Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Renee Wildes on Elven Heroine from Riever's Heart -- giveaway!

Renee has been an author friend of mine since my first WisRWA convention. She's a multipublished fantasy author who has won both great acclaim (Ecataromance Reviewer's Choice, EPIC finalist and more) and great sales (Amazon and more). Please join me in welcoming her today! And be sure to enter her giveaway for a chance at an Advanced Reading Copy of Riever's Heart!

Welcome, Renee!

Riever’s Heart comes out next Tuesday, 9/27/11 from Samhain Publishing. I have a lot in common with the elven heroine, Verdeen and thought I’d share a bit about the both of us. Maybe you’ll see a bit you can relate to as well.

Verdeen was born to high parental expectations. Her parents were so proud when she became lady’s maid to the queen, Dara, in Duality. They though “queen” but she saw “lady’s maid” and it wasn’t enough for her. Dara asked what she wanted and Verdeen was honest and told her. So Dara helped her enter the military academy—first female to do so in generations. Her parents were…disappointed. I used to be a waitress, and living off tips getting pinched by drunk businessmen was not where I saw for the rest of my life either. So I went back to college—and became the only vet tech in a family of nurses.

We’re both black sheep, following our own dreams instead of that of others’.

Verdeen and I are both tomboys. We’re both bookworms, both inclined to “look it up” when we have a question. I’m terrible about never wanting to stop research to actually WRITE. There’s so much interesting stuff to learn! But she and I both learned that sometimes, there’s no substitute for actually getting out there and LIVING life instead of just reading about it! Research is also EXPERIENCE. (And we both love to read just for fun, too.)

Tami and Sassy
We’re both major horse lovers. I’ve always had Arabians and have two half-Arab mares now. Temptation Fyre N Ice (aka Sassy) is a gray 7-year-old Morab and Moonlight is a white 20-year-old half-Welsh pony who technically belongs to my daughter Tami.
Tami and Moonlight
Verdeen’s always dreamed of having an elven war mare select her to partner in becoming a full elven ranger—those beautiful, glowing white, sentient war mares. Only when she graduates from the military academy, Verdeen DOESN’T get her war mare. None of them choose her. For me, I just had to buy one. Verdeen doesn’t have that luxury and her disappointment is crushing. What to do when the one thing you want most in the world is denied you? How to come up with Plan B? I’ve also had to deal with disappointments and roads not taken.

Sometimes it’s not about what you want. It’s about what you need.

I’ve started gaming on Dragons of Atlantis with my son, but because I never do anything halfway I’m now second in command in our mutual alliance. I’m basically the go-between between the overlord and the rest of the tribe. I’m counselor, resource allocator and diplomat. I also fight when necessary to protect what’s ours and defend my fellow alliance members. Verdeen is assigned by King Loren to accompany the human riever Daq Aryk back to his kingdom of Isadorikja and help him unite his warring clans into a single cohesive nation. She also is a go-between between Loren and Aryk. Part counselor, part spy. But she’s also right there to guard his back and defend him when threatened. Diplomacy when you can, war when that fails, diplomacy again when the war is over.

Always have a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup to the backup. Turn disappointment into triumph. See a failure as a new opportunity.

We both struggle to balance “warrior and woman.” Career vs. family. Time constraints. Choosing one thing means NOT choosing another. Time management and prioritizing. Coming to grips with the realization that you can’t do everything. Recognizing that every day you set an example, both good and bad. Learning to accept that your best is all there is, but it’s always enough. If you can look yourself in the eye in the mirror every night then you have nothing to apologize for.

We’ve both faced our fears. Verdeen had to climb a mountain, face her fear of falling. I’ve gone rappelling and faced my own fears of heights and falling. We both trusted the person holding the other end of the rope (belaying) not to let us die. Sometimes it’s out of your hands and in the hands of another. Sometimes you just gotta check that rope and step over the edge.

Both of us have dealt with the insecurity of wanting another’s approval, not getting it and slowly coming to the painful realization that we can’t please everyone all the time. You have to be secure within yourself. You can’t let others’ opinions dictate who and what you are.

The best characters are like real people with the triviality burned away. They’re multi-faceted. They have insecurities, weaknesses, moments they’re not proud of and things they want to do over. But they’ve got a good heart, learn from their mistakes and always try to do the right thing. Learn and grow. Be open to change. Be able to adapt. Celebrate life’s triumphs both great and small.

I loved hanging out with Verdeen, seeing how much she’s grown between Duality and Riever’s Heart AND how much she’s grown from the beginning of Riever’s Heart to the end. I hope you all find some part of her and her story to relate to your own life.

All comments are entered in a random drawing to win an ADVANCED copy of Riever’s Heart. Win it before you buy it! So let us hear your thoughts! Drawing will be 10 PM CST Friday night, 9/23/11. Good luck!

Riever's Heart -- Releasing September 27, 2011!

The warrior in her was ready for anything. But she never saw him coming…

Guardians of Light, Book 5

Verdeen is on the brink of becoming an elite warrior ranger until the ultimate humiliation—no war mare chooses her for advanced training. King Loren’s consolation prize isn’t much better. Journey to the Isle of Ice as bodyguard to a human riever. Daq Aryk. Barbarian. Prince of thieves.

