The Agency Games

The Agency Games – Sign Up!

As you all know I have been working on my book, The Agency Games (working title) for the past several months and I turned it in (all 78,218 words) to the publishing house on May 11th!

Originally, I intended to send it to the Peer Reviewers on May 31st but I exceeded my own expectations and finished early! I also just received news that my rough manuscript is currently in the hands of two peer reviewers! Hopefully this means my book will be published and sold in late 2018 instead of early 2019, but it is too soon to tell. I have to wait a couple of weeks (possibly months) before I hear back from the Peer Reviewers, and I am kind of nervous, but I can’t wait to read their feedback! Hopefully they love it and also have some constructive advice on how to improve it.

As I get closer to publishing The Agency Games, I’m hoping to start a list of people who are interested in my book.

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Please note: putting your name below does not mean that you have to buy anything.

However, if you are interested in:

  • Information about Book Release Party dates and details
  • An online Book Release Party through WordPress
  • Early access to the The Agency Games
  • Discounted Prices or Signed Copies

Then, please leave a comment below!

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Again, if you leave a comment that does not mean that you have to buy the book and I promise not to spam anyone with emails. I am only trying to get a realistic idea of who is currently interested in a scholarly look at the beloved Hunger Games series!

Thank you!

And Happy Writing!

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Blogs / Life

Welcome

Welcome!

I write. I drink tea. And I live my life to the fullest, knowing that my abilities come from God.

My name is Kayla Ann, I’m an author who just recently signed with a publishing house to write a non-fiction, scholarly book on human agency in The Hunger Games series. I have loved to write ever since I was a little girl. I wrote my first story, “Kate the Pirate” when I was in second grade. It was then I decided that I would eventually become a published and established author. However, as any writer may know, this is not as easy as it seems. This wonderful world of writing is also complex and sometimes exhausting. So in this blog I will be offering up Writing Tips and my own experiences in the hope of encouraging other authors to continue on creating wondrous worlds of their own.

Feel free to hit me up in the comments with any questions you might have about writing.

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©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Allow Your Book To Evolve

When writing your book just know that your book WILL change.

Perhaps not a ton, perhaps only a little, or perhaps it will be a completely different book than the one you intended on writing in the first place, but one way or another, your book will evolve over time.

This isn’t a bad thing though. As you write, your ideas will grow and form. You might realize that what sounded like a great idea before doesn’t really work well in application. You may be hit with a sudden inspiration to go a different direction.

My advice?

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But in all seriousness, go for it! If you feel your book changing, you need to allow it. If you stick too tightly to your original plan, your writing will come out forced and it will sound that way to your readers. Take the new path and see where the new ideas lead you. If you hate them you can always go back and try again.

In other words, planning and outlining your book is important. But it is also just as important to allow your book to change and evolve as you write.

As you all know, I recently received my feedback from the publishers and they encouraged me to change and improve some chapters in my book. Through their suggestions, I have come up with new solutions and actually changed the entire chapter order of my book! And to be honest, it’s better for it!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***Enjoyed today’s tip? Check out my main page for more under the tab “Writing Tips”! Have any questions about today’s tip or writing in general? Leave your comments below!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry

We are only Visitors

I watched you

As you squatted down

On bended knees

Viciously you chopped away

At the grass and weeds

Then, in a sharp

Turn

Your hands become

Undeniably gentle

As you unwrap the orange

Plastic, festive wrapping

And cut down the stems

Of the bouquet

Made up of

Warm, yellow sunflowers

Bright, purple blooms

Soft, coral tulips

Wrapped in a cocoon

Of vibrant greenery

You fill the metal canister

With water and food

For the flowers

Carefully you slide in the stems

And play and rearrange

Until you are

Satisfied

With the display

Of love and affection

And remembrance.

Blogs / Life

The Best Advice I Ever Received

When I was younger, my mother gave me the best advice I have ever received and I have tried to stick to it all my life. Often times, when I was scared of asking a question, my mother would say:

“Ask anyway. The worst thing they can do is say no.”

Now, when my mother said this, she wasn’t talking about writing, or blogging, or publishing, or anything like that. And yet, her words of wisdom apply to almost everything I do in my writing career.

Am I scared of getting feedback? Of course, I am! People can be mean.

But I ask for outside opinions anyway.

The worst thing they can do is say they don’t like it (not everyone will).

Am I scared of submitting my work to publishing houses? Of course!

But I ask for their response anyway.

They worst they can say is “no thank you.”

Am I terrified of being shut down? You bet!

But I still put myself and my work out there.

Just because the publishing world is hard, and the writing world can be mean, I cannot be afraid to ask. I cannot be afraid to follow my dreams. The worst thing anyone can tell me is “no” and yes, that “no” may suck when I receive it. In fact, I know it does! I have received my fair share of rejection letters and criticism telling me “no,” I’m not good enough or “no,” I don’t deserve to be published. But guess what?

“No,” is just a word.

A no from one publisher (or more), a no from a reviewer (or more), is not the end! Accept their “no” and move on!  Don’t let the fear of hearing no, stop you from ever trying!

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What question or dream are you giving up because you’re afraid to hear “no”?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

God & His Church

Dealing with Anxiety is Hard.

Can I be honest? I think I can, mainly because I know most of you and you are wonderful, authentic bloggers who do not mind if I speak my mind.

I am overwhelmed.

This semester has been particularly trying as I have a student who has been aggressively confrontational since day one. On top of that, you all know that I am striving to get my book revised and finished by the end of the year. Also, my grandpa was recently diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and it is spreading rapidly.

I repeat, I am overwhelmed.

And the thing is, I know you all probably are too. Online we all put up this fake face (maybe less so on WordPress where we are a bit more open about our true emotions) that shows the world how perfect our lives are. But, if we were being honest, we would admit that we are far from perfect. You are not alone in your imperfection, I am right there with you and I would like to reach out a hand to all those who are currently struggling with anxiety over their imperfect lives.

This past week, Pastor Matt Brown stood on stage and talked all about anxiety and I swear, I thought he was speaking directly to me. How often do I find myself overwhelmed by this world and the things that I cannot control? How often, in this past week alone, have a felt frozen by the anxiety that threatens to break through my self-control?

Too often.

Do you want to know the secret to dealing with anxiety? Magazines everywhere claim that they know the “Top 5 Ways to Relax,” but they hardly ever mention the only true antidote, and that antidote is prayer. Even non-religious, scientific sources have reported the positive results that accompany prayer.

There is a very famous verse in the Bible that states, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

As a Christian for some twenty-odd years, I have heard this verse hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Sometimes this verse is extremely helpful and other times, it feels like “How can I just stop worrying? It’s not that easy.

The problem was, I was misinterpreting the verse, thinking that to be a good Christian, I just needed to stop worrying and that if I could not, I was not being faithful. Pastor Matt brought up a fantastic point about the author of this verse. Paul, one of the greatest Christian writers of the New Testament, the same author of the above verse, talked about his own struggles with anxiety only two chapters previously. Paul was not looking down on those who struggle with anxiety, but rather, he was sharing his own wisdom about his own experiences with anxiety.

ANXIETY IS NORMAL. (Even for Christians)

In our current society, it seems that people enjoy looking down on those who struggle with anxiety, and they say things like this, “Just stop being anxious.”

Because that is super helpful, isn’t it?

Battling anxiety is not about learning how to “stop being anxious,” but to start praying when you are anxious. All of us get worried, or stressed, or anxious, but luckily we have an amazing God who WANTS to hear from us.

I Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

When we begin to pray, we can talk about our anxieties to God knowing that He will not judge us for our struggles, but that He will listen. However, prayer is not just about making requests. Prayer should also include thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.

Gratitude Changes Attitude

When we only fixate on the negative, it is impossible to escape our anxiety. However, when we release our anxieties to God and we then focus on all the good we have seen, all the good we have received, and the good that we can do for others, our attitude begins to shift.

I am not a Pastor, I am just a follower of Christ Jesus and I know that I am struggling and that this message really spoke to me and gave me the encouragement that I needed to thrive this week at work. I hope that you also find it encouraging and I hope that if you have the time, you might listen to the rest of the message. It’s actually got some really funny moments too (including Pastor Matt’s abnormal physical response to anxiety).

 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

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Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: You are NOT an author, unless you are a writer.

I know yesterday, I spoke all about how important it is to read, but it is equally important to write!

You cannot be an author without first being a writer.

This one may sound redundant but hear me out first.

So often as writers I feel we forget how important it is to sit down every single day and write. Especially for those of us who have family responsibilities, educational distractions, work obligations, you name it. As a college professor, daughter, bride-to-be my time is often split in a million different directions.

Our lives are filled with distractions that can often keep us from our passions. We find ourselves at the end of the day, crawling into bed, exhausted, only to remember that we never got to our writing. We assure ourselves that we will get to it the next day, do even more to make up for the missed time and before we know it a week has passed without writing.

So here’s today’s tip: Write!

Every single day be sure and set aside some time to write. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 60 minutes or more, be sure to make it a daily habit to put your pen to paper (or your fingers to a keyboard if that’s your thing). Maybe put a reminder in your phone or have a notebook placed by your bed to remind you to write.

Just remember, in order to be writers we need to write!!!

Happy Writing Everyone!

What do you do to make sure you write everyday? Do you do a word count? If so, what?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Book Reviews

Book of the Month: The Lost Artist (Part 1)

Every month, I will do my best to read and review one book (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.) from an up-and-coming author. These authors are often times my friends and fellow bloggers. They “gift” me their books and in return I offer up 100% honest and genuine reviews. If you would like for me to feature your book, please see my original post on the matter here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.

Book of November: The Lost Artist Part 1

Author: Eric Houston

 

Brief Summary

“You may not know this, but your father is very famous in Israel.” When Eric Houston read these words in an e-mail from a stranger, his life was forever altered. After a fifty-year search for the illustrator of the bestselling Israeli children’s book, And There Was Evening, a researcher at IBM Israel had discovered that the artist was Eric’s father, Fred Hausman. Eric knew that his father had been the highest decorated WWII Palestinian soldier in the British Army, but was unaware that he was also a celebrated artist.” (excerpt from publisher)

The story of Fritz “Fred” Hausman, written after his death by his son Eric Houston, is a thrilling story filled with enough facts to satisfy a historian and enough intrigue to appeal to the laziest of readers. The story is split into two narrative perspectives, one follows the past life of Fritz “Fred” Hausman, a German-born Jew, who leaves his home for Palestine as a boy and later fights against Nazi-tyranny as a man. The other perspective follows the present life of Elinat, a woman with reoccurring cancer, who is desperate to find the artist behind her favorite children’s story. Perhaps if she is able to find him, she will be able to find meaning in her own life.

The last third of this book is a collection of actual, factual email correspondence between Eric Houston and others (including Angela Entwistle, a representative for Lord Ashcroft, a detective, and more) as he attempts to reclaim his father’s stolen medals. Fritz “Fred” Hausman received the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM),  Israel’s most important WWII medal, for services rendered in the war. However, before his son (Eric) could collect these medals on Fritz’s behalf, they were stolen and, through a series of auctions, ended up in Lord Ashcroft’s possession who refuses to return them to this day.

The entire purpose of this book is to bring light to the heroic deeds of one man who saved hundreds and the travesty of his stolen medals. As such, in Eric’s own words, “All proceeds from “The Lost Artist” will go to returning medals stolen from within the British Ministry of Defense to their rightful owners.”

Review & Star Rating

 

The Lost Artist receives 5-stars due to its dedication to reality while successfully weaving an exciting narrative. Facts are never exchanged for fiction for the sake of plot. Rather, sub stories intertwine with major plot points naturally, as they occurred in history. I might have actually learned more about that time period from reading Eric Houston’s book than I ever did from any of my history classes combined. Secondly, the love and admiration that Eric has for his father is evident throughout the narrator’s tone in his depiction of Fritz “Fred” Hausman.

The minor plot line concerning the modern-day Elinat was interesting, although I would admit that I was a tad bit disappointed where the book ended. Indeed, this book was nearly rated at 3 stars due to a disappointing ending. However, in realizing that this is only Part 1 and that Eric Houston is working on a Part 2, the cliff hanger seems more natural. I will warn future readers though, do not expect to have all of your questions answered. I believe we will be waiting on answers for as long as Eric is waiting for justice for his father’s medals.

Recommendations

I highly recommend this book to any historian or lover of the WWII time period. This is an exciting adventure with a fresh outlook on a well-discussed world event with new insights. I highly recommend this book to even those without historical or WWII leanings. While you may have to skim over a few paragraphs brimming with historical facts and data, I do believe you will find that the rest of the narrative is highly entertaining and captivating.

I am eagerly awaiting Part 2 where hopefully all of my questions will be answered and Fritz “Fred” Hausman will receive the recognition that he deserves.

Support an Author

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: READ

Read? But we are writers, we write!

Yes, but we should also be READING.

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A large part of what we do is based on what we know, what we have experienced, and what we have read. Let’s be honest, most writers are also reading enthusiasts. Reading and writing often goes hand in hand. Through reading we come to learn about this wonderful world of writing.

At one point in your life, a certain book or series truly inspired you. You decided, you want to write something like that. That’s because reading inspires and encourages. For me, that was “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins. Reading also connects us to others, whether they are fictional characters or real people who share the same interests.

In order to be a successful writer, you want to be a frequent reader. Now of course, you have deadlines to meet and reading every day may not be possible, but in your writing journey don’t forget or underestimate the power of reading.

Reading can be inspirational.
Reading can be an escape.
Reading can be an adventure.
Reading can be connection with others.
Reading can encourage.
Reading can be comforting.

What else, in your experience, can reading be?

In the comment be sure to answer, reading can be ______________.

Happy Writing (and reading) Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Brainstorming

The really awesome thing about blogs is that they are constantly growing and hopefully the audience (Followers) are also growing. When I first posted this tip, I had under 50 followers, now I am nearly at 2,000! I repost old material when I think that it becomes relevant for new eyes (and good reminders for old ones).

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Brainstorming shouldn’t feel like a lightening bolt to the brain, frying all circuits and leaving you with nothing. There are so many different ways successfully brainstorm so Let’s just talk about a few.

So you’ve got an idea, right? You’re stoked and ready to start writing about this awesome world, or character, or storyline. Only problem is, that’s all you’ve got: a single idea.

So what now?

My advice is to start brainstorming! Which, let’s be honest, when we are trying to come up with these ideas, it really can feel like a storm is brewing in our minds. One way to brainstorm is to ask yourself questions.

If you’ve thought about an awesome world, but lack a story, ask yourself questions like this:

  • What kind of humans/creatures inhabit this world?
  • Where has something gone wrong?
  • Who or what caused something to go wrong?
  • How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed at all?
  • What are key characteristics of this world that will impact your characters?

If you’ve thought about an awesome character, but lack a story, ask yourself questions like this:

  • What does your character want out of life? (We all have ambitions right)
  • Who is your character? (I don’t mean name or description, but who are they as a person? Introverted, extroverted, arrogant, brave, intelligent, cunning, snarky, ruthless? What is their main character trait and why? How do they portray it?
  • What gets in the way of your character accomplishing their goal?
  • (Consider Bilbo Baggins, all he wants is to remain at home and be happy. He’s an introverted character who avoids others and he keeps getting prevented from accomplishing his goal by a wizard and dwarves)

If you’ve got a scene in mind and that’s it, WRITE IT OUT. Then ask

  • How did my characters get here?
  • Where do they go from here?
  • Why are they here at all?

Of course this post is not exhaustive but hopefully it is a helpful suggestion with some ways to brainstorm while writing.

Happy Writing Everybody!

***If you enjoyed this tip be sure to check out additional tips under the “Writing Tips” tab on my main menu! Have questions about writing? Leave them in the comments!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.