Welcome to Part Three of the Christmas in Italy trio that I’m doing this month! Once again, there is a video attached, a familiar song, but sung in Italian. If anyone wants to locate the other blogs in this set, just back-track a little, they're all here now! So, on to the holiday in Italia...
Picture Rome at Christmas, and what it would mean to spend the holiday there… the crowds at St. Peter's for Midnight Mass, the chance to see the countless churches with their presepi (Nativity scenes), and perhaps some of the world-famous monuments glimmering under holiday lights. Then there is the festive Christmas market in Piazza Navona.
A walk through Campo dei Fiori toward the piazza brings you into a colourful holiday wonderland. It is, I am told, an incredible sight, with stands and stalls covered in thousands of lights, and offering Christmas candy, small games, and toys such as stuffed reindeer-being sold by Santas! The scene brings back that almost child-like sense of wonder that we all used to feel around the holidays.
Rarely is Christmas cold in the sense that North Americans understand cold, but occasionally there is a cool Winter. The Italian Press tends to refer to such events as Natale Polare or “Polar Christmas”.
For Italians, Christmas represents family… and food. (Shocked, aren’t you? J) And, while the shops are full of wonderful gifts, there is far less emphasis on the commercial aspect of Christmas than in other places. The streets and shops of Rome are crowded on Christmas Eve–but the shoppers' arms aren't full of shopping bags with the latest clothes or toys, they are loaded down with the foods of the season–fresh fish as well as sweets like panettone, pandoro and torrone.
Also, the decorations don't go up very early… usually only a week or so before Christmas because they stay up until the Epiphany on January 6th.
One of the joys of shopping in Italy is the great attention the shopkeepers pay to each purchase and especially at Christmas. Whether you choose a gift that costs a small fortune or something as simple as a pastry to enjoy yourself, your purchase is given loving attention and treated with care. There is a magic that is purely Italian in every breath you take while in Italy, but it is never more in evidence than during this Holy holiday.
If you have the pleasure of spending the Holiday in Rome, rest assured you will not need to struggle with tradition – a visit to many restaurants will ensure that you will be treated to a purely Italian holiday meal. The owner will often tell tourists to close the menus and will then serve the meal that every visitor has dreamed about... usually ending it with a slice from a giant panettone, the traditional cake that originated in Milan and is served throughout the holidays; it's a bit like fruit cake, only much better!
Special thanks to the following sites and people for their help in preparing my Christmas Posts: News From Italy, The Italian Notebook, Dream of Italy, and my wonderful friend Stefano Testatonda.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Christmas In Italy - Part Three
Monday, December 21, 2009
A SPECIAL REQUEST
Thanks so much, and here are the details and the links, and the whole idea from Mr. Dusk himself:
December 25th at 4PM (EST)
In the spirit of giving, Matt Dusk is asking you to make these Twelve Days of Christmas special by donating to Kids Help Phone. In return, he will be giving you an intimate online performance!
On December 25th at 4PM (EST) Matt will be singing a collection of Christmas carols and songs from his albums to those who make a donation. The best part is you have the chance to be the musical director of his show by voting for the songs he performs!
To be a part of this special event, please DONATE NOW.
Upon receipt of your donation, a special link will be sent to you with:
an insider’s view of the venue
a voting feature (you choose the songs!)
exclusive access to the video of his intimate performance
ongoing access to the video at any time after 4PM on December 25th.
What better way to spend the Holidays with your family and friends than by enjoying the smooth sounds of Matt Dusk, all for a great cause! Don’t miss out on this special event. Your donations help Kids Help Phone provide the immediate help and hope that our kids need and deserve.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Terrarossa - Emanuele Dabbono
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Christmas In Italy - Part Two
The Italian Holiday Season
You can find bigger Christmas trees (alberi di Natale) and more extravagant decorations (decorazioni) in other parts of the world, but nothing looks, tastes, feels or sounds like la stagione natalizia (Christmas season) in Italy. With roots in the “Saturnalia,” the winter solstice rites of ancient Rome, and Christian commemorations of the birth of Gesù Bambino (Baby Jesus), the Italian holidays blend religious and pagan festivities that light up the darkest of nights.
In Rome and much of southern Italy, the traditional sound of Christmas is the music of bagpipes and flutes played by shepherds from the region of Abruzzo. Zampognari (bagpipe players), wearing shaggy sheepskin vests, felt hats and crisscrossed leather leggings, used to come to Rome weeks before Christmas to play in churches. These days the shepherds arrive later and play their ancient instruments in front of elegant stores along the Via Condotti and other shopping streets near the Spanish Steps.
Festivities such as fairs and torchlight processions begin weeks before and continue weeks after December 25.
The Tastes of Christmas
When Italians are asked what they do most during the Christmas holidays, they invariably say, “Mangiamo” (we eat) – very often and very well, with a huge feast on Christmas Eve, il pranzo di Natale at mid-day on Christmas, and il cenone di capodanno, another elaborate dinner on New Year’s Eve. In some regions the Christmas feasts must have seven courses (for the seven sacraments); others serve nine (the trinity times three) or thirteen (for Jesus and his twelve disciples).
The centerpiece of the Christmas Eve dinner is fish, particularly eel, a favorite of the ancient Romans that appears in the earliest known cookbook, written by a gourmand known as Apicius. This symbol of life and immortality was traditionally sold alive and wiggling, then beheaded, chopped and dropped into boiling water, spit-roasted, grilled, stewed with white wine and peas, or pickled in vinegar, oil, bay leaves, rosemary and cloves.
The Christmas day feast usually starts with a rich pasta, such as cappelletti in brodo, little hats stuffed with chopped meats, cheese, eggs or pumpkin. By tradition everyone is supposed to eat at least a dozen. Depending on the region of Italy, the main course may be capon, pork or turkey. However, everyone saves room for the special dolci (sweets) and breads of Christmas.
Special thanks to the following sites and people for their help in preparing my Christmas Posts: News From Italy, The Italian Notebook, Dream of Italy, and my wonderful friend Stefano Testatonda.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Guest: PAT SNYDER
I confess. I read my horoscope. Addicted, I search it for insights, like a metal detector scouring a playground for shiny dimes. So I was exuberant when I found this treasure the other morning.
“Organization is the key,” my horoscope said. “Take the time to preview your day before it happens, anticipating possible obstacles, so you can be prepared with all you need.”
Wow. It made me sit back, like that moment a decade ago when I realized that meals would be easier if I bought the ingredients ahead of time.
Maybe life would be simpler if I imagined what would get in the way and stocked up an arsenal.
I read the horoscope to my husband, who is also an Aquarius. “Let’s preview our day,” I told him, “and anticipate what could go wrong.”
“Based on past experience?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said, grabbing our calendars. It was a Saturday.
“You have a haircut at 10 and a doctor’s appointment at 11. You’re working on some computer project in the afternoon, and we have company coming for dinner. I’m meeting a friend for coffee at 9, buying groceries, visiting my mother, writing in the afternoon, getting ready for company. A pretty easy day. What could possibly go wrong?”
“Probably the garbage disposal,” he said. It’s true. We haven’t had company come once in the last 12 years when the garbage disposal hasn’t backed up.
“That’s just because I clean out the refrigerator for company in case I’d need to open the door while they’re here. I’ll skip it this time.”
“Or possibly another leak,” he added
“Freak accident,” I told him. “What are the odds we’d have two massive leaks in three weeks with a nearly new house?”
“What were the odds the first time?”
I had to admit the prospect of dodging another geyser from under the kitchen sink made me nervous, especially since we’d just repaired the basement ceiling from the last time and the kitchen floor looked like a washboard.
“This time, I’ll slide a cake pan under the sink and wear rubber-soled shoes. I’d have probably crawled under the sink sooner if I wasn’t worried about electrocuting myself. Of course, my mother may still lose her purse.”
Purse-o-mania is always possible. Natty at 90, my mom still attempts fashion feats that I decided years ago were beyond me. Like changing purses. She wears white after Memorial Day, navy after Labor Day, a red Vera Bradley bag for casual, fun occasions, a black one for somber ones. All this means finding the bags, dumping the contents and losing something in the shuffle.
“Help! I can’t find my purse!” she’ll cry, and off I’ll go to her assisted living apartment on a search-and-rescue mission. Unfortunately, social occasions tend to bring on these attacks. Last time was the afternoon of her grandson’s wedding, when we were already late from the tornado warning.
“No problem,” I told my husband. “We simply won’t answer the phone.”
Of course we both knew that would never work. What if it was a call that her nitroglycerin was in the missing purse? Or a call from our daughter for her frequent flyer number because she needs to book the last ticket to San Diego to work on an organic farm? (What???) Or a call from our middle son, who’s lost his way visiting a friend in Killbuck, Ohio and needs us to Google him back to the main road?
It is small consolation that all their likely requests would be completely aligned with their horoscopes. My mom (Libra) was to “Say what you want to happen, with whom, how and when.” Our daughter (Taurus) was to “listen to your instinct rather than having to hear another, perhaps misguided, person giving you suggestions.” And Lost-in-Killbuck (Cancer) was simply operating “like an artist, creating a masterpiece of personal connection.”
As for my husband and me, that shiny dime I found turned out to be a grungy old pop-top. From now on, we’re switching to Aries: “To keep your routine from becoming a restriction, leave room for surprises, creativity and the possibility of changing your mind.”
It’s our best hope.
Pat Snyder is a recovering lawyer and mother of three from Columbus, OH, whose new book, The Dog Ate My Planner: Tales and Tips from an Overbooked Life, includes the horoscope story and other light takes on the too-busy life. Find her online at http://www.patsnyderonline.com/
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Busy, busy... TWO things...
THANKS so much. This is directly from Emma himself:
The song is "IO RIMANGO MIO" - it's in the final part of selections for the most important contest in Italy (maybe in Europe): Festival di Sanremo.
You can listen to the song and tell it as many friends as possible. There is nothing to do except to listen and maybe vote if you liked it or not.
The link is:
then click on Sanremo Nuova Generazione
and go to page 9, TERRAROSSA "IO RIMANGO MIO"
See - easy. PLEASE DO THIS??
OK, since the entire page is in Italian... I'll add this....
Voting is easy - click on the song, and a bar appears under the player... it has a row of stars.... click on the last of that row of stars and you will see a message pop up - it's thanking you for your vote.... you're done!
And: MY Schedule for today and tomorrow:
Today Interview: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/interviews.htm
Blogging with Laurie D.: http://lauries-laudanum.blogspot.com/
Tomorrow: (December 16th)
ALL day chat at Whipped Cream group:
Christmas In Italy - Part Two: http://twrpblackrose.blogspot.com/
MY blog guest: Pat Snyder, here at Fantasy Pages!
So, let's have some fun!!!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Christmas In Italy - Part One
In Italy, the holidays are steeped with the spirit of celebration and reverence for which Italians are famous. 98% of Italians are Catholic, and as the holidays approach, it may seem like the entire country is in eager preparation. The thing that makes it really unique is although rituals are somewhat similar throughout the country, they vary from region to region as well as house to house. Food plays a central role in each.
The Christmas season begins with the national holiday on December 8, marking the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Churches all over the country unveil their presepi, (elaborate nativity scenes). Hundreds of presepi can be seen in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo and a life-size nativity scene resides for the season in St. Peter’s Square. The tradition of displaying mangers originated in the 13th century when St. Francis of Assisi erected the first manger in Greccio. Other noteworthy presepi are on show in the Museum of St. Martino and Church of St. Chiara, both in Naples, and the King’s Palace in Caserta (Campania).
On the streets of Rome, one of the most festive places to experience Italian Christmas traditions, zampognari, (shepherds from the Abruzzo region), dress in native costumes and play Christmas tunes on their bagpipes. The Piazza Navona transforms into a giant Christmas fair with booths selling candy, toys, gifts and roasted nuts. Lights and music flow through the square.
Twinkling lights, red ribbons, Christmas trees (Italians started putting them up after World War II) and the likeness of Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) begin to appear in storefronts and homes throughout Italy.
And, a tradition many would like to have, almost all employers give their employees la tredicesima, a Christmas bonus the equivalent of a 13th month of pay.
Italians eat very little on the day of Christmas Eve. They are preparing their stomachs for the massive meal to be consumed that night. The meal centers on fish, in the Catholic tradition to abstain from meat the night before a major holiday. La Vigilia di Natale (the vigil) is also called The Feast of the Seven Fishes. The origin of the “seven” is somewhat of a mystery. Some say it comes from the number of sacraments; others say it relates to the phase of the moon (seven days). Some families even serve 13 fish dishes, one for Jesus and one for each of the 12 apostles.
Popular offerings include linguini with clam sauce, spaghetti with mussels, grilled lobster, salt cod and shrimp. Romans traditionally eat capitone, a long, fat female eel that is grilled and seasoned. Families attend midnight mass together and return home for panettone (the dome-shaped fruit cake that originated in Milan) and Prosecco (sparkling wine).
Special thanks to the following sites and people for their help in preparing my Christmas Posts: News From Italy, The Italian Notebook, Dream of Italy, and my wonderful friend Stefano Testatonda.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Welcome The Romance Studio
If you could have anything -- ANYTHING -- under your Christmas tree, what would it be?
I was thinking about that while ago and it was hard because there were a few things I thought up.
Money is always good -- but no fun. Nothing is open on the big day and you'd have to wait. Or shop online. While I LOVE to shop online, it's not the same. I guess that goes for gift cards. Still, that next shopping day is fun. And I like Sally's, Claire's, The Loft (Yeah, like I can afford to even walk in THAT place.) =)
A dude? Hmm, well as much as I really like Hugh Jackman and Viggo Mortensen, I've already got the perfect guy. SO no... (but if I were a single gal... LOL)
A new car? Guess you'd have to put the tree precariously on the hood or something. Eh... I have my dream vehicle. Jeep Cherokee Grand, fairly new model. It completes my image as "Adventure Mom." I don't know that you could top that...
The latest video game console and a slew of games? Well... Did I mention I'm a recovering addict? Made up my own 12 step program and everything. Boy, it was hard making amends with those dudes from the DOOM series. LOL
Movies? Hmmm, that's a possibility. Love movies. That might work...
Still, this will require some thought. What would YOU ask for? Give me some ideas here. =)
I'll be giving away prizes to those who post -- for readers, authors too.
Talk to me!
The Romance Studio ~ the romance genre today.
Monday, December 07, 2009
GUEST: Malana Ashlie
Gringos in Paradise: Our Honduras Odyssey by Malana Ashlie is a delightfully amusing and lighthearted autobiography chronicling her move from Hawai’i to the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. When she and her husband decide to relocate to a more secluded paradise the fun begins. She shares the trials and triumphs of building a new life in Central America, in what can best be described as a spiritual journey of faith.
Of special appeal to the swelling ranks of expat retirees in Mexico and Central America (over one million strong, according to 2005 census estimates), Gringos in Paradise shares the adventures — and misadventures — two retirees face as they set off to the Caribbean coast of Honduras in search of financial freedom, personal fulfillment, and peace.
Just over thirty years ago I was given an intuitive reading as a birthday gift. The reader of runes told me that she saw papers all around me and asked if I was a student or a writer. Since I had dragged myself through school and deplored any form of script my response was a resounding “NO WAY!”. I was known to refuse gifts rather than write a thank you note. At the time I was a busy wife, mother of three and a horticultural entrepreneur. I immediately threw all credibility related to psychics out the window.
My elementary school librarian was the influence that saved me from myself by introducing me to books about animals. I read about the wild Chincoteague Ponies that inhabited islands not far from my Annapolis home. Black Beauty aroused my first curiosity of faraway places but it was when my interest expanded from hooves to paws that I moved into the world of adult reading. I discovered “White Fang” and the rest of the Jack London series. They planted the seeds of adventure in my soul.
