The book cover for Shapeling Trilogy Book Two is almost complete. Elaina Lee has done it again...another fabulous design. I love the way she creates a cover that tells a story. When I look at the pictures, I'm immersed in Fawn and Wade's story. I can't wait for the unveiling.
The paperback ended up being 177 pages. I had hoped for at least 200, but the stories write themselves and when they're done; they're done. I'm aiming to have the ebook posted on Amazon the first week of September and the paperback shortly thereafter. This release date is a month earlier than previously anticipated. My fingers are numbs from typing so much!
I've been pleased with the sales of Book One, Roth's story. I hope Book Two, Fawn's story, is as well received.
Here's an excerpt of Wade taking Fawn on a tour of Dream Catcher Ranch:
Wade opened the kitchen door and waited for Fawn to exit. Her glossy black hair in its pony tail bounced back and forth. He wanted to reach and circle his fingers around it to see if it felt as silky as it looked.
Sam bounded around the side of the house and ran straight to Fawn. She knelt and scratched him behind his ears. He barked his 'happy bark'. Wade shook his head at the dog's antics.
Fawn looked up and said, "Your land is beautiful, Wade. How many acres do you own?"
"Around two thousand, give or take. The house faces north, so we're looking south toward New Mexico; southwest is Arizona, and west is Utah. The Four Corners area is where the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet. We're about forty miles from there."
"It's where the Anasazi lived, correct?"
"Yes, their ancient dwellings are scattered throughout the area. I've even found some in a canyon on my own property." The minute Wade said the words; he'd wanted to take them back. If the information got leaked, he'd have archeologists and government people swarming his land. He cleared his throat and said, "Uh, Hidden Canyon is not public information and I'd like to keep it that way."
"No problem, I won't tell anyone."
"Thanks. Come on, I'll show you the stables and living quarters for the ranch hands." He walked the length of his two-story ranch house and into the blaze of a late afternoon sun setting the gradually rising western hills aglow with myriad shades of pinks and reds. His great-grandfather and grandfather had cleared the surrounding land with its outbuildings, corrals, and pastures with their own hands. He led Fawn to the stable, with Sam at her heels. He turned to Sam and ordered, "Go guard the house." Sam looked innocently at him and whined. Wade couldn't believe it. The dog never disobeyed him.
Fawn knelt before Sam again, and said, "You know you're supposed to follow Wade's orders. We'll spend time together later."
Wade's mouth dropped when Sam turned, with his tail between his legs, and slowly walked back to the house.
Leading Fawn inside the coolness of the stable, he walked to Misty Morning's stall.
Rubbing the mare's head, he said, "Hello, girl." When Fawn patted Misty's shoulder, he introduced his horse. "This is Misty Morning; I rescued her from ending up at the glue factory. She'd been mistreated and looked nothing like she does now. She's the best horse I've ever owned. I call her Misty Morning because I was driving past an old farm house at dawn and almost didn't see her because of the mist. I made some inquiries about the owner of the farm and got some bad vibes, so I went back and purchased her from the old tyrant."
"Hello, Misty Morning. I'm happy to meet you." The horse whinnied and turned her head toward Fawn.
"Looks like she's takin' a liking to you. She's usually skittish around newcomers."
"I have a way with animals."
Obviously, thought Wade as he watched Fawn lean her forehead against Misty's snout. He'd never seen his horse or his dog bond so quickly with a stranger.
Wade motioned past the stall. "We'll leave the stable through the back entrance. The kitchen building and living quarters are just past it."
Fawn gave Misty one last pat and followed him. He said, "The guys are out repairing fences, looking for strays, that kind of stuff."
Fawn chuckled, "Doing 'cowboy' stuff?"
Wade smiled. "Yeah, 'cowboy' stuff. They'll be returning in an hour for supper." He opened the door to the cafeteria style room. As if to underscore his words about supper, they heard a loud clang, and what sounded like French cursing coming from the kitchen.
Wade sighed. "Prepare yourself to meet Pierre. For the last ten years he's done nothing but complain about having to prepare 'American slop'. Every now and again, he sneaks in some fancy French dish which the guys razz him about. Pierre claims all cow hands have no 'palette discernment'. The fancy dish usually ends up being fed to the hogs." He laughed. "The hogs love Pierre."
Leading Fawn down the length of the room and past two rectangular dining tables pushed end-to-end with benches for seating, he held open a swinging door. "Hey, Pierre, watch your language, we've got company."
"Que? What? Company?"
