#ThursdayThirteen from author @PiperPunches and #TheWaitingRoom

Welcome to one of my favorite features here at Through Stephanie’s Eyes. Thursday Thirteen showcases either the first thirteen lines or sentences of the latest release of my guests. This week I’m excited to welcome author Piper Punches.

Her debut novel The Waiting Room came out just a few short months ago and already it’s racked up a pretty good line of 5 star reviews on Amazon. Here’s the blurb:

Find this on Amazon

Waiting rooms tell stories. They are a medical purgatory. Some sit in the waiting room for hours to be shone the light, graced with blessings. For others this is the final holding room before they are delivered into hell; facing uncertainty, despair, sadness, even death. 

When Charlotte receives a note on the day of her mother’s funeral containing a cryptic message, she is confused and intrigued. Although she knew that waiting rooms told stories, she never realized that part of her own story resided in this seemingly neutral environment. But, then again, why should she be surprised? Her mother had secrets. Charlotte knew this. She just didn’t know how life-altering those secrets could be. . . 

A stunning debut novel from Piper Punches, The Waiting Room weaves a tale that reveals the complexities of family, the invisible bonds that connect people, and the pain that can reverberate through the choices we make. Told from several points of view the story becomes clearer and clearer with each turn of the page that the secrets we keep aren’t always ours to take to the grave. 

Now, here are the opening lines…

I had never felt so many emotions in one day. Never had I found myself sobbing guttural, disgusting sobs one minute and feeling completely elated and awestruck the next. All day long I received strangers, childhood friends, even a random news crew at my mother’s home; all of them offering condolences, adding their memories to the collection of things I didn’t know about my mom, and telling me what a wonderful woman Dr. Sylvie Day had been. I listened politely and nodded accordingly, feeling at ease, yet utterly bewildered that my mother had touched the lives of hundreds of people in this small town, not to mention scores of others who mailed or posted social media condolences.

Each person that stepped over the threshold of my mother’s two-bedroom farmhouse brought with them a symbol of their generation. The oldest of my mother’s patients brought baked goods. Middle-aged women and men brought flowers or plants. The youngest visitors were teenagers, with empty hands and sullen faces, being dragged to the visitation as evidence of all the good my mother had done in this small town. After all, she had birthed at least three-fourths of them.

About the Author

Piper Punches lives in the far west suburbs of St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. The Waiting Room is her debut novel. Piper is excited to connect with her readers and encourages everyone to stop by her website and say hello. In the meantime, she is currently working on her second novel, 60 Days, which will be available April 2014 and a short novella, Missing Girl, available January 2014.

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OhMy! Monday: @StephRyanAuthor Loves Flawed Female Characters #amwriting #ASMSG #MyWANA

Welcome to another Oh My! Monday. This week I wanted to touch upon a hot topic buzzing around the author community. The discussions all center on female characters and whether or not the weak, blank slates are more accepted than the visions of perfection.

I say neither. I want a female who’s a combination of both. She should be a blank slate when faced with a new adventure. She may have some preconceived notions about it, but she’s willing to learn from her journey and adapt as she goes along. She should be confident,but not afraid to show her vulnerable side. She shouldn’t think her life isn’t complete unless she’s in a relationship, but she better damn well not shove someone out of her life because “she doesn’t need anyone.”

Do you see where I’m going with this? 

My favorite characters are flawed and REAL. They’re smart and talented in a variety of different ways, but their far from perfect. Perfect heroines are BORING. Completely blank, single dimensional characters or boring and IRRITATING as hell. Someone made a valid point as to why these blank slate characters are so appealing (think Anastasia of 50 Shades…). Readers identify with these sort of creatures because it’s easier to insert themselves into the story if they don’t have to pretend to be strong, assertive, smart, self sufficient, and unafraid to try new adventures.

Yeah, that may be true. Personally I think it’s a crock and a cop out. I love meaty, raw, in your face female characters who’ve been kicked to the curb one too many times and now they’re fighting back. I like to put myself in their shoes and story lines during the times when I’m not my strongest. Through the lives of these colorful heroines I can escape and maybe feel good about myself because I concurred a fear or two…even if it was just in a fictionalized tale.

I read Fifty Shades and the other two books in the series. I also read all of the Twilight books. I enjoyed all of them…not the female leads though. I wanted to grab both of them and shake the shit out of them.

There have been a lot of reviewers attacking the strong, self-reliant, heroines. They think their abilities to get through adversity on their own is just as irritating as I find the blank slates. I’ll give odds 10 to 1 that these very same reviewers would attack the blank slates with just as much venom.


Women in general can’t be happy for another woman…ever. There’s always a bit of jealousy there. I’m guilty of it as much as anyone and it’s one of my own characteristics I’m not fond of and would just as soon dump it on the curb. Unfortunately, it’s a part of me as much as my hatred of black licorice and the taste of coffee.

Before you jump all over me about the virtues of the candy and a good strong cup of Joe, stop.  Just stop. I have my opinions and you have yours. My tastes are mine and yours are yours. There will always be someone out there who doesn’t like my characters. I’m fine with that. 

What I won’t do is change them to make those few people happy. If I do, I’ll only anger another group who adored everything about them. I’ve decided to let the characters speak for themselves and the chips fall where they may. It’s all a crap shoot anyway. 

So here’s to writing the best story you can, with characters who are real and true to themselves. May all of us find others to share our worlds and have fun along the way.

Until next time,

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