Steam Scenes

Born to be wild.

Show Notes

This episode‚Äôs steam talker is Renee Rocco. After a thirteen-year hiatus, Renee returned to romancelandia with Wraith, the first book in her gloriously sexy Masters of Mayhem series. We talk about ignoring the romance haters, taking time off to start her own romance imprint that was bought out by Harlequin, and writing at the intersection of sex and violence. She also shares some fun facts about she makes her husband squirm! 
 
Follow Renee online:
https://reneerocco.com/
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@reneeroccoauthor
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/renee-rocco
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reneeroccoauthor/
 

What is Steam Scenes?

Contemporary romance author Elle Greco is joined by her fellow romance authors to talk about writing all the naughty bits.

Steam Scenes Episode 34: Renee Rocco

Elle
After a 13 year hiatus, Renee's return to writing allows her to spend her days behind the scenes for a New York publisher with her night spent indulging in the wicked world of her anti heroes. Beneath the glamour of work from home mom duties. She's a suburban misfit, who always has a sarcastic comment at the ready. Whether the situation calls for one or not. She's not Instagram ready, or speakerphone friendly. We've all been warned. Welcome to steam seasons, Rene. It's so much fun to have you here. Thank you so much. It's fun to be here. I can I just say you are tearing up Tick Tock. Not Yes, you are. I love you on there. I am so awkward. I think I have like, what three tic tocs up and I feel like such an ass every day.

Renee
My husband and my daughters, they push me to go on there. And I'm like, No, no, no. I'm like, so shy and awkward. And then I don't know, I just have one on there. I think I'm ridiculous. In real life, I'm just ridiculous.

Elle
You are so good on it. You're so good. You have no idea. I'm like always watching your videos. And I'm like, Oh, she's so good at those.

Renee
She's so good at that. That was in tries to get like the one that I'm like, Alright, I don't look that bad. So no, no, no, but thank you. I know, right? It's like, I'm

Elle
always like, do it again. Do it again. Like how long does it take you to make one because I swear I'm like hours?

Renee
Okay, truth. Okay, so you would you'd be surprised. So this simple one. Take me back forever. There really? No, I don't know why. And then like, the ones that you would think would take the everteam in two seconds. Really, really strange. And I hate talking. Because I don't think people get to hear I have this really thick New York accent that I really don't like. So if I have to talk those who want to take me forever to me, because it's like, oh, no, you could really hear it. And then like I tried to, like not sound so bad. But you know. be surprised which ones take me like two seconds and which ones like 15,000 drafts to get the right one.

Elle
I gotta tell you your l lip synching is on point. I watch you and I'm like, how did she do that? There's no lag. There is no lag.

Renee
It is so fuckingbad. Thinking when I was a kid to like Madonna. Cyndi Lauper. Yeah. I'm not only going to be 40 so it was a lot of lip synching to like really? cheesy Disco Song.

Elle
We are the same vintage. We are the same vintage.

Renee
I like rock now. So I was thinking to myself in my in you know my late fee.

Elle
Look, we all have a soft spot for Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. And actually Cyndi is considered more of the like, sort of new wave the cure. Like they kind of lump her in there now. Yeah.

Renee
They welcomed her in. Yes. Yeah. I'm still like all about like, when I write, I have to write to candlebox. And, you know, Bush and Metallica and Korn. I'm all about the corner. My older daughter she she's diggin that now. So it's pretty cool. So like, concert. She's going to a Korn concert in August.

Elle
Oh, that's really cool. I cuz I love Korn. But I'm always like, is Korn still a thing? Like, I'm not sure.

Renee
Yeah. Are they I'm like so happy. Not so old. Here, I'm like, No girl, you're old. You're old.

Elle
I just use Korn in my work in progress. Like yesterday, I wrote out a scene and Korn. Yeah, and Korn is like features prominently in it. So

Renee
I put that in, I put that in my writing. I always have to, like, you know, give a shout out to the songs as it is, you know, as I'm writing. I'm like, Okay, you got to you know, let them let the readers know that this is what I'm writing to. And then I always put the playlist in the beginning of the song and people actually follow me on Spotify, which is pretty cool. That's great.

Elle
Nobody follows me I always a few people do but I always have my playlists up you know that I can't listen to music with lyrics and right that distracts me. So I do like a lot of trance when I'm writing if I'm listening to something or like movie soundtracks, I'm so I'm so like, I can't believe you can listen, you can listen to songs with lyrics while you write. That's really cool because I can't do

Renee
upon sometimes like my husband left cuz I'm like, I'll start singing along this long. He's like, really? I'm like, Okay, I know. I don't even sing good. But just, you know, pretend I'm not. And then like, then I was like, like, top of my head. Oh, no way I'm writing Nevermind. You get lost in it sometimes. My family they know almost the world.

Elle
I know I'm so easily distracted that it's sort of like I've got to kind of like cut my losses and just try to focus

Renee
We are you because you didn't mention in my bio that it's been 13 years that I was in hiatus, and it really wasn't a hiatus. I actually walked away from writing I had never planned to write again. There was like a whole big thing. I don't really like to go into it humans like, privately I do. But, you know, there was like a little bit of a big kind of private drama going on

Elle
A hiccup, as they say.

Renee
A little bit of a hiccup. I mean, you know, I mean, I guess like mental health is a big thing now, but I was like, really, um, I actually wrote a memoir about it, and then they kind of pulled it pulled it out. I published it, then I pulled it off the virtual shelf. I was I went to like, a really bad depression. After I had my first daughter. I did in vitro fertilization. Okay. Like back to back. Wow, that mess. Yeah, that messes you up, like really, really bad. And I everyone knew it. And I didn't. So everyone kind of knew I went bananas. But, and I was fine. Everyone's like, You're, you're not fine. No, I really am. And so I really wasn't.

Elle
I mean, it's sort of like, Can I ask, is it sort of like postpartum depression but like extreme?

Renee
Yes. A lot of kinds of postpartum depression on you want to harm? Okay, I don't want to speak to everyone. But from what I've heard, you want to harm your baby. You know, some people they want to do that I kind of went in the other extreme, where I went very possessive, over my older daughter, where I wouldn't let anyone touch her. But no one could change her diaper. No one could feed her. I wouldn't even like one point where people like would look at her. I would really, really crazy, would react crazy. And then I wrote my book, no, my first set of books to stay home with her. Because I couldn't even like be away from her for more than like 10 minutes, without just really me being not willing in the brain. And, you know, this is like, kind of just not, there's not a healthy mindset, right? And then I just was just all around just not being myself. And I kind of changed my career, right when it was really doing kind of on an upswing, okay. And it was just, again, just not being me. I was trying to be everybody else, like everyone's idea of what an author should be. And just not being you know, when a rock I was even writing into my own name, and I was like this figment of my own imagination. Okay, yeah, well, yeah, printing in really bad and I just wasn't being me.

Elle
I mean, I'm guessing you were writing romance.

Renee
Yeah, I was actually writing paranormal romance. I had a really great character. And I actually lost my brother right around that same time.

Elle
Oh, my God.

