Light at the end of the tunnel


One of my favorite, go-to quips when folk ask what’s new is, “Well, it looks like for once the light at the end of the tunnel ain’t a train comin’.”

And again, it’s one of those times. Black & Single Blues couldn’t’ve have found a better home than Indie Gypsy Press. Shelley Halima and those industrious talents refer to as her gang kick ass, take names and addresses. IG, let me tell you, is exactly the kind of small press a breaking writer wants. Hot website. Good distribution. And commitment to the author. Fact is, Shelley pulled my coat to publish it. Then decided to put her money on the line. That, ladies and gentlemen, is faith. Well, it’s also risk, but, the more I listen to Shelley the better I like our odds. Look at it like this. IG has been in business a long time and recently racked up with Liz De Jesus’ Morgan hit the Kindle/ best-seller list. And come winter, the proverbial sleeper herself, is slated to ambush with Crimson Mirror. I fell in love with Halima over her debut Azucar Moreno, something of a Friends set in a blue-collar Puerto Rican neighborhood. By turns light-hearted and heart-breaking, it wasn’t so much a book as an experience. Quite memorable at that. Shelley followed with the breezy Los Morenos. Then threw everybody for a loop, crafting the dark saga Blinding Mirror. Fans are champing at the bit, awaiting Crimson Mirror. Including me and here’s the rub: it’d be conflict of interest to review Crimson Mirror. Which wouldn’t be so bad except, You ever try getting Shelley Halima to do an interview. You need a dentist’s license. Cool beans. Even she can’t ignore me forever.

Shelley switched gears so sharp with Blinding Mirror I got whiplash. Smashwords quotes me as writing in, I think it was Insight News, “Blinding Mirror is splendid. A dark, page-turning gem, this rags-to-riches saga tosses happily-ever-after to the wind. Vivid characters propel an authentic saga, illustrating such ugly behavior as it fuels a desperate hunger for the beautiful life at a tragic, human cost. The climax stays with you long after you put Blinding Mirror down. It¹s a novel you can¹t wait to tell your friends they just have to read.” No bullshit, trust me. By the by, I proofread Blinding Mirror. Made me feel like that little white girl in old Shake ‘N’ Bake commercial, who drawled, beaming with satisfaction, “I helped.” How many folk you know can say they help Shelley Halima put a novel out?

Until Crimson Mirror’s release is announced, IG is being closed mouthed as a clam. Do yourself a favor, though. If you love a voice that’s lyrically cynical, rich images and want a story you can feel, my money is on Shelley Halima’s Crimson Mirror.

Shelley and I chatted off the cuff. Indie Gypsy Press has first refusal on Keith & Lesli: Black & Single Blues II. Which got commissioned at Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and, between you and me, is a hoot. You think Keith and Lesli went through changes in the first book? They need to strap on they seat belts for what happens to them next. There’ll be a third book, Black & Single Blues III and that’s it for the series. After which, will adapt the drama Shelter to novel form.

Let’s see, what else?

Angels Don’t Really Fly (BeatBad Records – EP) is going on hold. Mastering this month out at Winterland Studios, then putting the project in mothballs. Just not enough hours in the day.

That about covers it.