Don’t touch that dial, you’ve just landed on Lisa Burton Radio. The only show out there that interviews the characters that you love to read about. I’m your host, Lisa Burton, the robot girl, and my special guest today is Jessamyn, the head of the P.A.W.S. Institute. “Welcome to the show, Jessamyn.”
“Thank you Lisa, I’m privileged to be here.”
“Jessamyn, why don’t you tell the listeners what P.A.W.S. stands for.”
“P.A.W.S. is the Partnership of Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters. We are an umbrella organization for shifters all around the globe with branches in every continent. I am the head of the Midwest Institute that is located under the Jewel Box in Forest Park in St. Louis (though good luck in finding us – our magic wards are strong and unless you are a shifter yourself, and you’re invited in by me, you’ll not be able to penetrate them.)
“Here in St. Louis we host all kinds of shifters. Animagi are magicians who study hard and learn to become shifters. It’s a long and arduous process, as my son Danny discovered. He finally chose to become a Maine coon cat, but not before exploring all kinds of options from squirrels to sparrows.
“Werewolves come in two flavors. There are those who were bitten by a werewolf and those who were born to werewolf parents. Those who are bitten are initially only able to shift during a full-moon, but with practice they can learn to control their shifts and transform at any time of the month. Those born to werewolf parents generally don’t turn until they reach adolescence. There are rumors also of the existence of werecats in Europe that were said to be created by a Nazi scientist during the Second World War, but so far we have not hosted any of these weres at the Midwest institute.
“The rarest form is the true shapeshifter. They get their magic from silver charms that are passed on through the generations. It is said that the first charms were forged by Merlin and I once knew a magician who wore such a charm around his neck. Today at P.A.W.S. we host five shapeshifters: Miri Katz – a cat shifter from an old family from Vienna; Sandy and Sean Ryder – twins from Texas who joined us after their family was killed in unexpected fire on the family ranch. They transform into horses and can often be seen trotting around Forest Park; Zamir – one of our exchange students from the P.A.W.S. Institute of Egypt. His form is that of a snake and he’s training to be a Healer; and finally there’s Hugo Hogsworth, our chef at P.A.W.S. who is a rather large shapeshifting pig – and a wonderful cook! His truffles are to die for!”
“So you must be a shapeshifter yourself. What kind of animal do you shift into?”
“I’m one of the few animagi that can actually shift to more than one creature. All my forms are birds. I knew from the moment I decided to become an animagus that I wanted to be able to fly, and it has served me well. I flew as a young girl all the way from my ancestral home on Inis Fraogh in Ireland to New York. Not all at once of course. My companion and I rested on cruise ships along the way. For this trip I mostly took the form of a seagull. It’s important to blend in with your surroundings. But by far my favorite bird form is that of the eagle. I love its power and its beauty and the ability to fly high and still check out the world below. It has served me well over the years.”
“I like the idea that all kinds of shifters are represented. In a world where such things happen, there must be shrimp along with tigers. Not all of them will feel the need to be a hero, or a villain.”
“Oh yes we have all kinds at P.A.W.S. And we all try to work together even when it’s a stretch. For example we’ve recently become host to an exchange student from Canadian P.A.W.S., Gordon Pugh. Gordon’s chosen form is a Canada goose and a goose is not subtle. I’m constantly getting complaints about his behavior. He caused quite a ruckus over in Creve Coeur Park one day when he took a fancy to a young swan. His excuse that evening was “how was he supposed to know that they mated for life?”
“On the whole though, we work well together and use our joint magic to protect the greater population. P.A.W.S. you see receives its funding from a special secret magical department of the government. We take our responsibility seriously.”
“So there aren’t just shifters, there are powerful magical forces at work here too? You also mentioned protecting the greater population, can you tell us what you’re protecting us from?”
“Oh yes, at P.A.W.S. we explore more than just the magic of shifting. Every magic user has a special power. I, for example, have my illusion. I have been creating illusions ever since I was small. On Inis Fraogh as a child I would build illusory sandcastles filled with intricate detail. My mother, a Healer, used to scorn my skill, but I have learnt over the years that illusion is indeed very powerful.
“But every member of P.A.W.S. has their own special magic. Josh, one of our resident werewolves is particularly skilled at tracking, and my son Danny, is adept at telekinesis. Most of us at P.A.W.S. learn to control our magic and use it to help others, but there are other forces outside of P.A.W.S. with strong, unchecked magic. One such force is Alistair.
“I have met him once, but that one meeting left an indelible mark on me, and tore someone who was dear to me away. His power is that of persuasion. He can control those around him with a word and a touch and his pack adore him and try to emulate him. He claims he is immortal and his immortality comes from consuming human flesh on the full moon. And with each passing full moon he grows stronger.”
“So let me get this straight. More magic means more power, and this Alistair dude eats his victims to gain more power? That’s disgusting! In order to face him, do you have to eat some victims too?”
“Oh no, I would never do something so terrible and neither would any of the members of P.A.W.S. The werewolves we have hosted in P.A.W.S. have all sworn never to attack humans, rather on the night of the full moon they feast on squirrels and vermin. But Alistair’s pack grows stronger each full moon and they must be stopped.”
“Thank you, Jessamyn, for being my guest today. I think I speak for everyone when I hope you find a way to stop Alistair. Today’s show was sponsored by P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer. I’ll include all the important data on the blog site.
“Don’t forget to tip your waitress. That means click those sharing buttons at the end. When your character appears here, you’ll appreciate others sharing your interview. If you’d like to arrange an interview for one of your characters, please use the email address inside my contact page. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”
When Miri receives a silver cat charm from her omama on the night before she dies she has no idea that the charm holds a secret, a powerful magic that saved her omama’s life and is about to make Miri’s a whole lot more interesting.
Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society known as the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.
Argentum is the thread that binds all magic …
The silver of Miri’s cat charm passed on through the generations.
The silver of Jessamyn’s scepter, the source of her illusions.
The silver of Quentin’s scrying bowl, forged by Merlin.
All intertwine in Argentum.
With Alistair gone a measure of peace returns to P.A.W.S., but Miri is tormented by nightmares. The silver charm that had recently hung around Alistair’s neck is now in Miri’s possession and seems to have taken on a life of its own. And then it mysteriously disappears.
Jessamyn seeks help from Quentin, who claims to have repented his past association with Alistair, but can he be trusted?
And what of Jenna? The young girl rescued from Alistair’s pack house holds a terrible secret. One that could determine the future of P.A.W.S.
Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the London. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of the P.A.W.S. series has stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past. She has also published a book of logic puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with her son Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!
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