ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Canadian-American writer, Belmontéz grew up in the Canadian prairies before attending boarding school in Massachusetts and college in California.
With her first career as a stay-at-home mom, she also always wanted to be a writer and, after finding her grandparents’ letters and diaries, returned to university to develop her writing in hopes of one day doing justice for their epic story.
In the process came another story: Finding Fortune. Completed as her thesis for her MFA in Creative Writing, Finding Fortune is Belmontéz’s debut novel.
Related to Joseph Campbell and descended from writers such as Anne Bradstreet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Richard Henry Dana, Belmontéz is fascinated by the beauty of language, the power of story, and the Hero’s Journey.
She also has a BA in English, an MA in Film Studies, writes screenplays, and is in love with a Hero of a Thousand Faces. But that’s another story…
By L.A. Belmontéz
First QueenPin Books Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-1-9995676-0-6 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-9995676-1-3 (e-book)
Sometimes your life can change—in one moment, one glance, one breath…
L.A. Belmontéz’s long-awaited debut novel is a love story plagued by the underworld of Colombian kidnappings.
Inspired by real events, Finding Fortune delves into the consciousness of its characters, story within story, as they attempt to piece together the past in a soul-searching quest for true fortune.
Set between the height of Colombian kidnappings in the late nineteen nineties and the present nearly a decade later, Finding Fortune takes readers from the glitz and glam of Hollywood to Colombian jungles, Las Vegas desert to Cartagena rooftops, and Malibu beaches to Miami soirees on a journey that will become an experience to remember.
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of having it all.
Meet Valerie Verlane, the heroine who’s got it all—the man, the kids, the money, the life better than she ever could have dreamed. But it wasn’t always this way.
She was an ivy-league boarding school graduate managing a luxury furniture boutique in Santa Monica. He was a wealthy Colombian apprenticing at his uncle’s law firm in Los Angeles for the summer. It was love at first sight and almost the perfect romance—until Dmitri mysteriously disappears.
His uncle had been kidnapped. He’d flown to Bogotá to deal with the ransom. And he’d been flying across the country to visit Valerie. There were the things they never spoke of. The day that car was following them…
Not knowing if Dmitri is dead or alive, believing he’s never coming back and pregnant with his child, Valerie gives up her dream of spending her life with the man she loves and marries Pedro. But things only go from bad to worse.
Nearly a decade later, after losing everything but her daughter, Valerie lands on her feet to discover Dmitri isn’t dead after all. Determined to get some answers, she sets off for Colombia. But nothing goes as planned and the truth is one thing she never expected.
How could she have been so wrong? And can she make things right? They can’t change the past but they just might be able to change the future. It’s a risk they are going to have to take—together.
BOOKS TO COME
1941: Across the Rio Grande
Written by D.S. Erdman
Transcribed by L. Alayne Way
1941. It was the year the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered World War II. Every man in America between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five was required to register for military service or face incarceration. But some brave men stood their ground and sought another way.
These men were Conscientious Objectors and Quaker Friends who had taken oaths to live in accordance with higher conscience. They objected to the principles of war, believing that peace does not come through violence, but by living peacefully. They believed that it is wrong to kill another, that two wrongs don't make a right. And they believed that men do not have the right to play God, that there is God within each man. They listened to a higher calling and had consciences that would not allow them to do unto others that which they would not wish to have done to themselves.
So when a young C.O. is drafted, he applies for 4-E Classification. A marine marine biologist and recent Cornell graduate, Donald Erdman summons the courage to go against the grain of his nation, the world, and even his own parents wishes. Leaving behind family, friends, and the aristocratic life he knows, he joins other C.O.s to escape across the Rio Grande to Mexico, where they toil at work camps, helping others in service to God while they await their fate. Will they be granted conscientious objector status, face jail, or forever be exiles?
Historic epistolary nonfiction, L. Alayne Way writes straight from her grandfather's 1941 diary and correspondence to his Upper East Side parents. Son of a prominent New York City surgeon and of a woman once listed on the elite Social Register, Donald Erdman writes daily in pen and ink in his log, and on postcards and in letters that he mails from posts along the way.
In Pursuit of Paradise
By L. Alayne Way
When a young marine biologist is targeted during the Red Scare, he and his wife flee the U.S. with their baby daughter in pursuit of paradise.
This is their epic story. Taken from letters, logs, and diaries she discovered in her parents’ basement, Alayne weaves together past and present, beginning in 1946, after the end of World War II, when the eligible bachelor, Donald Erdman, returns to the mainland after a celebratory cruise of the West Indies.
But as one war ends, another begins: the Cold War. And as Don arrives at his parents’ summer home in Orient, Long Island, the U.S. launches Operation Crossroads and bombs the Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific.
The Atomic Age is upon us. President Truman declares it the Year of Decision. McCarthyism is on the rise with the House Un-American Activities Committee. Hoover and the FBI are on a witch-hunt. Anyone is a potential Communist—intellectuals, scientists, socialists, pacifists, government workers, teachers, leftists, liberals, artists, writers, minorities, civil rights activists, and foreigners; all, the common enemy.
A conscientious objector classified 4-E, Don served his country during the war as an A.F.C.S., making scientific discoveries in Puerto Rico. Of German descent, a liberal, leftist, intellectual, pacifist, writer, university instructor, ichthyologist, and government worker, Donald Erdman was anything but a Communist.
The scientist hired by the Smithsonian Institution to unpack and catalog all of the barrels of radioactive dead fish from the Bikini Atoll, Don wrote the report. The report disappeared. And he was targeted.
Married now to Lucile, they live with their infant daughter in the woods along the Potomac. But as the country descends to chaos over Communism in a climate of suspicion, fear, and paranoia, the danger is real and their safety is in jeopardy.
People point fingers, if only to save themselves from the same accusation. And innocent people’s lives are ruined—if they are not killed. But for all the innocence in the world, the odds weren’t good those same hateful fingers wouldn’t turn towards them.
The Erdmans move to Montana but the Red Scare escalates. The first Hollywood Blacklists are published. Einstein is being investigated. FBI agents detain Julius Rosenberg. And when FBI agents knock on the Erdman’s door, Don and Lucile don’t wait for their return. Instead, they escape to Costa Rica, in pursuit of paradise. But that is only where the adventure begins…
1953: Log of the Booby
By D.S. Erdman
Transcribed by L. Alayne Way
This is the epic sea-faring adventure of two hopeful romantics, an ichthyologist and his wife, who set sail in pursuit of paradise on their yacht, the Booby.
The third book of the In Pursuit of Paradise series, Don and Lucile Erdman have been living in Costa Rica with their young daughter since escaping the Red Scare of McCarthyist America. But when events go from bad to worse, a boat to live on is their booby prize.
Now the story continues as the Erdmans brave everything from venomous snakes and deadly scorpions to food shortages, hurricanes, and pirates before arriving in Puerto Rico to be received like celebrities.
For anyone who has ever dreamed of turning it all in to live on a boat and sail the high seas, 1953: Log of the Booby brims with robust immediacy that calls to your senses and puts you at the helm.
Told by the captain himself, as written each day in pen and ink in his logbook and later in his memoirs, 1953: Log of the Booby is Donald Erdman’s first-hand account of their 1953 cruise from Costa Rica to Puerto Rico.
1953: Log of the Booby is historical epistolary nonfiction and memoir, transcribed and published posthumously by Erdman’s granddaughter, L. Alayne Way, a Canadian-American writer and publisher at Garnet House Books, the company she established to share these treasured stories.
“This is beautifully written.
I enjoyed every moment of it.”
~ Michael Edminster
A lifelong lover of story, Lori fell in love with books, movies, and story in all its forms at a young age, before she can remember. Her earliest memories of stories are of stepping into the pages of books to find herself in a magical meadow with boys in suspenders and girls in pinafores, and crossing the bridge to climb winding stairs up the mountain to the castle in the clouds.
Sometimes outside, beneath a tree, with clover crowns wound round her head, her mother would read to her. But mostly they would sit together on the sofa in the evenings after supper. The ritual would begin with her mother taking a sip of Earl Grey from a handcrafted mug, the steaming eddies rising and mingling upon the lamplight casting their spell.
Entranced, Lori would wander to the edge of reason, dive into the abyss and fly upon suspension of disbelief. It is here, in this abyss, that she fell in love with story. But never has she ceased to question the why of everything, to search for truth with her own pen, always looking for beauty, forever following the sun in a constant quest for illumination.