Ruthanne Reid


Ever heard of RAOK? Random Acts of Kindness - this is a beautiful concept, and one that's personally affected me in this past week.

The fabulous author and fantastic friend JM Frey knows this is my first book, and I don't really know what I'm doing - so she helped. Boy, did she help.

She got me a blog tour.

This is AWESOME. Interviews, book reviews, all set up for me. What an incredible gift.

Goddess Fish Promotions is a dream to work with, and has made the interview process utterly painless. I can't wait to post links to these things - and I really hope my reviews are good. :D

Have you done a RAOK this week? Do it. From someone who just got her socks blessed off by it, I can promise it really makes someone's day.
Ruthanne Reid

Target Fixation

Today's topic: target fixation.
Target fixation is a process by which the brain is focused so intently on an observed object that awareness of other obstacles or hazards can diminish. Also, in an avoidance scenario, the observer can become so fixated on the target that they will forget to take the necessary action to avoid it, thus colliding with the object. (Source)

Ready to know how this applies to you? Read on.

The Question

What are you desperate to avoid?

Personally, I don't handle the unknown well. I tend to slide into what next? followed by flailing its general direction, and then possibly comfort food.

This goes on until I stop asking that stupid question and take the next step.

You know what you fear. Failure. Loss. Embarrassment. A change in the way valued people view you.

This is important. This might get you back on track to whatever plan, idea, hope, or dream you feel is slipping your grasp. Stop thinking about potential negatives and focus on your goal.


Whatever it is, you need to stop thinking about it right now.

It's a double-edged sword, I know. On the one hand, we have to focus on what we want (i.e. psychotic persistence). It take an average of twelve years to make it in the arts. It takes a lifetime, sometimes, to establish a true career. HOWEVER:

  1. If we focus on that goal to the exclusion of all else, we are very likely to fail - or at least wreck our lives, often damaging the people for whom our goals made the struggle worthwhile.

  2. If we focus on the what-might-go-wrong aspect instead of the goal itself, the chances of messing up increase exponentially.

You often hear people say things like, "If you want to write, read." Or, "If you want to be a good artist, go see beautiful things." What does this mean?


Family. (Note: this does not apply to crazy-makers. This means family you can trust.)

Friends (the kind who really support you).

Experience. (You don't have to be able to afford to travel the world, but you do need to know what's in it. We have the internet. Google a country you've never seen, and you'll be amazed what you learn.)

This sounds wild coming from someone as focused as I am, I know, but hear me out: make sure your focus doesn't come with blinders. Enjoy life. Work at being an unselfish person.

You'll find your goal within your reach sooner than you know.
Ruthanne Reid

Sundered Snippet!

Enjoy a snippet from my book, The Sundered, coming out June 29th from 4th Floor Publication.

Brain Damage, Anyone?

The scents are the first hint we've neared the market, reminders of old food, of fire thick with grease, and ash already burned a thousand times. The temperature rises, unpleasant and cloying, warm air flavored by living bodies and closed-up tunnels. A moment later, I see the flickering lights of torches.

The market is a huge open space dug deep in the mound of this snow-city. Canals cut through like black gleaming metal, but on every side of them is wide-open space, a huge underground dome of debauched fools, people so thickly thronged I can't make out one face from another.

There's alcohol everywhere, burning happy-spices, people laughing — "Where are they?" I shout over the noise.

"Scattered." Aakesh is tense.

"I have to find them! Help me save them! That's an order!!"

He looks at me for one moment, darkly resolved, then grabs my arm and pulls me into the crowd.
Collapse )

Read the rest on June 29th! It'll be available from Amazon first, and everywhere else not long after.
Ruthanne Reid

The Characters of the Sundered

I'll tell you something I've learned: unless there is tension between your characters (not made-up bitchiness, not paltry unpleasantness, but actual, personality/goal-driven tension), your plot will stall.

Let me introduce you to some of the characters of The Sundered. Each of them has a goal, a need, a want, a la  Kurt Vonnegut - but none of those desires are as simple as a glass of water.

Dr. Artemus Parnum (Human)


Just when Harry thought things were confusing enough, father issues hit him right in the face.

Dr. Artemus Parnum is the one person with a clue what's going on. He knows what'll happen if the Sundered are freed. He also knows what'll happen if they aren't.

Saving the human race is a hero's job. Being a hero means counting the cost - and it means big, bad sacrifices. It means being willing to do anything, whatever it takes.

Funny that from a different perspective, heroes can look so much like villains.

Aakesh (Sundered One, First-Tier)


Aakesh is not an easy being to know.

He keeps his own counsel, and his anger over years of mistreatment rarely shows - though when it does, the result can be deadly.

Why he allowed himself to be caught is a good question, and one Harry isn't ready to answer. What he wants seems simple: the survival of his race. Sundered Ones, after all, are going extinct through overuse.

But it might not be that simple. Aakesh is too good at twisting the truth to be fully trusted - and first-tier Sundered have a reputation for killing their owners.


Harry Iskinder (Human)

Harry Iskinder

Harry never asked for this.

Whatever he may have wanted to do with his life doesn't matter. People are looking up to him, following him, trusting him to find the solution to all the world's ills - or so he's always been told.

But being twenty and in charge is a lousy scenario even for those who seek it, and Harry certainly did not. He knows he's resented. He knows he's barely earned respect. But he won't give up.

Harry doesn't always know the right thing to do - but that doesn't mean he'll stop trying.

Gorish (Sundered One, Unknown Tier)


Gorish is low-tier, too low to number, a weak and inexpensive slave. Small, with frog-like eyes and orange, nubbly skin, he has suction-cup fingertips and a lot of baggage. Anyone who speaks to him can see he's been used a few too many times and a little too hard.

For some reason, he loves his owner, Harry. For some reason, he sees the tender boy Harry used to be, instead of the bitter young man.

Maybe that'll be enough to bring Harry back to himself. Or maybe, it'll be enough to damn him.

Demos (Human)


Demos has put up with a lot over the years.

He followed the Iskinders on their idiot search for a non-existent Hope because Iskinders always find the best salvage. When Harry's father went crazy and left, Demos was as comfortable slipping into leadership as into a custom pair of shoes.

Then Harry showed up. Young. Inexperienced. And with more idiot religious fervor than his father and grandfather put together.

Demos stepped aside for now. As long as Harry turns a profit, it doesn't matter. As long as Harry behaves, who cares?

But Demos hasn't forgotten who the real leader is.

One of these days, he might just make that clear.


Tomas (Human)


Demos' younger brother, Tomas has been a Traveler for half his life, and apart from the hard-work aspect of it all, he doesn't find it too shabby.

Of course, that was before Harry began claiming weird Sundered Ones right and left, and then giving them preferential treatment.

This was not all right. Sundered Ones do not come before human lives - everybody knows that. There are laws. Tomas doesn't like that Harry's breaking them. In his experience, if he doesn't like something, hitting it hard enough usually makes it go away.

If Harry really is giving Sundered Ones preferential treatment, then something has to be done. Tomas has no problem being the bad guy on this. After all, it's sure to make him look cool.
Ruthanne Reid

The World of the Sundered

It's amazing what humans can adapt to handle.

Generations have passed since a deadly flood covered the world in black, eerily still water that kills on contact. Only tiny islands remain. Even with the massive loss of population, barely enough room remains to stay out of the water, much less procure food and shelter.

That's where the Sundered come in.

No one knows when they arrived. No one knows why they came. Maybe those facts don't matter in day to day life, but three things do:

1. The Sundered have power. Power to affect matter on the atomic level, though it can cost them their lives to do it.

2. The Sundered are mentally broken. They're also telepathically sensitive, and susceptible to focused human willpower. They can be "claimed," controlled, and thus used as tools.

3. The Sundered alone, in all the Earth, are immune to the black water.

These are important facts.

Who produces food? The Sundered. Who can safely procure water for bathing and drinking? The Sundered. Who alone can build on the tiny patches of land to give protection from the elements?

You get three guesses, and the first two don't count.

Wherever the Sundered came from, whatever their original goal was, they are now essential to the survival of the human race. Claiming them has become part of general education. Controlling them is the only way to live in this flooded, barren world.

It's a pity that claiming them makes them die.
Ruthanne Reid

Behold My Dorkiness, Take One

You think you're high on the dorky meter? I may just have you beat. Behold: I have made My Little Pony versions of my dark-apocalyptic-dystopian-science-fiction protagonist and antagonist. (I'm pretty sure they'd both object.)


Aakesh - as a Pony

Beautiful, secretive, and vaguely androgynous *, Aakesh is skilled at interpreting orders to his benefit.

He's possessive of his Sundered brethren, entering slavery by choice to protect them.

Everything he does is part of a plan - and human survival isn't necessarily included.

*Because freaking out young heterosexual males is only half the fun.


Harry Iskinder - as a Pony

Harry wants very badly to be a hero. Scratch that: he was raised to think he has to be, which isn't quite the same thing.

The looming extinction of the human race is a hard thing to carry. The last thing Harry needs is a slave he cares about. The last thing he wants is the threat of Sundered extinction, not just his own.

The last thing he accepts is the reality that only one species can survive.

What About You?

You don't have to make a pony if you don't want to (though it IS wicked-good fun), but I'd love to hear about your characters. Who are your protagonists, antagonists? Who's your good guy and bad guy - assuming that's even clear? Talk to me in the comments.

I can't wait to hear your story.
Ruthanne Reid

All About Writing in Two Short Videos

These aren't my videos, but they have definitely found a place in my heart. You want to know how I feel about writing, creating, the whole awesome, tear-shedding, joy-birthing, without-it-we'd-DIE-or-maybe-explode process?

Here you go.

Part One: It's Going to Suck - AT FIRST


Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Part Two: Even When You Stop Sucking, It'll Take a While - AND THAT'S OKAY

Compare Your Life To Pixar from Josh Mirman on Vimeo.