Welcome my guest @jansikes3 #NewRelease

I am delighted to welcome Jan Sikes, (my author buddy) with her new release ‘Ghostly Interference.

BOOK BLURB:

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

GROWING UP IN FOSTER CARE

 Rena Jett’s mother died of a drug overdose when Rena was a baby. As no relatives could be located to take her and her brother, Sam, they went into the foster care system. 

I drew from my own experience of having worked for the Texas Child Protective Services for several years. There is an average of 30,000 children brought into the foster care system per year in Texas. That’s a lot! Not all foster homes are kind and loving. Not all are bad. In fact, I’d say there are more good than bad. But for my story, I needed lots of bad to develop this character. 

Rena has built walls around her heart to avoid more hurt. She’s tough as nails and rides the big red Harley like a pro. She needs no one. And, now that her brother is gone, she’s even more determined to protect herself. Throughout the story, she reveals to Jag incidents that’s caused her to build this shell around herself. 

Excerpt:

“You seemed to click with Mattie and Sheila. Did you ever have a dog?”

She frowned and stiffened. “There was this little stray once. I’d sneak food out to him when I could.” Her voice broke.

After a long pause, Jag asked softly. “What happened?”

“The foster dad caught me and whipped me, then killed the dog and made me watch.” A sob caught in her throat. 

“Oh,Rena.” Jag gently wiped away a stray tear. He wanted to hold her and make all the bad memories go away. “I’m so sorry.”

She sniffed. “After that, I never tried to have another dog. I do really like them though.”

Jag searched for words of comfort. The horrors she’d endured were beyond his comprehension. It didn’t seem fair that any child should have to suffer so much. And yet, under all of that, was a beautiful sweet girl just waiting to be loved and cared for. He swallowed past the lump in his throat.

“You’ll never be mistreated like that again as long as I’m alive.” 

“I can damn well take care of myself. I didn’t survive all of that shit by being weak.”

Excerpt 2:

“Jag, can I tell you something?”

His eyes widened. “You can tell me anything. I hope you know that.”

She looked down at the amber liquid in the bottle. “One time I was sent to this foster home over in Rigsby. They wouldn’t let Sam come with me. He’d gotten into trouble for fighting and they sent him to detention.” Her voice trailed off. 

“Go on. I’m listening.” Jag slipped the pizza into the oven and sat the chips and dip on the bar. 

“It was a nice house like this and I thought I’d finally landed somewhere I would be treated good. Boy, was I wrong.The foster mom locked me in a closet for hours one time because I ate a piece of cold pizza from the refrigerator.”

Jag put his arms around her from behind and murmured into her hair. “I can’t even begin to imagine all that you’ve been through. It’s no wonder you don’t trust anyone.”

She twisted around to face him. She fought to keep her voice from trembling. “I wanted so badly to have a family. Someone who gave a damn if I lived or died. But, they never came. It was just me and Sam trapped in a system that was broken in so many ways it could never be fixed.”

***

Have you ever had any experience with the foster care system, or known anyone who grew up in it? I’d love to hear from you! 

BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/NHaLVSe_flI

Purchase Links:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

Connect with Jan:

Website Blog Facebook Amazon Author Page

Thank you, Balroop, for allowing me to use your blog space to talk about my new book, Ghostly Interference

Respect Or Love?

“He who wants a rose must respect her thorn.”

“Choose one,” the command was loud and clear.

I was confused. How could I choose one? I didn’t know love and was too young to understand respect but I was argumentative and would always rise against the commands.

“I want both.” I spoke with immense confidence.

I was pushed aside. My turn was over. 

One by one each person was given a choice and they left the arena with the group they opted for. I kept on waiting. My blood boiled at the authoritative voice of the leader who took pleasure in his arbitrary designs on us. Who gave him this power to rule over our emotions? Why are we here? 

I looked around, trying to figure out the place. How did I reach here? Strange, stern faces stared at me.

“This is your last chance to choose,” I could hear some kindness in this voice.

“But why?” Before I could speak another word, I was dragged away into a dark alley and my sobs could be heard.

