Monday, September 12, 2016

A Writer's Ups and Downs and Inspiration

 Signed Copy of The Namesake for the first U. S. 
Email Connect Follower who raises a hand!

Steve Parlato is my Featured Follower for September and he has a new book on the brink of publication. Here he talks about it and about some of his experiences as a writer. 

Take it away, Steve!

I’ve finished my second book. While this hardly makes me Patterson prolific, I’m sort of impressed. I mean, it took ELEVEN YEARS for my debut, The Namesake, to go from initial scribblings in a college notebook to finished hardcover. By comparison, Book Two, The Precious Dreadful, was crafted with lightning speed: roughly two years start to finish—Start being a literal whisper in my head, sharing details of story at 5:00 AM on July 8, 2013. Finish = a solid revision submitted to my agent at last August’s end.

My newfound speed mostly results from expectations. I labored over my debut in blissful anonymity. No one outside family and friends was eager for me to complete a book. Sure, they cheered me on, but there was no reading public to consider. At least, no reading public keen on a follow-up from Publishers Weekly’s “name to watch.”

Steve and other authors. 
Networking, appearing, signing books. All part of the author's life.


C. Lee Review 


I won’t pretend obscurity was idyllic. There were major disappointments en route to The Namesake’s release: false starts, agent misfires, rejections. And The Precious Dreadful has yet to hit bookshelves—plus I’m suddenly agentless—but with this novel, I’m a known quantity. While that caused sophomore trepidation, it also inspires me. 

If The Namesake was a thrilling leap into the unknown, with The Precious Dreadful, I have a better sense of where I’ll land. Writing TPD has been more purposeful, and I feel uncharacteristically confident. But I promise you, no less thrilled.

Getting to know my new protagonist, a young woman named Teddi Alder, has been a joy. The teen daughter of a trainwreck single mom, Teddi struggles to define herself one hot summer. Her decision to join SUMMERTEENS, a library writing group, leads to unexpected consequences— romantic and dramatic—as she works to solve two mysteries: the whereabouts of a long-lost childhood friend, and the appearance of a ghost-girl who emerges from the park pool late one night. As Teddi juggles mysterious events, and two guys with potential, The Precious Dreadful balances romance and humor with elements of horror and deeply felt emotion. 

Though the book isn’t technically a follow-up to The Namesake, Teddi’s story takes place in the same town as Evan’s, and there are sly references fans of my first novel will recognize. I’m excited to get The Precious Dreadful out there; thanks for the chance to share my news!

Be among the first to read an excerpt from Steve's new book. Click HERE!




Quote of the Week: "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it." Muhammad Ali

100 comments:

  1. Congratulations on finishing the second book and hope it finds a home. Obscurity before the first book isn't too bad. No pressure, then.

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    1. So right. After your first book is out, there are expectations that the next one will follow and be dynamite!

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    2. Thanks, Alex! I hope so, too! That's true, only the pressure we put on ourselves, which-if you're like me-is always the worst! All best ~ SP

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  2. Congrats on the second book and good luck finding a new agent. Since you have standing, hopefully it will be less painful. But how stressful!

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    1. That agent hunt is one of the worst!

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    2. Thanks, H.R.! I figure since I did the agent hunt once (twice actually), I can do it again. All best ~ SP

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  3. Hey Steve, congrats on your second book - your writing speed is similar to mine. I keep thinking I should speed up, but then everything just goes very wrong.

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    1. I'm not good at speed writing, either. I love the wallowing in creative juices so much that I never want that part to end. :-)

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    2. Annalisa, I know speed's not the point, but I can't help thinking I should be FASTER! I agree with you, Lee. I'm always a little reluctant to call it finished. All best ~ SP

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  4. Congratulations on your sophomore book and good luck in the agent hunt. Querying is not for the faint of heart, but having published works to your name will help! :)

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    1. That's why these anthologies are so helpful for authors starting their careers.

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    2. Thank you, Dianne! The query hunt always seems a bit overwhelming, but like anything else, one step at a time. Hope you're right about the pubbed works. ;) All best, SP

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  5. Congrats on your debut, wishing you much success. '
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Thank you, Juneta! Success in all things back atcha! ~ SP

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  6. Ghost girl emerging from a park pool? Okay, you got me. I want to know more.

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    1. It does make you want to find out more, doesn't it?

