A page from my book! (And other life updates!)

Apparently the months of October and November have a track record of not being great months for my blog writing!

I do have an excuse: I moved. Not just down the street…1,400 miles away! I started a new job and have been on operation: MAKE FRIENDS.

I was able to do a bit more editing on my novel and thought I would share a page I recently was touching up! For those of you who don’t know I’m writing a Romantic Suspense Novel set in the 1920’s. My first book is called, “Just A Dream” and is the story of a wealthy southern girl, Angel,  who after recovering from a car accident which robbed her of 11 months of memory, returns to her home of Charleston, SC to marry the wealthy and family favorite,  Kale Desmin. As the wedding day approaches, Angel is haunted by dreams of being in love with a man she has never before seen and of the unsolved murder of her future father-in-law. Will she solve the the secrets of her past, before it is too late? (I know that sum up sounded a bit cheesy! It’s a good story…I promise! =) Or I like to think so…)


 

From Just A Dream by Autumn Komzik

He touched the tip of my nose. “So, when you fell asleep I realized you never said what are you most afraid of?”

I stared up at the sky, still engulfed in a sleepy euphoria. What was I afraid of?

I saw her face–those crystal blue eyes looking at us, staring at me as if I was disgusting.  Watching me with him.

Mother. I whispered her name.

I bolted up to sitting position, suddenly awake.

“Mother!” I cried, jumping to my feet. “She’ll kill me!”

At my command, he dropped me off on the very edge of my driveway. I flung myself out of the car without muttering a good bye and ran along the grass and twisting oak trees that lined our road. To my relief, the house was engulfed in darkness. Mother had gone to bed. My heart hammered against my ribs at the thought of how late it was. What excuse could I tell her in the morning? I could say there was car trouble at the movies and Pearl and I were trapped there for hours. Would she believe it? I tried to silence the sick curls of terror that twisted in my stomach.

As I rounded the back of the house to enter through the staff’s doorway I smoothed my wrinkled dress and touched my hair. It lay recklessly about my shoulders, the bobby pins jutting in and out, suspended loosely against the tangles. I plucked out the bobby pins and reinserted them, my fingers shaking. If anyone saw me, they would see him. They would see him in my eyes, my swollen lips, and my tangled hair. It would all be over.

I slid through the door and down the hall way without one creak. I moved into the main area of the house which was thick with warm air and darkness and the twisting shadows of the furniture which was touched by the moon light. I sneaked towards the staircase and clutched the rail.

Clink.

The sound came from behind me, paralyzing me instantly. In the corner of my eye a bright ember glowed against the blackness and moved as if it was suspended in air. Smoke touched my nostrils. As if on cue the moon light eased through the windows, illuminating the room in silver.

There she was. The glowing end of the cigarette cast a shadow across her face, distorting her fine-boned features and darkening her crystal eyes. Her fingers from her other hand clutched the smooth glass neck of a bottle of Vodka. Mother. Was this my Mother, the very woman who stood in line and waved signs to end alcohol production…who forced Father to smoke outside? Was she even real? Or was this the frightening production of my imagination?

“Angelina,” her voice shattered any doubt of her reality.

A gasp escaped from my lips.

She tapped at the cigarette, sending ashes fluttering on the table. “Tell me the name of that young man with whom you have clearly been either fornicating with or are on the brink of fornication?”

I tried to say something, form words but the paralysis I felt in the rest of my body seemed to find its way to my lips. That boy she referred to was pure gold. He had never been anything but gentle and honorable.

Mother stood to her feet. “Tell me his name.” Her command was direct, her voice as sharp as a knife. “You know I’ll find out.” She stood to her feet, her eyes locked onto mine. “Angelina, tell me his name.”

My mouth opened. I tried to keep it closed, fought to keep it closed but it opened against my will. “W-W…”


I hope you enjoyed!!

 

A close up at the best bookstore…ever

A long time ago I wrote a post called Beautiful Bookstores. In that post you got a glimps of The Barns and Nobles located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. 

