Thursday, January 14, 2016

Introducing: Suanne Laqueur

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview a "new to me" author, Suanne Laqueur.

Hi Suanne, thanks for agreeing to let me pick your brain!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was once a professional dancer, and taught ballet for many years. Now I choreograph words on paper. I ran a blog called EatsReadsThinks for a while, mostly writing about what was going on in my kitchen and home, about books I was reading or random thoughts. And every now and then I’d throw in a random scribble, a little piece of flash fiction, a moment in time captured. People would say to me, “You need to get your writing in front of a wider audience.” I shrugged it off until one day in 2013 when it wouldn’t shrug off. I had a story to tell and the time had come to tell it. I published my first book in 2014, the second in 2015 and my third is coming out on January 14th.

Four facts about yourself that we can’t find in your bio:

- I’m surrounded by redheads: my mother, my husband, both my children, my in-laws and many of my extended relations are all gingers.
- I am the world’s best napper. And if you want to challenge that I am more than happy to take it upstairs.
- I can’t drive stick shift. I can happily die without ever knowing how, too.
- My favorite breakfast is potato chips. It’s….bad.

I have yet to read your book, so give me your best sales pitch to hook me into reading them. (I am planning to anyway, but it couldn’t hurt to hear.)
The Fish Tales tell the love story of Erik Fiskare and Daisy Bianco. They meet and fall in love in college and their young lives are forever changed by a shocking act of violence on their campus. They end up estranged for over a decade, during which time both of them go on emotional journeys of recovery. Erik’s story is told in The Man I Love and then we follow Daisy’s side of things in Give Me Your Answer True. Each deals with both emotional trauma and the burden of unfinished business until, in the third book Here to Stay, they face the past, find each other and see if anything of their unique love can be salvaged.

What is something that makes The Fish Tales Series unique?
The story spans fifteen years and it bucks the romance trend in that the main couple are apart for much of the books. Still, the presence of one is always with the other, as the books explore the notion of soulmates and love that transpires tragedy and lasts a lifetime. Erik and Daisy’s ordeal is something sadly prevalent in our society today. But I’ve chosen to take a different slant by focusing on the victims and the effect trauma has on relationships. This love story set at the center of a tight-knit circle of friends. It’s not only Erik and Daisy’s impact on each other, but everyone who came into contact with them. So it’s a love story on many different levels.

You’re releasing the third book in this series, tell me honestly, which book was the hardest to write?
Give Me Your Answer True, the second book which is told from Daisy’s point of view. The challenge with an alternate-POV story is that the reader already knows how things are going to turn out. There has to be a reason for the retelling and something new for the reader to take away from it. So the chapters that retold the college years were extremely difficult to write. They were ruthlessly edited and chopped unless I could tease something new and necessary out of them. Once I came to the place where Erik and Daisy parted ways, it was then a brand-new story and it became easier. But outlining the book and deciding how I would tell and retell was a huge challenge.

Do you have any strange rituals regarding your writing? Something you do before, during, or after?
I don’t know if it’s strange, but my books all start with pen and paper. I flood the pages, mind to hand, with no thought as to whether I’m going to use what I’m writing. I just turn on the faucet and let it flow. Whether it’s clear water, murky, sludge or sewage. I let it spill until I have a huge build-up of material. Then I start to sort it out and put it into order.

Favorite line you’ve written so far? (Who said it and which book?)
“I love us.”
Erik and Daisy first say it to each other in The Man I Love. They say it more often than they say “I love you.” They don’t look at themselves as two halves becoming a whole, but rather two wholes building a greater structure. And the structure is never finished. The “us” is continually built and includes the imperfections as well as the joys.

Strangest thing you’ve ever needed to research for these books:
All the medical hoopla got to be pretty hilarious. I had a certain idea of how I needed Daisy to be hurt. I needed her critically injured without it being life-threatening. And I needed her dancing to be impacted without it ending her career. I called up a friend from high school who’s a surgeon, and had worked for years as an EMT. I explained what I needed, he bounced it off some colleagues. When he got back to me he was practically cackling and rubbing his hands with glee, “Oh we are going to mess her up. It’s gonna be gross. You’ll love it…”

What is your preferred genre to read?
Regardless of genre, I just like a good story. I like atomospheric writing with great characters and a lot of descriptive detail, especially food. I don’t like to read anything too twisted or disturbing. Life makes me anxious enough without me deliberately looking to freak myself out.

What is your biggest pet peeve when you’re reading?
It’s so peevy but I hate exclamation points. And this is more a preference than a peeve, but I’m not a fan of first person/present tense narrative. I think because I like to be told a story, not be the main character. And I like to know what happened, not what’s happening right now.

Do any of your characters share your dislikes or belief?
LOL, all of them to one degree or another. There’s a bit of me in every character.

What has been the hardest part about being an author?
Overcoming inherent shyness and putting myself out there. Walking the thin line between self-promotion and obnoxious. Growing thicker skin and learning to separate my work from myself. Remembering that negative feedback on my books is not negative feedback on ME, although it often feels that way.

What was the biggest surprise for you?
Fan mail. When a reader emails or messages me to tell me what the books meant to them, I constantly look over my shoulder and back and point to my chest like, “…..Me?”

If you could pick one author to sit with, dead or alive, who would you want to talk to and what is something you would ask?
I don’t want to sit with Catherynne Valente, the author of the Fairyland series and a dozen other amazing books. I want to insert myself INTO HER HEAD and live as her for like a week. I want to see the world through her eyes and witness first hand how she thinks of the things she writes.

Do you have any advice for the struggling authors or the new authors?
Well it depends what you’re struggling with but let me say this: I published my first book at 46. It is never too late to reinvent yourself or follow a dream. If you want to write a book, do it.  You will never regret the accomplishment, ever.

Last question, what can we expect to see next from you?
I do have an idea for a fourth book in The Fish Tales but right now it’s time to peel my fingers off that universe of characters and do something that scares me. That is, to write new characters and create a new universe. This is scary because first of all, I don’t have another 20 years to mess around. Second, The Fish Tales were well-received and now it’s time to write the inevitable Next Thing and will it measure up, will it be what readers want, will it flop, will it fail, am I out of my mind, who do I think I am?! That kind of thing.

So anyway, I am reading as much as possible because when your craft is words, you have to feed the beast. I have my notebook and my pen and I’ve turned on the faucet. It’s been a lot of sludge and sewage, but little by little the water is becoming clearer and I’m getting ideas that are starting to fit together.

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Author: Suanne Laqueur

Title: Here to Stay (Book 3 of The Fish Tales)

Pages: 350

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Date published: January 14, 2016

Suanne Laqueur’s Fish Tales series follows the extraordinary romance of Erik Fiskare and Daisy Bianco. When they meet in college, she is an aspiring ballet dancer and he is learning the behind-the-scenes art of stagecraft. Quickly they are drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a world of creativity and artistry until it is changed forever by a shocking act of violence on their campus.

Laqueur has chosen a unique slant on an issue sadly prevalent in today’s world, by focusing on the victims of violence and the effect of trauma on human connection. The first book in the series, The Man I Love, won a gold medal for realistic fiction in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Awards. Told from Erik’s point of view, it follows his emotional journey to salvage the relationships he destroyed, including his estrangement from Daisy which never ceased to haunt him. He equated the end of a love affair with desertion, but now he sees leaving isn’t the end of loving. He must go back and finish, or he will never be free to go forward and start again.

The second book, Give Me Your Answer True, inverts the narrative and tells Daisy’s side of the story, as she works to separate her evolution as an adult from the unresolved guilt and grief of her youth. The loss of Erik’s love weighing heavy on her heart, she must learn to hold onto her accountability without letting it become her identity. To find and give her answers true.

The third book, Here to Stay, is a continuation of Daisy and Erik’s remarkable love story, as they begin a new phase of life together, knowing now that happily ever afters are built, not found. Though separated for twelve years, the extraordinary bond forged in their youth has endured. But when your soulmate has caused you indescribable pain, how easy is it to forgive? How much trust is needed to place your heart back into the hands that once broke it? How much faith does it take to ask the question, "Do you still want me?" and believe in the reply: “I still want us.”

This gripping series has been hailed as a new kind of “emotionally intelligent romance.” The books explore themes of love and sexuality, the effects of trauma, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik and Daisy’s experiences, we reflect on what it means to be a soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to be a hero, not a victim, and fight for what you love. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel.

Excerpt from Here to Stay

It’s a strange thing to find a lost lover in your hands again. Like finding your childhood baseball glove in an attic box of memories. You’re sure it won’t fit. But the heat of your palm, a flex and a bend. A cautious knead of the leather and a tentative reach into the furthest recesses… It knows you. It remembers you.
It fits you.
“Do I feel the same?” Daisy asked, her voice a silken caress.
After twelve years, Erik thought, of course not. He had loved a girl. It was a woman’s body up against him now, with the heft of wisdom and the weight of experience. He ran his fingers up her backbone and felt all the bits of new fused steel, overlaid with the strong assurance in her muscles and the soft aplomb of her skin. She was a hundred times more beautiful. A thousand times more thrilling.
And as her blue-green eyes stared into his, he was keenly aware of her vulnerability.
“You feel more,” he said, his hands moving along her body, trying to remember how she felt when he last touched her. Thin. Beyond ballerina thin—she was drugged thin at the end of their days in college. Yet beautiful to him. Never anything but stunningly easy on his eyes and liquid in his embrace and sweet in his mouth.
“You feel right,” she said, her own hands gliding along his limbs, in and out of him. “Maybe a little thinner.”
“I probably am. I lost and gained weight over and over. Depending on how I was feeling at the time. When the dark times came around, I’d stop eating.”
“I know, but…” Her delicate, arched eyebrows flickered in her brow. “I think over the years, in my head, I made you bigger than you were. Or maybe I beat myself down into something smaller. But now I remember your body. I remember mine with it.”
She was kissing him, pulling him to roll on top of her again. The digital clock on her bedside table read 2:06 in the morning. They had been going at it like possessed demons for hours now and no matter how tight he held or how hard he clung, Erik could not get both arms around making love to her. Too much feeling grabbed at him, clamoring for attention and precedence. Euphoria, lust, guilt and sadness were four wild stallions chained to each limb, intent on tearing him apart. Yet at the center of the jerking, pulling emotion, his heart was calm and accepting. Quietly riding out the storm, safe in the knowledge he was living his truth, living the life he was born to live.
“Don’t leave me,” she whispered under him.
“I can’t,” he said. “I’d never breathe again.”

About the Author

Suanne Laqueur’s first novel, The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Its other 2015 accolades include the Beverly Hills Book Award, a gold medal from the eLit Book Awards and a current finalist with the Kindle Book Awards.

Suanne graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two chil-dren. An avid reader, cook and gardener.

Author Links:

Giveaway – 1 Signed Copy of Here to Stay

Monday, December 14, 2015

Introducing: Rebekah Raymond

Good morning Bookworm Nation!

I have the best job in the world. Writing is both frustrating and rewarding. The path I chose, like many others have, puts me in the position to meet some absolutely wonderful people. Rebekah Raymond is a new to me author, and she's recently released her debut novel!

Now you can get to know her as well!

Rebekah Raymond is a born and bred Canadian, currently living in Calgary, Alberta. Her debut thriller, Life’s Defeat, was launched October 7 both online and at a bookstore (Owl’s Nest and Books) in Calgary.

Raymond is an insomniac (which lends itself well to the writing of large novels), is married to her high school sweetheart, and a mother to a seven year old girl and almost two year old boy. She is an avid trekkie and Sci-fi buff, and has been writing science fiction and fantasy through a number of online platforms for years. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (major in drawing), an Academic Strategist certificate, and has worked in many, many jobs. She also has some very unique (and some qualitatively regular) experiences: guarding rooms for celebrity singers through a security job, playing instruments and singing in groups for 10+ years, working with students with handicaps of various kinds, observing and drawing cadavers when she was earning her degree….

She credits her current literary success to her very supportive husband, eager friends and family, an amazing editor, and a few extremely worthwhile friends who push her in both her writing and her attitude of writing. 

Here's my interview with her :) 

Tell us a little about yourself and your debut novel.

I am a born and bred Canadian, living in Calgary, Alberta (Canada). I am an insomniac (which lends itself well to the writing of large novels), married to my high school sweetheart, and a mother to a seven year old girl and 20 month old boy. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, an Academic Strategist certificate, and have worked in many, many jobs. I also have some very unique (and some qualitatively regular) experiences: guarding rooms for celebrity singers when I did security, playing instruments and singing for years and years, working with students with handicaps of various kinds, observing and drawing cadavers when I was earning my degree.
My debut thriller, Life’s Defeat, was launched October 7 both online and at a bookstore (Owl’s Nest Books) here in Calgary. Life’s Defeat is a psychological thriller, bordering on horror (or so I’m told). It takes place hundreds of years after WW3, when the governments have given up on military support, and leave their people to their own devices. The story centers around a young woman, raised and trained within a school. She is made into a vigilante soldier, under the command of StPatrick, the schools headmaster and vigilante faction's commander.
The young woman is captured by the times mastermind, tortured and killed, again and again. Eventually she is rescued, a broken and bruised husk of the woman she once was. And from there her journey continues...

How did the idea come to you?

To be honest, Life's Defeat started out as a short story I wrote probably back in 2012 so I don't remember exactly where it came from. I can tell you that many of my storylines come from dreams, even just a little bit. From there it is mostly automatic writing to continue, letting the stories develop themselves.

Personally, I know that the research involved in any storyline can be extensive or light. How much research went into Life’s Defeat?

 To start it was light. I didn't bother doing too much until after my first draft was written. After that I read a lot of books and articles on post traumatic stress, discussed weapons with a friend in the US Army, and watched endless videos on hand-to-hand combat. So, after all was said and done, there was a fair amount of research that went into it.

What has been the hardest part in the writing process for you?

 This may sound silly, but letting go is actually the hardest part for me. What I mean is that my characters are very ethereal in how they move through me into the story and back. Because much of my work is written through automatic writing, the characters pretty much write their own lives down, and sometimes I find myself stopping, reading what has been written, and wanting to rewrite a portion due to someone dying, an emotion not being quite right, etc.
I am trying to learn to trust my characters as they outpour their lives to me, but it is so hard.

Hypothetically, let’s say that you have just had an amazing idea come to you, right now. Walk me through your process of getting started:

First, if it were possible, I would grab my iPad and just start writing. Whether that means quick jot notes of a storyline or actually dialogue and description depends on where I am and how much time I have. Later when I have more time I would flesh out those ideas, reread them and lay them down into cohesive work. And if I didn’t have my iPad? I would just make notes on my phone or scratch them down on a piece of paper. I always have some kind of writing device handy...
What is your perfect writing environment?

 Dark room, comfy couch to sprawl on, unlimited music choices at my fingertips..

It’s been said before, and I agree completely, that we writers leave pieces of ourselves in our work. Have your noticed this? If so, what is something that you left in Life’s Defeat?

In the book I left a bit of physical ache. The soldier is injured badly, leaving her body worse for wear, and her leg gibbled. Although I am not entirely hindered by it, I have a problem with the muscles on my own leg, which means I am almost always sore or in pain, and sometimes limp. Somehow making this strong, independent woman have a physical disability similar to mine made me feel better somehow. Although, misery does love company…

What is your favorite quote?

 “If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be”
--Maya Angelou

Who is your author role model?

I really love Diana Gabaldon. I haven't read all of her books, but I met her this summer at a writing conference and she was the nicest, most down to earth person. So humble. And hearing her talk about her writing was amazing – she truly believes in writing what you love and not taking crap from anyone about your ideas. It was truly inspiring.

Life’s Defeat is in the Thriller genre, and you said it was suggested by readers that maybe it should be in Horror, that got me thinking. What’s the creepiest or scariest line you’ve written? 

His heavy body went rigid a moment before going slack, his head flopping from the broken neck. I blinked, coming back to myself. It had been a delusion, the murder a hallucination of my increasingly unstable mind.

If I were to come visit you in Calgary, tell me three of your favorite places that you would say I HAVE to see before leaving.

1    1)   The Calgary Stampede – while it is only a ten day event once a year, it IS the biggest outdoor show on earth and is a pretty amazing undertaking that dominates the entire city. It isn't necessarily my favourite, but it is quite the sight!
    2)   Owl’s Nest Books – this is the bookstore where my book is selling and while it is small, it has an amazing collection of books, both local and international.
3    3)    Heritage park – a historical park where old buildings have been transported and regrouped into its own little town. The staff Is in character the entire time, the sights are educational and entertaining, and it is amazing to behold the little piece of history come alive.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

 Aside from the automatic writing, which apparently isn't all that strange, I think I am a fairly “normal” writer.

When I was little, I liked reading, but it wasn’t a strong like. I had more fun playing outside and getting into trouble. Somewhere in middle school I began to hate reading. Part of the curriculum was reading books that usually didn’t interest me much or the teacher wanted us to only read a few chapters at a time. It wasn’t until high school that I would feel love toward books again. The book that reopened that door was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. What is the book that made you fall in love with literature?

