5th Anniversary of Blogging!

First, thank you so much to the 150 individuals who are now following me on Romance and Other Dangers — I sincerely appreciate that you’re here. Hope to keep things fresh and interesting for you as my 365 Days of Blogging project continues!

And — WOW — 150 followers?! (happy dance)

And second, I have discovered the active links for Crystal and Wand: Book 3 of the Talbot Trilogy! It’s always so exciting to see one’s work out there in the world . . .

Here’s what the latest paranormal romance / urban fantasy is about. Be warned! It’s gritty, sexy, poignant, and highly satisfying:

Lovers reunite, and are torn apart. Bloodthirsty fiends battle for control of an army of the undead. With the community of Talbot frozen under layers of ice and snow, the domination of the vampire coven seems certain, but in the eye of the storm, the witches and the vampire hunters search desperately for the means to bring an end to the violence that threatens to take over more than one small, sleepy town. Will Rayvin and Charlotte be able to work together, combining their skills in magick, to prevent the loss of more innocent lives?

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While the novel isn’t yet available for Kobo (Chapters-Indigo), the first two books and prequel novella most definitely are:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/mist-and-midnight

Wind and Shadow (Talbot Series #1)

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/blood-and-fire-10

And the series is available for Nook (Barnes and Noble):

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crystal-and-wand-tori-l-ridgewood/1122295880?ean=2940152028843

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-and-fire-tori-l-ridgewood/1118482049?ean=9781612358109

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-and-shadow-tori-l-ridgewood/1116138235?ean=9781612356396

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mist-and-midnight-tori-l-ridgewood/1118892948?ean=2940149783748

Plus, of course, you can find the books on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Wand-Talbot-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B011KCDLZW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1437965485&sr=8-2&keywords=tori+l+ridgewood

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Fire-Talbot-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00IDNJ7U0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1437965485&sr=8-5&keywords=tori+l+ridgewood

http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Shadow-Talbot-Trilogy-Book/dp/1612356397/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1437965485&sr=8-4&keywords=tori+l+ridgewood

http://www.amazon.com/Mist-Midnight-Talbot-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00HQA3MKC/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1437965485&sr=8-6&keywords=tori+l+ridgewood

And at Melange Books:

http://melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/crystalwand.html

Still working on a release party, but feeling rather gobsmacked today after all of the travel this past week. Definitely missing the lake, but starting to feel more in the swing of things again. Slowly.

So thank you again to everyone who has stepped onto the Tori Train (so to speak) — I hope that you will continue to enjoy my rants, reflections, poems, and essays!

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Review: Blood and Fire by Tori L. Ridgewood

Review: Blood and Fire by Tori L. Ridgewood.

Book Review — Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft

Right away, before delving into each of these fantastic stories, I must give full disclosure of my bias: I’m both Wiccan and a witch. I have a fairly intimate knowledge of the Craft, both through experience and research. I love being part of this belief system, finding like-minded people, and learning all that I can about it, within the decreasing limits of my so-called free time. So finding this anthology, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, was like coming home to me. I absolutely loved it.

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“An Accidental Witch”, by Liv Rancourt

I was completely entranced by this story from the first page. The descriptions, the characters, the setting — all of it grabbed me right away. In a problem reminiscent of classic sitcoms like ‘Bewitched’, a practitioner of magick approaches her Wiccan friend for a little bragging over her coven’s recent acquisition, and a little help with an awkward situation. Charlotte agrees to help, and succeeds, using her skills in Wicca as well as some quick thinking and a level head. I could see it all so clearly, and the characters all reminded me of people I know and love. Rancourt has provided a fabulous introductory story to the anthology, perfect with a chocolate-covered pastry for nibbles.

“Alba”, by Karen Heard

I was glad to take a break between stories, because I quickly realized there is a change in tone as each tale ends and the next begins. The subtleties and undercurrents of “Alba” were compelling and organic. I love strong subtext, fitting pieces together, and discovering hidden meanings. I love flipping back and forth between sections of a story to uncover what was there all along. Heard did that for me with writing that is breathtakingly beautiful and haunting. Her story strongly reminds me of favourite episodes of ‘The X-Files” and the classic ghost story “Watcher in the Woods”, flavoured with aspects of Snow White and other fairy tales. There is also a twist at the end that I did not see coming, and it was perfect. Read with a good cup of tea.

