Monthly Archives: October 2012

Book Review: The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge – by Christine Nolfi

The Tree of Everlasting KnowledgeBook: The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge
Author: Christine Nolfi
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing  Platform
Date: March 15, 2012
Genre: fiction, romance/mystery/suspense 
Pages: 382, paperback
Price: $13.95; less in Kindle
My rating: A gripping story that stirs emotions and feelings on many levels.
 

I won a copy of this adult book from the author.

The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge begins with a hook (a line that grabs one’s interest), and the reader’s curiosity is stirred immediately.

Our main character, Ourania (whose name I’m never sure I am correctly pronouncing – and I do ‘hear’ the words even as I read along silently) is a strong single woman, who owns and operates her own electrical contracting business. She bids on – and is accepted for – a challenging job that places her directly in the path and life of a man she once knew. Then her life gets really complicated.

Because of her mother’s work in family services, she gets pulled into foster parenting – and not of one child but of two troubled siblings.  As if her job’s stability isn’t precarious enough already, things start heating up between her and the man who hired her, she feels threatened by dominating male presence on the job site, and her private life gets more complicated as she has to deal with the young children’s issues when she knows little about parenting. Besides all that, the children’s safety is at risk and she must somehow protect them although they resent her.

Does this intrigue you so far? Read on.

There is this ancient tree, a tree that – if given the ability – could reveal secrets that would boggle one’s mind. Besides its being a private meeting place for people over the years, some of them romantic interludes, there had been a savage, brutal act committed there decades before. We learn with Ourania what an impact this one site had and will have on her life, along with other shocking information she struggles to handle.

Not wanting to give away any more of the story, I will say that Christine Nolfi wrote an interesting, gripping, yet tragic tale. The way she connected everyone works well. The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is a painful story to read, while being a hopeful one through which love winds its way.

What doesn’t work for me is the repetitive lusting after one another
… but that’s my personal preference; it seems to be what many people want to read. I also found it unnecessary to repeat the explanation of one person we never meet except in the characters’ telling and thinking. Once or twice is fine, I believe the reader will remember from there.

The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is a title I wondered about until I got into the story. Although it was difficult to read in places because of the rawness of human nature being exposed, I found it harder to NOT read this book. If you enjoy a little romance interwoven with suspense, mystery, and drama, I believe you will like Christine Nolfi’s The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge from its beginning page to its dramatic end.

Watch for a soon-upcoming interview with Christine Nolfi, the author of The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge.  She will be offering a copy of this book to one reader-commenter at that time!

You can find The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

We have a winner of From One Place to Another!

The verdict is in!  We have a winner of From One Place to Another! Congratulations to Faith whose name was drawn from the basket tonight!

Faith, Carol White will be mailing you a copy of her book, From One Place to Another. I’m sure you will enjoy it.  🙂

Thanks to everyone for entering the draw, for leaving comments, for reading the review and the interview even if you didn’t comment, and for “liking” my posts.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Interview with Carol White & Book Giveaway

 

It’s time for an author interview!

I’m happy to introduce Carol White, author of the adult fiction novel From One Place to Another. If you missed my October 13 review of her book you can read it here

 

Carol, welcome to my blog! Of course, you are no stranger here; I’m pleased to know you are a reader of my blog. Also, you won one of the books I offered here. 🙂
Would you please begin by telling us a little about yourself?

 

Thanks so much for this interview, and for your in-depth review of my latest book, “From One Place to Another.” I began to read your blog when I saw that Delia Ephron was your guest, and I ended up winning “The Lion is In.” Since then, I’ve been a steady follower. I live in beautiful Delray Beach, Florida and I’ve been writing fiction, plays, poetry and articles for about 12 years. I also do a lot of volunteer work in the community, which keeps me grounded.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you?

 

In school I was always considered a good creative writer, and have also been interested in theatre since junior high. I didn’t take my writing abilities seriously until I enrolled in a 12 week workshop based on “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, a wonderful jumpstart to discovering your creativity. Anna Lisa Curtis was the leader and I have her to thank for helping me develop my career.

 

I’ve considered looking into The Artist’s Way, perhaps I should.  As a writer, do you do much reading? Who were/are your favourite authors or books?

