What the H*ll is a Virtual Book Tour?

Even in the era of books that you could pull from a shelf and thumb through, marketing was a mystery to me. In the digital age it’s even more intimidating. How do you introduce readers to a novel that exists only as zeros and ones in a digital program? Fortunately, I have friends that are less technologically challenged. They have launched me on a virtual book tour. It starts in May and will eventually include 36 (virtual) stops. There are interviews, blurbs, sample chapters, giveaways and whatever else the gurus of modern book marketing dictate. To see what a virtual tour looks like, you are invited to visit any of the tours stops. Here is a list of dates and sites during May.

May Blurb Blitz:

5/6/2013 You Gotta Read Reviews

5/7/2013 Andi’s Book Reviews
5/8/2013 Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
5/9/2013 Christine Young Romance Writer
5/10/2013 Krystal Shannan – Where Love and Destiny Collide
5/13/2013 Chris Redding Author
5/14/2013 4 the LUV of SANITY
5/15/2013 Fantasy Powered by Love
5/16/2013 Sexy Adventures, Passionate Tales
5/16/2013 SECOND STOPQueen of All She Reads
5/17/2013 Writing Cops… It’s What I Do
5/17/2013 SECOND STOP LizaOConnor
I hope to see you all at one or more of the virtual stops.

And so the blog begins

Why Do I Write About Illegal Immigrants?

Readers have asked why, in both my novels, key characters are in the U.S. illegally. It happened because our government’s unequal treatment of illegal immigrants from two Caribbean countries fertilized my storytelling imagination.

Some years back I read a rash of newspaper articles about Cubans and Haitians, in roughly equal numbers, trying to slip into America. Cubans were routinely welcomed with a slice of American Pie: work permits and, after a year, permanent residency. Haitians got a different reception. Those interdicted at sea were sent home without preamble. The few who made it ashore were locked in detention camps in Cuba or Miami or prisons in Texas or Louisiana. According to the New York Times, twenty-three thousand Haitians were interdicted by the Coast Guard in one year. Of those, only twenty-eight were allowed to apply for asylum. That gave me pause. Why the different treatment?

Both countries were brutal dictatorships. Haiti’s democratically elected president had been overthrown the year before, and pro-military forces were routinely burning whole neighborhoods. Haitian boat people risked being arrested and tortured the moment they stepped back on their home shore. Moreover, the restrictive U.S. policy regarding Haitians did not extend to people from any other Caribbean country.

What makes Haitians unique? Unlike other Caribbean peoples, they are mostly descended from African slaves. I could not accept that as even a partial determinant of America’s discriminatory policy, but I could not avoid wondering.

Five percent of Haiti’s population, however, is classified as mulatto or European. That got my novelist’s “what if” juices flowing. What if a highly educated Haitian woman of European ancestry ran afoul of the dictatorship and slipped into America? She would be able to blend in, but the government’s draconian policy toward Haitians would shut off avenues of recourse no matter how outrageous the exploitation. In my first novel, The Price of Sanctuary, I did what novelists do: I put such a person in an intolerable situation and watched her work her way out of it.