I’ve been lucky enough to meet lots of you at the different conferences and presentations I speak at every year. Because I spend so much time travelling to and from the speeches, I spend an inordinate amount of time on airplanes. Because I don’t like to waste time on planes, and because I have the attention span of a firefly, I started pulling my laptop out of my carry on and using my free time to write. I write speeches, ads for clients, and these blog posts. I thought about writing another book too, but because I’ve already written three non-fiction business books (Brain Darts, New Design: Miami, and Building Brand Value), I challenged myself to write a novel instead.
Writing the book at 32,000 feet was mostly fun, until I got about three quarters of the way through. By then I had developed my characters, built the story of their lives and inserted the great mystery that the characters were busy unraveling. My fingers were jumping across the keyboard like a speed addict playing whack-a-mole when I simply ran out of story. And — KABOOM — just like that I had nothing left to write about.
In the meantime, I had sent a copy of the unfinished manuscript to my good friend, TV producer Brian Gadinsky, for his opinion. He e-mailed back that he liked the story line, loved the characters and had even picked some of the actors who would play the various roles in the movie version. (Danny DeVito will play the Cajun con man Floyd Barbonell? Be still my beating heart!) Brian just wanted to know when I’d finish the book because he was eager to read the ending. Then he dropped the bomb. “Or don’t you know,” he wrote, “because it’s very common that neophyte authors simply run out of story and give up.”
Very common??!! Neophyte author??!! GIVE UP??!! I resemble that remark… ouch, that hurts.
Brian’s words bothered me so much that I spent the next two days just thinking about where my story would go and how I would tie it all together. Then I spent the next year and a half back in airplane seats finishing the novel.
The result, The Mouth of The South, has been languishing in my laptop for a few years since I completed it. I never really wrote the story to publish it and I didn’t have any plan for distributing the novel anyway so it just sat. But lately I started thinking about what I’ve been writing about right here in these very blog posts — how media has become democratized and big publishing companies no longer control entrée to the market and that over 9,150 of you read this blog every week. And then my friends in the Florida Speakers Association gently suggested that I should practice what I preach and publish my book in the brave new world of digital media or else the cobbler’s kids would be barefoot. (Ouch again. All this honesty and constructive criticism is killing me.)
So I went online, learned how to publish an eBook and a Kindle edition, asked my friend Dr. Rebecca Staton-Reinstein to help me and I’ve made The Mouth of the South available for the world to read. You can download by clicking HERE if you’re interested.
But wait! Before you invest your hard-earned $3.77 for the eBook, here’s an excerpt from chapter four. Try it on and see if it fits:
While most people Floyd Barbonell came into contact with knew he was rich, few of them knew how he came by his money and fewer still knew where he came from. Floyd was the fourth child born to Etta and Cooter Barbonell of Henri Parish in Louisiana.
Floyd’s earliest memories were of his Mama squealing with delight at the ferocious sting of her homemade hot pepper sauce. “Oh chile,” she’d squeak, her hot sauce dripping from her fat greasy pork sausages onto her fat greasy sausage-shaped fingers, “‘dis sowse be jus’ so hot it like to make you slap yo’ mama!”
Floyd had tried slapping his Mama once and found that it was the only thing that could get old Cooter to come boiling out of his La-z-boy recliner, catching his undershirt on an errant spring and sending him tumbling all willy-nilly out the tattered screen door of the doublewide. Floyd was sure that if his Daddy hadn’t been so drunk he would have certainly caught him and beat him to a pulp, but this being 10 o’clock in the morning, there wasn’t much of a chance that old Cooter’d still be sober.
The fact that Cooter could be so snookered by 10 a.m. was really quite an accomplishment considering he’d only been awake a few minutes. But Cooter had always told his kids to be the best at whatever it was they chose to do with their lives, and Cooter had chosen to be a drunk.
There you have it. The other 230 pages are just as wacky, frenetic, and descriptive and if you’re giggling even a little bit already maybe you’ll like it. You can buy it HERE .
You should know that I’m about 60 pages into the sequel, Walkabout, so your opinion on this first novel means a lot to me. If a few of you like The Mouth of The South and spread the word, and I spend some more time on airplanes banging away at my laptop, I could have two novels online before too long. Who knew democratized media could be so silly?