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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

Back that thang up!

So I recently wrote about my visit to Arlington Virginia. What a wonderful trip it was. I was free to roam, but checked in with the boyfriend for lunch and at the end of the meetings, but any other time I spent roaming. While here I decided to take time to review my book. Walking the streets of Washington D.C. I found a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration as I walked down the streets that were written in my book. I could see my characters on the street corner, mid parade. I could see the White house where President Andrew Rakford spent a great amount of his time. I also walked along the Potomac which would soon be filled with blood to spite those searching for water in the excruciating heat.

Sitting at Starbucks (my FINAL cafe stopping point) I put my mind to the key board. I reviewed the opening chapter and wrote words that would make my buddy (Austin) proud. I spent two hours on the opening paragraph alone, and wrote words that impressed my worst critic (myself). The sentences flowed into each other, each new thought tied in with the previous one. Words were written that brought the visualization into the simple structure of each sentence. I wowed myself!

I recently began reviewing a chapter that I had sent to Austin for his review. When I noticed that I continued to call one of the items a “stealthy” my eyebrows furrowed in question. I thought I fixed that? I wondered. I then opened up the copy of “The Unexpected” that I thought I had been working on and experienced that sensation where your heart sinks into your stomach. I DELETED the wrong copy of my book!

What was I thinking!? I was simply trying to organize my desktop, I made a change in a different version, and deleted based upon “last updated!” Now as I write this I am working on recovering that file that I deleted. All other attempts have produced a document that resembles an odd code of boxes, and a few Arabic symbols. I ran to Cory for assistance. He tried, but nothing really seemed like it was working.

In conclusion, it is within my belief that had I kept things a bit more organized, and reviewed the work that I was deleting (WHY WOULDN’T I!) I would not currently be in this situation. So with no further a’do; Always make sure that you back up the hard work that you do, so you don’t loose it like THIS dumb ass!

Happy writing (and deleting appropriate files)

Caleb A. Mertz

Therapy 2

Both Chad and Greg had a full day to think about the night prior. Chad had gone to work only moments before Greg left for work. All day at the office Chad had replayed the night prior. What was Greg getting at? There was no resolve. Instead the idea toiled at his mind. It flipped it, then slapped it, and asked, who’s your daddy! Work was short of miserable.

Getting home in a mood that was quite unlike any that he’d been in before Chad went quickly for more beer. Sitting on the deck he stared seriously into the moon. Trying to sway his mind away from the issue discussed previously he opened yet another beer.

Enter Greg.

“Can we get past this?” Greg sincerely asked. Chad considered him for a moment. Had he had the day Chad had? Or was this a ploy to get past what was his fault and move on without feeling any guilt, remorse, or emotion.

“We can,” Chad responded intelligently. On his fourth beer by the time Greg got home, the shattered beer bottles nearly spelled out disaster.

“Good. So how was your day?” Greg asked. His manner was that of somebody who had no clue what was going on. Someone that came in on the last part of a joke.

“Miserable.” Chad wanted to let it go. He yearned for this to be something of the past.

“Great!” Greg laughed. He took a swig of his own beer, then swayed his crossed legs momentarily. “So nothing ever changes with you.” He said passive aggressively.

“Nope.” Chad proclaimed,” At least you know I’m dependable.” He looked at Greg grudgingly. How dare he! Thought Chad.

“Yup, miserable as always.” Greg mulled.

“Only because of you.” Chad retorted quickly. It wasn’t the most responsible response. Nor was it really what he was thinking.

“Okay. With that I think I’m going inside.”

“No you’re not!” Chad voiced strongly.

“I think I’m going to sleep on the couch.”

“No you’re not!” Chad said again. This was how it always went. Chad would have feelings, and yet Greg wanted to treat them as if they were inconvenient. He wanted to show that he was strong. He wanted to show that no one had an impact on how he would live his life. “That will only make things worse.”

“I thought you said we could get past this.”

“I did!” Chad’s frustration was building. He had to talk his way through things. He couldn’t just let go of something. Scientific about his method, there always had to be a reason for everything.

“Sooo….”

