2018 The Year of the Short Story!

I’m still looking back at 2018, and one thing that stands out for me, in the literary world, is the number of short stories that were published.

Part of the reason for the large surge was a 90 Day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story contest sponsored by the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

While I didn’t read every entry, I did devour a good many and was completely amazed at the writing talent!

I’m going to list a few of the top reads I found and hope you’ll check them out.

I have to start with some shameless self-promotion. “Two Shorts and a Snort” won the GRAND PRIZE in the contest! Needless to say, I was speechless.

Purchase Link

This book consists of two short stories and a poem. The first story, “Obsessed” is a story about a man who will do anything, even commit murder to win a lady’s hand in marriage. The second story, “Maggie” is about a baby found in the snow. Could it be that Frank and Mary prayed this baby up? The poem is one that is all-too-familiar. When friends of the opposite sex cross lines and become lovers. “Well, I think I liked you better when we were friends instead of lovers.”

Next up is the first-runner-up from the contest, “Tequila Rose Virginity Blues” by Wendy Jayne!

Purchase Link

It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of Wendy Jayne Scott’s writing. And this short story grabbed me from the first page!

Here’s a short excerpt from my review:
“When Tequila Rose wakes up one morning with a hangover and no memory of the night before, things get even more complicated as a strange man is there with coffee and soup. Who is this incredibly hot and handsome man?”

The author of this next great short story is Rhani D’Chae. “I’ve Always Loved Women” took me by surprise and the twist that came was unexpected.

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Here’s an excerpt from my review:
“When a man falls in love for the first time and she is married to an abusive man, it can’t possibly end well. But, what happens next shocked and surprised. Is he an angel of mercy or a cold-blooded killer? You decide. Well-written and easy to read in thirty minutes or under.”

Another short story I read that was absolutely fantastic was “Open, Shut” by Nonnie Jules. It tells such a compelling story of the power of faith.

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Here’s an excerpt from my Review:
“This is an easy-to-read short story you can finish in around thirty minutes. It shares of one girl’s unwavering faith and the ripples of that faith long after she’s gone from this life. I loved the way so many people were deeply affected and changed in the short duration of this story. “

Another short story I thoroughly enjoyed came from Author, D.L. Finn entitled, “Bigfoot – A Short Story.”

Purchase Link

Here’s an excerpt from my Review:
“Many stories have been told about the mythical Bigfoot, but in this short story, D.L. Finn presents a different twist on every theory out there. With only a few characters, the author manages to weave an entire story including some backstory. Could it be that Bigfoot was from another planet in our galaxy? I don’t know. Read this short story and find out. This is a quick read and can easily be done on a lunch break. It will leave you wondering.”

I normally wouldn’t list two short stories by the same author, but this story was that good and I wanted to include “Hexed: A Purr-fect Catastrophe” by Wendy Jayne.

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An excerpt from my Review:
“I loved, loved, loved this short story! It has a bit of everything in the mix from magic to shapeshifters. When Cassidy finds herself with a big problem, she is determined to find out who has put this damnable hex on her and what she can do to reverse it. Warlock, Hunter Rutherford, wants Cassidy. He’s courted her for months and is no closer to getting intimate than he was at the beginning, but why? He can see the desire in Cassidy’s eyes.”

That’s six short stories you can read in a short period of time and be thoroughly entertained. I hope I interested you in at least one.

All these authors are members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and RAVE WRITERS INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS.

Welcome to the Final Day WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW @NonnieJules)

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It is my honor and privilege to host the final story from the WATCH RWISA WRITE blog tour and the final guest is none other than the founder and CEO of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB AND RWISA, Nonnie Jules

Thank you all for joining us for this amazing showcase tour being sponsored by RWISA (RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS), an elite branch of the amazing RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

This showcase featured 19 talented writers, each having their own special day to be featured on multiple blogs.  Please take a moment after you’ve read the author’s work, to click on the link to take you to that author’s profile page on the  RWISA site.  On my blog, that link will be the author’s name.

Today’s special guest: Nonnie Jules

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EXCERPT FROM THE SEQUEL TO DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER

(I’ve decided not to preface this piece with any details.  I’d like for the readers to try and “figure” out the direction this piece is going in.  Have fun!)

