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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…

FINDING FORTUNE

The Novel

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

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1941: American Hero

One man’s testimony to peace.

 

Logbook and correspondence written by Donald S. Erdman.

Book by Lori Alayne Way​.

When conscientious objector and Cornell senior Donald Erdman is drafted, he applies for 4E status and embarks on a soul-searching journey with a group of Quaker Friends to Mexico, where they toil at a work camp in service to God as they await their fate.

Set against the stage of an America on the verge of entering World War II, 1941: American Hero is a historical gem. His story, told day by day through the year that changed everything, is the wartime odyssey of a peaceful warrior.

A tumultuous time when the world was at war and the U.S. was questioning its own conscience in contemplating its next move, the pacifist hero sweeps us on a journey across America and into the depths of our own consciences. 

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 want done to themselves. 

So when Donald Erdman, a twenty-two year old marine biologist, is drafted, he applies for 4E classification and courageously leaves behind family and friends and the aristocratic life he knows to travel with other C.O.s across the Rio Grande to Mexico, where together they toil at work camps in service to God while they await their fate. 

Will they be granted conscientious objector status, be forced to go to war, face incarceration, or forever be exiles? 

Turning from high-society in favor of fishing and farming, Don sets out on his own hero’s journey. It is a soul-searching quest in which a young man walks his talk in his pursuit of a life in accordance with nature and in service to God. 

Living off the land that he cultivates and from the sea that he fishes, Don gives of himself, toiling not only for self-sustenance, but in unending arduous labor to help others, for no pay whatsoever when he had little money of his own, and yet he gives that, too. 

This is the untold story of a new kind of hero, the pacifist who dedicates his life to peaceful living, humanitarian service, and self-sustainability, showing not only that the eco-life is possible, but how it’s done.

 

This humble hero presents another yet admirable way for Americans to serve in times of war rather than contribute to more war and the ensuing devastation, destruction, and death. He does it legally, without hurting anybody and while helping as many as he can, hoping only that with God’s help he may hold his testimony to peace. 

Historic epistolary nonfiction, Lori Alayne Way writes straight from her grandfather's 1941 diary and correspondence to his Upper East Side parents. The son of Seward Erdman, a prominent New York City surgeon, and Constance Adams Erdman, listed on the elite New York 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.

 

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In Pursuit of Paradise

The epic saga of a young marine biologist targeted during the Red Scare.

 

Logbooks and Letters by Donald and Lucile Erdman

Book by Lori Alayne Way

When a young marine biologist is targeted during the Red Scare, he escapes McCarthyist America with his wife and their little girl in pursuit of paradise. 

 

It is 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. 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, Don served his country during the war making scientific discoveries in Puerto Rico. Of German descent, a liberal, leftist, intellectual, pacifist, ichthyologist, and government worker, Donald Erdman was many things, but he was no Communist. 

 

He was the American scientist hired by the Smithsonian Institute in 1946 to unpack and catalog the barrels of radioactive dead fish from the Bikini Atoll. Don wrote the report. The report disappeared. And he was targeted.

 

At the same time, he meets Lucile at the Candlelight Waltzes. They are married the following autumn and live in the woods along the Potomac. And a year later, on the same day the Soviets test their atomic bomb Joe, Lucile gives birth to Joyce, their baby girl they call Joy.

 

But as the country descends into chaos over communism in a climate of suspicion, fear, and paranoia, 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 fingers wouldn’t turn towards them. 
 

The Erdmans move to Montana, but the Red Scare escalates. Einstein is investigated. The Rosenbergs are convicted. And when FBI agents show up at 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 their adventure begins…

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1953: Log of the Booby

An epic sea-faring adventure told by the captain himself.

 

Logbook and Letters by Donald S. Erdman

Book by Lori Alayne Way

The story 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 little girl Joy 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. 

It is also a dream come true. Ten years after Don gives his father a leather billfold that he had etched with a sailboat and two booby birds, flying in its wake for good luck, he is living with his family in Costa Rica, where he commissions a man to build their sailboat that he names the Booby

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.

This is life as it’s happening with a twist of nostalgia. 

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.

Now the story continues as the Erdmans brave everything from venomous snakes and deadly scorpions to food shortages, hurricanes, and pirates as they sail through the Panama Canal to Colombia and across the Caribbean before arriving in Puerto Rico to be received like celebrities. 

1953: Log of the Booby is historical epistolary nonfiction and memoir, transcribed and edited posthumously by Erdman’s granddaughter, Lori Alayne Way, a Canadian-American writer whose lifework is to share these treasured stories. 

“This is beautifully written.

I enjoyed every moment of it.”

~ Michael Edminster

Meet Lori

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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.