Renee
Yeah. It was like a perfect storm of just mental conditioning. Yeah I completely walked away. And I actually opened up my own romance will not romance but it was at that point on a general small fiction, publishing house, my husband and I, and actually was doing really, really well, really well and again, on an upswing, and in 2014, we sold it to Kensington, Kensington publishing, and I actually work for them and it's amazing. It's like a dream come true. And we're having a ball, you know, doing that. And it's really well, if I, you know, I just really didn't think I was ever going to write again. And then I just kind of missed it. I missed the whole thing. And then dependent I'm sorry to hear my phone. I have to like,

that's okay.

Believe me, we're good. But I'm a mom. I'm a I'm ridiculous. I'm a mom. I'm so real. I mean, believe me,

Elle
it happens like I work from home mom. That's exactly my life.

Renee
I totally got a pandemic happened. And you know, my kids will home and I just want to show them that you could still kind of just follow everything. You know, even when life is all around you is going crazy. And I was I always work from home. You know, Kennington was so kind. They, you know, after I sold the company, then they allowed me to continue to raise my kids and work from home. So I just wanted to show my children that you could you know, no matter what's going on in life, you could still always do what you want to do just work around the situation you have, and I put my money where my mouth was, right. And I just I wrote, I wrote my book, I wrote race. And I came, I dusted myself off and I came out of like retirement. I just finished corporate a hiatus. I love and, but I didn't plan on publishing it. And then an editor friend of mine was like, No, you have to publish it. And I was like, Really? You think? And she was like, No, no, you really do. And I was like, ah, all right. And it took a 10th and even though like I made a fool out of myself, 13 years ago, I was really afraid of putting myself out there. Everyone was so welcoming and so amazing. And I should have never doubted the romance community because god you guys are So cool. Oh my god, it was just like it was a homecoming. It really was.

Elle
That's excellent. And the book is phenomenal by the way. It is so violent and and i love i like I love violent shit. So I was like, oh, it is so violent and yet so beautiful. Like the characters are so flawed and so like beautifully flawed. It's such a great, I mean, it's not a debut because you're back, but it's the debut under your name, really, you know, it's your kind of coming out party, I guess?

Renee
Well, a lot of people they don't realize, like, you know, that I was a writer and I kind of wanted, like, I wanted to start fresh, you know, but I don't know, I think you have, like,

Elle
if you were you know, you had your own small publishing, you know, press or house, essentially, that was so successful that a major romance publisher picked it up. I mean, you clearly have good taste into picking, you know, picking books, and I imagine that carries over with what you're writing.

Renee
You don't you would think but when you're writing it yourself, firstly, you'd never see your own your own sloppy, you know, you just don't, and you're too close to the flame. And everyone thinks that they a guy, I don't really like talking about everyone. I don't I don't tell some fourstroke. Myself, I always like talking about noon, I sit in first person, so I don't I don't see my own my own shit. Right. I think I wrote a great book. But that doesn't mean that you know, my book, my book isn't for everyone. And I get that, like, I did it on my first time. The first time in 15 years. I did it on Saturday, and it was so cool. A woman showed up and she was very nice, but you know, you get that the whole, you know, muck and yet is I write smart. And I'm proud of it. Like, it's not for everyone. And I get that. And yeah, you know, I use power tools on Wraith. You know, I watched you the shit out of him. And you know, yeah, they have like, you know, dirty facts. And yeah, and it's fun. And it's okay. And like one of my Tiktok videos that I just made, like two days ago. That's a big dress. And I'm it's coming out like, you know, someone very close to me very, very close to me, like extremely close to me. Told me Oh, you're so talented. When you're gonna write a real book. Oh, you know?

Elle
I saw your Tik Tock about the smart comment. You know, and I was like, Oh, yeah, that Yeah, I get like, I get that, like, there is that sort of label for the books that we right. And I think that it's like, you know, and it does frustrate me because I really think that that comes from a place of misogyny.

Renee
You know what, that, you know, what that makes me do? Makes me get my character thrust a little deeper. A little hotter. You're gonna make me you know, write a little bit dirty, or you're not, you're never gonna shame me. Right. And no one can do that. You know, back when I first started writing, you know, people can't understand now, like the authors that are coming up now, the younger generation of readers now. They don't understand what it was like, when authors like me that were coming up. When ebooks first started. Yeah, what it was like for us, first of all independent authors. We were the nasty authors of the industry. Yes. You know, yes. We were looked down upon yo. He cheated. No one. cheated. We

Elle
We were cheating. Oh, yeah. Yeah, we were cheating the system. Yeah, we were cheating the system. We weren't good enough or good enough. That's why we had to do a vanity publishing. Exactly. Don't call it that some in some places. Yeah.

Renee
Yeah. And then you know, and then the the kind of Brendan's, the dark romance authors. And, you know, this might look, I call it smuckers. It's what it is, I love it. You know, I embrace it. But we will consider like, a lot of romance authors, and oh, my God, people wouldn't watch these types of stories. Yep. And it was like, we would like to dirty you know, we were like, shoved in the dirty corner of of the industry. And we weren't even part of the industry. Like, we weren't welcome at conventions and conferences. And, you know, no one would even like, Look at us. That's why ebooks did well, like, Yeah, I don't care what anyone says. You know, that's why ebooks did well, because women were able to read them without anyone seeing the covers. Or, you know, you know, we could read them, you know, sitting on a bus or sitting you know, in public transit, transportation or, you know, you could be sitting on your own couch and your husband or your children couldn't see what you were reading. Right. Right. Freedom and the You know that people have today that, you know, women are just they busted on out. I know, I get what I'm reading, you don't like it too bad. It is something so beautiful. I love it. I love seeing, you know, the way that people change and how freeing it was, it's like, oh my god, like, look that woman's reading, you know, I'm gonna just say my book just for the sake of talking about you know, myself, you know, she's reading rates out in the open, that would have never been like, 15 years ago, right with, you know, a half naked man on the cover, like those will consider like bodice rippers. And those were like, I continue to joke. Yeah, now, women are like, yep, they know what I'm reading. Don't like it don't look like you're like when you might Yeah.

And it's fun to read.

Right next to a woman who's like, literally like writing literature, like, you know, because I'm not considered literature. You know, I'm considered smart. And I'm standing right next door on route is punch. You don't like it? You know? Okay. Yep. Yep. Walk up to people, like Come in, come in. You're like, what am I guess you need a book boyfriend. And I'm like talking about my book, I'm making a new book boyfriend. That's the freedom that we have doing your writing, but we haven't do what we do, we can have a little bit more fun with our genre. That's what it's for our genre is to have fun with.

Elle
And I think you can speak to this as, as sort of, you know, straddling both sides as writer and publisher. You know, I know that a lot of these books, like when they say, you know, when they liquidus, they would sort of come at it at independent authors with, you're not a real writer, and all of that shit. You know, it's actually because the publishing houses were not responding, I don't think to reader demands or reader tastes. And so, you know, like, if you send an agent, let's say, a manuscript, and they don't accept it, or you know, or publish your manuscript, they know, it doesn't necessarily mean that the book you wrote is bad, it just means that they don't think they can sell it.

Renee
No. So all those books would hit my desk when I was Lyrical Press guts, I would die for one of those books, but people were still afraid that they would be rejected. It was like, No, send them send them, please. Because readers would eat those up.

