August 10, 2012

The Lucky 7 Challenge: GARVEY'S GHOST

Andrew Blackman, author of Holloway Road, has invited me to take part in the Lucky 7 challenge, which involves publishing an extract from a current work-in-progress. I haven't done memes in a long time, but the name Lucky 7 has a ring to it that I like.

Now I wouldn't say that I'm superstitious about creativity because I've always advocated a workmanlike approach to writing: set a schedule and stick with it. But I also know that in the middle of what sometimes seems like an endless root canal (i.e. writing a novel) unless there is a spark, at the end of the day, all you have is numbness and blood. That's just how writing works-- a combination of work and magic.

And even then, the work may not be a commercial or critical success. Drop a penny in the well and walk away.

And begin the next project.

Well, sort of. My current work-in-progress is an outgrowth of my interest in the exoneration of Marcus Garvey, which so far has led to writing a children's book, Marcus and the Amazons, and a rewrite of my novel, A LOVE SONG FOR KATHRYN.

A few years ago, I sent it out to a few publishers and my agent at the time didn't have much luck placing it. The novel came back to me battered and bruised. I let it sleep in my boxes for a while and moved on to other things.

But Kathryn wouldn't let me go. She wanted her story to be told. And if I had to neglect my family, get up early in the morning or stay up late at night while running the online campaign, holding down a steady job, and making peace with my wife, then so be it.

She had 99 problems and my comfort wasn't one of them.

So, the novel has been reborn as GARVEY'S GHOST.

Set in Miami, Florida, GARVEY'S GHOST is the story of Kathryn Bailey's search for her missing daughter, Jasmine, who has run away to join an organization led by Russell Davenport, a charismatic speaker at empowerment seminars for Black women.

I won't say anything more. According the rules, I had to go to page 7, line 7 of my work-in-progress novel, and post the following 7 lines of prose.

I walked over to Jasmine's studio and knocked on the door. There was no answer, which was strange because she was a light sleeper. I decided to knock again, figuring she had been out late working on another political rally, even though I told her I didn't like her getting mixed up in politics. Maybe it's a hangover from by days as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, but I didn't like her being a "part of the world." But ever since the Obama campaign and now with the death of that young man, it has been one political cause after another.

Oh, there's one more rule for the meme. I have to tag 7 authors whose work-in-progress I'd like to see:

Like Andrew says, "No pressure." We're just keeping the gift in motion.

If I haven't included you, don't feel no way. Jump in--the water's is fine. But before you take off your bathing suit, link back to me so that I know where to go and read your work.


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