122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Grateful for the Village

Yesterday, Erin and I uploaded my first novella, "Birth of an American Gigolo", for pre-order on Amazon.

Birth of an American Gigolo

<Woo hoo!> <Applause> <Applause> <Applause> <Bow> <Bow> <Bow>

This has been a VERY long journey. We did the math and calculated I actually wrote the first draft of it about six years ago. SIX! It was a short story pulled out of a larger one, and then I set it on a shelf where it collected dust.

Dusty manuscript? Never!

At some point, I pulled it out, wiped off the layers of cat hair and grime, and handed it over to a grammar ninja I had met on Twitter for help. It was in the margins of that book that Erin and I had our first conversations. We started talking...and have never stopped. If my writing never comes to anything, it had the biggest impact to my life in the best possible way. It was where I first started to know my best friend.

I'm so excited! I just can't hide it!
After that pass through, it again got shelved so I could work on 122 Rules. Content edits wrapped up in October 2015, and Erin suggested I pull out "Birth" and give it another go. It would give us something to get people excited about and provide readers an introduction to my writing style in preparation for my first novel.

Before The Fulfillment series took off and consumed all of her time, Erin had been working on her historical fiction novel, Restore to Me. Like I'd done with "Birth," she'd been forced to shelve her work, and after The Fulfillment came out, her heart led her back to begin working on Restore once again.

So we toiled side-by-side, each of us swapping our attention between "Birth" and Restore, but "Birth" started taking more and more of our time. We finally got it done, and she, much to my great happiness, has focused on Restore once again.

My very own superhero, Erin Rhew!
I have no idea how to many hours my bride has sunk into my scribbles. But her contribution is what made it the book you will download from Amazon. Her grammar skills, storytelling, efforts, sweat, mad ninja skillz, and love all went into making it the book that it became.

Writing seems like a solitary activity, and in some ways that's true, but really, there is an army behind each of those tomes on the bookstore shelves. Here's a rundown of the people that have contributed to "Birth."

These are the folks that hunt down and expose the bloody little mistakes that hide like gremlins in your manuscript. The ones that you can't see anymore because you've read your book a thousand times and want nothing more than to toss it in the closest dumpster.

How did we miss this? Again and again and again...

Paula - My friend, Paula, has been a huge supporter of mine. She's read through 122 Rules in its many many versions. She's given me help, suggestions, and support through the years on this quest to became a writer.

Becky - I've known Becky for years and years. She and I used to work together and have a friendship that has stood the test of time. She proofed "Birth" twice: the first time to root out the gremlins, the second to review the changes from my proofs.

Kathie - My friend, Kathie, is part of my new Southern family. She and Erin worked together on The Fulfillment series, and she lent me her eye for detail--and typos!--for "Birth." She provided meticulous notes on problems she found.

These are just the ones that worked on "Birth." The list for 122 Rules is huge!

Content Editor
First email from Anya on 122 Rules
This person is the one that goes through your document and saves your story. Anya Kagan from Touchstone Editing edited 122 Rules for me through Pandamoon Publishing. Erin and I loved her work so much we hired her to the content edits for "Birth." She's a sharp, no-nonsense editor that wears about ten different hats depending on what she's working on. She worked 122 over like a prize fighter. She fixed story and character arcs as well as timeline problems, removed irrelevant material, and asked for more when it was needed. She narrows in on habitual problems that I, as a writer, have. Erin and I learned a lot from her. So we hired her to do the content edits on "Birth," and I'm so glad we did!

Cover Artist
122's on fiiiiiirrrrreeeee!
If you see our Twitter feeds, it is no secret that we love Anita Carroll from Race-Point.com. In fact, Erin and I are trying to start the # trend, #AnitaIsAmazing. She is the one that created the amazing cover for "Birth," as well as the kick ass covers for Erin's books. Recently, she produced some more graphics for me, one of which will be for a future tattoo!
122 Rules Future Tattoo!

Anita did this amazing cover for Erin's book, The Prophecy. The symbol in the middle will be Erin's future book tattoo. 

Interior Layout Designer. The layout designer is a humble position that doesn't get the fanfare it deserves. This is the person that sets the mood of the book before the reader has consumed a single word. Check this out. Don't read the words, but just get a feel for them based on the font choice and layout:

Awesome, right? Ellie Sipila of Move to the Write spent I don't even know how long making the interior of "Birth" pleasing to the eye and fitting of the material. She sent over draft after draft until it was laid out exactly so. The interior of the book gives me chills when I look at it.

Erin and I are setting up a blog tour to promote this work. We are talking about it on social media, blogging, and updating our web sites. But there's a ton more to it than that. To get found on the web, we need to some SEO magic. Allan from Pandamoon spent a ton of time with me working on analytics for Amazon. He provided the tools and data I need to find the right categories and to add the right keywords so that we could be found among a billion other books. He didn't have to do that; this isn't even a Panda book. But he still took the time to help.

Peer Support
One of the really great things about being an author is that we can support one another, be there for each other, empathize with each other, and help one another. As we got closer and closer to publishing, Erin and I kept coming up with new questions about formatting, the KDP program, uploading, royalty structure, and so forth. S. Usher Evans replied to all of our emails with a thorough answer and a patient keystroke. We are grateful to you, Usher, for guiding us through this process!

Social Media Peeps
Elgon Williams has been a huge supporter of  my writing and of my writer marriage to Erin. He wrote the most amazing blog post about us, tweets our stuff, reads my drivel, and is an all around fun person. He's a fellow Panda and an awesome writer. Check out his page and his book, Fried Windows!

I'm beyond grateful to every one of these people for all their support and help. There is no way to repay the kindnesses given to me. The love and support mean the world, and I'm very thankful to everyone that helped make this dream come true.

Carry on!


"Birth of an American Gigolo" is now available for pre-order on Amazon!


  1. My love, I am incredibly proud of you! You've put your heart and soul into this story (as you do in all things), and it's masterful. I'm thrilled the world will finally get a taste of your brilliance.

    I join Deek in thanking all of our co-workers, friends, and family for their assistance on "Birth." We appreciate it more than we can ever express.

    Congrats on your first publication, dear husband! I love you beyond beyond!

    1. Thank you, honey! I love every crazy road and bunny trail we venture together. I love you!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Eric! I have very much enjoyed watching your adventures as you march across the bookstores like a knight on horseback. It's very inspirational!