Shari Elder: Interview and Excerpt from “Race to Redemption”

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, the other Shari emerges.  I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom).  As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.

In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one. That gives me immense satisfaction.

Join me on my journey. The best ideas emerge from team work.

Okay, we have some kind of superhero who believes in happy endings and writes romance.  I believe I’ve found my Guinea pig for this question series… now to get a hold of her… and her six toes… weird.

L.J. swivels in chair, while patiently stroking Pierre the Metal Dragon.

Well, as delicious as that ambrosia sounds, I’m not allowed on Olympus ever since that debacle with Athena — virgin, my ass. I’m not particularly keen on messing with the space and time continuum as long as that English doctor dude is hanging around…  And teen-agers…

L.J. shudders. Then grabs a fishbowl helmet.

Come, Pierre, we’re going to Andromeda—

Pierre swings head and riffles his tongue at L.J.

Oh come on, Pierre.  No sassing… Okay. Too cold on Andromeda and probably the Himalayas. I guess, there’s only one option.

 Pierre flutters over with the white lab-coat and L.J. pulls on the super-villain goggles.

 Pierre!  Fetch my freeze ray!

 Pierre raises his eyebrow.

 Ok, I’ll get it this time… but someday, Pierre, you’ll respect me.

 Pierre rolls eyes.

___

“My latest evil plan is coming to fruition at last!” L.J. focuses a blinding light on super-hero/romance novelist Shari Elder.

Slightly surprised, Shari sits in spangled tights and a cape inside the cage.  In her lap is a giant tub of Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz used to lure our hapless heroine into the trap. Shari licks the spoon calmly.

L.J. laughs maniacally. “The truth serum I slipped into your ice cream will ensure that your answer feed into the thronong-ulating dohickey and then—”

Pierre coughs gently while turning down the brightness of the light.

“Are you sure it’s monologuing?  It seemed like a pretty valid plot point—” L.J. relents under the steely eyes of the pet dragon. “My first question then, guinea pig of my devious question series: why, Shari Elder, do you write romance?”

Our heroine chews contemplatively on the spoon. “Romance is the candle in the dark, the star that lights the way, the book I reach for when I need a jolt of hope—”

“Okay. Can we be less of a super hero for a second?” L.J. steps into the light, clipboard in hand. “I’m really trying to understand this on an intellectual level.”

Shari is unimpressed. “I believe in a HEA. No matter how much crap the world throws out you nor how little time you have to enjoy it, everyone deserves an HEA.”

L.J. writing furiously. “And what’s the some kind of secret code?  Maybe an infectious super-flu?  Is it… A new flavor of Ben and Jerry’s?”

“Happily Ever After.” Shari explains and very helpfully. “It’s that little reminder that people can get over themselves, work through their issues, and figure it out – together.”

“Okay…Happily Ever After… I think I can get behind that. But what about…” L.J. swings the light back sharply. “Sex?”

“Lots of authors write without explicit sex scenes.”

“Wait… what? Do you do that?”

“No, I’m pretty spicy.  But I can. I just prefer to be direct and forthright.” Shari leaves the spoon in the tub and leans forward on the her chair.  Her magic necklace catches in the light as she goes on. “I think how we make love also defines key components of our relationship.  We tend to assume that when folks fall in love, they get naked and have sex.”

L.J. and Pierre exchange glances. L.J. flips through notes. “Love comes first?”

“Sex is another way couples discover each other, and maintain their relationship over time. It’s really not something that happens separate from everything else.”

“So unlike proper pornography, which I’m used to writing, romance writers use the sexy bits to show character growth and change?”

“Sex  It is an essential piece of how a relationship develops.  These scenes in romance allows writers to explore that relationship more deeply and readers get to see how that plays.” Shari nods. “Like in the bedroom, do they switch roles?”

“Like submissive bosses…”

“Are they playful or shy?  Experimental or fearful?” Shari picks up the spoon again and savors the chocolate crunchy bits. “But saying all that, I do think many romance writers, me included, often make the sex part too easy.”

“Too easy? In a Romance novel, no one can be too easy!”

“I mean, we should make it more real, show the mess and the fear and mistakes. Most of that is pretty funny, as two people…” Shari pauses and considers. “Or more.  You know, try and figure it all out.  But that’s the next writing frontier. We’ll get there.”

Shari gestures with the spoon. “Building a physical relationship takes time, patience, humor, compassion and effort. To get the HEA, a couple has to figure out how to make sex work over the long term. It does not just happen in a dark room tucked in the corner of the house.”

Shari looks at the bars of the cage again. “Or in cages on rooftops.”

“Yeah, speaking of the sub-story…” L.J. checks readings on a device. “Pierre, why isn’t the thronong-ulating dohickey …”

Pierre sticks his head out of the Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz ice cream and tilts his little metal head with confusion.

“What do you mean you never plugged it in?”

Shari laughs and put the ice cream down. “Well, this has been real fun, L.J.”

She grabs the bars and with super-strength bends them as if they were flimsy wire art. Shari Elder high heels click as she comes onto the roof. “Thanks for the ice cream, but I have to jet.”

And with the tap of her sixth toe, her high-heels ignite and Shari blasts into the sky.


