The ruggedly handsome Deek Rhew
So, I'd like to take you to a time far, far away when Deek and I first met in our critique partner group. He likes to describe the first draft of his writing as a long, rambling email, and he'd come to our critique group looking for someone with grammar skillz. Lo and behold, the head of the group assigned him to me. Do you know what piece he asked me to review? Yep, you guessed it: Birth of an American Gigolo.
The moment I read his work, I knew he had a gift. His writer voice is completely unique. Sometimes, he'll wow you with the eloquent way he says something, and the next moment, you'll be laughing your head off at his wit. I've never read anyone like Deek. When agents and publishing houses ask for a unique voice, this is what we mean.
He still makes me laugh all the time.
He liked my edits so much that he wanted me to take a look at his novel, 122 Rules, and asked if I'd like to be his official editor for it. Thus we began the process of revamping that novel, which eventually led to his contract at Pandamoon Publishing. It releases later this year, so stay tuned!
While we spent all that time we spent on 122, Birth sat patiently waiting for its turn in the spotlight. Then last year, Deek pulled it back out again and started looking at it. And we started talking about how it needed its day in the sun. In the past few years since we worked on it, we've both learned a lot about writing, so we knew it would need a bit of an overhaul. But we also knew we were up for the challenge. So we did it. We restructured the telling and sent if off to Anya, Deek's editor at Pandamoon. She took a look, did her magic, and sent it back to us with ideas to make it even stronger.
Trinity keeps us on schedule and on task while we revise our manuscripts!
As we were finishing up the editing details, the lovely Anita at Race-point worked hard on the cover, and she came up with something brilliant!
And thanks to Ellie at Move To The Write, we got the formatting done and uploaded into all the correct outlets.
But...Anita, Ellie, S. Usher Evans, and I created a special surprise for Deek. There's nothing quite like holding your book in your hands, so Anita made a cover wrap, Ellie formatted the physical book, and (thanks to S. Usher Evans, who handheld me through the process) I uploaded it for print. Deek *should* be holding the proof for Birth in his hands this afternoon.
PS. You may have noticed, I used to refer to this story as "Birth," but now I call it Birth. That's because a novellas which have been published in individual bindings are no longer in quotations but italicized like full-length novels. WOOT!
He's holding the cup, and soon, he'll be holding the book!
Friends, this book will always hold a special place in our hearts because it's the first project we ever worked on together. It doesn't look a thing like that original manuscript Deek submitted to me, but the essence of Deek, the thing that makes it unique and special, is still very much alive on those pages.
So, what can I tell you about Birth of an American Gigolo? First off, it's brilliant. I'll say that. And despite the title, it's not about sex. It's about what happens when you compromise yourself and let the bitterness of an unfulfilled life fester. It's about relationships: building them, breaking them, and manipulating them. It's about finding yourself and your place in the world, not matter how unorthodox.
There are lines that will give you chills because they're so exquisitely said. And there are moments you'll burst into uncontrollable laughter (so don't drink coffee while reading). There are times when your heart will ache, parts where you'll be uncomfortable, and sections where you just can't turn away from the impending train wreck.
But when you finish, you'll sit back, satisfied to have been most thoroughly entertained by a masterful storyteller. You may even need to chat with someone else who's read it and hash out your feelings about what happened. Or you'll go to the grocery store checkout and remember the character Angel. Because that's what amazing stories do. They stick with you. And Birth of an American Gigolo is an amazing story.
BUY IT NOW (WOOT!)
To Deek: My love, I am more proud of you than I have words to say. You're the embodiment of tenacious. Despite difficult circumstances, a full-time job, family life, and all the things regular life throws at people, you persevered. You kept reaching for your dreams, determined to succeed. And you have, love. You have. Congratulations on a HUGE accomplishment!! I love you beyond beyond!
I love you, Deek, now and #always!