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Today Amy Lee Burgess joins us with the scoop on her awesome new paranormal romance INSIDE OUT. The readers are really lovin’ on her The Wolf Within series with some rockin’ reviews, but if you’re not yet familiar, stay put. We’re going to get you all caught up so you can join the party. I’m super excited to have her here, so let’s get started.

Welcome, and congratulations on your new release! Before we talk about it, can you introduce your series, The Wolf Within, and the major events leading up to this point?

The Wolf Within is a series about a shifter named Constance Newcastle. Most people call her by her nickname, Stanzie.

The first novel, Beneath the Skin, begins in Paris where Stanzie has journeyed to attend a Great Gathering which is a yearly event everyone in the Great Pack is invited to attend if they can afford to go.   Two years earlier, Stanzie’s beloved bond mates, Grey and Elena, were killed in a car accident on Stanzie’s birthday.  She was driving.  Her pack, Riverglow, kicked her out and blamed her for their deaths even though a tribunal made up of Councilors from the Regional and Great Councils cleared her.

The Paris Great Gathering takes place a little more than two years after the accident.  Stanzie finally feels ready to find a new bond mate and a new pack and start her life over again with the Great Pack.

The first night of the Gathering, she is introduced to Liam Murphy, an Irish shifter who, at that point, lived in Belfast in Northern Ireland.  Originally from Dublin, Ireland’s Mac Tire pack, Liam has also lost his beloved bond mate in an accident.

His best friend and current Alpha of Mac Tire, Paddy O’Reilly, convinced Liam to attend. Liam’s plan was to make a quick appearance and fade back to Belfast, but Councilor Jason Allerton of the Great Council has other ideas.  He served on the tribunal that cleared Stanzie of wrongdoing in the deaths of Grey and Elena and has not forgotten her.  He also has ties to Mac Tire and knows of Liam’s tragic past.  He brings the two together in the hopes that they might bond and start over together.

Liam wants no part of this idea although Stanzie, at first, was willing to consider it until she saw how reluctant Liam was about it.

She reconnects with an old flame, Rudi Grunwald, and is poised to bond with him and join his pack in Germany when Rudi suddenly dies during the Great Hunt and Stanzie is the prime suspect.

Liam happens to be on the scene when Rudi dies and doesn’t believe Stanzie had any part in his death and defends her.  They end up forced to bond through the machinations of Councilor Allerton and another Great Councilor, Celine Ducharme.

Allerton tells Stanzie and Liam that he believes their bond mates’ deaths may not have been accidents at all and reveals a pattern of convenient accidents that have spread throughout the Great Pack.  He asks Stanzie and Liam to investigate and the two discover a vast conspiracy within the Great Pack that, indeed, caused their bond mates’ deaths.

Beneath the Skin ends with Allerton asking Stanzie and Murphy to become his Advisors and to investigate this conspiracy as well as other sorts of trouble in packs across the world.

Scratch the Surface, the second novel, picks up about a month later when Allerton calls Stanzie and Liam to a safe house in Hartford, Connecticut, home of Stanzie’s former pack, Riverglow.  The man responsible for Grey’s and Elena’s death has confessed and a tribunal was convened and sentenced him to death.  Allerton offers Stanzie the opportunity to act as the Hand of the Council and carry out the death sentence – poison in a cup of hot chocolate.  When she reluctantly agrees, she discovers that Grandfather Tobias did not act alone and that someone else in Riverglow is also part of the conspiracy and Allerton wants her to find out who.

She and Liam have developed a firm friendship and Stanzie finds herself falling in love with her new bond mate, but when Liam discovers a man named Colin Hunter has joined Riverglow, he begins to act strangely and Stanzie discovers that Liam has been keeping secrets from her.

Stanzie has to deal with Liam’s weird behavior and the revelation of something she didn’t suspect about him as well as figure out which former pack mate of hers helped Grandfather Tobias murder Grey and Elena.  When she discovers who it was, she is devastated and the book ends with her determined to work things out with Liam and not take anything for granted.  She’s been given a second chance at love and she’s determined to hold onto it with both hands.

Book three, Hidden in Plain Sight, begins a few months later when Liam and Stanzie are sent to investigate the troubling disappearance of a young teen, Bethany Dillon, from her Vermont pack, Maplefair.   Stanzie’s former best friend, Jossie Wilbanks, is the current Alpha female.

Stanzie’s wolf is not like other shifters’ wolves.  Hers is childish, stubborn, and obsessive.  With Liam and his wolf’s help, she’s been working on evolving her so she and Liam can join Mac Tire in Dublin.  Stanzie is afraid her wolf won’t be accepted as she is and she has convinced the Alphas, Paddy O’Reilly and Fiona Carmichael (who happens to be Liam’s twin sister) to allow her and Liam a chance to work on her wolf before returning.

