Blogs / Life, The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Update on the Third Reader (Blogmas: “It’s a Holiday Gift!)

Hello Everyone!

Today, I am taking a break from our regularly scheduled Blogmas posts to keep you updated on the publishing process for my book The Agency Games. For those of you who are new to my blog (Welcome!), The Agency Games is a nonfiction analysis of the popular Hunger Games series where I investigate human agency and how it affects primary characters such as Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna, Prim, Rue, Finnick, Mags, Joanna, Beetee, and more!

Anyhow, as many of you might remember, I am currently in the “Peer Review” stage of the publishing process. I have two readers who reviewed my book back in August. One of them loved it and the other was not impressed. So the publication house sent out my book to a third reader to be the tie breaker. However, back in November, when I was supposed to receive my feedback, my third reader backed out due to health reasons and so the clock was set back once again as I waited for the publication house to locate a new third reader.

I am happy to announce that as of this past weekend, the editors have located a new third reader and I should be receiving my feedback sometime toward the end of January in the new year!

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Additionally, the editors have gone ahead and scheduled me a final due date for the revised and improved final draft of my book for April of 2019! It has been a long road, but one that I am so grateful to have the opportunity to walk!

Thank you all for sticking alongside me, encouraging me and supporting me. I sometimes wonder if this book will forever be in limbo (something that will one day happen but not today) and then other days, like today, I can imagine holding that physical representation of all my hard work in my hands. This book has become more than just my “first” book. Some of you may remember that my grandfather is currently dying from cancer and it’s hard, and sometimes, he is not all there. But other days, he is. The other day he asked me when I was going to start publishing my books because he always knew that I would succeed. My entire life, he has pushed me to reach for the stars and I am so grateful for that. He inspired me to work hard and to persevere. In a way, finishing this book has now become a testament to his influence on my life.

Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel. I am one step forward to becoming an official “published” author and I know that I would not be where I am today without the support of my family and friends!

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The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An(other) Update

Hey Guys!

So, here I am with another update on my upcoming non-fiction analysis of The Hunger Games. My book, The Agency Games (working title), is currently in the editor’s and peer reviewer’s hands. As some of you may remember, my book already underwent round one with peer reviewers. One of my peer reviewers LOVED it and the other was not quite a fan.

So, to break the tie, the editors wanted me to revise, rewrite, and resubmit my book to a third peer reviewer. After making some pretty crazy tweaks and adding in more content, I sent back my book and it was placed in the hands of a peer reviewer about five weeks ago.

Then, I received an email a couple days ago from my publishers. Unfortunately, something happened with the third reviewer beyond their control and they had to back out. This means that my book is back in limbo as I wait to hear back from publishers as they attempt to find a different third reader to peer review my book. Once they find a new third reader, it will be another 6-8 weeks before I hear back from the publishers with the third reader’s comments.

While part of me is super bummed out (my book will definitely not be published by the end of this year), I am rolling with the punches. And honestly, this timeline might work out better for me. If I am lucky, I will hear back before Christmas and have some time over Christmas break to work on revisions, but we will see!

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported me through this long process! As a first time author, everything is new to me and having all of you along for the ride is so comforting! I’ll let you know what happens next!

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Happy Writing Everyone!

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!

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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 . . .

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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.

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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!

The Agency Games

Publisher Response to The Agency Games

Hey Guys,

So last Wednesday I received the long-awaited email back from the editors. In May, they sent out my manuscript to two scholarly peer reviewers who then read and returned my manuscript with their feedback. The editors in turn reviewed their comments and reached out to me with their feedback (lots of feedback.) And, the results were mixed, leaving me a lot like this . . .

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One of the peer reviews absolutely LOVED my book and while they offered me some critiques on how to improve it, overall, they were quite happy with the manuscript.

The other peer reviewer did not like my book, at all, and offered more criticism than critique.

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So, where does that leave me and my book, The Agency Games?

Back at the keyboard!

Yup, criticism hurts, (A LOT) but ultimately, I am going to use it to improve both this book and my overall writing abilities. The editors have offered me a chance to revise and rewrite according to some of the critiques before they send it out to a third peer reviewer who will be a “tie-breaker” of sorts. I believe that this will (unfortunately) push back the publishing date, but I am determined to push forward. Hopefully this delay will ultimately be worth the improvement.

While this certainly did cause my confidence to take a pretty nasty blow, I am lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who encourage me that even J.K. Rowling was rejected numerous times.

Not everyone will love your work, but that does not mean that you stop writing. 

Did you know that even after J.K. Rowling was made a billionaire due to her Harry Potter series and considered one of the most accomplished authors in the world, she was rejected by a publishing house in 2013. Publishing under a pen name, J.K. Rowling was rejected and told that “a writers’ group or writing course may help” Galbraith (penname) to get constructive criticism of his debut crime novel.” (You can read the whole article here!)

I am grateful for the positive critique that I received, and while I did not necessary expect some of the criticism, I am going to use every comment to improve my work and reach my goal!

Happy Writing Everyone!

Have you been rejected? What was your response?

Short Stories

The Boy with the Bread – A Fan Fiction

***DISCLAIMER: Please note that this is a FAN FICTION. Suzanne Collins and her associates own everything concerning The Hunger Games franchise. This fan fiction does not claim to be original in characters, plot, or setting. This fan fiction is not for profit. This fan fiction is simply for entertainment purposes. KaylaAnn Author does not claim ownership over these characters or ideas. This is a piece of fan fiction that is not a part of the authentic series. I am grateful to Suzanne Collins for creating a wonderful narrative that compels her readers to examine the darkness within the world and themselves and how to combat it. If you love this fanfiction at all, it is because of the world that Collins created and I encourage you to go and read or reread The Hunger Games trilogy.*** 

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The warmth from the oven seeps out onto my hands and face. I hear the slight crackle of the flames, the only sound in a silent town. The rest of District 12 sleeps in. The reason? Reaping Day.

Mother woke us as usual before dawn, my brothers and I quickly followed suit. If we attempted to sleep in, even on Reaping Day, she’d grab the broom or worse. My brothers work up front or out back as usual while I retrieve the freshly baked bread from the stone oven. The warm, spiced scent of pecans and raisins fills my nostrils. Just thinking about the stale bread we will eat for breakfast causes me to wince in discomfort, but then I remember that there are some people worse off than us. Inadvertently, my mind thinks of her and that day in the rain. Yes, there are some people worse off.

“Is that bread done yet?” Father walks in from one of the back rooms, his voice gentle and low.

I can tell by his demeanor that he does not want mother hearing him. No doubt, he is making a trade that mother would not approve of. Before I can help it, I find myself leaning around the door to see who is at the back.

It’s not her. It’s her friend, the other boy from the Seam who hunts with her from time to time. I hand off the bread to my father who makes the trade for the squirrel.

No doubt, that bread is off to her. The thought of it makes me smile.

Before long, mother is back and my brothers and I pick up the pace. Reaping Day or not, there are chores to be done, dough to kneed, and bread to sale. It is only after the floors are swept down once again, that father steps in.

“They need to go get ready for the reaping,” he says.

He means myself and one of my older brothers. The other is nineteen; he no longer has to attend the Reapings, but he will still be there, standing in the crowd with out parents. Watching and waiting, just like everyone else in District 12. You see, in the country of Panem, there are twelve districts and one Capitol. Every year, the Capitol holds the annual Hunger Games and every year, each district must present one male and one female between the ages of eleven and eighteen to participate in the Games. Twenty-four tributes arrive at the Games, but only one makes it out.

“Peeta, hurry up and go change,” my father says.

I nod, struggling to swallow the lump in my throat. This is my sixth year in the Reaping. Since we are luckier than most, I have only had my name placed in six times, my older brother has had his name in eight times. This is his last year and then he will no longer have to worry. Even knowing that the odds are in my favor, I cannot help ease the knot in my stomach.

I change into my best clothes which just means that the pants have no holes or patches and that the shirt is white and clean. Using some water, I brush back my hair and hope that it stays.

“Time to go,” Mother says, her voice more gentle than usual.

I guess the Reaping Day really does effect everyone.

They direct us to the Justice Building that stands at the far end of the square. Since we live in town, it does not take us long to find the check-in area. This is where the Capitol splits family members. Parents cannot go any further with the children and even siblings must stand apart, ranked by age. Every child must go into the Reaping alone.

More children and parents arrive, splitting off into their assigned areas. The boy next to me is in several of my classes. He smells slightly of shoe polish even though his wet hair shows that he recently bathed. He spares me a single glance before staring back down at his feet.

None of us are very talkative.

My eyes gaze over the crowd, more for something to do than anything else. I notice that the boy from this morning, her hunting partner, stands only a few feet behind me. I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard her call him Gale. Following Gale’s gaze, I find her.

My breath catches in my throat.

She is beautiful. Unlike her traditional braid down her back, her hair has been done up in layers of braids and she wears a soft blue dress. She’s worried. I can see it in her eyes. She’s looking at Gale, but her mind is elsewhere. Is she worried about Prim?

It’s Prim first year, I want to comfort her. There’s no way that they’ll choose her.

Effie Trinket, the Capitol attendant dressed like a violet bird, arrives and warbles on about what an honor it is, but that’s before Haymitch makes his way across the stage, drunk and belligerent as always. Soon, too soon, Effie’s hand is dipping into the giant glass bowl that contains hundreds of names. I hold my breath, thinking, not her, not her.

And it’s not her.

“Primrose Everdeen.” Effie Trinket calls out.

Even a few feet behind me, I can hear Gale’s sharp intake a breath. My eyes scan the crowd and find Prim. It’s hard to see her because she is so much shorter than everyone else. Although her face is pale, her blue eyes are steady. Slowly she makes her way forward, tucking in the back tail of her shirt.

“Prim!” Shouts a strangled cry.

She runs through the crowd that easily parts for her. Shoving Prim behind her back, she calls out, “I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!”

There is stunned silence and then mass confusion as everyone turns to one another and whispers. We’ve never had a volunteer. Over the crowd, I cannot make out what she is saying to Prim, but Prim is shaking her head and crying. Then Gale is there, lifting Prim into his arms.

I realize that I’m shaking, from fear or from anger. She is on stage and Effie Trinket asks her name.

“Katniss Everdeen,” she says.

Effie Trinket calls for applause but there is only silence. We know that the odds are against her. With one hand, I raise three fingers in a salute of respect. All around me, others do the same. It is an old sign that is usually reserved for funerals and I can see that Katniss is struggling not to cry.

At that moment, Haymitch staggers across the stage, shouting something at the cameras. When everyone turns to look at him, I stare at Katniss. She seems to let out a silent sob and then pushes back her shoulders looking out over the crowd, over the market place. Is she looking at the mountains? Is she wishing she were there? I can still hear Prim softly sobbing in her mother’s arms somewhere in the crowds.

“Now for the boys!”

Effie strides over to the other bowl and before I can even consider my own safety, I hear her say, “Peeta Mellark!”

 

The Agency Games

The Curiously Short Life & Death of Primrose Everdeen

Primrose Everdeen (Prim) is the younger sister to Katniss Everdeen and the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen. She is only twelve years old when the series begins and she is only fourteen when she is killed in a bombing.

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Because of her youth and her feminine appearance of a young, naive, helpful, little girl, many scholars skirt over her importance to The Hunger Games trilogy. However, Prim is the key element to the entire series. If Prim had never been reaped, Katniss would never have volunteered. If Katniss had not gone into the Games with Peeta and defied the Capitol, the revolution would never have ignited. If the revolution had never begun, the Games would continue on with President Snow in charge of Panem. In one of my last chapters, I discuss how every action that Katniss takes is in protection of her sister Prim, primarily because Prim represents hope.

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Read more about Prim and Katniss, and the rest of the amazing characters from The Hunger Games in my upcoming book The Agency Games! If you are interested in receiving updates when the book is released, please leave a comment on the post: “The Agency Games — Sign Up!”

©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

Gale: Powerless or Powerful

Gale Hawthorne – a Seam-born resident of the poorest district and also a famous and brutal soldier for District 13 during the Mockingjay Rebellion.

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Gale Hawthorne, from Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, is one of those characters that readers cannot help but to love. Even after Gale’s actions become questionable, readers still defend him. Gale’s physical and mental capabilities are often unmatched. He is brave enough to hunt in the woods, strong enough to endure work in the mines, and  smart enough to design and create snares and traps. Gale is powerful in many ways and yet, in others he is extremely powerless. He cannot stop Katniss from volunteering, he cannot provide for his family without his brother taking out tesserae, he cannot even start a revolution until Katniss clears the way.

In an Instagram survey with 23 participants, 15 said that Gale was Powerless as opposed to Powerful by the end of the trilogy.

Throughout The Hunger Games, Gale struggles between enacting power and having power exercised over him. While he starts as a strong protagonist, he eventually fades away at the end of the trilogy, working in District 2.

What do you think about Gale’s character?

Love him? Hate him? Let me know your thoughts! Is he powerful or powerless? Why?

Read more about Gale, and the rest of the amazing characters from The Hunger Games in my upcoming book The Agency Games! If you are interested in receiving updates when the book is released, please leave a comment on the post: “The Agency Games — Sign Up!”

©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 – 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!

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An Update (4)

Well it’s that time of the month again, time for my monthly update on my work in progress:

The Agency Games

(a working title)

The Agency Games is a nonfiction book which analyzes human agency within the popular Hunger Games trilogy. I will be doing in-depth character analyses of individuals such as: Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, Haymitch Abernathy, Cinna, Primrose Everdeen, and more in trying to understand how human agency is discovered, maintained, tested, lost, and regained in a dystopian society and how that relates to us as readers.

The goal is to write approximately 500 words per day so that I can meet my goal of 75,000 wordsby May 31st to send to the publishers.

  • On January 22nd, 2018, I posted by first update. I was at a total of 22,000 words.
  • On February 22nd (after a VERY productive month having written 19,000 words), I was at a total of 41,000 words having written 3,500 words more than my original goal.
  • On March 22nd, I surprised even myself at being able to meet by quota and had a total of 55,200 words.

In sticking with my original plan to write 500 words a day, I needed to write 15,500 words by April 22nd (meaning I should be at a total of 70,700).

Well, let’s see how I did . . .

On April 4th, 2018, I finished the last chapter of my book and I was at only 62,000 words. Not quite my goal.

So, I decided to take my own advice. Remember when I encouraged you to NOT edit, but to RE-WRITE instead?

Well, that is exactly what I did and am still doing. I pulled up a blank word document, set it next to my current manuscript, and I started over, re-writing every single line. And along the way, I found places that naturally needed expansion. Sometimes, it was a single word or a single sentence. But sometimes, it was a whole paragraph. So after two weeks of rewriting, I have re-written the introduction, the first six chapters and started working on my appendixes.

I have a total word count of . . .

70,000 words!

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I didn’t quite hit my goal of 70,700 words, but I’m pretty proud of what I have accomplished! Plus, it’s a little slow going with re-writing everything.

I still need to finish re-writing the last six chapters and the appendixes which should push me to the 75,000 goal!

I’m getting closer to completing the fourth draft of this manuscript and then I plan to print it out and double check errors before sending it out. I won’t lie, some days I really feel like this . . .

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But I am going to push forward and I really hope to get this manuscript sent out within the next three weeks!

Thank you to everyone for your continued support! I can’t believe this is almost over!

Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here like . . .

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The Agency Games

Haymitch Abernathy

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Haymitch Abernathy is known by every single person in Panem as the Drunk Mentor for District 12. One of his most infamous moments is when he took a head-dive off the stage during the reaping for the 74th-Hunger Games. To most he is a fool, a drunk, and a blubbering, staggering idiot. But is that all he is?

If you love Haymitch, you will want to read my chapter on his character titled, “It’s All a Big Show” to learn the truth behind Haymitch’s clandestine motives and hidden agency in a society of “un-reality”!

BONUS: This is one of the GREATEST FAN-MADE videos of content from The Hunger Games. MainstayPro portrayed the Second Quarter Quell in which Haymitch is the winner and let me tell you, it does not disappoint. All images and content from the below video are property of MainstayPro, I am just sharing their magnificent work.

WARNING: Graphic images for young or sensitive viewers.

Haymitch Approves this Post!

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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.