books, fiction

FanGirl Friday: The Wheel of Time series

Some books are written to entertain; others are written to inform, but still there are those rare gems that are written to stay with you. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and finished by Brandon Sanderson) is one of those series that has stayed with me through the years.

Robert Jordan had a way of telling a story, so everything could be perfectly visualized and yet not once did I feel like skimming over any part of the books… Okay, that’s a lie. I always wanted to rush through anything that was just about Perrin Aybara. It’s not that I didn’t like him… I just thought he was less fun than, well, anyone. There was definitely a different writing style in the final three books, but I admire Mr. Jordan wanting his story to be finished, even if he couldn’t be the one to finish them. (RIP, Robert Jordan!) The series stretched on for years and the characters became like friends, and I know anytime I want to I can go back and read the pages and visit them again.

While set in a world full of magic and legend, the characters are real. They have human reactions, flaws, and imperfections.

The Aes Sedai are the embodiment of feminine power, however, they are fearful of men with the same powers, as the male half of the source has been contaminated and drives men who wield it insane. The world needs the Dragon Reborn, but the Aes Sedai want nothing to do with a man who can channel. The only good male magic user in their opinion, is a dead one. In fact, they have a whole group of Aes Sedai that have made hunting down men who can channel their ultimate mission in life. Luckily, for Rand Al’Thor not everyone feels that way. When Moraine Sedai comes into the small village of Two Rivers, she sweeps Rand and his friends away, certain one of them is the Dragon Reborn, and their only hope of salvation.

As each character discovers their own path, they grow from wide-eyed youths to more-or-less responsible adults (cough, Mat Cauthon.) From learning about the world outside of village life to battling the Forsaken, they take each new experience in stride.

The Wheel of Time series is the reason I hardly ever mark a book DNF. The first time I read the books, The Fires of Heaven almost made me quit the series entirely. Okay, so that’s not exactly the whole truth. I did quit reading them… for years. Moraine was my favorite and when she disappeared after battling Lanfear, I was devastated, felt completely betrayed. I didn’t pick the books back up until I knew she was safe and sound. Since then, I have read the series in its entirety no less than three times… In fact, it’s getting about time to revisit these books…

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authors, contemporary fiction, family drama, fiction

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With Piper Punches

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Some of my favorite authors are Jodi Picoult, Khaled Hosseini, Rohinton Mistry, Shanti Sekran, Fredrik Backman – to name a few. I love how these authors tell stories from many different perspectives, challenging perceptions and allowing the reader to understand the motive behind a character’s action. When I write, my goal is to give the reader a complete picture so they can form their own opinion about the characters in relation to the plot.

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

All of my characters are close to my heart, especially the characters in 60 Days and Missing Girl. While there isn’t one character that I’m more inclined to call my favorite, I am often surprised that I enjoy molding my male characters. One character I especially enjoyed creating is Manny in 60 Days. We just get to know him a little in the book, but in the sequel we’ll learn a lot more about this complex man who has lost so much in his life yet still manages to move forward in life.

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

In 60 Days and Missing Girl ( a novella), there were very dark scenes that included assault, torture, and death. Writers, much like actors, must get into character when writing to make scenes read authentic. Getting into the head of a brutal man like my character, Yasiel, was difficult and emotionally overwhelming. I think it’s why it took me so long to finish 60 Days because I needed to take mental health breaks. Also, I’m not a graphic writer in the sense that I am going to go all the way with scenes where a sexual assault may take place. That’s not me. I can’t write in detail scenes like those those. So, finding a way to write these scenes to let the reader know what’s happening without actually “going there,” takes some careful planning.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The best part about being an author is getting to tell other people’s stories, albeit fictional, and bringing a new perspective to the table. I like writing human interest stories and family dramas that are sensational and taken from today’s headlines, but also in a way that is relatable to my readers. Hearing readers say that they’ve gained a new perspective on a topic or were drawn to take action after reading one of my books makes my heart sing. It’s also great to see all your hard work in print and you accomplished something that others only dream about.

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Write for yourself and don’t expect overnight success. No one is successful overnight. It takes hard work, planning, patience, and a lot of trust that the Universe is always working for you. One of the biggest mistakes I made after I wrote The Waiting Room and Missing Girl was trying to please every reader. The truth is that this is never going to happen. You’re never going to write a story that everyone is going to fall in love with. But, you can write a story that you’ll fall in love with. When you write from your heart and for yourself, the story takes on its own life. There is real emotion in the words, the characters are real, and the writing process is so much easier. So, that’s my best advice for any author no matter where he or she is in their career – Write for yourself because if you don’t love your story, why should anyone else?

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

My writing ritual is procrastination. No, seriously, I don’t really have a ritual. I know some authors write for two hours each morning or maybe have a special place where they gain inspiration. Me? I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes I find it while driving in my car and listening to music, but I can easily find it when I’m walking through the grocery store aisles. I don’t like my inspiration to be tied to a ritual. I prefer free-flowing thoughts and welcome those thoughts wherever I am.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Yes! There were plenty of times throughout my life where I thought it was better to go after a career in something that was more stable. Many people don’t realize that I always wanted to be an FBI agent working in counter-terrorism (long before 9/11) or a lawyer. I went to school to pursue a degree in Criminology. I also entertained the idea of being an actress on General Hospital for a while, but I had a better chance of getting on with the FBI. 🙂 The thing about writing, though, is it’s a medium that allows me to live many lives through my characters. That’s a precious gift and I’m so happy that 4 years ago I decided to make my dream of being a published author a reality.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

Missing Girl

In life my name was Sophia Lucia Cruz. In death it is simply missing girls. Not even singular, but plural, as if there was never one single part of me that was unique or separate from all the other girls that were buried in that harsh Mexican dirt; victims of circumstance, irrevocable choices, and just plain bad luck. If I still had the capacity to cry, I would, because it is that sad and tragic. But when the knife slid deep into my belly and the blood gurgled at the base of my throat I knew that tears wouldn’t save me and they won’t change my story now.
Why am I here? You don’t believe in ghosts, do you? That’s okay. I didn’t either before I became one. Even when I was a little girl and I insisted I saw my abuela’s ghost at the foot of my bed, knitting me a blanket that had all the colors of the rainbow, I let myself be persuaded that ghosts were a figment of my imagination.
“Sophia,” my mama said as she smoothed my hair and planted her lips on my head. “My sweet Sophia, close your eyes. Whatever you think you saw was a shadow. Just a trick of the moon.” She would then sing me a song and rock me back to sleep.
I wish I could visit mama at the foot of her bed tonight. I wish I could tell her this isn’t her fault. She did the best she could. She should forgive herself. But I can’t. Instead I am stuck here; wherever here is. It’s somewhere between the dark black Mexican night and its brilliant sunny days. I am simply hovering above what remains of my body. People, family members, loved ones, sometimes the police, make their way to these dusty fields with picks, sticks, and shovels, hopping to discover the remains of their missing girl, but most of them find nothing and end up leaving the fields more distraught than when they arrived. Isn’t it twisted the way that families are forced to come to these fields of death with hope and expectations of finding their loved ones? I am not judging and I certainly don’t blame them. But when they leave they leave hopeless because they know that they will continue to be left without answers – without a body to properly bury. Because let’s face it: when the missing leave they never return.
I’m there. I can see me – or at least what is left of me. Some of the girls – and men, too – that are buried (can you even call it that?) here were merely stabbed, shot, choked, or suffocated and then haphazardly tossed like garbage into this death dump. Not me. Although no one would come looking for me and I wasn’t anyone important, my kidnappers had left their marks branded on my skin and this made me identifiable and a risk even in death. Unlike some of the other bodies buried around me, I was dug a deep enough grave that I wouldn’t be noticed right away. This would give the lime that had been sprinkled over my body time to work its decomposing magic.
How can I talk about my demise so casually? I don’t know. Perhaps that is the beauty of death. I am removed not only from my physical body, but my emotions are flat-lined as well. However, I still feel compelled to tell my story, so there must be some emotion that lingers, even though my soul has released its grip on my human form.
Why am I compelled to tell this story? I guess because no one else will. Most people don’t want to tell stories with tragic endings, but they need to be told, otherwise they are forgotten. I want you to know who I am. I want you to know I am so much more than a poster that has been damaged by wind, rain, and time. I don’t want to be so easily dismissed. I want you to know that I was so much more than a missing girl.

