Wednesday, May 25, 2022


Pitch from Baseball's Only World Series Perfect Game, Don Larsen, 1956

This is my pitch for MOURNING DOVE, the novel I, Shawn Oueinsteen, wrote to help put mankind's climate-disaster mitigation on a war footing.



Climate disaster may have billions die, with babies stabbed to death in their mothers' arms; MOURNING DOVE was written to make sure that never happens.

Elevator Speech from Shawn Oueinsteen for MOURNING DOVE

There’s my mission and my character’s mission. Mine is to prevent the climate-caused deaths of billions of people. I’m inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s apocryphal quote to UNCLE TOM’S CABIN author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So you’re the lady who started this great war.” Her novel, UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, helped end slavery. My character, Jen, accepts her mission on the day before her 16th birthday. Her mother plans to lead their family from a climate-saving rocket-launching station in Alaska to reach cousins rebuilding humanity in Antarctica so Jen and her siblings can for the first time be with people their own age. A climate catastrophe causes her mother’s death.  As her mother’s body is being lowered into the ground, Jen commits to fulfilling her mother’s mission. But it means traveling past those made so desperate by the climate catastrophe that they survive the heat, thirst, and hunger by killing others to steal their possessions.

Short Synopsis (aka Jacket-Flap Summary)

Jen's family is very isolated in Alaska, working to save life on Earth from climate extinction. They barely notice the climate-caused collapse of civilization that occurred nearly everywhere else. Jen's Mom hates that her teenage children never met others their own age, and she has talked for years of leading the family to Antarctica to join a colony run by distant cousins trying to rebuild civilization. But before they can leave, Mom dies as a result of a freak ice storm. Watching Mom's body being lowered into the grave, Jen vows to fulfill her mother's mission. Her beloved grandmother, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is Jen's best buddy but is in failing health and insists she and Jen's grandfather stay behind. In the toughest decision of her life, Jen walks away from being a loving caretaker to lead the mission she promised to her mother's soul.

Hearing a story from her grandfather of a mourning dove truly mourning its mate, Jen envisions the souls of the doves flying side-by-side in love for all eternity. Jen uses that story, pretending to be a mourning dove fledgling, to persuade her father to be part of her mission. In Chicago, their journey's first stop to fuel up their plane, Jen reads poems written every day by Max Nytlee. He and his wife, Roch, were close friends of Jen's grandparents.

"Beauty on the curb, lying by the road, face on hot cement, dying crying there." This is a line from one of the poems. It describes how, as a young man during the climate apocalypse, Max saved the beauty's life and married her. Another of his poems includes the line, "With guns on hips, for meds my wife, searched the city, to save my life." Roch died of natural causes as an old woman. Max died three weeks later because he wanted nothing more than to keep writing her poems. As Jen shovels dirt to help cover Max's coffin, she changes her mission to include "romance." She wants someone to love her as much as Max had loved Roch.

Jen's Dad and her younger brother Ttuuee have a terrible relationship. As part of her mission, Jen works at helping them get along better. Their plane crash-lands in Brazil, where they are attacked by evil, desperate climate apocalypse "have-nots." Jen dies in the fighting. With the emotional trauma of her death, Dad and Ttuuee have major disputes, but Ttuuee realizes he has to grow up, emotionally, and take charge. He wins out over Dad and becomes the driving force of their mission, which he views as giving meaning to his sister's life. Dad gets very ill but they are helped by others who can't read or even count past ten, as there is no longer a need. One of those who helps is a young woman named Gerta who wears camouflage body paint. Ttuuee thinks of her as a painted witch. The painter is an old man who raised Gerta. He and Ttuuee become friends. In terrible pain from a lung disease, the painter commits suicide after persuading Ttuuee to adopt Gerta as a sister. They continue their journey by boat, but they have to fight off pirates near the South Orkney Islands. When they finally reach Antarctica, they find the leader of their cousins has made herself queen, an evil queen. She has them arrested and tries to steal what they have.

