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

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

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Pen & Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide by Alphonso Dunn

9780997046533_p0_v1_s550x406My personal copy of this book finally came in the mail yesterday!

I found Alphonso Dunn through YouTube while looking for drawing tutorials. After watching a few of his videos, I saw that he was such a brilliant instructor and I put his book, Pen & Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide, on my wish list.

You can check out his YouTube channel here if you’re curious: Alphonso Dunn. Those looking to learn or improve their drawing skills can definitely find guidance through his YouTube channel but, there’s nothing like being able to take drawing materials out and creating art pieces; sometimes it’s good to get away from a screen to find inspiration, too.

Not surprising, his book is just as great as his instructional videos. It might not work for everyone, but I love his straight-forward guidance. There’s no fluff, and he takes the reader step-by-step to make learning easy. Dunn also encourages artists to understand and question their own drawing methods so that artists are able to get the best output from their work.

Below are pictures of pages within this book but, they really don’t represent all of the good stuff in it. There are exercises, practical guidance for being an artist, and tons of visual references. I also really love that you’re encouraged to draw within the book, too, so it seconds as a workbook.

This book is best for beginners and those just starting out. However, I’m sure that there are techniques in this book worth looking over for experienced artists, too. I especially like the section on texturing. You can see the extensive texture types covered in the first image below.

Definitely worth the buy if you’re a budding artist!

-E

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I found this book on Netgalley and was drawn by the cover.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful and the story is sweet, but this is definitely not for everyone. If you don’t enjoy feminist reads, this won’t interest you. The subject of this book is more about bringing social realities to the forefront, and less about developing a compelling story.

Dad 2.0 focuses on the journey of a single mother named Caroline who goes on a journey of self-discovery to accept that, though her life doesn’t exemplify the norm, she’s alright just being herself. I think that there were important issues addressed through different characters in this graphic novel: Monica symbolizes the epitome of motherly and womanly perfection; Philippe embodies the idolized “modern” man and Caroline represents the average woman. Caroline is insecure and trying to figure out how she fits into society.

The title that was picked for this graphic novel is puzzling because it definitely comes across as a modern feminist read.  But, for some odd reason, the title redirects attention to Philippe, the man who is “Dad 2.0,” a modern father who embraces the reversal of gender roles.

There’s a definite audience for this book, but it’s niche.

-E

 

 

 

From the bottom of my being by Mihai G. Paulet

“And I discovered something
incredibly therapeutic [when writing]: I saw that the more I released what was
inside, the more I felt rejuvenated and light like a feather.​”
-Mihai G. Paulet, From the bottom of my being

Let’s start with a disclaimer. Disclaimer: poetry is art in words, so you’ll either “get it” or you won’t. And it’s impossible to say that someone’s poetry is wrong or right; poetry–like art–just is.  Instead, the value in it should be determined by what it imparts to another human being.​

This collection of poems, essays and stories is very Walt Whitman-esque, addressing the mystery of exsitence. A profound parallel of this can be found in a poem titled, “A Thought”:

​Light from light, part of
everything,
I am everywhere yet only in
a single place.
I`ve been around this realm
from the beginning,
I live in a wink and only in a
thought.​

I’d love to see Paulet read his poetry live because rhythm is a big part of what takes a poem from just being a set of words, to something that moves. The best person to read poetry is the poet who wrote it.

For the longest, I couldn’t stand reading Seamus Heaney’s work (while studying for an undergrad in English), but after listening to him read his poetry…suddenly, I got it; suddenly, I was awake. The same phenomenon occurred with Walt Whitman. I never fully appreciated Whitman’s poetry until a professor read it aloud and actually showed me how to read Whitman’s work.

Overall, I liked this collection. Of course there were some pieces that didn’t resonante with me, but there were some that did. There’s something very refreshing in Paulet’s passion for life. I think my favorite poem in it is, “The Wish I Wished.” This poem is essentially about looking at a vast night sky and dreaming–something I hope everyone gets the chance to do in their lifetime.

 

-E

 

 

 

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

Sheets is scheduled to be published by Lion Forge next week! I was able to get an ARC copy to do this review.
It took me a few pages to get into this one, but I’m happy that I stuck it out. It turned out to be a really sweet story about an unlikely friendship between a girl and a ghost, loss, and redemption.
Sheets is a story about a girl named Marjorie Glatt whose life begins to unravel after her mom dies. Her dad doesn’t take the death easily and has physically and emotionally “checked out,” leaving Marjorie to have to run their laundry business essentially on her own. She takes on this burden all while juggling school.
Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 6.04.53 PMJust like a typical vulture, a local creep named Mr. Saubertuck senses that the Glatt family business is on the brink of “death.” He’s odd, disrespectful of boundaries, and looms around the Glatt’s business because he wants to buy their property. Mr. Saubertuck really takes advantage of Marjorie who is young, vulnerable, and not being properly supervised by an adult.
A ghost named Wendell, wanders into the laundry business one day and ends up getting involved. The rest of the story is about how Wendell turns out to be the answer to Marjorie’s problems.
It’s a quick read and I felt that the ending was a bit obvious, but at its core, this is a great story. It’s sweet and endearing.
I’m also wondering if this is going to be a series because it leaves a major question: if Wendell can travel between realms, why hasn’t her mother? Marjorie has been having a really hard time after her mother’s death, yet her mother hasn’t made an appearance.

 

-E