VTMAS No.76: Adam’s Hair

I talk a lot about my days in FFA (Future Farmers of America). It was a great time in my childhood and I made some amazing, long-term friends. Even now, in our ever growing lives, we are spread all over and we still reminisce about those times at the fair or in the yard working cattle. This comes right back to a particular fair that produced a lot of stories for us all. It was a strange Wonderland and so much smaller, stranger than the other fairs we had experienced. Alachua

VTMAS No. 72: Duke the Escapist

Another story from my Senior year in High School when I worked at the Veterinarian’s office. Granted, we worked with exotics, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have memorable dogs and cats. In fact, one dog always amazed me. His name was Duke and he was a large black poodle who was an absolute sweetheart. My first time with Duke was a rather interesting one. He had come in and I noticed something strange about his kennel cage: there was a chain and padlock on it. Naturally I was

#WritingTip – Editing & Revisions

Editing should be kept separate from writing. Bottom-line (granted more experienced writers can juggle both, but we are talking about several novels under your belt by this point). It’s easier said than done, I know I have a hard time sticking to this principle, but I can confidently say mixing the two can slow down getting all of your story out, not just by months, but YEARS. You’ve got all the story out in a first draft? Excellent, let me share with you my process and some

VTMAS No.67: Baby the Cockatoo

If you haven’t read far enough back, you may not realize I worked a wide variety of jobs, internships, and even volunteered myself out often in my youth. One notable job was my time spent at the veterinarian office in Winter Garden, Florida. I loved it, and as my first official job, it became wicked awesome when I realized I had landed a job where we were frequented by exotic animals and birds. One bird that has forever left an impression on me was the shy and so kind cockato

VTMAS No.66: The Big Leap

I remember my Great Grandmother once telling me that the small section of Orange County that my family called home was once labelled Rattlesnake Ridge. Growing up there, I can attest to this being very true. An interesting thing about rattlesnakes is how girthy they become. They don’t grow too long, but rather thicker and fatter depending on what they’ve been eating, which can include rats to even raccoons and cats. On this day, I was just a little girl, maybe ten at most. My

VTMAS No.65: Cow in Reverse

Most of my close friends know I was a fanatic about cows. I raised them, showed them, and even enjoyed drawing them on occasion in my sketchbook. In fact, my reputation had grown so large, I was coined the nickname Cow Goddess and became a feature in a friends comic once. One of the most memorable steers I worked with was the Chapter Steer, Beethoven. Yes, that’s me and the big guy in the picture. Here he was only 800-900 pounds, but by the time fair season, he weighed in at

VTMAS No. 62: Squirrel Tattoo

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com by tpa: https://pixabay.com/en/squirrel-wildlife-nature-animal-498139/ I feel like I owe you guys some more Tattoo Shop stories, so here we go! At this point, I wasn’t doing any tattoo artwork directly, but was working the front desk and designing custom work upon request. Keith had taken a customer and his girlfriend to the back after I had acquired consent forms and copies of his driver’s license. After a few minutes, Keith came back, catching

VTMAS No. 60: I’m Not Cleaning This Classroom

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.com by Werner22brigitte: https://pixabay.com/en/steinbach-mennonite-heritage-village-56641/ If you hang around me long enough, I am pretty sure you may know this story. It was one of those moments you suspect happens, but never think you would be able to catch people in the act. At this time in my life I was my mother’s janitorial assistant. There are no words to express how awkward it was being a high schooler and being the “janitor” to a rival sc

VTMAS No.54: Put It Here Tattoo

This is a section of my life I don’t think I have introduced just yet in my “Val Tell Me A Story” Series. For a good year or so I apprenticed at a Tattoo Shop. It was a good night-time gig and on occasion I got paid for roughing out custom artwork or tattoo designs. Plus, I had been offered the apprenticeship and didn’t have to pay to be there like I’ve heard so many others having to do. On this particular night I was shadowing the artist Keith who was giving me the rundown o

VTMAS No.53: The Not-so Silent Cujo

I can’t remember what day it was, but we had been slow at the Veterinary office. As my routine dictated, I came in, clocked in, and set to work in the kennels. I had only three dogs to walk, but I was super excited to see we were temporarily housing a young red macaw by the name of Cujo. Naturally, as would any of you, I could not resist the urge to try to make him talk or repeat. After about ten minutes of no luck, I went back to my job. Ivette peeked around the corner, “Are

New Year Review – 2017

Another year has come and past. Though on a global and national level, 2016 was a nightmare filled with some scary events and we can only hope our fears and worries will not be as heavy as we expected in the 2017 time span. Regardless, let’s take a look at my goals for 2016 and see how bad or good I did along with 2017 goals related to these topics: BRASS COLLAR GAMES – http://brasscollargames.com/ Well, my work keeps getting stalled under a wave of financial needs and person

VTMAS No.21: The Clown Car

Traffic. Ugh, we’ve all dreaded driving to that one part of town because there is no avoided that stop and go, bumper-to-bumper traffic jams. On this particular day I was trying to get to my work to pick up something I had forgot. Unfortunately, it was in the heart of tourist-ville in Orlando, Florida and well, it was 5:00 PM ~ The PEAK of Traffic Hell. By the third round of the full cycle from the light still twenty cars ahead of me, I started people watching those in cars a

#WritingTip – Character Development

What is Character Development? Developing a story is only half the battle. Character Development isn’t just the art of naming and describing a character, but dives deeper. This covers the overall design of a character physically, mentally, and emotionally. Proper development should show reaction, change, and growth in more than one way. At the same time, a character is expected to be consistent, but not always predictable. Development should not stop with the main character o

VTMAS No.12: The Pirate’s Booty

“Uh oh, it’s just me and you, Mary.” I gave me boss a smirk as I walked into the store and clocked in. “Should I be scared?” Puzzled, she questioned the idea of being alone with me. “Last time it was Luke and I, we got Outlaws, Warlocks, and a knight… so who knows what we might end up with.” We laughed for a moment before getting to work. It was an unusually dead day at the store. It was in Tourist-ville Orlando, or as we called it I-Drive. Traffic was even lighter than usual

VTMAS No. 7: Do You Still Have Your Fingers?

This is a more recent event, and it really shows how numb you can become towards your spouse’s quirks: I was having a good day. For a change, the urge to procrastinate had lifted and as I hit a new peak of super Mom and Editing diva, I was feeling great. The kids had went down for their nap, at the same time and my phone started to buzz across my desk as I worked on my latest edits. It was my husband text messaging me: Husband: Sorry babe, I put a hole in my new underwear. S

VTMAS No.4: Surprise Autopsy

**WARNING: This story may not be for the squeamish or sensitive** One of my favorite things about the veterinary office today was that it was closed.  I was having a frustrating day and the idea of working alone walking and caring for the dogs, cats, and any exotic animals was a nice moment. Taking advantage of the fact I was flying solo at the office, I made the decision to not where my scrubs. Instead, I was in boy’s khaki shorts, a white tank top with a Hawaiian shirt over

VTMAS No.2: Knights, Warlocks, & Outlaws

Looking at my watch, I eagerly looked out the glass windows and doors wondering where Larry was. The phone rang, and with much relief it was him. He was on his way, just running late. It was fine, considering he had been in a motorcycle accident, but I didn’t want to work the first day of Bike Week solo at the Harley Davidson shop on I-Drive, Orlando’s Tourist Alley. With a deep sigh I mustered a smile at the waiting customers, a gang of 5 Outlaws (A biker gang). They came in