Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

Updated Feb. 1, 2024

The book has been edited by a professional editor 2 times (a developmental edit and an editorial assessment) and then it was proofread by another professional editor.

After sending out more than 100 query letters to literary agents and I have given up hope for getting a traditional publishing contract. I should have given up that idea right from the get-go. There are many website/blogs that talk about this and the most common opinion is this—'No first-time writer will get a traditional publishing contract due to the fact that it is a first book and the writer has no publishing history.' Well, I do have some publishing history, look at the list of my short stories that have been published, that's a good start, for sure. But, not good enough. So, I recently started the awful task of interior formatting of the book. I did the interior formatting for my short stories collection book and that task was a hair-raising hateful thing to go through. But I did learn from it and this time the work was easier and quicker. Now, I'm doing a read-through—I'm reading the book out-loud and in doing so I have found a few spelling mistakes and made a few minor changes to sentences. Even after two editors have gone through the book three times, it still has a few very minor issues, but by reading out loud, I'm finding and fixing those. My plan is to finish this task this month. When this is finished I can finally get a cover done for it. That is something I can't do, so I'll have to hire a designer for that. I'm hoping to have the book released by or in April. Fingers crossed!

I started this book in December 2018. The first draft was written in first person present tense, but it was shit. So I rewrote it in first person past tense, and that was no better. So I rewrote it again in third person omniscient, and that is how it has stayed. To write a story, a book, and rewrite it several times, then do some major changes suggested by a professional editor, then do some minor changes suggested by that same editor a second time, and now see it going to a proofreader - Wow! Incredible!

The notes from the second edit included these -
"I enjoyed this revision of your novel quite a lot! You've made a lot of improvements."
"Great work! Also, this book is easy to read and enjoyable. It doesn't feel overly serious but is a sort of "chick lit with a male protagonist" sort of book."

This is the synopsis:

Jonathan had lost his wife to a massive stroke a few years before the story starts. During the following two years, he found a decent job, but was still not happy in his life, and who could blame him? He had had a good marriage for 28 years and life was very different now.

Jonathan is in the last couple of days of his vacation in Colombia when he sees a woman he felt attracted to but was afraid to say anything because he assumed he didn't know her language. And as it turned out, she also felt attracted to him, recognized him as a foreigner, and assumed she didn't know his language and said nothing. Then he returned home to Arizona.

Jonathan receives an email from a long-time friend who described his new life as an English teacher in Ecuador, and that set the wheels spinning inside Jonathan's head. He starts thinking about teaching English as a foreign language and soon decides that that was what he would do, and he decides he would do it in Colombia. He also decides not to start in Cartagena (where he saw the woman) because he wanted to be sure that he was doing it for the right reason, not doing it because of the ever-so-small chance of seeing her again.

In Arizona, he becomes involved with Maria. As well as Maria, Jonathan, and his long-time platonic friend, Julia, become sexually involved, especially after he tells her of his plan to relocate to Colombia. She becomes obsessed with him and tries to prevent him from leaving Tucson (by lying about being pregnant). He discovers that Maria is the wife of his boss, Scott. She was using him for her own marital affair. He also becomes involved with the pink-haired, quirky young woman, Donna, a cashier at work.

Jonathan returns to Colombia to do interviews in several towns. During this visit to Colombia, he had encounters with many people, including sexual encounters with some women, including Luz, who quickly became too attached to him, so he has to be careful not to let that relationship get out of hand.

He meets Pilar and she told him about her friend, Alejandra, who lives in Salento, where he will be interviewing the next day. Pilar and Jon go to Salento. When they arrive at Alejandra's house, he thinks he recognizes Pilar's friend—was she the woman he saw in Cartagena seven months before? Yes! They immediately become great friends; the chemistry between them was as if the universe brought them together. He accepts the job at the school and moves to Salento, Colombia.

Pilar becomes jealous of the relationship between Jonathan and Alejandra because her own boyfriend wasn't giving her the attention she needed and wanted. She decides she wants Jonathan, just once, and she tries to seduce him. He rebuffs her advances. One morning he was under the bathroom sink working on the pipe when she surprises him by standing over him, squatting onto him, and she rubs herself against him. He jumps and hits his head very hard against the pipe and cuts his forehead. It left him dizzy. Alejandra comes to see what the commotion was about and caught Pilar in her attempted seduction. Pilar becomes unbelievably angry and she starts a fight with Alejandra. In the fight, Pilar pushes Alejandra very hard and she falls and hits her head on a ceramic pot. Jonathan manages to call the police. The police arrive and take Pilar to jail and Jon and Alejandra go to the hospital.

After this fight, Jon and Alejandra vowed never to see Pilar again and they go on with their lives together and start their family.