From Paris, With Love

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From Paris, With Love

I don't blog much (read: ever), but I'm quite excited about my upcoming trip to Paris and thought I'd share a bit of it with you.

Starting April 1, I'll be in Paris for the entire month. It's surreal thinking I'll be out of the country for that long, let alone in one where I don't speak the language (like, not even bad high school French)—and if you'd asked me a few years ago where in the world I'd like to spend a month, I would've immediately said London—but I fell in love with the city the last time I was there and have been plotting my return ever since. I have an amazing day job and one of the benefits is a paid sabbatical after working there for 6 years, so I'm taking complete advantage of the time.

 I'm gonna need to find a typewriter!

I'm gonna need to find a typewriter!

My intention with this trip is twofold:

  1. Have an amazing cultural experience (it's freaking PARIS, so duh)
  2. Finish the first draft of my new novel

Not to be THAT GUY, but the idea of writing in Paris is just so... romantic. 😍 The idea of sitting outside at a cafe, or on a bench in the courtyard of Notre Dame, or in a secluded section of a park, and just taking my time to absorb the very essence of the city and let it fuel my words was too inviting to pass up.

And the thing? I've already written over 40k words of the new novel and I'm very much on track to finish by the end of April (thanks to the handy word count metrics in Scrivener for keeping me honest!). I'm really loving the book and riding high on Genius Mode (that feeling you have when everything you write is brilliant, whether it actually is or not—and I might find out it's not when I have the first 20k words critiqued by my writing group tomorrow night... Eep!). It's a true speculative fiction book (I would call it supernatural... not fantasy/sci-fi per se, but it definitely has fantastical elements to it) and unlike anything I've ever written before. The story has global events/repercussions, but has an incredibly intimate setting at the same time, something I've been working really hard to achieve. 

I'm calling it THE IMMORTAL LIGHTNING, and it is my version of a superhero/antihero origin story.

I plan to publish a website for it, just like I did with Sparkle Prep, so be on the lookout for that in the coming months for more info and a teaser chapter!

So I get to spend a month in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, doing something I love, and hanging out with some of my favorite people (I'm going to be there for a month, so of course I have guests coming!). It's going to be an amazing—and hopefully productive!—adventure and Saturday can't come soon enough!

Jusqu'à la prochaine fois...

~Kyle

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What Inspired Sparkle Prep?

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What Inspired Sparkle Prep?

I don't tend to get inspired in the traditional sense. My stories don't "Come from the headlines" or anything like that. They just come from my brain. :::POP::: New idea!

I knew I wanted to write something LIGHT and FUN... which was the exact opposite of what I was writing/reading at the time. My first novel is pretty dark (bullying/murder/angst/revenge), and I was reading a lot of darker fantasy and thrillers. No one was ever happy or having a good time. It was all tension and despair. And that gets old after a while.

A lot of my stories start with a title, and the idea for the plot follows—not always, but more than 50% of the time. When SPARKLE PREP came to me, I knew it was the one I'd been looking for, and I immediately wrote the first five chapters. From there, I actually put the book down for over a year as I rewrote my first novel, but I did eventually pick it back up again. And now I have a beautiful 80k word novel-baby.

SPARKLE PREP is my ode to gay boys. I had a few friends who knew I was gay in high school, but I always wondered what it would be like to be unapologetically, unequivocally, fuck-you-I'm-gay GAY. And that's what I decided to write. None of my characters have any angst about their sexuality or gender identity (they encompass most of the LGBT* spectrum... except the L, obviously, because it's an all-boys school). And for the hell of it, I decided to make some of their parents billionaires. But once I did that, it took on this whole other dimension. As I started to look further into each character and the rest of the plot, more personal issues came to light... family dynamics, money issues, relationships with parents/siblings/boyfriends and, most importantly, each other. What I intended to be a GAY GAY GAY story turned into a STORY STORY STORY with characters who happened to be gay. And the latter works much better.

I've come to love these characters and, with any luck, I'll get to live with them for a good long time. SPARKLE PREP is only the beginning.

Check out what inspired my fellow Mentees!

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ANNE & HENRY by Dawn Ius + GIVEAWAY!

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ANNE & HENRY by Dawn Ius + GIVEAWAY!

I have never been more proud of my friend Dawn than I am today. Her first book baby, ANNE & HENRY, is now available across North America!

One of my favorite things about being a writer—besides the high I experience from my own creative process—is being friends with other writers and artists and getting to see them create beautiful things. I'm blessed that I met Dawn when I did, that I got to know her and become her friend. She has been an incredible influence on my in both my personal and writing lives, and both have benefited from her existence. She'll blush and hate me a little for putting her up on a pedestal, but that's just how I see her. (So deal with it, Dawn!)

