It is my pleasure to announce that my debut novel, Sinner's Ride has released! I am extremely happy and excited about this new phase in my life! There are no words to describe the ride I've been on and the gratification that I feel having completed this project. The immense support I received from my family, my friends, the people at Xlibris, and everyone else who believed in me and my project is indescribable.
Sinner's Ride was born last November. Inspired by my friend and fellow author, Katie Salidas (author of the Immortalis Carpe Noctem Series), I challenged myself and participated in NaNoWriMo. I never thought I would actually publish it, but I thought if I were to become a serious author, I should take on this challenge and see if I had what it takes to see something like this through; see if I could actually produce something that was entertaining, appealing and engaging under a tight deadline.
But the real story of this project goes back to May of 2010. While on the subway reading Rooms by James Rubart, I happened to glance at a book a woman sitting next to me was reading. The chapter her book was opened to was entitled "When Dreams Die". I wanted to ask her what she was reading, but did not want to intrude so I didn't. I regret that.
I was in a bad place emotionally -- it was a week before my father's birthday; he passed away in September of 2005 -- and I asked myself the question "What if dead dreams could be resurrected?" A well of thoughts and ideas sprung in my head and I started to dream up a plot as if for a movie, and thus, Resurrection of Dead Dreams was born. As I was already melancholy because I was badly missing my father, and combined with the terrorist threats in Times Square where I work becoming overwhelmingly numerous, I had begun thinking of my own mortality. I thought about the pain my daughter and grandson would feel if something terrible happened and they were left behind and so the process of putting together that story was therapeutic for me and helped release my feelings. It allowed me to fantasize about what would happen if I had an opportunity to actually spend some time with him again. I headed to my office with those ideas running through my head.
Once there, I approached my friend and co-worker, Johanna Pitcairn (author of the soon to be released novel The Manicheans -- you should check out her blog: themanicheans.blogspot.com) and asked her if she would be my contract attorney if I ever published a piece. She asked me if I had anything to show her. I responded that I didn't, but would have something for her by the end of the day. Later, after spending my lunch hour writing, I gave her what is now the beginning of Resurrection of Dead Dreams and she liked it! Since we were both busy with work stuff, we decided to meet for drinks afterward and talk some more. It was an exhilarating experience and after two bottles of wine and a fulfilling brainstorming session, she encouraged me to continue. Throughout this project, she never faltered and never stopped believing in me. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude. We are great friends and still brainstorm regularly.
But that's another story, and Resurrection of Dead Dreams is currently in progress. Stay tuned :)
Honestly, the very first draft of Sinner's Ride was, plainly speaking, a word dump. I had 30 days to get down 50,000 words and I didn't know where to begin. My daughter's birthday had just passed and as a birthday gift, I took her to see Mary J. Blige live at Radio City Music Hall. We had a blast and quite frankly, too much to drink :) As I sat in front of a blank computer screen for three days trying to figure out what to write about, I got to thinking about the concert. I was trying to remember whether Mary had sung one of my favorite songs, I'm Going Down, and my thoughts turned to how I would do a video for that song and the prologue for Sinner's Ride was born. The story grew from there and when I saw that it was flowing, I kept at it. At the end of November, completely exhausted, I put it away and tried to focus on the Thanksgiving holiday and other family events, but the character wouldn't let me go. I dreamt about Sinner and I thought about how I could make this novel a better piece. I thought about the relationships between her and the other characters and I became obsessed.
In early December, I attended a dinner hosted by people in my area who had participated in NaNoWriMo and read an excerpt in the hopes of finding out if anyone would really be interested in reading something I had written. Buoyed by the reception I received, I joined, at the suggestion of Katie Salidas, a critique circle and submitted an excerpt for critiquing. I got wonderful, constructive crits ... Katie's -- she's an angel! -- in particular, and I saw a whole new way of working on this piece, so I tackled it again.
In mid-December, I picked up my draft once more and hated it! It had way too many holes. So, armed with two whole weeks off from work and snowed in during the holidays, I went through my crits again, began to do research and filled in the holes all the while implementing suggestions made from various sources. I was going to finish this book by hook or by crook! The more I worked on it, the more I began to fall in love with the story. I couldn't stop thinking about it and every free moment I had, I spent it at my computer.
And here we are!
Please take a look at my author's page here: www.xlibris.com/Lahongrais .html. Click on the link for Sinner's Ride to read an excerpt.
I hope you buy it, read it and enjoy it!