Thursday, November 26, 2015

Introducing... T.E. Ridener

This week I've had the pleasure to interview T.E. Ridener! She's such a delight to talk to!

Hi T.E.! Thank you for agreeing to let me pick your brain ;)

1. To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, my name is Tonya and I recently turned 30.  Unlike most of my peers I’ve actually been looking forward to the big 3-0 and I anticipate lots of awesome things happening his year.  I live in a small town in Kentucky.  We’re famous for our fried chicken and the Cumberland Falls!  I like to consider myself a mult-genre author and a complete weirdo.  But I’m one of the best weirdos, I promise.  I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and reading for even longer.  I’m a total book nerd. I love books.

2. Three facts about yourself that we can’t find in your bio :)

1. I can touch my tongue to my nose.

2. I am terrified of fish.

3. I cannot and will not watch the Saw movies.  They really freak me out.

3. You’ve been publishing stories for a few years now, at what point did you truly feel like an author?
 For me, I’d say I truly felt like an author when I received my first message from a reader and they told me how much they enjoyed my book.  I love getting messages like that and it really encourages me to keep writing because you never know who you may influence in the process.

4. What is something you wish you were told before publishing your first novel?
     I wish someone would have told me how crazy this ride can be.  There’s so much more good than bad, I swear!  It’s a lot of hard work.  You always have to promote your stories and get them out there for readers to find.  That’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it.  The one thing I would like to tell new authors is to be careful.  Other authors (not all of them!) may act like your friend, but they really aren’t.  They want to see you do good, but never better than them.  Remember that.  I am a firm believer we should lift each other up in this business.  Celebrate one another’s successes.  Don’t belittle anyone for having the same dream as you.  We’re all in this together.  /No one/ is my competition.  Don’t ever get into that mindset.  Please.

5. How do you kick writer’s block to the curb?
     Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes it’s just inevitable and I have to step away for a few days to let my mind clear.  But I have found that reading (definitely reading!), watching TV or a good movie can help.  I usually have about five projects, or more, going on at once, so I avoid the dreaded ‘Creative Wall’ as much as possible.

6. Do you think the world of literature needs more of anything?
I absolutely believe we need more diverse books.  Don’t be afraid to be different.

7. Five authors that have inspired you or are thankful for:

1 R.L. Stine will be the only big time author I’ll mention here.  And I have to be thankful for him because he’s the one who made me want to become an author myself.  I always loved his stories and he really broadened my imagination as a kid.

2  T.J. Loveless because she showed me the ropes when not many others were willing to.  She’s been such a great friend and an excellent mentor.  I don’t even think she realizes how much I admire her, but I really do!

3  Elle Vanzandt because she is one of my dearest friends and she gave me a brilliant idea to help get other authors’ names out there.  It’s seriously brilliant.  You can find out in my next release, 90 Days, or go read her book “Love Me Steady” to find out what I’m talking about.  I think it’s going to be the new thing in indie publishing.   And also because she basically reads every story chapter by chapter and helps me get out of sticky situations.  She’s amazing like that.

4  Ellie Hart because she is always writing for awareness whether it’s about autism, bullying, or faith.  She pours her heart into her words and I just love that about her.  I wish she got more exposure.

5  Suanne Laqueur! Her writing is truly poetic and her personality is so great.  I just love her to bits.  She’s really going to go places. I can feel it.

8. What is the strangest thing you do while writing?
I talk to myself.  A lot.  I usually speak the dialogue as it’s being written and I use the accents.  My family has gotten used to this.

9. I sort of have this writing bucket list. It’s pretty short actually, but the list is things I want to write, mostly to challenge myself or for fun. Like, write a steampunk. Do you have a writing bucket list or maybe a goal for one day?
Honestly, right now my bucket list would include finishing all the blasted ideas I’ve already got, haha.  I’ve been struggling with the final books in three different series and it’s so hard to say goodbye.  I’m prolonging the inevitable, I know, but I’m attached.  They’re pretty much my children.

10. How did you come up with names for your characters?
 Sometimes it’s super easy and other times it’s not.  With the Kadenburg Shifters Series I had to do some research just because I knew their names would hold significant meaning to each of them.  Otherwise, my characters just tell me their names when they pop in.  It can be interesting and it can be a little insane, but it’s never dull!

11. What message do you want a reader to take away from 180 Days?
The biggest message I want readers to take away from 180 Days is the fact we are all human and we all deserve love.  I hope that if someone who happens to be trans reads it, they will know they are loved and they do have the support of others.  Some people can be real jerks, but there are real-life Jebs and Callums out there.  I want them to find hope, peace, and love within the pages of this story.  I want awareness to be spread and for minds to be opened.  If I can accomplish that then I’ve done my job as a writer.

12. So long as it’s not a spoiler, can you share the hardest scene you wrote in 180 Days?
I believe the hardest scene for me was writing out a flashback of Lydia being bullied by her peers during her childhood.  It’s reality, I know, but it was very hard to stomach.  Anyone who has been bullied or made fun of for being different will probably be able to relate to the scene.  I didn’t make it through the scene without shedding a few tears.  Children can be so cruel, you know?

Thank you so much!
Thank YOU! J

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Author: T. E. Ridener

Title: 180 Days

Pages: 268

Genre: Transgender Contemporary Romance

Date published: September 30, 2015

Lydia McIntosh left her old life behind when she said goodbye to Prairie Town, North Carolina and started over halfway across the country with her beloved Gran; away from her family, away from everyone who knew the person she once was, and from the identity she never quite wanted in the first place. When her grandmother passes away, she returns home and while she only intends to stay for the funeral, her grandmother has other plans, from the grave. Her will states that Lydia must remain in Prairie Town for six months in order to give her family and her old town a chance to get to know the new her, the real her.

Lydia has had years to adjust to long hair, summer dresses, and nail polish, but she understands her family will need time to get reacquainted with a daughter they’ve never known and a sister they’ve missed terribly. Anticipating the worst, as she always has, Lydia’s feelings about her old town begin to change when she meets her brother’s best friend, Callum. Callum is kind and more accepting than she could have ever imagined and she’s falling for him.

When her 180 days are over, will she be able to say goodbye to the family she’s missed so much? Will she survive her mother’s endless intolerance? Can she really leave the man who acknowledges her past and still wants her?


Her laughter died down as she stared at him. “I want to, you know—to trust you. I really do.” “Then take a chance.” He whispered, gripping her chin lightly and tilting her head back. Inching forward, he waited for a sign, to continue, to back off. “I wish I could.” Moisture glistened in her eyes. “But it isn’t that easy and you know it. I fought really hard to get to this point in my life, Callum.” God, hearing his name fall from her lips was nothing short of heavenly. “You don’t have to fight alone anymore, Lydia. When I said I liked you, I meant it. I mean it. You’ve been so brave and courageous this whole time. What’s keeping you from taking another risk?” She sucked in a breath and released it in a shaky sigh. The distance between them was minimal and all it would take was one small movement to bring their lips together. His heart was thundering in his ears as he cradled her face between both hands and lowered his mouth to brush lightly against hers. She gasped, but didn’t pull away. However, feeling her lips tremble against his, Callum did. “You’ve never been kissed before, have you?” He asked, his voice husky from desire. He’d be lying if he said his jeans weren’t extremely tight at the moment. Lydia was gorgeous and his body had taken a quick liking to hers, but his parents had raised him to be a gentleman. “No,” she whispered. “Is that bad?” “No.” He replied, grinning. “It’s not bad, Lydia. I just want your first kiss to be one you’ll never forget.” She smiled the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen and her cheeks warmed beneath his touch. “I don’t really imagine it getting any better than that.” “You can’t be serious.” He blinked. “You think that was a real kiss?” “Well, no, but…” She lowered her head and her hair fell down, covering her face from his view. “I don’t really believe that Hollywood’s depictions of romance are accurate.” “Hollywood?” He laughed. Loud. “Sugar, this is the south. We don’t pull none of that Hollywood stuff around here.” Lifting her head until their gazes met, Callum leaned in and laid one on her she wouldn’t soon forget. Their lips molded together and if it was sloppy, he didn’t notice. The only thing he could focus on was how sweet and perfect her mouth felt against his. Absolute perfection.


T.E. Ridener resides in the small community of Gray, Kentucky with her equally eccentric yet amazingly interesting family. Miss Ridener has written a handful of novels as well as various short stories during her career as a writer. When she is not writing, she enjoys listening to nearly every genre of music, watching movies, and spending time with her niece and nephew. Her greatest accomplishment to date has been The Blood Betrayal Series, with characters she dreamed up while she was still a teenager. She believes that the Blood Betrayal Series will go far one day, despite the overrating of vampires in the past few years. According to her, vampires will never go out of style even if their fashion choices do!


Tell me if you've ever wanted to read a novel featuring a transgender character and why. I may just choose you to...
Posted by T. E. Ridener-Author on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mama Taught Me To Share: Bonfire Edition

If you follow me ANYWHERE I'm positive that you have seen me mention a fire night or twenty along with a picture or thirty. I LOVE FIRES! We do them A LOT. We roast hot dogs, sausages, marshmallows, make mountain pies and s'mores... the works. And it's freaking yummy. We invite our friends and family, or we just have an "intimate" fire. As intimate as one can get with a 6 year old or teenager/s attending. But we love having fires and going to our friend's fires. 

Seriously. I'm a PA is in my blood. (Okay, not LITERALLY...but you know what I mean.)

We've been to crazy big fires, small fires, fires in a hole in the ground, fires in an above ground pit, even had fires in an old grill and a tiny old camping grill. A fire is a fire is a fire. Unless it's a house fire or... okay, so some fires are better than others. We like the intentional and safe fires. 

Anyway, this summer we accepted an invite to a fire at a friend's house and they unintentionally taught me something amazing. So, I'm going to share it with you. If you go to fires or have your own... Ya know what, you can use this tip or not. I thought it was cool and it helps when I'm working scenes out in my head.

We all get junk mail, right? What do you normally do with it? Tear the envelope in half and drop it in the garbage can. That's what I usually did. Sometimes I'd take notes on the envelope if it was blank. What do you do with the kid's worksheets from any school help/learning books? Once completed, they met the garbage can, too. (Maybe you'd save one or two sheets as mementos. I don't know.) What about those pieces of mail that you worry about just dropping in the trash because it has important information on it? Bill stubs you've already paid? Bank account summaries (if you haven't gone completely paperless)? Crappy, junky magazines? Old magazines the children have cut up?

You can use those for your fires. We start our fires with news paper or cardboard or whatever's available as we try to avoid using lighter fluid. Sure, they don't produce the best scent...but on a chilly night it boosts the heat. Also, it saves on your trash/recycling/paper shredder. 

You can make burn logs.

Now, I separate by paper texture. Not only because I'm weird, but because we've found what works best for our preferences. The adds and magazines and newspaper works best to help start the fire, and the paper logs are for when the fire is already going. You can do it however you want. :)

What you need: paper & rubber bands

Step One: Collect your magazines, junk mail, scrap paper, old bills, oops prints, etc. 
Step Two: Keep the rubber band handy.
Step Three: OPTIONAL Remove the staples. It won't burn and won't hurt, but I'm the one that digs through the ashes days after a fire to fish out the metal pieces...they don't vanish and I won't let the husband put the metal pieces in the garden or anything. So I fish the nails and what not out and chuck them in recycling bin or trash (depending on what it is...if I can tell)

So I just remove the pesky staples because they're harder to fish out of the fire pit. You can do what works for you.

Step Four: Roll them. Wrap the roll with a rubber band while you set up more papers to continue rolling.

Tip: Keep your roll tight. It burns longer the tighter it is and it won't fall apart when you move it if the roll is tight.

All you do is keep rolling. My rolls aren't done yet.

When you've got a decent log going, you can wrap it with twine or probably just paste the last sheet. Then, you put that sucker on the fire.

It will produce more ash than the wood does, but we have a decent sized pit and keep up with it so it hasn't been an issue.

**I do not advocate minors starting fires without adult supervision, using paper logs in a fire place or to heat your home, starting fires in unsafe locations, or starting fires during storms, rain, wind advisories, etc. **

Yeah, I just took all the fun out right? Too bad.

Stay safe ya'll! Don't burn important things you need to keep either!

Enjoy your warm fires! I can't wait for our next! One week away! YAY!

Also, thank you to my friend for accidentally showing me this trick....for as long as I've been doing fires I never even thought about it. This friend also makes paper bricks, but I don't have a press so I haven't tackled that technique. 

Do you have any tips or tricks to make life easier? Or warmer. Hah!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Twisted Destiny: The Soul Mate Series book 3

I want to apologize. I seem to apologize a lot with series, but regardless, I am truly sorry. This series is so much fun, but it's also incredibly tough to write. I can't really explain it because I don't exactly understand my own holdup.

When I wrote True Connection in 2012, I didn't have too many distractions other than my family. Also, I didn't know what I was doing at all. Would it be worth the time? Who would read it? Would I let anyone read it? I didn't know and I had no expectations with it either. No one knew about it until I was finished or almost finished. It was just me and the story. Back then, I had a clear view of each story and took notes in a notebook. I have those notes still, but since then, so much has changed. After True Connection was complete, and I had two people who would read it that weren't related to me, Emma Hart and Carey Heywood, I got their feedback and started making changes. Then I had an editor and things weren't as smooth as either of us expected. There were a lot of errors, plot holes, personal happenings for each of us that made everything tense on top of it... and we stopped. I was disappointed but not in her, in myself. Her and I are still friends, and I highly respect her. She's amazing. At the start of 2013, with help from my Critique Partner, I overhauled the entire book. There were SO MANY changes to True Connection that I knew no matter what, the 65,000 words written for Soul Promise would need changed, too.

Fast forward to now: I spend a lot of time going back through what I have written to make sure the timeline is correct and I'm not making something happen too fast. Not only that, Aisling is new. She wasn't an "original" character since book one, so it's taken some time to get to know her. Just when I think I know her, she does something that surprises me. And a lot of times, I take a pause and go back just to make sure I'm getting her right.

My personal life has had some changes, big ones. My medical condition doesn't allow me to sit for long periods of time and my daughter is in kindergarten this year with a cyber charter school. So I have to move a lot and also guide my feisty kindergartner through school.

Anyway, without sounding like I'm making excuses, I just wanted to apologize for taking so long to get this book out. I am working. I promise you that. But at this moment, I don't have a release date or even an estimate. Writer's block is very consuming and seems to set in sporadically. I just can't guess when it'll happen again or if it will.

For your patience, I'll let you with this excerpt from Twisted Destiny. I don't like sharing much that's unedited, but I think this is the perfect time to share more than a one liner with you all. I have redacted a few lines and changed some things around so it wouldn't spoil anything. So when you read the whole thing, you might recognize this scene, but it will be different (better know, cleaner. LOL)

Twisted Destiny
The Soul Mate Series

Copyright © Rachel Walter

Stone cold arms wrap around my shoulders and under the backs of my knees. I try to hide the disgust consuming me but I groan with the sudden lurch of my stomach as I’m hoisted in the air.
“She is a plump one,” a gravely voice comments followed by a loud squeak. The air shifts and suddenly my senses are assaulted with scents of lavender, cinnamon, and smoke.
“Put her in the den with him.”
Shoes clump as I’m jostled around. Dust and mildew invade the cinnamon and suddenly, all I can smell is something rotting. I gag. Quickly turning my head, I retch and retch again when I hear the contents of my stomach splat on the floor.
I open my eyes and see two rotting corpses and a few unmoving rodents scattered on the hardwood floor. The floorboards creak as I'm set on my feet and shoved further into the room of dead.
“Father,” he announces. “Aisling Haw-,”
“I know who she is fool, leave,” a weathered masculine voice shouts.
Panic fills me. He can’t leave me here with their dead! He winks at me before he steps toward the mangled wooden door behind him and quickly disappears, shutting it between us.
If this room is any indication as to what my future will be like, I'm in bigger trouble than I thought.
“You smell of shifters,” the voice says sounding intrigued.
“I live in a shifter territory,” I explain and note that my voice sounds smaller than normal.
“Hmm… Yes. I can smell my old friends on you. Perfect.”
I swallow roughly and fist my hands at my sides. “What do you want with me?” Slowly, I turn around and try to catch a glimpse of the man with the awful voice. “How am I supposed to save anyone?”
He clucks his tongue and then footsteps draw nearer. “My son has spoken too much. Such a shame, too,” he says in my ear.
I squeak and spin around, coming face to face with scarlet eyes. I swallow my scream and take a step away from him.
“It was my fault. I wouldn’t stop asking questions. He gave few answers and then I don’t know what happened.” I shrug with my lie. “I woke up here.”
His black clothed hand inches closer to me and in a smooth motion, he wraps his long skinny fingers around my shoulder. “Don’t be afraid my child. This is only the beginning of a beautiful partnership.” With a wave of his hand, the smell of death vanishes and is replaced by the succulent scents of warm vanilla and lilacs. The remains of the dead disappear and we’re standing in a warm, white marble lined hallway.
“Come, I have much to tell you,” his voice seemed to have grown younger with the wave of his hand. “This is such fun. It’s been far too long since I’ve had visitors.”
Part of me wants to ask how long, but the smarter part of me surprisingly keeps a lid on my questions.
            A soft buzz touches my mind and a painful burn runs through my insides, circling my heart. I touch my hand to my chest and close my eyes. 


I hope you've enjoyed this! As soon as I have better news regarding Twisted Destiny, I will let you all know with announcements EVERYWHERE!

Later this week I will answer another reader question and possibly another interview with a new-to-me author. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer in post form, don't be shy! :) Have a fabulous Monday bookworms! <3 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Introducing: Barbara Lieberman

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing a new to me author. So here's a bit about Barbara Lieberman:

Can you remember the first book you read that made you love literature?

No. I have been reading books since I learned to read from cereal boxes. I can't remember far back enough to recall a time I didn't love books and everything about them. That love has only increased and deepened as I've gotten older.

It's been said that authors leave pieces of themselves in their works, do you believe this? If so, what is a piece of you that you left in Message on the Wind

There are always little pieces of me in my stories. In Message on the Wind, Ellen Price is most definitely inspired by my daughter, Ellie. And, the kind of relationship Ellie and Alex is inspired by my own parents. Ironically, I wrote the story 15 years ago and it was just 8 years ago that I got on a train to start a new life out West. So, there is that as well, after the fact. In To Miss the Stars, Emma encourages Eugenia to try her hand at making scented sugars, something I have made for years.

Do you set your books in locations you have visited, or base them off of locations you've visited? 

Not at all. In fact, so far my stories are based in places I've never been. The story comes to me and I write it as it comes, including where and when it takes place. I wrote Message on the Wind and only later researched Wyoming to get it right. I found that I had pretty much nailed it, without ever having been there. I still wonder how that's possible.

Do you prefer to write at a specific time of day or do you write whenever the mood strikes? 

The stories come when they come and the characters speak up when they feel like it. I have to have a notebook and pen, or voice recorder, with me at all times, because I never know when a story line or scene will appear. On the other hand, whenever there is uninterrupted time, I can sit down and write by just going to 'that place' where the stories come from and there they are.

What is the hardest part about being an author?

 The hardest part for me was the first time strangers read my book. They had no emotional investment in me, no reason to be kind and encouraging, so I felt as if I were walking down the street naked during a huge parade at a political convention. Terrifying! Fortunately, it has all turned out very well.

In your opinion, does the literary world need more of anything in particular?

We need more of us who are in it for everyone to succeed. More people willing to link arms and support all those who dream of publishing their writing. More editors willing to work with first-time authors. And better business models for self-publishing authors on sites like Amazon, so we can be seen and read.

How do you find "new to you" authors? 

From online author events, from the weekly Confessions on Indie Authors and Book Blogs, and from live author events, which is my favorite way. There is something very special about meeting an author at an event and then reading their book, or meeting someone whose book you loved.

Is there any genre you wish to write in just for fun? 

I actually am doing this now. I am working on a dragon story for an anthology that is due out in May, 2016. Not my usual kind of story so I'm enjoying breaking out into something new.

Do you base your characters off of people in your personal life? 

I have, mainly my daughter. And I have a children's book coming out that is based on my son. More often, it's things the characters do that are based on people I know. For example, Marie and Cameron McEwen drew sketches of their dream home, when they began to build their new life in the Wyoming Territory (part of To Reap a Whirlwind, coming out in January). This is based on my parents doing that same thing when they were just married and dreaming about their own dream home.

What is your number 1 tip to newbie authors? 

Get an editor. You want to put out the best possible book you can and an editor is essential. Really put the work in up front, so that it's the best version of your story. The book, and you, deserve that.

Do you have any suggestions for authors wishing to push themselves to be better at their craft? 

I am always trying to be a better writer. For me, each book should be better than the next. So, read articles on improving. Have beta-readers go through your manuscript and listen to what they have to say. Take in what works for you, discard what doesn't. But do listen to constructive criticism. It hurts at first but it will make you better.

What is something you wish you could "master" within the writing/publishing process? 

I want to start my own publishing company. I love supporting other authors by editing and formatting their books, as well as encouraging them when they get discouraged and believing in their dreams when no one else does. It is definitely the next big thing I want to master.

One last thing... sales of my books and book swag support Project Semicolon ( and my Treasure of Ravenwood: A Fairy Tale is a Reading is Fundamental book, supporting children in knowing the joy of owning a book when they might not otherwise know what that is like.

Thank so you much Barbara! Here's her post through #IABBAddict

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Join us every Thursday for IABB #Confessions

Author: Barbara Lieberman

Title: Message on the Wind

Pages: 458

Genre: Historical Romance

Date published: April 9, 2015

Would you follow your heart, if it meant leaving behind everything and everyone you've ever known? Board a train with Ellen Price and travel to a new life. Even as she begins a new life, she'll change the lives of all she meets.

Ellie turned quickly to run back to the wagon. She abruptly ran into the front of a man and almost fell down, dropping her purchases all over the ground. Looking up, she realized that he must be the tallest man she had ever seen. Daniel Cooper was tall but this man was huge! He had very tanned skin and black eyes that were blazing at her. His very long, black hair was pulled back and tied in a way that was long out of fashion. His hands were on his hips and he was clearly incensed about something. "Excuse me," Ellie said, surprised by the obvious anger on his face and wondering why it was directed at her. "I didn't see you. I just need to get back to my friends..." As she tried to reach for her packages, the giant stepped in her way, his eyes narrowing. "What happened to Little Flower?" he demanded.
"Little Flower?" Ellie asked, confused for a moment by the unusual name. "Oh, you mean the woman? The clerk in the store gave her a difficult time about buying a blanket. First, he blatantly refused to wait on her and then he tried to charge her five dollars! She left without it so, I bought the blanket for her." She paused in her explanation, suddenly, tilted her head and stared up at him. This was quite difficult given the differences in their heights. "Why do you want to know, so rudely I might add?" The stranger looked Ellie up and down rather deliberately, his black eyes returning to stare into hers once more. Having found herself in similar situations before, Ellie simply endured his frank appraisal. He seemed surprised she challenged him, her hands now on her hips defiantly, but then bullies usually were surprised when anyone stood up to them. This one seemed no exception. His expression relaxed only a little. "I am usually the one protecting The People around here." "The People? I'm not familiar...with…?" Ellie asked, noticing he was still staring at her. She continued to stare right back at him and tried not to notice just how handsome he was. "Indians." The man's eyes narrowed further as he said this, as if expecting some reaction from her.
"Have we met?" "Oh, well," Ellie stammered, suddenly embarrassed at her own behavior. "I didn't realize that you meant... or that she was... well, it doesn't really matter that she is one of the People, does it? What a lovely way of putting that, much better than Indian. Anyway, he shouldn't have treated her that way. I only saw someone being taken advantage of. I do tend to stick my nose in when I see that. A terrible habit of mine but there you have it." Thinking the incident resolved, Ellie again moved to retrieve her things from the ground. "Now, if you will excuse me, sir, I really must find my friends..." The man moved to block her yet again, apparently not quite finished with her yet.


Message on the Wind Prize Pack includes:
MOTW tote bag, MOTW mug, MOTW pendant, MOTW ribbon bookmark, Arrowleaf Balsamroot seeds, and my Re-imaginng Happily Ever After pin.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Question From A Reader

Over on my Facebook page I asked if anyone had any questions that I would answer at some point this month. I didn't think anyone would respond, mostly because of the limited reach my page gets. (Everyone complains about facebook status views, so I'll save you that complaint.) Well, much to my surprise, I had someone ask me a question!

Question: Tell me honestly, do you like Twilight?


Nope, I don't like it.

Now, before you gasp at me or disregard my response, hear me out. I don't like Twilight because I actually love it.

The love I feel for Twilight was far from Insta-Love. Before it was optioned for a movie, a friend of mine gave me Twilight. She said, "It's not your typical vampire romance, but give it a chance, I think you'll like it." I don't remember what else she had said to "sell me" on borrowing the book, but I did borrow it.

I'm terrible with borrowed books. Not that I forget to give them back or destroy them, no. I'm afraid I'll mess it up or change its smell somehow just by touching it, let alone breathing on it. So a lot of times, when someone lends me a book, it sits in one spot and never gets opened until I either purchase my own copy or just give it back. Not always though, I have read several borrowed books, but yeah I'm odd.

Anyway, I remember sitting at my kitchen table in our old house with Twilight in hand and I stared at the preface and read the first sentence probably 80 times without retaining what it said. I figured I wasn't in the mood to read at the time so I sat it down and went about my business. A few days later I tried starting from Chapter 1. I couldn't get through the first page. After several times of trying I gave the book back to my friend and told her it just wasn't for me.

About a year later, my sister told me to try again. I did. Same results. I just couldn't get into it.

By the time my brother told me to read it, Twilight the movie was getting ready to release. I ignored him and ignored the movie and book.

Then my girl, my stepdaughter, said she was super excited for the movie. Then she saw the movie in theaters. She wanted to own the movie, the books, and to marry Edward Cullen.

We bought her each movie as they were released on DVD and between me and my sister, we purchased her the series in book form. She read and reread those suckers. Her and my brother made me watch Twilight and then New Moon. When Eclipse came to theaters, my friend, stepdaughter, and myself went to the theater. I barely paid attention to Twilight and New Moon even though they were played at least a dozen times each. At the theater, I actually paid attention to Eclipse. By the end of the movie, I told myself that I would give the books another shot.

I picked up Twilight one evening, and found that same resistance at the beginning, but I forced myself to continue. I'm really glad I did, too. I fell in love little by little. Not with Bella or Edward or Jacob or my Twilight husband Emmett (LOL), I fell in love with the story itself. It's awkward and cute, the sparkly vampire thing is still a little far fetched for me as I'm a lover of the scary vamps that burn in the sun, but it didn't turn me away from the story. By the time Breaking Dawn part 1 came to theaters, I had read the novels maybe 3 times over.

More and more as time moves on, like it always does too quickly, I find that I appreciate the story and Stephanie Meyer more than before. I also thank my girl and my siblings and that one friend for forcing me to read the books and watch the movies. They all know my resistance with popular in your face things...but they pestered me enough that I finally gave it a REAL chance.

I bought my stepdaughter and I a copy of the anniversary edition and she knows she will probably read it before me. It's new, and EVERYONE has had something to say about it. I'll read it when some of the newness fades. Until then, I look at it every day and think "Yeah, I'll get to you soon my precious." It's a pretty book. Books are precious. So, yes, I love Twilight. It's one of those things where you have to accept the annoying and ugly parts to accept the whole story. Its fiction. Fiction can go ANYWHERE. Sometimes we can't "get over" certain aspects, and that's okay, too. I'm sure I share a common interest with nearly everyone, but it may not be my favorite or go to. I'm a very eclectic person.

Do you have a question for me? Don't be afraid to ask! I love answering questions about as much as I love asking them.

Have a great day Bookworms! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Introducing: Maria DeSouza

The second author I have this week is Maria DeSouza. She was happy to entertain me with an interview. A Halloween-y interview, too. 

 Halloween is right around the corner! So, what is your favorite horror movie of all time?     

Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street movies are my all-time favorite movies for Halloween. 

Do you have a marathon movie day near Halloween?

I will watch some movies with my kids like Scream or Nightmare Before Christmas.  I have a Tim Burton marathon during the week of Halloween.  Halloween day, I usually spend time having a party and trick or treating, and come home to watch the scarier movies with my husband like Insidious or IT.

The worst Halloween costume you’ve ever worn is…   

I was a witch and my mom painted my face green.  Apparently, I was allergic to the face paint she used and my face was swollen during the day and itchy and I looked like a swollen green faced witch.  People thought it was part of the costume, like a mask but it was my face.  :/

What is the most important aspect of writing in the thriller genre?  

To me, having the reader in constant fear of what might happen is a key factor in a thriller.  I also think that when you build a character so evil or scary that your readers are still talking about them after they have finished reading the book.

If you had the power to bring one actor or writer back from the dead, who would that be and why them?   

I would bring back Heath Ledger.  I feel that he died before he could accomplish great things as an actor.  He was also great on the eyes!

Say that you and I are going to a haunted mansion. You happen to know that this particular mansion has a room filled with clown figurines, paintings, statues, and the like. And you happen to know that I’m terrified of clowns…
What type of friend would you be?

A. “No Rachel! Do NOT go in that room!” And save me from seeing any of it.
B. Do you shove me inside the room without warning and hold the door shut so I can’t get out.
C. Go in with me, pretending to care and hold me, only to chase me around with one of the clowns.
D. Tell me I can do it and go with me without being a butthole.
E. Other.

I would totally go in there and pretend I had no idea it would scare you.  Possibly chase you with a clown, but all in good fun.  I also know you would be the first to throw a fake spider on me!

If you were trapped in a world similar to The Walking Dead, how many zombies would you kill and how long do you think you’d last?  

I would be the Michonne equivalent of my Walking Dead world.  The quiet yet deadly person who slices zombie’s head with a katana sword.  Again, in my world I would last forever.   I would also lock myself up in a gun store and raid all the houses of people who coupon because you know they will have stocked up on a lot of food. 

You’re a parent. Be honest with me, do you enforce the Halloween Candy Parent Tax? What is one candy you always go after?   

As a parent, it is my sworn duty to enforce this mandatory tax that is only payable in KitKats, Twix, or Snickers.  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are also welcome to be used to bribe this officer to skip doing chores. 

When I was a teen, I joined a group of friends and we visited an abandoned prison. What is something you did as a teen around Halloween?   

I went with friends to places that were reportedly haunted, like the Elizabeth Insane Asylum, and a butcher farm, or cemeteries after dark.   No wonder I have a morbid mind! 

As an author, what do you struggle the most with?   

Reviews!!!!!  I wish my readers would leave reviews after reading my book, or anyone’s book for that matter.  When you don’t leave a review, it makes us think that you don’t like the book.  Authors might end a series early because of lack of interest in it.  Authors do read reviews, especially if you’re constructive in your wording.

What is the creepiest line you’ve ever read? What book was it from?   

“We all float down here.” IT by Stephen King    It was the first book I read by him and by far the scariest thing I read.

Do you have a favorite Halloween themed poem?    

Anything by Edgar Allen Poe is my Halloween go to for poems.

Do you think the literary world needs more of anything in particular?   

I don’t think the Literary World needs anything in particular.  I do think that authors should embrace each other more in terms of supporting each other, instead of putting each other down.   Being original is also a key element.  When someone becomes popular writing a step brother book, it doesn’t mean we need thousands of books about that one topic.  

Has there been a scene or line that you’ve written that gave yourself chills? Can you share it?   

I wrote a scene in Love Lost that involved Lucio, my bad guy.  It was a glimpse into his past with Selene.  I ended up deleting it and adding it to my Deleted scenes document.  I will add it eventually to one of the later books in the series or as deleted scenes to the series boxed set.

What are the top five things you’ve googled for your writing that you would have a hard time explaining to others WHY you’ve googled it?   

