Hello and welcome, readers! My name is Rhi Etzweiler, and I’m here to share some tidbits about my latest Riptide release, Fragile Bond. Thank you for the warm welcome today, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Before I start rambling though, release week contest!
This bookmark was commissioned exclusively for the promo tour. I managed to steal one of Marc’s dogtags and shipped it off to Freia Inguz Artisan Jewelry, asked her to work some magic. This custom piece also features a bead of certified white amber, the color of Hamm’s mane. And I’m going to give it away. Yep, this gorgeous one-of-a-kind shiny is for you guys!
The contest works like this: there are three questions listed below. To enter, send an email with your name and your three answers to email@example.com. These questions have been specifically drafted so that the answers cannot be found in the available excerpt; you’ll have to purchase and read the book to find them! Your submitted answers must be correct in order to qualify as an entry into the drawing. You may send a replacement entry if you like (in the event that you think you might’ve sent an incorrect answer) but each individual can only be entered into the drawing once. All entries must be received before Sunday, February 24th, 11:59pm EST. Entries received after that time will not qualify. One winner will be selected at random from qualifying entries and announced on Monday, February 25th at Haus of Rhi (rhianonetzweiler.blogspot.com). If winner does not respond within 48 hours with a valid postal address, an alternate winner will be drawn from qualifying entries. This contest is open to US residents only, for shipping purposes.
Question 1: What are the names of the three humans on the C-C team?
Question 2: To what does Sierra-India refer?
Question 3: What substance are the scientists after?
The character in Fragile Bond that flowed the easiest for me was Hamm. Most of this is because of his blended nature, the whole tug-of-war inside him between intellect and instinct. Throughout the course of the story he spends as much time fighting himself as he does struggling against the invading human faction of which Marc’s a member. He expends so much energy resisting what he wants, denying that self-acceptance out of a sense of duty and responsibility, of priority.
Another aspect that made his character so enjoyable to write was the way the furrs communicate isn’t limited to audible sounds and body language. So much of what they convey is in scent, as well. Smells are as much a language to them as words and gestures. It was a way of taking an old writing lesson a step further. I recall people-watching with such diligence when I was a younger writer, as much as one can people-watch without anyone assuming I was a psychologically unbalanced stalker who needed an escort back to the closest residential ward. And then I went through a phase where I would sit with my eyes closed and just listen. To words and tone, to the cadence of sounds. Some rushed their words as though flushing them out of their mouths while others enunciated slowly, every syllable were a sip of fine wine worthy of savoring. Somewhere along the way I realized that how people communicated was just as important as what they communicated—especially in a story, where these nuances could be powerful tools of characterization. Every little piece conveys something of the character to the reader, from the first impression to the last. And it seems like such a simple thing, right? It’s a duh-level thing.
All the important details are that way. They’re little, they’re simple. But how they’re combined and brought together, highlighted in their presentation to the reader, that’s how the story transforms from just a story into this richly woven tale that grabs the reader by the nape and body-slams them slack-jawed into the mat without any warning. There is just something I love about that. About doing that to readers, as much as reading stories that do that to me, in turn. I’m not so much one for the emotional roller coasters and tsunamis of angst, but I’m all about drowning in the richness of a well-crafted story, losing my sense of self in the details that make a thousand threads in a Persian rug.
Marc Staille and his trusty rifle, Mat, are on bodyguard duty at a mining
operation on a backwater planet. The resource-rich valley is crawling with
tawnies, the native dirt-colored predators. Huge things that hunt in packs and
kill as well with tooth and claw as Marc ever has with Mat.
The rules change when a tawny uses an unexpected weapon: pheromones.
Commander Hamm Orsonna, leader of the fefa clan, is determined to chase off the invading aliens. The one he sets out to capture for intel is scrawny and hairless, not very intimidating—until it takes out his entire squad. Seasoned warriors, felled from halfway down the valley by its metal death stick.
Their sacrifice may be worth it, though. The alien male smells like he’s interested in making things right. He smells of other things too, but nobody else seems to notice. Before long, Hamm finds himself fighting off his own kind to defend the alien, who might be his people’s only hope for peace, and Hamm’s only chance for happiness.
About Rhi Etzweiler
Rhi’s formative years were spent steeped in military culture, and it influences every story—with a definitive twist. Though focusing mainly on science fiction and fantasy, Rhi enjoys spicing things up with a speculative mixture that sometimes defies an easy label. Next to Elizabeth Moon and Meredith Ann Pierce, Rhi counts Jane’s Defense and Popular Science among still-strong influences.
For Rhi, writing is how the muses tell their stories. They might begin small, but they rarely remain so. “Some of them require luring or bribery to draw them out. Usually wine and chocolate work well. Other times, all it takes is a little art. But once they realize I’m listening, they will just keep going.”
You can find Rhi on your favorite social media site with these links:
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org