worst of Adriano’s nightmares, bringing him awake. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done…on earth as it is in heaven, she continued, reverently answering his need for contrition. Somewhere, somewhere close enough for him to hear in his mind, a woman prayed in English.

Amen, she whispered, weeping more to herself than to God. Adriano sensed the tears weren’t for her. They were meant for him.

Confused by her unselfishness, he buried a growl when the voice in his head changed, this time pleading, fearful. I beg of you, do not make me do this. You’ve taken the Emerald. It’s yours. Do not force me to fight you. We both know I cannot win.

Worried that he was still dreaming, Adriano listened, feeling hesitant to admit what hearing her meant yet afraid that he’d never hear her again. But the voices of his crew reached his empty, quiet cabin.

He could feel the galleon move through the churning waters of the Atlantic with an ease that belied the intent of its mission. The minor rain storm that had begun during the night was dissipating, yet rain drops plopped softly onto the ship’s deck, promising that clouds would still hover long enough to conceal his purpose. His plans and patience would soon come to fruition. But Captain Don Adriano de Montoya of el Leon De Mar was still plagued by the voice that had sung in his head.

Had he dreamt her? Nightmares about his part in his wife’s death had plagued him for ninety-three years. There had never been a time when his prayers had been answered by an angel.

Beyond his cabin, more commotion stirred. His pilot, Sebastian Blakemore, was growling orders from the quarterdeck and none would think to disobey him. All onboard knew the pilot was at his most serious and deadly when he spoke quietly. Ryder Sanborn, his quartermaster, gave commands to the Dutchman, Jan van Brakel and the ship began a subtle turn and gained speed.

Convinced the voice he’d heard had been a figment of his dreams, Adriano sat up and moved to the edge of his bed. Having tumbled into bed barely two hours before, he’d managed to sleep but was unable to truly rest. Feeling every bit of his three hundred and eight-two years of age, he scrubbed his left hand through the neat beard that covered his chin, set his mind to the task at hand and began to rise.

Halfway to his full height, a woman’s agonized moan crept up his spine, sending weakness to his left arm as sharp pain slammed deep in his abdomen. It felt as though he’d been kicked square in the gut while defending himself against the bash of a sword. The pain worsened, akin to being kicked in the groin.

Expecting the pain to ease, he was surprised when it narrowed to the place where a woman’s womb resided. The pain Adriano felt was internal, constant. His lower back ached with the weariness of supporting such pain for many years.

Confused by what was happening, he shook his head, forcing himself to brace his feet and stand tall. Cramps would not hinder his mission but concern for his mysterious angel became very real. Whatever she was going through that caused the weakness in her arms was completely different from the persistent ache in her womb.

“Captain, you’re needed on the quarterdeck,” Ryder implored from his post. “You were right. The Sea Otter has spied the Emerald, with Skelton Reed at command.”

Blinking to clear away the feel of the woman blocking the downward blow of a sword with one of her own, Adriano lifted his head and inhaled, willing his strength into her.

“I’ll be there shortly,” he said in English.

Ryder walked away, delivering commands as he went. Fully aware that he had a mission to accomplish, Adriano could not ignore the plight of the woman whose fear and pain he’d felt, whose voice he had heard while he’d slept.

Marching across the cabin, he knew he couldn’t abandon her. If he spoke to her and she acknowledged hearing him it would mean he’d found his mate. He wasn’t certain claiming her would be right. To a full-blooded panthera Abcynian, claiming her in such a way was as binding as marriage.

He didn’t want to be married, not when he was close to enacting the first stage of his revenge against the Marquess of Meldon, the man who’d been responsible for Jacinta’s betrayal. When Adriano caught Skelton Reed, he’d end one prominent source of Meldon’s riches and the English lord would be exposed for supporting piracy.

While Adriano dressed and plotted his next move, his arms trembled with weakness. As much as he wanted differently, he was feeling her again. I’ve plead mercy, Red, she gasped and confirmed his suspicion that the woman was onboard the Emerald.

Adriano’s hackles rose. His instinct was to strip and change form. He’d not given into the lion since the night his mother and his wife were killed. He couldn’t reveal his, Ryder’s and Sebastian’s secret to the men onboard the Sea Otter, the ship that acted in concert with the Sea Lion.

Fight me, Jocelyn. If you hold me at bay, I shall grant you the right to warm my bed until I am bored with you. If you cannot I will feed you to the sharks. Adriano felt a man’s sword batter Jocelyn’s, hearing the pirate’s words through the strength of her mind. Having learned her name, he finished buttoning his black shirt and was about to fasten his breeches when something sharp lanced his chest, close to his right nipple.

His hand flattened against the muscle and he felt blood dampen his palm. Certain he’d see the crimson stain he pulled his hand away and growled when all he saw was dried, callused skin. But he’d felt it. Her pain was as real to him as her fear.

Won’t someone help me? She prayed again, needing rescue.

Regardless of what might happen if he spoke to her and she acknowledged it, Adriano drew a deep breath, continuing to will strength into her. Fight him, woman. Hear me and do what I say, he implored in English. I will be there, I vow it. I will reach you in time. Be brave, querida, I will heal you.

He’d given his word. He could not ignore the sting of a sword tip piercing Jocelyn’s neck, causing more blood to rain down her already weakened body. She could not afford to lose more blood. Internally, her body was battling an illness that had been with her for years. She couldn’t sustain a pirate’s method of torture for much longer.

In his mind, he heard her reply. Now I know I’ve failed, I’m hearing voices in my head. The moment Jocelyn acknowledged his voice in her mind something intangible squeezed his chest and tugged on his groin, solidifying a bond she’d no idea existed yet.

Captain Don Adriano de Montoya gave into the panthera’s need to claim by lifting his head to roar only in his mind. He’d had his suspicion confirmed and he would save Jocelyn. That didn’t mean he had to act on the reason he could speak to her mind-to-mind. Mating was the last thing he wanted. The woman’s wellbeing needed to come first.

He would save her, heal her as he’d promised and then he’d figure out what the hell he was going to with her.

message 6: by Brian (last edited Apr 17, 2010 06:58PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Welcome to the club Frances! Wow what a bio! You have so many elements of books I enjoy. I really enjoy the medieval chapter of history, the Golden Age of Piracy, etc. I read a number of books on Sir Francis Drake. Was he a character in history you enjoyed reading about too? It is fascinating that you incorporate paranormal/romance/historical in a series. How much of an impact did earning a history degree have on writing the series of books? What inspired you to write about paranormal romance? That is a growing trend in today,s market. Was there any authors that inspired you to write such diverse books? I was wondering if you have ever had or someone you know a paranormal experience as I do believe that such phenomenon exists? I am fascinated by the rich history of England. Did those medieval castles and structures had any influence on writing your books. I have more questions as so many aspects of your books appeal to me. I have more for later. Fascinating and congratulations!

message 7: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments Hi Brian!
Thank you for all the questions. To answer, I've been writing since I was 13 but it wasn't until I spent time as veterinary technician(12 years, to be honest)as I had to work full time and earn my degree part time. When I finished, I taught History/Social Studies for Middle School and loved 'teaching'. I put that into my books, the appreciation of history, I mean and my genuine love of animals.
I became a fan of paranormals after reading the works of Sherrilyn Kenyon and J.R. Ward and wanted to create a historical paranormal series.
I do believe in some paranormal phenomena, such as residual hauntings or some intuitive psychic abilitites. I don't think I have this, I just know some people who do and they are quite genuine.

I am not from England and haven't really traveled there yet, but I plan too. Would love to see Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. So much history to be found in the land and castles.

Thanks for the comment/questions. Ask away!