 Oh boy, that is impossible to answer! I remember looking forward to the kids fairy tales printed in the paper every weekend, I remember falling in love with Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare at a really young age. I just LOVE language. So I really don't think I could narrow it down to just one. Although I do distinctly remember one story striking me when I was little, that stayed with me always. It was “The Gift of the Magi”. So heartbreaking and tender.

What is the best advice you were given regarding writing?

 “There are no rules.”

Is there anything you wish you were told before publishing Life’s Defeat?

 I wish I was told how hard waiting for reviews would be. I never understood until I was published how important those little tidbits of people's opinions were. I wish someone had told me.

When you make time for reading, what is your go to genre?

 I would say paranormal or science fiction. Both together, if possible.

Thank you so much for joining me Rebekah! Congrats on your debut! I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!

Isn't she lovely? I so enjoyed speaking with her and I am so happy that she contacted me! 

Now, here's a little more about Life's Defeat:

Tragedy places the soldier in StPatrick’s complex, determination to be someone of use keeps her within its walls. When she finally takes her first breaths of freedom, the soldier is sucked back into military servitude, her long, violent capture and imprisonment by Rochester setting her path of physical and psychological terror.
Under his rule she learns the depth of her own depravity, and how far she can go before she threatens to lose herself. But when Tomlin and his team rescues her, she discovers a new threat in the life she chooses to lead.
As the pages of her genetically-altered history are revealed, the solider finds the key to achieving her new goal: revenge.
It’s unfortunate it might just kill her in the end.

This Psychological thriller will lead you to the depths of despair with this young woman, then back as she finds peace, love, and resolution once more.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Another Question & Another Answer

Question: I like writing but I don't know how to make my ideas pop you know. I think authors are so amazing, to keep there ideas flowing and Yh. It's awesome. I know you probably get blocks but how do you keep it going? How do you keep it fresh lol.

Writer’s block SUCKS. I handle that in a wide range of ways. Sometimes I ignore the story completely. Other times, I've put the characters in a genre-opposite scenario just to see what they do. Aisling has been in a space ship manned by blob-like aliens, in Paris to figure out the metro on her own, and a quick substitute for a daycare instructor that needed to use the facilities. (I could post those at some point. They're kind of amusing.) Other times, I get stuck because a previous scene has a flaw that makes the current situation not feel right. That's preferable over being stuck, stuck. I've been so stuck that it's like watching a silent movie. I've also been so stuck that I see and feel nothing. No urges, no nudges. Coming back from that is trickier. I'm not sure how I managed that, but I know it was difficult. Some days I added zero words, others I'd add a whole paragraph. 
As for the other part of the question, how I keep it fresh? I read, listen to music, and just be live my life. I haven’t been unfortunate in the idea department. Inspiration can come from a conversation, a phrase, a song, a lyric or graffiti painted on a passing train, you just have to pay attention. Part of who I am is paying attention to little things, details, body language…It’s just me being me. The real struggle is determining which idea is new and not just another scene in an already started idea. I don’t always get a name attached to a stray thought like that. One thing I do is write notes; napkin, notebook, the notes app on my phone, etc. Sometimes it leads to finding things I don’t remember writing.
From the time I first started writing, I never expected to finish anything or publish it. The first story I tried writing was something that happened to me in high school. I didn’t get far with it before I tossed the whole journal into the trash. Then, I didn’t write at all for a while. It was random when True Connection came to me. It wasn’t something I expected or planned for. I didn’t expect to finish it or publish it or even tell anyone in my life that I was writing. It was a complete whim. Since then, I’ve heard many writers say that they have a hard time sticking to one idea and seeing it through. It’s hard work to get to THE END. It’s rewarding and scary. I keep short goals for myself; get to a certain word count in a week, finish a particular scene, etc. Sometimes I need a break from a storyline or character, and that’s when I work on some other shiny ideas. I write big books, so I spend a lot of time with one set of characters for a chunk of time. I get that bored feeling every not and then, even though it’s not a boring story. I feel stale being in one “environment” for too long. I’ll read then, too. I usually go on reading binges every week or every other week. I try to read at least one book a week, but that one book tends to spur a reading binge. I’ll read six books or so in a night. It’s a good recharge for me to get lost in someone else’s words and world. A good “fog clearer.” I tend to stay away from the genre I’m writing. Example: Twisted Destiny is YA Paranormal. I'll read contemporary or another genre until I move on.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask me! I love answering questions as much as I love to ask them! :)

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!