Coming soon!

A girl with a gift…
…a forced marriage…
…and a favor that will change a family’s history forever.

Coming soon:

A Song in the Storm

Watch this blog for details and availability.

Of situations and grandmothers

People ask me what I’m up to. I tell them I’m working on my next book. (Check out my first book here.) The next obvious question is, “What’s it about?” That’s when I lower the boom and give them the most feared answer in all of writing:

It’s a story about my grandmother.

No one wants to hear this sentence because no one wants to hear about anyone else’s grandmother. (This is also true of grandfathers, but they tend to get the short shrift in this respect.) Chances are your grandmother’s story wasn’t even interesting to your grandfather. Yet it seems as if everyone who has ever written a story has written about something amazing that happened to their grandmothers.

A further problem is that “what happened to your grandmother” isn’t a story. It’s a situation. And there’s a big difference. A situation is fine for a news article but not for a novel. It’s a long journey from a situation, as interesting as it might be, to a story.

But it can be a good journey, a fascinating journey, even a fun journey. That’s the journey I’m on now. I’m turning an amazing you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up situation drawn from my grandmother’s life into a story that I hope is a journey my readers will want to take with me.

It’s a novel, so 99% of the content will be from my imagination. The other 1% is the situation – the grain of sand that I hope to build a pearl around. Or if you prefer a cooler metaphor on these sultry summer days, the speck of dust around which will grow an intricate and beautiful snowflake.

For that reason, I must go now. The journey awaits.

“A Slippery Land”

It’s finally done. My first book, a novel about Haiti, is available for sale in paperback or Kindle edition. Here’s the cover:

ASLcoverFor the sake of completeness, here’s the back cover:

ASLback

I’ve been working on this book in one form or another for more than four years. It started out as a screenplay, one that finished in the top 5% in the world’s most prestigious screenplay competition. Some of the judges’ comments included: “Strongly, clearly, confidently, and dramatically written… Settings are vividly brought to life… There is a heartbreaking authenticity to this.”

The story follows the life of a Haitian girl over six years, beginning with the nightmare of the 2010 earthquake. Her life becomes a series of trials common to many Haitians. How she faces those difficulties reflects on the resilience and strength of the Haitian people.

The book’s title comes from a painfully appropriate Haitian Creole proverb: “Lavi se tè glise“, which translates to the English: “Life is a slippery land.”

While a fictional tale, “A Slippery Land” carries a lot of truth. It incorporates many actual events I’ve seen or experienced and observations I’ve made while visiting the country and getting to know its people over the last 15 years.

Please consider buying a copy and letting me know what you think. The book is suitable for a wide audience, including Young Adult – even though it has no vampires, zombies, or mean girls, though Haiti could qualify as a dystopian society – or anyone who enjoys reading and learning about other cultures. It should be particularly good for book clubs because there’s plenty to discuss about our perceptions of Haiti and the third world.

You can see and purchase the paperback or Kindle edition through my Amazon author page here.

Thank you for reading.

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Coming soon!

My first novel is on the verge of being self-published. Sorry. That’s a misleading statement. The book isn’t publishing itself. My self is publishing it.

The good news is, it’s absurdly easy to publish one’s own book today.

The bad news is, it’s absurdly easy to publish one’s own book today.

Thus, my book will be out there soon, fighting for attention amidst an overwhelming onslaught of similarly hopeful creations by similarly hopeful creators. My hope is that its quality rises above that of the average tome available. But who am I to judge?

I’ve already given a teaser in a previous post. Since then I’ve finished the book, changed the title (twice), and had a terrific designer create some fantastic cover art.  Come back in a month or so and I’ll shamelessly and relentlessly plug it.

One agent told me that it’s a hard sell because it’s about Haiti and no one is interested in reading about Haiti. I hope that’s not true for many reasons, not just because it means no one will buy my book. More importantly, it saddens me to think that people might no longer have any concern for that sad and beautiful nation.

Six years ago this week Haiti was all anyone was talking about. This past Tuesday (January 12) marks the sixth anniversary of the horrific earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people, injured countless more – no one will ever know exactly how many of each – and put millions out of their homes.

Now, they tell me, no one cares.

I hope you do.

The Squatter

Among the many things I’ve scribbled in the sand is a novel entitled “The Squatter”. Some folks to whom I’ve confided about the book aren’t crazy about the title. I find it hard to disagree. It’s not a very pleasant sounding word. However, it effectively and succinctly captures not only the protagonist, but her situation as well. Anyway, I’m sticking with it for now, but am open to negotiations, especially from editors and publishers.

This is all to preface the following post, which is the opening few paragraphs of the book. There’s danger, some might say, in exposing one’s writing (even as brief as this) this way. They would have us all believe that creative thieves lurk around every corner of the Internet. They could be right, but cowering in fear is no way to live. My protagonist, Fania, would say the same.


Chapter 1

January 12, 2010 – 4:45 PM

Anticipation hung in the house like the fine particles of dust that filled the air. The family had long since grown accustomed to seeing the air they breathed; the constant presence of the dust made it disappear. When something is everywhere, it ceases to exist.

But apprehension, anticipation’s malicious twin, followed like a rabid dog nipping at its heels. Good fortune never walked alone in Haiti. Hopeful elections carried with them violence and turmoil. A cool, refreshing rain inevitably brought streams of filth running through the tiny hovel that was the Dieusel family home. It had reached the point where they dreaded good news for the trouble it promised.

Still, Fania hoped. Her dreams were simple for a fifteen-year-old girl. An education. Reading and writing. Humble dreams, more remote than the far off peaks of the Massif de la Selle. Just as she couldn’t see those mountaintops from her home in the Village Solidarité neighborhood of Port-au-Prince unless she climbed to the roof, she couldn’t conceive of being in a school, reading books, or writing letters.

This was the day when all that could change. The news her father carried would determine whether those mountains would be brought within her reach or, if his news was bad, she would continue to dream of distant peaks.