Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Flour Tortillas and Text Messages From A Grateful Mother

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I just ate two flour tortillas with shredded cheese and tabasco on them; a handful of grapes on the side. This is the outcome of the debilitating day I’ve had. Or dayssss…that I continue to have. Isn’t summer supposed to be restful? Like, hang out by the pool while the kids get along, reading a good book, listening to iHeart radio while sipping on sun tea?

I’m beginning to realize this fictional montage I’ve concocted in my head is simply that. Fiction. Sometimes a little non-fiction in my world would be welcomed.

Today was, what a good friend of mine calls, “Chair Day”. This means, you sit your arse in a salon chair and allow them to shadow the gray that has seeped into your world at lightening speed, causing you to reminisce about your youth.

I’m convinced the “Silver Linings Playbook” movie title was actually written by a woman who’s rear end was in a salon chair covering her “silver lines” while she played Candy Crush that had become more of a habit then bottles of Poppy wine.

One of my 13 year old sons (I have twin boys, remember), whose fingers are permanently attached to his cell phone with a screen the size of a chocolate poptart (yes, I’m still hungry), spent his morning texting me while I was at the salon. Most of his text messages consist of one of two things.

1) Can I/May I call my friends, go on a bike ride, buy a puppy, ask you to take me to Hollister to buy a $65 tee shirt that looks like it’s been worn five hundred times before you hand them your Visa, ask you to take my girlfriend and I to see a movie, and before you ask Mom, yes you can come to the theatre too, but you can’t sit with us.

2) Little A won’t do what you asked him, has a flat tire on his bike, hit Middle A with a spoon on the side of the arm, called me dumb because I wouldn’t rub his feet, spit on the floor to see how big of a puddle he could make and I stepped in it.

But this morning was different. This text will go un-erased for the rest of my time here on earth. There are moments in the life of a mother that makes the world stop, and you know you have the right to pat yourself on the back for raising a child that not only loves and respects you as their parent, but the world in general even in grave times when the world turns its back on you and I. You know it happens. If you don’t, then perhaps you’re afraid of facing the reality that this world has forgotten what respect, trust and honor really is.

We were in a deep discussion. Deep for texting, might I add. He answered one of my questions with the word “indeed”. That’s my line. He stole it from me. Thief.

Better yet, I think he inherited it from his awesome mama with beautiful highlights to cover the gray he’s given me.

Mind you, this child’s response was way above his level. More along the lines of a 25 year old’s answer, not a 13 year old.

And for the record, no I am NOT smarter than an 8th grader. I misused “your” instead of “you’re”. Crud. I hate when people do that, and today, I did just that. {smacking forehead while looking for chocolate chips to eat to chase down the dry tortillas and cheese}

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When I received two more rejection emails today for my latest manuscript, they were overshadowed my oldest child’s words from earlier in the day. There are times that I regret choosing to walk down the path of trying to become a published author in the mainstream world. But then I remind myself, what have I always taught my boys? To follow their dreams.

You can’t preach what you don’t teach.

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So in that, I must continue to climb the treacherous mountain of writing novels that more often than naught, leaves me clinging to the side of a steep cliff for dear life, and at times, utter regret for ever choosing to do this.

When my hairstylist today asked what I wanted done, I responded with a simple, “Color up the dadgum gray.” That’s when numbers started flying, and when I cringed as I uttered “almost 35”, she replied with a “NO FREAKING WAY! Nooooo. Really? What?!”

Yes, I left her a good tip as I sauntered out into the sunshine with my hair touched up, and my heart on my sleeve as I greeted my kids at the back door when I arrived home. I’ll take the rejections and I’ll take the gray. But I’ll never take no for an answer. Because if we have nothing to fight for in this life, then why is life worth living?

Valid question with a valid answer. Because of its worth.

Entangled In Gratefulness ~

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…

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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

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

It’s Christmas At the Kings…and Imaginary Worlds

H & P….curious, eh? We do theme trees each year, and this year was my children’s choice.

Yes, the inside of our home has been transformed into the magical world of Harry Potter. As an author, I was thrilled when my children chose these magnificent books as the theme this year! I love Mr.Potter…having read the books more than a handful of times each.

Wands, potion bottles, owls, parchment, quills and ornaments to commend Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw…all here. My kids worked so hard on this amazing tree!

In other news…

I have a new book releasing on December 10th, Absent Yet Present. It’s a novella, meaning a short read, but the proceeds made from this book will be donated entirely to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This novel was written in memory of my boys’ best friend who lost his life to cancer two years ago at the young age of 10. I released the book trailer recently, and have already received incredible feedback. Take a peek here…

 

I am finishing the final edits to The Glass Castle Dream. As soon as this sweet little number is done, I have several publishing companies to beg and plead with contact about my manuscript. I received such incredible feedback while writing this amazing emotional love story online, my fans validated my reason for trying to get this novel on bookstore shelves and perhaps the movie theatre. I would NOT be here today without you!

I have been asked by several individuals as to when I plan on writing another online book. Well, I do have a story line already in mind, but I’ve got to complete my current project before moving forward.

Earlier this year I published my very first novel, The Gift of Fate, which is the first book in the Fatum Saga. I had pushed the second book in this amazing series aside to finish The Glass Castle Dream, but am finally back into the story, moving light speed ahead with a slew of new & old characters as this novel comes to life. I have become so attached to my characters that I find myself falling into their tangled stories nearly everyday when time allows. I adore the characters in the first book, but the 2nd book in this series is full of so many new faces, tribulations…and of course, romance! Swoon! Just wait, this new novel will rock your world in a profound new way. The Power of Suggestion is coming…..

And last, but certainly not least, this is why my blog has been so empty lately. Instead of writing posts, I’m working on books…for all of you. Pandora, Chai Tea and Peanut M&M’s have been my best friends over the past month.

I try and stay away from reviews online when it comes to my novels, but yesterday I took a peek. I was amazed and overwhelmed to see that The Gift of Fate is rated 4.56 out of 5 stars. WOW…speechless. As an author, I think the book is awesome, but I’ve seen how I’ve grown as a writer over the past year and a half. I can’t wait to get the second installment of this story in your hands now because of it.

Thanks for your continued support, the love you show this Southern author, and the willingness to put up with my sometimes, quirky ways. I don’t really mean sometimes…I mean always. {wink, wink}

Writing Like A Madwoman,

VSK

P.S. YES, I will be going to see the epic finale of this. Sorry, I am a Twi fan…for life.

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

There Are Valid Reasons As To WHY I’ve Been Hiding Under The Kitchen Table

 

I have been absent…yes. But I vowed to write a blog post to all my loves out there just so you’ll know that I have not run off of to Quebec with a band of gypsies. I’m here, head down, life rushing by at an astounding pace as I glance at the Christmas decorations strewn throughout Walmart in mid October. I’m sorry, I’m just not quite ready for Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin Laid An Egg…

The end of the year always brings massive waves of busyness. And through all of the craze this homeschooling, working, writing mother finds herself in…she does stop to have a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks to reflect on the gifts that life has given her, is giving her…will give her.

Just so you know, here are a few things to expect from me within the next two and half months as we finish out 2012.

1) My birthday is Saturday. I’m turning 34. I feel 60, but I look 18. This was validated by my frequent “Can I see your ID?” moments in the check out line at the grocery story to buy a bottle of wine or a can of spray paint to re-do my outdoor patio table. At first I found it annoying, now I find it completely AWESOME. I pray they still ask me this 20 years from now.

Words to live by!

2) I have a brand new novella that is being published on December 10th. This book is very near and dear to my heart. It was written a year ago, and I am now bringing it to life in just a few short months. It’s called Absent Yet Present. This emotional, faith driven fiction story was written in memory of my dear sweet neighbor, and my boys very best friend, Andrew Pacocha, that lost his life to Leukemia two years ago at the age of 10. 100% of the proceeds of this book are being donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of Andrew and his family.

One of my son’s even wrote a poem that is included in this book. Yes, it is Christian fiction, and yes it is saturated in the faith of God’s amazing grace. This is how I felt led to tell his tale. Andrew’s battle brought countless individuals from around the globe to Christ through his illness, and it is my wish to allow his spirit to continue to flood the world through his story. I saw firsthand how this young man battled this horrendous disease…the fear that he felt, the pain that he endured and the uncertainty he faced day in and day out. But I also witnessed the community coming together to pray, to cater to his family and to fight with him, side by side. Even in loss, life is worth loving. More to come…including a book trailer of my testimony of how Andrew changed my life and the life of my children, and ultimately, why I HAD to write this book to honor him.

3) Were you a The Glass Castle Dream fan? If you were, you’re probably wondering where it went! Yes, it has disappeared from my blog. Pulled and tucked away until I can complete my edits before sending off to my editor in Canada. I received such an astounding flow or gracious comments and devoted fans from all over the globe, that I took this once “online novel only” to a whole new level. This time, I’m stepping outside the box and seeking a publisher for this book. Finding a publisher to even open your emails, yet alone, READ them…is very difficult. But thanks to all of you, you have proved that this story was not just another story. It has deep meaning and thousands of women connected with it. In that, I wish to share it with the world. Here’s to making that dream a reality! I will keep you posted on my progress. 🙂

4) My Pottery Barn post from last week was a HUGE hit! Thank you! I promise to bring another post to life in the next week. Several of you are begging me for more. I shall honor your “begging”. Hang tight!

Until then, keep your chin up and know I love all of you! I’m here…I’m just hiding under the kitchen table with my laptop and my iPod writing loads of goodies for all of you.

Hugs from the (almost) birthday girl ~

VSK