“Oh my God, forget it Greg! You’ll never listen to me!”

“Okay, on that I’m going to bed. On the couch.”

“Fine! Do what you will. That’s how you want it anyway!”

“True.” Greg smiled. Although the love of his life was clearly upset, this was a point he had to make. At no point was there ever going to be somebody that told him what to do.

It will never end,  Thought Chad. Greg since, stood and went inside. The silence quickly surrounded Chad. It was suffocating. The cigarette he was smoking increased his heart rate, and constricted his chest. The beer he was drinking force thoughts of other options quickly. The blackness soared from the core of his mind into the every part of his being. He sleeps on the couch, he’s dead! thought Chad. The negativity pulsated through the beer he practically chugged. The nauseating feeling, only urged him to drink further. Now anger crept into each extremity, each crevice, and by far every pore. He could hear the couch jostling around. Only beer, alcohol, or other mind altering substance could help him now. Greg had Xanax that he could steal. Going against everything he had argued about in the past, he opened the pill container dumped a single pill out, and consumed it with as much alcohol as could be handled. He soon passed out, calm as could be, at peace.

How’s Your writing Going?

The stress of the slowness of the day was beginning to weigh on me. I stepped outside into the humid and disgusting night. The bugs flew violently around the light. I always wondered how they didn’t kill themselves when they continuously slam into the light bulb. A spider near the light scrambled frantically to capture every bug that came towards the light. I meandered on by. As long as the damn thing didn’t hang down and land on me, my face, or my person, I would be okay. The picnic table set up under the bridge was only occupied by a few employees. Each one, with cigarette in hand, either engaged in a loud conversation, or looking concernedly over the railroad tracks near by. I chose to walk over to the only young man sitting by himself. His name is Mike, he works as a bar porter. Upon the initial greets he was excited to ask, “how’s the writing going?”

It was only a moment long. It felt to have been forever. The thoughts that poured through my mind at the smallest question was dizzying. How HAS my writing been going? I began listing things in my mind. I began quantifying the little things that I have been accomplishing. Then again, the Agent’s interest that I had recently had extinguished, and my blog has sat vacant, yet again.

“Good…” I responded. Good? I asked myself. How does good measure up to where it should be? Where have my studies been? Why haven’t I logged onto webook.com or fanstory.com? What am I doing!!!!!!?

With this I pose the question to you. If you have followed my blog you are either a fan, or you might be writing something yourself. How are you doing with your writing? Is there something more you could be doing? Is there something more you SHOULD be doing? Think about it, and post your random thoughts. If you know me, you know I love random thougths…I have a whole section assigned to thoughts.

Talk to me people!

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

The first “Partial” request

Good Afternoon!

March 19th was a monumental writing day. That is the day that I got my first request for a partial manuscript! I have queried some twenty five agents and I finally got a response. Reading over the email she sent requesting the material left me reading it over four then five times. When I got home that evening I was able to sit down and really read through the email. Very specific instructions were outlined in the email, and asked for a two page synopsis, a biography, and the first fifty pages of my manuscript, double spaced with .5 inch margins all around…justified.

Querying, itself, has proven to be a difficult task. The first obstacle is finding a website that gives information on any agent or agency. Then you have to read each persons biography to find out which one, if any, will appeal to your style of story. Once you have found the perfect match, there is a process of rewriting the letter to meet the specific needs of the agent. The rest, we have all done a thousand times. OH and by all means don’t forget to compare your letter to Query shark.

I was completely unaware of the additional items that were needed once a partial was requested. I thought my query was as chopped down a synopsis as you could get! I began my search at 2 o’clock in the morning to find out what she might have been looking for when it came to a synopsis. Seeking representation means you have to play by their rules and ensure that everything meets their requirements before you can even decide if you want them or not. Oh, yes! Don’t forget that you can go through all of these hoops and ladders and finally decide that this is not the agent for you.

It took three days before I could respond to the email I was so excited to finally receive. I read through those first fifty pages about fifty times. I then had to write an acceptable synopsis using Nathan Bransford’s blog as a guideline. I then dusted off an old biography, fixed it up then sent my reply. Now I shall wait 12 weeks before I inquire if she liked it or not, but here’s hoping that I get a full request soon!