Aryk dreams the impossible: unite six fractious clans into a peaceful nation. Failure means they are all doomed to kill each other off—and the nightmares of his son’s death by sword will come true. The new elven ambassador rouses his ire, not because she’s female, but because she’s inexperienced. Her possibly needless death weighs on his already overburdened soul. Her beauty is a distraction he can’t afford.

In a fragrant, moonlit garden, Verdeen dares yield to an irresistible compulsion to kiss the mortal riever. The heat shakes her to the core, and frees a desire that should occur but once in her life. With a mate.

As their quest twists down ever more dangerous paths, though, their bond is the asset that could assure peace…or the liability that could send a dream down in flames. 

Product Warnings
This tale illustrates what happens when adventurous dreamer meets seen-it-all cynic. Contains hot, no-holds-barred sex, voyeurism, and some self-loving. Also betrayal and some graphic (but never gratuitous) battle violence.



  1. Morning, Mary!
    Thanks so much for having me here! Love the site! Hope we have lots of company today. I brought the coffee - you got the cookies, right?

  2. Sure, chocolate chip! Along with donuts and cinnamon rolls. Thanks for visiting today, Renee, and for bringing the awesome party gift of a Riever's Heart ARC!

  3. Wow. Just read your interview and the premise. Both have me hooked. Renee has the ability to remind us that it isn't the destination, but the journey, that makes each character whole. And it helps if your companion is easy on the eyes. Congrats, Dee.
    Your friend, Toni K.

  4. Congratulations on your upcoming release!
    Great interview,and thank you for sharing a bit of yourself...*S*
    I know well about going against what is expected of you and what you want, and trying to find a balance without losing yourself.
    I am not a gamer, but fell in love with a computer game, and got so hooked on it...*S* I don't think many know it "Ultima", and have managed to play to to Ultima 7, but I have them all up through to the last release some time ago, but never brave enough to play the online version.
    Thank you for sharing a part of your new release and I've got it on my gotta have list, and can't wait to read it..*S*


  5. Great post. Loved the parallels between what you've been through and what your character has. Very poignant, especially with the choices you've had to make and the backup plans and insecurities.

    Jeanette Grey
    jeanettelgrey @ gmail

  6. Hey everyone!
    Good morning! Nice of you to stop by. I think people will be able to relate to Verdeen and maybe see a part of themselves in her journey. Can't wait to have her out in the real world.

    Life's all about choices, consequences and compromises!

  7. Hi Renee! I'm glad to see this book be released. I enjoyed the first couple of chapters you let me read after the WisRWA conference a couple of years ago. Best of luck with sales!

  8. thanx Helen!
    you should SEE it now! a lot changed during editing, but much better! I love my editor!

  9. I love horses although I've never owned my own.
    Yours are beautiful!
    Your book sounds like a love story with real depth
    and I'm anxious to read it.

  10. Renee,

    Congratulations on your upcoming release! I'm so glad I got to learn a few things about your background. Every choice you made led to this current path and as a reader I'm overjoyed! Sounds a little stalkerish, but when I read a book blurb or excerpt, I always wonder about the author and what they're like. Now, I've got a developing picture in my head!

    I can't wait to read Riever's Heart!


  11. Renee - Congrats on your upcoming release. I have all of the other books in this series and cannot wait to read this one too. :)

  12. sounds like a great book . congrats on the upcoming release

  13. I can't wait until Tuesday! It's so exciting to have something new out there for everyone! You all have been so patient with me - I write slow, but I hope they're worth the wait!

  14. Renee, it's so great to have you visit! Thanks for your terrific blog (and bringing the coffee--yum)

    Huge thanks to everyone for visiting and your wonderful comments! I think I speak for Renee too when I say love reading them. Comments are still open, so please feel free!

    I do have to mention--you can preorder Renee's book from Samhain, with a *great* discount now through release week :)

    Happy Friday!

  15. Hi Renee. Sorry I am late. Thought I already was here. LOL. Congrats on your upcoming book release. Cannot wait for it. That cover is so beautiful. Your horses are so pretty.
    Sue B

  16. Good luck with your book! The cover's gorgeous, it definitely sounds like an intriguing story! You have horses, luck girl.

    I've always wanted a horse of my own; it's not cards yet but I haven't given up yet!

    Again good luck with this new book!


  17. Hi Sue & Gabby!
    Nice of you both to drop by! Will be having a "Meet Verdeen" party over at the Samhain Cafe on Sunday night if you want to check out excerpts and more Riever's Heart gossip!

  18. Hi Renee,
    Congratulations on the upcoming release. I enjoyed learning about Verdeen and you. Thank you for a chance to win. I want this book.

    reneebennett35 at yahoo dot com

  19. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! This book is near and dear to my heart! Verdeen's really grown into a strong, decisive woman with a good heart. Can't wait for everyone to meet her!



    Please email me at or and let me know what format you want it in! Congrats! Hope you enjoy!

  21. Congratulations, Phoebe!

    Thank you to everyone who visited! Good to see you here!