Dawn started working on what would become ANNE & HENRY about a year and a half ago. She was nervous to take on such an iconic story, but thrilled at the chance to delve into the research and give Anne and Henry voices in a way no one has seen them before. And she blew me away with the direction she took the book, with the power of her voice, and the intimacy of her characters. I found critiquing the book very hard at times, because I would become so lost in the story that I'd forget I was wearing my "editing hat" and just read the chapters for pleasure. And I knew right away that I was experiencing something incredibly special.

I'm so happy that the (North American) world can now experience it too. It's available wherever books are sold throughout the U.S. and Canada, with Spanish language editions coming soon throughout North and South America.

Go out and buy a copy at your local bookstore or request a copy from the library! :D

Also, because I love the book so much and want as many people to read it as possible, I'm giving away two copies! This is open to any U.S. resident who is 18+ years old (restrictions are Amazon's, not mine). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Sep 8, 2015 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

Click the gif below to see if you're an instant winner! And PLEASE share this with your friends and family.

Now I'm off to read Anne & Henry for the millionth time but pretending it's my first.

Until next...

~Kyle

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Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

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Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

So, what is Pitch Wars and why am I writing a bio about myself for it? Well, it's a writing competition organized by the amazing Brenda Drake, were established (agented and published) writers offer to mentor wishing-to-be-established (unagented and unpublished) writers (me), to try and get their manuscript up-to-snuff and in a submittable state for agents. It's also a really great way to meet new people in the writing community. It's only been a couple of days and I've met some truly fantastic people! For more information on Pitch Wars, click HERE.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be ALL ABOUT ME. Make sure you have some tissues ready, because this is going to be quite a ride*...

  • I did NOT always want to be a writer. When I was younger I REALLY wanted to be an Astronomer. Then I found out how much math was involved and I said EFF THAT. I'll just look up instead.
  • I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but have also lived in Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, though I currently reside and work in Boston, MA. Boston has become my home in the nine years I've lived here and I can't imagine being anywhere else right now!
  • It's a good bet that I see more movies in theaters than you do. How many did you see last year? Oh, that's adorable. I saw 75. THAT'S RIGHT. Seventy-five movies. In theaters. (Not to mention the handful of films I saw more than once.) If I could go to the movies every day, I would. 
  • One day I'll write one. (A movie. I have a lot of ideas and not enough time in the day.)
  • My hair is currently turquoise and purple.
  • This list is already much less tearful than I'd intended.
  • I'm gay and I like to write gay characters. That was unintentional—me writing a lot about gay characters... though I guess me BEING gay was unintentional as well—but just happened to work out that way with my first two books. You'll also never see me write about characters that don't accept their sexuality. I know people DO struggle with it, but I want my readers to know there's nothing wrong with them.
  • I started my first book in 10th grade and have completely rewritten it about 4 times. I finally "finished" it two years ago (after putting it down and picking it back up every few years).
  • I ship Sterek, Stucky, and Newtmas.
 #Sterek

#Sterek

 #Stucky

#Stucky

 #Newtmas — SO CLOSE!

#Newtmas — SO CLOSE!

  • I may also have a thing for Dylan O'Brien.
  • My Death-by-Cheese Baked Ziti has been known to give people what can only be described as a religious experience. Praise Cheesus.
  • I actually quit reading for pleasure when I was younger. Didn't like that school had turned it into a chore. But then I discovered Piers Anthony and the world of fantasy, and it was all downhill from there.
  • If you're still reading, I'm sorry. This list has been really stream-of-consciousness and I never intended it to get this far.
  • Make me stop.
  • Oh god.
  • Okay, I'm stopping.

If I'm one of the lucky ones to get picked as a Mentee, I guarantee you won't regret it! I work hard and write hard. I'll probably even DIE H... I can't finish that sentence...

Thanks for reading! And thanks to Christopher Keelty for organizing this #PimpMyBio!

Until next...

~Kyle

*No guarantees of emotion or need for tissues. I can't help it if you're heartless.

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    What Am I Doing Now?

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    What Am I Doing Now?

    Now that I've finished my second draft of Sparkle Prep, what am I doing now?

    SP is currently being queried to Agents. Finding an agent can take a long time, if it happens at all. I'm very hopeful that an agent will love it and want to sign me, but I know the odds! Yet I remain patient and optimistic. :) So while I am no longer working on SP right now, I am still plotting out the rest of the books in the series. However, it doesn't make sense to start writing SP2 until I know the series will sell. That's a lot of commitment for a what-if.