You can find Shari in real life on

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Pinterest

Here’s her latest which looks SUPER GOOD.

race-to-redemption-evernightpublishing-nov2016-3drender


Race to Redemption: Green Rising, 1

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 medical 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 attacked, 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: anal sex, bondage, menage sex, gender neutral characters


Excerpt:

Elaina and Fintarl transferred the meds from the craft to the supply hut. This was her last stop today. Her routes varied daily her first month on the job. Someone was either trying to ramp up her knowledge of the terrain and facilities quickly, or prevent her from finding out too much. The collections of mysteries and snippets of information she’d gathered made her head hurt. All she wanted was a bath to wash away the stink of too much desert driving and a nap to give her mind a few minutes to turn off. Fintarl’s toothy scowl warned her that wasn’t on the agenda.

“Boss man. Want.”

She raised an eyebrow at the Ranharran and took a deep breath before heading to Erik’s office. He kept their exchanges to a minimum during her regular drop-offs at this facility. She was getting under his skin, she knew it. A meeting had to mean she pissed him off somehow. Good. It gave her another opportunity to ramp up the heat. Anger was close enough to lust to wedge open a door.

Shoulders pulled back, head high, she barged into his office. She’d always been good at bravado and she liked to keep him off balance. “Hey farm boy, you wanted me?” She flashed him a flippant smile to push the double entendre right into his face, and all she got was a grimace in return.

I’m only getting started, Dr. Johansen.

Settled on the mud blocks that passed for seats, she arced her back to offer up breasts wrapped to perfection in a tight white tank. The perspiration worked in her favor. It molded the top around her so she was as good as naked, maybe better. Her bare legs, firmed by countless hours in the gym, crossed in front to put all that toned flesh on center stage. Take a good long look, boss man.

Days of beard growth and a rumpled shirt signaled erratic hours and insufficient sleep. It seemed to have gotten worse since the last time she’d seen him. Was it only days ago? The world of secrets and hurt he dragged around on his shoulders was devouring him from the inside out. Why he avoided her when he could benefit from the physical release she offered confused her. He didn’t even have to like her to screw her. Still, he stayed away.

Erik pushed his too-long hair off his face with one hand and a package across his desk toward her with the other. The flicker of lust that darkened his eyes when she ran her hand from breast to thigh, he quickly buried. Droplets of sweat glistened along the carved muscle of his forearms. A tattoo—a yellow sphere sitting on a black line encased in a blue circle—peaked out from his shirtsleeve. Like Saskia. How odd.

“One of my better ideas, yes?”

“Ms. Carter.” Stiff formality. “On the job for a month and you’re already messing with the medical packaging? Until you show me a pharmacology degree, don’t do it again.”

“Seriously, Erik? It’s the Ranharran equivalent of string and paper. No harm done to the medicine, and I can increase the load by thirty percent. The more I move the better for everyone.”

“You’re missing the point.” He enunciated each word like it hurt to say. “The meds are volatile. Any shift, no matter how small… Damn it, Lainie, do you have any idea how dangerous this stuff is? You could get someone killed.”

“I’m trying to save lives.” Her eyes closed, she swallowed hard, trying to keep her frustration from spilling out. A raised voice wouldn’t get her very far. She already tried that. “I don’t get you, Erik. This compound is thirty miles from the Karas border. Your medical supply closet’s always running on empty, the transportation infrastructure on this planet is deteriorating and rumors that the Den Vedran Corporations are arming the Ranharran mercenaries are escalating. With unpredictable storms that can close transit corridors at any time, I’d think you’d welcome ways to move more medicine.”

His faced blanched at one point through her tirade, but was now back to its normal grim. “Not. The. Point. I won’t have my orders questioned by anyone. Without some discipline, I can’t ensure the safety of everyone under my protection. I’ll make it easy. Don’t tamper with my meds, or I’ll get a different pilot.” His lips thinned so tight they trembled. She wanted to kiss them calm after she beat him with a stick.

“You don’t want to get rid of me. Whose face would you use for target practice?” Her voice lowered, forcing him to lean closer. “And whose body would you think about when you jack off in those late hours when you’re crawling for relief?” She was guessing, but the way he struggled to suppress those flashes of longing when she got close to him convinced her she was on the mark.

“You’re trying to annoy me. Okay, it worked. No tampering, no arguments. Meeting over.” He ran his hands through his hair and pulled at the roots. His eyes looked haunted and decades older than his thirty-six years.

This was not about packaging or her rule-breaking proclivities. Whatever he kept sealed down tight was driving him to an early grave. Without thinking, she leaned over the desk and traced a finger along a blond eyebrow. He recoiled like he always did when she touched him.

“Yes, I do it to piss you off. You’re wound up so tight, farm boy, you’re going to snap.” Her finger slid down his cheek to his chin. “Let me in, Erik. I could help you reduce all that tension, but you stay so far away. So, I poke.”

She pressed her breast against his arm to make her offer clear. “No commitment required. Just two people trying to get through the long, lonely nights.”

He pulled back. “I said we’re done here.”

She swallowed her anger and flipped him a bow. “Your highness. I’ll visit Sen and Qirta before I head back to Mendasa.”

“No miskberries.”

Sen’s favorite treat were hidden in a secret pocket in her bag. What Erik didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.

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