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I Belong


Spooky Legends: Melissa Darnell

Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways

Today’s Spooky Legends guest is Melissa Darnell, author of the new The Clann paranormal young adult series from Harlequin Teen.  The first book in the series is CRAVE, followed by COVET in 2012.  Melissa is here to tell us about the legendary East Texas Black Panther urban legend.

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The Legendary East Texas Black Panther

By Melissa Darnell

Growing up in East Texas, I actually somehow never heard of the legendary black panthers that have been seen by many in Texas and Louisiana for years.  It wasn’t until I began to write The Clann Series, a YA paranormal romance series for Harlequin Teen, and researched East Texas monster legends that I learned about these huge black cats that have been scaring and attacking Texans and Louisianans for hundreds of years.  And the sightings continue to this day.

On March 28, 2007, KLTV News reported residents in Upshur County’s Raintree lakes area were complaining about woman-like screams at night and face-to-face encounters with what they described as a big black panther-sized cat.  And on March 22 of the same year, the Jacksonville Daily Progress reported that several Dialville residents had spotted a mother panther and her three cubs on the Dialville Highway on County Road 1610.  There are also numerous firsthand posts, the most recent being for Sept. 12th, 2011, left at the Texas Cryptid Hunter blog, which report sightings ranging all over Texas from Anderson and Cherokee Counties to Harrison and Bastrop Counties.  While wildlife experts claim it is impossible for black panthers to be in East Texas, there are too many modern day reports and even photographs (including these excellent daytime photos taken in Centerville, TX by Todd Overton, posted here on 11/8/09) to be ignored.

The publicly recorded history of the black panther presence in Texas goes all the way back to the 1800s.  The Galveston Weekly News reported on June 1, 1874 in gruesome detail how “…The body of the man was lying in the road, and a huge panther was standing over it, eating one of his shoulders…”

What makes the black panther such a fearsome predator is, in addition to its black coat which hides it in the dark, the black panther can grow up to 200 pounds in weight, up to seven feet in length excluding its tail, and can be as tall as two feet at its shoulder.  In addition to its size and coloring, the black panther stalks large prey on silent paws from branches of trees overhead, allowing it to watch unseen in the night before it drops down with a loud scream.  Some wildlife experts state that instead of a panther, they believe the East Texas sightings are more likely of the larger black jaguars, which can grow up to 7.9 feet long, 220 pounds in weight, and up to 30 inches tall at the shoulder.  (Isn’t that more comforting?)  Their silent, stealthy approach from overhead, combined with sharp claws and even deadlier teeth, make these predators highly dangerous to cows, sheep, pets and humans alike.

While I missed out on growing up on stories of this legendary East Texas monster, as an adult and an author, I can definitely appreciate how the woodlands of my childhood home make the perfect environment for the black panthers of East Texas.  This is why I’ve set my upcoming YA paranormal series amid those East Texas pines…the truth there is often far more frightening than any fiction I can add to the area’s myths!  Look for the East Texas black panther to make quite a large and frequent appearance in Covet, the second book of my YA paranormal romance series, The Clann Series, in 2012, with the series’ first book, Crave, joining Harlequin Teen’s awesome lineup of teen novels this coming Tuesday, October 25th!  Please feel free to visit The Clann Series website, where more information about the East Texas black panther will be posted closer to book #2 Covet’s release in 2012, or my author website to tell me about YOUR East Texas black panther sightings!

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About Melissa:

Melissa Darnell is a book lover through and through. In addition to authoring a growing list of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction books on a wide assortment of topics and genres, she is also a freelance book editor, layout and cover designer, and ebook formatter with more than 75 books to her professional credit. She wrote her first story in the third grade, was first published in the sixth grade when her poem was selected for an anthology, and has since won several regional and national essay contests with prizes ranging from the complete Harry Potter collection in hardback to an actual horse with a year’s worth of feed in the 1992 Ponies of America essay contest. Born in California, she grew up in East Texas and has also called the following states home at one time or another: Utah, West Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, and Iowa. A former award-winning dancer with 12 years’ formal training in jazz, tap, and ballet, she currently lives in South Dakota with her husband and two children, where she enjoys watching Whale Wars, UFC matches and True Blood, trying out new hair colors, designing fun stuff to sell in the virtual world of Second Life, and of course writing her latest book!

You can visit Melissa around the web here: Website | Blog | Facebook

Want to read more from Melissa Darnell?

Crave

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This giveaway is provided by Harlequin Teen

One winner will receive a copy of Crave by Melissa Darnell

Available on October 18, 2011 from Harlequin Teen

About the Book:

Savannah Colbert has never known why she’s so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It’s as if he’s a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she’s destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can’t stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….

Pre-Order from

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:



**Don’t forget to visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with Nancy Holzner and a chance to win a book from the DEADTOWN universe**

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27 Responses to “Spooky Legends: Melissa Darnell

  1. AmyNo Gravatar
    1

    This sounds like a great book. I love books with big cat shifters, so I’d love to learn more about the black panther Clann.

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  2. Lori StronginNo Gravatar
    2

    I love reading about urban legends, especially ones like this that could very well be true. I grew up in NJ, so every Halloween, all anyone could ever talk about was treking into the Pine Barrens to go looking for the Jersey Devil. Needless to say, I left a light on many a night!

    Smiles!
    Lori

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  3. Stephanie EcksteinNo Gravatar
    3

    This is such a gorgeous cover, and the book sounds great. I’m definitely going to give it a try!!!

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  4. Brenda D.No Gravatar
    4

    This book sounds like another good one to add to the tbr pile! Thanks! ten.tsacmocnull@7mednerb

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  5. Aurora m.No Gravatar
    5

    Wow! I think I have to have this…I had never heard of it until this post but now I am moving this one right to the top of my “must have” list. Thanks for the chance at this what looks like a great book and thanks more for the post that turned me on to a new read.
    veltara(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  6. ChrissyNo Gravatar
    6

    Sounds like a great book! I’ve already added this to my already unbelievably long TBR list. :D

    metroidprime728(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. TouyaNo Gravatar
    7

    This is so awesome!! It’s very exciting! And such a well written post too. ^_^

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  8. Mary Ellen ThompsonNo Gravatar
    8

    This legend really sounds as if it could be true, if they’re panthers or jaguars! I’ve always been glad there are no big cats or other predators in my area, you never know!
    Thank you for the chance to win!

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  9. Kelsey dNo Gravatar
    9

    Great urban legend! Those panthers sound pretty frightening!

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  10. KatieNo Gravatar
    10

    this looks incredible… i can NOT wait to read this!

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  11. Lisa RichardsNo Gravatar
    11

    This is one that sounds totally plausible and scary.

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  12. Karen WapinskiNo Gravatar
    12

    How interesting, I love cat shifters in books so I’ll be sure to check this out. Thanks for the giveaway

    faefever25 at hotmail dot com

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  13. Rose PryimakNo Gravatar
    13

    This book sounds awesome! Can’t wait to read it!!

    Thank you for this giveaway!!

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  14. Rose PryimakNo Gravatar
    14

    Opps forgot to add my email address…

    ac.evilnull@88_yraM_esoR

    :)

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  15. BeeNo Gravatar
    15

    Pathers huh? This is SO my thing! <3

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  16. MarissaNo Gravatar
    16

    I found out about this book a while ago and knew I had to read it so thanks for the giveaway!

    I think it would be super cool if there was black panthers in Texas! I don’t know if I believe it I think I would have to see one first but I live in Texas so maybe I will!

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  17. MinasNo Gravatar
    17

    Sounds scary!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  18. Isamar HernandezNo Gravatar
    18

    Sounds like a really good story I like that its so different than anything out there

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  19. latisha depoortereNo Gravatar
    19

    This sound so good thank you for the great giveaway!

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  20. KtNo Gravatar
    20

    I Love Love Love this cover!

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  21. elizabethNo Gravatar
    21

    Dont like urban fantasy legends there scary

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  22. JasmynNo Gravatar
    22

    Black panthers have always been my favorite of the big cats. I’d love to see one face to face, but would greatly prefer it to be friendly.

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  23. Virginia7No Gravatar
    23

    I really want to win this book! I’m dying to read it :)
    Thanks for the giveaway =D

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  24. Virginia7No Gravatar
    24

    Ok, I missed the part where you ask what I think about this urban legend. So, here goes: I think legendary East Texas monster could be true, I mean at least we’re talking about a panther and not some mythical creature, or something crazy like the chupacabra or big foot! Panthers are deadly beautiful creatures and I’m glad Melissa Darnell is including a bit of this legend into the novels :)

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  25. NicoleNo Gravatar
    25

    I wouldn’t want to run into a black panther in the woods. Crave sounds really interesting.

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  26. Jolene ANo Gravatar
    26

    I love this cover and cannot wait to get my hands on this!! Great giveaway! On to the black panthers, that would definitely freak me out if I lived over there. Glad I live in a very populated city, my only worries are spiders and ants as of right now :)

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  27. Amy LynnNo Gravatar
    27

    So I wondered if they were ever found. Maybe they were shifters, hmmm.

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