I have two short stories for Blondes, Books, & Bourbon, on my edit desk right now. I’m working on both of them making changes to enrich the story.

One story needs tightening and honing in a lot of places. I’m tackling these places one at a time, hammering out the weakness and wielding in new words and structure. It is a challenge to stay sharp and creative in the process, but that’s part of the fun of being a writer.

The other tale, a stronger story in essence, needs a section transformed from description to dialogue … my editor loves to make me write dialogue. The end of this particular story also raised a small question -the answer to which I knew – but it opened up possibilities. I had carried an alternative ending in my head for a number of months now and shared it with my editor. We both thought it might be good to write it out and see which ending worked better. So although the majority of the edits on this piece were fast, in the end, I’m left with a good bit of work to do one it.

It seems like this should be frustrating, but it’s not…to me.
This is creative writing. It’s challenging yourself to keep tone and voice, while reordering the sections – be they large or small – with-in the story.

We are moving through the edits at a good speed, so I’m not worried. What does worry me is not giving all I can to the process.


Because that means I’m not giving those who purchase the anthology – I’m not giving my readers – the best I can offer. To me, that’s cheating and it would feel like theft.

I have a busy few months ahead of me making this anthology as strong as I can. Once that’s done, I immediately get to use the same technique to make the second novel ‘ Bindings & Spines’ worthy of an audience as well.

What is that saying about rest and the wicked?

My editor at Xchyler Publishing did three short stories for the spring anthology ‘Blonds,Books, &Bourbon’ – one of which was the very first ever written.

Two of them took little work on my part to make the changes she pointed out. Another took more work, but as it too was an older story, I wasn’t surprised.

Then she messaged me and mentioned she was working on one titled, ‘Nightmare’ and that she could see the difference in how far I’ve come since this one had been writing. I chuckled to myself because Nightmare is not very old at all, much newer than two of the others. What I did realize is that that particular short story hadn’t got through my usual routine. It had not seen the red pen of fury my personal editor wields so accurately. It hadn’t thus got a second edit from me. Since it didn’t get that it never got sent on to my beta reader, with her keen eye, and sound insight to the White Dragon Black world. And so it didn’t get it’s third edit.

I admitted this to my editor. I told her the issues she was having was not that it had been written long ago but that it hadn’t gone through the usual editing process. She was see – for the first time – my raw, unedited, words. I told her she know understood why I insisted on taking these steps before sending her anything.

Her response … ‘I wish more authors were that considerate’.

I love my editors (and beta readers) and would be hopelessly lost (and probably unpublished) without them.

Feeling pretty good this morning, even if I did party last night. 
And What a Party!

L&LLast night was the on-line release party for the new paranormal anthology from my publisher – Legends and Lore. I love to attend these things because they are always fun, and lively–the great prizes certainly don’t hurt either. Of course, I attended this one because I have a story in it – another Alvey adventure.

The book is available now, there are many great stories in it (as one can expect from Xchyler Publishing) and it will be a great addition to your bookshelf.

Speaking of anthologies, I’ve also begun the serious edits for ‘Blondes, Books, & Bourbon’, the anthology coming this spring that features my White Dragon Black stories exclusively.

I’ll admit, it’s a bit intimidating to be thinking about putting out an anthology that is just my work. In it’s own way, it is scarier than releasing a novel as there is a different dynamic and an all too real need for serious interest in the series. I’m putting myself out on a limb here, and I hope I don’t disappoint my editor for supporting that limb. The fear isn’t getting in the way of going forward with it however – not one bit.


And while I’m talking of fear of publishing, I still harbour second novel syndrome. Is the second WDB novel, ‘Bindings & Spines’ good enough? How will readers like it compared to the first? Was ‘Tomorrow Wendell‘ a fluke? Insecurities, that I know are standard for just about everyone in this position (except Hollywood producers – they don’t seem to care) but that doesn’t make them go away.

But keeping busy with edits and writing, and with the support of my publisher, readers, editors, and family, doesn’t allow too much time for these fears to really get a grip on me. I’ve gotten this far, no reason to shrink away now.

So here’s some advice for first time writers — Ignore the fear, the doubt, and the self incrimination. Write. Write what you want, trust in your Muse, and just go for it, Damn it all!


Tomorrow Wendell by R M Ridley

Posted: October 21, 2014 in Writing


The latest review of my debut novel.
These reviewers give so much to the indie community – I am eternally grateful for their time and kind words

Originally posted on A Woman's Wisdom:


Book Blurb

When predictions tell Wendell Courtney he’s going to die, he turns to the one man he hopes can help. Jonathan Alvey’s no stranger to the strange. But, unlike the private investigator’s run-of-the-mill zombie cases, he can find no trace of magic around Wendell, and no hint of an adversary. Alvey certainly has magic and wits enough to solve the mystery, but is his offering to the insatiable dragon black sufficient? Or is Wendell truly destined to die?

Follow the mystery of Wendell’s disastrous fortune as Jonathan battles his own demons in this paranormal/urban fantasy. Whether Jonathan is warding off evil or chasing away his secretaries, he does it with unparalleled pizazz. But the intense pull to use magic may just tip him over the edge of all things sane.

My Review

I have to admit I wasn’t overly struck on the idea of this book when R M…

View original 258 more words

bedding sheets and pillow sleep bed

bedding sheets and pillow sleep bed

As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, the first Shades of Pink event raised over $10.000 through more than 1300 donations!

For our second year, 22 authors have allied for 1 cause: fundraising for research. Their gift to everyone who makes a donation? A romance anthology (ebook) titled Shades of Pink (volume 2), totaling almost 150.000 words / about 400 pages as a PDF.

The suggested donation is $5. Funds are raised via Stayclassy.org and all proceeds go directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Readers can also donate to the charity organization of their choice (with a focus on breast cancer) and email their receipt to receive their copy of the anthology in either PDF, ePub or mobi (kindle).

bedding sheets and pillow sleep bedbedding sheets and pillow sleep bed


Featured anthology author: Nina Day Gerard

Shades of Pink Writer  Shares an Excerpt

The Shades of Pink romance anthology, now in its second year of raising funds for breast cancer research, features 22 authors coming together for one cause. First-time SOP contributor Nina Day Gerard shared an excerpt from her story with me, below, along with some insights into why she loves her characters so much.

 What made you want to submit to this anthology?

NDG: A dear friend of mine went through a double mastectomy this year, and just completed her reconstructive surgery. When this event came across my radar, I knew I had to write something for it.

And what made you become a romance writer?

NDG: I started out trading Harlequin romance novels with my girlfriends in high school, so I’ve been reading about love for a long time. Now I love to write about it too. It was just a natural transition.

Tell us a little bit about your Shades of Pink story.

NDG: Well, unrequited love seems to be a theme I enjoy writing about. But in the end, the couple always finds their way back to each other. In The Long Road Home, our hero Dane McCall has grown up to become the Sheriff of the small town in Oregon where he grew up. He’s loved his best friend Carter’s baby sister Catie for as long as he can remember. But he and his friend have become estranged since high school, and well, Dane never really got the chance to act on his feelings for Catie at all. But a high school reunion right there in Anderson rekindles his feelings and presents a possible opportunity for him to act on them.

And what about Catie? Does she reciprocate?

NDG: She does, but has never thought herself to be worthy of a man like Dane. I really related to Catie as I was writing about her, because in some ways, she’s like me. I grew up in a small rural town, and never thought I was pretty or popular in high school. And I still suffered insecurity in my adult years, and never thought I’d meet Mr. Right.

bedding sheets and pillow sleep bedCatie sat across from her brother at a secluded table in a very expensive Mediterranean restaurant in San Francisco. Not that she didn’t like coming into the city from Oakland; and she liked eating in nice restaurants as much as the next person.

But Carter was always insisting on spoiling her in extravagant ways, saying that she deserved it since she’d sacrificed making a decent living to become an elementary school teacher. She’d rolled her eyes at that, and she often complied with whatever Carter had up his sleeve just to get him to settle down so she could get on with life.

Once he’d given her a fur coat, and it wasn’t even Christmas. She reminded him that she didn’t believe in wearing real fur, so she gave it to charity, only to have a top-of-the line designer faux fur show up on her doorstep within a few days.

Then he’d insisted on paying for her Master’s Degree. She agreed to only accept whatever she couldn’t get in loans, and on buying her own text books, knowing full well that he would probably try to pay off her student loans for her at some point anyway. He’d tried to rent her an apartment in a “decent” part of town, but at least he saw that she wanted to be in the inner city and helping those kids, not the privileged kids in the suburbs. So he’d had a state-of-the-art security system installed in her apartment building as well as her individual unit. The manager was grateful, but Catie was entirely embarrassed.

Short of hiring private security for her, Carter called her several times a day to be sure she was safe, even when he himself was traveling overseas.

She’d drawn the line at him buying her a car, or tried to anyway. At first she flat-out refused. When she saw that she wasn’t going to deter him that easily, she tried to assuage his burning desire to spend money on her by stipulating that he could buy her a used car. A really used one. He wouldn’t hear of it. He claimed that higher end foreign cars were safer than the average economy sedan. She cleverly pointed out how much of the wrong kind of attention she’d be drawing to herself driving a Mercedes or a BMW around her neighborhood. Finally, they’d settled on a brand new Toyota sedan. She’d chosen a muted color and on the outside it didn’t look particularly fancy. But it was still a lot of car for her, and Carter had insisted on getting it armored, and adding an alarm system, and a SYNC phone system, which also meant he’d gotten her a brand new smart phone to pair with it.

It was no surprise that Carter had done well for himself. Even in high school, he was quite the entrepreneur. Every student committee wanted him to do fundraising for them. He could sell anything, convince anyone to do anything. As president of the student body, he even got the school board to approve a process whereby students could reduce their detention time for good behavior. Of course it was thrown out when the next student president was elected, but it was great while it lasted.

By his senior year, Carter had his own marketing business; he’d gone from school fundraisers to helping local businesses come up with new campaigns. And when he left their small town of Anderson, Oregon to attend college down in Sacramento, he expanded his business down there, even getting one of his clients to sponsor his MBA.

Eventually, he brought his company Thompson Enterprises to San Francisco. He’d missed Catie terribly, who had opted to stay in Oregon to get her education, and asked her to come to the Bay Area to be near him. Their father had passed just before Carter finished graduate school, and now their mother was in need of extra care. Catie had tried to convince him that she could care for her mother in Oregon, but even she knew that Carter’s financial support would make a huge difference, and it would do both of them good to have him nearby where he could visit them regularly.

So here she sat across from him. Something was off. Even when he’d invited her to dinner earlier that day—insisted on it as a matter of fact—he’d seemed edgy, anxious about something. Now, for all of his good looks, he just seemed tired, ragged. He’d hardly said two words since they’d arrived, aside from ordering his dinner. Catie’s discomfort with the situation increased, and she was almost afraid of why he’d brought her there. It was definitely more than his usual magnanimous weekly gesture to take her out for a meal. To hide her anxiety, and perhaps to delay hearing his explanation, Catie chattered on, which she knew annoyed him, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself.

“This one little boy in my homeroom, Edwin, is so adorable. You know they’re at that age when they’re still learning to pronounce everything, and he always says ‘see you tomowow, Miss Tomp-thun.’”

Catie’s comments about her mundane life fell like bricks around their table. Though she knew Carter was always happy for her success and the joy she took in teaching the children, it had to be incredibly dull compared to the glamorous life of a business mogul that he led. It was quiet now, and he just stared at her across the table. She swallowed hard and was about to ask him what in God’s name was going on with him when he leaned forward and practically shouted at her.

“You know, Catie, we need a vacation!” It was as if he knew that he had to engage with her before they both went mad. But he startled her so badly that she nearly knocked over her water glass.

“A vacation?” she asked sheepishly, as she regained her composure.

“That’s right,” he continued, snapping his finger in the air as he leaned back into his seat. “We both work very hard. As a matter of fact, you probably work harder than I do.” Well, that was a lie, although Carter did seem to turn pale every time someone mentioned settling down and having kids to him.

“I’d much rather deal with the Board of Directors than the finger painting and cookie crumbs that you’re plagued with on a daily basis.”

Catie did have to smile at that. She almost laughed outright at the visual image she got of the kids at the kindergarten she taught at climbing all over his designer suit with their sticky paint-covered hands, and then trying to kiss him with their mouths ringed in cookie crumbs and milk mustaches.

“Look, the point is, sweetheart, I think we could both use a break. So that’s why I made arrangements for us to go to our high school reunion in two weeks.” She blinked at him. She knew she had that deer-in-the headlights look, but it took her a minute to process what he was saying. Her illustrious twin brother, who had worked so hard to get her and their mother out of Oregon, and basically swore he would never go back for any reason, now wanted to attend their high school reunion.

“Reunion? You?”

“Well, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to escort you back there.”

“First of all, why would you want to go back to Oregon for a vacation? As I recall, you have pretty much avoided going back there for any reason.”

“True, but I thought maybe this would be fun.”

“Fun? Come on Carter. I’m your twin sister. I know you. And your idea of fun is more along the lines of gambling on the French Riviera, not making small talk over punch in our old high school gym with people you barely remember.”

“Ah, the Riviera. If that were my plan, would you be more excited?”

“Yes. No! Are you nuts? It’s April. I can’t go anywhere with you right now. What about school, what about my students?”

“I’ve already made arrangements. Your boss has already found a substitute.” Her “boss” was Barbara Collins, or Miss Barbara, as the students like to call her. Barbara owned the private kindergarten where Catie had taught for going on five years. She was a wonderful, generous woman—who had now fallen under her brother’s spell.

“What?! What did you say to her?”

“Just that I needed you to accompany me back to our home town on some family business. And it’s true.”

“A high school reunion hardly qualifies as important family business!”

“No, but . . . I thought we could take a look at the old house—“

“Which we don’t own any more.”

“—and see a few old friends.”

“We don’t have friends there anymore. You haven’t been in touch with anyone since you left.”

“And I need to make amends for that. Dane is my best friend. At least he was. I owe him a visit. I need to get reacquainted again.”

The mention of Dane McCall brought her up short. Dane, who had been Carter’s best friend all during high school. Dane, who she’d basically been in love with since she was fifteen.

“What if I don’t want to go?” she asked quietly. “Did you ever think of that?”

Now it was Carter who fell silent for a moment, and then he looked at her wearily again.

“Not really, no. I’m sorry if I’ve crossed a line here, I just wanted to plan a surprise for you. I thought we both deserved a break, and yes, it’s not my usual cup of tea, but maybe I should reconnect with where I came from. I really just need to get away, and . . . you’re all I’ve got Catie. I really need you to come with me.”

At that moment the food arrived, but Catie couldn’t look away from Carter. There was a sadness in his eyes that she hadn’t seen before, not even when their father passed away. This ruse about going to the reunion was bad enough. She’d have to find something to wear, and not one of the eleven pink dresses in her closet was suitable. After all, she’d been living in the big city, so she couldn’t very well show up in the lace and flowers she’d been teased about so much in high school. And it wasn’t just her old peers she was worried about impressing. She’d have to face Dane. Hopefully, he’d be too busy being the Sheriff to actually attend the reunion. But there was something else, she knew, and Carter wasn’t going to tell her what it was. She had no choice but to go along with him, and at best support this scheme of his, wherever it led.

Though she really wasn’t hungry any more Catie picked gingerly at her pasta. She glanced up at Carter, who was eating like it was his last meal. Her stomach rumbled at the unknown—and especially thought of seeing Dane again.

It sounds like there may be a little more to getting Dane and Catie together than meets the eye.

NDG: Oh, there always is. That’s the fun of it. A situation arises that requires not only the best of Dane’s law enforcement skills, but facing what’s in his heart at the same time—not an easy task!

Thank you so much for sharing an excerpt from your story with us. Where can SOP readers find more of your work?

NDG: Well, the first 100 people to like my Facebook page will receive a sneak-preview excerpt from my novel My Brother’s Keeper.

Thank you Nina. And details about the Shades of Pink event are listed below.

NDG: Thank you.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, the first Shades of Pink event raised over $10.000 for research through more than 1300 donations! To become part of this very special event and download your copy of Shades of Pink Volume 2 (e-book or PDF), visit SOP Editor Kallysten’s blog now through November 15th.