Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reunion by Jeff Bennington

David Ray killed eight students and then turned the gun on himself. He thought the shooting and suicide would fix his world. It didn't. The massacre threw Tanner Khan and the other survivors into chaos.

Twenty years later, Tanner and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion to lay the past to rest. Although they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray.

Once inside the old school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue, and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears and put the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?

****This multi-genre thriller has, at times, elements of the supernatural, horror, romance, and certainly suspense, without disregard for the trauma and long term Post Traumatic Stress that many survivors will deal with the rest of their lives.


"Jeff Bennington cuts right to the heart of darkness and evil in REUNION. Don't plan on getting any sleep once you start reading." - Joe Moore, international bestselling co-author of THE 731 LEGACY and THE GRAIL CONSPIRACY.

"Reunion tackles a controversial subject with dramatic insight and grace." - Bestselling author & Bram Stoker nominee, Scott Nicholson, author of The Red Church

"When I started reading Reunion I was shocked by the quality of writing. Natural dialogue, good flow, interesting story, and efficient prose—it's all in there! This book draws you in quickly and doesn't let go." - Neal Hock, Bookhound's Den

"The malevolent entity in REUNION typifies the dark side of the paranormal. Jeff Bennington's new thriller is haunting my dreams." - Michael Clark, Executive Producer of Ghost Guys and Ghost Guys LIVE.

Book Review: Reunion by Jeff Bennington

Jeff Bennington, author of The Rumblin’, has been praised by many for his works. His ability to accurately depict the “dark” side of human emotions especially shines in his new book, Reunion.

David Ray, murderer of classmates and destroyer of dreams, shot himself and died on graduation day. Twenty years later, several survivors are determined to go back to the place where their fears originated: Crescent Falls High School. Most of them had left Crescent Falls without a backwards glance after the massacre, but suddenly they felt a need to overcome the past. Unfortunately, mysterious things have been happening at the place where their reunion is to be held. The survivors unknowingly walk straight into the death trap… to possibly never come back out.

A supernatural horror that would grab your interest (and also your heart) and never let go, the Reunion will cause you to cry, smile, hope, and cower under your blanket, though not necessarily in that order. To conclude, all I can say is this: this book is a masterpiece." - 1412, Goodreads Reviewer

Available in Print and Kindle at

NOOK ebook at Barnes&


Jeff Bennington Takes His New Book REUNION on a 45 Day Blog Tour


David Ray kills eight in a failed attempt to fix his world. Twenty years later, the survivors organize a reunion. Old flames rekindle, fears ignite, and their lives explode in a whirlwind of memories. Will the classmates overcome their fears or be consumed by their nightmares?



Amazon Kindle Edition:

Amazon Print:

B&N eBook:



Starting April 1, I'm going on a blog tour until May 15th. During this time I'll be giving away 1 Kindle and two signed copies of REUNION.

For Blog tour details and rules, go to

Tour Schedule


1 - Candace's Book Blog - "The Story behind the Story." (REUNION available to eReaders.)

2 - The Cajun Book Lady - "Meet the Survivors."

3 - Julia Madeleine's Blog - "Why write fiction about a school shooting?"

4 - Bewitched Book Worms - "Why ghosts make great antagonists."

5 - Indie Paranormal Book Reviews - "Creating back story: David Ray's dark past."

6 - The Creative Penn - "Got Story? - Get Edited."

7 - Pinnacle Writing - "Author Interview."

8 - Jemima Valentino's Blog - "Book to Print: The Making of a Story."

9 - Swamp Dwellers, Dark Fiction Book reviews - "The Dark in Fiction."

10 - Jennifer Wylie's Blog - "Author Interview."

11 - Kait Nolan - "Supernatural, Love, and Fear."

12 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview with Lana Jones & Noah Berkley."

13 - Reading Without Restraint - "Twenty years after the shooting."

14 - Good Choice Reading - "Jeff's only Live Interview: Open questions from host and followers."

15 - Preternatural Primer - "Building Suspense one Ghost at a Time."

16 - 100 Stars or Less - "Author interview"

17 - Readaholic - "My experience with Blog tours... so far."

18 - Lost For Words - "Interviewing Tanner Khan: The Lost Survivor."

19 - I Am a Reader Not a Writer - "Author interview."

20 - The Writing Bomb - "Remembering Columbine: April, 20, 1999."

21 - Go YAY Reviews - TBA

22 - Reena's Blog - "Making a story go from scratch."

