Tag Archives: books

Last Post – New Blog

22 Mar

Typewriter

Hello to all of you beautiful people who have followed me from the start. I’m sure you have noticed the lack of posting in recent months, and I didn’t want to leave you all high and dry without the news of why that is.

I’ve started a new blog: christinakaylenhart.wordpress.com

I need to focus more on writing, and actually building more of an author site. Thank you for sharing this journey with me, and if you’d like to stay in touch, click the link above to follow my new blog.

Much love to all of you!

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Book One in The Rosebush Series Now Available!

19 Aug

So, the series I was working on for years is finally being released into the wild. Book one, Lavender and Smoke, is now available on Amazon as well as the createspace estore.

Links: Lavender and Smoke – Amazon

Lavender and Smoke – Createspace Estore

The second book, Woods and Ash, will be released by the end of September. And finally, the third book, Rose and Dust, will be released by Halloween.

For those of you who followed me during this journey, thank you so much. I have not been posting blog posts on here lately, and I will be starting a new blog – more of an author website – and as soon as I get that running, it will be my final post for Daily Rants with the Bitch Next Door. I love you all. Happy writing!

Typewriter Love

2 Mar

Vintage Olympia SM7 Deluxe Two-Tone White Portable Typewriter with Case, Made Germany RESERVED CHRISTINA

First, I want to apologize to my loyal readers for being MIA for so long. I finished my fantasy trilogy, and the first novel in the series is in the hands of a literary agent in NY (fingers crossed). I also started a new novel, a paranormal/horror/dark fantasy, which is about a third of the way done.

I don’t think I’ll be writing blogs consistently for a while, I may just pop in here and there. But, since I’ve been gone, I had acquired a gorgeous vintage Sears Tower Constellation Typewriter, sort of by means of a happy accident. If you’re a writer, and you’ve never typed on a typewriter, I highly suggest purchasing one. It’s difficult to explain the difference between using a laptop/computer or a typewriter, but I’m going to damn well try.

When typing on a laptop (which I could never live without), it’s great for quick, fast typing, especially for longer works, like novels. But I find that I prefer using a typewriter for poetry and short stories. Something happens when you sit down at a typewriter. Something magical. It’s just you, and the lovely machine in front of you. With laptops and computers, it’s so easy to erase and backspace and delete, that you allow yourself to write whatever the hell you want no matter how crappy it is. But with a typewriter, the beauty of it all is that you have to really think about each word you type, because you know if you screw up, it’s going to be far more difficult to erase, or you might not be able to at all depending on the machine you have. There’s also something so beautiful about sitting at a desk in front of that old beauty, knowing she had a life before you. Knowing someone else sat at a desk and used her, perhaps to write a novel, maybe for love letters, maybe for poetry, but there is something poetic in and of itself.

The typewriter I was given a few months ago was sort of an accident. Keep in mind, I’d been wanting one for quite some time, but never allowed myself to splurge and spend somewhere between $100-$500 on a beautiful one, because if I was going to get one, I wanted it to be the typewriter of my dreams. I had an electric one for a while before this, so I didn’t want to be impulsive or selfish and buy a manual just because I wanted to. Now, the little boy I babysit saw my electric typewriter about a year ago and he has been wanting a typewriter of his own ever since. I decided to google any listings of people giving away free typewriters in my area. I found a listing: free manual typewriter, with a phone number underneath. There was no picture. No description of its status if it worked or not. So I called the number, turns out the woman lived down the street from me, and the typewriter worked. I went that day to pick it up, and when she opened the case, I almost fell over. It was an almost exact replica of a typewriter I wanted months before but couldn’t afford. It was a vintage Sears Tower Constellation in a baby blue color with white keys. The woman was elderly, and she said her parents gave it to her when she was in college, but she has no use for it anymore. I thanked her repeatedly, decided this was fate and I would keep it instead, and immediately put it to use at home once I bought a new ribbon. The little boy I babysit was given my old electric typewriter (his little sister broke it already).

Some of the keys were sticky here and there but it worked like a charm for months. Now, unfortunately, the J completely broke underneath due to rust and the N is on its last leg. I didn’t care about splurging anymore, and when I saw that Olympia SM7 Deluxe on Etsy it was love at first sight. I HAD to have her! Since using the old manual typewriter, I can’t picture my life without one. The magic, the romance, the beauty of the experience. I compared it to music; doesn’t listening to a record give you a different experience than listening to a CD?

So, to writers everywhere, I just wanted to share this little typewriter love with you and give you some insight in to my personal experience using a typewriter over a laptop or computer.

And if any of you are on Instagram, you can find me there daily @christinakaylenhart where I post poetry I’ve written using my typewriter. See you there! Happy writing, everyone.

Fiction: A Profound Journey

22 Apr

Storytelling has consistently remained throughout the generations and decades and if we think about it, there must be a reason why. Before words were written, stories were told orally or through pictures on caves. I think humans initially invented stories or tales as ways to express intangible aspects of life, such as the Gods or love or hate. Stories were used in order to better explain them in theory and through example.

We’ve all heard, read, or written stories that have resonated with something inside of us or moved us beyond the literal context of the story. Of course fiction is not entirely real, but there is a realness to it that we relate to and appreciate. That’s why so many people enjoy stories about raw, honest characters. It appeals to us. It speaks to our beliefs and our morals. Stories have been a way for us to understand the world around us and provide comfort or discomfort if you will. Writers write for different reasons. Some want to comfort others, while others want to disturb their readers and drag them out of their comfort zone.

Fictional stories about loss of innocence teaches us that each person has their own story, their own experience in which they’ve grown or matured or experienced a severe loss or even a minor one that was severe to them in that time. It helps us relate through our own experiences. We realize we aren’t the only ones who have experienced something disturbing or sad, it’s just a part of life that everyone must go through. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s not happy all the time. But without the sadness, we wouldn’t truly understand what happiness was.

It’s for this reason of understanding the world and relating to it that people read. It gives us a sense of hope, a sense of comfort, a sense of unity. We learn and we grow and temporarily we’re transported to another world, a world outside of our own. To me, this is the real magic behind stories. It’s a portal to another time, place, or world, with the promise of a safe return home.

Writing through the Blizzards

13 Feb

I found myself a little discouraged last night. It’s been almost four months since I’ve sent my full manuscript to an agent, and in between then I’ve gotten a dozen of rejection letters back from agents who seem to all be telling me the same thing. They liked the sample pages, but they didn’t love them enough to take me on as a client.

I know the marketplace is tough and competitive right now. My major is English and Creative Writing. Of course, I’ve learned this. I’ve studied it. I understand my chances are slim to none. But when you really believe in a specific book you wrote, is there a certain time when you should throw in the towel and give up?

I say- hell no. Not when you really, really, really believe in a novel. I’ve gone to countless websites, looked at publishers who accept unagented submissions. But I won’t submit to them, not until I’ve exhausted all of my options of finding an agent to find the right publisher for me.

There’s a blizzard outside right now. I think there’s a metaphor in here somewhere. I’m going to try to find it beneath the snow and sorrow. The trick is to trudge on, travel on- despite the disastrous conditions. Eventually, you’ll reach your destination.

At least, that’s what I have to believe. Hope is not lost. While publishers are seeking that gem in the slush pile, I’m seeking that gem in the agent pile. My query letter is going to fall into the hands of the right agent, the one I’m meant to work with, and everything is going to make sense. That’s what I have to believe.

And, by all means, I’m not saying I write just to get that elusive book deal. I’ve self-published three books without querying them. Why? Because I knew they weren’t mainstream enough to appeal to the masses. They were off-beat, quirky, a little esoteric. But certain things have happened during this journey of writing my fantasy novel. It led me to believe this is the one I need to try to get published. And I won’t simply give up and self-publish it when I feel that hope is lost.

As writers, we need to recognize and understand which of our work is suited for what. Sometimes self-publishing is the best option, despite the terrible name it has seemed to claim over time. I don’t see anything wrong with self-publishing; unless, of course, it’s a novel that you truly and wholeheartedly believe in. And even then, it can be successful. But it takes a hell of a lot more hard work in terms of marketing yourself and advertising for it.

And honestly? Sure, I did radio and newspaper interviews for my short novel and novella, but I didn’t try that hard. And I’m pretty sure I don’t get royalties every time my books sell, because there are dozens of places it’s being sold and I don’t even know how they got the books in the first place, because I never got those checks.

With that said, even though this may come as a shock to some people that I really don’t care about the royalty checks, but I really don’t. I didn’t self-publish in hopes of making money. I self-published for one reason and one reason alone: to get my work out there. I wanted my books to be available to the public, to whoever wanted to read them. The money means nothing to me. I don’t need much money in life, although it would be nice to get a large sum once so I can pay off my student loans. But other than that, money is just money to me. I’ve never had much to begin with.

So, as the blizzard rages on, I’m going to sit here after I finish this post and continue to trek on as I write the sequel to my fantasy novel. Because even though agents don’t ‘love’ it right now, I have a handful of people reading it as I go, pushing me to write the pages because they love it and want to see what happens next. And isn’t that what matters most? That there are genuine readers who love your work and want to read more of it? I write for them. And for myself. I will continue to share my work, even if it’s on a smaller scale.

I write despite the disastrous conditions. And I will trudge and travel on through the storm.

Tips on Finishing a Novel…For Those who Have an Inner Critic that Convinces You that You Can’t

7 Feb

the worst thing you write

 

I know, I know. I just posted yesterday! I’m trying to flex my writing muscles every day with a blog post before returning to my novel.

Today, I’d like to talk a little bit more about writing in general. Everyone has their own style, their own techniques, their own (insane) ways of doing things.

I’m going to share what I found has worked best for me.

Years ago (ok, not that many years ago), I struggled to finish anything longer than a short story. I started several ‘novels’ but never made it past page 30, if I even got that far. Usually, it would be less than 10 pages. Why, you ask? Because I would go back and re-read every single line to make sure it was as perfect as it could be. This led me to believe that it was just a pile of sh#t instead, and I would scrap the entire piece.

Now, I’ve learned what works for me. I’ve completed three novels and am working on the fourth. I learned to never go back and read it until it’s done, or at least almost done. Now, this may not work for everyone out there, but for anyone who is like me and has an inner critic who tells you that you suck beyond belief and you begin to believe it, then this might actually work for you.

The trick is to silent the inner critic (for now). (S)he will come back out eventually. But for now, you lock that inner critic away in a closet in your mind for a while. Let them take an extended nap because you’re not going to need ‘em for a while.

The only reason I’d bring her back out before the piece is finished, is to make sure everything is as good as it can be. Before I finish a novel, I’ll read it, from beginning to almost-end (where I left off writing). This helps me see what I may have forgotten about, what could make it better, and what needs to be written to tie everything together. And since I’m almost done, there’s no way I’m going to scrap it now! Hell, I even realize that it’s actually pretty f#%&ing good. Take that, inner critic, aka evil judge.

Blah, blah, write some more- and it’s finished. I feel good. I congratulate myself on finishing it. Then, I sit around and dread the revision process. I sit around and dread it some more. The process of revising an entire novel seems so daunting and terrible to me that I put it off for a little while. I need to see it with fresh eyes anyway.

I read a book or two. Or four. Or six.

I go back. I drink a lot of coffee. And I get to work. I print out the entire manuscript and get a highlighter and pen ready. Step 1 is simply the editing. My inner critic comes back out. Where are my/her errors? Comma errors, too many coordinating conjunctions, repetitive verbs/nouns/adverbs. Change them. Fix them. Finish.

Step 2 is the revision stage. The inner critic is really out now. In fact, I hire her. I go back and have to go through each sentence, seeing what needs to be changed. Seeing what’s too wordy. What sounds wrong? What sounds right? Check the rhythm. Make sure it reads smoothly. Finish, and put it away.

Read another book or two.

Step 3 is the most exciting for me. This time, I’m only a reader, not the author. I go back, and read the finished manuscript. I decide if it’s the best it can possibly be. Does it read smoothly? Do I enjoy each/most of the sentences? What do I wish, now, as a reader, there was more of, or less of, for that matter? If it’s not all there, I go back to Step 2.

Now, like I said, this won’t work for everyone. But I figured it was worth sharing, as after years of trying and wanting to finish a novel, I have. I hope it will help at least one person out there who is struggling with the same thing.

You might think you can never finish a novel. You might think that it seems like such a long, grueling process. But that’s not how it is. The trick is to silent the inner critic/evil judge who is telling you that you’re not good enough to write something with any merit. Because the fact is- you can. It takes a lot of dedication. It takes discipline. It takes courage. Most importantly, it takes passion. If you love to write, sit down and write. Every day. That’s what it’s about. The more you write, the easier it will become. And let me tell you, when you finish that novel, you’ll have a feeling better than any high out there. I’m not even going to try to put it into words, because it’s beyond that. The first novel is the hardest to finish.

But keep in mind, your writing isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t try to please everyone. Write the book that you want to read. When you do that, you’ll love it.

Write the Book You Want to Read.

30 Jan

 

That’s it. 

And also..

 

Two important things to remember. Always. For every writer.

The high you get from writing something incredible is beyond anything else out there. At least, that’s my experience. Write the story you were meant to. And write it now. Tomorrow may not ever come.