I Will Find You: Solving Killer Cases from My Life Fighting Crime by Joe Kenda

Book Reviews, True Crime

I should start by mentioning that I’m a total Investigation ID and Joe Kenda fan. I couldn’t get enough of this book! And I don’t get to say that often. There are currently over 600 reviews reflecting a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon. Working in publishing, I can tell you that you can’t ask for better ratings. You’ll never make everyone happy, but this book comes damn close.

Buy a personal copy of Joe Kenda’s book on Amazon.

If you watch Homicide Hunter, you’ll be familiar with most of the content in it. If you’re looking for fresh cases, stick to the show. If you’re a fan looking for more Kenda, this book will not dissappoint you. The real perk to reading I Will Find You is that you get more intimate details about Joe and his life. You’ll also learn more about his family, what he does on his spare time, and how he ended up on Homicide Hunter, one of Investigation ID’s most successful shows. You’ll get an intimate behind-the-scenes look of what life as a cop is like, too.

Some of his anecdotes are laugh-out-loud funny, which should be of no surprise if you watch Homicide Hunter. (I found the story of the pencil getting stuck in the ceiling at a court hearing so entertaining!)

It’s also deeply heartbreaking, though, especially if you can empathize with the scars working in homicide has left on Kenda. At the end of the book, he touches on PTSD and everlasting nightmares.


Murder victims haunted me…They reached out from the grave for me. I’d built a shield made of railroad steel around my heart, but my memories were like armor-piercing bullets. They were triggered again and again–by a smell, a sound, a face from the past–and then the shield was shattered.” 

-Joe Kenda, I Will Find You (256) 

I’m definitely glad that I found I Will Find You on a random Barnes and Noble run. I wish Hulu would hurry up and put out seasons 7 and 8 already.

-E

Clippings.me: a Portfolio Site for Writers, Freelancers and Journalists

Blog

I recently found a portfolio website that I think is an excellent option for writers and freelancers–especially journalists. (All opinions are my own.) My Clippings.me page can be found at https://www.clippings.me/eleonor.

As a writer, I’ve experienced pain trying to build an online presence to share my work. It became time consuming to scan and lay-up (in InDesign) every article I got published, especially when the frequency in which my articles ran became a few times a week. A full-time job, personal responsibilites, friends, family, freelance projects, etc. didn’t make it easier. Before I knew it, I had boxes full of print publications I promised to get to, knowing that I never would. An alternative to portfolio building this way is creating a list and hyperlinking to where the article is published online, but the result is a boring-looking list. You can also export articles directly to PDF from the website and just upload them to a site but the result is having to use your data (most, if not all, websites have a GB limit these days) and users looking at a clunky layout. There are several options for getting all of your work in a digital, shareable space, some easier than others, but count on ongoing maintenance with pros and cons.

If you’ve fallen in a similar situation, I suggest considering populating all of your articles onto one space using Clippings.me. It’s super easy to use, quick and the layout is clean and attractive. There’s a field (after you sign up) you can copy/paste links into and the website will add it to your collection. You can also upload PDF files. Below is a screenshot of my working Clippings.me page to give you an idea of what it looks like. There’s a header where you can add personal information and links, followed by a grid layout for articles/projects.

There are plenty of other website options out there (I use WordPress, have used Strikingly, Carbonmade, Pressfolios, Weebly, Wix and have heard of Muck Rack, Contently, and JournoPortfolio) but for the moment, I’m quite content using Clippings.me for its appearance and easiness. Whether it’s a long-term solution for me is yet to be known.

There’s a Free (10 article limit), Professional Monthly ($9/mo), and Professional Annual ($99/year). The Free version isn’t bad at all. Sure, Clippings.me keeps their branding on the Free version, you can’t upload a resume, the article limit is constricting, and you don’t get some advanced customization options but if you’re just looking for a nice, convenient, and quick way to get your work together, it’ll work. I guess it all depends on what you need from it. Because my WordPress serves as my main website and I have a LinkedIn as a makeshift, digital resume, a Clippings.me page is a nice complement to those.

-E

The Cultural Social Media Rat Race Isn’t Everything

Blog

I have people ask me why I don’t update my profile pictures or post pictures of myself on social media. Sometimes it feels like being invited to a party and being reminded that I never show up. This says a lot about the world we live in today: people today are “oversharers,”  misleaders, and misdirected.

So, why not have the glowing, power picture that’s head-on so you can look me straight in the eye. Why stay “hidden.”

…Am I disfigured? Nope. Am I ugly? Maybe to some but to level it out, I’m pretty to some so I’ll say that I’m average. Am I ashamed? There’s a difference between being ashamed and being humble. Aren’t I worried that people won’t recognize me as a “real” person without a picture? No, there are tons of “fake” people online who have pictures up on social media and anyone who knows how to right-click can be someone else on the internet…in fact, they could even be you. Having the gall to post a picture up doesn’t make you a real person. Values, a relationship with God, and being in communion with others will make you a real, worthy person–nothing else. The people who matter the most know my face–and see my face–and that’s all that matters.

I guess the answer to this question is actually a lot simpler then anyone thinks, but sadly, it’s only noticeable now because we currently live in a world where selfies are prevalent. Finally, my answer: online vanity means little to me because everything of this world is a distraction.

Don’t misunderstand me. I use social media, too, and I have a profile picture up on Facebook. But you should know, social media isn’t everything to me. I use Instagram the most but I’m not patting myself on the back with my posts on it. I don’t use Instagram to show people, “hey look! I’m published!” I use Instagram as a tool to try to show people in Killeen that good things are happening in their community all the time, they just need to look outside their windows. I want people who see my Instagram feed to know that there are people working to bring a little good to our world so do not to be devoid of hope!

