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UPDATE: Hurricane Irma – 2017

8 Sep

UPDATE: I wanted to let everyone know that my family and I are safe. We went through a frightening experience and we have a lot of cleaning up, repairing and restoring to do, but that’s okay. Things could have been much worse. And the important thing is that we made it out safely.

Hurricane Irma’s eye was threatening to barrel across the center of  south Florida. That would have been catastrophic. Instead, as she neared us she veered toward the West, so we received horrible bands carrying 100+ miles per hour wind gusts, but not a direct hit. South Florida dodged another bullet. There are some structural damage, lots of trees pulled out of the ground, large tree branches that acted like missiles, the water in some areas will be tainted for a while, but so far I have not heard of any loss of life. We’ll have to wait and see what the news tells us in the next few days. 

I think Florida did a great job preparing for this storm. I believe at least 90% of Florida residents took hurricane Irma seriously. My family and I certainly did. We have some work ahead of us, but we all made it out safely and that’s what’s important.

I want to thank everyone for being so kind. Thanks for sending all the positive vibes, well wishes and prayers––they worked! I am touched by everyone’s concern for my family and my well-being.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! You guys are the best! I will end it here before I get too mushy.


Hello my friends! I’m sure many of you have already heard of Hurricane Irma. I live in south Florida (USA) and unfortunately we’re in the path of this powerful storm. My family and I are doing everything we can to prepare ourselves for the impact. We’re hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

My number one priority right now is to protect my family and my home. There’s a lot to do. We began preparing the day before yesterday and we still have a lot to do.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back online between preparing, impact and aftermath of this significant storm.

I just wanted to inform you of what’s going on. I didn’t want to leave you hanging while I went MIA. Please keep Florida in your prayers and send good vibes our way. Thank you.

hurricane Irma-2017-storm-real life-Florida

Hurricane Irma is 350 miles wide. The Florida peninsula is about 100 miles wide.

hurricane Irma-storm-2017-Florida-winds-aftermath-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega

 

Q & A Tag – The Writer Next Door

16 May

Hello everyone! Today I’d like to thank Marjorie Mallon from KYROSMAGICA for nominating me to take part in The Writer Q & A Tag. Marje is a writer, book reviewer, and all around great person. She has a fun and colorful blog that is all about the magic of writing, her love for books, crystals, laughter and much more, so be sure to check it out.

kyrosmagica-The Writer Next Door-Marjorie Mallon-Vashti Q

What’s this tag about? Its a fun tag celebrating writers, bloggers, books, and writing. It is also a great way to discover or know more about our online friends in the writing and blogging communities.

Following are the questions that Marje Mellon prepared for me and my answers.

  1. If you met a sexy vampire what would you do? Hook up, get the garlic and crosses out or run a mile?

 

Hmm. I would interview him.

 

  1. What’s your favorite genre of book and why?

 

I love to read the same genres I write which are fantasy, horror and suspense/thriller. However, I do occasionally read romantic comedies, crime thrillers, and historical fantasies. If someone recommends a book in another genre I may read the first few chapters to see if I like it. I do like to give every book a fighting chance.

halloween-horror-clown-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door

  1. Who is/are your favorite author (s), poet (s)? What is it about them that inspired you?

 

Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Tom Clancy. I admire these authors’ imagination and ability to tell a good story in a way that I can play it out in my mind in living color.

 

Poets: Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe, and Anne Sexton

 

 

  1. If you had to control a classroom of year 6 kids would you bale, or enjoy the challenge? Would you be (a.) Too undisciplined to do so, you’d just join in the general mayhem, (b.) Enjoy bossy them around, or (c.) Pray in a corner for the bell to sound. Guess which one would be my reply, winners will be mentioned on my blog!

 

I would tell them a story. That has always worked for me with smaller cousins growing up and with my nieces, nephews and their friends when they were younger. I might join in a little bit of mayhem too––as I suspect you would, Marje. 😉

 

  1. What made you become a writer/blogger? Do your family support you or do they think you’re crazy, bored, attention seeking, or all of these? Tell us a bit about your current WIP and/or books…

 

Nothing made me become a writer. I was born and that’s what I am. My family is very supportive.

 

I’m working on a fantasy series about angels. The first book in the series is called The Fall of Lilith. I’m currently working on some structural issues. I’m also writing the second book in the series, Dracúl.

 

  1. What is the most awful job and/or experience you’ve ever done/had?

 

When my husband and I sold our previous home (it sold much faster than we had anticipated) we had to temporarily stay at someone else’s house until our new home was ready. I did not want to stay in this person’s house but my husband had good reasons to stay there, so we did. This was one of the worst experiences of my life. I felt like I’d experience hell. The aura in that house was so dark and negative. One of the people living in the house did everything humanly possible to make our stay as horrible as could be. I never felt so uncomfortable and sad in my life. Leaving there was like escaping from hades. However, this experience has made me appreciate my home and my family so much more, and for that I’m thankful. (I know how dramatic this reads)

 

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Does this spill out onto other parts of your life? Are you generally organised/disorganised? Can you guess what I am?

 

I always start the process as a plotter. Somewhere along the line the pantser takes over. I use an outline, sketches, character diamonds . . . I like to begin the novel in an organized way. As I write things begin to change and I allow the story to unfold in a more organic way. I’m generally an organized person but I do have my messy moments. I would guess you’re a plotter, Marje.

 spiral-festisite-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-graphic-art

  1. Do you believe in Ghosts? Fate? Love at First Sight? Fairies? Psychic happenings? Numerology, Mermaids, The Loch Ness Monster, Demons . . . etc. . . . Make your own observations . . . and let me know.

 

Vashti Q-fun-writer-blog-book-author-facebook

I believe in God and if there’s a God there are good and bad forces. I believe in Karma, mind-over-matter, visualization, meditation, perseverance, positive thinking . . . For the rest––if I could see it, hear it, and feel it, then it’s real.

scary-halloween-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door

 

  1. What is the worst haircut/clothes/hats you’ve ever had/worn? Photos please, or describe in vivid detail…

 

When I was a blonde I had my hair color done and it looked good at the beauty salon but when I got home I noticed there were a few areas where the toner didn’t take. Had it happen in areas that were not noticeable I would have left it alone but the brassy areas where very noticeable so I called the hairstylist and she told me to come back in. Instead of adding toner to the areas that needed it she put bleach over my entire head, including areas that were already bleached! I didn’t think that was right but I figured she knew what she was doing as the professional cosmetologist. Well, all my hair broke off leaving me with about an inch of hair all over my head and maybe an inch and half or two inches in the front. I was at the shampoo bowl when she said, ‘Oh no!’ I looked up at her and she showed me a handful of my hair.

Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-writer-blogger

  1. Please finish this sentence with more than three extra words: Life is one foot in and one foot out, you . . .

 

. . . never know when your time will come, so live life to the fullest and appreciate what you have and the good people in your life.

I nominate any writer, poet or blogger who’d like to participate in this tag. You can answer Marje’s questions or make up your own. Let me know when you publish your post. Have a great day everyone!

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Book Reading / Signing

7 Apr

Book-reading-signing-event

The 3 little actors that performed The Basement skit from the 'Weapons' Chapter.

The 3 little actors rehearsing for a play based on the ‘Weapons’ Chapter from The Basement.

 

My first Book Reading/Signing event took place on Friday at GMAA, a private school in Westchester, Florida.  I was very nervous (I always am before any event), but excited at the same time.  I was going to be reading to kids between the ages of eleven and sixteen. Tough crowd – or so I thought.  

 

The night before the reading, my little seventeen-year-old Pomeranian gave me a bad night.  He kept getting up and walking from one end of the bed to the other, over and over again, while making a noise I call a cough, but it’s more like loudly coughing, wheezing and clearing his throat at the same time.  I got up and took him to the kitchen to see if he wanted some water.  He drank, and I brought him back to bed.  He was quiet for a minute, and then began walking and coughing again. I got up for a second time and took him outside to see if he wanted to do something.  Nothing.  Well, this went on until one thirty in the morning, when he finally settled down and fell asleep.  This has happened before and I’ve told his vet about it on several occasions, but she explains there’s nothing that can be done about it.  He takes a bunch of pills for several things already (poor thing). He’s just very old.  After a sleepless night, he had some sort of episode in the morning that had me in tears. I almost cancelled the reading, but fortunately he seemed to get better.  

 

Rascal

Rascal

Right before leaving my house, I misplaced my keys and spent at least ten minutes looking for them. I always put my keys in the same place so that I always know where to find them, but of course this morning was not going as planned. When I finally found my keys, I stormed out the door (without breakfast) and ran into a terrible traffic jam.  It seemed like there were terrible forces conspiring against me. Everything that could go wrong was happening on this important day.