Elle
Right, right. And I don't know why the publishing houses took so long to sort of figure that out.

Renee
So they caught up though they, you know, they realized I think it was, again, women just and I went to women because that's like the biggest demographic of readers for romance. They stopped being embarrassed of what they wanted to read. Yeah, you know, they busted on out like this is what was it a read if you don't like it? Tough, right. It was like love. Oh, man, bravo. Yes. Yay! Finally, I've never been embarrassed. I used to go to the beach waving my book, like this is what I'm reading. And I was 18 years old. You didn't like it, don't look at my book. Turn your head. Look away. You can sit there reading you know, your your, you know, mystery. I'm going to sit here reading my bodice ripper. Like, what is this cover? Fabio's on it. It's art, man.

Elle
It's always worth pointing out the Jane Austen was shunned with her books. You know, she was also sort of when when her books came out. The contemporaries of Jane Austen kind of shunned her because they felt that she wasn't writing a serious literature. So, you know, I always like to point that out in these conversations,

Renee
prospective conversations I have with my husband after the kids go to sleep. I'm like, Honey, can I ask you a question about two balls? Your question like I know, that asked you this before, but when we're having a serious question, Frank, and we were having, like when your blessing the most. Can I do your mind? I'm like, one get a little bit but he's like, Renee. This is when our best friend because this conversation would never happen with the same person. He's like, please tell me this is for a reason. I'm like, no, no. Okay. So listen, because I'm writing just and right about now. They've been I like I've been stuck on the scene for four days. So serious question. When you're moldy. I love it. When you talk Roman. I'm like, Alright, he requested Frank. He's like nah Give me a beer for this one. Like, I'll come home with like a case study. I'm like, boom. serious question, Frank. He's like, Oh, here we go. I got some ask you like how he'll like? He's in the bathroom when he go away. Period periods question you like, this is not going to be a serious question. Just ask it. Alright, so when you're having, you know, when we're having sex inside of the vagina, he's like, get out. Like, I was just asking, like, you're 48 years old. He's like, you're gonna be 48 Did I answer this one? About 10 times already? I'm like, I'm just making sure.

Unknown Speaker
Oh my god, I

Renee
love married to a romance novelist. I love easy people take this easy. Our Oh,

Elle
I know. I know. How long does it take for a body to combos? How long? Because I started writing.

Renee
Yeah. How would tooling you're drilling into someone's deltoid? What would it feel like? When SBI sir.

Elle
I started writing urban fantasy when I started. So it's like definitely that, you know, those sort of like weird questions, the weird Google searches and all that. Yeah, I totally totally got it.

Renee
Fine, you you're not having fun with what you're writing. Whether you're writing a torture scene, which some weird reason, which I was just talking to my friend lax. I could fly through a torture car. Like it's nothing I can write those. I can write an entire chapter like a 5000. You know, word torture theme. In under. No kidding. Like, maybe an hour. Yep.

Elle
I'm the same with fight scenes. I can write a fight scene in like, no time I breeze through them. But when when it gets, I'm like, right through it. But when it gets to the intimate scenes, how long does it take you? Do you slow down?

Renee
Okay, I Jester and faith they have been having sex before these 40. I just finished the scene last night. It took me four days to write their theme.

Elle
And how many? How many? How many? What's the word count? Do you know offhand? Oh,

Renee
I want to say like it's 4000 words.

Elle
Okay, so four days to write 4000 words. I totally feel this because the same thing happens to me. Do you have any idea why you slow down at that point?

Renee
Um, okay, so I first look, I want to get I want to get it. Right. Right. Like, really? I really want to get it right. Because that's like, first of all, I don't put a lot of settings in my books. Even, you know, okay, race and gender. Then my first two books coming out of again, that 13 year hiatus. So I'm going back to also the three novels that I wrote 13 years ago. Okay, so I've never put a lot of sex in my books. But they are very meaningful. And they are very graphic. Okay, yep. I want to get them perfect, because I don't put a lot of them in. So when I do, they have to really be very impactful. And they have to be very meaningful to the book. Right? And they have to really make sense to the characters. Right? And there's so much emotion going on in them. So it's not just like, you know, insert penis into vagina. And I don't, and I really don't like to do a very paint by numbers right now. Yep. So there's a lot of there's a lot of movement going on. There's a lot of emotion going on. Yeah, I do. I do take a little bit more time to write those. And again, the way that my brain is wired is I am a really psychotic person. Really admitted, okay. I am a product of my upbringing. I did not have an easy childhood. You know, I know it I acknowledge it. I wrote it in my mouth. I think I would remind them well maybe I skirted around it whatever. But I'm if you read race, a lot of race is a lot of my childhood thrown in there. And when I write not just her but havoc, which is the next book in the series, habits, the actual character of habits, a lot of him is going to come from a lot of me. Wow. And yeah, I did not have an easy childhood. So a lot of the pain of my characters and a lot of their emotional bullshit. Like the physical shit that they've gone through is all coming from a lot of physical shit that I've gone through. So yeah, I've really have a messed up brain. So the torture shit boom, I can write That no problem, I pull that right out of me. So it takes me a little bit longer to get in touch with the emotional associate. Yeah, like, I really got to kind of dig deep for that, you know. And also, this is gonna sound really weird. Um, I like to separate what I have with my husband. From what I have the the intimacy I put in my books, because I know I get that I get. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don't want anyone to have a glimpse of what I have with my husband. Yeah, that makes any sense. But I know a lot of authors that had that I know. They put a lot of their own. And actually, the funny thing was, I just, I don't know, I don't remember who it was. But an author on tik tok, she made a tic toc video because I also chose Tick tock, I'm not just making the videos, I'm watching everyone. She actually made a whole video about how she puts a lot of what her and her husband do in the bedroom in her books. And, yeah, I know, it's a little uncomfortable. I don't like you know, whatever I do with my husband, even if I'm putting it in the book. It's not for my readers to know when not know. Yeah, separation there.

Elle
You know, do you get that because I every once in a while, like when people I don't I you know, people know I write they don't necessarily know what I write I because I write my romance under a pen. Not like I'm like, it's like, I am completely open with what my pen name is and who I you know, but, but I still think people don't, are kind of ultimately lazy and don't really check. So, you know, usually I don't really come out and sort of say it because I swear to that every time they do and I'm with my husband, they sort of look at him. And they're like, well, you must have a fun sex life. And I just think it's so appropriate.

Renee
Oh, you know what? I was, when I first started writing, I had every intention of separating me from from my writing, right. But if they kind of overlapped when I look okay, I had to go back to the 13 years ago. It I kind of got for doxxing was a thing, right? I got knocked, Oh, I know, I got doxxed and people who knew me as you know, who knew I was a writer gave all of my information online and very gleefully doxed me all over the internet. So who I was came out, and I didn't deny who I was whatever. And it just there I was out in the open. So I just kind of embraced it, whatever. And it was what it was, and that's what it was right. And whatever. Okay, I at that point, I've kind of really didn't care. Like I said, I was a little emotionally messed up anyway, so I just kind of embraced it. And I ran with it. And then you know, when I opened up lyrical presa, I was already out there. Right? It was no denying who I was. I didn't care. So, you know. Now, you know, when people look at me, for who I am, you know that it is what it is and whatever they can look at my husband and they could think we have, you know, all the fun time in the world. I really don't think so. I've never did. Okay, I'm sorry. Go ahead. No, they don't they can think whatever they want and more power to.

