AuThursday – Renee Wildes

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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 – Brian Barr

IMG_4457Please welcome Brian Barr to The Clog Blog, who like me is a member of Writer Zen Garden.  Brian, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m an author of speculative fiction: science-fiction, fantasy, and horror primarily. I write novels, short stories, and comic books. The first novel of my Carolina Daemonic series, Book I: Confederate Shadows, was released in 2015, followed by Book II: Rebel Hell last year and Book 0: The Daemonic Civil War this year. I co-created and co-wrote the comic series Empress with Chuck Amadori in 2014, drawn by Sullivan Suad and Zilson Costa, which I would love to resurrect after we can garner more interest and possibly get a comic publisher behind. So far, my most-read books have been The 3 H’s Trilogy, which starts with The Head.

What draws you to the genres that you write in?

I’ve always loved speculative fiction since I was a kid. I grew up in a household where Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Koontz were on the shelves. By the time I got into Clive Barker as a teenager, I knew the main type of fiction I wanted to write- dark fiction with a mix of the bizarre. When it comes to science-fiction, I’ve always leaned towards cyberpunk since I watched Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, which is one of my favorite stories.

I’m almost scared to ask but, where do your ideas come from?

Dreams, my life, and out of nowhere. I believe in writing what you know and what you’re passionate about, but my best ideas will just come when I least expect them.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any? 

I submit to other places or publish the works myself. Rejection letters can be helpful when the editors tell you the things you could work on to improve the story, even if they liked them. I’ve had editors who rejected my stories but asked me to change a few things, then accepted them. I’ve had other stories that had been rejected by other houses by accepted by others. So I’d tell any writer not to get bummed about rejections- it doesn’t mean that your work isn’t good or that you’re an inept writer; most of the time, a work doesn’t fit an anthology or publisher and there are always other places where you can submit.

What are your current projects?

I’m writing the last Carolina Daemonic novel, Book III: Union. Be on the lookout for it! I’m also planning on writing some more short stories, including a sequel to my short story Hover.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’ve become more aware of what I like to write, how I like to write it, and which audiences work best for me.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Amazon is the main place you can find my works, but I’m also on Barnes and Noble, Comixology for Empress, and other book retailers.

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

Sure! Here’s an excerpt from my Carolina Daemonic series:

Novel Excerpt:

“Remember.”

Many final scenes and memories flashed in Zev’s spiritual sight, as he slowly rose from his induced coma; his hands ripping at the cocoon of chaotically pulsing skin and tissue wrapped around him. He could remember the feel of the amulets on his neck and in his hands, the summoning of great golems sweeping the Southern landscape, disguised as Union soldiers with Hebrew letters on their foreheads, giving each earth-made man their own name and number. 

Figures formed from American dirt and clay rose from the earth, wearing blue uniforms and carrying guns of their own, while the South played the hand with its own collected brand of zombie soldiers. The dead and the supernaturally conceived blended in well with the horrors of war, fighting alongside their human comrades; farms burnt to ash, slaughtered civilians rested in mud pits, and along dirt roads. 

I had been commissioned, the rabbi’s son remembered, commissioned, and given asylum. 

Back in the President’s office, in hidden rooms behind brothels, in the homes and tents of generals… everything was coming back in flashes, in stretched moments of time. Zev had sat in backrooms with war strategists, watched them draw up maps of Gettysburg, Appomattox, Yorktown, and New Orleans. A usually drunk Ulysses S. Grant had offered the magician a swig of liquor and scowled when it was politely refused. Zev had drawn up his own images to show the generals that had hired his services, explaining the intricacies of the Etz HaChaim, the powers of the Melakhim… most of the time, the men offered blank stares to the rabbi’s son, but none of them thought he was crazy. They knew of his great reputation, and they had already seen his powers on the open field, along with the other occultists they had a pleasure to work with.”