I’ve been insanely busy (partially with my writing!), so here is an update on what I’ve been up to. (This is a bit long. If what you really want is the excerpt, scroll to the bottom )
- I got the first round of edits for Wolf Tracker from my editor on October 23. I went through her suggestions, made some updates and corrections and re-wrote a small but key element of the story. I just sent the edits back yesterday and my editor will be reviewing this week and let me know what she thinks.
- I received the first draft of the cover art for Wolf Tracker and returned it with a few suggestions. Lyn Taylor has done all my covers so far, and this one is in the same style. I really love what she does with the covers. I hope to be able to post the final art in a few weeks.
- I have been working on Eddie’s Prize, Book 4 in the After the Crash series. You know, I love Eddie. I also want to strangle him. He’s beautiful. Seriously, a beautiful man. He is a veterinarian who loves animals. He fought for and won the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. The wedding night is sweet and tender and Lisa thinks she’s found the one man who will always love her, one she can love in return. But Eddie is a moron. He doesn’t deserve Lisa.
- But I’ve had to abandon Eddie and Lisa for now. My mom had her 5th surgery on the elbow she shattered 10 years ago. The darn thing just won’t heal, and poor mom is in a lot of pain. So I’ve spent a lot of time in October first at the hospital and now at her house. Between mom and the edits, I haven’t been writing anything new.
- Well, except for a brain worm that Tracker and Tami’s daughter gave me. I was sitting at my desk at work when a story burst into my mind. At least the beginnings of one. About 25 years after Tracker and Tami’s story takes place, their daughter is out riding on their ranch when she is surprised by a lion shifter who claims her as his mate. Unlike the wolves she is used to, the lion man has no intention of courting her. He simply takes her and carries her off. I will be sharing this story with the readers of my newsletter. Chapter 1 went out with the October Newsletter.
And here’s a new excerpt from Wolf Tracker. AS usual, this is still in the editing stage, so changes may be made before publication. The action up to now is as follows: Tami was one of the volunteers who left the plane crash to find help. She and her partner were found by men who sold them to men who abused them. Tami escapes and the men hire a man called Tracker from the Wolf Clan to find her and bring her back. He’s been trying to catch up with her, but Tami is pretty good at hiding her trail. She’s cold, tired and hungry but too frightened to just let Tracker catch her.
There he was again.
The sun was almost down, lighting those long blond braids to pale corn silk. He was too far away to see clearly, but Tami knew it was the same man who had come to the ranch house yesterday afternoon. His hair was distinctive. How many men had white-blond braids to their waists? How many of them rode bare-chested wearing only a breechcloth and leggings in the November cold? Yesterday, when she’d first spotted him while checking her snare, she had considered asking him for help. But her experiences in Greasy Butt made her cautious. Instead of hanging around for him to find her, she ran, abandoning the ranch house she’d found before she’d gotten any food or rest. Damn him.
Tami backed one careful footstep at a time away from the lip of the hill. All her knowledge of tracking hadn’t been enough to prevent him from following her. Her hopes that his appearance at the ranch was just coincidence or that he wouldn’t try to find her were dashed. He was definitely following her. But why? Because she was a lone woman and easy prey as she had been for the men in Greasy Butte? Damn them all straight to hell.
Dammit, how was he following her? She wasn’t a novice on the trail and she knew she wasn’t leaving many clues. She estimated the blond-haired man was no more than an hour behind her. It would be after sunset before he got to this point. Maybe she could lose him in the dark.
She went back to Freedom and forced herself back into the saddle. “I know, boy,” she murmured. “I’m tired, too. But we have to keep moving or Blondie will catch us, and that would be bad. Real bad.”
She had been so busy running she hadn’t had time to catch anything to eat, much less cook it. Raw meat sounded just fine right now. Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away, and back home she’d have a table groaning under the weight of a turkey and all the trimmings. Just the thought of it flooded her mouth with saliva. In half the fiction books she’d read the ninny of a heroine would have conveniently found a berry bush or some nuts she could eat on the run. Western Nebraska in November didn’t supply those. Even if Tami found anything like that, it would have taken hours of picking to satisfy her hunger. She didn’t have hours, not with Blondie so close behind her.
So her stomach rumbled, and she rode with her hands tucked under her arms to try to warm them. The weather had stayed unusually warm for mid-November, but it wasn’t summer. Riding hungry and cold meant making mistakes if she wasn’t careful. Mistakes would send her right back to a bed with her arms and legs tied to the bed posts.
After the sun was fully down she slowed the horse to a walk. The plains were giving way to badlands. Rocks of various sizes thrust up through the dead grass, some knee high, others twenty feet high. If she were better rested and had daylight enough to not risk Freedom’s legs, she would keep riding to put as much distance as possible between her and Blondie. But Blondie would have to stop for the night, too. She needed a good place to camp, somewhere sheltered and hidden, where she could get a little rest. Without rest she’d never be sharp enough to get away from Blondie.
