Full Moon of Werewolves: A Werewolf in Celtic Clothing & Prize!

April 6, 2009 | Werewolves | 44 comments

Full Moon of Werewolves Schedule

About today’s guest: Natale Stenzel

Natale is offering one commenter a free copy of one of the two prequels to BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE (Dorchester ~ March 2009), the third book in her series of funny paranormal romances. Today’s winner will have a choice of either PANDORA’S BOX (book 1) or THE DRUID MADE ME DO IT (book 2). Just leave a comment on this post to be entered. Winner will be announced at end of Full Moon promotion. Last day to enter Saturday, March 25th at midnight central U.S. time.

First, thank you to Lori for hosting me today — I’m really excited about participating in a month-long celebration of the werewolf. I’m a huge paranormal fan and the genre just is not complete without our powerful, furry shape-shifter to liven up a plot and take the conflict to such a crucially primitive level.

Next, a confession: As much as I love them, I do not write about werewolves. Instead, I write about the more light-hearted, Celtic cousin to the werewolf, called a puca.

[Natale looks around, noticing lots of blank stares.] What? You’ve never heard of a puca?

Okay, okay. A definition. The puca (which can be spelled a zillion different ways) is a half-human, half-faery, shape-shifting trickster from Celtic and British folklore. In traditional mythology, the puca preyed on travelers, preferred the shape of a black horse with yellow eyes, and liked to take unsuspecting humans (or ones who ticked him off or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) on a puca ride. What was the significance of this? Who knows, other than that this ride supposedly changed the rider’s life forever after. I never could find any but the sketchiest of explanation. Also according to folklore, November 1 (November Day, a.k.a. the puca’s day) is the one day per year when the mischievous puca can be expected to behave civilly. He may even hand out prophecies and warnings to those who consult him.

Also interesting, if you’ve read or seen Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you might remember the trickster Puck. He’s supposed to be the bard’s vision of a puca. In some cases, the puca also answers to the name of Robin Goodfellow, which, coincidentally (or not) is also an alias for the devil. Some say the legend of Robin Hood is rooted in the puca myth, as well. Perhaps the most well-known puca — but way different from my vision of one — was the six-foot-tall invisible rabbit in the movie Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart.

So we have a shape-shifting magicky type with a mischievous bent and the ability to hand out prophecies. Tell me this doesn’t start the wheels turning in your head. Even better, given the dangerous lack of detail beyond these basics, I felt almost obligated to take wild liberties with the tradition, warping and elaborating on the myth to suit my own story purposes. I had a little fun with this, I admit.

Take, for example, my puca half-brothers, Riordan and Kane, who were born to human women but fathered by Oberon, the King of all Faery. In spite of the “sprite” classification and the puca’s traditional preference for the horse form (a bit unsexy, you know?), I decided my puca’s base form would be human in appearance and manner, if a bit larger than life. Okay, so not just a bit. We’re talking one sexy, nearly irresistible and utterly incorrigible human form. These uber-masculine brothers dominate the first two books in my series.

In Pandora’s Box, we meet Riordan, who was cursed by an angry Druid daddy (I’ll bet you can guess why!) to live in a cornerstone for 2000 years . . . unless he can break that curse with the help of his equally cursed guardian Mina. Then, in The Druid Made Me Do It, we have wickedly appealing Kane, forced to redeem himself for any number wrongs he’s committed over the centuries. Although sincere, he finds penitent to be an unfamiliar role for him and so he needs a mentor of his own: Janelle, a physician whose to-hell-with-self idealism gets her into her own brand of troubles. Especially when Druids compensate her for her mentorship with the gift of healing with just a touch . . . any touch.

With this third book, Between a Rock and a Heart Place, I twisted things even more. Without giving away secrets from the first two books, let me just say that we now have renegade puca powers suddenly finding a new host in accountant Daphne Forbes, a non-practicing Druid who wants nothing more than to start a new, seriously normal life far away from her weirdo upbringing. That’s hard to do when suddenly she’s cursed with magical powers she can’t control. One moment she’s a woman; the next she’s a cat. Even worse? She can’t shift back to human form without the magical help of enigmatic nature spirit Tremayne. His role’s a tough one, too. Fascinated by Daphne for months now — and newly convinced that she holds the key to his continued existence — Tremayne faces the monumental task of teaching her to control her new powers before they drive her (literally) insane. If he fails, he’ll have no choice but to put her down like a rabid dog. Or wolf.