Last week I decided it has been too long since my visit to this amazing book store! This time I went prepared to take pictures and share them with you!

   
     

  

  

  

  

  

  

 I know some of the pictures are blurry  but I think you can still see the awesomeness! 

If you ever visit Baltimore you’ve got to check out this bookstore!  

The little seed that sprouted into a book

I was thinking today about the first little thought I had that led to the creation of my book. What was it? Where did it all begin? What was that one little seed of an idea that led to something huge–hopefully really huge, as in published huge–?

The idea of my book literally came from a dream I had a long time ago, when I was in my teens. 

Several types of people show up in dreams…there’s you, the main character; then sometimes, many times your best friends, they are the side kicks or the Robin to you, Batman; then there’s the people you think about ALOT, the Prince Charming of your dream. Of course you have your dream villains who come out in every shape and form (cafeteria lady, random customer, your arch nemesis, a cupcake….etc.). Beyond these main players in a dream you also have random people–the fillers; they make up the backdrop. I don’t know about you but half of the time I am like “who are these people?!?!” I don’t recognize them at all…not a bit! I’ve told myself they come from images my mind retained but I don’t remember at all. For example–the people you pass by in Walmart. 

Getting to the point, one of these filler people appeared more and more in my dreams….slowly working up to becoming Robin status. And I wondered if the person really existed out there somewhere. 

There was the idea. 

My book is about a girl who in her dreams is madly in love with a guy who in real life doesn’t exist….or does he? I threw in a murder and a wedding, to spice it up. 

So that’s my story on how a little thought sprouted into the creation of my book. 😀

What about you? What was the idea, life moment that led to your book? 

My Writing Tools

MY WRITING TOOLS

Every writer has their own sacred tools. Tools to create, to bring those words rolling around in our heads together, and to bring a story to life. I have seen a few other bloggers do a post similar to this, and I have loved each one. Here are my writing tools!

The Lucky Writing Sweater- I can’t decide if it screams hipster or just plain ugly! Ha-ha!

The Lucky Writing Sweater

Either way, this sweater has magical powers. I am not sure why, but it seems like when I am wearing this sweater the words flow and I can write and write and write. Also I finished my first manuscript wearing this sweater!

The Laptop- This is my enormous (annoyingly enormous) laptop that has been with meDSC_0085 through thick and thin. That keyboard has written hundreds of thousands of words.  Recently, my poor lap top it has been debating retirement (an early retirement). I’m  afraid if I don’t retire it soon it will throw in the towel. RIP laptop. Without you, I could never have gone as far I have.

The Cup of Coffee (or Tea in this picture)

This is my official writing cup. DSC_0077When I bought it, it was a real battle. The Make It Happen motivational mug or Wonder Woman mug? I’m not sure why I decided on just one. Why couldn’t I get both of them? (* sigh…life’s regrets)  I even went back to the store the next day and the Wonder Woman mug was gone. Tear, Tear. Anyway I do love the “MAKE IT HAPPEN” motivational reminder as I drink and write.

The Writing Journal

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Inspiration doesn’t always come when you are on your laptop. Inspiration hits me throughout the day, anytime-anyplace.I like to keep a journal handy to write down any thoughts, ideas or inspiration. The random papers underneath, and inside are when I didn’t have the journal on me and just wrote thoughts down on whatever I could get my hands on.

All About that Grammar- There are about a million rules in the English Language…and I have a lot of questions! Keeping a Grammar and Usage books around has been handy. Also, to be a good writer, you must be a good reader. I always keep a good book nearby for needed inspiration.

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 And this is just a cute picture I had to add! This is Branson, my sister’s dog I love to pieces!

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What are your writing tools? I would love to hear about them!

 

Persistent

Things happen when you are persistent.

I was reading success stories this weekend, in particular author success stories..the stories of those lucky souls who have gotten their books published. To tell the truth at first I was discouraged. It seemed like the book publishing dream was all up to chance…a 1 in a 1,000,000 shot. Then I saw the light…the key…the common link. The people who have gotten their book published wrote, rewrote, sent in submissions, got rejected ….over and over again. But they never gave up. They were persistent and it paid off.

Persistence is hard because it means facing failure …it means being patient …it means knowing results may not come right away…it means work. Three years ago I lost 30 pounds–thirty pounds I had been trying to lose for years. What changed is I realized the workouts..the healthy eating had to be day in..day out…for many many days. Change wasn’t going to happen unless I determined each day to work out and to eat right. What is crazy after a few weeks, eating healthy got easier…and easier…now it’s habit. (But I still enjoy cheese covered fries every now and then…gotta live a little! =) )

The BEST things in life usually don’t happen overnight. They are grown, cultivated, worked for. It has been said that the harder the work, the sweeter the victory. Some of the people I admire the most are people who don’t give up easily…who are persistent. Being persistent can change your body, your job, your relationships…and your life.

DON’T QUIT!

Peter Pan Must Die

Peter Pan Must Die

Peter Pan Must Die, John Verdon

Book Review
I received this book, Peter Pan Must Die, from the Blogging For Books program, in exchange for this review

The first thing that drew me into this read was the title. Somehow I sensed this book wasn’t about Never Never Land, Tinkerbelle, or never growing old. This book was about a murder. And let me just say…WOW.

Peter Pan Must Die is tells the story of a perfect case–a wife accused of murdering her husband; overwhelming evidence; life sentence; a woman nicknamed the black window– a woman capable of committing a murder…only she didn’t do it. Detective Gurney sets out to find the true killer, in a murder case with twists, turns, and one that leaves the reader wondering…who is Peter Pan (and all of us thinking find him before he finds you!)?

I have to confess though, the reason it took me so long to put up a review on this book was not because it was painfully boring to read. When I decided this book would be the one I MUST review I suddenly realized my only option was an e-book or in my case, a download onto my computer. I thought, “It will be no big deal”. But yes, yes it was! I never felt like grabbing my bulky laptop and curling up in bed and reading from the large screen with its’ blinding blue lights. In case you haven’t guessed I am a huge fan of hard copy books, books you can smell, books you can hold in your hand. I am not an e-book / kindle fan!

Final thoughts on Peter Pan Must Die—if you love suspense then you will enjoy reading this book. I was actually scared for the main character, thinking, “He’s gonna die, he’s gonna die!” The author really brought about a unique and terrifying antagonist…one that you won’t soon forget.

 

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First page of my book!

The first page of my book!!!

Just A Dream, pg. 1

by Autumn Komzik

Charleston, SC 1925

   He had always hated hospitals. The blindingly white wall, the burning smell of sterilization, the strange silver instruments, the soft whispery voices of the nurses—it was all a cover for the death and disease which seemed to ooze out of every crack and crevice. Hospitals were a place where the haunted memories of his Mother’s life slipping away from the Spanish Influenza filled his mind. They were a place where nightmares came true and where people discovered their mortality.

Kale Desmin sat in a flimsy metal chair feeling exhaustion start to set in. His honey colored hair, which was normally held neatly back with promenade, was ruffled and his eyes burned. He had been awake all night. But no matter how badly he longed to leave, he wouldn’t–he couldn’t.

His gaze fixed on the girl that lay in the bed directly in front of him, a girl that had been so full of life only hours ago. Purple bruises and scrapes speckled across the left side of her face, her blond hair was matted with blood, and her skin was pasty white. Other than the sound of her slow, methodical breaths, the hospital was quiet and strangely peaceful.

Kale hesitantly touched her limp hand and whispered the words he never could say when she was awake, “I love you, you have to wake up. Please, Angel, I need you.”

The quiet of the morning in was broken by desperate wails echoing down the hallway. Kale snapped his head up and stared at the closed door to the room. The wails became louder and louder. He could hear heavy footsteps pounding against the floor coming closer and closer, making the metal rails of the bed tremble and squeak. He realized it was a name that was being called; the wailing was the constant agonized repeat of a name. His heart felt a sudden swell of sorrow for the person, the owner of the name. It was clear the news they were about to receive would alter their life in some painful and dreadful way.

Kale felt his stomach fill with a hollow pit; his breath caught in his throat. The name that was being called was his.

*

Perfect days come around like the Halley’s Comet. You might have one truly perfect day in your life and once it’s gone, you never see it again. At least that’s what Mammy Potts always told me.

I could at least boast this day was close to perfect. My hair had not yet succumbed to the humidity– the waves which had taken an hour to put in were smooth and sleek; I managed to pluck the sweetest peach in existence from one of our trees; and I was about to spend the entire evening with him. As I walked towards the docks to meet him, my pace picking up with every step, my palms began to sweat. The one way to make this day absolutely Halley’s Comet kind of perfect, would be a kiss.

How many books did you read in 2014

Before I get into this post I have to put it out there…I know it is already less than 10 days until the end of January. Now that is out of the way I had been going over 2014 accomplishments. One of my goals was to read…read…read and read some more. I truly believe that the more you read the better writer you will become. At the end of the year I counted all of the books I read and my count was 72! I know there are people to who would laugh at reading only 72 books in a year, but for me…72 is AWESOME!

What was your 2014 books read count? Do you have a reading goal set for 2015? What are your 2015 goals? Do you think reading has helped improve your writing?

My 2015 goals:

To have my book Published! (every year’s goal until it happens! NEVER give up!)

To read more books than I did in 2014…so 73? ha ha..

To finish my second book

Go to Charleston, SC (setting for my books) and excited to say I am going in the first week of March!

Be a better, more faithful blog writer… LOL I started off semi-strong at the beginning of 2014 but sort of deflated there towards the end

Brushing up on all those fun rules of proper grammar and composition (kinda important for us writers!)

Interview with the Literary Agent

While visiting the homeland (Colorado) I had the opportunity to meet a LITERARY AGENT. Unfortunately, it wasn’t about my book…it was an interview for a position in the company! Still good news! This would be an amazing opportunity and maybe even would be a foot in the door to getting my book published (perhaps I could “accidently” leave a copy of my manuscript on one of the agent’s desks?). If you haven’t read my post on what happens to me during an interview, I have to tell you, I get TERRIFIED when going to interviews…it’s worse than terrified…it’s like my mind goes blank and I can’t seem to remember a thing!

This was a job I wanted, a position I was fully ready to take and to grow into…prepare for the interview? You bet I did! But as I walked into the shiny office with it’s glittering chandelier and mahogany desks I suddenly felt silly in my fitted dress and floppy shoes. For some reason, the shoes were a huge part of my worries. I had forgotten to bring my black pumps with me and ended up borrowing a pair of flats from my sister. The flats were worn and too big, so big my toes were gripping the soles just to keep them on when I walked. I repeated the line from Ever After, “No one will be looking at your feet” and hoped it was true.

As I waited to be called in, I studied a library filled with books that had been brought to publishing by this company. My heart was racing.

The first part of the interview went well, even with my nerves I maintained control. I pushed my work ethic and passion for literature to cover my lack of experience. I was feeling good. Suddenly I was ushered into the president’s office. W-WHAT? I had no idea he would interview me! The position I applied for was administrative, it didn’t seem big enough to meet the president! As we walked through the offices of the agents, my heart was POUNDING. AAAHHHHH!! The president!

When I entered his office and shook his hand I was shaking…I literally felt petrified in his presence. He introduced me to his wife announcing that I was a writer. It is so good to here a professional refer to you as a writer, let me just say.

He says, “What is the first line of your book?”

I fumble my speech a little and I can feel my cheeks burn ( I HATE that I blush so easily!). “He always hated hospitals,” I say the very first sentence of my book, holding my breath for his response.

He nods and says in his very serious, no nonsense kind of way, “That’s pretty good, actually. The first sentence is so important…there are many times when I have only read the first sentence of a submitted manuscript and rejected it. The first sentence must be good.”

His words gave me hope and taught me so much.

Be sure your first sentence is somehow captivating…and with correct grammar. That first sentence counts…make it good.

Even though I didn’t get the job as an administrative assistant, it was AWESOME being able to share about my book to a literary agent that has lead to the selling of millions of pages of literature.

What is the first sentence of your book?

“Theif of Glory”, raw and real, a book review

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Blogging for Books

theif of glory

Book Review: Thief of Glory
Author: Sigmund Brouwer

I received this book, Thief of Glory, from the Blogging For Books program, in exchange for this review.
Favorite line from Thief of Glory: “A banyan tree begins when its seeds germinate in the crevices of a host tree. It sends to the ground tendrils that become prop roots with enough room for children to crawl beneath, prop roots that grown into thick, woody trunks and make it look like the tree is standing above the ground. The roots, given time, look no different than the tree it has begun to strangle. Eventually, when the original support tree dies and rots, the banyan develops a hollow central core.” –Thief of Glory, pg. 1

The Thief of Glory takes us to the Dutch East Indies in 1942 and into the home and lives of a wealthy Dutch family, the Prins. The story’s hero, the 10 year old marble enthusiast and closet romantic, Jeremiah, finds his world stolen from him as the Japanese invade the East Indies and separate his family. Jeremiah, his Mother, younger brother and twin sisters are thrown into a concentration camp where Jeremiah’s goal, and promise he made to his father, is to take care of his family…and survive. In the book, we see Jeremiah as he is forced into adulthood, falls in love, and sees the darkest sides of the human heart.  Will Jeremiah and his family survive? And if he does, at the end of it all, who will he be?

Thief of Glory was not a book written for the feint of heart. It wasn’t fields of flowers and sunshine. It was written realistically with characters that were real and flawed, like us all.  Ultimately, Thief of Glory is about the choices we must make in life- to do good or evil; to take revenge or to forgive; how far we would go to survive. This book was deep, making its reader think.

A truly good book is about its characters. When you feel what the character feels, when your heart breaks when something bad happens to them, or when you feel happy when the character gets the girl,  the writer has accomplished his goal. When Jeremiah first enters the book, I didn’t like him. I was like, this kid is a total brat! And…a little on the violent side, in a scary way. As I kept reading, the author started to reveal more and more of who Jeremiah was and what his family was like. As I read, I felt like I knew Jeremiah, I felt like he was a real person. He seemed like he was someone I played with in the dirt when I was a little kid. As Jeremiah is forced into an unimaginable and horrible situation,  I saw Jeremiah as a fighter, someone who had courage, someone who would do anything for his family, and someone who was thrust into becoming a parent when all he really wants is for his parent (his Mother) to take action and be the parent, and someone who struggles (like us all) against the darkness lurking in his own heart. I commend Sigmund Brouwer on his characters! At one point in the book I paused and wondered, “Is this a TRUE story?” I swore I had found it in the fiction section! I even had to double check the back of the book to find that little word “Fiction”. By the final chapters of the book I was completely involved in the characters, my heart filling with pain as Jeremiah endured one horror after the next, begging him, “don’t do it! Pleasssseee don’t do it!” As I read those final chapters, I felt almost depressed. When things started looking up, those last few pages, I read in horror. I don’t want to give too much away, but the end I read over twice, just to make sure I read it right. I was shocked and horrified by the ending. For hours after finishing the book, I couldn’t sleep…and I shed a few tears.   I literally felt like shouting, “Jeremiah, NOOOOO!!”. The book was so real, so raw.Yet, for being shocking and horrifying, the Thief of Glory ended in hope, because with God, there is always hope.

Final thoughts: This book was very realistic and very well written, totally making me become involved emotionally. I was glad a book that was filled with so much darkness, offered a rays of sunshine, throughout it. There were moments of true courage and motivating compassion and kindness. And in the end,  it offered hope. I don’t really have any bad comments about Thief of Glory, the writing was superb, the research fantastic, the story moving and tragic all at once. Be warned: this book is hard to read, knowing that this story was inspired from true events, that many things Jeremiah went through actually happened to people. But, I would call it a good read, with a good message.