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Archive for the category “December”

A First Review of December

A little over two years and I’ve just encounter the first review of December. It’s a single star rating with a scathing review, affirming my sense that December is the book I needed to write in order to grow (in many ways). Nevertheless, I feel I must give this review proper reflection, and give my monster some defense.

First, the  review:

“Cole stood near the pinkish arm chair.” Okay, I thought, he probably could have used an actual color instead of the word “pinkish”, but maybe this will get better. It didn’t. It only got worse.

Just don’t do this to yourself. Wading through this “innovative” piece of garbage physically caused me and my boyfriend pain. I was curious, and now I am left wondering why we hurt ourselves this way.

“Maybe there is no point in life. Maybe.” – a quote from this pile of shit.

From Goodreads.

I wish the reader would have given me more information- but I have to use what I get.  The words that really stick with me are “innovative”, “garbage”, and the phrase “pile of shit”.

My first thought after reading the review was “Where did she get the idea that this is supposed “innovative”?” Innovative implies that it’s new, groundbreaking, or something advancing literature (it’s none of these things). It’s influenced by James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, but, like a child artist copying Da Vinci, it lacks the control and education needed for full effectiveness.

My second thought had to do with “pile of shit”. “Shit,” I thought “implies waste- the left overs after digestion. If anything it’s closer to vomit- the kind that comes after food poisoning. It’s unpleasant but it cleans the system.”  In that sense, it really is a work of therapy and one should approach it like a doctor approaches vomit: with gloves and mask.

Third- “Garbage”. She found this novel utterly worthless- void of any nutrients. Arguably, and I’m no psychologist, it’s as though she was expecting roast beef but received charred cedar instead. A reasonable response. But even to this (and what a defense I’m bringing my first child), I feel inclined to say it’s “junk” not “garbage”- it’s the stuff I’ve outgrown and have placed in the attic or scrap yard.

The final thought on this matter is this: a re-assertion of my belief that December is the novel written for the sake of cleansing. It’s my mental/emotional junk designed in the style of those whose stature I aim to achieve. It’s a reminder to myself that, if I can publish and love such a weak and idle thing, then by my fourth or fifth book I will have gained adequate skill to excel.

Which brings me to my response to this disappointed reader:

Thank you for slogging through my monster of inner monologue- though I’m not sure where you got the idea that December was intended to be “innovative” (or “shit” for that matter). I never aimed at innovation (it’s heavily influenced by James Joyce and Virginia Woolf), and it is, in all reality, a mental scrapyard- it has bits and pieces that are useful, the rest gathers dust and rust. My own description of “December” is that it is the written version of banging your head against a wall: it’s repetitive, goes nowhere, solves nothing, and yet- has some soothing aspects.

Michief’s Brewing

I’m terribly behind in my writing. Unfortunately, this seems to be a typical thing in the world of writers. Fortunately for us, however, the good lord invented coffee shops where we may sit and procrastinate in peace.

Better still, we look busy as we procrastinate because people who write often look busier than they really are. It’s the magic of having a computer open before you, and a coffee close at hand.

Moving on.

I have embarked on an incredible journey of unemployment and relocation, and I find myself with a great deal of time on my hands. Theoretically, this means I could work out and finish another book or two in the next few weeks as I apply to jobs and wait for responses. The reality, of course, is that I tool around and haunt coffee shops.

Not that I’m a complete bum.

This particular coffee shop -Mischief’s Brewing- is located in Libertyville, Illinois, and the owners have agreed to host me on August 17, 2014 for a third attempt at a book event. I can’t say I’m over optimistic, given the last two events were about as lack lustre as they come, but I’m content for the opportunity.

The shop itself has an air of a reclaimed train depot, and rests on the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and the Fox Lake-Chicago train line. There are a number of tables strewn along the walls and potted plants in the windows. Across from the counter, is a fireplace around which is a ring of black sofas.  From what I gather, the owners are hoping to become a kind of cultural hub for the city, and are the venue for a number of events each month.

I can’t say I know much more than that, but, if you happen to be in Northern Illinois anytime soon, it’s worth a stop for a cup of coffee, a quick round of connect four, and, maybe, a book signing.

Learning Curves: Marketing, Signings, and Planning Ahead.

I held my first “real” book signing June 28 at the Sheridan Fulmer Public Library in Sheridan, Wyoming. The turn out was non-existent, but, when I think about it, I’m not really surprised.  I’d like to take a moment and point out my “miss-steps” on the off-chance you ever plan an event. Many of them are common sense, but here’s my defence:

My primary miss-step was poor marketing, and this comes down to a series of events I’ve dubbed “The Book Ordereal” (because it was an ordeal surrounding my book order). But that doesn’t matter because that Ordereal comes down to poor planning on my part, and bridges into the point of this entry: planning is a must for marketing.

I received my books last Friday, and, since the Ordereal had me questioning the reality of my orders, I didn’t create a Facebook page or flyers for my event until Tuesday (June 24) of that week. Therefore: no one knew about the event aside from me and a few people far far away.

That aside, it isn’t a complete loss because I know better now and I know what I need for my next event in Buffalo, Wyoming on July 12: a plan. My plan, which I have initiated, is this: create a facebook page for the event and make some flyers.

So far I’ve done both, and hund flyers in the library and a couple local shops. Unfortunately, it was late afternoon when I managed to have time to print said flyers so I didn’t canvass many places, but, I hope, this event will have a wider turnout than just myself.

 

LoV-Write: Twitter and Pinterest

LoV-Write is now on Twitter and Pinterest.

My Twitter feed (in all it’s poorly managed glory), features the little snippets of information which are too short for my blog, as well as links to my blod posts.

LoV-Write on pinterest features boards of information relating to published and upcoming books. Be sure to see the December board to see pictures of Plymouth, England and some of the places mentioned in December.

And have I mentioned that December is now on Amazon? December is now on amazon, available as both an eBook and paperback.

TTFN

 

Judah

 

 

December: Excerpt from the first chapter

Cole stood near the pinkish armchair. This is where it takes place. It is placed here: here and now. Where is that: ‘Here and now’? My thoughts? My mind? The world? No, the here and now are in this living room: white walled, pink furnitured, with a flat-screen TV, an old fireplace, with the door closed and the curtains pulled shut. Right now the ‘here and now’ is Sheila’s living room. Right now, the here and now takes place in Sheila’s house in Plymouth, England.

Cole flipped the flap of his bag shut. Here and now I am packing my bag with books. My black computer bag I am packing with computer, a thermos of coffee, a snack, a bottle of water, and books. Leftovers and used items. My bag runneth over. A dream come true: owning a shoulder bag. A heavy shoulder bag. Here and now I am getting ready to go out while Sheila sits in her chair, watching me pack.

“I’m going now,” I say to Sheila. My landlady Sheila, who is eighty-two and white-haired, who sits and smiles and watches me prepare to leave. She reminds me of Becca, a former girlfriend; orderly and straightforward.

“Alright, my love.” She says, and she smiles in that pleasant way with wrinkling cheeks and wishes for my pleasant evening. But is that her gaze I feel which makes me feel bad for taking off? Here and now I leave Sheila alone in her pinkly sofa’d living room and shut the door behind me. That took a while to learn; always shut the door. She told me almost daily ‘shut the door behind you.’ And she said that saves on heating. Living room door. Inner door. Have to heat fewer rooms if the doors are all shut. Saves money. Saves Energy. I go out the front door and shut the door and lock the door. Outdoors there are no doors to save money on heating, just a cold gray landing, damp and blackened by rain.

December: Article in the RMC Summit

An anomaly of college life is that time can vanish suddenly, and this sudden loss of time can have adverse effects on yourself and others. While preparing for the final issue of the Summit last month, my editor needed content and I wanted a press release about my first novel, so this lead to the creation of an article on me and my book. Alas, I was the only one with time to write it! This lead to an interview with myself, which I have reproduced below. In the meantime, be sure to check out the Facebook and Pinterest pages for December.

______________________________________________________________

Judah LoVato is a senior graduating with a B.A. in Literature Studies, and has published his first book, a short novel called December.

“It’s been difficult trying to publish this book while keeping up with schoolwork,” LoVato explained in an interview with himself April 2, “but I hope it’s worth the stress.”

December is set for official release June 17, 2014 Tate Publishing, a Christian publisher out of Mustang, Okla.

“I found Tate through a friend of mine, Sabre Moore, who had her own first novel, Secrets at Sea, published through Tate as well. Since issues of faith and morality play into December, I was hopeful that they’d accept it as family-friendly writing.”

The story is based on LoVato’s study abroad in Plymouth, England back in 2011.December Cover

“It started as a kind of journal project,” LoVato explained, “because my dad suggested that I write about society from my own perspective as a 19-year-old. From this initial concept it slowly evolved into this stream-of-consciousness monster that I’m having published.”

Stream-of-consciousness is a style of writing where the narrative is written to imitate the thoughts of the main character.

“It took me about a year and a half to settle on the stream-of-consciousness, because I had been trying to make things clear and coherent for readers. But last spring [Spring 2013] I realized that I didn’t have to explain myself, I didn’t have to explain my writing or justify it; it can speak for itself and people can draw their own conclusions about what it stands for.