So there you have it. A werewolf in Celtic clothing. The cool thing about my version of the puca is his (or her) ability to shape-shift not just into a wolf, but into nearly any living being. At one point in this last story, Tremayne asks Daphne to envision any creature in the world that she’d like to be. And then shift into that form. Given that same choice . . . what creature would you become (temporarily) and why?

Buy Natale’s books:


  1. Jamie

    So cool. I have never heard of puca’s before. Thanks for telling us a little bit about them. If I had a chance to become any animal it would probably be some sort of bird so I could fly just once to see what it was like..lol.

  2. Zita Hildebrandt

    I never connected Harvey with a puca–interesting! If I could shift i would love to be a mermaid. Exploring the oceans would be amazing :D

  3. Becky Ward

    What a great post! I have heard of a half-human, half-faery, shape-shifting trickster from Celtic and British folklore that I have read. I don’t think I seen it spelled as Puca though. If I could shift it any creature, I think I would choose a red-tail hawk. The red-tail hawk is one of my favorite birds and I think it would be wonderful to see the world through the eyes of a bird.

  4. Chris

    I’ve seen “pookha” but not “puca.” intriguing. Love that cover!

  5. Dawn

    You are so creative! Let’s see…what animal would I be…maybe a mountain goat? No, a mountain lion! That sound better. LOL! I just want to climb to the highest peaks and peek around. Keep up the great writing!

  6. crystal adkins

    Love the idea of Puca and the Celtic flare, plus the humor! I must read one of your books! It sounds like I’d really enjoy your work.

  7. DinahT

    Do I have to choose only one? Big cat, wolf or hawk, decisions, decision……
    But the books sound great! I will be looking for them.

  8. Natale Stenzel

    Good Monday morning! (Yeah, somebody should take me out back and shoot me for pairing ‘good’ and ‘Monday’ and then twisting it with evil ‘morning.’ :eek:)

    Seriously, thank you again, Lori, for having me here today. I love to talk paranormals :-).

  9. Natale Stenzel

    Jamie, a bird would be a pick for me, too. I’d love the freedom, I think — and the view would be amazing.

  10. Natale Stenzel

    A mermaid . . . okay, that’s a new one :-). Hmm. You’re giving me ideas. (Thank you.)

  11. Natale Stenzel

    pooka, poohka, pwka . . . seriously, there are dozens of spellings. I had to skip the doubl-o spellings because Winnie the Pooh was just not a visual I wanted to cultivate. Sweet but, um, yeah. We’ll just end that thread right there :-).

    I’m really glad the puca intrigues, though. I know he had me hooked for years before I had the opportunity to write about him.

  12. Natale Stenzel

    Yeah, a big cat or wolf would be awesome, too. Hey, nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, powerful and armed with lots of sharp teeth — very useful.

  13. kanarytx

    I would be a wolf or(if they existed) a unicoen. They are my faves.Thanks for the post it was great.

  14. Colleen

    Oh wonderful…. I have read about the many different celtic mystical/ fey beings, but did not know there was an author out there that wrote about the Puca in romance! After reading this, I have to go find copies of your books! :D

  15. Jody F.

    I would definitely want to shift into a wolf. Although, we have alot of hunters here in the midwest so it might be a bit dangerous. But for a brief time it’d be worth it.

  16. Ashley Madden

    Wow, I’ve never heard of a puca before. And it’s even more interesting to me because it’s Celtic. Plus it’s half fae so that’s even cooler :)

  17. Roberta Harwell

    Great post. If I could change into any animal temporarily, it would have to be an eagle. I love to fly and would enjoy being able to see the world from a different view. Thanks for the contest.

    Have a great day.

  18. Natale Stenzel

    Oooh, a unicorn would be cool. Or Pegasus, maybe? (Yes, I’m also a myth junkie:))

  19. Natale Stenzel

    Jody, you hit on exactly my heroine Daphne’s problem: shape-shifting would be wonderful . . . *temporarily*. If you have no power to shift back . . . gets a little dicey.

