Spotlight & Giveaway: Winter Lost by Patricia Briggs

Posted June 14th, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 19 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Patricia Briggs to HJ!

Hi Patricia Briggs and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Winter Lost!


Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Winter Lost is the latest novel in the Mercy Thompson series, urban fantasy stories following the adventures of coyote-shapeshifter and VW mechanic Mercy Thompson. Like most of them, it can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s better if you’ve read them all. In this case, reading Soul Taken first would be very helpful.

The story takes place (mostly) in Montana, where Mercy’s brother, Gary, who attracts trouble nearly as well as she does and is more experienced at it, has found himself in over his head. He shows up on Mercy’s doorstep cursed, disoriented, and in dire need of help. Still suffering from the after-effects of her last adventure, Mercy heads to the mountains in the teeth of a winter storm with Adam, her werewolf Alpha husband, in tow to save her brother. But her brother’s problems are only the tip of the iceberg. In a strange old lodge on a hot-spring fed lake, Mercy and Adam have only a short time to solve a mystery or witness the end of the world.

Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:

“He was lucky I had a liberal arts degree so I knew what ‘puling’ meant.”


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • Winter Lost is the first book I’ve written that really shows how I conceive a story.
  • All of the Mercy stories are written from Mercy’s (unreliable) viewpoint. But one of the things necessary for a good story, when you are writing of a world in which there are vampires and werewolves and other things dark and nasty creeping around, is that that world needs to be real. It needs to function just like our real world. One of my tricks is to make sure that all of the characters in a novel have their own stories going—outside of the book I’m writing. So when I am writing a novel I have concurrent events running in my head about what all of the other characters are doing, both mundane and critical. This habit means that in the past I’ve scattered chapters in Mercy’s mate’s viewpoint in several of the books. I’ve written short stories to tell critical scenes from the viewpoint of someone who really understood what was going on. But after I finished Winter Lost, the other parts of the story were too obviously missing.
  • I had already written chapters in Adam’s point of view because, in this particular adventure, Mercy’s viewpoint threatened to become even more unreliable than usual. And also because any good romance is made better by seeing what the other half of the romantic pair is thinking. But there were things happening that Adam didn’t know either.
  • I tried working those stories into phone calls or bits of information in dialogue, which is something I’ve done before. But this time it felt forced.
  • So—between each chapter of the main story, is a small story or scene. An Interlude. Some of these are critical to understand the book. Others are important to discover character motivations and behind-the-scenes actions that pushed Mercy into the end of what should have been her brother’s adventure. A few are there because I wanted to put them in. I didn’t put all of the bits of action that I knew were happening during Mercy’s tale, but the critical ones are there.
  • Longtime readers of my books should know that all of my books have side stories running in my head, most of which will never—and should never—be brought out to see the light of day. Those stories are there so Mercy’s stories feeling like real life. Real life with werewolves, maybe, but that’s what keeps them fun.


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

This is a long running series. That means I had the opportunity to really take my time with their relationship. Those who are interested in Mercy and Adam’s courtship should read the first four or five books beginning with Moon Called. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t an on-going romance as the core of this series and it changes and grows throughout, just as real love does.

That being said:
Adam, who has spent his whole life taking care of others (his pack, his now ex-wife, his daughter, his country), sees in Mercy a woman who can stand on her own two feet and is responsible for her own happiness and wellbeing. She can face him down without getting herself in danger (because werewolves are dangerous), she’s smart and tough, but also kind and funny. She brings softness to his world which has been cold and hard for a long time.
Mercy sees in Adam, someone who won’t abandon her—as most of the people in her life to date have. That they all had very good reasons—including for her own good—did not make that better. I don’t know that she understands that part of her relationship with Adam. But she likes him, likes the way his compass always points true North. His world is a world of black and white—something is good or not good. No shades of gray. She likes the way he has raised his daughter, the way he takes care of his pack. The way he does not try to take over her life. He is her rock, the place she can use a crowbar to change the world.


Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?

Since the Mercy books are urban fantasy (which means they have a horror element), I try to scare myself now and then. When I have to edit the scene in the daytime, I know I’m doing my job. Excerpt taken from Chapter Nine of Winter Lost.

