Promotions, promotions!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of doing an interview for the radio to promote the haunted house. I didn’t get a copy of it, although I was told it sounded good. 

This past Saturday, J.R. Daoust of the Northern News came to visit our event, and he wrote a terrific article for us. I love the group shot, too. We were missing several students who couldn’t be there, but it still represents the collective team and their efforts:   

Can you see me in the upper right, at the back? Lol, so silly!

In other promotional news: my main publisher, Melange Books, is holding a Hallowe’en Sale, so you’ve got an opportunity to pick up a couple of my works at a discount! And why not? I love writing spooky stuff for you! 

Take a look at Spellbound 2011, which includes my short story “Telltale Signs”, only $0.99 until November 7, as well as the first book of my Talbot Trilogy, Wind and Shadow, at the special price of just $2.99, also until November 7! 

   
 Be careful, though — the Talbot Trilogy is rather addictive. Fortunately, it’s also a hell of a ride. Fair warning: the trilogy is explicit, very steamy, and gory, and by the final book, Crystal and Wand, it includes LGBQT material. 

Happy Hallowe’en Week!

The first review of Crystal and Wand is in! 

And I couldn’t be more pleased. 

From Pure Jonel, on Goodreads: 

Ridgewood returns to her Talbot Trilogy with the same flash and flair that we’ve come to know from the series. Her action packed and larger than life scenes came to life before my eyes. The intricate narrative creates a unique and one of a kind feel while the plot kept me on my toes. At the same time, Ridgewood does a fantastic job of jogging your memory with respect to past events, but never rehashing past novels.

I loved coming back to these characters that I`m getting to know so well. I love some and have a love/hate relationship with others. The unique dynamics combined with everyone’s one of a kind, in your face personalities creates a cast that readers won’t soon forget.

This exciting conclusion to Ridgewood’s trilogy definitely kept me hooked. I love how she wrapped everything up nicely, without presenting readers with a pretty little bow. The sense of continuity was great. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you so, so much for the positive feedback, Jonel! I sincerely appreciate it, and I’m extremely happy you enjoyed my book. 

You can find out what all the fuss is for by visiting my publisher, Melange Books, or finding the Talbot Trilogy on Amazon, in Chapters, B&N, Smashwords, or Lulu. 

  

Blood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy — Playlist!

Similar in structure to Wind and Shadow, the story in Blood and Fire takes place over three days in mid-November. Sometimes, while I was writing or rereading, I was thinking of particular songs in the background of the scenes. Although I’ve lost my original list, the songs I’ve picked out below are those that best fit the movement of the plot and development of the characters. It was tempting to copy songs I used in the playlist for the first book, but that would be cheating . . .

However . . .

Given that I am still mad about losing my first list, this one still open to interpretation and change. It stands for now, and may be adapted further over the next few days (or weeks, or, you know . . . whenever).

I hope you enjoy!

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Shadows: The Talbot Trilogy Playlist 2

Prologue:

Enya, “Orinoco Flow”

Neverending White Lights, “Theme from The Blood and the Life Eternal”

November 17

Chapter 1:

U2, “Mysterious Ways”

Chapter 2:

Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Christmastime is Here (Instrumental)”

Dominica, “Luxury”

Taylor Swift, “Safe and Sound”

Chapter 3:

Taylor Swift, “Safe and Sound”

Muse, “Unnatural Selection”

Three Days Grace, “Animal I Have Become”

Chapter 4:

Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

Motley Crue, “Home Sweet Home”

Chapter 5:

Remik’s Cube, “Opportunity”

Linkin Park, “Points of Authority”

Nelly, “Hot In Here”

Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”

Chapter 6:

Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”

Tove Lo, “Talking Body”

Pitbull, “Feel This Moment (feat. Christina Aguilera)” or Daft Punk, “Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)”

Rupert Holmes, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”

Avicii, “Hey Brother”

Chapter 7:

Black Lab, “Learn to Crawl”

Black Eyed Peas, “Let’s Get It Started”

Rick Howland, “Parallel Lives”

November 18

Chapter 8:

Broken Bells, “The High Road”

Classified, “3 Foot Tall”

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, “White Rabbit”

Rick Howland, “Two Doctors”

Chapter 9:

Jenn Grant, “Parachutes”

Muse, “Resistance”

Chapter 10:

The Kinks, “A Well Respected Man”

George Thorogood & The Destroyers, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Chapter 11:

Florence + The Machine, “Kiss With a Fist”

Reilly, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or Celine Dion, “I Drove All Night”

Reilly, “Good King Wenceslas”

Chapter 12:

The Doors, “Strange Days”

Kardinal Offishall, “Numba 1 (Tide Is High)” or My Chemical Romance, “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”

Chapter 13:

Gerard McMann, “Cry Little Sister”

Chapter 14:

Tim Cappello, “I Still Believe”

Chapter 15:

Lou Gramm, “Lost in the Shadows (The Lost Boys)”

Paramore, “Monster”

Chapter 16:

Nickelback, “Burn It to the Ground”

Chapter 17:

Queen, “We Will Rock You”

Spoon, “Got Nuffin”

November 19

Chapter 18:

Miranda Lambert, “Run Daddy Run (feat. Pistol Annies)”

Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun”

Plain White T’s, “Welcome to Mystery” or Three Days Grace, “Never Too Late”

Chapter 19:

Three Days Grace, “Never Too Late”

The Calling, “Wherever You Will Go” or Demi Lovato, “Warrior”

Chapter 20:

Crooked Fingers, “Luisa Bones”

Chapter 21:

Maroon 5, “Come Away to the Water” (feat. Rozzi Crane)

Epilogue:

Sarah McLachlan, “Song for a Winter’s Night”

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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Cover Reveal and Giveaway! Enter by commenting…

Ladies and gentlemen and those in between, I present to you the cover for my upcoming release, the third and final instalment of the Talbot Trilogy:

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I’m so thrilled and pleased with this design by Caroline Andrus — it says everything about the power of the women in this book.

To celebrate, I’m offering a giveaway of the full trilogy, signed print copies of Wind and ShadowBlood and Fire, and Crystal and Wand, to be sent to the winner as soon as the print copy is available. Comment below over the next seven days, and I’ll make the draw on Saturday next week!

And if you need a reminder of what the book’s about, here are the blurb and an excerpt:

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?

He swiveled her stretcher around and rolled her into another room nearby, connected by a sliding door. Here, she saw a massive bed covered in white silk sheets, fur rugs and tables covered with candles. There was even a mirror on the ceiling. She recoiled, tugging feverishly and uselessly against her bonds.

Instead of taking her to the bed as she feared, he pulled again to the right, and stopped her in front of a bank of six small flatscreen TVs. The views changed every ten seconds or so, until he tapped a few keys on a small black keyboard. Then, each TV focused on the hospital lobby, where Grant and Malcolm sat glaring at each other below the hidden camera.

“I have eyes and ears all over this hospital, Rayvin,” he told her seriously. “I knew you were here the minute you showed up. I honestly kept expecting Grant to figure it out and come charging down here, but guess what? The wolf-man’s got a stuffy nose!” Jason snorted and pressed another few buttons.

The lower right flatscreen changed to a time-stamped view of the lobby, reversing its recording until Charlotte, Marcy, and Siobhan were walking backward into the room and facing the men. Here, Jason paused the video. He drew up a black leather office chair and sat in it, his arms folded.

“Where do you suppose they were going, Ray?” He mused, tilting his head back and forth. “You don’t think Malcolm de Sade, the dethroned and disillusioned, spilled a little secret to your band of allies, do you? Something about the Talbot Classic Theatre?”

Rayvin pulled so hard at one of the cuffs that she felt her skin chafing under its padding.

“I don’t know why you all think I’m so stupid. I know, Rayvin. I know about the vampire hunters from that stupidly named Society. S.H.I.P.—really? That makes no sense at all.” He got up and walked around the viewing screens. She heard a refrigerator door open, and when he came back around, he was sucking on a bag of plasma like it was a slushie.

Her stomach clamped at the sight, which made a little more of her own blood leak out and the after-pains surge once more.

“You’re really very tempting, you know. The smell of fresh blood is driving me nuts. You don’t mind if I eat in front of you, right?” He flopped back into his chair, clicking buttons again. The camera zoomed into the women’s faces, frozen on the screen. “You’re now wondering how I know about all this. Don’t worry, in a few minutes you’ll find out. I have a very reliable source.”

“So they’re walking into a trap, aren’t they?” Rayvin found her voice at last. “The Classic. You have people waiting for them there, don’t you?” It was really more of a statement than a question, but Jason nodded slowly in answer, still sucking on his snack.

She wanted to tell him something brave. She wanted to defy him, announcing that Marcy, Siobhan, and Charlotte wouldn’t fall for it, that they’d sense their enemies before the trap was sprung. Grant would sense her peril at any moment and come to her rescue. But the words dried up in her throat, and her eyes welled with tears. She turned her face away, willing herself to get back in control.

“Okay, I think that’s it.”

She heard Jason toss the empty plastic bag into a wastebasket. He turned her stretcher once more, so quickly it made her dizzy again, and pushed her back past the fish tank and his nurse shark, all the way to the hallway.

“I’m tired, Rayvin. You’ve got me up past my bedtime. I interrupted my sleep to play host for you, but I need to go back to dreamland for a bit. Thank god for the short days of winter, eh?” He chuckled, whisking her down another hallway. This one was lined with cinderblocks and unpainted wooden and steel doors. “I’ve watched enough movies to know what mistakes to avoid as the villain, but at the same time, I understand why the dastardly fiend needs to draw out the moment rather than ending it quickly. There’s so much pleasure in just relishing satisfaction, you know? So I’ve got my cameras ready, because I’m really exhausted and I can’t keep my eyes open much longer.”

He brought her to a stop next to a door marked “Boiler Room”.

And then he pulled a knife out of his pocket.

“It’s been more than ten years, Rayvin, since you paralyzed me and left me to rot in my chair.” Jason leaned over until his face was even with hers. He whipped off his patch to let her see the whole of his ruined eye. “And a couple of weeks ago, your boyfriend maimed me for the remainder of my after-life. So I’m thinking Code of Hammurabi. Remember, from Intro to Law?”

He shifted her body with one hand, reached under the blankets with his knife, and forced it deeply into her lower back. She shuddered and shrieked, the pain in her womb eclipsed by the agony of her muscles and tissue shredding. He sawed back and forth, cutting at her spine. She arched her back, trying to get away, screaming.

Something inside her gave way, snapping apart, and then for the second time in four hours, she blacked out.

Once again, comment below over the next seven days, and I’ll make the draw for a complete signed set of the Trilogy novels on Saturday next week!

Censorship on the radio today made me angry

This afternoon, while I was driving my son home from archery practice, I heard “Pumped-Up Kicks” come on the radio. If you’re not familiar with the song, it’s by Foster the People and it’s about getting into the mind of a teenager with mental illness who finds his father’s gun.

My familiarity with the song comes from two fronts: I remember hearing it when it first started making the rounds in 2011/2012, and it was used as a reference when my students performed the award-winning play Lockdown (Douglas Craven) last year. It has a good beat, satisfying metallic sound that feels a little influenced by Green Day, and it tackles a tough topic: the songwriter, Mark Foster, has said that he’s glad it sparked conversations about teen mental health. 

So it really pissed me off that two words were blanked out of the song: “gun” and “bullet”.

I get it. I understand the desire for censorship, the need to protect young people from trouble, to avoid offending survivors of violence and families of victims. After the Sandy Hook shooting, the song was pulled from most radio stations for a while, just as the Tragically Hip’s “New Orleans is Sinking” stopped being played for a while after Hurricane Katrina.

What upsets me is continued censorship after a crisis has passed. If a song, a book, or a painting doesn’t past public muster for sensitivity, why bother airing it at all? When you delete, erase, cover-up, or block out part of an image — particularly one that is meant to investigate and make a statement — you’re altering the message and changing the vision of the artist. That’s not to say that there are not pieces out there undeserving of censoring: anything derived from directly harming vulnerable individuals is off-limits. Art should come from consent and seeking to understand. It’s just too bad that so many of our species are so quick to leap to judgment and bias when given the face value of something designed to initiate thought.

The first instance I found online of “Pumped-Up Kicks” being censored is detailed on http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=22941 — it was done on MTVU, and has been carried on since then. Whereas many songs with extremely foul language also have words blanked out, it’s surprising how this one’s reference to weapons and ammunition within the context of mental illness was targeted also. There’s an astounding double-standard in the music and entertainment industry, one that my daughter is now picking up on. We continued to listen to the radio after I’d gotten home with the boy, and a song came on with the word “sexy” in it. She was horrified, although it didn’t bother me at all. But I know there are other songs I’ve heard her singing along to, including that one about whips and chains exciting the singer, and I have to admit, that does make me a little uncomfortable.

So guess what my solution is?

If I hear that song, or any other that I don’t really want my kids listening to or singing along with because I don’t think it’s appropriate, I turn it off. And when they ask me why I did that, I explain my actions and we discuss the lyrics, the subtext, and its overall place as a representation of society’s current views and values. And sometimes I’ll turn the song back on, or find it on YouTube, so they can hear the example again and we can deconstruct it further. I don’t sugar-coat it, but I get them to examine the why and what-for, because it’s still someone’s work. It’s still a vision, whether I think it’s effectively carried out or poorly done.

So that’s what I did this afternoon, when I noticed the words missing from the song. And the discussion didn’t take very long, either; we digressed into other topics, one idea branching into another. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I enjoy controversies, you see. I like digging into difficult ideas and trying to see them from as many sides as I can.

And as a writer, I know damned well that someone out there is going to read my next book and have some strong words for my approach to different, still-controversial issues. I didn’t write in Crystal and Wand about school shootings, but — without spoiling things — there are some events that I suspect will raise a few eyebrows or hackles. I’m wringing my hands a little for when the book is released, wondering whether the spit’s going to hit the fan. (Side note: one of my colleagues who has read the first and second books in the trilogy, Wind and Shadow and Blood and Fire said to me that she’d also read 50 Shades of Grey and she thought my books were smuttier. I didn’t know whether to be shocked or horrified!) But I had to be true to the way I thought the characters would handle the situation, telling the story that needed to be told. That meant accepting more than ever before that there will be readers who won’t like my work. Negative feedback always hurts at first, so maybe it’s not a bad thing to expect to receive it. But neither should a writer or an artist hold back on their vision for fear that the audience will want to censor it out of preconceived ideas on how the formula should look.

That being said, I am utterly grateful to my publisher and editors for their support, as my edits continue on Crystal and Wand. Some days it feels like I’m afraid of everything going wrong in my work — that my best efforts will unleash a tide of negativity I won’t be able to handle. The fact that I have such incredible friends standing with me and not telling me to cut the controversy out of my novel means a lot. A hell of a lot.

I hope I won’t have to hear the censored version of “Pumped-Up Kicks” again anytime soon, but if I do, I already have the original on my iTunes to listen to instead.