The Jaguar of the Backward Glance

      No Comments on The Jaguar of the Backward Glance
Chavin stirrup-spouted jar

Chavin stirrup-spouted jar from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Image retrieved from Ancient History Encyclopedia

I discovered this intriguing bit of werecat mythology while doing research for the forthcoming, final installment of my Werecat series: The Sim Ru Prophecy. In Chavin culture, a pre-Incan civilization that resided in the region of modern day Peru, potters made clay jars shaped like seated, curled cats. Like ancient Amerindian artwork elsewhere, the cat’s head is exaggerated, almost cartoonish, but the rosette spots are suggestive of the jaguar, which thrived in the region at the time.

According to archeologist Alana Cordy-Collins, a scholar of Peruvian pre-history, these unique jars are also an artifact of an ancient folk belief in human-feline hybrid creatures. In her essay titled: “The jaguar of the backward glance,” published in Nicolas Saunders’ Icons of Power: Feline Symbolism in the Americas, Cordy-Collins states that the jars represent shaman who possess dual souls and have the ability to take the form of jaguars. To the Chavin, a jaguar who is spotted looking over its shoulder is not a big cat but rather a shape-shifting shaman. They preserved that magical secret on their decorative wares.

When I read about that, I was reminded of the anthropomorphic world of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked saga.

“Are you a cat? Or a Cat?”

Jinns by the Ottoman Artist Mehmet Siyah Kalem

Jinns by the Ottoman Artist Mehmet Siyah Kalem, retrieved from Islam and Science Fiction

Werecat mythology is not so common in European cultures (to the benefit of werewolves), but there are imaginative werecat storytelling traditions pretty much everywhere else where cats can be found in the world. For example, in the Middle East, there’s the wonderful folk belief in the jinn, which can take the form of the cat, as well as other animals.

If you have dug into my Werecat series, you know that I took a lot of inspiration from ancient Mesoamerican beliefs and most especially the Olmecs. A lot about the Olmecs remains ‘unpacked,’ which makes their history and religion fertile ground for a fantasy author. Archeologists have yet to even understand their language. But their stone monuments, sculptures and glyphs include representations of human/feline hybrids, which has led to the theory that they worshipped a werejaguar god.

That was plenty enough for me as a departure point for creating the mythology behind Werecat. The main character Jacks learns that werecat ‘rearing’ originated from an Olmec king who sacrificed a jaguar cub at the altar of a feline god and then plunged the sacrificial blade into his own heart. The feline god was pleased and allowed the king to return to the material world as a hybrid creature with the power to shift from man to cat.

In the saga’s final installment: The Sim Ru Prophecy, Jacks must decode an ancient codex called The Bastet in order to appeal to an aboriginal feline deity before the codex’s secrets fall into the hands of werecat insurgents, or equally disastrously, humans, who would eliminate Jacks’ kind completely.

As a promotion for the release, you can get started on the series for free. Just sign up for my mailing list at the top of my sidebar, and I’ll send you a copy of The Rearing (Werecat, Book 1).



      No Comments on #MondayMotivation


So I was tagged in this Facebook post by a Barnes & Noble store in Oregon, and it made my day. That’s my book The Seventh Pleiade in the center of the display case for LGBTQ+ Science Fiction/Fantasy!

Folks may not realize what a big deal that is for a small press book. Display space in bookstores is pretty much eaten up by the big five publishing houses, who according to Flavorwire make up over a third of the book market, They pay big money to have their new releases prominently displayed at sellers like Barnes & Noble, and adding to that competitive factor, bookstores are getting smaller and many are closing shop. In these conditions, small press authors like me are lucky to have their books in stock at brick-and-mortar retailers, let alone in prominent places like the special dsplay case above.

I’m frequently asked by friends and family members: They didn’t have your book at so-and-so bookstore in my neighborhood. What’s up with that?

The answer is a couple of things. First, the shrinking number of bookstores, which are also shrinking in size, means that bookstores are buying fewer books to sell generally since they don’t have the space to stock them. Second, the people who decide which books to sell (bookstore buyers) give preference to books published by the big five since those corporations have more marketing dollars. Third, bookstores are buying smaller quantities of new titles, and unless a book has amazing sales, they’re unlikely to order more to have on display once their first order runs out. I did a check of three of my books at using their Check Store Availability link, and I was saddened to find that none of them show as in stock at any of their stores in my zip code region – the NYC metro area, one of their biggest markets in the country.

The Seventh Pleiade was pretty widely in stock when it first came out in November 2013, and Banished Sons of Poseidon got into a respectable number of stores back in 2014. Sadly, few B&Ns and independent bookstores stocked The City of Seven Gods, probably because it’s not young adult as well as the modest sales from my earlier two books.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t buy those books. You will just have to order them from your bookseller, have them home delivered or pick them up from the store. And, if lots and lots of people ask for them, some stores might start stocking them again. 🙂

Many thanks to the B&N store in Eugene for helping to spread the word about The Seventh Pleiade, and especially to author/blogger Ben Brock who works there.

The Big Werecat Bonanza!

      No Comments on The Big Werecat Bonanza!

I’ve been dropping hints about this, and the release date is getting close. The final installment of my Werecat series, a 2016 Readers’ Choice favorite, comes out this summer!! Right now, I’m working through the final proofreading of the manuscript and awaiting cover art. To celebrate the upcoming release, I’ve got two promotions going on that can give you a free jumpstart on the series.

First, a little info about Werecat #4. The title is The Sim Ru Prophecy, and it’s a novel-length book that brings the series to a globe-trekking, action-packed finish.

