On April 19, 2013, I presented my debut novel at the illustrious Casa de Espana in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
It almost didn’t happen. After more years and more struggle than I care to remember, the date for the official launch of City of Sorrows had finally arrived. After weeks of preparation, of high levels of stress, the-night-the-enemy-wanted-to-cancel triumphantly took place in the beautiful Salon de los Espejos (The Hall of Mirrors) in La Casa de Espana.
April 19, 2013 was one of the most memorable moments of my life. Not because I sold a lot of books—I didn’t—but because I triumphed over my enemy and reaped God’s rewards.
This night was the fulfillment of a promise I had made to God, in a woman’s retreat almost nine years ago, that I would develop the one quality that up until now had been sorely lacking in my life: perseverance.
I promised God that I would not give up my dream to write a book, no matter how hard—or how long—the road to publication became. Well, it was hard. Extremely hard. There were so many rejections. So many times I wanted to give up. But I persevered. And on April 19, 2013, God truimphed.
The victory did not come by the way we humans define success. I did not sell a lot of books or become an instant celebrity. No J.K. Rowling rags-to-riches story. I spent more money on the event then I made. A lot more. But it didn’t matter. I lived a victory that night.
The enemy had tried his hardest over the last few weeks to make me quit. He didn’t let up. The day before the event, I almost called it all off. But then I reminded myself of what I have always believed and I told myself—and the enemy—GOD IS IN CONTROL. I said it so firmly that Satan fled.
Here’s a few pictures of the event.
The event had a few hiccups. Like when I dropped the wireless mike and we all heard it, rolling and rolling along the floor. And when I made last minute changes to the script and didn’t have the chance to inform the Masters of Ceremony.
And when I forgot to draw the raffle winners.
But the night wasn’t about what went wrong but rather about what went absolutely right.
A group of seven young people joined me from various institutions on the west side of the island. Four young people from the Advanced English class from Leonides Morales Rodriguez Public High School in Lajas came up on a bus with their teacher. Joining them was a young man from the University of Puerto Rico, and two others from the Inter American University of San Germán. Most of them had read my book.
One of those young men—Randy Soto—then passed his book onto his grandfather (Moncho), who gave probably what was the most amazing testimony of the night.
During the question and answers, Randy’s grandpa stood up and said that he could identify with the book’s Gypsy protagonist, Diego Vargas. Like Diego, Moncho lived with a pain that only he could feel. But through Diego’s story, he was able to let go of some of the pain and anger he had harbored for forty years.
That is the power of God’s love in our lives.
Have you ever been healed by the blessing of a book? If so, please share your story. Maybe it will touch—and heal—someone else..