A new town, a fresh start, and magical secrets that could destroy them.
Blue eyes, dimples, and silky brown hair; Grant Luther has all of Alison’s weaknesses.
When he asks for one last chance to save their marriage, she agrees to relocate their family to isolated Strawberry, Kentucky in pursuit of his career dreams. Grant views Alison’s sensory issues as limitations and protects her from outside threats. When he finds his new job includes changing him into a shifter in a war against the soul-sucking Sluagh he vows to keep the changes a secret. What he doesn’t know is Alison has been hiding a magical secret of her own. One that makes her a target of the Sluagh.
Will Alison emerge from Grant’s shadow to protect her family? And can Grant learn that being different can be a strength not a weakness?
“You look perfect. I mean perfectly healthy. I mean mostly uninjured,” she stammers. She places her tiny hand over her eyes.
Feeling braver than ever, I walk right up to her. I gently remove the hand from her face and hold it to my own. “See, I’m fine,” I whisper as I gently rub my thumb over her tiny knuckles.
Her eyes lift to mine and lock our gazes. I have always found the golden color of her eyes fascinating but never studied them up close. They are light brown with a golden star in the middle. I am literally star gazing as she takes in the injuries to my face. We stand there for about a minute, lost in time.
I wonder if she is thinking about when we first started dating, the hard times that followed, the present, or the future. I search her face for clues but don’t want to break the spell by opening my mouth. I decide to put said mouth to better use by lowering my head toward hers.
A little about the author, Marilyn Barr
Tell us about what you write (short stories, novellas, novels, non-fiction)? I am an over writer who uses many more words than necessary. An outlined short story will sprout into a novella, an outlined novella blooms into a novel and an outlined novel flowers into an opus. Bear with Me was a 25,000-word short story that bloomed into the 67,000-word novel when I added Alison’s point of view.
What drew you to writing? In 2002, started my writing career in a laboratory. I researched and wrote scientific articles on the probability and possible connections between recovering from influenza and contracting a strep-based otitis media (middle ear infection). With degrees in molecular biology and chemical engineering (read as big nerd), I was interested in the genetic interaction between the influenza infection and ear epithelial cells. Later in my career, I became fascinated with the genetic variations between all epithelial cells of the respiratory tract and how they interact with different sized droplets of infectious material. After earning my master’s degree in particle physics (read as uber-nerd), I published many articles on droplet deposition in the body.
My job as a scientist was very demanding and I gave up technical writing to pursue teaching. I loved teaching ninth-grade science and twelve grade physics. However, my son was deemed too sick for school in 2013 by his medical team and school authorities. While I could have a tutor teach him under the umbrella of “home instruction”, I decided to try to teach himself. Six years later, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What was your inspiration for BEAR WITH ME? On a road trip between Louisville and Lexington Kentucky, we drove through a multitude of small towns named after fruits and vegetables. When I couldn’t find Strawberry on the map, I knew it would be the name of my fictional small town which became the name of the book series. Each book in the series has a pun for a title. Bear with Me is an Ursa shifter novel. Main character Grant is an exaggerated portrayal of my spouse who uses the phrase “bear with me” often. Very often. The title is a pun of his catchphrase. Good thing he enjoys my sense of humor.
What did your route to publishing look like? I was very naïve in the query process. I wanted to query agents who represented authors with books on my shelves. I made a list of five agents and queried the first one. I had read not to query more than one agent at a time, so I waited for eight months. In the meantime, I wrote two more novels, built the #Strawberryshifters hashtag, read my books in a library book club, and had a #Strawberryshifters tee-shirt printed with my desire for an agent. I was wearing this tee-shirt when I met my favorite author, Lora Leigh.
We talked about my love of her books, my new series, and how she got started by writing for a small press. She told me to find a small press where I wished to have my books sit on their shelves and enjoy being a published author. She told me to stop chasing agents who will find me when or if I need one. With her advice in my ear, I went home to look at my bookshelves. I am a big fan of J.C. McKenzie, so I picked The Wild Rose Press. The experience has been amazing, and I love working with them. I feel like part of a team with so many professionals to show me the way.
Any new projects on the horizon? The Strawberry shifters series currently contains sixteen novels with spin-off novellas along the way. The second book, “Round of Applause”, is a Yule-tide book so I am hoping to have it out around Christmas of 2020. For sneak peeks, including candle scents, check out my website. I have trouble keeping secrets so that is where I will leak them.
Buy links and release date coming soon!