Thursday, August 1, 2013

I'm so grateful to be featured on Winterville First Baptist Church's blog. We're chatting about books, life, writing and inspiration so stop by their blog to check out the interview and leave a comment there for a chance to win a copy of Fireflies in December!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Mother's Thoughts



 I wrote this piece several years ago, but it seems the perfect time to post it here. My mother has truly been one of the greatest blessings of my life. So many mothers have been the same to their children, and though I feel I have a special corner on the great mom market, I know there are many other strong, courageous, selfless women out there who have given so much that may have gone unnoticed. Today I encourage you to take a deeper look at the woman you call mom.

On Christmas Eve in our family we normally allow one another to open a gift of little importance.  This is the time to give away socks, slippers, or other sundry necessities.  The special gifts we save for the actual day. 
            However, in 2003 I received something I treasure much more than socks and slippers.  I received a piece of my mother’s history and, consequently, a piece of her heart, in the form of a mother-daughter journal I had given her two years earlier. Few things accurately portray our inner selves as do our written thoughts, and that Christmas Eve, when I once upon a time would lie listening for Santa, I sat up late... reading my mother’s thoughts.   
            I learned about her faith and her fears, what makes her happy or sad, what her hopes have been for herself and for me.  Because my mother and I have always been extraordinarily close, I already knew so much about her, but I marveled as I read.  I marveled at the depth of the human soul, at the many facets of what makes us who we are.  As I read, it struck me how truly knowing someone takes a lifetime. 
            We become who we are as we experience life.  I wasn’t introduced to my mother until her twenty-sixth year.  I missed those early years that played such a role in forming her character and personality.  I’d heard the stories and seen the pictures, but I couldn’t truly get inside her early life until I read her thoughts. 
            I began to understand her fears and hopes, her interests and surroundings.  I began to understand the formation of her identity.  For a little while, in my mind, I walked in my mother’s shoes, experiencing her joys, crying her tears.
Her simple answers to common questions reached deep and revealed a woman whose life and character had formed through difficult experiences and joyous blessings.  I realized then how deeply affected a child is by their parents and their parents’ history. 
            I find it amazing how God uses humans to form other humans.  We aren’t made of magic formulas, we don’t simply happen... we become.  In my becoming, I credit many people and situations; however, my mother has always played an irreplaceable role.  As a child, I woke up to her tea kettle whistle in the morning and fell asleep to her story recitations at night.  I spent my days at home with her, listening to her talk on the phone, watching as she cooked dinner, dusting by her side.  I grew up in her comfortable shadow.
On that Christmas Eve, I understood even more about who my mother is.  The woman that I know is the child who grew not only through times of joy and laughter, but also through times of tragedy and dismay.  She is the teenager who giggled with her friends and shed tears of heartache.  She is the young woman who struggled to hold together marriage and family while providing joy and security to three small children. 
            She is everything that life has made her.
            And I am everything that life has made me through her.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Operation First Novel winner announced!

Congratulations to Peter Bekendam, winner of the latest Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest for his book Prime of Life! Can't wait to read it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Excited to be a guest-blogger over at Wendy Paine Miller's blog Thoughts That Move discussing the importance of theme in writing fiction. Stop by and check it out!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pinterest-ing Ideas!

I'm a bit of a slow-mover when it comes to social media, and it appears I've waited a little long to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon... but I'm glad I did! It could easily become an addiction, I'll admit, but I've been able to keep myself pretty disciplined about it. And it's proven to be a fun way to interact with readers!

Two of the boards I've created are directly related to my Calloway Summers series of books which include Fireflies in December, Cottonwood Whispers and Catching Moondrops.

One board, "Jessilyn's World," focuses on my view of the setting and characters in the books. I've pinned (and will continue to pin, I'm sure!) photos that let you know how I pictured what I wrote.

The "Calloway Summers Readers' Corner" is an open board for any reader who wishes to participate. It's there that readers can reflect their ideas of the books, bringing a fresh perspective to the people and places of Calloway. As an author, I always love to hear from readers about how they perceived the story. Everyone who picks up the books has the ability to interpret them differently, and it's exciting for me to come at the stories from so many different perspectives.

So if you're a Pinner, come by and check out the boards. If you want to join the Readers' Corner, just follow the board, and I'll add your name to the list of contributors. Or you can always contact me at jennifer@jennifervalent.com or on Facebook.

In addition to the pinning fun, there's an ongoing contest to see whose pin gets the most likes. Once we get a good bit of participation, I'll be determining a date to give away a signed copy of Catching Moondrops to the pinner who gets the most likes. (A tie-breaker will be decided by a random drawing.)

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Operation First Novel Winner Announced

Congratulations to Peter Leavell, the newest winner of the Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest! Peter's novel, Songs of Captivity, will be published by Worthy Publishing.

Working on a novel? Think you've got something good? Keep an eye out on the Christian Writers Guild's website for information on the next First Novel contest. I have first-hand experience that it's a fantastic opportunity!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Signing!

Stop by the Rainbow Parable Christian store at 70 Southgate Square in Colonial Heights, Virginia on Saturday Feb. 11th from 11 am to 1 pm. I'll be there signing copies of all three novels. Fireflies in December will be on sale for $5, and Cottonwood Whispers and Catching Moondrops will both be available for $9.97. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Novel Finalists

The finalists for the Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest have been announced. They are:

Kimberley Gardner Graham, Memphis TN, The Rocking Horse of Tuscumbia

Jim Hamlett, Travelers Rest SC, Moe

Clarice James, Hudson NH, Party of One

Peter Leavell, Meridian ID, Songs of Captivity

Terrie Todd, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada, The Silver Suitcase

The winner will be announced February 16th at the Writing for the Soul conference in Denver Colorado, and will receive a prize of $20,000 and a publishing contract with Worthy Publishing.

Congratulations to all the finalists!