Top 5 Weird Connections Between Me and Off The Beaten Path by Cari Z – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Cari Z who is visiting with us to celebrate the recent release of Off the Beaten Path.

Top 5 Weird Connections Between Me and Off The Beaten Path

1) This is only the second time I’ve ever written werewolves. I thought they were overdone and had no intention of going there, and then lightning struck and I had to eat my words. The first story I wrote with werewolf characters is buried in an anthology so old and outdated that no one will ever find it, and that’s probably where it should stay at this point.

2) This is one of the few stories where my physical knowledge of a place has come in handy, and it isn’t even a contemporary. I mean, it is, it takes place in the present day, but it’s paranormal. The setting is in the middle of La Garita Wilderness Area, though, which I’ve backpacked through. Funny how I’m so much better at using a factual setting when I’m going crazy with worldbuilding.

3) This book is slightly inspired by Captain America, one of my favorite superheroes. I don’t go into a lot of detail, but let’s just say my werewolves are less “magical, moon-called shapeshifters” and more “oh my god, this WW2-era supersoldier experiment has gone horribly wrong!”

4) When I wrote this book, I wasn’t a mother. By the time this book comes out, I will most definitely be a mom. I’ve got the feeling that, if anything, I underplayed the ferocity of parental affection that one of my heroes feels for his little girl. I already feel a lot of that, and I’m still carrying this kid around on the inside! Not for much longer, though.

5) This book was meant to be a one-off, a standalone novel that gave me something interesting to work on while hustling through a series I’ve been writing with a coauthor. ARC reviewers have seemed pretty invested in a sequel, though, so if all goes well, there are more werewolves in my future. I certainly hope so.

When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.

About the Author: Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing then because what else are you going to do for entertainment with no electricity? She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers, and even normal people sometimes. You can contact Cari at In fact, please do. She’d love to hear from you.

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  1. I always like it when authors pick places they know well as the settings for their novels.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy as well. It sounds like you have a lot of wonderful things happening in your life at the moment.

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