Valiquette 10 22 18 028 copy Leo Valiquette · Author · added 15 days ago
This sounds awesome, Becca, and that is why I want to work with Inkshares -- the emphasis on coaching/mentoring authors to reach their potential!


I’m still working on my second developmental rewrite. I’m on chapter 13 of 42 and this draft is much harder. As I’m learning more and more about what it takes to make a book exceptional, I’m working more slowly to try to incorporate what I learn. 

I woke up around 5am for about a week to try to get writing in before the kids woke up, but then my daughter started waking up at 5am. Lately I’ve just been squeezing in writing time wherever I can. 

Inkshares had me read a manuscript of another in-production book an an exercise. I wrote a letter about the idea, characters, theme, conflict, plot, prose, and setting, and soon they will send me the official editor’s letter about those same things. It should be really interesting to see what  I caught and what I missed and then apply that to my own book. It’s not a book I would usually pick at all, but I loved it. Writers, read outside your genre!

I usually ask y’all to send encouragement, but this month...send babysitting!

Thank you, as always, for following along and for all of your support!

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were wonderful and that your 2019 is off to a good start.

It’s hard for me to write without starting with this-- my Grandma died on the morning of the 19th. My grandma, Kathleen, was a third caretaker for me as a child. I lived with her during highschool. She taught me how to sew, how to crossstitch, and how to drive. Her extensive book collection and daily reading habit influenced my own love of books and I’m sure are part of what led me toward being a writer. I’ve been feeling like I can’t do much writing until I write about her, but I’m not really ready to do so extensively. So I’ve put it on the backburner-- I’m letting it simmer til the right words are ready to come out, and I’m working on other things. 

One of the three protagonists in Rock of Ages is inspired by my Grandma, and I’m sure when I start working on that storyline again, it will be tough. I’m working on Cassidy, the modern 20-something, right now, and I just got to the part where she’s visiting her grandma in a care home. It’s intense, but I hope my experience visiting my grandma in the days before she died, and my love for her, will show. I read the most recent version of the prologue out loud to her and it was some of the most aware and awake she was during our visit. I’m so glad she got to hear it, and so sad she won’t get to read the whole thing. 

On a happier note, I’ve created a year-long reading challenge for writers. Take a look and let me know if you plan to try it!

And on a much happier note, though Rock of Ages is still deep in the editing process, as of today I am officially a published author! It’s publication day for the Writing Bloc Anthology, ESCAPE! We started out as a little support group and soon decided we would be much more than that. We put out a call for submissions, engaged in an extensive peer editing process, and utilized our varied talents to take on design, marketing, and distribution! We made a real book with 20 great stories in it! 

My story, "Aspirant," is about an aspiring nun at a Zen monastery (based on Deer Park in Escondido). She’s there trying to escape a past of sexual trauma but at a young adult retreat develops a crush on an attendee. She has to decide whether to remain at the monastery or pursue her promising new love interest.

The whole anthology is only $2.99 today but will go up to $5.99 tomorrow! Please consider ordering it and supporting independent authors and publishing! I’m so excited to hear what you think about my story!

I’m wishing you all a very happy New Year. I hope it is everything you want it to be.

 Happy December!
I’m still working on the prologue. I’ve now tried approaching it from three different character’s points of view and added period-appropriate dialogue and description. I’m dialing back the flowery language from the version I have posted to make the poetic bits more emotionally impactful. We’re getting there, I think.

In the meantime, I have exciting news! The Writing Bloc short story anthology, 
ESCAPE!, is available for pre-order NOW! I have a sneak peek of my story, "Aspirant," about a young aspiring nun at a Zen monastary, up on my blog! The whole anthology is only $2.99 until January 1, when it will increase to $5.99. You’ll get the book delivered to your device of choice automatically on January 1 and will have something to hold you over until Rock of Ages is ready! I’m really proud of my story and of all the hard work the cooperative has put into making this collection happen.  

I’ll keep chugging along with this rewrite and I’ll keep updating you! Please keep sending the encouraging words! :)

Thank you so much for your support, as always! 

Happy November!

I’m on to the next draft of Rock of Ages, and it’s more big changes, including a switch from first to third person. This will help me add more descriptive detail without worrying if it’s detail my narrator would have noticed or not.

I’ve sent a couple versions of the prologue back and forth with the editor, and it’s improving each time. When he’s happy with it, I’ll move on to the rest of the book. It’s important with this draft that I slooooow down and work carefully, so don’t expect the "I wrote a million words in three weeks" updates with this one. Instead, you can look forward to quality, quality writing that goes deep. I’ve posted the current version of the prologue for you all to read! I hope you like it. 


Thank you so much for your support as I create what I hope will be something really magical.


It’s October! I waited a couple days to send this update because THE REVISED DRAFT OF ROCK OF AGES IS IN!

I’ve been working incredibly hard for the last three months. Not only have I rewritten over 91,000 words almost from scratch but I’ve read several relevant books to work on my own style, taken the Margaret Atwood Masterclass on Writing, taken a course on the business of being an author, and taken lots of steps to build my platform leading up to the release of the book. I’ve begun blogging on a weekly basis and contributing regularly to the Writing Bloc website and have had several guest posts published as well. I’m committed to making Rock of Ages as successful as it can be!

There will be more rounds of changes to be made. The good news is that each round should get a little easier! This was the big one.

Thank you, as always, for following along on this journey and for all your support and encouragement!

If you’d prefer weekly updates that include links to blog posts and events, be sure to subscribe to my email list at http://eepurl.com/dBsQdP

 Happy September!

I just got back from a ten day trip to West Virginia, which was in many ways a fact-finding mission for the edit of Rock of Ages. I took pictures of details-- patterns of shelf lining and rugs, interviewed family members, and spent time at the local historical society looking at old papers and photos.

I’m 45,000 words into the rewrite now, and I’m particularly excited about the part of the novel that follows a woman who moves from WV to Washington DC in the 1940s to become a "government girl" and classify fingerprints for the FBI. I found lots of amazing sources on our trip, including internal newsletters from the Bureau, and I’m having so much fun incorporating some of the details into the book. 

I’ll keep you updated as I move along with this process. I can’t wait for you to read it!

It’s August and it’s still as hot as ever here in Southern California. Our AC was out for a couple days but thankfully it’s up and running again. I hope you are all staying cool and enjoying your summers. 

Some exciting news! After three letters back and forth, I got the green light from my editor to move forward with the rewrite so that’s what I’m doing! I’ve been trying to write a chapter a day, but I’m starting to realize that isn’t sustainable, so I’m scaling back to 1000 words a day. One of the editor’s other suggestions was to immerse myself in comparable books. I’ve been listening to audiobooks nonstop and I really can see an improvement in my writing! I’m so excited to share it with you all.

As far as other projects, I’m about 26,000 words into a new novel, which is on the back burner now that I’m working on Rock of Ages again, the Writing Bloc short story anthology is still set for a fall release, and I have a couple guest spots lined up-- an Instagram takeover, a guest post on crowdfunding, and a workshop on NaNoWriMo! I’ll be sure to share once everything is official.

If you’d like more frequent (weekly-ish) updates on Rock of Ages, events, other writing projects, and blog posts, sign up for my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dBsQdP

Otherwise, I’ll catch up in September! Thank you all for your ongoing support! 

It’s July! We’re moved into our new house and just in time. I received my developmental edit letter from my editor on Friday! If you haven’t heard of a developmental edit letter, you aren’t alone. I hadn’t either until I started this process. It’s basically a giant letter explaining eveything that needs to be changed in your book. 

I’ve been super nervous to receive mine since I’ve heard the editor is very thorough. Some of my Inkshares author friends have gone through 9 or 10 drafts! Sure enough, the letter suggests I restructure my whole story, take out some characters and plots, make some changes to focus on a different audience (young adult!), and work a lot on my descriptive prose and character arcs. 

The extent of the suggestions wasn’t a surprise, but my reaction was! I really expected to be very defensive and sad and overwhelmed. Instead I feel incredibly honored that someone as skilled as my editor gave such thoughtful and helpful comments and incredibly grateful that you all gave me the chance to work with him. This book is going to be so much better because of it.

I just submitted a revised (4000 word!) outline based on his suggestions and we’ll work on that until we agree it’s time to move forward to a rewrite. I’ll keep you all updated!

Thank you for following along with this journey and for giving me the opportunity to experience this process! It’s so exciting!

Happy June!
We’ve been busy here preparing for a move, which is exciting, but also a good distraction from waiting for my turn with the developmental editor at Inkshares. It seems like he will get to look at my book this summer. 

In the meantime, I’ve kept busy with some other writing projects. I’m working closely with a new group called Writing Bloc, contributing to their blog and assuming the role of Project Manager for a short story anthology that should come out this fall. You can check out Writing Bloc and my contributions at https://writingbloc.com/.

I spoke at a panel on The Art of Publishing at the Claremont High School Literary Festival Word Play on May 19 and had a great time!

I also just finished outlining a new novel-- this one is speculative fiction and I’m really excited about it! I’ll keep you all updated as Rock of Ages moves forward. Thank you so much for your support!

Notable Readers

Img 0366
Thad Woodman
Kelsey Rae Barthel
2015 12 02 20.28.58
Janna Grace
New profile inkshares
Matthew Isaac Sobin
Brian Fitzpatrick
Portrait 21 dave
Dave Barrett
1929742 524949699820 1875 n
Stephen Carignan
Women cover1
Jason Pomerance
Michael Haase
Rick Heinz
Ferd Crôtte
18278952 10105531439962004 7699412381249820269 o
Evan Graham
Adam Gomolin
For inkshares
Angela Melamud
G. A. Finocchiaro
Batten003 web400px
Robert Batten
Profile pic %283%29
Wamuhu Mwaura
Patrick Tebbe
Erin S. Evan
B. brewer
William Schiele