BOOKS BY GRACE DE SOTO FERRY


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About the Author

Grace De Soto Ferry was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1944.  She grew up in the Mexican neighborhood on the West Side.  In 1965 she moved to Los Angeles. She’s married to filmmaker John Ferry.They’ve been married forty-four years and have one son.  She now lives in Santa Barbara, California. Grace has co-written and produced four documentaries.


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Crows on the Line

Crows on the Line is Grace De Soto Ferry’s second book of short stories, tall tales, some true and some not.  Crows on the Line, the title story, is about her relationship with two crows that have made their home in her back yard and the communication between them.  The voice of the young Mexican-American girl returns with heartwarming and entertaining stories such as The Stolen Boy, when a child is kidnapped in the Mexican neighborhood, Gorda and her friends get involved.

In The Coffee Can Caper a boy is put to the test, can he be loyal to a thief. A Turkey Tale will make you laugh to learn to what extent they go for an American Thanksgiving Dinner and Mexican Movies will remind you of when you could go to the movies and stay there all day. In The Journey, a grandmother is intent on keeping her young granddaughter safe while escaping bandits and how they are helped by kind people.  Esmeralda’s Dreamboat, a beauty and the beast tale and The Devil’s Dilemma puts a different spin on an age old story.

The Killing of Pedro Ruiz is the story of an abused woman who decides she’s had enough.  Man Dog and Sky People are magical stories that take their flavor from the “cuentos”, tales that the author heard as a child from her Mexican mother.

And the Buddha Smiled is a novella in which two Mexican American girls are desperate to leave their small narrow minded town in the San Joaquin Valley and move to Los Angeles to go to college.  What transpires is a story of how they reach their goals but on the way encounter situations that help them mature and realize that the ultimate responsibility for success or failure is theirs.

209 pages, softcover and Kindle e-book.

Hey Guy, This is The Butterfly

A Collection of 24 Short Stories

Twenty-four short stories told from a unique perspective and insight. Hey Guy, This Is the Butterfly is a collection of short stories that will entertain the reader with tales that make you laugh, such as John Wayne Wears a Girdle, and The One-Eyed Saint of Muddy Creek.  Feel the pain of a teenage girl having to give her baby away in Someone Should Change the Sign.

The author recalls growing up in San Antonio, Texas when being Mexican-American was regarded as a liability. Passing For White is told by a girl who doesn’t like her name nor the fact that she’s fat.  It’s summer and she can only swim on non-white days. The only way to get in the pool is to pass for white.  In Blessed Benny the Benevolent, an unemployed woman finds herself in the strange little town of Marfa, Texas. She’s rescued by a kind-hearted man who helps her regain faith in herself. Two young children find that brotherly love can conquer fear in Black Moon Rising.

Some of the stories are told from the point of view of a young person and others from an adult perspective.  All 24 stories have spontaneity, humor, warmth and a sense of place and time.

142 pages, softcover and Kindle e-books




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Hey Guy, This Is The Butterfly

Santa Barbara Author Grace De Soto Ferry’s Collection of Short Stories Makes Memories Soar.

by Amy Smith, Santa Barbara Independent

Named for the bar across the street from S.B. author Grace De Soto Ferry’s childhood home in San Antonio, Hey Guy, This Is The Butterfly presents a compact and readable 24 short stories in 139 pages. The author grew up in the Mexican neighborhood of a segregated community, which she left in 1962. After returning there 50 years later, she found the home her father built, along with all of her childhood remembrances, gone, including the bar. The result of her reflections is “a collection of short stories, tall tales, some true, some not.”

Short is the operative word here, as the narratives are all within one to 11 pages long, with many on the shorter side and a handful at just a paragraph. Like a batch of collected memories, they’ve been jotted down sparsely to share, to keep although that reality is now gone, and isn’t that what many great American short stories do well — say a lot with very little, say more with what’s not being said?

De Soto Ferry starts from the point of view of a girl reminiscing about living in a house across the street from The Butterfly bar, presumably the character most closely resembling the author herself, and from there takes off on a tour of this time and place, told from a variety of perspectives, some male, some female, some old, some young, but all Mexican American and all poor. These are characters living with the sad facts of prejudice, being unhappy with something about themselves, oppressive heat as well as oppressive poverty … but there’s humor, a positive tone, and clear nostalgia for De Soto Ferry’s girlhood days, even a sadness that the neighborhood is now so changed by “what some call progress” (development and commercialization).

The various characters share something in common: They long for something lost to the past, something they can’t ever again go home to (in more than one case the actual physical structure of a beautiful old dwelling). They carry with them “a sense of loss for a time in my life that was gone” (“The Ladies”). We meet an overweight little girl passing for white so she can swim in the public pool on a hot day; a young man who forms an unexpected connection with a white lady in perpetual mourning; two women remembering old lovers while they harvest raisins; an unwed mother forced to give up her baby; an aging Elvis impersonator; and many others.

Through these tales and imaginings, De Soto Ferry proves that when we write memories down, when we put ourselves in another’s shoes, and when we share what we’re thinking and feeling at different stages of life, it becomes clear that we all sometimes feel alone, we all cling to things now long gone, and we are all far more similar than we are different. “Regardless of who we are or where we come from, we’re all in the same boat” of our common humanity (“Someone Should Change the Sign”). Maybe in a sense, the memories we cling to, even the dark ones, once wrapped up in a cocoon of carefully chosen words, can emerge to become something beautiful, something more like freedom.

🔵 WOMEN'S LITERARY FESTIVAL

GRACE DE SOTO FERRY HONORED AS ONE OF 7 WOMEN AUTHORS TO SPEAK AT THE 11TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA WOMEN'S LITERARY FESTIVAL