I Don’t Mean to Shock You

Suicide has been my friend, and yeah, he’s not a very nice friend. He’s been the friend that whispers to me, that offers me a way out, an end to the pain that boring, everyday life can bring.

Well, if I put it that way, suicide hasn’t been a friend at all, but all the same, I’ve lived long periods of time with the enemy inside my head, chattering at me.

Since he’s been such a constant companion, well, I come across insensitive when I talk about death and suicide. I can shock and offend people so easily, and over the years, I’ve tried to keep my flippant comments about suicide to myself.

I had a friend (a real one, not in my head) who killed himself in college. When I found out, I said, “Well, at least he’s found a way to quit smoking. Permanently.”

My dad’s a cop. Dark humor goes with the territory and it must be genetic.

I didn’t mean to come across callous, but I understood what had killed my friend, and when faced with death, I usually laugh inappropriately. Again, I’ve had to do some pretty heavy self-editing at times.

The problem is, people have had close friends, relatives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers kill themselves, and the living are left to deal with it. And that’s a hard thing, made harder if the survivors never had suicidal thoughts. When I get all flippant about suicide, I hurt people who’ve experience such loss.

One of the things I tried to add to my novel, LONG LIVE THE SUICIDE KING, is that suicide, even talking about suicide, has consequences. No one can be suicidal in a vacuum. When someone kills themselves, it affects everyone around them, and in a way, it kills the ones closest to them. It’s a form of murder.

Heavy stuff. Life is hard. Death might seem like a solution, however, I don’t believe it is. Don’t ask me for specifics, but I think we have lessons to learn, and if we don’t learn them here, if we checkout, permanently, we go somewhere else to learn them.

I don’t think suicide is a way out. In the end, I think it’s a monumental waste of time and, again, it murders those around us.

It’s my job to be heroic, to find the other side of my pain, to reach out for help. And it’s my job to talk about my dark thoughts with at least one other person on this earth: a close-mouthed friend, a pastor, a therapist, my mom. As humans, we heal through our mouths. The words we say can shed light into the darkest parts of our psyche.

And there is hope and good stuff about life, in all of our lives. Chocolate. Seriously, there is chocolate in this world. You know what I love? I love those cheap, crappy chocolate donettes–not a real donut, but a donette–you find in gas stations and convenience stores. Hmm, crappy chocolate donettes and the waxy milk you can buy to wash them down. Convenience store milk isn’t exactly sour, but it really wants to be sour, you just know it.

I could swing that into analogy, about me wanting to be sour, but somehow, something inside of me, like a FDA-approved preservative, fights the sour, and so I wash down the chocolatey goodness, standing outside the Conoco, with the morning sun on my face.

Life is sweet.

I Get Yippee Ki-Yay and Eat Texas Roadkill with Multi-Genre Romance Author Hildie McQueen

Hildie McQueen

Hildie McQueen

I’m Catholic. Yes, I have to start out every interview talking about me ‘cause let’s face it, I’m just so interesting. So, me being Catholic, I felt guilty when I stole Hildie McQueen’s clickable green Sharpie. Yeah, Sharpie’s have clickable pens. It’s pretty much awesome. I met Hildie at RT, Romantic Times Book Lover’s Convention, last year. We were Crescent Moon Press writers, and bad, bad to the bone. We caused trouble. I stole her pen. Then I felt guilty.I finally had to come clean, Hildie forgave me, and agreed to do an interview. And I recorded our conversation.Click here for the MP3!  Hilda McQueen Interview By Aaron Ritchey Final Polish.MP3 (Right click and left click on SAVE TARGET AS).

So not only do you have the wonder that is the written interview, we also have the recorded version of our conversation which is COMPLETELY different than the written interview.

But first, before you click on the link to hear us talking and giggling—well, she talked, I giggled—here is a little bio about Hlidie.

hildie 2Hildie loves the strange and unusual, pair that with humor and you’ve got an idea of what her writing is like. She makes sure action, intrigue, and sizzling romance add up to an escape that her readers won’t soon forget.  Hildie is a member of Georgia Romance Writers  and Romance Writers of America. She resides in a beautiful small town in Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt.


