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!

 

facsimile ebook final

 

 

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.

Vicki Weavil 11

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!

 

IMG_0580.2015-05-31_233226.JPG

Advertisements

“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:

IMG_1934

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.

 

 

 

 

What I learned from Joan Rivers

joanrivers-070714

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.

The Revision Project – Day 8

time_1080

So this editing thing has definitely been a journey! The good news: I roughly on track. The bad news: It’s not from editing everyday. Rather I seem to find time every 2-3 days to do a decent chunk. Now that I’m through combing my opening for tiny flaws the more substantial edits have come forth. Many of my edits found numerous ways to ask me to do one thing: “Be less subtle.” As a person, I’m not subtle at all. As an author, I was trying to be a bit more nuanced. The request to really just be bold, is a dangerous one for me. Fortunately, I’ve been good at remembering I’m not a lone in this. I’ve sent small snippets of things to various readers, who are familiar with the original story, to see if these slight changes made a big difference.  Today I started weaving in a new character. While this is definitely something I’m nervous about, I’ve also really enjoyed it. I’m finding that if I’m struggling to edit a moment, the answer is not to spend an hour on it. The answer is to rewrite it. I usually think of rewrites as this thing you do when you just accept that what you’ve got on the page is broken. So I try really hard to see if I can simply fix stuff before rewriting it. I’m learning now to try a rewrite earlier. To trust that new words, covering the same beats and moments, can still be infused with the same magic that made the original passable. Only there is a high likelihood it will be even better.

Total pages edited: 65-70 (depending on which version of the MS)

The Revision Project – Day 1

man writing in journal1

So today was the first day of my editing project. I made it though the first 25 pages. This involved some fine tuning of sentences, some modifying things for consistency (things from the various drafts conflicted, and needed to be removed), cutting some stuff, and writing a tiny bit. For the most part I felt like I accomplished a lot, but I think I also need to remember that I should avoid spending an hour brainstorming multiple versions of the same sentence. Still, it was nice that the beginning didn’t need a whole lot of work. I think I need to create a better system for time management. Tomorrow I plan to do work for an hour, then take a 10 minute break. We’ll see how that goes!

Pages edited: 25/339 = 7.35% complete

Accountability for Phase 2

fully edited MS

Pictured above is my fully noted manuscript. It took 6 weeks for me to read and notate my novel (I didn’t spend each hour/day on it, but it took me that long to start the project and finish it) which is really too long. I’m allowing myself to feel less bad about this, as there was plenty of stuff going on in the past 6 weeks to keep me busy, but phase 2 of this editing/revising/rewriting process cannot be allowed to linger on. As a result, I realize I need to be accountable to someone/something about actually doing this. Therefore, I intend to blog everyday, regardless of progress made, to post before the world what what I did each day. This process will officially start on October 5th (a week from today) as I have a big commitment to perform for the NJVLA bi-annual fundraiser this week.

My goal this week is to get a head start, cleaning up the beginning, and just settling into the whole process. My main issues with this have been:

1. There is no good/satisfying way to chart progress in editing/revising/rewriting. It’s not like doing a first draft where word count can give you an idea. So instead of charting it out, I’m simply creating a goal. A minimum of 10 pages a day with a desire to do roughly 25 pages a day. My novel, when printed, is 339 pages long. So this would mean if I only did the minimum, I could get it done is just over a month. This brings me to my second issue/struggling point.

2. As I’ve not officially been offered a publication deal, I’ve got no deadline. I was encouraged to take as much time as I needed, which is the worst thing to say to someone like me. I need a deadline, I work best when there is something driving me. So I’m setting one for myself. Taking into account I’m likely to stumble a bit, I am giving myself 40 days (it worked for Noah right!) to do the edits on this thing. So that would mean I should be done with Phase 2 by November 12th, 2013. That seems OVERLY generous. However, I am trying to create achievable goals, so that’s my date!

3. A third, more elusive, problem I’ve been having is that no one has seemed to care if I get this thing done. Friends assumed, like me, that getting an agent meant that I was no longer alone in this. It’s true, I’m not, but my agent is a busy man. He’s got other clients, and he can’t do much more than tell me me work on my novel. I’m thankful for his infinite patience and belief in me. Whenever I feel like my career as a writer was a silly dream or a fluke, I remember my agent wouldn’t have signed me if I wasn’t doing something right. Also the 20+ people who read and loved THE ROLE, would have put it down if it wasn’t good. Editors wouldn’t have bothered to give feedback or offered to re-read a revised manuscript, if they didn’t see something in me/my writing/my story. So it’s silly of me to complain no one cared. They care, but they can’t do anything more with my novel, until I revise it. So I’ve decided to stop looking out for something to motivate me, and look within. As I finished the last few pages of my novel,  I was touched by how good it is. I was also mortified by the problems that exist with it. There are some balance problems, a few dialogue rough spots, and a section that is kind of a slog to get through. It’s a good story, but with a bit more work, it will be great. However, I can’t expect others to revise the book for me, much like every other step in this process, the bulk of the writing has to be done by me. I’m fortunate to now have editors, an agent, other writers, and friends who can help me when I need it, but I can’t ask for help until I begin.

So those are my problems, and my potential solutions.

Time for me to once again put my fingers on the keyboard again, and get writing! Stay tuned for daily updates on the process!

The Importance of reading for writers

Young-man-reading-a-book-001

BHE (for new readers BHE stands for “Best Husband Ever”) recent gave me a great book called “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey. It is a novel that tells you about process famous artists had when creating their art. Reading about the process of others, made me think about my own.

When I was writing “The Role” my process followed this structure:

7:00-7:30 a.m.             Wake up

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.          Free time

9:00-10:00 a.m.           Read a piece of fiction in the POV and tense of my novel. (1st person, present tense)

10:00 a.m. – ????         Write a minimum of 1,500 words.

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Take a walk (or do Pilates if it is raining)

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  If I hadn’t finished my work count I would write to that. If I had met it and was mentally exhausted I would consider this free time.

Understanding and accepting my process is still something I am doing, but there is one aspect of my process I wanted to highlight today.

Reading.

Reading others really helped me in structure, plotting, and just generally making my story feel like a novel. You can learn a lot from excellent authors by engaging with their stories in a critical way. While I usually just enjoy novels that take me on a journey, examining how their writing swept me away was one of the best lessons I ever learned.

So if you are struggling in your writing I suggest you read an old favorite and examine why it is an a favorite of yours. Try and inject some of that magic into your manuscript.

The Power of Failure

tiredrunner

So it has been a long time since I blogged about anything, and the main reason is I’ve been incredibly busy. I could dwell on the events of the past few weeks, but I think a few bullet points will get everyone up to speed to today’s topic:

  • I am now represented by Eric Ruben of the Ruben Literary Agency. To read about that story click here.
  • I have been working a lot. In one two week period I was able to bill almost 40 hours of overtime. That means that in the course of 2 weeks I almost worked the equivalent of three.
  • BHE and I are in the process of getting a house. We’ve already had our bid accepted, we just have to get the loan and inspection stuff done.

That’s not everything, but it’s enough. Anyway, so today I was thinking about what I wanted to blog about. I came up with the power of defeat. If you had found me on January 1, 2013 and told me that by Mid-May I would be so busy I’d have to bullet points major milestones in my life, I’d have said you were crazy. I was so down on myself. I had a lot of aspirations for 2013 but I was guarded with my hope. I knew what a longshot many of them were. I’m happy to report the important ones have seemed to have been accomplished. Part of that is the confidence that comes with being employed. I feel useful, and even when my job has been difficult, I’ve always felt thankful to have it.

I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed failing, but, for me, a lot of good has come from my failures. There is generally a moment where my brain just clicks and everything that I saw as an obstacle becomes a stepping stone. Many of us wish to teleport from our current location to the goal, but the journey is necessary most of the time. It’s not always going to be fun, but it will make sure that once you’ve crossed over the finish line you are ready for what awaits on the other side.

Past Self and Future Self

past self future self

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.

« Older entries