Monday, October 27, 2014

Funeral With A View: Guest Post & Giveaway

About the Book
Title: Funeral with a View

Author: Matt Schiariti

Published: September 28th, 2014

Word Count: 101,000

Genre: Romance

Content Warning: Mild sexual content, minor profanity and adult themes

Age Recommendation: 18+

Thirty-two-year-old Richard Franchitti didn’t believe in love at first sight until he met free-spirited Catherine and started a brand new life. A devoted father and husband, Richard fought to keep his family together when it would have been easier to walk away.

Tragedy left him with unfinished business.

Now a disembodied spirit, Richard relives his most important days. From the beginnings of unconditional love, to the joy of his daughter’s birth, and all of the difficult times in between, each treasured moment brings him closer to answering the question:

“Why am I still here?”

He was born Richard Franchitti, but his friends call him Ricky. Welcome to his funeral.

I’d met Catherine Maddox (now the widow Catherine Frachitti) through a friend of mine. My best friend, in point of fact. Bill Henly.
While they were dating.
That tidbit must sound inherently evil. There are rules, especially among guys. The Man Code, to be more specific. Every male on the planet is born with these rules branded into his DNA. Don’t date a friend’s ex, don’t have sex with a friend’s girlfriend, so on and so forth.
Let the record show that I am no home wrecker! Bill and Catherine had been seeing each other when I met her. Nothing serious, and for reasons only known to them, their relationship didn’t last. After Bill did the requisite guy thing (read: talked post-breakup smack about her), I did the right thing and asked him if he’d be okay with me asking her out.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: So, you’re not dating Cat anymore, huh?
Bill: Nope.
Me: Um, would it be cool if I asked her out?
Bill: Yeah, sure.
It was a conversation for the ages. A manly conversation of epic proportions. It may seem flimsy to an outsider, but to guys it was volumes’ worth.
I let the breakup embers fade, and a few weeks later, when I’d mustered up the testicular fortitude, I asked Catherine out. After a moment’s thought, she said yes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Dating Catherine put no apparent stress on my relationship with Bill. Good looking in an All-American way, he never lacked for female companionship. At six-foot-five and almost as broad, he towered over my meager five-foot-eight. He’d played football in high school and college, earning an athletic scholarship to Princeton University, but blew out his knee in his second year. His spare time no longer filled with practices and games, he hunkered down and focused on his studies which paved the way to his future career as a financial advisor. Still, he remained an ever faithful workout freak. The combination of good looks, muscular build, and his large salary lured many a willing woman into his bed. Catherine was no exception, but that wasn’t entirely Bill’s doing.
The story is a simple one. Back in the day the three of us were nigh inseparable. Catherine and I were always double-dating with Bill and his love du jour. Even if he wasn’t seeing anybody (the exception to the rule), the three of us would go out to eat, see movies, hang out on lawn chairs in the summer drinking concoctions with little umbrellas in them.
It was on one such occasion when things took a change for the pornographic. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. Or as long as I’m dead.
That day is where this story truly starts.

About the Author
Matt Schiariti is an Engineeer by profession, guitar legend in his own mind, and would-be author, time permitting. When he’s not writing, he’s reading. When he’s not reading, he’s enjoying a beer sporting a fancy name on the label. When he’s not enjoying a fancy-named beer, he’s most likely reading some more. Sometimes he does all three at once, to disastrous effect.

Matt lives in southern New Jersey with his wife, two children, and insane dog. Funeral with a View is his second published novel, but not his last.

You have been warned.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Blog

Guest Post
Thank you, Lindy, for taking part in the Funeral with a View Blog Tour. I promise not to make a complete wreck of your page! And welcome to all your Zartians. My name’s Matt Schiariti and I’ll be your captain for this flight. Please, sit back and enjoy the ride. It won’t be too painful, honest.
So, Lindy has asked me to write a guest post on the following topic: “Would you say you’re a perfectionist when it comes to your work?” That’s a great question, and one that I’ve often asked myself. I could answer it in a few simple words, but what fun would that be? Instead, I think I’ll shed a little light on what transpired with Funeral with a View, from first draft to final product. Then you, dear reader, can decide if I’m a perfectionist or not. My fate is in your hands. Please, be gentle.
What would eventually become my first contemporary romance novel started out as a blank page in the early months of 2012. The idea for the book had been rolling around in my head for some time at that point, one that came to me when I asked myself, “A guy walks into his own funeral … then what?” Idea firmly entrenched in my gray matter, I sat down at the computer and typed and typed and typed. Five weeks and 130k words later, I had a manuscript.
Then it sat as I moved on to other things and published Words with Fiends, Ghosts of Demons Past, and my short story, Hollow, patiently slumbering in my hard drive until I revisited it in the summer of 2013. The first draft, as is so often the case, was a mess. But, after giving it a fresh read-through, I saw past the muck and knew that there was indeed the shell of a good story amidst the chaos. So after I published Ghosts of Demons Past, I set out to fix the book that I’d written by the seat of my pants, determined to hone it into something readable.
The editing process took me over a year. Here’s how it went:
I spent a couple months trimming the fat, sharpening dialogue, adding more meat to the characters and their motivations. At the end of that first edit, I’d killed over forty-thousand words. It was hard letting some of it go, but it had to be done. Convinced that I had a good beta version, I sent it to some beta readers (friends, readers who’ve liked my previous work, people who have beta read for me in the past) and the initial feedback was great! I was thrilled. “Finally!” I thought. “I can publish this thing after all!”
Wrong. While everyone liked the book, characters in particular, a few pointed out some hideous fatal flaws I’d failed to notice. As much as it pained me, it only took a few days’ worth of careful consideration to realize they were right. Back to the drawing board.
I dove into it again, eradicating scenes and plot threads I was initially too proud (perhaps stubborn is a better word now that I think about it) to erase from the historical record, and adding some scenes to improve continuity in the plot and add more background to the characters that, at that point, I felt were shadowing my every move because I’d already spent so much time with them. This was easily the most crucial point in the book’s young life, not to mention the most difficult. You see, Funeral with a View is very much a character-driven story. There is a great deal of emotional content in those thar pages. As such, it had to be spot on to work. It was during this time when I realized I was too heavy-handed with the story during its writing and that first wave of edits. There were times when I almost gave up on the whole thing. But I’m glad I didn’t. Anyway, this phase took me well into the summer months of 2014, at which point I sent it out to betas again. And the waiting began.
It wasn’t long before comments started to pour in. The verdict? It was much better than original. In fact, everyone loved it. There were, however, a few things that needed tightening up. Nothing extensive, but they were crucial elements I refused to let slip through into the published version. Was I happy that the book I’d worked on month-in, month-out for a year still needed work? Nope. I clenched my jaw, maybe even growled a little bit, but I rolled up my sleeves and did what needed doing. A couple more weeks of work and it was good to go, right?
Wrong! Having the story elements ironed out is one thing. Cleaning up any incorrect words and grammar is another. Formatting the book for kindle still remained. At this point, I already had the cover ironed out. The guy who produced the cover for Words with Fiends and Ghosts of Demons Past worked on Funeral with a View for me and it came out fantastic. At least I didn’t have to worry about that, right? Still, I had to prepare my word document for upload to the most popular e-reader on the planet. That process in and of itself is rather simple, but there’s always something.
The conversion to the kindle format didn’t take long at all, and once done I immediately uploaded to my Fire HD for yet another read (I lost count, but if I didn’t read the book twenty times during all this, I didn’t read it once) and spot check. As I was going through it, reveling in my workable table of contents and basking in a pro-looking e-book, I noticed a few things I’d done wrong. My quotes within dialogue and the spacing before and after ellipses and hyphens didn’t look right. Why did I notice this? The writing Gods or the universe looking out for me, maybe? Who’s to say? Whatever the reason, I thumbed through a few traditionally published paperbacks written by best sellers, then perused some of my favorite authors’ work on my kindle. Low and behold, I wasn’t just imagining things. I did indeed screw up some spacing and nested quote formatting. And here’s a fun fact: While in this checking mode of mine, I also noted my first line paragraph indents were way too big by Big 6 Publisher standards. Ugh! Does it ever end? So to get back on point, yadda, yadda, yadda, I went to my word document, put whatever was wrong back to rights, got those first line indents looking professional, then re-uploaded to my kindle for one more (and hopefully last!) read-through and spot check.
SUCCESS! Finally, after over a year of typing, editing, waiting for comments, considering comments, addressing comments, fixing typos and missed words, and getting every detail as accurately depicted as I could, I hit that exciting yet intimidating “Publish” button. The rest is history.
Could I have unleashed the book onto an unsuspecting reading populace in its earliest incarnation? Yes. What was to stop me from shrugging off what could be considered the minor formatting issues that only I knew about? Nothing, really. Were any of the beta readers holding a gun to my head in an attempt to force me into addressing their comments? Nope. My point in all this is that I have to be happy with the finally product at the end of the day. Many people had a hand in Funeral with a View, but when all is said and done everything is on me. I’m my own worst critic. “Okay” isn’t okay. “Good enough” isn’t good enough. If I was satisfied with “okay” or “good enough” I’d have made my life a heck of a lot easier and released it back in late 2013, early 2014. But that’s not how I do things. I’ll never publish anything until I’m certain it’s the best it can possibly be--from story, to writing, to look, to cover--and if I’m to expect people to invest their money and valuable time in something I’ve written, I think that’s the least I can do.

So tell me, readers, friends (future fans, perhaps?) … am I a perfectionist?

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  1. Matt, great post! I'm intrigued by the premise of Funeral with a View and look forward to reading it.

    I must confess you have now thoroughly intimidated me with the technical aspects of publishing. I'm in the process of writing my own book. My sources had indicated that just getting the book written was the hardest part. (Lindy, this is you.)O call foul! Here I was sitting back thinking I was ahead of the game because I'm loving the writing part. I don't mind the editing as I am a perfectionist and would not put something out that I'm not proud of. I just didn't even think of formatting or getting a cover. Now that you've crushed my naive delusions and intimidated the heck out of me, I have research to do.
    By the way, I don't think you are a perfectionist but then that is coming from an admitted perfectionist, so take it for what it's worth.

  2. Hey, Lindy! Thanks again for participating in my blog tour. You can have your blog back now ;)

  3. Sorry for the late reply to your post, Tiffany! And thanks for reading and the kind words. Writing the novel usually is the hardest part (I loathe writing the blurb, fyi), but you're not finished when the book is "finished. " Much yet to be done! Good luck with it, and thanks again for stopping by. I do hope you enjoy Funeral should I be lucky enough for you to read it. Take care.