Once in Vermont, they discover that several young girls in the area have gone missing over the past few years and suspect Bethany may have fallen into the clutches of a serial killer although Maplefair refuses to think this is possible.

During their investigation, they discover that Bethany is pregnant. Liam and the Alphas of Maplefair believe Bethany has gone outside the pack to get an abortion and because she has no valid id, has gone to a less than reputable clinic where perhaps she was given a botched abortion and has either died or is in the hospital unable to call for help.  Stanzie doesn’t agree with this idea and goes off on her own to chase down her own clues.

She’s correct in her assumptions, but encounters a deadly twist.  Bethany has, indeed, been abducted by the serial killer and Stanzie stumbles into his hands as well.

In order to escape, Stanzie goes against every pack rule there is and shifts into her wolf and kills the serial killer.  Even though she saved herself and Bethany, because she broke pack law she is put before a tribunal and faces a death sentence.

Liam is devastated and terrified.  When he learns that the tribunal will spare Stanzie if a precedent exists within the Pack archives that would enable them to judge her actions positively, he leaves Stanzie so he can find the precedent himself.  He doesn’t trust the Advisors at the archives to do as thorough a job as he would.

The book ends on a melancholy note.  Stanzie is cleared, but Liam broke her heart when he didn’t stay with her and she’s not sure she can forgive him for it.  She tells him she’ll try and he’ll have to be satisfied with that.

Now we finally get to book four!

Wow. I’m beyond impressed at the depth and layers of this series. We definitely want to know what’s next, so tell us about the latest installment, INSIDE OUT. 

Inside Out starts the day after Stanzie’s tribunal ends.  Something strange is going on in her birth pack, Mayflower. Her cousin, Faith, is the latest Alpha. She’s pregnant and scared to death that she and her bond mate, Scott, are going to be ousted as Alphas before she gives birth.  She begs Councilor Allerton to send Stanzie to get to the bottom of everything.

Another fantastic setup! What might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of INSIDE OUT?

The biggest surprise is probably that Liam Murphy is barely in this book and what he decides to do has made more than one of my readers shake an angry fist.  Others have told me they trust him and know he must have a good reason for what he does.

All I can say is that you won’t find out why he did what he did until book five, About Face, which comes out in April.   Don’t be mad at me, be mad at Murphy!  But, honestly, I think he had a good reason.  I’ll leave you guys to decide for yourselves when you read the book!

I love complicated characters who do questionable things. Makes for very interesting reading. :c) Let’s have some fun with INSIDE OUT. What’s the first sentence?

When I woke, I was in bed with two men.

Um, hello! Definitely an attention grabber there, lol. What’s your favorite line in the book?

He was heartbreakingly gorgeous and I don’t know why that surprised me.

Oh, I love that one! How about an excerpt … three sentences long! Yep, that’s it. Three!

Alan sat up so he could see them and his whole being radiated such intense longing my heart clutched.

“I want to meet my wolf so bad.” The words came out in a bitter whisper, faint, accusatory and hopeless.

What a powerful excerpt. Which scene of INSIDE OUT was most difficult for you to write? Why?

The last scene Liam and Paddy are in was really hard to write.  I had it make the scene heart wrenching and yet, hopefully, not turn everyone against Liam.  I wanted my readers to be sympathetic to his dilemma even though we see the scene through Stanzie’s eyes and she very definitely doesn’t understand why he decides to do what he does.

You definitely have my curiosity ringing over Liam’s actions! Which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV? 

Oh, I’d love to be Alan and his wolf the first time he shifts.  Painful and scary, but shifting for the first time has got to be a magical experience.

I can only imagine, LOL. What inspired INSIDE OUT’s title?

Every title in the series is a common phrase that holds a clue to what the story is about.   Inside Out stands for a lot of things within the novel. Stanzie’s life is very much turned inside out. Also, the secret that has been festering inside Mayflower comes out.  And it has to do with Stanzie’s wolf, but I can’t say more or I’ll spoil the surprise.

I choose my titles very carefully.  They sometimes take days of thought.  I want them to encompass the whole novel in three or four words.  That’s not so easy to do, but I love every title I’ve come up with so far.  I hope readers of the series have seen what I have in them.

I love that you tie them in with such care. Before we take a closer look at INSIDE OUT, can you share with us what you’re currently working on? 

I just finished the galley proof for the fifth Wolf Within novel, About Face.  It comes out in April and I can’t wait.   I’m about to start first round edits of the sixth Stanzie novel, Across the Line, which should come out the end of 2013, I think.

I’m writing the seventh Stanzie novel, One Step Ahead.  Currently, I’m just about halfway through.

