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Guest Blogger: Renee Wildes
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Conquering Fear

by Renee Wildes

I am a true April Taurus—earthbound, practical, stubborn and temperamental. 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 motivator.

I’ve always been a tomboy, preferring horses to boys growing up. 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 was where you’d find me. Very glamorous stuff. Now, I’ve always been afraid of heights. Like—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, from atop Devil’s Rock. Guarded by all manner of…rattlesnakes. Saw two, sunning on the rocks. So there I was on a snake-infested rock atop 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 a 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 backwards 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 walk down the wall.

Sure. Uh huh. (Never said I was a BRIGHT kid. Well, okay, I was. Straight A nerd.) And Mr. Snyder was right there like some hairy bearded cheerleader from Buffy saying stupid things like, “It’s easy. You can do this. Nothing stops you. Just leeeeeean back and walk down.”

But it was my best friend stating “Don’t be such a chicken shit” 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.

That’s how I tackle life. 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 try to let the quality bleed off into my characters. Set them up against a bad situation 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.

In RIEVER’S HEART, the heroine Verdeen goes to the Icelandic-esque kingdom of Isadorykja with the hero, Daq Aryk. They have to climb a mountain and cross a glacier, and when a crevasse breaks open and an avalanche starts, she has to face her own fears:

They continued on. Rounding a clump of boulders like scattered marbles, Aryk paused and frowned as he eyed the path ahead. A fine latticework of ice crystals covered the surface, as if it had melted and refrozen. He crouched down, pointed to a jagged line transecting the snow. Valkyn studied it as well and nodded.

“What?” Verdeen whispered.

“Partial thaw,” Aryk replied. “Might’ve weakened this area. We cross above that line.”

“Spread out,” Valkyn advised.

They proceeded with caution. Verdeen watched Fiske. The dog’s fur stood on end as he sniffed the air and paced back and forth, stayed close to Aryk. Snow creaked and crunched underfoot, as if the Horn groaned at their intrusion. Verdeen shuddered. Ominous clouds crept across the sky. The dim light pressed like a physical weight against her. She tried to convince herself ’twas just her imagination, but the Horn no longer felt benign. It felt like ’twas waiting…

A sharp crack and Fiske’s startled yelp were the sole warnings as the snow collapsed beneath the dog’s paws, and he dropped. Verdeen choked down a scream as he disappeared into the ground. Aryk hurled himself to the snow, clutching the line. Slowly, he wound the line around his hands, drawing the dog back up with every coil. Verdeen didn’t dare move, scarce dared breathe, as Valkyn crept forward on his belly to the edge of the newly opened crevasse and grabbed Fiske’s harness when the dog came within range, hauling him back onto solid ground. The shaking, whimpering dog tottered over to Aryk, who wasted no time in yanking off his gloves and pulling the dog close enough to bury his face in Fiske’s red fur.

Verdeen’s heart thundered as Valkyn eased away from the treacherous opening. They’d almost lost Fiske. She’d gotten attached in just a few days. How much worse for Aryk, who’d raised him from a pup?

The sharp cracking continued. With a monstrous roar, everything on the lower side of the opening fell away, thundering down the slope in a wall of frozen white. They flung themselves to the ground as the slide fell away, shaking the Horn.

Aryk and Valkyn crawled over to her as the shaking stopped. Aryk reached across the snow to lay a reassuring hand over hers. She was grateful for the comfort as she clambered to her feet and looked down in dismay. Their way was blocked; too unstable to risk it.

Fantasy Romance Author Renee Wildes writes the “Guardians of Light” series for Samhain Publishing. She lives in central WI with hubby, 2 kids, a calico cat, a black Chow, and 2 gray half-Arab 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…

Riever’s Heart is out in ebook TODAY Sept. 27, 2011, from Samhain Publishing. Click on the cover to purchase.

13 comments to “Guest Blogger: Renee Wildes”

  1. Nicole Passante
    · September 27th, 2011 at 9:09 am · Link

    Oh how your story speaks to my heart!!! LOL, I’m a Gemini but right the cusp of Taurus so maybe that’s why. But my husband always says that there was a mix up and I have a male brain. I would have had to conquer that rock as well for the sheer competitiveness of it and pride that I could do it. Or maybe it comes from having two older brothers to swing on ropes into lakes, fish and play football with that did it. But I have had time with anything female for as long as I can remember, sometimes I just don’t understand women. Either way you miss out on those awe inspiring moments in live if you let fear drive you eh?

  2. Renee Wildes
    · September 27th, 2011 at 10:13 am · Link

    You’ve got it! I always thought tomboys have more fun! Nothing gets the blood pumping like fear, but nothing is more empowering that conquering that fear!

  3. Mary Hughes
    · September 27th, 2011 at 10:40 am · Link

    Great blog, Renee! The courage to overcome fear coming from stubbornness, amazing. Must be why I love your heroines. 🙂 Thanks for the heart-pounding excerpt!

  4. Renee Wildes
    · September 27th, 2011 at 11:49 am · Link

    Tami was like “I can’t you believe you almost killed Fiske!” She takes her critters very seriously. But the operative word is ALMOST. With mountains, glaciers, all that snow and an early thaw – I had to play around with that!

    Their detour takes them deep into enemy territory…and so the adventure continues…bwahahaha…

  5. Becky W
    · September 27th, 2011 at 1:29 pm · Link

    Great blog Renee! I like how you tackle life. Sometimes I am that way, but there is a lot of times I’m not. I usually don’t let fear stop me, but there is times I will not take the courage and move forward. I loved the excerpt for RIEVER’S HEART. I will have to get this book. Thanks for sharing how you conquer fear.

  6. tammy ramey
    · September 27th, 2011 at 2:12 pm · Link

    great post, the book sounds wonderful and i can’t wait to read it.

  7. sue brandes
    · September 27th, 2011 at 5:19 pm · Link

    I was alittle bit of a tomboy when I was younger. Always wanted to do what my dad was doing. Am scared of heights too. Don’t think I will ever conquer it either. LOL. You have a great attitude on life. Can’t wait to read your new book.

  8. Renee Wildes
    · September 27th, 2011 at 5:42 pm · Link

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I have to admit prudence comes into play now w/age (& wisdom?) – esp. when it comes to my kids! I can sympathize with their spirit of adventure, but the mom in me is like, “Yikes!”

    I’ve also done caving – THAT came into play in Dust of Dreams. Hey, they say “Write what you know!”

  9. Shadow
    · September 27th, 2011 at 6:24 pm · Link

    Hi! Great post! Your book sounds very good. 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us!

  10. Renee Wildes
    · September 27th, 2011 at 6:39 pm · Link

    😀 😀 Hi Shadow!
    Hit Top 100 New Fantasy Romance on Amazon Kindle! Yay! (also #1 Fantasy on Samhain site)

  11. Janet
    · September 28th, 2011 at 12:21 am · Link

    I’m a Taurus also, and stubborn as a bull (says my husband). Your book sounds great.

  12. Shadow
    · September 28th, 2011 at 2:37 am · Link

    Thats awesome! Congrats Renee! 🙂

  13. Renee Wildes
    · September 28th, 2011 at 7:06 am · Link

    Thanks Janet & Shadow! Yesterday was a good day! Looking forward to today!

Comments are closed.