Monthly Archives: April 2016

Author Sarah Noffke

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April 30, 2016

CTC –Today I’m fortunate to have Sarah Noffke, author of The Lucidites Series, The Revarians Series, The Ren Series, and The Vagabond Circus Series.

 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for my readers. Let’s begin, shall we?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

SN – I used to sit in my treehouse and write plays and poetry. I loved to write from an early age, but I never really thought I’d go into business doing it. For most of my life it was an obsessive hobby. However, when I was working in college administration I used to go to the library on my lunch break. I would browse books, not knowing what I was looking for. I felt really lost at that time in my life. Almost every day I would run my fingers over the spines of the books in the library and stop randomly, thinking I’d find the book I was looking for. For some reason I just knew I needed to find a certain book. And then one day I heard the voice of intuition in my head. It said, “You can’t find the book because you need to write it.” And that’s the day I decided I needed to become a writer.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

SN – Most of my books have taken around six weeks to write. The first book in the Ren series was written in about two weeks, which was exhausting and awesome. And the second book in the Reverian series I really didn’t want to finish so that one took around eight weeks. My productivity really is centered on how I feel about the book.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

SN – Sporadic. I usually wake up around 3 am with an idea and make myself get up and write it down. This may take a minute or three hours. I keep the worst hours when writing, but after I finish a book I always take a break and recharge.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

SN – I do most of my writing on the treadmill. I struggled with output for a while because I take care of my four year old daughter full time and teach college classes. So I decided to start multitasking. It totally works.

CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

SN – I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. For six years I trained every single day for four to five hours. I held onto that dream until I was thirteen when I realized that I really liked boys and wanted to free up my schedule.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

SN – When I was twenty-four I wrote a middle grade novel called One Day Hill. It’s a really fun book about the idea of time and how adding a single day to the end of your life can change it. However, I never found the right ending for it, so it’s sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

SN – I’m an avid hiker. I love being outdoors and exploring. Connecting with nature is one way I keep the creative vault full.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

SN – That I become my characters during my time with them. If they’re depressed then so am I. If they’re confused and in the dark, then that’s how the story is for me. I have feelings of heart-stopping crushes, anger at the slightest irritations, or the urge to save humanity. It’s the oddest thing and really makes me feel like a schizophrenic.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

SN – Currently, I have eleven published novels and I’m working on the twelfth. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite because they are all so different. However, I think that Ren: The Man Behind the Monster is the book I enjoy most. I write YA mostly, so to be able to take off the gloves and get dirty with that book was fun. Ren is bad and censored in the other books where he appears. But in his own novel, which is NA, he says it how he thinks it.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

SN – Meditate. I don’t do it like I used to, but that’s what really helped me to connect with my writer’s voice.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

SN – Every day and I hope they never stop. I hear all sorts of things. They tell me what they love or what surprised them in my books. It’s not uncommon for them to tell me how heartbreaking something was that they read. And they share. Their lives, their struggles, their ideas. Many of them want to be a writer and share those goals with me. They ask for advice. And some just pop up to say hi and thanks. It’s really so much fun.

Thank you so much for the interview and the support of my books. I really can’t do this author thing without people like you.

CTC – Thank you so much, Sarah. It’s been a pleasure.

You can find Sarah’s book on Amazon.

And, you can keep in touch with Sarah here:

Personal webpage: http://www.sarahnoffke.com/

Amazon: http://smile.amazon.com/Sarah-Noffke/e/B00QQC5PFQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialsarahnoffke/?fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9830676.Sarah_Noffke?from_search=true&search_version=service

Twitter: @RealSarahNoffke

Sarah Noffke     Born with the power to control minds, hypnotize others, and read thoughts, Ren Lewis, is certain of one thing: God made a mistake.

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Laughed so hard I peed my pants!