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7278 comments Mod
what is your thoughts on how historical paranormal subject matter has become almost a reality type show on cable TV? there are some facinating shows- but it is hard to tell the "wheat from the Chaffe"

message 9: by Brian (last edited Apr 19, 2010 01:29PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Hi Frances, insightful answers. I noticed there are three book in the series so far. The first I moved to the top of my long to read list. Which historical backdrop did you build your story around in the first book and why? Does each book in the series have different historical backgrounds? It is interesting you mentioned Scotland as one of my favorite bands "Big Country" mostly were born there. One song is called "Restless Natives" and is about the ghosts of the past infiltrating into the present. Castles are so cool, drawbridges, secret passageways, towers, etc. Are any specific castles mentioned in your series? @Rick, yes there is a show called the "Ghost Hunter" where a man can tell names, dates, what happened that was horrific without no prior knowledge of the history of any place. Those who accompanying him looked truly scared and I do not think it is a fabrication. That man is uncannily accurate. I had a few unexplainable events happen to me, do not tell many people for obvious reasons. Scary! A tidbit that I find interesting about the band I mentioned is one of the fantastic guitar players was born here in Timmins, Ontario, Bruce Watson.

message 10: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments Wow, to Brian and Rick, excellent questions and subjects.

To Rick, because I have a degree in History and actually love telling people about my favorite eras, adding the paranormal theme of shapeshifters, in my case, they are were-panthers (leopards, lions and tigers), and I was pulling creatures so unlike the usual werewolf and vampire mythology into those eras that it was fun to see how they'd interact with people of their times. As far as paranormal TV series, I do enjoy some of the ghost hunter reality shows, some I find more genuine than others, to be honest, but when I hear the history of a place, I just eat that up and take notes. One episode of, 'Most Haunted', I think it's called, they traveled to St. Mary's Close in Scotland, and I learned so much about what a 'Close' was (it's an alley that leads to a courtyard, at least that's what my research showed) that I encorporated the idea in the forth Panthera book that I'm working on now.

To Brian, I remember Big Country very well. As to your question, each book is given its own hero and heroine with recurring secondary characters who will eventually have their own stories. Additionally, each book has its own time period or era. For example, the first, is set in 1453 England right at the beginning of the werewolf scares and accusations. That was a very real fear for people in England at the time, ditto for accusations of witchcraft/sorcery, so I feed that into the book.
The other 2 are set in the Renaissance and the Golden Age of Piracy. Both very fascinating and I studied up on artists and detail and technique and because they are paranormal, I was able to really play with ideas. I also love the whole swashbuckling pirate thing and book 3 fit that idea. Imagine a Spanish privateer captain that can become a lion, and has a crew of were-panthers along with him.
Hope that answers your questions. I love responding!

message 11: by Brian (last edited Apr 19, 2010 01:28PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Frances, yes you did, fascinating posts! You are so right about 1453 when superstition, witchcraft/sorcery and many other aspects of society was obscured by the lack of knowledge. While I find that period of time very cool it was a difficult part of history for the average person. I like how you changed the setting and characters for each of the books in the series. Presently a trilogy, is there more books that you intend to write expanding on your unique style? There is certainly a solid foundation to write many more. You mentioned your desire to write in a different direction, do you wish to elaborate on that?

message 12: by Brian (last edited Apr 18, 2010 06:53PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Yes, I watched that episode you are refering to on "Most Haunted", very creepy. Is there one particular haunted place you enjoyed most watching or reading about? Would it be an accurate assessment to think there is elements of fantasy in your books? I know little about "shapeshifters" except what they are. Can you tell me any folklore on that subject? It would be fair to say I am a curious person.

message 13: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments Hi again! This is so fun to be asked such great questions.

As to Brian's question on 'Most Haunted', I have to say the episode where the team went to St. Mary's Close was very scary to me, but what made me sad was how many of the people in the Close died, due to disease. I think when a place such as that or a sanitarium or even ancient castles, history and residual hauntings remain. The creepiest destination I've ever been to personally was Lizzie Borden's house in Fall River, MA. She was accused of murdering her father and step mother but was acquited. It was the 'OJ' Simpson trial of that time period. But the house just feels weird and off and unsettled. When I was there I felt the touch of what seemed like a little kid trying to get my attention. Later on, I discovered that the children in the house next door to the Borden House were tragically killed by their mother. So, perhaps the whole double murder and those little children affected me? I don't know.

