Raw Deal, Bite Back Prequel

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Raw Deal - Front Cover

“I’d lost my entire team, and nearly lost my life. In a way, I had lost my life, and was left with this—a tightrope walk between hunting down creatures people didn’t believe existed, and being locked up as one.”

After a career-ending incident on a covert military operation, Amber Farrell is surprised to find herself back in her home town of Denver working as a rookie policewoman. But what happened in the army casts a shadow across her life from which she will never be free.

The prequel to the Bite Back series introduces Amber Farrell, a kick ass lady with a secret problem—she’s been bitten by a vampire. She’s working hard to start a new life, hold down a job and meet all the expectations put on her. When people start to die suspiciously in Denver, Amber has to decide between duty and instinct, between what she should do and what she must do.


Sleight of Hand, Bite Back Book One


“Vampires are the flickering illusions of Hollywood. They don’t exist. We do. We are the Athanate.”

For Amber Farrell, post-military life as a PI has its ups and downs: She’s been hit by a truck. She’s being sued by a client. Denver’s newest drug lord just put out a contract on her. The sinister Athanate want her to come in for a friendly chat. And it’s only Tuesday.

Enter Jennifer Kingslund: rich, gorgeous – a tough businesswoman who’s known for getting what she wants in the boardroom and the bedroom. Someone’s trying to sabotage her new resort and destroy her company – and she wants Amber to find out who.

The answers lead Amber past Were and Adepts, right back to the Athanate – and a centuries-old war that could threaten not just Denver, but the nation that Amber swore to protect and serve.

And all sides want to claim her for their own…


Hidden Trump, Bite Back Book Two


“I knew I was going to be betrayed this week.”

Amber Farrell, Denver PI, is coming to terms with being part of the paranormal community, but she’s about to find that includes very dangerous responsibilities for her. Nothing is quite what it seems, least of all Amber herself, and to survive, she must form alliances with powerful groups whose interests are in conflict. But she knows she’s expendable and betrayal is inevitable…

Denver is hosting a meeting of the opposing Athanate creeds who are stirring after a hundred years of peace. War between them would be disastrous for everyone, human and paranormal, but it’s Amber who’s being blamed for the troubles in the run-up to the Assembly.

And it’s going to get very personal…


Wild Card, Bite Back Book Three


“Now? Now, it felt like there were claws scratching at me from the inside.”

Amber Farrell, Denver PI and hybrid paranormal, is hunting a rogue Were through the secret heart of her home town.

Without the help she needs from Denver’s paranormal community, she’s unsure whether she can keep ahead of her own lethal problems long enough to catch the rogue.

Any mistake by her could expose the hidden community. Even actions with the best of intentions reveal a terrible price.

And every new discovery in the hunt for the rogue seems to change the whole game…


Cool Hand, Bite Back Book Four

“If you don’t believe your whole life has been a path leading to this one point, you’re not focused enough.”

The Athanate are on the brink of war.

Amber has to search for Diana in the forbidden zone of New Mexico, for the good of the paranormal world and her own sanity. Every step she takes is another opportunity to precipitate more conflict. Every easy choice is denied her and she must work without the support of the powerful paranormal factions in Colorado. When she most needs help, she has nothing.

But sometimes, nothing can be a real cool hand.


Angel Stakes, Bite Back Book Five

“I was all the things I had ever done.
All the things that had ever been done to me.
But I chose my path and I will be all the things I could be too.”

The Athanate are meeting in Los Angeles, the city that feeds on dreams, leaving nothing but dust and nightmares. They must forge a new Assembly and reach a consensus before Emergence is forced on them. They have to reach out and include the Were and Adepts, and they need Amber to do it.

But Amber is deep in her own personal crisis. Can she find a resolution for herself as she takes on the tasks of the Assembly?

Los Angeles. Where you can toss away your old life like a bad hand…
Or man up and play the cards you’ve been dealt.

“Always made me smile, that phrase.”


The Biting Cold and Winter’s Kiss Bite Back: Outsiders novellas

120 responses to “Books”

  1. Bob Bird says :

    Hi Mark,

    Great book. I’ve read it a three times now. I’m waiting very impatiently for Hidden Trump (that’s just my state of mind waiting for favourite authors to publish more books, not a push for any rush). I just thought you might like to know that you made it onto the list of authors whose blogs and sites I check regularly for updates, and after only one book.

    Speaking for myself and any other readers who enjoyed Sleight Of Hand as much as I did, please keep on writing – we’ll keep on reading.

    … Bob

  2. Lesley Nichols says :

    Mr. Henwick,

    I loved your novel. It has been a long time since I found a novel that captivated my attention. I look forward to reading more of your work, and you, sir have a talent.

  3. BananaTricky says :

    Wow, just finished Sleight of Hand and very excited to hear that the second book may be available in just a few weeks. Really enjoyed the book and keep on the good work

  4. Sarah says :

    I just finished the book and loved it!

    I recently became bored with the urban fantasy genre. I still like my favorite authors, but I was having trouble finding new authors that I enjoyed. It seemed every new urban fantasy seemed to have the same predictable plot: enter tough female lead with tragic past, add sexy vampires and weres, and of course the main character listens to no reasonable advice and never asks for help as she runs blindly into danger, never learning from her mistakes.

    Your book was a breath of fresh air, your plot was exciting and unpredictable. I also enjoyed that there wasn’t a defined male lead. I enjoy romance in my books but I dislike when the author throws together the couple from page 1 and they spend the whole book glued to the hip. I can’t wait for book #2.

  5. Jim Jones says :

    Bought Sleight of Hand on Amazon for my iPad Kindle app and was completely hooked. In two days, read both and loved them. Cannot wait until you get the 3rd book out. I’ll know now to savor it and draw it out, like I’ve had to do with my other favorite authors (Butcher, Estep, etc.)

  6. Martha Abell says :


    Just finished Sleight of Hand and am now starting Hidden Trump. Can you tell me when your next book will be published? I’m sorry to say I was a little put off by the developing relationship between Amber and Jen — although I don’t understand why since I’m okay with man/man. I really like your books and have added you to my favorite authors list so I will be getting your Amber Ferrell books in the future.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Martha. I’m working on 3 projects – Bite Back 3, a prequel and Bian’s Tale 1. I’ll keep everyone updated on the blog and website. It’s currently my intention to release these in the middle of the year. I’ll review where I am and give feedback towards the end of March.

  7. Marise says :

    Thanks for 2 great books – looking forward to the next installment and hoping there will be more to come.

  8. Euni says :

    I love the fact that you have a strong woman, Amber, and did not make her into a simpering, cry baby, lovestruck bimbo. I get real angry reading books that start out with strong women but then the author makes them out to be weak when it comes to love and men. I love that you’ve done that to all the women in your books. From Bian, Diana, and even Tullah who is young enough to be lovestruck but being an adept keeps her focused on her strength. Please keep them strong and don’t make them simpering even if they’re in pain and bleeding to death. Thank you.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Euni. I don’t want to sound as if I’m on a mission, but I have read some books in the paranormal area (and other genres) where the heroine and supporting cast made me grind my teeth. I wanted to have a cast which included strong women who stay strong, and I’m delighted with most of the readers’ responses to that.

      Amber doesn’t do simpering. If she tried, she’d break a rib laughing. 🙂

      • Euni says :

        I have started reading books and by the second one the heroine is a simpering idiot and it bothers me because I just want to kick her a$$. I want to hit something. Instead I just stop reading. But I really like Amber and the girls in your books. Keep up the great work!! 😀

  9. Sofie says :

    Hello there 🙂
    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your books very much! It has been a while since I had a book that I just couldn’t put down. I think I finished the first one in under a day or something like that. 🙂 Looking forward to the next one!
    So great thanks
    From Denmark

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Sofie! I enjoy writing these stories, even more so when I get feedback like this.
      Wild Card is on course for December. I’ll update the schedule and put the first chapter up on the blog over the weekend.

  10. Mark says :

    Hi Mark,

    It looks like there’s another comment needed here, so I’d like to oblige. 🙂

    I started reading Sleight of Hand just before Christmas (2014) and have made my way through Hidden Trump, Wild Card and now Raw Deal in the last week. I’m really enjoying the series and will go check out Bian’s Tale on your web-site shortly.

    I’m delighted to see that work is progressing to further the story, as I’ve got so many questions following events in Wild Card! I didn’t realise how many until I started noting them down this afternoon – there is just so much packed into each book. I’m deeply intrigued as to where the story is going, I love your characterisation and I love the fast pace. It’s hard to keep track on how short a time is encompassed in the books since Amber was initially contracted by Jen to investigate her case just because of the sheer amount of work and other activity which Amber manages to shoehorn into her days!

    In addition, as Euni said back in 2013, it’s great to see strong characters staying strong, and it’s great to see a little bit of romance and – dare I say it – even sex in the books, but not getting in the way of the story, the character development and the other relationships building between all the characters. I can hardly wait for the next installment.

    Please be encouraged that, at least as far as this reader is concerned, you’re Doing It Right! 🙂

    Happy New Year and all the best in your endeavours.


    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Mark!

      I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed the series so far over the Christmas holidays. I do try and respond to reader’s questions about what has happened, but at the same time, I will be very reluctant to give spoilers.

      I will do a post inviting questions and answering FAQs sometime toward the end of this month.

      In the books themselves, partly due to the aim of keeping the pace frantic, much of the world building is hidden from readers. I guess at some time I should publish a book which describes all the background that I hurry past!

      The compressed time frame is a very deliberate attempt to keep the pressure up on the reader and convey some of the unrelenting nature of the problems facing Amber. I shall not let up unless I hear of readers passing out while reading. 🙂

      The relationship aspects are important, and I try and bring depth to the characters, but the primary driver in this series is the story, so the percentage of time spent in the various aspects of relationships, characterization, world-building and so on will probably remain at about their present levels.

      Thank you again for your feedback, which is essential fuel for this writer, and I wish you a fulfilling 2015.

      Update on Cool Hand in a post shortly…


  11. Terrie says :

    I absolutely love this book series! Over the past few years I have read over 200 books and your series is in my top 5 percent of favorites 😀 I believe your development of Amber is spot on. I look forward to a possible reconciliation with her sister. Have you thought about joining with another author for a cross adventure? I could definitely see Amber joining Lucas and Paige (Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series) to investigate Skylar’s matters in Los Angeles. Tullah and Savannah’s characters would definitely hit it off. Also, since Amber’s character is so unique maybe she could have a kid with Alex? Maybe Jen could act as a surrogate for them and get pregnant as well (have twins that wouldn’t be cursed because only one would be Amber’s and the other would be Jen’s but twins because they were conceived at the same time and have the same father) That would be an interesting dynamic. Seriously though congratulations on such a unique, fast paced and exciting series!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Lol! I can’t comment on spoilers.