Along with the librarian’s dedication was the pressure of having a teacher for a mother. My mother loved words; I found writing and composition B-O-R-E-I-N-G. However pressure from each of these women finally wore down my rebellious resistance. I’m sure that Mom’s steady influence and chronic correcting saved my grades in grammar and English.
The fifteen years that followed the psychic reading were filled with numerous life events that altered my philosophy and direction for life. My horticultural experience introduced me to medicinal herbs. I began the study of natural healing and earned a degree as a doctor of naturopathy. My husband and I began a monthly natural health newsletter which we still offer on-line. Later I was asked to write articles on health and healing for a local monthly publication. But these were all short (1,300-1.500) word articles. The first writing of any size was my thesis and dissertation. They were the hardest projects I had ever faced yet they helped dispel the negative belief system I had formed around writing as well as psychics.
Writing “Gringos in Paradise: Our Honduras Odyssey” was an adventure in its own rite. It was the first non-clinical piece that I had attempted and was by far the most fun. It was an exciting challenge to find words that could draw readers into the emotional roller of our transitional experience. I wanted others to experience the alternating waves of near-panic to exhilaration. Who would have ever thought that writing could be so much fun?
About the AuthorMalana Ashlie holds degrees in naturopathy, herbal sciences, subtle energy as well as a PhD in Metaphysics. Those studies along with tutelage from traditional Elders has given her insight that she offers in her consultations, articles on health and spiritual growth, workshops and through her independent study program; Dynamics of Healing and Happiness. Outside of the time she teaches workshops and retreats she enjoys her home along the sunny coast of Honduras.
Visit Malana at: http://www.gringos-in-paradise.com/
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Meet Sapphire Phalen
2) -What can we expect from you in the future?
3) -How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?
4) What motivated you to start writing in these genres?
5) -What kind of research do you do?
6) -Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
7) -Where do your ideas come from?
8) -Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
9) -How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?
10) -What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
11) Among your own books, have you a favorite book?
12) -Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
13) -Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
14) Tell us your website, MySpace, Blog, any urls so the readers can find out more about you.
Go beyond the usual, instead take the unusual that stretches the boundaries and find romance with Sapphire Phelan's aliens, werewolves, vampires, fairies, and other supernatural/otherworldly heroes and heroines.
Finalist for EPIC AWARDS 2010:
For if she doesn't, then with the demon army about to bring Armageddon to the Mortal Realm on Halloween, she won't stand a chance in Hell.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Coming Soon from Hearts On Fire Books
Angel-Fire: A short intro to the world of Captain Jack Stanton, an honourable man with a tarnished reputation. Stranded in Nassau, caught up in a pleasant interlude with a barmaid, Jack has a vision that will lead him to his past and his future, if he can survive to get back Tortuga to discover what it all means…
Storm-Singer: The Isle of Nyx has become the dread of all sailors who must dare the waters surrounding the mythical island. Local legends say a vampire prince resides in the ancient castle that can be seen from the harbor of the island. At his side is a powerful sorceress whose song can control and summon storms.
In a desperate attempt to end the eternal threat looming over them, the people of the Aurora Islands sacrifice their greatest treasure, the princess Sarita, entrusting her with the task of seducing and destroying the dark prince who has been plundering their wealth and their people for centuries?
Jack Stanton is a man who has never fully come to terms with his past, and in the Governor's pretty daughter he finds a most unlikely champion. But when his past threatens her life, and any chance of a respectable future, The Phantom must face the demons of his past, and accept the dictates of his own reawakened heart...
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Birthday Book Bash!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY (TO ME) BOOK BASH!
December is my birthday month and I will be turning 35! (OMG didI just day that out loud?) Yikes!! So....I have decided tohave a huge Giveaway, 35 Books, 1 Winner! I am putting somefrom my own collection, (no crease in spine, excellent condition)BUT this is the catch.... Since it is the holiday season & itis all about giving, I want to know from all of you what booksYOU want! What's on your TBR & Wish lists? New Releases, whatare you dying to get your hands on (up until Jan 05 for newreleases!), or even something from one of your favorite authors'sbacklist. Even ebooks count!!!!
One entry per person!
You can enter TWO books (w/Authors name if you want them tocount) under each genre. You DO NOT have to enter two for each,just genres you are interested in (it won't count against you)....whatever YOU want!
If you win, you will get ALL your books you listed, PLUS 15 others from Authors who have generously donated signed copiesor e-books .... tons of swag for ONE winner!!!! ..... PLUS 10books from me personally!
This is what I need you to do.... Visit: http://myfoolishwisdom.blogspot.com/2009/11/happy-birthday-book-bash-35-book.html, complete the form there, and that is it!
One winner will be chosen on Jan 01 via Random.org. Good Luck to all!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Guest: GALE LAURE
By Gale Laure
I have often fantasized about my perfect office. This will be a perfect room. I imagine it will be warm in color – perhaps a warm brown or beige – but expansive and cool. It will be a place where I can go and get lost. I can be alone with my characters. I can envision their adventures and feel their emotions.
My fantasy office will have ceilings more than sixteen feet tall with a loft area surrounding three sides of the room. A spiral staircase will lead upward to this loft. In my loft are large comfortable chairs and a few side tables. Bookcases are on every wall from floor to ceiling.
