Hurricanes and Cremation…

As of today, I’ve sold about 70 copies of Fortuna Berlin. The problem is most of those copies have gone to people I know. I’ve not been able to get it in the hands of people I don’t know. With such a glut of literature out there, and no money to promote, there’s much I’m up against, but I’m not giving up. I’ve gotten some great feedback on it, even from people who speak English as a second or third language. Not sure how they absorb passages like this:

The crowded leaves hang over me trembling; they glow in the tranquil woodland light. It’s as though something – not the wind, it’s absolutely still – but some strange attendant spirit is breathing through the limbs, and I watch as a green caterpillar crawls up my finger. He perches on the edge of my nail, peers over, takes a suicidal leap in the moss and tumbling, disappears under a leaf.

He knows things.

Whether it be the damp warmth of soil, dark magic, or love’s interminable fire, it matters little; his somnambulant genius guides him to flight.

I think once in some strange vision I glanced into the awful Book of Fate, and in a great passion, the leaves blew back and forth in front of me; now revealing a naked bloody sword, now the crushed grass where a dying lion lay, now a beggar’s knee. But something in me, probably just my dumb pride, keeps me deluded into believing some lofty, courageous, inviolable demon, who’s also an angel, is there for me, and somewhere in the world there’s a fire for me to steal, somewhere still human hearts to kindle. Touched by a thousand little vague twangling instruments, by hintings and dintings and swift seraphic light, the subterranean forces slumbering under the grove. My hand seizes the butt of a broken-off limb. My heart stands me up (this happens every day, all the time), my old back groans. I swing the stick through the high-grown weeds, decapitate flowers’ heads and take the path of no path down.

But overall, the book is written in an easy-to-read language. A German friend of mine read it in 12 hours, a few others read it in 2-3 days, most finished it in a week. Some have read it a few times, and tell me they keep going back to it. Some have read it and were mysteriously quiet afterwards. I think men seem to like it better than women, probably because I, or my lead character, wasn’t sensitive enough to sensitive womanly things, or to the women in it. Just my guess. I also think some people completely missed out on the humor in it, which to me was just as important as the sadness that’s been purported. My favorite novel is the kind that gives you every emotion. The same stuff we experience every day. That would be art imitating life. A novel void of humor, or rage, or sadness, or anxiety, or any of the emotions we experience daily is not art imitating life very well, is it? Not my life anyway.

One thing I could’ve done better with in the book was plot construction. Plot, to most readers, is the most important thing. To me the most important thing is language and dialogue and the inner-worlds of the characters, but most readers don’t give a shit about that. They don’t want an author to wander and language just gets in the way. All they care about is WHERE THE STORY IS GOING, which is why Dan Brown novels sell. But admittedly, there’s something to that. I made a mistake by writing this story “hot,” i.e. while the events were still going on in my life, and before the whole had found its proper conclusion. It would’ve been better if I wrote the novel ten years from now. But that’s one of the great things about self-publishing. I can change things anytime I want.

In the meantime, I’m 1/3 done with my next novel, which is based on events that happened in my life in South Florida from about 2003 till I moved to Berlin in 2011.

It’s about this:

And this: