Author Interview – Kelly Pawlik

TourBanner_Yesterday's Gone

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a mother of three, a mediocre gardener, and an avid RPG player. I live on Vancouver Island, BC with my husband, our three inquisitive children, and two lazy cats.

In addition to writing the Olympic Vista Chronicles novellas, I am a tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) writer and have released multiple RPG supplements with my husband under our micro-publishing company, Dire Rugrat Publishing. I’ve also contributed to several best-selling works with Kobold Press.

How do you make time to write? 

It can be tricky at times for sure! I often set a timer, carving out twenty minutes here or there. If I’m on a roll with it, I might write longer.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, and no. I think there can be a bit of a hurdle, but I think sometimes you just have to push through it. Or write something else! Sometimes, when I’m not feeling as inspired with the novellas, I work on short stories. They can be a fun change of pace and a good way to work around writer’s block. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write YA sci-fi and YA horror. I’m not even sure how I stumbled into it, but I had this story and I started writing it. I love YA. I devoured YA books when I was younger, and at some point, I’m not sure when, I stopped reading YA. And then I hit a reading slump. I picked up some YA books again and it was like finding an old friend. I hope when people pick up my books, they get the same feeling. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I published the books myself. Some people look down on self-published books, but many indie book authors hire professional editors and proofreaders. I did for these books. An upside to self-publishing is retaining more control over the books. Also, Yesterday’s Gone is the first book in a series of novellas and I feel novellas are more difficult to have traditionally published. I have a vision for the series that wouldn’t fit as well with a traditional publisher. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

Absolutely an introvert! I’m not sure how much it affects what I write, but it certainly affects my ability to promote the book. Being self-published means I do the marketing and promotion myself, and that isn’t as easy when you’re an introvert. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“The goal is not to live life perfectly, but to live it completely.”

My philosophy teacher in college said that in one of our classes and it really stuck with me. Sometimes, when I’m paralyzed with a fear of failure, I remember that quote and I push forward. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just do it. Write. Read. Edit. Practice. 

Read books in your genre, read books outside your genre, read books on writing. 

And just write.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can find my website here: http://olympicvistapublishing.com/

But you can also join me on Facebook and Instagram

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

BookCover_YesterdaysGoneLaughter and playful screams echoed across the lake. The light sparkled on the water as Adelaide floated on her back and kicked her feet gently back and forth. She closed her eyes and turned her face up toward the sun. The air was still. Combined with the clear sky and warm sun, it was the perfect summer day, which was a rare feat for Olympic Vista.

She needed to be here today. Rico, her mother’s latest boyfriend, was over. Adelaide hated being around Rico. She sighed in contentment as she stretched her limbs like a starfish and basked atop the water. 

Her eyes snapped open as something wrapped around her ankle. Adelaide tried to kick her leg free, but whatever it was held fast. She opened her mouth to call out, but only took in a mouthful of water as she was pulled below the surface. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

kellyKelly Pawlik dabbled with story writing from a young age. She spent her childhood reading, dressing her beloved cat, Midnight, up in doll clothes and hunting garter snakes in the backyard. Her childhood dream was to be a writer and she is proud to have made her fiction debut with the Olympic Vista Chronicles novellas.

Kelly is a tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) writer and has released multiple RPG supplements with her husband under their micro-publishing company, Dire Rugrat Publishing. She has also contributed to several best-selling works with Kobold Press.

Kelly lives on Vancouver Island, BC with her husband, their three inquisitive children, and two lazy cats.

Yesterday’s Gone is available on Amazon.com

Songs from the Wood, book two in the Olympic Vista Chronicles series, will be available on Amazon in September 2021. 

You can follow Kelly on:

Facebook: kellypawlikauthor

Instagram: kellypawlikauthor

Twitter: @KellyPawlik84
Or visit her website at olympicvistapublishing.com

FREE SHORT STORY: Sign up to receive Kelly’s newsletter and get access to sneak peeks of upcoming novellas, behind the scenes information and other exclusive content. PLUS, you’ll get “Snow Day,” a short story set in the Olympic Vista Chronicles universe, right away!   Sign up now.

The book will be on sale for $0.99.

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Kelly Pawlik will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

AuThursday – Floor Kist

TourBanner_Can Machines Bring Peace gifPlease welcome Floor Kist to the Clog Blog! 

Hi Tina, thank you so much for this interview and for taking the time off of your own writing. I’m really impressed by the diversity of worlds in your novels.

Floor, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I live in a town called Voorburg in the Netherlands. It’s near The Hague. Wife, two kids, two cats and a dog named Monty. And I’ve always been involved in public service. At the moment, I’m an alderman in my town. That’s a member of the city executive council, along with the mayor and three other aldermen.

I think I surprised a lot of people when I wrote and published a science fiction novel.

How do you make time to write?

Planning! Just like for the most of us, I can spend time on a lot of different things. So, just making an appointment with yourself to write can really be help. And is really a wonderful gift to yourself.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I can relate to the moments that I don’t know if the story works or how it continues. I know I can get distracted by all the other things happening in my life. And I’m especially susceptible to wanting to start all the other books I want to write.

So, for me, real writer’s block is the one when I don’t know what to do next in the story. And when that happens, I take a good look at my characters and what motivates them. Because if one of my characters wants something badly enough, they will start moving to get there. Well motivated characters will always keep the story going.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

For some reason I prefer science fiction over fantasy. Both genres allow you to imagine wonderful worlds, but I guess I like the believable world that may actually happen, intrigues me most.

Jules Verne wrote a story about traveling to the moon, and one hundred years later we did. He wrote a story about an electric submarine, and twenty years later it was built. Isaac Asimov, at an auto show in the 60s, predicted the robocar, and now we are actually building them.

This is why I like science fiction.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

My novel is self-published. But that wasn’t my first choice. I had found three publishing houses where I believed my novel would fit. And I’d done my homework on what my audience would be like, so we could target them better. And it also seems that the best time to launch science fiction books is before the summer.