I awoke to a finger drifting over my cheek. According to my inner clock, it was early morning–still dark this time of year. I smiled at the gentle touch and pressed my face into it.
But both of Adam’s arms were wrapped securely around my waist, holding me against his chest.
The hand on my cheek was icy.
Adam’s hands, like his body, were usually a few degrees warmer than a human’s would have been.
I opened my eyes and there was a stranger’s face not an inch from mine. If he hadn’t been dead, I’d have been breathing his air, he was that close. Panic held me frozen as he lowered his face and pressed his chill, hungry, lips to mine.


Readers should read this book….

to follow along on Mercy’s latest adventure.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?

I am currently working on the next Alpha and Omega novel, set mostly in the Olympic peninsula. Winter Lost will be available everywhere in all formats on June 18th 2024.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: One copy of WINTER LOST for a U.S. only winner.


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Why would you read urban fantasy? What makes it different from paranormal romance? Which do you prefer and why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt from Winter Lost:

In December at six p.m., even with the streetlights, it was dark. I was running a little late because I’d stopped at home to change.

The overhead clouds blocked the stars and left the waning but still nearly full moon a faint glow in the sky. Snow drifted down in the giant fat flakes that only happened when the temperature was just perfect, snowman-building snow. The kind, in fact, that stuck to my wipers so they both squeaked and also left water splotches on my windshield.

Mary Jo had asked me to meet her. As I drove through the accumulating snow, I had the same triumphant feeling in my belly that I did at the end of a difficult but successful hunt.

Mary Jo and I had been not friends but certainly friendly until her Alpha had pulled me into the werewolf pack as his mate. She wasn’t the only wolf who had resented him bringing in someone who turned into a coyote, but Mary Jo had been the central player in the anti-coyote faction of the pack.

At first I’d tried ignoring their dislike of me. The pack was Adam’s problem, and they seemed to run better when I kept my head down. He’d put a stop to any active harassment, and what various of the werewolves had thought about me hadn’t mattered.

But things were different now. Our pack was responsible for the safety of anyone in our territory, thanks to yours truly. As an added bit of icing on the cake, we had to do it as a lone pack.

The Marrok who ruled the werewolves in this part of the world was worried that our actions could draw them all into a real war. So he’d cut us off. If we were unaffiliated (what a pedestrian word for the blood-and-flesh bonds that bound the werewolves together), then the worst that would happen is that the fae would wipe out our pack. Or the humans would kill us all. Or the witches. Or the vampires. Or some unknown nasty we hadn’t run into yet. But the damage would be local and not an interspecies war.

We were on our own and in over our heads. That meant we didn’t have time for petty rivalries or stupid games within our pack-we were too busy running to put out one figurative fire before another started. I had to fix the damage bringing me into the pack had done.

As Adam’s mate, I’d taken my share of organizing the defense of our territory. I had made a point of taking on the worst of the resultant jobs myself-and I’d made sure to bring Mary Jo with me. Every time we went out, she was a little less unhappy with me. Two days ago, we fought a fishy-something-with-teeth that decided to take up residence on one of the small islands in the middle of the river.

When Mary Jo killed it, the unidentifiable giant river monster thingy had exploded into a mass of inch-long versions of the giant thing. My legs still had bite marks. But Mary Jo had given me a high five when we’d hunted the last of them down.

Mary Jo wasn’t the only recalcitrant wolf I brought with me to awful jobs. She had just been the most resistant. There was nothing like shared misery to build relationships. Adam said that he’d felt the pack bonds settling in tighter since I’d started my campaign.

As I headed to the meeting with Mary Jo, I thought that just possibly I could start giving some of the worst jobs to people other than me. That would be nice.

My cell phone rang as Columbia Drive swung west on its trip to the Blue Bridge. The suspension bridge would have made the journey a lot shorter, but a troll fight had damaged it, then a fae lord demolished it. Reconstruction was set to finish, barring delays, in the spring, and in the meantime the Blue Bridge, already overcrowded, had become the main artery between Kennewick and Pasco.

I’d taken my Vanagon tonight. Built in the last century, it had a CD player but no Bluetooth. As a small business owner and the mate of the Alpha of a werewolf pack, I needed to answer my phone. I’d solved the problem with a Bluetooth earpiece.

My stepdaughter, Jesse, rolled her eyes when I first put it on. “The time-share call center called, and they want their headset back. Get some earbuds, Mercy, you’ll thank me later.”

