Featured Author and Giveaway – Thomas Rydder

thomasHi Thomas,

I’d like to start with a few ‘personal’ questions. Just for the readers to get a feel for the person behind the author. If that’s okay with you?

Hi Lucy! What a pleasure it is, being here with you. Thanks so much for the opportunity. Sure, I’m all about personal – go for it…

Anyway, I’ve laced your coffee with truth serum, so I guess there’s no dodging this. 🙂

Given the choice, where would you live? In a big city with all the buzz of it, or in a remote area with nature and its tranquility surrounding you? Knowing that in winter you might suffer power loss.

Just for the record, you’ll get more truth of of me if you lace my java with Bailey’s.

(Hehehehe, he doesn’t realise that is my choice of truth serum)

But for now, I’m not much for city life. In fact, my wife and I have joked numerous times that we’d like to be on the side of a mountain in a snug cabin, a large garden outside the door, a few hundred acres off woods beyond, and a lake at the bottom of the hill. One with plenty of bass and catfish. I really don’t think we’re joking…

Taking the kids on holiday, what is the dream vacation? Camping, or a completely organised trip in a luxury hotel?

We live a simple life, and work hard. Do pretty much for ourselves, cook rather than eat out, and don’t spend a dime if we can get by with a nickel. So, conversely with where I’d like to live, my idea of dream vacation is a cruise, all the frills included. Excellent meals, dances, onshore tours and activities, and being totally pampered for a week or ten days. Occasionaly, everyone needs pampering, you know.

Are you a star gazer, or a take the devil by its tail kind of person? i.e. do you think and re-think, or do you do what is necessary and to hell with the consequences.

I do civil engineering for a living, and in that, I have to be very calculating. Many things within a design can and will affect some other component, so I have to be careful in all aspects. That might be a compelling reason why the rest of my life is a bit spontaneous. I particularly like to jump in the car and go. No destination in mind, just drive and see where you end up. You can discover some interesting places like that.

Do you like to break the rules every now and then, or do you live your life by the book?

I’ve broken more rules than Evil Knievel broke bones. The trick is to know which rules you can break, and which will get you in real trouble. Minor rule-cracking is the only really smart way to be an outlaw in our world.

That was it, not too painful, was it? But that’s not why you are here. I can tell you’re itching to talk shop.

So shoot! What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Not too painful – but I’ll take another Bailey’s 🙂 (Did he know after all?)

At the risk of “breaking a rule”, I’d like to mention both books I have out now. My debut werewolf thriller “The Clearing” takes place in Small Town USA, where a pack of wolves move into the countryside around the town, and it doesn’t take the town folk too long to realize they are dealing with much more then typical Canis Lupus.

The Clearing cover-1

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My latest work is an anthology of three ghost stories – a novella and two rather long short stories. They all involve spirits who, for one reason or another, are compelled to interact with live folks – violently.

Restless SoulsAMAZON

Did you have difficulty coming up with the titles?

You know, I didn’t. It might sound crazy, but I’ve always been good with names. I used to walk down the street, and make up fictitious names for people I happened upon, based on their features or physical makeup. It was a game, and one that’s served me well in naming both my characters and my books.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I wouldn’t do that. In my mind, any book belongs in a given genre, based upon its theme and story line. To change that goes against the nature of the book and won’t work. Werewolves kill, ghosts scare, and there’s not much that can change that – or should. I’m not going to go against my instincts in order to pacify a publisher. Not in today’s age of indie publishing. I’d simply put it out myself. Outlaw, you know…

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Whew, that’s fun, isn’t it? I actually had a lot of that in my novella “Simona Says.” In fact, I struggled with the story a lot. It was gratifying to get the little chunks right and finally see it heading in the right direction. I’ll typically give myself a little fist pump and move on. Typically, when something like that happens, it means I’ve hit a groove and don’t want to waste it on celebration. So I take a minute then keep writing.

What don’t you like about writing.

