Sunday, June 15, 2014

VERA'S WILL by .... me!

I'm thrilled to announce that my novel Vera's Will is set for publication by Hamilton Stone Editions in late 2014/early 2015.

It's been a long hard slog. I started writing this book 15 years ago. I started trying to get it published almost 10 years ago. I got a lot of positive reactions from agents and publishers, but all of it was along the lines of "this is great, I'm sure someone will grab it up, but it's not for us, we wouldn't know how to market it." I held on to the "this is great" bits, told myself the "we can't market it" bits were anti-gay and anti-political-fiction, nursed oceans of resentment and hostility (as one does LOL) toward anyone who did manage to get a book published. Went on to start a second novel, worked on it in fits and starts, grew ever more enervated and discouraged as I approached age 60 and wrestled with encroaching health problems, all the while trundling to work and back endlessly with no prospect of affordable retirement ever in sight.

Now, though, tra-la! My novel will see the light of day, and I couldn't be happier. Of course this entails lots more labor. These recent weeks I've been toiling at some revisions requested by HSE, which terrified me at first but by which I've now become energized. The big thing, gulp, is that I'm writing a new ending. I think it might work! This is a huge relief.
The other hard part of the final revisions is dealing with the song lyrics that pop up in many scenes throughout the novel. U.S. law makes it impossible to include any snatch of a song lyric, no matter how brief, and not even a song title either, without the permission of the copyright holder. The way the copyright holder (rarely the actual songwriter, usually one of the big music corporations like BMI) grants permission is basically by selling it. You have to pay for the right to include the bit of lyric. The cost ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Well, guess what, I haven't got hundreds or thousands of dollars and neither does my small-press publisher. And so, with great snarling sadness, I'm having to go through page by page, find each song lyric, and excise it, sometimes altogether, sometimes change it to a sort of reference that is not an actual direct quote of the lyric. I hate hate hate this! It's hard to do without diluting, damaging any given scene. I've been surprised to find out how many lyrics appear throughout the manuscript, though I guess I shouldn't be as it makes sense for my two protagonists that popular music is a part of their lives; I feel like I should apologize to them for yanking it away.

And lyrics from songs performed by what legendary artist show up in my novel more than any other? Why, Aretha Franklin, of course. Ouch! Oy! Last night at her wonderful Radio City concert (see post below), I was surprised, delighted, and, well, thrown into a sob-o-rama, when she sang one of my most beloved of her songs, "Gotta Find Me An Angel," written by her late sister Carolyn Franklin. This song is key to a climactic scene in my novel. It's killing me that I've got to delete the (brief but important) lines from it. But delete them I must. Ah the life of the tortured artist.

OK, yeah, I know, pity me not. My novel's getting published! I'll be back with details as the date approaches.