I’ve given shout-outs and bloggy-love to my internet pals in previous blog posts. But the way R.K. Ryals and I came together as friends is more quirky than most.
About six years ago, we had secretary, Sabrina, in the English department at the community college where I’m an instructor. Her personality was charming; she was the epitome of a genuine, kind-hearted young lady. We hit it off, and in chatting she told me she had a twin sister, Regina.
Sabrina mentioned when they were young girls, Regina, like a little Scheherazade, often made a blanket-tent and told Sabrina fabulous stories by flashlight.
Sabrina was only with us for a couple of years before she moved away, but we kept in touch through Facebook. One day last summer, Sabrina messaged me.
She reminded me about her twin sister, Regina. “Regina’s a really good writer, she’s written a book, and she needs an editor. Do you know anyone who might be interested?”
I was hesitant, but something nudged me. “Do it,” said a voice in my head. I wrote back to Sabrina, hit send, and wondered, “What in the world have I done?” I needn't have worried!
Regina started emailing me chapters of a paranormal Young Adult novel she’d named Redemption (and may have had her own "what have I done?" moment). At first, it seemed like a vampire novel, and that was okay, but the competition in the vampire book market is intimidating.
Then I realized that Redemption was about a teenage girl, Dayton, who was half-angel. She was being pursued by demons. And Dayton cussed. A lot.
Redemption was not at all what I expected.
The smooth plotting and the characters got to me, especially Dayton and her oddball but loyal teen friends. Now, don't tell me you are in the least surprised that I like oddball characters!
Regina wrote well and fearlessly. “I’ve got to get these stories out of my head,” she said. She sent chapter after chapter, and I was more and more impressed. We got to know each other through our emails as the chapters flew back and forth. We became friends across eight-hundred miles and two time zones.
In light of Amanda Hocking’s popular Trylle trilogy’s success, I suggested that Regina self-publish. A computer whiz, Regina navigated the considerable details of formatting and uploading her book to Amazon, and shortly Redemption was available for Kindle.
You’ve heard people described as a force of nature, but Regina is unstoppable. She’d made a promise to herself to have a book published by age thirty, and she made it happen.
And oh—she’s not reclining in a bed of daisies with her laptop as she writes. She’s a wife, a mother of three incredibly active girls under age ten (one in diapers), an aunt, and has a part-time job, among her other pursuits and accomplishments. In less than a year, she’s written two novels. She’s now working on two more. Simultaneously.
Did I mention she drinks a lot of coffee?
Regina, a.k.a. R.K. Ryals, is starting to collect some positive reviews for Redemption and its sequel, Ransom. The buzz on her books is on the upswing, and that is incredibly cool.
But so is my dear internet friend, Regina. Write on, R.K., write on!
*Regina writes as R.K. Ryals and her books, Redemption and Ransom, are available on Kindle. She is working on the third book in the Redemption series and another book, Acropolis, about one of the Redemption characters, a gargoyle named Conor.
**This post is an unsolicited account of my very real friend, Regina! I do not receive a commission on books sold. But I do get teary-eyed proud of R.K.!