***

LEEZA

“Are you gonna buy me a drink or, are you just gonna sit there and stare at me?” Leeza asked the stranger at the bar.

“Uh, sure.  What are you drinking, pretty lady?”  Swirling to and fro, the man gripped the ridges of the bar to keep from falling from the bar stool.  “Hey, bartend, give this pretty lady what ‘er she wants and put it on my tab.”

Leeza looked him up and down.  Although not bad on the eyes, he didn’t strike her as a man with deep enough pockets to have a “tab” anywhere, but, who was she to judge?

“Vodka on the rocks,” she said, gesturing to the bartender.  When her suitor heard her request, his eyebrows shot up.

“Sure you can handle that strong of a drink, pretty lady?” he asked, still teetering.

“That’s not all I can handle.” Her suggestive wink was all the invitation the stranger needed to move a little closer, in spite of the fact that he could barely stand.

“So, what’s your name, pretty lady?” he slurred.

“Anything you want it to be, honey,” she replied.

“Really?  Well, I want your name to be Available.  So, are you?”

As he sat waiting for her response, she was reminded of her puppy, Scratches, paws perched on the windowsill, awaiting her return home from work.

“You gotta pay to play with me,” she nudged.

“Well, honey, you finish up that there drink of yours, and let’s head up to my room.  I’m in town on business and I would love the company of a beautiful woman going by the name…Available.”

In one fell swoop, she turned the glass up and the vodka was gone. The stranger’s eyes bulged again.  Clearly, he’d never seen a woman down a drink like that before.

Turning away from the bar and grabbing hold of his tie, Leeza led the way to the elevator of the hotel…the stranger following close behind, like a leashed dog.

“What’s your curfew, pretty lady?”

The elevator doors had only partially closed, when she took her hand and grabbed his penis through his pants.

“I’m a big girl, single with no kids…does that sound like someone with a curfew?” she asked, as the beep of the elevator signaled their arrival to their destination.

Stumbling ahead of her, the stranger swiped his key and pushed opened the door.  Leeza walked past him, falling backwards onto the bed.

“C’mon over here and let’s finish the party we started downstairs,” she said, kicking off her heels and propping her legs up on the bed…spread-eagle.

Balancing as he walked, the stranger stood over the bed with a huge grin plastered across his face.  Judging from the growing bulge inside of his pants, it was easy to discern that a grin awaited her there, too.

“C’mere.  You look as if you’re really happy to see me.” Leeza forcefully took him by the tie once again and pulled him on top of her.  When she began frantically unzipping his pants, he held her by the wrists to stop her.

“Whoa, filly…what’s your hurry?  You said you didn’t have a curfew so why the rush?  Don’t you even wanna know my name?” he quizzed.

“Well, I thought your name was Ready since that’s the way you came across downstairs.”  Leeza was no longer smiling – feeling a bit toyed with; and that was the feeling she hated most.

“You’re a funny one, aren’t cha?” he chuckled.  “Ok, well let’s ‘git to what we came here for!  By the way, my real name’s Jim.  Now tell me yours…”

“Nothing’s changed,” she whispered in his ear.  “I’m still…Available.”

Switching off the lamp, she proceeded to undress him by the orange glow of moonlight trickling through the window.   This was a typical night for Leeza.  Raunchy sex with yet another man she didn’t know, nor cared to.  After a while, she just lay there and let him have his way.

Then, just as quickly as it had begun, the party was over…at least, for her. The banging inside her head warned of the onslaught of another massive headache and there was no getting away from it.

Her enjoyment of the night’s events came to a screeching halt as the next one started to take over.

CHRISTY

Jim opened his eyes to a blonde pointing a gun in his face.  Startled, he scanned the room for the brunette he’d brought back with him the night before, but, she was nowhere to be found.

“Give me your wallet!” the blonde demanded.

“Who are you?  And, where is Available?” he asked, his eyes still searching.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t want to know what you’re talking about, capiche?  My name is Christy and I’m not going to ask you again.  Give me…your wallet.”

Jim pointed to his clothes that he’d been stripped of the night before, strewn across the floor.  “You didn’t ask me the first time,” he said.  “My wallet’s in there. Take whatever you want, just get outta my damn room.”

Christy stooped to pick up the pants, throwing them at him; the gun, nor her eyes, hardly ever leaving the target as she moved.

“Hey, I don’t take orders from you. Remember that. Now give me everything in there that’s spendable.”

Jim snatched the bills from his wallet and threw them at her.  “Here, this is all I have,” he muttered, his tone laced with anger.

“I saw plastic.  I want those, too.  And don’t make the mistake again of throwing anything at me,” she warned, raising the gun to remind him who was in charge.

Jim mumbled something as he gently placed three credit cards on the bed.  Christy snatched the cards up and backed slowly towards the door.  Her hands had barely touched the door handle when she heard Jim yell, “Get out, you bitch!”

Pushing herself away from the door and calmly walking back over to the bed, she could see the fear which had quickly taken up residence in his eyes…the moment when he knew he had pushed too hard.

The growing smirk across her lips catapulted into a full-blown sneer as she lifted the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

“Don’t you ever call me a bitch again.  I told you my name was Christy.”

The End

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Nonnie Jules’ RWISA Author Page

How would you like to become a RWISA Member so that you’re able to receive this same awesome FREE support? Simply click

Forbidden Love – Nonnie Jules #RRBC #RWISA

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In my opinion, these two books go hand-in-hand and there is no way to separate them.

If Only There WAs Music              And the music played

“IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC – THE POETRY OF FORBIDDEN LOVE” BY NONNIE JULES AND GIANI JORDAN

BLURB:

This is a book of poetry for and about forbidden love. These poems are sexy, sensuous and hot, but most of all, they are poems of love… and the feelings they arouse in you are unbelievable! They “feel” like love songs and you will “feel” like singing, but they are only spoken words coming from your mouth, without music. If you aren’t in love before you begin reading this book, you will go seeking a love afterward.

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

This book of poetry is unique, not only because of the authors and the way they collaborated to write these poems but also because of the subject matter ― Forbidden Love.

The emotion, longing and unbridled passion are expressed exquisitely. Divided into two sections, the book explores two points of view. The first is a compilation of poems written by Nonnie Jules. She approaches the subject of forbidden love through the eyes of the woman who is the object of Giani Jordan’s affection. The second part of the book is told through his eyes. The poems are raw and honest emotion felt by both as they take us, the readers, through a myriad of regrets and guilt to longing so intense it causes physical pain. What can two people do who fall in love, yet are committed to others?

In my opinion, the authors work through to a climactic solution and conclusion from one poem to the next. I felt as though I was watching two people waltzing across a dance floor or observing a well-executed opera. Each poem stands alone yet blends with perfection into the next. This is a beautiful book from cover to cover, and it is an absolute must that you take time to read about how the collaboration of these two authors came about.

“…AND THE MUSIC PLAYED” SHORT STORY BY NONNIE JULES

BLURB:

This book is the sequel and the final chapter in the love story between Giani and Christine. The first book, “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC…The Poetry of Forbidden Love” (a co-authored project), was a love story told thru the eyes of two lovers…but written for the hearts of many.

Across oceans and thru many barriers, two hearts try to connect – but with the distance between them, will their love survive? And, with the forces-that-be against them coming in the form of murder plots and domestic abuse, the bigger question is…will they?

MY 5 STAR REVIEW:

I read this short story before I read the prequel to it, “If Only There Was Music – The Poetry of Forbidden Love.” And, because of the way this story affected me, I had to immediately go and read the book of poetry that inspired this short story. When Giani Jordan falls in love with beautiful Christine who lives halfway around the globe, he struggles with guilt. He is married. She is married. But, their love is so strong, so intense neither of them can deny it. So, when Giani walks into his house after making a trip to Italy to see Christine and hears his wife, Lena, making love to another man, he makes an easy decision. Divorce is the only answer. But, Lena’s greed takes over. After all, how can she be expected to live on a measly one million a year? When she recruits her ex-con boyfriend to kill Giani, she is smug and confident all the wealth soon be hers. But, justice is sweet. I won’t spoil the story by telling you what happens, but I couldn’t put this book down. I had to know who would triumph. If you love a satisfying short story filled with intense drama and emotion, you’ll love this one.