And her book, a western romance, called Where the Four Winds Collide, sounds fabulous!

where the four winds collideAdeline Buckley escapes her abusive father only to find herself in a brothel, on a stagecoach to the untamed West and married to a stranger, all in that order. Plotting another escape becomes harder, the more she gets to know her new husband.
Jackson Pruitt didn’t expect a secretive mail order bride to show up the same week cattle rustlers absconded with a large part of his herd. The bigger surprise was the loveliness of the woman. Why would a beauty like her need to travel so far to marry?
Jackson and Adeline learn that secrets and marriage do not go hand-in-hand when both of their pasts comes knocking and both have to come to grips with the reality that sometimes trust comes only after you lose it all.

If Paranormal Romance is more your thing, here’s The Protector Series, published by Crescent Moon Press.

Now, on to the interview, pardners. I’m writing a sci-fi western. Hildie wrote a western romance. And we’re gonna get Texas before it’s all done. Not sure what that means but hey, don’t mess with Texas.

AARON: The expression yippee ki-yay is supposedly a cowboy expression for great happiness. Name the top three yippee ki-yay moments you’ve had in your writing life. I know, great question, but hey, that’s why we’re here.

Hildie: First of all Sheriff Aaron, I’m obliged to be here visiting with ya today. Howdy pardner and yipee ki-yay back at ya!

What an awesome question *snickering* Well let me see the first YKY moment was on the first day I walked into a romance writer’s meeting and realized, wow these people are really nice. So yes Dorothy, on the other side of the rainbow dreams do come true. Writers are amazing selfless people who will do much to help other writers. The second YKY was realizing that we don’t do it [write] for fame, money or movie rights (yes those are great things), but we write because we have to, it’s our passion and our duty to ourselves.

LarryMcMurtry_LonesomeDoveAARON: I’m jealous that you’ve never read Lonesome Dove, a Jodie Thomas novel, or a Dusty Richards novel. You have some great times ahead of you. Were you nervous about writing a western novel since you didn’t grow up watching Clint Eastwood, or chewing Redman tobacco? How did you overcome the fear?

Hildie: Super nervous, are you kidding me? I’ve never even been near a cow for goodness sakes! So when that little lady, Adeline, showed up (in my head) and told me this amazing story, I was convinced that although it was a great story I was not qualified to write it. I overcame it because she would not shut up and I was more fearful of going crazy than of the hours of research. I can’t wait to read Lonesome Dove, I promise to get back at you and tell you what I think. I may even chew some tabaccah.

AARON: Any cigar smoking in your novel? What about gunfights? Do people eat beans in Where the Four Winds Collide? What about stagecoach roadkill? Any hangings?

Hildie: Everyone has a gun, well the men do anyway, but come to think of it no one gets shot. I’ll have to put a gunfight into the next one. Oooh, but a poor critter does die, the scene is sad, but a stagecoach doesn’t kill it, a cow does. Cows are murderers in my book.

AARON: Now, when we talked, you said something about being in Atlanta, stopped at a stoplight, and a woman got into your car and told you her story. Is that right? Did I miss something? Were you car-jacked?

Hildie: Yes! I was carjacked by a crazy fictional character that would not shut up. Brothel…blah blah, stagecoach, blah, blah, married to a stranger, blah, blah. I ended up driving for six hours cause the story got good! It was like a book on audio in my head. Wow this sounds weird, hmpf.

AARON: This is the first time you’ve ever been a full-time writer? What’s it like? Is it true for full-time writers that unicorns visit you during the day?

Hildie: I wake to the maid bringing me freshly squeeze orange juice, followed by my personal trainer showing up in only tight shorts and glistening muscles for an hour of Pilates. After that, I sit on the veranda and look over at the ocean while I wait for inspiration to strike. If I must be honest, I stagger to the kitchen in my pajamas, put tea and cold water into the microwave (after removing a cup from the day before I forgot about). I sit down and float between Facebook and Twitter for an hour, realize my tea is cold and hit the minute button again. Then I stare at my to-do list and attempt to do the to do’s. I write on my current work in progress until I begin to get tired, and then get up, hit the minute button on the microwave again… then I repeat the entire process. I keep my unicorn in the back yard.

AARON: I said we were going talk Texas. Ever been to Texas? Your thoughts and impressions? I liked it, but then, I like country music, BBQ, and assault rifles.

Hildie: I lived in Texas for over three years while in the Army. Texas has a special place in my heart since both of my daughters were born there. It’s all about big there. Big hats, big trucks, big boots…Sigh, but enough about cowboys! I loved the food, the warmth of the people and the margaritas. Boy they sure know how to make a mean margarita!

AARON: Your heroine winds up marrying a stranger. Yeah, we know the drawbacks, but what would be the benefits of marrying someone you didn’t know?

