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Saturday, July 30, 2011


I am a true April Taurus--earthbound, practical, stubborn and tempermental. My life is ruled by fear. In true "bull" fashion, I tend to meet it head-on. It's what drives me, not a weakness but a supreme motivator.
I've always been a tomboy, preferring horses to boys growing up. *GASP* "'re a ROMANCE AUTHOR!" Well, what can I say? I was a late bloomer.
I belonged to the Wilderness Challenge Club in high school (Wisconsin Academy in Columbus, WI). Whitewater rafting, caving, rappelling, canoeing... If it meant sunburn, mosquitoes and getting dirty--that's where you'd find me. Very glamorous stuff! Now, I've always been afraid of heights. Like, as in freeze-atop-a-6-ft-ladder scared of heights. We won't even mention airplanes.
Sedatives. LOTS of sedatives...
So the first time I went rappelling was at Devil's Lake, atop Devil's Rock. Guarded by all manner of...rattlesnakes. One of our beloved guy-friends thought it was a riot sneaking up behind the girls and shaking a rattle (the actual snake had long since been removed) in their ears. HE thought it was hysterically funny.
I'll never tell where we hid his body...
I'm not that crazy about snakes, either. Snakes or heights. So what the heck was I doing out there anyway? We saw two real rattlers sunning on the rocks. There I was in a snake-infested rock stop the world. Beautiful view. Wasted on a sixteen-year-old in a cold sweat. See, the secret to rappelling is to WALK down the rock face. Anyone who's walked across the floor knows the easiest way to do that is to be perpendicular to the floor surface. So if the floor surface is almost entirely vertical, that means the walker gets to be the one who's horizontal. And that translates into standing backward at the edge of a cliff, the true ground several hundred feet below, and leaning back against a rope-and-nylon-harness affair into thin air until you're lying down on NOTHING--
--and then you walk down the wall.
Sure, uh huh. (Never said I was a bright kid. Well, okay I was. Straight A nerd, both HS & college.) And our faculty advisor Mr. Snyder was there like some hairy bearded cheerleader from Buffy saying stupid things like, "It's easy. You can do this. Nothing stops you. Just leeeean back and walk down."
But it was my best friend Annette stating "Don't be such a chickensh*t" that got me going. Okay, it took me 20 minutes of whimpering like a toy poodle in a thunderstorm before I leaned back enough to start walking. Reaching the bottom to more Buffy-reject cheering felt like conquering Mount Everest.
I let fear motivate me into moving, defeating, conquering. It can either stop you or get you going. Being a Taurus, stubbornness gets me a long way through life. As a writer I let that quality bleed off into my tomboy heroines. Set them up against a bad situaltion some would consider impossible. But the character just takes a deep breath, says "Who if not me?" and forges on to start, to try.
And so the stories go.
Renee Wildes writes the Guardians of Light fantasy romance series for Samhain Publishing, which have consistently been LASR 5-book winners. She lives in central WI w/hubby, 2 kids, a calico cat, a black Chow and 2 grey Morab mares. She still considers herself a tomboy although she hasn't hoofed it down Devil's Rock in years. Nowadays writing, reading and scrapbooking occupy her time--when she's not prying her kids out of a tree or off the ROOF...
Her newest book Riever's Heart comes out 9/27/11. Book 5 in Guardians of Light series, it features the ultimate tomboy, elven vertenya warrior Verdeen trying to learn to balance woman and warrior.


katsrus said...

Oh Renee I HATE heights!!! I think you did pretty good going down that rock. I tried to walk up at steep rock once in Devil's Lake and I got about 1/4 the way up and slowly came back down. LOL. Daughter and friend made it to the top. *SIGH* I am really looking forward to this book.
Sue Brandes

Renee Wildes said...

Devils' Lake is soooo pretty, but the things MacGyver made look easy! Sheesh!

booklover0226 said...

Hi, Renee.

I enjoyed reading your post; it was quite interesting and entertaining. I look forward in reading the Guardians of Light series.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Renee Wildes said...

Thanks Tracey!
If you enjoy books where "stuff happens" then you've come to the right place! Verdeen definitely gives Aryk a challenge!

Na said...

I happen to be a Gemini and appropritately so since I am quite stubborn, hard-headed at times but in a blink can also be calm and level-headed. I grew up a tomboy and even now am still a tomboy so it's no surprise I like reading about tomboy heroines. I find them much more fun than the prim and proper ones :) Of course the girl in me really enjoy romantic elements in story.

Renee Wildes said...

What's fun is when the tomboy find love, discoveres that they can be BOTH!

Jo was my favorite character in Little Women, BTW!

Toni said...

Ok that is pure craziness!!! You are a very brave soul to do what you did. Great job! Not sure I would do it *shivers*.


Renee Wildes said...

LOL Toni!

Yeah, looking back was like, OMG. But when you're sixteen you think you'll live forever! I love the outdoors, but prefer to stay closer to the ground!

Stacie said...

I was a Tomboy too. I still prefer pants to skirts. I like reading about tough, capable heroines.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Robin said...

Yikes, I would not have wanted to be in that situation!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Renee Wildes said...

Morning Stacie!
My girls definitely can take care of themselves. Even if they get in too deep, they keep their heads. I hate shrieking helpless damsels in distress - MEM "Marian" in Robin Hood (Prince of Thieves) screamed WAY too much in the final fight scene!

Renee Wildes said...

Morning Robin!

Ya know, it was scary, but looking back at it now it's good for (1)being able to dip into that level of visceral fear and (2)for knowing how the euphoria feels for accomplishing something you KNEW you could never do!

In hindsite we call that research.

Back then my mother called it "Are you NUTS???"

JohnF said...

Great cover! Best of luck!

Renee Wildes said...

Thanks John!