If you were here yesterday, you may already understand why I had to reach out to author Shari Elder. I loved her book Race to Redemption, so I invited her to be a guest here. I am very pleased to welcome Shari to Whiskey With My Book today! Please enjoy her guest post that is followed by an excerpt from Race to Redemption.
Thanks for welcoming me to your blog, Riley. I’m thrilled to be here. I love the authenticity and depth of your posts.
Hi Everyone. My name is Shari Elder and I write science fiction and paranormal romance. I didn’t start out that way. When I made the commitment to myself to write fiction (something I’ve always wanted to do but kept not finding the time), I immediately outlined a series of stories, most of them contemporary romance. I wanted to write about heroes and heroines who had different careers as a way of exploring exotic new worlds. After I penned the first story, I learned a key lesson – don’t write what you don’t read. It makes it harder to stay in the game. While I love romance, I rarely read contemporary. I am – as I am sure you’ve guessed – a science fiction and paranormal romance lover because you don’t just get to discover colorful, bizarre and outlandish new times and places, you also get to make them up. I am driven to ask the big ‘what if ‘questions (what would society look like if resources were abundant not scarce) or bend (maybe break) a law (even a law of physics) to see what happens. Contemporary stories don’t let you do that to the degree the other genres do.
After changing focus, I still had this cool story idea fully developed. I’m a plotter who does detailed outlines. Titled Race to Redemption, the story followed Elaina, a female Nascar driver, who recovers from a personal tragedy by driving medical and other supplies in a war-torn region of Africa. There she meets Erik, a doctor working with Medecins Sans Frontieres, but was actually a bioterrorism special ops agent. I loved the story and was already half in love with Erik, so I just wasn’t willing to give it up. A lot of thought and many, many revisions later, I reworked into a science fiction romance series.
Even though the new story is centuries past and galaxies away from Nascar, Elaina remains a race pilot. I used my initial Nascar imagery as the foundation for the more futuristic race technologies. I re-envisioned the Race Track into the DustDrome, which is still a track-like circular structure with a pit crew, although the crew monitors and fixes everything virtually. There are still bleachers, although fans are protected by transparent shielding. Elaina races through artificially created sandstorms in a spaceship-like vehicle, rather than in a car on the ground. She also garners the same celebrity as a champion Nascar racer would, but on an intergalactic scale.
Her unique flying skills make her the perfect medical transport pilot on a desert planet plagued by sandstorms. Whereas the original version had Elaina and Erik whipping through Africa in a dusty, banged up jeep chased by mercenaries and hunting bioterrorists, the science fiction version has them in a tin-can of a flyer speeding through intense sandstorms while pursued by four-armed alien mercenaries and tracking biogenetic phage samples.
Today, I’m proud to share Race to Redemption (Green Rising #1), the final version.
About Race to Redemption
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.
Excerpt from Race to Redemption
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 Elder
Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and 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 in scarlet sand on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy and bring men and women, who had given up on romance, another chance to find it. I also periodically check on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination with her minions – an insatiably hungry, elderly cat and an adult dog who insists she’s still a puppy.
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