Author Interview: Tami Veldura

Tami Veldura is the author of Dawn Patrol, a short 10k M/M romance about a surfer and an artist.

Sie says: “It’s going to be the first in a series contemporary stand alone stories set in the fictional Washington state town of Tidewater. It’s scheduled for release on July 28.

I’ve been publishing since 2010, cut my teeth writing fanfiction and fantasy roleplay, and this will be my 16th story published either through a press or self. I’ve released books with NineStar, Less Than Three Press, Bottom Drawer Publications, DreamKeeper Publications, and I have a short on submission with Dreamspinner.”

What’s your writing process like? Are you a planner or do you fly by the seat of your pants? A little bit of both?

I’m 100% a planner. Ideas start on their own file in a folder I call the Idea Box. If they have legs they’ll be moved to one of my penname folders as I develop an outline. By the time I have an outline finished I know if I want to submit the story or self-publish it, which may be dictated by content. The drafting part is hardest for me, so I try and write the story in one big push, handing it over to my editor right away. I really enjoy revision and editing, though, so I take my time once I get the story back, massaging it into something great. Then it’s off to the proofreader, the details are formatted, and it’s published!

What writing program do you use and why?

I write either in google docs (outline, ideas, notes) or (drafting). 4thewords is a gamified website that rewards wordcount as you do battle against monsters with loot. The story progresses as you move through the quests. I ADORE this website. I’m so glad a friend of mine found and told me about it!

What do you read for inspiration?

What I read depends on what I’m writing or outlining. I’m currently about to draft a science fiction military story so I’m reading The Intrepid Saga by M.D. Cooper, which is a hard military scifi quartet. (I’m loving it) My Patrons get a regular serial story featuring vampires that’s dark and twisted.I recently went on a very dark binge and read through Dark Silence by Katze Snow and Susanna Hays, Spoils of War by Hannah Walker, the Beautiful Monsters trilogy by Jex Lane (much adore!), Call the Coroner by Avril Ashtton and Kraken by M. Caspian (heart eyes!). I have KU so I get a lot of my reading chosen through Amazon’s suggestion list.

How do you unwind?

Reading, videogames, and browsing the internet are my go-to hobbies for relaxing. I’m working through Slime Rancher on PC, Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4, Wolf Among Us on Xbox One, and Pokemon X on my nintendo handheld. I can spend an entire day browsing Imgur, Tumblr, and Pinterest if I let myself XD

Which do you prefer: happily ever after, happy for now, or rocks fall everybody dies endings?

I prefer MURDER which makes for awkward romances, let me tell you. I had a conversation with my writing friends about a marriage scene that followed a big dramatic fight. Would a dead body in the background be a total mood killer? The dead body was not a popular idea. Ok, what about half a body? I was informed half a body was NOT better. So… there’s no body. 🙁

Do you write better in sunny weather or rainy weather?

Sunny sunny sunny! I have clinical/seasonal depression and even an overcast day can really get to me. Thankfully there’s a cheerful cafe in a nearby inland town that I love working at, so I can get away from the coastal weather if I need to. I’m very open about my mental health, I chat about it regularly on twitter.

What social network do you use most often and why?

Twitter! I love twitter. I use it constantly and I’m always looking for interesting people to follow and talk to. Come find me: @tamiveldura. I usually end up chatting in long threads when something interesting happens in my life to make reading easy.

Elias lives for the waves. He’s been surfing off the Tidewater coast since he could crawl, and the connection he’s forged with the ocean is fundamental. Every morning he shares a ritual swim with the local pod of dolphins. Elias is desperate to find a way to express what the sand and the sea mean to him, and local artist Theo could be just what he needs.

Theo’s art has helped him move mountains. It granted him freedom from abusive family and supports his quiet lifestyle. He’s ready for more. So when muscle-bound Elias commissions him for a mural on his bedroom wall, Theo has more than one reason to take the job. It’s time to reach with his heart, an easy thing when Elias is so eager to share what’s in his.

Water is essential when painting, and color is what brings the ocean to life. Elias and Theo were made for each other. It’s only a matter of time before Tidewater brings them together.

Available at Amazon Kobo B&N Smashwords

Long after the dolphins swam on, and Ro waved his good-bye from the shore, Elias dragged himself onto the beach. He hefted the longboard. His legs wiggled like rubber and his low back was exhausted, but he’d do it all again to feel the curve of his muscles working against the power of the water.

