Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Oops. Did I really write that? (@ShariElderBooks #scifi #eroticromance #amwriting )

Race to Redemption cover

By Shari Elder (Guest Blogger)

Thanks for welcoming me to your blog, Lisabet. I write paranormal and science fiction romance because I enjoy building new worlds, almost as much as I love writing the love story. The logical structure, rules and culture of the society run in parallel to the romance arc. Both must make sense. At the broad outline level, this is not too hard to balance. But when the writer drills into the details, it can get tricky sometimes.

Using deleted snippets from latest release, I thought it would be fun to share what happens when a writer gets that wrong. It’s a small example, but a telling one.

Race to Redemption takes place on a desert world. The sand retains minerals and biogenetic materials that allow the inhabitants, who are nomadic, to build and take them down their homes quickly. Like sand igloos. The land is also subject to frequent and often severe dust storms, so the indigenous populations connect their houses to each other with sand corridors, which also link their living quarters to communal places –bath, prayer hall, governance circle and supply hut.

In the first draft, I put doors with locks on these homes. Which allowed for a fun exchange between my hero and heroine.

Erik knocked again when no one came to the door, then a third time.

I can pick the lock.” 
Any other skills of yours I should know about that could land us in prison somewhere?”

She gave him a shrug. “Basic Zoner survival skills—better to pick a lock then be left outside in a storm.”

A later scene referenced this snippet.

Erik always had a pocketknife with him. He used it to pick the lock.

“Well, well, it looks like I’m not the only with breaking an entry on my resume.”

The smile he gave her melted every bone in her body. If it wasn’t so sweltering …

Doors and locks in a sand igloo? Among people who bath together and pool supplies? Did I really write that?

I did, and I resisted changing it. I loved these short snippets. They revealed a common hidden talent and disregard for convention my hero and heroine shared and showed their bond evolving. I didn’t want to lose them.

Sometimes you have to kill your darlings, as they say. Reluctantly, I deleted or rewrote a few scenes, removing doors, locks, and Elaina’s lock picking. Here’s the final result.

That’s definitely something.” Erik knelt to her right and used his pocket knife to lever it out of the ground, then pick the lock.

So, I’m not the only one with illicit skills on my résumé.”
The smile he flashed liquefied every bone in her body. If it wasn’t sweltering…

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share a segment of my writing journey. It’s my pleasure to invite you to visit my world—with sand igloos, defiant protagonists, alien sex toys, complex villains, intergalactic race championships and a rebellion simmering underneath it all.

Race to Redemption Blurb

A woman who lost everything

Intergalactic storm racing champion Elaina Carteret had it all – fame, wealth, men – until a horrific accident took it away. To get it back, she agrees to pose as Lainie Carter, medical transport pilot and corporate spy. Her risk-taking attitude infuriates Dr. Erik Johansen, who runs the outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet.

A man desperate for redemption.

Unable to forgive himself for a past tragedy, Erik works himself into an early grave. He has no patience for the insubordinate Lainie Carter, who can’t take an order, disrupts routine and flames his body to ash.

A planet at risk.

When the outpost is attached, they’re thrown together in a race across the desert to stop a deadly biogenetic weapon As a fragile trust blossoms between two damaged hearts, their pasts resurface and threaten their growing bond.

Be warned: Erotic romance, level five heat designation, gender neutral characters.


Erik tilted his head. Speech didn’t seem to be in him. She followed him to the bathing room at the back of the building. The small lump in the bath couldn’t be Sen. Whatever it was had gill-slits and grayish-green skin, no remaining golden hue of the Ranharran air breathers. No, definitely not Sen.

I don’t understand.”

Biogenetic tampering that forced his DNA to rewrite itself into Den Vedran but it was only partial. His gills are not fully formed, but the Ranharran lungs collapsed. I believe the Den Vedran lungs would have grown over them but not in time. The changes left him unable to take in oxygen from any source.”

She couldn’t get her head around what Erik was saying. Every cell in her body froze into numbness. Her blood stopped flowing. That just couldn’t be Sen.

We should return him to the dust. Sen had a soft spot for Ranharran ceremonies.” How she coughed up those words she’d never know, but it was what Sen would want. If that lump were Sen, which it wasn’t.

Erik shook his head. “He’s not dead. I injected him with a stasis drug. It only lasts about two months. I’ll need to do so some tests on him.” His low growl told her the idea appalled him as much as it did her. She swallowed back an instinctive retort. He didn’t need her crap on top of the pile he already carried.

For Qirta,” she said instead.

Gratitude flickered in those ancient eyes. She took his hand and leaned her head against his shoulder, desperate for touch. He let her without balking. A heart did beat underneath Erik’s scowl.

They stood together without moving for what seemed like a century. Fintarl brought in an air gurney at some point to move the body that wasn’t Sen to the lab. Everyone in the camp stumbled like the walking dead to get through the next hours. Ranharrans did not have tear ducts because their bodies were built to retain every ounce of water. They hummed in grief and the camp was awash in a low, melancholy drone.

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About Shari

I'm Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, get my kid off to school, walk the dog, then save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.

At night, I take off the suit, curl up with my computer and save cities on a jet-powered skateboard, make six-toed footprints on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy and bring men and women, who had given up on romance, another chance to find it.

Join me on this journey.

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Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Shari,

Welcome to Beyond Romance. I definitely know what you mean about the "oops" factor. I've made (and published) a few major bloopers in my time.

Race to Redemption sounds really fascinating. I love the notion of gender neutral characters.

Shari Elder said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Lisabet. Your blog looks great. Bloopers is something we all share. Its fun to use them as posts, so we can learn from them. Thanks again.

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