Elle
No, did you always want to be a writer? Or did or did that come later?

Renee
Nope. Always. Okay. I used to write when I was a little kid. I wrote science fiction. Okay. And it was funny. I wrote a story about a homeless guy, which was a lot like the neverending story. I was not plagiarizing that it just so happened. And I just wrote a lot like that. And like English teachers that I was strange. And I get and I would never be a writer. I never forgot that little apples name. And yeah, so on him. So yeah, he said I was going to be a would never amount to being a writer. And, and then at 15, my mother, I had strep throat. And at that point, you had to stay home for 10 days. And my mother, I don't know how she got a romance novel because the woman never read romance day in her life. Still doesn't never read a single word that I ever wrote claim she did, but she never did. She I must have been driving the you know, her body and she's flow sharna by Katherine wood was like a resist like to leave me alone. And I was really from them when I was 15 years old. From that moment on, that was it. I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up I wanted to be a writer

Elle
What did you what was a

Renee
everything the happily ever after the just God everything goes the way the words float on the page. I liked the purple prose. I was a dramatic kid. Oh, I was oh my god. Which is funny because I'm awkward and shine now like I like seem like the way I call it like oh my god, I'm a big personality, but I kind of really don't. Like I'm a clown. You're meticulous. But if you put me in a group, I'm like the shyest one in the bunch. Would back then when I was a kid put me on a stage I would have been like, Oh, you know, like, whatever, like the fainting you know, like, you know, the whole, you know, the the painting on the couch and everything. Like, forget it. I was like the drama queen. It was ridiculous. Like, I loved everything about it. Like I imagined with the, you know, the Silk Road romance novelist with the fluffy slippers and the whole thing I wanted. That's what I wanted. That's all I wanted to be like. Joanna Lindsey and Julie Garwood. And you know, Laura kinser. Like, that's who I wanted to be. When I grew up.

Elle
It's you remember, because it's so funny, because it's just sort of came to me. And I was like, Oh, my God, of course. I remember watching Romancing the Stone in the theaters. Do you remember that? were the same and I was like, Oh, I want to be her. I you know, Kathleen Turner's character, I thought that was it. I thought that was it. I just wanted to be her. I wanted to sort of have this great New York City apartment and talk to my publisher or my editor, and just like have this like, you know, phenomenal like career where you can just sort of make up these wild stories.

Renee
Yep, that's exactly what I wanted to be. Yeah. And that's all I wanted to be. Like, when I was like, really young, like younger than that. I wanted to be an archaeologist, and I wanted to study Ancient Egypt. Oh, cool. Either that or medieval England, either one of those. I wouldn't take either one. Yeah. And then the funny thing was, it was from romance novels. Actually. I read a book about rain the world, not a book about but when the Conqueror was, you know, he had a little like, little bit in a book that I was reading, and I fell in love with him, as he fell in love with me in the conquer. And because of that, I have a love of medieval history of medieval England and Scotland. I love medieval stuff. Yeah, yeah, every every thing as an adult that I love, all came out of romance novel. me so like when people like, oh, why don't you like, you know, read real books, or, really, because everything that I loved is in adults, every meaningful piece of knowledge that I have as an adult, all came out of something that had to do with what I've learned from romance novels, right? Really. Okay, I have all historical things in like, you know, trinkets and stuff in my house, I have all historical knowledge in my brain all came out of what I learned out of a woman's novel. So we mean real books, and they're not and I learned from them.

Elle
And romance novelists are often not wrong. They are meticulously researched those historicals like, meticulously, so you know, so it's like, yeah, you can learn from these books.

Renee
Were not my first books where I they were about about vampires. And my characters were Templar Knights. Oh, cool. And the research? Well, I've been researching them since I was a kid. Right. But the research I put in to make sure that the history that I mentioned in those books, were so accurate, because I knew that readers, my readers, and romance readers are so smart. Got one wrong thing, one wrong tiny word about their history, I would get watered. You guys are so smart. Yeah. And you know, you have to be accurate, or you get called on the carpet. And there was no way I was gonna disappoint my historical readers, because oh, my God, I would have been I would have increased by that would have been, rightly so. Because here I am writing about something from history. If I didn't, if I didn't know that, I would have been shamed.

Elle
Yeah, yeah. And even contemporary, you know, because, you know, I right, in the moment, I'm writing in this sort of, like, rock star world, and, you know, I, from my day job, I know, you know, I have I have sort of real lived experience through, you know, the entertainment industry, but there are some things I just don't know, in terms of like, studio, you know, being in the studio and recording and what's the word for this and what kind of microphone Do you so so that I have to go back and do some like hardcore research to make sure that I get it, right. Yeah. You know, different instruments set, you know, that sort of thing. So yeah, it's it's kind of it's kind of interesting how much work we actually do. Like beyond writing. In terms of the research to make sure that everything is is as close to accurate as possible.

Renee
Well, I'll give you a little insider tip for helping your readers and you one of the holes spoiler actually, with with Jester, no one knows this yet, except just like the only people who've been a, you know, my, my two beta readers face, which is his heroin or she has type one diabetes, which as you know, we talked about before the podcast began, my 10 year old daughter was just diagnosed with Type One Diabetes in February. So we're kind of dealing with that. And I'm learning about that, you know, as as, in real time as my body deals with it. So as a love letter, to my 10 year old, I promised her that I would give faith type one diabetes. So that's my character is dealing with that. And when we tell you to get that accurate, has been a nightmare. Because I I know that even if I have one reader who has type one diabetes, I bet a nail with Type One Diabetes. But in the foreword of the book, I am making sure that I put in that as a love letter to my daughter, even if an adult's having it, if I am not writing it accurately, please forgive me because I am writing it in real time. Right, as my daughter experiences it. So, you know, if I'm not getting a 100% accurate to an adult, give me a little leeway because this is dedicated to my child. Yeah, you know, so, but I know that, you know, I have to be accurate, like, I have to get as close to an adult having this. But you know, you owe it to your readers. You know, for everything that you do, whether you're writing something historical, or whether you're writing something, you know, something fantasy something, you know, set so far in the future for science fiction, you know, even when your world building something from scratch, right? You have to be so accurate. Yeah. What are the rings? You have when you're world building from nothing? You better keep a spreadsheet. One, and you know, you know, your book like 10. And oh, wait a minute, you change something in book time. That was in Book One, your readers will catch that. Yeah, they will call you on it so that you better be accurate. I have running spreadsheets that I started from the from page one with race, because I'm going to five books with this series. And I better make sure that I'm accurate. I have character descriptions from everything from someone's beard, whether it has white hair in it or not, if the character is older, because they'll catch it, and they'll call me on it. Yeah,

Elle
I need to actually need to do that. I'm not as good with that as I should be. And so I end up having to like, go back and search my books, which takes forever and I need to I actually should just sit down and write a Bible. But you know, I just never do because there's never like there's

Renee
never enough time that is thought that when you start your book Yeah, I know. I keep it open on multiple devices. Haha. That was one of Google spreadsheets. Yep, I just pick it up on my desktop or on my laptop. I got that one. So I can't take credit for it an author and an author friend told me to do that and I've been following that advice.

Elle
Okay, I'm gonna try I really need to do it and I should and I'm going to I'm going to this is it this is that I'm putting it out there. I am going to start the spreadsheet. I'm going to start keeping these Bibles because I need to, and it's stupid that I don't sound okay, so if it takes you four days to write your steamy c Do you have a process before you like is there like some sort? I don't know Zen thing. What What is your process? Do you have a pro? No, I didn't know. My guy was gonna go cracking your knuckles so let's go.

Renee
It's time diving in. Got it? They got to do it. It's something that has to happen with race with red was funny, because um, I wrote the whole book. And I so I don't outline I never Alan would just do I did a little bit with race. I did middle pants that one. So I would get to you know, the way that I write. I have like, I have like chapters. So obviously haha chapters. But like I like to contain the SEC to one whole chapter. Okay, so I knew which chapter was going to have those. And it said in the chapter, the sex that was the whole thing. It's don't laughs I love it. That's not does it not. And then I wrote the rest of the book. And then it's a Deus Ex again. And like, so we had like a little bit and then like, and that was it. And then I actually finished the book. And then I went, Oh, shit, I can write the set. So with Jessica with my friends, I have these two very, very close friends, Carrie, Carrie and les and they have been, like holding my hand so far through the whole book. So again, little insider tip. I really thought that gesture was going to be a filler book, just to really leave you with Yes. So just to kind of was up to his name. He's like the class clown of the series. So I have race and malice was actually supposed to be the third book in the series, and then it was supposed to be havoc. So it was race, Jester, malice, havoc and discord. So it was supposed to go from race to Jester to malice. And then for some reason, it kind of got jumbled and havoc is coming after justice. So just it was just post the a really kind of a quick one, just to get to like the meaty one, you know, the torture is, you know, one, nope, I ended up kind of loving this one. And these characters kind of really grew on me. And they historial though was very simple. Like the plot of the story is kind of very simple. Their love story, just I was just texting Lex this morning. I said, I don't know what happened. I ended up like, this book started out as a really big chore for me to write. And they these characters became my friends. Like, I'm like, Oh my god, I sound like a psychopath. They did like I big grew on me. Like, I love them at the point. I can't wait to be finished with the book, just so I can give them their happily ever after. Like they are just such great characters in my head.

Elle
So this makes me feel better about what 50,000 words, and I still don't know what the fuck is going on in my next

Renee
book. Be like, at most 70,000 words, I am now at 69,000 words. And I'm only on chapter like 13 Wow. Yeah. So I'm like, I'm, like, screwed here. Anyway. So I'm reading this right and now. So now I'm up to like, like I said, I just finished your sex scene. And it's like, instead of like writing, like the sex like I usually do. I actually wrote their theme, but like, I got through it. And I'm like, oh, okay, I can write this. Like, I knew where I was going with it. I didn't have to, like jump around a load, where it's like rape was all about like the torture and the blood. Yeah. Yeah. ripping him apart with power tools, which was kind of fun to do. Dexter is all about like, character, and like, you know, and then oh my god, like, wow, this is like fun. And they're, they're sexiness fun. And everything is like fun. And I'm like, oh, let me you know write in like a whole romance novel. Like go you pat myself on the back last night. I'm like, that whole thing only took you four days. But yeah, there's like no Dan or anything. We just like bare knuckle. Like No, no. Like you guys. These it usually gives you like a set, and then fill it in afterwards. I didn't have to do that. I was so proud of me. Like, I almost gave myself a cookie. And then I remembered, you know, someone's here. I can't afford that cookie. Okay, so.

Elle
So I love that you're sort of turning the idea of villains on its head with this series. Um, you know what makes the bad boy so damn sexy.

Renee
Oh, God, everything every single thing. Like, okay, so I don't know, with with regular old heroes did Oh, God doesn't sound terrible. But like they're very nice. Yeah. And they are. They're, they're nice. And nice is nice. But nice is nice. Yeah, the buildings and the bad boys. They're not nice. They're nice. They're, they're nice to the, to the people that they love. Like, yeah, but they're nice to a point. Yeah. How do I put this like, Okay, so my husband when I, my husband is if he was in a romance novel, my husband would be the anti hero. Okay, my when I met my husband, I was coming out of my husband's was my best friend. So and I'm gonna again, I talked about myself, because I don't talk. I don't talk to anybody else. And then when I met him, he to me was everything I had been looking for. He was everything that I had been reading in a romance novel, which was like, holy shit yeah. We were best friends, which was, which made me sad because I didn't think I could I could have him and then I was like, Oh my God. And he's really good looking still, which is awesome. But anyway, Okay, anyway, all right. All right, back back to this. Okay, well use my husband. So when when I met my husband, he, my husband is on. I was coming out of a very bad relationship. And I was very vulnerable. And I felt very unprotected. Not that I need protecting, because I'm a very strong woman, like I, you know, I, you know, I'm four feet, four foot 10. But I think I'm like, 12 people, nice. Like, I could take on the whole world. I can't, but I think I can. So my husband told me some really, really terrible, but as dark romance readers, we will appreciate this. He said, If anyone ever hurt you, I'll put them on a fucking detox, and I'll watch them bleed out. And I thought that was just the sweetest thing.

And I knew right then I had found the man. And I was like, I'm gonna marry this man. Oh, sweet. Like,

seriously? Love it. Actually, I will tweet and I know it sounds psychotic, and to other people that sound psychotic. But when, you know, when anyone could say I love you. Anyone can say, I'll protect you. Anyone could say I'll take a bullet for you. Right? And but who really needs that? You know? I mean, it all goes back to that whole saying that we're seeing everywhere these days. And I didn't even put it in my book. Because it's everywhere. These days. It's such a, it's such a meme that's going around like, the hero will sacrifice the you know, the woman for the world. But the villain will sacrifice the world or the world for their woman. Yeah,

Elle
yeah. Yeah. That's what you have.

Renee
Yeah, yeah, exactly. That's what I have. And you know, what women want wouldn't want that. But that's the anti hero. That's the villain. Yeah. You know, I that's what I wanted. Because I had someone who was telling me they loved me at one side of their mouth. But the other was telling me I was stupid. I was ugly. I was worthless. I was easily replaceable. Do the things I heard from when I was 15. Until I was 27. You know, and that should scarred me like the unfortunate like that I wouldn't be 48 in July. I have been away from that. Since I'm 27 years old. I still look in the mirror and I still see someone who was unlovable, and ugly, and stupid and worthless. And I don't care how many times my husband tells me he loves me and I have worked. And how many you know how much accomplishment I have. You know how much success I have had over the years. I still feel that way.

Elle
Yeah, I know. We're totally Yep. I told you. I absolutely. Got it. Yeah.

Renee
Yeah. You know, but now I have someone who is someone will ever hurt me. Yeah, that man will rip them to shreds. Yeah.

Elle
And then it's sort of like, it's sort of like, you know, I know that. You know, that's easy enough for a guy to be like, Oh, I'd die for you. And it's like, Yeah,

Renee
but would you kill for me? Exactly. Yeah. He'll have a villain. That's the appeal of an anti hero. Yeah, that's the kind of person that I write. Because that's the kind of person I wanted. And that's the kind of person I have. Right? You know, that if someone tries to hurt my family, you know, our daughters or me? My husband? No. Okay, you gotta go to jail. All right. All right. He knows I'll take care of the kids. Like I bought them. You know, he's gonna

Elle
go into Rambo mode, you know? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think that. That's sexy.

Renee
Yes, yes, it is, ma'am. Yes, it is. Okay, I'm not afraid to get his hands dirty. But I go back to the sex scene. That's that's actually when it comes to sex. Yeah, cool. Who wants someone who's gonna be like, oh, vanilla, like okay to throw spin. We're done. No, thanks. No, you can save that. Nope, go. No, no. Who wants to read that? Who wants to read a half a page of vanilla facts? A woman wants to read about a guy who's going to not be afraid to get very dirty to know kids. woman feel good. Yeah, women. Exactly. Okay, let's read women that you know, we know that. Our books one and Yay.

Elle
Okay, so let's read some Wraith. I'm excited. Now we're going to read this. Okay, can

Renee
you set a wedding? Look, I'm going to be 40. Now you just give me a hot flash.

Elle
I know we're fine. We're good. It's okay. I'm sweating too. I'm the same way. Can you set the scene up for us?

Unknown Speaker
Where are where are we in the book? What do you mean? The scene that you sent me?

Elle
I don't remember with TNA saying oh my god. Well, they're having sex. So it's it's the sex.

Renee
Okay, okay. Well, we did there's more than one theme, which Oh, okay.

You know what?

Elle
Forget it. I'm just gonna start reading and we can talk about it as we go. Okay, okay. Don't worry. We're good. We're good. This is great. You're good. You're good. Okay. Rats mouth is hot and demanding. He swirls his tongue around around my nipples, sucking and pulling up my breasts until I'm panting his name losing what fragile hold I have on my control, but he doesn't linger long before continuing a path down my torso. When he reaches his destination between my legs. He glides a finger along the waistband of my panties, his lips curling into a devious grin. Cute. I gave birth of the night off. He chokes out a laugh. you named your underwear. When they're as sturdy as her they've earned the respect of a name. rave kisses my inner thigh and I hisun a breath. God I missed you while you were gone. His casual admission sets my soul on fire. I'm staying so you're stuck with me. Hello, casual admission sets my soul on fire. I loved this little bit. I loved it. And I love how you've got this great balance between the physical and the emotional sensations. Such a great balance. How do you get it right?

Renee
The Underwear naming that that is an ode to every woman who had been caught with granny panties on

those nasty as granny panties. We all have them shoved in the back of our draw. And we have all been caught wearing them. Yeah, and let me tell you, I have actually gotten quite a few emails from readers who have been like, Oh my god, Bertha. Yeah. Love that. And I'm like, Oh, good. Okay, so you got the joke? Yeah, they got the joke. Okay, we all have Bertha.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, we do all have Bertha. We do.

Renee
Yeah, I think I want to.

Elle
I want to read a bit more because this this section this next section Absolutely. Like gutted me. It was so gorgeous. Okay. He lives my thought I yelled at the pain even as a thrill sends a wave of warmth to my sucks. He presses a hand on my stomach to settle me back against the pillows I close my eyes and hold my breath is with slides my panties down my legs. I fist my hands and wait for his rejection. True. He's already seen me in a bra and panties and was up close and personal with my vagina. But still insecurity is an ugly thing and doesn't magically go away. In fact, I want to crawl under the blanket and hide dive in a shadow hop in a car and drive to another state anything to escape rates reluctance acceptance of my flawed body. Yes, he's just as flawed as me even more but when it's you It feels different. To close to bones. It's too close to the bones. My scars are a curse. I've worn all my life and ugliness I've hidden from the world. He doesn't wear his like a shame, but rather they are in honor of what he's survived. And I can feel myself do what I never thought I would with her under his scrutiny. You're fucking beautiful. My eyes pop open and there it is hunger as Ruth stares down at me not discussed or forced enthusiasm, not rejection, and not because of our shared imperfection. It's as if Wraith sees past my scars to the person underneath them. And when he kisses a path down my abdomen shame and self loathing finally die inside my heart. At least for tonight. Wraith Paul's breath he moans for me as he slides in one finger stretching me 1000 sparks of light explode behind my eyes. His mouth is hot. His tongue working my clit as he glides a second finger in me. I bury my hands in his hair and turn my head to the pillow and smother my cries as my body shatters under his touch. Oh my god this that whole thing was just so beautiful. Thank you so much pain and and desire and like it's all sort of wrapped up in this tight little ball here between them and particularly for her. I just thought it was gorgeous. They both have these scars physical and internal, you know, outer and inner and disfigurement. That's like a big part of this particular book. And I thought that you did such a great job with it and actually made it super sexy.

Renee
Yeah, well, then both are really messed up. So yeah, yeah, I just been up for about like, when I write those I'm sorry, going. And then Oh God, God, I was gonna say I wanted, when I write those scenes, I wanted to put the balance of movement and emotion. That's why they take me so long. Yeah, well, I

Elle
mean, God keep taking your time, because I really thought that that was like, like, so beautiful to take a break from just the the physical part of the sex, the sex, and actually sort of like really kind of go very internal, like very, very internal with her and sort of, you know, cuz you set it up at the very, the very beginning of the book when we see them as sort of the kids and like high school when they knew each other. And you know, and before she, she had gone away because she killed her father, who was abusing her, like very severely abusing her. And, and it was talking about how she had all of these scars along her body from her dad from her from the abuse. And then on that she was always trying to hide, you know, and then we cut to sort of race in the predicament that he's in, and he's in this dungeon. And he's being tortured. And he's, you know, he's in these cage bites, forced cage bites, where his skin is like, basically, like ripped off of him. And he like, is injected with some, like, a potion that makes you like, heal very quickly, so that they can go back and do it again. So he's just a scarred up mess. You know, and, and, but sort of like, pause at this moment and really go internal with her. And, you know, her experience with the scars, scars on her body, where she just feels are there like the finished physical manifestation of all the ugliness that she experienced in her life. And what that does to her and her self esteem, and to sort of pull that out at that moment, I thought was just absolutely gorgeous. And it made me sort of, like, yearn for their connection even more.

Renee
Thank you. You're welcome. I left I left. The only the hardest part of writing that book was, I'm such a goofy person. Like I really, I'm just, I'm just such a big goof. And I have a tendency of putting a lot of humor, like inappropriate, sarcastic humor,

Elle
but we need it in this book.

Renee
Yeah. pulling it back. Like there was a lot of just sarcasm, right? That I must have caught 20,000 words, just in sarcasm in really inappropriate spots. And it was too much. It was just too much. Okay. All right. And I because I was trying to really put a balance of both. And I was like, No, don't take that out, take that out. And it was like, I was putting too much humor in it. And a friend of mine, there was only I think it was only two people who read the book before. Before I know, there was one person who read the book before it went to an editor. And she was like, it's, it's too funny. It's too and I was like, What like, and she was like, No, no is too much sarcasm. And I was like, oh, okay, and then I went back and had to trim a lot of it out. And a lot of it was actually in the sexy and she was like you're making it to grips with it. There is some that I did leave in like the birther I left in and when like when Jamie gives a thumbs up, like thanks very much me like, like, inappropriate, numerous inappropriate times. I have a tendency of doing that. Like when I get nervous. I ramble. And I make inappropriate you know,

but I love

Elle
I love the humor because these two needed Yeah, you know, they really did they needed some levity they were going through so much shit, you know, and they just needed that levity, and it was beautiful that they could have it with each other. And I think that was like the most necessary part is that they found their person you know, yeah. Which I loved.

Renee
That's what Justin Justin's going to be a little dresses again. He's got the light book in theory. That's right. The only light book in the series right is like the rest we're going to be heavy like really heavy. Really. I love habit like that character. I love him so much that we're actually going to get an adult we're going to get a Cane Corso, the one that was really big, like the big the really big, massive, the bow tie in massive wood. It's gonna be huge. And we're actually naming him habit after backcountry.com watch. I love that character.

Elle
I can't wait for that one. Oh my god. Number three, right. That's the third one. And

Renee
that characters is I'm already taking notes on that one. Like I'm actually jotting down. I can jotting down notes for that book. I love it. Oh my god. Okay.

Elle
It's easy to talk tough outside of an intimate situation, but I'm suddenly talking tired and unsure. The person I was before tonight is a stranger, not even the same species. And I realized it's because my guard is down and who I am in this moment is the me behind the wall. Not the person pretending to be me. But the shy woman living in the shadow of our resilience of the resilience survivor, Wraith shakes his head can't be timid, not the way we're gonna going to do it. You need to get right with that fact. Oh, God. Wraith, takes my hand and stands me up then waits, I tuck my hair behind my ears and awkward as hell dropped to my knees. I'm going to be awful at it. But hey, practice makes perfect. And every woman starts somewhere, right? face to penis with Wraith is a hell of a thing. Every part of him is massive. And I won't lie, his dick is as formidable as the rest of him. But it's also fascinating because as much as he says, I'm his he's also mine. And with that revelation comes an exhilarating bit of power over a man who prides himself on never giving up authority over himself, especially I'm sure after everything he's been through. But right now he's giving himself to me. And I intend to find out exactly what gives this man pleasure. See, and again, like you're able to weave in his history into that moment into that really intimate moment. And, and she recognizes that, that his history has bad history. That's like a part of him now. And I kind of forget, I feel like I forget these not really little things. When I write my steamy bets. I think maybe I do get a little bit zeroed in on. Oh my god, how many arms does this person have? And like?

Renee
Oh, no, no, no, I had to go back towards me, I had to go back a couple of extra days. And in the book, I had to go back. But it was enough. I actually, again, I keep a spreadsheet of how many days? I have actually Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And I make sure that all my days. And when I go back, I know that I'm doing a sexy and I make sure that all the limbs accounted for.

Elle
Right? Right. So when you're going back? Or is that what you're finding? Or are you actually sort of like layering in some of these things like that?

Renee
I layer it in, you're like, Okay, yeah, I do. I first my my rough draft, like my first draft, it's all about just like, it's more like, um, I don't know, if I'm using the right term, but I make it like a paint by numbers. It's like, it's very, very, very rough. Okay, and then I go back, and I add the emotion, the movement, all of that stuff. And again, I go back and everything I do I do on a spreadsheet it I'm very crazy about my spreadsheet,

Elle
I only totally want to see one of your spreadsheet. I'm very curious how you do this.

Renee
spreadsheet, I get crazy. I have a spreadsheet for everything. Included, I have them. And they're like running spreadsheet stuff, the whole book. And actually, that's just the whole series. And I literally like I keep a track of how many days of the week there are in my books, what date like each chapter would date is. And as I'm writing the book, and then like so with gesture, I'm at 70% like I know roughly how much how many words I'm going to have in the book. Okay, so right now I'm about two to three weeks away from I know how fast they wait, I'm a very slow writer. So I have about 25,000 words left with just her. So I know that's going to take me about two to three weeks. Again, very slow writer, so no one laughed at me. So now I'm going back and I'm starting to edit from the beginning. So I'll write at certain points of the day. And then I'll go back and I'll edit certain points in the day. So that will keep the characters crushed. Because as you know, as you as you write, you kind of get I don't know if you do, but I do. I kind of sometimes lose the core feel of my characters as I go along.

Elle
Yeah, you know, yeah, I can relate to that. Totally. Yeah.

Renee
Yeah. Like sometimes, like you forget their voice or it's something that didn't exist still, but like little things, you know, yeah. So I got sometimes I have to go back and I have to remind myself of who these characters are. Right. So that's, that's what I'm doing. I'm going back and I'm editing them a little bit, you know, I'm writing fresh a little bit. And I go back and I looked through my spreadsheet, and I remember what day I'm on. And so now I'm also adding a little bit of movement, a little bit of emotion. So yeah, and then you know that that's how I lay all that stuff in. Okay, but if I didn't, you would get a very cardboard cutout of this hand goes here. goes there, and no one wants to read that because that's terrible.

Elle
Okay, this is a few that makes me feel bad because sometimes I feel like this stuff bursts out or other writers like fully formed. I don't like Oh, no. So how many words a day do you think you write? I know it's so hard to say but I'm very slow to I'm not. I am not one of those. I can turn out a book a month now. I can't do it.

Renee
Yeah, no. God, it really it depends on the day, right? Some days I can write 2000 words. Okay. Some days I don't write. I literally will not write any. But on an average, I want to say about 500. Okay, it can it's really it's not a lot. I know, authors who will hear my word catena. Like, really? That's it? I just don't remember though, too. I work a full time job.

Elle
Right? You have a job? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, when I'm working, I write last

Renee
Yeah, nine to five, I am at that computer, and I have a full work schedule. So it's not like I'm sitting here, like, you know, just waiting for an email or answering an email I am dedicated to working. I you know, I have a full, you know, job that I work all day long. But, you know, on my lunch break, and I actually take a physical lunch break. So like, I will, you know, I don't know, you know, they vary throughout the day, you know, each day, what time I actually take my lunch break. But I take an hour for myself. And I stayed that computer. And,

Elle
and that's when you're doing the right because yeah, cuz not only you have your family, you have your kids, you're looking after kids, like, you know what I mean? Like, you have a full day, you know, and I do you know, when I have when my job is full time, which sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't the choice of freelance, you know, that then there's definitely a lot less writing going on, because I have to dedicate my time to to that work. And then I have, you know, I have my family. I've got my kids. I've got you know, I've got other other responsibilities to the book, then there's someone, right? Yes. And then we're getting new marketing and all that on. I

Renee
knew Yeah. I knew what was going to be a lot of work. You know, I knew it would. I, I went from I tell everyone like, you know, having had a publishing house. I knew going into it. I had a plan. You know, I had this set. I said, Oh, I got this. That plan went out the window. Oh, shit, you know, I had my shit together. I was like, I got this. And then I published three. It came out on December 15. On December 16, I went, What the hell was I thinking? I thought I had every ducks in a row. My ducks was bitten. And they was women in different directions. Oh, no, nothing, because gotta remember, I sold my company in 2014 when everything was different in this industry, everything, you know, the marketing was different as a publisher than it is as an independent author. Right? You know, everything was just not the same. So I mean, nothing of this industry the way it is now, as opposed to what it was in my role as a publisher in 2014. Right. Right. I was thrown for a loop. I walked into this thinking, I got this I didn't win because change. Social media, the way social media media, okay, all right. 100% the way social media works right now. Okay, it is so different than what it was. And again, my role as a publisher was different, as opposed to my role as an author. So the last time I marketed myself as an author was 2007. No 2006 Wow. Yeah. Last time I was I was on social media as an author was on my space. Oh, my God. But yeah, I was like, holy shit.

Elle
Yeah. What has changed?

Renee
Yeah, dad. Oh, am and so that was that. So it Yeah, things are very, very, very different. And like I said, I thought I thought I had it not. And I really didn't. So I had to I had to unlearn what I thought I knew and then I had to relearn something completely different and it was scary and it was frustrating. But now I'm having so much fun as you see on off

Elle
you've taken to this social media thing that's the non my space social media very very well. It looks that way but it's not when can we expect Jester

Renee
releasing October 25 Okay, all right. Yeah. And that that when I said that was going to be lighter, it's going to be more fun face isn't actual fun character. She is not cute. She's unintentionally funny. So good. She does not give a shit. No. He is fun to write. Because Jester, you know, for those who read race, you know he is the class clown. He has a sarcastic comment for every situation. And she doesn't take his bullshit at all. So writing a character that stands up to that is hilarious. That's great love.

Elle
Oh, where can where's the best place for readers to find you on the internet?

Renee
Renae rocco.com and all my links are all on my homepage. Excellent and I will happen everywhere. I am literally.

Elle
I will have this in the show notes. And you're great on tik tok. I like you. I highly recommend following Rene on Tick Tock. It's super super fun. And

Renee
she is like releasing video a day except on the weekends I take I take my Saturdays and Sundays off. But I do Monday through Friday, I release a new video on like,

Elle
do you batch record? I'm very curious or do you do whatever it like do you actually do it every day? Or do you like batch up?

Renee
Okay, so I do some some days I do I batch record and some days I actually do make videos. Every morning I dropped my old my youngest daughter off at quarter after nine in the morning. I come home and I make fresh videos literally almost every day.

Elle
Oh my god. That's amazing. That's amazing. You're so good at it. I'm like, You're like my inspiration. I'm still scared to do it. Like I've done like I said, I've done a couple but I'm like I'm always staring at your like I rewatch your shit. Cuz I'm like, so I'm just gonna tell you right now. imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I might copy you until I get comfortable in my own skin.

Renee
You know, I really thought that it was just I was gonna like be ridiculous, but it's just, it's fun. It's just, it's fun. It really is. Like I made like, I think I made for today this morning. But I'll only probably only use one and the rest. I'll just stay in dress and then I'll end up deleting them.

Elle
Oh, really? Okay,

Renee
I was really big in that one. I'll be like, Ill my profile. My nose is like, you know, I could suck up a tank throw it and then I will I won't use it. And I'll just delete it. Or then I'll be like, Ill look you could see like, you know, all my lines on my forehead. Or like I used to smoke like cigarettes. Yeah, way back like a billion years ago. And you can

Elle
see the lines around your lips.

Renee
Getting Botox you're looking like getting Botox. I'm like, No, I really am. No, you're really not. Oh, my coat. No, I really am.

Elle
And I put like a little like, I've got like this really deep line in between my, my eyes from where I squint.

Renee
Yeah. Like, like, I don't mind getting old. It's just like, Well, okay, I

Elle
mind

Renee
two things bother me is my white hair and the lines above my lip. That's it. Yeah, I don't I you know, I don't mind the aches and the pains. You know, those complex territory which everything hurts, like from my neck down like I'm okay with that. Because you can't see that. The white hair and different lines above the lip. I don't know why those those like really bother me. I don't know.

Elle
Why don't see them on the videos. I totally wouldn't. I don't even know.

Renee
Beauty mode and still there is. And hair dyed hair dyes a friend? Why do you I'm a natural like, Oh, my hair is almost black? Yes. Okay, naturally almost like I am so Italian like, oh, let me tell you I'm like, I go back the original olives in Italy. So that's why like, you know, I had to lighten it up because you literally look like someone drew like what a white crayon around my head as soon as the hair starts rolling in and it looks so bad. So yeah, yeah, see, I'm

Elle
I have I have like lighter hair so it does but I can see it like I can see all my grades and since I haven't been to a salon since COVID. I'm like ridiculous with the grades

Renee
but I see you go to school and I do it myself and then my head my my stylist goes really again with the boss column. I'm like, look to charge too much. Okay, no, leave me alone.

Elle
I started about five years ago I started like I started getting bad reactions to hair dye might with my scalp and so I have to go get it done. And they have to do like a whole like it's a washout process because I can't handle the chemicals anymore.

Renee
Well, I dyed my hair was blonde so many times in one month that I fried my hair off and gave me I gave myself a call to chemical haircut. Yeah, I know that. I went from having hair and that was passed my bra strap to almost to my scalp. Wow, that was fine. And I was a grown up. I can't even blame being like an adolescent. I was a grown up. Dad just goes to show. Good Don't let your with this is why I write what I write because some of us don't want to grow Why do you want to stay children forever?

Elle
Well, I'm thrilled that you don't want to grow up because this series is the bomb and so I just very happy to keep it going. So don't grow up. dhokra

Renee
I'm going to get into that grave like a green kid. giggling giggling I'm gonna giggle if

Elle
I was, if I was still living in New Jersey, I would totally be like, okay, when are we hanging out?

Renee
now? Right now? No, hang up, and let's go.

I'll be like,

Unknown Speaker
I'll meet me at Seaside Heights.

Renee
I think the best come like I was picked the essays. Tiktok has been like the most welcoming community like ever. I love it. I love everyone there. I have met like the best people there. But they pick that I love it. I love it. I have told more people like what you see on those videos and in the comments. And that is who I am. Like, I normally thinking and everything. But that ridiculous bitch that goofy went, that is exactly who I am. Like what you see in the books or whatever. That's my personality. Like, that's where you see, like, that's where you get. So if you if you like that the write me, you know, shoot me an email, text, you know, message me, I'm gonna message you right back. I'm always on my phone. I'm always on my computer. I'm going to text you back. I'm going to message you right back. And we're going to have a great conversation. So right on out. I'm going to talk to you.

Elle
Rene, thank you so much for doing this. It's been so much fun. I'm glad I'm glad we connected. Yeah, absolutely. I would love for you to come back when Jester comes out.

Renee
I would love to talk to you again. So yeah, you're so cool. You're awesome. Thank you.