None of them replied. Not even a ‘thank you for your interest’ or ‘thank you, but no thank you’. Nothing, nada, niente.

I can even understand why: because there are about one hundred thousand books being published in the USA alone.

And the idea of spending a year and a half trying to reach a publisher and not hear anything back didn’t sound that appealing. So, I found my way to the Amazon self-publishing service.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I’m an introvert. And one of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn is to go ‘out there’ – even when everything inside me said ‘just stay home, it’s nice and warm here’.

I didn’t mean to overcome being an introvert, because I didn’t like being one. It’s just the way you are. But I did want to experience more than just staying home.

How does this affect your work?

Local politics is probably not where you go to meet introverts. As an introvert, I’m comfortable being me. So, a lot of criticism I get doesn’t affect my self-worth. And being an introvert also helps me talk to everyone in an open and honest way.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Even the longest journey starts with the first step.”

I love this phrase. It kept me motivated when I started writing. It kept me motivated when I was trying to make a serious career switch.

It says that no matter how far you want to go in your life, you need the courage or the ambition or the passion to take that first step in what will undoubtedly be a wonderful journey.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Finish your book! Once you start writing nothing else matters. Plan to write, even if it’s just half an hour a day.

Don’t worry about if anyone will like it, or if it’s any good, because that only counts once the book is finished. Don’t worry about how to publish your book; it can only be published once it’s done.

And please don’t fuss about typos. There is no universe in which there will not be typos in the final edition of your novel.

And when your work is done and you don’t think it’s any good or even if others don’t think it’s any good, there is the sheer reward of making something out of nothing, of creating something that wasn’t there before. And no one can ever take that away from you.

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Cover_Can Machines Bring PeaceCan Machines Bring Peace?

by Floor Kist

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GENRE: Science Fiction

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BLURB:

Can a machine bring peace? Or are humans built for war?

450 years after Earth was bombed back to the Stone Age, a young diplomat searches for lost human settlements. Kazimir Sakhalinsk narrowly escapes an exploration mission gone wrong and searches for ways to make future missions safer for his people. A festival introduces him to the Marvelous Thinking Machine.

A machine Kazimir believes can change everything

For his admiral it’s nothing more than a silly fairground gimmick. But Kazimir is convinced. Convinced enough to go against orders and build one of his own. Convinced enough to think he can bring peace. Convinced enough to think humanity is worth saving. What if he’s wrong?

He asks his hikikomori sister, a retired professor filling her empty days, the owner of the festival machine and the admiral’s daughter for help. Will that be enough?

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NOTE: The book is $0.99.

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Excerpt :

Kazimir hears the beep-beep response to his beacon. The plane is overhead! His breath shortens as he peers through the night. Standard protocol states the plane will land at a safe landing zone within a kilometer radius of ground zero. If Kazimir can find the right direction, he may actually have a chance. There! The shape of the plane against a clouded moon is a beautiful sight. He is afraid to smile, but can’t help himself.

He follows it, stumbling over the thick roots of the trees. Quickly, he looks up.

There she is again. No. ‘That’s… that’s… black flag.’ That means the others are dead.

Standing against the tree, he retches. Cold sweat forms on his forehead and his back. He shouldn’t have left the settlement. He could have saved them. No. He would be dead too. Kazimir gags and coughs. He spits out the sour taste, and wipes his chin. ‘Yuck.’

He looks up, trying to control his breath. The twin rudders and the nose turret machine gun nozzle give the Ki-2 light bomber away. Kazimir has only seen it in the hangar of the Ryūjō. He remembers the pilot telling him about the 500-kilogram maximum bomb load. All headed towards the settlement.

The ground trembles with the explosion. Kazimir sees the red and yellow clouds grow against the dark sky. Seconds later, he hears the wheezing sound of the dropping bombs, followed by the roar of a thousand dragons. Sound travels at three hundred meters per second, so he must be about 300 meters away.

The hot blast wave that follows knocks him down. He hits his head on the root of the tree. ‘Stupid tree.’ He feels a sharp pain. Warm blood dribbles into his hair. Its metallic scent reaches his nose.

Sounds of the explosion die down.

Author Image Floor_KistAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Floor Kist lives in a Dutch town called Voorburg with his wife, two sons, two cats and their dog Monty. He is currently deputy-mayor for the Green Party and an AI researcher. He’s concerned about current divisive public and political debates. But he’s also interested in how AI can be used to resolve society’s big issues.

This is his first novel. He’s been carrying the idea about a story about AI bringing peace for a long time. The Covid-19 lockdown in the Netherlands suddenly gave him time to actually write it.

Link to website:

www.floorkist.nl/author

Link to ebook:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XK42BMP

Link to paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/151368115X

Blog:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21225715.Floor_Kist/blog

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Floor Kist will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

RAFFLECOPTER:

Enter to win a $30 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

AuThursday – Alexander Vayle

Author Photo II (2)Please welcome Alexander Vayle to the Clog Blog.  Alexander and I are both members of The Moorhead Friends Writing Group.  So Alexander, tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a father of four, a former paramedic, and a registered nurse. I grew up in the country and I believe the quiet and calm out there helped nurture my imagination. I wrote my first story in elementary and writing has been a hobby of mine off and on ever since. A few years ago I found an excellent writing group and really buckled down to produce some work. Since then I have published my first book, a collection of Supernatural suspense titled “Among the Stray”, and I have a novel in the works. 

How do you make time to write? 

Early morning has always been my best for clarity and creativity. I try to get up around 5am so I can get in an hour or two of writing before the rest of the house starts waking up. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I haven’t found it yet. If get stuck on something I simply change gears, free-write, whatever it takes. I don’t believe in beating my head against a story until it starts to work. I’ll think about my book or other stories at night, as I’m falling asleep, so I usually have pile of ideas ready to go by the time I sit down in front of a keyboard. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Supernatural suspense, drama, Syfy, Murder mystery. It’s hard to pin down a genre I enjoy the most. As long as the characters are real and story draws out emotion from the reader, I’m happy. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

My first book was published traditionally through All Things That Matter Press. If I can, I will always go traditional. The amount of advertising and the work they have done getting my book out is something I simply wouldn’t have time for on my own. Working with professionals also gave me a better grasp of how the industry works. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work? 

Introvert. I’m comfortable by myself and I always have been. I think it comes from growing up in the country where we didn’t have a lot of neighbors. My sister and I made up a lot of stories to entertain ourselves and it became a big part of who I am. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Hard to pick a favorite, but one that I’ve always liked is:

“If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”

Getting up early is not always easy. Trying to find time to edit other people’s writing and my own and come up with new material isn’t easy either. But it certainly is satisfying when I lean back and look at what I’ve accomplished. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

FIND. A. WRITING. GROUP. Seriously, it made all the difference for me. Working on your own is fine, but getting feedback from other people takes writing to a whole new level. I think some people feel like their work is not good enough to be reviewed by their peers, and that hesitancy is what stops their work from becoming as good as it can be. I’ve had my writing reviewed by a lot of other writers and most of them have been very gracious with constructive criticism and compliments. Writers, in my experience, love to help other writers. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

@Alexandervayle on Twitter

email me at Alexandervayle@gmail.com, check out “Among the Stray” on Amazon, booksamillion, and basically any site where books are sold.

For those who prefer brick and mortar you can find “Among the Stray” at any of the Ferguson Book Store locations, Zambroz in Fargo, or at the Fargo Public Library. 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

You bet! Here’s a few lines out of Back From Where You Came, the final story in “Among the Stray” 

Among the stray“Getting in the house was the easy part. The streetlight on their block was out. The back door, the one going out to the detached garage, wasn’t locked. It seemed like … like everything was set up just for me that night. I walked right in. Little mud room off the kitchen. Kicked off my shoes so I be quiet. I even set them on the rug so I wouldn’t get the floor dirty. Imagine that, huh? There to shoot somebody and I didn’t want to get the floor dirty. Habits, I guess.” 

AuThursday – Casie Aufenthie

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Mandan, ND, and fell in love with telling tales after writing my first story for an elementary school project. In university, I studied English and Spanish literature, which enhanced my love for the craft. I published my first novel, The Drift, in March of 2021, and currently reside in Mandan with my husband and young daughter.
How do you make time to write?
Writing comes in stolen moments, usually in the quiet of night when my family is sleeping.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Science fiction and fantasy (SFF) are my go-to genres with healthy doses of romance included. My father inspired my love for SFF, passing on his passion for the vast possibilities and ingenuity they allow. I incorporate romance because, growing up, these genres didn’t often show the female characters as equal partners, and I craved that kind of relationship.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
Indie.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introverted for the most part. I think as a wallflower, I have observed interactions more than participated, which allows me to create richer characters.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Do you.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t doubt your path. The journey looks different for everyone, but as long as you keep moving forward, you will get to where you want to be.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Facebook – Casie Aufenthie
Twitter – @CasieAufenthie
Instagram – @authorcasieaufenthie
The Drift is available on Amazon.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
FB_IMG_1618400893514“Thank you.” A small smile graced her face for the first time. It made her eyes look like warm sunshine peeking through the leaves of a tree.
Tristan’s stomach flipped, heart skittering in his chest. He’d never seen anything so beautiful before. The truth of the girl was peeking out from her eyes, and seeing it, something deep in his core pulsed in recognition and longing. He could’ve happily passed eternity staring into those eyes, trying to decipher their mysteries.

New Release – Necessary Evil by Ann Bakshis

  

Title: Necessary Evil
Author: Ann Bakshis
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy
Cover Designer: Lori Pryzbranowski of Hell Yes Designs
Publication Date: May 15th, 2021
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

The God of Life and Creation seeks to end a malicious vendetta, and will allow no one to stand in the way of his murderous agenda. Yet when his grandson, Nash, learns the truth behind his grandfather’s desires, he finds himself wrestling with whose side to be on in what is sure to be a bloody battle.

 

Torn between duty, and his deep love for Katarina, Nash begins questioning all he thought he knew.

 

The gate is open, allowing unspeakable evil to seep through. Can Nash stop the rising darkness? Or will Katarina pay for his failure with her life?





I’ve always loved to write ever since I was young. I would picture myself as the main character so I could go on adventures. They began as daydreams, which I eventually put down onto paper. Throughout the years I would write whenever I got the chance no matter how small the manuscript turned out to be. I’d tried the traditional method of sending out query letters to agents, but they would respond with a “thanks, but no thanks” note. I felt discouraged, but kept writing. I had a lot of encouragement from my mom, my Aunt Jeanne, my daughter, and my husband. Having the support helped keep me chasing my dream. A few years ago, I decided to buckle down and get serious about my writing. After some research and speaking with a friend of my husband, I took the plunge into self-publishing. I found an editor and a cover designer along with other indie authors on Facebook. I’ve joined groups and asked advice from writers who have already been through the steps it takes to get out there. It took me four years and three versions before I published my first book titled Wasteland. From there, I’ve completed several series and stand-alones with quite a few more in progress, so watch for their release.

Author Links:

Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Facebook | Bookbub | Newsletter







AuThursday – Renee Wildes

swords (2)

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in a big old farmhouse central WI with my husband and a handful of critters. I have 2 grown kids and a 1-1/2 year old grandson. I have a horse, a dog, and 3 cats. I am a Navy brat and a cop’s lid, and the only vet tech/dog groomer in a family of nurses. Right now I have a full-time day job working from home as a customer service for dental insurance. I’m also an author and acquiring editor for Champagne Book Group.

