Nightmares aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be

"OMG, I totally forgot to study! The horror!"

The other night I dreamt I was being chased by three zombie children dressed in white.  It was horrifying.  I jerked awake and lay in bed trying to shake the images from my head.  Eventually, I drifted back to sleep only to be greeted with another dream of a man stooped before another man holding an axe above his head.  The stooped man was pleading for his life, but the other man didn’t seem to care.  Before bringing down his ax, he looked at me and smiled.  The ax came down and the poor, pleading man lost his head.  I woke up in a cold sweat.

A few mornings later, I was sitting at my computer typing away, as I am wont to do, and I heard my wife scream from the bedroom.  I shouted, “What’s wrong?” To which she replied, “Bad dream.”  I let it go at that because my wife often has bad dreams.  When I ask her about them, she usually says, “It was just too awful.  I can’t stand all these bad dreams.”  Later in the day, I decided to tell her about my bad dreams.

She looked at me horrified and said, “Those are really bad dreams.”

I asked, “Well, what are your bad dreams about?”

“Nothing like that. It’s usually me showing up at some event wearing clothes that don’t fit, or I’m back in school, and I realize I haven’t studied for my final exams.”

I tried not to look amused or confused, but I must have smirked because she said, “Don’t laugh because you’re never there to support me when it happens.”

“You mean I’m not in your dreams?’

“Exactly.”

What’s the lesson? One wife’s nightmare is her husband’s failure to breach time and space to save her from total, albeit imagined, humiliation.

BTW – I let my wife read this before I posted it, and she refuted almost every word.  I really am going to start recording our conversations.

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Review of the week – The Pure

That loud breathy sound you hear is me letting out a huge sigh of relief!

I love The Takers because it’s the first book and it started Oz on his journey, but it in a lot of ways, getting a great review for the follow-up books makes me feel much better.  You never know if you’re going to piss off your readers and lose them for good.    This one is for the third book in the series, The Pure.

4.0 out of 5 stars My favorite of the Oz Chronicles so far, March 31, 2009
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This review is from: The Pure: Book Three of the Oz Chronicles (Paperback)

I didn’t think Ridley would top THE TAKERS because the first book of the Oz Chronicles is so wonderful, but I must say THE PURE is my favorite so far. Most of the action concerning Oz takes place in the mind, and even the struggles of the other characters are emotional more than physical (though there is plenty of action to keep teen readers turning pages). I’m a sucker for redemption stories, and THE PURE certainly is that. I hope Ridley keeps going with this theme in future installments. My only real disappointment was finding out the Oz Chronicles is not a trilogy, which I didn’t realize until I encountered the cliffhanger on the last page! Then again, it’s good to know there’s more to come.

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The New Délon City Kindle Cover Image (Vote)

I’ve never been thrilled with the cover for Délon City, so I’ve decided to use a different one for the Kindle version.  If it goes over well, I’ll change it for the print version as well.  What do you think?

A New Cover for Délon City?

Cast your vote!

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Review of the Week – The Takers

Review of the week belongs to The Takers!

This one is really cool.  The book reached a young man who normally doesn’t read.  Gotta love it!

5.0 out of 5 stars First time son has requested a sequel to anything!, August 24, 2010
By Susan L (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Takers (Oz Chronicles, Book 1) (Volume 1) (Paperback)

I bought this book for my son to take on 12 hour airline trip. He’s not a reader – has learning disabilities that impact his reading and typically reads only what’s required for school and then reluctantly. I assumed it would come home unread, but thought I should send him with something in case the audio/video on the plane malfunctioned. I read the first page or two aloud to him while he was packing his carry-on bag just to get him interested.

When he got home he asked me if there were any more books in this series. When I told him yes he asked if I could get them for him! He went on to describe the plot, charaters and ending to me. I was amazed. He read a book! He liked it!

I haven’t read the book, but based on his response I’d recommend this book to any parent who is looking for something that a teenage boy will read and enjoy – even those who don’t like to read and aren’t particularly interested in books.

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What I’m Reading Now – The Passage by Justin Cronin

I’m reading The Passage by Justin Cronin.  I picked the book up because while watching an interview with Cronin on one of the morning shows, I witnessed something remarkable.  Stephen King called in to give a compliment to Cronin and take a cheap shot at Stephenie Meyer at the same time.  He praised The Passage and then said, “Thanks for making vampires scary again.”  HA!  Without mention the teen vampire queen’s name, he figuratively delivered a roundhouse left to her chin.  Ouch!

