On Wings of Silence: Afterword

ON WINGS OF SILENCE:
Mexico ’68
by
DEDE FOX
Genre:  Historical / Novel in Verse / Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lamar University Literary Press
Date of Publication: April 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 196Scroll down for the giveaway!


On Wings of Silence is the story of seventeen-year-old Diana Green, who travels from Texas to Mexico City searching for adventure, freedom, and romance. She finds all three. 
 
Then Diana’s first love Guillermo vanishes during the revolutionary chaos prior to the ’68 Olympics. Heartbroken, she searches for the truth about his disappearance. As police track, threaten, and abuse those who ask questions, she refuses to be silenced and risks becoming one of the missing.
 
Based on real events, On Wings of Silence uses historical details to bring to life the horror of the Tlatelolco Massacre, presented through the eyes of a young woman readers will care about and admire.
“This incredible story…is told in a masterful way that engages the reader with its protagonist and the other characters from the start. They are authentic. We know people like them and we care what happens to them. In Fox’s clear voice, mystery, romance and suspense build steadily to the end. Pitched toward young adult readers, this is a good read for any age.” — Dianne Logan
 

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Excerpt

AFTERWORD

From On Wings of Silence: Mexico ‘68

By Dede Fox

Some stories take fifty years to surface. On Wings of Silence is one of them.

The first readers to recognize the significance of this topic were Anne McCrady and 2008 Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas, who selected my poem “Chapultepec Park” for the 2008 Christina Sergeyevna Award at the Austin International Poetry Festival. When critique partner Joy Preble said she believed there was a novel hidden within that poem, I began to search for answers to lingering questions about the chaos prior to the 1968 Olympics. Dr. Cliff Hudder, my earliest Beta reader, directed me to Elena Poniatowska’s Massacre in Mexico, and Alicia Salazar, whose uncle survived the bloodbath, contributed as a sensitivity reader.

Other beta readers of the full manuscript included Dr. Molly McBride, Dianne Logan, Juan Paloma, and Kim O’Brien. Their insights, as well as critiques by Bob Lamb and Suzanne Bazemore, along with inspirations from Charles Trevino’s SCBWI “Critique Critters” at Lone Star College, improved my storytelling. Fellow author Kathryn Lane helped with the wording of the Spanish version of the Corrido. I am especially grateful to my mentor and friend Dave Parsons, 2011 Texas Poet Laureate, who helped me develop my poetic voice.

For a quarter century, the Tlatelolco tragedy remained buried. With increasing access to Internet data, I eventually confirmed my worst fears; Communist instigators encouraged the student protests and the United States sent weapons and ammunition to Mexico to quell any conflict.

When former Mexican President Luis Echeverria spoke up about the young victims of the massacre, he said, “These kids were not provocateurs. The majority were the sons and daughter of workers, farmers and unemployed people.” According to him, then President Diaz Ordaz ordered snipers to shoot the students. How tragic and ironic that Mexican leaders used U.S. weapons to kill students protesting for a more democratic government while agents from the Soviet Union encouraged the demonstrations.

Triggered by this knowledge and my memories of running across advancing troop lines on the Avenida de la Reforma in Mexico City, I created the fictional On Wings of Silence: Mexico, 1968 with details supported by primary historical sources–testimonies from Massacre in Mexico, photos, letters, and newspapers, some with my byline.

Diana’s friends and acquaintances are fictional, with one exception. The student leader with the white van was real and a total mystery. I suspect he was a U.S. government agent whose purpose was to destabilize student leadership in the American university during turbulent times.

And Guillermo? Like my protagonist, I grieve for him, for all of the Guillermos and Guillerminas, and their families. Their truncated lives and unrealized dreams will forever haunt me. Diana and I hope our voices will rise on the wings of their silence.

Half a century ago, Olympic posters read, Todo es possible en la paz. I share that belief, but now have the maturity to know that peace is only possible when we put away our weapons and listen to one another.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

MASSACRE IN MEXICO by Elena Poniatowska1968: THE YEAR THAT ROCKED THE WORLD by Mark Kurlanskyhttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97546687http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB10/intro.htmhttp://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9802/04/mexico.massacre/http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/2/newsid_3548000/3548680.stmhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/world/americas/11students.html?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/world/americas/mexico-tlatelolco-massacre.html

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/laques-honoring-president-are-coming-down/

http://www.latinorebels.com/2018/10/05/tlatelolcomassacrephotoessay/

 

Dede Fox is the 2017-2022 Poet Laureate of Montgomery, Texas. Since 2016, she has been the NEA/DOJ Artist-in-Residence at the Bryan Federal Prison Camp for Women, where she teaches creative writing. Through Houston’s Writers in the Schools, Dede also writes with hematology and oncology patients at Texas Children’s Hospital.
 