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    2. Hi, Tamara! Yup, a little spooky... Thanks for stopping by my site to check out the excerpt. Boys! All best ~ SP

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  7. Congratulations on the second book, Steve. Hopefully your search will be short with sweet and successful results.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

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    1. I'm sure this second one will be as great a read as his first one.

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    2. Thank you, Mason. Amen to that! And thanks, Lee! Here's hoping! Ciao, SP

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  8. Hi Lee - great to see Steve here ... and to read about his second book - as he says in record time ... Well done and all the best for the publication and future novels ... cheers to you both - Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. Hope he does well with all his books.

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    2. Thank you, Hilary! I like the sound of "all his books"! I do have a start on a couple others. We shall see. Of course, there is this whole fulltime teaching thing. Whew! Take good care, SP

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  9. Congratulations to Steve! Sounds like a fantastic story.

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    1. Thank you, Christine! I hope it will make a splash...like a ghost girl in a park pool! :o
      Cheers, SP

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  10. I LOVE the title The Precious Dreadful. It just makes me happy. And learning to write faster is never easy. If only...

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    1. Thanks, Libby! The title comes from a line near the end of the story. I hadn't considered it for the title, but my former agent suggested using it. I really like it, too. Hoping when it's published they don't change it on me! Yeah, speed is never gonna happen for me (though 2+ years beats 11 by a mile). All best ~ SP

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  11. Ooo, The Precious Dreadful sound very intriguing. I can identify with it taking a long time to get a book writing. Congratulations Steve!

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    1. I'm very happy to turtle along. :-)

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    2. Thank you, Bish! It is such an immersive process, isn't it? And I love that long wallow, too, Lee. But I get impatient with myself. And my writing time is generally limited to school breaks, which really brings the pressure! Oh well, poor me, right? Ha ha. Thanks for stopping by! SP

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  12. congrats to Steve on his new book

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    1. He needs to have a movie made of this one.

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    2. Thank you, Dezmond! Yeah, I agree, Lee. Bring on Hollywood. I'd love to see Evan on the big screen, too. I would, of course, need to play a small role in any adaptation. After all, I really wanted to be an actor, chuckle. Happy Tuesday! SP

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  13. Congrats to Steve. I keep hoping I'll get faster at this. I think I am. Maybe a little.

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    1. Don't go so fast we can't keep up! :-)

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    2. Donna, I think the story knows what speed it needs, don't you? But any gains are worth celebrating! Raising a glass to "a little faster". Cheers! SP

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  14. Congrats indeed. Always great when they want to be told and come out quicker.

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    1. Agreed on both counts, Pat and Lee. The whole process is fascinating, isn't it? Those early whispers are real treasures, and really, so is the in-the-trenches toil! Happy work! SP

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  15. Great quote by Ali! :)

    Love those 'easter egg' moments of finding references to an author's other works. The books sound great!

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    1. Thank you, Jemi! I like those references, too. It helps build a whole world, don't you think? Like Stephen King's Derry, Maine. Fortunately, nothing quite so dark happens in Teddi's world - no killer clown. ;) All best ~ SP

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  16. Congratulations, Steve! Lots of authors don't ever publish and fewer still, a second. You're in a rarefied group! Great names. I'm going to check both of these out.

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    1. Aww, thank you, Jacqui. What a giving way to think of it. I appreciate that. I hardly ever feel rarefied! Hope you like The Namesake (and the excerpt)! All best ~ SP

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  17. The Namesake sounds like a YA book I'd like. I especially like the part about the library writing group and what comes out of that. Congrats, Steve!

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    1. Thank you, Chrys! Maybe you'll win a copy of The Namesake. Teddi's library group (in my 2nd, as-yet-unpublished) was really fun to write. Lots of quirky characters. And there's nothing like a writing prompt to allow a character to explore her dark recesses! Take care! SP

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  18. I think it takes that long to learn how to write. That's why first books take so long. Congrats on the new one.

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    1. Good point, Liz. And life takes up so much writing time, doesn't it? All best ~ SP

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  19. Congratulations, on not one but two books. It sounds as if you have met and exceeded expectations - which has to be a warm and lovely feeling.

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    1. Aww, what a wonderful comment, EC! It reminds me of a glowing grade school progress report. I gratefully accept this gold star! Take care ~ SP

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  20. It's nice to meet Steve! Wishing him much success! Have a great week! :)

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    1. Thank you, Karen! Nice meeting you as well. Take good care! SP

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  21. I enjoyed reading Steve's guest post. The publishing biz sure is filled with ups and downs, huh? Congrats on writing two books and getting them out there! I hope there are soon more fans with "expectations." :)

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    1. Many thanks, Lexa! I hope so, too. All best ~ SP

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  22. Best of luck with your second book and your hunt for a new agent -- but with a well-praised book, it may be easier this time around. Crossing my fingers for you. :-)

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    1. Let's hope you're right, Roland. Thanks for keeping those fingers crossed! All best ~ SP

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  23. Good luck with the second book. Steve is right that the expectations are way different after an author's first book is released and there is definitely pressure to produce a new manuscript quicker.

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    1. Different expectations, but I think the most pressure comes from ourselves as writers. Don't you think, Natalie? Thanks for stopping by! SP

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  24. Congrats on your second book Steve, I'm sure it will be a success. Good luck.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne! Let's hope so! All best ~ SP

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  25. So happy to read this update! I've been looking forward to meeting Teddi...it sounds like soon I will! Congrats!

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    1. Hey Cindy! Thanks for stopping by, and for constant support. Happy trails, friend! SP

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  26. I'm sure you second will find a home just as your first has. Good luck. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. I appreciate the vote of confidence, emaginette! Hope you're right! ~ SP

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    1. Thanks, Dolorah! Appreciate you stopping by! SP

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  28. Great advice. And the book sounds interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly. I appreciate you taking the time to say so. All best ~ SP

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  29. That's totally how it works, right? My debut novel took 11 years too--not that it was my first novel by any means. The sequel also took about two years. And the third book, 2 years--though to be fair, there was a pregnancy and a baby between the two. That makes a huge difference.

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    1. Crystal, Wow, you have been productive! My debut was my first novel, and we had two very young kids as I toiled away at it. By the time it was published, my son was old even to read it (and to not be interested in doing so). It's funny how writing and life can be both symbiotic and mutually exclusive. Thanks for stopping by! ~ SP

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  30. Congratulations on your new novel. One thing is for sure, the writing world is not an easy one. But it is worth the struggles, disappointments and successes. Your book sounds fascinating. Best wishes to you.

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    1. Yes, Beverly, all those things--sometimes concurrently. I hope readers will find it fascinating, or at least truthful. All best ~ SP

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  31. That is a lot of progress with your speed, Steve! Wishing you all the best with your books. The Namesake sounds fascinating!
    ~Jess

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    1. Thank you, DMS! All the best to you, as well. Take care ~ SP

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  32. congratulations, Steve! It sounds as if you have an interesting story.

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  33. Best wishes for the new book. That is a great quote by Ali!!!

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  34. To all of my super followers, a great thank you for your wonderful support. Steven got a wonderful welcome, and I'm ever so grateful. I'm excited about this whole month of him as Featured Follower! Stay tuned for the winner of his signed hardcopy of The Namesake.

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    1. They ARE super, Lee! And so are you! I've felt so at home here, and sort of fancy, but don't worry. I'm not getting too big for my britches. Looking forward to signing a copy for one of your fine folk! ~ SP

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  35. Congratulations, Steven! So happy your book got published. Sounds like a good one.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry! Here's hoping the next one follows suit. All best ~ SP

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  36. Congratulations, Steven! Thanks for sharing some of your writing story. I love that you've included sly references to your first novel in your second one.

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    1. Thank you, Tyrean (what a lovely name!)! Yes, adding those little bits was fun for me, anyway. Take good care, SP

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    2. He has been sly, but in a great way! Looking forward to his second book, for sure. :-)

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  37. Congrats on completing your second book, Steve! That's great how your writing process for this one was speedier than the first. (The opposite has been true for me. I've become much slower over the years, unfortunately. LOL.) Best of luck with TPD! I'm intrigued by the plot already...

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    1. I'm not sure where I am in all of this. Slower? Faster? Skidding to a halt? Thanks for commenting, Heather.

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    2. Thanks, Heather! It's all relative, I suppose. It probably means I've slowed down considerably in other aspects of life. Lee, you crack me up! Take care ~ SP

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  38. Congratulations on finishing the second book! 8D

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    1. Many thanks, Robert! Take good care ~ SP

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  39. My earlier writing seemed to take forever and now I write fast. Congrats to the author and happy agent hunting. I'm getting back in the query trenches and I know it isn't easy.

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    1. Thanks, Medeia. Best wishes in the trenches! ~ SP

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  40. Great post, Steve! TPD sounds like it will be fabulous!

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne! Let's hope! ~ SP

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    2. And, Yvonne, congrats on your latest!!

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