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I Like You cover

I rarely read nonfiction, but in this case I’m truly glad I did. This book is frickin’ hilarious!!! Amy Sedaris’s coffee table book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence is full of tips, recipes, helpful strategies, and a ton of adult wise-cracking humor. Think Martha Stewart (but better!) meets George Carlin.

No topic is spared and each contains some pretty good advice. There are plenty of photos scattered throughout. Not everything discussed is laced with humor, some things are much more somber. You can read it from front to back or open it up at any point that interests you. I guarantee that you will find something that will have you laughing so hard you’ll pee your pants!

5 out of 5 stars

A Path of Ashes

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Path of Ashes Cover

Aeric Gaines and his roommate, Tyler Nordgren, are typical college freshman at the University of Texas in Austin. Justin Rustwood, a disillusioned hacker who has crossed the line between genius and crazy, is also living in Austin. When Justin’s group, the Vultures, take over the nation’s nuclear defenses setting off a global war Aeric and Tyler find themselves in a struggle to survive.

Parker’s first novel in The Path of Ashes series, A Path of Ashes, tells the story of Aeric and Tyler as a history lesson to Aeric’s great-great grandchildren. It is a well-paced book with true to life characters. There is some violence and sexual content. I only found one minor plot hole – if you are afraid of being found and you blow out all of the candles to kill the light, then you can’t have a fire burning in the fireplace.

It is a good book and I enjoyed reading it. I look forward to the next installment.

4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

 

WOW! Ren, a superhero!

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Ren GLM

This book will be available for purchase on May 15, 2016.

Ren, who would have thought you to be a superhero? Yes, that is exactly what he is, albeit a reluctant one. He goes around the world trying to prevent folks, mostly Middlings, from destroying themselves or all of mankind. It’s this work with the Lucidites that helps keep the monster within at bay. Everything is mostly as it should be in his world until it is tuned upside down by a visitor from his past.

Noffke’s second installment in the Ren series, Ren: God’s Little Monster, delivers everything we’ve come to expect from Ren. The story is intense and full of emotion. It is a fast read and leaves you wanting much, much more. Ren’s character evolves into something more human with him fighting and kicking to stop it from happening. His self-discovery is masterfully woven throughout this beautiful tapestry of a novel.

It is no secret that I love Ren. He is the most unique character I’ve ever read. And, I am ever so grateful that his story is unfinished. Bravo, Sarah, bravo!

5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

W

Vintage Disaster Story

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Lucifers Hammer cover

A newly discovered comet calves and some of the splinters hit earth changing the landscape forever. Coastal regions are flooded or are completely swept away. Dangerous weather patterns are formed. A new ice age approaches. For those that have survived civilization is setback over a hundred years. Will they have what it takes to survive the new old way of life? And, what about the lawless?

Niven and Pournelle came together in the late 1970s to give us Lucifer’s Hammer, a story about survival before and after a major disaster. Because I am a fan of dystopia and post-apocalyptic novels everyone told me that I should read the original that started it all. I had such high expectations for this book. And, it was only okay. Not bad, but not great.

First, it is a long book – over 600 pages. At times I had to force myself to keep reading due to the slow pacing. Second, it had a couple of plot inconsistencies that could have been easily fixed. Either your neighbor lives next door or across the street. And, no one I know has their pregnancy show at two to three months. Third, some of the subplots were not believable. Fathers do not abandon their fourteen year old sons during a disaster just because the kid says I am not going with you. Finally, there were too many characters too keep up with and some with similar names – Hardy, Harvey, and Harry.

3 out of 5 stars.

V     #AtoZChallenge

The World Upended -No Electricity, No Food, No Law

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The Walking in the Rain series, books 1 – 4, were quick reads and I apologize to the author, William Allen, for not reviewing them individually.

Luke is in Chicago on a fieldtrip from Texas to attend a science fair in hopes of earning a scholarship. He is stranded there when the pulse hits. Luke wants to get home, to what he perceives as a safe haven. Northeast Texas is a long walk from Chicago, especially for a sixteen year old boy on his own in a world turned upside down. There is no electricity, no food unless you scavenge for it, and most of all, no law.