Earbuds and mechanicking weren’t good partners-at least not for me. I’d lost three pairs of earbuds before I decided that my twenty-dollar Bluetooth earpiece that could go through the wash and still work was a better option.

The phone rang twice before I’d fumbled the earpiece in and tapped to activate it.

“Mercy here,” I said.

No one answered.

I knew that silence. My breath hitched because my diaphragm thought it would be a really good idea to run away from whatever was scaring us. Scaring me.

I’d gotten a different number and switched carriers. Only the pack and family had this number. It wasn’t listed anywhere-and my current phone was under Warren’s boyfriend Kyle’s name.

It could have been a misdialed number or a failed robocall. I hoped for a thickly accented voice to tell me their name was Susan and they were calling to talk to me about my credit card. But I knew who it was.

I felt my heart rate pick up as the seconds ticked slowly by. I should have disconnected, because anyone I knew would have already spoken by now. But I didn’t hang up. He would only call back.

The windshield screeched again, so I turned the wipers off. Someone honked at me. To get out of traffic, I took a right-hand turn too quickly, veering briefly into the wrong lane. Rather than continuing to drive, I pulled over and parked next to a used car lot.

“So nice of you to join us,” whispered Bonarata, the Lord of Night.

He wasn’t here. But I pictured him in my head, looking more like Thug Number Three in an old movie about the Mafia than the vampire who ruled Europe and, from what I had been able to gather, any other vampires he cared to take over. A little less than two months ago he’d fought Adam and beaten him. He’d beaten me, too-but I’m a lightweight. In the ten years I’d known Adam, I’d never seen anyone beat him in a fight. Bonarata had made it look easy.

If Bonarata had wanted to, he could have killed us both. Instead, he chose to play a game. He’d decided to make an example of me because I’d escaped from him and made him look weak. I hoped that it would work out to being a fatal mistake-but we wouldn’t know that for sure until the game ended one way or another.

The phone calls were to let me know Bonarata had not forgotten his promise.

My hands were shaking and I was hyperventilating. Bonarata scared me more than I would have thought possible. He had promised to kill everyone I loved-and I believed he could do it. But that would not be today, I reminded myself. Today, right now, I needed to control myself or Adam would notice.

I’d left Adam preparing for an online meeting with his business partners in New Mexico over some military legal snafu. I understood it was a dangerous matter, that lives had already been lost. Tightropes needed to be walked and tempers soothed. Adam was good at tightropes, but the temper thing was not his strong suit. Adam didn’t need to know about this call right now.

I was supposed to get help when Bonarata called, so we could trace his call and figure out where he was. But we hadn’t managed to trace the location meaningfully the last twenty or so times he’d called. I didn’t think that this call would be the one to change that.

I could hear someone breathing in my earpiece now, shaky, shivery breaths like a rabbit pinned by a fox. The bunny knows it’s about to die, but not when that moment is going to come. Bonarata was a vampire; he didn’t need to breathe. And if he chose to, he wouldn’t breathe like that. The Lord of Night had invited a guest to join us.

This was going to be one of the bad calls.

I’d hung up the first time and gotten an audio CD of what Bonarata had done over several hours after I’d disconnected. If I listened when he called, he said at the end of the CD, he’d be more merciful. If I hung up, he’d enjoy himself. The length of his victim’s suffering was my choice.

If this was going to be one of those calls, I was going to have to do something more than just keep calm, or Adam would drop his important business to come save me when I was in no danger at all.

I shared two bonds with my mate-the bond that made me a part of the Columbia Basin Pack that he ruled, and the more intimate mating bond. I knew how to shut them down hard so that very little information traveled from me through them. Adam had shown me how to do that.

My mate understood that sometimes being part of a werewolf pack could be overwhelming to someone who’d spent most of her life on her own. Sometimes I desperately needed to be alone again. He knew that. He’d shown me how to find solitude when I was bound to him and to the pack-and to the vampire Stefan.

Because that was the other bond I held in my soul. Stefan was careful. Like Adam, he knew that if he tried to hold too tightly, I’d chew my metaphorical foot off to be free. Stefan wasn’t going to know about this call. I always kept that bond as closed as I could manage, and Stefan was used to that.

But after our pack and mate bonds were silenced and I was spirited off to Europe, Adam wasn’t so sanguine about me closing down our bond, even though he could still sense me. We’d had to figure out something else.

Adam had been married before, but I was his first mate. That should have meant that both of us struggled through how to deal with our mating bond, but he’d been an Alpha since before I was born, and that gave him a distinct advantage. The mate bond was different from the pack bonds, but the rules they followed were written in the same language, figuratively speaking. He understood how the magical ties worked better than I did, and he’d figured out something that would give me privacy when I needed it without causing him to overreact.

Shadowing the bond, he called the new method. “Pull veils across the path until it’s difficult to see through,” he said. Pack magic, I’d discovered, involved negotiating through a lot of metaphors. Instead of closing it down like a faucet, I layered our bond with stretchy and filmy curtains. The metaphor gave me a method that worked as long as I didn’t worry too much about what the curtains were made of.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, must stop a disaster of world-shattering proportions in this exhilarating entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

In the supernatural realms, there are creatures who belong to winter. I am not one of them. But like the coyote I can become at will, I am adaptable.

My name is Mercy Thompson Hauptman, and my mate, Adam, is the werewolf who leads the Columbia Basin Pack, the pack charged with keeping the people who live and work in the Tri-Cities of Washington State safe. It’s a hard job, and it doesn’t leave much room for side quests. Which is why when I needed to travel to Montana to help my brother, I intended to go by myself.

But I’m not alone anymore.

Together, Adam and I find ourselves trapped with strangers in a lodge in the heart of the wilderness, in the teeth of a storm of legendary power, only to discover my brother’s issues are a tiny part of a problem much bigger than we could have imagined. Arcane and ancient magics are at work that could, unless we are very careful, bring about the end of the world. . . .

Meet the Author:

Patricia Briggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series (Soul Taken, Smoke Bitten) and the Alpha and Omega novels (Wild Sign, Burn Bright).

19 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Winter Lost by Patricia Briggs”

  1. ELF

    I like both urban fantasy and other paranormal stories. I enjoy the idea that these beings can actually exist in my world (although it’s also a creepy concept, since I’d never want to become “cattle”) and the chance to see commonplace things in a new light (like Zee having “conversations” with the cars he’s working on, or a car that is extra safe because of someone’s desire to keep his partner safe). Congrats on the new release and thanks for the giveaway!

  2. erahime

    I would read UF for its story and world, in which the romance may not even be included. The focus of UF isn’t on the romance, but the premise of the book. But I adore paranormal romance, which enriched my love for the genre at the beginning of my reading journey.

  3. Amy R

    I enjoy both – urban fantasy is current world and not specifically romance, paranormal romance is romance forward and world building

  4. Latifa Morrisette

    I read both. I like to have variety when I read all things fantasy

  5. Glenda Hefty

    I am so looking forward to reading this book! Patricia Briggs is an auto buy for me. I love all of her books and reread them often. This only whets my appetite!

  6. Glenda Hefty

    I missed the question first time around so am replying again. I don’t enjoy all urban fantasy but the ones with great world building and wonderful characters are very enjoyable. I really love Illona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series for the same reason I love Patricia Briggs…wonderful characters, great world building, and excellent writing. I can reread many times and discover something I missed before every time. I have really gotten into the paranormal genre in my later years and like all kinds but they have to be well written.

  7. Nancy Jones

    I like both. I like the variety and depends on the mood I’m in to read.

  8. Bonnie

    I enjoy reading both urban fantasy and paranormal romance for the fantastic world building and unique characters. Love the Mercy Thompson series and look forward to reading this new book in the series.

  9. avgabriau

    I don’t really read urban fantasy, but I love Patricia Briggs books. She’s the first book I picked up at 13 and started my reading journey with.
    That being said, if there was a big underlying romance theme in the books, then j would give them a chance, but I’m a total romance addict!

  10. Janie McGaugh

    I read urban fantasy for the paranormal elements and the adventure. I prefer those that include a romance, as well, even though it may unfold over a number of books. The real difference is that there is always a romance in PNR, and you get your guaranteed HEA, generally over the course of one book. As long as I get my romance, I don’t have a preference.

  11. Patricia B.

    In all honesty, I have never been ableto figure out the difference between the two. Your comment about a horror component to urban fantasy makes things a bit clearer. I enjoy shifter books, but most I have read do not really have a horror component. I will just have to continue reading what I like and not worry about what genre the fit into.