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!  

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

DSC_0090               DSC_0091

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.

DSC_0063

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

DSC_0046

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

 

Writing Update

Writing update! 

Last week ended on a high note with lots of writing and editing done. For several weeks I was frozen at this one spot in my second book, but finally the words started to flow. The inspiration flow all started with research on the meaning of flowers. Haha..yes, flowers. The two books I am working on are right now are set in the 1920’s, and the second one involves a serial killer who leaves a certain flower by each victim. For the longest time I really wasn’t sure which flower to use, so I got to work looking up the meaning of flowers.

During the Victorian Era people spoke through flowers, which I find fascinating (but I’m so glad it doesn’t really work that way today!). Flowers, colors of flowers, leaves off or on…it all meant something. A red rose meant I love you…but a deep red rose meant “bashful” or “shame”. A thornless rose meant “love at first sight” and you better hope no one gives you an orange lily…it means they pretty much hate you. (How sad! What if orange lilies were your favorite flower?). Some other interesting meanings I found: one of the meanings of the herb Dill is lust. Hmm.. just doesn’t scream lust to me! And Bachelor Button, as the name suggests, means “celibacy”, “single blessedness.” Pretty interesting stuff. Kind of strange that it got the writing juices flowing for me, but there you have it!

Other Updates: 

I am getting a new computer. At the beginning of February I did my taxes. I bought a certain tax system, downloaded it onto my lap top. Apparently it was too much (too depressing?) for my lap top and right after I pressed send (thank goodness!) the screen turned into a mess of black, blue, orange, green, pink, etc. lines. Then it went black. =( My poor laptop. The good news is after letting it sit for a day I figured I would go ahead and try to turn the thing on…and it actually still worked! The bad news is I could no longer get on the internet. BIG SIGH. It has been interesting using my phone as my main source for access to the internet; I only attempted to write one or two blog posts through my phone (haha…that was fun!)…so thankful for friends and family who let me borrow their laptops for blog writing. To make a long story short, I should have a new computer by the end of the week. Yay!!

Hiking Season is here! YES! Went to Rocks’ State Park in Maryland, which if you are ever in Maryland you should check out. My favorite part is a group of rocks called the “King and Queen’s Seat”; Indians used to hold meetings here years and years ago. By the way…I love hiking, so any trail recommendations, if I am ever in your part of the world?

What I’m reading: The final books of the Sebastian St. Cyr series. I held out until my birthday and got them as a gift. Speaking of this series, I got my little sister reading them! WIN.

I hope everyone is having an awesome Wednesday! =)

A few paragraphs from Book II!

A few paragraphs from my second book! This has a small glimpse of one of my favorite characters: Miss Sadie Bee.

Mercedes shook her head. If she thought about Kale Desmin one more time today she may as well start a fan club for him, complete with jackets and autograph signings. He was such a mystery and one she wouldn’t mind solving…at least in her wildest dreams.

She looked back at Sadie Bee’s dark, probing eyes, wondering if she should confess everything to the cook. It was after all, just the two of them in the kitchen, as it usually was every morning. It was a tradition, almost; Mercedes and Miss Bee would come down earlier than the rest of the staff, drink coffee and talk about whatever random subject was running through Miss Bee’s mind. This morning had Miss Bee sharing how she was certain mice were intelligent creatures. She said, “They got to be sorta smart if theys can manage to get cheese outta a mouse trap and not set the darn thing off.” She glared at the scrawny tabby cat lounging in the corner in a patch of sunlight. “You useless, you knows that?” Shaking her head she took a sip of her black coffee. “Sometimes I sees this one mouse, he be the leader I think, he just look at me…like he’s challenging me. It ain’t natural, that’s for sures.”

Mercedes hesitated. How she wanted to let out her secret. It was like steam trapped in a tea kettle. Sadie Bee could be trusted, but the problem was the entire house (other than Pearl and Mrs. Tyson, of course) hated Kale. Mercedes would have to bring him up in a roundabout way. “I was just…thinking…about Ka–Mr. Desmin,” she let the name hang in the air.

Miss Bee’s face scrunched, the same way it had when she found mouse droppings in the cupboard. “Why would you be thinking on him?”

“No particular reason…” Mercedes started. She drummed her fingers on the table. “But I wonder what his fiancé was like; I wonder if he loved her; I wonder why he left her.” She looked off again, reimagining the pain in Kale’s golden eyes as he spoke of the girl.

Miss Bee grunted. “Child, that man didn’t love her. No man that loves a girl would just leave her stand’n there to be publicly humiliated.”

“But–I wonder about the facts…” -Pg. 27 (Book II)

Hope Everyone is having a great weekend!

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!)

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

bfb-728x90-2

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.

Thoughts on “Broken Paradise” and stolen freedom

I have been reading the book Broken Paradise by Cecilia Samartin. It is the story of two cousins who lived in Cuba during the time that Fidel Castro came to power. This book is a beautifully written work that really pulls the heart strings with its real characters and moving story. broken-paradise

End of the world, the world after a great crisis, rule under a crazy government books like the Hunger Games and Divergent (I love them! At least Hunger Games, I haven’t read Divergent…yet but I liked the movie!) are easy to get caught up in and led us to imagine ourselves as heroes and heroins in a world that doesn’t exist ….and forget the reality of it all. When Cuba was taken over by the Communists and their leader, Fidel Castro, the people didn’t know he was a bad guy. They thought he was going to be the leader their country needed. They didn’t even realize what was happening and before they knew it their land, horses, food, religion, money was taken away from them and “distributed evenly”. Communism is the idea that tries to rid social classes and money and create a world “utopia” where everyone is equal. No one is poor, no one is rich. It is a classless, stateless society where everyone shares everything. In theory, it sounds like a good idea. But in reality it means: the government decides on how many children you can have, tell you what books you can and cannot read or write, what kind of house and job you can have, what you can believe. It steals people’s money and dreams and lives. The government is in absolute control. You aren’t smart enough to make your own decisions, the government should take care of you and make them for you. And if you are not “pro-communist” well, you get thrown in jail…or worse. Your own thoughts and opinions are not your own or are not allowed. Communism is anti-freedom.

