Category: Writing


New Directions

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So I have made it to February and I have no idea how this much time has passed since my last post. I have been busy writing, a lot on my new project which is actually not fiction and very solidly grounded in my faith.

It isn’t something I was planning on doing, if you had asked me this time last year where my writing direction would go I’d have told you something very different. In fact I do still want to keep going with my fiction and I have started a new paranormal urban fantasy series but for now  this other thing fills my time.

I have been working on this new project, which will not be a book, so intensely because I need to have enough content to keep me going when my life gets so incredibly busy, which is does at times.

This is a new chapter of my life and life is full of chapters so I guess we will see how it goes. When the time is right I will share more.

Finally, and Thanks to My Readers

embracing fate kylie calwell 20191101cSo I have finally finished the Oparna Legacy series. Book 3 is now live and it has been one hell of a journey.

I have to thank all my readers for their patience. There is a story there and I feel you deserve to know it.

The writing of book 3 was interrupted by the all consuming drive to write a presentation that took me to Montreal to speak. it didn’t slow me down a lot to be fair because the characters were desperate for their stories to be told, the words just flowed.

The problems started when my original artist was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to pass on my cover. Absolutely not something within anyone’s control and I hold no grudges there. I found a replacement artist and the deadline for my cover was I believed more than reasonable, certainly more than a month, quite a bit more. Then it became apparent that other things were far more important to him, it was as though because I was a friend my commission wasn’t as important as other things. In the end I had to ask if he was even going do it as the deadline had well passed and he hadn’t even started it. It pissed me off because if I had been any other paying client he would never have treated their commission in this manner, not for what he charged – fortunately I hadn’t paid anything yet.

By this time the story was finished and had been sent to both my beta reader and the editor.

I had other projects to work on but that delay had really set me back, I had wanted the book out before July and that was now never going to happen. I set about finding another artist and ended up with a lovely lady whose cover I am very happy with. Even that didn’t turn out to be so simple, because her previous commission took longer than expected for reasons. Again in this instance hardly something within her control.

Due to lack of cover art I hadn’t pushed my editor, but when I got that stuff back on track I realised I hadn’t heard from her. When I did get in contact I discovered that she had had internet problems that had delayed her ability to get the edits to me.

Things were looking like they’d be back on track but unfortunately I had further issues with getting the graphics on the cover and by this time these silly little hiccoughs just had me shaking my head and saying well of course it can’t be simple.

Then when I thought I had everything in place I went to do a final edit check and upload my already edited manuscript, only to discover the edited file had vanished, both copies of it, as I didn’t have just one.

I had one saving grace, I had sent a locked PDF of the final edit to someone. Only to discover that even though it was my file I couldn’t edit within it and to transfer the file from PDF was not a simple as all that. I had to do a complete format edit in the process.

Finally though it is here. I was never going to give up. Swear a lot at the universe but never give up.

If you are interested this is the Aus link but it can be found in all regions.

 

Glitter Tits

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I have done a thing. Being a volunteer at a pop culture conventions, was an awesome part of my life for a bunch of years. Through that time I made some incredible friends, had some amazing experiences and some not so great ones.

This year I had to make the choice to walk away from this part of my life. I kind of knew it was coming but wasn’t ready when it did. To help me get through I started to write down some of my memories.

This little book, mini book if you will, is the culmination of that. I don’t mention celebrity names, I don’t mention any names except mine. I don’t think it makes that much difference, the stories are still great, or not so great as a few of them are. And there are a few ‘what were you thinking’ moments of mine that made the cut, so feel free to laugh with me.

If you are a pop-culture convention goer, or fan, please buy it, read it – my little love letter to this awesome scene. Share the link with your friends, boost the signal. I love this scene and know there are still experiences I want to have.

 

Holidays

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I am currently on leave from work and I am busy, but in a way I like to be. I am writing. I have set myself various goals for these weeks off and I aim to be productive.

So many people were asking what my holiday plans were and then wondered if I wouldn’t get bored being as I’m not going anywhere this time.

Thing is for the last little while all I have really wanted to do is write. I have a novella length project that I’ve just finished the main edit on and it will hopefully be published before the holidays are done. I have also gotten my edits back from my editor and after a pain in my butt stuff around by my cover artist, I have commissioned a new artist and will hopefully have that soon, so Book three in the Oparna Legacy can be published.

Also my faith has hit the forefront of my life again and I have a project tied into that which I plan on making substantial headway on during this time off.

Then of course there is the new series I have started working on as well, an urban paranormal crime series that I think will be kind of fun.

So that’s it for my holiday plans and I can’t help but think my 6 and a bit weeks leave isn’t going to be anywhere near long enough for me to get all the writing done that I want to do.

Being An Author

I guess I really am an author. I have two books published now and a third in editing stage.

I love the cover for my second book and the thanks for the art go to the amazing Mel Schwarz, and the graphics were done by the awesome Peter B.

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I’m pretty happy that the second one finally got out, later than what I’d hoped but what are you going to do, some times life simply doesn’t go according to plan. It will mean (hopefully) that the gap between two and three won’t be as long because the first draft for three is already finished.

Other huge things are happening for me I’m about to venture into the unknown. I’m going to speak at a conference. It’s not the first stage I’ve been on, not by a long shot but it is the first where the audience is made up of professionals expecting to hear from another professional. I believe I can do this but there are still occasional doubts. I had a moment the other week when I was thinking about the people I will be talking to and I wondered why I thought I could do do this as they are all grown up and the like. Then I realised I too am a grown up I just somehow seem to forget that about myself. What it is is that I don’t take myself as seriously as I seem to think these kind of professionals do. I guess I will find out.

Also on the writing front, I jumped out of bed this morning to write down another idea. It’s good to know I have enough ideas to keep me writing for a while yet, I only wish the need to work and pay bills didn’t interfere.

I know I haven’t got a proper handle on keeping regular with my blog updates, I really wish I was better at it, I used to be. Again though, life gets in the way and sometimes something has to give. For me it is this. Here’s hoping that I will get better at keeping this updated sometime soon.

When A Publishing Plan Goes Wrong

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I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. There were countless hours spent pounding out stories on an old typewriter at my parents kitchen table. Writing is something I’ve always done, not always in the same format, poetry, stories, plays and novels. Always, however writing.

Being a published author has been a dream, a goal of mine and it is one I have been working towards. I worked at it, I researched it, I networked. I read, voraciously. Then I wrote, and I wrote and I rewrote. Then finally I submitted to a competition, (not the first one I’d ever submitted too and not the first novel I finally finished). Much to my delight I made it through the first cut. Top 40 of 260. The next logical step was to submit to agents and publishers. After which I got a whole lot of nothing and a couple of rejections.

There was no way I was giving up on this, I loved my story, I believed in my story for as much as letting other people read it was terrifying.

The next step I decided on was manuscript assessment. A process no scarier than letting anyone read it, except hopefully if they didn’t hate it they would be able to help me figure out what I could do to improve it. The feedback I got was thankfully positive, I was thrilled that someone else liked my story. The best thing was this was where I got the best piece of advice, ‘it’s really good but a structural rewrite, if you want to put in the effort, will make it great.’ That one suggestion and I finally understood some earlier feedback that had made no sense to me.

This began the biggest part of my journey. I wrote, whenever I could, a scene here a scene there. I added, I took away. It was slow going, very slow going because when you are a wife, and mother as well as juggling work, it can be difficult to find time. Added to that was the fact this wasn’t the only project I was working on, sometimes inspiration for this project simply dried up but other ideas would just flow.

Then I had an amazing breakthrough. I got my version of the elevator pitch with a boutique publisher. Somehow I sold him on my story when I sold him on myself and my work ethic. He asked for what I had, which to be honest was an incomplete and patchy story. This kick started my writing again with vengeance. I wrote, rewrote and edited the first 50 pages and sent it off.

Even with no contract and no solid deadline it lit a fire in my belly. The writing burned through me and the story finally found it’s voice and form. The publisher got back to me and said as soon as I was done he wanted to offer me a contract. You may know how happy I was that day, it was as if everything I had worked for and through had been validated. Working my arse off I got it finished and finally got my contract.

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It would be wonderful if that was the end of the story. If we started editing and my book made it out into the world.

Instead I got

Nothing.

A few months after I signed my contract the publisher decided to go on indefinite hiatus due to stress. This left me in some state of limbo. What could I do, technically I was still in contract and he hadn’t closed the business just said he needed a break. I figured, that was probably a good enough reason to break contract if I needed too so I started putting out feelers again. Not a lot but a few, and there were no bites.

Then, from out of nowhere, when my contract was closer to its end than beginning, the publisher decides to go ahead and send me the first lot of edits, asking me how I would like to go forward. I was hesitant but the lure of publication is strong.

By this time though I had re-edited my story yet again, why not, it can always be improved. So I added his edits and sent off the new version. Then…

Nothing.

I send a message about cover art, because an artist I know has created a beautiful pic for me that I really wanted to use. I get a positive response.

Next thing I know a friend messages me and asks if I’m okay with the fact my publisher has decided to close his doors. That was the first I heard about it, then came the bulk email.

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I was heartbroken and so incredibly angry. I know there were extenuating circumstances, and I truly believe he didn’t mean for this to be the end result but it still felt like a crushing rejection. I ranted, I cried, I poured my frustrations out to an author I admire, who surprisingly answered me with some good advice.

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At this point you realise you have two choices. You either give up or you pick yourself up and push forward. I’m not much of a quitter, this is not something I’d spent a few weeks or months on and had little invested in, this was something I’d been working towards the greater part of my whole life.

Publishing is not an easy industry to break into and with the advances in technology I realised I had another choice; traditional publishing or self-publishing. My heart wanted me to go traditional, that was my dream. To have someone believe enough in my story to want to share it with others. I really wanted to be able to put a book in people’s hands. That path though could mean years of submitting and waiting and most likely a lot of rejections. Self-publishing meant I could get it out there by the time I was originally supposed to be published.

I bit the bullet. I love my story, I believe in myself (sometimes – so it must have been a good self-esteem day I made the decision) and I wanted to go forward rather than sit in a holding pattern indefinitely. I found myself an editor and hit send. I already had the art I wanted for my cover art and I know a wonderfully talented graphic designer who was happy to put the cover together for me.

When my editor got back to me saying that at times it ‘was like reading an already published book’, I couldn’t have been happier. With feedback like that you’d think it would be easy to upload to the e-book site and hit submit. One button and it is all done. That one button though carried a lot of weight, all my hopes and fears resting on one small click. In the end my hubby said ‘just do it,’ and I really had to take that chance on myself.

Publishing is scary, putting yourself out there in such a way opens you up to people you might otherwise hide from. Self-publishing may even be more so because at the end of the day you are the only one who believes in what you have done, it is all on you (friends and family don’t really count here, they are supposed to believe in you and support you).

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This is my journey so far. Not the one I wanted but the one I ended up with. I haven’t made my millions, I haven’t sold 50 copies as yet, but I have had great feedback from a large number of those who have read it. I’ve found some fans and even had my first royalty payment. All of which is better than nothing and better than not taking that chance in the first place.

 

 

In-Love-with-a-Fictional-Character.pngThis is something I have done since I first began to devour books. When I was younger I wanted to be George from the Famous Five.

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When I was about twelve I had a huge crush on Atreyu from The Never Ending Story, I balled my eyes out when Artax died in the Swamp of Sorrows.

0133735_42657_MC_Tx360.jpgLater various characters from Feist’s Midkemia filled my imagination. And who wouldn’t want Reilly’s Scarecrow to be their significant other or at least friend. I was never the sort to be swept off my feet by Mr Darcy and the love I felt for characters was mostly familial. I wanted them to be my friends. When I lacked friends in the real world I never lacked for them in my imagination. I would retreat from the teasing and hurt by venturing into other worlds;

Narnia, Crabapple Farm, River Heights, Kirrin Island, Ancient Egypt and the list goes on. I went on adventures with Pug and Thomas, Reepicheep, Tasslehoff Burfoot, solved mysteries with Nancy and Trixie.

Nancy-Drew-vintage-image.jpgAs I got older my tastes changed, but how I read and why I read didn’t. Mother would be a great laugh to hang with, in fact an afternoon spent with Eve and Roarke, Mother, Mercy, Adam and various surrounding players would be my idea of wonderful. On another day, Beka Cooper, Keladry, Annabeth, Caroline and I could all sit down over a civilised cheesecake and chocolate and right all the wrongs in the world, what a glorious day that would be.

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It’s okay if you don’t know a lot of these names that’s your loss, but then you may have a list of names I wouldn’t recognise and that is fine too. Just like in real life we all like different people, so we are all drawn to different characters and stories.

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Characters fill my head, mine and others. I often find them easier to relate to, less likely to cause me grief in any way. It was in these characters that I found acceptance to be me, as silly as it may sound. If girls, and women, such as these, who don’t comfortably fit into a mould, can have friends, family and success, then maybe I could as well. I never felt I fit, not really, but I did with my fictional friends.

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Writing my own stories in some ways has been an extension of this love affair. I never set out to write Evayn as she is now, as the character she is becoming (see what I did there?) She started in fact as what my husband lovingly, or laughingly, referred to as, my naked amnesia chick. Holy heck she has come a long way. (There may be spoilers ahead but only little ones.) Now I know her so well I know when she will roll her eyes, bite her lip or bottle up all that is bothering her. I know that holding steel in her hand calms her and helps her think. I know the dragon in her confuses her and she struggles to embrace that fully, in a way she never struggled with that she inherited from her father. I know her dark places. I’ve been there with her and want nothing more than to be with her at the end of this adventure we are going on.

There are many characters in this world I’ve created whom I’ve become attached to. Some I’ve shed tears over and others I want to slap, I hope that means I’ve done a good job with them because those are the feelings I get when I deal with real people.

Reading led me to writing. Reading has always been a central part of who I am. For me it is something that provides a break to life and all the crap that can be found in it. I willingly say I rarely read non-fiction or literary work. I read to escape not to be reminded of that which actually surround me. Reading has given me people to love and despise without the need to actually interact with people, (and I am a person that a sometimes struggles with being around people). It is also a refuge and that is part of the end result of falling in love with a world and its characters. I have read some books over and over and yes even over (sometimes to the point of the book falling apart). Those books are my safe place to go. There are times when I want to close out the rest of the world and curl up with an old friend, it is like a safety blanket, warm, cuddly and comfortable. Safe.

As a writer I want to write a story people like, a character people love and if I can create a world that people want to return to then that would be my idea of success.

Though lots of book sales would also be an acceptable definition.

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And We Are Live.

So today is the big day. I have been so nervous about this, I’m not going to lie. Writing a book is one thing. Putting it out there for others to read, like, love, hate is totally another – it is so nerve wracking.

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Book one is done, it is out there and people can buy it through Amazon – you can go to different country sites as well, (also my surname has no D in it, remember that)

I never really wanted to self publish, I still like the idea of a physical book in my hand, and maybe one day I will go down the print on demand path. For the moment though, this is what I think will work best for me.

Letting go of that part of the dream was hard. I worked for so long on making it happen. It was even within my grasp. A tough pill to swallow when something you’ve put so much into is ripped away from you. Still you just go on, what else can you do? Well you could give up but why would you. Once upon a time with limited access to money that would have been your only option, write for yourself and give up on the dream. Anyone who is not famous and has tried to get a book published will know it isn’t the easiest thing. Like all things it happens easily or miraculously for a few, for the majority it is a hard slog.

I am now obsessively staring at my computer for updates and comments, which is a fallout of the nerves. I think it would be the best for me to walk away from it for a while. Good thing there is always the next book to work on, and some short stories. A writer’s passion is never really completed I don’t think. There is always something else to write.

Also, I’m taking someone to the theatre for a matinee showing this afternoon, that will be a good way to distract myself.

So to sum it up. My book is out, go to Amazon and buy it, support the nervous wreck I am. Then join my author page on Facebook and let’s talk, but keep it civil, us authors tend to get depressed you know.

Thank you for your support.

Cover Reveal

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I am so stoked today as I get to show you all the cover for my first book. I am so thankful for the artistic people in my life whose talents have made this possible. The artwork was done by Rob S who by the way is an awesome tattoo artist, and the cover was put together by Peter B, who put all the elements together way better than I ever could have.

I have also started an author page on Facebook, look it up and follow my antics. I will also shortly be uploading some short stories to Wattpad.

The game is totally afoot now.

Countdown

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So here is the way things are.

The contract I signed didn’t amount to much in the end because a couple of weeks after telling me editing was starting on my book, the publisher announced he was closing up shop. No heads up, nothing. In fact just before the general email went out I’d been messaging him about cover design.

That was a bitter pill to swallow. It is hard when something you’ve worked so hard for falls apart in your hands.

images.jpegThen I had to decide what I was going to do. Getting an agent is damn near impossible, getting a publisher as difficult. So then there is a third option, one that is much easier these days and a great deal more profitable than it used to be.

The last option is the one I have settled on. So I’ve taken steps to ensure I do this as well as I can. I swallowed my fear and paid for a professional edit. I had someone doing some art for me and I decided that was going to be my cover art.

Stage one then complete with those decisions made.

Stage two, the editor got back to me in a more than timely manner and the feed back was pretty good all things considered.

Stage three, work on the edits from my end. This is turning into a series of levels. A few big edits and then a few smaller ones. The big ones have been done and now it is just some final tweaking. I have also picked up the art I’m using and it is now in the hands of a graphic designer who’s putting the other touches on for me.

I have it planned. Really I do, or at least that is what I keep telling myself. I will do the final edits. Use the art to get promotional stuff printed up. Contribute to a website where people discover new authors and then get up the courage to hit send on the publishing site.

I want this to work. I really want this to work. Despite that hunger it’s still a scary thought.

Stay tuned.