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

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Every Stranger Has A Story – Post #1

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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

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

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

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Why I Want To Be Published…And Why Surfing With Zombies Is Cool

We live in a world with “I wants”. Lots of them. Some wants are selfish and others are necessities. Over the years my “wants” have turned into the dreams of my children…beautiful dreams of becoming gracious young men in an often ugly world.

I have been immensely blessed in more than a million ways. Loving parents, a devoted husband, three beautiful children, a job that I love, and a life full of lessons that have taught me what gratefulness is painted with. Through pain and heartache in my life, I have allowed my wants to be His. And in the end, He has given me an even bigger “want” than I could ever fathom. Each and every time.

Let me give you an example….

My world crumbled in late 2008. The walls of uncertainty came crashing down around my husband and I when he lost his job. Seven months of severe depression, uncertainty and sheer darkness took over my life and the life of my better half. There were many nights I spent awake, my mind searching for some type of hope…change…relief. Yet night after night I was left empty. As time pressed on I realized I had two choices. I could stop trying to fix our broken life, tattered finances and suffering relationship, or I could continue to chisel away at trying to fix what I “wanted” to change.

So, I quit hammering and I laid it all on the line. Giving my burden, my hurt to the only One who I knew could give me what I really “wanted”.

And seven months to the day, He fixed my “wants” in an unbelievable way.

There are countless recollections of my “wants” being met…and countless times they were not. When I look back on the missed opportunities and hollow heartache of certain situations I clearly see why my “wants” went unfilled. Although anger may have originally grasped my heart of hearts then…here and now I know there was deep meaning in each of them.

This leads me to here.

I have dreamed of becoming a writer since I was a young girl. When I finally built up the courage to put the very first words of an unimaginable story on a page last year, the rest is history. Why did I wait nearly 33 years to do this?

Over the last year and a half I have come to realize the harshness of the writing world. A big black, massive hole of struggling authors trying to fulfill their “want”. I am encircled by this blinding world of trying to find a literary agent and a publisher. In reality though, I’ve come to know MANY great and talented writers, marketing groups and literary fans who leave me countless comments and fulfilling emails that fill my heart to the brim with thankfulness.

I have exactly what I’ve always “wanted”. I’m a writer, a storyteller, an author…a woman with millions of words coursing through her mind and spilling aimlessly across thousands of pages that entice, enlighten and grasp the hearts of people all over the world.

This afternoon I had to take a moment and remind myself…I know what I “want”. What every author “wants”. To write a book or books that line the shelves of bookstores all over the world. To become an author that people will flock to in order to grasp your personal signature between the pages of your mind poured out into a 300 page book that they will tell you they devoured in just two days. To receive a phone call from a movie company begging to buy the rights to your book. To stand on the set of said movie and choose the actors and actresses you envisioned when you first imagined your now world famous novel.

I get it. And yes, I “want” it.

But I also “want” to surf with zombies. Or these cool dudes who are doing…something…I don’t know what…but it looks cool!

I finished writing another book today. A book that is oh so very near and dear to my heart. The Glass Castle Dream. Some of you know it very well, and I have to admit, I sat here at my desk in tears this afternoon as I wrote the final words.

When I see Facebook posts like this, I can’t help but “want” what I dream about so often. Why I wrote The Glass Castle Dream, and ultimately what I’d like to happen with it. And if I remember correctly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming. So dream I will…

Never stop “wanting” and allow yourself to dream…always ~

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