Bookshelves would also cover the wall in the lower half of my office except for one wall. Light would pour into the room from a floor-to ceiling window on this wall. I would have a credenza facing this window. Hummingbird feeders would hang just outside the window with flowery plants to attract butterflies. I would place my computer here and work. With the warmth of the sun gently upon my face, I would write the sequels to my current novel, Evolution of a Sad Woman. At my back would be my desk, piled high with all my research materials and books. How happy I would be.
The knowledge and talent of the centuries will surround me. On my bookshelves will be books by Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, James Michener, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Homer. How amazing it would be to have ages of talent surrounding me – inspiring me.
I would add all the wonders of today with works from Stephen King, John Grisham, Danielle Steel, Sue Grafton, Michael Crichton, James Patterson, Lori Foster, Lauren Dane, Dan Brown, Patricia Cornwell and Nora Roberts.
Sprinkled among my treasures would be books such as thesauruses, dictionaries, encyclopedias, books of maps and other research books.
Scattered around my wonderful fantasy room would be a large couch where I can lie down and rest for a while and think. There would be large overstuffed, comfortable chairs where you can curl up, read and enjoy one of the wonderful novels of the greats.
In one corner would be a small door that leads to a large walk-in closet. Inside would be file cabinets filled with research materials.
But . . .
For now, since my small one desk and one file cabinet office were destroyed in hurricane Ike, I hold my laptop on my lap, sit in my wing back lounge chair in my living room and write on my next novel. Who knows? Maybe Shakespeare or Christie had to work in similar conditions once upon a time. Maybe Fitzgerald had to beg his family for quiet so he could concentrate. So here I sit with my fantasy office still a fantasy, my laptop weighing heavily on my lap and my next novel pouring from my fingers.
I guess we all have dreams.
For more information about Gale Laure or her international selling novel, Evolution of a Sad Woman, visit www.galelaure.com or www.evolutionofasadwoman.com (her blog) or do an Internet search for booksellers for this novel.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Guest: CHRIS DeBRIE
By this point I had my own stories simmering, so I started filling spiral notebooks until I got to high school and learned to type properly. I joined school newspapers, and it taught me I didn't want to make a career of writing about yesterday's news, chasing people around by foot or phone to ask questions. I wanted freedom to follow my nose--which I've gotten, but like every self-promoting author, I ended up chasing people anyway...
Whatever came out of my mind in the early days, another's opinion of my writing was incidental. If I could reach that sweet spot where an author can read his own stuff and almost forget it came from him, that feeling was good enough. Still is. It was some years before I realized that other people were entertained, but I didn't know because I didn't share at first. All I cared about was the creative process.
That started to change my freshman year at college, when I had to write my own short version of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown became "Vinny Borranno", small-time Brooklyn hood. When the professor handed papers back, she kept mine and asked if I'd read it out loud. I refused because I thought I'd written something offensive, and was being spanked in front of everybody. So she recruited another student to read it, and when my story was done, everyone applauded. My good friend, in the class with me, gave me hell all afternoon over the look on my face. He kept saying I should have been proud, but I was embarrassed, because I hadn't put much effort into the assignment and all I heard were the flaws. It was later when I thought of it in another way--I'd barely tried and they still liked it. What if I tried?... so here we are.
Donna wonders how she can forgive and forget.
Charlene doesn’t quite know what she wants.
Robbie is usually thinking about which honey he plans to bag.
And Erven just does his best to obliterate the world…
Their lives and histories interconnecting, these characters navigate that uncertain time between classrooms and the wide-open world.
About Chris DeBrie:
Chris DeBrie was born in North Carolina, creating comics and stories as soon as he could hold a pencil. He wrote the millennial love story As Is as a ninth grader, publishing it a decade later. Selective Focus was the result of those homemade comic screenplays. With Shakespeare Ashes, he pulls the reader into the raw thoughts of four very different characters. DeBrie is a fan of photography, learning languages, and clean water. He lives in Virginia.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
ROYAL CONSORT - November 15th
Hearts On Fire Books
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
GUEST: Molly Roe
MOLLY ROE (pen name for Mary Garrity Slaby
Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires
Molly Roe is the pen name of Mary Garrity Slaby, a veteran language arts & reading teacher at Lake-Lehman Junior Senior High School. Mary holds a Ph.D. in education from Temple University, and Pennsylvania teaching certification in six areas. She has pursued the hobby of genealogy for the past decade. Mary was born in Philadelphia, raised in Schuylkill County, and currently lives in Dallas, Pennsylvania with her husband, John. They are parents of two grown children, Melissa and John Garrett, cover illustrator of Call Me Kate. Digging into the past has given Mary newfound respect for her ancestors and a better understanding of history. Call Me Kate is the first in the author’s trilogy of historical novels loosely based on the lives of the strong women who preceded her.
1. Have you always been drawn to history, or did something in particular trigger the idea for an historical novel?
Certain historical eras have always intrigued me, but overall I was never a history buff. Genealogical research led to discovery of a connection between my great grandparents and the Molly Maguires, a big topic in local Pennsylvania history. Once started, I continued delving into topics related to the Mollies: labor unions, immigration, and the Great Hunger in 18th century Ireland.
2. Do you feel that fiction and fact are well married in historical fiction, or does the make-believe overshadow rather than enhance the reality of history?
I am a strong proponent of historical fiction and definitely believe it enhances reality. My readers have told me that they were fascinated by the glimpses of daily life in the coal patches and are looking forward to my next book to learn more. People who would never pick up a book about anthracite mining will learn many facts about the industry in Call Me Kate, but the facts are couched in a heart-wrenching, suspenseful story.
3. How much research has gone into your book? A lifetime, or was the researching done as it was required throughout the process of creating your book?
I began researching when my son was a freshman in high school and he is now 26, but those dozen years went quickly! I also had to dig up expert information during the writing. My writing group friends kept me busy checking details that they were curious about. Researching is very enjoyable activity for me. I am currently researching the mine fire in the town of Centralia, and the Molly murders in that area.
4. What “message” do you feel you are trying to convey with your work, or is there one?
There are several messages, but a primary one is: Respect your immigrant ancestors- they gave you the life you have today.
5. What would you like to tell readers about your specific book that would encourage them to buy it and experience it for themselves?
Call Me Kate has a nice mixture of history, adventure, suspense, emotionality, and humor. It informs the younger generation about the rigors of nineteenth century life, but it also sparks memories in the older generation who lived during the era when coal was king. That quality makes it a great gift to share with young and old alike.
Monday, November 09, 2009
GUEST: Caridad Pineiro
I was an avid reader much like my grandmother and mother. I read everything, including the cereal box if nothing else was available.
I guess because I was an avid reader, I always had stories floating around in my head. Every night when I went to sleep, I would start a story in my head and the next night, pick up with that story. It wasn’t until my fifth grade teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library – that it occurred to me to take one of those stories I’d had bouncing around in my head and turn it into a book.
I started writing then, but I also didn’t stop reading. As soon as I finished one book, I would pick up another. All through high school and college, I continued reading. Through law school and the many years thereafter, books provided me with joy and a way to experience all different kinds of things.
My writing continued as well, but in spurts as time allowed. After my daughter was born, however, I found myself in a difficult position at work – I had hit the proverbial glass ceiling. It was a difficult time for me and if not for the support of my family, my books and my writing, I don’t know how I would have survived.
But I not only survived, I turned my energies toward not only writing, but writing to get published. For the next several years I worked on improving my craft and understanding the publishing business. I attended conferences and sat through workshops. I met other writers and found that the issues I faced were very similar to what others were encountering.
That networking helped me find the courage to send one of my novels to a publisher who eventually would buy my first book. I can’t say enough how important it is for aspiring writers to leave behind their solitary lives and get out and meet other writers as well as improve their craft and understanding of the publishing business by attending conferences.
Today I’ve published over twenty novels and novellas and am always working on a new proposal to send out to an editor. In between books and/or revisions, I will pick up some of favourite authors and take some time to read. I read both in the genre that I write and outside the genre because I find that helps me keep my writing fresh by inspiring new ideas.
Thanks for taking the time to visit with me today! I hope you enjoyed finding out a little about me and I look forward to finding out about you and whether you’re avid readers or aspiring writers.
Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he’s hunting down is far from the vicious killer he’s been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she’s a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. The heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both . . . for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.
About Caridad Pineiro:
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word through high school, college and law school. Shortly after the birth of her daughter, Caridad’s passion for writing led to a determination to become published and share the stories she loved with others. In 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released and a decade later, Caridad is the author of over twenty novels and novellas. Caridad hopes to continue to share her stories with readers all over the world for years to come.
When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista. For more information on Caridad, please visit http://www.caridad.com/ or http://www.thecallingvampirenovels.com/
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Survival By Storytelling Magazine
Well, I know you’ve all been waiting for this for quite a while, and it’s finally here. Survival By Storytelling Magazine, Issue One is up for sale at Lulu for a mere $9.00 in print and $5.00 in electronic format! You can go here to purchase it. The magazine will also be appearing on Createspace and Amazon in time, but the process for those two is different from Lulu, and longer, but you’ll hear from me as soon as it happens.
For now, you can get your copy of SBS from Lulu, at 10% off for the month of November, all you need to do to get the discount is enter GREATBOOK at checkout! And in case you wanted to know why you should purchase the issue, here’s some incentive:
We have some amazing fiction and poetry from writers new and old, all twenty-five and under, many of them members of YWO (Diocletian, Mercy, Adri, Nyx, Tegzz, and Crocolyle, unless I’m missing anyone).
We have an interview with author Paul Genesse (The Golden Cord and The Dragon Hunters; he has also written many short stories for collections published by DAW). He also wrote us a fine article about writing.
There is also an article by author T. M. Hunter in here, author of Heroes Die Young.
Every sale of SBS pays our authors. Since we pay by royalties, every sale is directly helping the contributors, and that’s a good thing, right?
Every sale also helps Young Writers Online, which is also good. Mostly the money goes to contributors, but YWO gets a little bit out of it too, and that goes to making sure we can have more contests in the future!
It’ll make you feel good inside. Trust me. SBS is like chocolate, only better.
So go out and get your copy now! As for the contributors: you’ll be getting an email from me shortly in regards to free copies for you, which wasn’t in the contract, but, hey, I feel that you deserve something for your patience. Plus, it’s standard practice anyway!
Lastly, please advertise about SBS. I’ll try to get some promotional images together, but if you could blog about us, that would be great. Spread the word and let everyone know what you think about the magazine!
Thanks to everyone who has been supportive of this endeavor over the last year+. It’s been a lot of work and we’re glad to be done, if not a little misty-eyed about it. Thanks to all who contributed, and here’s to a good opening run!
Friday, November 06, 2009
EYE OF THE WHALE: A review
by Douglas Carlton Abrams
Some books linger in the heart long after you put them down, and they lure you back. That’s part of the magic with Douglas Abrams’ newest novel, EYE OF THE WHALE. It keeps pulling you back, making your mind work – it makes you think, and therein lies a large part of its magic.
If you have had the good fortune to read Doug’s debut novel, The Lost Diary of Don Juan, then you know his style of story-telling is both compelling and seductive. He’s good at touching his readers where they live, and where they think.
EYE OF THE WHALE grabs you from the start, and in the early chapters there is a scene in which a whale and her newborn die, it is wrenching and lingers in your heart. You feel the horror of heroine Elizabeth McKay, and in those moments, perhaps more than in earlier scenes, she becomes part of you. You suddenly care greatly about her, and the passion she has for the whales, and their place on this planet. As the book progresses, we cheer for Elizabeth, cry with her, and hope she can achieve the task she has undertaken to save a trapped whale. Through it all, Abrams pulls at our hearts and makes us acutely aware of what needs to be done to save so much of the life that inhabits this world of ours.
As with Don Juan, the story unfolds with fluid prose, well-crafted and vivid imagery, and most of all, with the passion that is quickly becoming Doug’s real trademark in his storytelling. The scope of the story is global, yet intimate as well, told equally as political thriller, ecological awareness statement, and to a large degree a love story. The love affair is with Earth, but also the fragile yet unbreakable depth of love that exists when like-hearts struggle to hold onto each other against all odds.
If you are looking for an insightful, thought-provoking, articulately written novel, look no further – this one is all those things, as well as being a beautiful and intensely engaging story. Once again, Douglas Carlton Abrams brings his special vision to the page, and I am more than happy to recommend this one with highest praise!
EYE OF THE WHALE
by Douglas Carlton Abrams
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
ISBN: (ebook) 978-1-4391-6554-6
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Guest: MICHAEL BARON
I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking lately about the process of writing my first novel, When You Went Away. This has caused my mind to wander back to my first time. No, not that first time. I mean the first time I wrote a sex scene in a work of fiction.
When You Went Away is my first published novel, but it isn’t the first novel I wrote. It isn’t even my second. No one will ever see the first two, however. I wrote the first when I was thirteen and I’m not sure it technically qualified as a novel. In truth, I’m not sure it technically qualified as English. I wrote my second in a Novel Writing class in my junior year in college. The goal of the class was to develop a story and write the first few chapters. My novel was a coming-of-age story about a fateful summer among a group of close male friends and the protagonist’s first experience with love -- and I decided that I was going to write an entire first draft over the course of the semester. The prose came very easily to me, and I was flying through it. Then, about two-thirds of the way into the novel, it was time to show the protagonist and his love interest making love for the first time. Suddenly the pages weren’t writing themselves any longer. In fact, I came to a dead stop. I’d read plenty of sex scenes in other people’s novels, and I’d known this scene was coming for a hundred pages. I also felt it was completely necessary to the story, as it was an epochal moment in the relationship and in the protagonist’s life. Still, it stopped me cold.
There were a couple of issues here. One was that I couldn’t decide on an approach. Did I go metaphorical? Did I go clinical? How much emphasis did I put on the act, and how much did I put on the buildup to the act? The other issue was the nature of the class itself. It was a workshop class, which meant that every student read what he or she wrote that week to the rest of the group for review. The passage I’d read the previous week made it very clear that the moment had arrived between these two characters. If I just skipped past this, my fellow students would call me on it. But would their disapproval over that be harder to endure than my skittishness at reading such an intimate scene aloud?
Finally, I decided to go “all in.” I summoned everything I knew about the characters and about their relationship, allowed myself to imagine what their first night together would be like -- and I wrote an eight-page description of the experience. I decided to focus on emotions and sensations, but I didn’t shy from the visuals. When I finished writing it, I felt an actual sense of fulfillment. This lasted until I had to read the scene to the class. Since my eyes were on the page, I couldn’t see the reaction from my fellow students. But the utter lack of movement in the room told me that I’d either captured their attention or made them hugely uncomfortable (or both). No one had chosen to read a passage like this before me. When my reading was over, someone tried to say something about the imagery and another person mentioned something about the characters. The basic message in the room, though, seemed to be, “can we please get on to the next reader?” However, when the chapter came back from my professor, it carried a note that read, “Great freaking scene. You handled this like a pro.” I chose to believe that he meant I’d handled the scene like a professional novelist and not that I did it like someone who wrote about sex for a living.
This came back to mind when I wrote the critical sex scene in When You Went Away. I decided not to make it eight pages long (it’s not even a page long). That’s a younger man’s game. But I did want to “handle it like a pro,” and I wanted to make it as emotional as I could.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Guest: LISA A. SHIEL
I do it because, no matter what your beliefs, ridicule should never silence you. Diehard evolutionists use words as weapons in their war against dissent. I do the same, but for the opposite reason. Through my writing I encourage people to think for themselves and stand up for what they believe. The characters in my novels refuse to back down in the face of the worst personal attacks, even in the face of death. Fortunately in The Evolution Conspiracy I'm not fighting for my life! Instead I battle for your right to see the evidence, all the evidence, and make up your own mind about evolution. My words are weapons of empowerment. That's why I became a writer, to uplift and encourage people.
