How Can 63,000 people disappear?

The NYT recently featured an article on the Mexican drug wars. The statistics are startling. Until a year ago, the official number was 40,000 but with the change of regime last year, the true stats are being released. The official tally is now 61,637 people who have disappeared since 1964, Ms. Quintana said, the vast majority of disappearances are since 2006, the year the crackdown on drug cartels was launched by then-president Felipe Calderón. I think the total is much higher.

Pixabay

I lived and worked in the coastal town of Puerto Vallarta from 2002. I never witnessed any violence of any kind. But, when you are not actively looking to score, you are unlikely to meet those that sell or transport the product. Still, the overall feeling of danger persists in the small drug towns up in the mountains.

In the early 2000’s I met a man we will call “Carlos.” He worked in a bar/restaurant and came from the small mountain villages where drugs are grown and trafficked. I didn’t know any of this at the time. However, as a writer with a vivid imagination, I began to piece together a story of his life. It began with the murder of both his parents, and how he grew up on the streets of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, one of the most violent states in Mexico. His story and his romance with a writer became the award-winning novel TARGET in the SUN. Target is FREE to download on Amazon right now.

The second book in my series, VANISHED in the SUN continues the story of Mia and Carlos and is based on one of the most horrendous disappearance cases of the drug wars. In 2014 43 students from Ayotzinapa were attacked and kidnapped by local police officers working for a local drug gang in southern Mexico. Their bodies were never found.

When you write contemporary fiction, somewhat based on fact, and running through the story is the story of an extremely unlikely couple, it’s difficult to classify the books. Are they Romantic Suspense? Contemporary Romance? Contemporary Fiction?

TARGET in the SUN is free today. You will be pulled into their story as I was when I wrote the book.

Comments on the books:

Gripping and suspenseful, clever and sharp, Target in the Sun is a romance thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed the format, telling parts of the story through letters. I also enjoyed how smoothly it read, the type of book that sucks you in. Highly recommended. ” Vine Voice

“I never expected such a compelling story. The book is written in a very unique style; told from the perspective of three characters through using e-mails and journals as well as narrative. It’s much more than a romance; it’s the story of people struggling to make sense of their complex lives.
From his childhood through his life Carlos is a forceful character. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by him. His eventual relationship with the older American woman, Mia, is just a drop in the swirling ocean of his life. As I read I found myself unable to put the book down wondering what would happen to them, would they end up together, would one or both die? It created a delightful tension. Then there is Lucia, a highly decorated FBI agent who puts her life on the line to help the lovers escape the dark past Carlos carries with him. What impact would her unprecedented actions have on her life and career? She is also an intriguing character. After the events of 9/11 she seems to change. Using her relationships with Tony, Michael, and Israel, Filler creates a character that is complex.
Creating a character who is involved in the drug trade yet remains a sort of hero is a challenge most authors would not attempt. Filler not only attempts but succeeds in the effort. The inevitability of Carlos becoming involved in the “family business” is offset by his growing feelings for Mia.
” E. H. Newton

Do you ask yourself: am I good enough?

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 10.37.59 PM

“But I think talent as a writer is hard-wired in, it’s all there, at least the basic elements of it. You can’t change it any more than you can choose whether to be right handed or left handed.” Stephen King

We spend our whole lives always chasing something, always telling ourselves we’re not good enough. But is it really true? I think major accomplishments in this world have been made by people who never believed they were good enough but sucked up the fear and did it anyway.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. When my sister Cathie turned 21, I wrote a poem for her and superimposed it on a beautiful photo I’d taken of her. I had it placed on a wooden plaque because that was the style “in those days.” I know she still has it, hopefully hanging on a wall where she can be reminded that I love her.

“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings–words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.” Stephen King

My sister also typed my first handwritten manuscript for me. I lived in Montreal and I’d send chapters to her in Ottawa. Then she’d call me up and ask me when the next one was coming. She couldn’t wait to find out what was happening next! My sister was my first reader 40 years ago. And today, she was the first person I told when it was announced that I’d won this amazing award!

Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 Blog Talk Radio Club for TARGET in the SUN. Without her love and encouragement so many years ago, I know I would have thought I wasn’t good enough to continue writing.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” Stephen King

I went on to have a successful career in design, fashion, sales, and management. But through the years, I continued writing. It wasn’t until an author friend, Russell Blake, invited me to participate in his JET Kindle Worlds, that my desire to write and entertain overcame my fear of failure. I published my first novella JET-Exposed–now there are 4–for Kindle Worlds in 2015. And I haven’t stopped publishing novellas, novels, and non-fiction, since then.

This year I finally published a memoir of a life-changing period in my life called LOVE The Beat Goes On. It was chosen for Book of the Month in October 2017; and more importantly touched hearts, and been as much a healing journey for me as for the many readers who’ve contacted me and shared their personal stories.

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” Stephen King

TARGET in the SUN, VANISHED in the SUN, LOVE The Beat Goes On and my soon to be released Lie to Me, an exposé on sex for money all taught me one thing: if there are no paragraphs or pages in my books that bring tears to my eyes or take my breath away, then my writing is not good enough.

That will always be my promise to you, my readers, and will continue to be what motivates me to let my little light shine.