      I’m not sure that the established, traditionally published authors like Kelley Armstrong have even heard of me. I haven’t read all of her works, but I’m not sure how much overlap there is in the way our worlds are designed.

      The current WiP, Angel Stakes is full of the issues in Los Angeles, and attention will move back to Denver afterwards.

      Thanks – great to hear from readers – this writing engine runs on feedback.

  12. benjamin says :

    when will you right the next book. Love amber

  13. benjamin says :

    love these books. Any idea when you will write the next one?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Benjamin, all feedback is very welcome.

      I have become very wary about making predictions, especially early in the writing process, and I have been spectacularly wrong on a couple of occasions.

      What I can give you is the list of writing projects :
      I’m writing a short story sequel to The Biting Cold, which will take those characters into the Bite Back story.
      I’m re-writing Bian’s Tale, book 1. This is intended to be a companion series which will follow Bian from the age of about 9 up until she is elected Diakon of House Altau. I was about 3/4 of the way through writing it before, but it needed some major work, and I decided to complete Wild Card and Cool Hand before concentrating on it again.
      Bite Back book 6. At the moment, I’m just thinking about plots and twists.

      In addition to these, I have various related projects like reformatting the print books and so on.

      The short story should be quick, but rather than predict progress of Bian’s Tale and Bite Back 6, I’ll just say that updates on progress will be made here and on the Bite Back Facebook page.

      • benjamin says :

        cool. That ending is driving me insane though. Also will bian story’s be on amazon?

        • Mark Henwick says :

          I’m just double-checking you mean the end of Angel Stakes (book 5)?

          Cool Hand finished on a cliffhanger because Cool Hand and Angel Stakes was originally intended to be one book. The ending for Angel Stakes is just to provide a hook for one of the themes in book 6.

          Bian’s Story will be on Amazon. Because it’s a new series and a reader could start with no knowledge of the Bite Back world, I may take the opportunity to put it out on iBooks or do something very different for the launch.

          (There is a teaser on this site:

  14. benjamin says :

    I am curious about something. Are the werewolves stronger then the vamps. I mean are they able to take more damage and stuff like that then the vamps and if so does that mean amber could be shot for example and survive when it should kill her if she was just a vamp. Sorry for asking I just have a tendency to over anaylyze books when I like them.

  15. benjamin says :

    sorry to ask again but meant to put it in the original question. do you think the next bite back book will be released this year?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      The advantage a werewolf has is that they get their basic supernatural powers pretty much as soon as they make their first change. These develop slightly, but a two-hundred year old werewolf is not intrinsically much stronger, more robust or quicker than he/she was at the time of change. However, the dominance ability and the implications of the Call are exceptions – they develop a lot over time. An older werewolf has an advantage because he/she will have become more dominant over time, and the second advantage that they may have is that the Call – the collective will of the pack – probably values them more than a youngster. Those two combined are a significant advantage, but not to be relied on: A young werewolf may be extremely ‘inherently dominant’ (an aspect of the human personality rather than something acquired on change) – and the pack may collectively realise this, and value this more than the pack&age-related dominance of an older wolf challenging the younger.

      So… a werewolf starts off stronger (physically able to lift wieghts for example), more robust (able to take damage and heal) and quicker (hand-speed, running, reaction time) than an equivalent person who became Athanate.

      However, Athanate develop more over time. A newly changed Athanate takes on a hundred year Athanate at their peril. Athanate train in the use of the energy (without really mastering it or becoming Adepts) and they become, over time, stronger, quicker and potentially more robust.

      A ten year werewolf is probably still ahead of a ten year Athanate. A hundred year werewolf is probably much less capable than a hundred year Athanate. There is considerable variance on both sides.

      In Amber’s specific and unique case, however, it is not a clear-cut case that she has all the advantages of both Were and Athanate. In fact, although these two supernatural aspects have calmed down and made peace with each other, they are still inherently pulling her in slightly different directions. She isn’t as strong, robust or quick as a young Were because of any supernatural effect – she’s as strong and more effective in a fight because she has trained herself to be. If she hadn’t trained, she would be a slightly weak Were and a slightly weak Athanate. She has already started overcoming this, though she doesn’t yet understand what she’s doing. This is part of her path.

      Sorry – long and complex answer. 🙂

      On the date of the next book. I could cheat because Winter’s Tale is a story that takes The Biting Cold and makes it part of Bite Back, and that’s due within 4-6 weeks. However, I suspect what you’re asking is ‘when is Bite Back 6 going to be published’ and the answer to that is I don’t know. It won’t be this year unless something extraordinary takes place.

  16. benjamin says :

    cool thanks for the reply. I asked this on amazon but what about amber being able to make new athanate? Can she make hybrids like her or can she make athanate that are normal and can she make werewolves too?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Book 6 will deal with this.

      Like all Athanate, Amber can produce the bio-agents that cause a human to start to become Athanate. Like all Were, she also produces the bio-agents that start the change to Were.

      Will they reduce crusis? Will the Were and Athanate changes tear people apart at the critical early stages? Does her Athanate heritage mean there is an increased chance of going rogue, even once past crusis?