As to shapeshifters or were-creatures such as werewolves, most cultures through history have some mythology or 'legend' of 'were' meaning 'man' changing into creatures such as a wolf. In England in 1453, there was such a fear of wolves, as they hunted in packs and often stole food from villages, that they really believed in werewolves. In fact, in Seductive Persuasion, the heroine rescues a little girl from one of the villain's in the story, and the child has Down's Syndrome. Back then, because people didn't understand, they assumed or believed that Down's Syndrome children were the children of a 'werewolf'. I hope that all makes sense.

Rick, I am currently writing a contemporary Paranormal, but I have completed a 4th book in the Panthera series and plan to send it to my editor very soon. It is my hope and intent to continue writing about the Panthera, as I've developed characters that deserve to have their stories told. I wish to place them during the Regency, the Old West, and Victorian eras. I have everything plotted, it's just a matter of getting the stories down.

Right now, my muse wants me to write this contemporary Paranormal Romance and I am 4 chapters in since starting it this week. But I'll definately let everyone know when the next Panthera book comes out. If all goes as planned, the 4th is set during the Late-Georgian period.

message 14: by Brian (last edited Apr 19, 2010 01:29PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Wow Frances, great example of superstition, did not know children with Down's Syndrome were considered children of a "werewolf". Yes, I know that shapeshifters in folklore can transform themselves into werewolves. I was wondering more along the lines of shapeshifters changing into anything they wish. Can you provide background on that? How are your books doing? The weird and unsettling feeling is usually attributed to intuition that something is not quite right.

message 15: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments Hi again, umm, just a minor correction, if I may? My name's Frances. LOL, not to worry though, I just wanted to make sure y'all knew that.

Still, in answer to shapeshifters changing into what they wish, I think that's more shamhanistic, where in the person's mind, they become what they wish. As to weres/were-creatures, 'were' meant man. So the idea of werewolves or were-creatures meant people believed that some could actually become the animal. There's a village in France, where there were many killings and they were so brutal, a werewolf was blamed. Years later some historical investigators (as shown on the Discovery channel or something like that) went to find out about this so called werewolf. It was their findings that the wolf in question was more than likely a hyena, trained by it's 'master or owner', to attack and kill. The owner then turned and became the hero by slaying the 'werewolf'. It was not uncommon for men of stature or some wealth to own exotic animals such as lions, tigers, leopards or hyenas. I don't know about the accuracy of this research but I'll look to see if I can find the segment on the internet. It was really fascinating.
Frances :)

message 16: by Brian (last edited Apr 19, 2010 01:33PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Thanks Frances, your books are not only fascinating but also books one can learn many nifty aspects of those eras! It is very evident that earning a history degree has been very useful for you. A fourth book, glad to hear that. Best Wishes, Brian. P.S. your commentary was very informative and I am learning so much!

message 17: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments Thank you Brian! That's very kind of you. I've enjoyed answering your questions very much.

message 18: by Brian (new)

Brian | 274 comments Your very welcome! Did you plan to write a series from the start or did the thought of creating a series evolved when you were writing the first one? One author that comes to mind who intended a long series from the start is Steve Erickson, ten books and counting on the concept of the Malazan Empire.

message 19: by Frances (new)

Frances Stockton (francesstockton) | 15 comments Yes, actually, I planned the series from the start. I've really enjoyed writing it and because several secondary characters appear in all 3 books, I've developed stories for them, too. Can't wait to explore their worlds when the time seems right.

message 20: by Brian (new)

Brian | 274 comments I am glad you pointed out the error, kinda funny. I was commenting on two authors and mixed up the back and forth responses or questions. I see the humour in that!

message 21: by Brian (last edited Apr 19, 2010 04:09PM) (new)

Brian | 274 comments Hi again Frances! I can not recall an author on goodreads that can't wait to explore their own creations for the future. It is apparent that you enjoy writing the books as much as those who read them. Not only unusual but really original. It is a fact that strong characters in a novel is a necessity. Characters that a reader can relate to, cheer for, dislike, etc.

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