GUEST BLOG: MIKE AND CYNTHIA ARSUAGA

Creating “MY LIFE AS A DOG”

In 2009, a year after I returned to writing my wife Cynthia took up the profession. By then, I had completed two novels in the SUBSPECIES series and owned a collection of thirty rejection slips. Her first novel, THE COUGAR AND HER VAMPIRE gained acceptance by the first publisher who saw it. To prove it wasn’t beginner’s luck, when the first publisher went belly up, the next – Secret Cravings Publishing – also offered a contract. Only acceptance of SUBSPECIES and the next two installments by Muse It Hot Publishing saved my pride.

About that time, fall of 2010, we began to wonder how a collaborative effort might turn out. We both love the paranormal romance genre. Up to then our books dealt with vampires, but the rules for our respective worlds were set and too far apart for reconciliation to a joint project.

While turning the problem over, someone on one of the groups we joined asked what the strangest shape shifter animal was. Up to then we thought they only turned into wolves bears or big cats. The answers covered half the animal kingdom and a few trees. Then, our family dog, an eight pound Yorkie entered the room with the trademark confident trot all terriers possess.

I think the idea hit us simultaneously. We immediately started brainstorming. Our Yorkie, Thumper, is a chick magnet as is the main character Drake Martin, in human as well as Yorkie form. To inject pathos, Cynthia suggested we begin the story with him as a child’s pet. She wrote the prologue where six year old Kady Hartley rescues him from the city animal shelter. With every intention of leaving as soon as possible, her pure love for the feisty little dog who she names ‘Precious’ changes his mind. He decides to stay “For a while”. Twelve years later he reluctantly leaves when the vet notices he doesn’t age. A decade later they meet. He’s a PI; she’s FBI.

The rest of the story sort of wrote itself. The world of shifter pack life including the title of Sufi for the leader was my creation. Cynthia polished up the characters, especially whacky little Linda, Drake’s secretary. There are many humorous scenes, centered on Drake’s frantic efforts to keep his two identities secret from Kady after they meet and she adopts him as a new ‘Precious”.

After I wrote the first draft, Cynthia edited for content and consistency. In addition to being funny the scenes are often complicated. Cynthia corrected many inconsistencies such as when I had Drake lock his clothes in a room after transforming to the Yorkie. (He’s naked when returning to human.) Inattention to such details could ruin the story, but Cynthia’s sharp eye caught them all.

Possible future collaborations are ahead. A sequel to MLAAD is always possible. Another that’s a little further along is ALEXANDER AND ROXANNE, a paranormal take on the life of Alexander the Great. Of course we continue our individual projects and edit each other’s work. Cynthia’s third novel BORN TO PLAY, a follow-up to BORN TO BE WILD was recently contracted by Secret Cravings. I have four installments of the SUBSPECIES series under contract. The fifth and final one (for now) is complete, having been put through Cynthia’s editorial wringer.

We have separate websites. Check them out at http://mikearsuaga.weebly.com or http://cynthiaarsuaga.weebly.com

Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mike completed careers in the United States Navy Submarine Force and the Transportation Security Administration. He lives in Orlando Florida with wife and Editor in Chief Cynthia, daughter Jennifer, six year old granddaughter Larrna and partner in crime Thumper, a Yorkshire terrier.

Mike’s extensive travels in the Navy took him to throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, providing accurate and vivid settings for his stories. He has a five book series under contract with Muse It Hot Publishing. All are installments to The Subspecies series. The first, “SUBSPECIES’ released in May. “Subspecies, Inc. comes out September 2011. The third, “Children of Subspecies”, comes to life in December, followed by “The Tenth Legion” and the concluding installment “Lagrange Point” in February and May 2012 respectively.

The five books trace the evolution of lycans and vampires from being nature’s most reviled creation to its finest. They progress from lives of hiding in the shadows, hunting, and sensual but fruitless mating to become the key to saving humanity. In the process, they experience salvation and redemption, explore space, colonize Mars, travel in time, and learn the grand design of Creation.

Mike also co-wrote “My Life as a Dog” with his wife, published by Secret Cravings Publishing. MLAAD is a lighter hearted tale of a very special shape shifter and his quest for true love. Drak Martin’s animal persona is an eight pound Yorkie, of little use in a scrape but irresistable to women.

Comments

  1. Mike and Cynthia: This was a totally different story. I never thought of a shapeshifter being a dog. It is interesting made me want to check out the book. Totally different than the books I usually read.

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