23 - Wakela's World - TBA

24 - You Wanna Know What I Think? - "The Motivation Behind Reunion."

25 - The Book Tree - TBA

26 - My Reading Room - "Author Interview"

27 - My Neurotic Book Affair - "Character Interview with Nick Tooley: The cRaZy One."

28 - Courtney Conant's Blog - "Questions about REUNION."

29 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview With Kate Schmidt Tooley: ."

30 - Paranormal Haven - "I'll have a Love, Ghosts and Fear Martini."


1 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview with Maria Vasquez: The Lonely One" (REUNION Available in Print!)

2 - My Eclectic Bookshelf - "My life as a Guest Blogger!"

3 - Fang-tastic Books - "Why I write Supernatural Thrillers."

4 - Bookhound's Den - "Proofing REUNION, what the Bookhound discovered."

5 - Patricia's Vampire Notes - "The story of Earl: My real ghost experience."

6 - AOBibliosphere - "Getting the story into Print and the Passion behind it."

7 - Book Noise - "How to Make a Book Read Loudly!"

8 - TzhaBella's Book Shelf - "Thoughts on Bringing Life into Paper."

9 - Rex Robot Reviews - "Thoughts on Plotting: How to pull it all together."

10 - JoJo's Book Corner - "Would the Correct Genre Please Stand!"

11 - Paul Joseph Writes - "Why Bullies Suck!"

12 - Frugal Family -

13 - OPEN: Last day of The REUNION Blog Tour!

14 - The Writing Bomb - Tour Wrap Up...Packing for Vacation.

14 - The Book Worm Blog - TBA

15 - Announce Winners of Kindle Giveaway!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Odessa: Seraphym Wars by Rebecca Ryals Russell

My debut YA Dark Fantasy novel releases April 1st from It is the first book of a series. Readers can see more about it and order it at or It is an eBook for now with print coming later.

There will be a virtual blog tour throughout the month of April with TONS of prizes. I will forward the schedule as soon as it is ready.


Myrna Ashlin Watts is a high school Senior in Jacksonville, Fl when she is transported to a bizarre and primal planet corrupted by demon-dragons. And they want her dead. Her problem is, she has been recruited to kill them, too.

Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead an army of six teens called The Vigorios (demon-hunters) all the while battling dragons and monsters as they cross swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She wrangles with mental scars of a demon attack when she was fifteen and a vision of those same demons killing her brother two years later.

Three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil? Whom can she trust, if anyone, even herself? How can anyone expect her, a kid in high school to be a leader? Much less one who leads an army of kids in a Holy battle?

Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mystery Monday for March 28



Carole Sutton

And the Devil Laughed by Carole Sutton

Undercover cop, Hannah Ford, eager to return to work after trauma leave, takes on a drug-surveillance job in Draper’s Wharf. The small town on the banks of the Parramatta River in Australia has links to the drug trade - so the latest whisper goes.

But when she arrives, the town was in shock after the rape and murder of its local barmaid. Hannah, a rape victim, with a career to salvage, needs to prove she can hack it. Or, is her worst nightmare about to be re-enacted when the villains learn her true identity.

(Short Listed for the Genre Fiction Award by New Holland Publishers 2007)


Old Marty could have chosen a better day for his funeral. The gravedigger hawked and spat a gobbet of phlegm. He squatted against an old stone wall and sniffed the damp air. He turned his weary face upwards to check the progress of a threatening squall line. Fat drops of rain fell on his cheeks.

The warning on the radio that morning told of severe weather from the west approaching Sydney. It was coming in earlier than expected. He rolled his tobacco, lit up and let the weed dangle between his lips. He hoped to God they’d be finished in time. He shifted and sat, gangly arms looped around his legs – a bag of aching bones. Across the tombstones towards the church, he could see the funeral party on its way.

Reverend Timms led the procession along the narrow path, his balding head bowed to the wind, black and purple robes blown flat against his legs. The quartet of undertakers in maroon suits carried Old Marty in a coffin crowned with yellow roses. The widow, wrapped in a navy blue anorak, clutched the arm of her tall, angular sister. A few members of the Over 60s Club trailed along in their wake.

Large multi-coloured umbrellas mushroomed to shelter the mourners. The gravedigger sniffed again as the party stopped beside the hole he’d dug the night before. Brought up in an age when the predominant colour at funerals was black, the gaily-coloured golfing shades they used today struck a note of incongruity and turned his graveyard into a fairground. The billowing storm cloud burst. The gravedigger lurched to his feet and stumbled to his shed.

