Blog For My New Book – Discussion With My Agent

BookCoverImage

My agent asked me to describe my writing-

  • I said it consisted of a number of themes and genres.
  • Go on he said.
  • Its about crime, humour and mystery I said.
  • Good he said.
  • Golf, and elements of the supernatural – angels.
  • OK.
  • Massive themes encompassing God, fallen angels and mortality.
  • Very good.
  • The action is set in Wales.
  • Ah.
  • In the 1930s ish.
  • I see.
  • Other real characters that appear are Bobby Jones…
  • The golfer?
  • Walter Hagen…
  • The golfer?
  • And Amy Johnson.
  • ?
  • The airline pilot woman, (pause) and golfer.
  • I see.
  • (pause)
  • Other writers have a mix of genres I said.
  • They do.
  • Shakespeare wrote plays, sonnets, historical dramas, comedies, tragedies, regicide.
  • He did.
  • With books set in Italy, England, Turkey, the Czech Republic.
  • Correct.
  • With themes of madness, love, feminism, murder, the supernatural.
  • All true. He said. He didn’t put all of them in one book though did he?
  • Maybe not.
  • Are you deliberately trying to hurt me?
  • ?
  • How would I pitch this book? – a Welsh, crime, fantasy, sporting, mystery thriller, set in the era of hard boiled private eyes, concerning religion and humour.
  • Above all humour.
  • Above all humour. Can you see my problems?
  • ? I said.
  • Where would customers find it on the shelf of a bookshop For instance? Welsh writing? Humour? Crime? Fantasy? Sport?
  • Good point. They would find it next to Malcolm Pryce. I said. Ask his agent.
  • It’s hard. So hard.
  • Why are you crying?
  • Byron Kalies – ‘It’s About a Murder, Cariad.’ out soon (Fiction – general)

Literary Agent – Worst Job in the World?

worst-jobs

Worst Job than a Literary Agent?

I wouldn’t be a literary agent if my life depended on it. Could you image a more unpleasant job? Well, maybe a few (like the illustration above), but really. It must be like being a parent to a needy, whinny child who needs constant reassurance, love and patting on the head – without any of the good bits. Even before that stage you would have to wade through a torrent of needy, whinny or arrogant, presumptuous pitches. It’s this that must make it so, so, so bad. If you ever had any modicum of compassion to begin with you couldn’t possibly have any left at the end. Could you?  How can you retain any sense of humour? Any degree of patience? Any respect for humanity? You can’t. The evidence is below in a list of the ‘best’ elements of pitches kept by my friend and Welsh literary agent, Chrissy Bach  – enjoy.

(with massive acknowledgements to ‘Slushpile hell’).

‘This sublime submission will leave you in an uncontrolled and irreversible state of ‘wow’’.

‘My attached 2000 word novel will make you laugh, make you cry, make you stand up and cheer. It will help raise the bar in human literary prose.’

‘I happen to have pen-ed a witty, hilarious book.’

‘Attached is, quite possibly, the funniest book known to humanity. After reading it I am convinced you will call me up and offer me a contract. I await your call.’

‘I want you as my agent. The book is ready. The writing is final. I do not want a word changed. It is a very good, well-written book.’

‘I guess my love of writing started in the second grade when Miss Harris gave me a large red tick on my composition on ‘What I did in the holidays’. I can still remember that composition. I wrote about the two weeks I spent in Porthcawl…’

‘You’re my last hope. I have sent this to many, many other agents without a positive reply. I’m counting on you.’

‘A quick question before I send my pitch. How many words are there in a novel?’  

‘My 432,000 word novel may seem to start a little slowly, but after the first nine of so chapters the pace changes dramatically.’

‘My dream agent Andrew Wylie, is not taking on ‘new’ writers, so I’m querying you.’

‘Attached is my synopsis and first four chapters. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day I will give you a call. I have your home number.’

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Nob

In a rare, I wish, diversion from writing, I started wondering what photo of myself I would put on the inside of my soon to be finished, yeah right, book cover.

This is vital to me now. I’m having a bit of a plot crisis. Without giving too much away, I’m stuck trying to get person A to tell person B something about event X without involving an element of time travel.  So naturally I need to put the book on hold and focus on the photograph I will select to put on the inside back cover.

I want to look intelligent, but not too academic. Funny with an air of gravitas at the same time. I want to exude a feeling of, ‘this is someone I would like to go for a drink with, or a game of golf.’ On the other hand I want to be a person you can identify with as someone who would be comfortable alone at times thinking really deep thoughts.

I just needed a photo of me that will do this. I looked. The photos I have of me make me look like, well – you tell me:

Exhibit A:

byrona

I’m not sure what feeling I was trying to portray on this day. Probably an air of aloofness, casualness. The jacket and the jumper (really?) should suggest some kind of rebelliousness. Not quite James Dean but a bit ‘hey look at me – I’m cool and hip’ (what! people don’t say hip any more?, nor cool?).  Note hands in my pockets. I would have been told off for that when I was younger but look at me now – Living on the edge. Edgy as f***.

Note background – wall. It says I’m urban. I’m down with the yoofs, living off my wits, off the streets. It’s my old house in Formby, Lancashire. A quote from Wikipedia explains the town in 10 words;

“Formby is affluent with high owner-occupation and car ownership”

But that was then. This is now. I don’t live there anymore man. I’m keeping it real now – back to my roots. Back to Welsh valleys – yeah. Which is actually sort of true, as it happens. Not a purely conscious choice but hey… let’s stay in the now, man.

So this photo doesn’t really fit the bill.

Exhibit B, m’lud.

byron1

In this one I think I was aiming for a little bit arty, a little bit edgy here as well. Black and white as well – rad eh?

Note the indistinct painting behind that should say ‘look at me I’m an artist’. In actual fact it was a drawing my young pre-school child did and, like the pretentious, nurturng , supportive parent I am – I put it in a frame and hung it on the wall.

That’s the image I think I’m going for here. Kind to children. Maybe I need a small animal to be rescuing, or a certificate of my support of the RSPCA somewhere, just on the edge of shot.

Also note my stern, unsmiling look. This is partly, mostly, based on being a serious artist. It’s also partly based on my arm getting tired holding the camera. This must have been the twentieth shot I had taken as it really is difficult to focus the camera at this angle. .

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, also note a radical change – indistinct clothing – proletariat clothing. No shirt and tie for me, man. I’m no slave to the system. You don’t catch me working for the man. Well, actually you do. I was working for the Civil Service office in Southport at the time.

Still, it looks a little better than exhibit A, even though it is 2,000% more pretentious. And it is probably one of the world’s first selfies. God I was so ahead of my time.

I shall continue my quest and get back to you ………………….

Learn Welsh With Byron – Lesson 1

bale

Lesson 1 – How to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Welsh

It’s quite straightforward.

Just follow the table below (kindly provided by clwb malu cachu ( www.clwbmalucachu.co.uk ) ) – assuming of course you know whether you want to speak in existential present, past or future, imperfect, imperfect preterite, or inflected preterite or, of course, inflected future.

We’re simple folk.

Next time – How to swear in Welsh.

Interrogative Yes No
Existential present
is/are there? oes? oes nac oes
Existential imperfect (past)
was/were there? oedd? oedd nac oedd
Existential future
will there be? fydd? bydd na fydd
Present
am i? ydw i? wyt/ydych nac wyt/ydych
are you? (wyt) ti? ydw nac ydw
is he? ydy/yw e? ydy nac ydy/yw
is she? ydy/yw hi? ydy nac ydy/yw
are we? ydan ni?/(yd)yn ni? ydych/ydyn nac ydych/ydyn
are you? (y)dach chi?/
(yd)ych chi?
ydw/ydyn nac ydw/ydyn
are they? ydyn nhw? ydyn nac ydyn
Imperfect (written)
was i? oeddwn i? oeddet/ oeddech nac oeddet/ oeddech
were you? oeddet ti? oeddwn nac oeddwn
was he? oedd e? oedd nac oedd
was she? oedd hi? oedd nac oedd
were we? oedden ni? oedden nac oedden
were you? oeddech chi? oeddwn/oedden nac oeddwn/oedden
were they? oedden nhw? oedden nac oedden
Imperfect (spoken)
was i? o’n i? o’t/o’ch nac o’t/o’ch
were you? o’t ti? o’n nac o’n
was he? oedd e? oedd nac oedd
was she? oedd hi? oedd nac oedd
were we? o’n ni? o’n nac o’n
were you? o’ch chi? o’n nac o’n
were they? o’n nhw? o’n nac o’n
Future
will I (be)? fydda i? byddi/byddwch na fyddi/ fyddwch
will you (be)? fyddi di? bydda(f) na fydda(f)
will he (be)? fydd e? bydd na fydd
will she (be)? fydd hi? bydd na fydd
will we (be)? fyddwn ni? byddwn na fyddwn
will you (be)? fyddwch chi? bydda(f)/byddwn na fydda(f)/fyddwn
will they (be)? fyddan nhw? byddan na fyddan
Inflected preterite (simple past)
did i…? -es/-ais i? do naddo
did you…? -est ti? do naddo
did he…? -odd e? do naddo
did she…? -odd hi? do naddo
did we…? -on ni? do naddo
did you…? -och chi? do naddo
did they…? -on nhw? do naddo
Preterite of ‘bod’
have I been (to)? fues/fu^m* i? do naddo
have you been (to)? fuest ti? do naddo
has he been (to)? fu(odd) e? do naddo
has she been (to)? fu(odd) hi? do naddo
have we been (to)? fuon/fuom* ni? do naddo
have you been (to)? fuoch chi? do naddo
have they been (to)? fuon nhw?/fuont hwy* do naddo
*more formal
Inflected future
will I? -a i? do naddo
will you? -i di? do naddo
will he? -ith e/o? do naddo
will she? -ith hi? do naddo
will we? -wn ni? do naddo
will you? -wch chi? do naddo
will they? -an nhw? do naddo
Galla – can
can I? alla i? gelli/galli/gallwch na elli/alli/allwch
can you? alli/elli* di? galla na alla
can he? all e? gall na all
can she? all hi? gall na all
can we? allwn ni? gallwn na allwn
can you? allwch/ellwch chi? galla/gallwn na alla/allwn
can they? allan nhw? gallan na allan
*elli di is more common
Medra (north) – can
can I? fedra i? medri/medrwch na fedri/fedrwch
can you? fedri di? medra na fedra
can he? fedr* fo? medr na fedr
can she? fedr hi? medr na fedr
can we? fedrwn ni? medrwn na fedrwn
can you? fedrwch chi? medra/medrwn na fedra/fedrwn
can they? fedran nhw? medran na fedran
*often pronounced ‘fedar’
Gallwn – could
could I? allwn i? gallet/gallech na allet/allech
could you? allet ti? gallwn na allwn
could he? allai fe? gallai na allai
could she? allai hi? gallai na allai
could we? allen ni? gallen na allen
could you? allech chi? gallwn/gallen na allwn/allen
could they? allen nhw? gallen na allen
Medrwn – could
could I? fedrwn i? medret/ medrech na fedret/fedrech
could you? fedret ti? medrwn na fedrwn
could he? fedrai fo? medrai na fedrai
could she? fedrai hi? medrai na fedrai
could we? fedren ni? medren na fedren
could you? fedrech chi? medrwn/ medren na fedrwn/fedren
could they? fedren nhw? medren na fedren
Byddwn – would
would I? fyddwn i? byddet/byddech na fyddet/fyddech
would you? fyddet ti? byddwn na fyddwn
would he? fyddai fe? byddai na fyddai
would she? fyddai hi? byddai na fyddai
would we? fydden ni? bydden na fydden
would you? fyddech chi? byddwn/bydden na fyddwn/fydden
would they? fydden nhw? bydden na fydden
Baswn – would
would I? (fa)swn i? (ba)set/(ba)sech na (fa)set/(fa)sech
would you? (fa)set ti? (ba)swn na (fa)swn
would he? (fa)sai fo? (ba)sai na (fa)sai
would she? (fa)sai hi? (ba)sai na (fa)sai
would we? (fa)sen ni? (ba)sen na (fa)sen
would you? (fa)sech chi? (ba)swn/(ba)sen na (fa)swn/(fa)sen
would they? (fa)sen nhw? (ba)sen na (fa)sen
Dylwn – ought to/should
ought/should I? ddylwn i? dylet/dylech na ddylet/ddylech
ought/should you? ddylet ti? dylwn na ddylwn
ought/should he? ddylai fe/fo? dylai na ddylai
ought/should she? ddylai hi? dylai na ddylai
ought/should we? ddylen ni? dylen na ddylen
ought/should you? ddylech chi? dylwn/dylen na ddylwn/ddylen
ought/should they? ddylen nhw? dylen na ddylen
Dylswn – ought to/should
ought/should I? ddylswn i? dylset/dylsech na ddylset/ddylsech
ought/should you? ddylset ti? dylswn na ddylswn
ought/should he? ddylsai fe/fo? dylsai na ddylsai
ought/should she? ddylsai hi? dylsai na ddylsai
ought/should we? ddylsen ni? dylsen na ddylsen
ought/should you? ddylsech chi? dylswn/dylsen na ddylswn/dylsen
ought/should they? ddylsen nhw? dylsen na ddylsen
Hoffwn – would like
would I like? hoffwn i? hoffet/hoffech na hoffet/hoffech
would you like? hoffet ti? hoffwn na hoffwn
would he like? hoffai fe? hoffai na hoffai
would she like? hoffai hi? hoffai na hoffai
would we like? hoffen ni? hoffen na hoffen
would you like? hoffech chi? hoffwn/hoffen na hoffwn/hoffen
would they like? hoffen nhw? hoffen na hoffen
Leiciwn – would like
would I like? leiciwn i? leiciet/leiciech na leiciet/leiciech
would you like? leiciet ti? leiciwn na leiciwn
would he like? leiciai fe? leiciai na leiciai
would she like? leiciai he? leiciai na leiciai
would we like? leicien ni? leicien na leicien
would you like? leiciech chi? leiciwn/leicien na leiciwn/leicien
would they like? leicien nhw? leicien na leicien