*****

Some dreams keep coming back probably because some notions remain dormant in our subconscious minds. Whenever I read a disturbing book about injustice, my mind hurtles back and transports me into unimaginable lands that I could have seen in movies.

Love – the basic emotion that connects us with life and people.

Respect – the essential trait that raises man to his civilized state.

How could anyone survive without them? This question has always haunted my mind and keeps coming back whenever I see or hear about any atrocities being inflicted on fellow human beings.

Love can still be pretended but respect can’t be faked. It reveals itself through our body language. 

“I love you.” “You are my best friend.” I have heard many such refrains from people around me but I could make out from their body language and actions how selfish their love was. It changes its contours according to the situation.

Respect cannot be claimed. It shows itself, it reflects in the eyes. It is an offshoot of love.

Can you choose one? Yet there are people who have none. 

Thank you for reading and pondering. Please share your thoughts.

 Check my latest book

#BookReview: Lords of Chaos

Never have I read any fantasy series faster than D. Wallace Peach’s ‘Unraveling the Veil’ trilogy. Too much fantasy doesn’t humor a realist like me, who likes to blend both but subtle realism in these three books amazed me. Lords of Chaos is the third book in the series. I’ve enjoyed all three.

Lords of Chaos, as the name suggests, acquaints us with “the First of Chaos,” who unleashes unspeakable devastation and despair in the fantasy world created by D. Wallace Peach. The story unravels deeper deceptions, as nobody could figure out who had robbed whom of his body and who was a changeling. Even so-called leaders couldn’t be trusted. Elves, changelings and goblins – all have to pay a heavy price as their world falls apart. Jungles are burnt, chaos rampage through their lands and innocent people drown in floods. Truth, compassion and kindness are thrown to the winds.

This book is a subtle comment on the world of today, hinting at the cunningness and selfishness of the people who hold authority. It seems to suggest that those who ignore their blessings, those who conspire against their own people and don’t respect each other are bound to face dire consequences.

The highlight of this book is the exquisite description of war scenes, so rare in modern literature. I marvel at the poetic prose, in the midst of war:
“Colossal chunks of sculpted stone, the elegant art of master manipulators, smashed against the sheer walls and plunged into the silver river far below.”
“Braced within the trees, she screamed and shifted. The air rippled with heat. Leaf litter withered. Twigs smoldered and erupted into flames.”

This book remains unpredictable till the last page but the trilogy must be read in order, if you want to understand the values embedded within it. Highly recommended.

– Balroop Singh

Magical Whispers: A magical #review by Cathleen

I have to share Cathleen’s review as her in-depth, succinct analysis of her favorite poems has touched my heart. She begins with the title:

Magical Whispers is a promising title, especially if you’re a fan of all things hobbit-y, like I am. And if you like poems and fantasy—for example, if you actually read the poems in The Hobbit and LoTR—then Ms. Singh does not disappoint.

First of all, just reading the table of contents is more interesting than is usually the case. It reads almost like a chain reaction of ideas, loosely associated yet meandering steadily to a desired destination…” Click for more

Meet poet, Balroop Singh, and a review of Magical Whispers

Meet me today at writingtoberead.com, where I talk about my favorite poets. Also read Robbie’s fabulous review of Magical Whispers there!

Writing to be Read

Treasuring Poetry

Today, I have the pleasure of featuring talented poet, Balroop Singh, as my Treasuring Poetry guest. Balroop has shared some lovely thoughts about poetry and her favourite poems. My review of her latest book, Magical Whispers, is included at the end of the post.

You can find out more about Balroop Singh and her poetry on her lovely blog here: https://balroop2013.wordpress.com/about/

What is your favourite poem?

How can you have one poem as a favorite? They have been changing with my growing years. From Rumi to Rudyard Kipling to Maya Angelou, poetry has always evoked images of romanticism, realism and Sufism and I got carried away with those images depending on the phase of my life.

As a youngster, I liked ‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost. It acquainted me with the beautiful images and simple style of writing a poem, inspired me…

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