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

I’m not asking for too much

It’s not often that someone reports on the down side of writing. I don’t mean the bad associations, but the artist’s pain that usually coincides with the writing. I have often found myself locked (literally) into a room with all but the light coming from my computer, pitched into darkness. Albeit the sun hasn’t decided to shine on this day. It makes me feel a bit better. When I can’t talk things out I can always express them in some sort of writing. When I can’t read others work because of my anxiety, at least I know I can write it out.

Often, just with any other artists work, pain, worry, anxiety, depression, and other horrible feelings circle around writing. I only hope that the writer has a way of letting this all out into the words artfully scratched across the screen.

Happy Writing,

Caleb A. Mertz

Ten Opening Sentences

Each of these ten opening sentences are mine. Not taken from some other place or time. Feel free to use them if you will.

– Ties of each color illuminated the closet, fat ones, little ones, short bow ties, they all had a purpose, all had a time.

– Daniel Schmidting stared into the corner of the single room apartment his sister owned, while her first client of the day began to take away any of the morality that she had left.

– She had been praying for it to happen, and just as she had done before, she looked to the doorway.

– The java machine began spitting and slurping away at the water provided, while Jenkins stood over pondering the mistakes of last night.

– April fields left barren, still rumbling of the feeling of new life, stretch across Liani’s sight.

– He had read every book that stood on his shelf, he was bored, he wanted more, he couldn’t go outside, yet maybe today was the day.

– Blueberry muffins were baking in the oven when young Alivander woke.

– His car had come to a screeching halt in the fast lane of the highway, as a man lay head first still praying that Fred’s car would continue the trek it was on, and run over his brain.

– A normal load of laundry lured Sumil to the basement, where the tar like substance had congealed just above the machine.

– “I’m trying to make it easy for both of us,” Adrianna said before allowing the painful tears to begin their torrent down her face.

Bad Query, Good Query

By this time I am almost terrified to post anything more on my queries.  It, at times, feels like my babies ripping my hair out for me.  I am sure that my facebook friends are tired of me asking them to check out the latest query.  Even though I realize this I am still re-writing the damned query!

One night I sat down and rewrote my letter and thought ‘This is great! It tells the story and kind of tells what the books about‘ — Well the very next day I woke up and reread the query being nothing but excited.  I was overwhelmed with a horrible and sickening emotion.  Heck, now it just read as if it were a faith novel about the end times!  I am not querying christian faith agents, but mainstream fiction/ thriller types.  So I write again.

I come up with another one that seems cool.  AH! I can’t write a friggin query letter that “Seems cool”!  I re-write again.  I feel content with the opening paragraph and focus on the second.  After re-reading it about thirty times and making small grammatical corrections, I am dissatisfied with the first paragraph.  Those first few words are what determine if the agent will continue to read.  Ultimately I realize that this process takes some serious time, but boy is it ever fun.  It creates the possibility to exercise all of my creative writing skills along with practicing my grammar.  This isn’t such a bad thing.

Anyway, only when I have a query letter that wows me as the author will I post it.  I will keep everyone posted till then, but just wanted to rant here for a bit.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

I need an insightful blog!

What a wonderful day it has been so far.  I woke up at 12 with a bad headache and feeling like I would never be able to drink enough water, let alone get to it.  Smoked a cigarette, had some coffee and now sit in front of my computer wondering what to type next.  I am disconcerted with the fact that I can’t just make a random blog stating something about my life, but one that needs to be insightful.

Many things were swimming through my head, all pertaining to me that I wish I could scream across the internet.  No one wants to read about how I spoke too much last night, I was up until six, or that Dewar’s twelve and ginger ale tastes very similar to Dewar’s white label and ginger ale…  One of the main reasons that I have this blog is so that I can do a writing exercise but put it out there in public form creating something for people to read.

Any way I still hate where this is going, so I am going to stop it here.  I hope however that you don’t ever just write to write, but write to get better.  Write to develop your creative muscles and write to expand the little world you call your own.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz