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!!

 

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!

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!  

Bathrooms, wall to wall carpet and other mysteries of the universe

The universe has many mysteries.

One such mystery is why…oh why, did people ever decide wall to wall carpeting in the bathroom was a good idea?

bathroom-carpet

I suppose this mystery isn’t completely unsolved to the masses of the world. You may be one of those individuals who put carpet in your bathroom. WHY???

I am bringing up this topic today because I am one of those people who own (I guess I should say rent? but that sounds strange!) a bathroom in which the entire floor is blanketed in carpet. I should note that I DID NOT put the carpet there. I’m pretty sure it’s been there for nearly 50 years. (Along with all the appliances in the house! The house is like a well preserved view of life and interior designing in the 1960s.) At one point I think the carpet was pink, matching the tiles on the wall and shower; slowly it has faded into a dull, liver and pink colored monstrosity.

You ask: Autumn, why not just rip the carpet out and tile the floor? Stop fussing!

My answer: I rent.

The people I rent from are ever so nice! They are literally the nicest of the nice. But they like the carpet in there. I cannot bring myself to ask why. It might change my opinion of them. I’M KIDDING! They like it because tiles are cold and hard and carpet is a softer, warmer option. All I can think is: True…but what if the toilet over flows? What if you spill your hair gel on it? And again…what if the toilet over flows???

Another reason I am bringing up this topic today is because over the weekend an incident occurred involving the said carpet.

It all started on Friday.

As I was getting ready to head out to work, I run into my bathroom and do a final “did I unplug the curling iron & straightener check.”

Whoops! I didn’t! Glad I checked. The cords are ripped from the wall and I am whirling around to turn off the light and leave.

But then…

Huh? Is it just me, or does it look like a section of the carpet is extra dark– more liver colored than the rest?

Perhaps it is just the lighting. I inch closer. Strange. Then I remember the time. Got to go! I will investigate later.

Later…

I return from work, walk into the bathroom and jump back.

Yeah…that’s not discoloration. Or the lighting.

It’s Lake Eyrie.

A sopping, puddle of what I imagine probably emerged from the toilet has taken over more than half of the bathroom.

The only thing one can do in this situation is scream in horror.

Toilet water. It may be clean looking, but we all know the word clean should never be used to describe toilet water. Oh! And how the carpet loves it. It is drinking it right up.

I have no idea how the water has escaped its ceramic prison, as no one used the toilet at all that day, but the fact of the matter is… it has.

I am an adult. And being an adult means you have to do things you don’t want to do. You have to pay for things you don’t want to pay for. I had to clean this mess up. After soaking up the water the best I could and pouring sterilization cleaners on the carpet I realized…how can it ever possibly get truly clean? Carpet has so many nooks and crannies, twists and turns.

Light bulb!

I could burn it. I could burn the blasted carpet and be rid of it FOREVER and the bathroom would be clean once again.

It is too bad burning it was out of the question. But I think I just might have the winning argument for ripping the carpet out and tiling. Cross your fingers!

I’ll end my story now, and put it in that lovely storage room of case files filled with the mysteries of the universe. With a big permanent marker I’ll write across the top, “This file contains information to solving the mystery as to why people carpet their bathrooms wall to wall…and evidence on how this practice SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!” Lengthy, but necessary.

The Lady with the Purple Streak in her Hair – True Story

Today I was going to write an entirely different blog post….about writing and love triangles…but I heard this true story today and felt I had to share it instead.


When she first walked into my office, I noticed she had silver hair….and a streak of it was dyed purple. Yes, purple. Not very common in most of the folks I’ve met over 50. This lady has a story to tell, I thought.

Her name often confused people. Lacy. It spoke of doilies, tea cups, frolicking in a field of daisies. People who knew her would often chuckle about the irony of her (of all people) owning such a name. She wasn’t dainty…and certainly never wore, never owned an article of clothing even touched with lace.

She was fire…ice…sharp…and when you weren’t ready for it that mouth of her’s would have you about crying your eyes out. Lacy would tell anyone exactly what she thought. There was no softening with her. If you asked her opinion (or didn’t ask), boy you’d get it and another thing coming.

Lacy was also known for something else. The way Micheal Phelps was created for swimming–a body literally made to slice through the water– she was made to make ivory keys sing. Music touches most of us and reaches to the deepest places in our hearts. But for Lacy, music–the piano, those black and white keys, were apart of her. Living without the piano was unimaginable. And gosh, was she a good pianist. Her fingers glided over those keys, and created music that would have you about crying your eyes out. (Lacy was good at making people come to tears one way or another…)

Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

The words just about knocked the wind out of her. But she was so young? Lacy studied the watery blue eyes of Doctor Paul, eyes hidden behind glasses so immense, so thick, she was sure he would be blind the moment he took them off. They held a look of pity which made a flash of anger shoot through her body. He reached out his hand and touched her shoulder, another gesture of pity. The shot of anger now become more of a steady stream pulsing through her body. She whipped her shoulder out of his clutches and stood up. “No, you’re wrong.”

“I’m so sorry, Lacy. Truly, I am from the bottom of my heart,” Dr. Paul said, his usually calm voice near cracking.

“I’m only 30 years old! You have made a mistake!” She could fill the anger flooding her cheeks, turning them red.

Dr. Paul looked down, shaking his head.

“You know what? I think I need to see another doctor, who ain’t as blind as a bat!” She grabbed her jacket while stomping towards the door. “You and those big, thick old glasses need to retire. But then you may need a job after how much you’ll be paying me when I sue you for giving me the wrong diagnosis!” Her anger fueled her out the door, past the shocked looks of nurses and patients who felt the floor tremble with how hard she slammed the door, and all the way through the parking lot of people who seemed to have made it their life’s mission to get in the way.

She sat in her car, her heart pounding. She turned on the ignition and gripped the steering wheel. “You’re gonna be fine, just fine. That old bag has no idea what he was talking about,” she told herself out loud. A twinge of guilt surfaced at the look on Dr. Paul’s face. He had been her doctor since she was little girl. She closed her eyes, forcing the vision out.

“You’ll be fine,” she whispered again, her eyes fixing to her hands as they gripped the steering wheel. She imagined the ivory keys of her baby grand, the cool feel of them beneath her fingers. “Just…fine.” She burst into tears.

Lacy, now 30 years later, said this was the moment where things got dark. For months and months she wallowed, despairing at the cruel dish life had given her to eat.

Then something happened. It was like a light shone into the blackness. She had a choice. “I was could crawl deeper into this black hole and die, or I was going to make the most of it.”

She chose to make the most of it. She said, “One thing I got from my father is determination. I couldn’t quit.”

Today, she dyes one streak of her hair purple for fun, she played the piano, and still played it beautifully (and still made people cry). In September she is moving to Africa for six months! She didn’t let the bad things in her life take charge of it. She also said her disease has made her more compassionate than she ever thought she could be, and in doing so perhaps saved many relationships she may have lost.

Charles Swindoll said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it…we are in charge of our attitudes.” 

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!