The Treasure in the Tiny Blue Tin, Dede’s first novel, was listed in the 2010 Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens. Her poetry books include Confessions of a Jewish Texan and Postcards Home. Dede’s poem “Chapultepec Park: September 25, 1968,” the catalyst for this novel, won the Christina Sergeyevna Award at the Austin International Poetry Festival.
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Aransas Evening: Excerpt

ARANSAS EVENING
Sequel to Aransas Morning
by
JEFF HAMPTON
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: Jeff Hampton, Writer
Publication Date: October 4, 2018
Number of Pages: 346 pagesSCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 

Life in Port Aransas was looking breezy and bright for Sam and his friends at the Dream Bean coffee shop. Shelly and Dave were talking marriage, Allie and Bo were tightening their family ties, and Sam was welcoming newcomers to town and falling for a new singer at the Sea Garden. But storms are never far away on the Texas Gulf Coast, and there would be none more destructive than Hurricane Harvey. Would Sam and his friends survive Harvey’s awful fury? And would life in Port Aransas ever be the same again? Find out in Aransas Evening, the sequel to Aransas Morning by Jeff Hampton.
 
 
 
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PRAISE FOR THE ARANSAS SERIES:
    “Hampton’s characters pulled me in; hook, line, and sinker.”
    “The pace of the book is slow and easy, and I slipped into its rhythm like the ebb and flow of the water lapping against the shoreline.”
    “A lovely story about community, and how family isn’t always the one you are born into.
    “Isak Dinesen once wrote, ‘The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.’  Jeff Hampton has illustrated that with grace, elegance, and excellent coffee.”

Excerpt

“Harvey Approaches”

Excerpt from Aransas Evening

              By Jeff Hampton          

The wind blew up clouds of rain mixed with grit off the pavement as Sam rushed toward the Dream Bean and climbed the front steps into the eye of a different type of storm.

“After we board up these windows we need to get off the island,” said Dave, dragging a sheet of plywood in front of the plate glass window.

“No, this is my home,” said Shelly. “You go if you wish, but I’m staying here.”

“But the mayor issued a mandatory evacuation. You’re just going to ignore that?”

“Yes. And I’m going to ignore you too, so you can go jump on the ferry with everyone else if you want, but I’m staying here.”

Dave exhaled loudly. “We could die if we stay, you know.”

Shelly stood firmly, hands on hips. “How do you know so much? Been through some hurricanes in Dallas, have you?”

“No . . . but have you?”

“Not directly, but . . .”

“But what? Allie’s the only one of us who knows anything about this.” Dave shot Allie a glance that said, “Need your help here,” but Allie, who had been drawn outside by the loud talk, wasn’t going to help the way Dave wanted.

“My mother was swept away by Ike because she went out in the storm,” Allie said. “We’ll be okay if we stay inside.”

Dave struggled to hold the sheet of plywood by himself and when he reached for the drill he lost his grip and the wood fell back against him. “A little help would be nice,” he growled at the women, but Sam stepped up to help hold the plywood in place while Dave drilled the screws into the corners and across the sides.

“Where you been? We were looking for you,” Dave asked after pulling a screw from his shirt pocket and pushing it flush into the wall with the drill.

“Fishing . . . so . . . what’s the latest forecast?”

Dave brought Sam up to date as they finished covering the windows at the Dream Bean: Harvey’s path was still uncertain but he was gaining strength so everyone was preparing for the worst. The rain and wind were coming in waves now, and Dave and Sam went next door to the Cassie and covered the windows on the boat, and then moved tables and chairs from the Sea Garden into the pilothouse and inside the Dream Bean. Standing inside the Cassie with the rain blowing hard outside, Sam had a flashback to that night on the boat with Bo and Allie. He recalled the helpless feeling that they wouldn’t survive and yet they did. With his feet on the firm ground this time he didn’t feel lost like he had but he was still anxious knowing there were a thousand ways this could go bad.

Inside the Dream Bean, with everything stowed away, Shelly looked around while unconsciously wiping the counter with a dry cloth. Dave put his hand on Shelly’s and stopped her movement.

“I think we’ve done all we can,” he said. “And I’m sorry if I’m edgy but I just don’t like taking risks when there are other options. If it were up to me I’d have us a hundred miles north of here. But I guess if I’m going to live here with you then I better start learning how this is done.”

The ferry wailed from its landing down the street and everyone looked at each other. Dave shook his head knowing they wouldn’t hear that much longer.

Shelly looked around the room and changed the subject. “Thanks everyone for helping here. I know you all have work to do at your own places so better get going. I’ll be fine here.”

Nobody moved. Shelly made a shooing motion with her hands but nobody would shoo.

“I’ve done all I can do,” said Allie.

“Me too,” said Dave. “I got everything up off the floor this morning and I’ve got shutters so I’m protected . . . sort of.”

“What about you Sam?” Shelly asked.

“The house is okay. I’ve got nothing worth protecting . . . just my vinyl records, and they’re waterproof. I could use a hand at the Pier Association, but then so could a lot of folks down here. Why don’t we spread out and see what we can do.”

“I’ll go with Sam,” said Allie.

“And we’ll check on some of the other shops,” said Shelly. “We’ll keep the door unlocked and meet you back here later.”

When Sam and Allie got to the office they found the windows already boarded up.

“Looks like you’ve taken care of everything,” Allie said.

Sam shook his head. “It wasn’t me.”

“Well you’ve got people watching your back,” she said.

“Yes, and we should do the same,” he said, and for the rest of the afternoon and on into the evening they meandered from business to business, boat to boat, house to house, lending a hand wherever they could.

Jeff Hampton has based his life and career in Texas writing for newspapers, magazines, businesses, and institutions. His interest in observing the people around him has led him to write essays, short stories, and novels that explore relationships and communities in their many forms. Aransas Evening is his sixth book, following Aransas Morning, Grandpa Jack, Jonah Prophet, When the Light Returned to Main Street, and The Snowman Uprising on Hickory Lane
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JANUARY 17-26, 2019

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Old Buildings in North Texas: Excerpt

OLD BUILDINGS
IN NORTH TEXAS
by
JEN WALDO
  Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Dramedy
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: April 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 213
Scroll down for the giveaway! 
After rehab, Olivia, a 32-year-old cocaine addict, is required to move back in with her mother and pregnant sister. Having left a promising career in journalism in New York, she’s now working as a sales assistant for a family friend in her home town in North Texas. 
Under pressure from her court-mandated counselor – an old high school friend – to take up a hobby, Olivia decides on “urbexing.” Soon she’s breaking into derelict homes, ex-prisons, and old drive-ins across North Texas, and it’s not long before she’s looting state property and making money off the possessions, fixtures, and fittings that have been left behind.
 
Old Buildings in North Texas is about a modern woman’s search for personal equilibrium and wild adventure — the attempt to find stability in existence without losing sight of what makes life worth living. Jen Waldo’s style modulates effortlessly from domestic nuance to taut adventure, tackling social and moral transgressions with incisive observation and vivid humor.
PRAISE FOR OLD BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS
“A lot of Jen Waldo’s debut novel takes place out on the porch of Olivia’s mother’s house. […] With its casual, confidential tone, Old Buildings in North Texas puts the reader in one of those porch chairs, reclining on a warm evening with a cool drink.” — The Skinny
Old Buildings in North Texas is an amusingly written and well worked book” — Trip Fiction
 
“This novel is an absolute blast. There are serious moments of course, but Jen Waldo looks for the comedy in everything to create a memorable scenario that reminded me very much of the style of Six Feet Under.” — Shiny New Books
 
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Excerpt

EXCERPT FROM

OLD BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS

BY JEN WALDO

“What are the twelve steps?” my sister asks.

“Six steps. One, accept that you’re out of control; two, lean on a higher power; three, confide in a sponsor; four, make amends; five, replace the old life with a new one; and six, help others though their addiction recovery.”

“Are you doing all that stuff?” she asks.  “Is it working?”

An honest answer would disappoint her. The stripped-down truth is, I’m a broken-down truck in a country driveway. I doubt my sincerity as regards the recovery steps. I try to communicate with a higher power, but it seems hypocritical when I’m not even sure I believe in one. I’m in debt and I’m stashing secret money. I’m keeping secrets from my mother and my therapist. I’m disingenuous with my parole officer. I’m sneaking and stealing.

Am I making progress? Yes, in my recovery, I am; and it’s slow and it’s difficult.  But my goal is to get better, not to be better. Maybe in the future I’ll be wise, generous, and productive; but at this point, I am what I am—a self-absorbed addict with murky morals. Chloe was right when she said I’ve traded one addiction for another. Slipping into buildings, taking things and selling them, watching my bank account grow—these aren’t things a good person does. But they’re things I do.

Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind. 

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October 2-11, 2018
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