Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Sweet Story Just Got Sweeter -- for the Holidays!

For a limited time, get Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain gifts featuring gourmet treats from a premier, Westchester-based chocolatier, while supplies last. This new product is the result of a collaboration between Valorena Online, L.L.C. and Chocolations, of Mamaroneck, New York.

Westchester, New York's Premiere Chocolate Factory
607 E. Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck,  NY, 10543 

A Kathie Lee and Hoda’s “Favorite Thing” of October 13, 2014, Chocolations chocolates are world-class creations made from premium ingredients. The featured baseball glove is a 1/4 lbs. of milk chocolate with a white chocolate ball with red stitching. All items are produced locally at the Mamaroneck-based sweets shop that is home to a chocolate factory where truffles, barks and bonbons are also crafted. Visit Chocolations' website at .

Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain

Isaiah's birthday goes terribly wrong when he receives the one thing he loathes — chocolate! Disappointed and angry, Isaiah storms out of the house and into adventure.  In the end, Isaiah learns how resourceful he can be, and how much his Auntie loves him. A whimsical tale of challenges met and happy endings the 26-page book was written by Valerie Williams-Sanchez, and is published by Lulu Publishing. It features richly colored, hand-drawn images that are bursting with joy, emanating light and love. SHOP THE BOOK at

For pricing and availability call or e-mail Valerie 
at (714) 654-6453 or 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Valorena Online Announces the Publication of Its Long-Awaited Children’s Book, Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain

(Palisades, N.Y.) November 14, 2014 – Valorena Online, L.L.C. is pleased to announce the publication of the children’s book, Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain.

Funded via a Valorena Online, L.L.C.-sponsored crowd-fundingcampaign launched July 24th and concluded August 14th, the story features Isaiah, a precocious little boy whose birthday goes terribly wrong when he receives the one thing he loathes — chocolate!

Disappointed and angry, Isaiah storms out of the house and into adventure. In the end, Isaiah learns just how resourceful he can be, and how much his Auntie loves him. It is a whimsical tale of challenges met and happy endings.

A labor of love, the story is one created while the author, Valerie Williams-Sanchez was babysitting her nephew, the title character's namesake.

“It’s been quite an adventure to get this project through the finish-line.” Williams-Sanchez said. “I am thrilled to have completed the journey.”

Written to be read aloud at home, school, daycare or other environments where kids meet, Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain eschews didactic messaging. 

“It’s a simple story, sweet and easy,” Williams-Sanchez said. “But it features a mixed race child, which few kids books do, and that’s important.”

The book features colorful, hand-drawn images that are bursting with joy, emanating light and hope in a story that is told over 26-pages. 

Illustrated by New York-based artist, Brooklyn Russell, Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain is currently offered through Lulu Publishing as an 8 X 10.75 inch hardcover book, with an e-book anticipated for 2015.

For pricing and availability CLICK: Lulu Publishing or contact the author at .

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Crowdfunded Children’s Book, Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain, Climbs Closer to Publication

(Palisades, N.Y.) Aug. 14, 2014 – Time expired Thursday, at the stroke of midnight, for the hundreds of prospective funders contacted to give to Valorena Online, L.L.C.’s Indiegogo, crowdfunding campaign. Funds raised go to publish the children’s book, Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain.

In the end, “we didn’t make our [financial] mark,” said author and Valorena Online, L.L.C. entrepreneur, Valerie Williams-Sanchez. “But we did take a big step closer. We are very grateful for the outpouring of support and interest in the book. The feedback received has been overwhelming.”
(C) 2014 Valorena Online, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved

The campaign which allowed donors to contribute over a two week period raised $1,145.00, just over 11% of the project’s goal of $10,000, funds needed to publish, produce and promote the story aimed at multicultural families and children.

The Argument to Self-Publish
All proceeds will go towards getting the sweet tale into the hands – and hearts – of readers of all ages. Moreover, the story looks to affect the number of children’s book options that exist for kids of color.

“I shopped this book with traditional publishers,” Williams-Sanchez said, “but had no luck.”
Williams-Sanchez isn’t alone. As campaign materials noted, despite the fact that roughly 37% of the U.S. population are people of color, less than 10% of children's books published over the past 18 years feature multicultural content, according to data published by Lee & Lowe Books. 

With such abysmal statistics, self-publishing is ostensibly the strongest, most viable option for authors of diversity stories looking to see their books in print. With multicultural and multigenerational characters, Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain is a fun, accessible reading experience for children of every age and every hue of the spectrum. 

“The images,” Williams-Sanchez continued, “really bring the story to life and go together to make this book is a fun read — particularly for anyone who's ever received a birthday gift they didn't like!” 
An Integrated Digital and Social Media Campaign
To get the word out, Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Online, L.L.C. initiated an integrated online marketing communications effort to promote and publicize the fundraising effort. Buttressing the Indiegogo campaign,  digital and social media marketing elements on Facebook, Twitter and the authors own blog, “Valerie’s Vignettes” at were deployed to spread the word and prod patrons, friends and family of the project, to give.

Indiegogo Campaign Donors
Listed alphabetically in order of greatest contribution:
Mike & Diane Owens
Frances M. Williams
Linda Batwin
     Annika Johansson-Ford
Chrissy Sherbanee
Jamie Kitman
Mary Crescenso
Dwight W. Ford
Dora Gomez
Karen McMullen
Anastasios “Tassos” Panas
Steve Winoker

The orchestrated and strategic barrage of daily Facebook posts, tweets and direct e-mail invitations to participate ended late in the evening of August 14th following a final flurry of reminder tweets announcing the last chance to participate. Yet and still, calls from interested givers continue to come in well after the campaign close, Williams-Sanchez said, from those asking: “is it too late to donate?”  

A follow-up drive is in the planning stages for the Fall 2014. In the meantime, inquiries should be directed to Valorena Online, L.L.C., P.O. Box 180, Palisades, N.Y. 10964, or via e-mail at Donation perks listed online will be honored and offered for donations up to $500, through 2014.

The Narrative
In the story Isaiah and the Chocolate Mountain, Isaiah’s birthday goes terribly wrong when he receives the one thing he loathes — chocolate! Disappointed and angry, Isaiah storms out of the house and into an adventure. In the end, Isaiah learns just how resourceful he can be, and how much his Auntie loves him. 

A whimsical tale of challenges met, and happy endings, the story was created while the author was babysitting her nephew, the title character's namesake.

"[It was] written to be read aloud, as it was initially told,” said Williams-Sanchez. “Brooklyn’s illustrations are wonderful -- richly colored and inviting. They’re like folk art to me, my favorite."

About the Author and the Illustrator
Written by Rockland County-based freelance writer and author Valerie Williams-Sanchez and illustrated by Brooklyn Russell, the 12x12 full-color and hard-cover book is the first such effort for Williams-Sanchez, a journo turned marketeer, turned children’s book author. Williams-Sanchez is mother to an 18-year-old-daughter. She is a teacher who has worked with children of all ages, including special-needs teenaged boys and girls.

An Arkansas native living in Brooklyn with her husband, Brooklyn Russell is a relative newcomer to children's book illustrating who is quickly gaining fans and looking to make her mark. With no formal training and a growing list of titles, Russell characterizes her artistic style as classic, colorful and playful. She names Gustav Klimt as her favorite artist, and said she is inspired by many children's illustrators including Rebecca Green, Sophia Blackall and Scott Campbell. Married 16 years, Russell is mom to 10-year-old daughter, Ruby and Auntie to a niece and nephew, both of whom are over 18.

Learn more on Facebook about the book: , the author Valerie Williams-Sanchez: , or 
the illustrator Brooklyn Russell: .

For orders and pricing information contact

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Valory 5.0" Heads Upstream to FIGMENTBoston

Last year, in Boston was Valerie's Vignettes first experience with a Figment Arts event. Figment is the free, metropolitan celebration of participatory art and culture, "where everything is possible." Through sheer serendipity, a weekend day trip to Bean-town intersected with the day of fun, creativity and participatory art. It was a revelation. The event impressed me.
I moved through the grounds at the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway filled with dozens of art projects including dance, music, crafts and installations and thought:"I could do this.” And so, I did. 
On that day, projects ranged from simple to intricate installations with high-brow themes, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, to projects that encouraged participants to grow "hope gardens." Made to resemble trees, trunks and branches cast from P.V.C. piping, and leaves of vibrant plastic insulation strips engaged and delighted.  Another performance from a New York-based family dressed in webbed, lizard-like cat-suits to act out their notion of how the evolution from the age of dinosaurs into the age of mammals, and the emergence of mankind, may have played out

I moved through the grounds at the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway which were filled with dozens of art installations, crafts projects,  dance and music performances, and thought: "I could do this."
And so, I did.

This year, Valerie's Vignettes and Valorena Online, L.L.C. looks to debut the latest iteration of "Valory the Koi of Courage" which has  been affectionately dubbed "Valory 5.0." The result of collaboration with Texas-based sculptor Michael Washer, the newly designed fish body represents a refined notion of my heartfelt effort to bring to create a fun experience that unites people, and brings families together through communication, artistic expression, words and art.

"Valory, the Koi of Courage" will have been part of three Figment celebrations: Philadelphia 2013, New York 2014 and looks to continue its journey at the upcoming July 26-27, Figment Boston 2014. 

The lay of the land at Figment Boston. 
Interactive Art: "Valory the Koi of
 Courage" at Parcel #19
My participation in Figment Festivals continues to be a journey of imagination, an ongoing labor of love, through which I have grown tremendously, and completed my own challenges from each of the category of scales. I have met and persevered through relationship challenges with loved ones and new people I have met through my participation in the event; education and knowledge challenges which have tested my ability to write and develop the project and proposal to step out into a completely new arena — participatory art; financial challenges which have pushed me to invest in myself and my resourcefulness to bring this vision of mine into being at a level of which I can be proud; and health challenges (the challenge that started it all) that have taken me through the process of being cut, poisoned and burned, through surgeries, chemo and radiation, the current gold standard treatment protocol for stage II breast cancer.

Now on the verge of completion of the "Valory the Koi of Courage, 5.0" journey, I look to not only manifest and feature the new creation, but also to continue and complete this project which has truly transformed me. The experience has affirmed in me, my spirit of creativity,  imagination, and my sense of "can do" possibilities. More, my experience has shown me the willingness of others to share stories, strength and power as illustrated in the amazing stories articulated and noted in the dozens of scales that have been created, many of which have been featured in the video on YouTube (, and in Twitter messages from ValorenaOnline.

I thank the Figment organization for making room for me in their creative spaces. I am and have enjoyed every moment of each experience. I also thank those who have participated in Valory's journey. I have been truly moved and inspired by the bits of yourselves, stories of courage, and sheer joy you continue to share.