Category Archives: Weekly Posts

The Gypsy is Reborn

Remember in my previous post how I promised to get to the leaving part? I’m getting there. I’m just getting to that point in the telling in the same way I did in the leaving: I’m leading up to it.

You’re with me, right? Good. Now here’s the thing. By lowering my expectations in my marriage, I’d unwittingly laid the foundation for my divorce. I didn’t know it back then and had assumed the new path would lead to happily ever after. Bwahahahaha!

Sorry, sometimes the new me interrupts my memory’s train of thought by punching it in the head.

Anyway. Hubs and I are cruising through the years of our marriage. Twenty of them, remember? And things are great–as long as I don’t expect anything from him in the attention department and don’t mind being an afterthought.

See? It sounds pathetic now, but back then I wore my ram horns and was barging through this marriage arrangement as blindly as Billy’s goat. And I would win, damn it! Problem was, my marriage wasn’t a game to be won. Nor was it an accomplishment to check off my Bucket List.

It was my life, and ignoring and smothering and choking and smashing down my inner voice slowly and inexorably bled away my spirit. Until that dawning moment when I realized I was dying, that my marriage was killing me. My spirit. The essence of who I truly was, until I didn’t recognize me anymore. I’d become an adjunct of my husband.

Did I kick the door down to this epiphany?!

cropped-cropped-wolf-header-blog2.jpg

Luna shakes her fur.

Nope. I sagged to my knees and cried. Cried, cried, cried. Words like failure, idiot, and dumb wove across my heart, trailing bloody slices in their wake. I suffered under this epiphany and I did it silently. My shame allowed for nothing more. My self-loathing allowed for my self-destruction.

I didn’t care. I started driving fast and taking chances. I let things go. Why weed the flower gardens and rake away the gravel from the edge of the drive when the snow receded if hubs was just going to park his truck on the nascent grass? And then toss the shit from the back of his work truck right next to or onto the flower beds I’d labored and poured my heart into?

Hubs wasn’t metaphorically burying me, he was doing it in reality. Demonstrating his complete, utter, and entire lack of respect for me. For me. Not only his wife, but me. A real person. A good person. A person who had given him every God-damn ounce of myself!

Yeah, well, you see how the anger finally picked its ass up off the floor of shame and rose its triumphant head. Ram horns and all.

Though to be truthful with you, the previous paragraph is short and concise but the time it took for this outrage to manifest spanned the length of writing a real book. It was my first story–Luna–and I’d put so much of myself into the main character my closest friends recognized it instantly. Luna was fierce. But Luna was trapped–until she dared to free herself.

*And I’d thought I’d been fooling my small pack of woman-wolves with my “everything’s fine” face?*

Hubs had been fooled. So when I announced I was leaving to take a job, any job, as long as it took me away, he sat before me stunned. Capital STUNNED. And I couldn’t even say I was surprised by the sight of his slack jaw. Yet his bafflement underscored the fault line in our marriage as vividly as the red pen in the hands of an editor with a vendetta.

Sad. But there it is in a twenty year nutshell. Next, I’ll share the packing up of those twenty years and the Pandora’s Box of emotion that charged the way.

~S.C. Dane

 

 

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The Job and the Leaving

In that order. Though to be honest, the leaving had begun before I’d gone searching for the job. The decision had formed so incrementally I hadn’t even known I’d been forming one. Until one day, as ordinary and as profound as opening your eyes to a new day, I realized that walking away was my only option.

Having been married at this point for twenty years, that’s a long-ass dawning.blond-blur-close-up-800323

Except, you know that seven year itch? I’d gotten it. Way back then, merely seven years into our marriage, and I had audaciously scratched it by having an honest talk with the Hubs. Which went something like this: Hubs and I had gone to bed just like any other night–me first and him coming in sometime later. (Which was another red flag of doom, but I won’t unravel the thread here.) Anyway, the story: Our bed didn’t have a head board and was pushed up against the bedroom window–right at mattress level–exactly how we both liked it.

We were both in bed with the window open at our heads. Hubs was sleeping on his back and I was on my stomach, staring out into the night–because the window was right there at my face and I was staring out, breathing, and staring inward, too. That kind of thing. I was awake and hubs was just starting to doze and I gave words to the ache in my heart. God, I remember even all this time later the knot squeezing my throat, making my voice queer. The writer in me would say “reedy” but…
I said, “I don’t think I’m in love with you anymore.”

