Sunday, April 20, 2014

New Guest Blog by Author Tami Veldura

The first idea for Spring Tide hit me while watching the teaser trailer for the movie SEAL Team 6. In the trailer a group of men have the codename Whiplash and I immediately filed that away for a Zodiac Forces story to write some time in the future. At first I expected to write an M/M, up until then all I'd written was gay romance or erotica so it was less of a decision and more of an expectation. Somewhere in my head, a guy in the Cancer branch of my privatized military group had the codename Whiplash.

But the first scene that came to me when I started to outline this story changed everything. Not only is Whiplash a woman, she's not even a part of the romantic story. The tale I needed to tell was standing right next to Whiplash. Her down-to-earth partner Cardinal and the trouble they get into off the coast of Italy with a woman known as Wildflower. 

I usually can't tell you what first inspires a story. It'll be an image, a feeling, a line of dialog or one of those Top Ten Acts That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity lists you find all over Huffington Post. Any and all of these things float around in my head until two of them crash together and a brilliant idea that someone has already thought of is birthed in screaming light in the far reaches of my brain. If I'm lucky this baby idea latches onto a stray character, or brings one into being with it. Otherwise that thought sits in a file on my computer until such a character arrives.

So, while Whiplash wasn't the romantic focus of my new pirate adventure story, she was pivotal to its creation. She reminded me that heroes aren't always men and that princesses can rescue each other from the dragons of the world. From there it was obvious: Whiplash and Cardinal- a bond of friendship and cooperation- formed the basis of Spring Tide. And their mission, what was supposed to be a routine smuggling bust, became so much more.

Writing Spring Tide made me consider gender differently than I had before. I've always wanted to write about different relationships- lesbian, transgender characters, genderfluid, asexual- they all fascinate me. But I held back. I didn't want to do it wrong. I didn't know how to write a girl. Nevermind, that I'm female. I've never had many women friends and my brother and I joke that he received the 'girly' gene from Mom. I couldn't write a girly girl. I didn't know how. I didn't like them. 

Until Whiplash came along, it never occurred to me to write a girl like me. Blame it on society or a lack of diverse representation or just me being dense - Spring Tide was as much a eureka moment for me as an author as it was a stretch out of my comfort zone. Drafting made me realize my own ingrained sexism. The gender of a character cannot dictate the actions of that character. I had to let go of the understanding that 'girls act like X' after all, wasn't I proof that not all of them did? Don't I have friends that break this mold?

Wildflower, Cardinal, and Whiplash don't solve each other's problems, they help each other solve their own. Strength isn't measured by how well you fire a gun or how many martial art styles you know- it's felt in how you struggle with those you love to bring them higher, and in doing so, lift yourself.

Spring Tide is a romp of an adventure story. Pirates, drugs, kidnapping and smuggling as far as the eye can see. There's buried treasure, gun fights, and high speed motor boat chases. Enjoy it in an afternoon with laughter.

Then come back to it when you want a story about real life.

Read between the lines and see how family ties can be the weakest of links, how the situations of life can overwhelm us, and how accidental discoveries can change entire lives. Watch a wretched situation get worse before it gets better. But it also see those same overwhelmed accidental princesses saving themselves from their fate. 


Cancer is the watercraft-branch of the privatized Zodiac Forces. If you can float a boat, you'll find Cancer operatives on the water investigating. Whiplash and Cardinal are two soldiers off the coast of Italy, hot on the trail of an ivory smuggling gang.

Instead of ivory they find a message in a bottle calling for help. It's ten years old and the case is probably cold, but Whiplash knows a proper adventure when she sees one and Cardinal is along for the ride. It gets personal when the trail leads back to the very smugglers they were tracking. Both Whip and Cards are kidnapped and the woman who threw that message in a bottle locks Cardinal in the forward berth of the ship herself.

Was it a trap for the Zodiac women or does the lady pirate want out? Separated from her partner and supplies, it's up to Cards to keep it together and get herself free. If it means pretending to cooperate, even pretending to fall in love, Cardinal won't pull any punches.

It doesn't matter what hand she's dealt, this Cancer knows how to stack the deck.

Less Than Three Press: Less Than Three Press Website 
Tami's Website:
Twitter: @tamiveldura

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