The first four books in this series follow Luke as he grows into a man during his horrific journey. These books are riddles with typographical errors which were distracting. Even with the events of the time and the struggles for life and death it was hard to believe that Luke was only sixteen. The story is told firsthand from his point of view and his language skills are on par with a college graduate, not a sophomore in high school.

The story itself is a good one and the characters are well developed. The pace is fast and not for the faint of heart.

3-1/2 stars out of 5.

U  #AtoZChallenge

 

Alaska Musings Episode 4

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Alaska Fall 2

September 6, 2008 Sourdough Tales

1. We have been living here 6 months now and just discovered recently that we can see the Knik Glacier from most anywhere around Palmer and Wasilla. I asked the question why that valley always had snow even though it appears to be a lower elevation than Pioneer’s Peak & voila! the glacier appeared right before our eyes. It’s about 25 miles up the Knik River from our house to the glacier. We hope to take a tour up to it next summer.

2. In case you haven’t heard Sarah Palin is the Republican VP Nominee. She is from Wasilla. She used to be a Council Member and Mayor of Wasilla. I work for the City of Wasilla. You can’t imagine the world-wide notoriety this place is getting now. Our website went from having 25k to over 500k hits per day since August 29th.

3. The trees are changing colors rather quick and are quite dramatic. And, it all started this week. Last week there were no golds or yellows anywhere. I’m guessing since we have cottonwood and birch trees that we won’t see many reds. Right now though the bright contrasts between the greens and the yellow hues are fantastic.

4. Football season is almost over. Yep, it is only 8 weeks long due to the fact the kids can’t play on frozen ground or in the snow. So, by the end of September they even complete the championship games with all their playoffs. Basketball up here is big though and, of course, hockey.

5. The days are getting shorter by large leaps of 5 and 6 minutes each day. I can finally leave my master bedroom curtains open all the time and have darkness before 10 p.m. and as late as 6:30 a.m. The shortest day here in the Palmer area is 5 hours 18 minutes sometime around December 20th – from around 10:15 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. But, with the predawn and dusk light we have a little over 7 hours of actual light.

6. Neighbors help each other up here a LOT. Employees don’t feel entitled to their jobs – they come to work on time and put in a full days’ worth of work without someone monitoring them. What novel concepts! It is so refreshing and delightful. I am amazed by both of these aspects of Alaskan life on a weekly basis.

7. More and more windmills are popping up around the valley with the cost of fuel oil and energy going up. We’ve learned that windmills only need 8 mph winds to work but shutdown in 50 mph winds or higher. And, the Chinooks coming down off the glacier during the winter get speeds upwards of and over category 1 hurricanes.

8. Gas has finally dropped down to $4.19 per gallon this week. We had a significant lag behind the rest of the country when prices started to drop. So much so that the State is having an investigation into why. I think we have two refineries in the state but am not up on them to say much more.

9. The State fair was awesome. It wasn’t any bigger than some of the larger county fairs I have been to. But, it did have different activities. There was the midway with all the rides and carnival games. There were the many vendors of food. There were the buildings full of crafts, foods, and animals on display. What was different were the multitude of vendors selling their wares. Everything from windmills to chainsaw carvings. And, the veggies were much, much bigger than anything I’ve ever seen. They had lumberjack demos, concert after concert, fireworks 3 of the 11 days, yarn spinning demos, political booths, and so much more. The Alaska State Troopers wrote over 1,700 traffic tickets around the event. We were lucky that we live just around the corner from the fair. We only had to step outside each night to see the fireworks.