Jacks Cherokee sets off for South America to negotiate a truce with the dissident werecat leader Tepe who has declared war on mankind. Jacks has in his possession an arcane codex called The Bastet, that preserves the secrets of werecat magic, and he’s joined by his loyal boyfriend Farzan, their werelion ally Kwame, and his tiger-stripe tabby familiar Bella.

But a passage in The Bastet known as The Sim Ru Prophecy contains a doomsday riddle that attracts new enemies who are desperate to exterminate the werecat threat. Tepe himself would use it to avenge centuries of werecat persecution once and for all. Caught between worlds, Jacks finds himself as both the chaser and the chased, saddled with an impossible choice: relinquish werecat magic to a covert organization that will destroy his kind, or unleash the great Sim Ru who will restore a pre-historic era when big cats reigned supreme.

Now, the promotions!

I’ve set up a giveaway at LibraryThing where you can enter a drawing for a copy of The Rearing (Werecat, Book 1).  That contest is open from May 1st to May 15th. Just follow this link to the book listing, and look at the upper right hand corner to get to the LibraryThing Member Giveaway site. (It takes some scrolling down to find the book, but this ‘shortcut’ was the only way I could figure out how to get to it).

Next, if you’re more of a Goodreads person, I have a giveaway going on there as well from May 7th to May 16th. You can enter a drawing for a copy of The Trilogy, (Werecat, Books 1-3). Here’s the handy widget where you can get in on that:


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Werecat by Andrew J. Peters


by Andrew J. Peters

Giveaway ends May 16, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

I can’t wait to share the cover art for the upcoming book, which is in production! Stay tuned for more details. 🙂

NYC Rainbow Book Fair!!

      No Comments on NYC Rainbow Book Fair!!

The Ninth Annual New York City Rainbow Book Fair is coming up: Saturday, April 29th 12:00 – 6:00 PM at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (524 W. 59th Street). I’ve booked a spot on the 3:30 PM Reading Panel, and I’ll be around and about Bold Strokes Books’ exhibit table, talking up The City of Seven Gods, which is a 2016 Foreword INDIES finalist, in case you hadn’t heard. 🙂

The Rainbow Book Fair has a special place in my heart since it was the first venue where I did a public reading. That was back in 2013, seven months before my first novel The Seventh Pleiade came out. Eager to start doing some publicity, I answered my publisher’s call for readers, got an early run of promotional bookmarks with the cover art, and invited a bunch of my friends. Then the panic set in. What had I done? Willfully scheduled the most terrifying experience of my life? I had overcome my fear of public speaking by then, grown quite comfortable with it actually as an adjunct professor, but reading my own work was a lot more personal, sharing something I had created, in my own, less than smooth and arresting voice, in a room full of literature afficiandos. The situation brought back the horror of having to sing in front of people in sixth grade chorus and play cello solos in orchestra. Neither of those artistic pursuits panned out for me by the way.

When the day came, it was far less scary than I had pictured. One thing that makes readings a hell of a lot easier than other kinds of performance is that no matter how petrified you are, you can’t forget the words, the notes to hit, since they’re right there in the book you’re holding in your sweaty, shaking hand. Unless the panic strikes you blind. I guess that can happen. But it didn’t happen for me. I gave a well-articulated, stilted reading of one of my favorite scenes from the book, and people clapped politely while my awesome friends cheered and congratulated me. Afterwards we went out for drinks to celebrate. It turned out to be one of those great days you remember forever, and I was so proud to be part of the LGBT literary community.

Now, with that kind of personal endorsement, how could you not check out The Rainbow Book Fair this year?

I’ll be on the 3:30 Bold Strokes Showcase which includes three lesbian authors (Jean Copeland, Maggie Cummings, M. Ullrich), and gay horror author and my good pal David W. Kelly. Before or after that, you can catch me at my publisher’s exhibit table or hobnobbing around the floor. The Fair is a good place to discover lesser-known LGBT titles, both fiction and non-fiction, children’s, young adult and adult, and with the shrinking number of brick and mortar LGBT bookstores, how often do you get a chance to physically browse books these days?

I hope to see you there!


Come on out to Saints & Sinners!

      No Comments on Come on out to Saints & Sinners!

Collage of images from past SAS Fests, retrieved from

The time has arrived! The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival is happening this weekend: March 24th – 26th, and I am headed down to New Orleans to take part in the fun.

If you’re in the area, come on over to the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal Street) in the French Quarter to see a great line-up of authors and celebrities including, among others, Dorothy Allison, Justin Torres, Dick Cavett, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, Wally Lamb, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, Michael Thomas Ford, Jake Shears, and Kyan Douglas.

And after that bit of high powered name-dropping, I have the nerve to mention there’s a place for me in the program, with a reading and Q&A from The City of Seven Gods on Saturday, March 25th 1:00 PM in Hotel Monteleone’s Cabildo Room.

Don’t let me be the only one in the room while everyone else is fighting to chat up Dick Cavett. 🙂

Festival passes ($150) are still on sale and can be purchased here.

From the website: The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival was founded in 2003 as a new initiative designed as an innovative way to reach the community with information about HIV/AIDS, particularly disseminating prevention messages via the writers, thinkers and spokes-people of the LGBT community. It was also formed to bring the LGBT literary community together to celebrate the literary arts.

The Festival has grown into an internationally-recognized event that brings together a who’s who of LGBT publishers, writers and readers from throughout the United States and beyond. The Festival, held over 3 days each Spring, features panel discussions and master classes around literary topics that provide a forum for authors, editors and publishers to talk about their work for the benefit of emerging writers and the enjoyment of fans of LGBT literature.

Sound good? Check it out!