How do you make time to write?

I write before and after work and on my days off/weekends. Depends on if there’s a pitch fest or submissions in my inbox to read and evaluate.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I’m a plotter so have everything lined up before I start writing. If a scene isn’t gelling for me, I just work on another. They wheels are always turning so it’s usually not too hard to write once I get started. The hardest thing for me used to be transitioning between scenes. Lately I have more issues with how I want to end a chapter. I’ve become very conscious of “hooks.” 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write FFP spec fic (fantasy, sci fi, and paranormal romance) I love being able to mix the fantastical into the “real” world. I love developing new twists on familiar races and themes so my Cinderella story features a half-dragon fire mage and elven prince charming, and my Sleeping Beauty is an assassin nun who’s sleeping is symbolic rather than literal. I did mt first sci fi after seven fantasy books b/c I needed a change of pace before starting a new fantasy series. And now I set myself up for a whole sci fi series also—have the second book plotted out. So there’s always something fresh and new brewing in my imagination!

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or both) 

All my books are traditionally published—I like being part of a team. I was with Samhain Publishing for a decade, did a brief stint with both Wild Rose Press and Tirgearr Publishing, and am now with Champagne Book Group as both author, new-author mentor, and now acquiring editor.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I’m an introverted extrovert, if that makes sense. I like being out with friends and can navigate through a writer’s conference. I can walk up to a table at an RWA luncheon and ask to sit with strangers. But at the end of the day I’m all for retreating to my room and curl up with a glass of wine, an old movie, and a good book. I like spending time outdoors with just my dog or my horse, though—I need “me” time to clear my head and recharge my batteries.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

My personal catch-phrase posted on website is

“Believing Is Seeing.”

Only with an open mind and open heart can you truly see the world around you.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

“Don’t Wish For It – Work For It.”

Write every day. Enter contests. Take classes. Stay open-minded to feedback. Keep submitting. If you get a rejection, shake it off and try someone/somewhere else. You need a thick skin and persistence.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Publisher http://champagnebooks.com/store/185_renee-wildes

Website https://reneewildesromance.com

Blog https://reneewildes1.wordpress.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/ReneeWildes

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ReneeWildes1

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wildesrenee/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/reneewildes/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2465877.Renee_Wildes

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Seditious Hearts is an enemies-to-lovers sci fi romance with hero & heroine on opposite sides of a war.

Tagline: Sleeping with the enemy…in a time of war

Premise: Daynavian Resistance Operative Lonan Tremayne is tasked with hijacking the IMF Intervention medical frigate and convincing its Chief Medical Officer, Seppala Amundsen, to switch sides and come along with her ship.

Seditious Hearts_frontcoverExcerpt:

It should’ve been a quick transporter jaunt from the shuttle station to the sumptuous main lobby of Harmonies, the exclusive, out-of-the-way Bregorian resort. Routine. People jaunted all the time. It should’ve taken only a moment to get her bearings after the disorientation of rematerialization. Instead, an agonizing tingling and heart-stopping anxiety gripped her. A strangely lucid seizure that lasted forever. Seppala Amundsen, Imperium Sub-Commander, flailed on the platform—gasping, twitching. Her eyes burned with unshed tears.

“Stay still.” A smooth-caramel, baritone voice tore her attention from her odd predicament.

“Wha’ happen’?” Why couldn’t she talk right? She slurred her words like a drunk.

Insectoid Bregorian voices screeched in the background. 

“Look at me.” A chiseled, tanned face topped with a military haircut swam into focus. His concern washed over her, dulling the other presences as dark-chocolate eyes held her gaze, a lifeline.

She jerked back to awareness, and gulped. Stars, she was naked. In public.

“What’s your name?” His question was more demand than inquiry.

Seppala bristled. Wait, she knew this one, honest. “Shalla.” She cleared her throat. “Sepla.” Argh, it came out all wrong. “Sep-pa-la.” Better. She worked her jaw and swallowed. “Seppala—” Got it! “—Am’shenenen.” Whoops.

Some secret knowledge flashed in those remarkable eyes. “Know where you are?”

“Har’nannies?” Hopefully. “Where m’clothes?”

Where were his clothes? She gulped at his bare torso. A jagged scar marred bronze skin over hard muscle. Black-hide trous appeared all but painted on. His thighs stretched the material taut, a slight sheen reflecting the light.

He grinned at her once-over—a flash of white teeth distracting her from deep eye crinkles and a slight dimple that winked in his left cheek—so quick she might have imagined it. “Clothes are actually optional here. The jaunt receivers worried more about retrieving your bio-read molecules. As should you—nude or not.”

Naked. At Harmonies. Before strange men.

This better be a nightmare.

“No, I definitely want clothes.” She yanked her yammering mind into focus. “Who’re you?”

“Lonan Tremayne, your friendly neighborhood translator. Administrator Kellah figured a human face might be more reassuring than a bug-eyed Bregorian one.” He skimmed calloused fingers over her—yep!—still-bare body with clinical thoroughness. “Can you feel this?”

Only too well. “Numb, tingling, like m’legs fell ’sleep.” She could move, though. Her muscles quivered. Her limbs flailed about like a glitchy animated rag doll. She could talk. Sort of.

He placed a steadying hand on her too-bare shoulder. “Easy there. Follow my finger.”

Seppala fought to track the movement…up, down, left, right.

“Delayed but functional. Everything’s reattached correctly and more or less working.” He brushed the hair from her face, tucking a wayward strand behind her ear. “Your molecules spent some extra time in the buffers is all.”

She flinched at his touch, his words. Is all? Jaunting was usually safe enough. Usually. But the rare accident happened.

Maybe the ’verse was trying to tell her something. Coming to Harmonies was, without a doubt, the dumbest thing her best friend had ever bullied her into.

I tried to tell her I should never be allowed off the ship, scheduled shore leave or no shore leave. But does she ever listen? No. Neiara Delaney, I will get you back for this.

