How the Chamber Kept Me Going

The Chamber…sounds ominous doesn’t it?

It’s not. It was my saving grace when my writing funk began.

It is a fan-fiction site dedicated to women of color.

This site lifted my spirits and provided an outlet to write the stories that I wanted to tell in a supportive community. I believe that this


2017 Writing Goals

One of my writing goals for this year is to update this blog twice a week. I want to include posts about my writing and my non-writing life because they both have to work together. I realize that I can’t lock myself in my room and dive into my own creations because I have three wonderful children and a husband who need a lot of attention.

Two posts a week? I can schedule those in.

My second writing goal for this year is to finish, polish and publish the first Amaris Holt novel.

If you read my home page, you’ll see that I was originally published as Vallory Vance with an e-book publisher and self-published under Vallory’s Calliope. It was an exciting time until I realized that I wasn’t skilled enough to write the stories I wanted to write. I’m still not.

However with that realization, I’m better prepared to tackle my shortcomings.

First Things First:

inthemomentWord Count and the Passage of Time.

How much time passes between the beginning of the work and the end of the work? With my first foray into publishing, I didn’t ask myself this simple question.

In the case of In The Moment, the novella takes place over the course of six weeks and has about 13,000 words. No wonder I was criticized. I didn’t have room to cover that amount of time!

My main goal was not to bore the reader with details so I mainly left them out. Hence there was one action scene after another with nothing tying them together. Some readers liked the interaction of the characters and the story idea. But most couldn’t get past the quick change between scenes and they let me know about it.

With my current work-in-progress, the story takes place in one week. I’m setting my writing goal at 70,000 words for a first draft (Currently at 19,000). It will be cut in upcoming drafts but I will allow myself room to create the mood, set the scenes, monitor the pacing and give the characters the chance to grow.

I should have done this the first time around, but we live and learn!

If you are a new writer entering the world of self-publishing, please feel free to introduce yourself and we can commiserate on our journeys.




Rebuilding – Literally

Rebuilding – Literally

This is a rebuilding year for my family. We are among those living in Livingston Parish who were devastated by the Great Flood of 2016.

That day in August began as a rainy day / no school day. The kids were home and we decided to eat fast food and watch movies. By 6:00 AM the next morning we were leaving our home for the last time. Only we didn’t know that then. We didn’t know anything.

I’ve been through tornadoes and hurricanes. I know what to do. I could have calmed my children’s fears and perhaps reacted like a controlled adult instead of a maniac if only I had some notice. What I got was waking up to a neighbor yelling and a towel floating on the floor.

We ate MREs

We took two bags with us which contained next to nothing in the grand scheme of things, waded through chest deep water out to the highway, and then mostly floated in my husband’s co-worker’s car. We spent the next three days in his office building. The picture above shows the parking lot below us. Yes, that’s a paved parking lot.

We now begin our gently used year living in a new town. My children are in new schools. Our lives have changed. It isn’t always easy to accept but we are making it work.

And I have to say that this historic small town is providing a lot of inspiration for the resolutions that I’ve made for 2017.


You’ll be hearing a lot about the St. Francisville area in the next few weeks.