Fawn entered the kitchen. Looking over her head, Wade saw Pierre quickly adjust his chef's hat that had fallen cockeyed across his forehead. The stubborn little man refused to cook without that damn hat, even though he was cooking for cowboys.
"Pierre Dubois, I'd like you to meet Fawn Woods. She'll be taking care of Zoe and the household."
Pierre started to roll his eyes, but caught himself. "Mademoiselle Woods, or is that Madame?" he asked with a slight bow.
"Monsieur Dubois, je suis Mademoiselle Woods."
"Oui. Je suis heureux de vous rencontrer."
Pierre's eyes rounded and his middle-aged but smooth baby features lit with a big grin. "Ah, finally, we are blessed with culture in this cowboys' den. I am happy to meet you, too."
"What's for dinner, Pierre?" Wade asked.
Pierre gave him a sour look and said, "Beans, beans, and beans, of course, but with the most heavenly cornbread in the State of Colorado. And, of course, the boring American apple pie for dessert."
"Good, I don't think the guys are ready for more Escargot," Wade laughed.
Six-Sentence Sunday--Follow the fun! You can navigate to other six-sentence authors from the SSS website. Better yet, join the fun with your own six sentences!
Set up: This snippet is from Book Two in the Shapeling Trilogy. Fawn is a shapeling female and she's just had a serious accident while in the form of a feral horse.Tentative release date is October 1, 2011.
Her back hoof hit a mud pocket and she went down, throwing Wade sideways off her back. Shooting pain raced up her hind leg and she squealed. Wade jumped to his feet, sluicing mud from his body. He bent over her, "My God, No! No! Please God, let her be okay."
Thank you reading my snippet. It's much appreciated! The entire scene can be read here.
Excerpt set up: Fawn is a shifter. Unknown to Wade, she is the mysterious feral white mare.
Fawn located Wade in a secluded section of the ranch; she shifted into the white mare. He whooped and pulled off his cowboy hat when he spotted her. Galloping toward her on Misty, he slid off his mount to straddle her bareback. Together they soared across his land. He called her by the name he'd given her, Sweetheart. Fawn had never shown herself to anyone but Wade. Sometimes she'd hear the cowboys razzing him about the ghost horse he always claimed to be riding.
A sudden gathering of clouds bumped each other and lightening zigzagged. The pasture darkened and rain poured in buckets. Wade, leaning low and grasping her mane, yelled for her to slow, but the feel of him on her back, and the pelting rain, excited her so much that she threw caution to the wind. He yelled again.
Her back hoof hit a mud pocket and she went down, throwing Wade sideways off her back. Shooting pain lanced her hind leg and she squealed. Wade jumped to his feet, sluicing mud from his body. He bent over her, "My God, No! No! Please God, let her be okay."
Fawn dug her hooves into the rain soaked earth and stood again. Wade rubbed her neck and tried to sooth her. He zeroed in on her limping leg, and rasped, "Please don't let it be broken." His expert hands felt the leg and he yelled above the downpour, "I don't think it's broken, Sweetheart." He reached for the walkie-talkie clipped to his belt and lightening split the sky asunder. Shaking the device, he punched the buttons again. "Shit!"
Fawn needed to find a place to shift and she started to move away.
"No! Sweetheart, don't try to walk on that leg. I've got to get a vet to you."
Fawn saw movement and looked toward it. Wade followed the direction of her head. Misty stood in the distance under the covering of a ledge. Wade whistled to her, but the storm blocked the sound. Lightening flashed again, followed by a deafening boom. Misty remained in her shelter.
Wade spat the words, "Damn! I've got my cell phone in the saddle bag. Maybe the service is working." His Stetson had flown off when he'd been thrown and he now reached to wipe rivulets of water from his eyes. He turned back to her, soothing her with words and touches. He said something that made her heart pound. "Sweetheart, we seem to have some sort of spiritual connection that I don't understand." He spoke in her ear. "Don't leave. I've got to get help." He patted her neck and leaned his forehead against it, then he turned and ran toward Misty.
With his back to her, Fawn knew what she had to do. She had to get back to the ranch before Mrs. Porter brought Zoe home. She prayed, shifted into a sparrow and flew skyward against the downpour. Wade turned back around.
"Holy shit! Sweetheart, where'd you go?"
I haven't posted anything for awhile because I've been so busy writing Book Two: Fawn, in the Shapeling Trilogy. My goal has been to publish Book Two within four months of the release of Book One: Roth. As you can see on the sidebar of my home page, I found a nifty little word meter that tracks my progress. I'm getting close to completing Fawn's story, and the twists and unexpected turns surprised even me. Of course, I couldn't leave Roth and Rainey only in Book One, so they make an appearance in Book Two. I'm aiming for a release date of October 1st. As for Book One, I must say, I've been extremely pleased with the sales. Since it's release on July 4, 2011, there have only been two days without sales.
After the release of Book Two, I told my husband I'm going to take some time off, maybe a month, from writing. Storytelling is very addicting and can consume all my free time. We'll see if I stick to my plan, because I've got a great idea for another book. In fact, I'd already written about thirty pages when I set it aside to finish Book Two of the Shapeling series. The new story swirling around in my mind is a contemporary romance without fantasy. I want it to be funny and emotional and heart shattering; but, of course, with a happy ending. I made a promise to myself that I would only write what I enjoy, whether it sells books or not, and I enjoy romance, adventure, mystery, fantasy, and happy endings.
Six-Sentence Sunday--Follow the fun! You can navigate to other six-sentence authors from the SSS website. Better yet, follow and join the fun with your own six sentences!
Set up: This snippet is from a WIP. In Book One of Shapeling Trilogy, I introduced Fawn Woods. In Book Two, she gets to tell her story. The Thirteen co-Princes have sent her on a mission to Cortez, Colorado to become caretaker to Zoe, a troubled seven year old girl, and housekeeper at Dream Catcher Ranch. Wade Spencer, the child's father and ranch owner, had expected the employment agency to send a matronly type, not a raven-haired beauty who looks like she should be on the cover of a romance novel. In this scene, he's just met her at the airport.
Wade led her to his decades old, rusty Ford pickup, and set her suitcases in the back. Sam, his ancient hound, sat stoically in the bed of the truck among a bale of hay, ropes of varying lengths, a tool chest, and several empty coke cans. When she reached to pet Sam, Wade warned, "Careful; he don't take well to strangers."
As if to make him a liar, Sam sidled over to the woman's hand and licked it like she was his best friend.
"Now, aren't you a sweetheart," she cooed, while Sam shivered and wagged his tail uncontrollably.
The dog actually cried when she turned to enter the cab.
Thank you reading my snippet. Here's a "Big Hug" of appreciation!
Set up: Fawn has just arrived at Dream Catcher Ranch to a strange reception.
The moment they stepped onto the wide porch of the two-storied ranch house, Eileen Porter, Wade's closest neighbor from three miles down the road, scurried through the door looking flustered. "She just started that yellin' when you drove up." Eileen looked beyond Wade to the new nanny, and her eyebrows almost hit her hairline.
Wade said, "Thank's Eileen. I appreciate you watching Zoe while I picked up Ms. Woods." He sighed, and thought, Looks like Zoe's gonna send Ms. Woods packin' sooner'n later.
"I'll call you this evening Wade and check on Zoe." Mrs. Porter gave another curious glance at Fawn before extending her hand and saying, "Pleased to meet ya."
Wade tipped his Stetson. "Excuse me, ladies. I'll leave you to get acquainted." He entered the house and heard Fawn say, "I'm Fawn Woods and I'm pleased to meet you, too, Mrs. Porter, but I should probably go with Wade to help with Zoe."
Halfway up the stairs Wade heard the screen door open and close.
Wade entered Zoe's bedroom to find her sitting in the middle of her pink princess bedspread shrieking like a banshee. She had her hands over her ears, shouting, "Make them stop talking to me. Make the voices stop."
He sat beside her and placed his arm around her thin shoulders. "Honey, it's okay. It's Daddy." She continued shrieking. "Make them stop! Make them stop!"
He glanced up to see Fawn standing in the doorway looking concerned. He shook his head, and said, "It may take some time for her to calm down."
Suddenly, Ms. Woods said sharply, "Zoe, I'm going to make the voices stop!"
Zoe paused in her shrieking.
Fawn said with quiet authority, "Voices, I command you to stop, NOW!"
Zoe studied Fawn and then said, "Okay, they stopped. Are you my new nanny? You're really pretty and so are your colors. I bet my daddy thinks you're pretty, too."
Wade's mouth went slack, but not because of the "pretty" comment. He'd never seen Zoe stop yelling so abruptly. He looked back at Fawn and narrowed his eyes.
Zoe jumped up, seemingly dismissing the two of them, and walked to her book shelves. Pulling out a book and sitting cross-legged on the floor, she started reading as if he and Fawn weren't in the room.