Today, I welcome Aidee Ladnier, author of The Klockwerk Kraken. Her book is a Prism award finalist in the Novella category.
Aidee, congratulations on becoming a Prism award finalist! I am glad you could join us today.
Will you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an LGBTQ romance writer. I love science and outer space. I’m hoping one day I’ll get to experience a little low Earth orbit or even better, space travel. I like to produce film shorts (I’m two degrees from Kevin Bacon *eyebrow wiggle*) and find crazy, amazing shoes in hidden corners of the interwebs. I learned to love science fiction and fantasy at a very early age. My mother introduced me to it via books by Tolkien, Bradbury and Heinlein while still in middle school. Then she sealed my fate by getting me hooked on television shows like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Buck Rogers during my teenage years. As a result I’ve always loved genre fiction, and when I write I want that something extra in my stories as well. Mainstream is boring…why not add tentacles?
Tell us about the Prism Awards.
Once I’d joined the Romance Writers of America, one of the first things I did next was sign up for their Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter. Scifi romance is one of my favorite genres to both read and write. Because I wanted to support the chapter, I entered my 2015 novella, The Klockwerk Kraken, in this year’s Prism Contest, but I thought I had no chance of being a finalist with such amazing authors also vying for the award. So I have been floating on Cloud Nine ever since the contest chair, Beth Long, called to give me the good news. I mean, how could I not be? This is THE CONTEST for science fiction romance. I’m so excited to make it this far. It is the highlight of my year so far!
What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing around twelve years old. I wrote fiction, poetry, non-fiction, plays, anything I could dream up. I even had a writing mentor throughout high school who taught me about submitting and how to handle rejections. By the time I reached college, I had won several writing awards and was getting personal letters back from editors with encouragement. Unfortunately, college papers took priority over my fiction writing and I never quite made it back until a few years ago. I read a story and suddenly I got the itch again. It’s been tons of fun coming back to my writing roots.
What are some of your favorite books?
That’s so hard! I have so many…but I think the ones I keep coming back to are The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein, the Burton and Swinburne novels by Mark Hodder, all the Vorkosigan novels by Lois McMaster Bujold, Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas books, and there are so many others I love.
Where did you get your inspiration(s) for the The Klockwerk Kracken?
The title is entirely due to my friend Gina Storm Grant (another LGBTQ romance author). We both attended RainbowCon 2014. I wanted to write a story with tentacles because I’d just sat in on a panel that discussed writing taboos and stepping outside your normal fiction writing boundaries. She brainstormed the title and suddenly the characters popped into my head. Honestly, with that title I expected them to be a little more steampunk, but the story turned out more scifi and sweet instead.
Tell about your heroes and what you like about them.
Teo, my tentacle bartender, is what you’d probably expect: sinfully handsome, out-going, gregarious, a little on the touchy-feely side, and wears his heart on his sleeve. I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with him? His love interest, Jimenez, is his opposite. Jimenez is escaping his abusive past by transporting cargo through the emptiness of space and though attracted to Teo, is more shy and reserved around him. What I liked most about Jimenez was his love of poetry because it has small words with big meanings. I adored writing their slow, dance of courtship.
What writing projects are you working on now?
I just published my first female/female science fiction romance, Elusive Radiance, which is coming out this month from Pride Publishing. In it a young bodyguard finds her special abilities are no match for a flirtatious delegate to the galaxy trade talks. And later this year I have another male/male romance being published by Loose Id. It’s called The Moonlight Market and it’s a story about a young man searching for his sister at a magical and slightly sinister night market. The novel contains elements of magical realism, dark fantasy and a little horror.
What are you reading now?
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I want to make sure I read it before the movie comes out! I also just finished a delicious BDSM ménage, the excellent Kneel, Mr. President by Lauren Gallagher. And also Ashley Gardner’s Hanover Square Affair, one of her Captain Lacey mysteries.
Aidee, thanks again for joining us. Good luck in the final determination!
Jimenez opened the bar’s airlock and the urge to run out again washed over him like a splash of cold water. He commanded his frozen legs to shuffle forward and inside. This could turn ugly if he lost his concentration for even a moment. But he wouldn’t. He’d been practicing, becoming accustomed to groups larger than this for revs now.
He could be just like everyone else.
None of them would see the scars on his back or the brand of his tattoo that had marked him since puberty.
Men and women filled half the tables and booths, some laughing and drinking, a few puffing blue smoke. The gaming tables on the side were empty, while a lone player at the billiard table opposite pocketed ball after ball. The room rang with loud voices, clinking glasses, and raucous music.
Jimenez slid into an empty spot at the pale stone bar and caught sight of the clearest, happiest eyes he’d ever seen, a shade lighter than the man’s tousled brown mop above. A dimple quirked at the side of his full lips, mesmerizing Jimenez. The loud voices behind him slid away and for a moment, it was quiet in his mind. Jimenez flinched when his shoulder was jostled and the spell broke.
“Hey, you okay, buddy? First time? What can I pour for you?”
Jimenez blinked, realizing the tall bartender was speaking to him. The man’s smiling eyes crinkled at the corners of his bronzed face. Jimenez swallowed, and he ducked his chin, trying not to stare again, trying to hide his hot cheeks. He’d never been so close to such a handsome man.
“Did you want a drink?” The bartender quirked an eyebrow.
“Yeah… I mean yes. Whiskey neat.” His voice came out gruffer than he expected.
“Bourbon, Scotch, Rye…?”
“Surprise me.” It was a game Jimenez played. He’d order whiskey and discover what the bartender served. If he reached for the rail bottle closest to hand, it meant he would pour either the cheapest or the local favorite. If he pulled something from the top shelf, the bartender angled for a bigger tip. But if he grabbed a decanter off to the side or behind another bottle, he’d score the bartender’s personal pick.
“Coming right up.”
The bartender raised a tentacle in greeting, calling out to another patron.
Oh, God. The man was a Pod.
Of course he was.
In a joint named the Klockwerk Kraken, who better to tend the bar than a tentacled man?
Aidee Ladnier began writing fiction at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.
Find Aidee at:
Look for more Prism award finalists to be featured here soon. For a complete list of the finalists, go here.