Posts Tagged ‘Shaken Loose’

Cover reveal!

November 15, 2022

I’m so excited: Here’s the cover for my novel Shaken Loose, which will be published next summer by Hypatia Press!

I really, really love this. It’s eye-catching, reflective of the themes of the book… and it was created by my daughter Rebecca Schuchat!

Becca is an emerging graphic novelist and designer. She received her MFA last June from the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, has a growing portfolio of work, and is working on a graphic novel that will be of particular interest to people who have followed this blog. (Shhh. I can’t give away anything about it.)

I’d been thinking way too literally about cover ideas. I asked Becca to help me come up with some concepts I could give to the publisher, since my own drawings look like the output of a semi-talented pre-schooler. She produced a rough sketch, which they liked enough to have her design the actual cover! After some rounds of refinement, here it is.

I really love it. Publication in summer 2023 feels like a long time away, but this is a big step and makes it feel more real.

It’s a little weird being categorized as a “debut novelist”—with connotations of young girls in fancy dresses—when I’m closer to 61 than to 16. But then I had a Midlife Bat Mitzvah, so I should be used to that. :-)

I am deeply thankful for having such a talented and generous daughter. Grateful for a publisher who recognized a good cover when they saw it (as opposed to the awful, literal sketches I’d sent them). I’m thankful that after four decades of drafting novels after workdays, while on maternity leave, and during spurts of unemployment I am finally on the road to publishing one.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for joining me on this journey so far, and I look forward to your company over the next year too.


Book contract!

February 1, 2022

Did you hear the shouts reverberating through your modem?

I have a publisher!

I’ve signed a contract with Hypatia Press to publish my two-book fantasy series, Shaken Loose.  

No, this is not a specifically Jewish book. But it did indirectly grow out of some of the issues we’ve explored together in this blog—such as the contradiction between a supposedly just God and a universe so full of injustice. 

This moment has been a long time coming. I started writing Shaken Loose in 2014, at which point I envisioned a single book. I began querying agents in 2017 with no luck, did several rewrites, realized it needed a sequel, queried more agents with no luck, hired a developmental editor and did more rewrites, gave up on agents, and finally moved on to small presses that allow you to submit without an agent.

Now here we are at the start of 2022, and these books finally have a home. Hypatia Press is a newish small press dedicated to “quality irreligious publishing,” which is a perfect description of Shaken Loose

This is Connecticut. Not my book. Photo: Ilana DeBare

It’s set in a dystopic afterlife—a Hell that includes both truly evil people and anyone from throughout history who was not a baptized Christian. Yep, that would include me. And billions of other folks. Maybe you? It’s more fascinating than grim as the modern, secular Bay Area protagonist encounters 4th century Hun tribesmen and Chinese revolutionaries and Jim Crow-era segregationists and, of course, Satan. 

And viewed today—as opposed to when I started writing back in 2014—it’s a relaxing, almost benign kind of dystopia! There is absolutely nothing in there about Covid or Trump or climate change. 

Maybe this is the start of a new genre: “Escapist dystopia.”  :-) 

The tentative publication date is summer 2023. Now I start a new stage of this process—marketing. I need to create an author web page, solicit promotional blurbs from other writers, develop a social media strategy, maybe start an additional blog that is more focused on fiction than this one. Not as much fun as writing the actual books, but at least I have a long lead time to work on it.

I’ll keep you posted! And at some point, probably early next year, I’d love your help in spreading the word.