Love can make you do crazy things as Ruby Parker discovers when she dies and returns from the grave to unearth how much Leo Culver loved her. With the aid of bad advice from a ghost who is trapped by a curse, a little bit of magic courtesy of her unsuspecting half-sister, and a televised music talent show coming to town to hold auditions, Ruby Parker makes more of a mess in death than she ever did in life. Can she fix everything before it’s too late? Or will she spend eternity as a ghost, haunted by the unknown depths of love? Either way, one thing Ruby learns is that while love can make you do crazy things, it can make you do amazing things too. But at what cost?
By D L Richardson
With Christmas just behind us, the pros and cons of being a writer can read a bit like a naughty or nice list. As a kid, I wanted crayons and colouring books from Santa. I loved drawing pictures and writing words. I wanted a blackboard and chalk, which I used to annoy my siblings by making them play ‘school’ with me. I must have been the only child on the planet who played ‘school’ during the school break. What was I thinking?
Pro: I realised I had a passion for, not just writing, but sharing my ideas and interests with others. This passion helps me connect better with readers since I obviously want an audience. And I love it when I get the chance to present at workshops. Yes, I like the limelight.
Con: Captivating an audience is hard work. Siblings are not afraid to just walk out of the room. And readers are not afraid to put a book down. Where, as a child I used to be able to make my siblings play with me (usually through bribery), I can’t do that with readers. I have to make them want to play with me.
I wanted fancy dress costumes to go with the plays I wrote to perform in front of my parents. I wanted notebooks to write stories and songs as part of fun time. And then I wanted fancy notebooks because I loved English lessons in school and wanted to store these lessons in something special. So it’s fair to say that I’m suited to a creative lifestyle.
Pro: Notebooks became an essential tool for me to jot down ideas as they entered my head. I love that I can be anywhere, on a train, in a car, at the beach, and I have these incredible ideas for stories. I thought this happened to everybody but I’ve been assured that it doesn’t.
Con: Just because I have a notebook does not mean I can write. I had to become a sponge so I could properly learn my craft. As well, the ideas never stop. I have a drawer full of one page overviews for stories that I simply can’t write. And sometimes I forget where I parked my car because I’m too focused on a story idea. Or I forget to turn off the oven, or I don’t go to bed early and I’m like a zombie for days afterward.
I chose fiction writing as my outlet, but writing is not only about escaping into a fantasy world. There’s a serious side to writing called the business side. Character development, plot development, grammar, writing blurbs, pitching to publishers, promoting your book, writing books that readers want to read or otherwise you start to question why you’re doing this.
Pro: I love a challenge. I love to learn, so the business side is an interesting world to learn. And since I want to write full time and earn an income I have to get good at what I do. This forces me to connect with other writers so I can improve as a writer.
Con: The creative side of the brain is like that eight year old girl writing a play and performing it to an audience of two – her parents – not an audience of thousands. She just wants to write what she wants to write. If she wants yellow unicorns, she should be able to have yellow unicorns. However, there are rules in writing that are there for a reason, but they can detract from the skipping-through-the-daisies creative process we fiction writers seem to covet.
There are so many aspects of writing that are done daily. I’m currently proofreading, writing a new series, promoting all my books, networking with other writers, connecting with readers, updating websites and blogs, designing covers and banner ads, thinking about all the writing I’m not doing because of the other work involved.
Pro: When a reader contacts you to say they loved your book, it is the most satisfying and rewarding experience in the world. It makes all the hard work worth all the hard work. When a reader has read all your books and tells you which one is their favourite, that’s also an amazing experience.
Con: I don’t get enough time to enjoy being a reader. I just want to write and not think about the rest of the business. I stare out the window some days only to see a clear blue sky and birds are chirping and I’m in front of a computer doing edits. Sometimes, if only for the briefest moment, I wonder what it would be like to have a life that isn’t as all-consuming as the one I chose. If I’m not writing I’m thinking about writing. I don’t know what a day off is.
…“I’d know if I was dead.”
While I watched my two best friends walk with arms around each other for emotional support, I wrestled with accepting Audrey’s version of the story. To do so meant I was dead. And dead meant I would never again speak with Leo. And there were so many words left unsaid, so much business left unfinished.
The final nail in my coffin came when a customer walked out and Audrey pushed me directly in front of the customer’s path. Instead of bumping into him, I fell through him, landing on my hands and knees. My skin tingled with pins and needles from where the body had passed through me. A loud noise filled my ears, similar to water flowing from a dam. For a split second my vision blurred. Then I watched in absolute horror as my hands and legs split into millions of tiny fragments.
Audrey might have been capable of delving into her mother’s magic bag to produce this neat trick, but I wasn’t.
I crawled into the gutter because it seemed the most suitable place for a reluctant spirit to bawl her eyes out. Audrey was kind enough to sit beside me with her hand resting on my shoulder; although we were both apparitions the contact still registered. I forgot about being angry with her and welcomed her company.
“Okay, I’ll admit this has been a rather extraordinary morning so you may be right.” I sniffed back the tears and turned to face her. “How did I die?”
“Your car slid down an embankment. You weren’t wearing a seat belt. Leo dragged you out of the car but it was too late.”
I jumped up. “Leo!”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Music first captured the creative interest of young adult author D L Richardson. From choir, to her first acoustic guitar at age ten, to singing with the school band and performing in school musicals. When she left school she helped form her own rock band where she sang lead vocals, played bass guitar, and wrote all the lyrics. At age 26 she sold her equipment and focused on writing instead. She now has three novels and one short story anthology published.
Little Red Gem is a tribute to her former life as a musician and contains some of the author’s actual experiences, though she has never entered a national singing competition to capture the attention of the boy she loves. It is also a tribute to those brave young women who charge forward in pursuit of their dreams.
She lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she's not writing or reading she can be found playing her piano or guitars, renovating the house, or walking her dog.
Create Space https://www.createspace.com/4465741
The author will award to one commenter at every stop a prize consisting of one ebook, a bookmark and a laminated pass (the passes relate to the storyline). The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: