Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

25 Reflections for 2014

2014…What a ride!

1) I published a book this year. To this lover of words, it was a huge accomplishment. “A Cradle of Hope” is embedded with a piece of my soul, no doubt.

2) Took my three boys to see Imagine Dragons in concert in Dallas this past February. Without a doubt, it birthed the bubbling fire of love for the art of music in my youngest son. Can’t wait to see where this takes him.

3) Started drinking coffee every single morning. I was always a tea drinker in the mornings, but I’ve been driven to the dark side by coffee grounds and caramel creamer.

4) Went to Daytona Beach Florida. Watched it rain for three days straight. Grew to love Bloody Mary’s because of it. Rain at the beach = binge drinking.

5) Universal Studios Florida this past May. Harry Potter is, and will forever be, a love of mine. There is something so electric about visiting this extraordinary world in person.

6) Butterbeer is sinful. Particularly when drinking it while standing in Diagon Alley.

7) Three words: THE GLITCH MOB

8) A viral WordPress post with over 90,000 views this past March thanks to The Glitch Mob. I dig you boys to the moon and back again.

9) Meeting “The Mob” twice this year. Because frankly, we consider them family. They’ve not only changed the lives of my kids, but mine.

10) A pretty spectacular friendship was birthed because of “The Mob”. She knows who she is, that I adore her, and that fate is real. I love ya, soul baller. Mean it.

11) Chocolate truffles are wicked. I will NEVER tell how many I’ve eaten this year. NEVER…

12) Fell in love with the Mara Dyer book series by Michelle Hodkin. Have you read them? You should. They are amazing.

13) New York City with my sister in law for a long weekend. This city…I will never grow tired of it.

14) Realized the beach is my calling. Someday I must live on one. There is something that stirs my soul when I’m there.

15) Was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. That was extremely devastating to me. I had a hard time coming to terms with it, but with the help of family and close friends, I’ve prevailed and will continue to.

16) Got my first tattoo. I’m pretty sure I’m now infinitely hooked to ink. I’ll be back in the chair before long. 🙂

17) Made crepes for the first time this year. I will never do it again. Why? Don’t ask.

18) Realized that daily “quiet time” and meditation makes a huge difference in my life. As a busy mother and wife, I never realized how much I internalized my stress. We should all take some time each day to release.

19) “The Art of Stillness”. Incredible book gifted to me by a friend. Will change your life. It certainly changed mine. Add it to your 2015 reading list. Mean it.

20) Am now pen pals with the author of “The Art of Stillness” Pico Iyer. Amazing man. He has a true gift with words. We’re tight.

21) Discovered Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey. Word.

22) Went another year of having to show my ID for purchases, whether it was for alcohol, markers, or spray paint. Considering I’m 15 years past the age of 21, I’ll take it with a side of awesome sauce.

23) A new avid collector of vinyl records. My childhood has come alive, and all the memories of days spent going through my father’s records has risen. My kids are now fascinated with vinyls.

24) Mother of the Year for #23.

25) Booked a dream vacation. One that I have dreamt about for years. Hubby and I finally took the plunge, and surprised our kids. April 2015. Bucket list item checked off.

Turks
Turks & Caicos

 

Una Vita. Vivat. – One Life. Live It.

Cheers to 2015 ~

V.S.K.

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Every Stranger Has A Story – Post #1

EveryStrangerHasAStory

Every single one of us has a story to tell.

To begin 2014, I’ve vowed to bring the invisible stories of strangers among us to life through their own words, with tough questions to make you think.

My first perfect stranger is Susan Van Volkenburgh. A woman of great faith, a talented author, a kind spirit…with the eternal will to survive unthinkable heartbreak.

She is a child of 9/11.

A wounded bird who lost a piece of herself as terror tried to take hold of our nation. Yet through the bitter tears, the unanswered questions of WHY, and the travesty of learning how to move forward, she reflects the sincere grace of extreme humility.

Allow her to fill your world for a moment. She is a stranger to you now. Yet once you read her words, you’ll connect with her on a level that will leave you with a dear friend. One that you’ll feel like you’ve known for a lifetime and then some.

NAME & AGE (29 AND HOLDING IS PERMISSIBLE): Susan Van Volkenburgh 49

QUESTION 1: WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING? Homeschool mom, musical evangelists, and author

QUESTION 2: WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CLIMB OUT OF BED EVERY MORNING AND FACE THE DAY?

My family; I want to be there for them, to be an example to my children. Even at my worst, it was my love for them that kept me going, fighting through terrible circumstances to reach a place where I could stand.

QUESTION 3: A SECRET PASSION…EVERYBODY HAS ONE. WHAT IS YOURS?

Well, I don’t know how much of a secret it is, but what really drives me is the will to touch the lives of others with my words, my talents, my life. I owe so much to others who have reached out to me through difficult times:  by simple statements or words to a song, by a musical score that caused my heart to soar. I want to build on what they have started, to make my existence count for something.

QUESTION 4: TRAGEDY IS A PART OF LIFE THAT EACH OF US ARE FACED WITH AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. SHARE A TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED IN LIFE. HOW DID IT CHANGE YOU?

September 11, 2001. That day marks a change in my life. Everything I am pivots around that terrible day.

It was a beautiful morning. The sun shone brightly. A faint breeze brushed through leaves painted with gold and red, whispering of autumn.

As always, I began the day in Bible study with my children. The morning’s subject was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (Daniel 3) In discussing the three who were placed into the fiery furnace for their unwavering faith in God, I made the cryptic statement that no matter what happens in our life, even when we go through the fiery furnace, still we must follow the Lord. I did not know at that very moment that my own life would be put through the furnace and my words tested. For it was at that very moment, as I spoke to my children, that my own dear father was ripped from this world as American Airlines Flight 77 plummeted into the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

In the stillness that followed September 11, the silent emptiness filled us with the stunned awe of disbelief. How could anyone do such a thing, such a terrible thing? How can we live in a world so full of hate?

I had always felt God’s presence around me, keenly aware that He was with me. But now, when I needed Him most, I felt an empty silence that followed me everywhere I went. I was in the desert and God was silent.

How do you look into the eyes of a God who let you down? How do you speak the thoughts that are in your mind? Wasn’t He supposed to protect us? Didn’t He promise to look out for us, to keep us safe under His wing? How then did we get caught up in this event?

Living with grief is hard. Just the breath we take in can become a burden. There were days when all I could do was focus on the next moment, for to look beyond that next moment was overwhelming. It was all I could do to get out of bed. As I struggled under the burden of loss and trauma, words my father had spoken came to me.

When I was in high school, my father and sister were in a terrible car accident. Thankfully, they sustained only minor injuries, but my sister was traumatized. She told my father that she was never getting behind the wheel of a car again. What he said next has stuck with me, has helped me carry on.

He said, “I will give you three days to heal, then you are back behind the wheel of the car. For you will not let anything or anyone have dominion over you but God.”

I was determined to live up to this statement, to demonstrate this courage for my children. Yet still I struggled.

December of 2001, my husband took me to see Peter Jackson’s cinematic rendition of Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Seeing this movie was supposed to take my mind off the thought that the following week we would be laying my father’s remains to rest, three months after September 11, God spoke to me through the movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings. He spoke to me across time through the words of J. R. R. Tolkien.

As I sat in the theater, I assumed I was about to watch an adventure drama geared more to men than to me. I sat there amazed. As the Fellowship entered into the Mines of Moria, Frodo, the main protagonist of the story, who being an unlikely candidate to hold the future of Middle Earth in his hands, confronted Gandalf, the wise old leader of the group, with tough questions, the questions I had avoided bringing before God. It was surreal. As he spoke, the audience in the theater melted away. It was only Gandalf looking at me as a beam of light leapt off the screen, alighting me in its illumination, a tunnel between the screen and myself, as though no one else was in the room. Frodo stated to Gandalf, “I wish this had never happened, I wish the ring had never come to me.”