Rematerialization-delay complications…What did the Imperium Science Academy database say? Seppala struggled to recall. Akin to getting hit with a disruptor stun blast or any other power surge. Numbness, tingling, incoordination, slurred speech, neuron misfiring.

Damned database never mentioned naked.

Her brain was functioning, albeit sluggishly, but her body still fritzed. She blamed her befuddled state on her sexy, charismatic rescuer. Only she could meet someone like him…like this. Typical.

A sharp scritching noise set her teeth on edge. Lonan glanced up at someone behind her.

“Administrator Kellah insists you get checked out in their medical bay,” he translated for the looming Bregorian nymph casting a mantis-esque shadow over her. “Kellah’s assistant Braykekk here will accompany us.”

Wow. He, a human, understood Bregorian?

She squinted at him. No Utarian translator earwig? How’s that even possible?

Not that those were infallible, especially with such an alien vocalization as Bregorian. And right now, her own was apparently damaged by the delayed rematerialization. Lovely. How was she supposed to do her job if she couldn’t communicate? She’d have to requisition a new implant…and explain to Captain Osande why.

Wouldn’t that be a fun conversation?

More urgent screeching. Seppala winced and tamped down the urge to cover her ears.

“Easy.” He patted her shoulder. “Just a temporary detour. They’ll have you in your room in no time.”

But the infirmary meant an uncensored medical scan.

No way. “Gotta…check in.” She struggled to rise. Her legs churned but refused to support her.

She wasn’t petite by any stretch, but he scooped her up and stood as if she weighed nothing at all. “Later, after we make sure this is temporary.”

“Nothing like getting swept off my feet.” Seppala cursed her current helplessness. Her head swam. Conceding for the moment, she closed her eyes and snuggled in, wrapping her arms around his neck. So warm…

This close, he stole her breath. She cracked her lids open to peer at him. Strong jaw and cleft chin, shadowed with a hint of beard, which begged for a nibble. She never nibbled. Firm, sensual lips she could almost taste. Lonan Tremayne even smelled edible—a faint musk beneath a hint of woods and spice. A rustic scent she wanted to wrap herself up in.

Every taut moment made her skin spark with an unprecedented sizzling awareness until she needed to remind herself to breathe.

Except each breath pulled his essence into her very bones.

What was wrong with her? She never ogled strange men. Never.

But there was so much to ogle here.

AuThursday – William Schlichter

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Being a published author has always been a life goal. It’s taken me a while to get there, and it was not a straight road—sometimes there was no map. Along the way, I became an English teacher, received a Master’s degree in Theater, and am currently working on a second Master’s in Creative Writing. I am a hardcore sci-fi and horror fan. I will gladly talk about writing, books, and zombies any day. 

How do you make time to write?

Writing comes first. I make time to do the rest of life. When I’m not writing, I keep an audio-book on my phone, because authors should be reading as well as writing. When I ride the bike at the gym, I read an actual book. I always have pages to edit if I get stuck and have time to color purple on my pages. I spend my evening reaching my daily goal of 1,000 words. Sometimes when I’m heavy into editing, I don’t write part of a new story. Teaching writing allows me to talk about my writing. I will toss out questions sometimes just to see how my students answer. Trust me, some of those answers will end up in print. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. Even if I’m having a slow day on one story, I’ll switch to another. I have a couple of side stories. I have too many ideas not to be writing. The so-called writer’s block is a lack of confidence in oneself. I accepted a long time ago that whatever a person is writing will suck. It’s terrible and no one will ever want to read it. Including the author. But once those words are on a page, it can be transformed into a masterpiece. The key is getting the words down and it can be turned into art. No matter what, someone will read and love it and someone will hate it.  

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Horror and Sci-Fi. I saw Star Wars when I was three and a half and knew I wanted to create worlds. Sci-Fi and horror have no limits. And I can explore a side of people that terrifies and fascinates us at the same moment—serial killers. I enjoy the macabre, and I don’t always chase the monster under-the-bed stories. I find real terror lies in people. I think that is my fascination with serial killers. They are real and that is where terror lies.

 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or both)

I am publishing my current novel through a small press publisher under a hybrid model. I pay some of the publishing costs and they cover some. It allows for more control on my part but gives me support and access to publishing you may not have with total self-publishing. I would still like to see a traditionally published book—which might be happening soon. And by soon in the publishing world means three years. I fully support Indie authors. I still fall in that category, but before someone goes on full-fledged self-publishing, send it off. Collect those rejection letters. It makes you a better writer. We learn more from failure than success.  

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I never met a stranger. It helps with book sales. I’ll give you an example; if I want to know how a nurse deals with cancer patients, I’ll ask a nurse. Then I write my scene. I think it makes the moment more real. It is not the medical terms or the science. It’s what would they actually say that makes it feel real to the reader. And it feels real because it’s what a real nurse would say.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I can fix anything but a blank page (I’ve seen it credited to several authors).

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Through teaching writing, the biggest trap (and what makes them hate me) is the inability to let go of what they have written. The beginning author writes a chapter. They spend weeks, months—even years—perfecting this chapter. It’s the most beautiful piece of writing they will ever create. And it doesn’t serve the story and must be cut. They take it as a personal attack, or they feel they wasted their time. They have not. Every time they write and rewrite, they are getting better at it. But sometimes no matter how good a paragraph seems, it doesn’t fit into the story and must go. And they can’t let it go. When you cut your work to the bones and still tell a good story, it is ready. I recently read a freshman effort by a published author, and he spent pages beautifully describing this Victorian home and it had nothing to do with the story. It destroys the flow of the book and many readers won’t keep reading. The worst offense was that we never returned in the book to this home.  

It hurts but cuts the unnecessary bits.