Needless to say, I had to have Cronin’s book, and King wasn’t lying.  The book is amazing.  It’s not just  a good read.  It’s a great time.  I’m loving it.  Cronin has infused character into an apocalyptic vampire novel that makes the book a genre buster.  It’s good writing, good storytelling, incredible reading.

Love the book, and love King’s inexplicable need to criticize Meyer every chance he gets.

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Repost – Product Placement and the Teenage Material Girl

“They totally ruined the integrity of the Gossip Girl books with all that product placement!” – This message is brought to you by Pepsi.

I think we may be expecting too much from our teenage romance novels. The New York Times printed an article titled In Novels for Girls, Fashion Trumps Romance. It seems Naomi Johnson, a communications professor at Longwood University in Virginia, recently wrote a dissertation on the alarming number of occurrences of product placement in books written for teenage girls. Now, I will admit the number does seem kind of high (1,553 brand mentions in 1,431 pages of the six books she had read), but in the end, it is much ado about nothing. The books in question come from three very popular series, Clique, Gossip Girl and A-List. Not my cup of tea, but you can’t argue with sales. For the record, the packaging company, publisher, and authors all deny any money was exchanged for the product placement. The authors claim real brands were used to give the books authenticity. I think the obsession with weight, appearance, popularity, and money make the books sadly authentic enough.

But what if brands like Moschino, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. did pay for product placement in these books? Would that be so bad? If a teenage girl is reading Gossip Girl, she’s not reading it to learn how to make the world a better place. She’s reading it because a bunch of hot girls in cool, expensive clothes are learning the importance of being popular, and judging others for their looks and poor choice of income potential. Would subjecting these young ladies to crass commercialism really ruin the integrity of these types of books, and shatter the reader’s feeble resistance to buy a thing because her favorite character wears, drives, or covets that thing? I say let the publishers cash in.

Now, I’ve never read a single word of any of the aforementioned books, but I’ve read a number of articles on them and there appears to be only one redeeming quality about them. They are encouraging kids to read. There is a movement afoot to have the books banned from schools and libraries. Having read that a mother wants to burn my books because they are “evil,” I am, perhaps, extra sensitive to this never-to-die movement to ban books. Censorship is not the answer. Reading builds better communication skills. It helps foster a love for learning. Reading turns on the theater of the mind and helps kids think and grow with more imagination and greater lucidity. Would you rather they spend endless hours playing games like Grand Theft Auto and meeting creeps on MySpace? C’mon. Keep them safe. Let them read.

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As long as I’m the least selling bestselling author unicorns will die.

I’ve decided I’m going to kick it up a notch this year and sell more books… a lot more books.  How?  First by picking a target.  Unbeknownst to Stephenie Meyer, I have decided that she and I are in competition.  We both published our first book in 2005; She with her first book in the Twilight series, and me with my first book in the Oz Chronicle series.  Her rise to the top has been meteoric, while I have clearly over-stayed my welcome at the bottom.  It’s time for me to move up.  

Currently, Stephenie has about an 85,000,000 copies head start on me, so I have my work cut out for me.  To illustrate just how far I have to go to catchup with her, I made this handy-dandy chart:

Move over Stephenie. I'm coming to take my spot at the top.

What’s that you say?  Insurmountable?   Not at all.  It is very mountable… er, doable.  Especially if you buy 85,000,000 copies of my books.  Yeah, didn’t think of that, did you? 

Seriously, I’m working on slogans for my “beat Stephenie Meyer” campaign that are sure to become part of the American lexicon in 2010.  So far, these are my favorites:

  •  “Every day R.W. Ridley sells fewer books than Stephenie Meyer an orphan cries.”
  • “If R.W. Ridley doesn’t sell more books than Stephenie Meyer in 2010, unicorns will go extinct.  I’m not kidding.”
  • “Have you bought one of R.W. Ridley’s books yet?  No? Jerk!  Didn’t you hear about the orphans and unicorns?”

Granted, they still need a little work, but I’ll iron out the details later.  The important thing to remember is that the fate of orphans and unicorns is in your hands.  Do the right thing.

BTW – I know the chart makes it look like I haven’t sold any books, but I have.  It’s just tough to register on a chart that tops out at 85,000,000.