I was born in Miami, Florida long before it was cool to be from Miami, Florida. As a result, I had the pleasure of growing up in old Florida, the kitsch version...the decidedly Southern version. My youth was filled with coral castles, smiling mermaids, pools with great circular windows looking out onto hotel lobbies, and the smell of orange blossoms. The breathtaking natural beauty of our fair peninsula and her surrounding islands is always with me, no matter how far I stray.
The Mariel boat lift of 1980, marked the end of my innocence and the beginning of a long term affair with the Cuban people. I was eleven. The images of men, women and children crammed onto anything that would float was both inspiring and heartbreaking. I saw grown men in tattered clothes collapse on our shores, and watched women cry as they held babies, dead from dehydration... They risked all for freedom. It affected me deeply.
My family life was far from idyllic, but thankfully, I always had my grandparents to provide me with unconditional love and a sense of how people who care for each other are meant to behave.
I wrote "The Red Speck", because I had to. The first chapter became somewhat of an obsession. I wrote versions of the same tale annually for no less than twenty years. In my heart of hearts I have always known that I could never write anything else until I finished. Now, at long last, it is done, and pen in hand, I am ready to move forward.
It is my most sincere hope that you enjoy "The Red Speck", but it is even more important to me that you find it useful.