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!!

 

The Voice of the Office, story of inspiration

There are a lot of us who feel or realize maybe our job isn’t anything special– we aren’t preforming surgeries on a day to day basis that save lives, we aren’t flying jets, manning businesses that literally make the world go round. We are the people that maybe sit in an office or flip burgers, cut trees–whatever our occupation is, it isn’t quite our dream job and it doesn’t really feel like it is that big a deal to the world.


 

Her name was Bev, short for Beverly. She had been 25 for exactly 1 month. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. Five years until thirty. Barely managing to cling onto being able to say, “I’m in my early twenties.” Bev was an average girl, with brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. Bev was also a girl who at one time believed she was going to be one of those people who change the world.

Bev stood in the small office of her job as of a week ago, glancing around the room.  The walls were made of giant bricks which had been painted the exact color of gray which brings to mind a day filled with endless rain. In the small room there were two windows draped with  sun-dyed green curtains, providing an excellent view of the dumpster below. She turned to face her desk where a phone, computer and key board sat, letting out a long sigh. The sigh of a person who realized life was no where near she imagined. The sign of a person who realized her dreams might not come true. She felt the tears rush in, threatening to spill out. She took a deep breath, holding her head slightly back attempting to somehow send the tears back where they came from. She inwardly reminded herself of how when she cried even just a couple drops her nose, eyes–face would be swollen and red as a beet for a the rest of the day. What if someone would stop by? Then she remembered her bosses’ words, “Yeah, at this job you’ll sooner see a cow walk through those doors than another person!”

Bev burst into tears, letting them spill freely down her cheeks.


Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom. 

“You here it?” Bev’s Dad asked, his coppery colored eyes crinkling at the corners like they always did when he smiled.

Six-year old Bev nodded, her brown curls swishing. “What is that, Daddy?” Her blue eyes where wide with curiosity.

Her Dad touched the round, metal object pushing it along his chest.

Bev’s eyes got bigger. “Boom-boom, boom-boom….Daddy what is it?!” She clutched the tubes of the stethoscope which were lodged into her ears, trying to figure out where exactly the boom-boom was coming from.

Her Daddy smiled, eyes crinkling, dimples carving alongside the corners of his mouth. “That’s your Daddy’s heart beating,” he said softly.

Bev’s mouth dropped open as she stared at her Dad in stunned silence.

Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom.

“That’s your heart, Daddy?”

He nodded.

Bev smiled, pushing the tubes deeper into her ears in an attempt to hear the beat better. Her eyes ran over the purple scars barely inching out of the neck of his button-up shirt. “That’s your new heart beating, Daddy isn’t it?”

Tears were touching his eyes, but she didn’t notice. “Mmmhmm.”

“I can tell it’s BIG and HAPPY–and it’s not gonna get tired like your last one. It’s strong– just like you, Daddy.”


 

Bev had wanted to be a doctor. Since the day she heard her Dad’s new heart beat, since the day she discovered how her Dad’s life had been saved by a heart transplant, since the day she received her first stethoscope, since for as long as she could remember. Bev wanted to save lives. Bev wanted to give people the gift her family had been given. Bev wanted to make a difference in the world.

And here she was sitting at a small office, her stethoscope buried in the back of her closet at home; buried under piles of bills, back luck, her Dad’s death, and the resentment and pain she felt from dropping out of medical school from grief.

What would her Dad think of her? She was working somewhere where she saw more walls than she saw people. Where her boss called her the “voice-literally” of the company because her duty was to manage the phone lines and any other form of communication, yet no one saw or would see her face.

She turned on her computer, and flung herself in the chair feeling hollow and missing her Dad more than ever.

She pulled up her personal email account, breathing heavily. Her eyes fixed onto the last email from him. The last email her dad had sent before he died. She let out a deep breath and clicked onto it, reading over words she had nearly memorized by now. He had spent the last two years before he died traveling, volunteering with mission groups that brought food and medical supplies to children. He had been at a remote village in the Amazon Basin, his email filled with the story of his struggle to communicate with the locals in the village. “After hand motions…talking louder and louder and slower and slower (why we do we automatically do that? Hah! NEVER, EVER WORKS but we still give it a go anyway)…the whole nine yards–The chief smiled. And I smiled. He laughed. I laughed. Smiling–it was just about the only thing we understood. I tell ya…if you wanna make a difference, make someone smile.

At the end he had put the quote, “Everyone smiles in the same language”-don’t you forget it, Love Dad =)

Bev read the quote again and again.  Could she ever really have an impact on someone’s life when her career involved practically zero human contact when it did not involve the phone or email?

She read it again.

smile

 

Bev logged out of her personal account and signed into the office email. As she was replying about a client’s question, she decided send out a smiley face next to her name. Before long, Bev decided to send out a smiley face with as much communication as possible, when appropriate. Whether it was through email or by her personal signature, she always sent out a little smile. She didn’t really think it would make a huge difference, but she felt like maybe she was at least sending a little happiness someone’s way.


 

Two years later…

Bev looked into the tiny office with it’s gray brick walls, sagging curtains, and old computer one last time, her heart swelling with happiness and sadness all at once. She had just learned what a difference that smile made. She received hundreds of calls, emails, gifts, and notes of gratitude from so many people she never even met. Hundreds of people had flooded her with gifts, memories of small conversations or shared laughs, saying they would miss “the girl who sent smiles”. Notes which said, “I will never forget the girl who made people smile.” “I know we never met, but we became friends, how amazing is that.” “Bev, you made me feel like I mattered,  you are an amazing young girl.”

Apparently that smile mattered to some people a lot, a lot more than Bev realized.

Today Bev is a cardiologist, making her dreams a reality, and signing her name with a smile.

Wherever you are you can touch someone else’s life. If you can brighten someone else’s day or make them laugh or smile, or complement them in some way, you are a world changer. Even if it was just for a moment, you made someone feel like they mattered or that they were special. We need more of that in the world.

Wherever you are…whoever you are…you can make a difference!

Happy Wednesday!

Just Keep Writing

Dear Writers,

Just because someone you know has not been able to publish any of their 20 manuscripts….does not mean you won’t be able to publish your 1 manuscript.

I finally met a fellow writer…in person. I feel like most of the writers I know are trapped in the glass, plastic and metal components of my cell phone or laptop, in the world of social media. Every now and then I think to myself I wish some of these writer people lived nearbywhat great friends we’d be! It’s strange because sometimes it’s hard to imagine these people (often in different countries!) are actually real. And I am sure Pennsylvania has writers…I just need to get out more… visit more coffee shops perhaps.

But finally, I was able to sit face to face, shake the hand of an actual fellow writer. Let me just say, it is awesome to be chatting with someone and discover they are a writer too!

I was in Colorado last week, at an interview. You know me, it seems lately when I am not writing I spend my time either at interviews or preparing for interviews. LOL. I even have an interview later today (wish me luck)!  A blog post may be coming soon about interviews, What I have Learned So Far or Interviews and Introverts (Although I don’t know if I’m exactly an introvert…just SCARED SILLY when it comes to interviewing!). I have now had Skype, Government, interviews in front of a board of 5+ people, phone interviews, interviews with presentations, interviews with literary agents (the MOST terrifying!), interviews in which the interviewers pretended to be students misbehaving (the latest)….and more. So definitely have had a broad range of experiences, some very positive and some not so much! So stay tuned for this future post!

Anyway, back in Colorado. The writer I met was a History Teacher and let me just say the man was intelligent.I'm Brilliant It wasn’t that he was one of those people who tries to shove their intelligence in your face, “BTW…I’m brilliant!” He was one of those people whose words, mannerisms, and whole persona spoke of genius.

Like without trying the intelligence would pop out of him in little bursts. Anyway, SUPER, SUPER nice guy! In conversation he hears me say that I’m a writer/working on writing a Historic Romantic Suspense series. We get to talking and he has written a several books. Boy was I excited to hear from this more seasoned writer’s experiences. One of my favorite comments he told me (while laughing) he received from an agent rejection letter was, “Loved your characters, but the end of the book was like an empty room with white walls.” As he told me more and more about his experience he said he could probably fill a small room with the number of letters, emails and notes of the times he’s been rejected. I felt my stomach twist.

