In life my name was Sophia Lucia Cruz. In death it is simply missing girls. Not even singular, but plural, as if there was never one single part of me that was unique or separate from all the other girls that were buried in that harsh Mexican dirt; victims of circumstance, irrevocable choices, and just plain bad luck. If I still had the capacity to cry, I would, because it is that sad and tragic. But when the knife slid deep into my belly and the blood gurgled at the base of my throat I knew that tears wouldn’t save me and they won’t change my story now.
Sophia Cruz was what many would consider an average 17-year-old girl from Mission Valley, until the day she had a knife put to her stomach and fear inserted into her heart. Some may have called it stupidity. She called it a necessary sacrifice. Why else would she leave everything behind to walk arm in arm with the devil into a world of prostitution and human imprisonment?
This is Sophia’s story. She wants you to know who she was before that day. Before she became just another missing girl . . .
Missing Girl, is a powerful, provocative story that explores the depths of familial love and the horrors of the human trafficking epidemic that plagues our global community. Sophia’s story is a fictional account of what so many real- life women and children experience every single moment of their lives when they are forced into sexual slavery and human imprisonment.
About this playlist: When I write, I rarely listen to music. But I often hear songs that have a phrase or a word or even a vibe that remind me of characters or settings in my story. Missing Girl isn’t very long and neither is my playlist, but sometimes it’s about quality not quantity.
1. Put Your Lights On – Santana/Everlast
2. Miss Missing You – Fall Out Boy
3. Lights – Ellie Goulding
4. 10 2 10 – Big Sean
5. Rabiosa – Shakira/Pitbull
6. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
Piper Punches grew up in a rural Missouri town in the far west suburbs of St. Louis. As early as kindergarten, Piper began her adventure as a storyteller. It wasn’t long before others caught on that her talented storytelling was actually a disguise for her tendency to be a pathological liar. Luckily, by the time high school rolled around she got her act together and began to channel her bad girl tendencies into something constructive.
By the age of 16 she had written her novel, Silent Witness; a John Grisham- like tale about the treachery and brutality of the Colombian cartel. Before ever hitting the book shelves, Silent Witness was adapted into a screenplay that was picked up by a major Hollywood studio. It was at this time that Piper learned the harsh lessons of Hollywood and the literary world. NEVER pay an agent one measly dollar until you have a contract in your hands and listen to your parents when they advise you against blindly sending $500 to have your dreams come true overnight. Sometimes parents actually know what they are talking about.
For the next several years (okay, about 20 years) Piper held onto her dream of becoming a published novelist, but decided to take up procrastination instead. It didn’t pay well, but it sure felt great to get nothing accomplished and pursue other random dreams. Finally, in 2012, after an eight year period as a social worker and a seven year stint as a business owner Piper decided it was time to get back into the habit of storytelling . . . err, writing. She began freelancing and ghost writing for several popular websites, while continuing to postpone writing her original work.
Piper’s mother had told her during her teenage years that writers write what they know. Of course, she didn’t take her mother’s advice back then and continued to write about drug cartels (because didn’t you know that every 16 year old living in rural Missouri knows about drug cartels? Meth – maybe. Colombia drug runners – no). However, in true Piper fashion, after 20 years she finally took that parental advice.
In late fall of 2013, Piper debuted her first novel as a bona fide adult. The Waiting Room is a novel that started as the title of a short story collection, but quickly proved it could be so much more. It evolved into a story about the complexities of family, the invisible bonds that connect people, and the pain that can reverberate through the choices we make.
Piper Punches lives 45 minutes from downtown St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. She continues procrastinate and write on a daily basis and is excited to share her stories with new readers each and every day!
2. A trip to India and Africa is on my bucket list.
3. I could eat sour cream with a spoon.
4. My parents decided public school was a bad influence on me when in the 7th grade I decided to use the school’s copy machine to alter my report card. I was promptly sent to a catholic school for 8th grade and went to a Catholic high school.
5. During that 7th grade year, I spent the majority of my lunches using a payphone trying to contact the New Kids on the Block to schedule a concert at our school.
6. I wrote my first full-length novel at the age of 16.
7. I have ran three half marathons, but I have no desire to run a full marathon – EVER!
8. At the age of 27, I decided to stop trying to dye my hair lighter and go for the natural look. That is when genetics decided to laugh in my face and began weaving gray throughout my hair. Needless to say, I now have to dye my hair every three weeks.
9. I visited NYC in 2010 and had the opportunity to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But, because I hate the cold, I ended standing inside of a mall and watching the parade from a window.
10. The most moving experience I ever had was when I visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Atlanta.
11. I love to read, but I am not someone that plows through books. I like to take my time and fall in love with the story. Sometimes I will purposely take a month or more to finish a book because I don’t want it to end.
12. Aside from writing, I also teach music and movement to preschoolers.
13. The job that shaped and molded me into the person I am today was at a domestic violence shelter where I worked for 8 years.
14. If I were not a writer, my dream job would be a profiler with the FBI.
15. Following that train of thought . . . I have an unhealthy obsession with serial killers and international terrorists.
16. My husband and I applied for The Amazing Race. Still waiting on that phone call. . .
17. Once I find a pair of shoes I love, I never want to let them go. I have stapled, glued, and taped shoes back together because I couldn’t fathom throwing them away.
18. I am only 5’1, so high heels are my best friend.
19. Someday I want to star on General Hospital and play a backstabbing villian.
20. Lastly, I used to think that Miami was a person like “My aunt, my uncle, my cousin.” I wasn’t the quickest kid. Good thing I outgrew that!
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