 Book Reading-signing-event-vashtiquirozvega

My fortunes changed once I finally arrived at the school. My sister Cleo greeted me very warmly. You see, Cleo is a music teacher at this prestigious school. Her children (Natasha, Vanessa and Joshua), were ages 17, 23 and 12 when they read my book and loved the story. Cleo read it and enjoyed it, as well. She introduced it to the school’s librarian, who didn’t have time to read it, so her assistant read it instead and also loved it. My sister asked for several copies of the book to give to the English and literature teachers at the school, and I gladly gave them to her. Well, this led to the book being incorporated into the school’s library and curriculum and to the Book Reading/Signing event.

Book Reading-Signing-Event-The Basement-Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Everyone at the school was friendly and kind, which made me feel at ease. I wanted my Book Reading/ Signing event to be different. I wanted the kids to be entertained, but I also wanted to instill in them a desire to read. I had adapted one of the chapters from my book into a skit for the kids to perform. My sister took the play to the 5th grade teacher, Miss Betchel. She chose three kids to play my characters: Robbie, Natasha and Cleo. I was very excited.

Kalvin Martinez, Ester Peiro and Janine Llaurado as Robbie, Cleo and Natasha

Kalvin Martinez, Ester Peiro and Janine Llaurado as Robbie, Cleo and Natasha

 

All the kids were taken to a small auditorium where they sat and waited for the Show Book Reading/Signing event to begin. They said a prayer and sang a hymn. I was introduced. I spoke a few words and then my book trailer was shown on a large screen. The kids clapped excitedly when the trailer was over.  

 

After I read a short chapter from the book, the kids performed the play. Janine Llaurado, Ester Peiro and Kalvin Martinez did a great job portraying the characters.  After that I spoke a few words about what inspired me to write The Basement, and gave aspiring writers in the group (which were many) a few tips on writing.  Afterwards, I took pictures of the actors in my play, teachers, librarian, my sister… I was having a great time and had forgotten all about the bad night and morning.

 

The Basement-book-signing-reading-Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

Janine Llaurado as Natasha

I set up a table with my books in the library, and just when I thought the fun was over, hordes of kids came into the library in waves with their teachers.  They were so excited about the book.  They asked me a million questions, not just about The Basement, but also about my experience as a writer and the writing process!  Many of the kids told me about how much they loved to read. I think nothing warmed my heart more than that. These kids were excited about reading! I wanted to do flips and dance on the library tables (inappropriate, I know).

 The Basement-book signing-reading-preteens

I had an awesome time interacting with the children. Telling them what The Basement is about, what inspired me to write it and what they needed to do to prepare if they wanted to become writers: read, read, read and write, write, write.  Oh, yeah… I sold some books, too.

 

The Basement-Vashti Quiroz-Vega-book-reading-signing-author 

 

We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.

Guest Author Vashti Quiroz-Vega

21 Mar

I’m a guest blogger at Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Authors Blog! Check it out and leave me some feedback. Thank you!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

970594_405793276204758_797328340_nMy name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega, and I’m a writer of Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller and Horror. My first novel, The Basement , was released in August 2013. It was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. It was not easy getting my book published. Once upon a time, I was very naive when it came to the publishing process. I thought all I had to do as a writer was to write the book. Soon, I had a rude awakening when I found out that my manuscript had to be edited. Then I found out I had to get an agent in order to interest a publisher, and I had to write a query letter in order to get an agent! Well, after many months of querying, I finally got my manuscript in the hands of a publisher… who wanted it edited some more. Phew! A year later…

View original post 665 more words

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Happy Birthday To Me!

5 Aug

Happy Birthday To Me!

Hi everyone! My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for those visiting my blog for the first time. I’m a writer of Fantasy, Suspense and Thriller, and normally my blog is about writing, poetry and art. I feature my work and the work of others whose creativity and talent I admire. Today is different. Today is my birthday. Therefore, I am going to honor the requests of several fans who’ve asked me to please post more about me.

Now, usually I am a bit shy about talking or writing about myself. Today I will make an exception. So here it is:

10 Facts About Me

1. I sleep walk. (No, none of my writing has been done while asleep)

Sleepwalking

2. I love to travel. I’ve been to Spain, Greece, Italy, Africa, Croatia, Alaska, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and many other Caribbean Islands among other places. There are still many countries I long to visit.

