Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

NOWHERE is somewhere

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That moment in time when a book changes your life…

It’s kind of liberating to step forth and proclaim the realization that literature can truly leave a mark on your being in a way you never thought possible. Before I step too far into this puzzling pool of wonder, let me elaborate a bit on how this came to be.

Books of all shapes and sizes have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child, they meant a great deal to me.

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I never read because I had to, I read because I needed to. My strength is bound in the power of words.

For as long as I can remember, novels were always my bounty, my hiding place, because I live inside my mind more than I could ever explain. When I read books, I see them vividly in torrents of color without boundaries. I read to “see”. When I write, it is the exact same way. I’m not one to map out or diagram a novel before diving into it headfirst. Instead, I take a simple idea and work forward as I watch each scene, from the curve of a character’s face, to the color, type and wonder of each bounty that surrounds them from all sides, unfolds. As they step forward, so do I. I’ve found over the years that most authors don’t write like this.

Many of us live internally in our own world of wonder. And that eclectic world of magnificence is embedded deep within our visual thoughts.

Recently a wonderful friend of mine sent me a book. One she said her son had recommended to her, and after she read it, her perspective on life changed. She wanted to share the same sense of power with me to see what I thought, and how I felt after reading it. I devoured it in a day, curled up in my home office, away from family for a few hours as I let it seep into me. I walked away with new eyes, and the ever growing urge and prompting to learn to find NOWHERE and visit it often.

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Finding the corridor of peace in the state of NOWHERE is hard for me. I am a busy, highly devoted wife and mother, and my days begin with a rushed feeling, and end with that same feeling as well. Raising three boys is demanding…raising kids in general is a 24 hour responsibility, yet my kids reside here at home with me all day, every day. We homeschool. Homeschooling is a calling. I felt called 5 years ago. I still feel that calling, and so do my husband and kids. But it doesn’t go without saying, that I do neglect things. And the biggest thing I neglect is myself. Not out of purpose, but out of performance.

Social media is my life. It’s what I do for a living, literally. I own my own social media company. My phone is glued to my hand, my tablet is sitting on my lap, or my computer resides in front of me all day, every day. It’s how I’ve learned to exist, to make a living, but all the while, I’ve forgotten what it meant to simply live, to just be, to find the comfort of NOWHERE.

In the past year, my life has changed dramatically in a number of ways. From health issues to relationship woes, to a finished novel and several new clients, yet somehow instead of meditating on how to cope and change with the ebb and flow of life, I’ve fled to filling up my schedule instead of filling up my often neglected spirit. I fled from NOWHERE to somewhere.

When I speak of NOWHERE, it means something much greater than the seven letters it’s composed of. It doesn’t mean staying put, it means putting down. And by putting down, I mean stepping away from the highway of life that moves at lightening speed every now and then. To exist. To be still. TO BE.

My middle child, who is 14, lives within his mind too. Just like his mom. I handed him the book when I was finished and gently said, “Read this. Today. Not tomorrow, not next week, today.” He took the book from my hands and instantly knew what I was saying. I found him a half an hour later, laid up in the corner of our living room with our dog in his lap, fully engulfed in the very same journey I had just taken a few hours before.

I’ve got a very in-tune connection with all of my kids, but my middle and I share a deep level of understanding that is often hard to explain to others. When he was three, he was diagnosed with high spectrum autism, often labeled as Asperger’s. He is wise beyond his years, and always has been. He still struggles in some areas, particularly with social skills, but I honestly think the culprit is the expansive mind he encumbers. There are times he trumps me in how he peels back the layers of a book, a song, or a simple sentence. He sees the core of things much deeper then most of us. I knew this book would speak to him in even bigger ways then how it spoke to me. I was right.

He finished. We talked. He uncovered the meat of the book in a few simple sentences, yet in a profoundly unbelievable way far beyond that of most teenagers, and I quote, “Speed is addictive. I’m not talking about drugs in this context, I’m talking about the need to embrace the empowerment it lends us in today’s society. When we slow down, we suffer from withdrawal and a sense of pain. When we are not a part of the structural highway of fast paced life, we find ourselves lost, and many of us, unaccepted. I think the real problem here is, we’ve learned to only accept ourselves when we are headed somewhere; a pinpoint. To say you’re going NOWHERE sounds superficial. Like you’re a loser. When, after reading this book, NOWHERE is where each of us should strive to be.”

I think my son summed things up better then I ever could. And more importantly, we’ve both walked away with a sense of searching for NOWHERE instead of somewhere. In the deepest crevices of NOWHERE, you find yourself, and the art of simply living.

Changes are being made over here. I’ve yearned for NOWHERE for way too long, and just never knew it. Or better yet, maybe I didn’t want to know it until now. I’m no longer pushing it aside, but embracing it instead. You should too.

~ VSK

Book Reviews, Guest Bloggers

Have You Met Author, Riley J. Ford?

If you love a great young adult fiction novel full of humor, quirky romance and mystery, then this book is most definitely for you!

From break-out author, Riley J. Ford, comes a hilarious tale that will leave you turning pages until you reach the end. It’s that good…really!

I had the pleasure of reading this fabulous novel two weeks ago and devoured it in a few short days. While I should have been folding laundry or doing the dishes, I chose to sit in my comfy reading chair and swallow this book whole instead. I simply couldn’t put it down!

So what’s this one-heck-of-a-novel all about?

What if you could know exactly what your friends are thinking? High school student Winter Reynolds can, but there’s a catch…

She can only read people’s thoughts when she’s kissing them.

When a member of the track team is murdered, Winter has an opportunity to use her special ability to find the killer. Trouble is, kissing everyone on the track team isn’t such a good idea when you have a new boyfriend. Talk about complications!

Should Winter persevere using her secret power to catch the murderer still in their midst, even if it means risking her relationship with her one true love?

Riley has received a number of RAVE reviews already…which I’m not at all surprised! Take a peek! You’ll fall in love with the characters, the story, the jumbled up humor that leave you laughing out loud, and the deep mystery that is hidden underneath. AMAZING.

Amazon Reviews:

1.) There’s a ton of humor in this book: just-plain-funny humor; dark humor; romantic humor; even tragic humor. If Ford was out to showcase how well she can master the subtle nuances between them, she can color me convinced.

2.) A wonderful coming of age book that will keep you laughing up until the very last page!

3.) From the first page this novel is UN-PUT-DOWN-ABLE! The novel is packed with humor and heartache, romance and betrayal, life and death.

Grab a copy of “Into You” for Kindle today! You’ll love it.

So just exactly WHO IS Riley J. Ford? 

Riley J. Ford is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in English. After teaching at both the high school and college levels for a number of years, she became a curriculum developer before turning to writing full-time. Her non-fiction books and essays have been published both in print and online, including MSNBC.com. Into You is her first work of fiction. She is also the author of the forthcoming humor novel, Carpe DiEmily. She currently lives in California with her husband and two children.

Go Stalk Her!

Website: http://www.rileyjford.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rileyjford

Book Reviews, Taste of "The Gift of Fate"

The Gift of Fate Novel Giveaway and Review!

THE GIFT OF FATE – BOOK 1 (FATUM SAGA)

Young adult fiction and fantasy that will take your breath away!

Seventeen year old Jillian Marie Mathers uncovers her true calling in life one cool autumn night. With the belief that she is veritably crazy, she soon discovers she holds a very special gift instead. The gift of fate. Ariel Housen opens the beautiful world of the Fatum to Jillian, and the darkness is finally lifted from around the crevices of her mind as she learns and copes with who she truly is from the inside out. Along the road of self discovery and absolute survival, she finds herself yearning for the love of a curious young man named Connell Davall. For Connell is undoubtedly the answer to her own life’s questions. Questions Jillian never knew existed until she looked into the deep blue eyes of her saving grace.

A twisted story that is beautifully woven with petals of romance and dangerous corners, The Gift of Fate is a page-turning love story and dark thriller that will leave you wanting more.

Yes, this book blows my mind….why? Because when I sit back and flip through the pages I smile at the AMAZING feeling of having written and published my very first novel earlier this year. It is the most amazing feeling in the world…seriously, amazing.

I am frantically in the midst of completing the second book in this awesome Fatum Saga entitled, The Power of Suggestion. In the meantime, I have decided to give away an autographed copy of The Gift of Fate along with a super cool bookmark as a celebration to what I hope becomes a long and awesome writing career. I live and breath writing, and feel honored to have the power to share the stories in my head with you.

Not to mention, the incredible review that was given to me by a wonderful book blogger in Canada earlier this week. ReadingInWinter.com gave The Gift of Fate 4 out of 5 stars which warms my heart! Take a look at her review here.

Here is a SNEAK PEEK at a portion of The Power of Suggestion. A much richer, darker and more intense realm of the Fatum Saga. I have truly enjoyed writing this second book, and uncovering the hidden depths of brand new characters and magical worlds, that will intertwine perfectly with The Gift of Fate. I hope you love it as much as I do!

The Power of Suggestion

“As I stood in awe, the sound of footsteps drew my eyes away from the backdrop and onto the face of an attractive young woman. Her hair was a gorgeous platinum blonde, perfect ringlets falling effortlessly around her face, her eyes a vivid emerald green. She was wearing a dark red strapless dress that swept the floor around her, flowing beautifully from the curvy frame that held it sweetly. She was stunning, completely ravishing as she nodded to Sierra and stood in front of me, our eyes locking instantly.

“You must be Alexandra. Pleasant to meet you finally, I’m Krista Rose.” She offered her hand to me, the sparkling diamond cuff accentuating her soft, pale skin.

