Tag Archives: journey

Publisher Shopping

With my first manuscript finished, it’s time for me to start shopping around for ways to get my novel published. Originally, I wanted to go the way of an agent. I thought it’d bImage result for shoppinge so cool to actually have an agent to want to represent me. I still think so. However, I’ve slowly realized, even before published authors told me, that the publishing world changed drastically from ten, or even five, years ago.

The worse part of it all is that it always depend first on who you know, then it depends on whether you’ve published anything already. It’s a disheartening process. I’ve thought many times that I need to figure out a new direction for my life. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the only problem with that is I’m 33 years old, and the only thing I feel I know to do is write. Maybe I have other talents that others see and I don’t. But the fact is, becoming a published author is my dream. I want it so bad, I can almost taste it.

Luckily, I’m not starting completely empty. Even I know that to succeed, it takes time. Stephen King or Nora Roberts had to work on getting names for themselves. Look at J.K. Rowling. She was rejected by agents countless of times until finally, one gave her first manuscript a chance. She didn’t give up, so why should I?

After nearly ten years (it really hasn’t been that long, but close enough to round up), I finally finished. I spent weeks trying to decide if I want to self-publish or find an agent. Whatever I did, I wanted to do it right. I decided that it’s hard to make money as a writer when you’re first starting out, so I’m not completely in It for the money. Although making money would be great! No, I just want the world I created to be published one way or another. I want people to read what I’ve done. I also want to learn how to become a better writer.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the publishing industry. It’s brutal. Agents get thousands of queries each week. New writers get rejection after rejection on their story for many reasons. Maybe the genre is difficult to break into (J.K. Rowling and her fantasy Harry Potter books) or your passion is in a genre where male readers prefer the book to be written by a male (again I will mention Rowling, hence the use of her sons’ initials). As a female mystery writer, I write in a very popular genre. People love a good mystery. The only thing I have against me is that I’m female. BUT I think that we’re moving into the time where people don’t care anymore whether you’re male or female.

Because I haven’t completely found my footing in the publishing industry, I decided that I should find an independent publisher. Right now, I feel it’d be less stress, quicker, and I’d be able to show published work for when (and if) I searched for an agent. I could publish myself and save a little, however, working with an independent publishing company helps save a lot of grunt work.

A writer recently told me that although several publishers wanted him, he chose to remain independent and that he sold about 50,000 of his books within a year.  After reading his debut novel, I can see why. I would love it if one day that’s me. It can be a grueling process, but one I’m eager to put myself through.

A girl from church recently published her book through an indie publisher, and I kept the company in the back of my mind since they appear trustworthy, and she has had success. However, it’s important (if you want a chance to succeed that is) to not settle. Image result for self publishSo I asked other writer friends if they could offer suggestions. I was given a few choices, and I’m thinking that I may have possibly found who I want to go with. I’ve felt comfortable speaking with him via email. It’ll cost me a pretty penny, but I already knew that. The girl from church raised her money, so I’m thinking I can try doing the same thing.

The whole experience is nerve-wracking, kind of scary, but at the same time, exciting. Sometimes the best things in life come when you work for it. I don’t think God brought me this far with my writing talents to let me just set my hard worked manuscript on my desk as a dust collector. I’m a believer in meeting God halfway. If you do the work, He’ll bless you in some way.

Now that the hard work is over with, it’s time to extend my knowledge and move forward…while working on my sequel, that is!

Peace, Please!

Right now, I’m living with two people, two cats and a dog. As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s difficult as a writer to be focused on the story you’re trying to tell. The distractions are countless, and it’s irritating, especially when you’re mind is on fire, but then someone starts talking to you, or the dog barks, or heaven forbid, your cat jumps onto the computer desk and sits on the keyboard.

Maggie the Cat

As writers, we are in need of quiet time. And sometimes it gets tough to earn that quiet time. A lot of writers have children to care for or other demanding jobs. Right now, I’m searching for a job, so I have a lot of time on my hands. However, I don’t always get to have my quiet time because of the noise that  surrounds me. I sometimes get so frustrated  with a chapter, that I just want to scream, “please, give me a little peace!”

If I don’t find that peace, then it makes it even harder for me to find my “creativity” time. I found that lately for me, my creativity time is usually early in the morning, as soon as my step-father leaves for work. That’s around six thirty. I’m usually up by then, and the house is silent. I get up before I can think about what I’m doing, and hop onto the computer (kind of the way I treat exercising. Do it before your brain realizes it’s being forced to work). Then I write a few hours, and my mom wakes up. Sometimes she stays in her room to watch TV, other times she goes to the living room, where I’m working on my manuscript. Depending on the show she’s watching, I’m able to continue writing, but oftentimes, my concentration breaks. This primarily happens when I once again change where my story is going (I seem to do that often. Anyone else have that problem? It gets stressful and irritating.).

What I wouldn’t give to find a place where I can be alone, a place where I can get that creativity flowing in peace. But because there isn’t a place that I’ve thought of, I have to make due with what I’ve been given. In the morning, it seems to be easiest for me when no one is around, but sometimes, especially the weekends, I have to deal with distractions.

I found that listening to music helps  me. At first, I was trying to find good music that could be considered mysterious, in order to help me work on my mysteries. I soon found out that words tend to throw me off track. So I decided to opt for listening to instrumental like Dave Koz or Jim Brickman. Either one of those, particularly Jim Brickman is my go to music of choice when I decide to listen to music while writing. I can get lost in the music, at the same time get lost in the stories my characters are telling.

I’ve also been on the lookout for other good solitude places to write. But so far, I haven’t thought of anywhere. I tend to go straight to the computer in our living room each morning rather than anywhere else.

Where you write is just as important as writing during your best creativity time. Even if no one is around, there can be distractions, like the television. In my last apartment, I had an office where my laptop was, but there was no TV. I didn’t allow it because I knew that I’d  be distracted while trying to work on my book.

What are some of the ways  and places that allow you to write and shut out the crazy noises of the world?

 


Angela Kay

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The Right Way to Write

One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned as an aspiring writer is that it’s a major headache. Sometimes, I feel like finding a new hobby. I don’t know about other genres, but mysteries (my preferred field) can be such a pain. You have to hide evidence in plain sight and weave the story together in this perfect little web so that in the end it makes sense. And the catch is you don’t want your readers to say “yeah, duh. Saw that coming.” You want them to say “wow! I should have seen that coming!”

Because I try to come up with that twist to shock my readers, I hit many roadblocks. When I write, my mind tends to go one way, and then I’m like “well, that’s stupid. It doesn’t make a bit of sense.” I also try to be original. In this day and age, with all the unoriginal ideas, I think people would enjoy something fresh. Sometimes my attempts at originality turn dull, or plain dumb.

A headache. Actually, a migraine now that I think about it.

In the current manuscript I’m working on, I’ve written a hundred pages already, almost 40,000 words of my 80,000-word count goal. Since I had no clue as to where I really wanted to go, I hit a major roadblock. It’s like my characters are all running amuck doing completely different things than they should.

Then I began to stress. I’m a stresser, so it comes on naturally, especially when I want to do well in something I love. After trial and error, I found a few tips to help me iron it out a little bit: I’ve listened to the computer read the pages each morning, which not only helped me to add a few more scenes, but I’ve come to realize that the ending I had in mind wasn’t going to work for where the story was actually heading. In a book I started reading, if I remember correctly, I believe it was Stephen King’s On Writing, he said that he once read  Ernest Hemingway would read his work every morning from beginning to end before he wrote another word. I thought that was a great idea. So I started doing just that. I’ve found that it helped me a great deal. I was able to untangle some of the messes I created by not paying attention, or details I forgot. It takes me longer to finish my writing, but I’ve come to appreciate that in order to do it just right, you have to take your time. Especially if you’re an “organic writer,” like I am.

During a brief stressing out period, I was recently reminded by a fellow writer friend that this is the “fun” time. It’s the time when I’m building new worlds, creating new characters. I was struck by the realization that I’ve forgotten this was supposed to be a hobby. I was stressing myself out by trying to have my sequel (and other manuscripts-to-be) written in a certain time period (30 days).

Stressing causes me to have writer’s block, which in turn, causes depression, which results in my having a hard time getting my writing mojo back on. It is supposed to be fun. Starting a new story is always enjoyable, but I’ve realized setting unreachable goals, such as 30 days for an 80,000-word manuscript, fun will be replaced by a hair-pulling me. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to reach 80,000 words in 30 days. I’m sure plenty of authors are capable, and I’m sure even I will manage it…some day. But to me, writing can be like losing weight. If you set unrealistic goals, you may fail. It’s better to have a long-term goal, giving you a little leeway. At least when you’re starting out.

Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins. ~Neil Gaiman

So instead of moving forward, I began to re-read my story to clean it up. Now that I’ve been able to take a deep breath and stop hyperventilating, I was able to see where it was supposed to go. Sadly I’ve removed a lot of scenes that I’ve spent time writing. It just doesn’t fit…for this particular story, anyway. I have a lot floating around in my head right now. I just might be able to find a home for those scenes somewhere. However, even if I don’t, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy writing those scenes. I was able to replace those scenes with an equal amount of wording because somehow it gave me the inspiration.

And because I have a friend that is a writer, I’ve been able to brainstorm new ideas for this story. Whether I use it or not, it helps me overcome those pesky blocks. I suppose that there is no right way to write. I suppose it’s all up to you, as an author, to find out what works for you. For me, it’s a lot of trial and error. I tend to be clumsy and stumble around, but I’m slowly finding my footing in this world. What are some ways that help you to move forward?

There are three rules to writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ~W. Somerset Maugham

by: Angela Kay

It’s a Long Road

To me, it’s exciting to know you have a talent for the arts. A lot of people don’t. Some lie in mathematics. Some in science. While I wish I had the talent in science, I don’t in either subject. My forte is writing. I have a passion for creating a whole new world. Honestly, it could be a made-up world that takes place in a Star Trek-type universe, or it’s right in my hometown with my lead investigator solving a grisly murder.

In 2009, I was taking a Creative Writing course in my final semester of college. In that course, I wrote a two-chapter excerpt from a book I had in mind to write. My professor and my classmates loved the first two chapters when they critiqued it. It’s pretty ironic because when I finished those chapters, the person I had “killed” was someone everyone in the story knew and hated—even the three children that found the body! But for whatever reason, my class enjoyed it.

After I finished that class, I continued working on my first draft, including a few more characters that were hateful. Yes, it’s safe to say that there was a lot of hate going on in my first draft. Curious, I must say! My mom read the entire book, said it was great. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. She’s not one to say she liked it if she didn’t, although I wasn’t too pleased. However, I think it’s safe to say she liked the style of writing rather than the story itself.

When I re-read the story in order to change the spelling, punctuation, blah blah blah, I started in on major changes. The thought I had in mind was this: the dead guy was someone everybody hated. Um, yay, he’s dead? I didn’t care that he was dead. So, if I didn’t care, then why should potential readers? I wanted this thing to get published! If I didn’t care that the dead guy was dead, and I knew readers wouldn’t care, then why should publishers? They’d probably give me a phone call just to laugh at me even thinking I had a chance in the hard-to-get-an-agent world. But, you know…I was learning. When you’re starting out, even when you’ve been in the business for a while, there’s a lot to learn in this trade.

So, I completely rewrote the first few chapters. I made my dead guy loved by those who knew him. Boom! I wanted to find this killer that killed this wonderful man whose only crime was making a few mistakes in his life! Another character I created was someone who was also hateful, gruff, borderline abusive. I changed him into a nice guy, but stubborn and not always telling the whole truth. I felt much better with those characters. They were more believable.

As I went through the rewrite of my second draft, I found myself in the midst of a major, major mess.  It was a messy story that I wrote on a whim. It took me a year to write the first draft. Starting out, I think a year’s not bad. But it was the rewrite that set me back. I rewrote my manuscript, finished it, my mom read it, liked it. I still didn’t like it.

So comes the third rewrite. I wanted to strangle whoever said, “writing is all about rewriting.” My mom, and eventually when my stepfather

entered the picture, loves to tell me that I need to stop the rewriting. I always stuck to my guns, though. My response was always this: “the story is not over until there’s no more work to be done.” And, yes. My manuscript-in-progress had a LOT of work to be done.

Because it was such a mess, I felt it kind of held me back from writing. I spent years off and on going back to my manuscript. Every time I hit a wall, I’d get depressed and stop writing. I’d also begin two or three other stories on the side, but I would feel guilty that I haven’t finished my first “baby.”

Well, God kept me consistent. I may have been consistently writing off and on, but quite often, I’d hear the last name of one of my characters, which isn’t even a very common name. I would also hear my preacher in church often talk about “if you were meant to be a writer.” Or, I’d turn on Hallmark and a movie about a struggling writer would pop on. Maybe you think I’m crazy. But I think it’s God’s way of saying “get up, child! Finish the book!” Well, as of March 10, 2016, I finished my third, and yes, final draft of my story. The best part of it was that when I finished, I found myself an editor almost immediately. He’s editing as we speak. After re-reading the first seven chapters of my newly edited manuscript, I was like, “wow!” Honestly, after re-reading and rewriting so many times, I wanted to have it edited and not ever read it again. Now, I can’t wait for more!

Oh, and since I’ve finished my manuscript, I haven’t heard the preacher talk about writing, nor have I seen a movie about writing pop on unexpectedly, and I haven’t heard the name of that particular character. Amazing, huh? Well, to me it is…maybe you have to be there!

I’m thrilled that it’s in the hands of my editor. It’s one step closer to being published. And I’m also in the process of the sequel, as well as another manuscript. My fear is that I’ll stumble onto my old roadblocks. I really hope I don’t. However, if finishing this first book taught me anything, it’s this: no matter what happens, whether I’m published, or if it sits on my desktop collecting dust, I can rest assured knowing that it has been completed. It’s been a long road. But I’m taking the wheel, and am pretty satisfied.


Angela Kay, Author imageBy

Angela Kay

@AngelaKaysBooks

 

#Book #Review @OlgaNM7 ‘The Fallen Angels of Karnataka’ by Hans Hirschi

Book Title: The Fallen Angels of Karnatakafallen-angels-hans-hirschi-olga-nunez-miret

Author: Hans M. Hirschi

Print Length: 264 pages

Publisher: Yaree AB (September 15, 2014)

Language: English

ASIN: B00MRXVK84

The Fallen Angels of Karnataka is a novel that reminded me of a variety of genres. It’s a bildungsroman. Haakon, the protagonist, is a young man from a small Norwegian farm, naïve and not knowledgeable in the ways of life. The book shows us the process of his sexual awakening, how he discovers he is gay, his first experiences, his first rejection and heartbreak, his first love, and his first loss.

At a time when he’s lost everything and he’s been given what he thinks is a death sentence, an Englishman steps in, Charles, and makes him an offer that seems too good to be true. (Yes, we know all about it, but…) Haakon has always dreamt of travelling, and Charles offers him a dream contract to be his travelling companion, acting as a fairy godmother (or godfather) of sorts. He solves all the problems (including finding him medication for his newly diagnosed HIV infection) and does not seem to want anything back other than company and organisational skills. Of course, things aren’t quite as they seem, and the fairy tale turns much seedier and darker later in the book.

We follow Haakon and Charles in their travels, and the book could have become a travelogue. But although the novel provides beautiful vignettes and interesting observations and reflections about the places visited, their travel is described more in terms of an emotional and spiritual experience than a guide book. The journey our hero embarks on allows the readers to follow how the character grows, loses his —at times terribly annoying, at least to me— naïveté and manages to find not only a partner (gorgeous, good and who has suffered too, one of the fallen angels of the title), but also a worthy mission.

Hans Hirschi tackles a difficult subject in this book. One of the most difficult subjects. Paedophilia. The fallen angels of the book title are not really fallen, but rather dragged down by adults who either aid and abate others or are themselves abusers. The author shines a light on some of the least tasteful aspects of an already difficult to deal with topic, by highlighting the plight of children who are abused because they are seen as dispensable. We’ve all heard of sexual tourism and this is an extreme example of it. Although the topic is distasteful and something that plenty of readers would much rather not read about, the author manages to build credible characters that do not completely lose their humanity, even though some of their behaviours might be abhorrent. Haakon acts, in a way, as a foil and reflects the attitude of most readers, who would find it difficult to reconcile how somebody who seems so kind, educated, sophisticated and helpful could also abuse children. It is also a cautionary tale that reminds us appearances can be very deceptive.

The ending is positive, in keeping with the fairy-tale aspect of it, and although not perfect, the hero’s journey shares on universal themes and shows character development and a well-constructed plot and structure. We can’t help but hope that in real life all these kids will find a place and there will be no more fallen angels.

The book is beautifully written and the omniscient narrator allows us to see and understand things from different characters’ point of view (mainly Haakon’s but not exclusively). That helps up share in his experiences but at times puts us in a very uncomfortable position, being party to thoughts or desires and impulses of deeply flawed characters.

I would recommend this book to readers who dare to explore darker subjects. It will be quite a ride but the rewards will be plenty. I don’t know if the writer has thought about revisiting any of the characters again, but I for one would love to hear more of Mahender’s story (hard as it would be). And I will put other works by the author in my list of future reads.

 

Ratings:fallen-angels-hans-hirschi
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  Amazon.
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $14.39
Kindle: $6.66

 

Olga Núñez Miret

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@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

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