Want to Read the Rest of Missing Girl for FREE?
Sign up at http://eepurl.com/cFMe1f

 

For more information about Piper Punches, find her on social media and her website:

Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1rckiaV
60 Days book link: http://amzn.to/2c2hMg4
The Waiting Room book link: http://amzn.to/2mCyYCM
Missing Girl link for free novella: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/ocvbp8gyva
Facebook: facebook.com/piperpunches
Twitter: @piperpunches
Instagram: @piperpunches
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/piperpunches
authors, books, fiction, paranormal romance

Fan-Girl Friday: Nalini Singh

In an old used book store, the scent of tattered pages filling the air, I stopped to peak at the paranormal romance section- my guilty pleasure. Row after row of titles greeted me- teasing and intriguing, but which to choose?

I settled on a novel about a psychic who foresees the future and a changeling jaguar. Of course, the official synopsis wasn’t quite so bland, but when vampires and werewolves were all the rage, it was an unexpected gem. I devoured the pages of “Visions of Heat” and to this day Vaughn and Faith are my favorite Psy/Changeling couple, although Vasic and Ivy are a close second.

I knew when I went seeking more in the series, some of which I had to special order, that each book would focus on a separate set of main characters. Normally, this would be very off-putting to me. When I get into a series, it’s because the characters have become real to me and I want to see where they go; I don’t want to see their stories end.

As it turns out, these worries were completely unfounded. Although each book focused on a different hero/heroine, the subplot flowed effortlessly from one book to the next. Nalini Singh brought the world of Psy, Changeling, and Human to life and I just had to know where the war was going.

The Psy/Changeling series will always be my favorite paranormal romance series, but Ms. Singh is truly talented. There are some authors that are hit-and-miss with, but I have yet to read a Nalini Singh book I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.

The Guild Hunter series was one I was nervous about beginning. I already had Nalini Singh up on an author pedestal and I didn’t want to ruin my illusion. Without her name on these books, I don’t know if I ever would have picked them up. But I am so glad I did. Again, the stories were utterly flawless, the characters coming across as real as you or me.

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Now, I’m a firm believer that a person is a person, no matter their career choice. An actor, an author, a sports star, a musician, an heir/heiress, whatever… I’ve said this before. However, that being said, I think I might be rendered speechless if I was ever in the presence of this author that I’ve turned into a larger-than-life figure in my mind. Her talent is off-the-charts, and if you’ve never heard of her, I strongly suggest heading to your nearest book store right now and checking her out!

 

Visit Nalini Singh’s website: nalinisingh.com or find her on social media. You won’t regret it.

author advice, authors, books, fiction, poems, poetry, writing tips

The Difference Between Poetry And Fiction

A couple weeks ago I had a discussion with a fan/friend. He asked an interesting question: “Which is harder to write, poetry or fiction?” My answer was automatic.

Poetry is easier (for me) to create. It’s only a matter of pulling what’s inside of me out. It’s searching the darkest parts of my soul, where fear and hope and pain dwell and exposing it to the light. The hard part of being a poet is releasing it to the world. When I allow a poem to be read, I’m allowing someone to see me completely exposed. And while I’ve known immense joy, it’s the darkness inside that needs to be purged. Each poem given out for public consumption is open to ridicule, to criticism, but it’s not just my words- it’s the scars inside. It. Is. Hard.

Trapped In Yesterday

Trapped now I’m locked in yesterday

Please don’t think it’s you why I turn a way

I can’t stand the way it makes me feel

To know that this could become real

You can’t expect me not to flee

When you hold such power over me

The last to get this close left me to learn

The searing pain of love forever burns

I don’t want to go though that again

And nothing you say can make this fear end

I wonder if you understand

Why I shiver when you touch my hand

Why I can’t go but neither can I stay

The answers you’ll find in my yesterday.

*Excerpted poem from About A Girl: A Poetry Compilation

https://www.amazon.com/About-Girl-Compilation-Sandra-Ely-ebook/dp/B01KS5AMKE

Fiction is harder to create. Characters have to be built from scratch, they have to be made real from pen and pad. Worlds have to be created. Supporting characters must have their place, feel like real people, and yet, remain on the side lines to allow the protagonist to complete their journey. It’s a lot of work. On the other hand, passing it off to be published might be scary, but it’s not the same soul-crushing fear. Readers can agree, or disagree, with the choices you characters make. They can love, or hate the content. At the end of the day, though, it’s not you under the piercing gaze of readers who will no doubt catch every mistake.

Excerpt from Kiss of Death, Immortal Hearts Book 2

“Time to feed the human,” Beau announced, carrying over two cups of coffee.

He handed me one of the heavy black mugs and I took a sip, testing the flavor. The robust flavor of the coffee hit me first, full-bodied and slightly bitter. Then, the sweet, creamy mix that was tailored to my taste buds. I was impressed he remembered I preferred brown sugar in my coffee. The gesture warmed my heart, as it never failed to do.

“So,” I said as I cut into my eggs. “What’s on the agenda for today?” The yolk spilled out, but the whites remained firm and intact. Cooking the perfect over-medium egg was not an easy feat, especially for one who didn’t eat. I’d been working at it for years and my success rate was spotty at best.

“Well, I have to be at the club today; somebody has to oversee business there. Valerie and Adam are going to be here in a little while to take you to your place and get some of your things.”

“I appreciate the offer, but I don’t need an escort, Beau.”

“Maybe not, but it’s already set up regardless.”

“You do realize I didn’t sign up for this just to be stuck with a babysitter, right?” I hid my annoyance by nibbling on a strip of crispy bacon.

“You’re one of mine, Leah. I won’t allow you to blindly walk into danger.”

My pulse quickened, but I wouldn’t let him charm me into abandoning my position. “And I won’t be able to do what you want me to do if I’m constantly being guarded by vampires. It’s counterproductive, really.”

“Let’s just agree to take this a day at a time. This is new for both of us.” His tone hinted at something left unsaid, but I decided to leave it be. Breakfast was my favorite meal and I had no intention of ruining another meal over this assignment.

www.amazon.com/Kiss-Death-Immortal-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B00SCQT3SO/

Both poetry and fiction are beautiful and terrifying in their own ways. I could no more give up one than the other. Each offers a reward of it’s own it’s own to my soul, but they are so vastly different from inception to publication.

Keep up-to-date on all my written works via facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/authorsandraely ) and twitter @AuthorSandraEly
authors, books, fiction

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Thomas Lowrie

thomaslowriephoto

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Yes, Lee Child and Nelson DeMille.

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

All of the characters I write about are very real to me so I really have no favorite.

Dont_judge_a_man_until_you_walk_a_mile_in_his_shoes_military_book_author_thomas_lowrie

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

Scenes with death in them are difficult since I feel as though I was there as it happened.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The ability to expand someone’s imagination.

first_thought_we_were_under_attack_military_book_author_thomas_lowrie

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Don’t worry about what others think, just go for it.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Not that I know of.

he_was_whooped_military_book_author_thomas_lowrie

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

No, I didn’t start writing until others asked me to do so. Now I very much enjoy it.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Anyone who has lost their mother knows the only answer to this question.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

I looked across my crew. I was looking for John Wayne, he wasn’t there. I looked for Arnold, same thing. I also didn’t find Stalone, Clint nor Chuck Norris. The reality of it was none of my heroes were there, this was NOT the movies. I needed just one Badass and found none.What I found was a high school yearbook.I found fresh off the farm boys, children by most people’s standards. Some of these boys weren’t even getting to go to their senior prom. I feel safe in the notion that some of them have not even held a girls hand. That doesn’t sound like much unless you haven’t done it. Think about that for a minute. They haven’t lived yet and are prepared to die.

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For more information on the author, visit:

www.thomaslowrie.com

http://amzn.to/2wyUgS9

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/he-was-thomas-william-lowrie/1119687508?ean=9780990362616

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/He-Was-Ray-Lafayette-Novel/Thomas-William-Lowrie/9780990362616?id=6025076222321
authors, books, fiction, interviews, murder-mystery, mystery

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With Lonna Enox

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Lonna Enox, cozy mystery author.

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries, and I love Jonathan Kellerman, Robert Dugoni, Faye Kellerman, and Sue Grafton.

 

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

I think I have the most fun with Chris Reed, the local sheriff’s detective. I enjoy the banter between Reed and Sorrel. It was only during my most recent book, Striking Blind, that I realized much of his personality—not all of course—may emulate my own dad…or the cowboys around whom I grew up.

striking_blind_book_3_by_lonna_enox

 

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

Crime scenes as well as those building up to them are difficult. I do hours of research, talk to professionals, and then my husband and I walk the area where I have set it. We take photos, and I jot notes about how tiring it is, how hot or cold, the traffic, the effects of the area, etc. I want the scenes to give enough information to keep my readers “hungry” without giving too much away.

the_last_dance_author_lonna_enox

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The most rewarding part of being an author is when someone says, “I read your book and I couldn’t put it down!” or “I think Reed is so hot!” or “When’s the next one? Could you hurry?”

sorrel_mystery_lonna_enox

 

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

I would tell authors to never think they must write when they are ‘in the mood’. I just start, and it soon flows. Write routinely when you can. Research, talk to other writers, and get an editor. With a Master of Arts in English, I still need an editor—someone with fresh eyes who will see the “gaps”.

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please, explain.

I am an early riser, so I go to the computer in the upstairs small living room when I awake. I reread the last part I have written, look over my outline, and write. Sometimes it is great…sometimes not. But the characters speak to me best in the early morning quiet times. I seldom write on the book after lunch. That is when I handle the other ‘author stuff’—emails, requests, etc.

blood_relations_by_lonna_enox

 

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

I think so, although I also wanted to be a teacher. My parents encouraged the second so I would “also eat regularly”.

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If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to talk to Dickens. He had such fascinating characters. I’ve always been curious whether or not he patterned them after real people. I would also like to tell my mama, “I am finally following the dream. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it happen before you left me.”

For more information on Lonna Enox, check out these websites:


Amazon – search for Lonna Enox in books. All books are available in both print and kindle formats.

Barnes and Noble – search for Lonna Enox – books are available for both printed and nook format.

Website – lonnaenox.org – order author signed copies or use the links to go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/lonnaenoxauthor

authors, books, children's literature, fiction, kids books

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With K.J. Blocker

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Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so who?

PL Travers . Whimsical, yet straightforward

A good mixture of fantasy, with a slight twist of reality .

Cs Lewis, bold but not over to top storyteller I love his children’s work Great fantasy with a moral compass .

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Out of all the characters you’ve written who is your favorite? Why?

 Wow ! there’s so many great stand out characters in this book, so hard to choose just one, but I love the somewhat addled mine manager, Dusty. He’s got this really cool old-school thinking chair he can’t figure nothing without it , And he  has a signature ball close by just in case The conversation gets boring, Dusty is loyal to Pappy, unless the right offer comes along, as he’s very easy to sway . Sometimes it’s hard for Dusty to make up his mind. As the last person’s opinion he hears is the one he is most likely to go with ..I just love his child like attitude. After all …there’s a little dust in all of us

moppetslogo

Are there any type of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why?

For me it would be the scenes where Tom wants to believe so much that his father is dead, that he lies to both his wife and son as either wife or son have never met toms father I really do believe Tom wants his father to be alive but there’s so much pain and disappointment . He buried his father at age 18 .

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What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

To bring to life what was once only in your imagination .

pepper1b

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

If you’re an Indy writer, ideas don’t come cheap,or easy,. I’m not trying to scare you there’s just a ton of competition, and only so many buyers, for your genre .. So be different , be bold be creative, do something different to stand out, Be prepared to spend $$$ . You’re the producer . You call the shots .. But calling the shots costs ..You’ll get tired, at times feel abandon all alone . You’ll get to a point where characters make no sense, but you go on anyway, you will hear them say good luck you got a 1 million to one chance ,but if you keep going in due time ,it will become clear Cause if you feel down deep in your soul that you’re called to write . …No force, people or finances will be able to stop you . Only you. Will stop you, Because when it comes from your soul. . You won’t be able to let it go….

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please, explain.

I block out time, usually at night I guess you’d call it block writing . But the truth of the matter is an idea can come at anytime… So always keep the pen and paper handy .

Was being an author something you always wanted to be?

No. I thought I was gonna be a DJ . When I was a kid, I love music, and I though  that way I could meet The artist I love to listen to .

luckylime2

If you could have a conversation with any one person alive or dead who would it be and why?

Carlo collod

Superfan Pinocchio.. And the lesson it taught me as a child about honesty. Just want to thank him for that work . And the impact it had on my life .


If you would like to find out more about K.J. Blocker, check out these links:

www.kjblocker.com

http://amzn.to/2wyK1gx

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treasure-of-the-magical-mine-moppets-kj-blocker/1126822686?ean=9780999150740