Storm driven rain slanted in the wind, bounced off the ground. Ferocious gusts tore at the robust umbrellas, lifted the corners of the tarpaulin covering the loose earth and turned the soil into a running river of mud. Deep puddles formed at the base of the grave, shifting and resettling the dirt.

As the minister began his intonation, the first of the storm clouds passed. The sun found an avenue between the clouds. In the moment’s respite, raindrops hung like splinters of glass from the surrounding bushes and trees. Freed from the umbrella’s cover, the widow lifted her face to the sky to look at the expanding rainbow. Her tall sister took a step forward to peer into the waterlogged grave.

Her scream drove seagulls from the church roof into the air with raucous cries and brought the gravedigger back to the party. Reverend Timms jerked forward, his gaze following the agitated woman’s pointed finger. Others bent to see.

There, in the dark wet pit, emerging from the muddied waters, they saw a human hand. Stark in its whiteness, washed by the rain, scarlet lacquer and bejewelled rings adorned the fingers. Runnels of water drained down the wrist and forearm as the water level dropped away. Only the tatty remnants of a thin blanket of soil remained to cover the naked, blue-tinged body of a young woman.

Straightening up, the minister met the gravedigger’s eyes. Turning to the undertakers, he nodded for them to take up their burden once more. Then gently he shepherded the funeral party back to the church. The gravedigger returned to his shed. With someone else occupying his grave, Old Marty would have to wait awhile.

Available in Print and Kindle at

Available at Barnes&

Carole Sutton

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sample Sunday for March 27

Today we are treated to a Sample of

Piety and Murder


Thomas Drinkard

A Sample of Piety and Murder by Thomas Drinkard

Ahead of me, a tractor-trailer rig was in the right lane, brake lights flaring. I looked in the left rearview mirror, to pull into the left lane and pass, but a blue and white pickup pulled even with me and crowded me toward the rail. As I slowed, he slowed. It looked at first like the normal stupid driving one sees on the bridge every day, until I glanced in the rearview and saw an identical pickup on my rear… much too close to my bumper.

I started bumping the brake to keep the guy behind me off the back bumper. We were all still moving at about twenty or twenty-five mph. Where were we on the bridge? Yes, up there ahead. Just about a half-mile lay the last U-turn.

The pickup behind me tapped the Jeep’s rear bumper, the rig in front slowed even more. The pickup in the left lane had pulled alongside, then slightly ahead. These damned pickups looked like the ones I had seen at the turnarounds with trailers to haul off vehicles that have broken down. But these were sure as hell not driven by the Causeway emergency crews.

I had always idly wondered, and never knew, what those small trapdoors about sixteen inches square, on both sides of the large rear doors on some tractor-trailer rigs were for. Just then the one of them opened, and I saw one use. The door on the right side dropped down and the ugly nose of something that looked like an assault rifle poked out and pointed down at us.

I hit the brakes, still going about fifteen mph and was rewarded with hard smack on the rear bumper from the truck behind me. I simultaneously yelled at Rita to get down under the dash and snatched the Desert Eagle from its holster from under the seat.

The windshield exploded as two rounds slammed through. Either the bastard shooting was a lousy marksman, or the moving target and strange lighting on the windshield threw him off. He missed both of us.

Then the back window blew out. We were stopped. Surrounded. I slammed the Jeep into park. The engine was still running. I flipped the safety to the “fire” position
on the Desert Eagle.

As always, in the haze that envelops me in battle, I remember tiny, insignificant detail; like how the glass from the windshield had shattered into such tiny pieces and sparkled on the dashboard. The rig ahead was silver, and needed washing. The guy in the rig was swinging the barrel of the weapon for a carefully aimed shot. He had evidently figured the angle.

I put two quick rounds just below the trapdoor, about a foot apart, blowing neat holes through the thin skin of the trailer and probably out the other end of the rig. The “double tap,” handgun instructors call it. The rifle barrel disappeared.

The passenger door to the pickup on the left was opening. I couldn’t see who was exiting yet, but there was a weapon preceding him. I shot through the door of the truck twice. A man with a stubby assault weapon fell out to the pavement. I was about to put another shot through the cab at the driver, when I felt and heard the whip-snap of a bullet nearly taking off the top of my right ear.

The truck behind! Brinson, you dumbshit!

