Watch Over Me – REVIEW

I recently finished Watch Over Me, a clean romance novella by Jenny Dawson.

I was commissioned to read and review the following book. All opinions are honest and my own.

Watch Over Me a clean romance novella by Jenny Dawson

 

A fantastic journey to healing guided by love. A sweet, feel good story. Tender. Lovely.

What I loved about this novella was the journey. It was a story of healing through love, and I found that a delightful style for a romance. While there was an unnecessary character and some remaining typos throughout, the overall tone of the story kept me captivated and rooting for the protagonist. I also loved seeing disabled characters in a real way.

Watch Over Me follows Brenda. A single mom who’s ex-husband left her seven years prior upon the knowledge that their daughter she was carrying had Down Syndrome. Brenda has devoted herself as a mother. But when a new police officer moves into their apartment building, she finds an opportunity to love again.

With a relatable protagonist/heroine and a lovable child, the characters in Watch Over Me were real and worth rooting for. Brenda has the struggles every single mother does. What is best for my child? Should I even consider dating? What about her father? These questions lead Brenda on a path to both love and healing. And, it’s beautiful to see.

Brenda, as a heroine, did not disappoint. She was strong, relatable, and  well rounded. It was beautiful to watch her grow and learn. She developed wonderfully. I hoped with her, worried with her, and cheered her on. Really, she was fantastic.

I do feel the need to mention that, while I enjoyed seeing a REAL disabled character, the other disabled character wasn’t portrayed as well. Brenda’s mother suffers from depression. But instead of an character with mental illness, we had what almost seemed as a plot device to distance the mother from the story. Instead of talking about, and dealing with, her depression, it’s mentioned and then we see little of her.

It’s also worth mentioning that Bella, Brenda’s sister, was a fun character, but mostly unnecessary. While she may have been intended for comedic relief, she didn’t quite make it, and was of little use to move the story. Like I said, fun but was a bit of an unnecessary extra.

While the genre of this novella is “romance” this reviewer would classify it as a transformation story, fueled by love. Allan helped Brenda learn to love again, and she does the same for him. And while they’re not without their problems (ex-husbands, past baggage…) their story was one in which I loved watching unfold.

The best word for this story is “nice”. And not in a “it was a nice little story” way, and not with a shrug and an “it was nice”. But in a “it was wonderful, beautiful, and just NICE to read” kind of way. A gem of a healing story. A beautiful love story.

With real characters, a budding love story, and a gorgeous journey through healing and hope, Watch Over Me was a delightful read.

You can see my full video review here:

Advertisements

Midnight-A Short Story

Here is the promised short story for January. This month we were asked to write a story that takes place within an hour. Well, being the unconventional kid that I am, I literally wrote ABOUT an hour. Enjoy!

Midnight, a short story about the spirit of Midnight

I watch 23:00 trot through the trees toward me. As usual, there’s a skip in her step and she’s humming something light-hearted. Vivaldi? Last night it was Sinatra. A swaying love song. Tonight it’s a chipper tune. Bouncy. Just like 23:00.

“Good evening,” she says to me.

“How was it?”

23:00 sighs. “Lovely. As usual.” She’s back to humming. Bobbing her head along with the melody. The silver specks in her black hair sparkle when they catch the moonlight. She wears it long, and lets the curls cascade over her face and down her back. Never bothering to tie it back. The perfect teeth of her smile match the scattered swirls of silver in her black skin. “It’s a perfect night.”

“Alright then,” I say. “I’ll be off.” I don’t like to delay The New Day. It’s dangerous to keep time waiting.

“Don’t you ever enjoy the fact that you can stop time?” 23:00 asks. “I can hold off an hour, but you… You can keep an entire day in suspense.” She sighs again.

23:00 has always been a dreamer. A child of “what if”. But, being in her position, that makes sense. She ends the day. People of the world are often left feeling hopeful of what The New Day may bring. 23:00 conveniently ignores those who wished the day had never happened.

“It’s irresponsible,” I tell her.

