<![CDATA[Official Website of Dana Ridenour - BLOG]]>Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:44:03 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Big Thank You To All The Teachers Out There]]>Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:13:26 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/big-thank-you-to-all-the-teachers-out-thereI would like to take a minute and say thank you to all the teachers out there. Without teachers none of us would be where we are in life.  I was fortunate and had some of the best teachers in the business starting from first grade and continuing until I walked across the stage to receive my Juris Doctor.  Being taught by that special teacher can make a huge difference in a child’s life.  This past June I returned to my childhood home and did a book signing. I was moved to see so many of my former teachers show up for the book signing.  Diane Hager my second grade teacher and Joe Hager, my elementary school principal were two of the first people to arrive at the signing. Needless to say, I was floored.  They were just like I remembered them from my elementary days, cheerful and encouraging.  The day got even better when Linda and Sam Melloy walked through the door. Linda was one of my favorite middle school teachers and she married my favorite honors English teacher.  Seeing these two brought tears to my eyes. There were so many times over the years that I wanted to thank Mr. Melloy but I never made the time to do it. I had two outstanding English teachers in high school, Sam Melloy and Ivy Hawkins. Both were tough teachers who expected their students to put forth maximum effort. From these two great instructors I developed of love of language and an appreciation of literature.
There were two additional teachers who had a huge influence on me during my formative years. Although I haven’t seen either one of them since I graduated from high school, I think of them often. There is no doubt that my work ethic came from my years in band. Paul Davis and Bruce Soderstom were amazing teachers but they expected no less than one hundred and ten percent. In band I learned the true meaning of hard work and camaraderie. My friends and I survived the arduous band camp weeks that took place during the brutally hot Kentucky summers. Although I never pursued music as a career, I still have a great love and appreciation of music. I play guitar during my down time for relaxation and enjoyment. 
To all the teachers and former teachers, I would like to say thank you. You spend years teaching, encouraging, and sometimes even saving children not expecting a thank you.  You have no idea how many lives you have touched and changed by going to work every day. You are true heroes, so thank you. I’ve posted some fun photos of a few of my favorite teachers from over the years.  I hope they don’t hunt me down for sharing!  A special thank you for the lovely teachers who came out to support me at my book signing: Diane Hager, Joe Hager, Linda Melloy, and Sam Melloy. 
<![CDATA[LEARNING THE ART OF DECEPTION wins the Southeastern Writers Association GT Youngblood Award for Short Fiction]]>Fri, 24 Jun 2016 21:54:35 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/learning-the-art-of-deception-wins-the-southeastern-writers-association-gt-youngblood-award-for-short-fiction
Each year the Southeastern Writers Association conducts an exceptionally well run workshop on scenic St. Simons Island in Georgia. The annual four day workshop features classes in both fiction and non-fiction. The conference is small and welcoming. Participants arrive on the first day as strangers and are family by the last day. This is an amazing workshop for both novice writers and published authors. Whether you are working on your first story idea or marketing an already published novel, this conference has something for everyone. 

On the last night of the workshop an awards banquet is held. Writing awards are presented in numerous categories. This year the Southeastern Writers Association presented me with the GT Youngblood Award for Short Fiction for my short story, Learning the Art of Deception. To give you a little history on this short story, it was originally the first chapter of my novel, Behind The Mask.  After the entire first chapter of the novel was unsympathetically axed by my editor during the first round of edits, I was heartbroken. I loved my first chapter and I couldn't bring myself to simply delete it. I rounded out the deleted first chapter which evolved into Learning the Art of Deception. Thank you SWA for such a tremendous honor.
<![CDATA[Book Signing at the Meade County Library a Success!]]>Tue, 07 Jun 2016 12:33:12 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/book-signing-at-the-meade-county-library-a-successOn Saturday, June 4, 2016 the Meade County Library hosted a book signing event for me. I would like to thank Margaret and Elaine from the library who hosted the event and thank everyone who attended the event. We had a great crowd thanks to the social magic of Cletis Evans. A special thank you to Nora Moloney and Bill Endorf for keeping the event running smoothly and for the awesome photographs. It was wonderful seeing all my old friends and making some new friends.  Thank you Meade County Library for a fabulous day!
<![CDATA[Fingers crossed for a win!]]>Tue, 31 May 2016 13:59:48 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/fingers-crossed-for-a-win
Behind The Mask is in the running for a 2016 USA Best Book Award. The winners and finalists will be announced in mid November. Entering writing contests can be a huge pain in the backside for authors. The requirements are different for every contest and if you get one tiny detail wrong, your submission will be kicked back. Despite the irritation, there is no greater thrill than reading an e-mail that begins with the word congratulations.  So fingers crossed for a win!
<![CDATA[Behind The Mask Received A Kirkus Star!]]>Sat, 28 May 2016 20:00:06 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/behind-the-mask-received-a-kirkus-star
I am thrilled to report that not only did Behind The Mask receive a great review by Kirkus, it was also awarded a Kirkus star.  For those of you who are not familiar with Kirkus, the company was founded in 1933, and has been an authoritative voice in book discovery for 80 years. Kirkus Reviews magazine gives industry professionals a sneak peek at the most notable books being published weeks before they’re released. Kirkus also provides book reviews to consumers in a weekly email newsletter and on Kirkus.com, giving readers unbiased, critical recommendations they can trust. Because of this long standing dedication to providing readers and industry professionals with unbiased, critical recommendations, the Kirkus Star is one of the most prestigious designations in the book industry. Thank you Kirkus for bestowing Behind The Mask with this distinguished designation.
Kirkus Review
<![CDATA[Behind The Mask book launch party an enormous success!]]>Fri, 06 May 2016 12:20:04 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/behind-the-mask-book-launch-party-an-enormous-successI would like to thank everyone who attended the Behind The Mask book launch party. The party was held in the picturesque private event room at Wahoo's Fish House overlooking the salt marsh in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. It was a wonderful evening celebrating with old friends and meeting new friends. I was touched by the huge turnout from not just our friends who came from all over the country, but from people in the community who came out to support a local author. 
<![CDATA[In Memory of Pat Conroy]]>Sat, 05 Mar 2016 19:44:06 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/in-memory-of-pat-conroy​I was deeply saddened to wake up this morning and hear that Pat Conroy had passed away. Pat Conroy was one of the greatest American novelists and is and will always be my favorite author. His lyrical prose about the Lowcountry will continue to be poetry to my ears.
To say that Pat Conroy will be missed is the grandest of understatements. The world lost a true artist yesterday, but his legacy will live on in his beautiful novels.
Pat Conroy published his first book, The Boo, while he was a student at The Citadel Military Academy in Charleston, South Carolina. Not long after he graduated from The Citadel, Conroy took a job teaching underprivileged children in a one-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island off the South Carolina coast. This job only lasted a year because Conroy was fired for his unconventional teaching practices. Conroy spoke out against corporal punishment. This among other things put him at odds with the school's administration. Conroy wrote about racism and the appalling conditions his students endured in his memoir, The Water is Wide, which was published in 1972. The book won Conroy a humanitarian award from the National Education Association and was later made into the feature film Conrack.
Conroy wrote The Great Santini, which was published in 1976, and later made into a film starring Robert Duvall. The story explored the relationship between a violent father and the teenage son who struggles to win his abusive father’s approval.
Conroy’s next book, The Lords of Discipline, published in 1980, uncovered harsh military discipline, cruelty, and racism taking place within the walls of a prestigious military college. This novel drew heavily on Conroy’s years as a student at The Citadel.
In 1986, Conroy published my favorite of all his novels, The Prince of Tides, which became his most successful book. The Prince of Tides was later made into a highly successful feature film directed by and starring Barbra Streisand, as well as actor Nick Nolte, whose performance won him an Oscar nomination.
 Conroy's sixth book, Beach Music, was published in 1995.  Beach Music is the story of an American who moves from South Carolina to Rome to escape the painful memory of his wife's suicide.
Conroy followed Beach Music with My Losing Season,
South of Broad, The Pat Conroy Cookbook, My Reading Life, and finally The Death of Santini
Conroy’s memoir, The Death of Santini, was published in 2013. The Death of Santini is a heart-wrenching and intimate account of Conroy’s life and his journey to forgive and eventually love his father.  This memoir is best summed up by a quote from Conroy’s bestselling novel, The Prince of Tides: “In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”
In the final chapter of my favorite novel, The Prince of Tides, the main character, Tom Wingo, eloquently said what I think is a fitting eulogy for Pat Conroy’s life. “I came to this moment with my family safely around me and I prayed that they would always be safe and that I would be contented with what I had. I am southern made and southern broken, Lord, but I beseech you to let me keep what I have. Lord, I am a teacher and a coach. That is all and it is enough.”
Pat Conroy was an extraordinary person and a brilliant storyteller. I offer my condolences to his family and friends. Rest In Peace, Mr. Conroy.
<![CDATA[Wonderful new novel by Kristen Hunt]]>Sat, 19 Dec 2015 22:03:41 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/wonderful-new-novel-by-kristen-hunt
If you're looking for a great gift idea for that teen or young adult on your Christmas list, then check out the new fantasy novel by Kristen Hunt. Kristen uses her own Alaskan heritage to weave Eskimo folklore into the novel, giving the book a fresh and original tone. Her descriptions are beautiful and vivid as she immerses you into her fantasy world. Simply stated, Blonde Eskimo will leave you begging for more. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Blonde Eskimo is available now on Amazon. 

Below is a description of Blonde Eskimo. I cheated and used Kristen's description of the book from her author Facebook page.

Part Viking, part Eskimo, Neiva Ellis knew her family’s ancestral home, the island of Spirit, Alaska, held a secret. A mystery so sensitive everyone, including her beloved grandmother, was keeping it from her. When Neiva is sent to stay on the island while her parents tour Europe she sets out on a mission to uncover the truth, but she was not prepared for what laid ahead. 

On the night of her seventeenth birthday, the Eskimo rite of passage, Neiva is mysteriously catapulted into another world full of mystical creatures, ancient traditions, and a masked stranger who awakens feelings deep within her heart. Along with her best friends Nate, Viv and Breezy, she uncovers the truth behind the town of Spirit and about her own heritage. 

When an evil force threatens those closest to her, Neiva will stop at nothing to defend her family and friends. Eskimo traditions and legends become real as two worlds merge together to fight a force so ancient and evil it could destroy not only Spirit but the rest of humanity.

Check out Kristen's website and remember to Like her author Facebook page. 

<![CDATA[Available April 5, 2016 - Behind The Mask By Dana Ridenour]]>Sat, 07 Nov 2015 19:17:24 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/available-april-5-2016-behind-the-mask-by-dana-ridenour]]><![CDATA["Learning the Art of Deception" named as an RPLA Finalist.]]>Sat, 11 Jul 2015 23:14:29 GMThttp://danaridenour.net/blog/learning-the-art-of-deception-named-as-a-rpla-finalistPicture
Hello Friends. I wanted to share some exciting news. I’m thrilled to announce that my short story, "Learning the Art of Deception," has been named as a finalist for a 2015 Royal Palm Literary Award. The winners will be announced at the awards banquet on October 17, 2015. I’m particularly excited because this short story was originally the first chapter in my upcoming novel, Behind the Mask. Unfortunately the entire chapter was cut in the first round of edits. As you can imagine, I was devastated at the loss of an entire chapter, especially one that I loved so much. I couldn’t say good-bye to the chapter, so I rounded it out and made it into a short story. I’m honored to be a finalist, and I’ll be sure to let everyone know the outcome of the awards night.