Monthly Archives: July 2010

Imagination spark is kicking my arse!

I sit here at oh, at three thirty nine in the morning writing a blog to a few people that might one day catch a glimpse of an article I have written.  Or maybe someone has decided to do some research into the idiotic novelist that thought he gained inspiration through Hemingway.  Either way it’s the three thirty nine IN THE MORNING that bothers me more than anything else.

Today I have finally finished the first draft of my latest novel “The Unexpected”.  The repercussions have been just that, unexpected.  I only moved from my chair from four o’clock till midnight a handful of times to grab a fresh beer or to smoke a cigarette.  The computer is working considerably slower and the poor keys have been punched all day long (minus the Tildie button).  The research and all finally came together in my final stretch of imagination that was cleverly put to paper.  Then after say eight beers and eight hours of writing I step out on the back porch for a smoke.  The wifey calls and says that he’ll be leaving within the half hour.  I couldn’t bring myself to tell him what I was going through.

Last night I couldn’t get to sleep until five thirty in the morning which I was woken only four hours later by the wonderful sounds of snoring.  Today after staring at a computer screen for so long and forgetting to eat I sat on the back porch of my house which is located only five blocks from center city and I start seeing hallucinations!  Where was this feeling when I was busy smoking purple haze and consuming dangerous amounts of homemade absinthe?  So here I am smoking a cigarette when out of the corner of my eye I see this head bob up from the neighbors grill and slide quickly behind the garage.  I feel a bit jumpy but I continue to stare at this spot to see if this person pokes their head around the corner.  Nothing happens for a good two minutes.  I can hear some kids down the street (probably doing exactly what I described just a bit ago; purple…).  I turn to ash my cigarette into the appropriate container when I swear I see a pasty white face walking from the dining room and into the kitchen looking directly at me.  I do a double take.

What the hell was that?” I ask myself as I move around to see what might have made that illusion.  Let’s try nothing.  Now I am getting a bit jumpy.  I look down the small alley way on the side of my house half expecting to see a crazy ghost coming out of the bushes or worse yet a bigfoot or something.  Nothing.  I looked back to where I first saw a head bob along and there was still nothing there.  Putting the cigarette out I try not to think about anything when I hear a set of keys being put on the dining room table.

“Babe!” I yell a second before my phone goes off.  It’s his work, and he called to tell me that he was going to be home soon.  So where did that noise come from?  Chills are running up and down my arms.  The book I’m working on has forced me to be creative with my imagery and imagination but now it seems as if it’s supercharged.  I walk cautiously up the stairs looking in every corner of the house, then fearing that I’m going to round a corner to some sort of demon standing there.

Okay, then we go to bed.  I am laying there thinking of how I could make a miniature Apache helicopter that I could fly as a one seater.  Here I go thinking over specifics, I want a roll cage made of the strongest steel.  It would have to be light, but you couldn’t lift it so on that steel cage I would need to have four hook holes attached, just to keep her steady during transportation.  I wonder how long the blades have to be? Why would I do this?  I could attach model rockets to the side that I could fire at reenactments or something.

I am horribly sorry that this entry wasn’t a very informative one.  I am documenting the art of writing as best I can and thus felt this of importance.  ( I was also hoping that by the end of it I would be tired…which isn’t so.) Pretty much imagination has been flowing so steadily that when I came back to reality there were some terrifying side effects of halucinations and insomnia.  Just so you know.

If you have had an episode like this or think I just need some professional help, please comment

Caleb A. Mertz

Pitching the Big Idea

Yesterday while I spent the day off I had some serious issues with writing. I wanted to get writing as soon as I had gotten my day started. Waking up was trouble enough. I knew that as soon as I stepped out from the bedroom there would be a severe heat that would cause me pain.

In my office I have some postcards that I have made up of all of my projects. The one that is front and center is “The Unexpected Teaser” So I’m looking over this and the dreadful reality sets in. Some moron decided to put December 010 as the release date. Having had been through the publication process with my publishers I know that it takes upwards of six months from the moment they sign you, and December  is less than six months away.

The bigger thing is that this one I am aiming for the stars. With it’s relevance to modern day happenings and the over all excitement that it draws, I feel that it would be a great find for any reader. But then how do I pitch this un-solicited work to a mainstream publisher and turn this puppy into a solicited work?

I’m not sure how to answer that. I do however have one draft of a pitching letter that is drawn and getting revised constantly. Depending on the mood I’m in I can either be so optimistic about this project, or I can be downright awful to myself and my hopes.  I look to About.com to help me out in this time of need.  It’s through Ginny’s plethora of information about publishing that I can finally attempt to make things happen.  I’d love to be able to post my pitch letter here, but I can’t.  As I said before it’s only in its infancy stage.

There’s one more thing.  I am looking up the publishers that might publish something of my genre and or story idea.  I am currently on page 112 of what I’d like to be a 250-300 page novel.  Time is of the essence in getting this work done and published as closely to December as I possibly can.  It’s a deadline that I have set for myself, which may help in the actual completion of this project.

If you have any ideas or comments on what I am going through definitely take the time to comment.

Caleb A. Mertz

What makes you hot?

I haven’t signed on to my dear blog for approximately three days.  While I’ve been gone I was hoping to open my dashboard today and see all sorts of views and comments.  Wow was I ever disappointed.  I work constantly (which most of us do) and I just had my sisters wedding today (which I only found out about three days ago) so when I come to my solace I was hoping for some comfort.  Nothing.  This brings me to my next question.  What makes you hot?  What keeps the most popular blogger’s on top?  Is it truly entertaining content, intelligent content, or constant content?

“…What Makes you hot?”

image by: Cayusa

I realize as I type this that there are several sides to this argument.  I then sit and wonder, Why I’m complaining.  I’m simply writing to help my grammar and writing ability.  Ernest Hemingway says you must write everyday if you wish to really be a writer.  Whereas my ideas for my stories might not always be strong I can always go on this blog of mine and write whatever is on my mind.

I also realize that I am still relatively new to this website.  New to blogging.  And new to the world as well.  Sometimes false vanity begins to kick in.  You almost think that you are king blogger when all of the sudden with a quick report of the last three days you realize that you are only you.  There is no existential fan base out there secretly hiding between the lines of every blog, snooping behind every sign post, or reading my every update.

I also realize that there are people out there with a much greater talent than I that have the same issues.  The difference is that they don’t have to go back to their material and look it over and over and over again.  They might do so just for the pure indulgence of their creativity and intelligence.  They have great talent and it is only a matter of time before they get discovered and get put on some great big publishers list of best sellers.  In my case this crazy red squiggly line constantly shows up under my words (including my first attempt at the word squiggly).

But there really is a question that I wish to receive some sort of response on.  I want to know from some of the best blogger’s out there, What makes you hot?  By all means give me a full dissertation while you’re at it.

Thank you

Caleb A. Mertz

Slowing down to move faster?

image by: mugley

Over the past several months there has been one thing that has been looming around every corner.  It isn’t lifethreatening, ugly, or even vehement.  I have known it to be there and yet I continue to pursue marketing and booking events that I feel may forward my development and acknowledgment of authorship.  With the book signings in the past now, there are other events that have to be tended to.  It is impossible to attend two events and expect to make sales.

Hours have been devoted to searching for upcoming literary events.  What about the other outlets out there?  Many other things sit out there waiting to be discovered in order to be used to their greatest potential.  Writing for Examiner.com, blogging, and updating my website are just a few of the other things that I have been doing.  Then of course there is the business aspect of things including trying to register an actual business name with the state of Pennsylvania, tracking sales and marketing expenses, and so on and so forth.

Yet, and yet there is one thing that has not been getting done.  I have written several query letters, cover letters, and pitch letters for publishers.  I have organized the envelopes, acquired addresses, and contacted certain contacts within the publishing field.  As part of my other blog, “Be part of something big!” you see that there are even promotional materials made for the release of my new book.  What about writing it?

What about writing it?

Writer’s blog has been a horrible thing for me.  Then again, I wonder if it’s even writer’s block.  What if it’s just my own unsettled thoughts and energy?  The words are before me.  I have them on the screen where I am to add more of a story.  I have it printed out and clipped.  There are questions for each chapter for those that are going to read the manuscript before it goes to the editor.  Where are the next words?

image by: mythfolklore.net

I finally took a hiatus from all of the marketing, promotion, and writing.  Three weeks I didn’t really think of anything regarding my book.  Then finally, six beers in, the next part of the story came so quickly I had to rapidly find a pen to

get the thoughts onto paper.  I am only taking a few minutes now in between loads of laundry to write in my blog.  I plan on devoting the grand chunk of the day to writing out the story.

Life can pass us all too quickly.  I just said the other day that I was going to be 80 before I knew it.  The motivational speaker in all of us tries to get us to seize the day and make the most out of it.  Unfortunately we all too often associate getting the most out of a day with the ammount of work we can say we did.  I have found that sometimes slowing down and just taking a day or week to yourself can make the most progress in your professional and personal life.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

Is always being right, always right?

photo by: vlasta2

You have slaved over the hardwork of putting your piece together. Now there is someone trying to criticize your work. Two questions, when is their feedback enough, and when do you stop defending your own work and own up to the feedback?

