Today–Saturday, June 6, 2020–marks the 122 anniversary of the Tampa area race riots that happened during the mobilization of the troops to Cuba for the Spanish-American War. For my novel, Fortitude, I researched the event from multiple sources and did my best to portray the situation accurately, though it was heartbreaking to dive into such vileness as the triggering event. More lives were lost in Florida (due to disease and bigotry) than in the Cuba campaign of the Spanish-American War.
If you’re not familiar with Fortitude, it’s a coming-of-age Southern Gothic listed with Grateful American Foundation as a “Best History Book” for kids (targeted for 5-10th grades), one of only three dozen books currently on the list. It’s about standing up when you see injustices and helping your fellow man, no matter the cost. The settings are mostly familiar ones to my readers: Mobile, Dauphin Island, Mon Louis Island, and Tampa in 1898. It was my first published novel in 2015 and is now in its second edition with Bienvenue Press, home of The Possession Chronicles–and several of the characters if Fortitude make an appearance in the series.
We must learn from the past and move forward with compassion–and fortitude.
The weather’s going to change, right? We’re closing in on autumn but the humidity of summer is clinging to ninety-degree temperatures like it’s still August in Mobile, Alabama. Here’s something to cool you down: Christmas.
If you subscribe to my monthly newsletter (you don’t? Remedy that right now by signing up here), you may have heard that I wrote two short stories this summer for submissions to a couple different anthologies. I’m happy to report that “Courtship and Courage” has been accepted into Bienvenue Press’s Hometown Heroes Charity Christmas anthology to benefit America’s Cajun Navy. Release dates/buying options will be forthcoming.
If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to read Fortitude. “Courtship and Courage” begins the December after the book ends. While written as a novel for teens, it has proven to be a coming-of-age story that readers enjoy into adulthood. Fortitude holds rank as a “Best Books” for kids (grades 5th-10th) from Grateful American Foundation with only twenty-two other historical novels and non-fiction titles. You can read it free in Kindle Unlimited, purchase the ebook for $1.99, or buy a paperback through your favorite bookseller.
And for those who have read it and always wanted a bit more about Claire O’Farrell, here’s the next stepping stone. Yes, that means you haven’t seen the last of her. Stay tuned for more.