This is the time of the year where we generally tend to look back and evaluate the year closing. And then we set goals as we look forward to the next year. In 2011 I began to see myself as a “real” author. I:
- received my first ever royalty check.
- received emails from readers saying they liked my books
- went to my first ever writers/readers get together
- received my first 1-star reviews on Amazon and GoodReads
- put my books into paperback format
- had contests to give away my books in both e and print format
- helped establish a local critique group
Those are all things I’m proud of. Even the 1 star reviews. They did hurt a little, but everyone is going to have their own opinion of a book, and it means that more people than just my friends are reading my books. Both Sleeping With the Wolf and Wolf’s Glory made the Millenium List at Liquid Silver. That means that they each sold more than 1000 copies. That may not be a big deal for a lot of writers, but it is huge for me. I’m brand new at this romance author gig, and I think it’s wonderful.
All in all, 2011 was a great year for me writing-wise. So what are my goals for 2012?
1. Finish writing Eddie’s Prize, book 4 in the post-apocalyptic werewolf series, After the Crash. I have 25,000 out of an estimated 45,000 words written. Submission date goal: March 15.
2. Finish writing Sherry’s Wolf, the free read for the futuristic werewolf series. I originally planned to have that out for Valentine’s Day, but it can’t come out before Wolf Tracker due to spoilers. I am hoping that a free read will bring new readers to the rest of the series. I have 2600 of an estimated 18,000 words. Goal to have it to beta readers: February 1.
3. Write Wolf’s Princess, the last book in the After the Crash series. This is the story I get the occasional email asking me about. Sky and Rose have certainly gotten a few readers’ attention, so I feel a little pressure to make it really good. Estimated word count: 70,000. Submission date goal: October 30.
4. Continue Daughter of the Wolf Clan. This is a story about Tracker and Tami’s daughter, who is stolen by a mountain cat shifter. I write in bits and pieces and send a chapter out in my newsletter once every couple months or so, kind of like the serial stories that used to appear in magazines. There’s no editing, but it’s free and I may one day submit it, so newsletter recipients get it first.
I was planning another book in the series, one about the shy wolf Quill and the woman his wolf chose for his mate. It may still be written, but at this moment nothing has bitten me. We’ll see how things work out. These goals aren’t set in stone. Things can change.
1. Finish the throw for the raffle basket for Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together. I am going to put together a Summer Evening Reader basket for the raffle at Lori Foster’s Get Together. I will put in my books, a nice mug with packages of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, some truffles and a light weight afghan that I am crocheting out of very light lace-weight alpaca and silk yarn.
2. Go out once a month and do something fun with friends. I tend to be a stay at home gal. But then I feel left out when friends post on Facebook about what a great time they had. Half the time I was invited but I declined because I wasn’t feeling well, or was too lazy.
3. Quit worrying about how messy my apartment is. I have got to quit obsessing about cleaning. I will make myself an EASY schedule for cleaning. If I fail to do the work I will NOT dwell on it and feel like a bad person. Cat hair is a fact of life for a people with three cats.
4. Sew 2 historical outfits. I want to make some new garb for the SCA. I think I’d like to make an Italian Renaissance gown, something light weight and pretty but not so ornate that it would only be suitable for court. I also want to sew another steampunk/Victorian outfit. My first one turned out pretty well, but now that I’ve worn it I think I can make some improvements.
There. My brief re-cap of 2011 and goals for 2012. I wish all of you a fun and safe New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. And the best possible 2012.
Christmas is a time to give gifts. I have been a published author for just over a year now. I am so grateful to the folks at Liquid Silver Books for accepting Sleeping With the Wolf, and nursing me along with Wolf’s Glory. If it wasn’t for them I may not be published now. But the people I am even more grateful to are YOU, the ones who read my books and enjoyed them. So here is a little gift for you to say thank you. This short little scene takes place late on Christmas Eve, during Tami and Tracker’s story. I decided not to include it in their book since it doesn’t involve either Tracker or Tami.
I hope you enjoy this little snippet of Carla and Taye. It’s a grown up Christmas story.
The fire in the stove sent warmth through the room. As Carla quickly undressed for bed she smiled at her husband’s thoughtfulness. Taye must have come in earlier to add wood to the fire. Tomorrow morning he would get up first and build the fire up so she wouldn’t shiver while she dressed. He always did that for her. Taye was so sweet.
