Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

The Space In Between Carmex and Angry Cats

catcarmex

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

Flour Tortillas and Text Messages From A Grateful Mother

Selfportrait

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}

textmessage

 

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

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

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

Book Reviews, Taste of "The Gift of Fate"

The Gift of Fate Novel Giveaway and Review!

THE GIFT OF FATE – BOOK 1 (FATUM SAGA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Power of Suggestion

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up for your chance to win!

The Gift of Fate Giveaway

Book Reviews, Guest Bloggers

Have You Met Author A.E. Howard Yet?

FLIGHT OF BLUE

(KEEPER OF THE KEYS CHRONICLES)

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

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

Book Excerpt Worth Savoring!

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kai short for…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genre:

MG/YA Fantasy

Bio:

A.E. Howard

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

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

Rave Reviews To The Beginning of a Spectacular Series!

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

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

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

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

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

Website: http://aehowardwrites.com/

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/aehowardwrites

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

View her amazing book trailer here!

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