The Blog Tour, Day #10: Jinx Schwartz

December 3rd, 2011

GOT ZOMBIES? Jinx Schwartz’s terrific book Land of Mountains does, and has been nominated as a Young Adult Finalist for the 2012 eBook Award by EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition.  

I even blurbed it, as I recall, but I’m not sure Jinx used my blurb.  Anyway, here she is on the writing of the book:

I wrote this little mysterious adventure as a sort of “fictography” (a term I blatantly lifted from the back cover of John Grisham’s A Painted House) of my life as a kid in Haiti. Needless to say, Land of Mountains is a highly embellish version of that life, but that’s what makes a book fun. If we fiction writers wrote about our own daily lives, and those of others, our books would be better than sleeping pills for setting our readers on SNORE mode.

My protagonist, Lizbuthann (her real name is Elizabeth Ann, but her native Texans just can’t seem to pronounced it that way) and her best buddy, Doux Doux Boudreaux live in a construction camp in a Haitian jungle in the 1950’s. Lizbuthann’s favorite hobby is snoopery, which leads her to investigate the mysterious happenings that began the very day she arrived from Texas:

Weclom to Port-au-Prince

Some welcome. They couldn’t even spell it.

Gooey tarmac oozed around my brand new patent leather shoes, and damp heat wilted the Shirley Temple curls my mother forced my hair into earlier in the day. I could practically feel the ringlets springing back to their natural orange frizz. I began to glow. Southern girls don’t sweat, they glow. Rivers of glow ran through my scalp, down my neck.

I looked back toward the DC-3 airplane, hoping to see my mother and little sister. No luck. I should have waited inside with them where it was cooler but, as usual, I was in a big old hurry. Grownups jostled by me, headed for the terminal building. I was of a mind to follow them, but I’d promised Mama I’d wait until she could get Sister awake enough to leave the plane.

I fanned myself with my hand and cocked my head. From somewhere, drum beats echoed. Not the tinkling, cheerful sound of a Havana steel band like we’d heard on a layover stop in Cuba the night before. More like a tom-tom sound, with a steady, hollow, thump, thump, thumping, that reminded me of movies set in Africa.

My nose twitched. Something stunk up the thick air. Smelled to high heaven. Worse than my grandfather’s one-holer outhouse in July. I sniffed the stink, tracking it toward the WECLOM sign, and what I spotted was far more rotten than their spelling. Stuck on posts next to the misspelled greeting was something really, really, ugly. Several somethings.

Daddy says I have eyes like an eagle, but even so it took a second or two for what I saw to sink in. Or maybe I just didn’t want it to. Matter of fact, if I hadn’t spent so much time at all-day-for-a-dime matinees back in Texas, I probably wouldn’t have even recognized a human head on a stake, but believe you me, that’s what they were. Four of ‘em. And even though I was upwind, my smeller told me they’d been there awhile.

I pinched my nose and held my breath, waiting for Mama and Sister to finally make it to the bottom of the clanky old ramp, but at about the same time they arrived, my brain and mouth went all cottony. I tugged at my mother’s hand, thinking to tell her about those fly-covered, stinking heads, but could only manage, “Mama, I’m fixin’ to throw up.”

I loved writing this book. Of course, I’ve loved writing all of my books, but this one was just plain fun, which prompted me into a more disciplined routine than I usually follow. I wish I could say I got up at five, lit the candle next to my pen and quill and labored until dusk, but that would be, well, fiction.

Managing to write seven books (four in the Hetta Coffey Mystery Series) in ten years, I guess one could say I’m a lit-tle slow, mainly because I only write when I feel I can do writing justice. And because I write humorous mystery, there are some days when I’m just not funny so I do the old dreaded editing, although there sure ain’t nothin’ funny about editing.

My advice to anyone with a book in them? Write it. Re-write it. Edit it. Re-edit it. Then get an editor, and when they are finished, re-edit. See a theme here?

As for being a successful writer, financially, I like James Michener’s advice to have your first novel made into a musical by Rodgers & Hammerstein. Am I too late?


Raised in the jungles of Haiti and Thailand, with returns to Texas in-between, Jinx followed her father’s steel-toed footsteps into the Construction and Engineering industry in hopes of building dams. Finding all the good rivers taken, she traveled the world defacing other landscapes with mega-projects in Alaska, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Like the protagonist in her mystery series, Hetta Coffey, Jinx was a woman with a yacht—and she wasn’t afraid to use it—when she met her husband, Mad Dog Schwartz. They opted to become cash-poor cruisers rather than continue chasing the rat, sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, turned left, and headed for Mexico. They now divide their time between Arizona and Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.


Land of Mountains

Land of Mountains you tube trailer:

And me?  I’m hiding out at my buddy Pat Browning’s place, , explaining why I think of myself as an Accidental Plotter.

10 Responses to “The Blog Tour, Day #10: Jinx Schwartz”

  1. Jinx Schwartz Says:

    Good Morning Tim and all, from Manana land! Thanks for hosting me and I want to say I sooo like your Junior
    Bender that I think I’ll hire him to track down my zombie!

  2. M.M. Gornell Says:

    Wow, Jinx, you took me right to Haiti in your passage. Good writing!! (and love the name Lizbuthann)

    And your advice about editing is so right on the mark!


  3. EverettK Says:

    Some of my favorite books are “young adult” novels. Authors of those, I guess, don’t feel like they have to put in a lot of “serious literature,” and so can focus on just telling a good story.

    Or maybe not. 🙂

    Anyway, Land of Mountains sounds intriguing!

  4. Jean Henry Mead Says:

    Great writing Jinx. Your background has certainly served you well!

  5. Mike Orenduff Says:

    Loved the excerpt. I think I went to grade school in Texas with Lizbuthann.

  6. Earl Staggs Says:

    Jinx, Lands of mountains sounds like a book as much fun to read as it was to write. I definitely want to see more of Lizbuthann. Love that name!

  7. W.S. Gager Says:

    Jinx: I was definitely there. Smell and all. Well done.
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  8. Alice Duncan Says:

    Oh, wow, Jinx, I loved your excerpt! And the cover of your book, too.

  9. Jinx Schwartz Says:

    Thanks all, for the comments.
    FYI, Elizabeth Ann is my real name, so I come by the Lizbuthann quite naturally. As in the book, seems no one in Texas could say E-lizabeth Ann.
    I had so much fun reliving my childhood in Haiti…and yes I did once see a zombie.
    Earl, was that you who pulled my pigtails???

  10. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Thanx, Jinx, and thanx to all the other folx who responded. This is a delightful book, and I’m sure y’all (as Lizbuthann might say) will like it.

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