I was damned nearly deaf from the big .50’s roar inside the jeep, and had been totally involved in those who I could see ahead and to the left of me. I opened my door to drop out just as a round hit the left rearview mirror. As my door swung open, two rounds went through it. I pushed it to the full open position then spun across the seat to the passenger door, raised up quickly, shot through the windshield of the pickup behind us, left and right. The shooter was hanging out the passenger door with what looked like an AK-47. He dropped behind the door, apparently not hit.

I had two rounds left in the pistol and one more seven-round magazine. I shot one of those remaining in the pistol through the radiator of the truck behind me, ducked down, changed magazines and quickly popped up to see what was in front of me.

Nothing. Both the tractor-trailer rig and pickup truck to the left had gone. I left the door open, leaned left and looking at the road between the door hinge and body of the Jeep, snatched the gear selector into drive floored the gas pedal. I nearly jolted myself out of the seat, but managed to hang on to the steering wheel. A round from the truck behind us hit the left front roof column, and I swerved back and forth a little to screw up his aim. Screaming down the road with wind tearing at my eyes, my ears ringing I managed a glance back.

The truck wasn’t following. We were alone on the bridge.

The tractor-trailer rig had evidently gone straight ahead. One of those pickups must have been towing an emergency hitch and trailer—probably for my jeep.

I reached out to check Rita. She had not moved or made any sound since she had crouched in the well under the dash. I didn’t think she could have been hit, but a cold, immediate fear blanketed me. As I touched her back, she uncoiled to face me, her face white and eyes glittering. She held a small automatic. Then, understanding she was safe, shrunk back into her seat gulping for air.

“Keep your pistol ready and your head down.” I spoke to her as if she were a fellow trooper in combat, which was true enough at the moment. I paused long enough to make sure my pistol was on “safe,” and headed the Jeep toward home.

I shook like a drenched man standing in a cold wind.

Available at Amazon/Kindle

Barnes&Noble nook

Thomas Drinkard at IAN

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Spotlight for March 26, 2011

Our Saturday Spotlight is

Fighting the Devil - A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder


Jeannie Walker

Fighting the Devil - A True Story by Jeannie Walker

A Texas millionaire rancher discovered his wife and bookkeeper had stolen thousands of dollars from him. After he demanded the money back, he started getting sick. While in the hospital, doctors were mystified as to how an otherwise healthy, energetic man could become so deathly ill. The dying man told everyone within earshot that his wife and bookkeeper were killing him. The man's wife said her husband was hallucinating from drugs the doctors were giving him. The millionaire rancher succumbed in the hospital while strapped down to his bed with restraints on his hands and feet and tubes in every orifice. After the rancher died, an anonymous caller tipped off the police. The widow was the sole beneficiary of the estate and a $350,000 life insurance policy. A week before the man's death, a teenager visited the rancher's home and became deathly ill after he drank juice that was in the rancher's refrigerator. Two years after the millionaire's death, a bottle of arsenic was found in a storage locker rented by a woman under an assumed name. The millionaire's ex-wife, the mother of his children, became a sleuth to help solve the murder. No one could have predicted the aftermath with its strange twists and unexpected results.

Fighting the Devil is a 2010 Book Of The Year Awards Finalist at ForeWord Reviews!

Available in Paperback and Hardcover at

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fling Friday for March 25

The Fling Friday Romance post is

Bent, Not Broken by William R. Potter

Fling Friday is the place for Romance Guest posts. IAN members are invited to send in their synopsis or review of romance books. Also Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Erotica, GBLT and all the other Romance sub-genres!

Bent, Not Broken-A Modern Romance by William R. Potter

Dwayne Johnson knows he is different. He lives in a world that can always be depended on to remind him of his strangeness. Despite his social awkwardness, Dwayne meets a beautiful woman at a bus stop and soon his entire life transforms. Unfortunately his obsessions work against him, keeping the couple apart pushing Dwayne to the point of alcoholism and insanity.

* * *

I really want to tell you about “Bent, Not Broken" a story that should not be missed.

Dwayne suffers from OCD. I think that after finishing the story that some of my own compulsive tendencies have flared, but I’m not Dwayne. Dwayne must live in a world of odd numbers preferring 3s, 5s, and 7s. One of the more touching moments is when Dwayne is out on a date and he needed an extra chair and place setting at the table in order to feel comfortable, and I think that I’m hard to live with.

