My Favorite Things Blog Tour!

Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming soon: Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I’m so pleased to have met Kylie Betzner, and to be included in is fun blog tour. Our goal is to introduce you to our writing by telling you our favorite things about something we’ve written. To see more Favorite Things Tour participants, check out Kylie Betzner’s blog at:

and also:

Jennifer Conway at

And now, here’s some of My Favorite Things

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery was my first published book. It came out in June of 2011 and book two, Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, is in the final stages of preparation for release. Though the main character of these books is Special Agent Trey Fontaine, they are told in several points of view, including those of the antagonists.


Ultimate Justice lg


It seems that some evil force had moves into the small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana. It is brimming with dead bodies. FBI special agent Trey Fontaine realizes that a lot of the bodies turn out to be men who were child molesters, rapists, wife beaters and murderers. Someone seems to think it’s okay to take the law into their own hands. But is it evil to put a stop to molestation, rape, beatings and murder?

Can Trey Fontaine bring a halt to the violence? He has always followed the rules, worked within the system. He’s a straight shooter, a stickler for working within the parameters of the law. When the truth is revealed, will he be able to maintain his professional integrity? Or will doing the right thing be more important?


This seems like a strange exercise, sharing my feelings about my book. It’s so much easier to let the work speak. As I contemplated this post, it was hard to decide on a favorite scene, character and quote. Then I opened the book and read the prologue and the answer was obvious.


One of my favorite characters is Wile, a seven year old boy who has been abused. He hates school, loves cheeseburgers, and has two siblings who are his best friends, fifteen year old Drew, and twelve year old Rocky. The three are inseparable, and Wile is the leader of this little pack.

Wile grew up in a small town in southwest Louisiana. His daddy had a quick temper and didn’t bother using his hands for discipline if there was a hose or a board around. Wile knows what ‘mean’ is and what it feels like to be in its path. Now he takes great pleasure in redirecting the path of ‘mean.’


One of my favorite Wile quotes reflects his sense of humor as well as the depth of his pain, though until you see it in context, you won’t understand it. Here it is:

“He ain’t lying. Daddy taught Rocky how to hunt ’em, skin ’em and dress ’em, and he’s real good at it. He can even tan the hides,” I said.

Now that you know a little about Wile and have heard his voice, check out the scene below.


“You know what to do,” I whispered.

Drew moved toward him slow and slinky-like, and unbuttoned the top of her sleeveless shirt and smiled. “Hey, handsome.”

He turned and looked over his shoulder. His lips smiled but the rest of his face didn’t. He didn’t have time to bat an eye before I stepped out in front of Drew. My foot hit his ribs and knocked him over. That kind of kick would make me a super star, if I was playing soccer.

“Surprise,” I said. I whupped up on him. He rolled onto his back and a grunt whooshed outta his mouth. His evil eyes stared right at me and I saw fear skip through ’em before the mad started to show.

He looked bumfuzzled clear through.

The man was big. I’d end up sorry if I didn’t do something fast. I landed on him and shoved the knife in deep. He bled like a stuck hog. His arms fell away, and his eyes scrunched up with pain and a look I didn’t know. Maybe he was confused, or scared. Ever what it was, it served him right. And ever what plans he had weren’t gonna happen.

Blood covered my left hand. “Warm. Velvety.”

Drew got on her knees next to the girl, but she didn’t move. She was all still and asleep. She looked sorta dead. The girl’s skin looked too white and her long hair tangled into a halo around her head. Drew cuddled the girl up into her lap and talked real soft like. She’s pretty good with kids. She’s sorta like a little kid inside and she kinda knows how it feels to be scared. She ran her fingers over the girl’s forehead.

We seen good mamas do that when their babies got sick.

I picked up a rag and sniffed it. “Smells of a dentist office.” I looked at Drew. “We can’t leave things like this. If she wakes up and finds him bleeding and looking kinda dead, she’ll feel more scared than ever.” Besides, I had a special surprise in the truck for him.

A dog barked.

“Grab a leg,” I told Rocky, and we pulled the man deeper into the woods. For three scrawny kids, we did okay. Noises stopped us. We stood still, trying to be super quiet, but we huffed and puffed so hard we scared our own selves. We decided faster was better, even if somebody might hear us.

Sweat ran down my back as we dragged the man over old leaves and tree roots until we found a place to rest a minute. “Go bring the truck down the ole’ dirt road off the highway,” I told Drew. She’s the oldest and she’s got another year till she gets her license, but she always takes us places.

Another yap from the dog and I knew it was near where we left the little girl. A sissy scream blasted through the trees. I stopped, breathing hard, listening.

A man’s voice.

And a woman’s.

She kinda cried.

The dog whined.

More crunching leaves. They found her.

Rocky smiled and I reckoned we thought the same thing. He squatted by the man’s head. “Daddy was a hunter. He taught me how to handle animals,” he whispered, his first finger layin’ against the dull side of the blade, just short of the gut hook.

“He ain’t lying. Daddy taught Rocky how to hunt ’em, skin ’em and dress ’em, and he’s real good at it. He can even tan the hides,” I said.

The man didn’t respond. He weren’t gonna. He was sleeping, peaceful like. We dragged him up close to the dirt road on the other side of the woods. When Rocky finished with him, people would know the man was bad. Rocky had a way of making wickedness spill right out in plain sight.

As you can see, Wile is damaged. But he has a good heart. He’s just a little boy who has decided there are a lot of bad men in the world who mistreat women and children, and it’s time to do something about it. Maybe the next time you feel anger or a need for revenge, you should remember Wile. Sometimes those feelings can lead to unexpected results.

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is available in paperback and as an ebook and is available through online resources as well as brick-and-mortar stores. Below is a buy link for

GUEST POST: How Your Personal History Affects Your Writing by Richard H. Hardy, Author of The Infinity Program

Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I had the honor of allowing Richard H. Hardy to present a guest post and also, to introduce himself and his book, The Infinity, to my wonderful followers and readers. Below is his post on How Your Personal History Affects Your Writing, followed by a Bio, Excerpt of the book, Book Summary, and ways to contact Mr. Hardy, and purchase The Infinity Program.

I love to support authors, and am pleased to have Richard here to share his history, knowledge, skill and of course, his book.


How Your Personal History Affects Your Writing

My family came to the U.S when I was four years old.  My father was a Chartered Accountant (the British equivalent of a CPA) and he thought he’d have better career opportunities in the USA.  For me, it was a great adventure.  I can even remember seeing the Statue of Liberty when we arrived at New York.

My first great discovery in America was the comic book, especially Superman and Captain Marvel.  Super powers, spaceships, time machines, other worlds—I was just blown away.  To this day I can remember whole panels from these ancient comic books.  I used to pretend that I had come from to America from Krypton.  When other kids were playing in a sand box, I was dreaming about rocket ships to other worlds.

When I was about thirteen years old I bought a bushel basket filled with Astounding Science Fiction magazines from the 1940s.  These timeless classics included writers like Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague Decamp and A.E. Van Vogt.  Van Vogt in particular made a huge impression on me with his Worlds of Nul-A.  The world of non-Aristotelian logic and General Semantics was pretty heady stuff to wrap my mind around.  I was completely hooked by imaginative worlds of Science Fiction.  At first it made me want to be a scientist.  I began to devour non-fiction books about Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics.

When I got older I discovered that there was more to literature than just Science Fiction.  Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Ape and Essence led me to Antic Hay and Chrome Yellow, Huxley’s satires about English life in the 1920s.  From there it was on to authors like Thomas Wolfe and James Joyce.  Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was a revelation to me.

The father of one of my college girl friends once said to me, “I never thought I would ever say this to anyone, Richard, but I think you read too much.”  I did and I still do.  Books are one of the great passions in my life.  Put me in a library and I am like an alcoholic in a brewery!  It is this long experience with books that led me to be a writer.  There’s nothing quite like a well made book in your hand.  Nothing can come close to it except 30 or 40 pages of your own work, fresh off the printer.  A love of books and a love of writing go together.  I was very fortunate to grow up in a home that valued both.


richard Richard H. Hardy’s Bio:

Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.His family later moved to England and then on to America.After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel.

 200 The Infinity Program Summary
Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways–Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn’t know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office’s Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.

