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!!

 

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!

 

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!

Little Things, a poem

Little Things

A heart beat

A music note

A word said

And a word wrote.

A flower petal

A silver dime

A drop of rain

And a minute of time

A first kiss

A laugh with a friend

A snow flake

And watching a life begin.

A bread crumb

A grain of sand

A blade of grass

And holding your hand.

A pink sunset

A red sunrise

A stranger’s smile

And the look in your eyes.

A “I love you”

A “I love you too”

A “I’m sorry”

And a “I’m sorry too”

A mean look

A little lie

An angry word

And a silent cry.

A dinner missed

A word unspoken

A call unmade

A promise broken.

A tiny rumor

A match spark

A little virus

And a deal in the dark.

A cigarette

A punch and hit

A drunken drive

And an atom split.

Years are made of days

And days are made of minutes

Life is made of moments

And the choices in it.

Little things aren’t so small-

A word, a minute, a look, a choice–

These are our life’s sails

And when we are gone, these will be our life’s voice.

-By Autumn Komzik

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.

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?

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

I am still alive!!! I miss you and I miss blogging! I have been horrible at blogging lately, It’s just that I have been so, so busy (and I have no internet at my house!-huge factor). Even tonight I am heading on a trip to Colorado! I am hoping to get back into the swing of things once I return from vacation!

What I’ve been up to:

Thanksgiving and Christmas Festivities

Charleston, SC research (life in the 1920s in Charleston, SC) for my books

Two potential literary agents selected and a query letter written

Thorough editing of the first 5 pages

Writing the second book

Studying typography and other graphics for work (fun! Why did I major in History?)

Job searching

Reading Books

Cooking

Playing with dogs

Life

=)

I hope everything is going well for everyone out there! And the Christmas Season is full of happiness for you and lots of happy writing and living!

Updates

“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.

Jane Austen…random thoughts

I heard a quote yesterday by Jane Austen that I absolutely loved and never heard before. So of course I thought it would only be right if I share it with my fellow bloggers.

“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”

-Jane Austen

Jane, I couldn’t agree with you more! I have been feeling the need to find new adventures myself and well…I suppose I should start thinking about leaving my “village”.

All day long, I had Jane Austen on my mind. I’ve been a big fan since I was really little and watched “Pride and Prejudice” the Wishbone version. Did any one else ever watch that show Wishbone with the Jack Russel Terrier? After that I developed an obsession. I have seen almost every version of Pride and Prejudice out there (A & E version is the BEST!), Emma, Sense and Sensibility, etc. I felt like I had a connection with Jane Austen because (before my youngest sister was born) there were 5 girls in my family and no boys. My Mom would even call us the “Bennet” family. Today, as I was reminiscing, while trying not to get hit by the aggressive shoppers pushing carts in Walmart (they are especially vicious in the Walmart closest to my house-if you are in the way you better move fast! Once I wasn’t “hasty” enough for one woman and she rammed me in the heels and then swerved around me without even acknowledging me and my bruising ankle. It felt like a hit and run!) I decided I should see if there were any Austen Era novels available in Walmart’s book section. The only one I found was “Death at Pemberly” or maybe it is “Murder at Pemberly”. I decided to go ahead and buy it, I mean at least it wasn’t those ridiculous zombie books, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (remember those books?…eessh!). I’ve always loved mystery books and obviously I love Pride and Prejudice so maybe this mash-up could be a great thing…we’ll see.

While I’m going on about Pride and Prejudice I actually had a potential book idea pop into my mind. Mary is the boring, dull and forgotten sister. I thought, maybe I should write a book about her? Tell her story.  The Forgotten Sister, The Quiet One.…I can see it now…

What is the most recent book you’ve read?  Is there a “forgotten” character in a book that you would like to write about, share their story? Are you starting a new adventure?

Book Store Find, Bethany Beach

This past weekend I got the chance to visit a place where a I got to discover a new and adorable book store.

Location: Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Driving to Bethany Beach was an experience in itself. I expected the tiny state of Delaware to be packed with houses and buildings. Instead, there were fields of wheat that looked like they belonged in Spain, a bunch of side-of-the-road fruit and vegetable stands, even homemade ice cream and cheese stores. The drive was picturesque with plenty of winding roads and rural scenery.

When I got to Bethany Beach I was amazed to see a town with quaintness and charm and yet full of that exciting boardwalk atmosphere. The main street is lined with white beach-style buildings Imagehousing food, candy stores, beach wear, surf shops, boardwalk fries and funnel cakes, and….a book store. Bethany Beach Books has been around for 20 years and it is fabulous! Painted white and red and featuring a rounded room full of windows this book store was the perfect place to pick up a novel and bring it to the beach…which was like 200 feet away. I walked inside making the door bell jingle and immediately felt happiness flow through me. Books books and more books. Aisles of books, shelves of books, rows of books. The entire store was filled with that relaxed beach vibe. The latest and most popular novels were well stocked and extremely organized. After walking around the round room with glass windows I noticed pictures on the walls. A bunch of pictures of novelists that have been to Bethany Beach Books. AWESOME! Then  I noticed a bunch of the books had been signed. Not just one or two…there were dozens of autographed novels! What a cool experience this was; I only wished one of the authors Imagewould have been there for a reading! Perhaps next time I can plan it better. Other things happening at Bethany Beach Books : There are photography contests , Where’s Waldo Search, and other fun activities.

This book store was also great because it was right in the thick of things. A coffee house was two doors down, a live music arena was a few feet away and the beach was right there. There were people everywhere ( we all seemed to bond as the World Cup game was going on! It was awesome! Everyone cheered and booed together. What a great beach town atmosphere!) but plenty of beach and plenty of places to steal away and dig into a novel.

Where are some of your favorite summer bookstores?

visiting Delaware? visit http://www.bethanybooks.com

photo credit: bethanybeachbooks