Friday, April 27, 2012


The author's animated readings score big with avid fans.
Book ISBN: 9781405099004
"Now that's what I call great writing; but don't take my word for it, read the book and see for yourself." Cherian Gordon, Caribbean Compass

Series Editor's Q & A with the author:

JJ: I call it a prequel to Papa Bois although its a bit of a "spolier" to what comes in the end, but I do this because I feel so strongly that it's a good thing for Caribbean people to make that  connection. Did you set out to write how Papa Bois came into existence or did it evolve into that?

FE: It certainly did evolve into that. And the “spoiler” I think piques the curiosity because many people never thought of this character as having to grow into or to earn the title Papa Bois. It was just accepted that He has always been there, one with everything from the beginning of time.

JJ: The Lorax, a Dr. Seuss creation, is making a comeback through an animated film. It is frustrating knowing that we have and can create West Indian content with similar themes. The Island Fiction series is intentionally cinematic in style and I know you are also writing screen plays, are there any plans to manifest the realm of Goans through  film/ animation?

FE: Actually, it was my first intention to go that route but the cost of producing a film with the epic scale of Lord of The Rings was and still is prohibitive. When I answered the call for submissions and my story was accepted, that was the first alternative step to positioning the work for a future production. So yes, I do have plans to manifest the Goans through film/animation.

JJ: The re-writing process after submission can be quite intensive. I know there were a couple parts of your story that in hindsight slipped through the cracks so to speak. Please take this opportunity to address the elements that didn't get sorted to your satisfaction or that were incorrect based on your original script.

FE: The Goans are my creation. They are half man, half goat and in the Kingdom of Ierie they are the ruling specie. They own the Monarchy that is the Kingdom of Ierie. They were not represented on the cover of the book and in the text they are portrayed as having one horn when it’s supposed to be two. Those are very important details. I also wanted to include illustrations of the various species and characters for two very important reasons. One is that for those of us being introduced to those names for the first time, there will be a reference in the book. The other reason is that our Caribbean people will be familiar with some of the species in a folklore context, but I was going to introduce these characters in a brand new way that I believed would have given new life and created new and more vibrant connections with the target audience. Essentially, it would have extended the experience through merchandising and branding.

JJ: Based on your experience of the re-writing / editing process we went through, were there any specific "Aha"s that improved your story or work as a writer? 

FE Answer:
I truly enjoyed the re-writing/editing process with you. I felt motivated to pursue excellence with every draft, based on your patient approach and informed critiques. The one that stuck in my mind and transformed my approach was when you sent me an email with an analysis of my personality type and how that influenced my approach to writing. It was bang on. My characters live inside my head and I am not always aware that they are not fully formed on paper, so my readers will have a hard time really understanding who they are. I still struggle with that, but now I am aware of it and every time I create a piece of work, you come to me, like Rhe, ( in the book).
JJ:  As an independent, cultural creative crafting work through music, words and film, what motivates you?

FE: I operated in the realm of music almost exclusively, for most of my life. When I ventured into screen writing and filmmaking I began to see the world with different eyes and that forever changed things. I didn’t think about writing a book. It always came to me as something I would do later in life. The thing is I love all of these mediums of expression and as they swirl around inside me like La Diablesse’s powerful magic, they bring me to my truth and part of that truth is that I want to matter in the scheme of things.

JJ:  The awesome thing about books in print, is that we will never know where they will end up. A single copy may survive centuries and pass from hand to hand, heart to heart, in the way that more disposable media, even e-books, cannot/ may not. What is the legacy of Silk Cotton Forest and the array of characters you have created?

FE : Change, and to dismantle the status quo.

Under King Zar's sincere but timid rule, the Kingdom of Ierie is rife with corruption, on the brink of another war and in need of a true leader. Domino, a rebellious, young Goan who seeks to avenge his mother's death, stumbles into the role of Hero only to find an even greater destiny awaits him. With best friend Peenut, a sly mongoose, Domino must leave behind the fun and festive teen spirit of Market Square in the heart of the El Tuchuce Forest. But dodging Lagahoos, outwitting Soucouyants and slaying giant Moongazers in his quest for emancipation from the bewitching power of La Diablesse and her dark reign over The Silk Cotton Forest, leads Domino to love and his life's true purpose.

About the author
Francis Escayg is a songwriter, composer, music producer, screenwriter, filmmaker and now novelist. He has four #1 hits in to his credit: "Sweetest Thing" (Denyse Plummer), "Mornin’ Lovin’" and "White Horse" (Fireflight), and "Meet Me On Level 2" (RF-JAM).  His first feature film, "The Ghost of Hing King Estate", inspired by events in Trinidad in 1971, was released in Trinidad in 2007 and more recently his short film Radica as the finale in the Dark Tales from Paradise compilation. Francis writes from a desire to enrich lives; to right the world and make it better for other children than it was for him growing up in the Oilfields of Fyzabad in the South of Trinidad.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Celebrating Love: Gerald's & Lorry's; and Mine for TIME SWIMMER

Book ISBN: 9781405098984

Available in T&T at RIK Stores

Celebrating Love: Gerald's & Lorry's; and Mine for TIME SWIMMER

Gerald Hausman and his wife Lorry have been "Earning a Loving" (see my last post) for a lifetime. Together they are authors of more than 70 books, of which 35 have won awards. Their work includes adult novels, poetry and children's books. They celebrate their fruitful union annually, not only on their wedding anniversary but on Good Friday. It was the day they first met in the Gallinas Canyon outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico 46 years ago.
"Some friends had a campfire by the river but we chose to climb above to the bare rocks where the ancient flume wound around the cliff walls.......Devout, strained voices came and went on the wind. Moorish chants from another time, a world away. We sat quiet, listening, penitents ourselves. Holding hands, in love. In canyon time." BLOG ON FOR MORE:
Gerald's TIME SWIMMER, I must confess, is one of my favorite ISLAND FICTION titles. 
Like a parent of six children, choosing favorites is never PC, I know, but in celebrating the gift of each one,  I extol the family group of the Island Fiction series. 
With Time Swimmer, Hausman has created a worthy, cinematic classic for the new genre of  Caribbean Young Adult fantasy-fiction.
Hausman gracefully balances the fine edge between turning on teens and respecting 'grown up' concerns; managing without any self-consciousness, to both color in the lines and break free of  conservative constraints. Through a kind of juicy, self-containment he has crafted an ageless, timeless fable. 
Hausman's poetic prose transcends gender, culture and target market. In-keeping with the oral tradition of West Indian storytelling, TIME SWIMMER is a read aloud that never stoops to gimmicks, nor employs dialect alone to prove itself worthy of a place in our culture. (Not that any other Island Fiction author ever did either - this is criteria for inclusion on the list.)
There is something about Jamaican, eleven-year-old Luke's triumphant  journey home to self that not only stays with me, but lives in me somehow. There is a universal sense of fragility here that is so emotionally compelling.
TIME SWIMMER begins with a noose and a juicy mango as the boy's supposed last meal, but the first chapter closes with Luke's heroic rescue of a turtle which is about to be butchered on the beach below. Spontaneously, and in desperation to escape his own axe, (he has failed the Common Entrance exam), he mounts its back and finds himself swimming through Time and timelessness, with an old soul, Odysseus. 
Our journey with Luke through myth, metaphor and marauding dark characters is unforgettable.  Hausman's most blood thirsty characters are not without mercy or frailty, and all are rooted in West Indian history and collective consciousness. There is a meaningful darkness in his tale that is skillfully crafted and never gratuitous; far from. The dark is the harmlessness of an author's broad stroke of night; an invitation to light. It is that which allows Luke to manifest the dawning of his namesake. It is the necessary dive into unconsciousness demanded by the character's circumstances and personal story.  Drawing on nothing outside himself and relying on no sense of Other, every twist and turn into the depths of past, present and future are his life blood, coagulating into story lines and descriptions so we can experience All with him. As he is pressed deeper into the recesses of time-self, we come up for air and cringe, duck for cover, or marvel.  
That Luke emerges free of dependencies, strengthened in the power of saving himself, the reader basks not only in  the light, talent and courage of Hasuman's hero, but in the promise of her very own.

From his blog:
My PhotoGerald Hausman calls himself a "native of the world" after living in so many places in the United States and the West Indies. He spent more than twenty years in New Mexico where many of his American Indian folktales were collected and published. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in
1945, Hausman has been a storyteller almost since birth. His more than 70 books attest to his love of folklore, a passion instilled by his mother who painted the portraits of Native American chiefs. During his thirty-five years as a storyteller, Gerald has entertained children of all ages at such places as The Kennedy Center, Harvard University, St John's College and in schools from one end of the country to the other. Five audio books have come out in recent years and two of Gerald's books have been made into animated and folkloric films. His books have also been translated into a dozen foreign languages.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Earning a Loving - (no typo)

Creating themed content can help build your book title(s)  into more of a brand.

Island Fiction author of LEGEND OF THE SWAM CHILDREN, Maureen Marks-Mendonca creates  'mouse art' images and puts them to a tender, musical composition of her own.

Earning a loving has never been more accessible thanks to the internet, e-commerce and social media tools. More and more of us can cover our expenses or at least supplement our income working in the field which sparks our creative passions. 

Producing and publishing intellectual properties is a form of REAL ESTATE. Through passive earnings, (royalties), and spin off opportunities - speaking engagements, merchandising etc. more and more individuals are loving the ways they earn a living.

It is vital to keep tending your plot.

Creating a website is only like setting up a store front, but who wants to return to a store where there are no new items, not enough content or fresh stock to warrant a comeback? You can't afford to stay static on the internet. In terms of commercial opportunity, using the free social media tools online,  are now the best way to compete fairly and get yourself noticed.

Getting repeaters and increasing traffic can be your experience on the internet - marketing in such a broad, international scope is FREE -  for the first time in electronic media history. Well, it does require an investment of time and creativity. Producing and publishing free content that links to your products is the best way to support your works so they do not just sit waiting for readers to find them. 

Providing a lot of free content is like expanding the capacity of your net so that you may cast it broadly. Potential fans will have an opportunity to explore your world more deeply and are more likely to want to share it with you by purchasing your products. In this way  'free' content that is of meaningful value to your audience,  earns interest so that your book is not just a passive product. 

You, give it life. So loving what you do is the primary pre-requisite.

On creating additional, supporting content : 

1. Set up a  You Tube Channel under your own name or book title; produce a simple book trailer and short interview clips even if it is a 'mock' interview in your own living room. If you can swing something in the local media where ever you are based or create on in a classroom or library, this will obviously increase interest value. Make the content from the audience point of view and less biographical. Share something relevant  you have learned or know about the topic or interest area.

2. Set up a blog and Face Book page. Post relevant content and links and consider yourself a "Publisher" in this context - creating and publishing similarly themed, supporting content. Giving freely is the nature of online publishing and the spirit of the web. Broadcasting your interests has never been easier. Going for quantity over time builds your credibility and increases the opportunity for surfers who share an interest in your themes to find you.

3. Link your free "add-on"s to your umbrella web site but only if you already have one (costly web sites seldom offer a good return on investment and are useful only if  you intend to build e-commerce tools and have a corporate (less personal) vision for your work.

4. Make sure you provide a one-click option, whenever it is possible, to Amazon or where ever your book may be purchased online. The fewer number of clicks to find the purchase button, the better chance you stand to get interested surfers to click BUY NOW. It's like putting the cash register up front and center at the store for customers to enjoy an easy-purchase experience. Don't have them searching page after page and reading all about you first before you link to purchase. Those who want more will invest the time anyway, but those who want to purchase won't hang around and you'll lose the sale.

5. Whenever it is available offer a share tool for FB and Twitter so that fans can help you spread the word for FREE.

Social media tools are being used by everyone.  For just a few minutes per day, or per week you can keep your intellectual property alive by publishing additional, similarly themed content which your audience and potential readers will access freely.

This will keep your name and work in circulation and even build your direct mailing list. Actively marketing your work and growing sales yourself, will create a "track record" which is more likely to clear a path to your NEXT opportunity in publishing.

Above All,

Happy Writing