She giggles. “So? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want your job. Too many people are afraid of you. I prefer to be adored. By those happy to see the day end, or those reveling in its glory. But, you seem uninterested in your eminence. Don’t you ever find yourself amused by the power?”

“Amused?”

“You can keep them waiting.” She gazes into the black starry sky. “All of them. Those who wish for tomorrow. Those who dread it. The New Day is in your hands.” Another sigh. “Midnight. The most powerful of us all, but she doesn’t care.”

She’s wrong, of course. I care very much. The weight of The New Day rests on me. I fully understand my position. My power. “I respect the power. It’s not my place to abuse it. The world depends on you to end the day, and me to begin the next. Who are we to deny them?”

“Fine,” she tosses her hands up in surrender.

“Now, if there’s nothing to report, I’ll be off.” Turning away, I step out from under the trees.

“Oh,” 23:00 calls after me, “There is one thing… I guess.”

I stop. Waiting. Refusing to turn back unless it’s important. For with her it rarely is.

“I’d watch your back,” 23:00 says. “I may not want your job, but someone does.”

Looking over my shoulder, I see her shining smile. The subtle swirls of silver playing on her face. “That’s not news,” I say. “But, thanks anyway. Good night, 23:00.”

“Good morning, Midnight.”

After a few steps, I take to the air. Swooping into the night. Twelve customary chimes echo on the wind. Bellowing of Midnight and the approach of The New Day. The rush from flight tousles some of my hair from its wound up braids. The purple buried deep within the black twinkles, if one were to look closely. My glossy black skin tingles with the shifting time. That’s always been my favorite part. The feel of the change. With the birth of The New Day comes hope, fear, wonder. So many different things from the world, and I get to feel it all.

As I glide over the dreamers, partiers, love-makers, and non-sleepers, I guide The New Day into being. Seeing it wash over the world. Almost every New Day is the same. But, a few stand out. Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, a Coronation Day, or momentous history making days. Their shifts are bigger. Like a tidal wave instead of a steady river.

As usual, Between Beings scatter as I fly by. Springing into action as their hour finally arrives. As long as they don’t linger, I leave them to their mischief. They’re more of a gleeful annoyance to the world than a real problem. Faeries, Sprites, Ghosts… They have their jobs too, and it’s not my place to interfere. Only if they exceed our hour do I involve myself. The wrath of Midnight isn’t pretty. And they know it. So, approaching Between Beings is a rarity.

In my presence there is mystery or opportunity. In my wake I leave hope or uncertainty. Depends on the person. Depends on the circumstances. Depends on the day. I don’t command The New Day. I only introduce it. Holding its hand as it meets the world for the first time. I like that about my job. The day will do what it will do. Same as the people of the world. I get to usher it all in, and see it begin. Whether it’s exciting, scary, or completely routine, I get to see it all.

But, reflecting on the beauty that is seeing a New Day often shines a light on its lack of permanence. Not only is The New Day fleeting, but my station may be as well. I’ve always been The Hour of Midnight. I was born with Time. Just like the others. Some of them have moved around, however. Who was once 4:00 overtook 7:00 so they could have The Dawn. To the former 4:00 it seemed more prestigious. And some time ago Noon became lazy, thus bargaining with 3:00 to trade positions. The new 3:00 enjoys the idea of nothing but sleepers and insomniacs. And the new Noon finds lunchtime activities refreshing. I’ve never been one to crave something different. I love my hour. I love The New Day. But, as 23:00 said, others do too. I’ve been challenged a few times. None have come close to claiming Midnight for themselves. I’ve proudly held my post. But still… there could be a time when I’m defeated. Jealousy among The Hours has always been and always will be.

I try my best to push away the idea of losing The New Day. I’m here now. Bringing a new beginning as I always have. As I hopefully always will. Seeing the forest approaching, the tingling of my skin starts to fade. I dive for the trees, and find 1:00 ahead.

He’s leaning against a tree, waiting. Staring at his feet with a look of irritation and boredom. His matte black hair flops lazily. Lifeless eyes peek through. The dull, dark skin of his face has no delicate purple sparkle like my own, nor a playful silver swirl like 23:00. Sometimes, he really seems a shadow.

More than once I’ve heard him grumble about his neglected hour. It’s not romantic enough, he thinks. There’s never anything fresh or hopeful about it. He sees the hour after Midnight as an after thought. Of all The Hours, he feels the most ignored.

With careful precision, my feet gently touch down. From the trees, Fae, Sprites, Ghosts, and other Between Beings emerge. They creep toward me. I open my mouth to condemn them. Their time has expired! They know that! But, I stop. Why so many perpetrators of our ancient law? Looking to 1:00 I see a gray-toothed smile.

“You know…” 1:00 says without lifting his eyes, “When children count, they start with the number one.”

The Between Beings swarm. A deafness hangs in the air where the ring of a single chime is missing.

Heads Up! Short Stories Coming Soon to a Blog Near You!

That’s right! I’m going to post short stories right here on the blog! I’ve recently joined a writing group (more info below) and once a month we’re given a prompt for a short story. I’ve decided to post them here. I may publish them in a book down the road, I may develop one or two into a novel, I may hate them and print them, just so I can burn them. Who knows?! My point… Be on the look out for at least one short story a month.

Short Stories written by Author K.D. Reed

Some amazing things are happening! I’ve got two new full length novels in the works. I’ve found an amazing community on YouTube. And, I’ve gained a lot of new friends lately from Twitter. THINGS ARE ON THE MOVE.

I’m working on a science fiction novel. It’s post-apocalyptic and really cool. I started it for NaNoWriMo. And, while I learned NaNoWriMo is a NaNo-NoNo for me personally, I absolutely LOVE the story I started. So I’m going to keep going with it. It’s too good not to. Also! I’m currently in the process of creating a new author platform. I’ve felt the pull to write something Middle Grade. Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it me trying to get my little niece and cousins to love reading as much as I do. I have to do this. I can feel it. But, to do so under the name K.D. Reed is going to be… problematic. My stuff is for grown-ups. Like… the grown-uppiest of grown-ups. If you’ve read my books, you understand. Therefore, when the time comes, I’ll be creating a whole new name and platform for my kid stuff.

Because I can.

I’ll also keep working under the name K.D. Reed at the same time, though. So don’t worry, adult people. I’m not going anywhere.

Next! Thanks to the beautiful people on YouTube, I’ve joined a writing group. As I mentioned above, we’ll be prompted for some short story work. It’s mostly for fun, but I wanted to share it with all of you lovely people.

Lucky you.

I want to quickly give a special thank you to Ben Sanders. We met on BookTube/AuthorTube (the people on YouTube talking about reading and writing, respectively) and he’s the super neat dude that organized our cool kids writing club. Yeah… it’s not actually called that. It just makes me feel like a cool kid, okay? Any who! Ben is really great, and a talented writer. Check out his YouTube channel. You’ll thank me later.

Lastly, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve moved most of my social media activity to Twitter. Facebook, especially right now, has A LOT of problems. Every time I log on I feel like Wesley in The Princess Bride when he’s hooked up to the machine.

Funny meme from the movie The Princess Bride

So! Most of the time, I only go to Facebook for the groups I’m in and to keep up with family. There’s a lot of people I’m connected to there that I love both personally and professionally. (Not like in a hooker way. Like in a writing way. But, you knew that, right?) Moving to Twitter has gained me some amazing friends, and I like it A LOT better. Here’s my Twitter, if you want to follow me there.

That’s all the news! I’m hoping to post January’s short story tomorrow. Or soonish. Sooner rather than later. Definitely. Probably. Maybe.

As always, you guys are so great. I have the best readers. I really do. Thank you so much for sticking with me. Please know that you are appreciated.

Also…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Until tomorrow! (Or whenever…)

The Tolkien Lover Book Tag

The most honorable KRISTEN KIEFFER has constructed an awesome Book Tag all about J.R.R. Tolkien. And, as you all know, I’m more than a fan of that guy. TOLKIEN IS LIFE. So here’s the thing… I couldn’t resist participating in such an awesome tag! Tolkien is one of the reasons I’m a writer. He’s helped define so much of me. Time to gush!

Here’s the deal, this is interactive. Tags work like this:

  1. Questions are posted about a thing.
  2. The writer/blogger answers said questions.
  3. Others are tagged by the writer/blogger at the end of it all.
  4. The chain of awesome keeps going… and going… and going…

Let’s start with a Tolkien quote, shall we?

Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien author of Lord of the Rings (Not all those who wander are lost)

Okay! Let’s go wandering!

1. The Lord of the Rings is Tolkien’s most famous work. But did you read the books or see the movies first? What are your opinions on each?

As much as I hate that it happened the way it did, I saw The Fellowship of the Ring first. After seeing that film, I died. I feel like that’s not even a hyperbole. I was gone. I knew I had witnessed something special. It was sparkles and starlight and FEELINGS. Like angels were singing of my destiny.

I mention this in my post Authors Who Turned Me into a Reader. I am ashamed I had to be convinced about “some old fantasy book” by a film. But! I almost went straight from the theatre to the bookstore. When I bought the entire Lord of the Rings series I devoured them. I read nothing but Tolkien for months and months.

I went to the midnight premier of The Two Towers. Mind you, I was still in high school when the movies came out, so I missed the entire day of school to wait in line for the movie. Like… 12 hours in line, just so I could have a good seat. When I commit… I COMMIT.

Here’s where it gets interesting. I was okay with the second movie. Having read the books I found a thousand inaccuracies, and since I had been turned into a Tolkien purist, I was only okay with it. Didn’t LOVE it the way I loved the first film. But, how could I? I knew what I was in for. That first time, I was not expecting my life to literally change. By the third movie though… I had a problem.

–Unpopular opinion time. Yay!– I really didn’t like the film adaption of The Return of the King. I felt like Peter Jackson thought he knew better than Tolkien on what to do with the story. The changes he made were not something I could just shake my head at. I was a bit… enraged. It wasn’t his story to take so much liberty with. For me, Jackson committed an injustice to my literary idol. Bad form!

In fact, I STILL haven’t seen any of The Hobbit films. And I don’t plan to. As soon as I heard Jackson was attached to the project, I dismissed it. This was before it was even announced that it’d be split into three films. (Why, in all of Middle Earth, was the shortest book turned into three movies, instead of making six movies out of the Lord of the Rings series? Why?!)

Okay. I’m going to stop here, before I forget the rest of the questions and turn this into a rant. (It’s too late for that, isn’t it?)

 

2. Who is your favorite member of The Fellowship? Does this person differ from your favorite Lord of the Rings character in general?

Legolas.

Boom. There it is. He’s my most favorite in all of Tolkien’s writing. And I’ll tell you why…

  1. He’s mad talented. Those archery skills. Damn.
  2. His temperament. He doesn’t dink around. The elf gets sh*t done.
  3. The dude can freaking fight.
  4. His relationship with Gimli. He seems like a flawless guy. But he still learns and grows. He befriends this dwarf who he’s been conditioned to loathe. They’re friendship is beautiful.
  5. He’s an elf. That alone qualifies him as a favorite. Really.

Gandalf is a close second. Because of his wisdom and adventurous spirit.

 

 

3. Now for some fun! If you could be any character from The Hobbit, which would you be and why?

Um, Smaug.

I like to be left alone.

I’m cranky.

And don’t touch my stuff.

Like, it sounds ridiculous. But when I thought about this question, Smaug was all I could come up with. I just… get him.

Also, there’s a lizard in Africa named Smaug giganteus, or Giant Dragon Lizard, after our dragon friend. Something about it being “similarly armoured”. Fun fact!

 

 

4. Tolkien’s work goes beyond The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Have you ever read any of his other books? How about books about Tolkien?

Oh man. Here we go.

I have read The Silmarillion. I have a couple of Book of Lost Tales.

I also have some reference books. A “Complete Guide”/encyclopedia. And some Elvish language books.

I am also the proud owner and reader of The Origins of Tolkien’s Middle Earth for Dummies.

You guys. I don’t mess around.

 

 

5. Let’s talk romance! Pooling from all of Tolkien’s work, which two characters do you ship together most?

Obviously Aragorn and Arwen. I’m so happy about those two kids! I think their story is beautiful. The right kind of “forbidden love” if you ask me. I wish more people would reference them when describing relationships rather than Romeo and Juliet. It’s so much more of a love story. And, you know, less suicide.

Also, Rosie and Sam. I want to pinch their cheeks. So stinking adorable.

Truthfully, I’m not what one would call a “shipper”. I let what’s cannon be cannon.

 

6. Alright, alright. We all have at least one thing from Tolkien’s work that makes us waaaay too giddy and excited. Something that we could talk about for days. What’s yours?

The Elvish language.

I was OBSESSED with it for a long while. And, I still love it. I used to yell it at people I was mad at. When I had my horse, I often gave her commands in Elvish. I even helped design a tattoo for someone in Elvish.

I have more than one book on it. In high school all my computer passwords were in Elvish. (They’re not anymore, so don’t try anything sinister. Not that I have anything worth stealing…)

I think it’s just so cool. Tolkien was a master linguist. That’s one of the reasons I revere him. He really put his soul into his works, and it shows. The man created a gorgeous language. How can you not love that?!

I would have majored in Elvish in college, had they offered it.

 

Tag! You’re it!

Can I tag Stephen Colbert? I feel like, back in the day, I could almost compare to him in Tolkien lore knowledge. I haven’t been as emerged in it as I once was. So, I wouldn’t dare challenge the biggest, baddest, Tolkien nerd of all. But I’d love to see his answers!

Pipe dreams aside, I honestly challenge ANYONE who wants to gush about the wonderful J.R.R. Tolkien. Drop your links in the comments, or tag me on Twitter (@authorkdreed) so I can read your answers. Because, seriously, I could read about Tolkien all day. Every day. Forever. And ever.

Also, pop over to Kristen’s blog and read her post. Actually, read all her stuff. She’s super duper.

 

Get Your Littles Reading!

I found this super duper cool blog with awesome ideas and inspirations for getting your kids reading. It’s never too soon, or too late, to help the kidlets become readers. They’re the future! Get them some books! Seriously, check this out…

Bringing Lit to your Littles, getting your child to read

I take my five year old niece to the library every week. She loves it. I give her books every chance I get. I sent her a picture of her wrapped birthday presents last Saturday, because they were pretty, and I knew she’d be excited. She said “I bet that green one is a book!” And you know what? SHE WAS RIGHT. It cracks me up, yet makes me insanely proud that she associates me with books and reading. I try so hard to instill in her a love of stories and books. KT has some GREAT ideas. I’ll be implementing them! She’s giving us one thing a day for all of October! I know, I know, October is a little over halfway through. But! This is a really cool post with some great stuff.

Also, how is October almost gone? I feel like 2016 flew by.

Whoosh!!

Did you hear that?

Any who! Check this out. Get your kiddos reading! You know I wouldn’t share this if it weren’t important.

http://www.litmamahomeschool.com/31-days-bringing-lit-littles/

Authors Who Turned Me into a Writer-Part 2 of Why I Write

Earlier I spoke about the authors who turned me into a reader. Well, that was only the beginning. I’ve evolved. Certain authors pushed me into the world of story creation. Now, I’m a writer. And these are the authors who turned (cursed?) me.

Authors who turned me into a writer, a list of authors who encouraged me to write

Neil Gaiman

American Gods, a novel by Neil Gaiman

I have so much to say about Neil Gaiman. So. Much. He taught me the beauty of simplicity in story telling. You don’t have to describe every article of clothing. Every hair on the main character’s head. If you have a STORY, you can have a book. Every one of his works are solid, unique, stylized, and gorgeously creative. I own this man a lot. His ideas are not only original, but he owns them. He commits to every character, theme, and sentence. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, Gaiman never disappoints.

Anne Rice

Interview with a Vampire, a vampire novel by Anne Rice

 

Where Gaiman taught me simplicity, Anne Rice taught me the art of description. Her work (The Vampire Chronicles specifically) has a flowery, artsy, romantic style of writing that would normally turn readers off. BUT IT WORKS. Or rather, she makes it work. She has the ability to beatify her characters. She just loves them. You can tell. You can feel it. She knows them, and loves them, and it makes her stories lovely. The Vampire Lestat tops my list of favorite fictional characters. And the way Rice writes about him, I’m not convinced he isn’t real. These novels showed me you can write with voice and adoration for your characters. So grateful for her.

Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guid to the Galaxy, science fiction books by Douglas Adams

This guy, though! If there’s anything Douglas Adams taught me, it’s honesty. His writing is so on point it almost makes me sick. He has a way of explaining a feeling with pure, brutal, honesty. Funny. Relevant. Dead on. He can truly define the undefinable. I come back to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy time and time again just to smile and nod. Every time I read ANYTHING by him I think “Yes! You’re right! That’s exactly what that feels like!”

I found myself applying this idea in my paranormal series. My style is a little more… I don’t know… unfiltered candor. But I really believe writing should be sincere. Adams helped me find genuine honesty in my own writing. And I love him for it.

Plus, comedy is HARD. I think that’s one of the most difficult styles of writing to master. And he is effortless with it.

Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code a thrilling novel by Dan Brown

Say what you want about “controversy” or “inaccuracies”. I don’t care. Not even a little bit. Dan Brown can captivate. He takes cliffhanger to a whole new level. Some of his books I’ll get genuinely angry at, because it’s cliffhanger after cliffhanger and I just can’t stop! He forces me to keep going. His stories are riveting and enthralling. It’s inhuman the way he can suck me in. Witchcraft I tell you! But man… did I learn about how to keep a reader hooked. His books start with a million questions, and each time you get an answer, your questions triple. At least. Deeper and deeper you go down the rabbit hole until you feel like you can’t breathe.

It’s awesome.

R.L. Geerdes

Wizards Secrets a fantasy novel by R.L. Geerdes

R.L. Geerdes may be unknown to you. She wrote a fantasy series that was pretty good. She actually writes under a different name now, and is quite successful. But I need to speak to you about when she was R.L. Geerdes. Woo! Story time!

I know her personally. And while that isn’t reason enough to call someone “inspiring” she truly did inspire me. She taught me that if you want to write, you write. She went for it. Now, she’s writing full time. She’s a success. I met with her when I was first thinking of writing. She gave me some great resources and advice. But, I gotta say, it was her meeting with me in the first place that I found encouragement. She had two novels out, and took time from her life to meet with little ol’ me. She was so kind and motivating. I was so pleased that she’d offer to help. I owe her a ton. She really set me on the path.

If you want to write… write. You don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s okay. You don’t wait for an opportunity. You sit your ass down, and do it. Now, she didn’t actually say these words to me. Her attitude did. She knew very little about me. But, she knew the importance of writing. Of a dream. She was willing to help. This showed me that if you want to write. You go and you do it. Your dream is worth it.

Inspirational and motivational writing advice quote by K.D. Reed
(Click to Tweet!)

 

Also, and this is just a side note, this was my first taste of the writing community. My first experience dealing with the beautiful village of writers. What it means to be a part of this circle. I’ve had amazing results every time I’ve reached out to the writing community. We are a bunch of crazy, creative, kind, and generous people. And I am honored to be counted among you.

Stacy Lynn Carroll

My Name is Bryan an inspiring novel by Stacy Lynn Carroll

Stacy is also someone I know personally. We carpooled in middle school. Not kidding. However, this is not a moment of promotion for my friend. This is me saying Stacy Lynn Carroll taught me one of the most valuable things of my career. Don’t wait. Write. Publish. Live your dream.

Boom. That’s it. Now, don’t get me wrong. She’s a talented writer. I’ve loved all of her stuff. I’m going to be gifting her books to people for Christmas this year. She’s awesome and you should read her stuff. My point, for this post at least, is that she was the first writer to show me that indie-publishing isn’t something “desperate” people do.

When I first heard she was going to “self-pub” I was confused. My pea-brain thought that was only for authors who felt they’d been rejected one too many times. It was a way for them to say they were published without actually being published. I WAS THE WRONGEST WRONG PERSON OF ALL THE WRONG PEOPLE.

I read up on self and/or indie publishing and learned a thing or two…

  1. You have so much more control over your content
  2. You are the only one in charge of your career
  3. You can make MORE money indie-publishing than traditional publishing
  4. You don’t have to do what you don’t want to do

And that’s just the beginning. Carroll taught me that if I wanted a career, I could go get one. She taught me not to wait. Do it. Write your book. Publish your book. You. Just. Do. It.

Boom.

Here I am, years later, with mad respect for my dear friend, and a writing career of my own. I am so thankful for her and her amazing example

Now, I’m a writer. 

Kevin a science fiction book by author K.D. Reed     Demonic Illusions by K.D. Reed a paranormal romance and horror book series

Demonic Impulse a paranormal romance and horror book by K.D. Reed  Haunted a paranormal romance and horror book by K.D. Reed  Hell's Princess a paranormal romance and horror book by K.D. Reed

Thanks to the gorgeous people above, I’m a writer. Certain authors helped me love books, and these writers helped me create them. I write. I’m a writer.

And I love it.

Authors Who Turned Me into a Reader-Part 1 of Why I Write

Most, if not all, writers start at the same place. As readers. Our love of reading leads us to fulfill our destiny of saying what others cannot. To produce the stories people need. And how did we learn such a career existed? By reading! We started as the readers we now cherish. Certain authors set us on the path. Everyone has their favorites. And these are the beautiful souls that lead me to my journey. The authors who turned me into a reader, and ultimately a writer.

Books writers and readers, Tolkien, Andrews, R.L. Stine, Ann M Martin

We’re going to do this as chronologically as possible. Becoming a reader starts in childhood. The books we’re read at home. The books our teachers and parents read to us. So journey with me, if you will, to the days of my youth…

P.D. Eastman

Go Dog Go a children's book by P.D. Eastman

Truthfully, this is my mom’s favorite children’s book. She read it to us often. And, while I have no idea why she loves it (I found the dog who didn’t like the other dog’s hat mean, but what did I know? I was just a kid) this book was a staple of my childhood. I knew all the words, all the puppies inside, and all the silly pictures. Entertaining and memorable. This probably started my whole crazy writer life. So… Thanks Mom!

Eastman created a lovely dog world in Go, Dog. Go! Simple. Fun. Relatable. My four year old niece loves it. Her grandma, my mom, reads it to her. Just as she did with me. Hopefully it will instill in her a love of silly stories the way it did for this writer. Who knows? Maybe my niece will grow to be an author herself!

R.L. Stine

Goosebumps Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine. A popular scary story for kids.

What kid doesn’t love Goosebumps? I think every child in America gets a solid start with R.L. Stine. Spooky. Creepy. So. Much. Stinking. Fun! I loved every single one. And then he did the Choose Your Own Adventure books! The ones where you pick where you go in the story. Jumping around the entire book. What fun! Ah! I can’t get over what Stine did for me as a kid. I picked up my first Goosebumps in like… 5th grade? (ish.) And let me tell you… I wasn’t thrilled. I thought, “This book looks stupid. No princesses. Why do I care about monsters? These books are for boys!”

What an idiot. I loved the first one, and every single one after. So great! R.L. Stine speaks to kids beautifully. He entertains. Reaching the entire audience of children. Every kid loves his stories. He speaks to them, and their interests. Such a talented writer.

Ann M. Martin

The first Baby-sitters Club Book a book series for kids by Ann M. Martin

Oh, man. My friends and I LIVED off these books for all of 6th grade. At least. Actually it started in 4th grade. Maybe even sooner. We read these books furiously. Every single one. All the spin-offs. We watched the TV show and the movie. A great time was had and this book series was responsible for so much of it.

Martin creates fun stories, that deal with what kids deal with. Friendship dynamics, step-parents, diabetes… Her stories aren’t traumatic, but they don’t graze over real-life stuff. Growing up, I was totally a Kristy (kind of bossy, resourceful, ambitious) and my best friend was a complete Claudia (artistic, free-spirited, innovative). Parts of our personalities had the potential to put our friendship at risk. But! I fully believe this book series showed us that different personalities can thrive together. Everyone is important. We embraced who were were, just like the girls in Baby-sitters Club did. Ann M. Martin just gives me all the good feelings.

Yoshiko Uchida

Journey to Topaz, the story of Japanese Interment Camps, a children's book by Yoshiko Uchida

I read Journey to Topaz three times between 6th grade and 7th grade. I LOVE this book. The subject matter is deep and painful, but Uchida tells it with hope and beauty. A terrible mark on America’s history, this story made me think. Feel. I think that’s why I kept going back to it. It made me feel. It showed me something ugly, but taught me that people are strong.

I think this was the first book I read that invoked true emotion through writing. Oh! The Feelings!! Conflict. Sadness. Confusion. Injustice. But also hope. Strength. Tenacity. Ah! Yoshiko Uchida did such a beautiful job with this story. I think I’ll go read it again…

V.C. Andrews

Runaways, part of the Orphans series, by V.C Andrews.

I read this book in 9th grade. CHANGED MY LIFE. V.C. Andrews was a turning point for me. I went from girl who kind of likes to read sometimes to always having a book with me. In my backpack, in my locker, in my purse. I became a reader. A bookworm. And so, SO, happy.

This book may have been a tad mature for me at 14. But! It was so engaging. The story was captivating, driven, suspenseful. Andrews has a way of sucking you in, without mercy. Some of her plots are even predictable, but her storytelling forces you to keep going anyway. This author taught me the power of a book. Of a story.

J.R.R.Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, fantasy books by J.R.R. Tolkien

No list of authors (if composed by myself) can exclude Tolkien. He is my literary idol. Tolkien took me from reader of whatever, to literature enthusiast. Okay… Story time!

First of all, I honestly thought I was too stupid to read “real” literature. Classics, if you will. I thought I wouldn’t understand them. That they’d be over my head. Vocabulary would be too difficult. Themes wouldn’t be exciting. Blah blah blah. People discouraged me from reading things like this. They said, “it’s probably too hard for you and boring.”

THEY WERE 100% WRONG.

I love classics. You don’t have to be a genius to get them. Or love them. They’re all beautiful and wonderful and if anybody tells you differently you send them to me. I’ll take care of it. >insert chosen angry threat here<

Second, and this is a little shameful, I saw the first movie BEFORE I read any of the books. I hate myself for it, but… that’s just how my life played out. Any who, after seeing the movie Fellowship of the Ring I dashed out and bought ALL the books. I now own Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Simarillion, The Book of Lost Tales… Even some theory and language books on Tolkien’s world. Read ’em all. Love ’em all.

Tolkien opened up a doorway for me. Not just for classic literature, but for fantasy as well. A deep love of high fantasy grew quickly. Which led me to science fiction. Which led me to write. My first book is science fiction. Had I not ventured into Middle Earth, I never would continued on to create my own worlds. It really is that simple.

He is a true genius and beautiful soul. I owe him my life.

Literally.

There was a time when I felt all I had was Middle Earth. Those adventures gave me purpose when dealing with a particularly difficult phase of life. I clung to them for strength. I keep them near now… Just in case I need them. Tolkien’s characters were my friends. My family. They still are.

And now I’m a reader who writes. Or a writer who reads. You can pick.

These are the writers who turned me into a reader. They’re the reason I write. Had I not found them, the fire of story telling would never have ignited. I’d be wandering around searching for a destiny. Now, I wander searching for a story.

But, you know what Tolkien says…

Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien author of Lord of the Rings (Not all those who wander are lost)
(Click to Tweet!)

Be sure to check back for Part 2 of Why I Write: Authors Who Turned Me into a Writer. More authors to gush about. More books to swoon over… All that jazz. Also, I’d love to hear about the authors who took YOU from “regular person” to reader. What book changed your life and turned you into a fantasy world creature?