To her at least. She remembered the look on his face when he gave orders to the Pack to increase the number of guards to protect Tami from Dick Dickinson. Even the warmth of the old fashioned wood burning stove couldn’t keep her from shuddering. She yanked a flannel nightgown over her head and quickly dove under the covers.
Taye came in a few minutes later. He kicked his pants off and slid in next to her. The glow from the stove just barely illuminated the taut muscles in the chest she loved to stroke. “Sweetheart.” His voice was a chiding half-growl. “You’re wearing that ugly nightdress again. Do you think I can’t keep you warm?” The growl sunk to the lowest register, making her shiver with erotic delight. “Or are you teasing me? You know how I love a challenge.”
Carla snorted, turning her face away and bracing her palms against his chest. “Hold on, Taye.”
“Why?” He sniffed delicately, tasting the air. “It’s not that time of the month again. Don’t you want to…?”
In the dark Carla rolled her eyes. She knew Taye’s wolf sight could see her perfectly. “I just want to talk first.”
“We’ll make love in a minute?” He sounded boyishly hopeful.
She rolled her eyes again. “You’re a man, all right. Don’t you ever think of anything else?”
“While we’re in bed together? Nah.”
She couldn’t help a giggle, because, really, she wasn’t much better. Just the sight of his dark eyes looking at her from under his elegant brows or his white smile made her think of sex. Not to mention what his sex god’s body did to her. But she wanted to say something important now.
She pushed him down and settled herself, nightgown smoothed primly down, on top of him. The gleam of his eyes showed her where to look. “Taye, tomorrow is Christmas. Our first Christmas together. And I don’t have any money to buy you a gift –“
“I don’t need a gift,” he protested.
“—so, I want to sing you a song. Have you ever heard of Carla Thomas?”
She could almost see his frown. “No.”
“Well, she was a singer, about twenty years before I was born. My mom and dad named me after her. She had a record that my dad grew up listening to at Christmas time, and he kept it even after CDs and iTunes… Never mind about that. He still played it when me and my brothers were kids. It was called All I Want For Christmas Is You. When I was little I thought it was a pretty stupid song. My dad, who sang about as well as a crow with laryngitis, would slow dance with my mom in the kitchen and sing it to her. But now I understand it perfectly. This is for you.”
She sang softly,
“Let the kiddies have the toys,
And let the grownups make the noise.
Give the neighbors all the presents under the tree.
Give the snow and mistletoe
To the ones who love them so
But you’ll be quite enough for me.
When Ol’ Santa rides his sleigh
He can please me right away
With a present that forever will be new.
Tell him my poor heart will sing
If one gift he’ll only bring,
For all I want for Christmas is you.”
Taye’s warm palms cupped her face. “That’s pretty. Am I the present that will forever be new?”
“Yeah,” Carla whispered against his lips. “I’ll never get bored with you.”
“You are the present, sweetheart.” His hands stroked up the backs of her legs. “The best present I’ve ever gotten.”
He purred with pleasure when his fingers weren’t stopped by panties so he could stroke through the soft hair between her legs. With a quick twist he put her under him. She savored the weight of him settled against her. It was a familiar weight. Comforting. Reassuring. Arousing. She lifted her hips up to press against his erection.
“I think we’re done being serious,” she breathed.
The feel of his hands gliding up under the nightgown made her squirm. “Almost, sweetheart.” He kissed her lightly.“Two months ago I didn’t know you existed. Only two months ago I slept alone. I had never touched you here.” He smoothed the nightgown up to lay his hand over her mound, putting exquisite pressure on her clit. His other hand pushed the nightgown up under her chin to expose her chest to the cold night air. “I had never seen these.”
Carla couldn’t quite stifle her moan when his hot mouth closed over one nipple. One of the things she loved about him was that he didn’t care that she was flat chested. All her life she’d worn push up bras to create the illusion of cleavage. But Taye could –and had—spent hours worshipping her breasts.
“Taye, come inside me.”
His chuckle was almost too quiet for her to hear. “It’s not time for my warrior of love to conquer your tunnel yet.”
Her laughter was more of a strangled snort. “You’re gonna torture me?”