He let his longboard’s tail block rest on the sand and turned back to look at the waves. The water was choppier now, a little uneven at the bottom of the tide. It always got muddy as it started to reverse. The waves would be crap for the rest of the day and the evening called for heavy winds. This was probably his last surf until tomorrow morning. If by some miracle the water glassed off, Ro would call.

Elias turned and was hit broadside by a bright pair of eyes boring into his. He stiffened at the aggression he sensed. He didn’t want to get into it today, the ocean didn’t belong to anyone. The man didn’t soften his look, though, and belatedly Elias realized his hand was moving rapidly over a board.

Not a local here to claim his turf, an artist. Drawing him? Elias glanced about himself and saw no one else. When he looked up, the man had leaned back in his chair and was paging through what appeared to be an entire book of sketches. He wanted to see them. How did he look rendered from another man’s hand?

Elias licked his lips and hefted the board. He walked across the sand and let the heavy wood thunk into the ground beside the artist’s chair. “Were you just drawing me?”

The artist looked up, wide-eyed. His tousled, streaked hair looked like he’d simply rolled out of bed and dragged himself to the beach. His hand came over the top of his book, folding the cover down carefully. Elias realized he was now the aggressive party. He cleared his throat, “I wanted to take a look. If that’s ok?”

“Oh…” He didn’t open the sketchbook.

Elias set his board down in the sand. He’d have to rinse it later anyway. He crouched and offered his hand. “Sorry, rude of me. I’m Elias.”

The artist showed his hand and chuckled, “Yeah, I’m a bit of a mess.” He was covered it charcoal smears. “But I’m Theo… You’re really good out there.”

Elias shrugged. “It’s practice. Like anything else. Loving it doesn’t hurt.” He grinned.

The artist opened his sketchbook. “That’s what these are, too, just practice.”

Elias leaned in as Theo flipped up page after page. Each image captured a motion: a wave, a surfer, a line of action. “Hey, that’s Ro.” Elias put his hand on Theo’s to stop the page turning. Theo’s knuckles were warm from the sun. “You really got his power on the shortboard, look at that carve…”

“Ro,” Theo said. “The black guy?”

“Yeah, he’s a monster on the waves. He’s always been better than me.”

Theo paged through his book and revealed another sketch of Ro, this time the man stood on the beach, waving. Elias shook his head. “This is remarkable. You’ve only used two lines, but that’s Ro.”

Theo leaned up in his chair. “Well you see this edge, here? He’s got a well-defined chest so that was an important corner to get right. The rest of him is all curve, all his weight is down in his legs so I marked those in with thicker lines. It’s about seeing where the shapes are going.”

“It’s like magic,” Elias insisted. As Theo paged through more sketches, he asked, “Do you sell these? Is being an artist your day job?”

“Yeah. Sometimes I’ve sold prints of my stuff, oh— here.” Theo produced a business card that Elias turned over and over in his hand.

He stopped the page-turning to peer at a slight sketch of the water, just the curling wave as it crested, captured with a single, slim line. Theo could capture his dolphins like this. Elias was sure of it. “So, can I commission you? How does that work?”

“Sure. What are you thinking of?”

“Well I have this wall in my bedroom that needs something on it. And I have an idea but I don’t know how to do it.” Elias stood, turning Theo’s card over in his hand. “Do you have a surfboard?”

“No, but I have a kayak.” Theo squinted up at him, hand blocking the sun.

Elias nodded. “That’ll work. There’s something you’ll have to see. I won’t be able to explain it. Could you meet me here tomorrow at four?”

“In the afternoon?” A shrug, “Sure, that’s—”

“No, sorry.” Elias put his hand on Theo’s shoulder. It was firm under his palm. “Four in the morning.”

Theo’s arm shifted under his hand. “The sun isn’t even up then.” But he smiled a little. “Yeah, I can be here.”

“Cool.” Elias pulled his hand back even though he didn’t really want to leave. Theo was quiet, almost contained, in ways that Ro never was, and it drew Elias closer. But he was running out of legitimate conversation. “See you tomorrow, then. Don’t forget the kayak.”

He grabbed his board and jogged away before he could do something embarrassing. He thought he felt Theo’s eyes follow him and flushed. He grinned at himself. They’d see each other tomorrow. He was already excited.

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