Poker Players Say The Funniest Things

GodsPlayPoker

“In a game of poker, I can put players’ souls in my pocket.” – Beausourire

“Poker reveals to the frank observer something else of import—it will teach him about his own nature. Many bad players do not improve because they cannot bear self-knowledge.” – David Mamet

“In the absence of any mathematical explanation, one thing is for certain; if you engage in games of chance long enough, the experience is bound to affect the way you see God. Successfully draw to an inside straight three hands in a row, and you’ve got to be blessed. But if you’re the person drawn out on, the one whose trip aces just got snapped for the third time, you will go home feeling cursed. ” – Andy Bellin

“Poker’s a day to learn and a lifetime to master.” – Robert Williamson III

 “Poker is a microcosm of all we admire and disdain about capitalism and democracy. It can be rough-hewn or polished, warm or cold, charitable and caring, or hard and impersonal, fickle and elusive, but ultimately it is fair, and right, and just.” – Lou Kreiger

 “In life’s poker game, the optimist sees the pessimist’s night and raises him the sunrise.” – Robert Brault

“Cards are war, in disguise of a sport.” – Charles Lamb

“No matter how much you may want to think of Holdém as a card game played by people, in many respects it is even more valid to think of it as a game about people that happens to be played with cards.” – Phil Hellmuth

“I believe in poker the way I believe in the American Dream. Poker is good for you. It enriches the soul, sharpens the intellect, heals the spirit, and – when played well, nourishes the wallet.” – Lou Kreiger