Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tell Me A Story, Regina

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.!


  1. The fact the I had to look up paranormal to confirm what I already thought, will probably lead you to conclude that I know little about the genre, because I am scared silly by anything of a spooky, horror nature. On the other hand, I am thrilled for a writing colleague. Congrats to both of you, for carrying the torch to greater heights than ever!

    1. How kind of you-- I'm not sure I entirely understand all the possible permutations of "paranormal," either! (How's that for alliteration?)

      Probably I should investigate and write a post about what makes a paranormal... Thanks, Mark!

  2. OH, Melanie, that is wonderful! That you would do something so selfless for a friend only shows the kindhearted person that you are. And I for one am very proud to be associated with you. :)

    By the way, I will be looking into her book too. Sound marvelously scary!

    I am so very glad to see that you've post again. Welcome back Querida Amiga!

    Big squishy virtual hugs...ME!

    1. R.K. is such a good writer that I feel guilty even calling myself an editor. Her rough drafts are WAY more polished than mine will ever be. Thanks for stopping by with your support, my dear. Aren't we lucky to know writers like R.K. and Suzie Ivy?

  3. Very cool, Melanie! I have never gotten into the vampire stuff but I know it is a satisfying read for lots of people - you go, Regina (especially given that she is raising children, working, AND writing novels! Amazing!

    1. Funny, but I was never that much into vampires, either. Never read Anne Rice, for instance. It was that southern waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, of the True Blood series by Charlaine Harris that got me all bloodthirsty.

      I don't like the vampire novels that cross over into horror, and prefer that they have a lighter side. For instance, a bar named Fangtasia owned by a vamp in True Blood cracks me up. I don't watch the TV show, but love that book series for a fun escape read.
      Thanks for reading! Yes-- Regina is ENERGY.

  4. I have never in my life read anything about a vampire. This books sounds lighter than the average one without the horror. I don't do horror, but might break down and give this one a try since it sounds so interesting!

  5. How kind of you to stop by to read and comment! Yes, Regina does NOT like horror either, so you won't find any in her books. If you try her books, Redemption is the first one in the series.
    Hope to see you again here at Isthisthemiddle!

  6. What a great story! And how cool that you got to be a part of it. ;)

  7. This is so very cool! I love hearing stories like this. Now...who is going to edit Melanie's book, huh? :)