“That was a moment of liberation for me, and that laid the ground work for the style I finally adopted. It also helped that I was taking this British Novel class where we were reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

“I decided to re-write December so it takes place in the head of my main character, Cole. The style is unique because thoughts aren’t linear, but, as I’ve been learning, there are ways to make the style make more sense.”

The methods, LoVato explained, are to use word repetition and layout patterns for the reader to find. In December the chapters are connected by a theme of self-awareness, and by italicized sections that represent the traditional narrative approach.

According to LoVato, he started thinking about the repetition method when December entered editing this past January.

“The editors made a point of reminding me that stream-of-consciousness lacks descriptive narrative and characterization, and they asked if I ever noticed how most fiction writers provide extensive backgrounds on new characters.

“It forced me to really think about why I wrote stream-of-consciousness, and forced me to think of ways to provide more background on characters and make a ‘through-line’ for the piece.”

LoVato has started marketing December on Facebook, and plans to hold coffee-shop signings over the summer.

Dear You: December

Dear You,

It has been a busy few weeks because I’m finishing college and working on marketing December. I’ve started a Facebook page for December and I received my first book order this past week end. I now have to sign and deliver these books which will be, I think, rather enjoyable. In the meantime, I want to share the prologue (A Note From the Author) with you. Here it is:

Dear Reader,

I wish to thank you, first and foremost, for taking a moment to read my note and for examining my book; I hope you find her enjoyable. I would like to prepare you for what you are about to read, because she is a book unlike other books in that she has refused to adhere to conventional standards of narrative beauty and character development, and lacks those vampires, wizards, and romances that seem to have taken over pop culture.

Instead, this book has insisted on speaking through a single, limited perspective that strives to reproduce the private individual thought. You’ll find that Cole, whose mind is reproduced in this book, asks many more questions than he finds answers for, and that his thoughts can become disjointed or even confusing.

I would like to offer you a bit of information that should help you follow Cole’s stream of consciousness, and navigate the discontinuity of his private perception: As Cole reflects on his journey he is struggling to leave the confines of his thoughts and live more fully in the experiential world of the day-to-day, because of this it’s important to pay attention to the ‘here’ and ‘now’ within the text and to take notice of Cole’s level of awareness at any given point.

Now I hope, as many writers do, that you will continue to read and find some measure of meaning from the thoughts and perceptions preserved here in this book.

 

I’m rather pleased with this process, and I hope you’ll enjoy your copy. I’ve made it unique (of course), just for you.

December: Expanding the Market

Dear You,

I started selling books last week, and already I have 35 spoken for. It’s been an interesting experience in marketing and learning not to undervalue myself like I tend to do. My book is retailing at $17.99 and I know she’s worth it because I’ve put in time and labor to create this piece of fiction; I’ve spent days editing and altering lines and letters, and enduring this uncertainty and second guessing of publishing a first novel.

That being said, December is now available online through the Tate Publishing website, so be sure to look at it.

Paperback copies are $17.99 plus $5 shipping and handling, and e-books are $13.99.

And tell everyone you know (and don’t know),

Yours,

Until the previous time,

Judah

December Comes in June This Year

The release date for December has been set for June 2014; I’ll the specific date later. For the time being I thought I’d publish a picture of the book and show that, yes, this book is more than words on a screen.

Later I'll add a picture of myself.

A picture I took of the proof copy of December. I think the cover folk did well.

December: Marketing

Dear You,

I have, at long last, entered the marketing segment of the publishing process which means I must answer a multitude of questions about niche markets, and re-assess my reasons for writing in the first place. I have to ask myself: Why would I read it? Why should I read? What makes it interesting? What’s the purpose for selling this book? Why did I write the book? Why is it worth sharing? What motivation do I have for writing and selling this book?

Thinking about these things I’m remembering how December started. It started as a kind of challenge from my parents, namely my father, to capture my perceptions of society as a 19-year-old boy. I kept regular journals at the time, so the project started as journalistic entries and slowly evolved into this fictionalized cascade of internal monologue.

I think December is worth selling because it is entirely about an individual’s perception of the world, and this individual is “different” from other people. What makes this novel interesting is that, apart from social perceptions and ideations of society, the novel shows a divide between thought and action by inverting the typical italicizing pattern in a style similar to stage writing. That is, the physical actions and exterior actions are written in italic, while the interior monologue is plain text.

My motivation, then, for selling and writing this book -aside from efforts towards world domination- is to create a text that will provide historians and sociologists insights into the perceptions of we who have lived in the 21st century.

That’s what I’ve thought so far on these questions, and they are subject to change, but for now I hope all is well with you and that you’ll find a chance to examine my book and assess what meaning (or lack thereof) lies within the pages.

Your friend,

 

Judah

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