“By the Pricking of My Thumbs”, by Jonathan Broughton

Ah, vengeance. Justice. Mayhem. Some of Shakespeare’s best works were based on these very themes, these intangible aspects of human nature that both terrify and release. I was floored by this imagining of turn-of-the-century performance of That Scottish Play. Broughton uses incredible detail to skillfully set up a plot that spirals rapidly to its climax. The dramatic irony is intense and juicy. The applause of the audience is definitely well-deserved.

“The Cat Maiden”, by Mertianna Georgia

I have friends who are devout cat-lovers and fans of fantasy fiction who must, absolutely MUST read this story. I’m going to insist on it. (And of course, they will then be compelled to read the rest of the anthology, which is as it should be, because I cannot decide on a favourite here, no more than I could choose a favourite chocolate out of the box.) I adore the sweetness of Georgia’s characters, struggling to be true and strong in a harsh world. Elrick, her protagonist, is fortunate indeed to have been granted two loving guardians with gifts of magick to teach and protect him. I wish I could see this illustrated with watercolours, each picture bordered in gilt.

“The May Lady Vanishes”, by Pamela Turner

I must say, I had my suspicions about a certain character in this story from the very beginning, and I was gratified when I read the solution to the mystery and discovered I’d been right all along. I don’t want to spoil it for you, of course, so won’t go into too much detail. But Turner’s depiction of an occult shop was bang-on. And her visuals brought the story to life immediately. What I liked most about this story, though, is that it really brings home the reality that not all those who practice Wicca and/or witchcraft do so with good intentions. Witches are still human beings, capable of jealousy and poor behaviour. There are consequences for everything. Turner’s characters are entirely three-dimensional in this short mystery.

“The Hanging Witch of Painter Mountain”, by Lawrence Baker

Excellent reading for a warm — or cool — fall afternoon. Baker evokes a combination of creepy, sinister, wistful feelings in this look back to the years after the American Civil War. I love the language in this story, and his use of subtext to reveal the magick in the rough mountain community. This story makes me think of something Stephen King might write, actually. It transitions seamlessly from one reality to the next, as gently as a falling leaf, bittersweet and tangy. “The Hanging Witch” is a notable example in that every word is chosen carefully to provide meaning to the reader, and eloquently so.

“Thirteen Steps”, by Debbie Christiana

Another tale of purposeful witchcraft, tinged with horror for those who admire Stephen King. Poor condemned witch Isabella cannot be pitied for long, as she is one of those who cannot be held back even by time. The fate of the antagonist, self-indulgent journalist Bart Santz/Sanzone, is abundantly clear from the moment he is introduced, which makes riding along with him that much more enjoyable. Oh, that moment when he realizes the point of no return has come and gone… Just delicious. Tea and hot apple pie with this one, if you please. Throw a dollop of whipped cream on top. Trust me.

“Four Bony Hands”, by Rayne Hall

A stunning modern adaptation of a classic children’s fairy tale. Estelle is such a sweetheart, a good woman whose qualities I recognize in a number of my close friends. Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished. Perhaps it’s her own karma catching up with her — Estelle is no innocent, though her minor civic crimes were committed with the intention of protecting life. Certainly, her fate is determined by the impact of ignorance and abuse on others. I like this story so much because Hall not only depicts human beings with great honesty, she doesn’t even hold back with the children. There is a harsh reality to being a child in a story with a witch — at least a traditional fairy tale, in which witches are inevitably evil hags with a yen for prepubescent flesh — so in a way, the children’s behaviour is somewhat understandable. If only Estelle had realized her role in their perceived story… I find myself wishing I could read the next chapter, that this one continues on in any one of several directions.

“Mishmash Magick”, by Carole Ann Moleti

Discovering this colourful tale of urban magick was a complete delight. One simply does not expect to encounter witches in the city, let alone builders of magickal circles, crafters of spells, or celebrations of sacred fire festivals in the concrete and pavement landscape. Moleti’s portrayal of the balance between the intangible and the mundane is bang-on. There is a care to the works of the urban witch, a certain way to juggle the Craft without attracting unwanted notice, and she has captured it brilliantly.

“Love Magick”, by Debra Dunbar

Dunbar knows her teenagers, and her facts about Wicca and witchcraft. This story is really and truly lovely, even with its squirmy moments of adolescent awkwardness. The outsider, Blossom, is painfully lonely and accepts an offer from one of her school’s queen bees, Sheila, to work a spell on a boy. Blossom has a good heart, and a strong conscience, and her inner beauty is clearly visible to others even though she doesn’t realize it until her crisis peaks. I wish that real life could resolve itself as well as “Love Magick” does, but that’s why we read — to learn how to work through problems, and improve how we behave toward each other. And that’s really the heart of magick: achieving balance, for the good of all and harming none.

This anthology is a must-read for lovers of magic/magick, fantasy, romance, horror, mystery, and the paranormal. I’m so glad that I read this book.

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.ca/Beltane-Witchcraft-Fantasy-Stories-ebook/dp/B009D41V3E

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Mist and Midnight now available from Melange Books!

Mist and Midnight now available from Melange Books!

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Stalked by a cruel and relentless vampire, Charlotte is on the run. Fleeing the city, the powers of magick her only protection, she couldn’t afford to fall for the hot modern prospector Pike Mahonen. Can she avoid temptation in a small town, to keep them both safe?

Find out how the vampire was trapped underground in this prequel to The Talbot Trilogy!

Buy Links:
(PDF) http://www.melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/mistandmidnight.html
(Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/Mist-Midnight-The-Talbot-Trillogy-ebook/dp/B00HQA3MKC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1389544136&sr=8-5&keywords=mist+and+midnight

July 29: I’m on the V-Spot Blog

Oh, what a glorious Monday it will be! I’ll be rubbing virtual shoulders with vampire authors on perhaps the greatest vampire fiction site online!

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Join me at http://www.vampirebookrealm.com/the-v-spot-blog.html, read a fresh excerpt from Wind and Shadow, leave a comment, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for my Bloody Good Prize Package:

– a set of handmade beeswax candles (lead-free wicks),
– a signed bookmark,
– a magnet,
– a “blood”-filled vampire fang necklace from Vampirewear.com, and
– a signed print copy of Wind and Shadow

Good things happening — can’t wait to see who wins this one!

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Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy

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Buy Links:
(PDF or Print) http://www.melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/windandshadow.html
(Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Shadow-Talbot-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00DYCH64Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374184496&sr=8-1&keywords=wind+and+shadow+tori+ridgewood
(B&N) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-and-shadow-tori-l-ridgewood/1116138235?ean=9781612356396
(Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/340100
(Kobo) http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/books/wind-and-shadow-talbot-series-1/JPwUsVxsCkqvqn_pDL1MYw?MixID=JPwUsVxsCkqvqn_pDL1MYw&PageNumber=1

Book Release Party July 7!

Celebrate with me the release of Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, with games, prizes, and giveaways on July 7 from 12-5 pm:

https://www.facebook.com/events/387077754732358/

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Prizes and giveaways include:
Wind and Shadow bookmarks and pens
-a Wind and Shadow mug and magnet set
-a Wind and Shadow notebook and pen set,
-a Wind and Shadow key chain,
-1 Wind and Shadow t-shirt,
-3 sets of vampire bite removable tattoos (Vampirewear.com)
-a “blood”-filled fang necklace (Vampirewear.com)
-a mini-rose fang necklace (Vampirewear.com)
-5 free e-copies of Wind and Shadow,
-THREE signed print copies of Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy

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PLUS: Every comment is an entry into a draw for the Mystery Prize! (hint: a special necklace only available from Vampirewear.com is included!) Note: If you live outside of Eastern Standard Time, don’t despair — you are eligible for this terrific gift box! (pics to come, she whispered mysteriously…)

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*note: event rescheduled as of June 26 to July 7