Tag Archives: writing

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.

My Tips on Writing a Novel

20 Sep

So many writers out there want to finally write that novel, or maybe even just finish one they started eons ago. I’m not on the NYT bestseller list, so you may have your doubts on trusting me, but I have self-published three books and I’m working on the third and final book in a fantasy trilogy. So, want to know how I did it or how you can do it? I have a few simple tricks; well, maybe they aren’t simple, but it sure sounds simple enough.

  1. WRITE! Don’t quiet all the voices in your head, just quiet the ones who are telling you that you suck and you’ll never write anything decent. The other voices you want to listen to. Those are the voices telling you what you want to write. The voices of your characters convincing you this will be a good book, and that there is a story to tell, one that you must write.
  2. WRITE! No matter what, the water doesn’t start pouring until the faucet turns on. Or something like that. It’s a quote, by someone I’m too lazy to google. You need to sit down and force yourself to write. I don’t care if you’re not “inspired”, neither does your potential. If you never start, you’ll never finish. And if you never finish, you’ll be all depressed about this great idea that went to waste. Every writer will tell you the same thing, set aside some time during the day/night just for writing. If you’re bad at sticking to a set schedule like I am, just write when you know you should be writing. You know you hear that little voice in your head, telling you “you could be writing right now.” LISTEN TO IT! Stop watching reality TV, stop eating cookies (okay, have one more and then write), and stop staring at a spoon and trying to make it move with your mind. WRITE!
  3. DON’T RE-READ IT! Whatever you do, my god, do not re-read the sentence you finally just managed to write. It is the kiss of death. Your inner critic will be telling you what a dumb loser you are. And, hey, maybe the sentence could have been better, but that’s what REVISIONS are for. DON’T RE-READ IT UNTIL YOU FINISH WRITING THE ENTIRE BOOK! You can fix it later. At least then you’ll have something to fix!
  4. Please don’t use dialogue tags like “she snapped ferociously” or “she irritatingly whined like a baby who wanted milk”, keep it simple. He said. She said. Of course, you can change it up when it comes to dialogue tags, with action tags, etc. (Look it up if you’re unsure but want to improve your writing). Because when you do want to publish the book you just finally wrote, nothing screams amateur like terrible dialogue tags. For one, it completely interrupts the conversation happening. Readers don’t want to pause every second to see how your character cried out in pain and then screamed in agony. They want to read the conversation as if they were hearing it. And in real life, conversation moves quickly for the most part.
  5. I’m sorry for that last step, it’s not really a necessity in writing a novel, but if you want it to be as good as it can be, please, keep your dialogue tags simple! Okay, now I’m sorry for this step too. Waste of a step.
  6. WRITE! All you need is the idea. Maybe you don’t even need an idea. Just start writing, and something will come out of it. Something will pull itself together magically. Words are powerful, and writing is powerful. You’ll feel so alive once you’ve written that book and printed it out and you see it with your own eyes. You can read it. You’ll see that it wasn’t a total piece of crap like your inner critic was telling you it would be.
  7. REVISE! Now, comes the annoying part. Revision. Yes, yes, edit and revise, we all must do it. Unless of course you want to hire someone to do it for you, but sh#t, it’s hard out here for a pimp. Do it yourself if you’re capable of doing so. Some people are terrible with editing/revising/grammar/punctuation/line edits. That’s okay. I’m sure some editors are terrible writers (sorry, just trying to make a point). Not everyone is good at all things. If you want to write, DO IT! Worry about the rest later.
  8. WRITE! Just f#%@ing WRITE ALREADY!!!! Stop reading this and go write.

I hope these little tips have been useful to at least one person. Because, well, I just put off writing my third and final book in my trilogy to write this blog. And so help me god if it was a waste of time…

I want to see novelists out of you. Now go. WRITE! Oh, and don’t worry about how much you should write a day. Some writers write 100 words a day. Some write 200. 300. 400. 500. 2,000. 10 pages. 20 pages. 30 pages. For me, I try to sit down and at least write one full chapter. Of course, I’ve had days where I write two pages, other days where I write ten pages. One day I wrote almost fifty pages. That was a lot of effort. I was mentally exhausted after that. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. But do give yourself some sort of deadline and commitment, this way you’ll feel more obligated to do so. Commit to writing 500 words a day to start. That’s not a lot. Sh#t, this blog post is almost 1,000 words. Damn. That could have been another thousand words for my novel.

GO WRITE!

Writing, Wishing to Write, or Wondering if You Should Have Ever Written at all?

19 Sep

After finally revising the first novel in my fantasy trilogy for the, oh I don’t know, thousandth time, it’s finally time to start querying agents again. But, now that I’ve started, and I’ve received a request for a partial manuscript, it’s starting to terrify me. I’m writing the third and final book in the series as we speak, which I’ve been wishing to write for some time now. Before I could, I knew I had to go back to the first book and give her an old fixer upper. A SERIOUS revision. I’m not talking about simple editing for mistakes here and there. I mean…I changed the entire POV. The first book was written in the first person POV, and the second book was written in the third POV. By the time I sat down to write the third book, I realized how wrong it truly was.

I looked myself in the mirror one day and told myself it had to be done. It needed to be changed. So, I dreaded it for a few weeks, and then I got to it. A few months later, I finally finished. I re-wrote the entire first book, not only changing the POV but strengthening each sentence the best I could. When I tell you it felt like it would never end, I mean it. However, I’m glad to report that it is done, and I am so much more satisfied with the first book than I ever was before. I smartened up my main character, and was able to add in certain foreshadowing for events and characters that are introduced in the third book. It was easier because I already know what’s (basically) going to happen in the third book.

With all this being said, I still have to revise the second book, but I’ve decided to put that on hold and just finish the third book already. Honestly, I can’t consider revising another novel right now. It gives me a headache to simply think about doing it.

I’m about to start chapter 5 of the third book. I am confident that the final book will be the best one, which is starting to frighten me a bit. I ask myself, shouldn’t they all be equally as exciting? Are they? Now that I’ve revamped the first book, I know I owe it to the second book to make it just as page-turning, but it’s daunting. The third book is off to an exciting start, and I have people waiting to read it who have been pressuring me for months.

This leads to me to the most terrifying aspect of it all: the dreaded series in general. I started watching True Blood, and although I’ve never read any of the novels, I started looking up on the internet which was better: the books or the show. This was the worst mistake I could have made. First, let me just state that typically I think the book is better than the movie (although sometimes the movie can be better). You just get so much more out of reading the book, mainly the character’s inner thoughts or desires. You also get to have more fun imagining what the character looks like in your head. I’m going off topic. Let me get back on it.

When I started googling about True Blood vs. the novels, I found all of these websites with chats and discussions and interviews. But one site I pulled up made me feel quite sick, actually. It said that the author had been receiving death threats for the way she ended the final book in the series. I don’t mean a few, I mean, A LOT. It said she even wasn’t going on tour for the final book to basically avoid the hatred coming her way.

This is the problem with a series, for me, and why I never wanted to write one. First of all, I’ve been hooked on series, and when they end, I’m always so…sad inside. I want the author to write more. I want it to last forever to fulfill my desires to read more of the characters and/or the world they live in. I never wanted to do that to my readers. And, if it’s a good series, readers will want more. And if you end it in the way they don’t want it, then what? Seriously, death threats??? Second, when you begin to write a series (as I’ve discovered), the world you create and the characters that inhabit it have the potential to go on forever. And I mean forever. Hell, I could probably write a book on each of my characters’ lives before my protagonist stumbled into their world. Third, I keep reading that you should never pitch a series to an agent. Pitch the first book, and that’s it. IF it ever gets published, mention the idea for a series. But, I can’t grasp this idea. For starters, because some agents take months to get back to you. By the time I finished my first book, queried agents, and then heard back from them all, I had already written the second book. So, all of those rejections kind of stung. But now, I see why all of the agents said no. The book was a baby. It wasn’t ready to be born. It was so new, so early in its stages of development. But I have to say I disagree with the notion of holding back your story on the hopes that the first book will be picked up. Aren’t we writing to tell the stories that must be told? Aren’t we writing what inspires us, and aren’t we inspiring others with what we write? If so, why wait? If every writer who wrote a series waited to hear back from agents before they wrote the second, third, fourth, or even fifth book, I wonder if there would have ever been a second book. I can’t lie, the rejections that come in don’t necessarily inspire you to continue to write the book that continuously gets rejected. But, I can’t help it, I believe in it. So every “no” I get makes me feel closer to a “yes”. Cliché? Sorry.

But now…now that I’ve started querying again, I can’t help but feel terrified. What if the agents reject it this time after all the work I’ve put into it? Try again in five years, maybe? With a different title? The worst question I ask myself in my head is: is this all a waste of time? As soon as that thought enters, I kick it out. I actually punt it like a mental football. Because, well, writing something you love is never a waste of time, even if it never sees shelves in a bookstore. I write because I love to. Because I want to. Because I need to. And even though right now, and for the past two and a half years, only people who are close to me have read it, it’s more than enough. Because they’ve enjoyed it. I’ve seen them grow to be attached to the characters and love them as much as I do, even when they weren’t as mature as they are now. And if I can make one person’s day and/or night more thrilling just by reading one of my books, then it’s all been worth it. Not to mention, if I wasn’t writing this trilogy the last few years, I’d have no excuse not to be in a relationship right now. Christmas in sweat pants, here I come!

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 a Trilogy

24 Mar

I’m about to start the final book in my trilogy, and I must admit…it’s bittersweet. Writing the first book was an adventure, it was an introduction to my world and my characters. At this point, I feel like my characters have a life of their own. The story has the potential to go on forever.

While I must admit, when I realized this- I was terrified. What if they never let me end it? What if they take over, and just want to keep on going? Keep living? Keep surviving? What if there is no end? Only more and more beginnings?

It’s a good position to be in. It’s both scary and beautiful at the same time.

On a few legs of this journey, I found myself frightened. Frightened of the possibilities. Frightened of the reality that strange things have occurred while I was writing the tale. Frightened of the divine intervention that took place. Frightened when an agent asked for the full manuscript for the first book. Frightened when more rejected it.

Sometimes I wonder, am I more afraid of failure or success? Am I afraid that the world I created is alive? Am I frightened that my characters are so real? So deep? Am I afraid that I won’t do their story justice?

Where does the underlying fear come from? Fear of hard work? Fear of hours and hours into one whole piece of work? Fear of it finally coming to an end?

I know one thing. The first book is a baby, the second book is a greedy teenager, and the third book is an elder. But in the realm of fantasy, sometimes, creatures are immortal.

That’s just the way it goes.

I hope one day I can share the trilogy with you all. I hope you can come to know and love my characters as much as I have. I know one thing- I’m not frightened to set them free from my hands. I only wish them luck on their journey into your realm.