Tag Archives: The Luna Chronicle

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

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 29

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 29

    Dawn brought with it a plan. German would return to the farmhouse for his SUV, get Sofia’s personal things if Charlie would give them to him, then together they would head to Minnesota, pedal to the metal.

    So, it was a surprise to her when he growled low in his throat, “This is not a good idea,” as they followed their old trail back.

    To where Sofia didn’t want to go. “No, it’s not,” she agreed, presuming he meant back to the farm. She might be preoccupied with the wolf thing, but the hole in her heart where Sol-Dog once dwelled still throbbed like a hammered thumb. Her burning desire to drill a .22 bullet into the girl’s forehead hadn’t abated, either. Despite all that had happened since the attack, it had only been mere days, and Sofia didn’t trust herself to step foot on the farmhouse porch. It would have to be German. Besides, she didn’t have a vehicle. He did. “But if we’re traveling to Minnesota, then we need wheels.”

    He growled again, but kept walking, his warm fingers curling around hers as if he didn’t want to let her go. And not because she wasn’t tethered. Her own feelings were queerly possessive, but then she’d never had any kind of relationship with anyone besides Sol, so what did she know?

    Except this thing with German did feel right, so she was going to clutch onto it with both fists. She didn’t want to lose it. German was offering her a family, one where she could be herself, where her weirdness was the norm. If the wolf-people were all like him then she was heading toward a veritable heaven. God, she couldn’t believe it, as if all of her childhood yearnings were finally being realized.

    A serenity misted through her blood and blissed her out for a moment. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she knew it had everything to do with the man clasping her fingers. If she kept experiencing bits of sublime peace like this, she’d embrace this new, intense affection German seemed to have for her. She guessed the only reason they hadn’t had sex yet was because he couldn’t. His wolfy side kept getting in the way, like he couldn’t control it. Which for now, was okay. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t enjoying the view at the moment. The man was a walking feast for the eyes. Bare chested because he’d ruined his shirt to tie her up—that isn’t a happy thought!—it gave her a clear view of his faded jeans riding low on his hips, cutting off the silky line of dark hair trailing from his belly button down to his…egads, he went commando, too. Part of having to shuck clothes in a hurry, she figured.

    He stopped along the trail abruptly, and Sofia bumped into him, too distracted to pay attention to anything but the way German’s body moved. Sleek, effortless, like the wolf skulked under the human skin, barely concealed.

    He sniffed the air, his chin lifting with each quick inhalation. Obviously not pleased with whatever it was he caught on the air currents, he closed his fingers tighter around hers and led them off the trail into the thicker woods.

    “Wait here.” Silent as a woodland phantom, German bounded off. Sofia’s breath made a home in her lungs, lodging there like they never planned to move again. She didn’t notice, so wrapped up was she in watching him move through the trees. Her stomach executed a delicious twist, tingling a path straight through her core. She throbbed in needy places which had nothing to do with grief or revenge.

    Sofia willed her brain to focus on something that wasn’t German, and turned to lift her nose into the light breezes wafting east. She detected something foreign in the forest, but damned if she could identify it. For all she knew, she was just being a hopeful twit who thought she could really become a wolf.

    A hundred feet in and her eyes registered what her nose had been telling her: there was another hiker on the trail. Without even snapping a twig, German slid up behind her, his finger held to his lips as he crouched low beside her. She chalked his stealth up to predatory talent—something she ought to pay stricter attention to, except her heart was too busy twirling about like Maria on a mountain meadow. Did he even realize he was leaning into her space, as if inviting her touch? Hey, who was she to play the part of a cautious Trojan? She happily soaked up his heat—especially since she’d been having her hot flashes, the periods when they abated left her feeling cool, and not comfortably so.

    She felt like a reptile who needed to bask on hot rocks in the sun to get her body heat back to normal. Except the rise in her core temperature wasn’t normal. At least it never used to be, and just thinking of what it might mean shot a ripple of heat along her spine and across her back like she was being wrapped in a blanket.

    An electric blanket cranked on the highest setting. Was she sweating?

    Sofia cast a sideways glance at the man beside her, who was intently watching the other hiker. He had one fist stuck into the ground to keep his body steady and the arm, so close to her, rippled as the deltoid flexed to support his shifting weight.

    Her eyes slid down the rest of that strapping limb, along the ribboned forearm covered with a downy blanket of pewter hair dappled with black tips. The corded tendons strained taut as he pulled his fist away from the dark earth.

    Ooh, my, he makes me hot.

    Seriously. She was roasting; and while she’d been fawning over the man beside her, her own hand had been unbuttoning her shirt. She was peeling it off her shoulders before her brain registered what she was doing.

    What the hell am I doing?

    But Christ, she was burning up. Catch-on-fire hot, and the bonfire that had once been her spine blasted plumes of fire into her arms and legs. Her heart fluttered wildly while her breath, released from her lungs like kids exploding from a school building at the final bell, seared her windpipe.

    Fucking-A, but what the hell?

    Frantically, she pushed at her jeans, stripping them down her thighs. Relief. She desperately needed relief from this suffocating heat!

    A vice clamped itself just above her knee and her whole body went tight like she suffered a seizure. She peered down her legs and into German’s calm face.

    “Breathe,” he whispered, a shy grin lighting his features.

    “What?”

    “Breathe. Nice and deep.”

    Jesus, but his voice rolled like pearls in her blood, and every cell hastened to obey it.

    Sofia sucked in a long breath.

    “Nice, Red. Now, again.” German took his own deep breaths to demonstrate.

    Maybe. She might have been losing it there, but the man couldn’t hide how hard he was for her. The fire within her flared again.

    “Sofe?” The clamp at her thigh tightened, grounding her.

    “Yeah?”

    “Breathe again, okay? Slow and deep.”

    God, though, that voice. Stilled her, layered like cool, thick cream across her nerve endings. “Talk to me again.”

    “Anything for you.”

    Those green eyes staggered her, tripping her so she fell right into them, like she was taking a refreshing swim in a sun-kissed pond.

    “Yeah,” she sighed. “Like that.”

    He grinned again. Shy, but adoringly so, as if he was unaccustomed to his own strength of feeling.

    Sofia lifted her hand to the scraggly beard that never seemed to grow beyond the five o’clock shadow, and he kissed her palm. “Feeling okay? A little cooler, maybe?”

    “Um…yes. Yeah, I am. What the hell was that?”

    “Your change. It was pretty close, too. But you should know, just so you’re not scared, it could come a few more times before your body finally makes the jump.”

    “Ah…yeah. Okay.” At that point, anything he told her she’d only half register. Shit, that was fucking intense, and she’d thought for a few seconds there she was toast. Literally. Like those people who spontaneously combust and all that’s left of them is their hands and feet and a big charred spot where their bodies used to be.

    Scared? Yep. Until German had started talking to her. That voice of his? Well, Sofia squirmed around the succulent laps of it, indulging in the physical reminiscence. Because it was hers, yet in turn, it owned her. Her body sang in its presence, sprang to glorious attention whenever his tones caressed her ears.

    Trust German? With her life. And she was willing to put it to the test.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 30 coming Saturday, February 22, 2014.

#Wolf Love—A Serial by S.C. Dane

Okay, folks. Time to change tack and set a different course. Truly, I’ve yammered on long enough, it’s time to give you what you like best about me: my stories.

So, here’s a paranormal romance I was inspired to write shortly after finishing The Luna Chronicle series. I wrote all three of those books—Luna, Grane, and Kenrickey—in the first person point of view. I was ready to work with a different voice, one that would let the reader see more than just the one side of a first-person narrative.

So, this story was an experiment, and an unfinished one at that. Other third-person narratives competed for my attention and won. I’ve written and completed two other novels since starting Wolf Love. I don’t know where this one is going. Maybe as Wolf Love unfolds, you, my dear readers, will have some ideas. Maybe I’ll let a lucky reader finish it for me.

In the meantime, I’ll strive to post a new installment every Saturday during my lunch break.

Feel free to share a comment, or your opinion.

Happy reading!

Wolf Love

A Serial by S.C. Dane

Chapter One

   The deep-toned voice rumbling from below tickled across Sofia’s skin, elevating the fine hairs on her arms. Its rich velvet coiled a serpentine around her gut, squeezing it taut while the rest of her warmed. Clenching her jaw in defiance, she shimmied her shoulders to shake the feeling out of her body. Except that just made her skin flare; the heat crept up the base of her skull.

    Concentrating on her gloved grip and the bales of timothy in front of her, Sofia shut out that stirring voice, and certainly didn’t peer over the edge of the hay loft to see who it belonged to.

    It was a stranger, she knew, not someone already working on the farm. Because a voice like that would have sizzled in her veins long before now. Nope. That sultry silk of string was new, and it was talking with Charlie, the owner of the farm. The voice was seeking employment, so help her, at this farm. The very place she’d found sanctuary, her respite from the rest of the world. From her past.