Croatia

Croatia

3. I have an adventurer’s spirit. I have zipped lined off a 1000 ft ledge onto a beach in Haiti, river raft in Costa Rica, did some cave tubing in Belize (saw huge bats), snorkeled in near freezing water in Alaska (I was covered from head to toe in a dry suit of course)…

Zip Lining in Haiti

Zip Lining in Haiti

4. I love to cook and bake. (I made all the hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and desserts for my novel “The Basement” Pre-Release Party).

The Basement Pre-Release Party

The Basement Pre-Release Party

5. When I was a kid I wanted to be a superhero. When I was a teen I wanted to be a missionary and travel to exotic places to teach kids about God and how to read and write.

India

6. Although writing is my passion I do have a day job in the medical field. I’m a Registered Medical Sonographer. I perform Abdominal, OB/GYN and Vascular ultrasound exams.

Baby

7. I can predict how almost any movie will end by the first quarter of the movie. People have tested me on this.  ;D Some of my favorite movies are the ones I couldn’t predict.

Usual Suspects

8. I had an imaginary friend as a child.

Imaginary Friend

9. I’m a kid at heart. I enjoy being silly and pulling practical jokes on my friends and family.

Silly Blonde

10. I don’t tend to trust people that don’t have a sense of humor.

Happy Birthday

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me.

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SUPERHERO

1 Apr
SUPERHERO

Portrait of my family as superheroes

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog. Today I’m going to share a little slice of my childhood. Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinions and thoughts on the subject matter. I really enjoy reading what you think. I hope you enjoy it.

 

SUPERHERO

As a child I wanted so badly to be a superhero. I loved Superman, Batman, and especially Wonder Woman. In elementary school I tied towels, throws, blankets—whatever I could find—around my neck to wear as a cape. I ran around the house, leaped from my sister’s top bunk bed to my bed, jumped from one sofa to the next, and basically drove my parents insane. Needless to say, I was a hyperactive tomboy.

In sixth grade I had a friend who was half the size of everyone in the class, very frail and petite and also wore glasses. A bully, whom I will call Godzilla, a tall, big-boned girl twice the size of the rest of us, picked on my small friend relentlessly.

Whenever Godzilla hurt my friend, I sensed a piece of me withered and I grew weaker. I was terrified of the bully, as was most of the student body.

One day, the fire alarm in my school rang. We did the usual: filed in straight lines down the stairs to exit the edifice, crossed the street and stared at the flameless, smokeless windows of the school building, while listening to our teacher talk about the dangers of not following instructions during a fire drill.

As we clambered up the steps on our way back to class, Godzilla stood behind my petite friend. The bully shoved her into the kid in front of her, yanked on the baby hairs on the lower hairline on her neck and slapped her on the back of the head, while my poor friend moaned and sobbed.

Something came over me that day as I watched my little friend suffer in silence while everyone stood idly by. I could no longer laze while Godzilla tortured my friend. When we reached the top of the stairwell I grabbed Godzilla’s arm, turned her around to face me and yelled at her to stop hurting my friend. The tormenter snickered at me and shoved me with all her might. I tumbled down the stairs. When I reached the bottom, I leapt to my feet and dashed up the stairs. With a Bruce Lee-like move I kicked her square in the abdomen, knocking her against the wall, taking her breath away!

At first, I didn’t understand what had come over me. I felt no pain after falling down the flight of stairs. I had never moved so fast, and what I felt was a tap of my foot turned out to be a karate front snap kick. I was charged on adrenaline.

Godzilla stood motionless against the wall, wide-eyed and panting while I gave the ninja death glare, and the other kids cheered me on. From that day forward, I believed I was a superhero in the making. Whenever I saw a kid bullying another, I was compelled to interfere. I would call out any teachers who I thought ignored bullying or did nothing to stop it. I was the anti-bullying superhero.

After a few black eyes, busted lips and detention hours I learned that fighting, yelling and accusing were not going to solve the issue of bullying.

In high school I made it my business to go to the principal whenever I saw a schoolmate bully another. I was quickly labeled a tattler and became very unpopular for a while. Not much changed as far as the bullying.

I was frustrated. What kind of superhero is unpopular?

As an adult, I finally realized that the best weapon against bullying is awareness. Spreading awareness about all kinds of bullying will help decrease the abuse. At least my inner superhero very much hopes so.

Original story by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Illustration by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
(Superhero Family Portrait)

Superhero_Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog