The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Sent.

As you all know, I have been pretty absent lately in the blogging world. Part of that was due to getting married and celebrating on our honeymoon. (I cannot believe we have already been married for a whole month, the time flew by.) Another reason was because my final draft of The Agency Games was due to the publishers at the end of June.

Technically, we are now at the beginning of July, but thankfully the publishers were pretty flexible and understanding (thank you!). After a weekend of some intense editing days (you may have seen my last post or my instagram stories), I can happily announce that the final draft of The Agency Games has been submitted to the publishing house!

Image result for fainting gif will smith

In this final draft, I ended up cutting a lot out of my original drafts as I did my best to trim out the unnecessary “fat” and leave behind just the key and intriguing bits. However, after my various peer reviews, even after cutting away at parts, I still ended up with a word count of 87,910 words! That’s 17,910 words over my original required word count!

2019

Turning in this draft has been such a mix of emotions. The primary emotions were definitely relief and a strong sense of self-satisfaction, but underneath those emotions was still that fear that I could have done better (even though I went through it with a fine tooth comb multiple times). I wonder if, as writers, we will always have that desire to be better, do better? There’s a fine line between wanting to do better and never being satisfied with our work. In this case, I believe that this book is the best product I could put forth at this time and I am proud of my accomplishment.

According to the editor, my book will be entering into various stages over the next few months as it is checked for “completion,” awaits its turn for an available editor, is considered by the design team for title, cover, and book description, set up for advertisement, final proofs, and finally, sent out for print. The process itself with take several months to be sure. I will be keeping you all up date with where the book currently stands in the various processes. As we get closer to the release date, I will be looking for readers who are interested in reading, reviewing, and advertising my book on their blog.

Thank you again to everyone. You all have been so wonderful and supportive during this whole process and even during my time away from blogging. You guys are amazing! I’m glad to be back in this wonderful world of WordPress.

img_2323

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?

Image result for do it gif

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.

The Agency Games

The Agency Games (Peer Review: ROUND TWO)

Alright guys, I did it. I successfully took the comments, compliments, and critiques from my two peer review readers and over the past four weeks, I have edited, revised, dissected, pulled apart, set-on-fire, re-arranged and re-written parts my manuscript.

I won’t lie, that was rough!

Image result for editing gifs

The most recent draft has nearly 4,000 words more than the previous draft which I believe to be a good representation of the amount of scholarship, development, and clarification I have added along the way.  Beyond addressing any grammatical issues, I focused on developing and clarifying my overall argument as well as the individual arguments for each chapter. Also, due to reviewer request, I worked on inserting more outside scholarship to help substantiate my interpretations of The Hunger Games trilogy.

As hard as it was to read those criticisms, I am grateful for them, because I honestly believe that my book is better for it. I sent out my latest draft yesterday evening and am hoping to hear back from the publishers within a week to let me know that they have received it. After that, it will be another 6 to 8 weeks before I hear back from my third reader. Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here like . . .

Image result for waiting gifs

I am praying that this reader will have a more favorable response to my improved draft! I would greatly appreciate your prayers as well in this matter as I now have to force myself to not focus on what they may say about my book. I am plagued by anxieties and self-doubts, but I will choose to focus instead on the positive. In the effort to stay optimistic, I wanted to share one of the kinder things one of my readers had to say about my book:

This text takes a different approach [to the series], considering the role of agency in the text . . . Unlike previous scholarship, the writer suggests that these novels can help readers identify opportunities for agency (empowerment) in their own chaotic contexts.

Image result for yes gifs

If only one person in the whole world enjoys my book, that is enough. I am so grateful for this opportunity to pursue my dream and I am so encouraged by each and every one of you! Thank you to everyone for your support and your understanding these past few weeks as I have taken multiple Tuesdays “off” from blogging. While life is still crazy, I hope to become more actively involved in this awesome community!

If you are interested in receiving updates for when this book becomes available, be sure to leave a comment on the post: The Agency Games – Sign me Up!

Blogs / Life

Please Pardon . . .

Please Pardon my temporary absences for the next two Tuesdays.

As you all know, it was my intention to challenge myself with maintaining my five posts per week goal. However, as I have been working two jobs every day this month and I recently heard back from the publishers, I’ve decided I that I need to take off one day a week.

On this day off, I will be:

  • Catching up with my grading,
  • Creating lesson plans, and
  • (More importantly) Revising my book, The Agency Games, which is due back to the publishers at the end of the month.

Please wish me luck as I take the next next weel by the horns!

Book Reviews

Book of the Month – “Rebecca Steele: Chasing a Dream”

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 September: Rebecca Steele: Chasing a Dream

Author: Joanne Patterson

Chasing a Dream

Brief Summary (*SPOILER ALERT*)

The story is set in the 1970s when main protagonist Rebecca “Becky” Steele, an airplane stewardess, is introduced to the men behind the United States Silver Eagle airshows. Becky, who is recently divorced from her husband after he disappeared one day and left her to move in with his girlfriend, is struggling. When she meets Johnny, one of the Silver Eagles, she is quickly infatuated. Led on by his advances, Becky fancies herself and Johnny to be in love. Due to her seniority, she is able to move around her work shifts and constantly schedules herself around the airshows so that she can continue to meet with Johnny and fall into his bed. She moves from the rank of “hammer” to “hole card” as she quickly becomes Johnny’s go-to-gal. That is, until she learns he has another “hole card” and that is the one he plans on marrying, not her.

Devastated by the turn of events, Becky returns home and starts to seriously pursue music. Although it takes nearly twenty years, she works hard and gets signed with a record label. It is during this time of “stardom” that Becky is reintroduced to characters like Johnny and his best mate, Mike, who has played around on the sidelines of Becky’s life. Twenty years later and Becky must decide where her heart truly lies and what love really is.

Review & Star Rating

3-star2

I will be honest. I struggled hard with the beginning of this book, not because it was poorly written but because I simply did not like the main character, Becky. What you have to understand is this, the plot is written during the “free love” of the 70s and there is a lot of sex (and women) being passed around between characters. While the author is never explicit and handles those scenes really well (hats off to Joanne Patterson for never feeling like you needed to be graphic), there were still way too many for my taste. Men used women and women used men, but women were used more. Also, Becky kept saying how “in love” she was with Johnny when really, all there seemed to be was infatuation and lust. For another reader, that might not bother you! Indeed, many readers have loved this book, so I say to each their own. For those reasons, I struggled with the first half of the book.

It is in the last third of the book where Becky has disentangled herself from the Silver Eagles that I felt like I could finally be on her side. Although she maintained some of her delusions about Johnny, you could definitely feel the maturity that she had gained. Again, I want to point out that my rating is really based on my personal taste. In general, the ending is what made the book for me. I wish that the author had hinted more about Becky’s musical talents and aspirations earlier on in the book so that they did not come out of left field in the end, but I really enjoyed that subplot.

Recommendations

For anyone who is not bothered by the “free love” of the 70s, I recommend this book. The ending really only had two options: one that would make me throw the book in frustration and one that would redeem the first half in my eyes. What was really great is this: you did not know which way it would go until the very last second. A great twist.

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.

Book Reviews

Book of the Month – “The Dragonfly Whisper”

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 August: The Dragonfly Whisper

Author: Sandra Godfrey

 

Brief Summary

The Dragonfly Whisper is Sandra Godfrey’s debut novel which is currently in the process of being published by Taylor and Seale Publishing. Therefore, this review as more of an ARC review as I was gifted with a pre-published version. The Dragonfly Whisper is a novella directed at middle school readers.

Main character, Flynn Flanders, is a young boy in fifth grade who is easily distracted and often thinks about his mom who is missing from the family unit. The morning that his science project topic is due, Flynn happens to find and catch a talking dragonfly named Dash who also recently lost his best friend. Together, the odd pair head off to school where teachers warn Flynn about his failing grades and Dash unintentionally causes more trouble. Together Flynn and Dash work together to learn more about dragonflies in an attempt to win the Science Fair and hopefully reunite Flynn’s broken family.

 

Review & Star Rating

4-star2

The first sentence really sets the scene for the entire book: “Mom’s been gone one hundred days.” Immediately, my mind asks, “Gone? Gone like she left? Gone like she’s dead?” It’s a fantastic opening line that automatically forces readers to continue reading. While we learn that Flynn’s mom is not dead, simply working out of state, we do realize that Flynn’s family unit is broken. The theme of family pops up throughout the story with Flynn, Flynn’s friend Brittany, and even Dash the dragonfly. As a children’s story, Godfrey skirts around this subject from a child’s point of view, revealing its complexities while also leaving some things unsolved (as children do not always get the answers).

Godfrey’s children’s story also deals with the hot topic of children learning disabilities. This was the only reason why I rated this book 4 out of 5 instead of 5 out of 5. Throughout the story, Flynn has an “imaginary” friend named Dash, but is he imaginary? His parents sure think so, as do his friends and his doctors. No one can hear Dash except for Flynn. Additionally, Flynn tends to see fantastical things that other children do not. The evidence would seem to support that Flynn is imagining things for the majority of the story. However, there are other elements (such as what happens at the Science Fair) that makes it seem that Dash is a sentient, talking being. Is Flynn struggling with a disability and imaging the whole thing or is it all a real fantasy? A reader could make a case for either scenario.

Godfrey’s children story is sure to entertain middle school readers. Her writing at times includes advanced words intended to benefit young learners. At the back of her book, Godfrey includes several pages of education activities intended for teachers to use with their students. The book, both fantastical and whimsical, is sure to not only captivate young audiences but to illuminate their understanding of the natural predator of the sky: dragonflies.

 

Recommendations

I highly recommend this book for young readers. While it features some tough content such as family dysfunction, it is a suitable choice for middle school readers.

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: Titling Your Book

I recently saw a debate online. Should you title your book before you start writing or after you are finished? Each options offers you different results and opportunities.

Choosing a Title Before You Start Writing

Some authors may decide to choose the title of their story before actually writing the story itself. Why? They may find it motivating and that it helps set the direction for the entire book. Some people also just find it super satisfying to have a title solidified.

Choosing a Title After You Finish Writing

Some authors wait to choose a title for their story until after finishing writing it because they are uncertain of which direction their story will go. Sometimes, authors do not make a conscientious decision to wait, but rather, they are unable to title something until it is complete because they cannot think of an appropriate title without all the information before their eyes.

Which is better?

Neither.

That’s right. In my opinion, neither option is better than the other as it depends on the type of author that you are. In fact, I think that both can be extremely restrictive. So here is my best advice:

Feel free to choose a working title before you begin. What is a working title? A working title is a temporary place-holder for the real title. For example, my current working title for my book is The Agency Games, but the publishers may choose to change it. Likewise, your real title might be the exact same as your working title, or it may be completely opposite.

The best decision when it comes to titles is flexibility.

A working title gives you that initial sense of direction that many authors crave, plus it gives you something to call it besides just “that-thing-I-spend-all-my-time-agonizing-over.” However, because you know it’s a working title, you are not so reluctant to later part with it if it needs revision.

What do you think? Do you choose your title before or after writing your book?

Leave a comment 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.

Book Reviews, Reviews

Book of the Month – “Poems and Haikus”

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. 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 July: Poems and Haikus

Author: BGC

 

Brief Summary

In the Author’s Note, BGC introduces her work as “personal thoughts, experiences or proses . . . [works that] reflect the human emotions by transforming words into feelings.” Following this train of thought, it is no surprise that BGC’s first poem is titled “A child’s life.” However, do not let the flower imagery at the beginning fool you. This first poem is filled with darkness, despair, and a desperate sense of wonder.

This book contains over 75 poems which topics range from: childhood memories, whimsical fiction, melancholy scenery, evolution, God,  language, Christmas and more. The length of each poem differs from one another, while some are three lines and others are the length of an entire page. BGC also ranges from using free verse or rhymed stanzas.

Review & Star Rating

2-star2

I would give this book of poetry two stars. Overall, it is a compilation of poems that do not necessarily work well together. Often times, my favorites poetry books are those that have a theme. While the poems should be different, a successful poetry book, in my opinion, should circle around a theme or idea. The separate pieces should form a whole. Additionally, there were multiple grammar and formatting issues that proved distracting from the poems.

Regardless of my above issues, BGC does have some good poems woven throughout the book. In particular, I enjoyed “Thoughts” and “United.” In the poem “Thoughts,” BGC illuminates the process through which thoughts transform into works of literature. “White sheets of paper / Filled with ink / Staining the journal / drop after drop.” Now, those are some great lines! I loved the imagery!

Other poems such as “A rat & a cat” and “A fur” were whimsical to the extreme and stuck out apart from the rest of the book in an odd way. All in all, my greatest wish is that the author had separated these many poems into certain themes or even sections within one book so as to highlight the unity of a singular idea.

 

Recommendations

For anyone who loves poetry, leaning more toward free-verse and train-of-thought, I am sure you could find enjoyment in various of BGC’s poems although you may have to sort through the different themes.

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.

Blogs / Life

Mail Time

Let me just begin today’s blog post by stating that I am a total dork sometimes who gets excited by the little things and today is one of those days.

Today is the second time that I have received mail from one of my followers. It’s not a big deal, it’s not a “fan” letter or anything like that. In fact, it’s his book that I plan to review and blog about in September.

I’ve had other books emailed over via PDF. I’ve even had a manuscript in unbound pages mailed to me. But this is the very first book, solid and complete, that has been mailed to me for a review. Now, while I love all of the books that I have been sent, all bibliophiles know that there is something simply wondrous about the physicality of a book itself.

Also, (beyond gaining a new book for my library) this was a super amazing incident for me because it shows that my hard work is really paying off. When I began blogging, I really hoped that I would reach out to this community and gain, not only followers, but friends. Well, I have definitely gained friends (you guys are awesome)!

Also, call me a dork, but receiving that book in my mailbox was a huge deal for me because I truly feel immersed in this writing community! I am engaging with so many different writers and it’s been great.

If you are interested in having me read, review, and blog about your book, please leave a comment below or message me. You can also check out the original post here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.

Book Reviews

Book of the Month – “At the Other Side of the Sea” by J. M. Galindo

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. If you would like for me to feature your book, please see my original post on the matter here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.

Support an Author

Book of June: At the Other Side of the Sea

Author: J. M. Galindo

Brief Summary

In his short book, At the Other Side of the Sea written in 2004, J. M. Galindo welcomes readers into his world of poetry and dedicates his work to readers who really want to express their emotions. In the prologue, Galindo introduces, or perhaps re-familiarizes, readers with the term “free verse” as it is through this strategy that he structures his nine poems: “Driving Backwards,” “Dreaming,” “The Other Side of the Sea,” “Doubt left a Hole in My Notebook,” “The Flight,” “Loosing Today Means Winning Tomorrow,” “Welcome to Politics,” “It’s the Way People See Life,” and “Nothing But a Lie.”

Review & Star Rating

3-star2

Poetry, in my opinion, is one of the hardest areas of writing to judge because a lot of it is subjective based on the reader’s personal understanding, likes, dislikes, and insights. For me, I would rate this small collection of poems at 3 stars out of 5 due to personal preferences. By the way, my three stars mean like I like it!

Throughout the book, Galindo incorporates the first person narrative, effectively allowing the reader a window into his heart. There, readers are transported into a world that encourages reflection and endurance. The poem “At the Other Side of the Sea,” for which this book of poetry is named, holds the true essence of the speaker: a wistful hopefulness and a desire to remember and preserve the positive moments and memories of life regardless of the internal or external trials one may face.

Galindo often uses repetitious phrases or stanzas to highlight certain points within his poems. Although there were a couple grammatical errors and the poems at times seemed overly wordy, the book was an intriguing and entertaining read. One of my favorite lines comes from “It’s the Way People See It” in which the speaker writes, “Some will listen, some will not . . . You can’t force a goat to become a sheep.”

Recommendations

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys first-person narrative poetry.

At The Other Side of the Sea: Free verses for a live soul by [Galindo, J. M.]

©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.