Things to Come

Which would you rather read?

In this new age of readers exploring the Internet for opportunities to  read, an author is wise to calculate when, and in what order, to present his works to the public. There seems no better way to do this than to ask people what their preferences are.   I have three novels besides The Mechanic of San Martín ready to publish.  (That’s assuming the publisher thinks they’re ready.)  Here are very short previews of the novels:

Río Penitente:

Robert Gattling-bright, affable, more cozy with his predictable middle-aged Berkeley life than with a troubling past-realizes time’s running out for him to do something worthwhile.  On impulse he leaves behind home and friends (and an unresolved love affair with Mardi Johnson) and heads for Mexico, retracing an unhappy earlier journey.  Along the way he meets Berto and Conchita, a pair of Mexican teenagers on the lam, and takes them under his wing.  Despite warnings of the futility of such a mission, he’s determined to give these two an opportunity to make a better life (and thereby erase the unhappiness of his original trip to Mexico).  On the way north he meets and falls in love with Selina, a mature woman with a child, who’s living by her wits and charm with a succession of men.  Robert realizes it’s a higher calling to make Selina’s life better from love than making Berto and Conchita’s better from guilt.  He tries to do both.  Distracted by love from Selina and Mardi, he doesn’t properly calculate the teenagers’ motives.  In the end he makes a disaster of their lives, his, and Selina’s.  He’s in turn taken in tow by Mardi, who takes him back to Berkeley and the ordinary triumphs and failures of growing old.

Byeford Pritchett’s Bureaucratic Novel:

Byeford Pritchett, once a brilliant and effective bureaucrat who failed to cover his backside, tries for a last hurrah, in a much humbler position, and finds he’s lost his problem-solving drive.  In part it’s because his energies are going into his “bureaucratic novel,” a chronicle of his past bureaucratic campaigns; in part it’s because life’s passed him by, he’s no longer relevant.  In the end he befriends and goes on the road with homeless “Honest” John Soult, who dies along the way.  The hobo makes Bye promise he’ll take his body home to Ashland, Oregon, to be buried.  Bye manages to do so but breaks his own health in the process.  This may be as futile as many of his bureaucratic feats, yet he dies surrounded by persons who’ve come to love his quixotic nature.  His story is told by a series of persons who share his last years, largely by Crockett, a young black man who succeeds where Bye fails, becoming a successful novelist and playwright.

She’s Got Her Own

It takes a threat from a bad actor to make twenty-something Lizzie Mae Brown realize she needs to find her real parents before this guy rips her off or makes her dead.

Lizzie Mae Brown (Li’l Angel when she’s born, Li’l Angel at the climax of her story) grows up convinced Mama Eunice and Daddy Dale Brown aren’t really her parents.  She’s right:  for selfless but ill-conceived reasons they kidnapped her as a baby.  The utter artlessness of this act confounds authorities and they make a clean getaway.  Constantly fearing discovery, they hide out in a quiet Georgia town until, Li’l Angel in seventh grade, a private detective named Mondo Astrue comes snooping, whereupon they once more disappear without a trace and end up in California.

Li’l Angel’s actually the daughter of notorious (and wealthy) Angel DuCane, a sex symbol who died when the girl was six months old.  Li’l Angel’s father, Florin Farnsworth, Angel’s paramour-slash-attorney, has never stopped believing his kidnapped daughter is alive.

Soon after Li’l Angel’s twenty-fifth birthday she receives unsettling evidence her childhood conviction was true.  Mondo Astrue and allies finally locate her and are setting her up to take away as much of her mother’s legacy as they can.  Aided by roommate and best friend, E-Lizzie Slokum, air marshal boyfriend Zack Zacchlin, and her enormously successful (but reserved) lawyer boss, Julian Magnin, she is reunited with her father.  Florin, Julian et al help her thwart Mondo, who gives it his best shot but dies in the return fire.

Florin tells Li’l Angel enough of her late mother’s life to convince her Angel DuCane, though wild, was good at heart, as Li’l Angel discovers he is.  Knowing her roots enables her to leave behind a provisional life and look forward to a solid future-with Julian, whose reserve has melted in the process of helping her.

Have a choice?  Which novel would you rather read first?  Contact me: Click here to email me