“Nice to meet you, Krista,” I replied, wondering whether I should bow to her, my head spinning with a million thoughts all at once.

Her hand was warm, gentle. The same trickle of desire running down my spine that I had felt when my hand had slipped into the mysteriously handsome man’s only moments earlier. The feeling was indescribable; almost hypnotic like a strong drink that burned from the back of your throat all the way down to your toes. It felt amazing. I wanted more of it.

Withdrawing her hand from mine, she walked over to Sierra, pulling her into a hug, kissing both of her cheeks gently. “Wonderful to see you again. Safely. Come, the others are waiting anxiously for you both.”

Sign up for your chance to win!

The Gift of Fate Giveaway

Book Reviews, Guest Bloggers

Have You Met Author A.E. Howard Yet?

FLIGHT OF BLUE

(KEEPER OF THE KEYS CHRONICLES)

A cursed traffic light. A rip in the fabric of the world. A possum sorcerer injured on a quest for revenge.

Kai and Ellie embark on a journey to return the sorcerer to his home. Entangled in events that could destroy the world, Kai must choose whether to accept the role he was born to play, but isn’t sure he wants.

Book Excerpt Worth Savoring!

They both deadpanned him for a second, then started laughing. “Come on, man, we’re just messing.”

“I’m Andrew,” continued the first one, who Kai thought might be slightly taller than the other one.

“And I’m Angelo. Our parents apparently had his name all picked out, nice, normal, Andrew. Then found out I’d hitched a ride on the same, you know, umbilical cord or whatever.”

“That’s stupid, Jello, all babies have their own umbilical cord, we just were born at the same time, well, me first.”

“Yeah, see, he has to even, like, lord that over me, he gets the normal name, I get nicknamed after weird brightly colored snacks, right, Drew?”

Kai couldn’t help but feel better at this routine between the brothers. “I’m Kai.”

“Kai short for…”

“Nothing, just Kai. It’s Welsh, like my dad.”

Jello put on a mock pout. “He has a normal name, you have a cool name, I’m stuck with stupid Jello.”

“Not yet you’re not!” Drew grabbed what appeared to be a cup of actual Jello from his pocket, peeled off the top and started chasing his brother around with it.

“Meet your roommates,” William sounded amused. “I’ll leave you three to, er, get acquainted.” He ducked out hastily as Drew tackled Jello and began to try to force feed him.

“Help! Help! Murder!” Jello twisted and writhed and wouldn’t hold still. Sebastian barked in a reproving tone and danced in place.

Finally Drew just gave up, and no Jello, person or snack, was actually harmed in the process. Panting and disheveled, the brothers noticed Kai still standing there.

Genre:

MG/YA Fantasy

Bio:

A.E. Howard

Once upon a time there was a little girl who read a book and thought, one day, I’ll find another world. Many years later, after a near death experience at a traffic light, she passed a possum dying on the side of the road. She stopped, and with its dying breaths, the possum imparted a tale so wondrously strange, she drove home realizing the new world she’d been searching for was right there all along. So she embarked on a quest of mythic proportions, traveled far and wide to the farthest corners of this world to uncover its secrets. Now she’s bringing the story to you.

Between chasing chickens off the porch and raising her son, A.E. Howard tells tales of the three Realms, and the boy who changed it all.

Rave Reviews To The Beginning of a Spectacular Series!

“Great adult reading in the tradition of Madeleine L’Engle and her A Wrinkle in Time series and Austin Family Chronicles.” -Elizabeth Munzert, blogger

“Evokes memories of epic adventure tales and magic realms we pretend not to imagine as adults… The story makes us think about the reality of the world in the way a good Sci-Fi book does while providing comic relief though a self important, naked Opossum.” -Kate Tagai, blogger

I myself cannot WAIT to read this book. What drew me in was the beautiful cover! I love the design, and yes…I am guilty of judging a book by its cover at times. The story itself sounds amazing and so very different from what’s popular in the mainstream era of all things books. I love that…something new and genuine.

Be sure to visit A.E. Howard’s website and social media outlets to connect with this amazing breakout author who I know is capable of BIG things.

P.S. You can also sign up for a chance to win a FREE autographed copy of “Flight of Blue” along with a button and bookmark! Totally awesome…go for it! Sign up here.

Website: http://aehowardwrites.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aehowardwrites

Twitter: http://twitter.com/aehowardwrites

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/aehoward

View her amazing book trailer here!

P.S. Don’t forget to visit “All’s Fair In Blogs And More” Book Fair! Meet new and aspiring authors in the young adult fiction realm, read portions of their books, sign up for numerous giveaways and fall in love with a story or two. I know you will!

Book Reviews

The Forever Girl Book Review

When I stumbled upon the opportunity to read and review Rebecca Hamilton’s novel, The Forever Girl, I jumped on the bandwagon. I’ve heard a lot about this aspiring writer and felt completely honored to be able to fall into the world of Sophia.

The beginning of this book is extremely gripping. Rebecca’s writing style is entirely different and completely captivating…she will easily pull you within the depths of her story with ease.

Some of my favorite quotes from The Forever Girl ~

“A gathering of voices, somehow clearer than the music, swelled around me, reminding me of the real reason I’d agreed to come along.”

“Emotions out of my control smothered my desires, and before I could stop them, the traitorous words tumbled from my lips.”

“With all my worries tumbling through my mind, sleep didn’t come until long after the moon stitched itself into the sky.”

Rebecca is extremely involved with her fans and followers on all of her social media outlets. I absolutely love this. It is obvious that she writes not only because she has been given an extraordinary gift of telling a story, but she writes because she loves her fans. Her passion overflows and covers the paranormal YA fiction world with a creative new way of telling captivating stories.

I look forward to reading more of Rebecca’s work. Please stop by and tell her “hello”! Amazingly, you’ll here back from her, despite her busy schedule. She’s worth chatting at the water cooler about with your friends.

If you love paranormal fantasy, then I recommend giving The Forever Girl a try.

How do I rate The Forever Girl?

4 out of 5 stars

Connect with Rebecca:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

Happy Reading ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Swimming Upstream…and Other Random Pieces Of Useless Information

As the title states, I am at a loss for a GREAT blog topic today! Writer’s block? Yes, perhaps. Although, does that actually exists?

For those of you that still choose to read my rambling on such days, MUCH love to each of you.

I hit the “publish” button on The Gift of Fate today. Less than a week and I’ll make the huge announcement (and will release a super cool, utterly delicious movie book trailer). After months of bringing this bad boy to life, I am guessing that my brain shifted into neutral today after months of driving at the speed of sound for nearly a year. I can finally say YES, I am an actual published author. Whoa….music to my ears. I believe this feat calls for a Venti Soy Chai Tea Latte today despite the nearly $8 price tag…maybe a large chocolate chip cookie to go along with it.

For anyone who would like to do a book review of The Gift of Fate or an author Q & A on your blog, I am willing to send you a free .pdf or epub copy of my book in exchange for such. Or, if you are also an author who is longing for a review or Q & A, I am always open to doing the same for you. Just ask…I won’t bite. As long as I’ve had lunch first. 🙂

Here are your random pieces of useless information for the day! Enjoy every morsel.

Papaphobia is the fear of Popes.

Punctuation was not invented until the 1500’s.

Julius Caesar was self-conscious about his receding hairline.

One legend claims stealing someone’s shadow (by measuring it against a wall and driving a nail through its head) can turn the victim into a vampire.

Approximately sixty circus performers have been shot from cannons. At last report, thirty-one of these have been killed.

On average, there are 333 squares of toilet paper on a roll.

Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.

TTFN ~

VSK

Book Reviews

The Monster’s Daughter Book Review

TITLE: The Monster’s Daughter
AUTHOR: Deborah Bryan
PUBLICATION DATE: January 24, 2011
PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services
LINKS: Visit Deborah Bryan’s Website or her Facebook Page
Purchase: Amazon.com

My Review:

I couldn’t put it down. Deborah has an amazing writing style that I absolutely fell in love with after just a few sentences. Her descriptions are well thought out and extremely vivid which in turn leads the reader into her world with ease. I simply couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Let me point out…I love vampire novels. I was (if being honest here), expecting to step into another vampire novel…like all the others. I was blown away with a very rich and completely new take on the roll of YA fiction vampires. Loved it times a million. So fresh, so new…so unlike anything else out there.

I loved Ginny. She was such an open character who wasn’t afraid to bare her flaws for others to see and for that, I loved her. I related to her character so, so well. Character portrayal throughout the book was fleshed out perfectly. This was definitely Deborah’s strong suit…she makes her characters real without forcing them to “be” real.

There were so many favorite quotes that I pulled from this book, I soon found myself writing them down on scratch paper for this review. I won’t list them all, but here are just a few that I relish completely!

Chapter 10

“For all the people in the world who would die to have this power, kill to have it, I can’t persuade the two people whose lives actually matter to me to take it. And I can’t force it upon them. That is my sorrow.”

Chapter 11

“After all, she thought, it takes a long time to accept as truth what seems implausible even in dreams.”

Chapter 23

“There, for reasons she neither knew nor needed to know, the boy she had endangered clung to life while the man who had raised her tried to steal it.”

Final thoughts? If you love a great gripping story that is full of surprises and an honest to goodness exceptional story, then you have got to read The Monster’s Daughter. A breath of fresh air to YA fiction. Totally different, extremely new…unlike anything I have ever read before.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Deborah Bryan

~ VSK