FOR MORE BOOKS BY NONNIE JULES, CLICK HERE

Nonnie Jules is the President and founder of THE RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and THE RAVE WRITERS’ INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS.  Both are International Organizations that provide support to and guidance for authors who want to get more reviews for their books and find new readers. But, there is a kicker. You have to give to get. You can read all about it here: https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/

 

Watch #RWISA Write – Nonnie Jules

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As a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I am thrilled to promote outstanding authors who are also members of the exclusive RAVE Writers International Society of Authors through a blog tour that will run the entire month of August.

Today I introduce to you, Nonnie Jules!

Because of the division that’s going on in our world right now, the hate that’s being stirred up and spewed by these White Supremacist groups, we felt it appropriate and extremely necessary that we share a piece from our President, Nonnie Jules, that needs to be wide-spread.

“DOES MY LIFE MATTER?”

 I am a black woman, and because of the shade of my skin and coarseness of my hair, because of the fullness of my hips, my lips and the bold colors I wear…some don’t find me as attractive as my fairer counterparts.  You see, I’m no longer your house-maid or here for your sexual pleasure; no longer Mamie to your children, I’m now someone’s Mother…a treasure.  But, does my life matter?

 I am a black man, and because of my dark skin and the boldness of my stance, because of the kinky in my hair, the anger in my stare, and the wear and tear shown on my hands…some still don’t see me as a man.  You see, I’m no longer your field property or your whipping post.  I’ve freedom papers and own land now, maybe, more than most.  You build cages to hold me, guilty or not; where you should build institutions of higher learning, you lock me away for little things, then leave me there to rot.  Do you forever see my bed as a cot?  But, does my life matter?

 I am a white woman, and because of my milk dove skin and cute, pinched nose, thin ruby red lips and fair skin that glows…with my pearly whites and prominent chin…some still look at me and despise the skin I’m in.  I was never privy to the pain that was caused.  I was born into that hatred…those God-awful laws.  So, does my life still matter?

 I am a white man, born into privilege and wealth, easy life, perfect health, yet…I’m still persecuted and referred to as “the man.”  I, too, hate the ways of the Ku Klux Klan.  My neighbors are black, white, green and red…still, I haven’t fled.  To be where everyone looks more like me, is not where I want to be.  I, too, would like to one day be FREE. Yes, FREE!  It also applies to me! FREE of the labels that bind because of the color of my skin; I’ve never owned any human or degraded any man. But, does my life still matter?

 I am a brown-skinned woman and because of my accented words, you think I should be silent…quiet and not heard.  I can do more, than clean your windows and floors.  Just ask me what I’m capable of, you’d be surprised, I’m sure.  I may have come here via the back of a truck, or even the legal route, if I was blessed with such luck.  Maybe I was born here, and my parents, too.  In your eyes, would that still make me less American than you?  Does my life matter?

 I am a brown-skinned man and though maybe a bit stocky, I’m no less in appearance, than your brawn and cocky.  I’m not a rapist, a thief or thug…but a man like you, with kids to hug.  I’m not ashamed to tend your lawns and trees, but Executive, also a title I wear with ease; whatever it takes…my family to feed. Don’t dismiss, or overlook my face; I may not have been born here, but I’m here to stay.  And, with that said, does my life still matter?

With all that’s going on, there’s much racial unrest.  It’s time to put differences aside and put real LOVE to the test.  We can’t keep fighting each other, when there are real wars going on.  We must come together in love, heal and stand strong.  There are real enemies among us, and their names we know not.  We must stand on the front lines, together and talk.

The differences between us are fewer than those in our heads; and in the end, until we draw our last breath,  we all still bleed red.  Yes, that small matter is what makes us brothers, and binds us tighter than any other.

That stream of red flowing thru our veins, is what should force us to…
release all blame,
stop the pain,
forge ahead,
no more blood we’ll shed.

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Nonnie Jules’ #RWISA Author Page

 

Watch #RWISA Write – Author, Nonnie Jules

RWISA TOUR (1) (1) Nonnie Image

As a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I am thrilled to promote outstanding authors who are also members of the exclusive RAVE Writers International Society of Authors through a blog tour that will run the entire month of August.

