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22nd of August

If One Person could design your Book Cover, who would it be?


 

One artist to design your book.

For me, that’s a loaded question, because some of the best covers (EVER) have been released in just the past 3-5 years!

What’s your favorite cover of all-time?

And I’m not exaggerating. To the point where I lose focus of content and forget about the story itself.

I mean, I know we’ve gone gaga over visual images. Instagram is just one culprit. (Thank you 85 filters through which to view the same photo.)

Example #1: Here’s a cover I love from the terrific Seraphina series by Robert Beatty:

Set on the Biltmore Estate grounds, this novel has extreme beauty in its design and Disney Hyperion gets credit for that one.

#2, there’s Sara Pennypacker’s children’s book, Pax, with a beautiful illustration of the book’s main character by none other than Jon Klassen.

#3, To take it a step further, Klassen does another amazing job on Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest, with this amazing image:

 

#4, And finally, I love the cover design of this one by artist, Júlia Sardà. Absolutely breathtaking and spooky:

 

We love images so much that graphic novels are now outselling books. Yes. The graphic novel is outselling larger, fictional works.

Even better, the novel is being condensed and turned into the graphic novel form almost as soon as it’s released.

I’m happy people are reading. Even if the content is getting condensed year-to-year.

 

If one person could design your book, who would it be?

 

 

 

 

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29th of June

2017 Writerly Happenings


Hi, folks!

Here are 3 more exciting “writerly” events happening this summer:

 

“If everybody read Wendell Berry, I believe we’d have a shot at being more decent.”

 

 

Hope to see you at one, or all of these times!

 

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6th of June

Q&A: Brian L. Tucker


Questions

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

  • In 3 years I’ve seen 3 distinct stories. I’m never sure where the next one will go. Young adult tone has remained from Wheelman (2016) to Swimming the Echo  (2017).

 

What is the first book that made you cry?

  • Honestly. A Walk to Remember. Please don’t tell anyone. I read it one evening and woke up sick as a dog. I mean, how sad is that.

 

What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

  • I wouldn’t say practice. I don’t want to get into that. But, nepotism probably.

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

  • New ideas energize me. But, the editing makes me want to stay away from new projects altogether.

 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

  • Thinking the MFA (like any degree) is instant success. It prepares you. But, that is the starting point.

 

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

  • Unless you’re John Cheever, a big ego should be left alone.

 

What is your writing Kryptonite?

  • Seinfeld re-runs

 

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

  • Sometimes. Reading a string of 3 or 4 great (or awful) works will make me hit the pause button on reading.

 

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

  • With a common name like mine, I thought about Jumping Jack Flash a few times.

 

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

  • Melville said originality was everything (my paraphrase). I think a mighty theme is the way we should all try to write.

 

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

  • Not a satisfied one. Writers who try to sell are never digging as deep as the blood pouring from a poet’s arm.

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

  • The Bluegrass Writers Studio at EKU was where I learned to share the load. It’s a community. It works best that way.

 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

  • I’d like for them to. Seton, Kentucky is a nice slice of home for me, but I like travel stories and taking that adventure with each set of characters each time.

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

  • Write outside with a cold drink while overlooking the water. Forget that coffeehouse business.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

  • Story collections hardly ever sell. I learned to publish first. Ask questions second.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

  • Buying a Macbook to do more writing for the next next and next works.

 

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

  • I really don’t have any that come to mind.

 

What did you do with your first advance?

  • If I wrote non-fiction and this happened (an advance), I’d buy a bunch of obscure candy bars and share them with people. Cracker Barrel has a bunch of stuff like Zero bars, Zagnut bars, and Goo Goo Clusters. It’d be fun to do that and watch peoples’ expressions.

 

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

  • My third grade teacher, Mrs. Carolyn Harris let us type stories. She sent mine to me just last year. I remember that experience favorably.

 

What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?

  • Poets & Writers and Newpages.com are good ones

 

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

  • The Dollmaker. How that one isn’t required reading is beyond me.

 

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

  • Show don’t tell. Everyone benefits from stories like that.

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

  • Huh?

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

  • 3 currently.

 

What does literary success look like to you?

  • Thanking God for the chance to do it again tomorrow. Not being a weirdo.

 

What’s the best way to market your books?

  • Be yourself.

 

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

  • Research isn’t my thing, but I learn a lot when I give topics the attention they deserve. For example, I learned that the Dark Star cave beneath Uzbekistan might be the world’s deepest cave (after doing research for Swimming the Echo).

 

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

  • It can be. Especially if the topic is one of passion and love.

 

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

  • Getting inside their head and staying put for months on end.

 

How many hours a day do you write?

  • <1. I’m a slow writer. I often don’t write unless the premise is there. Then, I just go with it.

 

What did you edit out of this book?

  • Swimming the Echo saw some large cuts. Getting the story focused on the cave systems in Mammoth. And it still took almost half the novel to get the characters all settled there.

 

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

  • Anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical surrealistic fiction is astounding.

 

What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

  • Don’t slander them. Don’t let them take over. They work best for me as tertiary influences like Lincoln in Doctorow’s Ragtime.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

  • Not sure. I like names that roll off the tongue. Monk McHorning in The Natural Man is one of my favorites.

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

  • Haha

 

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

  • As long as their honest, what can I say.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

  • Sure. Hometown references. Childhood nostalgia is there. Friends have called me on it and said Thanks.

 

What was your hardest scene to write?

  • In Swimming the Echo, it was one of betrayal. That is always one of the hardest.

 

Do you Google yourself?

  • Do people do that?

 

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

  • Nothing. I think each person is on a journey (life-long) when they write.

 

What is your favorite childhood book?

  • Holes is special.

 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

  • Sitting down in isolation. I’m a space cadet. Being alone in a room, or even outside by myself can be torture.

 

Does your family support your career as a writer?

  • Definitely. And read mushy first, second, and third drafts.

 

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

  • Not listen to so much metal.

 

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

  • If the creative juices are flowing, one month to two.

 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

  • For me – no. I’d call it writer’s laziness. Not wanting to sit in the chair and delve into new ideas is where I reside mostly. Writing makes me feel like a misfit.
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10th of March

WHEELMAN gets a facelift


Hi all!

Following last month’s update about the release of my next novel, Swimming the Echo (5.30.17), I wanted to give another little update regarding the WHEELMAN paperback version. I’m currently in the works for finding a new cover design for it, and I’ll try to share that look (and its reprinting) soon!

In the meantime, the e-book version is alive and kicking OVER on Amazon FOR 2.99!!

Thanks for reading.

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20th of February

In 3 Months: My New Novel, Swimming the Echo


Hey all!

In a little over 3 months (5.30.17), my newest novel, Swimming the Echo, will be hitting bookshelves, and I wanted to give you as much notice as possible.

This novel will delve into more backstory of the fictional town of Seton, Kentucky (first featured in my story collection, Baptisms & Dogs (2014)), and the adventures of one youth who takes it upon himself to explore the terrains of love and loyalty.

Here’s an early synopsis:

IT’S AN ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME.

When a summer job to explore Mammoth Cave lands in Cade Rainy’s lap, he doesn’t think twice.

THE TEEN FROM SOUTHERN KENTUCKY MAKES A BREAK FOR IT.

But when he finds his dad is connected to a man working at Mammoth, Cade discovers there’s more to this trip than meets the eye.

THE CAVE IS JUST THE START.

Cade sets out to map the real route of twisted lies through fissures and stalactites, battling claustrophobia and bats.

EXPLORE. ADVENTURE. DON’T DIE.

EXPLORE. Don’t die.

don’t die

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12th of January

If your resolution was to read more…


WHEELMAN & BAPTISMS & DOGS on sale NOW!

Get a copy for your e-reader or for someone else’s. Get both for just $5.

 

And stay tuned for more updates about my newest novel, SWIMMING THE ECHO, out 5.30.2017.

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10th of August

Novels That Never Were


peter-chiykowski-bad-ideas-author-photo

 

  • 1. Dragon with a sore throat
  • 2. The Car with a heavy undercarriage
  • 3. Help! Our ferris wheel refuses to spin
  • 4. Untasty caramel apple goes missing
  • 5. Hackysack, a new Olympic sport
  • 6. Look! The Grand Canyon is filled with Nickelodeon goo
  • 7. Spam – an underdog story about America’s other luncheon meat
  • 8. Batman: lost in a dancehall
  • 9. The Edible moon is inhabited by Rugby players
  • 10. Lonely manual transmission 4 Sale
  • 11. Inline skating RETURNS to Orange County, CA
  • 12. Disco: it’s a discotheque in 2016 y’all
  • 13. Grifford the Big Blue Beetle
  • 14. Trash Day – a crew’s all-too-scary story at the landfill
  • 15. Who Forgot to Feed Sparky Last Week?*
  • 16. Have you seen Sparky?*
  • 17. Sparky, where are you?*

 

*Part of a 3-book series

 

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Categories:  brianltucker writing tips
20th of July

Tips on Finding A Publisher


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The hunt for a publisher is like seeking out a future spouse. The more you look, you realize it’s not about looking at all.

Painful reminders abound EVERYWHERE.

The chief form of rejection is via email (21st century medium that it is).

The messages usually take on the traditional form of:

“…thanks for considering [ … ]. We are not taking [ … ] at this time. I hope you find a publisher soon. Thanks again.”

No foul language. No harm done. Right?

But, other mediums are greatly preferred to the stale email: phone call, snail mail, or that coveted in-person meeting.

It’s the heart of the matter. A book takes a long time to craft, edit, and maybe, hopefully, possibly, one day publish. The rejection emails storm the gates, flood the inbox, screaming- No! No! No!

Variations of the thanks for considering phraseology hit us dead across the forehead.

We long for a congratulations! sentiment. Just once. The elusive snow owl coming out to hoot.

Twas not today. I hope you fare better.

Some places that really help me are: Writer’s Market, Writer’s Digest (see, literary agents portion), Poets & Writers (pw.org), newpages.com (for contests) & Literary Marketplace. Check them out when you can. Also, submitting to competitions can help you gain traction in a saturated market.

The pros say to attend writing conferences (for your intended market) and seek out literary agents and publishers that way. It helps to remove submission barriers. I’ve not tried this more than once and my results were slim. I might try this again in the next go-around of conferences in my neighborhood.

If you have questions, feel free to write on here. I’ll respond accordingly. I’m always happy to discuss successes, possibilities, and general Q&As. Thanks!

 

 

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Categories:  brianltucker writing tips
9th of May

The Truth Hurts


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Tough news hit me right before a wonderful family vacation last week. It came in the form of an email.

Have you ever received unsettling news that way? No voice. No eye contact. It didn’t help that there wasn’t a thing I could do about it at the time…except focus on packing my bags and loading the car for the beach.

We went to St. George Island. It was great weather, warm water. Still the news lingered in the back of my brain. Stinging at times, when I wasn’t enjoying the sun. It was that email. Rereading it over and over again in my head. It came from the CEO of Booktrope, Ken Shear. He regretted to inform writers of the company’s upcoming immediate closure. He wrote:

We are deeply saddened to share the news that Booktrope will be ceasing business effective May 31, 2016. This decision was not reached lightly and we will share as much as we can with the community over the next few weeks…. What you need to know now: Booktrope will remove all published books from sale as of May 31, 2016

May 31st.

Thoughts of What the heck? and How will my book survive this? hit me again and again.

Then, I remembered that WHEELMAN and other titles at Booktrope existed before publication, and they would survive this as well. God is doing great things through the books in the Booktrope imprint, Vox Dei. These stories will continue being told – just in different mediums.

I appreciated the response from Shear and the timely update. It gave me enough foresight to mull this topic over, and I know I need to pray about WHEELMAN (and other books’ futures) as well.

The company’s closing date will mean the removal of WHEELMAN from their roster and printing will cease, as well as the Vox Dei logo going away. However, I am in the process of learning how to get the story back out there in a different way.

As always, I appreciate your faith and prayers in this current situation. Thank you for reading, and if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, this will be the last chance to order for a while. (I believe if WHEELMAN is ordered before 5/31, it will be printed via Vox Dei. Let me know if you have any problems with this.)

May God continue to bless the stories being told. Fellow writer, Niki Krauss does a much better job of describing the process for her thus far and getting her story re-printed.

All told: the beach is still there, the sun is still there, and God still holds it all together. Amen.

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15th of April

70 Reviews on Amazon!


book on desk

2 months into its debut and we’ve hit 70 reviews for WHEELMAN already!!

Give yourself a pat on the back if you assisted in the reading/reviewing of this first novel (early readers you know who you are). Let’s crank it to 100 reviews!

Believe it or not, work has kick-started on a 2nd novel already (Titles and plot are hush hush at this point).

The 1st draft of the manuscript is being looked at for the first time by my editor this week. Prayers are appreciated for Martin Jones as he reads.

Now we wait…and we work and work and work. Is it summer yet? Are you traveling anywhere fun? Are your taxes done? If you answered yes to all 3 of those questions, I appreciate your honesty. Enjoy the weekend!

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