Bear Kosik on The Secret History of Another Rome ~ Guest Blog

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Bear Kosik for stopping by today.

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Title: The Secret History of Another Rome
Author: Bear Kosik
Publisher: Kellan Publishing
Cover Artist:
Genre: Apocalyptic/dystopian

Blurb:

In the mid-2600s, Ranulf becomes Supreme Pontiff of the Empire of Rome at Alexandria, a patriarchy run by priest-bureaucrats called Librarians. After twenty-two years on the throne, Ranulf’s memories flood back to him, from the time he moved to Alexandria with his mother to his present situation. Ranulf’s life has been a quest for truth, not the half-truths of the Librarians and their Secret History, but an understanding of how action rather than static dogma is the path to the future. Guided by mysterious strangers from another time, his natural curiosity and distrust, and the influence of the perceptive women who enter his life, Ranulf searches for this understanding. Why do the Librarians hide facts from their ruler? What will Ranulf do as he gradually uncovers the truth? How will he respond when he finally understands?

Collaborate On This!

Have you ever considered collaborating on a novel with another writer? From what I can see, the answer is either “no” or “yes, but.” Rarely does one see more than one author listed for a novel. I always thought I knew why. Now I am not so sure and I suspect many other writers still think they know why but probably should not be so sure.

I picked up writing for a living 18 months ago because it was something I always wanted to do but was afraid of the vagaries of publishing and royalties and because I was convinced that I was never going to be employed by anyone ever again after 18 months of being on medical leave, terminated, and unable to find another job. Having substantial experience writing all sorts of things and equally substantial experience living all sorts of situations I knew I write well and had lots to write about. I quickly found avenues for publication, including one for a novel I had been keeping notes on for 15 years. Unfortunately, the avenues for short works were not of the paying variety and the novel has languished with very good reviews and very poor marketing.

A number of vendors have websites where people with writing projects can go to hire a ghost or freelancer. After receiving my first paltry royalties, I decided to set up profiles and bid for projects. Freelancing and ghosting are pretty straightforward. The client has all of the material and just needs a professional to put it in order. Occasionally, someone also needs research assistance. Once in a while, someone actually wants to hire someone else to research and write an entire doctoral thesis, which just blows my mind. The client wants someone else to do the work so he can receive a Ph.D. and start working in a field that presumably requires continued research and writing to be promoted.

I was and remain even more amazed at how many people are seeking a writer to collaborate with on a novel. The client has some great idea for a story but does not have any idea how to translate the idea into a book. The person may actually have a rough first draft written or a lot of notes like I had kept for my first novel (100 pages). She may just have a plot or synopsis.

These people are not all that attuned to what writing involves. They think they can pay someone peanuts to write a 150,000 word book or claim they are only seeking beginner-level writers for clearly elaborate ideas. The remarkable thing is that 15-20 writers will bid on even the worst sounding projects. I have learned though that it is worthwhile to bid on interesting projects regardless of the client’s supposed budget.

I have lots of ideas for novels. As my first novel indicates, I can sit on a project for a very long time before I figure out how to best turn it into a worthwhile read. However, I need to generate income. Doing so requires that I get work out there for people to buy or ghost. In ghosting a couple of memoirs, I discovered that I derive as much pleasure telling someone else’s story as I do one I come up with. If someone out there has a story that is more fully formed and I think I can create something very good from what the other person has so far, I am more than happy to gain experience by taking over and elaborating what is there into a fully-formed novel.

I latched onto three projects at the end of 2014 for collaboration. One is simple enough. My husband, a huge science fiction fan, had an idea for a story. Seeing me get published, he wrote an 85,000 word first draft. As a lifelong IT guy with no background in writing anything but email messages, there are a lot of errors. However, the story is wonderful and deserves to be read. I am rewriting it and cleaning it up. It is not a story I would have told, but it is one that hits on some universal themes that are intriguing. In fact, a publisher who read the synopsis used the word “intriguing” to describe the story and wants to read the manuscript.

Another project was one where an older gentleman who drives long haul for a living came up with an inventive way to use the Chariots of the Gods/Ancient Aliens idea in an adventure novel that is revealed as science fiction just at the end. Again, he provided the rough draft and I elaborated on the themes and enhanced the character and location descriptions. Unfortunately, he withheld the final twist until after two months of work. The twist is completely implausible and basically tells readers the entire story was leading up to something that had nothing to do with what they had read. I tried reasoning with him that what I thought he was leading to made more sense, but he refused to budge on his ending.

Since he was a true client and not my husband, we had a contract he wrote that provided I would be paid a small amount weekly to edit out errors and we would split the royalties evenly if it was published as compensation for my creative input. I even agreed to have the editing payments deducted from my royalties so we would be on a completely equal footing as co-authors. When he voided the contract he indicated he was going to use my creative input as well as the edits. So I registered the newest version of the manuscript with the Copyright Office listing us as joint authors. I told him I had done that and that he could use the email message as proof that I promised never to use any of his story or characters without his express, written permission. Lesson learned: never agree to collaborate unless the entire plot is known to both authors.

The third project involves an IT guy who wants to read an update of Frankenstein for the twenty-first century. He created some characters and laid down some plot that involve an inventor who creates an artificial intelligence and uses that artificial intelligence to choose DNA for human eugenics. I thought that was a great idea. Also, his plot meshed very well with how I had vaguely described what happened in the twenty-first century on Earth in my first novel. I created a new character for him to use as my application for the job and also asked if I could use this as a prequel to my novel. He loved both ideas. We have agreed on the plot and format. He offers help with the technical aspects of computers and other futuristic devices. Our contract is to be listed as co-authors. However, since I am doing all of the writing and most of the research, we will split the royalties 90-10 if the novel is published.

Writers often collaborate on movie and television scripts but rarely in any other medium. Ghostwriters collaborate with people all the time and often without receiving credit. As a writer who wants to have multiple projects so he can work on one if he hits a wall with another, supporting someone else who has a story but does not have writing skills is great. Besides, while I am confident about my characters and integration of themes, I sometimes get stumped coming up with action and plot. Collaboration lets me practice to improve on my weakness.

Links

The Secret History of Another Rome on Goodreads
Kellan Publishing
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble

Giveaway

About the Author

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I was born in Pittston, PA, but was raised in the Baltimore-Washington area. I have lived in the Albany, NY, area for 19 years. I have been writing since I was 13 and had my first work, a poem, published when I was 17. I spent over 30 years working in higher education as a professor of political science and a student success specialist. I have lived overseas in China, Hong Kong, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

I currently work full time as a writer of plays, non-fiction, poetry and fiction. The Secret History of Another Rome is my first completed novel. I also wrote a novelette, Boots on the Ground, included in a book entitled The Brawny and the Brave. I have written three full-length plays and a one act play that is the start of another long play. I am completing work on a non-fiction book, Democracy and the Social Contract, and working on three science fiction novels that are collaborations with other authors.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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