 

I read all the time and usually have two books going at once, one on my Kindle and the other in print. I enjoy contemporary fiction, essays and some biographies. Authors I like? Well, Jonathan Tropper comes to mind because I just finished his latest book. Susan Isaacs, ALL of the Ephron sisters, Jennifer Weiner, John Grisham and Emily Giffin are some of my favorites, and for essays, David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, Calvin Trillin and the late, great Nora Ephron.

 

Have you ever felt like giving up? When did you finally believe in yourself so you can say “I am a writer”?

 

After completing The Artist’s Way course, I called myself a writer. I do feel like giving up at times because the publishing field has gotten so competitive, but I have enough fans who insist that I keep writing. Even a small base can keep you motivated.

 

Do you have a motto or Bible verse or quote that you try to live by and that helps to keep you going?

This may sound insignificant, but I relate to the song, “So You Had a Bad Day.” That kind of keeps things in perspective and reminds me to count my blessings! I also use the sticky note program on my laptop to keep words of encouragement in plain sight “Be healthy, exercise, give thanks, etc.” I pop those notes up on the screen several times a day and add more if I feel something is lacking.

 

I believe if something is useful it is not insignificant, and those pc sticky notes are wonderful things.  🙂  What do you remember about your very first time to be published, how did that happen?

I remember it exactly. I had written a children’s story, The Dinosaur’s Computer Shop and entered it into a contest given by a St. Louis publication, which is now out of print. I won first prize and received a check for $100.00. The story was published on page one of their paper. It was the best $100.00 ever.

What great encouragement that must have been! Do you mind mentioning some of what you have written or contributed to thus far? Of what you have had published what means the most to you? Of those, what do or did you most enjoy writing?

I’ve had a lot of short fiction published by The East Hampton Star Newspaper and the now defunct Writers Journal, several articles in The Sun Sentinel Newspaper, and columns in various magazines and newsletters such as Insight for Playwrights, Working Writers and The Florida Writer. Two of my plays have won major awards and that was pretty exciting. I think whatever project I’m working on becomes my favorite, but seeing my first novel, “Hidden Choices,” in print was exhilarating.  

What method do you use to keep track of your writing ideas?

I keep files in my computer of titles I like, i.e., good phrases for writing, and notes for new stories. I’ve also started to use index cards when plotting out a novel, which helps keep my characters straight. There are times I can’t see my dining room table because it’s covered with cards! 

What process do you go through when writing and perfecting your work?

Once I get going, I pretty much work 8-10 hours a day. When the first draft is finished, I start in with rewriting. The process can take several months. Before I send anything to my editor, I give it to my reader who happens to be my best friend and target audience. She gets back to me with notes, sometimes brutal, but always honest and her input has been invaluable.

What a blessing to have a friend like that! What inspired you to write From One Place to Another?

The novel started as two short stories I wrote years ago when I lived in a country club in Boca Raton. I also worked for a caterer at that time, so was able to create the story using true-to-life experiences, of course greatly exaggerated. 

It’s good to know it is greatly exaggerated. 🙂 How long did it take you to write From One Place to Another? Did you have to do any research? And how did you come up with that title?

 

Because I already knew the beginning and end of the book, I just had to fill in the middle and add more characters. Once I got going it didn’t take more than a couple of months to put it together as a novel. I did research on some of the local places I mention in the book in southeast Florida, and called others in North Carolina for information. I liked the cadence of the title, and it also represents the geographic and personal journey of the protagonist.

 

Did you write a little of yourself into any of the characters? Do you have a favourite?

There is a lot of food mentioned in the book. I’ve always had a huge interest in cooking and enjoy entertaining in my home, but similarities to the protagonist, Dina Marshall, stop there. I love Gabriela as a character because she is the antagonist and adds a good dose of spice to the book…the villain you love to hate! 
 
Why did you decide to include some crude language? Was it simply a natural fit with the characters?

Much of today’s contemporary fiction includes cursing. I felt I kept mine to a minimum, but in some places it was absolutely necessary. When Dina’s husband leaves her (and you find that out on page one so no spoiler alert needed) she indeed uses some foul language when relating the story to her best friend. Because I speak aloud as I type, I actually become my characters, so if they’re angry – I’m angry…and if they curse, it’s because I believe it’s what they would do in that situation. 

How did/do you go about finding a publisher? an editor? Do you have an agent?

For my first book, I used a large print-on-demand company. They did a good job in certain areas, but fell down in others. My second book was published by Trimark Press, a hybrid company, where you pay for certain services, but receive a lot of personal attention. I was fortunate that they had a spectacular house editor, Penelope Love, and we worked very well together. I haven’t looked for an agent, but I may try once my next book is completed. I’d like to mention that my books are available in both print and ebooks on Amazon, etc. Readers may also order the book directly from me at a greatly reduced cost. 

Oh, very interesting.  How do you consistently write? Do you have writing goals? daily? weekly? monthly? long-range?

 

I work on something every week, but not daily. I go in spurts. I wish I could be more disciplined, but that only happens when I get the urge. 

What other interests do you have for a change from writing?

 

I belong to several writing organizations including the National League of American Pen Women and act as their Letters Chair, which means I do a lot of event planning for our writers. I am fortunate to have many friends in the area, so there’s never a loss of fun things to do. I belong to a book club, and attend a lot of local cultural events. I was the executive producer for a local theatre company for almost a decade, and am now getting back into that. 

You lead a busy and creative-inspiring life. Do you have another project in the works?

 

I have several! I’m working on two plays and two novels. One novel is a book of short stories, most of which have previously been published, and I really just have to put it together. The other is a mystery that takes place in Delray Beach, Florida. 

Finally, is being a writer/author all you had hoped or thought it would be? Do you have any advice for hopefuls?

 

To be a writer in today’s day and age, you must push yourself. Here is what has worked for me. Get known in your community and form relationships with libraries, book stores, etc. Submit articles to your local newspaper. Write a newsletter for your community. Enter contests from magazines or blogs to see if you get results. Contests are great because you become familiar with deadlines and word counts. If you write children’s stories, offer to read in libraries and after-school programs. Join writers groups and see if there is a critique group that suits your needs. Give workshops in an area you’re skilled in. Offer to read poetry in nursing homes and independent living communities. Join a book club. Go to book signings where you’ll meet authors and have the opportunity to ask questions. Writing is such a solitary career that we love to talk to people! READ as much as you write. Subscribe to a writer’s magazine to keep current, and read blogs such as yours!

Thank you, Carol, for a very interesting interview. You gave quite a list of suggestions there, great ideas – specifically that last tip. 😉

Now, my friends, as Carol mentioned, you can purchase her book through Amazon, or you can buy directly from her at a lower price. She can be found on Facebook: www.carolwhitefiction.com and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/polowhite 

Do you live in Canada or the USA and would like the chance to win a free copy of Carol White’s newest book – From One Place to Another? If so, please leave a comment here and tell us what you gleaned as helpful from this interview.  Tuesday, October 23, at about 7:oo PM EST, one name will be drawn from the basket, so get your comment in! Once the winner responds to my email the winner’s first name will be posted here on my blog and Carol will be notified so she can get a copy to that person. Sound good? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

PS: Leave a comment and remember to check your emails on Tuesday evening.

Book Review: From One Place to Another – by Carol White

Book: From One Place to Another
Author: Carol White
Publisher: TriMark Press, Inc
Date: May 10, 2012
Genre: contemporary women’s fiction
Pages: 298, paperback
Price: $17.95; less on Kindle
My rating: An enjoyable modern tale of mishaps and mayhem in the life of a woman trying to succeed
 

I received this book from the author to read and review. It seemed that it would be quite different from what I usually read, and I was not in error on that point.

Carol White writes with confidence, which is obvious by the way she tackles the dialogue and personalities she created. In From One Place to Another she throws open a door into the elaborate, wealthy lifestyle of a country club in Boca Raton, Florida, at which her main character half-heartedly thumbs her nose.

Dina Marshall knew she was a very good cook. In order to help her husband build his business, she became immersed in creating gourmet dinners in their home to attract clients. It was working well until the evening she and her husband were dining out on her thirty-sixth birthday. Mark delivered news that would totally change her life — he was leaving her for a younger woman – that day. This was a complete shock to Dina who thought they were moving forward together in life. And how could he on her birthday?!

