Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reclaiming Hope guest post by Shell Taylor

Hi, everyone! I want to take a quick moment to thank Bending the Bookshelf for hosting me today! I’m super excited to be here and share a little bit about Riley and how I learned more about the trans community.

If you’ve followed the blog tour, you already know I had the idea to write Kollin’s and Riley’s story at least two years before I was actually able to write it. So these two sat in the back of my head for what felt like forever. I’m not sure how other authors plan, but I’m a total pantser. I get a vague idea of a plot in my head, and I just start writing. If I try to outline too much, everything gets clogged up in my head but I have to force something out so I have a plan and then when I actually start writing, I end up veering way off schedule. Then I have to go back and REWRITE THE THING I DIDN’T WANT TO WRITE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Do you see me grinding my teeth just thinking about it?

Back to the pantsing… even though I knew generally how I wanted their story to go, I knew I needed to do a lot of research on the trans community. The very last thing I would ever want to do is inadvertently offend someone because of my own ignorance so I read countless blogs, personal testimonies, family testimonies, watched videos (of transition progression, heartfelt confessions, and of the porn variety!), learned terms… whatever I could think of. And I realized that for this book, I didn’t even need a huge moment of conflict because just dealing with everyday life for these two would be exhausting enough.

To go through life uncertain of how everyone will treat you, worrying about being fired for something beyond your control, worrying for your safety, your health, your family, whether or not to come out to everyone, where your responsibility for supporting the LGBT community ends, etc. etc. etc. is exhausting.  I’m amazed by the individuals who do these things, every single day, and often more eloquently than I handle a trip to the store with my three kids. Oh yeah, and all of that so often happens after these individuals struggle with identity, body dysmorphia, rejection from family and friends, etc.! Seriously, can we all take a moment to send out warm fuzzy vibes to this strong group of people? I’m honored to be able to share a snippet of Riley’s story.

Writing Riley’s story has been an unexpected blessing for me to gain a greater understanding into a group I wouldn’t otherwise have. Living in North Carolina, where HB2 is still currently a thing (excuse me while I vomit), it’s given me knowledge and experience to go along with my voice to protest this hateful bill, and I’m now able to intelligently discuss these issues with other rather than just blurting out, “BECAUSE WE SHOULD ALL BE NICE TO ONE ANOTHER REGARDLESS OF HOW WE LOOK, OKAY?” (Though, really… that should be good enough, people!)

Being trans is something I will never fully understand. Similar to how I never understood how much I could love someone I’d just met until I became a mother. Or even how I respected stay at home mom’s when I had a job but I didn’t really get it until I became one. Sometimes, you just have to live it, but that shouldn’t stop us from reaching deep inside ourselves and pulling out all of the empathy we can whenever we encounter not only trans individuals or individuals in the LGBT community but all minorities and on a more personal level, everyone we meet. Lord knows I fail at this more often than I’d like to admit, but I hope I never stop trying.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Don’t forget to enter to win the giveaway for a chance to win an Amazon gift card or a book from my backlist. Or… if you’d rather, I also have an audio copy of Redeeming Hope (Home for Hope book 1) to give away!




TITLE: Reclaiming Hope
SERIES: Home for Hope #3
AUTHOR: Shell Taylor
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 210 Pages
RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2016

BLURB: Sequel to Resurrecting Hope
Home for Hope: Book Three Four years ago,

Kollin Haverty’s best friend, Riley Meadows, dropped off the face of the earth. When he shows up out of the blue, armed with a flimsy excuse for disappearing and having nearly completed his transition from female to male, Kollin wants to pick up where they left off. But Riley’s unwillingness to be honest with Kollin prevents him from fully trusting Riley again. Despite Riley’s insecurities and Kollin’s abandonment issues, they quickly discover there’s something more than friendship between them.

When a ghost from Riley’s past unexpectedly appears with haunting memories in tow, Kollin’s anger about being lied to outweighs his desire to be the understanding boyfriend Riley needs. As Riley’s web of strategically withheld secrets begins to unravel, he must find the courage to pursue his own peace before he can move forward with Kollin, and Kollin must decide what’s more important—supporting his best friend or protecting himself. 



Adam rolled his eyes to mimic her and then turned his attention toward Kollin. “Look who the cat dragged in.”

For some reason, Kollin’s heart fluttered. Waves of nervousness raced through his body as he tried to figure out why Adam thought he should know the stranger. He’d never told either of his parents about meeting the guy at the bookstore, and even if he had, Adam couldn’t have known he was the same person.

The man studied the ground, seemingly reluctant to look at Kollin, but Kollin knew he couldn’t identify him even if they were staring directly at one another.

Fortunately Adam saved him from further embarrassment. “I didn’t recognize Riley until he threatened to own me in Ping-Pong.”

Kollin sucked in a huge gulp of air. The nervous flutters, which had been nothing more than a curious enigma, ceased, and he suddenly felt as if a boulder had settled in the pit of his stomach.

He hadn’t spoken to Riley Meadows in over four years. When Kollin’s parents kicked him out, Riley had been the one who kept Kollin sane. He tethered him to reality when all he’d wanted was to escape inside himself. They’d kept in touch when Riley first went to college and somehow became even closer—until Riley seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. Phone calls, e-mails, texts… all unanswered. Kollin eventually took the hint and gave up.

Now Riley was back?




Shell Taylor is a full-time mother of three exuberant and loving kiddos and one fur baby, a tiny but fierce Yorkie-poo named Rocco. As a Christian who practices love, grace, and humility, she tries her best to instill these same virtues in her rowdy kids. She is a huge fan of Marvel comics and will never stop loving Harry Potter (Hufflepuff pride, baby!) When Shell isn’t writing, she can be found binge watching Netflix or volunteering at her church and childrens’ school. Shell considers herself blessed to have married a strong, supportive man who works hard to allow her to continue to follow her dreams.

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You can also email Shell at -


1st Winner’s Prize: $20 Amazon GC
2nd Winner’s Prize: E-copy of Redeeming Hope/Resurrecting Hope


October 14: Diverse Reader
October 17: Hearts on Fire
October 18: Rick R. Reed
October 19: Drops of Ink
October 20: Bending The Bookshelf
October 21: Author Dean Frech
October 24: Love Bytes Reviews
October 25: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
October 26: Because Two Men Are Better Than One
October 27: MM Good Book Reviews
October 28: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
October 31: Bonkers about Books
November 1: My Fiction Nook
November 2: Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews
November 3: Making It Happen Blog
November 4: BFD Book Blog
November 7: Bayou Book Junkie
November 8: Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words
November 9: Prism Book Alliance


  1. I haven't read the series yet, but the story sounds lovely!


  2. Not a world I know anything about. Interesting.