      Amber has survived through her own strength of mind and the support of her spirit guide and friends. Not something available to all.

      Now that Diana is back, Amber will have to take this next step.

  17. benjamin says :

    thanks. Also Just wanted to say I am rereading the books and I LOVE yelena. She is just awesome and PLEASE keep her in book six. And another question about turning someone. would nick grey be able to turn someone into a were? I know he is a skin walker and was curious if he still possesed that ability to turn people

  18. benjamin says :

    One last question. When diana says in the first book that athanate will look healthier then they did when they were turned does that mean they will all look to be in their twenties or so unless they choose to let themselves age? Sorry for asking so many questions by the way

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Yelena is there in book 6. She’s actually gotten attached to the clothing choices of the Belles from LA, so she’s going to be wearing black leathers, boots and sunglasses a lot.

      Skinwalkers and Were are actually just different manifestations of the same thing. Nick can turn someone into a Were. Whether they then turn out plain Were or Skinwalker is dependent on them.

      Anti-aging is a default process for Athanate. So long as they maintain a good level of fitness, their Athanate metabolisms will feedback on that, supercharging health and fitness and general body issues. One of the effects of that is that they tend to look about 30. However, their appearance is controllable to an extent, as you’ve seen. Amelie Prowser, House Prowser, for example, prefers to look older than 30. She doesn’t actually look wrinkled and tired, but if you got someone to guess her age, they’d say much older.

      Other Athanate choose hair colors. Some who laugh or smile or frown a lot will have the appropriate wrinkles.

      Someone turned at a younger age will mature normally to about 30 and then stop (unless they learn to make themselves look older).

      As an aside, Bian needed to have her tattoos replaced on a regular basis until her body ‘learned’ that they were part of her and stopped ‘repairing’ itself.

  19. benjamin says :

    One last thing how much better is a werewolves senses compare to a athanate. I mean do they have equal night vision. And would an older athanate like yelena (assuming she is over say a hundred) would they have better senses as they get older. and how much better is an athanate’s senses then a human Sorry about all the questions but I am one of those people who loves the lore on books that have a fanatasy or sci fi setting.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Were have better night vision & hearing than Athanate.

      Much older Athanate might improve on the senses, but at her age, Yelena is not ‘old’ as Athanate go. She is over 100, but not 150.

      How much better senses are is not quantifiable, since both Athanate and human vary.

      The top 0.1% of human hearing might be approximately equivalent to the bottom 1% of Athanate.

  20. benjamin says :

    okay seriously this is the last one and sorry if I am asking too many questions. Guess I am like jo that way. In book five alex throws that vase that amber said weighed half a ton or something like that. Is he just stronger then most were or could someone like ursala do it too. Or could amber do it as well. Also earlier when I said that cliffhanger was bad I actually meant book fives ending.

  21. Mark Henwick says :

    In 2000 Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran lifted half a ton at the Sydney Olympics (though in somewhat more convenient shape that a planter vase). Alex didn’t actually throw the vase – he used it as a battering ram.

    Again, abilities vary. Ursula, Felix and Ricky could do what Alex did. The Pasadena alpha probably could too. Amber, Olivia, Ben, the Belles and the Heights alpha could not.

  22. benjamin says :

    would say yelena or bian be able too?

  23. benjamin says :

    which reminds me. I know bian is suppossed to be special in that she is less then 150 years old but scares others that are older. My question is is she much better then yelena? Those two are my fav side characters and I was just curious.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      The ability to pick up a planter vase that size is a matter of the shape as well as the weight. The way I envisaged it, Alex’s arms just reached around enough for him to get a good grip. Neither Yelena nor Bian would have that length of arm. They might just be able to lift, but certainly not to run with it.

      Bian’s reputation comes partly from her skill with bladed weapons. Skylur, Diana, Tarez and Naryn could beat Bian, but they would do so simply on their speed. Bian would beat Yelena with Baded weapons.

      Bian vs Yelena without weapons is too close to call.

  24. benjamin says :

    so they are as strong as him if they can get a good grip. Also I meant to ask about bian. I know some vietnamese people have tanner skin then others and I was wondering how she was in that. It kinda helps with picturing how her tattoo would look to me. Also it says yelena has silver hair? does she still look like she is thirty or something around there and she just dyed her hair until it stayed like that (like bian did with her tattoo’s getting them redone over and over again) or if she actually looks older in other ways. And I know it has probably been said but is she like ambers height or smaller. I also was curious if she is built like amber? It is emberassing but I have watched the bond movies so much my mind automatically thinks of the russian women that is the bad guy or a henchman or love interest. Or like that women mila something who plays alice in the resident evil movies.

    about ursala is she stronger because she can shift into a bear? and is rita just bada** because of how close to the edge she is or is she unusually fast and strong. Well and dominant and a good fighter.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      No, Alex is stronger than Bian and Yelena.

      Bian has a typical Chinese Vietnamese skin colour, slightly lighter than the average, if such a thing exists.

      Yelena’s hair is silver through control on her part rather than dyeing. She’s slightly lighter and smaller than Amber, but not by much. She certainly doesn’t look like the stereotype Russian athelete or Bond villain, and she’s Ukranian. She wouldn’t like being called Russian.

      Milla Jovovich isn’t a bad body type model, if that helps to visualise, and she is Ukrainian.

      Ursula is strong because she’s fricking big – she’s bigger than Alex.

      Rita is close to the edge when she’s angry or close to shifting. In cougar form, she has weapons that make her formidable but in a contest between a large werewolf and a werecougar, it’s probably the first solid bite to the neck that’s the deciding factor. In human form, Rita would have been advised not to take on Yelena at the club, but generally, she’s a good fighter.

  25. benjamin says :

    so the size of an athanate does effect their strength? also I was re reading wild card and saw that noble said weres have extended lifespans. does that means they can die of old age?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Younger Athanate’s strength and speed is largely regulated by mundane physics and biology. Their Athanate enhanced biology allows them to develop and maintain a more powerful and robust physiology than humans. But there’s no advantage to having muscles so strong you can lift weights than will break your bones and rip the ligaments from their anchors. A bigger Athanate would be stronger than a smaller Athanate of the same vintage, by the same extend that a bigger human would be stronger than a smaller human.

      Older Athanate learn to incorporate workings of the energy that will protect the biomechanical aspects of their bodies and cheat physics.

      Athanate are theoretically immortal, Were are not. All Were get old and die. Felix’s sister, Martha, in Wild Card speculates that she will die within a couple of winters. Pack based Were can have an extended lifespan from the combined will of the pack. Again, Martha discusses this in Wild Card saying that Felix will outlive her.

  26. benjamin says :

    also when ursala shows up at jens house she is described as a mix between zena and superwoman? was that to do with her as a whole (body wise) or her eyes and the other facial feautures that were mentioned a right before. Also do were’s have the same thing as athanate where they look younger (or older) after they are turned? and if yelena does her hair by control does that mean she has to focus on it all the time or just when she wanted it change.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      “Her wavy, blue-black hair was drawn tightly back, and she had frown lines that seemed permanent over dark, deep-set eyes. Sort of a mix of Xena and Wonder Woman, with a sore head.”

      Both Xena and Wonder Woman are depicted (within the limits of movie production) as much bigger and stronger than humans. They’re both dark-haired and Xena is often frowning.

      Because of the way the books are written as 1st person PoV, much of the description in them is simply a sort of sub-vocalisation of what’s going on in Amber’s head, which is occasionally exaggerated or takes short cuts – just like any person would. So, no, you won’t get an image of Ursula from blending a picture of Lucy Lawless and Lynda Carter, but there are recognisable aspects of both that might make you say “oh, that’s a bit like…” – exactly as Amber has subvocalised it in that passage.

      Weres do not have the fine tuning control of Athanate, but they could if they put their minds to it. As with Athanate, their default look is late 20s early 30s.

      Skinwalkers, on the other hand, can change their appearance.

      Neither Yelena nor Bian has to focus on their image all the time. They change their internal perception of what they look like (which takes effort over a period of time) and their subconscious implements that.

      What is currently amazing me is that I have thought of all of this while, at the same time, writing the books.

  27. wolf55 says :

    In the 2nd outsiders book we hear the two adepts say they changed their…uh apperance. can all adepts change they also said that anything more would be weird. Does that mean an adept could change their entire apperance.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Hi Wolf

      It is! The ability to actually change appearance is further defined in Wild Card. As it’s a key element of that book’s plot, I won’t discuss it more here, but you can email me on mark athanate com, and I will describe it in more detail.

      Well behaved Adepts of course do not use this ability. 🙂

      • wolf55 says :

        I tried on using the contact thing but do I need to use that “email mark” type thing or just the first thing that pops up once you click on the contact button. I used the one that first pops up when I clicked on contact in the upper right hand part of the screen. Is that the right one?

        • Mark Henwick says :

          You got through Daryl. I responded to ‘insanewerewolf’ 🙂 and the response will have come from my main email address which is in my full name. Maybe it’s in your spam folder.

          I see the WordPress editor has stripped out the phrases I used for ‘@’ and ‘.’ in the last comment I posted, because I put them in brackets or something.

          Tell me if it hasn’t come through and I’ll try sending an email by a different route.

  28. wolf55 says :

    One thing that I always wondered is if all athanate get faster and stronger over time. Would a younger athanate that trains and spends alot of time trying to get stronger and faster and learn all their stuff get there faster and if it would would there really be a big difference. My thought about it is the athanate (I think amanda is her name) from the outsiders series seems to be far weaker then bian who given the date on that sampler type thing for a bian origin type story was way younger. I imagine some of it varies just from person to person but would heavy training make a huge difference in the speed at which an athanate progress’s.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      You’re right – there is a difference from person to person, and a difference based on training and effort. What Athanate get back from training is not linear – more effort of the right type, more consistently gets *much* more return.

      After being infused, Amanda spent little time in Athanate society, so this kind of habit is not ingrained. Her early Athanate life on the frontier in Canada would have been hard, but that was all physical effort rather than training.

      Bian’s had a very different life.

      • wolf55 says :

        So alot of it will be with their use of energy and such. Could that be self taught to an extent.

        • Mark Henwick says :

          It’s possible, but Athanate self-teaching extended use of the energy is dangerous.

          Minor use, such as the bodily transformation for biting is pretty much hard-wired.

          • wolf55 says :

            Would “extended use” mean a continous..” working” I think is the word they use? Or just using it alot. I mean could leraning how to use it to make themselves look a little different like tarez did or be faster and stronger like the older athanate can. Or is there something else they can do that I am missing

  29. wolf55 says :

    Also earlier in this page someone asked about how strong the athanate could be and you said older athanate could find ways to cheat physics and such using energy? Would old be like bian old or much older.

  30. Mark Henwick says :

    Daryl, your two questions overlap.

    By ‘extended use’ I actually mean ‘advanced use’. For example, trying to learn the sort of capabilities that allow the user to cheat physics. This is for really old Athanate, and not everyone succeeds.

    Bian, at a little more than 120, is a relative youngster.

    Changes such as Tarez & Bian’s appearances are minor use – basically sustained self-image. That sort of thing can be self taught.

    • wolf55 says :

      When I mean is bian an older athanate I meant old enough to learn stuff like cheating physics and such. I know in book four she managed to hold an angry amber back without much effort and given the size difference It makes me think there would be something funny going on there. Or how it says yelena covered twice as much distance as amber in book fivewhen they…fight while trying to protect two friends in the beggining (trying to avoid spoilers ). And something that alot of urban fantasy does when it comes to driving and motorcycles. Does there reflexes and supernatural stuff come into play. Like when amber seemed to weave between cars so well.

      • Mark Henwick says :

        Amber is at the level of an exceptional human being. If you look around, you can find people who could do the things she does.

        Bian and Yelena have been Athanate for 100 years and are faster and stronger than Amber. I guess you would characterize them as ‘cheating biology’. The difference is less than it seems sometimes. Yelena is not twice as fast as Amber, but in Angel Stakes, Amber has been in recovery and that has slowed her down. As Amber recovers and gets back to consistent training, she gets back to her level.

        The ‘cheating physics’ stage comes much later.

  31. wolf55 says :

    I was rereading book 5 and I saw that in one of the scenes when she is talking about alex and jen she says “He knows I need human blood for my athanate side more then I need were blood for my hybrid side”. So does she actually need to get were blood as well or did I just misunderstand. Because it says other places she just needs human blood and were blood isn’t able to fully sustain her. But she is hybrid so?

  32. wolf55 says :

    one last thing. I have seen yelena called silver haired usually as well as platinum haired. So would that mean it would be like (no idea how to spell her name) the mother of dragons in game of thrones. Especially in the earlier episodes. Weird question I know.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Amber doesn’t really need Were blood to sustain her werewolf, she needs to change on a regular basis. There is a small benefit to infusing Were blood.

      Amber *wants* Were blood from Alex, it’s part of the bond, and it does help sustain her human/Athanate balance in a small way.

      Daenerys Targaryen / Khaleesi. (Emilia Clarke wears a wig for the part. She’s actually got black hair.) Yelena’s hair is similar to the Khaleesi wig, but slightly paler. It looks unnatural.

  33. wolf55 says :

    alright thanks for the Q and A.

  34. gamer609 says :

    Is rita a typical were cougar? She is just so bada** and I was wondering if she what most werecougars. The way she behaves and can get so intense and such. And is such a good fighter. How she can stay still for hours and such. Or is that stuff unique to her

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Werecougars are *much* less socialised than werewolves, so most of them would exhibit some of the same traits as Rita. Shapeshifters take some of the attitude of their shifted animal and felines tend to exhibit that sort of intensity, especially when they’re engaging their fight or hunt responses. Ambush predators like cougars also have the capability of remaining very still for long periods of time.

      Being adopted by a werewolf pack has tended to make Rita appear slightly schizophrenic – and if anything, has exaggerated the werecougar lethal intensity. The adoption by the Albuquerque pack was at Zane & Cameron’s insistence, and most of the pack was initially very much against it. That pushed Rita to become an extremely good fighter and, for her own peace, she cultivated that sociopathic killer persona. She’s now earned her place in the eyes of the pack, but those instincts and responses remain just beneath the surface.

      Werecougars (and most other shifter types) are rare in comparison to werewolves in USA.

  35. gamer609 says :

    Will bians book come out on knidle?

  36. gamer609 says :

    Do you think bite back book six will be out this year? Huge fan of your books and when I saw that you were writing that one I was hyped and wanted to know. Also after reading bians tale I wondered if shapeshifters would be different in asia then amercia. If those things were shape shifters

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Hi Gamer

      Thank you! I’m pleased you enjoy the BB books, and value feedback.

      Yes BB6, Inside Straight should be available this year. I certainly hope to have it completed this summer, but my guesstimates are often wrong on schedules.

      Shapeshifters are the same biologically all over the world. Tiger demons are indeed were-tigers. The shifters (as a population) are influenced by cultural expectations, so for Americans shifter tends to mean werewolf. In southeast Asia, it would more usually be were-tiger. In Africa, lion or leopard. As the norms are established, they reinforce themselves, so a werewolf in USA isn’t going to create a were-lion *usually*. 🙂

      Skinwalkers like Nick Grey are just shifters who realize that they aren’t limited to a single form.

      • gamer609 says :

        could amber farell be a skinwalker? or any other shape shifter

        • gamer609 says :

          also the tiger demons seemed different then regular shapeshifters we have seen since they weren’t turned into a tiger but a mix of human and tiger. meant to ask all this in one “bubble” but hit enter on accident

          • Mark Henwick says :

            Yes, all shapeshifters could be skinwalkers. I think I have too many urgent plot points for Amber’s story to have her experiment with this, but it’s something I have sketched out for a companion novella.

            Partial forms exist in Bite Back as well*, but you’re correct that the American werewolves tend to go for the whole change and Annamese weretigers prefer to mix. Cultural differences.

            (*For example, Cameron part changes to emphasize dominance over Rita in Angel Stakes, when they’re driving away from the meeting with Felix).

  37. gamer609 says :

    oh that right I didn’t think of when cameron did that. and amber after she beat up that alpha…and when she bit that adept in book 4. Thank you for answering by the way

  38. John says :

    Hi Mark

    Rare for me to re-read a book, much less a series, but after Bain’s Tale reminded me how much I enjoyed your work I’ve gone back to revisit the entire BB experience. You’ve created a world with plenty enough to discover the second time around, so it’s been as satisfying coming back as I remember from my first encounters with the Athenate. I appreciate your the update on Inside Straight, and of course here’s hoping your muse comes through to turn that snag into a winning hand real soon!

    Thanks for sharing your words


    • Mark Henwick says :

      Hi John

      Thank you for the feedback! Part of what makes me happy when writing is wondering if readers will pick up on the little, hidden nooks and crannies of the plot and characterisations. I am delighted by the number of people who re-read the series and it does seem that people do spot them, and most seem to enjoy second readings.

      I’m also very happy to receive your feedback on Bian’s Tale. ‘Urban fantasy’ tends to take off at a gallop, and I just didn’t feel 1890 Saigon allowed that, so The Harvest of Lies is a definite slow burn & I’m glad it still worked for you. That’s one of the reasons I also set the category to ‘Historical Fantasy’.

      Inside Straight is coming a little slowly and I’m a slow writer, but a few pages every day and it will be there.


  39. daniel says :

    I love your books and have re-read them several times. I have a question and I am not sure how to word it correctly but I’ll do my best. Since it’s told in first person does Amber’s view of herself alter the way she describes her appearance. I mean everyone else finds her incredibly attractive and such and it sorta seems like she just has a low opinion of herself in terms of her looks and since it’s told in first person does that mean she isn’t describing herself the way she actually looks.

    Again sorry it sounds so clumsy but I couldn’t figure a good way the phrase the question

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Hi Daniel

      Amber doesn’t really have a low opinion of herself, so much as a neutral opinion. She thinks her nose is a bit big for instance. I guess if you persuaded her to say something, she’d say she was ‘acceptable’. She’d never say she was beautiful. She’s much more attractive than she would ever say.
      The various people in the books who find her attractive are making that assessment from a variety of perspectives, including Athanate, who are affected by her marque, and Were, who are affected by her dominance. She *is* very attractive, but she’s not a classical beauty. Another reader coined a good phrase that she’s the sort of person who looks more attractive the more she actually does things. The sort of person whose beauty emerges the better you know her, I guess, is what I’m aiming at.

  40. daniel says :

    I have a question about amber’s potential abilities. Since she is an athanate and an adept could she gain the “magic” type skills faster. I don’t mean like Dianna probably does. I have this funny thought that in her spare time she just uses telekentic’s to do everything like in bed knob and broomsticks when stuff starts floating. Anyways could we see amber doing that stuff even though she is a very young athanate? Also since we know that Dianna is very old could she be like the roman godess “or maybe it was greek” Dianna who was the goddess of the hunt and some other things. I mean could that belief be based on her.

    Final question and I ma sorry to bother you. Is the next bite back book gonna come out early next year?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Amber will definitely be faster than most Athanate to gain her skills, but no user of magic uses them to clean the house. 🙂

      Diana is the Roman name of Artemis, Greek Goddess of Hunting. Yes, both she and Skylur were regarded as gods during the Mycenaean era. (You have read Change of Regime, haven’t you…)

      Inside Straight should be out early next year.

      • daniel says :

        I was just joking about the cleaning house thing. I haven’t read change of regime. I actually got the idea that she might be because of the hellequin chronicles where the character Dianna was who the Romans based their goddess off of. I will read Change of Regime soon though.

        Will we see Amanda in the next book?

  41. daniel says :

    I swear this is the last question. I know that were’s tend to take after their animal . Like Rita being so intense as you said up in another comment. But could a skinwalker change their behavior type to another animal.

    For example if Nick spent most of his time as were as a cougar would he become more like Rita. I assume he was originally just a werewolf so being more like a werecougar would change his behavior somewhat I think.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Yes, I guess you’re right in a general sense. Skinwalkers who concentrate on one animal would tend to reflect the characteristics of that animal. This isn’t one-size-fits-all: Ursula was a werewolf at the start, but her behavior was always more bear-like. Even if she never uses her bear again, she’s not going to become loud, boisterous and one of the lads. 🙂

  42. daniel says :

    One thing I have been curious about is how the athanate feed on emotion. Couldn’t they just “soak up” emotion like amber did at jen house in book four. Or do they need to do it while they take blood. So can they do them at seperate times?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      They need to be in range for their eukori, but otherwise can do it at any time. It is especially rewarding to feed on both Blood and rahaimon at the same time, but not essential.

  43. daniel says :

    What about how emotion effects athanate. We know that pantheus and basilisks feed on different emotions (love and fear) and it effects who they are. But what about other emotions. Yelena fed on lust for a while so would that effect her some way while she was feeding on that.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      All Panethus feed on lust as well as love. Lust alone is okay for rahaimon, but might come accompanied by negative emotions, and that in the long term is probably psychologically not so good, especially if the Athanate concerned is isolated from a supportive House.
      Yelena’s a strong character fortunately.

      • daniel says :

        Would Amber be able to do it without falling apart?

        • Mark Henwick says :

          Really depends on the circumstances.
          Yelena undertook to live as she did because she had a mission for the Carpathians. If Amber had a mission she believed in, she could put up with conditions that most people couldn’t for a very long time.
          In some set of circumstances where there was no reason for it and no end in sight? No, Amber wouldn’t do that.

  44. daniel says :

    I was wondering what type of “were” Nick Grey started as. I mean since a skinwalker is just a “were” that learned to use the energy to change into a different type of animal.

  45. Mark Henwick says :

    Probably tsiatko. 🙂

  46. daniel says :

    I was thinking about the two adepts that are amanda’s kin. Since they use their powers alot would that effect their lifespan alot?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      They use their powers quite a lot in Winter’s Kiss, but they’re aware of the potential penalties, so usually, they use them as little as possible.

      There’s also the scale and method of the magic. Flint & Kane have honed their skills so that they use the most energy efficient spell in most cases. Large scale, big effect magic has a higher penalty than small magic. For instance it would be theoretically possible to stop a truck purely with magic, but that would be a large cost. In Winter’s Kiss the alternative of turning the snowy road to ice is a much smaller cost and (fortunately) effective.

  47. daniel says :

    If amber bites amanda like that doctor did in winters kiss would she be able to go longer without blood and have longer lived kin like amanda did? I was curious about this?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Yes, Athanate sense potential benefits from other Athanate’s Blood – this is part of what makes a ‘marque’ – and these sensed benefits are what make marques attractive (or not attractive). The benefit *may* not transfer in Blood and in some instances the effect may be negative. But in the ordinary course of events, at least some of the benefit will transfer. Over time, the marques of two Athanate regularly sharing Blood will become one marque, a pooling of some of their unique strengths – the Athanate equivalent of genetic mutation, I guess you could call it.

  48. ben says :

    This is a weird question but I was re reading the bite back books in anticipation of the next book and I noticed that alot of amber’s thoughts and narration seemed to indicate that she is telling this story after the story takes place rather then as the story moves forward like I originally thought.

    I guess my question is if amber is telling this story after everything happened or if it is her going through the story. I guess it would be is the story being told as “current” or “past tense”

    I am sorry if it sounds weird or hard to understand. For some reason I am having trouble wording my question.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Interesting philosophical sort of question.

      The Bite Back series narrative is all officially past tense, but speech is present tense, including Amber talking to herself. So…

      She walked into the room.
      ‘I am here at last,’ she thought.
      “Hi everyone, I’m here” she said.

      (Though I tend to use italics for thoughts instead of using the ‘she thought’ tag, which trips people up sometimes)

      So far, so standard, but mentally, I’m telling the story as if it were Amber, so therefore it ‘feels’ more like it’s all being told after the end, and I guess you’re picking that up. If you concentrate on her thoughts it’ll probably feel more present tense, related as it happens, if you concentrate on the descriptive text, it’ll probably feel as if she’s telling it after it all finished. I think!

      As to when the point of past narration is – i.e. the end of the book or the end of the series, I guess logically it’s the end of the series, but as a matter of process (what’s in my mind as I write) it’s the end of the book.

      Compare the use of present tense in the Among the Stars books.

      Difficult question to explain!

  49. daniel says :

    Any news on the next books ETA?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Hi Daniel
      I’m working on (full books, in order of priority) Bite Back 7, Bian’s Tale 2, Among the Stars 3. That’s my Mon-Fri main job.
      My weekend work is a huge mix of experimental works & co-operations.

      The two really important books, BB7 and BT2, are currently even at around 10-15%. What I expect to happen is that one will ‘take off’ and I will put 100% into finishing it. That one is likely to be BB7, because I’m really getting into the witchy Louisiana vibe that it’s centered around. However, even at full blast, we’re talking late summer.

      I have a completed Science Fiction short story pitched for inclusion in an anthology which is scheduled to print in summer. If it’s not accepted, I’ll probably produce a full novel as episodes (like I did for A Name Among the Stars), but I’ll load each episode onto Amazon for 99c.

      • daniel says :

        Any news on which book will be out first now? Not trying to nag just curious . This is my favorite series.

        • Mark Henwick says :

          Thanks Daniel. I should do more to keep people informed. I’m working only on Bite Back 7 at the moment. Bian’s Tale 2 and Among the Stars have to take a back seat. At the weekends, I’ve produced a couple of linked short stories and the first has been accepted for an anthology in June.

          I’ve had to restart Bite Back 7 a couple of times, but I think it’s running well now. I’ll try and remember to post when I hit the next milestone.

  50. Lynn Landers says :

    I’m enjoying this series very much. I do have a pet peeve about the cover of “Raw Deal”. Trigger discipline is ingrained in military and law enforcement. Amber is too well trained to ever have her finger on the trigger while not actively shooting. “Sleight of Hand” and “Hidden Trump” show trigger discipline very well.

    I like reading the Q & A from your readers & getting insights about your characters. Wishing you many more fruitful years!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Lynn, glad you’re enjoying the series.

      Yup, you’re right, bad cover on Raw Deal. At some stage I’ll fix it, but atm I’m too busy writing Bite Back 7 during the weeks and the two serial novel episodes for the newsletter at weekends.

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