People, millions of people, have lived through experiences through communism that ring scarily close to books like the Hunger Games and Divergent. I guess reading Broken Paradise was a  wake-up call/reminder. Freedom can be stolen, so we must protect it. People were made to be creative and have goals and pursue them. The government should be there to create a system of protection…not be a provider. When a government is big enough to give you everything you have, it is big enough to take it all away. – Thomas Jefferson. We need to vote, we need to get involved, we need to protect our freedoms. People in Cuba lived normal lives, they were just like us. It just took one person to take over the country and take away their lives. If you are rich, donate-help people. If you are poor, (like me…I make 13,000$ a year) keep working, keep dreaming but don’t think that taking money that isn’t yours from the rich is a solution. We cannot make decisions for other people (we can try to influence them…but we cannot force them). We cannot force people to do what we would want to do with their money, it just isn’t right. Would you want someone to do that to you? What we can do is focus on ourselves, and strive on being the best person we can be. The most free society is made up of good people… people doing good things because they choose too. You change the world by being the change.

Life Lessons from Gone With the Wind

Yesterday I watched a movie I haven’t watched in …..FOREVER. Even though its been probably over 10 years, I remembered a few things about Gone With the Wind…giant hoop skirts, southern plantations, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara, and I remembered the movie was sad. After watching it last night, I was struck by the sadness of it all. It wasn’t just a little sad, it was heartbreaking! I felt like bursting into tears. There was so much loss, so many words not said, so many lives torn apart. I really couldn’t stop thinking about this movie vivian leahfor hours into the night…and I took some things to heart.

Practical Life Lessons from Gone With the Wind:

Don’t chase after the Ashley’s in life and miss the great guy you have right in front of you.This is probably the biggest lesson I got out of this movie. Don’t waste your time on a person that is with someone else (let alone married…never do that!!). Scarlet had told Ashley her feelings before he ever even got married…he could’ve chosen Scarlet, but he didn’t! If the person you like doesn’t like you…MOVE ON! Stop pining over the dream of them…you could be missing out on the person who is quite perfect for you. “No, I don’t think I’ll kiss you, although you need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” -Rhett Butler.

If you are an Ashley…stop it! If there is someone in your life that is your friend…maybe even your ex…maybe you even care about them…BUT you don’t see a future with them (and you get married!!!) stop stringing them along. It might be hard to do because you don’t want to hurt them but you are doing far more damage by letting them hope and not be able to move onto better things! “Ashley, you should have told me years ago that you loved her and not me, and not left me dangling with your talk of honor. But you had to wait till now, now when Melly’s dying. To show me that I could never be any more to you than, than this Watling woman is to Rhett … And I’ve loved something that doesn’t really exist. Somehow, I don’t care. Somehow, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter one bit.” -Scarlet to Ashley

Don’t be too proud to tell people, “I’m sorry.” If only Scarlet would have learned this earlier….how different her life would have turned out. Own up to your mistakes and apologize…before it is too late!“My darling, you’re such a child. You think that by saying “I’m sorry,” all the past can be corrected.”-Rhett to Scarlet.

Money isn’t everything. When we become obsessed and willing to do anything for money…we slowly become poisoned. Scarlet lived for money and it slowly destroyed her. When Scarlet married Rhett she became filthy rich. She could have anything she could possibly want. Yet her life seemed so depressing. There was no laughter no kindness and very little love. “I liked to think that Bonnie was you, a little girl again, before the war, and poverty had done things to you. She was so like you, and I could pet her and spoil her, as I wanted to spoil you. But when she went, she took everything.”– Rhett to Scarletclark gable

Learn how to communicate. Scarlet and Rhett were constantly crossing signals. Take a risk and tell your significant other how you really feel and what they mean to you. Rhett Butler: “I’m leaving you, my dear. All you need now is a divorce and your dreams of Ashley can come true. “
Scarlett: “Oh, no! No, you’re wrong, terribly wrong! I don’t want a divorce. Oh Rhett, but I knew tonight, when I… when I knew I loved you, I ran home to tell you, oh darling, darling!”
Rhett Butler: “Please don’t go on with this, Leave us some dignity to remember out of our marriage. Spare us this last.”
Scarlett: “This last? Oh Rhett, do listen to me, I must have loved you for years, only I was such a stupid fool, I didn’t know it. Please believe me, you must care! Melly said you did.”
Rhett Butler: “I believe you. What about Ashley Wilkes?”
Scarlett: “I… I never really loved Ashley.”
Rhett Butler: “You certainly gave a good imitation of it, up till this morning. No Scarlett, I tried everything. If you’d only met me half way, even when I came back from London.”
Scarlett: “I was so glad to see you. I was, Rhett, but you were so nasty.”
Rhett Butler: “And then when you were sick, it was all my fault… I hoped against hope that you’d call for me, but you didn’t.”
Scarlett: “I wanted you. I wanted you desperately but I didn’t think you wanted me.”

Don’t give up! Scarlet is a person that never gave up. She is a fighter. Fight for the people you love and never give up on them (other than if they are an Ashley). “I can’t let him go. I can’t. There must be some way to bring him back. Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters? Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back.”-Scarlet O’Hara