Cover Reveal for Facsimile by Vicki Weavil

So this week is just an embarrassment of riches it seems.

In addition to revealing my own cover I get to reveal one for my incredible critique partner Vicki Weavil! I will be upfront, when she told me she was writing sci-fi I was worried. Not because I didn’t think she could handle it, but because I worried I’d be a terrible critique partner for her. Despite being really into Fantasy as a kid, sci-fi never did it for me (I prefer magic over lasers!) However, I can tell you this book really made me love sci-fi! Vicki created a great story with a cast of characters that I instantly wanted to spend time with. Another great thing about this book is the diverse cast. The protagonist is Latino, and two guys she spends the most time with are Indian and Asian. It really made a nice change, particularly in science fiction. So much incredible representation is in this book. So pre-order your copy today! It’s an easy sell with a stunning cover like this!

 

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Title: FACSIMILE

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Publisher: Month9Books

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Format: Paperback and E-book.

Preorder on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Facsimile-Vicki-L-Weavil/dp/194266446X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449082288&sr=1-2&keywords=weavil

Goodreads Listing: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18249272-facsimile?from_search=true&search_version=service

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

For a ticket to Earth, seventeen-year-old Anna-Maria “Ann” Solano is willing to jettison her birth planet, best friend, and the boy who loves her. Especially since all she’s required to do is escort Dace Keeling, a young naturalist, through the wilderness of the partially terraformed planet Eco. Ann‘s determination to escape the limitations of her small, frontier colony never falters, until Dace’s expeditions uncover three secrets. One offers riches, one shatters Ann’s perceptions of herself, and one reveals that the humans stranded on Eco are not its only inhabitants.

 

Ann’s willing to sacrifice friendship and love for a new life on Earth. But when an entire species is placed in jeopardy by her actions, she must make a choice – fulfill the dream that’s always sustained her, or save the planet she’s never considered home.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science and a M.A. in Liberal Studies. She is currently the Library Director for a performing and visual arts university. She is the author of the YA Fantasy, CROWN OF ICE, published by Month9Books in 2014.

An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. Vicki is a member of SCWBI and is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY.

 

Website/blog: http://vickilempweavil.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VickiLWeavil

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/VickiLempWeavil?ref=hl

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7091425.Vicki_L_Weavil

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vickilweavil/

 

 

Here is a photo of Vicki and I when we met in NYC this summer!

 

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“The Role” by Richard Taylor Pearson – Cover Reveal

I’m thrilled to reveal the cover for my upcoming novel “The Role.” Ben Baldwin, the designer, worked closely with me, my editor, and the press, and I absolutely adore the result.

The idea that such a talented artist drew something based on what I wrote is truly amazing. Ben’s interpretations of my characters – some of which are exactly what I pictured, others wildly different – are perfect. As we get closer to the release date, I’ll reveal which actors I would choose to play each character. For now, I’m just happy to look at my cover and know I’m one step closer to publication Without further ado, here it is:

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Title: The Role

Genre: LGBT Fiction

Publisher: Lethe

Publication Date: Spring 2016.

Format: Paperback and E-book.

Preorder it: | Lethe | Amazon |

Author: Facebook | Twitter |

 

Synopsis: Mason Burroughs is an actor on the verge of giving up after being turned away at audition after audition. But his life changes when he bumps into Kevin Caldwell, an old crush from acting school. Kevin helps Mason land a role that could make him the next Broadway star. However, as rehearsals begin, Mason learns that there’s a lot more drama than just what’s on stage. With a personal trainer claiming he can mold his body to resemble a Greek statue, an underhanded understudy waiting in the wings to replace him, a megalomaniacal director, and Kevin hellbent on breaking up Mason and his boyfriend, Mason must choose how much he is willing to sacrifice to make his Broadway dream a reality.

 

 

 

 

Path To Publication

What I learned from Joan Rivers

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In reflecting on Joan Rivers’ passing, I thought a lot about what it is about her I liked. Certainly, I am thankful for her pioneering efforts for female comedians as well as her life-long advocacy for the LGBT community. However, in Ms. Rivers later years, her openness about her life and struggles really made her much more than a great comedian. In addition to being funny I’ve really come to think of her as a teacher as well. The much lauded episode of Louie, wherein she berates Louis C.K. for not knowing when he is lucky, is one that transcends beyond just the life of a comedian, as the lessons she teaches could be applied to any artistic endeavor. 

Over the past year I’ve been whining and complaining about how long the submission process has been, and I’m pretty sure if I did this in front of Ms. Rivers she would smack me upside the head. She’d point out that I not only finished a book, but that I managed to write and rewrite it to a point that I landed an agent. That, in and of itself, is something few people accomplish. She’d find my excuses for not working on book 2 equally unacceptable. In “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” the documentary about her, she showed just how hard she works at being a comedian and television personality every day. Given how long Ms. Rivers has been in the business, it’s very easy for us to just believe that people would call her to do her act or appears on television. However, this was not the reality. Instead, she was constantly marketing herself and crafting new material. Why? Because she knew how easy it was to fall out of the lime light. Ms. Rivers’ career had numerous ups and downs, but she never let that stop her from working.

I never met Ms. Rivers, but I certainly respected and admired her. Now that she has passed, I can no longer wait for her to someday walk into my life and set me straight. I have to  listen to the words she’s left behind instead. So I’m going to try to not only recognize how lucky I am now, but also stop looking to the world to pave my way toward being a success as an author. I need to get back to working on making my own success. That’s what I learned from Joan Rivers.

Worrying, Waiting, & Writing

This image is by the artist Kibbitzer (Kibbi) on Deviant Art

This image is by the artist Kibbitzer (Kibbi) on Deviant Art

The resubmission process is not as easy as I thought.

Last year, my agent submitted me to three presses. Each one of them saw something of value in it, and offered me some feedback about what aspects of the novel they had issues with. The idea being that if I fixed some of these things, they would review the revised manuscript which might lead to an offer for publication. 

I took a lot of time and care to substantially alter and rework my manuscript, and now that I’ve finished  I’m on “resubmission” with the three editors/presses who gave me feedback. What I have to do now is wait. When I was on submission the first time, I was nervous but also confident. After all, my manuscript had been good enough to get an agent, and I had glowing reviews from my critique partner and beta readers. The editors could have simply rejected my work, but thought it was good enough to give me feedback on. It felt like they wanted to publish my work, but it just wasn’t quite there.

So now that I’ve worked so hard to revise my manuscript, I’m surprised that I find being on resubmission a lot more difficult than the original submission period. I’ve tried hard to figure why this is, and ultimately it comes down to fear. Resubmission is my second & last chance for my novel to be acquired/published by these presses. I fear that they will read it and find my manuscript ultimately unworthy. This concept is scary not just because I truly want my manuscript to be published, but also because it makes me worry about who I am as a writer. I fear that I am somehow in a literary “uncanny valley” as a writer, meaning that my skills/stories are good enough for consideration, but ultimately unworthy of publication. This fear has made it much harder to write something new.

I’ve asked a lot of writers what they do to cope when on submission/resubmission, and the answer I see the most is:

“Work on something else and hope that it distracts you enough from the idea of waiting.”

So I set out to work on something else, but have been plagued by doubt. I know all writers struggle with this. I certainly did when writing my first novel, and even more so when revising/rewriting it. My process in writing a first draft generally requires me to accept that a first draft is about finding the bones of the story. This translates to accepting that the beginning will likely be completely rewritten (saving the plot points and nothing else) and the rest of it will be heavily rewritten. A lot of my first draft writing has me writing scenes that I need to write to get to know my characters better, but are ultimately cut because they are not necessary. A character could talk endlessly about being an outcast in high school, but you could simply reduce this to a single phrase in a conversation. Something like “Sorry, I’m just used to eating alone.” That tells you everything you need to know, and avoid long ambling exposition.

I used to hate this about my process, but I have learned over the past few years that it’s pointless to fight it. I’ve tried to be better about writing work that requires less editing, but ultimately it makes it much harder for me to complete a story. If I think of my novel as building a bridge, and I choose to build it slowly and steadily out of huge stones that once placed cannot be removed, then I run into big problems when I find myself  at a dead end. Whereas if my first draft is just the basic framework which can be altered easily, then I can make sure that those huge stones are in the right place when I edit/rewrite/ and revise.

This is definitely not the fastest way to write a good novel, but it’s what works for me. The issue I have now is, I worry whether the bridges I build are good enough for other people to walk/drive on. Whether they will be able to be used by the masses, or if I’m simply building them for myself. What if my bridges aren’t good enough? Should apply my craft to something else? A true artist is said to be compelled to make/compose whatever art calls to them even if no one else saw it. I perform and sing without an audience often, and I write stuff that no one sees (nor should). For me there is no difference, because they all focus on one thing: Telling a story. I can’t imagine a life where I didn’t tell stories. But stories require an audience, just like theatre.  While novels can certainly exist without anyone but the author reading it, that’s not why I write. My goal in writing is to not only craft and create an excellent story, but also to share it with the world. For that reason, publication means a lot to me, and that is the reason that idea of resubmission being my second & last chance is much more nerve wracking.

My hope is that by blogging about this, I’ll remember that publication is the final step for my first novel. It’s an important one, but I shouldn’t let that stop me from taking the first step with my second. I’ve got other stories that need to be told, and that should be my focus for now.

Past Self and Future Self

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So the cool thing is…I’m working on something new. With a few fulls hanging out with agents, I decided to stop tinkering with my old novel, and work on other things in my life. One of those is a new novel. I’m once again not really working with an outline, which doesn’t seem to be a problem yet. My first chapter is definitely faster paced than my old one. Of course the new project is YA, so that might be why.

Anyway, my issue so far is this. When I wrote my first novel, I basically wrote to put down the bones of a story. The goal was to just see if I could write a full-length novel, that had a beginning, middle and end. Once I was about 1\3rd through the novel, my ability to write improved a lot. Partially because I wrote everyday, and therefore was in better “writing” shape (my waistline however…well let’s not talk about that!) the other thing that was different was that I knew the characters and the world I was writing in much better. So it was easier to write chapters that felt more fleshed out. I was so so ecstatic when I wrote my ending, and I thought I’d be able to do a quick revision and send it out to agents.

BOY WAS I WRONG!

My first draft was a story with a beginning, middle and end. It had great characters, wonderful moments, and a killer ending. The problem was….the beginning was a wreck. It was crude and poorly written. I despaired, wondering if the entire novel was actually like this. I flipped 100 pages into the novel, and soon saw that it was well crafted and much better than what I had started with. So I went to work heavily revising my first 100 pages. It wasn’t easy. I was angry with my past self for leaving my current self to deal with this mess. I swore never to do this again.

Funny thing? After writing only 2,000 words I can see I’m doing it again. Now it is better written than the first novel, but it is still crude. The character’s are definitely interesting, but I’ve not spent enough time with them to really get a feel for exactly how they feel and sound. It’s almost feels like they are in an opera where they play an exaggerated version of themselves. I am sure that, much like the last time, I will be able to better wield my keystrokes to turn these operatic icons into characters you can connect to on a true and personal level.

So to my future self I must say this: I know the beginning is rough, but you know these people so much better than me. So don’t be mad at me for not doing them justice. Just remember, without me, you’d never know them at all. Together, you and our even further future self will hopefully be able to bring our new found friends and enemies into the hearts of our readers.