Formats/Prices: $5.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 250
Release: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819336



The Infinity Program GoodReads page:

Richard H. Hardy’s Facebook:

Richard H. Hardy‘s Twitter:

Richard H. Hardy‘s GoodReads:

Richard H. Hardy’s blog:

Richard H. Hardy’s website:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

The Infinity Program tour site:

GUEST POST: The 7 Ways to Become a Better Writer by Valerie Thomas

I met a charming up-and-comer last week and wanted to allow her the floor for a guest post. Enjoy the thoughts of Valerie Thomas.

The 7 Ways to Become a Better Writer

Please note, the ordering of this list is not random. There is a definite progression from the activities I find help me most with my writing, to the ones that help the least. With that in mind—and the caveat that this is only the opinion of one starving author (okay, well maybe not starving)—please enjoy.

  1. This is the most obvious one, so don’t neglect it. There isn’t any wax-on, wax-off for writing; you just do it (kudos if you recognize the reference).
  2. Read books in your genre. This is almost as important as writing. As Orson Scott Card argues in his book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, the only way to gain familiarity with the clichés and nuances of your genre is to read as many related novels as you can get your hands on.
  3. Get critiques, whenever and wherever you can. Critiques from peers, not friends or family, are key. It’s easy to think a work is good when no one else has read it, or to think a piece is so perfect it wouldn’t bear any more editing—but trust me, critiquers will find problems and places to edit for you. Please note that you shouldn’t simply accept critiques as fact, however; consider the advice for yourself, decide whether it makes sense to you.
  4. Read nonfiction, and books outside your genre. My favorite nonfiction books are those on the topic of becoming a better writer, but at the very least a writer should be familiar with the names Strunk and White, and read a few books outside their comfort zone every year. The reason being, romance novels occasionally need an action scene, mysteries sometimes require romance, and science fiction often pulls from every other genre. Instead of emulating scenes written by authors whose skill lies elsewhere, the best answer is to go straight to the source.
  5. Go on an adventure.Writing becomes much easier if you base things, as much as you can, on your own life and experiences (this is why Ender’s Game is set in North Carolina and Pretty Little Liars is set in Pennsylvania). If you have some interesting memories to put down on paper, your novel ideas will be interesting as well. So go out and get some.
  6. Develop your empathy. Believable characters come from authors who understand people, and empathy is our way to reach an understanding. If you want somewhere to start, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the best books I’ve read.
  7. Work on your spatial awareness. There are some successful authors who can’t picture their own scenes, but to my knowledge they are very few. In order to recreate a scene in the reader’s head, an author must first be able to picture it themselves, which is why a developed spatial mind is important.

Please note that television and movie-watching are nowhere on this list. I suppose, if they were, I might place them at a very distant eight. I personally enjoy both forms of media, but have yet to notice any credible improvement in my writing from watching The Big Bang Theory.

Do you think this list is incomplete, or that I got the ordering wrong? Do you have a good book or relevant source to recommend? Please let me know in the comments below.


Valerie Thomas is a twenty year old college student in Colorado and author of The Clique. Her blog can be found at” Something like that should be perfect.

A Little Promotion for Drue A. Hoffman

Just thought I’d Let Drue have the floor for a minute.
They’ve finally found the passion they’ve deserved, but will they live long enough to enjoy it? Tony and Nikki fought their way up from the bottom of despair to each other’s arms, but can an ecoterrorism group bent on destroying their world separate them forever? Book 1, now in a combo volume including the series prequel, The Groundbreaking, that introduces readers to the nine main characters in the four full-length novels of the series. Get started today – Book 4, Planning an Addition, comes out November 1st!!!
Readers agree – Laying a Foundation is the one and only romance read of its kind, full of white-hot sex and characters over 50 so real that you’ll forget you’re just reading. Get started with the combo volume before the last book in the series is released in November!
All Romance eBooks –

Drue A. Hoffman

Drue’s Random Chatter
Twitter:             @Drueann

Attachments area
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What Do You Think of Multi-Genre Authors?

Like many authors, I have ideas for books in different genres. My first two books are mysteries, but the real point of them is the psychological motives behind the actions of the characters. I like delving into the mind, asking why. I like writing about real people, facing real problems, and reacting as individuals.

I’m working on a literary novel, one that may become a series. The basis of it is the way people raised in the same household can turn out so different. They think differently, have different motives, etc. I’d love to be able to write such a book, and promote it right here, on this blog, which has so far only promoted my mystery books.

Of course, I do promote all kinds of books on this site, mystery, thriller, time-travel, fantasy, historical, romance, etc. But I’m wondering how my followers would feel about me promoting my own writing in different genres on this site. I’d love to hear from you. How do you feel about this subject? Would you rather not read about my exploits in different genres on this site? Or do you feel that as long as I stick with the psychological drama of life, it would still fit with your interests?


I’m Baaaaack! At Least Temporarily

Hi to all those who visit my blog.
I appreciate your patience as I took a few weeks off for a major revision of ULTIMATE GAME, A Trey Fontaine Mystery. It’s now in the hands of beta readers, so I have time to breathe and check on my poor, ignored blog.
Next week I’ll use the comments from the beta readers to do a polish, and then the manuscript is off to the editor. I’m hoping I managed to make it into what she wanted.
If not, it will be stuck in a drawer for a while, until it’s cold enough so I can do a better edit.
Hope to get a review or two in after sending this to the editor.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying reading THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon–this is the second time I’ve read it–and hope to read the rest of the series before I purchase the newest addition, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD in June.
Has anyone out there read this series?

Are there authors following me who read my first book, ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery?
What are you guys reading now?

Before and After

The good news is, I submitted book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery series to my publisher. The bad news is a major revision is in order. On the other hand, the good news is, I have a chance to fix the manuscript and make it much better, but the bad news is, I’ll have no time to read, or blog, or breathe, until it’s done.

Here’s some more good news: I judged five published books in the Daphe this year, and plan to review all of them on this blog after the big revision. And I’ve also read several other books this year, and plan to review them this spring/summer. So after my manuscript for ULTIMATE GAME, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is re-submitted, you’ll have the opportunity to read reviews of DEADLY INTERITANCE by Suzanne Rossi, DEEP IN MY HEART by Patricia W. Fischer, STOLEN by Allison Brennan, THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB by R. Franklin James, BETRAYED by Donnell Ann Bell.

In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to read some of the past reviews and articles, you’ll find over two hundred options for a short read about books, writing, authors, classes, guest posts, interviews, promotions, and moi. I’ll be back.

2013 in review

I want all my followers, readers, and friends to know how much you have helped me during the last year. Below is a report of the success of this blog for 2013. And it only happened because of you!


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Coming Attractions

Just wanted to let all of you know that Monday, October 21st I’ll be interviewed by Babette James at and Tuesday, October 2nd, Abby L. Vandiver will be here with a guest post in connection with her blog tour.

And November will be a big month, filled with reviews and giveaways of great books.

Ooooh, Look! I’m Nominated For The Shine On Award!

Deanna from the wonderful blog: BookLover’s Attic has nominated me for the Shine On Award! So my first order of business is to thank her for her support.  Her blog is awesome. Check it out here:

Here are the rules of the award:

1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.


2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog, and link back.

3. Share seven random, interesting things about yourself.

Here we go:

1. I’m one-quarter Blackfoot Indian and one-quarter German.

2. I love old fashioned men who open doors for me and pull out my chair at the table.

3. I love organic gardening and canning my own veggies.

4. If I had a million dollars, I’d be broke in a week. I love helping others and find it makes me richer than having money.

5. I’m not political in any sense of the word. Ever.

6. I have what almost all the world would call strange religious beliefs.

7. I was once walking in the park, talking to a friend about how to plot a wedding in a book I was writing. I told her the only way we could get the girl married was to kill her dad. My husband was walking behind us a few feet and when strangers heard us talking about ‘killing him,’ my husband looked at the strangers and said, “I’m not with them.”
4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Shine On Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.

Now it’s time to reveal my picks for the Shine On Award.  I think this is a great way to acknowledge fellow bloggers and give them more exposure to people who may not have had the pleasure of discovering them yet. So here they are:

Kristen Lamb at

Chirstine Fairchild at

Babette James at

Zetta Brown at

Mark Jackman at

Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray at

Robert Stanek at

Terry Odell at

Nancy Lauzon at