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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway & Author Interview + Review ~ Feral Hearts by Melissa E. Costa



Book Title: Feral Hearts: Book 1

Author: Melissa E Costa

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Vanesa Gorkova

Release Date: August 19, 2021 

Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy M/M Romance. 

Tropes: Friends to Lovers. Childhood friends. Gay for you. Omegaverse. Hurt/Comfort. Fated Mates. 

Themes: Soul Mates, classism

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length:  68 683 words/176 pages

This is book one in the Feral Hearts series. 

The book does not a cliffhanger, per se, but the story’s conclusion won’t be reached until the end of book 3.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

To save the one he loves, he must face the beast within.


Alex isn’t a traditional alpha—he’s gentle, awkward, and caring. He also has no desire to assume leadership of the Black Moon Pack once his father steps down.

Talen is an omega stray, taken in by Alex’s parents and raised as his brother. He’s also straight, emotionally damaged, and the love of Alex’s life.

Now of age, Talen is forced into the role of an omega—those treated little better than slaves. Worse yet, the monster inside of Alex has awoken and set its sights on Talen. The beast will stop at nothing to get what it wants, even if it takes the whole world down to do it.

Alex must face his worst nightmares if he ever has a chance at protecting Talen. Is he strong enough to bring them together, or will he lose Talen along with the pack?

This three-book series tells a continuous story with a resolution at the end of book three.

My review:


WOW! The world building is so amazing! I love how the author creates unique and awesome worlds, and the characters were lovely too!

At the beginning I was a bit afraid, because it starts with an m/f scene and I thought it would be somehow m/m/f, but I'm glad I stayed and had hope because it was clearly m/m. That tiny scene was important for the gay for you part of the story.
Talen and Alex were both so great, I fell for them both. Alex is gay and in love with Talen, everyone knows this only Talen doesn't. Talen is straight, he and everyone thinks so. He only has brotherly and friendly feelings toward Alex... yes? Or not? He could be in love with Alex? His wolf tells him this all the time and Talen has to believe his wolf, right?

The shifter scenes and the whole shifter community was so amazing. And this book is a really great start to the series, so many unanswered questions, what will happen next?

The story has little to no romance/erotica - I mean there is no kissing, no sex. There are only innocent and sweet touches and thoughts. And I love this kind of romance too. I don't call it slow burn, it's just sweet, innocent, first young love. Can't wait to see more of them in the next book.


Alex couldn’t believe they were going to flog Talen. Eben stood to the side of the pillar with his back to Alex. He had been able to get Alex out of doing the whipping.

Etched into the pillar were symbols from the old language. A loop made of rope was attached to a minor ledge higher up in the stone. Its purpose was for this very thing. The shaman placed a large wooden block at Talen’s feet and had him step up onto it. Even elevated, he still wasn’t tall enough to fit his wrists through the loop, so they told him to hang onto it instead.

Talen wasn’t wearing a shirt. His arms above his head stretched his torso and made visible the taunt muscles of his abdomen and chest. Tiny beads of sweat gathered on his collarbone before they rolled down his back. Whether caused by anticipation or the blistering heat, Alex didn’t know. Talen’s left arm was no longer hidden by his sleeve, making the slight bow in his wrist apparent for anyone who knew where to look. A nearly unnoticeable tremble shook his shoulders. He looked so small then, fragile, even though Talen was anything but.

One of the shamans began making a speech. Her loud voice carried on the wind. “To speak out against your betters is the greatest disrespect you can show to your pack.” She was lecturing Talen, but she also looked around as if talking to the crowd, making an example out of him. A wave of nausea washed over Alex as his anger rose. “When you disrespect your pack, you’re disrespecting yourself.”

“Stupid bitch,” Alex grumbled. “Get off your high horse.” Even though he hadn’t wanted to watch the whipping, his feet moved on their own until he was close enough to see Talen’s face clearly.

“Talen, for your disobedience, you will be punished by thirty slashes to your back to be carried out by the pack leader.”

Eben held a medium-sized bullwhip.

“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” the shaman continued. “To say to Roman, who you have disrespected by your behavior?”

For one moment, Talen looked like he would say something, and it wouldn’t be nice. That fire burned behind his dark-hazel eyes.

Alex remembered his father’s words at dinner. If Talen doesn’t go through with this, he might have to find himself another pack.

As cowardly as it seemed, Alex prayed that Talen would keep his mouth shut. Please, don’t say anything. Please, Talen. Please don’t say anything.

Talen closed his eyes, and the tension left his body.

