…”when is the next book coming out?” here’s what’s up. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but my internal generalization (false though it may be) says if you’re reading this post then you may have asked me that title question or you may have read something I’ve written & maybe you care what’s in the Karen J. Hasley pipeline. My last published book was Circled Heart out in January of 2010, but I haven’t been sitting around eating bon-bons (do you know the Ray Bradbury short story about the last 2 people left on earth? Sitting around eating bon-bons always makes me think of it 🙂 ) and pondering the mysteries of life. No indeed. In no particular order, here’s what keeps me (more than) busy:
1) Researching & approaching literary agents. (see my post just prior to this one for the details of doing so. It’s a time-consuming process.) I haven’t been especially happy with the small off-off Broadway Print-on-Demand publisher I’ve used for all 4 of my books (To be fair, I think it’s the POD industry, not the publisher, but their accounting is not transparent & they’re always $$-motivated instead of service-motivated; just try talking to a live person once the book is out! Impossible!) So I made the decision – for the umpteenth time – to try to convince a reputable literary agent to represent me to major, mainstream publishers (Most of both agents & publishers are located in NYC.) I queried 10 agents, received 8 immediate rejections, had 2 initial nibbles – sent additional info – & was ultimately rejected by both. I haven’t given up & continue to add to my list of agents to approach.
2) The agent rejections, however, moved me along to contact those few publishers that will deal directly with the author without an agent. I sent The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone (o, a lovely story!- not part of my Laramie Series but a wonderful female protagonist, set in the Piney Woods of east Texas in 1877, & supplemented with old TX recipes) to major NYC Avon Publishing in April so should know yea or nay by the end of July. Sent Claire, After All & Listening to Abby to e-publisher Wild Rose Press in May & June so I hope to hear back by the end of summer. (Those 2 books are lightweight; 2 of a series of 3 I wrote set in Victorian England & just meant to be a quick, fun read)
3) I am polishing (that is, rereading in detail & editing as I go) Gold Mountain, book 5 of the Laramie series. GM brings into the storyline several characters from the 1st 4 Laramie books: the dysfunctional Gallagher parents from San Francisco (find them at the beginning of Waiting for Hope, in Where Home Is, & Circled Heart, too,) Johanna Swan as a young girl (the female protagonist of Circled Heart,) & Hope Birdwell’s mother Bea from Waiting for Hope) seen at the very end of her unfortunate life. The 2 literary agents that looked at the 1st 50 pages of GM said it did not “grab” them. I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll pay attention & see if I can make the novel “grabbier.” (but without compromising style or content or storyline, which may be tricky)
4) I am rereading my 1st 25,000 words of the last book of the Laramie series – tentatively titled Magnificent Farewell from a Wilfred Owen poem (Owen was perhaps the most famous WW1 poet; he died in the war.) The book is set in the WWI timeframe. Gus – Lou & John’s youngest child from Lily’s Sister – fights in the first world war & it’s his story, really, tho told through another’s eyes. This is my 4th try at starting the book, which has never happened to me before – all my other books wrote themselves; all I did was punch the keys – & that makes me think it will end up being really wonderful, best-of-the-best or really awful. (Let’s hope for the former.) Although if I don’t find an agent or improved publisher, it’s unlikely it will ever be judged by anyone but me.
5) Blogging. This isn’t done by a ghost-writer, you know. Thought & time & editing all go into what you’re reading at this very moment. (& I haven’t found the spellcheck button yet so my hint of ocd kicks in before I ever hit the ‘publish’ button – you’d be shocked at how many times I read this post before it goes live!)
Of course, there’s day to day life, too – making the house payment & weeding the garden & keeping up with my part-time job & reading my Father’s Word – but it’s absolutely true that when I’m not writing physically fingertip to keyboard I’m writing mentally, always thinking about stories & characters & settings & dialogue. I have a blessed life, for sure! (A crowded brain being a happy brain, apparently) Part of that blessed life, the internal part if you will, sometimes overflows with ideas & words. The grace upon grace with which I’ve been showered still holds the power to surprise me. I don’t know how or when that literary faucet turned on – or even who’s at the spigot – but I consider it a gift & I wouldn’t have it any other way.