Paranorms you might encounter in STRANGEWAYS and/or SKINNED

Along with automatons and various creature contraptions, you’ll also discover a rogues gallery of paranormal creatures within both series of books. Here’s the quick and dirty lowdown on the key creatures that roam the pages of my little gothic tales.




Though their numbers are few, several of this ancient species still exist and Amelia befriends one of the only chameleons known to the Hunter Council. While not shapeshifters, chameleons have the ability to alter their skin cells so as to mirror or reflect their environments. They blend and are impossible to track when they don’t want to be found. Skills that once made them invaluable spies for the Hunter Council, but also cost most their lives.



Amelia Strangeways comes from a long line of necromancers who served on the Hunter Council, ferreting out information only the dead are privy to. Yet the fact that she is an independent young woman is a huge strike against her and Amelia is out to prove the Council a female necromancer is more than capable of communing with the dead. Necromancers can speak to, control, and even summon the dead to rise – either as zombies or in ghost form. Their talent is inherited and though others may try with moderate success, only a true necromancer can command the dead with any degree of control.


No paranormal story is complete without a resident vamp, and both series have a few in high places. Logan Gervais, is Redgrave’s chief of police, and his progeny, Wade, are taking the town, and Eryn, by storm. My vampires have the same rules as most vamp lore – they can’t be in direct sunlight, they drink human blood, and they can influence people with mind control.
However, Wade is an oddity as far as vamps go. He’s the male child of a witch, and he inherited her power after he was turned. He has special abilities. He can walk in the sun, and Loganexploits this to his advantage. He thinks he has Wade under his black-nailed thumb. Humph. Too bad Wade’s developing a mind of his own.



Most-Wanted MonstersFind a bevy of lore is a blog I co-write with young adult author, Dawn Dalton.

Werewolves are very different from wolven. In the Skinned world, they are forged with dark magicks and ruled by their creator (usually a demon, vampire, or other strong supernatural being). They’re hell hounds, creatures without thought – acting on command and ruled by both their master and lunar cycles. When not killing, they rest in stasis, hiding in underground dens until the next full moon. At that time they awaken and serve the violent needs of their masters. They are filled with bloodlust. Bites do not themselves cause a human to turn. This can only be accomplished if the human is marked according to paranorm law, and then bitten. Without the mark, the bite only wounds or kills – it doesn’t spark the change.
This creature of aboriginal lore is a shapeshifting, man-eating giant that lives in the North because its heart is made of ice. Legend has it that windigo were once human hunters who became lost in the snow and resorted to cannibalism to survive. Once they’d had a taste of human flesh, they became ravenous beasts. The more humans they eat, the bigger they get.
In SKINNED, Alec Delacroix comes from a long line of shamans and hunters. He and his brother, Matt, manage to take down the windigo who killed their father. But will Alec be able to trust Eryn – to accept her ability to shapeshift like these crazed beasts?
There are several key witch characters in both series as well. Some work positive magic; their power isn’t used to harm. There are no warlocks – a witch is a witch – either male or female. However, witches rarely birth sons and when they do…look out – those boys have more than their share of power. Witches and wolven don’t get along (some pesky servitude thing from way back – during STRANGEWAYS era), so sparks are sure to fly if they’re left alone together (during SKINNED). Maybe that’s why Wade and Eryn have such chemistry in the SKINNED world.
In SKINNED, my main character, Eryn McCain, is a shapeshifter, part-wolven/part-human. Wolven are born, not made. Wolven is a term I created for her species, but it’s basically the same as lycan, which is more familiar – humans shifting to wolf form. The difference between wolven and lycan is pretty great. Most wolven (with the exception of those like Eryn’s mother – those who feel more human than wolf) live the majority of their lives as wolves. That has huge impact on their human interactions; it affects their motivations and lifestyles.
I wanted to emphasise this fact, so wolven they became. Eryn doesn’t know much about wolven strengths/weaknesses and therefore neither does the reader. But Eryn’s learning fast. ;) Wolven also feature in STRANGEWAYS although we see them living under very different circumstances.
While not paranormal in any way, I did research wolf behaviour to incorporate their traits into Eryn’s personality but also the other wolven / werewolf characters. There are many reasons Eryn has attitude, hates authority figures, is competitive, etc. It’s in her genes, man!
Luckily, my husband’s cousin, Joe, is a Ranger working in Jasper National Park. He took this pic of a wolf he encountered while on a hike in the mountains.
Joe was also kind enough to provide me with some stats on wolves in Alberta, where SKINNED is set:
  •  Wolves in Canada, particularly in Alberta, have it pretty good compared to wolves in the U.S. They don’t have to live in sanctuaries. We have plenty of wilderness for our wolves to explore.
  •  The largest wolves are found in the northwest (Yukon, Northern British Columbia, andAlberta). Historic range is/was all of Canada and most of North America.
  •  Average weight is about 45kg but can get up to 80kg.
  •  They’re believed to mate for life and have an average of 6 young.
  •  It’s believed that the species does not have an inborn tendency to kill but rather is born with certain behaviour patterns that allow it to learn to kill (i.e. they learn to kill from their parents.)
  •  They hunt for prey through direct scent, chance encounter, and tracking. They are quite coordinated in their attack. I recall watching a pack hunt elk. One wolf acted as a decoy and essentially chased a bunch of elk into an ambush. Others were waiting in a series of thickets.
So there you have it. A bit of “real” info on wolves and some lore behind STRANGEWAYS and SKINNED. NOTE: There are still lots of creatures to make themselves known in both worlds.