My methods are simple. I do the research, collate the evidence, and present it to you along with my analysis of it. My eight years of research lies at your fingertips, in the pages of The Evolution Conspiracy. So the next time someone tells you evolution is a fact you can concur or debate, but you will know you have read the uncensored evidence before reaching your conclusion.
Lisa A. Shiel researches and writes about everything strange, from Bigfoot and UFOs to alternative history. She has been interviewed for big-city newspapers, national magazines, drive-time talk radio shows, and TV news. She has a master’s degree in library science. As a fiction writer, Lisa developed the Human Origins Series—which includes the novels The Hunt for Bigfoot and Lord of the Dead. Lisa’s other nonfiction books are Backyard Bigfoot: The True Story of Stick Signs, UFOs & the Sasquatch (a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year Awards) and Strange Michigan. Her latest book, The Evolution Conspiracy, Vol. 1, marks the initial release in a planned three-book series. Find her online at EvolutionConspiracy.com, Twitter.com/LAShiel, or on Facebook.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Every Picture Tells A Story
Monday, November 02, 2009
Guest: LYNDA DREWS
My dad was an alcoholic. I remember escaping to my bedroom to find refuge, curling up with a book in a down-filled chair, trying to shut out the arguments from below. Books sheltered me from the pain and embarrassment I felt. Since I couldn’t bring friends over to my house, books became my buddies. Maybe I can thank my dad’s vice for helping to stimulate my “need” to read.
Forever I’d been intrigued by mysteries. I’d loved Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. Upon opening a Highlife Magazine, I’d immediately turn to the page to uncover the concealed objects within the picture. Treasure hunts were irresistible. The Game of Clue logical. And problem solving, stimulating. As an adult, my friends thought I was a contradiction. A “Shit” rarely crossed my lips, yet I loved to immerse myself in books about serial killers and gore. So in 1984, when I lived through the tragic events surrounding my best friend and running partner’s mysterious bathtub drowning, even though I was feeling terrible pain, like the community, I was absorbed.
As a freshman in college, I'd really enjoyed two basic studies courses: creative writing and introduction to computer science. The latter was a new and emerging field and I was encouraged by my professors to be the first graduate. So, I put my writing passion on the backburner, until I retired from my 30-year career with IBM. Ever since Pam Bulik’s death and her husband’s subsequent first-degree murder trial, I'd believed I had a story to tell. To me, the most unbelievable thing was that the Buliks were integral members of our close-knit running group. It was hard to believe that one of our members could be arrested for planning the murder of another, while a third member surfaced as the motive. I embarked on writing Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle, to resolve, for myself, why Pam had actually drowned. In turn, I wanted to pass this knowledge along to others that might be headed down her same path.
One of my Amazon.com reviewers said, “I cannot help but think that Run at Destruction is a rarity in the true crime genre simply by virtue of the fact that Lynda Drews was one of the closest confidants of the murder victim. This gives the book a level of personal insight and authenticity seldom reached by investigative journalists and big-time writers who later try to elbow their way onto a crime scene.” Writing my book was very personal. As Publishers Weekly said: “passages about [the author and victim’s] shared moments, and Drews's feelings of emptiness in the decades since, are remarkable.”
I hope you agree…
Candidly written by Pam’s best friend, Run at Destruction exposes the irresistible human passions that make us so vulnerable, and the ultimate price we pay for choosing to act on them. You’ll relive every detail of the crime and the exhaustive police investigation, and watch the courtroom drama from a front-row seat as a major homicide case unfolds in a small town where everyone knows all the players. Then, when you’ve heard all the evidence, you can decide for yourself – was Pam Bulik’s death a terrible accident, intentional suicide, negligent homicide or premeditated murder?
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Once in awhile you are given a book that is really many things all rolled into one. If you’re expecting a romance in Barbora Knobova’s TALES FOR DELICIOUS GIRLS, you might be surprised to learn you’re going to get one. Not boy meets girl, but girl meets herself… Barbora’s tales are about learning to love all that is good in yourself, ladies – and she reminds us with humour, tears, and very entertaining tales, that each and every one of us is unique, talented, sexy, and smart – we are DELICIOUS!!
The opening note sets the tone: “Delicious Girls don’t cry. Ever. Because they know it’s useless anyway.” Says it all, doesn’t it? So, ladies/girls – time to dry the tears and get on with being the delectable creatures that you are.
Ms. Knobova tells her tales with charm, wit, and grace. Her style flows as smoothly as the laughter and the awakening that happens with each new revelation she offers. Written with insight, intelligence, and honesty, TALES FOR DELICIOUS GIRLS is an epiphany of the spirit for any woman who takes the time to really absorb and think on the message contained in this book.
Smart and savvy are two words that spring to mind immediately. If you are a woman who questions your value, read this and be reinvented by your personal sense of worth. If you know someone who’d benefit, you’ve just found the perfect gift for any occasion!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an entertaining, provocative, and delicious read. Visit Barbora’s website: http://www.barboraknobova.com/ – and become one of the Delicious Girls – it’s an attitude adjustment of the spirit, plus it’s one helluva lot of fun to read!
TALES FOR DELICIOUS GIRLS
by Barbora Knobova
© September 2009