    To that point, I am picking up a novel I started several years ago. I actually began it BEFORE Sparkle Prep, but put it aside to rewrite With/Out, and then SP. Now I'm ready to work on it again! It's a paranormal thriller. Originally I envisioned it as an adult novel, but the more time passes, the more I realize my passion is really in Young Adult books. This creates some challenges, because now I have to convert the 30k+ words I already have written and rework it into a YA book. No simple feat!

    Also, I've decided to try out a new software program to aid in the process. Currently I write my novels in Microsoft Word. Each chapter gets its own file, and then I have a master document so I can keep an eye on overall length and word count. The program I'm trying out does that for you automatically, as well as helps with outlining, keeping character and location info, and many other benefits. It's called Scrivener and LOTS of people have recommended it to me over the years. I've very curmudgeonly decided to make the transition! The novel has been imported in its current form, so now begins the editing! Wish me luck!

    I'm also continuing to plot out several other books/series on top of that. I've no lack of ideas, just time. Has anyone seen the 2002 Nickelodeon movie Clockstoppers? It's about someone that invents a device that slows down time so much that it essentially stops, and several hours can go by, though it's only nanoseconds in reality. Yeah, I need one of those.

    Until next...

    ~Kyle

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    New Website!

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    New Website!

    Welcome to my new website! As you can see from the header image on this post, this site is NEW and IMPROVED. The original kylewkerr.com, as much as I loved it—like anyone loves their first cellphone/car/child—it was in desperate need of an upgrade. If this is your first time visiting my domain, here's a little taste of what you missed out on!

     The original kylewkerr.com, circa 2007!

    The original kylewkerr.com, circa 2007!

    Sexy, AMIRITE?

    This time around, I decided on a more minimalist approach. The old one got a little bloated with bits and baubles, stuff you didn't really need to see. So this is it. Two simple pages and my Journal, which I probably won't use that often (if we're being honest here). But it's home, and I hope you like it.

    As the homepage says, feel free to comment on any of my blog posts, or connect with me through my various social network profiles. Links to them are at the bottom of every page.

    We'll see more of each other soon!

    Until next...

    ~Kyle

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    Movies in 2015

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    Movies in 2015

    I'm a big movie fan. And I think that all movies should first be experienced in their natural form: on the big screen and in a movie theater. In 2014 I saw 75 movies in theaters (not including double/triple screenings of a handful of them... yes, I did see Captain America: Winter Soldier THREE TIMES. Don't judge!). When people ask me how I can spend so much money going to the movies, I always respond with: And how much did you spend going to the bar this weekend? That's usually the end of the argument.

    So why would 2015 be any different? My goal for the year is to see 50 movies. That's the same goal I had for 2014, and you see what happened there. I'm actually anticipating closer to 50 this year, but you never know. As I see movies, I'm going to update this post with links to my reviews, housed at Letterboxd (which is essentially Goodreads for movies).

    Please keep in mind that I rate movies based on how I feel about them at the moment, not on how they have impacted my life as a whole. So my ratings are very much on a level of entertainment. Enjoy! And share your thoughts in the comments - and friend me on Letterboxd!

    (*Note: I just got a Letterboxd account, so reviews from now on will be linked, and ones in the past will be added as I have time.)

    January
    1. Kingsmen: The Secret Service

    February
    2. Jupiter Ascending
    3. Still Alice
    4. Focus
    5. Birdman

    March
    6. American Sniper
    7. Chappie
    8. Cinderella
    9. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    10. Insurgent
    11. Get Hard
    12. Woman in Gold

    April
    13. Furious 7
    14. The Age of Adaline
    15. The Water Diviner
    16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (x2)

    May
    17. Pitch Perfect 2
    18. Tomorrowland
    19. Mad Max: Fury Road

    June
    20. San Andreas
    21. Jurassic World
    22. Spy
    23. Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl
    24. Inside Out

    July
    25. Terminator: Genisys - ★★★★½
    26. Infinitely Polar Bear - ★★★★
    27. A Little Chaos - ★★★★½
    28. Ant-Man - ★★★★½
    29. Ted 2 - ★★★
    30. Boulevard - ★★★★
    31. Pixels - ★★★★
    32. Paper Towns - ★★★★
    33. Trainwreck - ★★★★★
    34. Mr. Holmes - ★★★★★
    35. Do I Sound Gay? - ★★
    36. Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation - ★★★★½

    August
    37. Ricki and the Flash - ★★★★
    38. The End of the Tour - ★★★★★

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