Dancing with Gravity Cover Conundrum: Please Vote

We’re ready to choose covers for Anene Tressler’s Dancing with Gravity and we need your help. Just like last time, you get to vote on our cover concepts. I’ve got the finalists presented in a slideshow below. First please select a favorite based on your gut reaction to the covers. Then, scroll down and read a short synopsis and an excerpt from the novel, then scroll back up and vote.

Please feel free to leave us a comment as well.

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“Whether we love—or fail to love—there is always a cost.” – Nikolai

Father Whiting is asleep in his own life. As a St. Louis priest and the head of Pastoral Care at a local teaching hospital, he’s already on edge wondering if he’s up to the job and wondering how far his predecessor’s–and now his–secretary will go to sabotage him. He is fatigued by his mother’s increasingly erratic behavior, fears he is incapable of ministering to an old friend and fellow priest stricken with cancer, and secretly longs to share everything about his confused, mixed-up life with the very attractive Sarah James, the hospital’s head of public relations. When he overhears a heated argument between the Chairman of the Board and the Abbess who runs the hospital, he fears his job will soon be history. Instead, he finds himself tapped to minister to a small Central American circus bequeathed to an order of aging nuns in St. Louis. Through his deepening relationship with Nikolai, the enigmatic trapeze artist, Whiting wakes to his loneliness, realizes he has been living a half-life, and finally finds the courage to be the man he was meant to be.

In Dancing with Gravity, Anene Tressler, an Emmy Award-winning writer, paints an unforgettable portrait of the grand and petty motivations of the human heart.  Her poignant exploration of lost, unrecognized and courageous love will prompt you to consider your own journey toward purpose and fulfillment.

An excerpt from Dancing with Gravity:

They sat in silence as a trainer exercised one of the horses in the field below. Whiting watched as the animal circled its handler, then reversed direction. All at once he realized that both animal and human cast shadows. He looked over his shoulder to find the source of the illumination.

“Oh my God.” He turned to Nikolai with delight. “They’re bathed in moonlight!” He turned back to the scene with new pleasure.

“It is said that Gustav Mahler painted moonlight on his lover’s bedroom floor.”

Nikolai’s words held Whiting like a soft embrace. For a moment, both men were silent. Whiting took another drink and listened to Nikolai’s breathing, took in the smell and texture of his presence.

“The cicadas,” said Nikolai. “Their song is so mournful.”

Whiting listened to the sounds in the darkness that surrounded them. His chest constricted as if his heart was tender, exposed. He pressed two fingers to his chest to test for the soreness he was sure he’d find. “Why do you think it’s sad?”

“We see the world through the lens of our own hearts, Samuel. For me, sadness is never far away.”

Whiting leaned back in his chair and tried to slow his breathing. He was lightheaded, unsure of what was happening.

“You are noticeably silent. Am I being too personal?”

“No. Not at all.” Thousands of fireflies descended upon the field and signaled among the trees, the grass. Whiting had the sensation he was floating among them.

“And you? How do you see the world, Samuel?”

“People come to me when they’re sad, or worried. Outside of that, I am invisible.” He was surprised at his honesty, but once the words were out, he was glad he said them. That’s the first time I’ve ever told anyone how I really feel.

“Ah, the disappearing Shaman. I have heard stories about your tribe.” Nikolai filled their glasses. “High in the mountains of South America is a sect called the Monks of the Transformation. That’s the loose translation, anyway. Knowing about them will support, or undermine your faith.”

“How could they undermine my faith? The Catholic Church recognizes the concept of transformation.” He had meant to saytransubstantiation but did not correct himself.

“These monks take disease from people and carry it for them.”

“Healers? Medicine men?”

“Spiritual masters. They remove suffering, take it upon themselves and carry it.”

“If that were true, your monks would be world renowned. There would be no disease.” Whiting felt woozy.

“There are not many of these monks. Only the most gifted among them attain this power. Besides, the magic is not just in taking the burden, but in learning to balance it, in learning not to die under the weight of it.” He glanced over at Whiting.  “And at the end of their lives, they disappear.”

“So this is just a story?”

“Not at all. When the monks prepare to die they break up dishes, burn belongings, destroy their meager houses. Finally, when everything that could prove their existence on earth is gone, they go into a remote cave to die alone. They even brush the mouth of the cave with branches so they leave no footprints.”

“Why would they do such a thing?”

“Some say they view death as a failure, a source of shame. I think they do it so they can keep their burdens from escaping, even in death.”

“You see it as an expression of faith?”

“They try to end another’s suffering—as do you. It is heroic.”

Whiting let the silence stretch out between them. At last he spoke, his voice a whisper. “I have never done anything heroic.”

“I do not believe you.”


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6 Comments on “Dancing with Gravity Cover Conundrum: Please Vote”

  1. DONI MOLONY Says:

    The “firefly” cover resembles THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by Heidi W. Durrow. (Algonquin) It is the same color, and has a similar image. (Minus the circus tent) Just my 2¢. I like the “Priest” image the best, followed by “balance.” The “firefly” cover is pleasing and the image is pretty, it just bothers me that when I look at it I immediately think of another book.

  2. Thanks for your 2 cents! I haven’t read THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY but I knew there was something very familiar about the falling figure. We definitely don’t want readers to think of another book!

  3. Stephen Belt Says:

    I suggest the fireflies minus the falling figure.

  4. Thanks, Stephen! I’m kinda partial to the fireflies myself.

  5. Anne Clark Says:

    I did think the priest cover was visually striking, but thought that may limit the books’ appeal. In Balance the collar does show and wondered if you would think of taking away the priest collar?
    Another suggestion would be to combine the fireflies with a figure standing on the circus tent top rather than falling so it doesn’t fight with the other title.
    Also, the falling figure suggests a fall from grace and not sure if that’s true to the books content? I do like the fireflies.

    I loved the passage shown. It was engaging and made me want more.

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