Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I had great hopes for this summer. I was going to polish the rest of the Rose Gold Collection. I was going to complete the follow-up novella to Scent of a Woman. I was going to finish a Christmas novella.

Then life happened.

After six months, I was unable to find a full time job and my savings had taken a serious depletion.

Writing and publishing is now a dream while I deal with the real world.

I’ve moved in with my in-laws a state over from where I began my writer’s journey.

magic pen (series C)And my kids are undergoing a journey of their own. If you are a parent then you’ll understand that their struggle is paramount to your own. So when my daughter looked up her new school online and saw 0.3% of the enrollment who classified themselves as one or more races, she was concerned. Which led to my younger daughter being concerned which led to me being concerned.

I’m an African-American woman in her forties married to a White man. I’m used to being one of the only few in a crowd whether it is one of his family’s functions or one for work, so I no longer think in those terms.

But for a child who identifies herself as biracial, who does she gravitate towards? In our former hometown, it was easy. It was like we were a minority population of those who were interracial couples – White/Asian, Black/Latina, Black/ White, White/ Latina/o and the list goes on. But here on the North Shore (about thirty minutes outside of New Orleans), we don’t even qualify as a minority. It’s more of an anomaly.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll let you know how we are doing. Especially the kiddos. And I’m going to write again.

I promise!


To Publish or Not to Publish

BookCoverImageAmazonLast March, I released Deja Vu, the continuation of Darcey St. Claire and Vincent Guidry’s story. I started immediately outlining two additional stories about Darcey’s best friends, Lenore Jennings and Catalina Houston. By November 2013, both stories were in the first draft stage and I was ready to really start polishing A Loving Affair.



I love Darcey and Vincent. But I thought that was just me and three of my relatives so the stories remained on my hard drive.  Not because I don’t enjoy them but because publishing them takes time and money. And I was okay with the rest of the Rose Gold Collection residing there.

Then I was having lunch with my friends in late April and one of them asked when the rest of the books were being released. This evolved into a discussion of why I’d waited so long since they knew I finished in November.

My response – You never said you liked it.

Friend 1 – I just thought you knew.

Friend 2 – Why would think we didn’t like it?

Obviously my besties aren’t writers, but they are a great source of encouragement when they know I need it. So I polished both books and I’m moving forward to the beta reading stage. I’m also taking it as a good sign that a reader asked me about the books about a month later. Here’s hoping for a publication date in July!

Happy Reading! (And if your favorite indie author has a book you enjoy let them know)

Typed ‘The End’ – Now What…Part 1

Cocktail partyIt’s been a while. But I’m back in the blogoshere and the writing world. However, it’s not easy to jump right back into late nights, no Candy Crush and marketing, marketing, marketing!

So I’m easing into it, instead of running full steam ahead.

The first thing, that I’ve done is to create a writing schedule that will take me to the end of the year. Along with that came a promise to myself that I was going to complete it. Here’s schedule and where I am:

  1. Anthology Submission to Hot Ink Press for an upcoming project called Naughty Bedtime Stories – This has been submitted and now I’m waiting. If not accepted then I’ll rework and find a new home.
  2. Holiday Short Story – I have a first draft completed at 11,000 words and will begin working on the second draft next week. Plan on submitting this one to Secret Cravings before the September deadline. If not accepted then I rework and self-publish this one.
  3. Second Shifter Novella – I have an outline completed for a follow-up to A Scent of a Woman which will be released by Evernight Publishing in a few weeks. First draft should be completed next week. Please, please let them accept this one!
  4. The Rose Gold Collection – A Loving Affair is in first draft form and Dulce Means Sweet is in outline form. Just got to get started. Choose cover art, contract an editor, hire a proofreader…

That’s the schedule. Check back with me next week for an update.

Happy Reading!

Haven’t Been Around Much Lately (Sad Face)

Hi All,

I haven’t been on the blog lately and I apologize for that. Life has gotten in the way.

Luckily some fantastic authors have stopped by and picked up my slack. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the posts, you just may find your next great read from:

All Shades of Passion – A multi-author anthology (erotic romantic shorts)

Love Resurrected by Kristy Centeno (paranormal romance)

Snug Fit by Anna Bayes (erotic short story)

The De La Cruz Saga by P.T. Macias (romance with a Spanish flavor, muy caliente)

Renzo by Jamallah Bergman (interracial romance series)

Night of the Horse by Elodie Parkes (paranormal menage)

Black Baroness by R.B. Michaels (erotic short story)

Taken by Lust by Leteisha Newton (interracial erotic romance)

Thank you. Thank you.

As for me I’ve just received edits for a short story, One Stormy Night,  to be released by Evernight Publishing prior to the end of the year. I’ll be working on those this weekend.

TheBeginningofForeverThe Beginning of Forever, the conclusion of Amber and Kevin’s story, is out there on the web waiting to heat up your chilly weekend!

Just see what one Amazon reader wrote:

If you haven’t had a chance to read In The Moment then you should before you read this installment so you can appreciate the amazing love between Kevin and Amber. Truly Kevin is my hero, he is everything a real woman would want in her man. This story picks up with the two planning to marry but also Amber trying to get pregnant. Amber’s desire to have a family with Kevin really test their strength, faith and love. For Kevin he’d give her the world but not at the risk of her health, Kevin feels that the two of them have enough love to adopt but his life wouldn’t matter without her in it. Wow! what a man. Kevin in his usual determined way must prove to Amber that together they can make anything work, getting Amber to believe it herself is her walk of faith. I just loved this couple they were real, funny, sexy and just wonderful. I especially loved the ending of course it could be a new beginning for Kevin and Amber come on Vallory what do you think? This is a great read you won’t be disappointed but get In The Moment first. Enjoy

Do I love this because it’s glowing? Yes. I also love it because at least for one reader, the point of the story hit home.

I’m also finishing a short story for early next year. This is a departure from my usual contemporary romance and delves into the paranormal world. We’ll see how that goes. Maybe the Ngali and Widatsi will get a few likes in January. I don’t know but Logan and Ada called me to them and I had to answer.

ID-10080550Lastly, it’s almost November and I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo. Last year, I didn’t finish a completed novel. This year, I hope to pen A Loving Affair. In this next installment to the Rose Gold Collection, you’ll  meet my first African-American hero, Xavier Loving.

Y’all keep reading, writing and playing nice!


August Update 2013 – I’m Having a Party!

Okay readers, here’s where I am!

  • As a mom – I’ve been very busy with back to school shopping for the girlies. We bought a lot more stuff than we should have just because it was cute.
  • As a HR coordinator – I’ve been busy with the hiring season – career fairs for four to six hours per day. I come home from work and my face hurts from smiling.
  • As a writer – I’ve been a little of lazy daisy, but I’m getting it in gear!

The Beginning of Forever, the conclusion of the Amber and Kevin stories will be published by Amira Press on September 6, 2013! Yay, doing the happy dance.

I’m working on the third draft of my first cozy mystery novella tentatively entitled, Midnight’s Kiss on the Half Shell. This isn’t a romance but does feature a cute guy, who the beta readers have loved. So look for Professor Naeem Mounier to warm up your cold nights this winter.

I’m reworking the second book of the Rose Gold Collection, A Loving Affair. There were somethings I didn’t like so I’m revisiting my original outline. It is getting done, though.

My former manager was visiting the office and let me have it about Deja Vu. She said, “Your blurb is wrong. But I stayed up way too long finding out what happened between Darcey and Vincent for you not to finish the next books. I’m interested in Lenore and Xavier and Cat and want to be surprised by Carlos.” 

Dear, sweet woman, I’m on it!

Prize_1_Kama_GiftAnd on to the fun stuff – I’m hosting a Release Day Party on Facebook on September 6, 2013 for The Beginning of Forever. I hope you’ll join me for a few minutes to celebrate the conclusion of Amber and Kevin’s story. There’ll be prizes! Including the lovely set to your left from

How to Make a Simple Book Trailer for Cheap

I’m an indie author on a budget and there are some things, I’ll have to do for myself. I’ve learned that editing and covers are super important and I can’t skimp on those. So what I can do for myself is some advertising, formatting for e-publication and making a simple book trailer!

I have these crazy ideas sometimes, that I can do anything. Back in April of this year, I had one such idea and downloaded Microsoft Movie Maker (free). I was going to make a book trailer.

The Concept – I wanted moving video with words that acted as a tease for Déjà Vu, my contemporary interracial romance. I was feeling very artsy that weekend and wanted something more abstract than concrete.

The Videos – I used for the video snippets. ($30.00)

The Music – I used for the music. (free, must credit the artist)

Putting It Together – So easy. I dropped everything into a standard template and uploaded to YouTube!

Here’s the result:


Now for The Beginning of Forever, I went a little more concrete. The artsy wasn’t really resonating. There are no moving videos this time. I used static photographs from and for a total of about $14.00. I got the music for free from


I had to work a little harder this time with timing and syncing the music, but it was worth it from the smiles I have gotten from my audiences forced to watch it.

Happy Writing…Trailer Producing!



June 2013 Update – Editing and Retooling

This update thing isn’t working as well as I’d hoped, but I’ll try to remember to do this every month. Can’t promise a date!

Originally, I wanted to complete four long works this year – The three books in the Rose Gold Collection and the completion of Amber and Kevin’s story. 

Thankfully, I got June’s update in and here’s what’s going on…

The completion of Amber and Kevin’s story, The Beginning of Forever, was contracted by Amira Press.  I have to say that this was my toughest editing process to date and I feel like it helped me as a writer even though I cried through most of it! Still in the finalizing stages –  final edits and a release date. I can’t say too much but here’s the blurb and a sneak peek at the cover:

VV_The Beginning of Forever_bannerAmber Grayson, a conservative executive, found true love with fiancé, Kevin Miller. He infused her life with a sense of adventure and challenged her thoughts about appropriate bedroom behavior. After such a steamy affair, Amber was expecting nothing less during their engagement.

Even with the rushed timetable for the wedding combined with the stress of merging their households and finances, Amber is excited to begin a family with the man of her dreams. However, the beginning of forever is more difficult than either Amber or Kevin thought.

Locked in a battle of wills, Amber and Kevin find their commitment to each other and their future tested. Is this the beginning of their lives together or the end?

IIA blog button2A Twist of Fate – A poem I wrote, The Pearl,  was accepted into the Twist of Fate anthology. This collection of poems and short stories by indie authors from around the globe will benefit those who suffered losses during the 2013 tornadoes that ravaged Oklahoma. As a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, I’m well aware that help is needed beyond those first few days. I’m so proud to be a part of this effort. I’ll get you the the links to the work when they are available.

A Loving Affair – The next installment in the Rose Gold Collection is begging to be written. So I’m off to write a leisurely pace.

Happy Reading ~Val

Hump Day Hook – Deja Vu (The Rose Gold Collection)

humpdayhookWelcome to the Hump Day Hook! This is a weekly blog hop in which authors give you a peek at their work. To check out the other authors participating in this event, click here. You may just discover your next read!

This week, my hook comes from Deja Vu. I’ve been thinking a lot about heroines lately. And Darcey is special – she isn’t in need of a knight in shining armor. In fact she’s dead set against the idea.

BookCoverImageAmazon“You could work for me. I told you about the reception hall in the Northern Bluffs.”

Her head popped up, bright eyes and a seductive smile. “You just want me at your disposal.”

He did. He wanted her all the time. He hadn’t felt like this since Melissa three years ago; an attorney he’d met at some event. In the end, Melissa hadn’t been able to deal with his work schedule and he hadn’t been willing to deviate from it.

But for Darcey.

He had rescheduled meetings, delegated authority, actually taken a vacation to be close to her and have those bright eyes shining down on him.

“I love you.” The words were expelled by the crushing sensation in his chest and he waited.

What he wanted was for her to say that she loved him as well. What he expected was an argument about the nothing serious rule. What she did was startling.

Dèjá Vu is available from All RomanceAmazon, Amazon UKBarnes & Noble and Smashwords.

The Loving Day Blog Hop ~ 2013

375756_643056912384666_1635496242_n_swirlawardsWelcome to my stop on the Loving Day Blog Hop

Loving Day, celebrated on June 12th, marks the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia which made all anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. null and void. In this usage, the term ‘miscegenation’ refers to marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations and procreation between Whites and non-Whites.

Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple, were legally married in Washington in 1958. Not knowing this was illegal in their home state of Virginia, they returned to Richmond. It was here, after numerous arrests and home invasions by local authorities, that the couple began their fight to have their union legalized.

As a family we recently watched the documentary, A Loving Story, about the Lovings. So I asked the kiddos if they had feelings they could share about growing up with a Black mom and a White Dad and how different it was for the Lovings’ children.


Girls are 9 and 6 in this pic. It’s one of my favorites.

Vallory: Girls, please tell the readers how you feel after watching the documentary about the Lovings.

Magdalene: It was really sad and I couldn’t believe that it happened. If that was still a law, half of my friends’ parents would be in jail.

Laneybell: I cried. I wouldn’t want you and daddy to go to jail.

Vallory: Do you think people treat you differently because you have a Black mom and a White dad?

Magdalene: People are surprised when they meet one of you without the other. Then when either you or Dad shows up, they’re like – Your mom’s Black? Or, your dad’s White? I thought you were Mexican! But they are just surprised. That’s all.

Laneybell: Everybody thinks I’m Mexican, Puerto Rican or Indian and then I tell them my mommy’s Black and my daddy’s White. Then they’re like – Okay!

Vallory: Thanks girlys!

A lot has changed in the 46 years, since the Supreme Court’s decision and I think my happy little ones are proof of that. But there is still work to do and bringing attention to Loving Day is a start.

To celebrate, I’ll be gifting a $10.00 e-card for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble to one lucky commenter. To be eligible to win, please leave your email address and let us know how we should celebrate Loving Day.

I think it should a special dinner with the one you love! Kinda like a national date night. And speaking of a date, that’s where my latest release starts.

Déjà Vu begins with one date.

BookCoverImageAmazonDarcey St. Claire is never surprised when a man is attracted to her. In fact, her style revolves around that assumption. From her short skirts to her thigh-high boots to her flirty laugh, Darcey flits along the edge of provocation to sell the overpriced services of the Hayden Court Hotel and afford her the spot as top Sales Manager.

So the lustful looks Vincent Guidry cast in her direction didn’t faze her. It was the feeling of déjà vu creeping up her spine that made her run at breakneck speed away from the handsome former quarterback.

And she wouldn’t have ever sought him out again. Not for herself. But there was someone else to consider…

View the trailer on Youtube: Déjà Vu

Now available from All Romance, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Good Luck and don’t forget to visit the next author on the hop, Eve Vaughn

**PS – Miss Magdalene says that anyone who says her name is beautiful should get a double entry.** Winner will be announced on Thursday!