  20. Natale Stenzel

    Thanks, Ashley and Donna and Roberta. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for humoring me and my mythical friends today*g*.

  21. Estella

    Interesting post. I have read Pandora’s Box, and enjoyed it immensely.

  22. Lisa N.

    Like most of the other posters, I had never heard of a puca before. Interesting mythology! I think I would like to be a cat for a while. It must be a nice life!

  23. Carmen R

    I haven’t heard of a puca before. Now I want to learn even more about them. As far as what animal that i would want to turn into for awhile. Well i hope we can pick one that isn’t around anymore because I would want to be a saber tooth tiger

  24. Natale Stenzel

    Thanks, Estella — I’m so glad :D

  25. Natale Stenzel

    I’ve always thought a pampered cat’s life was the way to go :-).

    Saber-toothed tiger . . . very cool. :idea:

  26. Barb P

    Hi Natale! I absolutely loved The Druid Made Me Do It! Somewhere along the line I missed Pandora’s Box and I would love to read it. I think, after mulling it over, that I would love to shift into a black panther, all sleek muscles, or maybe a dolphin. That would be fun! Thanks for all the great Puka lore. Have a good one.

  27. Teresa W.

    I would become a dolphin because there my favorite animal and I love the water!

  28. Pam P

    Hi Natale, interesting info on your pucas. I think I’d become a mermaid, would love to bask in the sun, swishing my tail, lure in a sexy sailer with my siren song, lol.

  29. Lisa W.

    If I could shift it would be into a black panther. I have always considered it my special animal and love them.

  30. Natale Stenzel

    Thanks, Barb — I’m so glad you enjoyed The Druid Made Me Do It!

    Panther . . . those really are cool :-)

  31. Natale Stenzel

    Ooh, dolphin’s good! Intelligent and playful — plus a new world to explore.

  32. Natale Stenzel

    LOL Pam. Another plus for the mermaid. :D

  33. Caffey

    OH I’d love to be in for THE DRUID MADE ME DO IT!! I loved hearing about this series! Many others told me of this series and reading more is neat!

    I love shapeshifters! You know I’d love to be a Hummingbird. I’d get to fly backwards! Just being able to see all below me too!

  34. Natale Stenzel

    Hi, Caffey, and thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Hummingbird did *not* occur to me but I love the little guys. Lovable fly on the wall, too, if he can be discreet. :D

  35. pamk

    I would love to be a very pretty cat eigther a tiger or panther. LOve that cover

  36. Shell Bryce

    A hot panther for me….. my black manx cat looks more mini panther than a cat

  37. blackroze37@yahoo.com

    dophin, to be able to swim , well to swim, and to be able to go to the bottom of the ocean,
    and dont enter me for the pandora or druid books, i have and LOVEEEEEE

  38. LadyVampire2u

    Great post. If I could shape shift into anything, I think I’d like to be a Pegasus. I get the best of both worlds then, being able to run like the wind on land, and fly way up high to play tag with the clouds.

  39. Jackie B

    Cat. I don’t know why–I have three and they are insane–but I’ve always been fascinated with them. They’re so sleek and elegant and demand attention no matter what you’re doing.

  40. Natale Stenzel

    Okay, looks like cat’s in the lead :-). Given how the creatures laugh themselves silly as they drive my dog nuts, I can’t argue with the choice. Wily beasts.

    BlackRoze, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the books!

  41. Ley

    Pookas! Yay, I have to read these books now. Now, if I could shapeshift, I probably go for a cat. Little cat, big cat…. :-) But, admitedly, the wolves are very tempting. :D

  42. Erin

    I’d never seen pooka spelled that way! This sounds wonderful, especially the humor.

  43. Venus Cahill

    Cool thought — the puca as cousin to a werewolf.
    If I could shapeshift I’d like to be a fox, what else would a sexy redhead want to be ;-)

  44. Karin

    I had heard about the puca but didn’t know very much about it. They sound fascinating, even more so in your book version of them. I look forward to picking up your books and enjoying your mischievous shapeshifters. :-)