Carol White captured well the roller-coaster ride of a jilted woman’s emotions. Dina tried all she could to get her husband back, was drawn into other circumstances and relationships, waited expectantly when she learned all was not as her estranged husband thought it would be in his new life. (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the story for you.) In the meantime, she developed her own catering business in order to keep up the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed, but also to impress her husband while waiting for him to come to his senses.

That last point is the main focus of From One Place to Another. It was written with descriptions of the exotic food and elaborate meals Dina prepared, the craziness that ensued, and the hilarity of the best laid plans gone wrong. One thing that Dina does is make lists, and – good or bad – she makes lists all through this crisis time in her life.

I must mention that bad language is used in several places, and there is also a thread of heated romance throughout the story.

Although I was appalled at the behaviour and habits of some of the people for whom Dina catered, I enjoyed this book. Actually, I was appalled at some of Dina’s behaviour and I grew to not like her very much. Perhaps, given the set of circumstances she was dealt, her actions and reactions are understandable, but the comical, tragic turn of events that befell her biggest, most important catering job seemed justified. The author told it well, winding humour in and around as the tension built. Dina’s spirited attitude made for entertaining reading that kept drawing me back until I finished the book. (My reading time is rarely uninterrupted.)

Carol White wrote From One Place to Another in a way that pulled this reader into the very room where each scene unfolded, making it not simply an act of reading the words but with a sense of being there. I like that.

You can find One Place to Another listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

 

Thanksgiving and being thankful

I’ve been absent.  Did you notice?

My blog ideas have run low. Unfortunately, I have not kept up my writing of story drafts for 12×12 in 2012, either. My Muse is a little weary, I guess.

I’m behind in reading emails, sending responses to things, reading other writers’ blogs.  But wait, there’s more …

Because of a fall that happened on Labour Day, and from which I’m still recovering, I’m going for laser treatments on my knee. It may be another month before the healing is complete, but now there is much less pain and I’m starting to sleep a little better – for which I’m thankful.

Can anyone out there relate to the following? …

When on my alternating weeks at home I have had such a very frustrating time with my internet service. We have Fibre Optics at Dad’s, but the phone company we deal with has not found a feasible way to even bring high-speed out my way, and the dial-up connection is painfully slow. How slow is it, did I hear you ask? So slow that I have nearly nodded off while waiting for pages (even here on my blog) to load.

True story! The longer I kept dial-up, the worse the service became. How long could you put up with that? I don’t know how I did it for as long as I did, but it had become such a point of stress for me that I finally said NO MORE!

We now have wireless internet – for which I’m thankful. It’s been all of one day, I’m already feeling better, and I LOVE IT! There was far too much stress the other way. My blogging, business stuff, emails, Skype calling, everything … had become such a chore, and with being a caregiver now, too, I was about to walk over the edge. I am bordering on the blues leading to depression, and something had to change. The Internet c0nnection I now have at home is much faster, which gives me breathing space. (If you know anything about stress, depression, anxiety .. you will understand about breathing space.)

What bothers me is I’m so far behind – according to my own expectations – and it seems my weeks at home are not long enough. I just settle in when it’s time to go again. But that is my life now, for as long as it takes, and we can still make this work – for which I’m thankful.

The air has an Autumn chill, the leaves are changing colour, the Fall harvest is being gathered, and here in Canada it is Thanksgiving weekend. Today is a truly beautiful day – for which I’m thankful.

To close, I’m including a few images captured this morning. I thought you might enjoy these wonderful signs of the season. Descriptions are below.

 
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1. Morning fog rising off the river – a view from my deck                     
2.  A showing of colourful leaves above the river
3 & 4.  Cortland apples (for pies) – given to us yesterday by a neighbour
5 & 6.  Three varieties of squash from my parents-in-law’s and our garden
7.  Only sunflower that grew for me this year; seed dropped by birds in planter! Bloom’s end.    
8. Leaves changing colour on a tree in our yard.

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 Let’s all be thankful for God has blessed us.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL CANADIANS!

For what are YOU thankful?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!