Monday, August 15, 2011

Special Guest Post: Meet Karla Telega

Two years ago, I decided that I would rather floss with barbed wire than spend another day staring at spreadsheets and memorizing the Internal Revenue Code. I spent about a nanosecond deciding whether or not to quit my high stress job. Cons: ill-conceived, poorly-timed, totally rash. Pros: avoid an emotional meltdown that would make Chernobyl look like a leaky faucet. I went with column B.

Step two was to look busy, so I started writing. I figured that I could avoid looking for a new job, make a bucket of money, and retire to a little cabin in the wilderness. What I discovered was that I truly loved to write, and you can only fix rice and beans so many ways. I was able to pour all my fears and insecurities into my writing. The result was a humor book that received enthusiastic responses from editors and agents, who then turned me down.

Apparently, an editor’s critique that contains the word “hilarious” eight times in three paragraphs is not enough to sway a publisher. The harsh reality is that humor is a hard sell even for nationally syndicated writers, which I wasn’t. Undeterred, I decided to try the back door, and put my humor into a novel.

I like to read mysteries, so on that recommendation alone, I chose a book that told me in 100 pages how to write one. (Did I mention that I have a short attention span?) I’ve always enjoyed acting out the stories in my head … at 3:00 AM, with the curtains closed and the lights out. When it came time to do research, I threw myself into character. I slogged through swamps looking for a lizard man and panned for gold. I visited locations in my book, and talked to police, coroners, and correctional officers. I never knew research could be so much fun!

My main character, Maggie is based mainly on the changes I’m experiencing. She is coping with mid-life, anxiety, and an internal alarm clock that leaves her scrambling for purpose, identity, and adventure. She and her friend, Cher, set the irreverent tone of the story from their very first conversation.

“Do we really have to go to that damn book club meeting tomorrow?” Cher asked. “When we joined, I thought they were going to serve daiquiris while discussing Jane Austen. Somehow, we found the only dry book club in the county.”
“Come on, Cher, we’re going for the intellectual stimulation and thought-provoking dialogue. That’s why we’re reading Pride and Prejudiced Vampires.” Maggie stuck her tongue out and made a gagging noise. “Oh, hell! Which of us wants to fake the Ebola virus to get out of it?”
“Your turn,” Cher reminded her. “Last month I had bubonic plague.”
“Yes, but the month before that I had terminal hemorrhoids. That should earn me a pass tomorrow.”
Cher laughed. “That doesn’t count. When you got your second opinion, the doctor decided that you just needed more fiber in your diet.”

My writing career has been marked by making it up as I go, but in one regard, I absolutely followed “the rules.” Know your readers. Right now, over 35% of Americans are age 50 or older. Both my humor book and my novel are aimed at the AARP crowd. So many writers want a book that is universally appealing, and end up with something that is not a good fit for any reading audience. I’ve gotten very positive feedback from people of all ages, but I absolutely keep my target readers in mind when I’m promoting my book.

I’m currently working on book two in the Maggie Gorski mystery series, but I haven’t forgotten my humor writing. My partner and I are working on producing a series of humor anthologies, featuring some well-known humor writers, along with promising newcomers to the field. We wanted to provide an opportunity for exposure and publishing credits for some very talented writers, helping them to build their platform. We are currently editing our first book, My Funny Valentine, which will come out in January, 2012, published by Bauu Press.

Box of Rocks, published by Adoro Books is now available at Amazon, and through the Adoro Books website.

I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at, or visit my humor blog at


  1. Nice blog. Karla, you are funny. It is publishers who lack a sense of humor these days.

  2. Well, considering this book is %$&#ing hilarious, the foolish publishers missed out. They'll be knocking on your door with fist fulls of cash in hand once this takes off.