Monthly Archives: June 2011

Freedom Giveaway Hop

Freedom Giveaway Hop

July 1st to 7th

What is a Giveaway Hop?

Simple – Each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then links together all followers to hop easily from one giveaway site to another.

For followers this means lots of chances to win free books.

For a free e-copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa, go to Smashwords at and use this code:  VG79V.  The code expires on July 8.

Thanks for stopping by.

Enjoy the fast-paced journey across West Africa.

Link to the Hop here.


Why West Africa?

I traveled for my first job to Ivory Coast, Mali, Upper Volta (at the time), Algeria, a bit in Senegal, then later, for a different job in South Africa and Egypt.

The terrors of Amin were underway at the time. Chad was racing toward civil war. Discontent was evident in Niger and Upper Volta.  Anger was smoldering on the streets of Algiers. Corruption in the Ivory Coast had rewarded the President’s inner circle and left the vast majority struggling to make a living on the streets and in the countryside.

It was a different time than now, 1970′s and 80′s. And despite the seeds of post-colonial discontent beginning to take root, my travels were never disturbed or interrupted. Though I traveled alone much of that time, saw few Americans outside the embassies, I never experienced a single incident of trouble.  Just my luck, I suppose.  I was unprotected, in cities and out in the bush, on local airlines as well as European ones, in taxis, on foot, with drivers and without, in five-star hotels and in falling down shanties without toilets except for the pits at the edge of town.  And not once, other than the frequent stomach bugs which saw me coming from a mile away, was I accosted for my race or nationality.

Interestingly, I was somewhere, I can’t remember where, carrying a copy of the Koran which I was reading as I traveled.  The sight of a Yank in a business suit, with a copy of the Book, (the cover title in Arabic, though I read in English), got the most respectful and nearly astonished reactions from Muslims along my route.  I entered into unexpected and positive discussions and exchanges springing from a mutual respect for our differences.

The world has lost something in the meantime.  State Department advisories recommend that Americans avoid many of these places, especially outside the major cities, and strongly advise not to travel alone.

Why do I set Facing the Son in West Africa?  Because as part of my private experience, this area welcomed me kindly and without prejudice.  Though I was clearly not from there, no one on any of my trips made me suffer for that simple fact.

West Africa’s economic ”miracle” was already ending at the time of my story.   And the situation has become steadily worse for many of the inhabitants of those countries.  Corruption was and is endemic.  Religious and tribal conflict have increased in savageness and in intensity.  But the people prevail as they have over the millennia.  The indigent people will always find a way to survive despite the influence of Big Men and the politics of the outside world.

Life in these, some of the world’s poorest, countries is going to remain difficult for a long time to come.  But there are always signs of progress among the families who fight on.  And where certain NGO’s invest in making life a little easier for one village at a time.  These collective efforts by dedicated men and women will make a huge impact on the individual scale.  Among and despite the direst endemic problems, small steps toward a better future will continue to be traced in the sand.

I was able to meet with some of those people responsible for this progress.  And when I thought about a subject for a book, I thought I’d like to go back to West Africa, to how I experienced it.  And place the story there.




The editors at Goodreads authorized me, so now I have an author page.

Goodreads in their own words: Goodreads is the largest social network for readers in the world. We have more than 5,100,000 members who have added more than 150,000,000 books to their shelves. A place for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads members recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, form book clubs and much more. Goodreads was launched in December 2006.

It’s a good site to keep track of your reading, plan your future reading, interact with like-minded – or unlike-minded – readers, and stumble on good reads of all kinds.  Independents and established publishers alike populate the pages, though the big names tend to dominate as you would expect.  Some favorite authors have set up pages and keep them current with events like live discussions.  If you enjoy good books, Goodreads will have something for you.

Check it out.

Selling your book

It ain’t easy.  Getting the title in front of more than just your friends and family is a task.  I’ve tried the usual: Smashwords, Amazon, LinkedIn and all my groups, Goodreads (though they seem to have a problem with my authorization because my first name isn’t identical to my pen name M L.  I’m also on the hunt for good African web sites to introduce the novel to an audience already in tune with and interested in things African.  Then there’s Twitter and the standard email signature.  These are the very basic first steps.

As I jump into the rewrite of Coyote Nightmare, I plan to devote an hour a day to the marketing and promotion of Facing the Son. I’ll keep track of what I learn here.

Still waiting for Smashwords to clear the book for their Premium Catalogue.


Amazon just approved my submission and I downloaded a sample on Kindle.  The formatting worked this time.  The maps came through.  The cover looks good.  So off to the races on Kindle USA, UK, and Deutschland, all for the low price of $2.99 or its Euro or Sterling equivalent.  Woo-hoo!

When non-traveler Matt Reiser arrives in Abidjan in search of his estranged son, he immediately trusts the wrong person. The next morning he wakes up drugged, robbed, and dropped into a grimy city slum. A fatal fight with a local thug launches Matt on a perilous cross country journey as he strives to avoid his pursuers and continue his search for his son.

Continue reading

e Published

May 31 – Put the finishing format touches on Facing the Son, a Novel of Africa, and uploaded it to Smashwords.  After eighteen months of writing, the helpful comments of about a dozen readers, researching, editing, seven rewrites, and a few copy edit runthroughs, it’s done.  The 88,000-word novel is out of my hands now.  It’s as good as I’m going to get it.  And I’m happy with the accomplishment.

So I put it out there for readers on a bigger scale.  Readers who don’t know me, who can tell me if and how the story survives its telling.  I learned a terrific amount about writing fiction by sticking with this project from idea through to final draft.  I have already applied what I’ve learned to the next novel, Coyote Nightmare, which I plan to release – epublish – in September 2011.  That gives me about three months to complete the rewrites and the polish.  The 90,000-word mss. is on my desk.

Smashwords is still “reviewing” my submission.  They need to accept my formatting before passing the work through to their Premium Distribution Status, which is a required step prior to onward distribution to their affiliates such as Kindle, Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc.  In the meantime I uploaded directly to Kindle Publishing, and they too are reviewing my status.  I’m waiting on you guys.

So far about fifty views and one download.  Champagne still on ice.  Other than a feeling of accomplishment, nothing much to celebrate.  Smashwords says most their published authors don’t sell a single copy.  So that’s a possibility.  But I’m planning to do better than that.

Persistence, determination, and grit.  In the end it’s all up to you, isn’t it?