Today I introduce to you to a very special guest, Nonnie Jules!

PRISON WIVES

I am an unlikely character to tell these stories, but, I do know that each day that we are blessed to open our eyes, we never know what surprises, good or bad, that day will bring. No matter how much and how well we plan, the universe always steps in to show us just how much, we are not as in control of things as we thought we were.

These are real stories of moms, wives, spouses…those significant others who are left behind; those innocent, and maybe even not-so-innocents, who are left to pick up all the pieces that are shattered when their husbands walk out the door and don’t return in the time frame in which they are expected to.

No, he didn’t run off with another woman…he was apprehended somewhere between here and there by a law enforcement officer, and, for whatever reason, he’s now being held behind bars…property of the city until the state steps in to claim ownership. And, although these men are the ones incarcerated, it is the entire family that serves the time.

These are not sob stories to drum up sympathy for the accused. But, this book will serve as a doorway into an open dialogue, so that we are all aware of just how much children suffer when their dads are taken away.

These stories are but small ways to shine light on the effects of imprisoning low-level offenders for long periods of time, ripping them from their children’s lives, and the negative imprints left behind. This is a plea for reform of a justice system that will quickly parole a drug dealer, murderer, rapist or child molester, who will more than likely repeat-offend, yet hangs on to low-level offenders who may have made a one-time mistake or even worse, was forced to take a plea for a crime which he is innocent of, simply because he was too poor and couldn’t afford top-of-the-line defense. We do know that this happens, don’t we?

Lastly, this is so that we don’t forget those that are forced to soldier up and walk into battle each and every day, standing on the front lines of a war that they have been shielded from for far too long. These soldiers fight daily just to keep a roof over the heads, food in the mouths, and hope in the spirits of the children who are also being penalized in this war.

These are the stories of PRISON WIVES.

CHAPTER ONE – SAMMIE

Sammie was so excited about their upcoming road trip. Not for the travel element, but, because their son Jeremy, was about to lead his team to another high school championship for a third straight year. Jeremy was a senior and also big man on campus, as Rozdale High’s, 6’3, All-American Quarterback. The one drawback to Sammie’s excitement, was they had to travel cross country to play. Sammie hated to travel, she also hated to fly, so road trips were always the name of the game for her family. This year, she was especially apprehensive about their road trip and yet, she had no idea why.

The drive would take them 21 hours and 32 min to reach their destination of Clearwater, FL. from Lubbock, TX. And, since Jeremy had to be there on Friday, this would mean a full day and a half of travel prior to. Sammie, mother of three daughters and one son, knew that her husband Josh had a suspended driver’s license, yet, he would have to share the drive time with her anyway.  This was not an option as none of their children were of legal driving age, and Jeremy, the oldest, would not get his license until he turned 18 in the following year.

On that hot July morning as they backed out of their driveway, Sammie sat in the passenger seat and prayed. “Dear Lord, guide my family safely from this place to the next and back again. Return us all safely to our home…together. Amen.” Sammie wasn’t what you’d call a deeply religious woman, but she embraced her spiritual side and she strongly believed in the power of prayer.

The family drove along Interstate 20, then passing through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, they finally entered into the state of Florida. There were many stops along the way, but it was the last one that they would never forget. With almost seven hours left in their journey, they heard the sounds of a police siren behind them. When Sammie looked over her shoulder from the backseat, which she’d retired to hours before to stretch her legs, her heart sank so low, she could almost hear it hit the floor of the rental van.

Pulling over into the gas station they were headed to for their next potty-break, Sammie’s mind raced wildly. Not only did Josh have a suspended license, but he also had an outstanding warrant back home for a false probation violation, which they were aware of.

“I know I wasn’t speeding, officer,” Josh offered as the policeman approached his door.

“Yes, you were, sir,” the officer responded, surprisingly with a smile. A lie, I thought. “License and registration, please.”

Knowing all too well that it was going to take a miracle to keep him from being arrested right there, Josh, ever-protective of his children and family, asked the officer if they could get out of the van to use the restrooms.  If the worse happened, he didn’t want his children to see him in handcuffs or in the back of a police car. The officer said “Sure,” again, with the same smile on his face.

