Author Archives: davidpereda2015

Hispanic, Latino, and New York-Style Pizza — by David Pereda

What do Hispanic, Latino and New York-style pizza have in common? They are all terms invented in the United States. While New York-style pizza was invented in the Big Apple by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s, Hispanic and Latino were invented by the US government fifty years later. Shocked? A popular email much-forwarded on the web recently, titled I am an American of Cuban Descent, and Proud of it, categorically states, “There is no such thing as a ‘Latino’ race, and there is no such thing as a ‘Hispanic’ race. Both terms are contrived and used solely for census purposes.”

There is no country named Latinia and no country named Hispania either. The closest we can come to a similar word to Hispanic is Hispaniola, the name given by Christopher Columbus to one of the islands of the Caribbean.

So, technically, there should not be a Hispanic or a Latino literature. Following in the great tradition of the United States of inventing new names, I propose the term Lat Lit to encompass what heretofore has been considered Hispanic or Latino literature.

I confess I like the term Lat Lit. It’s compact enough to use on twitter without wasting valuable space spelling out words. It has a catchy sound. Spoken quickly and repeatedly, it mimics the creaking noises of one of those low-riders you’d find in LA — or the machine-gun bongo beat of the salsa music you hear in Miami nightclubs. Say Lat Lit aloud five times fast, so you know I’m telling the truth.

Now that we have settled on the appropriate term, let’s move on to the next step. Let’s define what Lat Lit is. We’ll begin the process by ruling out what it isn’t. As Sherlock Holmes once said, and I’ll paraphrase quite freely here, “Once you rule out the impossible, what you have left, as improbable as it may appear to be, is the truth.”

Let’s try to eliminate the impossible then, so we can uncover the truth.

Is Lat Lit Hispanic or Latino Literature?

An internet search uncovers a dizzying assortment of different descriptions for Hispanic and Latino literature. The result is additional confusion instead of clarification. A monumental compendium of more than 100,000 pages titled Latino Literature: Poetry, Drama and Fiction, catches my attention. The cover describes the term Latino as a sum of heterogeneous parts encompassing “all citizens of the United States whose heritage is Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, and South American.” It goes on to explain that “the majority of Latino Literature is in English.”

Further, in an attempt to describe the diversity of the compendium, it adds: ‘Mexican American prose tends to reflect social themes, given the migratory patterns of mostly agricultural workers with minimal formal education. The wave of Cuban immigration after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 brings the nostalgic voice of an educated middle-class. Nuyoricans, the large contingent of Puerto Rican immigrants in New York, add to the mix their verve and creativity, freely using a mixture of English and Spanish. Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Dominicans, and other Central and South American immigrants write about the social upheaval in their countries.”

While impressive in the quantity of authors represented, I conclude Latino Literature is limited in quality. Missing from the selection are many of the most famous Latino writers, such as Ciro Alegria, Jorge Luis Borges, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Julio Cortazar, Ruben Dario, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Also absent from the collection are some of the better-known contemporary Latino writers like Junot Diaz, Isabel Allende, and others.

I find Alexander Street Press’ explanation of the diversity of its writers incomplete and disappointing too. There’s much more to Mexican American prose than social themes. And Cuban immigration after the Castro revolution has had more than one wave, including the well-publicized marielitos in 1980 and the constant stream of balseros still arriving on Florida shores today. Regarding the prose of Cuban American writer, it has long ago been divested of that “ predominantly nostalgic tone” and morphed, like the Cubans themselves, into all known American non-fiction and fiction themes and genres — such as thrillers, crime, mystery, mainstream and even erotica. As far as what other central and South American immigrants write about, the topics vary by culture but are definitely richer and more varied than “social upheaval in their countries.”

So Lat Lit is definitely NOT Latino Literature either, at least not according to the definitions found on the Internet.

What is, or could be, Lat Lit then?

Here’s my proposed definition. Lat Lit is a popular, accessible and all-inclusive term with the following four main characteristics:

  • Encompasses all known prose genres — including but not limited to non-fiction, fiction, poetry and plays, be it in print, e-book or film — as well as poetry
  • Applies to authors meeting one or more of these requirements: (1) were born in a Spanish-speaking country; (2) have at least one ancestor who was born in a Spanish-speaking country; (3) are naturalized ctizens of a Spanish-speaking country; or (4) write about topics of interest to people who come from a Spanish-speaking culture
  • The writing is in English, Spanish, Portuguese or Spanglish
  • Spain, Portugal and Brazil are included in the list of Latin countries

My rationale for this definition is as follows: in our modern and constantly evolving internet age, parochial definitions are no longer valid. Language and literature should be fluid, organic and innovative, and open the literary path for others to follow — and not the other way around.

So why not use a contemporary term like Lat Lit, more akin to Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the social media?

Next time someone patronizes you by reciting a long list of obscure authors with a Spanish surname and then chides you because you know nothing about Latino literature, consider answering this: “Latino literature is an archaic term – confusing, stuffy and old-fashioned. The new term is Lat Lit, Dude.”

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David Pereda is the award-winning author of seven novels, dozens of articles and a handful of poems. His latest thriller, Twin Powers, published by Second Wind Publishing in February 2015, has received rave reviews. Here is the Amazon link to Twin Powers, so you can check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Powers-David-Pereda/dp/1630661112/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425253277&sr=1-2&keywords=twin+powers. For more information on the author, visit www.davidpereda.com

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Five Decades of Cuban Migration Waves to South Florida — by David Pereda

In these days when the United States and Cuba are in the process of reopening diplomatic relations after decades of political confrontations, Cuba, again, has become a popular topic in the media. Whether you are pro or against restoring relations, it cannot be ignored that the event marks a historical landmark in the love-hate relationship between the two countries. It’s been more that fifty-five years since Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959, initiating an onslaught of Cuban migratory waves that totally changed South Florida. While many of the participants in the first, and perhaps the most transcendental, migratory wave are now dead, the economic, political, and artistic impact of those early pioneers, and the ones who followed them, cannot be ignored. Political and business leaders, college presidents, well-known artists and entertainers, TV and film stars, and award-winning writers have emerged from within the melting pot of those waves. Two of the candidates for the next U. S. presidential election are Cuban Americans – and both of them, surprisingly to many, vehemently oppose the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Whether we agree or disagree with them, I believe it would help to understand the thinking of the Cuban population in South Florida if we analyze the sequence and content of those historical migration waves.

According to immigration records, there are more than one million Cuban exiles living in the United States nowadays, most of them residing in South Florida. These exiles arrived in the United States in several distinct waves.

The first wave occurred after the Cuban revolution of 1959. Most of the exiles at the time were highly educated and many had money, properties and businesses already established in the United States. The majority of them arrived in Florida with the idea that the Castro government would not last long and their stay in the United States would be temporary. Mixed with that first wave, but independent of it, was a significant immigration wave that occurred between November 1960 and October 1962 when over 14,000 children, ages 6 to 17 were sent to the U.S. by their parents in “Operation Peter Pan” (Operación Pedro Pan). These children were taken out under the care of the Catholic Church and placed in foster homes throughout the U.S until they could be reunited with their parents. While many of the Peter Pan children ultimately reunited with their parents, not all them did. During my years living in Miami, I was befriended by a couple who met as Peter Pan children, fell in love, married, and had children. Although they lived a happy and successful life, they never reunited with their biological parents.

Another wave, mostly a mini-wave within the first wave, began in 1961 amid the nationalization in Cuba of educational institutions, hospitals, private land, and industrial facilities. Additionally, the Castro government began a political crackdown on the opposition by either incarcerating opponents of the regime or executing them. At this point, Castro had gone from a self-proclaimed, non-communist freedom fighter to a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist.

From December 1965 to early 1973, under the Johnson and Nixon administrations, the twice daily “Freedom Flights” (Vuelos de la Libertad) from Varadero Beach to Miami were the only way to escape out of Cuba. It became the longest airlift ever to take political refugees out of Cuba and transported nearly 300,000 Cubans to freedom with the help of religious and volunteer agencies. Flights were limited to immediate relatives, with a waiting period anywhere from one to two years.

The Mariel Boatlift, one of the most significant and documented wave of exiles, happened between April 15 and October 31, 1980, during the Carter administration The mass boatlift occurred after six Cubans crashed a bus through the gates of the Havana Peruvian Embassy and requested asylum. When the Peruvian ambassador refused to return the exiled citizens to the authorities, Castro removed the Cuban guards from the embassy, basically opening the door to the 4,000 plus asylum-seekers who stormed the embassy within the next few days. Embarrassed in front of the world media, Castro stated, “Anyone who wants to leave Cuba can do so” and declared that those who were leaving the country were escoria (scum).

Castro’s comment resulted in an unprecedented mass exodus through the port of Mariel, where an improvised flotilla of Cuban exiles from Miami in small pleasure boats and commercial shrimping vessels brought to the United States family members and other Cuban citizens who wished to leave the island. Within weeks, 125,000 Cubans reached US shores despite Coast Guard attempts to stem the movement.

As the exodus became international news, Castro emptied his hospitals and had prison inmates rounded up as “social undesirables”, including criminals, 1,500 homosexuals and 600 mental patients, and forced to take them among the political and economic refugees. The Cuban Communist Party staged meetings at the homes of those known to be leaving the country. People were intimidated by these “repudiation committees” where the participants screamed obscenities and defiled the facades of the homes, throwing eggs and garbage, for hours. Labeled as “traitors to the revolution” those who declared their wish to leave became the targeted victims of the attacks, their rationing cards were taken from them, their jobs were terminated or they were expelled from schools or university.

The first chapter of my romantic suspense novel, However Long the Night, the story of a family of Marielitos forced to leave Cuba to begin a new life in the United States, describes in detail that turbulent period of time. You can read that chapter here:

http://www.amazon.com/However-Long-Night-David-Pereda-ebook/dp/B00770C59K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=11E27C3DKW

The scale of the exodus created political difficulties for the Cuban government, and an agreement was reached to end the boatlift after several months. As many as 40,000 of the refugees were believed to possess criminal records in Cuba. In the end, only about 1,800 of the refugees were classified as serious or violent criminals under U.S. law and denied citizenship on that basis. The majority of refugees were young adult males, 20 to 34 years of age, from the working class, skilled craftsman, semi-skilled tradesmen and unskilled laborers who took advantage of the opportunity to leave Cuba without the hindrance of the oppressive Cuban regime.

The U.S. Department of State, in a website section entitled “Cuba: U.S.-Cuba Relations,” last updated Jan. 20, 2001, explained the exodus, at least partially, as follows: “In the 1980s… U.S.-Cuban relations shifted to include immigration…when a migration crisis unfolded. In 1980…the Cuban government allowed 125,000 Cubans to illegally depart for the United States from the port of Mariel, an incident known as the ‘Mariel boatlift.’ In 1984, the United States and Cuba negotiated an agreement to resume normal immigration, and to return to Cuba those persons who had arrived during the boatlift who were ‘excludable’ under U.S. law.” If anyone was sent back to Cuba because of the “excludable” clause that information has been kept either secret or hidden.

During the past decades, exile waves have consisted of balseros (rafters), who have braved the rough seas in homemade rafts. As a result of bilateral migration accords between the two governments, in September 1994 and May 1995, the status quo of U.S. policy toward Cuban migrants was altered significantly. The U.S. granted Cuba an annual minimum of 20,000 legal immigrant visas and, at the same time, determined that Cubans picked up at sea would be sent home just as any other group of “illegal” immigrants. As a result of these migration agreements and interdiction policy, a “wet foot/dry foot” practice toward Cuban immigrants has developed. Those who do not reach shore (dry land), are returned to Cuba and only those who meet the definition of asylum refugee are accepted to eventually be resettled to a third country. Those Cuban rafters who do reach land are inspected by Department of Homeland Security and usually are allowed to stay in the United States. From May 1995 through July 2003, about 170 Cuban refugees were resettled in 11 different countries, including Spain, Venezuela, Australia, and Nicaragua.

