Today on The Back Deck Blog, I'm hosting Oak Tree Press author, James R. Callan, author of "A Ton of Gold" and the Catholic-themed mystery/suspense novel, "Cleansed by Fire" (which incidentally deals with the issue of the seal of confession... a very well-done story!)
Stop by and read about this colleague of mine who has also published several non-fiction books on the craft of writing.
Sorry I haven't responded sooner! I mulled over your question and I think my initial reaction is that:
"... a book about the rebirth of American Catholic education."
sounds like non-fiction, a study on the rebirth of American Catholic education. And since I'm not a "fan" of a lot of non-fiction, my initial reaction would be "no".
tell me that it's the story of a group of high school students (give a short description--high achievers, troublemakers, non-Catholics, etc.--who are faced with the challenges brought about with the rebirth of American Catholic education and you might get a spark of interest from me. Indicate what's at stake, what conflict are they facing, how their characters change. The story should be about the characters, not about the situation.
Give us what's known as a "30 second pitch"... tell us what your story is about in 30 seconds or less. Or 50 or 100 words or less. Engage us with what you can tell us in that time span or word count. THAT is the heart of your story!
Hope this helps!
Why yes, the story is about a group of Catholic high school students - some non-Catholic, some who are high achievers, and some who are just plain immature oddballs because of the fact that they're adolescents. The main characters are constantly faced with the challenge that they are out of place within this new Catholic Education, and so they try their best to fit in or belong. For some it is trying to put themselves in a more positive light; for others, it is the desire to be converted into the Catholic faith.
Unfortunately, I am not finished with it yet, but I am about two thirds finished with it. More importantly, I should probably be done by the end of the year at the latest. But however, I do have a copy of the first half up for sale.
Does anyone know of any blogs for writers? I have a list I posted on my blog (I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by a fellow author) and I'd like others to add to the list. It always helps to see that others have the same struggles with our craft and peek into the lives of other authors.
The blogs don't necessarily have to be by Catholic writers.
I was actually thinking along the lines of the renaissance of Catholic Education in the United States during the early 21st century.
I guess that hasn't happened yet, so it would be future history. So you'd be free to write anything you can think of.
It helps, of course, to focus on a few characters and the impact of the events on their lives.
If I might make a suggestion, it would be to always re-read one's posts to make sure there is no confusion, no chance of being read as angry or putting someone down. We are all here to support one another.
The number of views of this thread is approaching five thousand although I haven't posted since Jun 3. This is very gratifying.
For the record,
I've been working on a painting for a new cover image. It will be the same scene as the current one, Theresa in Pyongyang, North Korea,
but this time the camera view looks down the avenue showing the South Korean tank column some hundred yards from Theresa. The South Korean soldiers are spread out on the ground aiming their guns at the crowd. It's spectacular. Also, Theresa has an expression appropriate to the situation ( and her age ).
Theresa narrates, "Would the crowd attack us? I didn't believe it. They had to know a hundred thousand people would be shot down in the first second."
Also, I'm proofreading the text for the fifteenth or so time and hopefully the last time. I'm just changing a few words.
The final version of the book should be on Amazon in middle or late August, just in time for the new school year.
There'll also be a KINDLE edition.
I think you might be on the safe side by asking folks interested in reviewing your work to visit this group for more details, rather than touting your book (which, even if you're not, is what it might sound like) on the regular forums.
If it's been a year since you wrote the admin, you might try again before deciding what to do.
Also, have you checked out the forums on National Novel Writing Month's website (nanowrimo.org)? I believe there is one specifically for Catholic writers, as well as one for sci-fi and dystopian fiction writers, and you might be able to connect with someone willing to trade reviews with you.
A deadline certainly complicates things (to put it mildly) but I think at least a day or two away from the manuscript might freshen your mind so you don't spend a week or two agonizing over the "boring" parts. Couldn't hurt!
I have taken Pope St. John Paul II as my literary patron... but I also have a statue of St. Paul in my office. My own personal "St." Paul is my husband (Paul) who is great at catching typos and helping me edit my manuscripts.
For sure, St. Paul understands how writers need to grow a thick skin to deal with criticism... though our critics are less likely to take a sword to our necks!
There will be at least a third novel, and maybe a fourth. The third is in the polishing phase (I spend most of my writing time there), but the fourth is still just a fuzzy idea in my head. I'll put a lot of prayer into it and see if anything develops.
Glad you enjoyed both books!
Haha, I just went back to the beginning of Nearer the Dawn where Hezera is trying to terrorize Monica and it doesn't work. I really like that part.
You'll have a better chance with indie publishers if your book has a religious theme rather than with mainstream publishers. It never hurts to check their guidelines (most are available on their websites) and see what they are actively seeking. My publisher, Oak Tree Press, has published a couple of books where the characters are very much devout Catholics, but the books are not marketed as religious fiction. In fact, their Catholicism is not the focus nor theme of the story... the characters just happen to be Catholic. Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson, and Dean Koontz have all had mainstream success with Catholic characters in the secular publishing world.
Good luck and keep us posted! You're in my prayers!