Book Review: Blood and Fire (The Talbot Trilogy) by Tori L. Ridgewood

Book Review: Blood and Fire (The Talbot Trilogy) by Tori L. Ridgewood.

Absolutely blown away by this wonderful review… completely made my day. 😀

Coping with Snowbird Parents

The folks are off again, on another adventure down in sunny Florida. It’s not the first time they’ve gone walk-about — or, rather, drive-about — but for some reason it seems to get a little more stressful every time. For starters, my mother will call right before they go with a message of love and the location of their vital information, just in case. And occasionally, they’ve gone away while I’ve been in the throes of pregnancy hormones. But I’ve decided, I need to compile a list of things to do when the retirees are gone to play on holiday.

1) Itinerary — it’s lovely for the ‘rents to provide a detailed list of places and dates. Not only is it helpful for explaining to their grandchildren why Poppa and Gramma can’t call them over a lost tooth, it’s a bit of a comfort for the adult child, too. I like knowing where my mom and dad are, and what route they’re taking, especially when there’s bad weather on the news.

2) Wine. Or tea. Your comfort beverage of choice. Coupled with chocolate and deep breaths. They’re adults, they’ve looked after themselves for this long. Just because there seem to be more stories in the news of people going missing on cruises, faces being eaten off in the Panhandle, horrible traffic accidents in unseasonably snowy conditions . . . *gulps comforting beverage*

3) Engage them on social media. My mom is on the cusp of becoming comfortable with Facebook, and Dad uses it occasionally. I like being able to keep in touch with them via updates and photographs. It goes back to wanting to know they’re on track and everything is fine. Did I mention, they’re grown adults who can look after themselves?

4) Distractions in the form of favourite movies, books, little day trips, whatever takes the image of the parents travelling far from their safety zone and dumps it into a little holding tank. For me, it’s alternating between Doctor Who, How I Met Your MotherCastleLost Girl, and most recently, Sherlock (BBC). 

For all of you whose dear pre-spring (get it? ‘Cause I’m their off-spring? Or should it be on-spring? Progenitors?) are on a travel binge, I’m there with you. 

50 Animated Gifs for Every Situation Ever

GIFs make me so happy… It’s the little things, of course!



If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an animated gif must be worth some kind of number I can’t even begin to comprehend. If you’ve ever found yourself browsing the Internet and felt compelled to respond with a witty reply, only to come up: wow, mind. blown., golf clap, etc. Then these animated gifs are for you!

With the simple copy and paste of one of the images below you can make your feelings resonate while bathing in the adulation of Internet pundits the world over.

This is the Sifter’s seventh installment of the Awesome Animated Gif Series. If you’re a fan of animated gifs you may want to check out the other installments for more animated excellence. Enjoy!



1. When your mind is blown



2. When you’re feeling sarcastic



3. When you’re feeling proud of yourself




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Today we talked about Consumerism!




It was a good discussion, and we will continue it tomorrow. I have a great group of minds, very insightful. I showed them three short videos — including a piece by the great George Carlin, rest his soul — after which we recorded these notes.

Also, I had a pretzel, did some marking, and planning, and was productive overall. And got in some Doctor Who fanvids at lunch with some of my students — we introduced a few of those hanging out in my room to one of the greatest antagonists in the Whoverse: the Weeping Angels.

A good day!

General Musings on the Number 42…

According to the works of the great Douglas Adams, it’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything. I like that. It’s simple and to the point, but also somewhat random. I enjoy random.

We’re supposed to get a little more snow this week — a few centimetres tomorrow, and Thursday, and Friday, along with a bit of sunshine. My father claimed that the air smelled like spring on Sunday, when the temperature warmed to -11 C, but if so, it was a cruel trick. We’re looking at another seven weeks, minimum. I am determined at some point to get some skiing in, to get out and enjoy the winter season instead of hibernating, but it will get somewhat easier to do if the cold can stay above -20. I’d take a nice -15, even.

I am very aware of my tendency to prefer the opposite season to that I am experiencing. I suffer from an intolerable case of the grass being always greener, so I do try to appreciate the beauty of the moment that I’m in. The trouble is that the effort to appreciate can become tiring when the conditions are unchanging. The drifting snow, layered on spreading evergreen branches, frosting roofs and mailboxes — it’s charming when it refreshes the browns and greys of autumn, festive with the turn to the winter holiday season, but by February, it’s draining. Happily, I seem to be handling the bleak landscape better than in past years, but I do wonder whether my resistance is starting to fail. It’s getting more difficult to get out of bed, for example, and the daily routine feels like just that. A routine. 

Fortunately, our community makes an excellent effort to lift everyone’s spirits at this point in the year. The Winter Carnival is about to begin, and my husband and I have tickets for one of the upcoming concerts (Bruce Cockburn, yay!). Last year, I enjoyed a helicopter ride over the town and I’m rather hoping to do it again. And then there’s the release of my second novel, which both makes me enormously happy and terrifies me. It’s like being on the helicopter again.

But in the midst of the routine and the excitement of events, the same old conflicts of time and energy, recurring bad habits and procrastination continue to plague me. It’s these which really bring me down. At least, in the late spring and summer, I can make inroads with the laundry by getting it out of the house, opening the windows to allow in fresh air while I clean, both which are great motivation to get the job done. 

But I suppose that one benefit of a long, frozen winter is that I can put off picking up the dog poo. 

And in the meantime, there’s my collection of loose teas, my cross-stitching — I’ve just finished one project and am trying to decide on another — plus my writing tasks. I’m expanding my knowledge of wines as well, partly in effort to stop drinking as much pop as I used to. Book promotions. Reinforcing good habits and routines with the children, and for myself. And watching my favourite shows, over and over, picking up on nuances of performances by actors who would turn me into mush if I were fortunate enough to meet them in person. And reading — let me not forget my TBR list.

What are your survival techniques in a long winter?

Journey with me in Placing Literature!

Journey with me in Placing Literature!

placingliterature enables readers to map the locations of books set in real towns, cities, parks, etc. This month, my work has been included in their spotlight! 


The setting of the Talbot Trilogy is based on the real town of Cobalt, Ontario. Clicking on the bookmarks in the map will take you to the locations that inspired key events, characters, and places in the series. I write about places I love, so it’s a real privilege to make these places visible to you as well. 


Throughout the month, I’ll be adding to my virtual tour of the places used in Wind and Shadow, its prequel novella Mist and Midnight, and the locations coming up in Book Two: Blood and Fire (coming February 12) and the final instalment, Book Three: Crystal and Wand (coming summer 2014). I’m looking forward to your comments along the way!


Now Available! Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy: Blood and Fire

What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering . . .
The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined?

Buy Links:




My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you Tara Fox Hall for involving me in this blog tour! *raises virtual glass of Shiraz in salute*

1) What am I working on?

At the moment, I’m caught between guest posts and interviews regarding Wind and Shadow (the Talbot Trilogy, Book One), my debut novel, and preparing to release my second novel, Blood and Fire. I’m also working on completing the third and final book in the series, Crystal and Wand. In the middle of all of this, my brain likes to tease me with other story ideas that I try to jot down when I can.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Its unconventional plots and lack of predictability. My characters appear to be following the usual formulas, at first, but they continually surprise my readers (and me) by taking the action we least expect or even want. I rather think of my stories as responses or answers to the work of others, taking alternative paths and new points of view. 
3) Why do I write what I do?
The stories simply won’t leave me alone. It’s very satisfying to get them out of my head, and extremely enjoyable when someone else reads them and tells me how much he/she was caught up in the words. I’m interested in exploring the paranormal, the human condition, and love, in all of its forms (positive and negative), and writing helps me to do that as well. 
4) How does your writing process work?
I jot down summaries, plot ideas, character concepts, and file them until I have a chance to go back through and see what kickstarts detail. Sometimes I write in notebooks, but more often I use my laptop as I can’t always write as fast as my brain wants me to, but I do enjoy the comfort of a pen. I try to create plot graphs and lists of things to include, but often the characters take over the story for me and I’m just along for the ride. I like listening to music while I write as well, and compiling playlists during and after the composing of the story. And I prefer writing at night, when it’s quiet and dark and there are few distractions. 
The last bit of this blog is to pass onto the next three writers the challenge to keep it going! I nominate Rob Fuller, Mysti Parker, and David Margetson!