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

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…

View original post 1,499 more words

I Can’t be Shackled…

“Welcome home,” I hope your adventures are no longer alluring for you.

“Please don’t close that door,” she sprawled on the couch, hardly paying any attention to my smile.

A cold sweep almost knocked me over, and I closed the door.

“Do you want to asphyxiate me?” She leaped toward the French window to get out into the patio and collapsed on the loveseat.

Teenage tantrums don’t sway me. I buried myself into the murder mystery that was more interesting than her shenanigans.

“I know those thoughts! Don’t mess with me; consider me as your blessing. Don’t try to tie me to your strings.”

I looked up in awe, as she spouted:

I fly with butterflies
Colors define my personality
Lovebirds emulate me.

I swing on clouds
My ochre robe blends with twilight
I am ambrosial. 

I dance on the waves
Water cannot drench me
My shimmer could dazzle.

My harp is captivating
Its strings are tuned by Nature
Its melodies manifold.

I sing with the stars
My songs sooth those who care for
The sick and deprived.

I can’t be shackled
I dwell in the wondrous woods
Warbling wistful tunes.

Pixaby images

I break free
When you take me into dark alleys
I soar beyond bickering. 

I regale relationships
But can’t get fettered to them
Don’t squabble with me.

Your expectations
Can’t carve the spectrum of my path
I am ethereal.

“Enough of your bluster,” I could merely mumble those words when she whooshed out of the door with the reminder that chiseled poetry book that I had planned, needs my attention.

Many thanks to Diana for the inspiration, initiated by her muse. Click here for the rules and have fun with your muse.

Lately my muse takes pride in poetic conversations. Thank you for reading.

If you like poetry, Check my latest book: Magical Whispers

Pick up your copy at Amazon. 

#NewYearWishes

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Looking back was never my way
New dreams drown me
Deeper I go into the sea
Keeping my eyes at the horizon

Swimming was never my sport
Yet I wade into waters
Splashing around for fun
Waves of words comfort me

Flanked by those waves
I smile at the new dawn
Each one brings love and peace
I wish the same for you.
© Balroop Singh

Wishing a wonderful 2020 to all my blogger friends and readers.

You can click here for more poetry.

Check my latest book release: Moments We Love

Thank you for your support. If  you have liked this poem, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

Expectations Of Writers And Readers

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When a writer puts the first word on paper; a dream world opens before him, a world that ignites his creativity as well as fantasy. Former makes him produce his magnificent work but the latter makes him a celebrity overnight (in his dreams.)

You may be writing out of creative compulsions or the satisfaction of venting your voice could be your trigger, most writers harbor a secret wish – to be read, to be reviewed and admired. Admiration comes easily but you never know how hypocritical it is. Reality hits you when you see how much money you are earning from your books.

You may stay determined with the cliché – “never give up” but when you read others’ work and feel that many average books are overflowing with 5 star reviews; you wonder whether something is wrong with you when you feel like dropping a book that has been fetching 5 stars… (for whatever reasons!)

However, there are critical readers too. They know what they want, their discerning eye can’t be escaped. Their expectations are immeasurable.

You think you have the most original ideas, you would be the best seller but your readers feel you ramble, you repeat and the setting of your story is vague or the title of your book is a misnomer.youtuber-2838945__340

You think you write perfect English, your beta readers are excellent helpers and you have a long list of friends under the acknowledgements but your readers find typos and structural errors in your book.

Each reader expects an amazing book; he doesn’t want to think what were your compulsions or exhaustions. He doesn’t want to buy your excuses. He doesn’t want to digest your lack of finances for hiring an astute editor. All readers are not writers and they have every right to judge your book according to their own parameters. All readers are not kind enough to overlook imperfections in the plot, style of writing or characterization.

Then there are writers who focus on money. They write just what sells. The day writing becomes a chore for you, you are no longer a writer, and you become a businessperson, churning out book after book, devoid of any real emotion.

Your writing may not be “like a windowpane” or “impenetrable fog” but it has to be an “exploration,” it has to “enrich the life of those who read it.” If it is just inconsequential chitchat between a few characters, going around in circles, you may befool a few readers but not all.

Robert Frost’s definition is worth pondering: “The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader. I know people who read without hearing the sentence sounds and they were the fastest readers. Eye readers we call them. They get the meaning by glances. But they are bad readers because they miss the best part of what a good writer puts into his work.”

Are you an “eye reader” or a critical reader? Do you drop a book if you don’t like it? What do you expect from your readers?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.