This place here, between a tall rock and a jumble of smaller rocks, was a good place to hide. She dismounted and loosened the saddle girth. Every movement was an effort. She leaned against her horse’s side.
“I don’t know what I’m doing here, Freedom,” she whispered to the gelding. “Why’s he following us? What if Blondie found our tracks and only wants to help?” Yeah, right. And there was a Super Walmart over the next hill, too. She straightened with a groan and dug through the sadly empty saddlebag for a crumb of bread. Any little crumb at all would be welcome. There was none. Tami made herself close the bag. “Maybe he wants to find me because I’m a woman and he’s a man ‘with needs,’ like those assholes in Greasy Butte.” Cold sliced through her like a knife at that thought. “Or maybe those guys back in Greasy Butte sent him to find me.”
Would they have done that? Tami wrapped one of the blankets around her shoulders and the other over her lap, and wedged herself into a crevice between two rocks to doze. She drifted off in spite of the little rock digging itself into her hip, thinking of roast turkey and stuffing.
Maybe that was why she woke smelling meat roasting over an open fire? It took a few seconds for Tami to realize the scent was real. A night breeze was wafting it right into her face. Mouthwatering. Tremor inducing. She shouldn’t move. Blondie had probably set up camp and built a fire to cook his supper. How unfair was that? She should not go and scope his camp out. If he had trailed her over thirty miles of empty country, then he knew what he was doing. Why would he have a fire unless he was using it to lure her out? She should either stay put, get some rest, and then head away from him when he settled down to sleep, or get the hell out of Dodge right now. Yeah. So why was she leaving her hidey hole and creeping toward the smell of cooking meat?
Well, because she was starving. It had been a day and a half since she’d eaten, and for a week before that she had eaten only bread, dried fruit, and a rabbit she’d caught in a snare. He had certainly picked a fine way to trap her.
She crept noiselessly until she was only yards from the edge of his camp. The fire was very low, hardly more than coals, with a blob of something that smelled heavenly hanging close above it. Aside from the fire there was nothing obvious to indicate it was a camp. Tami looked around carefully. The horse was barely visible past the fire. Blondie’s gear must be tucked away out of sight. She saw no sign of even a saddlebag. But Blondie was nowhere to be seen. She waited. If he were off taking a piss he’d be back any time. Minutes crawled by. Nothing. This was a trap. It had to be a trap. But how she wanted that meat!
In a burst of either steel nerves or utter idiocy, she skimmed into the camp, grabbed the half-cooked bird and skimmed back out. The bird was hot enough to burn her fingers, but she didn’t care. With every step she expected the guy with the blond braids to tackle her, but she made it back to Freedom, tightened the girth and mounted, juggling the bird all the while. She let the horse walk quietly, to avoid alerting Blondie, while she tore into the bird. It was tough, gamy, and half raw. It tasted like heaven. A month ago the idea of eating it would have turned her stomach. Right now it was the best meal she could ever remember eating. Blondie might catch her, but at least she’d have something in her stomach when he did.
The Starlander Frontier: Starlander’s Myth by Melisse Aires
Being a gryphon shifter has put widow Mrs Sophie Farrel and her small daughter Flora in jeopardy. A corrupt mining officials knows she can detect valuable cryst and plans to sell her to the highest bidder.
One of the things I love about the SCA (the medieval historical re-creation group I’m in) is the music. Some songs are beautiful ballads, lyrical, with breathtaking melodies. Others are filks, which are songs sung to a familiar tune but with very different–sometimes mocking–lyrics. Many songs are sung a capella, others are accompanied by drums, harps or flutes. Here are 13 SCA songs sung by SCA folk, some of whom I know and see often. I am not musically talented, but I sure make a good audience.
Born On the Listfield - a female fighter is made a knight
Pennsic Drum Song - funny! At Pennsic, which is the largest SCA event where 15,000 people all camp, fight, take classes and dance, the middle eastern drums pound ceaselessly into the night.
Master Daveed drumming - Master Daveed is a middle eastern drummer par excellence, and here he and Carmine are showing off their best riffs, trying to outdo each other.
My Mother’s Savage Daughter - the iconic song of my kingdom
Sons of the Dragon - One of those ballads with a great melody and lyrics
Haul On the Oars, Ladies - Viking women get bored and go shopping (aka pillaging)
Strike the Drum - A battlefield song
Beware of the Vampire Penguin - Hm. Can you say silly but fun?
Regin smidur - An actual Faroese song sung in Faroese. Great.
Mongol Doodle Dandy - Remember I mentioned filks?
Shoulder To Shoulder - Another rousing battlefield song
The Muster - Love it! What a voice!
If I Were A Young Man - Great ballad