Hubs opened his eyes. It was dark, yeah, but you know how you know? It was like that. He woke up a little, my words registering along the cusp of his dreams. Then he sort of sighed, or his breathing changed, so I knew he was awake.
Staring out into the night and breathing that fresh air, I said, “I mean, I love you with all my heart, but I don’t think I’m in love with you.” My tone was utterly apologetic. I was apologizing for the hurtful thing I was saying because I did love him. For the things that was a list trailing the length of my arm. But. The one thing erasing that list, or regaling it to next-to-nothingness? I truly and utterly believed he didn’t love me.

Hubs had never been intentionally hurtful or hateful–and right there was the awfulness in what I was admitting. He was a good man. An honest man. A kind man, even.

But he was a neglectful man, and I needed attention. Which was stupid, right? And selfish. So, so ruinously selfish. I was laying there, staring off into the depths of the night, and I was telling hubs he was awful and not good enough and I didn’t love him anymore because he didn’t pay enough attention to me.

How self-absorbed it sounded! Which was why the apologetic tone oozed out of me as I was admitting my pain. My pain was self-ascribed, something that was my problem, not his. He’d done nothing wrong. Therefore, I had. There was something wrong with me! And as I stared inwardly into the night in front of me, my admission blasted away the barriers to truth…which was that I didn’t need to leave him and change my address. I needed to change the address in my head! I needed to change how I saw our relationship! If I did that, if I did away with my expectations then I would see how much he loved me. Who wouldn’t love that back?!?!

Well, you see the problem here, don’t you?

My epiphany disguised my cowardice as handily as a magician draping a kerchief over a table. I had caved. I had forgiven. I had shouldered the blame, making it all mine and somehow molding it into a newfound and shiny nugget of true love.

Yeah.

No wonder I escaped into writing novels about sex and monsters. In the next installment of Gypsy Writer Divorcee, I’ll get us closer to the leaving for the job part.

~S.C. Dane

Gypsy Writer Divorcee

As an author, I’m supposed to share my life with fans ’cause they want to know the person behind the creative genius 😉 Okay. Not a natural inclination for me to share, but here goes:

My first post as the GWD. Can I throw an A in there and make this GAWD!!! It only took me 28 years to get here, but hey, who gives a rat’s sash?
I’ve been divorced for eight years, so yeah, doing the math means I was married for twenty. Wow. I’m going to say that again: Wow.
How in the hell did that happen? I write about love as a secondary job, but holy wedding vows, love is some powerful shit. Not to mention blinding as f*&#.
I stayed with someone for twenty years and then left him. Gawd, writing that down hits home, you know? I stayed with someone for twenty years and then left him. How in the fanny pack did I even do that?
Well, I know how.
It reached a point where it was killing me to stay. Simple as that. Either I died emotionally and spiritually…you know, where you just give up? Where you just can’t even argue about shit anymore because what’s the point? Yeah. So that’s where I was when I decided to become a traveler.
It was either hit the road or hit the bottle, and I have juuuuust a smidge too much self respect for the latter (okay, brief aside. I hit the bottle in binges and chased it with a bit of Idon’tgiveableep. Aaaaanyway…). So, my first excursion was onto the internet, where I searched for a job in another state

The “real” face of S.C. Dane

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Found one. I’ll end the post here ’cause the job and the leaving deserve their own air time. Come on back if you can stand to listen to one more author blather on about her personal life and how she came to write books.
Tata Titties–which I cut off, but that’s another post–for now 🙂

~S.C. Dane

Friends: furry or…

‘CAUSE YOU GOTTA HAVE FRIENDS

#bestfriends #dogs #smiles

Two warm-blooded friends are sitting in the room you walk into. One of them has fur and wags his tail. The other one nods and says, “Hi.” Which one are you going to go over to, and touch with a smile?

~S.C. Dane

Accessing Your Inner Beast

Identifying with Shifters #fur #reading #shifterromance #escape

Last week I talked about camouflage, and how there is an inner beast prowling inside some of us that we won’t let out. For various reasons, and all of them personal. And visceral. But, I’m getting sidetracked already, thinking about guts. Because that’s leading to…See? Sidetracked.

