Category Archives: feedback

Contract’s almost up!

It has been something that I have recently thought about. I have spent hours modifying my books to be e-books on smashwords.com. While perusing my first book published “With Thoughts of Jason” I discovered that my contract with Publish America is almost up! I couldn’t be more excited! How messed up is that? This company went above their means and agreed to format my book, and offer it  for sale through multiple locations. They also told me that my book was “fairly” priced! HA! I try to find my book on their sight and it’s going for $25.00 while Hemmingway ( a TRUE artist) is selling for $10. Fair my behind!

With thoughts of Jason was one of those books that the writer gets truly excited about. The first book that has been picked up by a “publisher” that will publish my work. However, naive at the time, I didn’t realize that zero editing would go into it, and that the book would be sold as is. I did however believe that the book was ready to rock when I finally decided to say yes to this company. Now, through the times, I realize that this had been a bad move on my end. There is however, HOPE!

Through publishing with a media center I am able to take what my book was, apply everything that I have learned since then, and write a book that will be worth the time of the reader. One thing I always felt bad about (worst! the more I learned about writing) was people picking up this book. What an awful feeling. Why should I be embarrassed to sell a book that I wrote. Why should I feel strange about recommending a book for someone to read. I could have been more vigilant when deciding to publish, yet I was so struck with enthusiasm that I didn’t pay much mind to the actual flow of the story.

Now that the contract is coming to a close, I can re-write the entire book. I can add the necessary descriptions, play with the readers mind, and provoke further thought on every single object that is brought up through the character’s development. This is the big project that is sure to follow that of “The Unexpected” while I learn to hone my writing skills even further. By the time you read this, though, I am sure that the newest version will be available. So definitely check out the links, and pick up a copy for you, your kindle, nook, or other e-reader.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

Sentence flow in…

The tables against the wall were only occupied by a single man playing on his laptop. The distance of the search was several miles, though the city was only a few blocks long. I had peered into every sidewalk window that I could. I made myself uncomfortable as I frantically searched for a place to sit with an outlet near by. The laptop doesn’t hold a charge anymore, so being completely wireless is impossible. The people watchers watched as I passed time and time again, going down different roads in my hunt.

I had a complex. I don’t spend much time in a city, so I wanted to experience it the best I could. I wanted to be able to hunch over my story while people passed, greeted, conversed, or glanced at me. I wanted people to see me sitting in a cafe, with the bold font across my screen “CHAPTER ONE.” I finally wound up where I had initially parked in a relatively busy part of Arlington Virginia’s Business District. Starbucks. They’re everywhere, yet I found my home here.

After ordering my venti iced quad caramel macchiato, I began to review my book THE UNEXPECTED. I decided to revamp my writing, after recently having the partial request denied and seeking feedback from a community of writers on webook.com. Something I noticed immediately was my over use of adjectives, sentence structure, and the constant start and stop of irregular sentences. I began breaking them apart. Since the man next to me was on a conference call, and speaking loudly I decided I could actually read the sentences out loud. Oh My Goodness! I rewrote the first sentence three times, the second twice. Then I read the third, and decided I could combine the third with the first. I HAD A BLAST! Next thing I knew I had a completely transformed initial paragraph. Something that portrayed emotion and feeling. What a rush when you can read something written three years ago in a different light. A different tone. A different sense of the beginning of the story. A renewed sense of joy for rewriting.

Sentence flow. Why haven’t I picked up on this before? I have been taking an on-line course of sorts through M.I.T.
(this is the link here)
which is helping me read and write a little better. The course is entirely free, and the book cost me maybe five dollars through Amazon.com. Pretty much it’s amazing. Definitely check it out! And here’s to happy (re)writing!!!!

As always comment, critique, but with construction in mind.

Caleb A. Mertz

Getting Closer!

Good News!

I have been struggling with my latest book for what feels like a bit more than a year now. I currently have three days to get something together, and still accomplish tons for work. Day one of it all, I think I may have put together a query that works, and designed a cover to help me visualize the completion of the project. The cover I made up is shown (though I’m sure it won’t really look like this) along with the query letter. So please take a look, read it over, and let me know what you think!

Dear Nick Mullendore,

Thousands gathered at the White House to hear Andrew Rakford’s inaugural address. At the closing statements, the first explosions of the Great Christian Revolt mutilated hoards of people. With bodies strewn across the lawn Rakford has seconds to determine a course of action, however, something horrendous had already begun, God’s plan.

President Rakford forced into a war he would never end, quickly learns his path of peace isn’t as easily attainable as once thought. In attempts to eliminate the threat presented he finds it necessary for national security to raid a church group because they were moving heavy weaponry. The pastor of the church was named most wanted because camera’s showed him throwing a grenade into a crowd. He must also list suspects based on religious practice as current intelligence validates Christians behind each event. Every situation is causing him to stand against his morality, yet increases his popularity internationally.

His mother, in his meditation, reassures him God has a plan. Meditation was the only way to see her since her death. Once his meditations begin to deteriorate, the lady in white shows him into this new role of world leader. Though he couldn’t clearly see where God came into everything, there was no better way to fool everyone than to fool the man himself. Now with two plans in play, only the strongest can prevail to reveal the best president ever or something of the worst imagination, The Unexpected.

 

THE UNEXPECTED is a 70,000 word novel. An end of times thriller, tuning into the fears of 2012 yet promising a world past this. I have had entries published on About.com, Examiner.com, and Suite101.com. Reviews of other work can be found at jclarkmedia.com, bookpleasures.com, and pulseweekly.com. Publications such as Lehigh Valley Style Magazine, The Morning Call, and Carlisle’s “The Sentinel” also reviewed some of my work.

Partial or full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time.

Caleb A. Mertz

 

 

I Will Write That Novel!

Readers,

Good Morning!

What an inspiration blog I posted last night! I then got to thinking, The new year is upon us Caleb! So true!

I realize then, as I am about to shut down my computer that I have yet again something that someone might find of value. Three years ago on new years I was playing with the thought of a hot new boyfriend after breaking up with the last. While toying with this thought I decided to begin a new novel. I was living with my mother (for about the third time!) and I spoke with her on a regular basis. She always had to say “You’re a mighty man of God” at the end of every conversation.

I took it and reverberated something back to her, but ultimately the wheels in my mind were turning. I wanted to take those words and warp them into a twisted version of what they could possibly mean. That’s exactly what I’ve done three years later with my book, “The Unexpected”. However, it took me THREE years to write!

Why can’t we just write a book in a year? Well you can! Writing can be an easy process to follow as long as you have a dedicated time to set apart for that special event. And I mean SPECIAL EVENT. You never know when someone in the future might hold your work and say, “this is GOLD!”

This is one tidbit that I have always taken to heart. Write as often as you can, or at any given scheduled time. There were times that I couldn’t sleep and I would email myself at Sprint speed through my blackberry to ensure I wouldn’t forget the ideas that were teaming inside of my head.

Try to write everyday. One lady I spoke with just the other day informed me that she wakes up and has her coffee, then grabs a pen at the last dregs and begins writing out her stories. I agreed that this was a great idea because, “in R.E.M sleep your mind is the most imaginative. Therefore, the closer you are to that stage, the more creative your writing can be.” – Though I realize this isn’t always going to be a true, it sure does make a great statement of encouragement to find time to write.

Either way, be sure to map out your novel so that you can revert back to it at any given time. Be sure to plot out your characters as if they were real people. ( I did astrology on my guys and gave them all birthdays just to get a good ploy on personality. I then decided how they would react in certain situations and translated that into my writing.)

So if your new years resolution is to finish, or begin that novel, DO IT! I believe in you, and so does anyone else that reads this blog. (I’d love to hear about your progress! my email is on my about me page!) So best of luck to you and may your goals be realized.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Caleb A. Mertz

My third Query Letter

Writing a query letter to an agent is something that seems like a horrible task when reviewed and researched on-line.  Never being one to quit I took the advice of many agents, authors, and reviewers into view when compiling this query.  Please tell me what you think, and again take the poll.

“The climbing number of terrorist actions had brought the world to Washington D.C. for Mr. Rakford’s inauguration.  At a place of peace and in a time of hope did death and fear strike by the force of “Christian” terrorists.

Andrew Rakford, 35, was a man of altruistic authority when he was named President of the United States.  Wanting to take the woes of the world and turn them into victories along with the wrongs into rights, would he make the world a better place.  He wasn’t, however, the only one with a plan.  His mother always reminded him that God had many great things for him to accomplish, but as these plans came to confrontation the world began taking an agonizing turn.  Though they melded and worked perfectly together, it remained tethered at the final result of Andrew.  Would he be the best president in years, releasing the world of the terrorist hold, or the greatest evil known to man in the form of the Antichrist?”