Re-writing, hands down. I published “The Clearing” this past March, and got a few reviews that mentioned an aspect of the book that they didn’t care for. I recently re-wrote those parts and re-published it. But it was tough, you know? Once you have the story line hard-wired into your brain, it’s difficult to come around the other side and look at it in order to change it up. At least for me.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Marketing – my second least favorite endeavor. I really don’t like to push myself or my work on people, but it’s necessary, isn’t it? I do a lot of things. I have a pretty good blog that gets a fair number of hits, I socialize on Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads and Triberr and try to get my books listed on as many sites as possible. I’ve been doing a lot of guest posts lately. Pretty much anything from a more personal standpoint that might make someone reach for the Amazon button. In other words, I’m trying to sell without selling.

Now, don’t get me wrong. All the socializing is great fun, and I’ve met with a bunch of splendid friends. I’ll keep you posted on how the marketing is going.

Plese do that, because experiences of others are always the best way to ‘learn’ a new way of going about marketing better.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Not in my writing, no. I like to think my books reflect life, and the characters are real people. Different people eat and drink a variety of things, and it would be disingenuous to have it any other way.

In life is different. I’m a coffee lover, and a Kahula enthusiast. Pasta – many types of pasta – are on the top of my list, but my tastes are widely varied.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

tamale pieIt’s pasta, as you can imagine. My wife makes one wicked tamale pie. Odd name, and it has nothing to do with mexican. It’s similar to lasagne, and I could eat it four times a week. I’ll ask her about the recipe :). It’s pretty exclusive stuff…

 I’ll be waiting for that recipe then 🙂

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

I don’t think anyone can come up with a viable excuse for not writing. There are all kinds of fake ones – tired, frustrated, bored, fidgety, angry, rushed, sick, depressed, excited. The excuses don’t matter, as they don’t in any facet of life. If you’re going to go to work, go to work. If not, then don’t. Same with writing. But if you don’t, then don’t bitch and moan because your book isn’t done. As my dad used to say, it ain’t gonna do itself.

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Oh God, what I’d give. You kidding? You call that slaving? I’d be in my own little corner of Heaven. My wife and I have also discussed living at the beach – somewhat more convenient than the mountain cabin, and you don’t have to go to town twice a month to get flour and sugar. My favorite vision is sitting in my screen porch overlooking the ocean, my glasses perched on my nose, a White Russian frosty and delicious on the tray next to me, and a warm breeze wafting through my fingers as they fly over the keyboard. One of these days…

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Fair enough. I not only write about ghosts, but also believe they exist. We’ve watched all kinds of shows and I’ve read extensively on the subject, and am convinced we aren’t alone on earth. Why the spirits are here are anyone’s guess, but the reasons are undoubtedly widely varied. Some folks might think I’m whacked out, and so be it, but the evidence is so compelling and intense, I don’t really see any way around the beliefs I hold.

One of my favorite shows is Long Island Medium, where a lady by the the of Theresa Caputo allegedly connects with folks that have passed and allow them to communicate with loved ones who remain. I believe in her abilities (Before you go judging me, go have a look at her show – you might end up converted), and part of my reason is hope.

See, I was born late in my parents’ lives, and I wasn’t, shall we say, the ideal son early on. I got in trouble a bit, left home early to go to the Marines, and then was a wild party boy. Consequently, I didn’t enjoy a close relationship with Mom and Dad the way some have. I’d like to have the opportunity to be with them once again, see what they think of the way I’ve turned out. (That’s a dicey prospect) and tell them I’d like to have it back to do again. It’s often said you can’t go back, and it’s true. But to see them just once more…

That is a very intimate snippet of your life you’ve shared there. Thank you, Thomas.

Lucy, thanks so much for having me on today. I appreciate it more than you can know…now, just one more of those tasty coffees of yours, and I’ll be on my way…

Here’s one, again laced with Baileys, but I guess you already figured that one out, eh?

I’d like to thank you for your candor and would love to see you back, a guest post perhaps?

Laughing we say our goodbyes, and Thomas asks me to tell you to enter his giveaway.  Later I find a note on the coffee table.

note

He’s left behind links to where he can be found online should you want to stalk him. Of course I mean follow! Yes, follow!

Blog http://thomasrydder.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thomas.rydder

Twitter – @ThomasRydder

LinkedIN – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/thomas-rydder/5a/994/23a

But I must not forget to include the link to the giveaway Thomas has organised. Click the link to go to the Rafflecopter giveaway

But also go to his site and read the great post he’s done on halloween reading, answer his poll and stand a chance to win, win, win!

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In Memoriam – Linda Rae Blair

 

After hearing the news of her passing I’ve let this sit a while to give the grieving family some time.

However, hearing the news of the passing of Lou Reed made me realise Linda needed this in memoriam post to give people a reminder of her legacy in words and emotions

LINDA RAE BLAIR

 

LINDA RAE BLAIR

Author of 

HARD PRESS’D

Hard Pressd 100yrs brotherly love Elusive

A GOOD FRIEND

She will be missed

Book Blast and Giveaway Knowing Vera by Rachelle Ayala

Nerd Blast

Some secrets are best untold.

Vera Custodio has never fallen in love, though she has strong feelings for her friend and sometimes lover, Zach Spencer. Long-forgotten memories resurface when Vera discovers Zach’s mother was the woman her father supposedly murdered many years ago.

After losing his leg, former triathlete Zach Spencer reevaluates his life—and realizes he’s falling in love with Vera. When she ends their relationship, Zach is determined to prove his love and follows her to Australia in search of the killer.

Caught between a web of family secrets and a deranged adversary, Vera and Zach must depend on each other for survival. Love blossoms, but the truth explodes everything Vera knows about herself. Will she close her heart forever or risk it all for a shot at happily-ever-after?

Knowing Vera

AMAZON

***

clare-ricoAbout the author

Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle Ayala has written four novels. Michal’s Window is a powerful and emotional journey as lived through the eyes of Princess Michal, King David’s first wife. Broken Build is a story of redemption and healing where a man learns to love and trust the woman who destroyed his life. Hidden Under Her Heart is a heartfelt love story mixed with controversy over difficult decisions.

Her latest is Knowing Vera , a steamy romantic suspense involving family secrets, disability, and an unsolved murder.

GBNT

Giveaway is open to US Only. | Must be 13+ to Enter

Click for the Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Blogger Babs Morton on How To Decide on Character.

 

 

What a character!

VLUU L310 W  / Samsung L310 W

I do love terriers, always have done it’s that combination of feistiness and fun that is so endearing. Jess, our current pooch, is a five year old Border terrier. An ace ratter and occasional dispatcher of moles and other vermin, she is also a perfect family pet. However she surprised us this weekend when one of our chickens, aptly named “Chicka”, was under the weather. Jess is rather fond of chickens, in a non-predatory way, specifically our chickens, though I do believe she considers them to be her chickens. Throughout the weekend she kept a vigil in the chicken run sitting quietly alongside Chicka. When necessary she accompanied her to the food bowl and back again to a shady spot. Now, I like to think that Jess sensed Chicka was less able to fend for herself and suppressed her natural instinct to kill anything furred or feathered. Then again, she might just have been making sure she was first in the lunch queue, should Chicka take a turn for the worse.

So where am I going with all this?

Well, when I’m writing I invest a great deal of time in my characters. I want them to be believable and generally throw in a few flaws and temptations for good measure. A hero can have a dark side and an anti-hero can surprise us with a good act. It’s what makes them interesting…and human. I also like to leave a few things open to debate, so the reader can decide for themselves.

So, back to Jess: A solicitous, canine poultry keeper with a heart of gold, or a cunning predator just waiting for an opportunity? What a character… hero or anti-hero? You decide.

B A Morton 2013

I think she’s a dear with a heart of gold that wouldn’t let an opportunity for an easy meal pass her by. 🙂 But what do you guys think? Opportunist, or good dog?

And how do you shape your characters?

Stranger Danger by Kristy Porter (How To Talk To Kids About Strangers)

How to Talk to Kids About Strangers

Stranger Danger info etc

AMAZON

Synopsis

It’s amazing how little young children know about strangers and how to stay safe. And much of what they do know is incorrect, or simply intended to scare them.
Kids want and need to know what to DO in dangerous situations, but are usually only told to what NOT to do. (Don’t talk to strangers; don’t get in the car with strangers, etc.) Even the multitude of children’s picture books about strangers (most aimed at the 8-12 year old age group) often fail to teach kids what they CAN do if they find themselves confronted with a stranger.
Stranger Danger – How to Talk to Kids About Strangers is different. It is a how-to book is for parents and caregivers of children ages 3-8. Using techniques developed over decades of teaching young children, author Kristi Porter takes into consideration the unique thinking, and learning styles of this younger age group, offering parents a new way to talk to their kids about strangers without scaring them.
This easy to read, step by step guide gives parents age appropriate words and activities to use with even the youngest of children. Covering everything from who is a stranger, to when and how to fight back,
Stranger Danger – How to Talk to Kids About Strangers is a must read guide for today’s parents.

Kristy About the author

Kristi Porter has over twenty-five years of experience working with young children, both as a preschool teacher, and as an award winning child care provider. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and Development, as well as a national Child Development Associate Credential. In 1999, she was awarded the Governor’s Quality Care Award for her outstanding commitment to the care and education of young children.

Connect with Kristy at:

Twitter @KristiPorter3, on Facebook, at Amazon, or on Kristi’s Website

Why did you write this book?

Early in my teaching career, while putting together a unit about child safety for my class, I came across a statistic that stated: “In the majority of small child, stranger kidnapping cases, the child is simply taken by the hand and led quietly away.” I wasn’t sure that I agreed with that statistic, and decided to put it to the test.
With the parents’ permission, I arranged to conduct a simple ‘stranger test’ at the annual springtime family picnic. Held at a popular local playground, twenty-four children (ages 2-8) and their parents attended. While the assistant teachers supervised the children, I called the parents aside and explained how the ‘stranger test’ would work.
An adult unknown to the children would simply walk up to them, take their hand and lead them away toward the parking lot. If the child asked where they were going, the ‘stranger’ would simply tell them there was some candy in the car, and that the child could have some if they wanted it. When they reached the car, (in full view of the playground and parents) the ‘stranger’ would simply tell the child that they ran out of candy, show them an empty candy bag, and return the child to the playground. If at any time the child resisted or became frightened, the ‘stranger’ would immediately let go and move away.
The parents were to stay on the sidelines and observe, agreeing to not punish their child if indeed they did walk away with one of the ‘strangers’. This was to be a teachable moment – one that children, parents, and teachers would all discuss together at the end of the day.  While many of the parents commented they didn’t think their child would ever walk away with someone they didn’t know, all agreed to allow their child to participate.
I called in my ‘stranger’ volunteers – one young adult male, and one middle aged female. Both were teachers in another program and unknown to the children or their parents.
I stood with the parents at the edge of the playground and watched with astonishment as one by one, almost half of the children simply walked away with one of the ‘strangers’!
Over the course of an afternoon, 11 children accompanied a ‘stranger’ to the car – with no resistance, not even a glance back over their shoulder. They simply held hands and walked away – for nothing more than the promise of candy. Of the remaining children, only one became visibly frightened and was immediately returned to their parent. The others simply pulled their hand away and ran off to play with their friends. Only four of them reported the ‘stranger’ to a teacher or parent.
This experiment really opened my eyes about how young children view strangers, and why Stranger Danger Programs often fail. Since that day twenty-five years ago, I’ve made it my mission to help teach young kids to stay safe. I’ve used the methods in this book with hundreds of kids ages 3-7, and I’m happy to report that many of my earliest students (who are now adults) tell me that they still remember the lessons they learned about strangers, and want to know how to use those same methods to teach their children how to stay safe.
So it is for those first students, now parents themselves, that I’ve put this book together.

And I have a question for the readers too. How did you have that talk about strangers with your kids, or if yours are still unborn or very young, how do you plan on having that talk?