Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
In reference to my latest release, Remedy Maker, my genre chose me!
I signed up for an online writing class and the assignment was to put our character in a pitch-dark room and write from his/her point of view. Participants in the class were turning in the same old rhetoric: people who were blindfolded, struck with blindness, in a cave, etc. I wanted something different and somehow a centaur in hiding came to me.
And then I asked myself the all important question – what if…?
Did you enjoy language arts in school?
Absolutely! In high school, I realized I had a knack for storytelling in a creative writing class when people paid me to complete their English writing assignments. (Naughty, I know.) That also carried into college when various members of the football team asked for "help" with their writing assignments. Hey! It helped pay the bills. I just wish I would have kept some of those stories.
Did you have a teacher that particularly encouraged you to write?
Unfortunately, no. But through my English writing assignments in high school, I discovered a love for writing.
It’s five o’clock somewhere…Let’s have a drink! What cocktail best describes you and why?
I'm a Suntory Yamazaki 18 (whiskey) and 7-Up. You have to taste Yamazaki if you've never tried it! It's a blend of black pepper, spices, vanilla, and caramel— the 7-Up adds a dash of bubbling nectar and the total package of refreshing zing represents none other than moi.
On my desk I have a rhino that my husband gave me to remind me I’m rhino-tough, as you have to be in the business. Is there anything you have that you use to remind you of that?
My critique partner, Martha Ramirez, gave me a magnet one day. It's small but speaks volumes. It says: Write Your Own Story. I have it as a reminder to myself that not everyone will like what I produce, just as some books aren't for me.
I think of it as a party where I'm handing out slices of delicious cake I baked from scratch. I labored over this baby and stirred the creamy frosting myself. If I offer it to someone and they say "no, thank you", that doesn't mean they hate me or my cake. It just means it's not for them. I'll invite the person again, and maybe they'll try a slice at my next party.
I have two muses, Arwen and Bronwyn, they have very distinct personalities. Can you share a bit about your muse?
You've named your muse? Ha! Man, I must be lagging here. I never thought of naming the creative hamster that so diligently turns my brain wheel…but I should.
If anyone has suggestions, please post them in your comments! My muse is a selfish thing. It prefers to be the only item occupying my brain when I sit down to write. If other thoughts creep in (like ranch chores I have left to do, or the grocery list in my head), my muse will sulk and only offer tidbits here and there.
If allowed free reign to wander the hallways of my wits, it will produce chapter after chapter, only hindered by my typing speed.
Do you have one of those pesky day jobs, or are you a full-time writer? If you do have another career what do you do and do you enjoy it?
I'm very happy to say, I write full-time now. That said, I also work in my husband's home office (I'm it, there's no one else but me). He's a licensed landscape contractor. Luckily, that job only requires my presence a few hours a day. I worked in a construction engineering office for many years before leaving the workforce to raise my kids. I enjoyed the work and miss interacting with others—but I'd never trade it for what I have now.
Due to the world we live in, most editors will tell a romance writer they have the moral obligation to protect their characters from scary life altering things, thereby being obligated to the reader. What are your thoughts on this? Do you protect your characters and how?
It's a disgusting day when I read in the news of the depravity people will lower themselves to. It's out there and won't go away just because we choose to turn a blind eye to it. Networks like to sensationalize and capitalize upon this "newsworthy" material; however, I chose not to include it in my stories. What you think about, you bring about – and I don't think this world needs any more garbage in it than it already has.
I protect my characters by giving some of them other harsh environments to grow up and socialize in, such as a terrible war or environmental health hazards. I believe these add a heavy mental and physical stress to my characters, just as any other life-altering situation would.
Romance has come a long, long way since Fabio graced the covers regularly…it seems the hinges are off the proverbial door. How far is too far in your mind? Are there things you simply won’t write?
Fabio: le sigh…
You won't find incest, rape scenes, or graphic gore in any of my books. Consensual sex, however it comes about, is where I like to go. There are genres for subjects considered traditionally taboo, and publishers willing to print them. Currently, I'm not writing for either.
I’ve been asked, as has my husband, if we do “all that stuff in my stories.” Do you get asked this and if so how do you handle it?
No one’s asked this question yet, but I know it's coming down the pike. If anyone's been asked and would like to share how they replied, I'd be interested in reading your answer!
I had an editor early on that showed me the way…have you had anyone in particular that gave you a gentle **ahem** nudge in the right direction? How did they do that and how did you react?
From early in my writing career, I've been blessed with great critique partners. They were willing to take a green writer, who didn't know a thing about point of view or back-story, and teach me the applications along the way. Their gentle nudges looked more like a slasher movie with all the bleeding red fonts on my manuscript. But I learned a great deal, and still exchange crits with them to this day.
Wine or beer?
Wine's fine, but liquor's quicker! Since I live in the heart of wine country, I'll say wine.
Satin or cotton?
Satin, hands down — no contest.
Fries or tots?
Tater twats, please!
Cake or pie?
Now you've got me. I'd have to know what kind of each. I can't pass up cheesecake or apple pie.
Steak or burgers?
Steak, medium rare.
Candle light or pitch dark?
I love candle light.
I want to thank you for having me here today! You asked some very tough questions that really made me stop and think. It's been a lot of fun.
A former engineering secretary, Sheri lives on the beautiful central coast of California. "I wanted to move away from inflexible right angles and create an unboxed world with no boundaries." A voracious reader since her early years, Sheri found her brain crowded with stories and characters of her own. "Ultimately," she says, "my husband encouraged me to write them all down."
Sheri loves to spend time at home. A computer hutch keeps her focused on creating stories, but the panoramic view of life on a ranch will call her outside to play in the sun.
I'm currently writing two books — Book Two of the Centaur series tentatively named Trolly Yours. The outline is complete and I'm digging in with all ten fingers to finish the book. The story involves a character with a huge ego named Aleksander, introduced in Remedy Maker. He meets the only mythic female in the Boronda Forest who isn't fazed by his charms and good looks…and the sparks fly!
I also wrote a short story called Portals of OZ for one of my publisher's anthologies (Love Down Under) and had so much fun, I decided I'd write additional shorts for two more anthology calls. The stories will be based on the mythological characters I created for the Boronda Forest.
Man by day, Centaur by night, Rhycious is a remedy maker who needs his own healing.
He's the royal physician, famous for his cures. War and posttraumatic stress disorder has broken his spirit, preventing him from finding true happiness. Then a direct order from the queen to investigate an uprising forces him out of his secluded cabin at the edge of the forest.
Patience is an optimistic, good-natured Wood Nymph who works as a mediator to ensure harmony within the Nymph sector.
Environmental pollution in the aquifer stream that feeds the taproot tree of her heart is slowly killing her. Resigned to the fact she will not live long, she sets out to discover the mysterious disappearance of her sister. Experience has taught her to deny herself the love of a male, but the gruff Centaur is different. He doesn't push his expectations on her, only his healing nature.
When Rhycious loses his grip on reality, he believes his inability to control his disorder will drive Patience away. Nevertheless, desire flares, and Patience draws him close. Kidnapping and betrayal turn their mythic joint venture into a deadly bout.
Will their love endure when survival hinges on trusting each other?
Please enjoy an excerpt:
Patience cried out, her inner muscles clenching around him in quickening pulses. Teeth gritted, neck straining, barely the presence of mind to wait for her to reach the finish line together.
Gods, she was so blessedly tight around him, it was hard to do.
Rhycious wanted to fuck her hard, make her come over and again until she couldn’t think of anything but him.
Her keening cries and arched back took his willpower away. Unable to hold out much longer, he reached between their bodies and rubbed his finger across her enflamed little clit. Muscles clamped down on his cock so strongly that together they reached their peak.
Their mingled breaths panted as their mythic bodies mated. The thin golden thread holding it all together snapped and set them free. Rhycious was fighting compulsion, fighting base need, fighting to collapse the wall between Centaur and Wood Nymph forever.
He growled in bursts of animalistic successions, jerking his hips as he fought her body for depth. Her inner muscles convulsed, milking him for all he was worth. With a deafening roar, he came apart. Hot spurts shot out and he couldn’t restrain himself. He hooked an arm around the back of her knee, pulling her leg high, and thrust against their mutual spasms.
Breathing rapidly, Rhycious collapsed over her, careful not to allow his full, sated weight to crush her. Eyes closed, he let the warmth of Patience’s soul seep into his, healing him from the inside out.
To calm his racing heart, he took a deep breath. Blood pounded in his ears, knocking like a fist to his skull. He couldn’t move. Hell, he didn’t want to, and why should he when he was so comfortable right where he was.
The writhing under him mewed and stroked his back, gaining his attention.
“What? You want air?” He chuckled and rolled to his side, cuddling her close. “You’re lucky I have the energy left.”
Carefully pulling out his semi-erection, he lifted his hand to cover his eyes and groaned. “My hangover is worse than I thought. I swear there’s someone banging around inside my head.”
Patience giggled and poked him in the side. “That’s what I’ve been trying to informate you on. Someone’s at the door.”
He jerked to a sitting position and bolted off the floor bed. Air beads inside the futon mattress crackled like trampled nutshells in a bag as he jumped to his wobbly feet. He grabbed his jeans off the chair.
“Pan’s holy hooves, woman! Why didn’t you say anything?” He jabbed his legs into his pants, zipping them up, forgoing the top button. “Shit. Where’d I put the gun?” He whipped his head about, turning to look around him.
“On the dresser.” Laughter in her voice, Patience held the bed sheet in front of her, pushing her sexy, bed tousled hair out of her eyes. “I’ll get dressed.”
With a flick of his thumb, the gun’s cylinder kicked open to the side. He checked the ammo—all six rounds in place. A quick jerk of his wrist snapped the wheel shut.
“You,” he pointed his finger at her, “aren’t going anywhere. Get dressed if you like but stay in here.” Distraction from whoever kicked his door was the last thing Rhycious needed.
Not waiting for her sexy red lips to form the rebuttal scowling from her eyes, he opened the stallroom door and slid through, shutting it securely behind him.
The knocking in his head transferred to a fierce pounding at the front door. Picking up the pace, he jogged down the short hall and went to the kitchen window to peer out.
Beneath the covering of a broad leather flap, a thick black tail swished with irritation. Evenly spaced brass studs decorated the edge of the bottom layer of body armor like a formally dressed armadillo. Attached to the annoyed rear appendage, the golden body belonged to no other than Kempor Aleksander himself.
Before Alek could splinter his door with all his hoof hammerings, Rhycious threw it open and took a step out.
“Get off my porch.” Rhycious took another step. “Get out of my sight.” He poked Alek in the chest. “And don’t come back till October!”
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And before you feel left out, there’s something for the commenters too. Details of the contest are below.