What I want to talk about this week is how when that inner beast gets poked at its damned hard to keep her passive.
So, please forgive me as I stand here as Captain Obvious and announce: We read paranormal romance novels for the pleasure of it. What, you want to know, does reading books you love have to do with our own hidden animals?
Because when it comes to reading the subgenre of Shifter Romance, I think we read it for the escape. From un-reality, my friends. The world most would call normal…isn’t. For those of us who don’t fit into it, the “un-real” world is a confining and confusing space. With waaay too many rules many of us just can’t understand. Or tolerate.
So, we escape to places that do make sense. Sure, some call them fictional. Let them. By now, those of us who claw at the steel of our invisible cages are used to being patronized. Being accustomed to something doesn’t mean we like it, though. We’re baring our fangs, lifting our hackles. But being the awesome, adaptable creatures we are, we camouflage it.
But, man oh man! Wouldn’t it be AWESOME to really show your teeth?
Being the author of my…I’m gonna call them get-aways, I get to create scenes that let me vent. You know, like something happened with some humans, and I so, so wanted to clutch their throats in my jaws. Thrash ‘em around a bit, make them see sense.
Instead of acting on my instincts, I hide my true nature, and retreat to my keyboard. Here’s a scene from my book Kenrickey to show you what I mean:

I shuffled to Hersey’s office at his request when class was over.
“God, Ken, you look like hell.”
I stared at him.
“Er,” Hersey cleared his throat. “Well, then.” He rubbed his hands together like he was cold, or nervous. “The reason I wanted to see you–”
“Stay the fuck away from my house.”
He shut up, his guilt blooming on his cheeks.
The rush of blood to his face stirred me, awakened the predator within and I crept forward, my muscles shivering tensely, aching to hurt him. I stopped when our toes nearly touched, then followed my nose toward his neck, where his fear puffed in whiffs from his quickening pulse. I leaned back to lock his eyes with mine. “Come near my property again, I will personally cut your legs off and throw them in the river.”
“I didn’t-I wasn’t—”
I arched an eyebrow at his stuttering lies.
“Ken?”
I raised my hand to point at his chest and the pussy flinched. “Don’t ever beckon me to your office again, Mark. I’ll come when I think it’s necessary, and not before.”
I turned my back on the pathetic crumb, and left the building without waiting for his reply. ~Kenrickey: Book Three of the Luna Chronicle

See? Of course, there is a ton of pre-story to this scene. Ken is being sucked into the world of wolf shifters with some strange and fearsome side effects. But I think the scene shows the gist of what I’m talking about. Sometimes, you just want to show a liiiitle of that beast inside you. Let just enough shimmer to the surface so the one you’re confronting feels your intensity.
I think of scenes like this in all my books when my hackles are up and I want to shred someone a new a**hole. Don’t you? When you find yourself in these situations, do you remember a shifter character you’ve read about, and picture yourself in their stead? Or imagine yourself adopting their can’t-give-two-shits attitudes when it’s going to kill you to roll over one goddamned more time?
Me, too. It’s why I love to read shifter romance, and love to write it even more. When problems surface, I find myself thinking what would Kenrickey do? 
How about you? Is there a favorite character you fall back on to get you out of crappy situations?

Thanks for getting what I’m talking about. There’s nothing scholarly, or particularly rational about this post. I’m just sharing. And, hopefully, letting you know you’re not alone in there.
Enjoy your day. Shake your fur. It needs fluffing.

~S.C. Dane is a paranormal romance novelist with four books to her credit, and two in the works.

Confessions of a romance writer: An animal in human skin

Confessions of a paranormal romance author: Animal in a Human’s Skin #furry #freak #wolf #creativity #writing #excerpts

Camouflage is French for “mind your own business.” ~Anonymous (I don’t know who came up with this. I heard a friend say it, and thought it so clever he couldn’t possibly have thought it up himself. But if he did? My apologies. And hats off to you, K.B.)

Don’t you ever wonder where your imagination comes from? Why the fancies of one person’s mind can vary so greatly from another’s. Each one taking on a specific slant, a perspective leaning in a constant direction.
Like the too-close-for-comfort preternatural dramas of Stephen King, or the complicated sagas of JRR Tolkein. Both writers reveal a pattern, a legend to the maps of their minds’ inventiveness.
What does this tell me? It tells me that our imaginations are linked to our essential cores. That they are linked to who we are on the inside.
No matter what we look like on the outside.
What I mean is, yeah, we can look perfectly human, but there’s something else curled deep and safe inside of us: the inner self which can be truer to who we are than our own skins.
For some of us, that skin is camouflage. It doesn’t represent who we are on the inside. I mean, do you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and get taken aback? As if the image in the glass isn’t what you expected to see?
Or that maybe inside your hands, when you look down at them, there is something aching to push out?
Happens to me. Which is how my first book came about. I dared to cage my insecurities and stepped a tentative toe onto the damning evidence of the page. Where the written word transformed itself into the accusing finger, giving the “normal” public a chance to scoff and malign the creatures escaping my imagination.
Since it was my first story, I stuck to the cardinal rule of authors: write what you know.
Still shy and afraid, I wrote in privacy, guarding my computer screen while I transported the animals inside me to the brutal exposure of the open page
This is how Beth was born. A woman living in human society. A woman out of touch with that society. Yeah, she blended okay, but there was always something others were put off by.
Always something she was put off by, but couldn’t quite put her finger on.
That’s me. I live with humans, but too often find myself saying, “What the fuck?”
Because I don’t get people.
Neither does Beth. Since I couldn’t do anything about myself, I saved her.
I conjured a wolf-man to come and show her where her real world was.
Wishful thinking? You bet!

From Luna: Book One of The Luna Chronicle by S.C. Dane:

Sunrise found me in my usual spot in front of the picture window, sipping my coffee and gazing at my reflection as I fantasized about the stranger named Alec. I was running into him a lot, and he seemed to be searching me out as often as I was looking for him. No guy or teenage horny-toad had ever pursued me, not even out of curiosity. So, why didn’t I find the whole situation unusual?
Because this man’s interest stirred me like I’d only dreamed about. I wanted him. Scratch that. I craved him. Hell, I was getting goose-bumps just sitting in my chair thinking about him. It was all I could do to keep myself from throwing my virginity at him.
So, I had to be careful. I had no experience in this sort of thing, and I sure as shit didn’t want to scare him off with my weirdness. Forget that I thought the guy could be a wolf. That was just me fantasizing again. The reality was that I was the freak, so if Alec found me interesting, I was going to have to act as normal as I could muster. Which meant not stalking him like a hungry predator.

This is a scene from when Beth still thought she was human. Before she learned there were wolf-people and she was one of them. At this time in the story, she thinks she’s a freak because she just doesn’t think like the people around her. She prefers spending her time in the woods. It’s the only place where she feels closest to her “real” self, without understanding why.
Like many of us, she has to put on a mask to get through her day. She has to pretend to “get” the rules of human interaction. Only in the primordial cradle of the forests does she slough her mask, to run and play with wild abandon.
For Beth, these private sojourns into the woods are necessary to her spiritual survival.
As they are for mine. I need to touch the earth with my bare feet or I’ll go bat shit. Know what I mean? Or can you keep your beast happy without leaving the city walls? If you can, I’d love to know how.

I’ll share more of Luna, Beth, and a romance writer’s private inner workings later. If you want to read more about Beth, be one of the first to comment, and I’ll send you a free, signed copy of Luna: Book One of The Luna Chronicle. Or check out another female misfit in the serial I published here on my blog. Titled Wolf Love, it’s free for the reading.

Thank you for coming along for the ride.

~S.C. Dane

Animal in Human Skin: A paranormal romance writer’s confession.

I’m an animal in human skin. #socialmisfit #borderlander? #freethinker #furries #freebook And I am NOT crazy, or unstable, or a freak. I’m not unique either. There are a lot of people out there in the world who identify with animals. I just happened to tap into a way to live inside them, to look out from behind the eyes of the furry.
I love to write. It’s as crucial to my well-being as surrounding myself with animals who think like I do. It’s how I fell into writing paranormal romance writing.
I didn’t start out with that goal at all. I simply wrote a story made up of characters with touches of me.
Turned out, the only way for publishers to look at it was to cram it into a box and label it. Luna became the first book I ever wrote. Beth a.k.a. Luna was my first, and tentative, venture into the land of the furred-made-public.
I’ll delve deeper into that in my next blog post (look for it Tuesday, April 14, 2015).
For now, I need to apologize for the interruption in “Lover In Stone” serial. My publisher is taking a look at it, along with the sequel. In the meantime, I thought I’d use the break to connect with other “furries.”
Do you feel as if you shouldn’t have been born with bare skin? Are you missing your tail?
Tell me about it. Really. I wouldn’t mind a howl from another pack. If you’re shy, please visit my website http://www.paranormalromancebyscdane.com.  OR just click on the “website” link at the top right of this page. I think once you sniff around, you’ll realize this blog isn’t a trap, and you may venture forth. For the first couple of brave souls who leave comments, I’ll give a free, signed copy of Luna: Book One of the Luna Chronicles if they would like to have one (I swear this isn’t a trap and the books aren’t bait!!). That way, when I start sharing the inside poop on my characters, you’ll know who I’m talking about.

Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!
~S.C. Dane