One other area is the outline. I write the last chapter first. I like to know where my characters will end up. I then do a basic plot outline. And this is where some writers and Comp teachers get upset. I am not married to my outline. It is not a stone-cold road-map; it is a suggestion. If my characters need to go in a different direction, then I follow. If they toss the map, then so be it. Sometimes we get back to the final chapter, sometimes I have to rewrite to match the direction the character traveled. But I don’t get upset because I didn’t stay true to my pre-planning. If anything, it was a direction that wasn’t meant for those characters.    

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.instagram.com/wschlichter/

https://sandmenandzombies.com/

https://www.bhcpress.com/Author_William_Schlichter.html

https://www.facebook.com/wmschlichter

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Sirgrus Blackmane Demihuman Gumshoe and The Dark-Elf

1

DEAD PARTNER

The Great War is over, Prohibition is in full swing, and fairies have the right to vote. Sprinkle-dust fae, not those bloody orcs. Don’t give me any “bleeding heart,” “love your enemy” buggery. Ending a war with signatures on a paper doesn’t change what I witnessed. No way. The only good orc is a dead one. Dwarves are born hating orcs. And I’ll die hating orcs. 

Cops would be a close second. I’ve no ancestral urge to butcher them, but I don’t have a desire to cooperate without a warrant either. I’m jammed between two uniformed officers in the back of a coupe. I’m not under arrest, so I don’t appreciate the perp treatment. Sandwiched between them, one thing is clear: I’m not trusted. 

I’ve nothing better to do. My caseload is open. Private dicks aren’t normally called to the busting of a rum-runner ring—especially dwarf detectives outside the Quarters. I’ve got little to do with Prohibition, other than that it’s a law I fail to practice. Mead is a staple of the mountain dwarf diet. 

I slip a golden clam-shell case from the inner pocket of my trench coat and remove a cigarette. I prefer pipes, but in a pinch, a cig will do. If I don’t catch a case after this, I’ll have to roll my own. 

The driver hits every pothole in the road before pulling into a field. They let me out. I crush my cig, using the moment of freedom to grind the cherry into the green grass. I’m not manhandled, but the brusque movement of my escorts suggests I’m expected to follow the officers.

The sight of wooden box after wooden box being dragged from the barn makes me want to cry. Uniformed men outside smash case after case labeled “Perfect Maple Syrup,” and their acts are the true crime. Hard rum vapors hover in the air, wafting from the growing pile of shattered glass and growing pond of brown liquid soaking into the ground.

My escorts bring me to the man in charge.

His suit gives away that he is no patrolman. I can’t get over the paisley print stitched into his blue silk tie. His tie reveals his talents if a person knows what the symbols mean. He’s human, and human mages are a dying breed. Mages have always been feared. Hell, they used to be burned for heresy. 

I light another cig. 

“We found a body.”

Now, a body does pique my interest. Bodies are to be expected when rum-runners are raided, but not always. Most middlemen bootleggers surrender, and the lawyers have them out on bail within twenty-four hours. But other than drinking the product, I’ve nothing to do with such nefariousness. Anyway, I don’t deal with stiffs. They tend to skip out on the check.

 “Agent Edgeangel, since when does the Justice Bureau’s Mage Division enforce the National Prohibition Act?” I speak with disdain, mostly because of the smell. Magic stinks worse than the wafts of spilt rye. 

 “Sirgrus…Blackmane.” He bites off my clan name as if it’s tough, overcooked meat. “Magic crimes are on a downward trend since the end of the war. Drinking-related crimes are rising.”

When you pass a pointless law to help those returning from war to curb their drinking, you create more criminals. The Great War wielded the tools of men over ancient mysticism. Europa suffered, centuries of culture was decimated, and magic failed to restore the old ways. This surly baboon won’t admit mages of any race are going extinct. But I’m here about a dead body, not a dead culture. I puff a series of smoke rings, contemplating how best to remind him wizardry is obsolete. “The trenches gutted the ancient countryside, destroying the old ways. No magic will ever bring it back.”

Edgeangel wags a finger toward the silver rune-etched beads laced into my beard’s braids—a long-standing dwarf superstition. Some claim the runes have a charmed origin. “The technology of men rules the world now. But I didn’t ask you here to discuss the diminution of the old ways.”

“I figured not.” I stand next to the classy G-man. Even on a government salary, his suit is tailored. Mage-users are elitists. I’m not a fan. Mages failed us in Europa. 

The G-man gazes down his long nose at me. 

Not because of my height. Dwarf is a species, not a size. I reach a stature of five feet, without the fedora. 

Edgeangel’s blue eyes reveal his distaste for me. Or perhaps he just thinks all non-mages are beneath him. I don’t need the gift of clairvoyance to understand his assignment was no career builder. Rum-running busting is a job for the common officer, not a master of the Dark Arts. 

Agent Edgeangel marches past the men carting case after case of booze from the barrel-house. They must smash it here onsite. Somehow, if they don’t, it never arrives to be booked into evidence. Another reason the lawyers get the minions out on bail so fast: no proof. 

We continue past a paddy wagon. The shackled men ignore me.

In a back room of the barn—maybe for tools or tack storage—a white sheet shrouds a human figure. The corpse isn’t wide enough to be a dwarf. I had thought maybe a dwarf crossed the line to work outside the Quarter, which might’ve explained my presence here. Edgeangel might have supposed I knew a dwarf. Men always think dwarves know each other. We all look alike to them.

A red bloom of blood is centered over the forehead. Edgeangel kneels, gripping the corner of the blanket. “Prepare yourself.” 

I’ve seen dead bodies before. Dead ones don’t disturb me like some of the living. I crush out my cig.

AuThursday – Angelique Migliore

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

Religions and Linguistics are my first true loves. I hold degrees in Hospitality and Religious Studies, but food and cooking for others is my love language.

How do you make time to write? 

Writing is my primary occupation. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes and no. I believe in creativity-block. If I stall when I write, I’ll move to another form of creating rather than walking away in frustration. I’ll craft or draw or even indulge in some self-care time. When I give my conscious mind over to something else, that usually results in my subconscious working out the block. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write Romances in Contemporary, Mythological Fantasy, Science Fiction and Dystopian. I love the flexibility of Romances and the sub-genres I can work with, and I have to have the hope of a better life.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or both) 

I have three Erotic Romance novellas traditionally published with a small press, Tirgearr Publishing. But as Amazon likes to hide ERs in a dungeon so-to-speak, my name and the titles of my books are unsearchable [without a great deal of trouble]. So, I’m currently writing a Paranormal Romance novella for the sole purpose of making my name searchable.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I am an Extrovert, and in the company of most writers, that makes me such a rare breed, I might as well be a unicorn. I like meeting with my critique partners regularly, and, pre-pandemic, in person. I also LOVE conferences!

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

I’m really not much of a motivational-loving person. It’s my job to get my ass in gear and do what I need to do to get my writing, marketing, and business done, and I’m very hard on myself about it.

That being said, if I had to choose, Benjamin Franklin said,

“…there will be sleeping enough in the grave…”

This quote has stuck with me since I was a teenager.

And more recently, when Lizzo’s “Water Me” comes on, I’m the one singing at the top of my lungs

“I am my inspiration!”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

  • Write whatever genre you love; forget about other people’s opinions on that.
  • Read widely and voraciously.
  • Have fun.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

Everywhere!

Here’s my Linktree: https://linktr.ee/angelique.migliore

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Sure! We just celebrated ONE NIGHT IN TAMPA’s one-year book-iversary, so we’ll pull from it. It’s a modern-day, subverted-trope, Cinderella retelling. This is toward the beginning of the book, when our hero and heroine meet.

She vanished into the crowd of photographers, who were gone by the time she returned with waters and bananas. “Thank you very much,” I said. “For everything.” And I meant it. I held up my medal for closer inspection of the skull and cross bones. “Does this mean I’m a pirate now?” 

She smiled at me, and for the first time, I could see cinnamon-colored corkscrew curls escaping from her ponytail at random points. “You’re welcome. And what’s your real name, Cinder-fella?” 

“Since you’re into formal introductions with complete names, I’m Salvatore Convivio Ricco, ma’am, but my friends just call me ‘Viv’.” 

“Ha!” she barked. “I have about five more names than what I gave you.” Her eyes roamed freely over me. “Salvatore? Who are you saving? And Convivio? In Spanish you’d be a feast or a banquet.” 

I leaned back in my chair and gave her a better view at the whole package. “In Italian, Convivio takes on a bit more of a philosophical meaning. It’s more like, to celebrate life full of joy or living life to the fullest.” 

She half-peeled a banana and handed it to me. “You Italians. Why use one word when you can use ten?” 

I smiled from my heart and wagged my eyebrows at her. “Yeah, well, the good news is we make love the same way. You know a lot of Italians, do you?” 

She sat in the chair next to me and took a drink. “Of course—this is Tampa Bay. Are you not from around here?” 

I swallowed a large bite of banana. “Nope. And please explain ‘Mariposa del Pilar’ to me. Isn’t that a bit sacrilegious?” 

“My father is the most devout Catholic of the family and wanted to name me after Santa Maria del Pilar. My mother is the more free-spirited of the two and changed my name with the nurse in the birthing room as soon as my father left to get some Cafecito. My mother said I should have wings, not a yoke.” She peeled her own banana this time.  

Happy Birthday to Me

Since today is my birthday, I decided to let a few of my friends from Facebook interview me.  Here are their questions.

What do you feel is the hardest part of the publishing process? (From Vania Rheault)

Rejection – The hardest part for me is finding a home for finished work.   I haven’t been brave enough to enter into the Self-Publishing world because that all seems hard to me.   So finding a home for whatever completed project I have is hard in the sense a certain amount of prediction for agents and editors on what readers may want a year or more out makes it difficult.  I’ll send out a query and then get a rejection and if I’m lucky they will tell me why.  Sometimes I get a form letter or even worse that they liked the writing but it wasn’t a good fit.   

How are you just so damn adorable all the time? Inquiring minds want to know. (From Lyn Armstrong)

Lyn is biased, her and maybe my husband.  I love and miss you, lady. 

Do you work plots out with writing buddies or plot all by yourself? (From Marie Johnston)

Normally, I plot by myself.  But recently I asked for some input on a finished Regency I just finished and my local critique group helped me come up with a plot (it involves murder) that I will weave back in through the story.  This isn’t uncommon for me to finish a manuscript and then change one, maybe two, things, and then have to layer those elements back in. 

When you write so many books, what’s your strategy for keeping plots, characters, and settings fresh? (from Natalie Pierce)

It helps that I write in a few different sub-genres of romance.  Once you change the setting everything else can be fresh or new based on a new place or time.  I have started keeping series bibles so I can remember how old someone is at story X so I make sure to age them by story Y. I usually keep these in either Pinterest, Google Keep, or in a Notebook. 

Happy birthday! Let’s see. I’d love to know more about how you got started writing stories. How much of real life is included in your books? Do you have other business ideas you might work on in the future? (from A. Catherine Noon)

Figures A. Catherine Noon would have the most questions.   Here we go.  

I have been writing since childhood, before my grandmother passed she gave me a collection of stories I wrote for her about the various mythical holiday creatures, like the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, A Leprechaun trying to find Baby New Year.   Unfortunately, they didn’t find him because I had only gotten as far as writing their origin stories.  I loved info dumps even as a child. 

I include much of real life in my contemporaries, including some of my friends (you know who you are).  Of course, I changed their names to protect the not so innocent.  I’ve used their professional knowledge among which include a pilot, an architect, a nurse, firemen, and of course a writer.   Most of my paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy stories are entirely fiction.  

Future Business Projects – Writing Wise I’m working on my Brave the Elements Series – Wind Resistant is my Nano project.  I will be querying my Regency this month and maybe a bit in November.   I take December off because I find I need the break for the holidays.  Non-writing wise – I’ve thrown my hat in on a contest in ND pairing artists and writers.  Long Term I’m hoping to get a North Dakota Writers Conference so if you are thinking about something like that my fellow writers, let me know.   There are far more of us than the world knows about. 

I’m wondering what percent of your writing is actually non-fiction, in a fictional book. (Brian Daly)

It depends on the fiction.  In my Steampunk Series, I’d say 50%.  I altered parts of the timeline significantly.  

My Regency is fairly historically accurate but I did change a few things – my hero knows cane fighting which isn’t really a thing until closer to the Victorian period and was invented in France, not England.  So those are pretty liberal. My Contemporaries including my paranormal books are about 25% fiction accounting for characters and the mythology of fairies.   But the career choices are based on people I know. 

And I would say my Post-Apocalyptic books are 75% fiction the only real elements being geography and locations in the future. 🙂 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Q&A.  If I missed your question here leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer it.  ~Tina

AuThursday – Sadie Torrance

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have always been a creative type even as a child. I would write to entertain myself. It was my favourite pastime as a child and remained my favourite pastime as an adult. When I started my own family, I shared my love of stories with my children. I would write fantastic tales of magic and adventures and regale my kids with stories designed just for them. At the same time, I would write books to amuse myself. When my kids became adolescents, they discovered Wattpad and suggested I post my work so others could enjoy it. I gave it a go, and it took off. Within a year, I was approached by an editor from Dreame and was signed as a paid author on their site. Again, my work was well-received by readers. Encouraged by this small success, I decided to try publishing and hopefully build a professional writing career.    

How do you make time to write? 

I find it easy to make time because it something I love and am passionate about. Even when the day demands, my attention be focused on family, work, or errands; the writing is always in the back of my mind. When I am genuinely inspired, and on a roll, I will sacrifice sleep to write.  

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I absolutely believe in writer’s block. I have suffered from it many times. It’s frustrating when you sit there and stare at the black page, knowing you should write, but nothing good comes to you. When I’m faced with writer’s block, and I can’t work past it, I turn to other amusements. I have a passion for music almost as much as writing. So, I put on my headphones, crank up the music, and lose myself in the private concert in my head. More often then not, it gets my creativity flowing once more and sparks inspiration, curing my writer’s block. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

My chosen genre is Romance/Adventure. I don’t limit myself to one type of romance style. I have written historical romances, contemporary romance, science fiction romance, and even paranormal romance. I like romance because I enjoy the emotion and the banter between the characters. I love throwing in aspects of adventure and plot twists to keep things exciting. I find a story is always more gripping when the reader has no idea what is going to happen next.

How are you publishing your recent book, and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both) 

I chose self-publishing. I had often tried to publish traditionally but found it impossible to get any publisher or literary agents to even speak to me. It was incredibly frustrating and discouraging. Every time I thought about giving up, I told myself, “even Harry Potter was rejected thousands of times before it was published.” Just because someone else couldn’t see my worth didn’t mean I wasn’t a good writer. So, I decided to do it myself. I went online and collaborated with professional freelance editors and formatters, making sure my book was polished and professional. It took some time, but once I had a professional finished product, I uploaded it and put it up for sale.  

  Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work? 

I am an introvert. I enjoy my own company and the company of family and close friends. I keep my circle small. Since I spend most of my time at home with my husband and children, I have plenty of time to write. I choose the people I interact with carefully. Those I let into my life are all interesting and wacky people. Their life stories and crazy antics often inspire characters and situations in my work. 

What is your favourite motivational phrase? 

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ―Confucius 

It reminds me that the only way to succeed is never to give up. Setbacks happen. Obstacles present themselves. The only people who reach their goals are the ones that fall, but get up and try again. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Write for yourself. If you love the story, someone else will love it too. Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one else will either.  

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

I have four e-books available on Smashwords.com and AmazonKDP.com.  

https://www.smashwords.com/THE BARBARIAN KING SAGAS (historical romance) 

PROJECT HELLFIRE (contemporary science fiction romance) 

RUTHLESS (contemporary crime romance) 

THE CARIBBEAN’S MOST WANTED (historical romance) 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

The Barbarian King Sagas: 

“She is not a witch; she never was. She lied to me, and my father paid the price.” He confessed, knowing that Finn would keep his confidence. 

“Oh,” Finn sighed as he finally grasped the gravity of his woe. “Cain, do not dwell on it. I know you wanted to save him; we all did, but Regin was very sick, and he was going to die no matter what you did. He knew that, we all knew that, the only person that had not accepted that was you. Do not hate the girl. She did what she had to do to survive. She is a strong woman and a strong man needs a strong woman behind him.” 

“I cannot excuse her lies.” His father was dead, and it was Zahra’s fault. 

“You threatened to kill her if she were not a witch. What would you have done in her position? 

“I would have fought,” he said with defiance. “And I would have won.” 

Finn snickered, “Well, that is because you are a man, but she is but a small, frail woman.” 

“I will never forgive her.” 

“Forgive her or not unless you throw her overboard you, my dear friend, are stuck with her. The joys of marriage.” Finn laughed and slapped Cain on the back hard. 

He was right. Why his father chose Zahra for his wife, Cain would never understand. What about her made his father believe she would make a good queen? “Throwing her overboard has merit.” He grinned, knowing he would never do it. Zahra’s deception left him fuming, but he did not wish her harm. After all, she had saved his life when the snake had bitten him. She could have let him die and escape, but she had saved his life and stayed even though she had no reason to. He supposed not tossing her overboard was a fine way to make them even. 

“Come now, lad. It is better to kiss and make up. War is fine, but when women are concerned, peace is preferred.”