Now, I’m no stranger to writing shifters. Paranormal is kind of my schtick along with the rest of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. I wrote Chasing Sunrise for DSP Publications which features a whole alternate world and society of shifter races. As I tell people in the world of Chasing Sunrise, if the animal exists, there’s a shifter version. Yes. Even jellyfish. The main race we meet in Chasing Sunrise are a lupine race called the windigo and have an ancient Roman-type culture including a legion army. Yes. Ancient Roman Shifter Legion. Righteous, am I right?
When it came to Bye-Bye Birdie, I wanted to do different kinds of shifters beyond the wolves, cats, and bears. I figured Dreamspinner would be inundated with werewolf submissions, so I thought what direction could I go? Birds and reptiles seemed like a suitable jump. (Just go with it.)
If you know where to look in Bye-Bye Birdie and are a previous reader of mine, the story gets positively meta where I poke fun at myself and specifically the way shifting is depicted in the world of Chasing Sunrise. The shifts in Chasing Sunrise are violent and disturbing with bones breaking, reforming, fur blooming from flesh, and all kinds of nightmare fuel. In Bye-Bye Birdie it’s described as a puff of magic and poof they’re shifted.
Because the story is so light, funny, and cheesy, I wanted to keep the shifting just as funny and cute. Shifter stories typically involve the “Beast Within” trope, but what if your “Beast Within” was a parakeet less than six inches high? Or a marine iguana? Neither are known for being particularly aggressive. Parakeets if anything are sassy and a bit easy to spook. Iguanas are laid back and pretty lazy. So here I have a parakeet guy who’s got sass and is very flighty and gets anxious when going across town to the post office when Google tells him where to turn. And my iguana guy is chill, level-headed, and among being a disaster relief worker, is a trained survivalist. Surely his set of skills will get them off the island! Absolutely!
What can possibly go wrong?
If you’re a Lex Chase reader? You know it’s for the best not to ask that question. ;D
Genre: Shifters / Humor
Series: Dreamspinner Press June Daily Dose 2016: A Walk on the Wild Side
Length: Short Story
Published: June 1, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe
Christopher Robin and Dashiell Hammond couldn’t be more different. Dash is an iguana shifter who provides aid for natural disasters far and wide, but Chris is a flighty parakeet shifter who can’t find his way across town without Google Maps. To Chris, Dash is a superhero, but he spent more time saving the world than saving their relationship.
To conquer his heartache, Chris books a cruise, determined to meet Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right. But he doesn’t expect the cabin steward responsible for his adorable towel animals to be none other than his ex-boyfriend. When the pair fall overboard and take refuge on a deserted island, old feelings resurface. With Dash’s hardnosed survival skills and Chris’s fickle insecurities, they’ll have to learn to compromise if they want to get back to slamming daiquiris at the tiki bar.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package “A Walk on the Wild Side.”
“FOR THE love of God, don’t tell me you lost the freaking map,” Chris said as he stumbled after Dash. “Because let me tell you, fumbling around in a dark rainforest in the middle of fucking nowhere in Jamaica has always been the highest of my priorities.”
He let out a sharp gasp as his toe tangled in a thick tree root. His momentum sent him careening into Dash’s backside, and both collided with the ground.
Chris was just happy for something soft to break his fall. But Dash didn’t seem too thrilled as he groaned.
“You’re… heavy…,” Dash wheezed.
“What?” Chris said, affronted. “I’ll have you know parakeets are very light. Hollow bones, you know.”
Dash swatted blindly at Chris’s thigh behind him. “Hollow bones, my ass. You’re crushing my kidneys.”
“Fine,” Chris snapped and shoved to his feet, making sure to push even harder against Dash.
But Dash groaned with the force.
Chris spun on his heel, ready to give him a good tongue-lashing, but hesitated when he caught something white and dirty stuck to his foot. He yanked the thick card free. Dirt and mud splattered his already soiled Bermuda shorts. Working out the creases in the cardstock, Chris brightened.
“I found the map,” he chirped happily, his parakeet excitement coming through his human voice.
“Great,” Dash said as he wobbled to his feet. “Now find me the nearest tiki bar so I can slam daiquiris.” He took one step forward, then collapsed to one knee.
“You’re hurt,” Chris cried and crouched over him.
“I told you that you were heavy,” Dash said, chuckling humorlessly. He winced as he tried to get to his feet.
“I can get help.” The panic rose in Chris’s voice.
Dash took his hand and squeezed tight. “You are the help, Tweety Bird.”
Chris swallowed hard.
This was not how he expected his week to go.
When his mother surprised him with a ticket for a dream cruise to the Caribbean, he didn’t expect (a) his ex working as his cabin steward, (b) getting marooned on an island with said ex, and (c) help nowhere in sight.
About the Author:
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, has intense emotions about Hannibal’s Hannigram, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.
You can find her in the Internetz here: