How’s life? A bar patron asks the manager at the restaurant I occupy. He smiles and goes off on a tale about the Padres. The guests smile and they begin to talk, I drift with a perfect beginning to my post.
Life is good. With the past few months of laxed writing practices, I am happy to say that I’m back! Not just back, but better than ever. In previous posts, in particular On a very different path, I take you along my road to recovery after a break-up… Welp, here I am, sitting in a restaurant while my boyfriend is in dance class.
My boyfriend, my FOUND inspiration, my new beginning. A life that, since he’s been in, has been utter bliss. I would tell u the story of how I knew one day I’d be speaking spanish, but that’d only bore you. Who cares about the young man feeling envious of the secret code being spoken around him? Desperate to break the barrier and understand what was being said, thus using bi-lingual packets to begin his learning. Who cares?
Now, I sit. I look around the restaurant. Only one other couple occupies the bar, but many have gathered to watch the fight between the Dodgers and the Padres. It is San Diego, after all. My Miller Lite is extremely lite, just as my wallet.
I present the only card that may be able to cover the price of two beers. If I succeed, I’ll have another and pay cash. If not, well, I have enough to cover and a nice tip as well.
I can’t help it! I think back to him. His smile, laugh, everything.
“¿Como estas?” A young couple asks, walking to the bar.
I know that: How are you?
Now the conversation goes a bit further. I understand! Not everything, but all things in steps right!?
It’s now within my scope to translate my best selling book, “With Thoughts of Jason” into Spanish. Why not broaden the scope of people that might be able to enjoy a book taken from my heart and soul?
My boyfriend is Mexican, and with that comes a sleu of, ahem, thoughts…yeah, thoughts. You see, my sister married a man from México, and well, he’s done some damage. So now, even with my boyfriend in the room with me, my mom doesn’t seem to accept that i’m dating a Mexican.
“Mom,” I say, “he’s my boyfriend, not just a friend,” I realize it might take her some time, well untill she’d meet him. At that point i know she’d fall for him as quickly as I have.
Well hey. Just wanted to give u all a heads up. I feel like life is taking a turn for something amazing, if u believe so as well be sure to like or follow my blog! I can’t wait to share more exciting things when it comes to writing, or stupid updates on the life that’s wielding my writing.
Caleb A. Mertz
The cold. Wind rushes through the leaves. My skin retracts, muscles convulse. The exhale of a cigarette escapes my mouth and rushes away from me. Smoke, gathers and writhes, billows, yet dissipates. A thought.
A thought that takes me from such treacherous cold; meaning, place, part of the plethoral consciousness.
The cigarette, I again, unwisely, place to my lips to take a drag. The ashes redden, smoke swirls and dances against the influence of the wind, my lungs fill with toxins. I pause. Nicotine infects my blood cells flowing false euphoria to my brain, and yet I still ponder the thought.
Meaning… What do I mean? There is no measure. I can only measure meaning by self importance, so what does it mean? Does it matter?
The cigarette ashes flick into the brass chalice with ease, yet the wind catches them to take them away. Not willingly, but taken by force. Quickly the cigarette is again raised to my mouth. I hesitate a moment, as I look five feet from me to the dark gray slate roof, with what was once a white gutter. The orange stucco impedes upon my memory as I now take yet another drag, smoke hugging my fingers as I shiver once more.
Place… Where am I? Not in position to my physical whereabouts, but more, my mind. The chill exhilarates me, causing me to stand now in the corner where the bitter claws may not reach me.
Something within stirs. It has been, yet I try not to notice. I notice, but I fear. I fear, but I’m strong. I’m strong, yet I fear the weakness it may present. Weakness, and knowing its whereabouts builds strength. Strength I need to overcome such fear. Fear, I have no affinity with.
Plethoral consciousness – a phrase of my own construction. The combination of all human and non-human thoughts, energies, and will. Where? Or shall I ask, what part do I play? Am I one that will rise above? Or the balance to allow others to succeed?
The cigarette is nearly done, and has been resting in my hand atop the railing along my balcony. The brisk cold scratches my face. The thought. Why would I think it? I guess we all must. We have to, at one time or another, question where we stand. Whether it’s dramatic or simply pondering. For the cigarette, it was time to end. The red-hot ashes explode as I plunge it quickly into the chalice. I smile at the cold, as I open the door to find my warmth, and answer to the moment.
I guess when the internet is almost something of a fantasy tale rather than a reality it makes things difficult, especially keeping up with publishing in my blog. But do not worry! I will be returning to blog about well, writing, and all that other fun stuff in only a short while.
This was just a courtesy post, to let you know I’m not dead…yet. See you all very soon!
A young man stood upon the rocks in ocean beach, peering into the vast darkness. A land, or space, or existence that held breadth and terrible power within. The waves are ever constant, in five’s or maybe seven’s did a large one come forth. A distant light catches his eye, as a voice from within begins.
“You’d never make that swim,” the ocean swirls upon the rocks to his right. Cresting high upon the barnacles, white froth displaying the water’s torment. “You’d tire just far enough off shore you couldn’t return, and not far enough to make it.”
The water recedes out as sanderlings run in. The young man takes two steps further to the edge.
“It’d be like everything else,” a wave sends a small flurry of splash across his face, and spurs small ripples in tiny tide pools.
“Like Jonathan,” a young nude couple runs down to a small private beach between the rocks. They laugh, as she tries throwing him into the now on-coming wave. He tugs her teasingly but sends her falling into the water.
“Or Aaron,” a piercing scream comes from the young nude girl as the frigid water rushes over her. The wave recedes as they both giggle, now allowing sand to cling to their bare skin.
The light still shines, off in the distance, across this barren space, full of unknown dangers.
‘The big one is due’ he thinks to himself watching the water swirl around the rocks, then the white crest of the in-coming waves tumbling upon themselves. The blue moon shines imperiously upon the surface, demanding attention, and breeding insight.
“Everything you’ve tried, you’ve failed at lately.” Another wave washes in, traveling up a small fissure within the stone embankment. The young man sits now at the edge of the slippery rock. Another wave crashes in, but still of no “big” proportion. The water churns below his feet, swishing and unpredictably taking paths not taken the same before.
The light from a boat off in the distance has traveled slightly to the right, both blue and red lights still bequeath their light, and strength upon the barren land.
“Failure is something that must be learned to be taken,” small waves continue to wash upon the shore. The young nude couple has quieted, except for a random female pleasure song. A long hoot is heard from a-top the steps as three college kids arrive to indulge in drinking, and eventually driving.
The moon shines promisingly on a white-cap well off to sea. ‘This could be the big one,’ it had been seven, eight, nine, since the last swell.
“Sharks infest these waters. They feed at night. You’ll be chum,”
‘the swell!’ he hoped. There were rocks beneath him, capable of bending his skeleton in ways not meant. It could snag him and hold him there, if that were her intent.
“He’s gone too far,” a whooshing noise came.
“You’d never make the swim,” the white caps frothed and exploded as they should.
The college students arrived upon the rocks.
Hollering ensued. The nude girl screamed in artificial orgasmic praise. Our young man planted the heels of his hands steadfast upon the rock.
The wave came in.
‘Nothing’ a small wave ran into the big wave, and reduced its power. The lone young man stood. Bottles smashed behind him as the reckless college kids wreaked havoc on this sacred place.
He walked past the three college kids, falling upon their 24 bottle load.
“Fuck you!” They yelled.
“Fuck you!” He yelled back.
“What did he just say?” The one asked to the other. Another waved crashed upon the barnacles, and rocks, and sand, and love making one-night-stand. He jumped from the rock to the private beach where the lovers once rolled in sand.
“Go get that fuckin faggot!” One collegiate roared at the other.
The pants of our lone young man loosened and fell to his ankles. He stepped from them.
“Dude really is a fag! Fuckin’ get him!” He marched past the nude girl whimpering in fake pleasure as her knight shook above her. The small wave caught his toes, then his feet, then his calves, it’s fuckin’ cold!’ he yelled at himself. Sand was flying high with the run-prints of his potential attacker closing in. The next wave, a medium one, rose to his thighs as he purged through the water. The shirt came off next to reveal the fat of the old relationships bearing heavily upon him. A sight no one in the modern world would want to see, fat, man-boobs, and a gut jiggling upon the slightest vibration from the universe.
“You’re going to die,” the voice rang within him.
‘if it gets me away from you’ he thought.
“Get back here! Are you nuts!” The drunken scholar hollered.
Sanderlings rushed in with the receding wave, as our young swimming loner took off to sea. The crest of the next wave intruded upon his sight of the light that lay off in the distance. No foot could be placed upon the ocean floor as it dipped quickly: nearly relentlessly. She, the ocean, demanded the strength and endurance of only a man.
The sound of water lapping around him stirred nothing within him. ‘I have to get to that boat’ he demanded.
“Get back here! Homo!” Roared the intelligently educated master of the arts upon his mast.
“You’ll die!” Roared the voice within.
With that, he saw it. The wave he was going to jump into upon the rocks. The one he hoped would carry him out to sea, to the boat where he needed to be. It raised high above the waves that crested behind him.
‘I’ll take you’ he said sure of himself. Ready to take a deep breath and ride her recession out to the boat. The boat that was now three-quarters a mile away.
“You’ll be chum.”
“Dude!” The collegiate sang, swimming in fifteen feet of water. Our lone-swimming young man was fifty yards from the rocks now. The houses and lights shown oddly about the shore. Perhaps it was the cold gripping him, perhaps it was this new perspective.
‘no time to linger’ he determined himself. He continued to swim, as the big wave went beneath him as nothing.
The splash of his arm, upon arm, upon stroke, upon stroke wore upon him. The unexpected wavelength cast salt water to his lungs. The swim was still to be made.
‘am I mad’ he asked of himself.
“Chum,” was all he heard back. Rarely could he here the call for what now sounded as a concerned college kid yelling from the rocks.
Peace was here now, while his breathing increased. He remembered his swim classes, “look away from the fishies; talk to the fishies.”
The lights of the boat went further than he could have hoped. Land was so far in the distance only a speckle of light shown where he once was. The poor girl, devoid of sexual pleasure assuredly made her male mate feel competent, the college boys probably talked about the crazy guy that went for a swim.
“You should have stayed, he would have come back for you,” the nagging voice ensued.
‘and then WHAT!’ the lone swimmer screamed before talking to the fishies.
“He would have taken you back,” the voice continued.
‘no.’ the swimmer continued. He continued to swim, he was making better time than ever before. ‘no he wouldn’t have’
“So why!” The voice asked. The swimmer continued to paddle. Wave upon wave, he felt the oceans force. “Why do this?”
‘Because I have to!’ he yelled within himself. His limbs were growing numb, the lights from the boat nearly getting further away. He took a second to wade water.
‘it’s only in my mind’ he said looking upon the darkness that surrounded him on all sides.
“This is no longer just your mind,” the voice of reality came in. It was true. All things ventured lately were failures, but he wasn’t going to give up on this. He continued to swim.
“You’ll never make it,” the waves lapped his face. He didn’t dare think of what may be trailing him, lurking, stalking, getting close. Though peaceful, it was loud; between the heavy breathing and the splash of each stroke he took. The cold water and his efforts bore down upon him.
‘I’ll never make it’
The ocean is a strange and powerful creature, so full of life it carries a soul of its own. A soul that reserves itself for no man, beast or fowl. A soul content with being beautiful, gently caressing places she holds dear, but bolstering a power never meant to be taken lightly. Rarely does she help to make one persevere, it had to be there before ever tempting her.
The ease of swimming to shore was not one our lone swimming broken-hearted boy ever intended. He could still hear what still sounded as a concerned college kid. Yet he was too far out.
“What are you doing!?” He heard. “I’m turning around!”
His jaw nearly dropped. The feeling of stalking wasn’t from a shark! Someone was following him, the college kid from the shore!
‘what is he thinking?’ he thought angrily swimming back where the voice came from.
“Where are you?” The voice called.
“Here!” He yelled.
“Here!” He splashed about to ensure he was heard. He swam faster than he had before.
‘someone really cares!’ he thought excitedly. The waves propelled him now. As he rose with the waves he could see a head not far off in the distance.
“Don’t do this man!” The head called.
“I’m coming back!” Our loner responded.
“C’mon, last one to shore is a chicken leg,” the college student yelled.
They swam, faster and faster. Head to head. And soon arrived to shore tired of their efforts, and breathing with sharp inhales.
“Why did you follow me?” Our loner asked.
“I couldn’t stand to watch someone try and off themselves.”
He looked at him. The kid was handsome, built, and had eyes that sparkled in the spotlights from above.”I wasn’t going to off myself,” he responded. The waves crashed around them.
“Then why would you swim off into the night ocean?” The student asked. Our boy looked out to the ocean, only a small flicker of light shown from the boat he was going to swim to, even if death had met him.
“I do it all the time,” he said, then scooching closer to the young man, “will you hold me?”
“What? No!” The student responded, still too out of breath to move.
“Right,” the loner responded seeing a kayak lantern off in the distance. He stood as the strong seventh wave came in. “You stay here,” he commanded. Then looked back at the handsome young man who thought he was saving a life. “I never would have made it, if it weren’t for you.” He said, then turning back to the lone lantern. He estimated a twenty minute swim to it. “Keep your faith alive in humanity. But this one has to make it alone.” He said walking then trudging into the ocean. He would embark upon the path he told himself he couldn’t make. The belief in humans renewed he had a plan, and one that wouldn’t require too much swimming.
Set your calendars! This wednesday (sept. 26th @ 9:30 est) I will be a guest on hotspotradio.net. We will be talking about THE UNEXPECTED, with release date set for November 1st. An autographed copy is available for pre-order on www.calebmertz.com/books. So be sure to tune in!
The book is written. Many sleepless nights have gone into the masterpiece, many readers have given their feedback, and a release date has been set. Now the entirely agonizing part of the entire process, publication.
The fun (fun used almost sarcastically here) is doing hours of research to ensure I don’t miss a single integral process in the entire bout of publishing. Had I managed to have an agent most, if not all, of the process would be covered. I could sit back and wait for requests for verification on page proofs, story flow, accept editor’s feedback and only tweak the novel minutely upon the agents request. Currently I have submitted myself to a flow of multiple projects at one time in the light of one major project, my publication. There are many major points that I have to ensure to hit, all of which could make or break my books chances at success. I took the liberty at compiling a brief list of these chores which I will undoubtedly have to accomplish.
Get the Book Edited
One item that had gone through without major attention to detail with my past projects. Though I had a publisher to take care of these things, it was at best; sad. Realizing that not only is my grammar terrible, but punctuation fails almost to a fault. There would be no possible way for me to go through the entire contents of two-hundred fifty pages and catch all the most glaring mistakes let alone the little technicalities. With that I have researched many editors, some charging upwards of $1,000 for a 90,000 word novel! I was lucky to find one who would only charge a minimal fee! Now I just have to scrape the barrel to get even that for her.
A most vital and important step in the process of rolling out a book. This involves knowing this book is in it’s final stages and in near pristine condition before sending it off for Magazines, Newspapers, and Reviewers to determine my fate. If two or more magazines who published a review were not favorable, chances are the book would sink before it even had a chance. Believing in my work this is something I am more than willing to take on. But with that are more interesting things.
Any novice to publishing would easily look this over. They believe all they have to do is convert a word document into a pdf and voila! That assumption is terribly wrong and will undoubtedly turn a tale of amazing talent and artistry into a slushpile inhabitant. Simply opening a book to the first page or two will tell any publishing industry insider whether it had a professional do the work. No worries, most typesetting jobs will only set you back roughly $800 (or maybe $5 a page).
Advanced Reader Copies
These little buggers are a ton of fun! Almost all magazines and reviewers have different terms and submission requirements for these copies. Some say it must be a mock up with ARC written on the back cover with a fact page including word count, page count, ISBN, distribution centers, publisher information. While others ask it be an in-tact book autographed by the author (They usually assure you that the book won’t be sold as it’s against their policy), and that this is a courtesy to someone willing to take time out of their lives to review your work (Fair, I say). So for the ARC’s not only is it best to have the book in the best condition it can be in (I would hope a few edits have already been done, typesetting somewhat apparent, and cover design set), but it should be sent out to the reviewer 4-6 months prior to the month of publication.
So now the Pre-publication work is done (somewhat) as the publisher, now on to Publicist!
Find Shelf Space
This is the main hurdle, and many of the items listed following this all help to gain that much needed shelf space. The point being most books have a month AT BEST to sell. If not, they are returned. And don’t think a book store will stock your book without a book return policy in place. This is only the mom and pop stores! Trying to get into B&N and Borders is something similar to a battle between David and Goliath.
Research and set up Radio Interviews
Having a target market helps to get this part in play, but still nothing can quell the magnitude of listing the hundreds of talk radio shows out there for the contact. Best part, I’m pushing my own book! Nothing worse than saying “Hi! Have you heard of the amazing new book written by none other than me!!!!” Something is just off about it. I like to stick with emails, but I have a feeling if I had a good pitch letter drawn up I might be able to call some stations and cement time blocks rather than sending electronic mail into the abyss of the internet. Even when I do find a station, I have to find an angle relative to the listeners and style of show they have set up to ensure I not only sound informed, but also don’t kill the pitch of my book by sounding like a babbling idiot.
Another extremely important aspect of the process. Drawing up the words that will help to sell the book while informing of any upcoming events. As in, have my events planned out well in advance, and make sure I keep the facts straight for the press-release. Nothing worse than attempting to fix a spelling error in a press release once it’s already been sent to the printer! It’s also gotta pop, no sense in writing an awesome book if the Press-Release is gonna drool.
Research and Pitch Newspapers and Magazines
For post publication reviews or opportunities at an interview. The research alone is killer, add to it the drone work of writing a pitch letter to them why I would be so totally awesome for their interview is tricky. Anyone can toot their own horn, or you could pay someone to do it for you. Looks like this starving artist is gonna have to toot his own horn without making it seem that way.
So these are just some of the fun things I get to do wearing all the hats. Hopefully if it’s done right, this will be the last time I have to worry about all of this, and can just focus on my new novels, which I have about four new ones started already. I have to get busy with them, not all of this! But here’s to learning.
Thanks for reading!
Caleb A. Mertz