“Only to apologize for my insolence.” His words carried on the mild breeze that made standing outside on this humid hot day bearable. But Alex couldn’t care less about the wind or how good it felt against his skin. Instead, his attention focused only on Talen. Even though Talen bowed his head, and his words sounded a bit hollow, there was a fire to them—Talen’s voice, his spark. His energy. His will to fight. Talen amazed him. His ability to stay himself, to not give into fear, regardless of the hell he had been through. Alex envied him. Talen might have been an omega, whereas he was an alpha, but there was no doubt that Talen was the stronger of the two of them.

His father got in position and raised the whip. With a loud crack, it singed between Talen’s shoulder blades, leaving an ugly red gash. Talen’s breath hitched. He clenched the rope, baring his teeth. Every taunt muscle on his body writhed with each slash that marred his back. He wasn’t crying out, though. Talen was a proud one.

Another crack.

Alex tightened his fists.

Each crack grew louder and louder. Alex’s claws dug into his fists until tiny droplets of blood trailed down his palms.

Ten slashes into the punishment, Talen’s visible ribs heaved with each breath. His lithe frame trembled. Then his wolf surged, forming a white aura. It didn’t stretch out into a shadow—mostly that was an alpha thing—rather, it surrounded him like a sphere as it had done before with Roman—a white wolf seemingly chasing its tail in an endless figure eight. Its hazy white color made Talen appear blurry. It wasn’t large enough to affect Eben, only a whip length away.

It reeked of agony, hurt, anger, but mostly pain—Talen’s.

Alex turned away. His stomach clenched in knots. Something dark grew inside of him. Blacker, thicker. As he looked back at Talen, all Alex felt was rage.

Talen let out a scream before he bit his lip and a trail of blood spilled down his chin. Finally, he lost the battle, and he started crying out with each lash.

Alex’s fangs elongated. He wanted to kill them. All of them. His dad included. How fucking dare they lay one hand on Talen? On his Talen.

About the Author  

Melissa writes character-driven fiction, and any genre is fair game. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, anime, manga, and gaming. Living by the motto of trying all things twice, Melissa has jumped out of a perfectly good plane, swum with manatees, dived headfirst into Alice’s rabbit hole, and seduced classy ladies in 6-inch heels. A free-spirited bohemian, she currently lives in artsy St. Petersburg, Florida, with her soulmate and their two adorably needy cats.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Instagram  |  Newsletter Sign-up  |  Amazon


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Author Interview

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.

I’ve been publishing short stories as part of anthologies since late 2016 when I first released Dream Infected. Since then, I’ve put out five short stories, one novella and three novels. Two of these novels and one of the shorts, I released under my pen name, Rosary Deville. I don’t limit myself when it comes to genre, and so far, I have released contemporary, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic and shifter fantasy. With Rosary Deville, I’ve released contemporary erotica and dark/taboo erotica. I’m also thinking of putting out another pen for hetero stories, but time will tell with that.

Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?

The story revolves around Alex. He’s a non-traditional alpha who’s in love with his best friend, Talen—an omega stray rescued after he was abandoned by his parents. In this world, werewolves can go feral. This is when their wolf aspect devours their human aspect, and the werewolf goes insane. There’s something called a Soul Battle that happens inside the werewolf’s soul where their wolf and human aspects fight for dominance.

Alex’s wolf aspect is very powerful, even though he’s anything but strong. He’s a bit sheltered by his parents and he’s not a fighter. So there’s a huge contrast between him and his wolf. Alex will need to grow a lot in this story if he wants to win his Soul Battle and protect Talen. As an omega, Talen is treated as the lowest of low. The story starts out with Talen being forced to move into the Omega House—where all pack omegas live. I have a twist when it comes to omegas, but I’ll let you read more about that as I can’t explain everything here. Just know that omegas don’t typically mean what they normally do.

My favorite aspect is probably the worldbuilding. I spent a lot of time in this world, and I hope that translated into making it a vivid place where you can get lost in. As for favorite character, that’s tricky, because I love those two boys equally. I can relate to Alex more, but Talen is more fun to write. But then again, Alex is a lot of fun to write too. So, looks like they’re pretty tied.

Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?

I’m both, it depends on the plot bunny in question. Some stories I have to outline it all, and then use those as guidelines. Others, I’ll just sit down and see what comes out. I notice that having some kind of outline is where I get the best results, and it helps me finish a story. But then, sometimes if I outline too much, internally I feel like the story has already been written, so I will stop. I know that sounds contradicting. But sometimes, what keeps me writing the story is the fact that I don’t know how it will end. Having to write the story is how it gets finished, as opposed to having every detail completely outlined. But then, I run the risk of not knowing where it will go and that becomes a deterrent that could stop the book from being finished. So, it’s complicated. And it varies on a story-by-story case.

Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?

Setting a due date can work great because it gives me structure. That being said, I don’t operate well under too much stress. The best deadlines are the realistic ones. I normally find that I’ll need more time than I originally set out, so I’ve learned to account for that.

Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?

I’ve gone back and forth on this. But currently, I want to write more, so I’ve been trying my luck at a 1K daily goal, with the hope that I will end up writing more. But it’s set low enough that it won’t be overwhelming. One of the things that gets in the way of this is writer’s block, so I have to constantly keep refilling the creative well or I’ll end up writing junk words for the day.

What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?

I will talk about Feral Hearts as a series because it started out as one long story. I began writing it at the end of 2015. And I’ve had many revisions over the years. At around seventy-five percent in, the well ran dry, and honestly, it took me a long time to get it right—basically banging my head against the wall, only to go down a corridor and come right back out again. And technically, I’m not finished, even though I have the ending. It’s that midpart that’s tricky! As of the date of this article, I am still working on book three, but books one and two are complete with book two in editing.

How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?

I don’t always use the same process, and normally it’s the characters that come before the plot, as was the case with Feral Hearts. I knew Alex and Talen long before I had the main conflict of the books.

What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?

Ebooks, definitely, because all of my books can fit in the tiny space of a kindle. As for genre, I tend to prefer my stories to have a fantastical element. So most of the books in my library aren’t contemporary.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It depends. Sometimes I feel pent-up, and writing is just what the doctor ordered to help me feel better. Other times, I’ll have a bout of writing and get tired afterward. But mostly, I think it energizes me because it acts as a release.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Not sure I understand this question. Kryptonite is a killer. So, what’s my killer when it comes to writing? Probably having not enough inspiration. That can kill a good writing day. Again, I have to constantly refill the creative well because it will quickly run dry, especially after a good day of writing.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Keep at it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just write!

What is the best money you ever spent as an author?

That would be the ticket I spent on Rainbow Con back in 2015 when I decided to take myself seriously as an author. It was definitely a turning point in my career because before that I never took myself and my writing seriously. It was always something I just did for fun.

What is your favorite underappreciated novel?

I’m still just getting started as an author, and so I don’t have a lot of books out. But I do think that my first novel, Cat Escort could have gotten more love. The characters didn’t really fit a given trope, so that might be in part why it slipped through the radar. But I love the story of Seth, a human vet and Nao, a housecat shifter who works as an escort. I might give them a sequel if time allows.

What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I don’t really think about that. I write people, some characters are my gender, others are not. I try to find a common element that supersedes their sex because it’s at this level where we all share a common experience—the human experience.

What did you edit out of this book?

In one of my many revisions, I had Alex have a partner, Brian. I loved him to death, and even had a three-way relationship going between them and Talen. But as I was drafting the main plot, I wrote Brian out of the story. A bit bumming because I really liked him. He was this art student that Alex met in college, and he constantly called everyone sunshine. He was great! But in the main story, I focused less on them in college, and more on their relationship within the pack, so Brian had to go.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I normally hear it after I start writing the character sketch or doing the initial draft. Lots of times, I’ll go through the name book and see what jumps out, or sticks. But there’s a moment when I hear the name and I’m like that’s it!

What were your goals for this book? Did you achieve them?

This is book one of the Feral Hearts series, and I think I achieved what I was hoping with it—introducing you guys to their world and to the characters in all of their many strengths and flaws.

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

I try to be present in the moment, but my mind typically starts to think about my characters in a current or upcoming story.

What were you like in high school?

Quiet. I barely spoke a word, lived in my head mostly.

What are the three best things about you?

I’m dedicated, persistent and courageous. I have a lot of fears running around my head, which is why I can say I’m courageous. Because I face them. I’m also like a bloodhound on the scent when it comes to something I want. I always get my man, so to speak. That, or I will bang my head against the wall until I find a way. I don’t like to quit, and it shows.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Any kind of chocolate. I love Ben and Jerry’s pints. My favorite is called pish food.

If you could time-travel, where would you go and when?

Probably would go and see if I could meet Jesus, see if he is a real person and what his story is. Betcha didn’t see that one coming? lol

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

I don’t really keep up with the latest Hollywood actors anymore. So I can’t really think of who would play me. But I remember watching the cartoon Thumbelina, and my hubby thought the character’s face was drawn a lot like mine. And who knows, I guess I could see my life told as a musical, so maybe that works!

Thank you for inviting me!

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