Money for Nothing is Book II in my Buy Me Love shapeshifter trilogy. I am delighted to say that it will be available at the end of this month. You can preorder now.
I began the series with a prequel, The Alpha’s Edge. There I introduced the were-world I intended to create. Both The Alpha’s Edge and the first book in the series, Buy Me Love, take place in London and involve werewolves.
I didn’t make a great creative leap with my setting and choice of were-creature. After all, who doesn’t know that London has werewolves? Warren Zevon did back in 1978 when he howled his way through his “Werewolves of London.”
My favorite line of the song has always been: “I’d like to meet his tailor.” Which follows the pithy observation that you’d better stay away from him because “He’ll rip your lungs out.”
So much for werewolves.
From the beginning I decided Money for Nothing would take place in Florida. And involve werepanthers. I knew that Florida panthers are tan in color and native to the Everglades.
And that’s all I knew about Book II.
Money for Nothing: Werepanthers in Florida
I chose Florida for Book II because I know Orlando really well. And I love Florida and have always wanted to set a story there.
However, when I made my choice of Florida as a setting some years ago, I had no idea what the future had in store for me. In the academic year 2019-2020 I was a Visiting Professor at Florida International University in Miami. Thus, enlarging my experience of Florida. And my love for this most unique place.
Okay, great – but.
By the time I arrived in Miami, I had spent several years mulling over my characters and my plot for Money for Nothing. But I had written not one word of it. I was frustrated. Even puzzled. I was writing other things. But I wasn’t writing the story I thought I should be writing.
To make matters worse, in the Fall Semester 2019 I taught in a classroom inside the FIU basketball arena. The mascot of FIU is – you guessed it! – a panther. And so twice a week I passed the bronze statue of Roary the Panther going to and from class.
He continually reminded me of my failure.
Although I have to say the class itself was tons of fun: Languages and Culture of the World.
I even wrote the textbook for it!
Money for Nothing: The Solution
On the last day of class, namely December 5, 2019, the students gave their team presentations on endangered languages in the Miami area.
The first group chose Haitian Creole. Which is legitimately endangered.
The second group chose Spanish. Which is not particularly endangered in Miami. (But, well, let’s let that slide.)
The third group chose Miccosukee.
It’s a Native American language – definitely endangered – whose speakers are indigenous to the Everglades.
It all became clear. I suddenly realized that my werepanthers are Miccosukee. And it suddenly became obvious why I hadn’t been able to write the story. Quite simply, because I didn’t know who my characters were and where they came from. But once I knew these crucial pieces of information, I could proceed. The next day I woke up and began to write.
Such a relief!
Money for Nothing: My Ode to Florida
The story fell into place. The first two-thirds take place in Orlando. The last third in Miami. The two main characters are both werepanthers but from different clans. The hero, Jackson Cypress, is a Chief Deputy on the Miami PD. He has come to Orlando to work on the continuation of the case that partially wrapped up at the end of Buy Me Love. There he meets Wendy Osceola, a private investigator who has fled Miami and the scandal her brother lately created.
Unlike werewolves in London, not everybody knows that South Florida has werepanthers. (In fact, I may be the only person to have known that.) So, part of my job was to create an origin story for these creatures.
All I can say is I had fun with it all!
Here’s the tagline:
One dead boa constrictor.
Two star-crossed werepanthers on the hunt for a missing person.
Three gangs of international mobsters in on the chase.
Welcome to Florida!
For more on endangered languages and languages in the world:
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen