Saturday, May 28, 2016

Birthday Guest: Tidal Ashburn

Please welcome my birthday guest - Tidal Ashburn!

Thank You for this opportunity and allowing me to wish Nicole Dennis a Happy Birthday.
This is a Milestone Birthday Post of Jenna Riley.  She is one of the main characters from Tarot Tales Presents TAROT TALES AND DIAMOND DUST BLUES.
Jenna is a middle-aged transgender character who is also the aunt of Libby Perkins.
Jenna is as cagey about her a real age as she is about the point in her journey of transition. “It is my story to tell and I get to choose who, and how much of it, I decide to tell.”

As she got the key from under the welcome mat to let herself in the back door, Ruby wondered if anyone else in Southern California, or the civilized modern world for that matter, still left a key under the mat any more. She put the basket of scones, the flowers, and gift bag on the table in the breakfast nook and set about preparing a fresh pot of herbal tea.
Ruby heard noises above her head just as the tea ball had steeped long enough to make the perfect pot: the shoosh-shoosh of slippers on hardwood and the creak of door hinges in need of some WD-40.  Aunt Jenna was awake.
Aunt Jenna and Uncle David had raised Ruby. Aunt Jenna’s origin might have been scandalous had they been living in the Bible Belt, but Ruby never gave it much thought. Aunt Jenna started out as Uncle Jason, but Ruby only remembered her as Aunt Jenna. In her mind, it had never been a big deal.  This was Southern California and the inhabitants of their world were gifted artistic flower-children. 
The stairs creaked as Aunt Jenna began her descent down the stairs. Ruby tried not to snigger as the blue-silk-robed figure reached the kitchen, high-heeled slippers with midnight blue marabou feather poofs tapped as the figure asked, “What the hell are you doing here?"
“Happy Birthday! I made your favorite orange raisin scones and your favorite tea!” Ruby directed Aunt Jenna to her chair, and then pushed the cup of tea and the gift bag towards her. Ruby watched Aunt Jenna’s surprised face as she stared at all her favorite things arrayed before her. Ruby saw a few tears pool in her aunt’s blue eyes, but Jenna quickly wiped them away.
“You really are my favorite niece!” Aunt Jenna grinned at her and arched her eyebrows over the rhinestone encrusted purple cat’s eye glasses as she put a dab of butter on the still warm scone and closed her eyes with delight as she bit into the pastry. “Darling, this is absolutely divine! You are such a dear!” Ruby could always tell what movies Aunt Jenna had been watching the previous evening. Apparently, last night’s offering had been “Tales of the City” and Aunt Jenna had morphed into Anna Madrigal Ala Olympia Dukakis today. Ruby laughed.  At least it hadn’t been “Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe” and that god-awful Elizabeth Taylor fright wig.
Aunt Jenna smelled the roses, read the card, and gingerly rifled through the gift bag.  A delighted smile graced her face as she took careful inventory of the contents: homemade truffles, her favorite perfume, a customized Mojo bag, and the latest Lisa Olsen novel. She looked at the bag and around the table, then reached for a tissue and dabbed at the corners of her eyes.
”You must be psychic. How did you know just what I wanted?" Jenna said.
“It had absolutely nothing to do with you dropping hints at every opportunity.” Ruby laughed.
"Ruby, you have no idea how much I love having you here, living in the guest house. I mean, it's not like having my own personal stable of cabana boys, but hey, you are my second choice!” Jenna picked up the bag and looked inside again, as if inspecting it to see if she had missed anything, but Ruby saw her peek out the window into the back patio towards the bushes.
“What are you looking for?” Ruby asked.
“Oh nothing,” Jenna said, craning her neck about.
“What?” Ruby said.
“Well ---I just thought, nothing says Happy Birthday like a roll of quarters and a birthday stripper.” Jenna grinned.
Ruby rolled her eyes. “You know what? I think that there's something wrong with one of us and…”
“I think it's you!” Jenna said.  They laughed.
They leisurely drank their tea and each had a second scone. Ruby knew she was lucky that they could sit for the longest time without speaking, comfortable in each other’s silence.
“Did you pull your tarot card yet today?” Aunt Jenna asked.
“Nope. It's your birthday. You have to pick it. Plus, I’m in a Sola Busca mood today.” Ruby laughed as she handed Aunt Jenna the large wooden box which was sitting next to the antique crystal ball covered in black silk on the table.
“What shall we ask?” Jenna asked.
“Well, I’m expecting to hear from Bernice today.  I hope that it’s good news about that audition! Can you imagine if I get that part of Nurse Robin on Lust in the Hamptons! I am so Virginia Taylor's long lost illegitimate love child on a vendetta of retribution!”
“Now you know as well as I do you can't make a monkey lay eggs. If it's meant to be, it will be.” Aunt Jenna opened up the box, gently pulled out the Sola Busca tarot deck, and unwrapped the cards. She shuffled them with careful attention.  This card would serve as her road map for the day.
Aunt Jenna turned over the seven of Pentacles. She looked at the card and looked at Ruby. Her smile spoke volumes, but she said it anyway. “See darling, you’re doing the work. You just have to be patient Timing is everything. You can’t force these things.”
The reading also gave Aunt Jenna clarity on some issues, as she explained to Ruby. She’d been considering the fate of her bakery. Jeremy Haynes had managed it for her for years and had asked to first option if she ever sold. “It’s time to start a new chapter of my life too,” she told Ruby. “And stop hiding behind my apron.”
Ruby got up to clear the table and noticed a shiny silver crescent wrench sitting on the counter. “What’s broken? I can call someone for you.”
“Oh.” Aunt Jenna put her hand to her cheek and glanced at the tool, a half smile on her face. “About that.” She giggled.  “Funny you should mention that, dear.” She hesitated, slid down in her chair, and her eyes flitted about the kitchen.  Just as Ruby realized she was looking for a way to change the subject, Aunt Jenna swiped her arm across the table in a blur of blue silk and her fork fell to the floor with a clatter.
“Look! It's a sign… we are going to be having company!” Jenna said, as excited as if she had just opened an invitation to an unexpected party.
Ruby stared at her, both hands on her hips, tapping her foot.  She knew she probably looked about as intimidating as an angry Chihuahua, but she didn’t care. She could always tell when her Aunt Jenna was up to something or stretching the truth, and she had a sneaky suspicion she knew the reason behind the crescent wrench.
Aunt Jenna jerked her chin up. “Sable's son Scott is coming tonight after work to fix that leak in the sink. Please be a dear and put that back in the toolbox out of sight,” Jenna continued, raising her chin a notch higher still, clearly intending not to acknowledge the annoyed look on Ruby’s face.
Jenna continued. “We’re having fresh garden salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing and my world famous stuffed manicotti, red wine, and cannoli for dessert! He’ll be here at 6 p.m. sharp.  Don't be late”.
“Hold it! Wait a second! Are you telling me you deliberately loosened the drain pipe to lure some poor, unsuspecting man over here to ambush him into a blind date with your spinster-niece?” Ruby didn’t know if she were more horrified or irritated by the sneakiness of it.  “I can find my own man, if and when I decide that I want one! You’re meddling again, and you pinky swore! Didn't you get that email? Aunt Jenna pinky promises are sacred and irrevocable in the state of California!” Ruby said, exasperation making her voice rise until she almost squeaked.
“Oh, well, sure it sounds bad when you say it that way. In my defense, I was minding my own business and trying to lend a hand. Sable said Scott’s struggling, so I’m really only doing this for him.  I rather consider it an act of Pagan charity.  Scott’s new in the business and needs a little help building his confidence. I’m only trying to help this poor dear boy; I have no motive beyond kindness, ulterior or otherwise!" Aunt Jenna pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows in an expression of studied innocence. “Besides, you do have to eat. The fact that you will be here for dinner is simply an unforeseen bonus! Consider this. He’s straight, single, educated, doesn’t live in his mother's basement, and its common knowledge that he has never been seen publicly playing air guitar! Even the unenlightened would see this as a sign!" Jenna said, raised her shoulders, and clasped her hands together in front of her in a gesture of pure pleasure.
“Oh it's a sign all right! A sign you’ve lost your damn mind!”  Ruby felt her face flush and groaned.  She didn’t blush prettily.  Instead, she turned a rather unhealthy shade of hypertensive red. Irritation at her aunt flared hotter because it was Aunt Jenna’s fault she would look like an apoplectic beet for the next hour. “You, you, you are such a Pisces!” she said.
Aunt Jenna nodded.  “True.” She pursed her lips again and cocked her head slightly, narrowing her eyes as if something had just occurred to her.  “You know, dear, if you’re not interested in meeting men, I totally understand and I’m here to support you. Remember my friend Mable I told you about from Bingo? Well her daughter, Margaret-Louise, works down at the Hardware Store and...”
Ruby quickly broke in. “I am not a lesbian! I’m taking a break from dating and focusing on my career.”
“You know darling, there's nothing wrong with...”
“Okay, Okay I give up, I’ll be here, okay?  But never again! I mean it!” Ruby sucked in a breath, prepared to blast her aunt again and drive the point home when her cell phone rang. Her purse played a muffled version of the disco anthem that threatened to shower men on the front lawn.
Aunt Jenna snorted, daintily.  “Like you’d know what to do with them. Hallelujah, indeed.”

Tarot Tales Presents DIAMOND DUST BLUES will be available June 14, 2016. Tarot Tales Presents DIAMOND DUST BLUES has been re-edited. Mainly, and not to give away any spoilers, because with all the news of the laws changing in North Carolina I found that for me to leave the book, and the rest of the series, set there I would have to address those issues. As my intent for writing books is not only to entertain but also to bring people together, I could not leave my book series in North Carolina without my books becoming political. Therefore, I relocated my series to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I want everyone who reads my books to feel safe, included, and welcome. Santa Fe, New Mexico is well known for their welcoming attitude to artists, new age people, the LGTBQ community, and writers; as well as offering a beautiful loving people with a rich heritage, cuisine, and culture. It gives the series even more room to grow.

Book blurb: A struggling actress and her transgender aunt were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they are on the run from diamond smugglers in the Witness Protection Program. They have gone totally off grid just to stay alive. The Two U.S. Marshals are packin' heat and the women are packin' Tarot cards in a cross country race to stay alive. Alone, and left to their own devices... well just anything may happen. Welcome to book one in the Tarot Tales Trilogy

Tarot Tales Presents DIAMOND DUST BLUES Book Link
Mini Bio: I make my home in central Wisconsin with my husband of two years, who has been my partner of 15 years, and two dogs. My husband is my biggest supporter.
I have many interests. I love the Tarot, and practice Pagan spirituality. I adore writers. Writers have always been my favorite species of people… they have this fascinating ability to see the world through the eyes of all their characters and have found a refuge which offers a place where all the voices in their head can come out and play. I like to write in several genres, m/m romance, cozy mysteries, and supernatural horror. I love imperfect people with rough edges and who dare to color outside of the lines.
My focus in life is on building bridges of love and understanding to each other, rather than building walls.
When I finished writing “Tarot Tales Presents DIAMOND DUST BLUES,” I quickly realized this lively ensemble of beautiful characters had more stories they demanded to tell… and I realized that it was meant to be a series. The other books in that series will have other supernatural characters and themes, and contain a good representation of people from within the LGBTQ community who are lead characters and not just the stereotypical side-kick characters there for a quick laugh.

At this point, I have three of the “Tarot Tales Presents’ books in various stages of editing, and a M/M romance called “Signs of Hope” due out this Summer – this one will be a saucy read.

If you would like to reach me, you can contact me via Facebook –
My website –
My author page on Facebook –

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