The State Department’s request to monitor the fate of the immigrants returned to Cuba to ensure that they were not subject to reprisals, has noted that since March 2003 it has been unable to find any information about the returnees.

If you are attracted to Cuba and its people, you might be interested in reading my Havana Series of thrillers featuring the peripatetic doctor, Raymond Peters, and the beautiful but lethal Cuban assassin, Marcela. Great portions of the books take place in Cuba, often in locations unknown to tourists, as well as in other exotic places, such as Dubai and Mexico. Here is a link to the last installment of the series, Twin Powers, published earlier this year by Second Wind Publishing.

http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Powers-David-Pereda/dp/1630661112/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427924837&sr=1-2&keywords=twin+powers

Below, also, are links to the first two thrillers of the series.

http://www.amazon.com/Havana~-Killing-Castro-David-Pereda/dp/1770650385/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436047842&sr=1-1&keywords=havana

http://www.amazon.com/Havana-Top-Secret-David-Pereda/dp/1926647904/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436048056&sr=8-1&keywords=havana%3A+top+secret

The reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba may open the gates for another large Cuban migratory wave to the United States. It might also encourage many Cuban Americans, eager to recover a past their parents lost but never forgot, to migrate to Cuba in search of a national identity. Who knows, maybe the next flood of migration waves will not be from Cuba to South Florida but from South Florida to Cuba as Cuban exiles accompanied by Cuban Americans return home to establish businesses and reconstruct a run-down country. The next decade of U.S.- Cuba relations promises to be, if nothing else, quite exciting.

Author Notes: I have borrowed heavily from various sources to write this blog, among them the book Let the Bastards Go by Joe Morris Doss, Time magazine, The Miami Herald, and Wikipedia.

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The Cuban Connection in my Writing — by David Pereda

People often ask me at book readings or during blog tours, “Why do you write so much about Cuba?” “Is it a place that intrigues you?” “Do you have a business connection?” “Do you have a personal nexus, perhaps a wife or a girlfriend in Cuba or from Cuba?” “Have you ever visited Cuba?” “What is it about Cuba that stimulates you to write all these books with a Cuban background?” “What inspires you the most to write about Cuba?”

The answer is simple — and it’s personal, not business. I am Cuban.

Most people don’t know this, so this might be news to many of you.

Much like Cid Milan, the main character in my book However long the Night, I arrived in the United States — Tampa, Florida — when I was nineteen years old. Like Cid, I left a girlfriend behind named Sonia. Unlike the Sandra in my book, Sonia was blonde and blue-eyed and, hopefully, not pregnant since I never saw her again. Like the Sandra in my book, Sonia was the daughter of Spaniards, as I am. The love scene in However Long the Night between Sandra and Cid as teenagers in Santa Maria del Mar Beach in Cuba is, well, a poignant memory of my life.

I’ve been to most of the Cuban places I describe in my books with a Cuban theme. In fact, I’ve been to, literally, all of the places I describe in any of my books, be it Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, or Dubai. I’ve been to more than thirty countries and have lived in six – Qatar, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba and the United States.

Several of my books have thinly-autobiographical passages of my experiences in Havana, Tampa, Miami, Dubai, Qatar, Rome, Paris, and Mexico. The Dubai scenes in my most recent book, Twin Powers, depict real locations and describe fictionalized, but real-life, people – more often than not with their salient traits toned down to make their fictitious characters “fathomable” for you, the reader.

One thing I’ve learned in my travels around the world is that life is often stranger than fiction. I have also learned that time allows you to look at the past from a different perspective.

That’s why I write about Cuba. I was born there. I left my childhood sweetheart there. My grandparents on my mother’s side are buried there.

Writers should write about things they know about. I know about Cuba.

Here is the Amazon link to Twin Powers, so you can check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Powers-David-Pereda/dp/1630661112/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425253277&sr=1-2&keywords=twin+powers.

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David Pereda is the award-winning author of seven novels, dozens of articles and a handful of poems. His latest thriller, Twin Powers, published by Second Wind Publishing in February 2015, has received rave reviews. Visit www.davidpereda.com.

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Setting the Scene: The Importance of Location in Fiction by David Pereda

My latest thriller, Twin Powers, was officially released by Second Wind Publishing, at the annual Book’Em event held at the Robeson Community College in Lumberton, North Carolina on February 28th. I was part of a three-person panel titled, Setting the Scene: Backdrops. I had great colleagues on the panel, a smart moderator, and a fantastic group of attendees who asked a number of insightful questions about the subject that I’d like to share with you.

  1. What is the location for Twin Powers, and why did you select that particular location?

There are three key locations in Twin Powers — Havana, Miami, and Dubai. Since about 60 percent of the book takes place in Dubai, I’d say Dubai is the principal location. I chose Dubai for several reasons: one, the villain is an Arab Sheikh from that city; two, my familiarity with Dubai and its surrounding area; and three, current public interest in Dubai. Years ago, I was an expatriate in the Arabian Gulf advising the Qatar General Petroleum Corporation. I traveled frequently to Dubai for business and pleasure, so I know the smells, sights, and sounds of that city quite well. And I’m sure you’re familiar with the number one rule of writing: write about what you know. I know Dubai. As an added bonus, Dubai’s growth during the past decade has been nothing short of exceptional, which made it an exciting location for the story I wanted to tell. Nowadays, Dubai has the tallest building in the world, the greatest airport terminal in the world, and the largest indoor ski slope in the world. And with the publication of Twin Powers, Dubai will now have the biggest villain in the world, too.

  1. What is your favorite scene in Twin Powers, and why?

Three scenes are my favorites: one is the extended rescue scene, when the two key characters, Raymond and Marcela, fight the bad guys and rescue 10-year old Stephanie from a life as the sexual toy of a malevolent sheikh, which takes place on the villain’s yacht; the second takes place on the Gulfstream jet flying the captured Mohamed over Oman in the United Arab Emirates when the tables are turned and the captors become the prisoners; and the third one takes place in Mon’s clinic — the main character’s son, who is also a doctor – when he’s having sex with his girlfriend in one of the examining rooms and the FBI knocks at the door to arrest him for Medicare fraud.

  1. How does the backdrop of your novel factor into the plot?

The backdrop is essential to the plot. Part of the “thriller” aspect of Twin Powers is to throw the two main characters in a life-or-death situation in an exotic setting where they don’t know the language and the culture very well, the only support they have is each other, and they are surrounded by formidable enemies commanded by the arch-villain, Mohamed.

  1. Could your book have been written with another backdrop or setting? Why or why not?

No, I don’t think so. The three main settings are part of the story. The Havana setting is where Stephanie is kidnapped; the Miami setting is where several of the key characters live and work; and the Dubai setting is where the villain lives. No other settings would have fit the story I wanted to tell.

  1. How does the setting add to the mood of your book?

Immensely. Imagine yourself in an Arab country being chased by ruthless thugs intent on killing you while you try desperately to find and rescue your kidnapped 10-yr old daughter before she becomes the sex toy of a psychopathic killer. What’s your mood right now? The first time I traveled to the middle east, the person who was supposed to pick me up at the airport never showed up. When I came out of the baggage area with my suitcases onto the street outside, I was suddenly surrounded by a throng of people dressed in white sheets, yelling at me in Arabic. I didn’t know where I had to go. I didn’t even have a telephone number to call. Imagine how I felt. A little of that same “lost feeling” I tried to convey in Twin Powers through Stephanie, the kidnapped twin, when she escapes her captors but doesn’t know where to go — and ends up being captured again.

  1. What are you working on next?

Right now I’m working on a Young Adult novel in collaboration with my 12-year old daughter, Sophia. It’s part of a series we want to write. We are halfway through the first novel of the series, which is about a 13-year old, non-athletic, nerdy girl who takes up track in order to win a scholarship at the best and most exclusive private school in the county. As usual, as in all my novels,nothing is what it seems to be, and you will be surprised at what ultimately happens.

Here is the Amazon link to Twin Powers, so you can check out the exotic locations: http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Powers-David-Pereda/dp/1630661112/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425253277&sr=1-2&keywords=twin+powers

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David Pereda is the award-winning author of seven novels, dozens of articles and a handful of poems. His latest thriller, Twin Powers, published by Second Wind Publishing in February 2015, has received rave reviews. Visit www.davidpereda.com

 

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Are Minor Literary Awards Worth It? by David Pereda

With the advent of digital technologies like the Kindle and the Nook, which have fueled an exponential growth in electronic publishing, there has also been a mushrooming in organizations handing out literary awards. We all know the impact a major award like the Nobel Prize, the National Book Award, or the Pulitzer Prize can have on an author’s career — or, on a more specialized basis, the Edgar, Shamus or Anthony awards.

But what about all the other awards littering the landscape. Are these minor literary awards worth it?

The answer is a resounding yes, and the reasons are plentiful. Here are five of them:

1- They give beginning writers confidence

2- They provide established writers with a yardstick to be measured against

3- They outline a step-by-step learning process — first compete in the easier ones and then move on to the harder ones

4- They allow winners to add these wonderful words to their bios: “award-winning writer”

5- They provide winners with gold stickers to attach to their books, thereby making them more attractive to potential buyers

Now, mind you, don’t think for a moment that it’s easy to win any of these minor literary awards. It isn’t. There are many good writers entering those competitions, and they are trying to win too.

Consider the awards I have won — the Royal Palm Award, the Lighthouse Book Award (twice with different books), the Indie Book Award, and the Readers Favorite Book Award (twice with different books). I won’t mention here all the other awards I entered but didn’t win. Hey, you know how it is — you win a few and you lose a few.

The Royal Palm Award is handed out once a year by the Florida Writers Association and it is a prestigious award, available to all writers throughout the United States and internationally. FWA is the largest writers’ organization in Florida, consisting of more than one thousand members; it has chapters all over the state of Florida and other states, including North Carolina. Awards in different categories are handed out at the Florida Writers Association Annual Conference, usually held at Disney World every year, and attended by thousands.

The Lighthouse Book Award is handed out annually at Ponte Vedra, Florida, and it’s available to writers from all over the United States.

The Indie Book Awards are held annually and many authors and small publishers compete.

The Readers Favorite Award is held annually, too, and many small and large publishers compete, as well as writers from all over the world. The award ceremony usually takes place during the respected Miami Book Fair held in Miami in the month of November every year.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other minor literary awards – ranging from those handed out by tiny writers’ groups to those promoted by large organizations charging hefty fees. I encourage you to get on the Internet and check them out. All you need to do is Google “literary awards” and they’ll come charging at you like a herd of spooked wildebeests. Unless you are an experienced writer, I suggest you bypass the contests with the hefty fees and concentrate on the smaller ones for now, which are often free — or charge a nominal fee to enter. Later, when you have gained more experience, you can try the larger awards with the hefty fees.

What’s my next step regarding awards?

I’m making a selection of places to submit my new thriller, Twin Powers, recently published by Second Wind Publishing and now available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Powers-David-Pereda/dp/1630661112/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425253277&sr=1-2&keywords=twin+powers.

If Twin Powers does well, which I expect it will because I know it’s a good book and the reviews so far have been outstanding, I’m considering moving up in competition to challenge the “bigs.” What do I have to lose, really?

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;

who strives valiantly

who errs and comes short again and again;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement;

and who at the worst, if he fails,

at least fails while daring greatly;

so that his place shall never be

with those cold and timid souls

who know neither victory nor defeat.”

So, to summarize: Are minor literary awards worth it? Yes, yes, and yes!

If you happen to be an aspiring writer wishing to make a name for yourself, I have three words of advice for you: Go for it! Find a suitable literary award competition for your level of writing, polish up that short story or novel in your drawer you think so highly of but are afraid to show anybody, and get out of your cave and go find the cheese.

What do you have to lose?

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David Pereda is the award-winning author of seven novels, dozens of articles and a handful of poems. His latest thriller, Twin Powers, published by Second Wind Publishing in February 2015, has received rave reviews. Visit www.davidpereda.com

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A Novel Approach to Multiple Climaxes by David Pereda

Ideally, a climax should be satisfying. The Webster College Dictionary defines climax with erudite authority as “the highest point” or “culmination.” In reality, based on my own empirical observation, a climax varies according to the characters involved, the situation, the point of view, the technique, the pace, and the progression. Some examples that come to mind – not necessarily all — are the “blow-your-socks climax,” the “hang-on-to-the chandelier climax,” the “sophisticated-cool climax,” the “wow-I-didn’t see-that-one-coming climax,” the “quiet-smile climax,” and the feared “that’s it? climax.”

I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. Oh, what a prurient mind you have, my dear reader! I’m talking about novel climaxes, not real life climaxes. So, please, concentrate your wandering thoughts on literature. Let me put everything in perspective for you, so you understand what I mean.

The plot progression of the modern novel typically consists of a sympathetic character facing a life-changing problem, conflict, complications, climax and resolution. As the narrative progresses, the tension escalates through its complications until the novel reaches its climax, which is the moment when the basic conflict is resolved. Study any well-known novel written during the past hundred years, and you will see this pattern. In many of these works of fiction, the tension toward the climax escalates slowly and gradually, as appropriate to the pace of life of the times.

However, we are in the 21st Century, the age of instant gratification, where slow and gradual just won’t do. Everything moves much faster now. We are all in a hurry. We click on the TV remote surfing for a program to watch and give the image thirty seconds to seduce us, or else we click again and move on. We read the first paragraph of a novel at a bookstore, and if it doesn’t hook us right away, we put it back on the shelf and try another. A similar thing happens when we read a novel. We don’t want to waste our valuable time waiting for the climax to happen. We want it now! Worse yet, when it happens, we are often left with that nagging feeling of, “Is this all there is?” We want more.

So, I argue, why not have multiple climaxes in a novel?

My new thriller, Twin Powers, published by Second Wind Publishing and released in February at the Book’Em event in Lumberton, North Carolina, is an example of the multiple climaxes novel. It has four climaxes. Let me repeat that for you — not one, not two, not three — four climaxes. Each of the climaxes builds on the one before in an attempt to leave you, the reader, exhausted and fulfilled – and ready to take a break and go sip on a glass of Meursault or Medoc. I ask you, dear reader, isn’t that one of the premises of good writing that we authors should always try to achieve: to make you feel intensely and leave you satisfied?

Ah, did I pique your interest?

Here is the Amazon link to Twin Powers, so you can check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Powers-David-Pereda/dp/1630661112/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425253277&sr=1-2&keywords=twin+powers.

I believe more and more authors will begin to write multiple climaxes in their novels to satisfy this current trend. I, for one, intend to continue making my thrillers climax-loaded and, hopefully, eminently satisfying to you, the reader. In the manuscript I’m working on right now, which I anticipate finishing and publishing this year, I’m considering outdoing myself and writing five different climaxes ranging from the “quiet-smile” to the “blow-your-socks” type.

I know it will be a challenge because my new work-in-progress centers on a thirteen year old nerdy girl who runs track — but doesn’t an enjoyable and fulfilling life consist, to a great extent, of meeting head on, and overcoming challenges?

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David Pereda is the award-winning author of seven novels, dozens of articles and a handful of poems. His latest thriller, Twin Powers, published by Second Wind Publishing in February 2015, has received rave reviews. Visit www.davidpereda.com

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