Dwayne is excellent at his job. He calls people that he refers to as “marks” and asks them about their preferences, surveys them about food, TV, etc, and rewards those who answer them with valuable coupon books. He holds the record for the most completed surveys in one shift. He is loved by his boss; hated by his co-workers. To Dwayne, his co-workers are the terrible trio. They play games with this desk, putting an extra pen in his up so that they number 4 or 6 or 8. These games make it impossible for Dwayne to focus.

The one thing that Dwayne has going for him is a mysterious woman that he calls Black-Coat Girl who is at the bus stop everyday at the same time he drives by on his way to work. Dwayne has made up several stories about Black-Coat Girl, who she is, what she does, why she takes the bus.

What is really nice about this story is that it has a very Punch-Drunk Love romantic twist that takes a seven car pileup on a snowy day to kick off. Dwayne has to take the bus, the very same bus that Black-Coat Girl takes. And on that day, Black-Coat Girl sits down beside him and admits that she thinks of him as her 20-Second Boyfriend.

The writing is really well done. The descriptions of Dwayne’s inner experience are strange and wildly detailed. They have a bumpy start to things, but their story ends well, not the happily ever after kind of ending, but an ending that suits the characters and left me wanting for more.
by Aaron Wilson

Available in Kindle at

Also available in Multiple ebook foramts at

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thriller Thursday For March 24

Our Thriller Thursday post is

Piety and Murder


Thomas Drinkard

Piety and Murder by Thomas Drinkard


Mack Brinson has two major problems. He is trying to recover from the long trauma of losing the love of his life—his wife Song. Now, his only family, Song’s mother Huong, is being systematically, and legally, bilked by a sleazy televangelist’s organization. When Brinson goes to the smarmy preacher’s headquarters in an attempt to stop the thievery, he is physically threatened. Brinson is a former Green Beret and isn’t intimidated. He goes after the preacher in an attempt to gather embarrassing information. When he gets too close, someone tries to murder him in a running gunfight on the Lake Ponchartrain Bridge. Along the way, Brinson meets a woman, Pattie, who finally begins to dissolve the emotional walls he has erected. He begins to learn how to love again. There is an unseen hand behind the preacher’s organization. The face of the antagonist is unclear, but when Huong is kidnapped, Brinson has to call on his old Special Operations contacts to find the kidnapper and rescue her. The face of the man behind the televangelist finally becomes clear and shocking. Vengeance: slow and awful lies ahead.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WIP Wednesday for March 23/2011

Our Works in Progress post is by Rebecca Ryals Russell

Rebecca Ryals Russell Discusses her Works In Progress

I believe I have done something unusual in the publishing world. I am simultaneously publishing a YA series and a MG series with the same concepts, but rewritten for each age group.

The YA series, Seraphym Wars, debuts April 1 with Odessa. It is about 17 year old Myrna who must find and train the other six Vigorios to assist the Seraphym in a Holy War against the demons on their home planet of Dracwald. for more.

The MG series, Stardust Warriors, is about 14 year old Zarena who must locate the remaining six Vigorios and get them trained for the same war.

So what is the difference, besides the Protagonist’s age? It is the POV, some of the action, and there is very little romance in the MG version, while Myrna struggles to discover her true love while on her quest. The YA version also contains graphic violence left out of the MG series.

As an author and reader, I have been cognizant of the fact current MG readers may later read the YA series as well—indeed I hope they do. To that end, I have incorporated several different adventures in the MG series that are not found in the YA and vice-versa. It is my hope that the MG readers will fall in love with Dracwald and the characters so much they will continue reading the YA series as they themselves age.

I have even toyed with writing several Early Chapter books and Picture books using some of the sweet characters as a way of introducing the ideas and world even earlier.

In addition to the text, I have illustrated nearly every monster, creature, character, dragon, and some scenes, which I hope to publish in a print edition along with the map of Dracwald. In the meanwhile, readers can find the map and many of these illustrations on my website, on the link labeled Interactive Activities. Within the site they can also read about the various books in each series and the younger books in the WIP tab.

I have also considered turning the story into a Graphic Novel, as it is fast-paced and very visual. My own artistic skills are not up to par for that endeavor, however, so I have not pursued it. But I am open to anyone who would be interested in discussing it.

Watch for the first book of the MG series Stardust Warriors – Zarena to be released July 2011.

Here is the up-to-date release schedule of my upcoming books (so far). I am currently writing the next three books in the Stardust Warriors series and Book 3 Majikals in the Seraphym Wars series, as well as a YA Dystopian Romance and the aforementioned Chapter Books and Picture books.