10. The permanent fund dividend or PFD is a whopping $3,269 per Alaskan – man, woman and child. $1,200 of it is a fuel cost payment to help folks pay their bills this winter. And, wouldn’t you know it, we aren’t eligible yet. In fact, we won’t be eligible until calendar year 2010. That’s right we won’t be getting the $6,538 this year. You have to live here for one full year and then you are eligible the next calendar year. So, since we didn’t move up here until the end of February we won’t have been here a year until February of 2009 making 2010 the next calendar year. Bummer.

January 4, 2009

Boy! Am I behind in these (over 2 months now! for shame). Well, blame it on the audit, the state conferences, the holidays and the 20+ degrees below zero that we have been in for a week now. Anyway, I’m back! So, here goes:

1. I know I’ve mentioned before how big the ravens are. But, I didn’t appreciate that fact until I went back to Georgia over the Christmas holidays. I grew up thinking that crows were big birds. Ha! It would take 4 crows (2 side-by-side with another 2 on their shoulders) to equal the size of a raven. It’s a BIG bird. They are everywhere and vocal. They cluck like turkeys and imitate other birds. I’m fascinated by them.

2. At -23° even our 5-star energy rated home has ice around the bottoms of our windows. The snow froze to some extent where the sun shines on it. And, there’s hoar frost on everything. It’s pretty. Emlee still hates to wear her boots but they do keep her feet from freezing.

3. The sun is now low on the horizon each day now. And, it is behind Pioneer’s Peak most of the day when it’s up. So, we don’t get direct sunlight at our house until after noon. But, we are now gaining daylight at a rapid pace just as we lost it this fall. Daylight starts creeping in around 8:30 a.m. though the sun doesn’t come up until just after 10 a.m. And, it is dark by 5 p.m. with the sun setting just before 4 p.m.

4. Gary is learning the adventures of using a snowblower. The first time he ran it the wind was blowing and he got covered from head to toe in snow. Since then he has learned to wear a raincoat over his jacket. And, with the snow over a foot deep Miss Emlee has to have snowtrails made for her in the backyard. She is only 14 inches high.

5. Everyone should get the man in their life (husband, father, brother, whomever) a wireless weather station that uploads data to Weather Underground. If I had only known one would bring so much joy I would have bought my husband one long before now. He is just tickled to death that the temperature outside is off the scale which I think goes down to minus 21 degrees.

6. Most of you know that I wear skirts, dresses or skirt suites to work most days. I have several long skirts with wool that are just fine for these cold days. But, I don’t have enough of them to wear day in and day out. So, I’ve resorted to wearing tights. Pantyhose don’t cut it at -23°. I also have some kicking snow boots that I wear until I get to the office. Those pretty shoes that most women love to wear will kill your ass if you try to walk in the snow and ice here.

7. My staff are trying to save me from myself. So far they have given me gloves, a scarf and warm footie things as well as tons of advice. They call me crazy when I walk in each morning with only a sweater on over my clothes. They don’t seem to notice that I am carrying my heavy coat which I put on when I leave. Why would I put a coat on when going from my kitchen into my heated garage? My Trailblazer is warm and it’s only a 50 ft. walk to the building from where I park. Going home though is a different story.

8. When it’s friggin cold outside like it is now and you sit in your automobile waiting for it to warm up before you head home from work the windows on the inside frost over from the condensation in your breath. I don’t mean fog over, I mean frost over. Ice. I try to go out at lunch to warm my Trailblazer up so that it doesn’t sit for 10 hours in below zero temps.

9. Our vehicles are filthy. It hasn’t warmed up above zero since the last snowfall and mud from sanding of the roads covered our vehicles. The nearest carwash is about 3 miles away but I wouldn’t chance my vehicle freezing up on the drive back home. So, we wait with dirty cars until the temps at least stay above zero for a few days.

10. When there’s lots of snow on the ground and the wind is blowing at near hurricane strength you end up with a ground snow storm blowing sideways. It isn’t snowing – the snow is so dry that the wind is picking it up off the ground. It can get near whiteout conditions as you drive by the lakes.

More Winter Wonderland 007