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Friday, June 3, 2022

The Long But Happy Path of a Debut Suspense Novelist

 

Frank A. DiBianca




My pre-retirement writing career started with a 9,000-word short story entitled The Love Coach about an insecure engineering grad student doing research with lasers and his platonic love coach. 

During the period 2013-2019, my mystery-novelist wife, Kay, and I attended half a dozen writers conferences, almost all of which were Christian. At these conferences, I presented synopses of The Love Coach and a few other short fiction pieces. None of these pieces had been professionally edited. The many editors and agents I met with liked the premise of The Love Coach and encouraged me to expand it to a full novel. But the many teaching sessions I attended discouraged me. I had so much to learn. I decided to put my short stories aside and move straight to writing a full-length novel.


So, I wrote a 120,000-word cosmic fiction novel called The Centaur about a runaway asteroid. I outlined it at a Christian writers conference to a publisher. He liked the premise very much and told me to send him the manuscript. So, I emailed him my creation. Months later, he emailed back that he and an assistant editor were still trying to decide where to slice into my manuscript, but he’d get back to me. They never found an opening. Now I know why.


Disappointed but unwilling to give up, I decided to return to The Love Coach and, after expanding it to a 15,000-word novelette, took a preliminary book proposal for it to a writer’s conference in 2018. Several professionals I spoke with said they liked it, but it still wasn’t long enough. The same story I’d heard before but hadn’t been listening. Now I would listen. I worked hard and successfully on turning the story into a novel.


Back at the same conference in 2019, I scheduled meetings with acquisition editors representing five publishers. The morning of my meetings, I learned there was a prayer room. I went to it and prayed to the Lord for help in finding just one interested acquisition editor. By late that afternoon, four of my meetings resulted in acceptances to receive my proposal after it was finished. Praise the Lord!


I went home and was blessed to engage three outstanding editors, Mel Hughes, specializing in developmental editing, Barbara Curtis, copy editing and proofreading, and Jeanne Leach, book proposal development. For over a year under their direction, I wrote, removed, and rewrote chapters in the novel, adding copious amounts of suspense material to make it more exciting. I also wrote and modified a new book proposal. And finally, in late 2020, I sent the finished proposal to the four acquisition editors.


Surprised and thrilled, I received two publication contracts for my new novel, and through the efforts of Managing Editors Darla Crass and Karin Beery, I signed with Iron Stream Media (ISM) in February 2021. The agreement provided that the suspenseful romance would be rebalanced into a suspense with romantic components, which I enthusiastically embraced. The new title of the novel is Laser Trap, to be published by Iron Stream Fiction, an Imprint of Iron Stream Media.


Over the next sixteen months I first worked closely with Ms. Crass on the rebalancing. After that phase was complete, I worked with ISM editors Sally Shupe and Denise Loock to make numerous further improvements per their recommendations. This period was challenging, but throughout the rebalancing and further editing, everyone thought the book kept getting better and better. And that’s what everybody wanted.


Laser Trap is scheduled for release on June 7.



Frank A. DiBianca is a fiction writer and retired university professor. He received a Ph.D. in high-energy physics from Carnegie Mellon University and later worked in biomedical engineering. Frank lives in Memphis with his wife, Kay, an award-winning mystery author. His debut suspense novel, Laser Trap, is scheduled for publication on June 7, 2022, by Iron Stream Fiction, an imprint of Iron Stream Media.



12 comments:

  1. It's a joy to work with Frank and to see his dream of publishing this novel come to fruition! It's indeed been a long but happy path for him and to see God's blessings and faithfulness in bringing Frank's debut novel to life.

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    1. Thanks Anon. I have had a ton of help along the way!! If you can reply, why not just imbed your name in the text, Like I am.
      Frank.

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    2. 'Tis me--Barbara. I would have put my name in to begin with if it would have let me--ha! So trying again. :)

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    3. Barbara, now we know . . .
      Frank

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  2. In addition to being a complete gentleman, Frank was more fun to work with than a whole litter of puppies, and housebreaking him was far easier! "The Love Coach," now known as "The Laser Trap," is his baby from start to finish, and a bouncing, happy baby it is. While it was no easy path from there to here, he tackled every task with the determination of a warrior, and my hat is off to him for his hard work and eagerness to learn.

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  3. Thanks, Mel.
    It's amazing how so many editors changed the text so much, and yet preserved the basic characters and story. My hat's off to y'all !!
    Frank

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  4. Thanks, Mel. It's amazing how so many editors changed the text so much and yet preserved the characters and story intact. My hat is off to all of you.

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  5. Congratulations, Frank! Look forward to reading. Nancy Roe

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  6. Thanks, Nancy. It's so nice to hear from you!
    Frank

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  7. Congratulations!! I look forward to reading your story!

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  8. Thanks so much, Patricia. Hope it's as much fun to read as it was to write.
    Frank

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  9. Frank DiBiana, a new author with a fabulous first book intertwines mystery, romance, and leading-edge technology in Laser Trap. Well developed characters with an attention
    grabbing plot. A non-stop page turner.

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