With his entire family inside, Josh tried to convince the officer to please let him get his family to safety and then he would return home to deal with the issue. His wife had no idea how to make the rest of the long journey without him, he shared.  But, still being kind, the officer said that he just couldn’t do that. He had to take him in.

Sammie’s phone rang from inside the gas station. “He is arresting me,” came Josh’s shaky voice through the phone. Her heart sank again. “You are going to have to make the rest of this trip without me. Sam, you can do it.” His voice quickly changed and now held a firmness to it. He knew he had to appear strong or she would quickly become unraveled.

Tears filled Sammie’s eyes. She’d been married to this man for 15 years and for 15 years he’d taken care of her, done everything for her…made her life so easy. Now, he was telling her she had to continue on this long journey without him. OK, but when they arrived, what then? Josh had shielded her from the real world for so long, she wasn’t sure if she could take a breath without him. But, she had to…for their kids. If she had been alone, she might have given up right then and there.

Sammie stood in the parking lot and watched the officer drive away with her husband in the back seat of the car, while she had asked the kids to stay inside and away from the windows.

When she realized that she wasn’t dreaming, she wiped her tear-stained face with the tissue in her hand. Composed and in brave face, she walked back inside to collect her children, as they were now both her reason and her strength to get them through this long, arduous journey –  a weekend without their father and then back to Texas, safe and sound.

Sammie had no idea how hard it would be once they headed back home five days later with the questions and comments from the kids about their father.  “We can’t leave here without him,” said 8-year-old Vanessa. “How is he going to get home?” asked 12-year-old Maggie.  “Why can’t we just stay here until this is straightened out? It can’t take that long,” added 16-year-old Zandra, the sassy one of the bunch. Sammie was thankful at that moment

Not knowing the severity of the situation, Sammie drove along, oblivious to all those words that could cut deep into her heart. How would she find the words to tell these kids, who had never gone more than 7 hours without seeing the dad they worshipped, that she didn’t know when he’d be coming home again?

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Visit Nonnie Jules’ RWISA Author page

 

JAN’s TOP TEN Best Books for 2016

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Because I have read SO many fantastic books this year, I want to share with you the ones I enjoyed the most. Almost ALL of the amazing books on this list were written by Indie Authors!

#1     Pennies From Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay     Pennies-from-Burger-Heaven-3D-2-259x300

I had no trouble choosing the #1 book of the year for me. For months after I’d finished reading this one, it continued to haunt me. That, my friends, is the sign of a great story!

It is a gripping tale of an eleven-year-old homeless girl, Copper Penny who has lived on the streets with her mother for years. Their “home” is in the cemetery under an Angel statue. Copper awakes one morning to find her mother gone. She can’t find her anywhere and her search takes her into some scary, dangerous and gritty situations. You can read my full review here.

#2    To Love a Texas Ranger by Linda Broday                  texas-ranger-final

I didn’t choose this book to sit at #2 because Linda Broday is my sister. I chose it because it is such a HUGE story and the introduction to the Men of Legend Series. Stoker Legend has two sons (as far as he knows) and all he ever wanted was for them to help him run one of the largest ranches in Texas, The Lonestar Ranch. But, Sam Legend, has other desires and wants no roots. He is a hard-as-nails Texas Ranger but, a gang of outlaws hangs him and leaves him for dead. After a mysterious man saves his life, he is forced to return to the Lonestar to recuperate. What happens along the way will have you on the edge of your seat! You can read my full review here.

#3     Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D’Chae                          Shadow of the Drill

This is not a genre I normally read, but I was certainly glad I stepped out of my norm and picked up this book. The characters lingered with me long after I’d finished reading the last page. I couldn’t put it down as the story unfolded. Decker, The Drill, is hardened, tough and ruthless. He’s taken on the role of judge, juror and executioner and is on a mission to get revenge for an injustice that won’t stop haunting him. You can read my full review here.

#4      A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair                      AThousandYesteryears_hires

I love character driven stories and this book by Mae Clair fits that description. When Eve Parrish returns to Point Pleasant to settle her aunt’s estate, she is in for more than one surprise. The story is based around a tragic bridge collapse that had happened when Eve was just a child. Many lives were lost including her father’s and her best friend. To cope with the loss, Eve’s mother moved them away and this is the first time she’s returned since the tragedy. I will tell you that this book has everything – romance, strong characters, paranormal, murder and a mythical creature. You can read my full review here.

#5       Lodestone Book 1 (Witch Hunt) by Wendy Scott     Lodestone

I  love paranormal books and was drawn into this one from page one. I couldn’t stop until I reached the end, and even then, I wanted it to continue. I hope that Wendy Scott is writing a sequel to this book…I will be watching for it. Sabrina has been at the ‘Healing School’ since she was a very small child. She finds herself thrown into chaos at her graduation when she learns she is the direct descendant of Lauren, a woman who is considered evil. She is given a diary, written in Lauren’s own hand, along with a sliver of stone, and is told she must leave the school. Now it is up to Sabrina to unravel the mystery surrounding Lauren’s Order and end its reign of terror. You can read my full review here.

#6       Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks                                          A+ Jazz Baby 2 Front Cover

This is a coming-of-age story about Emily Ann “Baby” Teagarten, who can sing. She has one dream and that is to be on the big stage singing Jazz. When she loses both of her parents within a few short months, the man who takes her under his wing seems to be the answer to her dream. But, as we continue through the story, we see the selfish motives of everyone who claims to want to help her. This is another character-driven book and the tragedies that “Baby” had to endure were heart-wrenching to say the least. You can read my full review here.

#7    Daydream’s Daughter/Nighmare’s Friend by Nonnie Jules  daydreams-daughter-cover 

This is a story of unimaginable abuse which eventually leads to murder. My heart broke for this young girl who suffered so much. There seemed to be no escape for her even in adulthood. As the story unfolds, Nonnie takes us inside scenarios that are unfortunately, all too common and all too real in life. You can read my full review here

#8     His Revenge by John Howell                                            his-revenge-resized        

This is the second book in the John Cannon series and again, is not my normal genre to read. However, I loved this book. It is gripping, full of adventure, danger and a high stakes game that can bring this country to its knees. John Cannon, the main character, stumbles into this story simply by chance and where it takes him will keep you on the edge of your seat! You can read my full review here.   

#9     Jem by Michelle Abbott                                                 jem     

The scars of abuse run deep from childhood to adulthood and Jem carries those scars physically and mentally. All he’s known is hatred and pain except for one, his angel, whose kindness he could never forget. He’s tough and determined not to take any crap from anyone. When his “angel” shows up in the oceanside town where he lives, how can he let her know that he’s never forgotten? This is a gripping romance with plenty of hardcore action to keep you turning the pages. You can read my full review here

#10    Novy’s Son – The Selfish Genius by Karen Ingalls     NOVY'S SON     

I gave this story a five star review and believe that every young man, as they come of age, should be required to read it. Murray Clark, the selfish genius, is destined to be a victim his entire life because he never takes responsibility for his own actions. Karen Ingalls takes us through nine decades with Murray’s story and she does it in such a way that the reader never loses interest. She refers to the “Iron John” philosophy throughout the book which turns out to be a story written by Robert Ely as a sort of guide book on how to be a man. Novy’s Son is a MUST READ for all young men!  You can read my full review here.

I cannot end this list of amazing books without mentioning one more.

Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings (Author Tools Book 1) by Nicholas Rossis   

emotional-beats

This book is an invaluable resource and reference book for all writers. Because of the way our brains are wired, readers empathize more strongly if you don’t name the emotion you are trying to describe. As soon as you name an emotion, readers go into thinking mode. And when they think about an emotion, they distance themselves from feeling it.

A great way to show anger, fear, indifference, and the whole range of emotions that characterize the human experience, is through beats. These action snippets that pepper dialogue can help describe a wide range of emotions, while avoiding lazy writing. The power of beats lies in their innate ability to create richer, more immediate, deeper writing.

This book includes hundreds of examples that you can use for your inspiration, so that you, too, can harness this technique to easily convert your writing into palpable feelings.

Well, there you have it. I enjoyed these and many more books throughout the year and all but two of these authors I discovered through the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! It pays to belong! 

Of course, I’d be thrilled if you’d check out my own books and you can find them all here!

Or visit my website for more information!

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