I’m shopping a vampire novel tentatively called The Circle around to various publishing houses and I’m also writing the sequel to that one when I’m not writing the Stanzie novel.  My head spins sometimes.

WOW! And as promised, here’s INSIDE OUT.

Inside Out

There’s no place like home…or is there?

When Stanzie is asked to investigate her birth pack- Mayflower–she isn’t prepared for what she finds.

No one respects the Alphas and the newest adult member of the pack is being encouraged to leave. Why? To make matters worse, the men are dangerously intent on mating and shifting with her.

How far will the pack she thought she knew go to get what they want? Without her bond-mate, Liam, Stanzie must face this alone and, barely ahead of threat of violence, must solve the mysteries, and fast.

WARNING: Vulgar language, sexual situations, group sex, violence

Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance

Find it @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Lyrical Press

Excerpt

Alan looked at me and panic flooded his silver blue eyes. “Stanzie.” My name was a horrified plea.

I could see the ghost of a wolf’s muzzle beneath his mouth. He held out a hand and recoiled when he saw the dark fur on his palm.

“Take off your clothes, Alan,” I urged, but he stood there, transfixed. I hastily unbuttoned his plaid shirt and pushed it off his shoulders. “Help me,” I cried as I tugged at his sleeve.

“I don’t know what’s happening to me,” he whispered. His body gave a bone crunching shudder and he stared at Faith and Scott’s wolves, terror etched across his face. The wolves waited together, shoulder to shoulder. It was a damn good thing I hadn’t shifted myself. Poor Alan was clueless.

I fumbled with the button on his fly and then the zipper. His throat rippled and he threw back his head and howled. The noise nearly scared the shit out of me, but I somehow managed to get his zipper down and then I pushed him onto his ass so I could pull his jeans off. He was no help at all, caught in the throes of the first emergence of his wolf. His body morphed in and out of focus. It was like trying to undress someone by strobe light and I had to shut my eyes so I wouldn’t lose my concentration. Alan whimpered and whined. Shifting was painful sometimes–especially when we fought it and he was. He didn’t know how to relax into the chaos and let it flow. He still struggled for control, for a way to reason out the process, and that was impossible. Shifting did not make sense. It just happened.

“Let go. Alan, just go with it,” I coached in a quiet voice as I sat as near as I could to him. He writhed on the pine needles and screamed as his bones shifted beneath his skin. “It hurts less if you just let go.”

“Stanzie!” My name turned into an anguished howl and just when I had begun to get scared, it happened. Alan blinked out of this plane and when he blinked back in, he was shifted.

His wolf was gorgeous. Dusky black with ice-blue eyes. A touch of gray at the tips of each paw. Big too. Bigger than Scott’s gray wolf. He rolled to his feet and sprawled onto his face when he tried to walk. Two legs to four was a bitch for some people. It had never fazed me, but Grey told me it had taken him half an hour to figure out how the hell to walk the first time he’d shifted. I grinned to remember the story and reached out to pat Alan’s wolf on the head. He whined at me.

“Get up and walk. Four legs are fun,” I told him. I was on my hands and knees now, so we could look eye to eye. If he got up, that is. Faith’s wolf pranced over and nudged him with her dainty muzzle. He whined again and she gave a coughing bark. In wolf speak she told him to get off his ass.

Scott’s wolf approached me and stared at me so hard I knew he tried to tell me something, but I couldn’t figure out what. Then it hit me. Duh. I was still in human form.

I stood up so I could strip off my jeans and t-shirt. Scott’s wolf waited impatiently. Alan’s wolf had gained his wobbly feet but seemed stuck in one position. When Faith’s wolf nudged his back end with her nose, he promptly fell over again and I snickered. Alan’s wolf gave me a reproachful look and I patted his head in apology. Scott’s wolf moved behind me and bumped the back of my knees so hard I fell over. Alan’s wolf wheezed with lupine laughter. “At least I can walk on all fours,” I muttered. Naked, I crawled away a few feet to give myself space for shifting. Only nothing happened.

Find it @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Lyrical Press

Amy Lee Burgess

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Amy Lee Burgess wrote her first ghost story at age ten. Born in New England, she has also lived in New Orleans and Houston, survived fires, floods, hurricanes, divorce and the premature cancellation of several of her favorite television shows. Turning her back on such shocking betrayals, she is now writing about ghosts, vampires, and other paranormal things and is much happier for it.

$15 GC and eBook Giveaway

The giveaway is hosted through Rafflecopter, so head over to this page, scroll down to the rafflecopter box, and get yourself entered. The prize is a $15 gift card and a copy of INSIDE OUT. (Yeah, I thought you’d like that, LOL!) Thank you all so much for joining us today. I hope you all will consider adding INSIDE OUT to your TBR list, and good luck in the giveaway!