Carla wiggled with delight when he kissed his way up her body, dragged the nightgown over her head and tossed it away, opening her thighs with one of his at the same time so he could push himself inside her. She sighed happily at the feeling of having her mate there, the “one flesh” that the Bible talked about.
“Do you know why I wear that nightgown?” she said breathily. “Because I love what happens when you take it off me.”
Taye laughed into her hair. “It’s one of my favorite things, too.” He withdrew and pushed back in. “Being inside you is like coming home after a long journey.”
“Faster, Taye,” she moaned. “Harder.”
And because he loved her, he complied. After she had convulsed in his arms, sobbing her release, and he taken his own pleasure, he kissed her tenderly.
“Merry Christmas, sweetheart.”
Here are some of the characters from my upcoming release, Wolf Tracker. Some are major characters, others are very minor secondary characters.
1. Dan Stensrud, known as Tracker. Hero. Son of Emma Two Birds, nephew of Muddy Wolf, a member of the Wolf Clan of the Lakota who prefers solitude. Too restless to ever stay in one place long, he rides over the prairies of Nebraska and the Dakotas. He’d like a wife, but no woman could keep up with him on the trail, and he can’t live in a town.
2. Tami Casper. Heroine. Survivor. Refuses to be a victim and struggles to regain her self confidence after finding safety at Taye’s den. And after her experiences with the men in Greasy Butte Tami can’t imagine any husband being acceptable no matter how much pressure is put on her to marry.
3. Rose Turner. A teenaged crash survivor who has made a place for herself at Taye’s den and swears she doesn’t want Sky for a mate.
4. Connie Mondale. The only surviving member of the crashed plane’s crew, leader of the Plane Women. She has no intention of allowing a husband to be foisted on her until a certain wolf changes her mind.
5. He Eats Jelly, known as Jelly. Fourteen year old wolf in Taye’s den. As the youngest member of the pack he is saddled with the worst chores.
6. Sherry Rowe. Plane crash survivor who rejects the wolf who has chosen her for his mate.
7. Richard Dickinson. Well to do rancher who visits the Plane Women frequently in hopes of securing a wife.
8. Father John. Priest at Grand Island’s St Mary’s Basilica.
9. Des. Taye’s Beta wolf. He seems sleepy, placid and slow moving until someone annoys the woman his wolf loves.
10. Renee Mathis. A plane crash survivor who was a chef at a posh St Paul restaurant, she takes cooking with primative equipment as a challenge. The wolf who has chosen her as his mate is proud of her culinary skills.
11. Neal Overdahl. A respected young man engaged to be married to Taye’s favorite little cousin.
12. Faron Paulson. One of Kearney’s civic leaders, he has finally found a woman to marry.
13. Kills Bears. Emma Two Bird’s second husband. Tracker respects and loves his stepfather, who gives him some very good advice.
There! A few people you’ll meet in Wolf Tracker.
Welcome to Maddy Barone’s stop on the Jingle Bell Hop! If you’ve lost your place and want to hop back on the sleigh, Click Here!
I wasn’t sure what to do for my post. I’ve been really busy getting Wolf Tracker ready for publication, plus working on a free read that I want to put out in February, so my time has been really limited. So I decided that a romance author can’t go wrong by having a big bowl of eye candy sitting out for visitors to sample. Enjoy a few sweets while you’re here! Which of the hotties below makes you lick your lips to catch every drop of sweetness? Leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of my first book.
Look at the eyes on this guy! If his hair was curlier he would be Quill, hero of Wolf’s Prize.
This one is how I see Eddie, hero of my current work, Eddie’s Prize. He’s a pretty boy. Everyone calls him a “golden god” and isn’t he?
This is my take of Taye, hero of Sleeping With the Wolf.
If this guy had really long hair he would be Wolf’s Shadow, hero of Wolf’s Glory.
And this is Sky, hero of Wolf’s Princess. As a teenaged secondary character in Sleeping With the Wolf and Wolf’s Glory his hair is waist length. After he leaves the Wolf Clan to go live in the big city he might cut his hair. I haven’t decided. What do you think? Leave a comment letting me know your preference for Sky’s hair, or just on any of the eye candy I’ve posted and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy of Sleeping With the Wolf. I will post the winner (and contact them by email) sunday night before 9pm central time.