I’ve always believed that some way, some how if I don’t give up I will find an agent, I will get published. It may take a LONG time and a lot of rejections but I believed that if I didn’t quit it would pay off. Hearing that this amount of rejection happened to a man who doesn’t quit easily, who is incredibly brilliant, and his book had yet to been published… was discouraging.

But then…

That is his story.

Not mine. (NOT YET anyway!)

I just want to tell all of you writers out there it can get discouraging when you hear about the failures and rejections other writers have experienced. (Especially when those writers are brilliant and creative and good at what they do!) But just because they got rejected does not mean YOU will.

DON’T GIVE UP. KEEP WRITING!

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? 

Writing (such an original title, I know)

I think one thing that makes someone a writer is not just the urge to write…but the NEED.

I had a long weekend spent in Virginia…a weekend without a piece of paper or keyboard or a pen–not really, all of these objects were available–the real problem was my inability to steal away and write. I think getting away from it all is always a good thing. Breaks work wonders for the mind and body! However, I had that itch. You know that feeling…where you have got to write (or it could get ugly…;) ). I made it back late Monday night, surviving with the knowledge I could write to my hearts desire after I got off of work the next day. Then I checked my email. It’s past 1:00AM, I am lying in my bed, I have to work in the morning…and (after of course the habitual checking of other social media sites) I check my email.

One new message.

I bolt up to sitting position. It’s from a job I applied to. I have an interview! Then I realize the interview will take place…on Tuesday. What was then just about 16 hours away. If you have ever read my post about what happens to me during an interview (mind goes blank…panic mode turns on….etc.) you know I have to give interviews a lot of prep time so I am completely ready for anything blown my way. Thank goodness it was a phone interview…but still….the writing would have to wait.

I’ve heard people say writing can be therapeutic. I think that’s for me it’s absolutely true. After the interview I realized a move literally across the country to Seattle might be in my future (I couldn’t believe I actually heard back from a job so far away). Was this what I really wanted? Seattle? The same day I found out my best friend is moving…OUT OF THE COUNTRY. =(  Life can change so quickly. The good news was my dreams of visiting Europe felt more like a reality. We decided we would meet up in Europe, (I threw out that we’d meet in Greece, I’ve always wanted to see the Mediterranean ) when I finally have enough saved up to go. After the interview, after talking to my best friend…I felt I don’t know…sad and heavy. I had the weight of making a huge decision on my shoulders and was already missing my friend (kindred spirits don’t come around every day!). Writing seemed like the last thing I should do when I had a lot to think (worry…analyze) about.

Yesterday I brewed up some coffee….and instead of pondering life… I just wrote. And gosh, I felt so much better! Writing sometimes helps us focus on something different, helps us get our emotions out and share our hearts. Long story short, I got some of that novel done (and wrote a poem!)….and felt refreshed and renewed. Writing was able to bring me that feeling you have on a really hot day, when your throat is parched and finally take that first sip of ice cold water. AAAHHH.

The Chain-a Poem

The Chain

A cloud of dust

Filled the air;

The chain of iron and rust

Clenched his bristled hair.

Iron links woven together

A collar made of spikes and of leather-

The iron links were his prison bars,

The collar of spikes his prison scars.

It was the only life he’d known

On the chain he had grown.

Back and forth

He paced each day.

Back and forth

Stomping dirt and clay.

All he wanted

Was to know

Just how fast

His legs could go.

To feel grass

Beneath his paws

To live one day

Without the chain’s laws.

Back and forth

He paced each day;

Back and forth

The years slipped away.

With each step

His anger burned

With each step

To hatred he turned.

Freedom was dangled

In front of his eyes

His master’s promises

Were nothing but lies.

A cloud of dust filled the air

The chain of iron and rust–

His despair.

He tensed his muscles and grunted

A little freedom was all he had ever wanted.

The chain was broken

With a cloud crack

He ran–

And didn’t look back.

His master’s anguished voice

Filled the air–

But he was long gone-

Never to return there.

-AK

Kaleel Jamison wrote: “Relationships – of all kinds – are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.”

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!