Friday, May 22, 2020

What’s in a Naming Contest?

A rose by any other name… will still cut you if you aren’t careful about the thorns.  But would you look to buy a rose if it was labeled “thistle”? Would you even look at a rose scented candle if it was labeled “skunk”?  The same is true of a book title.

Will Clarey: A Kerryville Summer is a descriptive title that might not reach the middle grade reader as effectively as I hope. Thus, I am looking for a little help.  

Here’s the scoop:

How you enter:

Read the teaser below.
If you need more information, are brave, and don’t mind having major plot lines revealed, read the spoiler synopsis. 

Send title suggestions to me at (Wil’s friend Hannah’s email address in the book and a real address for this contest).

The Prize:

If a publisher goes with your title suggestion, your name will appear on the acknowledgement page as the creator of the title. The same will happen if I eventually decide to publish independently.

The rules:

Ummm, no money prize so no rules. No age limit for submissions. Sorry, no royalties. If you have amazing suggestions, we’ll talk. I can always use new ideas. Just keep in mind that I am not currently making any money from my writing and may or may not make much in the future.

The non-spoiler teaser (from the back of the draft cover above):

The spoiler synopsis:


       Wil Clarey’s life is turned upside-down when his mom gets a new job that forces him to move from Los Angeles to his grandparent’s farm in rural Kerryville, Virginia for the summer.

At first this seems like the end of the world. Chores, limited internet, and far too friendly people nearly crush this 13-year-old boy who is on the autism spectrum. 

On just his second day on the farm, Wil is called upon to lead the neighbor’s 2000-pound bull back to its barn. There he meets Hannah, a very outgoing girl his age. 

       Despite Wil’s initial reluctance, the two become fast friends. She helps him adjust to the country life and introduces him to other friends.  

       Wil’s grandpa introduces him to photography which reveals a hidden talent Wil didn’t know existed.

       Wil’s popularity explodes when he catches a 6-year-old child falling from the farmhouse roof. The story is picked up by the local paper, then the regional TV news, and finally the Today Show. Wil, his grandpa, Hannah and the 6-year-old and her mom are flown to New York to be interviewed. With Hannah and Grandpa’s encouragement, Wil speaks up for those with High Functioning Autism. Hannah also get the surprise of her life when One Direction plays a concert on the Today Show and she is called on stage and sung to.

       Several other adventures bring action, suspense, and humor to Wil’s summer.

       The summer climaxes with the Annual Kerryville Agricultural Fair. Hannah exhibits her rabbits and Wil enters the photography contest. They both come away winners.

       Wil’s grand prize also comes that day, but that’s one spoiler I will reserve for now.

Friday, April 3, 2020

First Edit, Second Book

The first edit of the second book in the Wil Clarey series begins!

A couple weeks ago, I finally picked up Wil Clarey: School of Hard Knocks and started editing. I knew from reading it that I needed a strong first chapter. How could I make this book grab the reader and still introduce Wil? I want the book to be able to stand on its own, impact lives and be a page turner.

In my frustration I stepped away from my writing corner and started walking on my treadmill a couple feet away. I found myself pushing myself faster than normal, praying, almost in anger, for inspiration. In my speed, it came:

Faster. I need to go faster. I hit the speed bump and caught air.
Oh man, don’t hit it. My wheels just barely scuffed the edge of the curb as I doubled my efforts, pumping my legs for all I was worth.  
Last straightaway! I can do this! I hit the button on my watch just as I passed the sidewalk to our apartment.
Skidding to a halt inches from a truck trailer, I looked at my watch. So close. I gotta try again.
“Don’t even think about it, Wil.” How did mom always read my mind? “We should have hit the road a half hour ago. Put the bike in the trailer and let’s go.”
I started to feel that little warning tug. After an awesome summer with no major “incidents” from my autism, I thought I’d better do what Mom said. This time.
“Let the new adventure begin.” Mom proclaimed as we pulled away from the trailer that held my bike, and all our belongings.
(excerpt copyright 2020, Richard D Solano)

I went on to begin Wil's journey in a fresh way that I hope will grab the reader into his world. Let me know what you think. I will keep you updated as the story reforms itself.