April 2011-Odessa, Seraphym Wars YA Series OR

July 2011-Zarena, Stardust Warriors MG Series

September 2011-Guardian, Seraphym Wars

October 2011-Don’t Make Marty Mad (adult Horror story)

November 2011-Jeremiah, Stardust Warriors

January 2012-Harpies, Seraphym Wars

February 2012-Laman, Stardust Warriors

April 2012-Mercy, Stardust Warriors

June 2012-Magaelbash, Stardust Warriors


Author website: MG & YA Fantasy Author Rebecca Ryals Russell at

Odessa Buy Page: OR

My books are available at MuseItUp Publishing in addition to all major eBook outlets:

MuseItUp Publishing Author Page:

Series websites: and

Visit Rebecca at her IAN Page

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Are What You Read by Adi Alaid

Today we have author and IAN member Adi Alsaid stopping by with a guest post.

This article originally appeared as a guest post for Peevish Penman.

As I drove home tonight, I listened to songs with lyrics I hadn’t intended to memorize but did somewhere along the way. The words were in me, lines that have been written into the library of things that I know, and I couldn’t help but sing them out loud. They’re part of me now, only to be wiped away by old age or alcohol or some other brain-cell killer. Instead of avoiding a fairly large pothole, I thought about how many lyrics have etched themselves into my head, become a part of me. Even if I’m misinterpreting them or misunderstanding them, they’re there, shaping the way I see the world simply because they’re offering their opinion.

I like the thought of words invading us without us realizing it. I have a whole document full of quotations, little snippets that I’ve taken from the books I’ve read. Some of them are just examples of writing that I find beautiful, worth repeating for the same reasons that a sunset is worth photographing. Others are passages that express an idea I wholeheartedly agree with in a way I just somehow never managed to. As George Orwell wrote, “The best books…are those that tell you what you know already.” I’ve reread and repeated these quotations so many times, written them down on notecards to sneak in between books at the library for others to find, tried to work them into as many conversations as relevance would allow. I’ve got a lifetime (sure, a relatively young lifetime, but a lifetime nonetheless) of memorized songs and read books, and I wonder how that’s shaped me, made me who I am, made believe the things I do.

Everyone’s shaped by words. Lessons handed to us through textbooks when we were young, sharp parental reprimands that taught us that certain things were wrong. Advice that was phrased so perfectly that we actually remember it for the rest of our lives. I think that as bibliophiles and word-lovers, we’re even more vulnerable to completely incorporate into who we are and what we believe the lyrics sung by musicians, the sentences written by writers, the words spoken by those around us.

My senior year in high school, I read Paul Auster’s Timbuktu, and after coming across the sentence, “The world was filled with such wonders, and it was a sad state of affairs when a man spent his time worrying about the wrong things,” I have actively spent the rest of my life trying not to worry about the wrong things, focusing instead on the wonders this world is so full of.

In The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, Susan Orlean writes that, “An ordinary life examined closely reveals itself to be exquisite and complicated and exceptional, somehow managing to be both heroic and plain.” And I whether I agreed with the thought before I read it is irrelevant- it’s now a thought that I can never get rid of, a philosophy that I see as one of life’s many truths.

“This life is big,” Jane McCafferty wrote in a story called Family on Ice, and the simple sentence became such a part of me, became my verbal reaction to so many of life’s moments that I tattooed it on my leg in three languages.

In my debut novel, Somewhere Over the Sun, the protagonist’s father, says the following about his son, a writer: “…he’s made up of words. All he is are sentences tangled together—so many words that they’re as dense as bone, as flexible as muscle, as soft as flesh. They carry the word “oxygen” to his brain and tell his heart, ‘Keep beating, keep beating.’”

If you were to somehow take me apart, deconstruct all my past decisions, all my current beliefs, you’d be able to trace them back to a sentence. Maybe a jumbled paragraph, Vonnegut followed by Woody Allen followed by Bob Dylan. You’d find that the written word has been invading me since I could read it, the spoken word since I could understand what it meant. I feel that if you could take yourself apart, you too would find that you are what you read.

Author bio: Adi Alsaid is a writer living in Mexico City currently working on his second novel and constantly obsessing over his Amazon sales ranking. His debut novel, Somewhere Over the Sun, was released in December 2010. It tells the story of Alan, a spirited young writer whose stories are coming to life in front of him. He embarks on a quixotic journey to visit friends and use his literary power to write them all happier lives.