On his brains alone, Ttuuee succeeds against everything thrown at him. More than a year after Jen's death, he sits on the soft grass. It is a beautiful day in East Antarctica. He recalls in his mind how Snana, his Rembrandt girl, his full-blooded Lakota girl, danced with him, bandaged his bleeding leg with her white scarf, and kissed his cheek. And when another girl had asked, "Ttuuee is your boyfriend?" Snana immediately responded, "Damn right he is!" Ttuuee smiles with the memory. Then he throws his head back and shouts to the sky, "Thank you, Jen, wherever you are." From a very far distance he hears a reply. It is a mourning dove, and it says, "Koo kurikoo koo koo." The voice of the dove is Jen's.

Short Author Autobiography of Shawn Oueinsteen

I suffer when I see that my hometown, Miami, today experiences sunny day floods, with breaking septic tanks releasing human excrement into the water in the streets, schoolyards, and playgrounds. The ground under Miami is porous limestone and the city cannot be saved. It will become another Atlantis. I moved to Albany, NY, when I was six. I built and played in snow forts that lasted from September to March. Now snow melts in a day.

To research MOURNING DOVE, my climate novel, I connected on social media with 36,000 climate scientists, activists, and other climate professionals, and I communicate with many of them. I also have read more than 100 climate-change books, mostly about climate science. For marketing MOURNING DOVE, I’ve been on 5 podcasts, I will appear in a Netflix documentary, I have a blog with 10,000 hits, an author webpage with 100,000 hits, and 66,000 total social media connections/friends.

I studied writing under University of Maryland writer-in-residence J.R. Salamanca as I worked for a Masters in creative writing. I participated in The Vicious Circle, a brutal writer’s workshop, for many years. At the age of 22, I had a short novel of mine published by Ballantine Books, a subsidiary of Random House. For my day job, I write proposals to convince the US Government that the contracting company I work for is better than all other contracting companies. My day-job Facebook page says, “I write proposals and I write fiction, but that’s redundant.”

A pitch for a novel also usually includes a long author biography and a long synopsis. The long biography can be found on this blog here. The long synopsis can be found on this blog but it includes spoilers so I do not link to it here. If you really want to read it, ask me to send you the link, or you can search for it. MOURNING DOVE'S draft agent query letter also is on this blog.

I am very confident that a top literary agent will represent me and will sell MOURNING DOVE to a great publishing company. To follow the progress of MOURNING DOVE, and see whether my confidence is justified, please friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Long Author Bio for Novel MOURNING DOVE

My dad was kissed by Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe but he said my mother was more beautiful than either of them. He was right. I have pictures to prove it. My mother was a gorgeous blonde from Poland. My father a boy from Brooklyn. When my mother died, my father wrote a love poem to her every day for a year. Romance is in my DNA. My wife is a gorgeous brunette born in the USSR. She hates my writing and she and I disagree 100% on politics. But after many years of marriage, we’re crazier about each other than ever. The final pages of MOURNING DOVE, my novel, include a diamond ring being slipped onto a beloved’s finger.

My hopes and dreams were baked in before I turned five. When my father was a teenager, the Philadelphia Phillies offered him a contract as a pitcher, but World War II ended his baseball dreams. As a toddler, I used to watch him pound out sentences using two fingers on an old manual typewriter.  Then he would tear the paper from the machine, scrunch it into a ball, and throw it to the floor harder than he ever threw a baseball. He did that hundreds of times and never got to his novel’s second page.

In my biggest game as a pitcher in little league, my best friend hit two home runs against me, ending my team’s playoff hopes. I was not good enough. But in graduate school, I studied creative writing under J.R. Salamanca, whose first two novels became major motion pictures, one starring Elvis Presley; the other Warren Beatty, actors my father never met, despite his years in the movie business. Salamanca bought a yacht, traveled around the world, then ten years later drove in a beaten-up Mustang to a writer-in-residence job at the University of Maryland, where he was chairman of my Master’s thesis committee. That’s the sort of life my Dad admired. At the age of twenty-two, I wrote a short novel and had it published by a division of Random House. I type, with all ten fingers, at more than 120 words per minute.

I was born in Mount Sinai Hospital on Miami Beach, Florida. We moved away when I was one, but I was back every summer to be with my grandparents in Miami. I played with lizards that were often scurrying about in their backyard. I watched bananas grow on my grandmother’s banana trees so I could pick them and eat them when they ripened. I consider Miami my hometown. South Florida, including Miami, is built on porous limestone, which is frequently described as “similar to Swiss cheese.” This means that today, due to sea-level rise, king tides raise the water level not just in the ocean but also in the streets and back yards of Miami, even on sunny days. The rising water destroys septic tanks, so back yards such as the one I played in as a child are often filled with raw sewage. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote UNCLE TOM’S CABIN to end slavery. I began writing MOURNING DOVE to end climate shit.

My big sister hated me. Almost from the day I started to walk, she would get me to follow her, lead me to places I didn’t know, and intentionally lose me. If I was lucky, strangers would see me crying and come to help. She lost me once when we were on vacation. I couldn’t tell the strangers how to reach my parents. It was many hours before both sides called the police. My sister took great pride in being the bad kid. She enjoyed, and still enjoys, being in trouble. She would never do her homework. I can’t help but be her opposite. I am the good kid. I always do my homework. As homework for my climate novel, I have read more than 100 books about climate change, many by scientists. I have connected on social media with more than 35,000 climate experts, and I communicate one-to-one with many of them. I’ve learned that climate shit is the very least of the climate problems.

My mother was driving our family car and tears were streaming down her face. I was in the back seat; my sister in the front. She asked Mom what was wrong. Our mother said her favorite aunt had just passed away. My sister asked if she was “that aunt.” My mother said yes, adding that her aunt had never been the same in the years since “it” happened. Even though I was very young, I somehow knew my mother did not want me to know what she was talking about. I complained loudly, as only a toddler can. My sister told me what a bayonet was. Then she said that our aunt had been carrying her baby son in her arms. An evil soldier stabbed the baby with his bayonet and killed our little cousin in the arms of his mother. I had trouble comprehending this, and let my mother know it. She said this was in Auschwitz and tried to explain to me what death camps were, what the Holocaust was, and how they affected me and my family, personally. I was younger than three years old. This is one of my very first memories.

From my climate-change homework, I know that it is physically impossible to prevent the oceans from rising at least a foot within the next thirty years. The oceans are too big. There is too much heat. It cannot be stopped. There are millions of people in South Florida. All will have to move to higher ground. Coastal cities throughout the world will have similar problems. Hundreds of millions of people will have to flee to cities that have no flooding, drought, super storms, or extreme heat. These hundreds of millions will need jobs, homes, food, water, electricity, and medicine. The cities they move to will have enough to take care of their own people but not much more.

The climate migrants will become hungry, thirsty, and diseased, and will experience their loved ones dying. They will see the non-migrants with jobs, homes, food, water, and medications. The migrants will become increasingly desperate just to stay alive. They will steal what they need, fighting and killing those who get in their way. The non-migrants will fight to keep what they have. Governments will try to keep the peace and fail. Governments will try to make sure food, water, electricity, and medicines continue going where they are needed and fail. People will kill people. Many will be armed. Those without guns will use whatever weapons they can find. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a novel that started a war and ended slavery. I’m writing a novel to mitigate climate disaster and keep babies from being stabbed to death in their mothers’ arms.


This long biography is part of the pitch for my novel, MOURNING DOVE. The images in this post are self-portrait pencil sketches. The one above was drawn from photos of me from when I was three. The one below is what I look like today as I see myself in a mirror.

I am very confident that a top literary agent will represent me and will sell MOURNING DOVE to a great publishing company. To follow the progress of MOURNING DOVE, and see whether my confidence is justified, please friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks.