• Tag Archives April
  • 5 Books that have Influenced me as a Writer

    Like all writers, I’ve read countless books over the years. Some were awesome, some so-so, and even the ones that weren’t that great I still appreciated for the story even if the writing needed some work. Out of all those books, some have impacted me in different ways both personally and professionally.

    Here is a list of 5 books in no particular order that have influenced my writing. I’ve stuck to fiction for this list instead of any writing how-to book.

    1. Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind – an ultra long read, but worth every page. The dude knows how to paint pictures in your head with his words and, aside from Stone of Tears being a killer story, it was this word-painting that stuck with me and set the bar for how I paint pictures for the reader in my own work. Not saying I’m anywhere near Terry Goodkind’s caliber, but his great description definitely stuck with me over the years.

     

     

     

    2. Batman: Knightfall by Dennis O’Neil – The first superhero fiction book I ever read and my favorite book of all time. (Yeah, I have a soft spot for superheroes, as you well know.) This book got me in Batman’s head in a way the comics didn’t, and humanized him in a way I could relate to on different levels. It also showed me superheroes didn’t have to be confined to four-color comics or to movies. Clearly, this influenced me later on when it came time to write The Axiom-man Saga.

     

     

     

    3. The Summer I Died by Ryan C. Thomas – Easily the most brutal book I’ve ever read, and I don’t mean brutal as in bad. Not only is it an intense story–people kidnapped by a madman–but the violence level in this thing is through the roof. I loved reading it, and I hated reading it. Ryan made you live each terrifying and painful moment his characters went through. Like live-live. Crazy. But it showed me how to get nasty with violence when needed and how to draw the reader in when it came to someone getting hurt, and it reemphasized for me the importance of ensuring the reader is indeed in your characters’ shoes and not outside of them no matter what is happening.

     

    4. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks – Such a bittersweet love story, and it was this book that demonstrated the difference between a romance book and a love story book. It was the love story between the characters that impacted me the most, not their romance, and nowadays when I write two characters in love, I play up the love story angle versus the romantic one. I did this in my book, April, written under the name Peter Fox. To me, love stories have so much more heart than romances.

     

     

    5. Left Behind by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye – Aside from the entire series being an interesting story of the Earth’s last days before Christ’s return, the writing takeaway from this book–and the rest of the series–were the constant cliffhanger endings to each chapter. It was just non-stop, and since I’ve read them I’ve done my best to cliffhang each scene and each chapter in my own books. Even cliffhang the ending of book one of a series to get the reader pumped for book two. Cliffhangers keep those pages turning.

     

     

    So there you have it. A quick list of 5 books that impacted me as a writer. There are more, but I’ll save those for another post.

    What books have influenced you, whether personally or professionally? Sound off in the comments below.


  • April: A Love Story

    Some moments come along and your world—your life—changes. Something shifts inside and everything’s the same yet somehow different. Sometimes someone comes into your life and helps you to breathe for the first time, to think with clarity and to give you truth and joy.

    Often, we never see it coming. But it also happens when we need it the most and, usually, when we don’t realize we need it.

    For Joseph Bailey, life has come to a standstill; existence, living, call it what you will, have stopped moving, stopped flowing, stopped growing. Those he knew while growing up seemed to have gone down the right path, creating a so-called normal life. He’s not sure if he followed.

    Spending lonely nights writing comic book scripts and hazy afternoons watching cartoons brings him to his knees, and he needs something—maybe even someone—more. One Friday, while at a coffee shop working on a new comic script, Joseph is interrupted when a quirky girl with long black hair and smooth-as-marble gray eyes sits down across from him, seeking sanctuary from her controlling boyfriend, Dan.

    Her name is April.

    All seems under control even when Dan follows her in to the coffee shop, looking to patch things up. At least, that’s what was supposed to have happened. Once Dan leaves, Joseph figures his work is done and April will be on her way, never to be seen again. Instead, she stays, removes her sweater and orders an apple cider. Just then something slips inside Joseph, something good, right and pure.

    Their weekend begins.

    From a quiet night in an old railway car to seeking the undertones of humanity at the art gallery, to bringing to light the tender commonalities that we as humans share, April is a story of how a simple chance meeting can hold you and protect you, and give you what the human heart is continuously after—

    Hope.

    Available as a paperback at:

    Amazon.com
    Amazon.ca
    Amazon.co.uk
    Barnes and Noble
    Other On-line Retailers

    Available as an eBook at:

    Amazon Kindle
    Drivethru Fiction
    Smashwords