“You’re a Malaprop!”

I have distributed my latest novel to many different readers.  Some that I am very familiar with, and some that I hardly know.  While searching for a manuscript that had been distributed I ran into the young lady that was reading it for me.  “I told my husband,” She began, “that you’re just as bad a malaprop as he is!”  Then she laughed.

In the time of getting feedback on your novel there is no time for feelings to get involved or twisted into the work you have spent so many man hours over.  You have to accept the honesty of the reader to help make your work one that will resonate better with the masses that will hopefully be reading your story.

I was so embarrassed that I didn’t know what a malaprop was when I had to ask, “What’s that?”  It was one of those saddening feats where you feel that you will never be good enough.  This young lady is an avid reader, and a highly intellectual one at that.  She proceeded to tell me that she loved the work, but it had it’s errors.  I know it has errors it was only the second draft!  Why I decided to have readers look it over at only the second draft is beyond me….No it’s not.  I tend to think that my work is different.  My work doesn’t require an editor or some outside influence.  This sort of thinking may explain why my first two books were only published by Publish America.

Malapropism:

Luckily for me, being a malaprop isn’t so bad.  You just have to use a dictionary (much like any one else) in some very specific cases.  Oh and having an intelligent reader or editor is a great key to this as well.  None the less, I felt completely incompetent once I had come to understand the meaning of this word, and knowing that it pretty much meant you weren’t intelligent enough to tell the difference between two words.

Here’s to many other self realization facts in the near future!


(ˈmæləprɒpˌɪzəm) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
n
1. the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one of similar sound, esp when creating a ridiculous effect, as in I am not under the affluence of alcohol


possible synopsis…

Good morning! I am writing to you now with the hopes that some of you will happily provide some feedback on which of the following three synopsis’ would make you want to read “The Unexpected”

#1

Everyday across the media there are invigorating statements relating to the end of the world.  Nostradamus, the Bible, and the mayan calendar all predict the end to be in 2012.  What if we lived to see a world beyond this where there was peace and abundance.  What if this was the perfect world to begin the ultimate chapter of the end, the Revelation.

When Andrew Rakford becomes President of the United States of America he wishes his mother was there because she was the one that always said that God had a great plan for him.  Now as he grows and survives multiple terrorist attacks his life begins to change without much more than a thought towards it.  Forgetting his mother and moving forward with his own plans he soon finds what this great plan had always been.  The Anti-Christ has never been  a position that has been so well taken with a drive and dillegence as by Andrew Rakford

#2

The threats of 2012 loom everyday on the news, in our minds, and across civilization.  What if we made it past this to see a world that initiates it’s president with an Inaugural massacre which makes way to the great Christian Revolt?  “The Unexpected” creates a world much like the one we live in today but filled with anxious twists of what’s norm, from Christian terrorists, blatant execution without due diligence, and modern day concentration camps.

Andrew Rakford is a young President of the United States starting out at the youngest age allowable, 35.  With a swarm of warped memories of his childhood and life practices Andrew is capable of using charm as well as intelligence in attempts to literally make everybody happy.  Till he learns of the truth of his mother’s reactions to his life, and the true reason why his father had left so many years ago does he remain a man of unfathomable patience and kindness.  Smart twists to the plot and story line add the dramatic effect of this novel never truly allowing the reader to see what will happen, though told through a third person omniscient point of view.

#3

Imagine that you are at the ripe young age of 35.  You’ve just received a promotion where you feel you can make everything better, the wrongs into rights and the woes into victories.  You’re mother always used to tell you that you were going to be a mighty man of God after a priest had prophesized this for you.  Here you sit being agnostic, but still having a love for your deceased mother, her lovely sayings, and realistic revelations.

The Christians have united and created a terrorist group that is reigning destruction on the United States and countries abroad because they feel that the government has become too corrupt to go on.  A combination of assassination attempts, terrorist attacks, and a plethora of missing people finally makes you initiate a plan in order to keep the world safe.  A plan that would ensure people follow you, and don’t oppose you.  A plan where the world is the edge of your every command.  You now know that you are the President of the United States, and you are the Anti-christ.


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