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So You Want to be a Published Author?

"I never wanted to be an author. A twist of fate made me one. " - Karen A. Lynch

The writing of five books (three in the works), a play, a movie script, having been editor and publisher of two international award winning military newsletters, and an award winning writer and associate editor for The University of Tampa newspaper and Honor's Journal, have indeed made me a published author. But, it is the story of how I came to be one, and what I learned in the process, that I hope to share with you in this the On Writing section of the War of Wits Publishing, Ltd. website.

booksThis web page is not a how to on writing a book, getting an agent, or a publisher. There are plenty of books and online classes already out there that can do that. This web page is a tool to enhance your efforts in all of the above, and as vehicle by which I can share what I have learned from my own experience and from the wisdom bestowed on me by knowledgeable people in the industry to help you decide how best to proceed with your writing and make it a success.

Let me begin by telling you about that twist of fate.

I have been in the horse business for most of my life. I began riding at five and spent my summers from the time I was eight until my early teens working as a riding camp counselor. Meaning, I led the campers on their horses around the ring from dawn to dusk while they were getting their riding lessons. I did this in exchange for my Saturday riding lessons. I had a great first riding instructor in Ms Adele von Ohl Parker, and learned my lessons well. Eventually, I had a riding school of my own, with 150 students a week to teach. Another twist of fate introduced me to Thoroughbred horse breeding, which, in turn, produced the twist of fate that made me an author.

In order to become a more successful horsewoman, I picked up stakes, my daughter Elizabeth, and my cat Ling Ling and moved to Lexington, KY, the Thoroughbred breeding capital of the world. After a short, but successful, stint in advertising sales with The Blood-Horse Magazine, I began my career as an international bloodstock agent. It was a fairy tale life. I had a beautiful horse farm in Bluegrass country, bred some of the finest Thoroughbred horses in the United States and Europe, raced them at the best racetracks, sold them at the best sales in the world, traveled, and met, mingled and sold horses to queens and sheiks, and celebrities of all kinds.

But, it was a dashing Latino, who was responsible for the twist of fate that brought about my literary career. Over a two-year period, he and I had been involved in the sale of horses to Latin America and other parts of the world. It was at dinner one night that he said to me, "Karen, do you know that what you do for a living is the perfect cover for a spy?" I checked his expression to see if he were joking, but it gave me no indication that he was, so I said, "and how would you know?"

He said, "Trust me, I know."

Though I had never written anything literary longer than a book report in my life, I was an avid reader. Ironically, my preference was spy novels. It was while on a trip to a horse sale in Deauville, France, that I was suddenly struck by the lack of female leads in the espionage genre I so loved. My associates' comment, which had lain dormant at the back of my mind for several years, suddenly surfaced. He had been right about my job being the perfect cover for a spy, and I was suddenly inspired to end the drought of female leads in spy novels by writing one of my own, and so, Alanna Reynolds, and The Game of Lies was born.

Four years of research, and countless late nights later the words "The End" finally appeared on my computer screen. I was officially an author. Not a published author, but an author, nonetheless.

In reality, finishing my book was not the end, but the beginning of my literary journey. Upon reading the final draft of The Game of Lies, my duly impressed, Latino, business associate decreed that it was time I met the man who had taught him everything he knew.

That man was Grayston L. Lynch, who had been career military, retiring out of the Army Special Forces, but whose larger claim to fame was that he had been the CIA case officer to the command ship Blagar in the invasion of the Bay of Pigs. My associate's intent was for this brilliant new author to assist his hero in the writing of his involvement in this watershed event. What my associate didn't know was that this brilliant new author would fall in love with this real life James Bond and marry him.

The union eventually did produce the desired book in the writing of Decision for Disaster; Betrayal at the Bay of Pigs. A novel of such importance, that it has been deemed the definitive work on the subject of the Bay of Pigs Invasion by noted historian and author Seymour Hersh, and whose movie rights were purchased by Universal Studios and famed producer Ron Howard.

Here is where you, the aspiring writer, come in.

booksBecause, you are now at the place I was so many years a go. You are either facing that first empty page waiting for inspiration to rear her creative head, stuck in the middle of your great adventure, or the magic words "The End" have finally appeared on your computer screen. You stand, manuscript in hand, hopeful and confident, okay, maybe not so confident, that you have completed a work worthy of the public's interest and the literary critic's accolades. All that's left is to find the vehicle by which to make your literary masterpiece a success.

Fate has brought you to my literary door, and as you proceed through its portal to the following page, we will begin that journey to the literary success you desire.

Off to a Good Start »

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