First, I need to thank everyone who read my Celtic Wolves series! You have made my writing debut a wonderful experience, and your enthusiasm and curiosity about future books has been truly heartwarming! The characters are still calling to me, and I do plan to write more books in the series. I have committed to a new series and once I finish the first book, I do plan to return to the Celtic Wolves. My new series is contemporary romance with suspense elements, but with a strong emphasis on the romance. I’m truly sorry for the delay in the Celtic Wolves series. I don’t know when future books will be published at this point. I promise to post it on my website once I have decisive news to share!
With that said, I will leave you with evidence that these Celtic characters are still calling to my muse. I don’t paint often, but when I do it’s because an image calls to me so strongly that I’m forced to recreate it on canvas just to get it out of my head. Saran, Maelorwen’s daughter, inspired me more than any subject has since my days as an art student—and that’s going back quite a ways. For those of you who haven’t read Autumn Moon, Saran was the only new character I added, but she was a compelling one. When a character has this strong of a hold on my —I know her story needs to be written. Just to be clear, Saran may or may not be the lead protagonist in the next book. Like Cormack, she needs time to mature as a human. I’m not going to share who the next couple is yet until I spend some time with them and like the direction their story is going. I will tell you that I intend to dedicate the time needed to make this the best book yet!
Until then, I may be a bit lax on my social media pages as I hunker down to finish my current book.
Title: Maelorwen’s Daughter
“May you dream of first kisses until the sun chases away the moon.”
If you’ve read my books then you know I love to add food to the scenes. It’s such a nurturing element, plus it adds certain nostalgia. Autumn Moon is Elen and Cormack’s story. I’ve put this couple through quite a bit, and this is the story where they finally get together. Elen was the only person to offer him a welcoming home while he was trapped in wolf form, but he’s spent some time away to learn his new human form. Now he’s a man and has returned to protect the woman he loves. Elen and Cormack are learning each other for the first time with hearts that are already bound.
The first thing Elen’s bakes for Cormack upon his return is pumpkin muffins, and it was such a fun scene to write, and emotional in many ways if you know their backstory.
I’ve included an excerpt below, followed by Elen’s pumpkin muffin recipe!
Excerpt from Autumn Moon:
Cormack formed an intimidating figure as he marched beside her with graceful strides. His sword swung from his side, the belted scabbard hanging low off his hip, with his eyes sharp and searching for potential threats.
He’d left her as a gentle friend but returned to her as a warrior. And why did that make her stomach flutter as if a thousand butterflies danced to his song?
A question for a later time, Elen decided for her own peace of mind. And after inhaling a deep breath for composure, she tactfully changed the subject. “Are you hungry?” It was still late morning, so she offered, “I can whip us up some coffee and muffins.”
He sighed as if relief was a weighable substance and she’d just removed a boulder from his chest. “I would like that.”
“Apple muffins?” she asked. “Or pumpkin?” The trail opened to her grain fields, and she hurried on, anxious to cook for someone other than herself again. Ms. Hafwen didn’t count because she was too particular toward sweets and only ate crumbs she deemed worthy.
He thought about it for a moment. “The pumpkin ones with the white crunchy stuff on top.”
“Streusel,” he said, testing the word on his tongue. “Make extra.”
His smile was infectious. “I can do that.” As they made their way through rows of apple trees with low branches heavy with ripened fruit, she had a ridiculous urge to giggle. It seemed she had little control over her emotions around him; one moment she wanted to cry, and the next she acted as if she’d never been with a man.
Which, of course, she had. But not one who held her heart so firmly in his grasp.
“What’s so funny?” He kicked a fallen apple out of her path.
“Truly, it’s nothing.” Only the fact that hearing him talk back would take some getting used to, but she didn’t think he would appreciate her humor on the subject, not so soon after their last bout. “I’ve never had to answer your questions before.” She snuck a peek at his profile. “Or received answers to mine. I like it.”
A sheepish grin turned his lips. “I’m glad.”
She stubbed her toe on a jutting rock because of that grin. His mouth was made for pleasure. Thankfully, she caught herself before falling on her face in more ways than one and made it to her cottage without any further embarrassments.
Unlatching the wrought iron gate that led to her front portico, she announced, “We’re home.” The sentiment spilled naturally because she’d said it countless times over the years. However, she’d never once heard him repeat it back as he did just then.
“We’re home.” He inhaled a deep breath as if to savor its scent.
Elen’s Pumpkin Streusel Muffin Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
Dash of salt (1/4 teaspoon or less)
2 teaspoons cold water
3 tablespoons butter
Mix ingredients with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs and set aside. This streusel freezes well if you wanted to make a double batch and save for later muffins.
PUMPKIN MUFFIN BATTER
1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of all spice
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon of ginger
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
½ cup buttermilk (you can substitute regular milk)
¼ cup of molasses
1 cup of pureed pumpkin
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
*All ingredients should be room temperature before mixing!
