(photo by © Hans Hillewaert, via Wikimedia Commons)
The manchineel (Hippomane mancinella) is native to Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Central America. The name comes from the Spanish word manzanilla which means, little apple, because the fruit and leaves resemble the apple tree and is has such a lovely, sweet, fruity smell.
But don’t be fooled.
The little death apple, or Columbus death apple -- because he recorded the first encounter with it when some of his men died after eating it -- is one of the most poisonous and deadly plants in the world. Every part of the tree is toxic. Rain water dripping off the leaves can cause blistering of the skin. The milky sap can cause permanent blindness if it makes contact with the eyes. Even smoke from burning the tree can cause blindness and respiratory problems.
The fierce Carib Indians were known to poison the water supply of their enemies with the leaves and for tying captives to a tree, ensuring a slow, painful death. They also used the milky sap to poison arrows and it was from one such arrow that the Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, was killed in Florida during a battle with the Calusa Indians.
Diane wanted me to talk a little bit about promoting. Like most authors, this is the hardest part of the job, one that I can’t say I’m very good at. But here’s what I did. I asked for help. And my post here isn’t so much about promoting as it is about how I organized a tour.
First thing I did was go to Google forms and make up a form I posted to my blog and that people could fill out. They were in charge of deciding what they wanted to do. But that didn’t stop me from emailing other people to see if they’d help out. Everyone I asked said yes. This is a fabulous community!
Questions I asked on the form related to The Bowl and the Stone and included:
Would you like to read and review the book?
Would you like to send out tweets? (I provided some pre-written ones with links)
May I guest post on your blog? (I gave the month of October as the month I wanted to be on their blogs. I realize now I could have had a section for them to write in a date convenient for them, but I didn’t. So, I had to *manually* coordinate dates with those who responded.)
Then I listed a bunch of subjects I could write about that would relate back to the story. These included, but were not limited to, the following:
An interview with a character or question to me
St. John in 1962 (a magical time)
A brief history of slavery in the Virgin Islands
The St. John Slave revolt of 1733
Annaberg (a sugar plantation)
The dungeon at Annaberg
Jumbies (mischievous spirits)
Plants and animals mentioned in the story
The Mysterious Moving Grave (the real story)
Earliest known ghost stories
Even if several people picked the same subjects (jumbies was the most popular) I was be able to make each post different enough that visitors, if they saw a post on jumbies elsewhere, would learn something new.
After I’d collected all my data, which Google forms organized for me neatly, I realized the form, when printed out (I like me a hard copy) was too small to read and I couldn’t figure out how to enlarge the print. So, I took the data and it plugged into Excel. I organized my Excel sheet in this manner.
With hard copy in hand I was able to pencil in when I sent the info (which included the blog post, book blurb, author bio, and pictures of the book cover and moi.) And, I could do the same when I got a confirmation that the email was received at the other end. I started gathering data in July which gave me August and September to write and send posts for October. A person could certainly start earlier.
I don’t know how other people have done it, but this was my method and if it helps someone else along the journey, I’m happy to pass it on.
About the Author
Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.
She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”
The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.
To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
And Tuesday, October 18 is the release date for this wonderful book:
Cling to God
A Daily Devotional
Cling to God in the chaos of life...
Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still able to spend time with the Lord each day. It’s designed for a wide Christian audience–those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.
Freedom Fox Press - Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
$17.95 Print ISBN 9781939844279, $3.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844286
Lynda R. Young, a Christian first, writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband.
Find Cling to God: Amazon / Kindle / Barnes & Noble / Nook / ITunes / Kobo / Goodreads