This question arouses within me from a conversation that I had with a team member tonight. On the drive home I was thinking more and more about it. I then applied that question to writing. I remember there being so many times especially with my first book where someone would give me some critique and I would push it away because I KNEW that I was right. More often than not they were right. Especially when my sister had pointed out a few different issues with some paragraph structures and story flow at the beginning of the book. Then again, I had to be right and convinced her that I had a plan and thus ensured that it was structured that way. She just didn’t read enough into the story.

When is enough, enough?
Friends and family are always there for you when you need them most. This is a statement that gets used over and over again. I had found, however, that while I was working on putting together somewhat of a final draft for the publisher there was an everlasting flow of criticism. First I used the name of the character too much, then there were too many filler words like, a, the, and well, and. Then there was a problem with the plot, oh and this paragraph was horrible…”did you really want that much religious undertone?” The list continued. This criticism, I had to wonder, didn’t seem as if it was so much constructive as it was destructive to my hard spent time and energy on this book.

This was another point in time where I had to weigh everything out. I had to unfortunately tune out the speaker at

photo by:faungg @ flickr.com

times because it seemed like it was no longer an attack on my work, but an attack on me. So…I handed them pens (red ones to make it special) and had them wright out their thoughts on the manuscript that I provided. Ahhhh, silence!

In summation being right all of the time is never a good thing. You can loose a realistic view on your work and yourself. There is always a time when you have friends

and family critiquing your work that you may have to tune it down a bit. I recommend getting a professional editor, or an ex-english teacher to preview your work and suggest corrections. If you happen to have an Uncle who’s an english teacher, well you have fun with that!

Thank you

Be part of something Big!

Does this teaser look like something that you would be interested in reading?

The Friendly Librarians and the public eye

Good Evening.

Days come and days go as we work out our daily lives at the professional establishments we call “work”.  Being a restaurant manager some may say that it is a bit easier for me to be able to talk to people and get to know them on a closer and more personal level.  I can attest to this, but only as long as the restaurant isn’t crashing and burning before your very eyes.  In the process of table touching (talking to each table to ensure that the food is great, and the service fast, efficient, and friendly) it is very easy to get wrapped up in conversation with the guests about food, their favorite chef, the weather, or sometimes your book!

It all started out when I saw these three ladies come into one of my previous restaurants.  I was working as a server and I waited on the table.  I made mention to all of my co-workers that Bam Margera’s mom was at my table. Though it wasn’t actually her people found it funny at how much she really looked like Bam’s mom.  Two of the three ladies had since returned to my newest restaurant where I manage.  We began talking about their favorite server and soon got onto a poster for my book signing.  Then the ladies let me know that they work for  the Bethlehem Library, are presidents of boards, and entrepreneurs themselves.

I paused for a moment at the disbelief.  I had been talking to these ladies for the longest of time.  They had been frequenting my restaurants and now all of the sudden I come to find out that they could hold a key to the furtherance of my writing career.

“dress the part”

The ladies are always working on new things and have the utmost anticipation for the best from all that they support.  It comes down to never giving up an opportunity to make a new connection whether at work or walking down the street.  If you are trying to become a public figure, act and dress like one.  There are many sayings that refer back to this such as “dress for the job you want”, “dress the part”, and my personal favorite (sprouting from a break up) “fake it, till you make it”.

All authors and writers have their own distinct methods. Some go to cafe’s and write out their little stories in hopes that they will be the next success story like J.K. Rowling. While others write whenever they can and whatever they can. I don’t currently have an agent or public relations manager so I have to go out and do everything for myself. All of the marketing, the talking, the phone calls, the ads, and even the website up keep is all up to me. I realize, from talking with other local authors, that this is actually a common practice and very few people ever really see that agent that works just as hard for them as the author did coming up with the story or article. These are, however, the sorts of things that give us all our own additional goals.

These ladies just so happened to pop up, but I wonder. What if we all asked everyone we ran into about their reading? How far could we get if absolutely everyone we knew realized that we were writers?

Please take time to write a comment or post a similar story, be sure to tell how you felt as of this revelation.

Thank you

Young Artist Syndrome…A reality?

There has been one thing on my mind all day…the web.  I went into work with all of the best intentions at heart.  I wished to relieve the older man that I call my boss and allow him to go home and enjoy the tender things in life (including the bottle of Patron I bought him in a lost bet).  There was, however, a problem that I ran into after being there for only a few hours.  I thought of it as “Young Artist Syndrome” YAS.

The young artist will sometimes become so consumed by his or her work that they forget about their real lives and work. This will sometimes allude them to the belief that if they put all of their heart and soul into the marketing and the development of new work that they shall succeed.  “I could easily make a million” I caught myself thinking moments before I came up with the clarifying statement that smacked me back to reality.

It could be quiet unfortunate that I had to come back as I was drifting in my thoughts of some of the things that I had been working on in my previous day off.  There wasn’t much.  It included setting fire to all of the dead wood laying around my mothers lawn, trying to comfort my terrified niece (she was terrified of me!), and smoking cigarettes in between my battles of getting things done and yet have that nagging yearning to lay down on the couch and watch Harry Potter ten times over.

Then while smoking a cigarette I thought about my website.  My website of minimal quality due to my minimal experience in HTML.  But then I thought of all the wonderful templates out there and how I could make them work for me.  Finding a site generating free material was only a google click away.  I designed my new site with wix.com and was well on my way.  Then I thought about my blog.  I thought about my other writing ventures.  And I thought, of course, of  writing my third novel.

All in all, (I’m wrapping this up quickly) It’s simply the American dream to drop everything that you consider “work” and go on doing what it is that you love and what you are truly great at.  Young Artist Syndrome or The American Dream, all at the same time can seem to be outside of the grasp of this lifetime.  It’s that giving up, however, that prevents most from succeeding, and giving the leverage to those that just won’t quit.

Two Signings back to back

Today is the Tuesday that is following the exciting changes that have been coming about in my writing world as of late.  Signing books, smiling and greeting passerbys, and talking with some of the most intelligent local authors are just a few of the things that sum up the past two weeks.

The excitement had actually begun back in March when I made a brave few calls.  First I called around to some book stores.  I called Moravian Book Store in Bethlehem, The Book Rack, and Another Story all in Allentown.  Each store respectfully declined my request to host a few copys in their store.  Then the Public Relations Guru inside told me to try a Cafe for a book signing.  The first one I called was the Hard Bean in Southside Bethlehem.  The man there talked quietly into the phone.  He had an accent that I was unable to place, but he chuckled at the idea of having his first author’s signing at his place.

I was so nervous sitting here in my office chair, google maps up, and a pen and paper in hand.  I had asked, “Would you be interested?” The nervousness surmounted as my eyes widened and I trained my ears to listen for the slightest hint of disregard, or unenthusiasm.  He responded quickly in his slight syrian drawl “Yes, when?”

I had months to get some sort of marketing scheme thrown together.  I had drawn up a full marketing plan with projections, target markets and so on and so forth.  It was then that I seriously considedred an intern.  I have and had a full time job, have and had a third book I was constantly trying to work on, and had little to no marketing experience.

The day before my first ever signing I was becoming quiet ill.  Anytime one of my servers said something about the signing I felt my stomach clench, as I clenched for it.  I could feel the unwanted anxiousness flood over my entire body. I thought on how happy I should be if four people showed up, but couldn’t stop hoping that one-hundred would.  Then as if all at once, purposely waiting for the right moment to attack came the fear of no one showing up.  The fear of money lost and the possiblity of looking like a joke to the Cafe owner.

Then we have the day of.  The smile on my face was ridiculous as Cory starts shooting away.  My mom and sister’s boyfriend came out to help set up. There were flowers waiting at the cafe for me that Cory had sent to say “good luck”.  Michelle’s cupcakes were luscious and so professional looking at the food buffet I turned out to have.  The spread was complete with biscotti, double chocolate biscotti (OMG!), chocolate ganache cupcakes, banana nut muffins, corn muffins, cheese, crackers, and dip! As we’re all setting up I get an email from Chris over at Moravian Book store who would soon to be hosting a book signing.

How could I deny that!

I signed on even before the 48 people that came out to my signing began showing up.  Two weeks later I sat with five other local author’s signing away at the oldest book store in the country.  This was another great experience in which I got the chance to meet with all of the other great talent that we have within the valley.

Currently I am planning some future events in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley Pride Festival, and maybe even a signing or speach in Tampa Florida!

It was because of these past two weeks that I have been inspired to continue on with the work that I am doing.  People are starting to see my name and read my books.  I wrote to be read, and now I read to write.  The most I can hope is that others will read what I wrote….AND LIKE IT!

See you all soon!