Hildie: No preconceived notions about the other person! Hey what if you wake up to a beautiful creature that you can’t wait to get to know better? In Four Winds, It helps that both are instantly attracted to each other. Of course in Adeline’s case, she’s not who Jackson, the hero, thinks she is, which sucks for them.

AARON: So far, Where the Four Winds Collide is doing well. You said you just knew that this novel was special. Talk about that experience.

Hildie: This was the easiest book to write, I almost felt like I cheated. The entire story was in my head and I told it to my friends several times before I actually wrote it. I knew that this book would be a hit, not because I wrote it, but because the story feels so real to me. It’s a book that touches me every time I think about it, so I know it must touch others. It’s awesome that so far readers agree with me.

AARON: Any book predictions for me and my career? Fingers-crossed, I’m hoping for a multi-book contract from huge publishers wanting to pour marketing dollars down my throat. Any chance of that happening?

Hildie: YES! From what you told me about the Scyfy Western, it’s going to be a total hit! Oh and when you are offered a movie deal, I’d like to be your casting assistant. I can spot a hunk a mile away!


Aaron: Here is where you spread your links like beefsteaks on the cattle drive to Kansas.

Hildie: Yes! *Pumping Fist* I love being stalked!

Hildie writing by My Website/Blog: www.hildiemcqueen.com
My Crazy Daily Life on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/HildieMcQueen
My infamous Twitter self (follow me!): https://twitter.com/HildieMcQueen

Aaron: Now, you all have homework, including you Hildie! You have to do the following: Watch The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Read Lonesome Dove. Read a Jodie Thomas novel. Read a Dusty Richards novel. And report back to me.

And don’t forget! The recorded interview is available! Hilda McQueen Interview By Aaron Ritchey Final Polish.MP3.  Do the right click thing and save it locally so you can listen to it over and over!  Send it to your friends.  Well, maybe not.  It’s about 25 Mb.  That’d be one beefy email.  Tell your friends about it and have them come and check out Hildie and me.  They’ll thank you for it. 

A Book Published: Year One

Today, March 29, 2013 is the one-year anniversary of my debut novel.  It’s on sale at Amazon for a mere $2.99.  Click here!

Yeah, it’s been a year.  In that time, it’s been quite the ride.  Here are some things that struck me as I looked back.  Exhausting.  Overwhelming.   And in bullet points, for your viewing pleasure.


Bullet points of having a book published. Year one.

  • The joy of a book I can no longer revise.zNPFrontLrgCover
  • The horror of a book I can no longer revise.
  • The bliss of handselling.
  • The horror of handselling.
  • How online hours marketing eats away at my soul, a little bit at a time.
  • How wonderful it is to have strangers read my book and give their honest opinion on Goodreads.
  • The horror of strangers reading my book and their damn opinions.
  • I’m not sure I’ll ever get tired of people saying they cried while reading my words. I must’ve done something right.
  • Most people celebrated my book and my accomplishment. Most people, but not all.
  • Everyone likes a celebrity, even minor ones.
  • Having a book out in the world is better than having a book alone in a basement.
  • The terror of sitting at signing tables with authors who are much more talented, much more accomplished, much more popular than I’ll ever be.
  • Seeing the flash in someone’s eyes. “You’ve written a book. Really?”
  • Hearing about people praising you behind your back. Thank you, Colorado Springs.
  • Getting calls out of the blue, “Would you like to come talk at our book club?” Would I? Do you even know who you’re talking to?
  • The sad fact that I can’t write all the books I wanna write. Not enough time. Too much to do.
  • Seeing my name, with an ISBN, on a novel that actual people are going to actually read.
  • Reading my words at a book event, and loving them because I’d spent years and buckets of sweat to bring them out and shape them just so.
  • Two words: Tax deductible. I thought I had five years for my fiction writing business to be profitable. Turns out, I can pour money into this venture for decades. I keep telling my friends, “I’m going to write until the money is gone.”
  • If nothing else, when I die, I will leave a book behind. Not only a book, a book that is uniquely me. A love story with angels, demons, drug addicts, and atheists. That’s my book. That’s me.
  • The game has changed. I can’t go back. More than that, I don’t wanna go back. I will write books and publish books until I die. And if all goes well, even after I take that short walk home.

zSAM_2815 Happy Birthday, Never Prayer!  Want to give this little baby the perfect gift?  The ebook on Amazon.  Hurray!