Gandalf looked full upon me, his eyes boring into my very soul as though the words written by Tolkien fifty years earlier were written for me. “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide, all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I was jarred to the core. It seemed so simple. Yes, that is all I have to do. God had spoken to me through Tolkien, reaching out to me to address the issue at hand. When I would run from the dispute, He sought me out, taking me by the hand in His overwhelming Love. It all began to make sense. God had not really let me down. A great weight lifted from my shoulders and I began to look up. My ears began to hear the voice of God. I do not have the power to change what had happened … all I can do is go forward. I did not have control over what occurred on September 11. However, I do have control of how I respond to it. This is all I must decide.

Suddenly, I could see how God had been speaking to me all along. The floodgates now opened, and I drew in water that filled my soul with wonder. But there was still work to be done. I started asking God those tough questions. I sought out the answers. I devoured all the works I could find of Tolkien to see if there was more in the pages of his books to help me understand this God of mine. And most importantly, I began to read God’s word with new eyes, eyes that looked Him directly in the face, unencumbered by the shadow of fear.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the story does not end with the furnace. But I think the key is in the word through, for we do go through, we do not stay in the furnace. There is an end to our trouble if we stand firm. The fire had no power. For even as the three young men stood within the flames of the furnace, they were not alone, but a fourth stood beside them. They were delivered from the fire, their clothes were not singed, and there was not even the smell of smoke upon them. We are not alone. The Lord is not a God who hovers on the outside. He steps into the furnace with us.

I am not the same person I was, but I will not allow anything or anyone have dominion over me but God. I have taken what the enemy has given me and use it as an arsenal for the cause of Christ. In the integrity of my father before me, I stand firm in my resolve.

QUESTION 5: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VERSE, QUOTE OR SAYING?

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandlaf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

~Tolkien

QUESTION 6: SHARE SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. WHAT MAKES YOU, YOU?

Probably not something that makes me, me, but this is what comes to my mind. Every Christmas, we gather together and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but we do this with a twist. Each of us dig into our supply of second-hand clothes and dress outlandishly, modeling our ensemble after the attic scene where Chevy Chase’s character wears old clothes to stay warm after being trapped in the cold attic.

QUESTION 7: FINISH THIS SENTENCE – ”WHEN MY TIME ON EARTH IS THROUGH, I WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER ME AS…”

A woman after God’s own heart –

QUESTION 8: THE SECRET TO LIVING A FULL LIFE IS… to be in the will of God in all things. Be true and walk in uprightness, and remember to not take yourself too seriously. Capture the small, quiet moments and carry them in your heart. Stay grounded; do not forget what really matters, what lasts for eternity.

QUESTION 9: WE INTERACT WITH, LOVE, HONOR AND CHERISH MANY PEOPLE IN OUR DAILY LIVES. NAME ONE PERSON WHOM YOU RESPECT, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, FEEL LIKE YOU OWE THE WORLD TO, AND WHY.

Wow, that is a hard question. There have been so many people that have influenced me in my life. To choose one is like saying he are more important than any of the others. Yet, I suppose my father has influenced my life the most. He taught me so much: a love for God, research, learning…He demonstrated an honorable and noble life, a life that was honest and firm in his beliefs. He was definitely the strong stoic type. My father exhibited to me the quality of never giving up, to keep going when the fight is right, no matter the cost. I have tried to live up to his example.

QUESTION 10: STRENGTH & WEAKNESS. BOTH LIVE IN EACH OF US. NAME ONE OF YOUR STRENGTHS, AND ONE OF YOUR WEAKNESSES.

My weakness is that I am impatient. I do not like to wait.

My strength is my creativity: in writing, music, and art.

QUESTION 11: IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WITH A SINGLE SUITCASE AND ONE COMPANION, WHERE WOULD YOU GO, WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE, AND WHO WOULD ACCOMPANY YOU?

I would go to New Zealand and travel through “Middle Earth” – I would take a sketch book, a journal, a pair of hiking boots, and, of course, a copy of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I would bring my husband for he has been my companion through many adventures, and even though this may not be his favorite place on earth, I know he would go there, because it is important to me.

QUESTION 12: WHAT IS YOUR BEST QUALITY?

My tenacity. I can stick to things like glue. If I cannot see a way to complete a task, I will create a way. I believe if you think about a problem long and hard enough, you can find a path through to the other side.

QUESTION 13: MEMORIES MOLD US. SHARE ONE MEMORY IN LIFE THAT YOU REFLECT UPON OFTEN.

When I was very young, we lived in the woods in Maryland. My father would rake up a mountain of leaves. It was a huge job. Yet he always mounded the leaves in front of our swing set, just in the right place for us to jump off the swings and into the pile of leaves. How fun it was to fly through the air and land, not always so gracefully, into the soft tor of leaves. Of course, this caused the leaves to disperse. He would then have to rake the leaves again. The fact that this busy man would take the time to allow his children this simple pleasure amazes me. He had to be exhausted after raking the entire yard, yet he did this for us. What great love.

QUESTION 14: THIS BROKEN WORLD COULD USE A LITTLE HEALING. HOW CAN WE BEGIN MENDING FENCES AND NURTURING THE WOUNDS WE’VE INFLICTED ON ONE ANOTHER AS A SOCIETY?

Christ said it all. The greatest commandment is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-38

Only with the love of Christ in us can we bind the broken. With empathy, or looking at circumstances through the eyes of another, can we fully understand what others are experiencing.

If our true motive in this life is to do the will of God, then everything else falls into place, for to love God is to love others. If we love, we are not selfish, and the needs of others weigh on us.

We cannot control what others are doing, but we can start by doing what we know to be right, and kind, and good. We may not be able to fix everything, but we can mend our part of the wall.

QUESTION 15: “I BELIEVE IN __________ BECAUSE…”

…a loving and benevolent God. For when I was lost, He found me; when I was in the dark, He gave me Light; when I was without hope, He lifted me.

** Visit Susan’s website here.

** Purchase a copy of Susan’s book, “Silent Resolve and the God Who Let Me Down” on Amazon.

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

The Space In Between Carmex and Angry Cats

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I am obsessed with Carmex. Like so much so, it’s kind of ridiculous. But the only kind I will use is the one that comes in the little round container with the 1972 looking label. Why? Perhaps it’s because I enjoy grabbing that little mini barrell out of my purse to dab just enough on my pointer finger to put on my lips after touching a public door handle that is covered in e-coli germs. Now that I think about it, perhaps I should switch to the squeezable tube…

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I think the Carmex tube makes a stellar mustache, by the way.

People are mean. Meaner than a cat who has been scratched on the belly too long and decides to bite the “heck of a crack nut” out of your arm because they are just plain “done” with your scratching nonsense. This is why I don’t own a cat. I don’t need anymore attitude in my life. No offense to the cat lovers. Just don’t expect me to scratch your cat’s belly when I come over for lamb stew…

I have three boys. Two of which are experiencing raging teenage hormones that make them more emotional than a rooster on a roller coaster. One minute they are cracking a joke, the next minute they are slumped over at their desk picking their pimples while they pout about dinner being 17 minutes away. Seriously peeps, mama is the only one who gets to ride the emotional roller coaster. My body was bred that way. Thank you and amen…

I had a run in with a rather unpleasant man at the grocery store yesterday. I dislike the grocery store about as much as I dislike getting my eyes poked out by hot skewers. That’s a good visual, isn’t it?

I posted this “mishap” on Facebook ( <—- My therapist), and had an awakening after reading some of the comments my friends left. I was publicly humiliated by a complete stranger in a public place. I have a problem with that. Those that know me realize I am NOT a confrontational person. But, if you push my buttons repeatedly, I do eventually turn into a screaming, crying, mumbling ninja in an instant. It isn’t pretty. Rather scary, actually. My husband has only witnessed this behavior a handful of times in our 14 years of marriage. It’s safe to say, he’s scared of me when I become a scene out of The Exorcist movie.

Rather than revisiting the words exchanged between the grocery store stranger and I, I’d rather focus on the mind-blowing realization that set in hours later while eating Greek yogurt and watching a re-run of “Full House”. I have the most incredible, jaw-dropping realizations at the most inopportune times. So as I sat, staring mindlessly at Michelle and Stephanie Tanner arguing about borrowing lunch money from Uncle Jesse, I let the emotions and actions of the world settle in.

We can blame the President, the government, the neighbor down the street for our problems. Not just as individuals, but as a nation. Finger pointing has become a sickness in our era. Yet the finger is never pointed at oneself. It’s always pointed at someone else. I’m not saying that our nation hasn’t been misguided by individuals that have no business being in politics, because no matter if you are Republican, Democrat, or don’t care about either party, you have to admit that there is corruption in the way this country is being run. On both sides, on all levels, there are very deep issues.

My saying has always been, “Be the change.” Yesterday I could have summoned up my courage and put up my fists to the man who violated me with his selfish, uncalled for words. But I let the moment pass, and moved on with my life. There is nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe in. But the time must be appropriate. How do you know if it’s an appropriate time? Your spirit will let you know. But even when you let the spirit loose, let it loose lightly. Kill with kindness; an open heart. Kindness almost always wounds deeper than foul words. If you remain civil with just a touch of feelings/views, the other party’s satisfaction won’t be saturated. It will be stunned.

Don’t be a coward, but don’t be a  conspirator either.

Raising three boys is exceptionally hard these days. Raising children in general, is hard. This world is “in your face”, meaning there are very few boundaries anymore. What you want when you want it can be found by the click of the enter button on your computer keyboard or on your mobile phone. Access to the planet is found through Google.

My husband and I have taught our boys to defend themselves, but don’t conspire to ruin someone’s image or life for their satisfaction. That’s happening everywhere. Stop. Think. I guarantee you’ll be able to think of at least one person who feeds off the lives of others for their own demons. The demons that tell you you’re not good enough, wise enough, or rich enough to mean anything to anyone.

The latest novel that I recently finished is mirrored loosely off of this very insight. We all have demons, but how do we “feed” them? Do we nudge them away with a kind gesture towards another, or do we allow them to gorge themselves by lying to a spouse, laughing at a disabled person, or spewing off harsh words to instill the upper hand that you’re a bada$$? Just being honest, because honesty rides low with most individuals these days.

A snippet from the first chapter of my next novel, The Power of Suggestion:

My mother never believed in redemption, even in her devout Catholic faith, she refused to lean upon it in her life. Because of her beliefs, I mirrored her behavior, her way of following faith. I in turn learned to never put my trust in redemption either.

I have dark demons: many of them. So do you. How often do you let them dictate how you choose to live your life? I allowed mine to rise, willfully and woefully when life channeled my course in another direction more than a year ago. And it changed me from the inside out, for better and for worse. Yet it makes me, me. It validates who I am as being affluently real in an often unrealistic cosmos. My world mirrors each and every one of you in some fashion. I have lived the life that many of you struggle with today. Some of you realize it, yet most of you don’t. I have to help you see what I didn’t at first before it’s too late: before your hourglass empties.

So I must write my life on paper. I have to spill my story; breathe it out so that you may breathe it in. I’m alive today, atoned and free because of what I’ve lived through. I’m alive today, because redemption exists even in the darkest shadows of your mortality. I’m living proof.

~ A. Moretti

How do you “feed” your demons? Stop pointing fingers, and turn your finger towards yourself. Change from the inside out. For when you change, your image just might change someone else’s. Now where’s my Carmex….

 

In love with Carmex, Imagine Dragons, and the realization that change starts from within ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Voices In My Head ~ The #KillingMonsters Movement

“Sorrow will seek you. Reaching out its infuriated claws, it will hunt you down with the famished hunger of an angry lion. As human beings, we never allow ourselves to seek the depths of affliction, but even when we hide from it, run from it, at some point in our life it will capture us, binding our brokenness within its chains. Bathing yourself in bitter tears feeds its filthy soul. Heartache will one day acquire you. And when the darkness clenches the breath from your lungs, it’s you who ultimately chooses whether or not it devours you fully…or simply gives you a legitimate reason to survive.” – Excerpt of “A Cradle of Hope” by Valerie King

I’ve joined hands with an amazing movement. The movement of #killingmonsters. Gaining control of our lives, while overcoming the darkness of disappointment, self-doubt, hate, hurt, and disobedience that we all encounter at some time or another.

I have a monster. Not a monster who lives under my bed and taunts my fears, but one that rattles my belief in achieving a dream. A dream that I know has been God given, but even so, that I often find myself questioning more often than not. Let me back up a bit…

“I am an old soul in a young body.”

My father always used to say this about me. It’s true. I chose marriage over college at the ripe old age of twenty. I married a man who is older than I am, but who owns my heart and everlasting love. He is my better half, my best friend…my everything. A year after we were married, New Year’s Eve 1999 to be exact, I saw those two pink little lines. Those two little lines that cause an ugly cry and a “down on your knees” prayer of thankfulness…grace…LOVE. Eight weeks after that, I gazed at the sonogram machine. Two heartbeats greeted me. Not one. TWO. Tears found me once more. I was going to be a mother. He was going to be a father. To twins.

Fast forward…10 years later, and a third son that looks so very much like his handsome father, I found myself.

I have always known WHO I was. Or so I thought. Until the voices began to speak, radiating from my mind, and floating effortlessly onto the keys of my computer. I had words to share. Not by mouth, but by fingertips. And I followed.

He answered me over dinner one night. My Father spoke to me, and the voices in my head came to life, bringing me to where I am today. Our life is not our own. Especially when you have a husband, and when children cling to your hand. You are filling a roll, a void that many may not ever experience in life. I was given the roll of wife and mother at a very young age. I am extremely grateful for that, but God wanted more from me. He whispered his wants in my ear, and I followed.

I have always had a love for writing. Yet I always pushed it aside. Time. There wasn’t enough of it. And honestly, I never thought I was good enough.

My husband has always been very supportive of my dreams in life. When I raised the question of writing my first book, and whether or not to make that dream that I had kept hidden for so long a reality, he immediately said YES. That was all it took. God’s prompting to follow a dream, and my husband’s relentless support and belief that I did hold a gift, not just a hobby. That I could move the world with the voices that spoke to me so often in my mind.

The day after my life-altering talk with my husband, I started my first novel. Less than six months later, I was finished. “The Gift of Fate” was born, the very first book in the Fatum Saga, brought to life. The very first time I held my book in my hands, I wept. Not because I was pleased with myself, but because God told me to do it, and I did it. I was working part-time, homeschooling my three boys and running a busy household. But despite my crazy life, I listened to the voices in my head, I followed His lead, and because of it, I published my very first novel on February 29th, 2012. Leap Day of all days. A moment in time that I will NEVER forget.

Since then, I have published two more books, and just recently finished my fourth. My wish is to find a publisher. To see my book on the shelves of Barnes and Nobles, to attend book signings and meet my fans. To thank those that have been so supportive to me up to this point and then some. But finding a publisher is very difficult. Time consuming, expensive, exhausting.

The monsters started to speak. The hum of their voices rising over the character voices, thoughts, ideas that normally rumble through my mind on a daily basis. They spoke hateful things. Hurtful things.

“You’ll never reach your goal. You simply aren’t good enough. There is bigger and better talent in the writing world.”

I began to believe these things. The wound opened. I let my emotions take over, allowing the tears to fall as I told my husband that perhaps trying to find a publisher wasn’t worth it anymore. Maybe writing really isn’t for me. I’ll never make it.

I’ll never forget the look on his face, and the words that washed over me as he spoke softly, “No. You will regret it. You don’t want to live with that regret, Val. You are too good of a writer to walk away. I won’t let you. There I said it. I WON’T LET YOU QUIT.”

The monsters were immediately silenced, pushed aside. I have a purpose in this world. To write. To share my words with others. For madness overtakes me when I can’t write. He has gifted me with this madness. Yet it is a beautiful madness of unquenchable thirst. One that will never die, for He has given this thirst for His glory.

As life travels forth, I know the whispers from those monsters will rise again. Yet with faith, I must allow the melody of His majestic words find me again. To remind me that I write because He wants me to. For if I didn’t, I would allow the monsters to win. And they don’t deserve to, nor will they ever.

I pour out my thoughts for Him, and Him alone.

Deuteronomy 28:12 – The Lord shall open unto thee His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

~ VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

When Mama Goes Missing, And Why Pocket Watches Are Cool

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Recently, I have had way too many posts about being absent from my blog. Dude…here’s another one! That’s me in the picture above…kidding, but I wish I owned a pocket watch. I think they should bring pocket watches back. For heaven’s sake, they’ve brought back the styles of the 70’s! I think I’ll pass on the acid washed jeans with white hearts that I saw hanging on the clothing rack at Target today. Seriously…has the fashion industry run out of ideas so we’re just resorting to “recycling” styles from the past? I wonder if they’ll bring back powdered wigs…

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I did buy this t-shirt at Target yesterday. EPIC. It is one of my favorite movies EVER. I may be old school, but so are they. Point made.

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Life has swallowed me. Not in a bad way, but time is not usually a friend of mine theses days. It seems just like yesterday that I was decorating the Christmas tree. Now I’m marking my calendar to remember to “spring forward” for daylight savings time this weekend. Boo! I hate messing with the clock. It’s pointless. That’s my opinion. I also think grilled salmon tastes like boiled newspaper…

I have been incredibly busy finishing up the final touches of my latest manuscript. There are so many hoops to jump through, people to please, red pens to use, to ever bring a novel to fruition.

I’m still working on trying to catch the eye of a literary agent. I need it. Want it. See it. Taste it.

Recently I had a dream that my goal to see my book sitting on the shelf of my local book store came true. Mind you, Sheldon Cooper and Mary Tyler Moore were cashiers at the book store. I wish…

I have a deadline to meet. A deadline that could potentially alter my current lifestyle. I LOVE my life. I feel blessed to do what I do, know who I know, and interact with who I interact with. Talking with an author friend of mine recently, there are some deep, reflecting occurances that have been handed to both of us. When your current situation leads you to questioning whether or not you are doing what you feel like you’ve been called to do, it is more than reassuring when instances arise prompting you forth. In comparison, we are both right where we belong. This may seem like a jumbled bit of nonsense to all of you, but it was an eye opener for me.

I am right where I belong.

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The blessed countdown has begun! In less than two months our family will be taking a much needed vacation

Homeschooling perk #822 – We vacation when the rest of mankind doesn’t. LOVE.

Nine days of uninterrupted bliss. Me. My husband. My three boys. At an undisclosed location somewhere spectacular. A place that drives me to close my eyes, imagine myself there, pen in hand as I write while spending a memorable time with those that I love more than life itself. Our destination won’t remain a secret forever. I will share with the world where we are headed once we get there. I. CAN’T. WAIT.

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P.S. I just finished watching season 3 of Downton Abbey. This has been my guilty pleasure for the last several months. I got on the Downton train, waaayyy later then the rest of the public. But, I am so glad I climbed on!

I won’t spoil it for my fellow friends who have yet to finish this amazing series, but…

SERIOUSLY? I mean, really? Why in the world would they end it the way they did? I was honestly mad for the rest of the afternoon after finishing the finale. Good gravy Masterpiece Theatre, I am appalled! That is all.

Crazy For Downton & Pocket Watches ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

A Query Letter Is Like A Bear Trap…

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If you are an aspiring author trying to catch your first big break, feel free to scroll down to my signature at the bottom. You already know that a query letter will make your head spin like a scene from “The Exorcist”. ‘Nuff said…

For the rest of you, here is my enlightening story of trying to chase down that one big “YES!” that will ultimately change my life as an author.

Yes, I have been told, “You are an author, Val! Why do you need a publisher?”

I am an author, a writer, a poet with words…and yes, I have three self-published books on Amazon. It’s been an amazing ride from the very beginning,  but there is a deep longing that still pleads for one step further. To walk into Barnes & Noble and see my book on a shelf would be one of the most amazing feats of my life, aside from giving birth to my children. Thankfully, drugs were involved with their “birth-day” (thank you sweet, amazing Jesus for epidurals!), but watching their life begin before my very eyes is the most mesmerizing feat I’ve experienced yet.

A query letter and/or synopsis is a paper, an introduction to who you are and what you’ve got to offer. Kind of like a resume’, but like a billion and one times harder to spit out on paper. I can sit down and write a chapter for my book, my mind usually flying faster than my fingertips. <—-I LOVE that feeling!

But with a synopsis letter, I just sit there and stare at the screen. There are no characters to imagine, a plot to think through, scenery to describe…it’s a letter. I don’t do letters. I’m an author of STORIES, not LETTERS.

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Yes, I get the significance of such a letter to a literary agent or publisher, but the last few responses I’ve received from potential agents praise my current manuscript, saying “This storyline has potential….”, yet they say no because:

1) My synopsis is too long

2) My synopsis is too short

3) I need to hire an editor to edit my synopsis because….

4) Pigs haven’t learned to fly yet, and rainbows aren’t made of licorice

We are authors. We write stories. We don’t write documents…

We write novels to share with the world. It’s a story that plays itself out in our head.

I have a hope and I have dream. I am not seeking out a publisher to prove myself worthy, I am seeking one out to spend more time writing what I love.

There may be plenty of people who can write a killer query, but their story stinks. There are a select few who can write a poor query, and their novel is epic!

I thought the purpose of writing was to share the words that our minds poured out onto paper. If someone has a great story with real potential, this should be the focus.

A child doesn’t win the science fair because he put his name on his report in the right font size, he wins because he has created something worth recognizing.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, but not before saying…

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Keep writing, never give up ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

Christmas, Cake Balls, The End of the World and Throw Pillows

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Well, I woke up this morning. Big blessings for that I suppose, although that now means the dirty dishes in the sink will NOW have to be loaded into the dishwasher, and the stairs have to be vacuumed.

Dude, maybe I’ll just pretend the “cleaning” apocalypse happened instead. I’ll just sit in my oversized, comfy chair with some chocolate cake balls and a good book the entire day.

That good book would be one that is currently unpublished by an author friend of mine who has a BRILLIANT way with words. I read it, and can immediately see myself sitting in a movie theatre with hundreds of other fans. As an author, rejection hurts. I’ve been there, and my writing buddy has walked the path too. But in my heart of hearts, I know I’ll be sitting in that movie theatre eventually watching SVV’s movie someday. It’s just that good.

Hey, J.K. Rowling was rejected nearly 200 times before someone said, “Eh, yeah I guess we can give this kid Harry Potter a try.” That’s all it takes…one yes. I’ll search for it alongside my passionate twin who loves words just as much as I do. I hope she comes and sees my movie someday as well…we’ll eat cake balls together in the back of the theatre and giggle at what a crazy ride it was to get here. {wink}

But, I do think these are worth claiming a “cleaning” apocalypse happened, don’t you?

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No, I’m not willing to share. But if you’d like to try and scratch n’ sniff the computer screen, be my guest. It just might work ya know.

You know you are guilty of doing this on Facebook at least once. How’d that work out for you, by the way? You know how important it is to know your fight name…Random, moving on….

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@[614] Wow, I’ve got a cool fight name…

throw pillows

This is my couch. My husband made the comment yesterday that I just DON’T have enough throw pillows displayed on it. I have to agree, there is always room for more! Just because of his snarky comment I’m going to add more to this holiday-ish display before he gets home from work today.

You know the real reason for so many pillows on the couch? So that my children can roll in them, pushing them to the floor and smacking each other with them, so that I can pick them up and re-arrange them a half a dozen times a day because it’s awesome! Not really, I don’t know why there are so many pillows on the couch. There is just something about women and throw pillows. Maybe I have an addiction problem…I don’t want to talk about it…

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Have a wonderful Christmas with friends and family this weekend! I’m so glad the Mayans were wrong…I can’t wait to see Santa and ask him for a publishing contract! I bet he brings me a throw pillow instead though…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

VSK