If you’re feeling pressured to flaunt on social media, please don’t feel this way because big picture, none of it really matters. Don’t be afraid to be your own person. This life is a dream and it will pass. Plus, some of the best people, the ones making a true and lasting impact on Earth, are rarely sitting around sharing pictures of their face or pictures that show how “great” their lives are. They’re not trying to sell you an idea because they’re too busy. They don’t have the time for nonsense, nor do they have a heart for vanity. People who have life abundance are out living life abundantly.

Live with intention and be blessed.

-E

25 Questions with Author Stephanie Ayers

Horror, Interviews, Publishing

 

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Stephanie Ayers  (pictured right) is currently circling the book community on tour for her latest novel, The 13: Tales of Macabre!

Steph

Pre-orders are available here: The 13: Tales of Macabre.  As of this interview, The 13 is available at a special price–just $0.99–as an e-book on Amazon!  The 13 will officially release on October 26, 2018, just in time for Halloween.

Visit Stephanie’s website to connect and checkout what else she’s working on: Stephanie Ayers. 

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1. What is your latest book project?

I am currently working hard at wrapping up the first novel in my Destiny Defined fantasy series, Elven Games. Tribba runs a B&B for her dwarven village. The problem is all her potential clients keep choosing the elven castle next door. More than ready to be rid of them, she challenges them to a series of games, the Elven Games, winner takes all, loser packs up and leaves.

2. Which story is your favorite in The 13: Tales of Macabre? Why?

It’s “Send in the Clowns.” I enjoyed writing this one because I put on the music and really got into the characters and the story. I creeped myself out with it and that made it extra fun.The 13 Macabre Clowns

3. What are your future projects?

I am planning to release 11 more volumes of The 13 for a complete series of 13. I have a 7-book fantasy series planned, along with keeping my writing skills sharp by entering contests and submitting to anthologies.

4. What else have you written? What else do you write?

I have a lot of short stories written, some unfinished. Most of my Amazon page contains 5-6 anthologies I have stories featured in. “Endless Darkness has Gloria,” a sci-fi kind of horror about a woman who accepts a new job position but gets a lot more than she bargained for. Monsters is an anthology put together by a group I’m in on Facebook. The story there, “Headlines,” talks about those headlines where families are killed by other family members. It’s scary in the very true sense. Precipice holds my fantasy story, “Fear,” which is about a princess who must face her greatest fear before coronation. I have about 17 poems contained within Ambrosia, which is a poetry anthology we dedicated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. When I’m not writing fiction, I freelance as a content creator.

5. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

No, not intentionally.

6. In your opinion, what is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

Those who take authors in, publish their stuff with grand promises of marketing and etc., and then don’t do anything they say they will. I’ve seen it happening a lot in small presses.

7. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

There are a lot of them but the one that sticks out most in my mind is vanity presses. Never pay to be published. Use that money for a good editor instead.

8. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It validated my writing. It also slowed it down. Somehow I got in the frame of mind that I accomplished that goal, so let’s do something else. I regret it now. I’m working hard to make up for it.

9. When you’re not writing, what do you do?

I tend to use my creativity in other areas, like graphic design. I have found that it is one of the biggest commodities I can help other authors with. Sometimes, they need quality work on a very limited budget. That’s where I come in.

10. What inspires you to write?

Everything inspires me. Usually while I’m driving, which isn’t always a good thing. 😉

11. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

It is someone’s story. Ursula Le Guin once said, “stories aren’t alive until a reader reads them.” I believe there is an audience for any book. It is bringing that story to life that is the most important thing.

12. Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?

I don’t know that it really is. Readers have told me I remind them of Stephen King, Poe, and Lovecraft. I suppose it’s in the way that a lot of my writing is about stuff that could happen, an answer to all the what ifs you could possibly dream up about anything.

13. What books have influenced your life the most?

I read a lot of Stephen King growing up. I definitely think he has influenced my writing the most.

14. What is your favorite genre to read and why?

High Fantasy, hands down, especially if its based on Celtic legends and mythologies. I find fantasy writing has more description. It really takes me to the world I’m reading in more than others.

15. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing, where would you choose?

Ireland. No question.

16. Do you have any writing buddies?

I have a few.

17. What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

I’m always poor, but I’m always creative, too.

18. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Stephen King, John Sandford, Dean Koontz

19. What does your writing space look like?

It’s a cluttered mess but I know where everything is. It has room for everything I need within “hands distance.” And there’s always a unicorn, a few fairies, and a coffee mug around.

 20. What are your top three favorite books of all time?

The Stand (King), Inkheart (Funke), and Alice in Wonderland (Carroll).

21. If someone is brand new to your work, what book do you think they should start with or what should they know?

I think they should start at my blog, then probably read my newest work available, and then work backwards. I’m a coffee guzzling, word whispering creative ninja and unicorn disguised as a human being. I may or may not have fairy wings.

I’m a coffee guzzling, word whispering creative ninja and unicorn disguised as a human being. I may or may not have fairy wings.


22. What do you want readers to take away from reading your book(s)?

I want them to stick in their heads, come to mind when they see something out and about that makes them think of the story.

 23. If you could live in the story of a book, which one would you live in?

Wonderland of course.

24. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing professionally?

Growing up, I always waffled between author, journalist, actress, and singer. I got serious about writing in 2010, even though I had tons of writing from my earlier years, dating back to 4th grade.

25. Where do you think book publishing will be in 10 years from now?

I am a little worried about the future of book publishing to be honest. All the new rules and regulations the biggest book vendor in the world is mandating, makes it much harder for an indie author to rise to the top. I fear it will become elite, allowing for only certain people to publish and only out of certain places.

A review on The 13 will be posted soon. Happy October!

 

-E