I have googled crime scenes, strip clubs, human trafficking, mind of a killer/psychopath, and horrible ways to die.   I would say that my google history may lead people to think I am a serial killer or harboring one.   But I swear I’m not!  

Thank you so much Maria! It was a blast having you!

Here's a little more about Maria:

Maria DeSouza
I am a NJ native, not to be mistaken for the craziness that is the NJ Housewives or Jersey Shore! I have two children and a loving husband, who are my life and family that makes me want to scream at times, but I love them. I started my affair with reading and writing at a young age. I loved where books took me, and wished for the day when I would meet my dream boat. (Yes, I referred to my future man as a dream boat. Child of the 80s here!) I grew up on Stephen King, Nora Roberts, and anything my library would let me borrow. I would always grab a notebook and start writing about the books I read because I wanted the story to continue. I never took it seriously until I had a friend a few years ago tell me that I needed to publish my work after I wrote down a short story. My reaction was…yeah, right! The words stuck with me and I was constantly asked, “Did you write more? Are you done?” A back injury put my writing on hold for almost 2 yrs and last year, I found the WIP file and started reading. Then, I started writing and adding to it. That little dream turned story will be my debut novel, Love Lost.  I’m currently finished with Hidden Heart and working on Book 2 in the series, Lost Soul.

Contact Maria-

Love Lost

Hidden Heart (Coming Soon)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Your Name Here

When I was little, before I went to school, I don't remember disliking my name. Well, unless my parents would yell my first and middle names together...that was never a good sign. "Rachel May!" and my response was usually something like, "I didn't do it!" But 9 times out of 10 I actually did it. Bad kids raise your've done it. We all have, at least once. I didn't really give much thought to my name. It was mine.

Upon entering elementary school, I was introduced to a bunch more Rachel's and not all of us shared the same spelling. There was another Rachel, same spelling as me and in my same class (it got confusing sometimes, but it was usually cleared up with using a last initial). There was a Rachael and a Rachelle (and she pronounced it Rachel). As we progressed in school and some students left and more arrived, and our classes got larger, we ended up with 3 Rachel's in the class. That's probably about the same time that I really started to dislike my name. I began wishing I had a shared name with a more popular girl in school, or an exotic name that wasn't shared at all. Seeing - Your Name:______________ - used to make me annoyed because I didn't like my name. I wasn't the cool Rachel. That Rachel was another Rachel in my class. I was just Rachel - a nobody that always tried to be happy-go-lucky,

By the time I graduated, I liked my name alright. It was common, but it's mine. I think part of my dislike of overly popular/common anything stems from this issue. LOL. It took me forever to read Twilight because of its popularity, and I won't list anymore of what I didn't read or watch, because that list is pretty long and intense.

Now, I love my name. I have a few decades under my belt and I know there's no other me. Part of me is my name. My last name is my husband's and kids' name. And I love them with my whole heart. I'm not just my name, I'm me. I'm quirky, dry, sarcastic as hell, creative, and caring (there's more but the rest is pretty boring).

That being said, I have had some odd luck regarding my common name. First, middle, and last are pretty stinkin' common. The first time I remember a mistaken identity happening was I think about 4 years ago. My husband is from a small town in the mountains about 4ish hours away. Loads of people know him and know me or my name as his wife. One night there was a Rachel Walter that ran into some bad luck, or her bad choices caught up to her. Anyway, whatever the reason, things happened and suddenly my husband was getting calls asking about my condition. That was pretty shocking. I made a joke about it and said I should change my name. Every time the mistaken identity happens, I do this. It's incredibly annoying to repeat the phrase, "I'm not THAT Rachel Walter." It's one thing for the average person to contact someone that shares the name of who you're trying to contact, and I don't mind it all the time. As frustrating as it is, sometimes good things come from those times. But other times, it's not so great. Like when the mistaken identity comes from professionals. It makes me incredibly sad to lose faith in businesses, either that I know and respect or haven't heard of, to be contacted about a different person. It makes me question their ability to perform whatever if they're contacting ME about something I didn't write. I respond to them with "I'm sorry, you have the wrong Rachel Walter." And most times I never hear anything from them. In the last week I've had a baker's dozen emails for other Rachel's (various spellings of first and last name) from businesses. Even a few within the writing community. It makes me sad because of the lack of research involved when trying to contact someone. Part of me wants to believe that it's pretty difficult to find the right person you're looking for. I know that even in this day in age, some people aren't online.

Boys and girls, one day you'll love your name. I still love mine. And if you share my luck at all, one day you'll have some funny stories to share regarding your odd luck.

Your Name Here: Rachel Walter! :)

I don't mind it now. I'm Rachel!!

Oh, and I'm the Rachel that wrote this post. Just so there's no confusion.