    Sofia should’ve been pissed. Instead, her feet were slinking closer to the lip of the loft and her body was leaning downward, tipping toward the owner of that voice, as if she were a houseplant seeking the sun.

    Dammit. Her body was a traitor, and to punish it she retreated to her chore, yanking the fifty pound bales of hay and flinging them toward a darkened corner, where they skidded into haphazard piles she’d have to neaten. Which meant moving the bales yet again, so they’d be stacked tight and high, to make room for the rest of the hay laying cut in the fields. It was hard and itchy work in the hot loft, and not really a one person job. But Sofia preferred the solitude, and by now the other farmhands understood that and left her alone.

    The stranger was here to help bring the new hay in. At least, that’s what his words were saying, and she couldn’t get a good look at him from her position in the loft without giving herself away. If the owner of that sultry baritone matched the voice then he’d have enough muscle for the job.

    Crap

   Charlie was welcoming the stranger to the team and shuffling him off to check out the rest of the farm, to meet the other employees. Which meant the owner of that voice was going to be sticking around to do a lot more than gather in the hay. Mr. Baritone was going to drive her away; Sofia was as sure of that as she was of her body’s reaction to him. A voice with the power to resonate within her the way this one did meant trouble, pure and simple.

   Because it generated the same heat within her body the dreams of her past did, and those had dealt her nothing but a lifelong strand of misfortune.

   Sofia returned to the bales in front of her, letting the sweet aroma of drying grass fill her head and crowd out what the arrival of the stranger meant. She was a grown woman, after all, and it was time to quit running. Her dreams were just that—dreams.

   “What do you think, Sol? Stay put?”

   The dog she spoke to lifted his chin from his big paws, his brown-eyed gaze attentive as he cocked his broad, shaggy head.

   “Stay?”

   The wolfhound mutt dropped his muzzle back onto his paws and puffed a contented sigh.

   “Damned straight, Sol.” Sofia hurled another bale, showering itchy flecks of chaff onto her sweating skin. Determined, she toiled in the heat of the loft as she plotted ways to stymie the dreams forever looming in her conscience.

   And which were now creeping into her reality.


****

   German smelled the woman the minute he stepped into the barn, despite the overwhelming stench of domestic livestock hanging in the air around him. Wolf was here. Sublimely female, too, and he felt a tugging in his guts he’d only ever heard about.

   Ignoring it, he nursed his anticipation, and couldn’t help but bask in his good luck. He’d hit pay-dirt. Those who’d sent him on this fool’s errand had been right about the woman. And hadn’t even known it.

   German’s lips pulled back from his teeth in a lethally gleeful smile, but he promptly put his palm to his mouth to hide it before the fellow named Charlie turned to see it. Humans did not
like his smile. In fact, they instinctively backed away from it, and because the aroma of that sweet woman up in the loft promised him freedom, he couldn’t afford to offend the human who stood beside him.

   He needed to get closer to her, and showing off his pearly whites wasn’t going to earn the trust of the man who stood between his future and this woman he was scenting. He’d have to play this hot situation as cool as he could manage. Which meant not even hinting there was more to him than his bare skin and normalness. One blip on the weird detector and he’d get politely escorted off the farm and away from his quarry.

   Which was something this wolf-man couldn’t afford.

   So, he sheathed his strong teeth as he lowered his eyes and shoulders into a more submissive posture, to deflect any flash of instinctual awareness that might flare up in the human beside him.

   “Glad to have you on board,” Charlie said, sticking out a calloused mitt of a hand.

   Clasping it like the lifeline it was, German kept his lips pulled down over his teeth in his warmest semblance of a grateful grin. “I’m glad to be here,” he answered without lying. Because in spite of his subterfuge and private reasons for seeking employment at the farm, German didn’t lie, ever. A wolf never could.


~S.C. Dane

Stay tuned for installment number two of Wolf Love coming November 16, 2013.

#HOWLING SUCCESS PRESS, INTERVIEW N0. 417 (deceased)

#Howling Success Daily Press, Interview no. 417 (deceased)

Being that this is the end of the first full week of Grane: Book Two of The Luna Chronicle’s release, I thought I would offer something a little different to my readers. I hope you like it.
~S.C. Dane

Bootlegged Interview from “Howling Success Daily Press”

With guests S.C. Dane and Luna-Beth

H.S.D.P.: Welcome to the Howling Success Luna-Beth and paranormal romance author S.C. Dane. We’re pleased you could take time from your wildly busy lives to join us. Our readers are hungry for the opportunity, so I don’t dare disappoint and will go straight for the jugular, if you’ll pardon the expression.

HSPD: First, I must say for the benefit of our reading audience the resemblance between the two of you is striking. Are there other characteristics besides the physical you two share?

S.C. Dane: Our running and hiking in the woods, which was the catalyst for writing The Luna Chronicles. I came across Luna-Beth during one of my excursions on the Heath and I’ve been tailing her ever since.

Luna-Beth: She’s not kidding! If she wasn’t such a kindred spirit, I’d be a tad wigged out by her presence. But, I owe her a lot, so I put up with her voyeurism.

HSPD: That’s a funny, yet apt way to describe an author’s hand in her novels. Are you jealous?

L-B: No

SCD: Yes.

HSDP: You’ve given our readers two conflicting answers. Care to elaborate?

SCD: You go first, Luna-Beth. The place of honor as the heroine of the novel, and all that.

L-B: You’re very kind, as usual. See how I can’t be jealous? S.C. has been very generous. Without her, I would have never met my wolf-mate. I never would have had our wolf-babes, or met the wolf-people. Which means I would have never met Suma and Grane. Who, by the way, you should interview sometime. If they’ll let you.

SCD: The pleasure has been all mine, really. It was Luna-Beth’s courage that got us deep into those Maine woods. Without her brass, I wouldn’t have met the wolf-people either.

HSDP: You two are like the Mutual Admiration Society. Aside from your obvious respect for one another, is there something about the other you would change if you could?

SCD: Ha! At the risk of getting someone’s jaws clamped around my throat—I’d say I wouldn’t mind being Alec’s mate. Luna-Beth is a very lucky wolf-woman to have such an attentive lover.

HSDP: Your silence Luna-Beth is leaving your fans on tenterhooks. Care to explain it?

L-B: You want the PG-rated version or the R one?

HSDP: It’s probably best to keep your response family friendly. I mean, human family friendly.

L-B: Glad you made the distinction, because showing one’s affection isn’t something the wolf-people hide, or save for the privacy of one’s bedroom. There is no shame in my and Alec’s love-making. No matter how heated it gets.

SCD: I think you made our interviewer blush!

L-B: I can’t help it. You know very well I’m not good at lying.

SCD: I know, except for when it matters.

HSDP: S.C. Dane raises a good point, Luna-Beth, and it’s one I wanted to ask you about since earlier you mentioned Grane. I apologize ahead of time if my questions become too personal, but that wolf-man kidnapped you from Alec and your pups, and his pack leader almost raped you. I think our readers find it curious you were able to forgive Grane and accept him into your pack.

L-B: Yeah, well, he’s got a kind heart despite what he’s done. Sometimes our grief can consume us, and we lose sight of who we really are, indulge in the beast who’s tearing our insides out. I saw that in Grane when I healed his wound. He had much to grieve about, even though I instinctively liked him.

SCD: I have to say, apart from the birthing of your babes, Luna-Beth, bearing witness to your captivity was the hardest part for me. I mean, you almost died, and so did Alec, who came to rescue you. It was touch and go there for a while.

L-B: You’re telling me!

HSDP: Well, ladies, as soon as you two let each other go from your handholding, we’ll finish up here. Not that seeing firsthand how intimidating you are, Luna, hasn’t been a real eye-opener. One of these days, I’ll share with our readers of the “Howling Success” just how hard the hairs on my skin are prickling.

SCD: You kind of just did. Isn’t she beautiful? Alec thinks so, too. Forget that he’s wolf and very loyal, or that Luna-Beth is a coveted prize. She’s easy to love, even if she is fierce when she loves you back. All of the wolf-people, myself included, count themselves lucky to reside in her heart. I’m glad you got the chance to see a little of that Luna shining out from Beth.

HSDP: Me, too, S.C. even though I regret that extra cup of coffee I had earlier. But I couldn’t have said it better, and our readers will be grateful for your description of our heroine. Thank you ladies for dropping by. It has been my privilege.

SCD: The privilege has been ours. Right, Luna-Beth?

L-B: Any chance to kill a human ranks high in my book. This one doesn’t get away.

HSDP: Ladies? Er…what are you…holy, those are some sharp teeth. Surely, you—

So, I had a little fun with the abrupt and violent ending. For those who know Luna-Beth, I’m sure they weren’t surprised. None of the wolf-people like humans, for good reason. Unless of course, that human is Kenrickey. But that’s a story for the next book in The Luna Chronicle series.

~S.C. Dane