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a regular dozen muffin tin with cupcake liners. You can spray or grease the pan, but liners make cleanup easier. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside. Beat butter in a mixer until creamy. Gradually add eggs and sugar. Add buttermilk, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and molasses while continuing to mix. Finally, gradually add your dry ingredients until blended.
Scoop batter evenly into the muffin tins. Add streusel on top of each muffin. The muffin’s tops will expand so don’t be afraid to pile the streusel. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. Makes twelve muffins. Enjoy!
ORDER AUTUMN MOON
Celtic Moon is now available! It seems so surreal to finally type those words. As many of you know, the path to publication is not easy. When I was first learning How to write a book, I loved what I was doing but it took me a while to ge tthe hang of it. For me, it took six novels and ten years, but I am grateful for the opportunity, and for the journey that has brought me to this wonderful place. I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I enjoyed writing it.
This week has been filled with several heart-warming moments, a few of which I must share. Yesterday, the Bangor Public Library hosted my very first book signing. All proceeds from this signing were donated to the library. My publishing house (ACE/Penguin) graciously donated books for this event. Honestly, I had not expected to go through them all, but am so thrilled to announce that the library sold every single one and raised almost eight hundred dollars.
I have fond memories of this library, having worked there for many years. I have since retired, but over the years patrons have given me grape vines, perennials, herbs and garlic, because they knew I loved to garden–and enough recipes to create a cookbook. If I mentioned my overrun zucchini plants I would have hand-written recipes using zucchini given to me throughout the day. I’m smiling now as I write this next tidbit, because I once blogged about the increased popularity of erotic literature, and I had some interesting titles secretly appearing in my box and on my desk from patron’s private collections. I sometimes wonder just how well versed they were as individuals – had they seen an escort hamburg service before? Still, I remember organizing a writing group for teens, their enthusiasm and creativity, and later, a published book from one of the members. A co-worker and I co-founded a book group that was featured in a cover story of the Library Journal and was awarded a grant to buy ereaders for all its members. Later, I was thrilled to watch that same co-worker accept the RWA’s librarian of the year award.
Having my first book signing in a place that has brought me such joy was the perfect way to launch my debut novel! I will admit it was somewhat strange to be sitting on the other side of that desk.
So, to everyone who came to the library to buy a copy of Celtic Moon—THANK YOU! I truly appreciate your support. I will leave you with a quote from the Library Journal because I think it’s fitting. The quote is from me, about this library, its patrons and readers, and our shared love of books.
One summer night DeLima was struck with how little things have changed as she and her colleagues were locking up after a long day at the library. “Our book group members had moved on to the front lawn and were still laughing and talking about their favorite reads–this diverse group, patrons of all ages and lifestyles, had found a common joy,” she says. “Whether we download to an ereader or read the traditional way in paper and print, we still want to share our love of books with others.”
~Library Journal, September 2011
(post transferred from original blog)
I am beyond excited to share with you the cover of Celtic Moon, my debut novel and the first book in my urban fantasy series. It will be available September 24, 2013!
Before I share what I love most about my cover, I must send out a giant THANK YOU to the entire art team at Berkley/Penguin for creating such a beautiful representation of my story. I couldn’t be more pleased!
Without question, the woman is stunning, but even better, she’s wearing normal clothing. How cool is that? This works for my heroine because she is a practical woman and a mother of a teenager. For survival reasons, she wouldn’t wear anything that might attract attention. Sophie has quiet strength, forced by circumstances to become the person she needed to be to protect her son. I think they did an amazing job illustrating the general feel of her personality.
Also, the setting of my story takes place in an isolated town in Maine, in an environment conducive to wolves. The background is so accurate it’s surreal, as if I could just dive into the cover and find myself in our Maine woods, only with a beautiful wolf waiting to greet me. (The wolf happens to be the father of Sophie’s son. He is also an immortal shape-shifting Celtic warrior and just as lovely in his human form.)
Overall, I think the cover is wonderful and it represents the atmosphere of my story well.
Now, I can’t wait to see what they come up with for book two! I have a river castle in that one, a tattooed hero, and a heroine who carries a sword. It could be interesting!
Description on back cover of Celtic Moon:
Like father, like son…
Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years. Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized. He’s going to end up being just like his father—a man who can change into a wolf.
Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him—an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war. Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe. One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.
When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared. For the first time in years, Dylan’s lost family is within his grasp. But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it…
Excerpt from Celtic Moon:
“I’m going for a run,” Dylan said, taking off toward the woods. His people had wronged Sophie. He was convinced of that now. And still she had come home to him, of her own free will—for their son.
His wolf clawed at his spine for release. Its fury, its need—its desire for the woman who’d had the courage to return for their child was no longer controllable.
The wolf wanted out.
Having her near and within reach was akin to pain.
Perhaps it was a good thing Sophie hadn’t invited him to stay, Dylan thought as he entered the forest, ripping off clothes as he walked. For if she had, he wasn’t sure if he could have controlled his hunger.
It had been too long.
(post transferred from original blog)